Normal Mormon Mediation

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

(Psssttt....I'm going out on a limb and trying a new interactive segment that will require a bunch of comments to be posted, so please throw me a bone...or a conflict...and maybe this won't be totally lame.)

Sometimes we are wrong and we know it.

We know it right away without anybody having to point out the obvious.

Take, for example, Ryan Seacrest. Last week nearly every household in the United States saw him attempt to high-five a blind American Idol contestant who had just won a golden ticket to Hollywood. This was a pretty big mistake on Seacrest's part since the only two physical requirements for high-fiving are working limbs and vision. If you pause the video below at the :08 mark you can almost hear Seacrest's brain screaming, "Noooooooooooo!" as his body instinctively sets up for the high five (the quality is poor but it was the only video I could find on the web.)

Seacrest knew that he made a mistake. No question about it. Seacrest, out!

But sometimes we are wrong and we don't realize it, especially when it comes to disagreements we are having with other people. In times like this we need a neutral, objective third party to help resolve the issue. Somebody like a wise old aunt, Locke from Lost, or Judge Judy when she's taking her meds. While I am not as qualified to resolve disputes as a TV judge, I do find myself fairly regularly in situations at work where I am asked to intervene and resolve disagreements. Sometimes both parties are very happy with the outcome. Other times they end up so mad at me that they think I am a heartless, inconsiderate, unfair corporate jerk. Such is the life of an HR Manager.

As a limited-time promotion I am willing to offer my conflict resolution skills to you, the readers of my blog, free of charge! (The jerk-free kind, of course.)

Just post a comment summarizing the issue you are having with somebody else and I will tell you who is right and even offer some sort of wacky, though practical, compromise to help get the problem resolved. Ideally the types of conflicts that you post about will be the humorous, less serious things that come up in our everyday lives as people, spouses, parents, employees, church members, etc. and not the serious, heavy issues that would require a true professional like Dr. Phil, Dr. Katz or Dr. J. For example, here are two of the minor, insignificant, real-world examples that the Normal Mormon Wife and I are working though right now: (Please vote on the right to help us settle these.)

-One of us pronounces the word "coupon" as "q-pawn". The other pronounces it "koo-pawn". Which one of us is correct?

-The NMW and I have incorporated a lot of wheat into our diets to stay healthy (sandwich bread, rolls, etc.) One of us wants to begin using whole wheat pasta for our spaghetti and has seen the kids eat wheat pasta before without batting an eye. The other wants us to keep using traditional spaghetti pasta mainly because of the grainy taste of wheat pasta. We eat a lot of pasta and the health versus taste debate needs to get settled. What do we do?

Ideally there will be enough submissions by the end of this week (Saturday 1/31) that I can address a different issue every day next week. The more submissions I get, the more likely it is that you will have something new to read every day instead of doing your jobs or supervising your children, so please help me out.

At the very least I hope this will lead to an entertaining week-long posting spree. And who knows, this might even help a few people resolve some real-world disagreements. If something good comes out of this then it will definitely be cause for celebration.

High fives for everybody!


Kara said...

In the pasta debate, I propose a compromise. Instead of simply regular or whole wheat pasta, try the middle ground of an enriched pasta product like Barilla Plus. It tastes more like regular pasta, has great texture, and offers some of the same health benefits as whole wheat pasta.

5:41 AM
Kevin said...

My wife and I just bought our first house (hooray) and finally have a back yard. We have always wanted a dog but cannot decide what type of dog to get. Should we get a little house dog or a big back yard dog?

6:03 AM

So, I pronounce it koo-pawn but I have no idea what is correct. And I too recommend Barilla Plus- we only use Barilla pasta because it is the best and when we feel like being healthy we use the plus. And trust me, it tastes fine compared to that nasty whole-grain pasta.

6:15 AM
pigbook1 said...

a mix of the two as in some whole wheat and some normal stuff OR try that pasta they make that is kind of in between

6:39 AM
runningfan said...

My husband and I are expecting our fourth child, a girl, after having three boys. He loves a certain girl name that I hate, but he has his heart set on using it. I think if both parents don't love a name, it's out. He thinks that because he loves it so much, I should give in because "the name will grow on me." We've been debating about this for almost 11 years. Help!

7:16 AM
Olivia said...
This comment has been removed by the author. 7:21 AM
Olivia said...

I can't help you with the pasta thing. sorry. I only eat rice pasta since I have celiac. But good luck anyway.

