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#1059: The reluctant pet-sitter (An ‘Art of No’ Post)

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Dear Captain,

This seems like a very minor thing to be asking for help with, I know. But I feel like even if there’s no solution to my “problem”, getting the input of a bunch of neutral parties (particularly neutral parties with solid understandings of boundaries) would make me feel better, and if you feel like this letter is a waste of time you can just delete it, no harm done.

I do not own pets, for a number of reasons. I feel like it shouldn’t matter, but in case it does, in no particular order those reasons are: 1) My husband is deathly allergic to cats/dogs. 2) My husband very explicitly does not want pets even if he wasn’t allergic. 3) I have had pets in the past and found that no amount of wanting to be a good pet owner changes the fact that I am not a good pet owner (I am not patient, consistent, or stable enough). 4) I am an extremely high strung (or anxious) person, and being in a constant state of panic (did pet just eat something they shouldn’t have!? Is pet sick!? What if their collar slips off while I’m walking them!? If I go to a dog park, what if pet runs away and I can’t catch them!?!) would be awful for both me and the pet. 5) I’ve now lived for a couple of years with no pets, and oh my goodness, I have learned to love not having fur everywhere so much.

I have 2 adult sisters, who have 2 dogs each. They are very much the “this dog is my baby” sort of people. They consistently ask me to care for their dogs while they go on vacation (which happens several times a year each). Years ago, I almost always acquiesced. When I moved in with my husband, however, I mostly stopped agreeing to pet-sit. I cannot bring the dogs to my place because my husband is allergic, so pet-sitting always requires driving 30 minutes across town, several times a day, or straight up living at their house for however many days they’re gone. In addition, these dogs are not well trained. The dogs are extremely food aggressive, they get into fights, they beg, they jump on people, they destroy furniture, etc. etc. etc. Hiring a professional would be too expensive, they say, although I also feel like part of the problem may be that a professional would not accept caring for aggressive dogs.

I have made it clear that I do not want to pet-sit. But they keep asking, piling on the guilt any time I say no. I am, at this point, known for being a terrible, selfish sister because I won’t take care of their dogs. I do not work, so they point out that they’re willing to pay me, and I have plenty of free time, so there’s no reason I can’t pet sit for them. I have turned them down several times this year, but yesterday my sister came over to “catch up and chat”. Turns out, that was just an excuse to ask me in person to pet sit for 4 days while she and my other sister went to Vegas together for a holiday vacation. She knew I wouldn’t be able to say no in person, and she was right. Now I am pet sitting next week. I guess I have a few questions for you and your commenters: Am I in the wrong for turning them down just because I do not want to pet-sit, when they’ve offered to pay me and I do have the free time ? Obviously I and my husband are pretty biased and think I shouldn’t have to regularly take on responsibilities because someone else has pets, but it seems like every pet owner we know disagrees and thinks we are just selfish, lazy people. (As a side note, I have no problems helping them with non-pet related things; I regularly edit resumes and help with landscaping projects and help decorate for parties, so it’s not like I’m refusing to ever lend a hand with anything.) Are there any scripts you could recommend for saying ‘no’ to favors for family, especially when saying no means potentially ruining major plans for them? And finally, is this just a thing I need to get over and stop being annoyed at (people are always going to ask for favors you don’t want to do, and you’re always going to be considered the bad guy if you turn them down, too bad, so sad, stop complaining)?

Thank you so much for your time,
Not a Willing Pet Sitter

Hi Not A Willing Pet Sitter:

Here is your script: “I know I said I would pet-sit yesterday, but I’ve changed my mind. You’ll have to find someone else to look after the dogs.” Call your sister today and tell her.

Them: “But it’s such short notice! You said you would!”

You: “Yep, I did, but you asked me already knowing that I don’t want to pet sit for you, ever. I’m telling you now that I won’t do it, so you need to hire someone or make other plans. I’m not having this conversation again.”

Them: “But!!! x 1000 (Also “we’re a faaaaaaamily”)” “But you’re ruining our trip!”

Your follow-up script is “I said no. Why are you still trying to negotiate with me when it’s clear that I don’t want to do it?

Then…don’t pet-sit. You are not the only solution they have and they can shove their guilt trips into the center of the sun.

There are professional pet sitters. There are kennels. Some people board their dogs at the vet. There is an entire industry of “doggie day care” establishments. There are bored college students who really like dogs and would love a little cash and a free place to crash for a few days over the holidays (I used to be this college student). There’s literally an app for that. One dog-loving sister could take the other sister’s dogs in, and vice versa. They could ask their friends. Hiring a professional would be “too expensive,” they say, but they could budget “pet sitting” as a necessary vacation cost. No money for pet sitting? No money for travel, then!

