Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Dearest and most Beloved Readers,

We took yesterday off out of respect for the Indigenous People of our great nation, as well as to celebrate Japan's Health and Sports Day. A. Jane Doe commemorated the day by going to Ikea with her boyfriend for the first and last time (his shopping habits do not complement hers, alas), while, on the opposite coast, JSGS stuffed herself on mediocre breakfast food at a midwestern-style eatery called STACKS.

Please don't worry: we will post soon. Stay tuned, Dearest ones.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Hiding under the dining room table helps no one.

Be firm!
About a month ago, an entire family of Jehovah's Witnesses came to my front door (A. Jane Doe, I may have told you about this). I think the doorbell woke me up from a nap (this is a very safe assumption), so I was pretty hazy when I answered the door. The husband and wife were really nice, and their kids were super cute, so I told them my name (they asked) and took their pamphlets, knowing all along that I would just bring them to work.

Trouble is, they came back today. My boyfriend answered the door and yelled, "Some lady is here for you!" She gave me more pamphlets and said she'd come back later. How do I stop her from coming back without being rude? I don't want to lie about belonging to another faith, because I don't, really, and I feel like lying about that sort of thing is just bad karma.

What do I do?


JSGS: Our Dear Reader has found herself stuck with the "albatross" of a Jehovah's Witness Visitor who has taken our DR's kindly welcoming gesture for a sign that our DR wishes to be "saved."
JSGS: And the JWV is likely to be persistent, as the tenets of her faith dictate.
AJD: Our Dear Reader, being a polite, kind, empathetic woman whose parents raised her to treat others with respect and courtesy, struggles to make it clear through body language and/or tone of voice that she wishes to be left alone.
JSGS: You know, our DR deserves a commendation. When my long-suffering mother didn't want to participate in the census, she would order us to hit the deck as soon as she saw the man in the driveway and we would be forced to pretend no one was home, often while eating our cereal under the dining room table.
JSGS: However.
AJD: I will not deny that my mother, a good, kind Christian woman, employed the same tactics on one or another occasion.
AJD: Not with the census-takers specifically, but with the Witnesses. And the petitioners.

JSGS: The Jehovah's Witnesses believe that in order to hasten their return to that Great Blackjack Table In The Sky, they need to actively proselytize. That doing so allows people to use the Bible to improve their lives. And that doing so is an Emphatically Good Thing.
JSGS: This so-called social ministry is hugely important--not just a job or a rainy-day activity.
JSGS: So I suspect that, given the merest whisker of a whimper of a flicker of interest on the part of a door-opener, the JWV hopes ardently to land that soul hook, line, and sinker.
JSGS: Thus the persistent return.

JSGS: Despite the dictates of social decorum, our DR's response was exactly wrong.
AJD: It is my opinion that our DR ought to've, upon opening the door to find the JWV before her, said, very firmly and politely, "Thank you for your interest, but I am sustained and fulfilled by my own personal faith. I am not interested in exploring any other faith. Do take care."
AJD: Or something along those lines.
JSGS: I agree, AJA.
JSGS: And I believe the DR will need to recite same when her Visitor returns.
JSGS: The thing of it is, while being too welcoming can be misinterpreted, everyone deserves our respect, especially if they're acting in accordance with their religious beliefs in ways that don't harm us.
AJD: Absolutely.
JSGS: You need not cotton to the dogma they're peddlin', but for heaven's SAKE (literally? figuratively? I'll leave it for you to figure out) don't slam the door in someone's face.
JSGS: I know that in this Internet Age we find knocks at the door unexpected and unwelcome, but still, people. Manners!
AJD: Perhaps we should craft a simple formula for our Dear Readers to consult in the event they, too, encounter a persistent proselytizer.

Polite Greeting + Expression of Gratitude (however genuine this gratitude is, one must determine for oneself, but one must express some thanks for the efforts of the Visitor) + Firm Refusal of the Visitor's Offered Assistance + Friendly, But Not Too Familiar, Goodbye.

JSGS: If the Visitor is overly persistent, one can + really, no thank you.
AJD: I must confess, I am not completely certain how to most effectively express to the Visitor that one would rather he or she not return.
AJD: Do you have any suggestions, JSGS?
JSGS: Well, one might add to the door a small, tasteful sign that says "No solicitors, please."
AJD: Ah! That is an excellent idea.

