94 thoughts on “Argh Advice for Today

    1. If your hair stylist says anything political, immediately change the subject. If she’s talking about a political situation she’s angry about , she will start yanking your hair while she speaks.

  1. See’s candy can be mail ordered, and you can specify up to 10 different types in your custom box. Much better than all those twizzlers. Though admittedly more expensive and caloric.

    1. See’s had an open shop next to my brother’s audiologist, so I was able to shop in person (once-a-year bird eggs! Yay!) Five people in shop maximum, but we were there first thing in the morning on account of the appointment time, so no one else was there yet.

    1. I bought three 100-ct boxes when it was on sale. Since I’m limited to no more than one cup of black tea per day, it’s going to take me a while!

  2. If you live alone, and don’t cook regularly, just buy the frozen vegetables. They’ll be there when you need them, and you won’t be sponging up lovely liquid compost from your crisper bin.

    If you live with housemates (of whatever kind) never mock their Christmas tree ornaments, even if you hate them. Never let the word “tacky” pass your lips.

  3. It’s always time to go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

    I’m sure there is more, but I’m looking at a lovely day outside, and I’m stuck by my computer for another 3.5 hours. I should have gone out at lunch time.

  4. Do not eat sugar free candy if you are not near a bathroom. Actually, never eat sugar free candy.

      1. Yes!! Causes convulsions in some people. And deep, severe depression in others. (Found that out the hard way.) It’s the first thing I ask depressed clients – “do you use aspartame?” And they are giving this stuff to children. 😛

  5. Don’t eat Chinese food in Montana.
    Don’t order egg rolls from a gas station (in Montana).
    “Egg Roll On A Stick” at the county fair in California sounds like it should be fine, but really, it isn’t.

    All of this information brought to you by the summer where I was OBSESSED WITH EATING EGG ROLLS and hit points of desperation.

  6. Handrails are our friends.

    Stairs, bastards the lot of them, will try to kill you every time so it’s good to hang on to our friends.

    Source of this knowledge: Drunken, flip-flop wearing, college-aged OWC wandering around residence during a massive winter party and the stairs were slick and sometimes flooded with snow and spilled alcohol and whatnot. My handrail friend kept me from landing on my ass in a puddle of whatever when the bastard stair kicked my foot up into the air in a valiant attempt to kill me and make it look like an accident. Alcohol consumption and inappropriate footwear had nothing, nothing I tell you, to do with it.

  7. Always have your phone in your pocket when you
    -go upstairs
    -go downstairs (especially when investigating that strange noise down there)
    -go out for a walk
    -go outside to shovel the snow or clear the ice
    -put up a ladder on the stair landing to change the lightbulb

    1. But take special care when preparing to sit on porcelain throne.

      (Under the heading of hard-earned wisdom.)

  8. Those stretchy cleats that can be pulled over shoes or boots have saved me many times when walking in snow and on hidden ice. I have two pairs of the same kind of ‘winter’ shoes, one with the cleats and one without. So I have no excuse not to use the cleats if needed.

    Ditto on the cellphone. And, yes, aways hold that railing. Two trips so one hand is free is better than one with both hands full. (The knees are starting to go.)

    As to what not to buy. I can’t think of anything I’ve purchased recently that was a “why’d I buy that”? I try to wait several weeks before ordering things and use lists. (This is tempting fate.)

  9. In 70 years I have accumulated many words of wisdom, of which pride of place goes to “Don’t get old. You forget sh*t.”

    I didn’t forget this one: If you like to buy stuffed jalapenos with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon, cook them soon. In a week or so, the entire refrigerator will smell past its best by date if you don’t.

  10. Always walk quietly and unobtrusively in the opposite direction from the men with guns.

    This is not something I learned from a disastrous experience, but I have done it a couple of times when overseas, which turned out to be a good way of keeping out of trouble. And it can be taken both literally and metaphorically.

    1. Don’t try to take pictures of the Hells Angels. Advice my DH to be fortunately followed but only when they stood up and glared at him.

    2. Another overseas tip. When coming to the end of the sidewalk, always, I mean always, look both ways before crossing the street. They tend to drive the wrong way and I know the same can be said of us. Scared the bejesus out of me the first time I went to cross a street.

  11. Take special care when you remove stud earrings (is that the correct word?) because the back pieces will become invisible as soon as you drop them, never to be seen again.

        1. I’ve read that in a pinch that you can use the eraser end of a pencil as an earring back. Must make it difficult to correct an error.

  12. Driving like an old woman isn’t a bad thing. It may even explain how they got to be old.

    1. Yes! Don’t think you need to drive at the speed limit, you can go slower!
      I was told when I learnt to drive in France that it was important to be close to the speed limit, especially on motorways.
      When decades later I had to take a course to avoid getting points on my licence – I had been caught by a speed camera doing 35 miles per hour down a hill in a 30 miles zone- I was told that I should go at the speed I was comfortable with. I made me so so happy, especially along Devon’s narrow twisty country lane. An old lady driver was born 🙂

    2. I told this to my mom, who is ninety and still driving (very well). She learned to drive in Montana, and didn’t have her first egg roll until she was twenty-one and had moved to Seattle.

