It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.
Are you unhappy in your relationship, unhappy in your living situation, or unhappy because you miss your family? If it’s the latter, perhaps spending more time with your parents, who live nearby, will ease your homesickness. If your relationship simply isn’t able to withstand the adjustment of living together, first communicate your needs, and if they can’t be met, decide how you can reverse your decision to live together. The potential risk that moving out may screw up your relationship is smaller than the potential risk that continuing to live together will have if you’re so unhappy that you’re crying all the time. And in the future, do these 15 things before you move in with someone!
No, you are under no obligation to get a co-worker you are not close with and don’t necessarily even like a gift for a second child, especially if you don’t have the money to spare. I don’t think you have to even get a card, though a sincere “congratulations” and enthusiasm for any shared baby photos — sincere or not — is always a good gesture. For the record, I’m opposed to showers for the birth of children who are born within a two or three years of an older sibling, although if it were for a good friend, I’m sure I’d go and give a gift and not make a big deal about it.
I don’t know either, but maybe this column will give you some perspective and help you appreciate that the life of a military spouse isn’t always a walk in the park.
P.S. Why not just ask your boyfriend to dress up like a military guy for shits and grins?
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
Addie Pray March 1, 2013, 9:07 am
LW3 should watch Officer and a Gentleman. She reminds me of the local girls all hoping to meet and get married off to an officer…. I loved that movie. It made me love Debra Winger and made me tolerate Richard Gere, at least in that movie. I DIGRESS. LW3, I don’t think you’re ready for marriage… Also if you love the marines, why don’t YOU join? You can be the lieutenant! Besides, your chances of meeting a marine will increase.
kerrycontrary March 1, 2013, 9:07 am
LW3: it sounds like you have a fantasy that needs to be played out. You were 19 and a half (is my math right!?) or 20 when you started dating your current boyfriend. You can’t have had that much time to enter in real relationships with lieutenants. I’ve been dating one for years and let me tell you, the military can be a pain in the butt. So it sounds more like you lust after military types, not that you actually want to live that lifestyle.
bethany March 1, 2013, 9:10 am
LW2- If it’s office protocol to have a shower, then go to the shower. But you don’t have to get a gift.
At my office we have a lunch and all chip in for a gift card for one “life event” per person. So if you get married, or have a kid, you get a lunch/gift card. But you only get one, and no one is ever forced to contribute to the gift card. We send out an email saying that if you want to contribute you can, and to drop off your money by whatever date. You should find out what the standard is in your office so you know for the future.
csp March 1, 2013, 12:57 pm
I was also thinking that she might get a small gift and just consider it networking. Like, get pacifers with the logo of the guy’s sport’s team. It will cost a few dollars and keep the peace.
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 3:08 pm
Or the mother’s sports team.
6napkinburger March 4, 2013, 12:50 pm
True, but totally fair (without having sexist assumption problems) to say the guy’s because she works with the guy, even if she does like his wife better than she likes him.
EricaSwagger March 1, 2013, 9:15 am
“I dunno why I’m that stupid.”
“I don’t know either…”
Hahahhaha, Wendy, this killed me.
Addie Pray March 1, 2013, 9:33 am
haha, i missed that!
MissDre March 1, 2013, 9:20 am
I’ll never understand why people are opposed to a baby shower for a second child. I guess to a lot of people, a baby shower is all about giving presents. But I disagree. A baby shower is to celebrate a new and beautiful child coming in to this world! Why does a first born deserve a celebration, but not the second? Especially if the person is your friend! Why wouldn’t you want to celebrate her new baby? If you get invited to a baby shower and all you can think of is “oh man I have to get this person another present” then they are not really your friend. And in that case, don’t go.
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 9:28 am
I totally agree. And I’m happy to buy presents for people (especially cute little babies!)
Now, I would take issue if someone was registering for say another crib and a pleathora of infant gear when they have all of the stuff the 1st baby (and the 1st has just outgrown the items of course).
MissDre March 1, 2013, 9:36 am
Yeah, I understand that. I mean, asking for brand new stuff that you don’t need is kind of selfish no matter what the event (whether it’s a baby, a wedding, whatever). But I’ve never seen anyone do that. It’s usually a bunch of people who WANT to throw a shower for a friend, so we all get together to have a little party for her. To me, it’s no different than a birthday party for your friend. It’s a celebration!
FireStar March 1, 2013, 9:53 am
I have seen people registering for a whole set of gifts and expensive presents for a baby shower for baby #2 and #3. I’ve seen very well off people doing it which I find even more egregious. So I’m not a fan. It does feel greedy to me. I’m not a fan of the multiple showers inviting the same people either. Have a meet the baby brunch or something with donations to a Make a Wish foundation. I go to all baby showers for first babies and for my friends having babies – whatever the number – I go visit the baby, bring or cook food there for them, and bring a little something for the baby. I had a ‘fight’ with my best friend about the need for a baby shower at all…but her position is that as it will be thrown for me and not by me – so too bad – I don’t really get a say – my job is to show up and smile pretty.
katie March 1, 2013, 11:54 am
i hope that you get to have a nice baby shower… check out offbeatfamily, they have done a few good pieces on how to encourage your family to throw a shower that you will actually enjoy.
FireStar March 1, 2013, 1:25 pm
Thanks katie- I’ll check it out. I know I’ll enjoy whatever she throws…. I’m just a little scared that she will be over the top and will spend too much.
redessa March 1, 2013, 12:31 pm
I have 5 kids all born in a little under 7 yrs. (the smallest age difference is just shy of 15 months and the biggest is 2 yrs & 7 weeks). I was given a shower for all but the last one. And it was honestly ridiculous.
1st baby was fine. It was my first, I was excited to be having a baby shower. It was given to me by my boss (I worked at a small store where it was just the owners, me and 1 other employee so we were quite close).
2nd baby, my best friend decided to inform me of her belief that EVERY baby is just as special as the first and she was throwing me a shower for this one too. I felt a little odd about it but the first was a girl and the second a boy so I let myself get talked into the idea that it was okay since I would need boy clothes or whatever.
3rd baby, same BF arranges a shower as a surprise party so I had no say in that one. But I felt really stupid about it seeing as my 2nd and 3rd are the closest in age and having 2 baby showers just a yr apart felt like a gift grab which I was not comfortable with.