This is only your problem because they insist on making it your problem. The only way their guilt trips will keep working on you is if you let them keep working on you. The way to take your power back  here is is to let them be mad at you if they’re going to be mad about it, and then keep right on not pet-sitting, literally forever. Let yourself get angry with them for continually putting you in this shitty position. If they insult you in order to manipulate you, let them: “Yep, I’m selfish. Yep, I could do it if I wanted to. Yep, I’m a bad mean cruel horrible sister. Still not pet-sitting though, so, let’s change the subject.”  

Enforcing boundaries with family means communicating “I can live with your displeasure but I can’t continue to endure your poor treatment of me.

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angelchrys
14 hours ago
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Overland Park, KS
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This Accidental “Bra Fairy” Has Donated 300,000 Bras And 1.1 Million Menstrual Products To Women In Need

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By Dana Marlowe – It’s Friday afternoon, and I’m supposed to have company stay at my house for the weekend. I move to tidy up the guest room until I remember what it has become: the hive that is I Support the Girls. What’s buzzing in that hive? Oh, 12,000 bras, give or take a few hundred, and nearly 50,000 individual menstrual products comprising ‘Mount Maxipad’. Suffice it to say, I no longer have usable furniture—the bureau is permanently blocked by the continuous stream of donations I collect for women and girls in need around the world.

I Support the Girls just hit its second anniversary, and it’s been a whirlwind of unprecedented success in outreach, advocacy, and education. But despite being surrounded by pushup bras and lacy camisoles, this isn’t sexy work. I Support the Girls was created to provide bras and menstrual products to homeless and low-income women in need. We were founded in 2015, by chance. I regularly juggle a taxing workweek, raising two young boys, a few entrepreneurial groups, a husband, and I live in a busy area. You typically don’t get to choose when inspiration strikes in our over scheduled world, and that’s exactly what happened to me.

As can be so common when we multitask and put ourselves last on our the list, I gained weight. Once I noticed, I decided to embark on a year of revised healthy mind/body focus. I dropped a considerable amount of weight, but what they don’t tell you on the packages of steamed vegetables is that you should prepare for your bra size to decrease. After some loose straps getting in the way, I went to get fitted properly at a bra store, which was life-changing in the most unexpected way.

I certainly didn’t mean to start a national non-profit or global NGO, but sometimes accidents happen.

As I was getting sized, I asked the sales associate if I could do anything with my drawer full of older bras. She shared four words that changed everything. “Homeless women need bras.” Like the butterfly effect, she had no idea that her words would inspire a movement that would become I Support the Girls, and me to become the “Bra Fairy”.

bra donations

When I got home, I called a homeless shelter in D.C. and said, “I went on your website and it says you don’t need undergarments, but I have 16 nice, gently used bras. I don’t know if you need them or would accept them…”, and the man on the phone relied, “Yes!” before I could finish the question. He said, “No one donates bras. We’ll take them. Do you also have menstrual products?” I sure did, but it was only my donation at this point. I wondered if anyone else would pitch in?

To test my question, I put a post out on Facebook in early July, explaining what I had just learned – that homeless women need bras and menstrual hygiene products – and that if anyone wanted to give me any donations, I would take them in. My status exploded. I equate it to lightning in a bottle. People said that they would ask all their friends to donate or that they would bring the idea to their workplace.

By mid-July, with a glass of wine in hand, I created a Facebook page called Support the Girls (get it?), thinking it was tongue-in-cheek, with my goal being to centralize the donations. Suddenly, it was September, and all these bras were pouring in. I was doing porch pickups and collections were happening at companies, schools, colleges, synagogues, and churches. My 16 bras turned into over 1,000 bras and over 7,000 menstrual hygiene products in no time. I thought that was A LOT… but boy, was I wrong!

Dana Marelowe bras

Our first donation was in October 2015, and our numbers have continued to skyrocket from there. In these last two years, we’ve grown from my initial basement headquarters in Maryland to 50 national affiliates across the U.S. and 5 international partners – women across the globe banding together to help supply bras and menstrual products to women in need.

But why bras? Why tampons? Two answers: they are expensive, and nobody thinks to donate them. Chalk it up the taboos surrounding breasts and menstruation, but they are often invisible items that are so dire to the health, dignity, and self-esteem of all women. Homeless women are some of the most invisible and marginalized segments of our populations. This makes the need twice as great.

But why bras? Why tampons? Two answers: they are expensive, and nobody thinks to donate them. Chalk it up the taboos surrounding breasts and menstruation…

Now two years later, I am still stunned by the global storm of advocacy. The ask for I Support the Girls is so easy, and while it never goes unanswered, the need continues to grow. To that end, we have expanded the platform of I Support the Girls to collect not just for homeless women and girls, but also for disaster relief, breast cancer patients, correctional facilities, refugees, girls fleeing cults, and anywhere a woman faces the tough choice of a hot meal or a maxi pad. We also recognize that not all women have periods and not all people who have periods are women, so we are fervent supports of transgender organizations. To date, we have donated over 300,000 bras; 50,000 pair of underwear; and over 1.1 MILLION maxipads and tampons to over 300 vetted charity organizations globally.