  13. Never pass up the opportunity to pee.

    I have shared this with others, who didn’t believe but came to regret passing up the opportunity.

    1. Learned that one, when I was young and on a touring holiday in a hot country, also always carry tissues with you for the purpose.

    2. I was going to say this too. My dad heard it from an admiral, who said “never pass up a bathroom, because you never know when you’ll find the next one.”

    3. Especially before presentations and long meetings. Advice I think I first got from a Mary Renault novel where his father tells him this as a boy before starting treaty negotiations. It has served me well.

  14. Identify and clearly label everyone in the snapshot. Your heirs will be grateful. (I’ve been researching online in order to restore photos and other possessions to the families of various people my mother knew in her younger days. Or her parents. These people are dumbfounded to hear from me . . . “You don’t know me, but!”)

    Also, if you have royalties coming from any source whatsoever,
    1) bequeath them properly in your will, and
    2) attach enough information to your will to enable your executor or attorney to notify the publisher and provide suitable tax information so the publisher doesn’t have to probate your estate for you.

      1. I’m the trustee of a literary works trust with about fifty anthologies and a lot of other titles. The earliest anthologies are just about unpublishable as audio books, because the contributor’s permission is required and in several cases:

        1) The contributor has departed this life;
        2) The contributor’s spouse or significant other has also departed this life;
        3) The contributor’s CHILD has now departed this life;
        4) The anthology royalties for a single story are never much money and the contributor’s grandchild or next heir or whoever doesn’t want to be bothered cashing a check for a tiny amount;
        5) And all problems are compounded when the contributor doesn’t live in the US because currency issues.

        5) I do now have a template for a suitable sympathy note, but most people aren’t expecting a sympathy note that asks for his/her Social Security number or tax ID.

  15. If you buy celery for a dish you end up not making, freeze the celery before it gets icky so it’s not wasted. Chopped up, of course. It won’t have the same texture but will still be fine when you do get around to making that dish.

    Ditto for fresh spinach.

    Always, ALWAYS, check pockets before loading the washing machine.

  16. Hiding in your room to avoid your awful flatmates ends in caffeine withdrawal when you accidentally go to work without drinking your coffee/ tea and then can’t figure out why you want to die all day. And then you get home and the awful flatmates are STILL THERE and so is your full, now cold, cup of caffeine, mocking you from the kitchen bench. As Maine Betty said, just move.

  17. #1) If a person tells you they’re an asshole, believe them. They have firsthand experience.

    Learned the hard way. Never ever give that type of person the benefit of the doubt.

    #2) If you’re in a relationship and you are the one always wrong, and you’re starting to doubt your sanity or your own intelligence, RUN, do not walk, out of that relationship, for you are being gaslighted and manipulated and there is no way to save that relationship. None. NO ONE is ever always wrong. They will always use the opportunity to manipulate you if you give it to them. These types of people cannot be rehabilitated. (They can pretend to be really really REALLY fucking well, but they are simply waiting for your guard to go down so you can be manipulated again.)

    Learned that from a terrible work relationship many many years ago.

    1. Do not date someone who says they love you despite your faults. You will very likely find that what you see as differences in character, they see as faults.

  18. Don’t segue from Agatha Christie to PG Wodehouse. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night trying to figure out where Superintendent Battle fits in at Blandings Castle and why the Red Hand organization wants an Egyptian scarab. I may never get the two books straight in my head.

  19. Don’t start a Murderbot book at bedtime before calling in sick for the next day’s work.

  20. Never never have two cups of coffee before you take questions at a seminar. The questions never stop. Also re above (too late for me) wear running shoes not high heels.

    1. Never go to a job interview with a migraine when you’ve taken serious painkillers to cope with said migraine, and the agent insists that ‘it will be fine’.

      Worst. Interview. Ever.

  21. Never buy painful shoes just because they look good. The grimace on your face will ruin any fashion statement.

  22. Where were you in October when I bought the 3 lb bag of Twizzlers? 😉

    As for advice, when you run out of gas five feet away from the reach of the gas station pump, wait ten minutes then try starting the car again in hopes the remaining gas in the tank has trickled down to the bottom of the tank and provided enough of a spark to get you the last five feet without finding a guy to push the car or having to buy a gas can. My thanks to the kick ass female gas station owner who taught me that when I was 17 years old.

  23. Never hold a birthday party for your 5 year old’s entire kindergarten class — with the corollary, never assume that they’re kids so they will of course have a great time entertaining themselves. That was the longest, most dreadful afternoon ever.

    Fortunately, said child’s 6th birthday party was limited to an even number of kids (one was sick so my husband had to pretend to be a 1st grader for the day) and we didn’t get through even a third of all the games I had prepared, complete with special game pieces and plenty of associated goodies, along with goodie bags to take home.

    Second child’s birthdays were held at Dave’s Pet City where kids were introduced to the animals, Chuckie Cheese, bowling, and paintball. Both first and second child’s later birthdays were day trips to New York City with one friend.

  24. If you buy a packet of Buzz Bars* to post to a friend in London, send them immediately. Otherwise you will end up needing to replace them. Especially don’t do this twice.