4th baby, again, BF put something together. I don’t even remember why I showed up to that. I’m wanting to say it was after he was born so more of a meet and greet.
But when the 5th one came along just a year and half after the 4th, even BF gave up and stopped throwing me parties for having a baby. I was so relieved.
Lily in NYC March 1, 2013, 9:42 am
Miss Dre – the reason it’s called a shower is because we shower the mother with gifts. It is not just a celebration of a new life. It’s also the reason it’s considered poor manners to have immediate family throw you a shower – because it’s a gift-giving party and it would seem grabby. We all know that showers came into tradition to give the new mother what she will need for the baby – they have been mainly about gifts since Day One.
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 9:47 am
But, etiquette and rules change. I agree that showers (both weddings and baby) come from where you describe, but it is now widely accepted that showers can be hosted by mothers and sisters. It’s also pretty accepted to have a shower for your second wedding, to have a work only wedding shower where you don’t have to invite attendees to the wedding and all sorts of other things that used to be in poor taste.
iwannatalktosampson March 1, 2013, 9:55 am
Is it okay to have a wedding shower for your second marriage? I certainly wouldn’t.
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 10:01 am
Personally- I think it’s in poor taste. But from what I’ve read it’s becoming more accepted.
EB March 1, 2013, 10:37 am
I think it is hard when it is one person’s first marriage especially when that is the bride. If I married a divorcée I would have zero issue skipping any wedding associated fripperies but one of my closest friends( in her mid twenties) is engaged to a guy (31) who had a starter marriage when he was 23 that lasted all of 5 seconds(ok 1.5 years…same difference ). So, I would never begrudge her for wanting to have her dream wedding including a shower, bachelorette party, and all that jazz. I personally probably wouldn’t do it because I can see how that might put the divorced fiancé in an uncomfortable situation regarding people who had already “celebrated” his first wedding. However, to each their own. Luckily, in my friend’s case her fiancé lives in a different state than when he got married 9 years ago so all his coworkers and the majority of his friends did not attend the first wedding.
csp March 1, 2013, 1:11 pm
Totally agree. I think if it is the Bride’s first wedding, she get’s a shower.
Anna March 1, 2013, 11:04 am
If you’re really going into the intended purpose of a shower, the original intent of a wedding shower was to get the bride and groom all the things they will need to move out of their parents’ homes and into their first home together because they had never lived away from their birth family before. Does that make it inappropriate to have a wedding shower for your first wedding if you already live with your fiance and have dish towels, a toaster, etc? Most people move out of their parents homes before marriage now and many live with their SOs before marriage as well, so the intent of such a shower has naturally evolved with the changing societal norms.
katie March 1, 2013, 11:55 am
i agree. showers are not needed and objectively tacky in our day and age, if you ask me.
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 1:09 pm
So, I’m not 100% sure which side of things you’re on Anna, but here’s my two cents.
A couple about to embark on their first marriage is most likely between say 20 and 30 years old. While they might live on their own, there is probably a good chance they are using hand-me-down pots and pans, sheets bought on clearance, mismatched dishes etc. Even if the couple lives together, I’d wager a good portion are still working in their firs (often low paying) job and living with just the bare essentials. So, a shower would give the couple all the matching items etc and set up the house in a more formal sense. Now, I would wager that the bulk of people about to embark on a second marraige are more in the 30+ age range, already have a truly established home (perhaps gifts from the first wedding) and have maybe risen in the ranks a little at their jobs so they are able to provide more of the luxuries a shower gives (matching pots and pans, nice sheets etc).
So, would I go to a second shower for someone, yes. Would I get them a nice gift, yes. I wouldn’t think less of them or anything like that but it is a different situation.
I know I personally felt a little weird having a wedding shower. It’s a strange experience. Creating a registry was very weird. But I didn’t put anything on the registry that I wouldn’t purchase for myself and we sent prompt, heartfelt thank you notes. We live together, we have an “established home” but it is a wonderful feeling to have friends and family “shower” us with gifts to make our little soon-to-be-married home even more established and wonderful. I would happily do the same for a couple who was remarrying (I actually have a soon to be sister in law who is heading towards marriage to a divorce, and I will absolutely offer to host a shower and give very nice gifts.) Sorry for rambling…I got pretty off track there.
theattack March 1, 2013, 1:18 pm
Agreed. We live together, and our household is functional, but we don’t even have a blanket that fits our bed, and it takes an entire evening at home just to get our sheets washed since we only have one set, etc. We’re fine, and we could go on like this for years picking up something small here and there when we can afford it. But there are people in our lives who want to throw us showers, so they’re doing it, and we’re gladly accepting because it will make our lives at home much easier. I don’t think there’s anything tacky about having a shower, especially since it’s something that other people throw for you because they want to and the guests can choose to skip if they’re not into it.
katie March 1, 2013, 1:35 pm
ok, see going by baby shower logic though- it IS tacky unless you are literally moving from your parents house to your combined husband/wife house. thats why i say objectively tacky- the logic is just off. none of it makes sense to me why one is ok, one is not, bla bla bla.
BUT, let me say something that people probably wont like- i dont think that you should look forward to/count on showers to get the shit you need for your life. if you need a good set of sheets, buy one. if you need a proper crib for your baby, buy one. “essentials” is subjective, and having stuff match is subjective, but kind of like if you dont like something, change it- if you dont like your dish sets, go out and take care of your own life and get it yourself.
theattack March 1, 2013, 1:50 pm
I mean, I see the logic you’re saying. I just don’t agree with the baby shower logic either. But I’m a lover of showers. I love going to showers and having an excuse to buy a friend a second gift and sipping punch out of impractically tiny glasses that match the impractically tiny plates. So I just don’t get the distaste for showers in general, because I think they’re fun. If someone doesn’t like showers, they really don’t have to go, ya know?
I do agree with you that you shouldn’t count on other people to provide for you. No problem there at all. Hopefully the couple is stable enough that they’re able to have a functional household on their own, and that they would eventually be able to buy the things they want. But I don’t think friends and family buying shower or wedding gifts for you means that you can’t or wouldn’t buy those things on your own. It just means that they wanted to do something nice for you, and you’re graciously accepting it. The things on our registry are things that we planned on buying for ourselves anyway. It’s just that it would probably take us a few years to be able to do it, so we just haven’t yet. That’s hopefully the way it is with most people. (I DO think it’s tacky when a couple registers for exclusively a bunch of expensive crap and then throws all these parties expecting people to bring them expensive gifts for. If it’s not stuff you could reasonably buy for yourself, it seems gift-grabby.)
