May 17, 2021

Flying the Flag at Half-Staff, Being the Perfect House Sitter, Using Charity Return Address Stickers, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle flying the flag at half-staff on Memorial Day, being the perfect house sitter, using the free return address stickers from charities, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle flying the flag at half-staff on Memorial Day, being the perfect house sitter, using the free return address stickers from charities, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)


  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Flying the flag at half-staff on Memorial Day
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: House sitting
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: What do you do if you can't afford a friend's bachelor party? Is it OK to use address labels from a charity if you haven't donated? How can I remember the hard-to-pronounce names of my new neighbors?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Rethinking past answers, Missing a Zoom meeting
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Thanks to the parents, A nice letter







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


Nick: Do you not lower your flag on Memorial Day? Do you throw wild parties when house sitting? Do you mispronounce people's names? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out.

[Theme Song]

Here are things that can make it better

When we have to live together

We can all use a little help

So people don't ask themselves

Were you raised by wolves?

Nick: Hey everybody, it's Nick Leighton.

Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema.

Nick: And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.

Leah: Let's get in it!

Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about flying the American flag on Memorial Day. So Memorial Day, it's a holiday in the United States. It's the last Monday in May. And it honors and mourns those who have died serving in our military. So the protocol is that you fly the flag at half staff in the morning, and then at noon you hoist it all the way to the top. But what do you do if you have an American flag attached to your house?

Leah: Hmm.

Nick: And you cannot go half staff?

Leah: This is such a great question.

Nick: I thought so, right? [laughs]

Leah: Oh, wow. I mean, I guess because we can't move it.

Nick: Right, yeah.

Leah: The only option would be to take it down, which doesn't seem right.

Nick: Yeah, that doesn't seem right.

Leah: Or, like, roll it halfway? But that seems not ...

Nick: Roll it. Interesting!

Leah: You know, I'm just trying to throw out what the options would be.

Nick: So what you need is a mourning ribbon or a mourning bow. And what this is, it's a black streamer or it's a bow that you attach to the top of the flagpole. And so you will basically take this streamer and you'll attach it, or you'll tie a bow to the top. And it's black fabric. And you do that in the morning, and then at noon you take it off.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: And this signifies that this is half staff. So that's what you do.

Leah: That is so great to know. I had no idea.

Nick: And me personally, I prefer the mourning ribbon. I think it looks a little more dignified than a bow. A bow just feels a little too jaunty, I think. So I prefer the mourning streamer, the mourning ribbon. But it is acceptable to do the bow thing if you want.

Leah: [laughs] Nick doesn't like a jaunty bow.

Nick: I don't. Not for Memorial Day. And then, once we have taken the boat off, then you can change into your white pants and your white shoes and you can wear those every day until Labor Day.

Leah: And thank you so much to everyone who served our country.

Nick: Thank you.

Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to go deep.

Leah: Another great question.

Nick: So we got a great question from the wilderness, which is, quote, "What is the protocol when asking a friend to house-sit? In this instance, I'm asking about someone actually staying at your house, and doing some basic things like getting the mail and taking care of the cat. If your home offers your friend more space and amenities than where they live, for example, it's a single family home with a pool versus a small apartment, is it considered a trade, since they are enjoying upgraded digs while also doing you a favor? Or should there be compensation regardless? Or at least offered? And how to handle the conversation of which bedroom to offer them, presuming a guest bedroom is available? There's something that weirds me out thinking about anyone other than me or my husband sleeping in our bed and using our bathroom. But I feel strange not offering the best accommodations to someone who is watching the house for us. I think a gift is appropriate for anyone who watches the house, friend or family. But compensation?"

Leah: I think right off the top, the easiest part of that question, is no problem putting them in the guest bedroom. I don't think that's a thing.

Nick: Yeah, I feel like that's fine, as long as your guest bedroom is comfortable. You know, if you've just got a metal cot with no mattress in there.

