Category Archives: Reader Submissions

Reader Submission: Hormonal for the Holidays

Overly Sensitive writes:
In my current situation, I would classify myself as the mouse, but with the upcoming holidays approaching, I’m sure I can easily become the cat! Let me explain…. I often try to let things go. With saying that, I am also a woman, and tend to hold a grudge. I did say “try”!
I recently had our third addition to the family, a beautiful baby girl! Here is where the problem is…my sister-in-law has not contacted me one time since I have had the baby! Not a visit, call, card, or even a text! Not a big deal, right?! Our girl was born in September!! Wait, I did receive one text 3 days after our baby was born, our first day home from the hospital, it was a picture of her daughter and a boy going to a school dance. I replied how pretty she looked, then never got a response. When our baby turned 7 weeks old, I contacted my sister-in-law to let her know how hurt I was. She said she was not proud of herself, but has been too busy. Really?!
Did I mention that we have been family for over 15 years now and she only lives an hour and a half our house? Am I over reacting, or is this how families are? And how do I get through the upcoming holidays, when we will be forced to see each other, without displaying my hurt and/or catty tendencies?

Maybe it’s not about the baby?

Well, Overly Sensitive…
To answer your questions: yes. This is how some families are and yes, you might be over reacting just a little. But you did just have a baby. You said you were overly sensitive, and hey we get it. Hormones are evil, evil things — you let things go but you tend to hold grudges… sounds about right to us. But to address the bigger issue of how to get through the holidays without staying hidden under the bed or lunging – claws out – for your SIL like a threatened feral mama cat, we do have a few insights to offer you.

 

1. First and foremost: Great job being honest and telling your SIL that your feelings were hurt. Passive aggressive is definitely the wrong way to go, and you seem to be comfortable being upfront with her about how she has made you feel. This is good. Especially if you arrive to the family Thanksgiving and feel like the distance between you is growing even larger.

 

2. The AIBC Team tossed around the idea that some of us are just better at juggling and acknowledging life events, both those of others and our own. In our catty circle, we range from having the time to say goodmorning to each other every single day to barely finding a minute once a week to make sure the rest of the crew is still breathing. Are you measuring your SIL against yourself? She might not be as well versed at time management, or she might not be as good as you are at expressing/communicating her feelings.

 

3. Or there is the possibility that she could be jealous. You have baby number three, and it sounds like her kids might be teens. Maybe she is dreading the attention that you and baby girl will draw at the family festivities. Maybe she is a seasoned member of the AMA Club (advanced maternal age) and she currently finds herself pining for another bundle of joy that she realistically cannot have.

 

4. And that leads us to our next point. The two of you have been family for 15 years. Does your SIL normally acknowledge big life events with flourish (gift boxes and ponies) or is she usually more low key (email or Facebook message)? We all agreed that her behavior warrants more of your concern if this is out of the ordinary. Something more could be going on.

 

5. Which leads us to say that we completely understand why your feelings were hurt (no one likes to feel forgotten), but you have already talked to your SIL and whether or not you are happy with her reasons for not calling or visiting, she did admit that she was not proud of how she had handled the situation. It might just be time for you to let go of the insult because you will only be hurting yourself if you hold a grudge.

 

 

OS, only you can control how you act toward your SIL during the holidays. If you are still feeling a little hurt then you should absolutely take her aside and have another chat. Face-to-face communication gives you the chance to read her body language. Get all Crucial Conversations on her, and start out by letting her know that something is weighing on you and you want to clear the air. Tell her again that your feelings were hurt, but stress that you have been wondering if there could be more going on that you have been missing. If it isn’t like her to barely acknowledge that she has a new neice, you will be encouraging her to open up by showing concern for her and what is going on in her life. It will start things out on a more comfortable note and give her the opportunity to explain why she has been so busy. There is a pretty good chance she has a reason for not being proud of how she has behaved. Maybe you will learn there are things going on in her family/work/home life that have prevented her from being the type of family member that you wanted/needed her to be the past few months. Listen with an open mind and an open heart. You may both get a huge return on the investment. But there is always the possibility that you may not get anything more from her than you did the first time you talked. You have to be prepared to accept that and know that you tried. You will enjoy the family holiday a whole lot more if you can make peace with yourself and treat your SIL the way that you want to be treated. That’s really all you can do. Let us know how everything goes.
Happy Thanksgiving, and good luck!
The AIBC Team

Tom Catt’s Perusing for No Bruisin’ from Wifey

All Hail the Catty Queens!