I don’t really care about people buying us gifts, but I am really excited for the shower to get to celebrate in frilly, girly way with a bunch of women wearing dresses and eating coffee cake.
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 2:20 pm
Sometimes you don’t have the money to change it. We don’t have the money to upgrade our entire pots and pans set at once. We have one that work but the non-stick flakes off and the handles are all wobbly. So we’ve been upgrading one at a time (which in reality means we’ve upgraded one). Everything we have works and will suffice for now, but upgrades as gifts during this exciting time? Amazeballs. I’m not relying on these gifts and avoinding “taking care of my own life” but it sure is nice to receive a killer wok I’ve been wishing for for a few years.
And I don’t get what you mean by using the baby shower logic? You mean second baby shower?
katie March 1, 2013, 2:29 pm
yes. a baby shower is ok and big gifts are ok because the expectant mother doesnt have essentials, but after one baby shower, a second is objectively tacky because it is a gift grab because you already have your things you need. by that logic, a wedding shower is also tacky, because the intention is the same: to shower the couple with things for their new situation, whether that is their home together or a new baby. but because of modern times, people do not need to be showered with home stuff- they already have it. so by that logic, wedding showers are tacky because they are just a gift grab to “upgrade” your already established home, just as a second baby shower could be seen as an “upgrade” situation.
im not saying i believe any of that, im just spelling out its absurdity.
also, im not trying to say that accepting gifts is a bad thing- people (should) give gifts freely and out of love… i will always accept gifts. but i have to admit, using a wedding as an “upgrade” of your life does seem kind of icky to me. although i get it, and if you register, you are going to register for things you like/want/ect. i dunno, again, its like a weird paradox to me. i guess its the attitude of “why cant i get married and get all new stuff” that ircks me- just seeing the wedding as a means to a bunch of new shit.
katie March 1, 2013, 2:31 pm
oh, and ill add: it ircks me that someone might wait until a wedding to get their “grownup” things for their home. again, if you want matching dishes, go out and do that. if you want an awesome comforter, get one. you dont need a wedding to have an established, “real” home.
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 2:42 pm
I don’t see why that would irk you. Most people give wedding gifts. If you’re getting married why upgrade your comforter when there is a chance Aunt Sally will buy that as a wedding gift? To me it’s the same as not buying a new CD becuase you’re hoping your mom will get it for you for Christmas.
I know I personally do not see my wedding as a “way to get stuff”. It is so amazingly not about getting stuff. If we didn’t get a single gift we would be married at the end of the day, and that is the important thing. But, if people are going to give us gifts? Why not hold off buying a new frying pan to see if we are gifted one?
theattack March 1, 2013, 2:46 pm
“i guess its the attitude of “why cant i get married and get all new stuff” that ircks me- just seeing the wedding as a means to a bunch of new shit.”
Does anyone actually do this? If they do, they’re idiots because divorces are usually much more costly than the items on a registry.
I’m glad to hear you don’t actually believe this though. I definitely thought you were saying that YOU thought it was tacky to have showers. I do agree with what you’re saying that it’s a shift in logic between saying a second baby shower is bad but a wedding shower for two established adults isn’t. I just don’t think either of those things are wrong. Come on, it’s an excuse to buy a new dress and eat cake!
theattack March 1, 2013, 2:49 pm
That’s a good point, GG. It’s an interesting predicament here: If you go ahead and buy the stuff you need before the wedding, you’re limiting the number of items you need, meaning that you’re probably going to be registering for stuff you don’t need, which people find tacky. Which is it?
katie March 1, 2013, 2:51 pm
well, it irks me because you can only ask for/register for new home shit. remember, we cant ask for cash/vacations/down payments/whatever else i might want…? because that is *also* tacky!!
and yea, i mean, if a “shower” is just an excuse for a party, absolutely! but obviously a lot of people hear “shower” and just automatically think about expensive gifts and snap judgments about whether or not the people “deserve” the shower. hugely missing the point, i think.
can we stop saying shower? would that help everyone? lol
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 3:02 pm
Well, a shower isn’t just an excuse to party. It is a gift giving ocassion.
You’re not supposed to register for the other stuff because 1- asking for money instead of a gift is always tacky and 2- having your guests pay for your vacation is well, wrong in my opinion.
CatsMeow March 1, 2013, 3:39 pm
Well, my opinion is that all showers are tacky. I also hate the word tacky. TACKY. TACKY. I don’t care who throws what tacky shower for whom. It’s a tacky tradition. It’s a “party” where you go and watch someone open gifts. The purpose of a shower is to get/give presents, and that’s somehow NOT tacky? Why? Because it’s tradition?
I agree with what Katie and Anna said – it made sense when it came about, because couples were starting households. A first baby shower makes sense to me (although, really, if you can’t afford to have a baby then you probably shouldn’t have one). But if you already live on your own and you work and make your own money then why are other people expected to pony up so your pots and pans can match? Are monogrammed bath towels and high thread count sheets and fancy china reserved for married couples? No? Then why are these the things that are given as wedding gifts? Everyone else buys this shit for themselves if they want it, and yet I hear you using “etiquette” and “tradition” as justification to ask people to foot the bill on household items that are either upgrades to stuff you have (tacky!!), or completely unnecessary. (Seriously, every wedding registry I’ve seen has had something obscene like an $80 chip and dip tray… how tacky). And that’s “ok”…but money or anything else as a gift is “not ok”. Of course not! It’s only acceptable to ask for stuff you already have because you’ve been living on your own for 10 years, right? Ugh and don’t get me started on shower games.
I love you, GG, but you have to see that none of this makes any logical sense whatsoever.
theattack March 1, 2013, 3:51 pm
@CM, If you don’t like them then don’t go. You sound really bitter about this. They’re fun, and many people love showers. Also, if you don’t want to buy a household item for a gift then don’t. Just don’t. There’s no reason to get upset about it.
katie March 1, 2013, 3:57 pm
i really dont think its mean to question a social system that pits friends against each other, judging whether or not the gifts they are asking for are “deserved”.
i agree with you re: a shower can be a good party- but again, i was corrected that a shower IS actually all about the gifts… and then again we are in a paradox because its tacky to be all about the gifts.. so really im just trying to keep up and fit in, but there is nowhere for me.
theattack March 1, 2013, 4:03 pm
@katie, “i really dont think its mean to question a social system that pits friends against each other, judging whether or not the gifts they are asking for are “deserved”.”