AJD: While it may seem, Dear Reader, that our advice is applicable only during the initial encounter with a Jehovah's Witness Visitor (or, really, any other Visitor to one's home), be assured that it is not.
JSGS: Indeed not.
AJD: You can certainly use this same formula, with little modification, on a second or third interaction. You must always take care to be polite and firm.
JSGS: Therein lies the key: polite and firm.
JSGS: If a solicitor continues to visit without invitation and he or she is not of the JWV sort, ask for the contact information for his or her supervisor so that you can officially request the curtailing of visits. (The JW works for God, y'all.)
AJD: And while you technically could ask God/Jehovah to intercede, we cannot guarantee that Ze will come through -- Ze is very, very busy.
AJD: Perhaps you are best served summoning up your own strength and addressing the situation your own self.
JSGS: Indeed, AJD. Indeed. Wise words for us all.

AJD: You can do it, Dear Reader.
AJD: Remember: Polite and Firm.

AJD: My dear JSGS, kindred spirit, bosom friend, I have missed this blog - and all of our Dear, devoted Readers - so terribly. We have been remiss in our duties, and it is essential that we return to a regular posting schedule.
JSGS: I was just thinking the same, dear one. Perhaps we can vow to our readers that they shall find new advice upon visiting us each Monday morn?
AJD: We are agreed, and we shall see you here again in one week, Dear Readers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The most legendary of all birds, according to The Handbook of Birds in the World.

Dear Beloved Readers,

Welcome to Part Two of the Query submitted by a Reader currently pressed upon by the weight of hir Albatross Friend. You will recall, of course, Part One of our response; in the event that you have been distracted of late and have not paid Crisis Averted the attention it deserves, you can locate the aforementioned post here.


JSGS and A. Jane Doe


AJD: We left off with the Scenario in which AF is flawed. Perhaps fatally.
JSGS: And none but you, kind soul and Dear Reader, have been able to tolerate that flaw. Thus far.
AJD: Which is good of you, and kind, but surely wears on the nerves. Addressing that flaw is difficult. It requires sensitivity and compassion.
JSGS: And, also, an ability to force yourself to overcome the panic slash inertia.
AJD: Right. So take some deep breaths, DR, and remember that you are doing the right thing - for yourself and for your AF. It is best to address this Fatal Flaw in a quiet, neutral space. And it is essential that you take action as soon as possible, because if this goes on much longer you might be tempted to say something or do something in front of others, which would result in nothing good.
JSGS: Don't blindside.
AJD: And, for the love of god, don't say anything like "I am not the only person who has noticed this". There is nothing, nothing, NOTHING kind about that. It serves no useful purpose. Unless you consider "Making You Look Like An Asshole" a useful purpose.
JSGS: Also skip "I don't want to hurt your feelings, BUT," because that makes it sound like . . . you do want to hurt zir feelings. SCRIPT, Dr. Phil style, "AF, I wanted to talk to you about something. I've noticed that you tend to CREATE A PIT STINK WHEREVER YOU GO/RESPOND WITH CUTTING SARCASM NO MATTER WHAT/TURN EVERY CONVERSATION INTO ONE ABOUT YOU and it's very hard for me and for our friendship."
AJD: This is an excellent time to practice the ol' "I Statement".
JSGS: So use the I-statement and underscore that you LOVE the AF and want to HELP the AF "repair your relationship." If the AF is worth any salt at all, zie will be really eager to change, really grateful for your help, and really sad that zie has hurt you.
AJD: And if not? If zie gets super defensive or attacks you?
JSGS: Stay calm and cool.
AJD: You are, then, dealing with Scenario 3: AF has serious problems and can not or will not accept offers of help. This is a tough scenario, but not an unusual one. It is difficult to recognize that you have a problem - denial is far easier.
JSGS: And here the strategy is clear: Communicate clearly--don't let yourself be interrupted--and express that while you love AF, the friendship has become unhealthy for you.
AJD: Offer whatever help you can, within reason, remembering that you deserve all good things [YDAGT] and that you cannot change someone who does not want to change.
JSGS: And don't let zie continue to abuse you. Gently end the conversation, and don't engage by answering the phone or responding to emails.
AJD: Our 4th Scenario is, I believe, the easiest to resolve. If your AF is a Boundary Abuser, you must set strict boundaries and practice saying "No".
JSGS: But there's a dash of Scen 3's defensiveness until AF gets the drift.
AJD: Make your way through that defensiveness by sticking to your boundaries - or go back to Scenario 3's solution. Be kind, be compassionate, and walk away if you are being abused.
JSGS: And when you articulate those boundaries, you can and probably should make them about you and your needs, not AF's bad habits.
AJD: Dear Reader, remember: YDAGT. AGT. If AF is not a GT, it is time to be clear, kind, and firm - and walk away.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dead Weight?