Long time reader, first time writer here, and I want to say you make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me spit on my screen in rage! So here’s my issue, I travel often for work.  As of last count I’ve been away from my wife and child for about 1/5th of the year (between 60-70 days so far, with another 10-15 to go probably). So here’s the issue, how do you handle the going and coming transition?  With Mom taking up so many of the duties (homework, bath time, etc.) how does Dad (me) handle that when in town, especially when Mom has trouble letting go?  It’s not fair to me or my wife having issues coming and going.  She is cheating herself of time when she won’t let me help our child do homework or get ready for bed.  And I lose some of the precious hours I would otherwise get because she doesn’t want to let me do for the child. What’s the compromise?  How can we survive?  How can we transition in such a way that we are both happy?

Thanks for your thoughts, catty and constructive, Tom Catt

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Dearest Tom Catt,

First and foremost, you have no idea how happy it makes the AIBC team to hear you say we make you laugh, cry, and spit on your screen in rage.  We are pretty sure more rewarding words have never been spoken. <grin>

First, it is important to point out your acknowledgement that this situation isn’t working for your family is the first step!  Now, let’s hash out some possible reasons WHY this issue is occurring:

1) One possible explanation is that the world’s best wife (see what we did there?) may be trying to be efficient with your time at home by letting you have some down time since you have to take on the burden of being gone from the family.  (However, many of us being mothers and wives, ourselves, we find this unlikely)

2) Additionally, the types of jobs that require lots of travel typically compensate one financially for being away from his/her family a lot.  Is there a chance you are the bread winner and mommy dearest is trying to make up the difference (read balance out her insecurities and justify her purpose) with chores/deeds?  Some of the AIBC team members have experienced these exact feelings!

3) Lastly, this may be a control issue. If Wife Supreme sees what is best because she is around 100% of the time then you need to respect her as a parenting SME (corporate jargon for Subject Matter Expert). She has done that rodeo before and knows what works. There is a chance you may be coming in and unintentionally planting flags, trying to justify your parenting existence at the detriment to everyone’s sanity. THAT BEING SAID, you can likely come in and offer a new perspective that is valuable because we humans are known for getting stuck in ruts and never seeing a better way as a result.

Please note that the three reasons listed above are intended to get your brain gear a-turning, and your situation may not fall under any of these reasons specifically.

So, now that we’ve discussed the potential WHYs, let’s discuss possible next steps:

1)  This all falls back on communication or lack thereof.  We suggest talking t her during a scheduled date night to express your desire to help.
A: You must communicate to her that you want to help
B: You must communicate to her how it makes you feel that she won’t let you help (this can potentially be taken as a stab at your parenting/homework/housework abilities)
C: She must communicate to you why she won’t let you help (is it because of a reason we mentioned or some other reason?)

2)  We think the two of you should sit down together and make a list of things that need to be done daily, weekly, and monthly.  Cliché?  Yes, but honestly it is cliché because it works!  Make a list of the things you would like to take over when you are at home.   Both of you should agree on what and how things should be done (i.e. homework first, 20 minutes of a game or reading, any chores, etc…)  Have an agreement on the front end about expectations and what will happen if they aren’t met.  You take equal responsibility for holding your partner accountable!  For example:  When both parents are in town, Dad cooks dinner and Mom will do the laundry.  Whatever works for the pair, but if Dad drops the dinner duty, well . . .  let’s just say Mom probably has a few aces up her sleeve if Dad’s uncooperative.

3)  The thing is, if you say you want to help out then step up and start helping!   There is nothing sexier than a man that sees dirty clothes on the floor, scratches his head in wonderment musing to himself about why they’d be on the floor instead of in a hamper!

This could be an amazing way for Mom to get some down time when Dad IS in town and helping out.  Encourage her to attend a movie with a girlfriend, shop for herself, or have a glass of wine in the bathtub.   She probably just struggles letting go a little when she’s “on duty” so much of the time.