Here is my dilemma: should I buy a bike, helmet, and kid-trailer or save up my money for a new living room set? My kids are still young and prone to jump on things such as couches, mind you. I'm not sure if I would actually USE the bike, whereas I am 99% sure I would use the couch every day. Also, if you decide I should get the bike, what could I do to ensure that I actually use it? (I know this is not a situation that really needs mediation, per se, but still. I need your opinion.

Thanks in advance.

7:21 AM
Olivia said...
This comment has been removed by the author. 7:21 AM
Olivia said...
This comment has been removed by the author. 7:21 AM
Marcy said...

I do half whole grain pasta and half regular--just mixed all together. It's a good starter, I think.

8:17 AM

I say "coupon" both ways--depends on my mood.

As for the pasta, you might also try alternating types from one week to the next. That way at least one person is always unhappy. (And your kids will be prepared to eat whatever is served to them when they eat at others' homes!)

Now for my dilemma: How do I get my 6-year-old to sleep in his own room despite the fact that he's frightened/driven out by his very noisy 2-year-old sibling/not tired?

8:18 AM
echoeve said...

I think that maybe you should alternate the pasta. Since you eat alot of pasta.

Here is my thing. Why is it always the 'wife' who plans out the dinners. Also if the 'wife' is planning and cooking don't you think the 'husband' should be in charge of the kitchen clean up. Now don't get me wrong I am not saying the 'husband' should do the cleaning up. I am just saying that he should be in charge of the kitchen clean up. If the wife has been in charge of getting, planning, preparing, and serving the meal. The husband should be in charge of cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. We have 5 children. If he thinks that they should do it then he needs to get them. That is part of him being in charge of the kitchen clean up.

Now if he doesn't like it then maybe he should do the getting, planning, preparing, and serving of the dinner and the wife can be in charge of the clean up. right?

8:45 AM
echoeve said...

by the way thanks great post

8:58 AM
Megan said...

Use a tri-colored vegetable pasta like Wacky Noodles. My kids loved them and said we could do it again. You may not be able to find an actual spaghetti noodle, but you can find a pasta. I tried that variety because I had a "koo-pawn".

I prefer the health benefit to the whole wheat pasta, but my husband is actually allergic to whole wheat products. If the NMW can get away with cooking it a bit longer, perhaps some of the extra grit will dissipate. Or, you may just have gritty sludge.

So great pondering NMH: I was pondering the other day about the future... the future when the kiddies are gone. What can my DH and I do now to strengthen our relationship so that when the kidlets are gone, it's not so much of a change to the way we operate as a couple? (After years of trying, I've almost given up hope of a date night...)

8:59 AM
Col.Smeag said...

As most of my conflict resoluotion issue right now deal with financial matters as many Americans face right now I'm going to take a crack at your as a skill negoitiator(serious I can tak anyone out of a Zinger).
coupon=koo-pon... it has to be by the book becasue lets face it coupons usually get stuck hanging on the fridge and you only remember them when you check "DOH!"

Regular past why Mobsters don't eat whole wheat and they're liek the best Italian Cooks ever. I mean when did you ever see some tell a Mobster that his Spagheti and Marinara taste like Highschool Cafateria food. Fo Get about it

9:04 AM
Amanda said...

I have a problem with my sister in law who is constantly complaining about her wifely duties. Shouldn't she just get over it? Say I'm right...

9:05 AM
LOLiTA said...

I say q-pawn. Hubby says koo-pawn. Yes, we're weird. Here's my dilema:

My hubby and I have a disagreement when it comes to how we watch tv/movies together. I like the closed captioning on; he likes it off. This has caused a wedge in our tv viewing, and now we have to watch LOST on seperate tv's; in seperate rooms. Please help unite my family!

9:17 AM
Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author. 9:23 AM
Amy said...

This is something my husband and I have been dealing with for our entire 7 years of marriage:

After work he takes his socks off wherever he is in our home, and then leaves them there.

I've tried everything: asking politely that he take them to the dirty clothes hamper, nag, ignore them until our carpet disappeared under a thick blanket of black and blue and the neighbors asked if we had gotten new alternative flooring, I've thrown them into a pile in the middle of the hallway that he STEPPED over on the way to our bedroom (where the hamper is).

I am tired of asking my husband to take responsibility for his attire, and I am tired of picking up someone else's dirty smelly used socks, even though I love that person very much for other reasons. The last thing I need on a Saturday morning is to walk into the living room and see a trail of dark socks from the entire week stashed in various corners, or strewn in the middle of the room. Its gross and drives me batty. Yet I haven't been able to make a dent in his brain to help him remember to take his socks to the hamper.

Can you help us?

9:27 AM
Tiffany said...

My husband and I also have the coupon debate...and we're both sure that we're right.

