While I'm away, readers give the advice.
Think before you judge, and before you open your mouth
So glad I kept my mouth shut: On judging strangers who use the elevator instead of the stairs: Try imagining 10 positive-attitude/healthy reasons why that person might be taking that elevator. She/he is battling cancer successfully, but having to conserve strength; needs to get the knee surgery done; got an injury during the new exercise program and is trying not to exacerbate the problem; was closer to the elevator than the stairs; is not familiar with the building and where everything is yet; was talking with someone up to the elevator doors, but the person went the other way on another elevator, so just took it because it was there; needed a quiet moment to stand and think without having to look around where she/he was going; just wasn't thinking about health this very moment because she/he she was thinking about how to save 200 jobs in another division.
You can believe most people are evil and selfish, or you can believe most people try to do the best they can with the energy they have.
My favorite snap-judgment story was one where I was saved before I actually embarrassed myself. A neighbor put out HUGE recycling bins of beer cans. I'm thinking my neighbor has a serious problem. Then another neighbor commented, "That catering business has really taken off!"
Experience your home as a guest would, bedbugs and all
M: On bedbugs in the guest room: Before you make a guest sleep somewhere in your house or use a particular bathroom, you should do it first. Spend a night using the same things you want your guests to use and the flaws will rise. Your guest accommodations, like your cooking, can fall into the "your fantasy meets the rest of the world's reality" category. Most guests won't tell you what they really think of your lumpy, flea-infested sofa or your "special" meatloaf. Enlist a local friend to be your "hotel and food inspector" and you won't be dealing with strained relationships with relatives or others you might be dealing with for the rest of your life. Change what should be changed. And if you can't or won't change, suggest a local hotel that will give them what you won't.
Single life is a satisfying life, so back off with the marriage talk
Alone, but by no means lonely: On getting outside pressure to pair off: At 38, I have a lot of people in my family who really get on me about dating more, always bringing up how "happily married" they are. One thing a few of them have in common (not all, but quite a few) is they're happy because they're married, meaning they were miserable alone.
They just don't get it that I'm happy by myself and, quite often, I enjoy my solitude.
I'm not saying that I wouldn't welcome companionship; I do date on occasion, and am not dead-set against ever finding someone. It's just not the guiding force in my life. A couple of family members have finally gotten it and have made peace with it; the others, well … a vehement "Shut your hole!" does just that.
Carolyn: Spoken in the spirit of good fun, right? (Right?)