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Gaslighting Is My Least Favorite Side Dish

, , , , , , | Related | November 24, 2022

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I ask my mother-in-law what I can bring as a side dish for dinner. She asks me to bring mashed potatoes.

On Thanksgiving, I make homemade mashed potatoes with the skin still on and lots of milk, butter, and garlic. They’re rich, creamy, and full of flavor. I am excited to share them with the family.

This happens when we arrive at their home.

Mother-In-Law: *Making a face* “Why did you bring mashed potatoes?”

Me: *Confused* “You asked me to?”

Mother-In-Law: *Sighs* “[Sister-In-Law] brought mashed potatoes. Oh, well. I guess we’ll just have two things of mashed potatoes.”

I can tell she’s irritated at me but I don’t say anything. [Sister-In-Law] has brought instant mashed potatoes, and even though everyone takes both types of mashed potatoes, everyone compliments mine and eats all of it. [Sister-In-Law] is furious.

After dinner, my mother-in-law pulls me aside.

Mother-In-Law: “Next time, don’t bring the same dish that someone else is bringing.”

Me: “I’m sorry. I thought you asked me to bring mashed potatoes when I offered to make a side dish.”

Husband: “She’s right, Mom. You told [My Name] to bring mashed potatoes a few weeks ago.”

Mother-In-Law: “No, I didn’t. I would have remembered that. I wrote it down and had [Sister-In-Law] bringing mashed potatoes. [My Name] clearly hurt your sister’s feelings by bringing potatoes that everyone else liked more. You owe her an apology.”

I refused to apologize and to ever cook for them again. My husband now makes our side dish for Thanksgiving with them.

Kind Of Wish She’d Stay Home, Kind Of Don’t Wish That On Her Poor Family

, , , | Right | CREDIT: Pineapple_Peasant | November 18, 2022

As I walked into the hotel where I work, I first encountered this lovely family. It appeared that [Husband] was getting yelled at for something by [Wife] as [Son] watched on in what can only be described as complete indifference with only the slightest hint of embarrassment. The happy couple soon parted ways as [Husband] went to park the car.

I clocked in and did the pass along with the front-of-house manager, who was exhausted and ready to run away. As soon as the manager drove away, [Husband] walked back through the front door and threw his hands up to his loving wife, who was still sitting in the lobby.

Husband: “What are you doing?”

Wife: “You didn’t give me the key, you f****** d**khead.”

The husband calmly walked over and handed her a key, told her the room number, and then stiffly walked back outside.

At this point, I was just happy that they both left the lobby so that I would not have to ask them to, you know, act like adults. And I thought that was that. But, alas, no.

The phone rang and I answered it, fake happiness evident in my greeting as always.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Hotel]; this is [My Name]. How can I be of help tonight?”

Wife: “I’m on the third floor. Where is my room?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I do not know who I’m speaking with, and I’m not allowed to give room numbers over the phone.”

Wife: “This is [Wife]. It’s my f****** room and I want to know what number it is.”

Me: “I do apologize, [Wife], but I am not allowed to discuss the number without being able to veri—”

Wife: “Thanks for all the f****** help.” *Click*

Silly, sure, but my blood was boiling. I was actually going to have her verify the address on file and let her know the room number, but cool. Be a child in front of your actual child. I’m sure you are a fantastic role model and have only taught little [Son] the best of manners.

However, she was a mid-tier member and had a strong whiff of entitlement about her, so I thought, “F*** it.” Better to suck it up and get it over with and be able to say I did everything I could when the inevitable complaint rolled through.

I ran up the stairs since all three elevators were busy and, lo and behold, I ran into my dear old gal-pal [Wife], who was just randomly inserting her key card into ALL of the doors.

Me: “Hello, [Wife]. I came to assist you as soon as our call was disconnected. I was trying to verify your identity on the phone; however, I can help now.”

Wife: “You can’t tell me over the phone, but you can just tell me in person?”

Me: “Oh, no, I will need to see a photo ID first.”

Wife: “Are you f****** kidding me?”

Doors in the hallway started opening and other darling guests began poking their sweet little faces out.

Me: “No, ma’am, not at all. And I am going to ask you now to stop cursing at me or I will cancel your reservation immediately and add you to our ‘Do Not Rent’ list. You will also stop trying to get into rooms that are not yours. Now.”