We decided to go the whole-wheat route with all of our food not too long ago (if you do switch to whole-wheat pasta, my favorite store ever Costco sells it for the cheapest) and the first couple of batches tasted kind of grainy to me...and then I got used to it and now it tastes delicious (we eat pasta a lot too).

Anyway, for our dispute: my husband is convinced that when I wash dishes by hand, I don't need to use hot water. I think that cold water doesn't do as good of a job. Who's right?

echoeve-I totally agree with you. My husband and I have a deal that whoever doesn't cook has to clean up. It's worked wonderfully in our house. :)

9:32 AM
Sandy said...


Use the whole wheat, then use regular pasta as a special treat on your birthday, or as bribery.

Dilemma: Which is the better way to recycle and save the earth - buy/make 20 of those cloth grocery bags, or use the plastic ones at the store and reuse them at home for garbage can liners in the bathroom?

10:39 AM
Anonymous said...

Why aren't women as funny as men? Why can't we just blatantly tell them that they're not as funny and move on?

10:41 AM
Anonymous said...

Every night without fail, one hour after dinner, my kids claim they are hungy again. If I fix them a snack, they take a few bites and then say they are full. I think that they shouldn't get a snack at night anymore, but my husband thinks they should even though they are wasting it. What do you think??

11:39 AM
Pappy Yokum said...

Dilemma- My wife has had knee surgery to fix torn ACL and miniscus just last year. She plays a lot of sports and a month ago hurt the same knee. The doctor says she is in for a partial knee replacement as soon as things get bad enough that she can't stand it any more. Should she continue playing at her normal pace, knowing that it is highly possible she will need to have the replacement sooner or should she lay off any serious games to prolong the obvious?

11:42 AM
Amber said...

My Dilemma: I am currently a stay at home mom of 4 kids ages 6, 4, and 2 (twins). My husband thinks I should go back to work as soon as the twins hit Kindergarten. I say I deserve at least a year to finally get my sanity back, right? Not to mention that even though all the kids are in school I will still be cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc for 6 people. It just won't be as noisy while I do it. So which of us is right. And, by the way, my income would not mean the difference between living in a trailer park or in a villa by the sea.

One comment about HR guys. You gotta love Toby from The Office, right? Or at least the hate-hate relationship between him and Michael.

11:47 AM
Melinda said...

Q-Pawn! Definitely.

Okay, I like the name Seamus (pronounced Shay-mus), but my husband thinks it sounds like 'shame on us' or if someone sees it they'll say it like see-mus and that either way the boy would get made fun of. Are kids really that mean and is that bad of a name?! :) Thanks!

12:04 PM
Lindsey said...

On the "q-pawn" vs. "koo-pawn" is absolutely "koo-pawn"! Do you pronounce soup "see-oop?" Or coup-de-tat "q-de-tah"? Didn't think so...

12:11 PM
mama cow said...

I loving ly prepared a healthy dinner consisting of whole wheat pasta before I left for work one night. When I got home, exhausted from working while carrying our third child, I found a note that expanded the whole length of the refrigerator. "NO MORE WHOLE WHEAT PASTA". After my husband got to sleep back in the bed again and was no longer afraid of being kicked in the nether regions and we could have a rational discussion about it, I decided I would rather cook meals my husband will enjoy instead of ones he will just choke down! Just thought I would share

1:57 PM
Amy Btw M said...

You realize some of us live and Utah and pronounce Creek "crick" and drop most of our T's if they are in the middle of a word i.e. moun'ain, foun'ain. Anyway, I say it is koo-pawn.

What do you think..I say the last one to get in bed should have to turn off the lamp. My hubby doesn't like to, and complains his shoulder hurts. Maybe I should just invest in the clapper. Do they still make those?

I definitely think whoever doesn't help prepare and cook a meal should be in charge of clean-up, however I am always stuck doing it all.

I have the same trouble with smelly socks and stinky shoes left all over the place. I can't stand when people don't put away their shoes.

Why is it that when something needs to be done the wife always has to ask/nag the husband to do it? How come a husband can't see that something needs doing and just get 'er done. I don't know if you can find me a solution to that, but that is my dilemma.

2:23 PM
Brian said...

Are smores pronounced "some-mores" or "smores"?

Fold/reuse toilet paper or wad?

Put on a sweatshirt or turn on the heat?

Also, on a Dr Phil note: "to MBA or not to MBA in a crappy economy?"

Here's my take on the whole wheat stuff. Just go all-in. Rice, bread, pasta, flour. Be sure you are stocked up on toilet paper to compensate for the extra fiber. I'm convinced that a high-fiber diet is the key to weight loss...your body tells you to stop eating.