Dana Marlowe bras

I certainly didn’t mean to start a national non-profit or global NGO, but sometimes accidents happen. I Support the Girls has been a lesson in empathy for me. What I’ve seen has rattled me to the core in such a positive light. I know I can’t end homelessness, but armed with the fierce team that makes up I Support the Girls, we’re pushing forth our message that homeless women have a right to health and dignity, one bra and tampon at a time.


About The Author

Dana Marlowe is the Founder & Executive Director of I Support the Girls, the President of Accessibility Partners, a company that hires people with disabilities to help make technology like websites and mobile apps more accessible and usable for people with disabilities, and a staunch human rights advocate. You can connect with her and support her mission on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

The post This Accidental “Bra Fairy” Has Donated 300,000 Bras And 1.1 Million Menstrual Products To Women In Need appeared first on Women You Should Know®.

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angelchrys
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Overland Park, KS
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Trump wants NASA to send astronauts to the Moon — but how exactly?

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President Donald Trump is officially directing NASA to send astronauts back to the Moon, as a pit stop to eventually send people to Mars. The move is part of a new order, Space Policy Directive-1, which Trump signed today during a very brief ceremony at the White House. The directive is meant to reorient NASA’s focus from the Red Planet to the Moon, at least in the short term, shifting away from the priorities set forth by the Obama administration.

The signing appropriately coincides with the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 landing, the last time humans ever landed on the Moon. At the event, Trump said the directive will re-establish American leadership in space, while creating jobs and enhancing the US’s national security. “We’ll refocus American space program on human exploration and discovery,” Trump said. “This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps someday to many worlds beyond.”

The Trump administration has made it clear that it wants NASA to go to the Moon for a while now. In October, Vice President Mike Pence announced that Trump’s NASA would send astronauts back to the Moon during the first meeting of the National Space Council — a newly resurrected executive group that Pence leads and that is aimed at guiding the US space agenda. The directive is now following through on what the National Space Council had recommended. “Establishing a renewed American presence on the Moon is vital to achieve our strategic objectives and the objectives outlined by the National Space Council,” Pence said today. It will enhance national security, spur innovation, and create jobs, the VP added. “We’ll see jobs created that we couldn’t even image could be created today.”

Many other state agencies have their eyes on the Moon, as well as commercial companies like Moon Express, which plans to mine the lunar surface for water and minerals. The Moon also offers a good testing ground for trying out technologies that could be useful for keeping humans alive on Mars, such as habitats. Plus, it’s also much closer than the Red Planet, making it easier to travel to. Both presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush had called for NASA to return to the Moon, but none of those plans worked out because of a lack of funding and delays. Eventually, Obama cancelled the later Bush's plan and reoriented NASA toward Mars.

Trump didn’t provide many details about Space Policy Directive-1 at the signing today. So it’s unclear what exactly will change at NASA because of the new policy, or whether the space agency will put together a solid long-term plan for how it will go to the Moon, or Mars. For the last decade, the space agency has been developing a new rocket and spacecraft to take astronauts into deep space and onto Mars. The so-called Space Launch System and Orion could be reoriented to take astronauts to the Moon’s surface instead.

But what’s still lacking is the funds needed to turn this mission to the Moon into a reality. Already, NASA’s human exploration programs suck up $4 billion each year, and there’s little money leftover for other programs. And NASA is going to need more key hardware — notably a lunar lander — if it wants to put humans on the Moon’s surface again. "The Moon is great, but the plans and partnerships matter more than dates and destination,” Phil Larson, a former space advisor for the Obama administration and assistant dean at the University of Colorado's college of engineering, tells The Verge.

The policy directive does call for NASA to work with its commercial and international partners to pull off the human lunar mission, several sources told The Verge. The European Space Agency, Russia, Japan, and China are all interested in putting people on the Moon, and these agencies could provide crucial components needed for a lunar return. And it’s possible that NASA could partner with commercial companies, buying their services at relatively low costs. Private companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX are developing their own monster rockets already, which could be incorporated into a long-term Moon mission.

And the commercial space industry seems eager to jump on board. "[The Commercial Spaceflight Federation] applauds President Trump for signing Space Policy Directive 1, which directs NASA to partner with the US commercial space industry to return Americans to the Moon,” Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, a coalition of more than 70 space companies, said in a statement.