She thought for a moment.

Wife: “Let’s see if I even have my ID.”

I cannot explain it, but even her tone with that simple sentence was so malice-filled. She dumped her entire Soccer-Mom-sized bag on the hall floor with pure hate and attitude. She looked up at me, and I was honestly just trying not to laugh at what an idiot she looked like. I think she thought I would be offended. I was, in fact, amused. This pissed her off, but her rage was a silent one.

Wife: “Here’s my ID.”

I daintily took the ID and took the time to appreciate the very accurate picture of the woman; it had captured a look on her face like she was trying to hold a sneeze in.

Me: “Oh, perfect, [Wife]. Right this way. If you want to hand me your key, I will open the door for you.”

I opened the door — two doors away from where she was — while she crammed her bag back to bursting. Then, I helped her get the luggage rack in the room since she couldn’t quite manage that either.

Me: “Okay, [Wife], you’re all set. Please ensure that you bring the luggage cart back downstairs so that other guests can use it.”

Wife: “Oh, no. No, I don’t think so. We are keeping it tonight since we are leaving tomorrow.”

Me: “No, ma’am, I actually have to have it back as you are not the only guest here. Per the contract signed at check-in, if the cart is not back within an hour of your arrival time, we will charge a nonrefundable $50 fee.”

She just sputtered wordless sounds.

Me: “Have a wonderful night!”

And I shut the door, almost skipping back to the desk, hoping I would get to charge her $50. But no, [Husband] came to the front desk shortly after with the cart and picked up a few drink items. He was amazingly polite. He seemed to take a lot of cigarette breaks outside… which lasted an unusual amount of time. A few of the times, I don’t think he even smoked.

I feel really bad about little [Son]. He was maybe nine. He was with his mother in the hallway when she dumped her bag out, and he looked humiliated. I would imagine this was not the first time he has seen this behavior.

Absolutely Trucking Mad, Part 6

, , , , | Right | November 14, 2022

My husband was the non-commissioned officer in charge of a large truck dock at a major Air Force base for several years before he retired from the military. The truck dock hosted regular potluck lunch events. It was my job to coordinate and run these events.

The civilian boss who was over the truck dock had a policy that ANYONE who entered the truck dock during these events was encouraged to stay and eat with us because we always had more than enough food. We once even had a group from the Danish military eat with us because their tour passed through the truck dock right before we started eating at a potluck.

The following happens when I deal with a dreaded “dependa” — the name for an annoying military wife who likes to throw her husband’s rank around. This dependa is the wife of one of his new airmen, and my husband is four ranks above the dependa’s husband. I have just invited several truck drivers who entered the truck dock to come over and eat with us because there isn’t an airman available to unload their trucks immediately due to the potluck.

This woman, who I have never met, starts yelling at me.

Dependa: “What are you doing?! Why are you letting dirty truck drivers eat with military people?!”

Me: “Umm, who are you? My husband is Technical Sergeant [My Last Name] and I am running this event.”

Dependa: “I am airman [Last Name]’s wife! You have no authority to let truck drivers eat with us!”

Me: “Oh, yeah, you’re the new guy’s wife! The reason why I am letting the truck drivers eat with us is that [Civilian Boss] told me to! We let the truck drivers eat with us while they wait for their trucks to be unloaded. I also know all of these truck drivers personally because they all come almost every day at lunch, anyway. I come to base to bring Sergeant [Husband] lunch every day, so I talk to them all the time.”

Dependa: “But truck drivers shouldn’t be allowed to eat with us! You are a disgrace to military wives!”

Me: “Hold on, let me call my husband over. You are way out of line!”

I call my husband over.

Husband: *To the woman* “What are you thinking?! My wife has been running these events for years, and you think that you can just barge in here as the wife of an E-2 and tell her what to do?!”

Dependa: *To my husband* “You have no authority over my husband! He is going to take your job in less than a year because you obviously don’t know how to run a professional military operation!”

Husband: “Are you threatening my job? Your husband is literally fresh out of basic training and technical school, and there is no way that he is going to make rank fast enough to even make E-5 before I retire in two years!”

My husband calls the airman over to us.