4:26 PM
JoEllen said...

Yeah I mix the pastas. Half regular, half whole-wheat, and it's a nice blend but not too earthy. According to Webster's dictionary, both pronunciations are correct of coupon, although it definitely sounds uneducated to say it without the "y".
When is it okay to tell your in-laws you want to have Christmas by yourself? Is it ever okay to tell them not to come visit?

7:14 PM
Andymann said...

My wife is from South Carolina and insists it is a "buggy" and not a "cart" that you use at the grocery store. Please help solve this!

9:07 PM
Joey/Denny/Emma said...

Funny post as always, Andrew. In the same spirit as Ryan Seacrest's gaffe, you may also wish to view Joe Biden, at some town hall meeting, asking a wheelchair-bound gentleman to stand up and take a bow:

7:45 AM
Lindsay said...

I would use a coupon to buy some Grey Poupon.

When my husband leaves clothes all over the house, they stay there until he either washes them himself or puts them in the hamper. For 2 weeks he kept asking me why his blue jeans hadn't been washed, and I would respond "Are they in the hamper?" "No." Finally he cracked and put them in the hamper and washed them!

11:05 AM
Megan said...

Hey Bish... er I mean NMH... What are the top 3-5 questions we should be asking our kids during parental PPI's? And should those be monthly?

4:32 PM

Being Italian, I prefer the regular pasta, but if you have to, I too would say Barilla's an "acceptable" choice that doesn't taste like the whole wheat stuff..nasty. But I still love me some regular pasta...yum.

8:58 PM
Anonymous said...

I was going to make the Poupon quip too. Seriously, q-pawn is an American pronunciation invention, probably a misguided attempt to Frenchify a word that was already French. Koo-pawn is closer to the French pronunciation. You could compromise and both of you could say "koo-pone" with a nasal "n" and sound truly French (and mustardy.)

I recently read that while it's true that whole wheat has more nutrients than white flour, it's NOT true that our bodies easily digest all those nutrients -- so as far as what we actually absorb, whole wheat isn't necessarily more nutritious. It does of course have more fiber, but personally I don't like my pasta to taste like Cream of Wheat, so I'm sticking with white-flour pasta and getting my whole wheat in more appetizing contexts.

So I guess my point is, trust the French and the Italians; they know what they're doing.

My husband and I have had the argument twice that lemon pepper is NOT a standard seasoning for chicken/vegetable soup. He forgot all about the first argument so we had to have a do-over about a year later. Basically I would like him to not add any nonstandard seasonings to any dish that *I'm* cooking without checking with me first. (If he's the chef, he can do what he wants. Although I think he'd be smart to just accept that the kids are more likely to eat the mac 'n' cheese if you serve the peas on the side, not mixed in.) Sometimes he seems to remember my no-surprise-seasonings request for a while, but then one day, bam, he puts lemon pepper in the soup again.

11:44 PM
Tiffany said...

I have one more:
My husband thinks that giving gifts is the most inefficient thing ever--he thinks that you should always just give people cash and let them buy themselves whatever they want, as opposed to assuming that you know what the want. I like to receive gifts every now and then, because I feel guilty spending money on myself when I know it could go towards more important things...getting a gift is a nice surprise. Who's right?

9:52 AM
Ann said...

I was at school with my fellow colleagues discussing "true facts" about Chuck Norris. For example, little kids wear Superman pajamas but Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas. This lead us to a discussion of Texas. Our dilemna is thus: Is Texas considered part of the South or part of the West? Everyone from the West says Texas is in the South while everyone from the South says Texas is in the West. Please help settle this argument. (Saying that Texas is an entity unto itself is a cop out and unsatisfactory.) We would appreciate your input as an objective nonparticipant who grew up in the West, but resides in the South.

11:59 AM
Exasperated said...

My mother and I tend to have a tense relationship at times. (I'm 16.) It's mostly over mindless things such as my bed's not made (What's the point of making it if I'm only going to 'un' make it in 12 hours) and I'm not managing time well. (She belives in get all your work done first, while I operate better with short breaks in between my work). Also, whenever she looks at me, I feel as if she is grading me, and then tells me everything that is wrong with my appearance, even if I'm in the middle of a conversation with her. (Your hair's not combed, shirts not tucked in, did you brush your teeth this morning?) Anyway, these petty arguments that are fundamentally meaningless, tend to stress both of us out in the few hours we do spend with each other a day. She always says to me, "If you just did what I wanted, we wouldn't have to argue.", but I feel like I shouldn't be the only one making an effort here. I understand that she is my mother and I should just do what she says, no questions asked, but I feel like that's just sidestepping the issue I have with my mother, rather than confronting the fact that I believe she is constantly nagging me, and I think she needs to take a step back. I am a 16 year old guy after all.