Dear, dear Readers:

We have returned! And oh, how we have missed you. We cannot believe over a month has passed since last we solved your problems. We have been tremendously busy in that time, and we have big news to share with you: On June 20, our very own JSGS married her beloved in San Francisco's City Hall. AJD was unable to attend, as she lives 3,076 miles away, but she was there in spirit and is delighted beyond measure about the blessed nuptials.

We have not forgotten you, Dear Readers, nor your questions. We are thrilled to be here with you and to get back to the business of solving your problems - one gchat at a time.

Thank you for reading. Now, on to the questions!

All our love,
JSGS and A. Jane Doe


I recently ran into an old friend - well, technically, a friend of a friend - who promptly struck up a conversation with me. My mama raised me to be polite, so I did my very best to interact with hir in a jovial manner, but I was exhausted pretty quickly and attempted to excuse myself … to no avail. Zie followed me around, talking and talking. I couldn't bring myself to be rude and tell hir to skedaddle, so zie and I spent most of the day together. Now zie’s everywhere I turn, it seems, and I feel like I'm going to snap. I'd rather handle this situation like a grown-up, but - how the hell do I do that?

JSGS: so AJD, what DO you do with an albatross friend?
AJD: Well, here's the thing. I worry, sometimes, that I am the albatross draped so heavily about the neck of my Dear Friends.
JSGS: Are you turning the question around to ask what you would do with yourself?
AJD: Yes, I suppose I am.
JSGS: If you were a hot dog, would you eat yourself?
AJD: Keeping in mind the Golden Rule and all. And, yes. Hell, JSGS, if you were a hot dog, I'd eat you so fast.
JSGS: Well shit.
AJD: [Footnote: not in, like, a sexual way.]
JSGS: [Assumed and noted.]
AJD: So: What would I want my heavily burdened friend to do, if I were the burden? How would I want this friend to treat me?
JSGS: You would want the friend to call you out but without making you paranoid that you are a soul-sucker.
AJD: Yes. I would. I would want the friend to be honest and kind.
JSGS: I think one way to do that would be by discussing what the albatross NEEDS but isn't GETTING in hir life. Because that's usually what creates albatross friendship. The Unmet Need.
AJD: Yes. Shall we speculate?
JSGS: We always do.
AJD: Perhaps come up with a general list of commonly Unmet Needs and honestly kind responses?
JSGS: Let us.
AJD: We share this feeling. As we so often do.
JSGS: Oh, so true. If you are my albatross it is only because I love the weight of a carcass around my neck.
AJD: I am not your albatross, nor are you mine.
JSGS: Not even metaphorically.
AJD: Right.
JSGS: Or in a positive way if you're into carcass. IYKWIM.
AJD: So: possible roots of the problem. Possible Unmet Needs.
JSGS: One scenario: Albatross Friend is isolated in hir community. AF has moved newly to your town; AF has been dumped and lost mutual couple friends; AF hid in depression in house for past 18 months and emerged without a friend to spare.
AJD: Scenario 2: There is something repellant about Albatross Friend, and none but you are able to look past it.
JSGS: Scenario 3: AF has serious problems (psychological, circumstantial, addictive, WHAT HAVE YOU) and cannot get or will not get professional help. Scenario 4: The AF is a Boundary Abuser.
AJD: I think that's a complete list. Okay, so. Let's start with Scenario 1. AF is isolated, for whatever reason, from other friends.
JSGS: You are The Friend. The Only One. And you can't breathe. You might try to help AF find some ways to get connected--maybe even bringing hir into your community.
AJD: Be cautious, however, when taking that route. You don't want anyone in your community to become the holder of the Albatross. If, however, you are totes certain that AF would fit in perfectly with your crew, do it up.
JSGS: Otherwise, think about hir interests. Is there a Stitch-N-Bitch in your neighborhood you could suggest zie join? A class at a community college (we LOVE the cc's and their reasonable prices) zie could take? [Wow, I sound like someone's mom.] Or do your friends know someone involved in pickup soccer at that park on the other side of town?
AJD: Perhaps some sort of team (Roller Derby and Kickball come to mind) sport?
AJD: AF may require some heavy encouragement in this area, especially if recently post-breakup or post-depressive-episode. This ego-bolstering will require a bit more of your time than you'd like, but it may have a good payoff.
JSGS: Right.
AJD: In this Scenario, the only thing "wrong" with AF is that ze is isolated. Let's move on to the Scenario in which AF is flawed - perhaps fatally.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We've been busy but it's not because we don't love you. We love you.