Leah: Yeah, if it's like a bed of nails and then I think maybe find it another space for them. But I think otherwise, not a problem.

Nick: Yeah, if your guest room is lovely, that's no problem. Yeah.

Leah: I also personally would rather sleep in a guest bedroom, because I don't want to feel like I'm being invasive in any way.

Nick: I can see that, yeah. I can see how being in, like, the inner sanctum can feel a little intimate.

Leah: I think guest bedroom? Lovely.

Nick: Yeah. Okay, so that aside ...

Leah: You can take that right off the top.

Nick: So my first thought is: in friendship, the currency that we talk about is reciprocation, not cold, hard cash. Like, if you invite me over for dinner, I'm not gonna slip you a $100 bill at the end of the night. Like, that's not what we do as friends. And so I think for asking a friend to house-sit for you, I mean, that's sort of part of friendship. And so I don't think we necessarily do, like, cold, hard cash. I don't think we want our friend to be out money. So, like, if it will cost them to do this favor for you, like, a lot of gas trying to drive to your house, or somehow they've lost money doing something else for you, like, you should definitely make them whole. But I don't think we necessarily pay them for this service.

Leah: Well, I also think it depends on, is this somehow more of an inconvenience? Is it farther from their job, you know what I mean?

Nick: Right.

Leah: So in those things, I think it could be—I think the word "compensate" is a nice word. "Can you stay here? You know, I'm happy to throw in this much for your troubles because I know it's out of your way."

Nick: Right, all of that. But I guess if it's an acquaintance and less of a close friend, then somehow compensation sort of makes more sense the more remote the relationship is. Like, the closer the friend, the less likely you would give them cold, hard cash. And then the less of a friend they are, maybe you would toss them some cash for their troubles.

Leah: Yeah, because it's more of a job.

Nick: Right. Yeah, exactly. And then I think if we start thinking that, like, oh, because I have a pool, they really should be paying me for an upgraded experience that is so much better than their normal life, I don't think we want to go down that road. And so, like, just because your home might be nicer, it's not like you're really doing me a favor by allowing me to experience it for three days.

Leah: [laughs] I think if, say, it was in another city, and you knew that that friend wanted to visit that city, but it would save them money on a hotel, then that's also a nice exchange. "Oh, hey. I'm gonna be out of town. I knew you wanted to come here. Do you want to stay? You know, so you don't have to have a hotel. And can you take care of my cat?"

Nick: Yeah, okay. So I guess in thinking about, like, how it should go down then, some dos and don'ts come to mind. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is, like, we should set very clear expectations for how this should work. Both sides should understand, like, what is expected of them. So, like, what exactly do you want me to do when I'm house sitting? And what are the dos and don'ts?

Leah: And I wrote that. "Just ask what's okay! Exclamation point! At the beginning. Like, at the beginning, everybody should go over it.

Nick: Right, yeah. So, like, if it's about taking care of pets, like, are they allowed to go off their diet? Or what are the rules? Or can I eat the stuff in the fridge? Or whatever. So I think, yeah, definitely making all that clear way up top is very useful.

Leah: Yeah. I think go through the whole list, especially because also, I was thinking sometimes when people are out of town, like, say you broke something, they may not want to know while they're out of town. They may be like, "I'm very out of town."

Nick: Oh, interesting.

Leah: So try to go over everything before people leave.

Nick: I mean, what is that conversation? "If I damage something in your house, would you like me to tell you or would you like me to wait?"

Leah: No, not that question. That was separate, I was just saying that because inevitably, you know what I mean? But it's things like that. It's like, does this person want to be contacted or not contacted?

Nick: Yes. I think definitely having some sort of conversation about how much checking in do we want to be doing.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Like, if you're taking care of my house, and you're not taking care of any of my pets. So it's just about, like, bringing in the mail, watering the plants, making sure that it doesn't burn down, I don't probably need daily check-ins from you. Just, like, contact me if something has gone wrong and you need me. Otherwise, like, see you when I get back.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: But if you are taking care of my pet, I probably want more frequent updates on that.

