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What’s Up Portland!

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Totally Married Podcast

Episode 156

Elizabeth and Andy discuss the major repercussions to her over enthusiastic responses to people before diving into listener questions about whether or not there’s a “girl code” in a friends with benefits relationship, what Andy’s suggestions are for visiting Missoula, MT, if it’s appropriate to take over an elderly dog’s care (or euthanasia) for a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s, what E and A’s feelings are in about living with constant dread about the other shoe dropping in life, if one should pay close attention to social cues during a threesome, and lastly how do you know if a relationship is worth fighting for? Enjoy!


O-Shen Christ says:

The story of Teddy bumping her head on the mirror had me pissing myself with laughter. Mahalo for that!!!!!!! Yes I’m evil!! Frisbee golf!! Lol I first saw that crazy game while living in Bozeman. Must be a Montana thing.

Erin says:

Can we please do an episode devoted to the question “Who exactly is O-Shen Christ?” You’re a totally fascinating character!

O-Shen Christ says:

Ah your too kind Erin! But I assure you I’m very uninteresting. The really cool kids are Elizabeth and Andy! The bring me great joy!:) Aloha

camilla says:

ooh! ooh! Dishwasher! I our house it’s me the lady wife – sorry Andy. It’s never ever a point of worry or bickering, as long as the stuff goes in, I almost always reload it before running it, because I can get twice as much stuff in by using the racks properly – so less washing up – which can only be a good thing πŸ™‚ Also it’s easier to unload that way, I can pick out all the different types of dishes in order, and put them away in bit piles.

But as I say, I never complain at Graham for loading it ‘incorrectly’ or if he loads it madly and runs it, because as far as I’m concerned it’s getting done, and that’s awesome. But then I also was brought up by a mum, who is great, but nonetheless was so specific about how things *should* be done, that all of our jobs around the house became even more of a chore and obstacle to helping her do it, since we would get nagged for doing it wrong and never have the satisfaction of ticking things off before having fun time. Therefore in our house I *relish* that we’re pretty organised and get things done but without worrying about details too much – no folding of the underwear drawers, no afternoons spent doing huge heaps of ironing, no ironing or bed sheets, no polishing or neat stacking of cutlery drawer (I could go on)! As long as it is – or will be – tidy and clean, we’re happy as the day is long.

Also, on dreams, I recently go cut off by a friend telling me how “other people’s dreams are boring to the listeners”, half way through a literally one short sentence summary of a crazy dream I’d had. I carried on, since he’s really in no position to speak, being renowned for talking about himself at length. Anyway, my point was that I’m really interested in people’s dreams, especially people I know well or am very familiar with, because it’s a little insight into their interior life and subconscious which is a source of endless fascination for me πŸ™‚

I’m still completely loving the shows – to be cheesy for a moment, Elizabeth, you come across as such an excellent and very real example of an accomplished woman (yes I’m a femininst), the way you’ve built Totally Laime, and ploughed through moments of doubt in life and work, sharing everything so honestly and frankly is such a gift – and all with barely a break while you had the little lady! As a 35 year old self-employed creative person, with a very similar household (sans baby as I’m indecisive), and often plagued with very similar doubts and worries as you have shared, have found your shows/stories/approach to things very real source of motivation and inspiration to me in so many meaningful ways!

I should probably have put that on itunes… Will do, but back to decorating the living room for now…


Libby says:

1. I feel like I am CONSTANTLY encountering Portland situations. Times where I feel like a dummy for being so enthusiastic or knowledgeable about something and then rather than just being honest, I never go back on it. (Also, I then tend to just disappear–like I would never go back to that coffee shop due to embarrassment). Oh, goodness. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better about it but also… maybe not. It made me feel so happy, Elizabeth, to hear your coffee shop story.

2. To the writer-inner who deals with waiting for the other shoe to drop. I deal with this, too. On a daily baisis. Particularly when things are going really well, I tend to just kind of obsess over it. A few years ago, I started to fall deeply in love with my very best friend. Everything was going right! Everything was just perfect and lovely and of course there were ordinary struggles but nothing big. The better things were going, the worse this got for me. I started having regular panic attacks. I wanted my boyfriend to stay home from work because I just knew he’d get in a car accident on the way. I started getting obsessive about double checking the door locks and clean eating because I feared burglars and cancer. And diabetes. And drive by shootings (in our teeny-weeny town). Finally I started going to therapy. I’m not going to say that I am cured and that I’m able to live every day in the moment or anything like that. But I haven’t had a panic attack in a long time. I learned how to process things better. Learning HOW to push these thoughts away. Maybe not entirely out of my mind but definitely into the background.
I have to say that a few months after I started feeling like “someone I love is going to die–I just know it”, a very very good friend drowned. I always figured that the worry (or “preparedness” as I called it at the time) would help to cushion me from hurt when something did happen. Because I was prepared, right? No. Not at all. I don’t know if it made it worse or not but it certainly did not make it better.