Huh? No one should be judging anyone! That’s my whole point (and maybe it’s yours too, I’m not sure). If someone has an issue with a shower, they just shouldn’t go. It’s not anyone’s place to say whether or not someone “deserves” a shower or a birthday party or a 50th anniversary party or whatever. If you don’t like it, get over it. It’s not tacky to celebrate an event in your life, and IMO, people who take issue with it just come across as bitter and scroogey.
The whole gift vs. party thing is odd to me because it IS a fun party to celebrate the occasion, but yes, it also happens to be an occasion where you should bring a gift. I think you and I are on the same page on that. I just don’t get why it has to be one or the other. Can’t it be both?
CatsMeow March 1, 2013, 4:12 pm
The only thing I’m bitter about is this:
“Hey, I’d like to do x,y,z instead of such and such outdated/illogical tradition because it makes more sense for me and my life.”
“You can’t because that’s tacky.”
katie March 1, 2013, 4:13 pm
i took all the other comments on here about how expensive/ridiculously huge/unnecessary because of second child as judging…
“I would take issue if someone was registering for say another crib and a pleathora of infant gear when they have all of the stuff the 1st baby (and the 1st has just outgrown the items of course)”
“I have seen people registering for a whole set of gifts and expensive presents for a baby shower for baby #2 and #3. I’ve seen very well off people doing it which I find even more egregious. So I’m not a fan. It does feel greedy to me. I’m not a fan of the multiple showers inviting the same people either.”
“the reason it’s called a shower is because we shower the mother with gifts. It is not just a celebration of a new life”
i dunno, all those seem like judgments to me- or at least justification of WHY you can judge your friends when they have showers when they arent “supposed” to.
theattack March 1, 2013, 4:16 pm
@katie, I agree, that is judgmental, which is crappy. I know I wouldn’t want anyone celebrating with me who thought that stuff anyway. People need to chill out about it.
Addie Pray March 1, 2013, 4:21 pm
Cats is also bitter about the fact that NO ONE IS PAYING ATTENTION TO ADDIE.
Addie Pray March 1, 2013, 4:22 pm
You guys, I need a shower.
Addie Pray March 1, 2013, 4:23 pm
Every time I take a shower I pee. I don’t care one bit. Do you pee?
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 4:29 pm
Wow cats, I have to say you sound incredibly bitter. Registries are just a guide. Attending showers and giving gifts are optional. I didn’t register for china or monogrammed towels. I registered for the stuff I have slowly been buying myself- a new matching set of pots, new plate set, nicer sheets. Not everyone treats the registry and shower experience as a gift grab. Do purchase my own “upgrades” as money allows, but if people are going to give me gifts for my wedding (which I am incredibly thankful for he generosity) I’m glad there is a mechanism for sharing my wish list and for sharing with guests that I’ve already received a toaster so I don’t get gifted 4. If you don’t like it, don’t partake.
And cash is always an appropriate gift. It’s rude to ask for cash because you’re not supposed to dictate a gift (and registries are jut a suggestion, not dictating anything).
CatsMeow March 1, 2013, 4:32 pm
I’ve never peed in the shower. I can talk about poop all day long, but anything urine related makes me wanna gag.
Addie Pray March 1, 2013, 4:32 pm
Oh good. Then when I get married I’m registering at Chase for a set of CDs, some upgraded bonds, and maybe some Euros for my honeymoon, etc.
CatsMeow March 1, 2013, 5:00 pm
OK, my rant might have come off as “bitter” but I feel like you guys are missing the overall point. It’s not that I hate showers (which I do). 😉
What I was trying to say was that according to all other “rules” for what is deemed “tacky” and what is not – a shower is freaking tacky. Just take a step back and try to look at it logically and objectively and forget about traditions.
For example: If someone threw me a birthday party or graduation party or some other life-event party, and some of my guests wanted to bring gifts, then awesome! I’ll take it. But say I knew about the party and it was basically just a “given” that someone would throw me a party for said life event so I went out and registered for items that I wanted as gifts and spun it as “convenience” for my guests since, duh, they’re going to get me something anyway. According to your logic, no one would consider this “tacky” as long as I was asking for the “right” stuff… but if I went against the “rules” and asked for something else, everyone would gasp and clutch their pearls and take offense because……what? I don’t know.
And yes, I hate the word tacky. What does it mean? Low-class? A lack of “good breeding”? On DW it seems to mean “Does not follow etiquette rules that are no longer based in logic or reason or applicable to modern times.”
CatsMeow March 1, 2013, 5:06 pm
What is this, “If you don’t like it then don’t partake” thing? I don’t plan on ever having a shower for anything. Does that mean I’m not allowed to criticize the idea of them?
Iwannatalktosampson March 2, 2013, 1:16 am
I didn’t have a shower and managed to successfully get married – I win cats 😉
Wendy March 2, 2013, 6:46 am
I didn’t have one either! And I have also never been to one.
HmC March 4, 2013, 1:05 pm
I totally feel you Cats and I don’t think you sound bitter. Co-habitating for years and then expecting friends and family to upgrade your lifestyle is tacky and illogical. I think most people that do it, though, are just following tradition and aren’t bad people or rude, and I’m happy to celebrate their love and give a small gift. I do wish more people thought critically about things though, instead of just picking and choosing the “traditions” that benefit them.
Also, I wish people just got showers for graduating from college, or moving into their first apartment on their own. Now that would make sense. And it would stop the silliness of only rewarding people for doing something that should already be inherently rewarding anyway.
Anna March 1, 2013, 1:38 pm
Oh no, I’m not against wedding showers. And for the record, what you described is my situation totally except that I do have a matching set of dishes and non-stick cookware (both gifts from the ex’s parents on various Christmases). I was just saying that if a baby shower for a 2nd child is considered tacky simply because the parents already have a child and have baby items, then having a wedding shower if you already have an established household could be seen in the same light. Yes, you already have many of the needed items but there are always things you will need and I see nothing wrong with having a gathering with your friends/family and accepting any gifts they wanted to buy for you. My point was that times they are a changin’ so you can’t really judge someone for having a 2nd shower when, if you were going strictly on traditional purposes for showers, most showers could be deemed useless and/or tacky.