Leah: Maybe a few pictures.

Nick: Definitely want video, maybe some live face-timing. Yeah, we want all that.

Leah: You guys snuggling on the couch. I want to see it. I want to see it.

Nick: And I don't think we have wild parties—or any parties. And I think you definitely don't want to invite anybody over without permission at all. It's like, not even a friend to watch the game. I think you should ask for permission.

Leah: Yeah, but I do think that if you're like, "Oh, hey, I always watch the game on"—whatever, depending on what you like to watch, what day it is. "Do you mind if I have a friend over? It'll just be one person."

Nick: Right. And obviously, yes, should be the answer.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: But you definitely need to ask, because if the person finds out that you had someone in your house and they didn't know about it, that does feel like a violation. And they will find out about it, and they will not like that.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So don't do that. And don't redecorate. And I mention this because in the Hamptons, where I've spent a lot of time covering that world, there was a story once where people would come back in the spring after, like, leaving their houses all winter long, and they would come back to discover that someone had broken in, didn't steal anything, but rearranged all the furniture.

Leah: What?

Nick: And rehung pictures. Yes! And so it ended up looking better, usually, most of the time. And so most people just actually kept it the new way. But this was a thing that happened several times, or so the stories have gone.

Leah: The people broke in to redecorate?

Nick: Well, no one locks their houses in the Hamptons. That's one dirty secret.

Leah: Oh, my goodness. I'm getting a ticket right now.

Nick: [laughs] But yeah, broke into people's houses on Gin Lane, rearranged the living room furniture, put the couch on the other wall, put the TV somewhere else, and then you walk in after four months and you see your living room, like, totally different. So I think the same rule applies.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: If you're a houseguest, don't redecorate. They like their furniture where it is, so just, like, leave it.

Leah: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, wow. That's—I mean, a lot to take in, yeah.

Nick: Never would occur to me to, like, redecorate.

Leah: You call your friend, "Hey, I know you're out of town, but I just wanted to let you know that your painting would probably look better on the other wall. What do you think about me moving it?"

Nick: Or, "I just moved it, and I'm just gonna tell you it looks better." Yeah. Other things on my list: don't go snooping. Don't do it. Don't go through their stuff.

Leah: Yeah. I mean, I never have—I actually don't have interest. It makes me feel bad.

Nick: Yeah. I wouldn't want to do that. Also, what am I gonna find? Would it be shocking? Probably not.

Leah: I mean, if I was, like, down in the cellar looking for a shovel because they asked me to, like, fix a garden or whatever, and I saw, like, a foot sticking out, I would absolutely have to look, because it's a murder mystery. But barring that ...

Nick: You would look?

Leah: If you saw a foot?

Nick: Umm ...

Leah: I would be like, "I got to get out of this house."

Nick: I feel like I would run. I don't think I would want to get closer.

Leah: Oh, I would have to look. And then I would run. And then I'd be like—I would call my friend and be like, "You have a foot in your basement.

Nick: I mean, I feel like they know.

Leah: I would somehow convince myself that they didn't know.

Nick: I see.

Leah: I guess I would have to call the police first. I'm gonna have to work this out in case it happens. [laughs]

Nick: I feel like your first phone call is to the police.

Leah: I mean, it depends on the friendship I have. Is this your ride or die friend?

Nick: Oh!

Leah: You want to—you need to know the story first. You know what I mean?

Nick: "Please explain the foot in your basement."

Leah: If you can explain this to my full—you know?

Nick: Uh-huh. Okay. That's friendship.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: One thing also on my list is, I was once housesitting for friends in Los Angeles who are, like, impeccable taste and their house is beautiful. And it's a one bedroom, so I was in their bed. And their bed had 9,000 pillows.

Leah: Hmm.