Truth be told, the reason that I went into therapy was because of my love for my beautiful boyfriend. As much as I wanted to hold onto him, I could tell that I was ruining this thing that I was so scared of losing. A self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, I guess. Now that we’re talking about the possibility of marriage, I can feel those same fears sneaking up again but I have the tools to kind of push them back and enjoy this beautiful time in our lives.

It’s not a non-problem. It’s nothing you should feel guilty about. It’s very common. Whether or not you’ve gone through tragedy in your life doesn’t matter. What you’re experiencing right now is very real. Thank you for sharing this because you know there are so many other people out there listening wondering if this issue is worth dealing with. It is.
Continued good tidings to you and your family. πŸ™‚

Mark says:

I’m a dude, and I’m totally with Andy on the dishwasher thing. It’s not a point of contention between me and the wife, but she definitely recognizes it as something about which I have strong opinions. But I lived as the only guy with three female roommates just a few years ago, and I was annoyed and baffled by their dishwasher loading styles. We went through a lot of bowls in that apartment, and the dishwasher had like 3 spots where bowls would fit. SO WHY WOULD YOU PUT A PLATE IN ONE OF THOSE SPOTS?!? WHY!?!

Also, the wine glasses were too big to fit on the top rack, so one roommate’s solution was to put them in ON THEIR SIDES. DO YOU HAVE ANY UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE DISHWASHER WORKS????

G says:

I lived in Missoula for five years, and have some tips! It’s a wonderland until you have to listen to everyone talk about their naturopath/dietary intolerance/ rock climbing route/ hunting license/ Chaco sandal tan for the millionth time.

Anyway! The wonderland:

– Stay at the Double Tree. Pool and unlimited fresh chocolate chip cookies at the front desk. Heck, just go and pretend you are a guest..

– Bernice’s Bakery and Le Petit Outre have the best sweet treats

– Butterfly Herbs is a little apothecary/tea shop that is basically magic. It has walls full of jars of herbs and tables full of little treats and treasures.

– Go for a walk in Greenough Park or on Waterworks Hill. I used to put a lawn chair in the middle of the river in Greenough and just sit there and read magazines. OR go hike up Mount Sentinal (“the M”) or Mount Jumbo “the L”

– Best beer is at the KettleHouse. There are two of them now. Both are great.

-The Farmer’s Market is where all of Missoula’s social life happens. It’s great (on Saturday mornings, I think)

– If you want to feel like a local, get a burrito at one of the 75 burrito joints. Biga Pizza has amazing wood fired pizza and basil lemonade. The Pearl and Scotty’s Table are the fancier places, and they are great.

– Like Andy said, you might be able to see some top-notch hacky-sack or slack lining in the Oval on Campus. You can also see white water kayaking right in the middle of town at Brennan’s Wave.

– The Big Dipper has the best ice cream. All my tips are about sweet treats.

– Etc: there are summer movies projected against a school in town, hot springs just an hour or so away, and s pretty darn nice art museum.

Enjoy Missoula!!!!!

Steve says:

Hey folks,

Writing in response to the writer-inner and her issues with constant fear and dread and waiting for the other shoe to drop, etc. I think the term you guys were groping for in the podcast was “anxiety”.

I can only speak for myself here, but these constant worries and fears in me were diagnosed as Generalized Anxiety Disorder. So, what I do is go to therapy and I also take an anti-anxiety medication called buspirone. A year plus into therapy and meds, it definitely seems to be more manageable, but I still find myself with constant nauseating dread at times, and paralyzing fear or simple stuff like logging into my bank account website or whatever. I am currently doing a gradual increase in medication dosage in order to try to control it a little better.

Therapy and analysis has been very valuable to me. Before going to therapy, issues like depression, OCD, and anxiety all seemed like one thing that was wrong with me. Like, it took therapy to even realize that depression and anxiety aren’t the same thing, and that they both get treated separately and one could get better or worse independent from the other.

Ana says:

I’ve also heard of this form of anxiety being called “catastrophizing.” I myself have a little cocktail of anxiety disorders including catastrophizing, social anxiety, and OCD. Usually it’s minor, and I can deal with it with therapy, meditation, running, and yoga. But there’s a lot going on right now, so I’m taking a low dose of medication as well.

I’m also an enthusiastic listener, like Elizabeth, but my way of responding is even stupider. I just nod a lot. I’m trying to be like, “oh, yeah, I hear you. Cool.” But a couple of people have responded to my nodding like it’s distracting. They’ll say like, “oh, you agree? You’ve done that/seen that, etc. too,” and then I’ll have to be like, no, sorry, I’m just a voracious nodder… ugh!

chelsie says:

My hubby is soooo bad at loading the dishwasher! It drives me crazy. I come behind and have to re-organize it so the dishes will get clean and in the process, can usually fit more dishes in there as well. So, I have to disagree with Andy that this is an issue typical of wives.