We could learn more details about a long-term plan soon. Early next year, Trump will make his annual budget request, where he could potentially ask for more money for NASA to build new hardware for a human Moon mission. At one point, NASA estimated that going back to the Moon would cost upwards of $100 billion. Of course, money is tight and the administration claims to want to decrease the deficit. If Trump isn’t interested in a budget increase for NASA, it’s possible the administration may try to free up money by slashing other programs at the space agency.

Until then, the Trump administration has only said a lot of words about going to the Moon. It’s going to take more than signing this directive to put people on the lunar surface again.

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angelchrys
15 hours ago
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Does he realize he'd have to give NASA money?
Overland Park, KS
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Rock Star Kicks Female Photographer in the Face During Show

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Queens of the Stone Age musician Josh Homme is at the center of controversy this week after he was caught on camera kicking a female photographer in the face in the middle of a concert in Los Angeles this weekend.

Photographer Chelsea Lauren was photographing the concert from the edge of the stage on Saturday night while Homme was performing a guitar solo. As Homme walked past Lauren, he kicked his leg out at her, smashing Lauren’s camera into her face and knocking her to the ground.

Lauren later shared a video of the incident on her Instagram account, writing: “I now get to spend my night in the ER. Seriously, WHO DOES THAT?”

“Josh was coming over and I was pretty excited,” Lauren tells Variety. “I saw him coming over and I was shooting away. The next thing I know his foot connects with my camera and my camera connects with my face, really hard.

“He looked straight at me, swung his leg back pretty hard and full-blown kicked me in the face. He continued performing, I was startled, I kind of stopped looking at him, I just got down and was holding my face because it hurt so badly.”

Lauren actually captured photos of Homme in the act of kicking her, which she shared on Instagram afterward along with an update on her status.

Thank you everyone that has reached out with supportive messages. A small update, as I'm being flooded with questions: My neck is a sore, my eyebrow bruised and I'm a bit nauseous. The doctor released me early in the morning. Here are three images. Two of them as Josh looked at me, smiled and then kicked me. The other one is later after he cut his own face with a knife. I was in the pit in tears – and he just stared at me smiling. Assault in any form is not okay, no matter what the reasoning. Alcohol and drugs are no excuse. I was where I was allowed to be, I was not breaking any rules. I was simply trying to do my job. I hold nobody accountable for this but Josh himself. KROQ has nothing to do with this and I will always support them. The irony is someone had thrown an ice cube on to the very slick catwalk before the QOTSA set. I was afraid that one of the band members might slip and hurt themselves so, when the lights went dark, I used my arm to wipe down the runway so nobody would hurt themselves. Thank you to @variety for their immediate concern and care with this matter. As of now, nobody from QOTSA has reached out to me. #queensofthestoneage #QOTSA #JoshHomme

A post shared by Chelsea Lauren (@chelsealaurenla) on

After the video and photos spread online, the 44-year-old Homme issued an apology to Lauren through the Queens of the Stone Age Twitter account. Homme claims that the kick was accidental and that he was simply trying to kick over the lighting and equipment that was on the stage.

When that “apology” didn’t go over well, Homme tried again in a new emotional video apology on YouTube.

“I’d just like to apologize to Chelsea Lauren,” Homme says. “I don’t have any excuse or reason to justify what I did. I’m truly sorry and I hope you’re okay. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, and last night was definitely one of them.”


Update: Photographer Tanya Voltchanskaya writes that she received a warning from Queens of the Stone Age back in 2014 that photographers must not stand in front of Homme during a show, and that those who do “will get a boot in the face.”


Update: Here’s the longer video of the incident, published by Consequence of Sound:


Image credits: Still frame and video from @chelsealaurenla

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angelchrys
15 hours ago
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Overland Park, KS
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Amazon adds music alarms to Alexa

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Amazon announced today that Alexa has been updated to include support for music alarms. So instead of just asking Alexa to set an alarm for you, you’ll be able to request specific songs, playlists, artists, or genres to get you out of bed in the morning.

The new feature supports a variety of music services to use as alarm tones, including Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, SiriusXM, and iHeartRadio. You’ll be able to request songs in the same way that you can for regular playback, meaning that requests as specific as “Alexa, wake me up at 7AM to Beyoncé,” or as vague as “Alexa, wake me up to ’80s music at 8AM” will all work.

The new music alarm feature should be available today on Amazon Echos or any Alexa device.

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angelchrys
16 hours ago
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Chances that Alexa will wake me up to Wham! by the end of the week? HIGH
Overland Park, KS
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Christian teacher claims his faith requires him to call transgender boy ‘a girl’

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A teacher is suing his school - claiming his Christian faith requires him to misgender a transgender student.
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angelchrys
16 hours ago
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"Christian" teacher is a shitbag
Overland Park, KS
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