Nick: All different types of patterns. And their taste is such that it feels like, oh, this is just spontaneous. But you know that there is a special order in which all of this works. Like, obviously this pillow goes next to this one and this size and all that. But no joke. There probably were, like, 25 pillows on this bed.

Leah: Oh, wow.

Nick: So what I did is I photographed the bed from all different angles before I got into it, so that when I left I was able to have a reference for exactly how all the pillows should be put back. And so I made sure it was, like, precise to the millimeter.

Leah: I mean, you're, of course, as always, phenomenal.

Nick: So I do recommend photographing any areas of the house that you do need to put back the way you found them.

Leah: I think that's a great idea. I would probably sleep on the floor, I'd see it and I'd have a panic attack, I'd sleep on the floor.

Nick: Like, oh, I can't. I can't touch it.

Leah: I can't touch it.

Nick: And then at the end, I think you might want to do something nice for the person when they come back. So—I don't know—some flowers or, you know, fresh milk and coffee or something. Just on your way out the door.

Leah: I think that's very nice. I also think that it depends on how much of a favor you're doing them.

Nick: I mean, you have this pool. So, you know, huge favor.

Leah: A lot of times people would rather stay in their own house, regardless. So depending on who's doing who the bigger favor is who leaves it. I mean, it's always nice to leave fresh milk, but it may be the other way around.

Nick: Yeah, I guess who owes whom in this instance. Right. Who's in debt?

Leah: I mean, it's always just nice to do nice things, but I think if you're doing them a favor ...

Nick: Yeah, just leave it the way you found it, and then, you know, try not to break anything. And if you do, just let them know.

Leah: Let them know, and offer to fix it.

Nick: There you are.

Leah: And I guess don't leave anything very murder mystery in the basement, because then your friend's gonna be in a conundrum.

Nick: Yeah, because if you don't let them know about the foot and then they come home and they find the foot, they're gonna think you're responsible, and who needs that?

Leah: Oh, I didn't even think of that layer.

Nick: Right?

Leah: Then you'd have to be like, "Oh no, I didn't bring it up because I thought it was you, and I was trying to have your back." And then your friend's like, "Oh, you thought I murdered someone and you were just gonna go along with it?" And then it's a whole thing.

Nick: Ugh, story of my life.

Leah: [laughs] Nick was like, "I took a picture of the foot exactly where I found it, so in case I moved it, I could put it back exactly the same."

Nick: That's how I roll.

Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to take some questions from you all in the wilderness.

Leah: [howls]

Nick: So our first question is, quote, "One of my best friends is planning a destination bachelor party over the course of three days in a major city across the country. And he's behaving as if it's just understood that everyone who's invited is going to attend. And I just don't know how to tell him—or if I should tell him—that I just can't afford it. He's one of my best friends, but I just don't think I can swing it financially. I just miss the days of grabbing your buddy, going out to the bars, getting wasted and calling it a bachelor party. So if you guys could shed any light on this, I would truly appreciate it."

Leah: I've had to tell multiple friends that I couldn't afford to go to their bachelor or bachelorette parties, and they were all extremely cool with it.

Nick: Yeah, I think you do need to say ...

Leah: Just say it.

Nick: Like, I don't think you can not say.

Leah: I think we feel guilty or, like, somehow bad about ourselves because—but it's absolutely reasonable that you can't afford to go to an out-of-town bachelor or bachelorette party. And you just tell your friend, just take them aside, have that conversation.

Nick: Yeah, it's nothing to feel bad about. It just is what it is. So if you can't swing it, you can't swing it. So that's it.

Leah: And you shouldn't, like, give up paying rent. Like, they don't want you to do that. As Nick said, if you can't swing it you can't swing it. Just have the convo. It's gonna be less hard than you think it is.

