Anonymous Mailbag

It’s anonymous mailbag Tuesday live from the Super Bowl.
The anonymous mailbag is brought to you by my guy Ryan Kelley at The Home Loan Expert. It’s a new year and now is the time to get prequalified for a mortgage in just five minutes. Yep, five minutes. That way if a house suddenly goes on the market and you want to be able to bid on it, boom, you’re ready to go. Plus, did I mention it only takes five minutes? How many of you have been holding off on doing this just because you think it’s going to take too long?

Most of you.

Well, guess what, it couldn’t be any easier.

Go get qualified today.

Send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Okay, here we go:

“Need your opinion here.  My only brother recently just told my family that his wife has been having an affair for months. She has been banging one of her co-workers since October and he just found out via the guy’s wife who contacted him. They have 2 kids, 4 & 3 years old, and it’s a total mess. My brother is already looking into the divorce process, but my sister-in-law is a frekin’ lunatic and he is afraid he is going to get screwed in court despite her infidelity because more times than not, the guy usually does.

Last night, my brother texted me and my parents asking us for now to pretend that we do not know what happened and to be cordial to his wife when we see her.  When I asked why (I want to absolutely unleash my fury on her and he knows that), he replied that he is really worried that his wife will become spiteful and angry during the divorce process and push hard for custody of the kids if my family turns our backs on her.  He is hoping that despite getting cheated on, if he handles it correctly, she may realize she was the one to f*ck things up and not crush him as hard in court proceedings and he can move on with his life.
While I know these are my brother’s wishes during this tough time, I am wrong here to be super pissed off?  This bitch is putting my brother through hell and back and I gotta pretend that I don’t know what happened when I see her? Just a really brutal spot to be in. Got any words of wisdom?”
You 100% have to keep your mouth shut.
While I don’t think your brother should have even told you all these details, since he did you definitely have to respect his wishes and stay silent about the fact you know.
Furthermore, as angry as you are at your brother’s ex-wife your feelings really aren’t remotely important in this situation. I understand they may be important to you, but your interests pale in comparison to the interests of your brother and his two young kids.
Your brother rightfully believes that his wife going crazy will complicate an already awful situation, potentially leaving him in worse shape with his family and with his finances.
If you tee off on his soon to be ex-wife you may convince her that she’s the real victim here. (I’m sure she’s already working up a reason why her cheating was a response to her husband’s lack of interest or respect for her. Maybe she’s even, in her mind at least, thinking of her husband’s unsupportive family as the reason.) If you go off on her and she becomes aware that her husband shared the family’s dirty laundry with his brother and his parents what incentive does she have to make the divorce proceeding painless? She may well assume that everyone else already knows what she’s done and make the divorce even worse.
Plus, there are two young kids in the middle of this mess now too. Those kids are three and four years old. They will have no comprehension of what is going on in their family life, but will just understand that their routine is being horribly upset and they will certainly see the tension between mom and dad before their parents ultimately move to two different homes. That’s an incredibly stressful situation for them to be in and even if their parents hate each other right now, they’re going to have to interact for the rest of their lives? Why make it worse for them?
In your head it may seem like you should have a starring role in this family drama, but you’re completely wrong. Your only role is to be a good, supportive brother for your brother and a good, supportive uncle for your two young nieces or nephews.
While I’m sure it’s difficult for you and your parents you need to keep your mouth completely shut and pretend you know nothing at all. In fact, where necessary, I think you may even need to lie here to help your brother. For instance, if you are around his ex-wife while it may pain you to do so saying, “(Insert brother’s name here) won’t tell us anything at all about why you guys are breaking up, but we’re really disappointed to see it. Let me know if I can help you at all.”
Yep, this is a lie, but it actually makes your brother seem more gallant than he actually was. If you share this lie with her, it might even help to thaw her frozen heart. Remember, as the cliche goes, revenge is a dish best served cold. You’ll have years and years ahead to let this woman know what you really think of her, now is not the time.  (And, honestly, given the fact that she’s always going to be your nieces and nephews mom, it may never be the time for you to decide to tee off on her.)
“My wife literally shoved a stick she had just peed on in my face 4 hours ago. (3 am our time) 
She is now pregnant with our first. 
Any advice for a very nervous father to be?”
My oldest son just had his eleventh birthday so about 12 years ago I was in your exact same position.
I try to keep my advice simple in situations like these because most people provide voluminous advice:
1. Take a babymoon.
Seriously, trust me on this. You have no comprehension for how much your life will change. You think you do, but you really don’t. So take a babymoon for sure and relish the final time the two of you have together.
2. Save up money for a night nurse if possible.
The toughest thing about having a baby is the lack of sleep. I honestly think instead of baby showers, everyone should just put the money they’d give you for baby clothes into having a night nurse hired once a week — or more — for a few months instead.