We can almost guarantee that any man will ALWAYS be able to speak to his wife about wanting to “step up” and take on more house and dad duties. That is the shit we women WISH romance novels were made of.

So, good luck, Tom.  We admire your industry in reaching out to us as the opposite of a Dead-Beat Dad. We’re willing to bet your wife is pretty lucky to have you.

If you think we’ve hit the nail on the head with our response, feel free to have her read it. We’ll happily say it for you, but I can almost guess it will be much better delivered straight from your mouth complete with a box of chocolates, red wine, a spa day, and a dozen red roses.  What?  Too much?

Now please get to work,

The Am I Being Catty Team
AmIBeingCatty.com
#nodeadbeatdadhere
#snowwhitewasafaker
#heymomdadistryingtobeabadasssolethimDUH
#amibeingcatty

Not Your Mom’s “Dear Abby”.

Looking for some great advice on how to handle those catty co-workers or over-bearing family members?  Maybe you were the cat and might have gone a bit too far with your snarky comebacks…

dear abby

Whether you’re the cat or the mouse, the AIBC Team can provide a fresh perspective and a plan of action.  Let the cat out of the bag.  Submit your hiss and take advantage of our anonymous forum, we promise not to judge!

– The AIBC Team

#amibeingcatty #submityourhiss #nojudging

Reader Submission: Holiday Road to Nowhere

Chaney writes:

I admit it, I range from catty levels 3 to 5 about a million times a day; I’m trying to keep this story at level 3 or below, but might fail.  My story today is really asking for help to deal with resisting cattiness.  I conceptually recognize that cattiness is not the right direction for this situation, but my brain keeps generating catty things to say and or do to the point that I can’t sleep.

My sister-in-law has hurt my feelings.  In May I invited her and her husband and two adorable sons to visit my husband and me sometime this summer.  She declined my invitation, and indicated the reason was that she didn’t want to drive 15+ hours with toddlers in the car.  I don’t have kids, but I didn’t question it because, well, I know I wouldn’t want to be in a car for 15+ hours with toddlers, even if they are super cute!  In July, she and her hubby drove the boys to Sesame Place for a vacation which is almost a 20 hour drive.  I expressed my hurt to my husband (with some choice catty words) and he pointed out that really one vacation a summer is practical and Sesame Place is more age appropriate for the kids (we live about 20 minutes outside of Williamsburg, VA) Though I was hurt, I knew he was right, and thought I was over it.

–UNTIL TONIGHT–

Just before I put on my jammies, I found pictures on Facebook from a SECOND vacation, this one to Niagara Falls and it also included flying, not driving.  My claws came out faster than a knife fight in a phone booth, but I kept them off of the keys and away from Facebook.  Oooooooh the things I wanted to say were so level five I might have been catty enough to create a level six!! I wanted to slap her to sleep and then slap her for sleeping.

–Then I took a deep breath–

I know that no good will come from saying any of the things I’ve thought.  I know that Facebook is not the appropriate place to comment  on how betrayed I feel.  Most importantly I know I’m mad because she hurt my feelings.  She was probably (hopefully) just trying to be nice in May when she declined my offer.  Driving seemed like a good excuse when talking to me–but then she drove the kids even further away and then later took an airplane.  The options of things to do with toddlers here is not as high as Sesame Place–but it’s still much nicer than Niagara Falls.

That brings me to now as I write these words.  I’m still upset and my feelings are still hurt.  I want so much to believe that my sister-in-law has no idea what she has done.  My brain says keep your mouth shut and retract those claws, but every other fiber of my being wants to make her cry until she’s run out of moisture to filter through her eyes.

How do I follow my brain’s advice?  Thank you for listening, Chaney

Dear Chaney,

Let’s just go ahead and address the elephant in the room first:tumblr_mm049gu6SX1rgfrg4o1_1280

Whew!  Glad that’s out of the way!  Nothing like the thought of spending vacations with the family to make us glad we’re not  the Griswolds!

Now on to the meat of the issue:

chevchris-o

You have ranked yourself between Catty Levels 3 and 5 consistently.  But, you’ve shown a great deal of restraint and a desire to create peace within your family that doesn’t match your confession.  So, you’re either on the road to recovery, or you’re your own worst critic.  We think that it might be a combination of the two.  Regardless, we don’t think having hurt feelings over an issue as blatant as this is remotely catty.  We’d be hurt, too.