Nick: But I do think that, with this type of thing or with guest lists for weddings, we are getting it backwards, everyone. What you need to do is you need to start with a list of people that you want at the thing, and then you need to create an event for that list. What we're doing is we are creating the dream wedding on the beaches of Tuscany, and we are then figuring out who we can invite to that thing. And if your grandmother is in a wheelchair and cannot be hand carried two miles to the beach, then she can't attend that type of wedding. And if you want your grandmother there, well, then you can't have that type of wedding. So if you want all your buddies to be at your bachelor party, you should have a bachelor party that all your buddies can attend. So it's backwards to have, like, the event first and then the guest list second, in my opinion.

Leah: Unless what you really care about is the event and whoever can make it can make it because you've always wanted to do this thing and that's your dream. And then ...

Nick: But if you care about the event, then what is the point of the event? The point of the event is to spend time with people at the event. It's not the event.

Leah: Some people may care about different things.

Nick: Okay. I mean—I mean, this is true, but I do think we miss the forest for the trees a little bit.

Leah: I mean, you can't be like, "I want to go to this. I've always wanted to celebrate here," and then if people can't make it be upset with them. It's like they can't make it because you're traveling.

Nick: Oh, you definitely can't be upset that people can't do the thing that you want to do. Fine. But it would be nice if your first priority for a bachelor party was, "I want to have these people with me for this. And so I'm gonna make sure that this can include all of these people." Rather than, "I want to do this type of thing, and I'll just figure out who on my list can do it."

Leah: I mean, I really—I see what you're saying.

Nick: Thank you.

Leah: I also can see, say, a person always wanted to get married in Hobbiton in New Zealand. That was just their dream.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: And maybe some people couldn't make it, but that was inside their soul that they wanted to reenact a scene from Lord of the Rings for their wedding. I would get that, too. Do you know what I mean?

Nick: This seems like a very vague hypothetical for you, Leah.

Leah: That was just like a hypothetical that I just popped into my brain.

Nick: Are you wearing elf ears in this or no?

Leah: Who's—who's me? I'm not—this is just an example.

Nick: I mean, this is your fantasy.

Leah: No, I wasn't saying this for me. I just meant as an example. [laughs]

Nick: I see. Mm-hmm. Okay.

Leah: But to our letter writer, don't feel bad.

Nick: No, definitely not.

Leah: And if your friend wants you to come and they want to go to this thing, they can pay for you.

Nick: Oh, there's also that. Although, I mean, that gets complicated.

Leah: I think that if your friend really wanted you there and had the means, they might just be like, "Oh, I didn't realize. Not a problem. I really want to do this. I really want you there. Let me take you." And I don't think it's a big deal.

Nick: Yeah, that's true. And I think if you don't go, what would be nice is, figure out where they're gonna be one night and call the bar or call the restaurant and buy a round of Jäger or Goldschläger or Midori or whatever is happening and, like, buy a round, and then let the restaurant know, like, "Oh, this round's on Chad."

Leah: I love that. I would send nachos. I'd be like, "This round of nachos is on Leah."

Nick: I mean, send whatever you want to send, sure.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So our next question is, quote, "Sometimes I will receive unsolicited mail from charities asking for donations, and they often include a free gift such as notepads, pens, etc. I will usually donate these items to my local thrift shop, and then send a request to the charity asking to be removed from their list so they don't waste future resources on me. Recently, I was sent return address stickers with my name, address and the charity's icon on them. Obviously, these aren't appropriate for the thrift store, and while I know legally I'm entitled to use them, I don't want to imply to my recipients that I've donated to a cause when I haven't, but it also feels wasteful to destroy them. I'm paranoid, and I shred everything with my address on it, and that just adds more garbage to the landfill. Is it tacky to use them when I have not made any contribution, or should I just get rid of them?"

Leah: When I read this, I was like, "Did my inner voice write this?" I definitely take things to the Goodwill that can be—you know, also things you donated to a long time ago that keep sending stuff. I have blankets, you know what I mean? You're like, "What am I going to do with a blanket?" I just ...

Nick: You're getting blankets from charities?

Leah: Oh, I've gotten blankets from charities, yeah.

