Don’t be an Enabler: Living with a Narcissist

If you follow my blog, you know that my sister-in-law pretty much fits the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. You also know that we no longer have contact with her, her husband or her children because of this.

What I maybe focus on a little less is that my mother-in-law is probably 90% of the reason she continues down the path she’s on.

What? I’m blaming my mother-in-law for someone else’s behavior?


From everything I’ve read about NPD, it can’t exist without the individual being enabled. The treatment basically revolves around forcing the “sufferer” to see their own flaws. To break the delusion. In my family’s situation, my mother-in-law is the one doing the enabling. She’s the one encouraging everyone to just “keep the peace” by going along with whatever crazy-train says or does. She’s the one inviting them to holidays and outcasting anyone that she really doesn’t get along with (that would be us) as to not upset her. She’s the one telling her it’s OK that she acts the way she does because that’s just who she is. My mother-in-law is a constant source of excuses and she takes everything crazy-train says at face-value for the sake of “peace”. And because there’s always the underlying threat of withholding access to the grandchildren should she say or do something that crazy-train doesn’t like. It has happened before and that threat has been verbalized in the past, though not in those exact words.

From what I’ve read (and disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on television), NPD can’t exist without an enabler. Without my mother-in-law it would probably be crazy-train’s husband (my brother-in-law), but without my mother-in-law, a HUGE chunk of her support would be gone. My mother-in-law is the one that originally encouraged my brother-in-law to just go along with whatever crazy-train does or says so she couldn’t take the kid(s) away. She has been conditioning and counseling him for years to just go with it and to suck it up for the sake of the kids. All the while his wife has been getting worse and worse.

The cherry on top is that my mother-in-law left her husband because she thought HE was a narcissist. He’s not anywhere near the same level of crazy as my sister-in-law and yet she condemned her own son to a lifetime of the same abuse she claimed to suffer herself by encouraging him to stay when crazy-train got pregnant (without a paternity test) and by encouraging him to just feed into the delusions, thereby continuing the cycle.

It’s all so insane that it hurts my brain to even think that people like this exist. But they do. And somehow I found them and married into that family — what does that say about me? To be fair, crazy-train wasn’t in the picture when I said, “I do”. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If I’d have known she’d be a part of the picture before I married into the family, I wouldn’t have done it. I love my husband, but had I known then what I know now about his family, I would have walked away.

So if you have someone in the family that’s maybe labeled as bi-polar, but maybe doesn’t control it well with medication and has more symptoms of NPD than bi-polar disorder, consider your interactions with them and how it’s impacting other people in your family. This is particularly important if you’re the matriarch because sometimes “keeping the peace” isn’t doing that at all — it’s just growing the resentment.

Dear Deductible: Should I See a Doctor?

Dear Deductible,

I slipped on the ice the other day and landed on my arm. I’ve been experiencing off-and-on pain when using the arm since then, but I also spend quite a bit of time typing, so it could also just be related to that. Basically, I’ve either got a broke arm or general pain from spending too much time trying to make enough money to pay my insurance premiums.

Should I go get an x-ray?

Pain in the Arm


Dear Pain in the Arm,

I’d advise you against seeing the doctor. From what you’ve said, it sounds like you could have fractured one of the bones in your arm, but x-rays are expensive and although you pay nearly $1,000 a month for health insurance, you haven’t met your deductible for diagnostics yet and your bank account is looking mighty low. I’d recommend a couple of Advil and an Ace Bandage if the pain persists. Don’t stop typing either — your next insurance bill is less than a month away!!

Your Deductible

P.S. – I took the liberty of informing my friend Home Owner’s Insurance about your fall and your rates will be going up at renewal due to the increased ice risk.

Product Review: Glass Meal Prep Containers


Unless you’re living under a rock or have been blissfully unaware of the existence of Pinterest for the past few years, odds are that you’ve heard about the meal prep craze. According to what I’ve learned from Pinterest, you spend a little bit of time on the weekend (or whatever day you get off) prepping food in neat little single-serve containers for the upcoming week. Then when life gets busy, you just grab-and-go. Seems simple, right?

Well, apparently 99% of meal prepping involves finding the right container. Otherwise your quinoa touches the avocado slices and then the juice from your organic lemon and herb grilled chicken breast get involved and it’s all downhill from there. I wanted to be like those skinny people that prep, but I knew in my heart of hearts that my tried-and-true tupperware just wasn’t going to cut it. I mean, who wants mushy 3-day old quinoa that tastes suspiciously like avocado? Not this girl.