NLVACATION_compact

So, let’s review just a few of the myriad of reasons why your sister-in-law might have declined the invitation:

  • Could either trip have been work related, gifted or won in a contest?
  • Is it possible that your sister-in-law was avoiding the stress that accompanies bringing a destructive toddler or two into a non-kid-proofed house? (She could have been trying to save your Hummel figurine collection from certain death!)
  • Might there be grudges or hurt feelings on her part from previous trips (you DID admit to having catty tendencies, after all)?
  • Do you think the other two trips were already planned and she just didn’t know how to tell you?
  • Does your home have the room to accommodate her family comfortably?
  • Does your sister-in-law have other family or friends in your area that she’d be obligated to visit (but might not want to) while there?
  • Is it possible that your sister-in-law was hoping you’d offer to come to her?

Now, we’re not excusing her.  Regardless of her reasons, she should have been honest with you from the start.  And, while your first inclination is this:

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It’s always a good idea to consider all possible motivations of the person who hurt you.

You asked for help communicating your feelings so we’ve written an email for you.  All you have to do is copy/paste it and send it on its merry way.  Feel free to edit it, adjust it, or addend it as you feel fits your family situation.

Dear __________,

I hope that you and your precious family are well and that you have had a great summer.  I’ve enjoyed the pictures you’ve shared on Facebook, and have poured over each and every one, studying the little faces of ______ and _______ as they discovered the wonders of Sesame Place and Niagara Falls.  The kids are so lucky to have such a great summer of awesome experiences!

<optional insert if you want to discuss your feelings with her>I have to admit to a bit of shock and hurt, though, when I realized you had scheduled not one, but two family vacations to distant locales when you’d stated that distance was the reason you couldn’t visit us here in _________.  I find myself wondering if the real reason you didn’t visit is because we have offended you in some way.

If so, I’m very sorry and want you to know that I would never intentionally hurt any of you, and would love the opportunity to make right whatever is keeping our families apart.  </optional insert if you want to discuss your feelings with her>

_______ and I love and miss you all, and hope that we can plan a visit together in the near future.  Our home is open to you always, but know that the mountain is always willing to come to Mohammed if the distance is still a problem.

Love,

Chaney

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And there you go, Chaney-Cat!  We hope the email works to open the lines of communication between your family and hers.  And next year, why don’t you visit her or suggest a half-way (and kid-friendly) meeting point?  We’ll help you load the car.

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Best of Luck,

The Am I Being Catty Team

Reader Submission: My Business Card Kicks Your Card’s A$$

“Amelia” writes:

A guy and I work in the same field, so we had known each other for several years before he came to work with me.  I helped hire him into my company in 2010.  I left in 2011 and with my departure, there was just some bad blood.  I felt like he was part of a group that was “in” with the boss, the same group that pushed some of us who had been there for a while out the door.  I have no proof, but I feel like he told lies about me to the boss. He just got promoted to a director, a position that was suppose to be mine, until the guy who hired me left. A week or so after finding out about his promotion, I wrote him a nice note on my finest stationary and congratulated him, told him that I know he worked hard, just like me, to get to where he is. I closed by saying please keep in touch, and I enclosed my business card which included my new title of “Executive Director.”   HA HA!!!!!!  It was gloating for sure.  Ultimately, I wanted him to know he didn’t ruin my life. In fact I wound up a 1,000 times better.

Now, that’s a nice business card.

Dear “Amelia”,

First, congratulations on your promotion. Since you don’t seem to have a question for us, we’re going to make up a few for you, and answer them.

Question 1: Am I being catty?
Answer: HELL, YES YOU ARE! In fact, you’re so catty that if I had two dead mice, I’d give you one!

Question 2: Could I have been cattier? If so, how?
Answer: Well, there’s always room for improvement, dear. You could have sent him a cake like this:

Let him have his cake and eat it, too!

Let him have his cake and eat it, too!

Question 3: Do you think I’m witty and funny?
Answer: Well, your heart was in the right place. But, then again I think I am witty and funny. In fact, I’m pretty sure I may be the most brilliant person I’ve ever met. I wish “Am I Being Catty” had business cards, because I’d send you one.