Nick: What charity is sending a whole blanket?

Leah: I'm not gonna ...

Nick: I'm getting, like, a ballpoint pen.

Leah: I mean, I'm just telling you the world I live in.

Nick: Glamor!

Leah: [laughs] Some things I give away. I definitely will be like, "Hey, I'm not—you know, donate." So I totally get this. I also don't like to throw away anything with my—well, I take it to the shredder, anything with my address on it. But I do think—I do feel guilty at first with the stickers using them, but then I think throwing them away is just as bad. And then I think if I do use the stickers with my name on them, it's like advertising for the people. I didn't give money, but then, you know, maybe the next people will be like, "Oh, I'll look into that foundation."

Nick: Yeah. And charities definitely want money, but they also want awareness. So they're happy for you just to keep using the stickers even if you haven't donated money. So they don't care. But I think that, in general, when we're sending personal correspondence, we want to just hand-write our addresses. We don't want to use stickers at all. So you shouldn't use these on personal correspondence. You should have engraved envelopes or you should just hand-write your name. But, like, stickers?

Leah: That doesn't help her with the what should I do with the stickers?

Nick: Well, use them for non-personal correspondence. So you're mailing a bill to Verizon, put the sticker on that. Verizon doesn't care. And so you're getting to save yourself the two seconds of writing your address, and you can use up the stickers.

Leah: There you go.

Nick: There you go.

Leah: And Nick's like, "I don't think that you should use the stickers regardless. You should have stationery that already has your address on it."

Nick: And I mean, look at all the single-use plastic in your household. Is the charity stickers the thing that's gonna move the needle here? Like, is that really it? Is that tipping the scales?

Leah: No, but I totally understand. You feel bad throwing it away. You're like, "I'm just throwing something away."

Nick: Yeah. No, it is wasteful.

Leah: But I do think of it as advertising.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: I get a lot of handwritten correspondence with stickers for addresses.

Nick: A lot! You're getting a lot!

Leah: A lot.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: A large percentage.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And I think it's because people, you know, you want to keep it crisp and, you know, some of us have messy handwriting.

Nick: I see, okay. I mean, but if your handwriting is so messy for the address, like, chances are ...

Leah: Chances are the inside's a total mess, too, but at least the return address is clear.

Nick: I mean, I'm just happy that people are sending letters. I'll take a sticker, if that's what it has to be. Okay, fine.

Nick: Our next question is, quote, "I have new neighbors, and I went to introduce myself after sending flowers and a card with the names of all my family members and my phone number just in case they needed anything. When I actually met them in person, I was caught off guard by the names of the family members. They have very unique names, and I wanted to remember them correctly, but was completely hopeless when repeating and trying to remember. They are from Serbia, just to give you an idea of how it could be tricky. Thankfully, I made my neighbor laugh when I tried to repeat their names. Do you have any suggestions on how I could have handled this or how I should approach getting the correct pronunciation?"

Leah: I do want to say to our letter writer, I think you really made a new neighbor feel welcome. You got flowers, you're introducing yourself.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So on the how I could have handled this, I really think you're lovely. I think you're really lovely.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, the key is to make an effort when you have a name that's hard to pronounce, and you have clearly made an effort. So right there, I think that's a win.

Leah: Yeah, I mean so nice.

Nick: And I think what I would suggest is ask them to write their names down so you can have them in writing, and then YouTube. YouTube probably will tell you how to pronounce every Serbian name there is. So just type in the name, some nice Serbian person has a video, I'm sure, pronouncing the name, and you can just practice and do your best. And you're not gonna get it 100 percent but, like, they will definitely appreciate that you're making an effort and trying.

Leah: I often get everybody's name wrong, so I'll just hold back until I hear somebody else say it, and I just, you know, say hi and ...

Nick: Oh, see, this is not a good strategy.

Leah: ... wait until it comes naturally. Wait until I've heard it so many times that it's in my brain.

Nick: So, like, if your neighbors are like Milica and Jelena.