When all hope seemed lost, I got the opportunity to test Asani Glass Meal Prep Containers at a discounted price (Get yours here) in order to try them out and review them for my readers. Perfect. Glass Meal Prep Containers are made of glass (shocker, I know), so I don’t have to worry about BPA or a suspicious plastic flavor leeching into my food as it sits in the fridge waiting for me to be too busy to cook. It also won’t stain or absorb odors, so they’re safe to use to store spaghetti and boldly seasoned foods.

I took the Glass Meal Prep Containers out of their Amazon box about 3 seconds after they arrived and gave them a quick scrub in the sink. The first thing I noticed was that they were clear. I love glass for food storage because it’s so easy to see what’s inside. You really don’t get the same degree of clarity with plastic, no matter how clear it claims to be.

The next thing I noticed was the seal. There’s this thin, but super-effective gasket around the top of the containers to make sure they don’t leak. Just for fun I went ahead and filled one up in the sink and put the lid on — yep, no leaks!


But what makes these containers different than any other meal prep container on the market you ask? They’re made of glass. We’re not talking about thin, super fragile glass. We’re talking about oven-safe, microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe, lunchbox-safe glass. They’re advertised online as being able to safely go in the oven and after holding them in my hands, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’d do fine. The glass is thick and it is heavy like a glass baking dish.

They’re also divided into three sections. I didn’t fill and measure, but it would appear that there’s one slightly larger compartment that’s meant for the entree and two smaller compartments for the sides. While the body of the container is made of glass, the lid is made of plastic. In the center there’s a small built-in compartment that houses a set of reusable plastic utensils. They seem like a random addition at first, but as any brown-bagger knows, it’s only a matter of time until you forget your utensils. Use them as your primary cutlery or as a backup source, but either way you’ll be glad they’re there when you need them.


Size-wise I’d say these are perfect for lunch. You can fit quite a bit into a small space because the compartments are pretty deep. I was able to easily fit a boiled egg with its shell still on in one of the sides compartments, but I could have fit two if I had them (I’m already failing at meal prepping). One thing I need to mention is that the dividers do not reach the lid of the container, so if you don’t carry the containers flat, there’s an opportunity for smaller or runny foods to mix a little. It’s not an issue for me since I carry flat, but it may be a consideration for other people.

Overall, I’m really impressed with the quality of the containers more than anything. The glass is so much thicker than expected and the lid has a really good seal that doesn’t leak. The lid secures in place using four side snaps and it’s super easy to do — even easier than my standard plastic food storage containers. Also, because these are made from high-quality glass, I feel safe putting them in the microwave and keeping food in them for more than a day or two. I think this is going to be a great switch for me, and who knows — maybe I’ll even get the hang of this food prepping thing! Five stars for sure!
5 stars

Ready to make the switch to glass? Get your Asani Glass Meal Prep Containers on Amazon.

If you’re a prepper, what are some of your favorite pre-made meals? Post in the comments and I’ll give them a try!

Calling All Cooks: Thanksgiving SOS

I’m hosting my first Thanksgiving this year, and I’ll admit — I’m freaking out a little bit. I’m a fairly accomplished home chef and I’ve done my fair share of chickens and ducks, but never a turkey. And I’ve never done poultry in a pan without a lid.

Enter panic mode.

I made sure to get my turkey early this year so I would have a decent selection to choose from. We’ll be having 6-8 adults and 3 kids, so I wanted about a 15-16 pound turkey.

Those were gone first.

As I stared at the freezer case of chicken-size turkeys next to giant turkeys that could have been ridden like ponies, I struggled internally over which to buy. An older woman stopped in for a giant turkey — don’t want to leave them hungry she said. A man pulled up a cart and got 2 turkeys — the big ones take forever to cook and dry out, so he buys 2 small ones instead.

Everyone seems to have an opinion. So I sorted through a whole freezer case of turkeys, rating each one on shape and size. I had a towering pile of no’s and a handful of maybes. In the end, I settled on an 18.9 pound monster. My inner nonni told me more was better and I went with it.

I brought my bird home and realized that I didn’t have a single pan in the house that would hold such a turkey. I thought about getting a foil pan, but had terrifying visions of the foil giving out and bending while trying to take the turkey out of the oven, ruining Thanksgiving. We couldn’t have that, so the hunt for a real pan began.