I’m CEO, Bitch.

Now, we have questions back to you.

Question 1:  You think this guy lied about you? Spread untrue gossip?  Is this like a “I’ve heard from reliable sources” kind of thing? If so, what a douche. Or is this more like the pope conspiracy theories?  Paranoia is the land just east of CrazyBitchistan.

See what a short hop it is between these two places?

See what a short hop it is between these two places?

Question 2: Why you care? Did you feel the need to prove yourself? If so, have you ever heard the phrase, “living well is the best revenge?”  Keeping up with who’s who at your old job shows you still have resentment toward the situation or lack of resolution. Why do you need him to know you came out in a higher ranking position?

Question 3:  Did you think your jab was on the sly? It does get you a level 3 catty badge and membership to the Disney Villain club. We know it’s a cutthroat world in corporate America, but why burn bridges?

Look, Amelia.  If anything, our questions show you that we really haven’t walked in your shoes.  If the guy was spreading rumors about you and sabotaged your chances at a promotion, we totally get why you did what you did.

We’re not endorsing it, but completely understand your motivation.  And, if that’s the case, then it sounds like he belongs on Team Disney Villain more than you do.  BUT, there’s an upside, as you very well know: Every Disney villain loses in the end, and the princess always gets the guy and/or the Executive Director role.

So, congratulations on the promotion, you Level 3, you.  Now, go enjoy it and stop stressing over how the undeserving turn out.  Captain Karma will take care of that for you.

Just our two cents,

The AIBC Team
#iwinatlife #yougoindownsucka #disneyvillain #crazybitchistan #karma #level3 #amibeingcatty

Reader Submission: A Family Quarrel and Lost Pie

“Danielle” writes:

My sister-in-law invited me and my husband and kids to a cookout at my MIL’s home a few weeks ago. (Because my SIL doesn’t have a traditional job she brings her two boys, and they stay at her parents’ lake home with them over the summer.)

We go over there and have a really nice dinner. When it’s over, my MIL passes out desserts. I notice my SIL begins to bang dishes in the kitchen and slam cabinet doors. Then she goes over to my hubby and whispers in his ear. I hear him respond: “No, that’s not going to happen.” Well, I just try to stay out of it after that. I figure he’ll tell me later at home. Then she walks over to me and snatches my dessert that I have not even taken a bite of! I say: “Hey! I’m not through with that.” She responds with “Oh well.’ And then proceeds to dump my dessert in the garbage!

I try to ignore it because she is always a little weird, and I just go and get another dessert. I notice she and my hubby go outside. After about 30 minutes, I go out to check on him, and she is yelling at him. When I ask what is going on, he says: “She is mad because we didn’t get up and go wash dishes for everyone.

Huh???

We were invited. She never said we were hosting. Who does that? I told her if I invited her to our home, I would never ask her to do that, and she told me that would never happen because she would never come to our house! We just walked away and ignored her the rest of the night.

I told my in-laws later what she had done, but they didn’t seem to really care and chalked it up to a sibling quarrel.

Dear “Danielle,”

Ok, first let’s talk about the elephant in the room. She threw away your dessert?!

That would get you cut at my house, regardless of catty behavior. Thank God there was extra dessert or it could have turned into a Hatfield and McCoy mini-series.

No pie for you

No pie for you

This does seem like a bit of a family quarrel, especially since the in-laws didn’t seem to blink an eye. The fact you tattled on your sister-in-law would earn you a level 2 catty badge, though.

Second, let’s discuss the difference between catty and bitchy. We agree, the SIL’s behavior is a little off… Who does dishes before dessert is over? If you’re washing dishes before dessert is over, you miss out on dessert. HELL-O? Her behavior is a classic example of bitchy. These aren’t underhanded, snarky comments said with a smile. She was being overly pouty and whiney, and then taking it out on the Marie Callendar’s chocolate silk pie.

A true catty comment would have gone something like this:

“Danielle, you always have the most beautifully styled manicures. You must never do the dishes at your house. Or anyone else’s, obviously. More pie?”

More of my homemade pie?

More of my homemade pie?