Husband: *To the airman* “Your wife thinks that she can just barge into my operation and tell my wife what to do! Control your wife now, or I will permanently ban her from the operation! She is disrupting an official event.”

The airman starts sputtering about how his wife is just really proud to be a military wife and that she just got too excited.

Husband: *To the airman and his wife* “I don’t care how proud she is! This is my operation and I will run it as I see fit, including giving my wife authority to run events in the shop! Take your wife and leave now! I will discuss this with you in private when you come back to work on Monday!”

My husband ended up banning the dependa from any future events because her husband couldn’t promise that she wouldn’t pull that stunt again. That was the first and only time that he banned a dependent from shop events.

Related:
Absolutely Trucking Mad, Part 5
Absolutely Trucking Mad, Part 4
Absolutely Trucking Mad, Part 3
Absolutely Trucking Mad, Part 2
Absolutely Trucking Mad

Babies Of The Internet Age

, , , , , | Right | November 6, 2022

In my early twenties, I was doing technical support for a phone, Internet, and TV service provider. This was in an age long gone, before we had phones with Internet and such.

I get a caller who has lost both TV and Internet. While troubleshooting, we chat about random things, and during the conversation, she casually mentions that she and her husband are in their forties.

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t fix the issue from here. I’ll need to dispatch a technician to troubleshoot on site.”

Caller: “How soon can he be here?”

Me: “He won’t be able to get there until Thursday next week.”

Caller: “Young man, if you don’t get him out here sooner, I’ll end up pregnant again!”

A Mother Can Only Take Sew Much

, , , , , , | Related | November 6, 2022

Housework was divided up between Mum and Dad according to who could do it best. So DIY, electrical work and the like went to Dad, and cooking, needlework and sew on went to Mum. Jobs they could both do equally well were jobs they shared and would do together. And as my sister and I grew older, we were (with much reluctance on our part) conscripted into joining in too. That’s not to say that Mum couldn’t do DIY or my Dad couldn’t cook; it’s just there’s a reason sis and I liked it when Mum got better so Dad didn’t have to do the cooking. 

Anyway, all that hasn’t got much to do with the story, other than to reassure you that when Dad asked Mum to do some sewing, it wasn’t because of some outdated “that’s women’s work” thinking, it was purely because Mum’s skills were of a very high standard, and that was definitely needed here.

For many years, Dad was in the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service. The RNXS was a voluntary organisation under the control of the Royal Navy. Even though it was voluntary, uniforms were provided, and neatness was expected. There were ranks, and progress through the ranks depended on your training. After completion of a particularly difficult training course (something about communication or radar; I forget what), Dad was presented with a badge that required sewing onto the sleeve of his uniform jacket.

Dad was so worried about it going on the sleeve even slightly out of alignment, he asked the highly skilled seamstress that is Mum to sew it on. He donned the jacket, Mum pinned it in place, Dad asked for it to be adjusted a bit, Mum re-pinned it, Dad was happy with it, took the jacket off, and Mum stitched it there. 

As any of you who has ever sewn something, pinning is pretty good, but as you start applying the stitches, the badge can still move a bit. And so when Dad put it back on, he noticed it had moved a little. So he asked Mum to move it a bit. Mum unstitched it, and the whole re-pinning process happened again.

And again.

And again.

I forget exactly how many times Mum sewed that badge on. It was always a little bit to the left, or up a bit, or it wasn’t quite square. With the benefit of about thirty years of hindsight, I’m wondering if Dad was so nervous about giving a bad impression, that he was starting to second guess himself to the point of paranoia? After all, those who wore this badge had a level of seniority, and with that came an expectation of high standards.

Mum wasn’t exactly enthralled with all this extra sewing, but she also wanted to make sure Dad presented himself properly to his superiors at the next meeting. Eventually, Dad was happy with the position, much to Mum’s relief. Dad was relieved too, as he knew the hard work Mum was doing, and I think he felt guilty each time he asked for a repositioning.

When Dad came back after the next meeting, Mum had to know.

Mum: “Was the badge alright?”

Dad: “Er…. yes, but… um… sorry! It was the right height on the sleeve, and it wasn’t twisted, and it was the right distance from the front of the body when my arm was straight down. But…”

Mum: “Yes…?”

Dad: “It was the wrong arm!”

Dad had to sew his uniform after that.