As most hunts do, my quest to find the perfect turkey pan brought me to Walmart. They had an open roasting pan and an electric turkey oven. A quick (ok, not quick) series of text messages to my husband including the pros and cons for each option pointed me towards the open pan.

So now I have an 18.9-pound frozen turkey and an open roasting pan. I also picked up poultry cooking bags, but I’m on the fence about using them. I like the drippings for gravy and I feel like the bags leave a slight hint of plastic (my mother-in-law is partial to them).

I’d like to knock the socks off of my guests and Pinterest has too many opinions. If there are any seasoned turkey chefs on here, PLEASE help! Should I pony up for a lidded roasting pan on Amazon, use the bag or just foil and follow a strict schedule of basting?

Also, can we talk about seasoning? Standard poultry seasoning or is there a special blend that appeals to a wide range of eaters (i.e. traditional and not spicy)?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Real Talk: First Impressions of Thirty-One

I did it. I finally popped my MLM cherry and signed up as a consultant for something. My friends and family are being blessed with constant advertisements for the stuff I’m selling on Facebook and several have discreetly “unfriended” me in an attempt to just make it stop.

I really feel like I’ve made it as a woman now.

The title already gave it away, but I signed up as a Thirty-One consultant. The lucrative 25% percent commission from the get-go was what initially caught my attention, but beyond that, it’s something I’ll also buy. I didn’t want to sign up as a fitness coach (I’m out of shape and hate the shakes), I think Thrive is little more than snake oil, I don’t use essential oils enough to want to invest in a $150+ kit, I’m makeup challenged and I’m too poor to spend $6k on Lula Roe and too smart to put the on-boarding on a credit card. What’s a girl to do?

The Kit

Thirty-One made sense for me because the initial kit is only $99* (Ha, I put the * because for me it was $117 and change. Tax and shipping, yo.) and the kit came with a few things I wanted for myself that totaled over $100 anyway. Basically, the kit was a good investment. The kits change twice yearly, but all contain similar items. You’ll get a large utility tote, a zipper pouch, some sort of purse, a home item, a thermal, a small organization item, etc.

Hidden Extras

In addition to the tax and shipping charges on the kit, there’s one other expense that nobody tells you about — website fees. That’s right, they charge each consultant a monthly fee for their website. It’s $14.95/month. This is optional, unless you want to be able to let people place their own orders. Believe me, you want people to be able to place their own orders!

One other “hidden extra” was the cost of using a scheduling app. I use Cinch Share. It’s $10/month, but it lets me schedule posts for Facebook events. It’s an absolute must-have for Thirty-One parties, particularly if you’re doing the bulk of your business online, like I am.

Start Swell

New consultants are able to earn some bonuses their first 4 months of being with the company by meeting Start Swell goals. In the past, making $600+ of sales in each of the 4 30-day periods would net you some additional 3-4 piece kits. Currently, you get 25% of whatever you sell for the month, provided that it’s at least $500. That’s in addition to your regular 25% commission. You can use that credit to place a “business supply order” which is basically catalogs, order forms, discounted products, etc.

The Start Swell is to deter people (like me) from being a kit napper. A kit napper is someone that just signs up for the heavily discounted kit without any intentions to sell the product. By offering a Start Swell, they encourage people to actually make sales… at least during the first four months.

The Bottom Line

It’s not THAT hard to make money with Thirty-One as long as you have at least one friend that doesn’t already have a dealer. That’s the toughest part since the market is pretty saturated… at least where I live.

Dear PTO: Just Stop. Please.

When my oldest was in kindergarten, I was gung-ho about joining the PTO. I aspired to be like those moms that were always at the school and always knew what was going on… I was ready to volunteer (even though I had two younger kids) and I was pumped.

Then I got a glimpse into the seedy underbelly of the elementary school PTO. Can you say bitches? It was like a real-life version of Mean Girls. The blessed few that made up the board were making some really bad decisions that impacted the entire school. They were the chosen ones that determined which fundraisers would even be discussed, let alone done. (Spoiler alert, I can make a pie for a whole lot less than $17 and there’s a snowball’s shot in hell that I’m going to buy any more scented candles.) There’s zero variation in fundraisers from year-to-year and quite frankly, they suck. In addition to fundraisers, they would choose the school photographer.

This year, the bitch brigade made a very bad decision. Some wanna-be mom with too much time on her hands suggested switching from the very reasonably-priced photographer the school normally uses to Lifetouch. Fricken Lifetouch.