MMcG March 1, 2013, 2:05 pm
Concur – I’ve been living on my own for over a decade but when I got married I wasn’t about to feel bad about registering for essentials because I never had my own set of dishes … having been using the family hand-me downs that were my grandparents plates in the 70s I was really happy to get some new dishware that could be used in the microwave and dishwasher without worry (although they were coming back in fashion with the fab oranges and yellows, I had to let them go) 🙂 same thing with pots & pans. Just cause I lived on my own doesn’t mean I wasn’t still stretching out some shit from college and lawschool.
HmC March 4, 2013, 1:07 pm
But what about the people that live on their own with hand-me downs and never get matching stuff who happen to never find a forever partner? I guess they don’t deserve nice stuff since they couldn’t fulfill their true purpose and land a man.
6napkinburger March 4, 2013, 1:23 pm
Totes not fair HMC. And this is coming from someone who is not married and it doesn’t look like its happening any time soon.
Logically, that is not at all what anyone was saying. Just because it’s ok for people who are getting married to get gifts which “upgrade” their homegoods has no impact/makes no judgment on people who aren’t getting married. None at all. They aren’t in the equation.
PS that’s also the role of housewarming presents.
HmC March 4, 2013, 1:28 pm
Meh, it’s all part of the fabric of our society, what we provide incentives for, what we clearly value. Positing that housewarming presents are given with anywhere near the same frequency or expense as wedding/shower presents is illogical. I hate to reference Sex and the City, but girl’s got a point. After graduation, the only real celebrations you get are for marrying and getting knocked up. Lame.
Showering someone with gifts in the days when people never co-habitated and always got married made sense. It doesn’t make sense anymore. I’m fine with participating in it, I”m happy for my friends. But that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize the bullshit elements of the whole system.
Astronomer March 1, 2013, 5:15 pm
I can see why people are into showers and whatnot, because HEY! FREE STUFF! But I have to say, I’m one of those oddly stubborn people who likes my mismatched dishes and alley-salvaged bookshelves and lumpy pillows. I got married at 30, and I refused to have a shower or a bachelorette party or any of that, simply because I didn’t want a bunch of new things that would feel out of place in my life. My husband didn’t have much in the way of household goods because he’d moved across the country a couple years before we met, so my things quickly became his things. We used them together when we we first starting out as a couple, so they’re even more sentimental to me now. My husband also likes to tease me about how I get paint on everything, and I think the signs of use on my belongings tell a private story about my awesome life before setting up a household with someone.
Of course, I’m also one of those weird people who think marriage is kind of dull. If I had to do it all over again, I would probably stay single forever with my crappy furniture, ha. My husband is a very wonderful, domestic, and conscientious husband, but if I’m being totally honest, was way more fun as a boyfriend. I’ll probably insist we hang onto my crappy things for purely sentimental reasons until we’re 87 and have to move into a nursing home.
Pamplemousse Rose March 1, 2013, 1:29 pm
That is exacly why we haven’t registered. Both of us lived alone before moving in together and we got rid of a lot of duplicates. We don’t need more stuff to find places for in our small house. I’ve resorted to “we don’t really need anything but any gift you choose to give will be very much appreciated” when asked directly if we’re registered. That might be inappropriate, but I don’t know what else to say…
The same goes for the shower my SIL wanted to throw for me, but she made it an evening wine and cheese thing (awesome!) and suggested people bring a bottle of wine if they really want to bring a gift (again, awesome!)
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 2:23 pm
You’re doing exactly the right thing.
MissDre March 1, 2013, 10:03 am
I’m so glad I don’t give a shit about tradition.
sarolabelle March 1, 2013, 10:50 am
the minute you show up to a shower without a gift, let me know how that goes!
MissDre March 1, 2013, 11:01 am
When did I ever say I wouldn’t bring a gift? Of course I would. I’m so happy to buy presents for a friend expecting a baby. To me, it’s no different than a birthday party. I’m not going to NOT get my friend a birthday present, because I already bought her one last year… That’s stupid! I’m going to get her a present and a card and I’m going to go to her party to celebrate her birthday. And the same goes for a baby shower. I’ll get her a present, go to her shower and celebrate the new baby! Because she’s my friend, and I love her, and I’m excited for her, whether it’s her first baby or her tenth!
csp March 1, 2013, 1:01 pm
When I have been to them, we called it a “sprinkle.” We all just got a book or something cute and small. It was just to celebrate the calm before the storm. It isn’t registries or anything. I have never seen a woman demand an event it is more close friends.
EB March 1, 2013, 9:46 am
I like the idea of a “sprinkle” in lieu of a a second shower, I hope this trend catches on as it seems to be great compromise in celebrating the new babe(and mom!) without pressuring guests to buy another expensive and possibly unnecessary gift!
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 9:59 am
You know, I hate this idea. A party focused on advice for the mom (who already has one kid)? The pictures in the article did NOT in any way show a low key event. Calling it a “sprinkle” is just renaming a shower something cutesy so people don’t get in a huff about a second babyshower. If the expectation is that you’ll bring gifts (which the article says there is an expectation of gifts, perhaps smaller more practicle gifts but still gifts) why not call a spade a spade? It’s a babyshower…don’t try to soften the “blow” with a stupid name. In my opinion of course.
EB March 1, 2013, 10:14 am
Ehh I was more referring to the part where the guest list is generally much smaller than the first shower, gifts are usually diapers, wipes, and other less expensive/essentials, and the focus is more on community and celebrating an expanding family than preparing an expectant mother for motherhood by way of loads of gifts.
I am not super invested in shower etiquette but if I had to have an opinion I would lean towards a second shower being tacky so this sprinkle idea just seems slightly more palatable to me.
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 10:24 am
I guess I just don’t see how what you’re describing is really different than a shower. A lot of people have small guest lists anyways and there is still an expectation of gifts. And while the point of a shower is to give gists, it’s also to celebrate the expansion of the family and welcome the new baby. I just don’t see a difference other than the cutesy name.