A Dear Reader submitted the following query about a week ago:

I have a small gold chain that I got in Israel (a necklace for a chamsa). It broke last week, so I brought it to a repair shop to be re-soldered. I just picked it up and it's now at least 2'' LONGER. It looks exactly the same. How is this possible, and what should I do?

We ruminated on it, and then we got sort of busy, and then it was a long weekend, and then every time AJD went to her home she crawled under her covers instead of turning on her computer, and then! we received this:

So it turns out that gold chains can stretch up to a couple of inches without breaking or showing much in the way of distress. The jewelry shop was very nice about it, and shortened it for free (including returning the extra segment to me.) So I guess problem solved? Sorry!

Thanks, Dear Reader, for not only solving your own problem, but for letting us know about it. You saved us the work, which was very sweet of you.

We have several question-and-answers percolating at the moment, so steel yourselves: much brilliance and common sense comes your way soon. Really, we promise.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Someone get this Reader a trust fund.

My life partner, who I love and adore and enjoy, has, for the past month or so, been . . . different. Zie talks incessantly about many seemingly random daydreams in the what-i-want-to-do-with-my-life category. Zie has no tolerance for our kids, alternately ignoring them and blowing hir top. Zie wistfully sighs, "I wish I could take a day off to be a human being," and says things like, "I'm just a money-making machine that allows other people to live." When I make serious suggestions about changing our lifestyles so that zie can do whatever it is that makes hir feel human, zie shrugs and suggests that I don't have the capacity to earn anywhere near as much money as zie does. (Which is true.)

This is true because we made an agreement, when we were having kids, that I would take care of them full-time until the youngest was eight, then Life Partner would have hir turn to stay home with them. I am concerned that 1) Life Partner doesn't feel zie can rely on me the way I rely on hir, 2) Life Partner has conveniently forgotten how poorly zie supported us at first and is unwilling to suffer through the financial shit that will come with my transitioning back into the workforce, 3) Life Partner is miserable, snappy, and resents us, 4) Life Partner is renegging on a long standing life plan type agreement that goes to the core of my value system.

The therapist zie saw told hir the solution was for hir to accept that my values are different from LifePartner's, and abandon me and the kids, except for child support and weekend visits. We can't afford a better therapist.

Not only do I not know if I should try to help hir snap out of this mind shift, leave hir, or do something radical to help hir trust me again, I'm not sure how I would go about doing any of those things (um, except the middle one).

AJD: I am so goddamned cranky right now.
JSGS: Yeah well, maybe if you didn't hate food blogs…
AJD: Or my job. Or my LIFE. Oh well. Let’s solve this problem!
JSGS: Okay.
AJD: Not that I’m, like, expecting my day to get a million times better after I get to rant and rave about our generation's inability to commit to, oh, anything. I include MYSELF in this rant; I do, after all, spend a majority of my time thinking about running away. I’m really fucking sick of hearing about how selfish and goddamned self-centered everyone is.

JSGS: Good LORD, I just want to bundle our DR up and give hir a great big hug.
AJD: I do, too.
JSGS: And a cash account. And a new house. But I can probably only do the hug.
AJD: And a strong support system. That’d be good, too. I hope that our DR has a strong support system.