    Also, get the router with the parental control app. I am the undisputed boss of the wifi.

    *Vanilla marshmallow topped with a layer of caramel, all dipped in chocolate. the easter egg version egg are even better as the caramel is thicker. Best eaten half frozen.

  25. If you decide to expose the top of a wasp nest so you see where to puff the poison, be prepared to head inside again very fast.

    I’m unstung, but more from good luck than good planning. And I still can’t see where to puff the poison so I’ll have to have another go.

    1. I got rid of a wasps’ nest just a couple of days ago. But after hearing a stack of horror stories, I actually ended up paying someone professional to do it.

    2. I’m changing my advice: if you’re going to attack a wasp nest, do it first thing in the morning while the wasps are sound asleep. Now I’m pretty sure I can see where to puff the poison. Bye, bye wasps.

    3. My dad, the Eagle Scout, used a saucepan of boiling water, applied from the bottom up to a wasps’ nest that was secured to the underside of a flat board. We had backpacked in to a back-country camping spot favored by grandfather, so options were limited, but it worked just fine.

  26. When I went off to college a friend, who was old enough to be my father, told me not to fart in my pantyhose because it would make my legs look fat.
    I wonder if that was the kind of advice he gave his own daughter……

  27. Don’t ever try a new takeaway food place when you are moving house.

    Really don’t try a new takeaway place when moving from one side of the continent to the other.

    And really, truly, don’t do it if you are moving with a nine-month-old baby.

  28. If your husband is using the clippers to give you a haircut, and you hear yourself saying, “Hey, watch out for my bangs,” it’s too late.

  29. These are the best comments ever. I’m laughing and learning at the same time. Thanks to everyone providing the mini Ted Talks.

    1. Well that worked. I’ve been trying to post since this topic was 4 replies in.

      Always make a shopping list while checking your cupboards and fridge.

      ALWAYS eat before you shop for food, or you’ll end up buying half the store and most of the deli.

      Eat before you shop for anything else, for that matter. A sated stomach helps the mind make good decisions.

      1. Every now and then sounds good to me. Too much advice can be quite aggravating, I must admit. In German, the word is ‘Ratschlag’ whereas just ‘Schlag’ means ‘hit’, so there’s an adage that expresses how advice can also be hurtful.

  30. These have the makings of a book. That’s what I’m thinking as I read through these words of wisdom.

    So fab. Thanks all for sharing. Such fun to read:)

  31. Not sure how I got onto the mailing list of an outfit called 2nd Amendment Rights but they had some advice that seems apropos to today’s topic:

    Pro Tip: Firing Your Guns Into the Air Won’t Make the Taco Bell Drive Thru Go Any Faster

  32. If you are riding a motorcycle and start having waves of darkness roll over your eyes from the heat, get off.

    Note: It was in central California 120 degrees F, I was stopped, thank god. It was the course I took to become an MSF certified Motorcycle Safety Instructor. Luckily, one of the other students was a police officer and knew to put a cold wet cloth around my neck and take my leather jacket off. No damage to me. No damage to the bike. Oh other than my complete embarrassment in front of all those men.

    1. I’m sorry you were embarrassed, but anyone, man or woman, who works in the field in California is unlikely to be sexist (at least in the last forty years) about dehydration and/or heat stroke. It’s just a thing that a supervisor or teammates have to look out for, same as, say, a cut. Says the veteran of forty years of first aid, advanced first aid, and certification in first aid — luckily lots of training and not too many emergencies, the ratio we like!!

    1. I should really pay attention when my husband cooks. This week he made baby bok choy dish sauteed with bite sized pieces of steak, onions, celery, garlic, thin sliced green peppers, a couple of splashes of oyster sauce served over Japanese rice noodles. Sometimes he will add broccoli and maybe wedges of tomato. I think I’ve got it right. If I’m missing something I apologize. And a bit of Frank’s Red Hot Chili Sauce on the side for a bite.

  33. Emily’s rule #1: Just because it’s insane doesn’t mean they’re not going to do it.

    This came from a time when my husband was trying to decide whether to stay with a particular company or move jobs, because there were some odd things going on. The conversation went, “But they wouldn’t do X, that would be insane and destroy the company, and if I stay my shares go up next year.” “Just because it’s insane doesn’t mean they’re not going to do it.” And fortunately, he changed jobs. A couple of months later, the company imploded in ways they’re still writing textbooks about, and our shares would have been worthless.

    It works for me, because accepting that people do things that run counter to logic and best outcome means that I don’t ignore the reality of what’s happening because it’s not the sensible thing to do.

  34. On a trip, drink before you get thirsty, eat before you get hungry, and stop every hour whether you need to or not. This is more important on a long bicycle trip, but also holds true for other things.

    The children will never fall asleep in the car when you need them to, but only when doing so will bork their sleep schedule for the next week.

    One child was hard to feed when felling unwell – they needed some calories, so we’d line up exactly five goldfish crackers on the arm of the couch. The child would eat two, and then we’d put two more down. If the line of goldfish crackers got shorter than three, they’d stop. If it got longer than five, they’d stop. It was an unexpected and hard won triumph.

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