EB March 1, 2013, 11:06 am
Maybe it’s just in my circle, but baby showers tend to be quite elaborate and people are expected to spend $75+ on a gift. So while I would never have a second baby shower, I do see a big difference in having a catered second shower complete with registry vs doing a sprinkle or diaper party that consists of just going out to lunch or a hosted casual brunch where it’s highly encouraged that you bring nothing more than a pack of diapers.
tl;dr second showers are tacky but when people have then anyway I appreciate it if they at least try and minimize the extent of the tackiness
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 12:47 pm
Well baby showers in my area are not as extravagent as in yours. The one I went to last weekend had a nugget tray from Chic-Fil-A and some fruits and veggies. I spent about $100 on my gift, but I will send a gift of comperable value for their next baby too.
“Sprinkles” are a second shower. No way around that, it doesn’t deminish the tackiness by having a cutesy name.
Addie Pray March 1, 2013, 4:19 pm
“golden” is the third shower.
also, a party with chik-fil-A that I get to eat without ahving to feel bad paying for b/c it’s an evil corporation? that’s my kind of party!
iwannatalktosampson March 1, 2013, 10:25 am
I think for second baby you should just have a meet and greet bbq or something. And call it a bbq. Then people who want to bring gifts (grandparents, really close friends, baby obsessed zombie weirdos) will and no one else will feel awkward NOT bringing a gift because it’s just a bbq. And DON’T register for a second baby. That’s implying you need stuff. Which you shouldn’t – you should already have all the essentials.
MissDre March 1, 2013, 10:33 am
Is registering for a baby shower normal? I’ve never heard of anyone do this. And I’ve never been to a shower where people bring much more than diapers and cute clothes and receiving blankets and toys. The more expensive items like a crib or car seat are given by immediate family.
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 10:35 am
Yup. Baby registries are very common, at least in my circle/area.
MissDre March 1, 2013, 10:40 am
That probably also factors into my opinion that baby showers are totally acceptable for second children. I’ve never heard of anyone registering for presents. All the showers I’ve been to were just a bunch of ladies eating cake and sipping coffee and talking about babies and playing silly games like guessing how many squares of toilet paper it takes to go all the way around a pregnant belly (I don’t want any stupid games like that at my shower). So yes, we do give presents, but it’s never anything expensive, and presents are not the focus.
MMcG March 1, 2013, 11:29 am
You’ve never experienced the bliss of getting lost in Baby’s R Us tracking down some piece of equipment and the matching sheets, etc? No wonder you think baby showers are nice little events. Most baby showers I’ve been to put bridal showers to shame!
Iwannatalktosampson March 1, 2013, 11:55 am
YES! And why are none of the employees at Babies R Us helpful at all? One time my friend and I patrolled the store for 20 minutes just trying to find an employee to help us print out the registry. I hate that place.
MMcG March 1, 2013, 1:05 pm
I’ve decided that anyplace with ‘R Us in the title is the 5th circle of hell and I can’t go into them anymore. Thank god for the internet.
csp March 1, 2013, 1:07 pm
Seriously, I HATE babies r us. I feel like they have terrible, unhelpful people there. I have spent about $1000 there for other people’s showers over the years and have never had a good experience. “Oh, the specific towel is in aisle 10? I have been standing looking for it for 45 f*cking minutes and can’t find it! Thanks for the obvious and unhelpful advice.” grrrr
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 1:16 pm
Gah, that place is depressing!! I went last week to get a babyshower gift and it was so old and worn down and floresent lighting. And the employees were mind-bogglingly unhelpful and the store was incredibly disorganized.
I’ve hear Bye Bye Baby is awesome but the stores are scarce.
FireStar March 1, 2013, 11:43 am
I’ve only been to ones with registries. Maybe that’s why I’m not a fan of the multiple showers. I’ve seen items for over $500 though I’m not sure if the couple puts those items on because they get a discount later?
kerrycontrary March 1, 2013, 10:42 am
At our baby showers people give clothes/diapers/toys but they also give some pricier gifts like crib sheet sets, diaper genies, stroller (if it’s close family member), car seat, etc….The price point is about the same as a wedding shower. Basically the couple buys their own crib/changing table but a lot of the other essentials are given by friends/family.
CatsMeow March 1, 2013, 10:34 am
What about a diaper party? Aren’t diaper parties a thing now?
csp March 1, 2013, 1:16 pm
I agree about the sprinkles. Most of the Showers I have been to are at a country club or room at a resturant. For a sprinkle we have a large table or in a living room. At showers there are games and cake and big elaborage gift opening where a sprinkle is just a nice meal and giving diapers and stuff.
csp March 1, 2013, 1:04 pm
I totally disagree. So most baby showers I have been to have somewhere around 50 people at them. The sprinkles will have up to 15. For a shower I will buy an item from 30-100 dollars depending on the relationship with the mother and for a sprinkle I will spend 10-20. it is much much smaller
Addie Pray March 1, 2013, 4:16 pm
No No No — EVERYBODY LISTEN — you’re supposed to call these showers GOLDEN SHOWERS. Don’t question it, just do it. Ok? Everybody, these are now called G O L D E N S H O W E R S.
lemongrass March 1, 2013, 10:12 am
I wouldn’t accept an offer for a second child shower. I would have a meet-and-greet, that way no one feels obligated. E’s shower (this weekend!) is both, I’m having it now so that all my out of town guests (everyone) didn’t have to make a second trip to see him. I’m really excited to show him off 🙂 also to see my friends & fam. I’m travelling to my hometown for it and now my parents get to see E for the first time since we were in the hospital.
An update for you guys- I talked with my midwife and we figured out that I was over feeding E. He looks like he’s hungry when he has a tummy ache and so I was just feeding him more and it was hurting him more and my nipples were getting overworked. I scaled back and after his last growth spurt his sessions started lastin 30-40 mins instead of 60+. It has gotten much better. I even enjoy it sometimes. Not in that way, AP.
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 10:21 am
Horray breastfeeding! I’m glad the experience has gotten better for you!