Why would ANYONE want to switch to a “photographer” with a reputation for horrible pictures and extortionary prices is beyond me. When I voiced my opinion that they had board the train to crazy town by picking that photographer, I was told that I can buy 4 wallets online for only $9! Are you kidding me? $9 for 4 wallets? I used to be able to get a decent package of pictures for $21! And that included an 8×10! The best I can do now is to pay $12 for a digital file and print my own 8×10 assuming they don’t put their crappy logo on it or provide a print release.

And bad decisions like this just keep on happening. I can’t believe I ever wanted to be on the PTO. I’m making it my silent mission to screw up their meetings for the rest of the year. I’ll be the naysayer. The devil’s advocate. The one putting the seed of doubt in the other parents’ ears.

It’s going to be a fun year!

Get FREE Stuff from Very Dice


Every once in a while, I like to treat myself. More often than not, I do that by snagging a sticker book or some other planner goodie using a coupon. Unfortunately, even if I can get the sticker book for $10 or less, I often feel guilty, so I’m always thrilled to try an app that offers gift cards or freebies and that doesn’t cost anything to use.

Very Dice is my new favorite app for freebies.

It’s a dice game with a twist. Users start out with 50 free rolls if they use a friend code (need a code? Use mine — 1018348). They roll the dice and the number on the face of the dice is the number of points they get. The points add up and users can exchange points for freebies, like sticker books for their planner or hundreds of other great prizes.

What’s the catch? Rolls are few and far between. It’ll take weeks to earn your first freebie, but it won’t take a ton of effort.  Just tap the screen, roll the dice and watch the points add up. Every day you get more free rolls and you can do other tasks like answer survey questions or watch videos to get more free rolls.

Sound like fun? Sign up using my friend code: 1018348 and get 50 free spins when you join! Friend codes can be entered at sign-up or right after you finish registration.

Very Dice is free to download, free to play and a lot of fun. Download it now and start earning great prizes!

Auto Inspections: A Culture of Lies

I heard recently that 38 states require some sort of yearly auto inspection. Whether that’s a safety inspection or a safety and emissions inspection will vary depending on where you live, but one thing seems to be true regardless of where you look: Lies abound.

It seems that when an individual is forced to buy something by the government, the person selling does everything they can to take advantage of the situation. In this case, people are forced to buy inspections and the people providing the inspections seem to overwhelmingly take advantage of that.

How? Well, inspections require the car to go up on a lift. The only facilities that have lifts are ones that also do auto repairs. From my experience, a good majority of those facilities will tell you something needs to be fixed in hopes that you’ll just get it done at their facility. For example, a friend recently had her car fail because 2 of the tires didn’t have enough tread. The shop offered to replace the tires at a reasonable rate on the spot so she could pass the inspection and get on her way. She didn’t think her tires were bad, but having zero power to question the authority of the shop without getting tagged with a no-drive sticker and paying the inspection fee again, she just agreed to getting the new tires. After all, she couldn’t afford to take a day off of work. Once the new tires were on, she asked to take the old tires home and the shop claimed they had already disposed of them. What? You can’t burn tires or toss them in a trash compactor, so that was just a bold-faced lie and proof that the shop had lied during the inspection to make a quick buck.

This isn’t an unusual story. The state that I live in now has cameras in the shops that are doing the inspections, but a camera on the corner of the wall can’t tell if the tech doing the inspection is lying about the tread left on a tire or whether or not he hears an exhaust leak. Sure, a shop could lose their license if a state inspector goes undercover and brings a perfectly good car in that fails, but the odds of that happening are pretty low. Furthermore, if you get your inspection done at the same place year after year or have kids with you, the inspector can probably figure out that it’s not a random spot check.

Switching to a state-run system, eliminating the no-drive stickers and giving people a more reasonable buffer to get repairs done is usually scoffed at because of the cost. So here’s my plan: Eliminate inspections in every state. It’s much too subjective and puts repair shops in a position to take advantage of low-income families that drive older vehicles. Inspections are not effective at removing truly unsafe vehicles from the roadways, so eliminating them shouldn’t have an impact on the number of accidents. It will, however, boost sales of pre-owned vehicles and help low-income families maintain employment. A win-win for everyone.