JSGS: So. The situation is that our DR's Spousal Unit (SU) has one foot out the door.
AJD: As with nearly every other problem (with the exception of the psycho-ex-invitee ish), my first thought is COMMUNICATE.
JSGS: The SU seems to resent working and not spending time with the family, but also resists any offer to CHANGE that structure, and the SU is acting out towards our DR and hir chidwin (as in WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE).
AJD: I find myself angry at SU. These kiddos do not just 'belong' to our DR! They have another parent and SU is that parent.

[The Editors wish to state, here, that AJD is the child of one amazing parent and one absent (though great in his own way) parent. She is doing her best to remain objective as she responds to this Dear Reader’s query, but we feel that it is important to acknowledge this potential bias. Lay all the cards on the table, if you will.]

JSGS: SU is being pretty shady. I don't think this is really about having to work too much. If it really were, SU would relish the chance to change things.
AJD: I think you're right. Much as I hate to admit it, I don't think that SU has one toe through the doorway just 'cause zie resents having to work. There are bigger issues at play here, and those issues are causing the resentment to build. What these issues are, I do not know.
JSGS: The issues could be pretty much anything, from some external . . . influence (hate to raise the spectre of infidelity but I must) to some internal pressure to some long-standing problem in the relationship.
AJD: Or even issues that existed long before our DR even met SU.
JSGS: Right.
AJD: And you and I will not know those issues, so we have to operate under the assumption that the resentment-causing factors are comprised of, say, 50% issues relating to DR and their family and 50% outside issues.
JSGS: Right. Let's just call a spade a spade and say that there's some Issue(s) that have not come to the fore and cease speculating on what they are, because we are mere mortals and can't. There are Issues. Because of said Issues, SU is abrogating hir Spousal and Parental Responsibilities. SU has chosen not to be honest about these issues and has resorted to tossing around the advice of a BT to ditch the family.

JSGS: What is with the NUCLEAR OPTION, SU?
AJD: Why is SU acting like zie is at the END OF THE LINE?
JSGS: Because SU jumped to the end of the line. LINE JUMPER. I think DR has to call bullshit.
AJD: I think you're right.
JSGS: I think DR has to--I’d like to introduce a new acronym to the blog--Speak Hir Truth (SYT).
AJD: And DR has to do this in a clear, concise, straightforward, firm manner.

JSGS: Start by explaining the impact of SU's behavior on you and your children. In specific ways. “Little Johnny is still a bed-wetter, Tiny Angela cries and thinks Parent drinks because zie hates her, and I feel like a dried-up corn husk." or something like that. Fill in your blanks.

And ask in clear terms for an honest explanation of what's going on: call SU on this bullshit of saying zie wants a different life but refusing to accept it when offered.

Did I mention not having this conversation with Little Johnny and Tiny Angela in the house? I anticipate some swearing.

[The Editors wish to explain that this discussion occurred in two parts. The first part ended at this point due to some upsetting news. Everything following this statement took place the following day. Thank you for your understanding.]

AJD: When we left off, we were in the middle of discussing the conversation in which DR is going to Speak Hir Truth calmly and honestly.
JSGS: right. DR needs to figure out what zie wants, too--does DR want to go back to work? Does DR not want to? DR has needs, too.
AJD: Yes, and those needs must be stated and acknowledged. So DR is asking for several things, here. The very first and most important thing is: honesty. The second thing is: an explanation of what's going on.
JSGS: The third is: a firm commitment to stay or go.
AJD: Yes.
JSGS: To stick it out and work it out, or to get out.
AJD: Shape up or ship out.

JSGS: [I just hurt my mouth on a cucumber BOO]
AJD: [I'm sorry honey!]

AJD: If SU decides to give it a go, such as it were, zie needs to commit to putting some serious effort into the relationship. I think that our DR will be willing to put an equal amount of serious effort in.
JSGS: Yes. DR also needs to be prepared for SU to make a decision that zie doesn't like--such as leaving. And by prepared, I mean emotionally, financially, etc. That's what you meant when you said our DR needs a good community, I gather.
AJD: It is.
AJD: DR must be prepared to have this conversation, to hear things that might be painful, to accept decisions that might be terribly difficult, and to support hir family in the event that hir arrangement changes or ends. Preparation is the key. It is a lot to face, but the only way out of this difficult situation is through it.