With that said, when we host functions at our house, I always assume I’ll do the dishes after the guests leave. That includes family. Why clean up when you can be visiting and gossiping, right? Now, if someone goes into my kitchen and helps themselves to the dish soap, I’ll happily bring the wine and gossip to them while they do the dishes. And I don’t feel a single ounce of guilt. You know why? Because I don’t expect it of my guests, but when it’s offered, I don’t refuse it.

Now that we’ve decided that you’re not at fault for this one (except the tattling, you naughty girl), next time I would go into the kitchen and tell her that you AND YOUR HUSBAND will help her with the dishes later, and to come back and visit until dessert is over. Since your husband was the one who was originally asked, I’m afraid her anger was at him, you just got caught up in it.

The good news is that apparently you’ll never have to host the family dinner at your house because of her little tirade, but if you do, I would suggest paper plates.

The Am I Being Catty Team

Reader Submission: When In Doubt, Chlamydia.

“Roxanne” writes:

“I have history with a coworker. That history consists of her “telling on me” just about every chance she gets. All of the tattling results in me getting pulled into my supervisor’s office to get a refresher on being a team player.

My supervisor loves me. She thanks me at least once a month for everything that I do above and beyond my assigned work. I am appointed to so many committees (at work and outside of work), participate in a leadership program at work (which the supervisor nominated me for), promote our profession outside of the workplace, and have led legislative efforts affecting our profession so I am VERY involved.

AND I DO MY JOB. Everyday, I am right there, working with the team, offering assistance and communicating. Except with her. I talk to her and she keeps looking away, mumbles, and never really listens. She even occasionally brings work and places it in front of me and walks away with no explanation. It’s obvious to me that this is a personal issue, I am just not sure where it is coming from.

Today I was greeted at work by another example of her master plan to ruin me. While I was off work Friday, she told each of our coworkers individually that I was taking a different job within the organization. They confronted me this morning before I could even sit down. I have no idea what to say or do. I DID apply for another position — but I haven’t TOLD anyone that I applied.

I have no I idea what to do next. How do I handle this coworker? Should I say anything to her? What do I say to our other coworkers that now think I am jumping ship?”

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Dear “Roxanne”

Ugh, workplace drama is the worst. Co-workers can make or break a work experience. Let’s face it, you probably spend more time with your co-workers than you do with your friends or family. In your case Roxanne, I think we have moved past a disgruntled coworker and straight into nemesis territory.

As for handling this co-worker and her nasty attitude, our best suggestion is not to sink to her level. Let her mumble, let her drop work into your lap and not acknowledge your presence, and even let her continue to tattle. But, if you’re like us, you’d like nothing better than to sign her up for a summer at Camp Slapaho…accompanied maybe by a parting gift of rumors at work about why she’s on those antibiotics. Who cares if it’s for a recurring sinus infection? In Catty World, we call it chlamydia.

But ultimately, what is the point? It sounds like your boss knows that you are a dependable hard-worker who can be counted on to go above and beyond your job description. Resist those catty impulses to talk about this nemesis or to complain to your boss about her obvious vendetta. Have faith that if your boss can recognize the super hero in you they can probably recognize the villain in her.

Now, on to the issue of your nemesis telling your teammates about your job application while you were out. This is a cat(ty) of a different color that needs to be addressed ASAP.

First, are you sure you never mentioned this job opportunity on facebook, or over drinks after work? Our greatest concern is that if you didn’t inform anyone that you were applying for this job, then your nemesis must have obtained this information from someone else — someone who was in the position to know and who was bound by their position to keep that information confidential. We recommend talking to your human resources department and filing a complaint that your personnel information has somehow become public knowledge.

If your co-workers confront you about the application, be honest. If you get the job and you’ve lied, it will only make things worse. Explain to them that this kind of move was not out of a desire to hurt them (separations always hurt the kids you know), and that your only goal is professional growth. Smooth their ruffled feathers and make sure they understand that even if Mommy has to live somewhere else, you’ll still see them on the weekends and that this is NOT THEIR FAULT. You might want to add that you had always planned on letting everyone know about the potential opportunity when it became more than an application.

Regardless of what you decide to do, Roxanne, do it with your head held high and with as much integrity as you can muster. These kinds of situations are never easy, but you’ve proven, it seems, that you have the dedication and ethic to be worthy of the task.

And, if that fails, there’s always chlamydia.

The Am I Being Catty Team