Giving you (and your wife) the opportunity for a good night’s sleep will be the most valuable commodity you can possibly imagine in the weeks and months ahead of you.
3. Work on a family budget before the baby is born.
Kids are insanely expensive.
Having conversations about the expenses involved in work and child care before a baby is born will help to ease the stress. Once the baby is born you’ll both be frazzled and more prone to argument. Before the baby is born is actually the perfect time to plan ahead for things other than what color walls the nursery will have.
4. As the dad, you are a bit player in this family drama.
Understand that this is the wife and baby’s show. You’re a small part, at best in this family production.
5. Finally, my wife absolutely loves this book and swears by it.
“I am an assistant coach for my daughter’s 2nd and 3rd grade rec. basketball team. At this age, the play is pretty sloppy and the referees don’t call a lot of travels, double dribbles, etc. unless they are particularly egregious. This past weekend was the last weekend of the regular season and it was announced before our game that they were going to be calling the game tighter. I wasn’t happy about this because it would have been nice to know before our practice this week, so we could emphasize this to our team.
Anyway, we had one of the head referees of the whole rec. league working our game. He hadn’t worked any of our other games. He called the game TIGHT, like we’re talking college level tight. On one of our possessions in the 2nd quarter, he called a travel on our team because our player got up from the floor without dribbling the ball (which IS a travel, I know), but that hadn’t been called all season. Not too long after that, one of the opposing team’s players got up from the floor without dribbling and no travel was called.
A few seconds later, there was a stoppage in play for a foul. I stood up and loudly said something like, “she got up from the floor without dribbling. Why didn’t you call it?” The referee looked over at me and T’ed me up, saying something like, “Criticizing the official. Technical foul. And, sir, you have to sit down and not say anything for the rest of the game.”
This really pissed me off so I said, “Okay, fine, I’ll just leave then,” and I started walking around the side of the court to the bleacher area. He said to me, “No, sir, since you took yourself off the bench, you have to leave the whole gym.” I walked out with a fleeting “Call it both ways” comment.
My wife was working, so she wasn’t at the game. When I told her what happened, she became very upset. She can’t believe that I would get a technical foul in a youth basketball game. She is upset that, because I left the gym, it meant no one from our family was there to see our daughter play the rest of the game. She is upset that I embarrassed our family in public. She feels like she has to explain to our kids that how I acted is not appropriate.
In hindsight, I regret walking out of the gym. I should have stayed and just sat there. But, I don’t apologize for criticizing the referee. No matter what sport at what level, I believe the game should be called fairly and evenly. I talked with our head coach after the game and he said that the referee apologized, for what it’s worth.
Clay, as a father and a sports guy, I want to know how you think you would have handled the situation.”
Oh, man.
This is such a great (and uncomfortably funny) dad story. Were you just sitting in the car in the parking lot by yourself while the rest of the game was being played? That’s phenomenally awkward — and hysterical — too.
Tell me you wouldn’t watch any movie — or keep reading any book — that began with a dad getting kicked out of a six and seven year old girl’s basketball game for complaining about officiating calls?
But let’s analyze this situation and begin here — you’re the assistant coach. The assistant coach should NEVER get kicked out of a game the head coach isn’t kicked out of first. So you were out of line in stepping in front of the head coach to make this complaint in the first place. Arguably, in getting kicked out of the game, you actually showed up the head coach too, something an assistant should never do.
Second, I think you have to factor in the ages of the kids here when you assess your own behavior. Believe me, I know how frustrating it can be to coach little kids like this. How hard do you coach and how much attention, if any, do you spend on the calls made by officials?
To me, the age is the key. The older the kids, the more you can work the officials.
To be fair to this official, it’s almost impossible to consistently officiate a game featuring little kids. I understand that consistency and equal treatment is the goal, but after a while it’s impossible not to be lenient because every single play is a walk or a travel in little kid basketball. (I’ve coached little league baseball and little kid basketball and basketball is way tougher because it’s much harder for a kid to consistently dribble, pass, and score the basketball than it is to hit a ball off a tee — or from a coach pitch — and run the bases. Honestly, it’s not even close. Basketball is WAY harder for kids to do.)
Last year we lost a little league baseball game featuring ages seven and eight — still coach pitch — when one of our kids was called out for running out of the base path to avoid running into a infielder trying to field the ball. It was literally the final out in what would have been a tie game — the tying runner was crossing the plate on the play — with our best hitter on deck next and the bases set to remain loaded.
I think it was totally the wrong call and it absolutely cost us the game.
But I didn’t say a word.
Because I was thinking, first, is the umpire going to change the call? I think the answer was no. And second do I really want to be the assistant coach who gets kicked out of a little league game for protesting a call? Does it really matter that much that the correct call was made in this game? What would my kid remember more, the result of this game, or his dad getting kicked out of the game protesting a call? And there was zero doubt, it would have been me getting kicked out of the game which is why I didn’t say a word.