Leah: Milica and Jelena.

Nick: Like, you can practice this at home.

Leah: But I do think when you're around other people saying it often, you'll get better at it.

Nick: Yes. And, you know, you could say it to them and they can correct you. They can practice with them, too.

Leah: And I don't think they're gonna be insulted. You're making an effort.

Nick: Yeah. No, and the key is just to make an effort. I mean, so much of etiquette is about making an effort and just trying your best, even if you fall short. But, like, people appreciate people who make an effort. And so that really takes you a long way.

Leah: It's not like you're being like, "Oh, why don't you have names I can pronounce?" That would be rude. [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] Yeah, don't do that. Don't do that. So we'll make an effort for your questions, so send them to us. Send them to us on our website, Or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message, (267) CALL-RBW.

Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent.

Leah: Vent or repent!

Nick: Which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette experience we've had recently. Or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: I'm gonna do a repent.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: That is more of a clarification.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: This is actually me relistening to Were You Raised By Wolves? episodes.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Hearing something I said and being like, "Oh, I would like to go back to that."

Nick: So you want to repent for something you've said?

Leah: Something I didn't say. It's something I didn't say.

Nick: Ah, okay. So remind us, what are we talking about?

Leah: So a few episodes ago, we had a letter writer write in and say, what do I do if I'm no longer hanging my friend's art?

Nick: Right, sure.

Leah: And I said, it gave me acid reflux.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: But then I just was very into what you were saying about—I wanted to support them in having personal boundaries, and saying I can hang the art that I want to hang. I wanted to support them have them feeling that.

Nick: Okay, sure.

Leah: But I feel like I never expressed that I absolutely would have a complete panic attack and feel like I should have a room dedicated to my friend's art. You know what I mean? I feel like I never really—except for saying that gave me acid reflux, I never said why it gave me acid reflux. And I also wanted to add that, as an artist, sometimes I'll get nervous handing out—after shows, you're supposed to hang out, like, a flier with your name on it and your, like, Instagram. I get nervous, because so often they're dropped on the floor, and you just have to, like, close your soul off to, like, seeing people walking on your face.

Nick: [laughs] Okay.

Leah: You have to be like, this is just a part of the game! And I feel like I didn't in any way address that I understand that—why their friend wanted to keep it up, because I was so into being supportive of being like, it's your home. Because that was what I would want support on. So I wanted to bring that up, that I totally get it. I would probably absolutely paper a room with something, but I wanted to support them in their very healthy boundary-setting.

Nick: I think it's sort of implied. Long-time listeners of the show know where you're at.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: With all this.

Leah: I just want our new listeners to know that obviously I would have a full meltdown about it.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, you just saying, "I'm gonna have acid reflux," like, I got the whole world. I got that that meant that you were gonna actually buy a second house just for the art. I got that you were going to basically be their new patron, and we're gonna sponsor them. You're gonna be a modern day Medici for this person. Like, that's what you were gonna do.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: With that one sentence.

Leah: Okay. I just wanted to make sure that was clear, because I've been thinking about that ever since.

Nick: Okay. Well, we will absolve you of this etiquette crime, Leah. So for me, I would also like to repent.

Leah: [gasps]

Nick: Now this doesn't happen often, people.

Leah: Maybe twice.

Nick: It doesn't happen often.

Leah: Three times.