BTW, bad move, Andy, bringing up the mirror/head incident….

Andy Z says:

I am a man, and I am the master of my dishwasher.

My wife gives it her best shot, but when it comes down to it, my years of playing Tetris have better equipped me to stack in a space-efficient, but always water-exposed way.

Her father has said that I’m the only person he’ll allow to stack his dishwasher at family functions. That’s a massive compliment.

Oh, and you mentioned Melbourne/Australian listeners recently. I’m one of those.

Kat says:

Unhelpful anecdote on the ‘girl code’ thing … for a lot of years, my rule was basically, “If I don’t know the girl, it’s not my problem.” I had a FWB for a little bit and I knew he had a girlfriend but I didn’t know her at all or even have mutual friends, so as far as I was concerned I wasn’t doing anything to her (if it wasn’t me, it was some other girl he was going to cheat with, and I wanted on that D).

In college there was this guy, this *adonis* that I coveted every time I saw him in class. I knew he had this girlfriend and she was in the same class with us. As the semester went on, I became friendly with them both. One night at a party, the hot guy leaned down and kissed me on the cheek. Everything in me wanted to invite him to join me for a drink in my apartment, but I started to think about his girlfriend whom I’d started to get to know, and I demurred, leaving the party and feeling super sorry for myself but also proud of my ovaries-before-brovaries resolve. The next day I found out that they had broken up, and by the time I had another opportunity to pursue him, they had gotten back together and I’d missed my window to hit it. Six years have passed since then and I seriously regret not getting on that.

Moral of the story: bone hot dudes when you’re still young enough to have access to them

Dominic says:

I have to say, concerning “girl code”, it’s more about how the writer-inner feels about herself rather than how she’s going to feel about the other girl.

She doesn’t know the other girl at all, but she seems to have an unspoken respect for the other girl. I can respect the idea of “Go for it”, but I feel like she might want to consider her own relationship to the guy or just the guy himself.

It feels like the guy is using her, which is totally okay if she’s okay with being used, but I have to wonder how she feels about it if she mentions that he’s been unfaithful with her before and so she sort of “broke Girl Code” without knowing it.

To me it’s more a matter of the long-term.

Is she going to be okay with the fact that he’s using her? Is she okay with any potential fallout that comes her way when the relationship goes belly-up? Is she going to be okay if they decide to work it out and she becomes his dirty secret?

But more importantly, is she going to be okay with this happening again? He’s proven that he’s willing to cheat with her if a relationship isn’t going his way. So, I wouldn’t overlook the possibility that if he finds himself in a new relationship and it starts to fail, that she’s going to be his go-to other woman.

For me, it would be less about how the other girl feels (since you don’t know her but you might hurt her) and more how I feel about being the speed dial mistress, and knowing that it’s probably a matter of time before I’m back in the same position. At that point, it becomes less about her, and more about my own mental state if I’m stressed out enough to write in for advice.

It’d be simpler if there was some kind of resolution, but you may just be leaving the door open for him. And you have to be okay with that, or continue to say no.

Bridget says:

I agree with a lot of this. Did I just hear wrongly, or did she say something about this guy’s ‘snuggles’, which kind of suggests that the relationship is ticking some emotional bonding-type boxes for the writer-inner. I think she should bounce. Who wants to be his fall back position?

Laila says:

I think it would be totally funny and charming if, in future Portland situations, you just laughed and said “Nope, never been there, I just really got really excited thinking about it!” That would be awesome.

Derek says:

Andy, I am definitely on your side with the dishwasher topic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rearranged the dishwasher after my wife has loaded it! Over the years though I’ve learned to do it while she’s not around because god forbid I correct the way she does it!

Chrissy says:

To the writer in-er who is waiting for the other shoe to drop I would recommend googling Brene Brown, foreboding joy. She talks about how many of us are avoiding feeling vulnerable by always expecting the worst. If we never let ourselves be happy, we can never be disappointed either. Many people who have experienced extremely devastating situations wish they would have just let themselves feel joy in the moment instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m not sure if this is what is going on for the writer in-er but I certainly relate to this feeling of expecting the worse when all is going *too* perfect.

Jennifer says:

Dishwasher. Never had one growing up and my husband grew up with an opiated dad who has an order for loading the dishwasher. Didnt even know there was a space for shallow cups. Long way of saying my husband is better at loading.

Question: where do you put the bowls and small plates? Top or bottom rack?

PT says:

I, the wife, am totally the one who is crazy about the dishwasher in my household. It is one of the hardest responsibilities for me to delegate because I am so particular about how it has to be done. All like dishes must be grouped together, perfectly lined up, etc. I’ve even been caught rearranging other peoples dishwashers from time to time… I feel you, Andy!

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