Addie Pray March 1, 2013, 2:09 pm
I’m going to try to squeeze in “my nipples are getting overworked” in my next tangent!
katie March 1, 2013, 12:01 pm
i agree. i think that gifting has just become this weird paradox. of course gifts for a baby/wedding/birthday are expected- because i expect MYSELF to be so excited for my friends wedding/baby/birthday that i will feel the urge to give them a present. if i dont feel the urge, then a gift isnt expected.
i think that if you really hate those gift-giving occasions, you are either jaded, cant understand that you are worth anything without a gift, or have shitty friends that actually do demand presents.
i just dont get the whole thing. but, im with you. why shouldnt you celebrate a birth? and ive only had a few experiences with registries, so i think we come from the same thought process. no big fancy pretentious people in my circles.
6napkinburger March 4, 2013, 1:40 pm
I kinda like that we (my culture aka jewish) typically and traditionally do not do baby showers, which is rooted in a superstitious belief basically akin to “not counting your chickens before they hatch.” Basically, by wishing so much well and by being so happy in advance, you’re going to jinx it. So, typically, a party is thrown AFTER the baby is born, and is a celebration and congratulation to the parents and the baby itself — boys get bris-es (ouch), girls get namings a week after birth. And THATs where you get the presents which are usually toys and clothes.
I’m pretty sure that first time parents who continue with this tradition will basically only get a crib and the bare basics beforehand. People giving big token items (diaper genie, changing table, etc.) will send them after the baby is born — I’m not sure if the parents just deal for the first couple of days or if they borrow or what.
Can someone answer me this, because my friends haven’t started having babies yet so all of my experience is with family who follow the traditions above: (and yes yes no one should ever “expect” presents and blah blah, but I mean in reality, based on everyone’s real understanding of social protolol): are you supposed to give a present at the shower AND a present when the baby is born? Or is the present at the shower INSTEAD of giving a (non-trinket) present when the baby is born? (I understand most people won’t show up completely empty handed no matter what but are we talking a $10 bear or a baby jborn if you’ve already given a real present at the shower?)
Older and (hopefully) wiser March 1, 2013, 9:31 am
For anyone who’s interested– you don’t have to go to Baby Gap and spend serious money. Marshall’s has very cute baby things for as little as $5. Or a baby book (or picture frame) at the Christmas Tree shop. And while you’re there, you can buy stacks of blank note cards and use them for any occasion. Hallmark cards are ridiculously overpriced.
kerrycontrary March 1, 2013, 9:38 am
I have a secret. I love overpriced cards and serious wrapping paper. Like from Papyrus and Paper Source. What a freaking waste of money, but everything is so prettyyyy
MissDre March 1, 2013, 9:40 am
I LOVE Papyrus cards!!! I don’t care if I have to spend $15 on a card, they are so incredibly gorgeous and everybody I give them to LOVES them and usually keeps them.
lemongrass March 1, 2013, 10:35 am
I buy expensive cards. My family thinks I’m nuts, the dollar store carries cards but I have to get the perfect card. Otherwise why bother if you are just going to get any old card? It should mean something IMO. if you can get that same meaning in a 99 cent card, perfect but they usually say weird stuff.
Fabelle March 1, 2013, 9:50 am
I LOVE Marshalls, so I’m just piping in to second that suggestion. You can really get great stuff! Plus, when it comes to giving gifts from there, I’m usually sneaky & remove the Marshalls tag (leaving on the regular tags) so nobody knows there I got it.
GatorGirl March 1, 2013, 10:07 am
Places like Kohls also have killer sales (and coupons) on nice baby brands. Like Carters and Oshcosh.
Goodness I love baby clothes!
theattack March 1, 2013, 1:00 pm
I am obsessed with Kohl’s. I can’t stay out of that store. Last night I went to Kohl’s for some retail therapy, and I realized that I looked like a shoplifter because my whole outfit was made up of Kohl’s clothes that were still on the racks. haha It’s just too easy when you can stack coupons on top of sales on top of Kohl’s cash!
Fabelle March 1, 2013, 9:39 am
LW1: Although a 3-year relationship is long enough to consider moving in together, you’re only 20-years-old. That means you’ve been dating this guy since, what, your senior year of high school? I think you should move in with a girl friend (or even back home if you want) & take some time to discover yourself outside of this relationship. If he doesn’t get it after you explain how sad you’ve been feeling, then that’s his problem (a little barsh, but I’m giving short answers today…)
LW2: Wendy’s right, I think—just say congrats & move on with your life. If there’s an in-office shower happening, maybe then you can buy something small.
LW3: Hmm. I started dating my boyfriend at age 22, when he was 25, & I can tell you it took some adjusting for sure. I can only imagine what would’ve happened if I’d dated him at 20—I was so not ready for anything serious at that age.
It sounds like after 2.5 years, you aren’t really ready, either. So either 1.) tell him you love him, but need more time to make any real steps towards marriage, or 2.) leave him & go uniform-chasing, I dunno.
Also, as a side note, I know a girl like this who has ONLY dated military guys. It’s not a sexual fetish thing; it actually seems to be the lifestyle she craves (for whatever reason)
AliceInDairyland March 1, 2013, 9:45 am
Fabelle, can I ask how long you have been dating your boyfriend? I didn’t know you started dating him at 22, my preconceived creeper notions aren’t matching up. 🙂 Okay, now I feel really weird.
Fabelle March 1, 2013, 9:55 am
Ooo, now I’m curious what you thought, haha! (& don’t feel weird :))
We’ve been dating…eh, 3 years now? First, we were just super-shady seeing each other (ah-hem, if you recall from the cheating thread) but when he broke it off with the girlfriend before me, we began openly “seeing each other” for like 6 months until we made it “official” on New Year’s Eve. So this past NYE was our 3 year anniversary.
Fabelle March 1, 2013, 9:56 am
Also, I feel really corny that we have a holiday as an anniversary, buuut that’s how it worked out!
AliceInDairyland March 1, 2013, 10:01 am
Hehehe, okay I just thought you were so much older and wiser than I am. 🙂 And so I think in my imagination you were like 25 when you started dating your BF and then you had been together for 4 years (this is oddly specific, I know).
Suzy March 1, 2013, 10:35 am
LW1: 20 is too young to make that big a commitment. Move out into a place with friends, or on your own. And see your parents a lot.