Nick: And I am going to repent because I should, and also I think it's an important reminder to everyone that I do bad things, too. And it's okay. It's okay. We all do bad things. So long story short, Leah and I are working on a top-secret thing with mm-hmm mm-hmm, which we'll let you know about soon. So sign up for our newsletter. And so I had a Zoom meeting scheduled with these people last week. And we've actually been meeting on Zoom regularly on Fridays at three o'clock, sort of just catching up, making sure everything's on target and everything's on the same page. And so last week, there was an email exchange where I was like, "Okay, let's regroup on Friday on this. What's good for everybody?" They're like, "Oh, anytime after one." And I said, "Oh, let's do two o'clock. Okay, great." So everyone's set, and I basically add it to my calendar. We're good to go. And so then Friday comes along, I'm working on something and I check my email at 2:30, and I see an email from them at 2:05, which is like, "Are you joining the Zoom call?" And I'm like, "Oh, no!" And so obviously, I was not on that Zoom call at two o'clock, and I should have been. And for that, I am very sorry because that's not a thing I do. So very sorry. And now the reason for this doesn't matter. The reason—just between us—is that I cut and pasted the previous week's event and I dragged it to my calendar, which meant that it was on my calendar for three o'clock and not two o'clock. My mistake. And I didn't see it, didn't notice it, but that is what happened. That doesn't matter. You know, these were still people that were left hanging. So I obviously emailed back right away. I was like, "Oh, my gosh. Can we meet at three o'clock still? Is that possible?" And they were like, "Oh, no problem. We'll jump on at three." And so then in the 20 minutes in between that email exchange and three o'clock, I reached out to this Danish bakery that I really love which is near their offices, and I arranged to have a box of these delicious chocolate and cinnamon pastries, like, rushed to their offices, so that they would get there while we were still on our Zoom call. So at least they had pastries as just like a moment of, like, repentance and to how sorry I really was that this happened. So I do think baked goods did smooth it over, but I am sorry. I should not have missed that call, and it definitely won't happen again.

Leah: I wish people could see my face through this whole thing. A) Above and beyond. That's such a wait to—with the pastries. I love that.

Nick: Yeah. Yeah, pastries really do make a difference. Yeah.

Leah: Well, it's so thoughtful. And then you jumped right on it. And then also everybody who knows you knows that this is way out of your ...

Nick: That is true.

Leah: It's something that you would never do, and you apologized right away.

Nick: And that actually is a good reason to always be polite, because if you ever mess up—which, you know, I do—I'm always given the benefit of the doubt. Like, no one is like, "Oh, well, that's just who you are." Like, no. Everybody knows, like, oh, that is unusual. Something must have happened.

Leah: And things do happen.

Nick: Things do happen. Yes, life happens, absolutely. Mistakes happen. And it's not the mistakes, it's how you react to them, how you respond, how you try to recover. That's really where the rubber meets the road when it comes to etiquette. So that's, I think, just a good lesson. It's not the crime, it's the cover-up. So for me? Baked goods. So, Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned that if I have a house with a flag on it on Memorial Day, I will hang a ribbon or a bow on it in the morning to signify half mast.

Nick: That's right. And I learned that if I'm dining and just a mysterious plate of nachos shows up, it's probably from you.

Leah: Yes! Yes!

Nick: Well, thank you, Leah.

Leah: Thank you, Nick.

Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. If I had your address, I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery.

Leah: He would!

Nick: So for your homework this week, I want you to make sure you're following us in whatever podcast app you're currently using, so you're always notified about new episodes. And I want you to leave us a nice review. And I want you to tell a few friends about us.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: That's all. And we'll see you next time.

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

Nick: All right, Leah. It's time for Cordials of Kindness, the part of the show that you make us do, but I only give you 30 seconds to do it. Ready, set, go.

Leah: This week, my cordials of kindness I would like to send out to my mom and dad, because I know it’s super hard on them—as it was hard on me—to move, have their daughter move all the way across the country. And it feels very far away. And they have been so supportive and positive. And it just really means the whole world to me. And I am so grateful for it.

Nick: Oh, that's very nice. And for me, we've got a great one from, which was, quote, "I just wanted to say thank you for the labor of love I know you both put into the show. Every Sunday night when setting my alarm for the new work week, I think, 'Oh, back to the grind.' But then I remember that a new episode is coming in the morning, and it totally brightens my outlook. Thank you."

Leah: That is so nice!

Nick: Isn't that nice? So thank you very much.

Leah: Aww!