Having said that, I’m not coaching basketball this year and my wife said I’m yelling instructions out to our eight year old too much from the bleachers this year. Why do I yell out instructions to him? Because when I tell him to get back on defense, pick up his man, or pass the ball, HE DOES IT!
He plays better when I coach him, this is indisputable. (All of my coaching is basic, guard your man, pass the ball, get back on defense, things that young kids often forget to do without encouragement in the course of the game. I’ve been trying to get these kids to run back on defense for three years and STOP THE BALL AND THEY STILL WON’T DO IT IF “THEIR MAN” DOESN’T HAVE THE BALL AND IT IS SLOWLY DRIVING ME INSANE, PICK UP THE GODDAMN BALL, ASSHOLES but I digress).
Anyway my wife got on me so much for yelling out instructions to our son — and our son asked me to stop yelling out instructions too — that now I’m only allowed to tell him something at the ends of the quarters. (My wife is also big on playing the, “People know who you are. They know your voice. You can’t say anything,” card. So she’s holding me to a different standard than the average dad, which I argue isn’t fair either.)
So what I’d suggest here is you apologize for getting kicked out of the game, but not for pointing out what you think is an error by the official. I think you just sit down your kids and say, “Listen, one of the jobs of a coach is to make sure that an official is calling the game fairly for both teams. The official missed a call — that he’d made against our team — and I was frustrated that he did that so I called him out on it. Then he gave me a technical foul, which is his right even if i think that technical foul call was wrong too. I should have listened to the official then and understood I was hurting the team and sat down and been quiet, but instead I didn’t and I made the situation worse. The lesson here, which dad still needs to learn too, is even if an official is wrong you still need to listen to him. I didn’t and I was wrong and I apologize to you guys for that.”
Boom, I think your kids will understand your explanation here and it will probably make your wife happy too.
I bet if you talked to the official he knew he’d missed that call and he didn’t need an asshole coach pointing it out to him. Plus, put yourself in the mind of the official here, is there any tougher game to officiate than one like this? So he overreacted as well to your criticism, but he was also in a really difficult situation.
Honestly, while funny, your reaction to the initial technical foul was also so bitchy, I’d want to kick you out of the game too.
“I love my wife and kids but I am burnt out. I work two jobs and most of my co-workers are lazy. I am a federal employee so no one has any initiative. I have one guy that does absolutely nothing. I dream of going somewhere else but I love the security. I don’t have any free time because I have kids, and my wife is pregnant.
My other job is ok. I don’t love either one honestly. I don’t have any dreams. Every time I think I love something the fear of failure crushes it. I would have to be a moron to leave my cushy government job for something else right? It’s just not my personality to do nothing all day and take a paycheck. I also can’t put a plan together to launch.
I have to wonder if this is it. My kids make me smile and keeping my family happy is my main priority. How do I find my spark in the world? I haven’t found anything worth buckle down and and going after.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with working to keep your family happy.
Zero.
That’s the reason most people in this country, and this world, work.
Loving your job is great, but the downside can be that you work all the time. This is something I struggle with. Maintaining a work life balance is a challenge for tons of parents out there. But the one benefit to not liking your job is you’re probably not going to work too much. The minute you can leave, you will.
This is why my friends who are federal employees say the minute the clock hits five the entire building clears out. Most people aren’t working that hard there and they don’t fear getting fired so they bail the minute the clock hits five.
If you don’t like your job very much this just ensures that your priority is where it should be — with your family.
You don’t have to find your passion in work, in fact, many don’t. Most people work to live as opposed to living to work. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.
Maintaining a job that ensures your family is taken care of should, I think, be the number one priority of most parents in this country. There’s nothing wrong with taking a risk to try a new job, but if you don’t want to take that risk, that’s perfectly acceptable too.
If you’re providing for your family thanks to a safe and secure job — even if then you don’t like it very much — then I don’t think you need to feel bad about that because your job is allowing you to take care of your family, which is ultimately why most people work.
“My sister’s roommate and best friend is really hot, and multiple people have told me we have chemistry. Should I consider her off limits?”
Of course not.
The better question is, does she consider you off limits? It’s every bit as awkward for her to date you as it is for you to date her.
What you’d have to keep in mind here is that this isn’t likely to be a casual relationship. So I’d only pursue her if you’re legitimately interested in dating her in a serious relationship.
Having said that, I actually think it’s easier for your sister if the two of you just hook up and nothing serious ever comes from your relationship than it is if you get serious and then eventually break up.
So I’d counsel taking it very slow here and trying to find other hot girls to hook up with first.
Send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.
Comments

Get the Daily Outkick

* indicates required