Anna March 1, 2013, 11:14 am
I respectfully disagree. Lots of people live with SOs and even get married/have kids when they are 20. It’s not for everyone but you can’t just generalize and say all 20 years olds are too young to do that. I moved into my first apartment with my then-boyfriend when I was 20 and it worked out as well as can be expected. The only thing I do wish is that I had set some kind of marriage expectation before moving in together, because our disagreement about marriage is what ultimately led to our breakup. However, we did live together for 8 happy years before that happened. I was bitter about it at first and said I would never move in with an SO again but now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I don’t regret leaving my parents’ house or living with my ex. It was all a valuable learning experience and we had so many good times together.
Why is this becoming a thing now, where people live with their parents until they’re 30 and beyond? Are everyone else’s parents cooler than mine? Probably. But seriously, I have a buttload of student loan debt and a low paying job and I’ve managed to live independently for 9 years.
ReginaRey March 1, 2013, 11:10 am
LW3: I mean, I agree with some of the other commenters that you have a fantasy that isn’t being played out.
But way, way more importantly: I don’t get the sense that you’re ready, willing or mature enough for a serious, committed relationship. Also, you say that you’ve gone out with three military-type guys, but none worked out. I would be VERY cautious if your only qualifier for being interested in someone is the fact that they’re in the military. That’s like saying “I only want to date lawyer. Or street performers. Or guys with brown hair and blue eyes.” If you end up with a dude based solely (or mostly) on your attraction to their profession or exterior, don’t be surprised when you end up in a shitty, shitty relationship.
It sounds like you’ve got a great relationship now, but maybe your boyfriend (and you!) would be better off separate, so that you can be “free” to explore your options. No matter what, you don’t seem particularly satisfied in your relationship. I just hope your new options will involve something deeper and of more substance than “military.”
katie March 1, 2013, 12:08 pm
LW1- my feeling is that your issues come from codependency or something relating to your parents. it is not normal to move out of your parents house, into an apartment *in the same town* and have the feelings that you are feeling. if its about your boyfriend, that is easily remedied… but if you cant live independently of you parents, i think there are some other, deeper issues at work there.
LW2- why do you care if your work isnt going to do a shower…? i mean, even if wendy was like omg that is absolutely terrible of course they should be giving the guy a shower, what would that change? nothing. so, if you want to give the guy a gift, do. if you dont/cant, dont. its really that simple. maybe, if your work isnt doing anything, you could go out and just get a cheap and simple card, and circulate that around the office for him. that would be very sweet, in my opinion. i just dont see why this is a complicated situation, i guess.
LW3- you just need to grow up, i think. some self-awareness would do you good.
CatsMeow March 1, 2013, 12:40 pm
I agree that the 20-year-old feeling homesick for her parents IN THE SAME TOWN is kind of… off. I have a cousin like that who is overly attached to his parents and it’s very strange indeed.
quixoticbeatnik March 1, 2013, 12:47 pm
I don’t think that’s that weird to be homesick even when you’re in the same town. She might have never not lived with her parents, and to go from living with her parents and seeing them every day to NOT doing that, for the first time, then I think that would definitely make her homesick. It happened to me when I moved out of my parents’ house and into my own place last year. I went from seeing my parents every day to living on my own, and I was super homesick. However, those feelings were intensified by the fact that I was going through a transition period and didn’t see my friends a lot so I just felt really lonely all the time. It’s better now, I don’t feel homesick anymore, but I do want to live with people when my lease is up. I think it’s just the circumstances – like, she could be very close to her parents, this could be her first time on her “own”, maybe she’s just realizing that being an adult kinda sucks and wants her parents. Who knows?
quixoticbeatnik March 1, 2013, 12:48 pm
To clarify: My parents and I were still living in the same city for a few months, until they moved to a different part of the state.
katie March 1, 2013, 12:52 pm
well, there is obviously a difference between being homesick and having issues. its true, maybe she is just homesick, and it will pass… but this just reminds me of my first college roommate. we moved in and her parents left the next morning, and she cried for the next 36 hours and then quit college because she couldnt be away from them. that is not normal. homesickness is normal. and this LW just seemed very dramatic, like more on the issues side of the spectrum then on the normal homesick side, at least to me.
MMcG March 1, 2013, 1:09 pm
I was homesick for the first few months of college, thousands of miles away from home… there was some drama and crying as one would expect at 18… but the funny thing was I really didn’t want to be HOME, I just wanted someone to continue to do shit for me and I had to grow-up. A few trips back and forth and I was over it – looking forward to getting back to my “real life” at school.
I wish this LW was clearer about whether it is being away from the parents/familiar or being with the bf that is more of a problem. She might not even know. Yet another reason to live by yourself for a few (if you can afford it, or with roommates) instead of going from parents house to bf’s house.
CatsMeow March 1, 2013, 1:27 pm
Yeah, I got homesick when I went to college (about a 3-hour drive from home, so not too far) but I was homesick for my friends and my boyfriend… not my parents.
Roxy84 March 4, 2013, 2:38 pm
I agree there is a difference between being homesick and having issues. When I was 20, I had never not lived at home and I did a semester abroad in Europe (from Western Canada) where I did not know a single person. I was super homesick for about a week or so. Sounds like the LW is on 2 months plus of being heartsick and crying although her parents live in the same town. That’s….strange.
quixoticbeatnik March 1, 2013, 12:21 pm
LW 1: It may or may not be the fact that you moved in with your boyfriend that’s making you unhappy. However, I think it might be a combination of moving out of your family’s house and also moving in with your boyfriend. That is a lot of change to deal with at once! Not only are you not seeing your family every day, but you’re also now seeing your boyfriend every day. Maybe you just need to adjust to it some more. I know when I moved out of my parents’ house into my own apartment, it was REALLY hard. The first couple of months I was miserable because I was so freakin’ lonely. I went from living with/seeing people every day to not seeing people every day or living with people, and I was not used to it. I’m better now, but I still hate living by myself, which is why I’m planning on moving in with a girlfriend or getting a roommate in a new place when my lease is up. I just know now that I prefer living with other people as long as I have my own space.
But you should really talk to your boyfriend about this and see what exactly is bothering you about all this. I’m not planning on moving in with my boyfriend yet because he’s still in school and plus I don’t feel like I’m ready for that step yet, even though we have been together for three years. Just because you’ve been together for so long didn’t necessarily mean you were ready to take that next step. It may just be you suddenly feel like you’re starting to settle down and that freaks you out. Whatever it is, figure it out so you can figure out what to do. Good luck.