Anyway, to sum up, I guess you could help me by:

a) Telling me if I'm crazy, or if my mother could back off a little here.

b) Either way, what can I do to maintain a peaceful relationship with my mother during these final 2years I have before going off to college.

Thanks NMH, and your blog is great! (You hooked me with your initial Twilght posts...I'm a HUGE twilight fan, and not afraid to admit it!)

1:52 PM
runningfan said...

I already left a comment/situation for you to mediate, but this morning my husband and I thought of another one! Your expertise as a NMH may uniquely qualify you for mediating this conflict.

We have a very rambunctious 14-month-old who is a terror at church. His wiggly, loud, and ornery tendencies make us the spectacle of every Sunday meeting. The problem was compounded in January when we started attending church from 1-4 p.m.: naptime. We are seasoned parents and quite used to rowdy little boys (we have three), but Gavin severely tests our stamina. Our dilemma is this: is it better to spend three hours of church in the hall or to "tough it out" during Sacrament Meeting and then have one parent take Gavin home for a nap? Either way, one parent misses the entirety of the last two meetings, but the latter option offers a chance at preserving his or her sanity.

11:47 AM
Sarah Jensen said...

Rachel Ray talked about the pasta issue yesterday on some doctor show on Fox or KJAZZ. I'm not sure since I don't normally watch tv, and only did yesterday b/c I'm sick.

She said it's usually the parents that don't like the whole wheat. :)
I only use whole wheat, but we did what she recommended, add a small amount of whole wheat to regular and each time, add more. You will become accustom to it.

That is how we started eating healthy. A little at a time. You know, line upon line type thinking.
I've lost 50 lbs and have kept it off for over 2 years. It's easy if you do it slow.

But the more important issues are do the products have high fructose corn syrup, MSG, or partially hydrogenated oils. Avoid those things the best you can and it helps tons!

Q-pawn is correct.

6:04 PM
Wendy said...

I think you guys should try Ronzoni's Smart Taste Pasta- which has added fiber and protein but is still white pasta. Or better yet, Barilla Plus pasta, which has oodles of nutrition- can you say Omega 3s? Whatever you do, don't mix white pasta and wheat pasta. That sounds really disgusting, what with their very different textures.

I myself haven't used whole wheat pasta in a few years because they all taste like cardboard (and I'm a girl who loves whole wheat bread and such), but I hear they're much better now. I use the two I mentioned above.

4:21 PM
Cpt Naykid said...

Here are some very important options:

How to pronounce "caramel"? Is it "kar-a-mel" or "carmul"

how to pronounce "Washington"? Is it "Wash-een-tun" or "War-sheen-tun"

I live in Oregon and people pronounce these words very differently from what I have heard. I'd like to see a poll on these.

Also, I have definitely lost some respect for Mr. Hanks and Mr. Jackson.

1:08 PM
The Wizzle said...

Another vote for Barilla plus pasta. This is all I use, and my husband has never been the wiser. (You bet your last shiny nickel he would raise Cain if I ruined his favorite mac and cheese with chewy, nutty, Earth Mother-y whole grain goodness).

And I'm very interested to read the Bartle's name poll! That's my sister- and brother-in-law and we've been waiting for this day for a long time.

7:27 AM
Anonymous said...

Here's my problem. My sister-in-law has really bad breath. She is 26, single and really beautiful, but I have a feeling this may be hampering her love life. I keep telling my husband it is his job as her big brother to tell her this. He doesn't want to do it, I don't want to do it. What should we do? What's a tactful way to say, "Your breath smells like you ate a corpse. No wonder no one wants to kiss you."

8:54 AM
Anonymous said...

Dear NMH,

My husband has a serious problem. Everyone around him knows it, we've tried to talk to him about it, but he is in denial. At first we tried to make light of the situation. Then we made excuses for him. Now it is painfully obvious that he needs help but I want to arm myself with as much information as I can before intervention. This brings me to you.

We've all seen it. We've all been exposed to it and many have felt their testimony flicker because of it: Bishoprics sleeping in church. HE SAYS he has early meetings, a hot suit and the three of them are kind of snuggling up there in those theater chairs. I SAY if I can't sleep in church because I'm sitting alone with the kids, neither can you! Besides, seriously! Imagine the meeting at a spiritual high with a teary member pouring her heart out and then the bishop snorts himself awake. It's just not right.

Can you help us?

3:39 PM