5 Tips for Selling Cars on Craigslist

The past week has been a whirlwind. My husband’s car died and it was the type of engine failure where you buy a new car rather than fix the one you’ve got. We are on a shoestring budget and couldn’t scrape together much for a replacement. In our hunt for a cheap car, we found ourselves looking at Craigslist. After scanning literally hundreds of listings for cars and looking at several, I thought I’d put together a few tips for those thinking of selling their car on Craigslist. These tips will help minimize your headaches and get your car sold faster.

1.) Post your vehicle when you plan to be home. New listings get the most views, so post your car when you’ll be around to show it to prospective buyers. Going out of town for a few days? Wait until you get back to post your vehicle. Not available Monday-Friday? Post it on Friday night and show it on the weekend.

2.) Check your messages or answer the phone. However you decide to have people get in contact with you, make sure it’s something you have access to, will check and will respond to. I’d say at least 90% of the ads we responded to either never got back to us or took more than 24 hours to respond. I know you may be flooded with interest, so go ahead and recruit someone else to help respond to messages or set up an auto response.

3.) Include all pertinent information in the ad. If you’re finding yourself flooded with messages to the point that you can’t keep up, you’ve either done a poor job of researching prices OR you didn’t include enough information in your ad. More than once I saw ads that simply had a photo and a year and said, “Contact X for more information”. That’s not acceptable. It takes 5 minutes to write a Craigslist ad. Not sure where to start? Include at least the bare minimums:

  • Year, Make & Model
  • Price
  • Mileage — don’t write 140,000 as 140 in the little form that Craigslist provides because it will screw with the search feature.
  • Any known issues (check engine light is on, needs brakes, power window won’t work, etc.)
  • Any body damage (pictures are helpful)
  • A VIN number so buyers can do a Carfax report
  • Any other important information that you may want to include such as availability to show the vehicle, issues with the tile, etc.

4.) Take new, clear pictures of the vehicle for your ad. I can’t even tell you how many photos of cars were from the wrong season, had kids or animals in them, or were just so grainy that you couldn’t really see the car. I especially liked the nighttime photos that were close-ups of the rear-view mirror or something like that. Were these people drunk when they posted the ad?

5.) Do not be misleading. If you post in your ad that the car has no problems and drives great, it should actually have no problems and drive great. There was one vehicle in particular that we were told had no problems, so we went to see it. After driving an hour to see the car, we found out that it didn’t start (needed to be jumped), had a history of not starting, had problems that would prevent it from passing a safety inspection, needed brakes, needed tires, had a very loud engine noise when driving and probably should have been in the junkyard in the sky. We were upset that we had wasted so much time and gas going up to see the car. If the owner had been straightforward, we wouldn’t have wasted our time or his. Granted, with all of those issues listed, nobody would want to see the car at the price he had it listed at. It was a parts car at best.

Basically, include pictures, include an abundance of information and be available to respond to interested buyers and to show the vehicle. Look at your ad before posting and ask yourself if YOU were looking for a car, would your ad answer all of your questions? If you went to see the car based on your ad, would you be severely disappointed?

Update on Neighbor From Hell

I haven’t updated about the neighbor from hell in quite a while and I thought today would be a good time to do so.

First, I’ll say that a fence WELL WITHIN our property boundaries was one of the best investments we ever made. We lost about 5 feet of land on all sides, but geeze it’s nice to have a physical barrier that keeps him, his guests and any town officials he has over at least a short distance from our house. Seriously folks, fences make the best neighbors.

Now that’s not to say that the fence has solved all of our problems – it hasn’t. Said neighbor is bipolar or something and every now and then he likes to be a jerk. I’m 99% sure he has a camera pointed at our back deck so he knows when we’re outside because every time we set the table for an outdoor meal, he has to mow the lawn or weed whack. Right along the fence that’s closest to the table. For hours on end. He weed whacked the same stretch of 50 feet for 3 hours the last time we attempted dinner outside. That’s not being particular about lawn care, that’s some serious effort at being a jerk. I should mention too that he also has a lawn service, so there’s no reason for him to mow or weed whack in the first place.

Then there was the time he decided to run the gas out of his snow blower next to the fence at midnight. He stopped long enough to refill it. We could have called the town on him, but we chose to be the bigger person and ignore it. We figured if we called the town it would give him some sort of justification in escalating his behavior and quite frankly, he has bought the town off in the past and I’m sure he’d just do it again.

I’ll tell you what, his behavior is annoying at times, but I just remind myself that he’s 30+ years older than I am and odds are that he’ll die first. And when he does, I’m sure hell will throw him a homecoming party.