JSGS: Are we now prepared to return to the possibility [Ed. Note: as discussed briefly just before the Upsetting News came out] that something is wrong with SU? Like WRONG wrong?
AJD: Yes.
JSGS: Not just, what is WRONG with you?
AJD: Would you care to expound further, JSGS? Our readers are surely a bit confused.
JSGS: I was alarmed by our DR's thoughtful timelining of this--zie says SU started with this junk only a month ago.
AJD: Yes, the impression I got was that this just Started Suddenly.
JSGS: If the cards have been on the table like this for many months, that's one thing.But if it really came out of nowhere, SU may be unwell--experiencing symptoms of a mental or physical illness. Sudden behavior changes usually suggest something is Up. Not to discount the SU's feelings, but we must ask what brought them on: an affair? An illness? I think, if the SYT session does not reveal a startling revelation, DR ought to urge SU to have a complete physical and a consult with a different therapist. ANY therapist.

AJD: That is an excellent suggestion. I concur. What of the issue of payment, however?
JSGS: I wish I knew the sort of place DR lived--if zie is anywhere close to a metropolitan area, I would suggest a social service agency like Jewish Family Services. No, you do not have to be Jewish. Zie might also pursue a psych clinic at a research university, if one is close by.
AJD: What you're saying is: there are options if you know where to look. DR, we invite you to email us again if you'd like geographically-targeted information.

JSGS: Our DR, I might add, should also pursue these options for hirself as well as SU.
AJD: Yes. As with everything else, it is pertinent for DR to prepare hirself for the possibility that SU will not be interested in, or will not be willing to consider, pursuing these options -- and unfortunately, DR can exert very little control over SU's decisions on this matter. (Which, let's be honest, totally blows.)

JSGS: Mostly I want to just send our DR the goddamndest luck and pluck and ask hir--INVITE hir--to stay in touch and let us know how it goes. Which is true for all of our DRs.
AJD: Yes. Take care of yourself, Dear Reader.
JSGS: And as Kurt Vonnegut (RIP) once said, "Goddamnit, babies, you've got to be kind."
AJD: Amen.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Today, on Crisis Averted: A Practical Problem!

Really, how much attention do I have to pay to expiration dates on things? Medication, ketchup, eggs, milk, etc? Is it just a ploy to get me to buy "fresher" stuff or should I actually be paying attention to that factory stamped date?

Basically? Expiration dates are bullshit labels created by corporations to convince us to buy their products more frequently. They have wayyyy more to do with “guaranteed freshness” than they do with “guaranteed won’t-kill-you-ness”. There are a few exceptions, such as meat and milk, but those should be obvious to you anyway. (Don’t eat things that are gross.)

Anyway, here’s the long & short of it.

According to the Harvard Family Medical Guide and Johns Hopkins, medication expiration dates are a load of horseshit. The date listed is the date at which the manufacturer can still guarantee the full potency and safety of the drug. A study conducted by the FDA for the military showed that 90% of drugs are totally fine 15 years after the stamped date.

Keep your meds in the fridge once they start to near their date of expiration (and don’t store ‘em in your bathroom cabinet – they start to break down if exposed to too much humidity, and besides, people are snoopy and you probably don’t want your new boyf/girlf to know that you’re psycho or prone to explosive diarrhea). Chuck liquids after awhile, though it’s unlikely you’re taking too many liquids besides antibiotics (apparently you are 6 years old), which you should finish anyway. Don’t drink NyQuil directly from the bottle, or stop doing it if you’re doing it.

If you have any more questions, ask your pharmacist. It’s good to develop a relationship with hir anyway, if only to get a chance to cut to the front of the line. Flirting is important. [Ed. note: A. Jane Doe would like to say HI SCOTT].

Apparently they expire (or that's what the man wants you to think, whatev).

Meat. Neither of us keeps it around, because we find it terrifying. You might like it, who knows. General rule: if refrigerated, try & use it within 2 days; if frozen, within 3 months.
Eggs. They supposedly last for 3-5 weeks before going bad, but one of us has used 2-month-old eggs and there’s been exactly nothing wrong with ‘em. If you're not sure, break your eggs into a small separate bowl so you can figure out if they're okay before you add 'em to a cake mix. You don't want to waste cake mix. Plus, Alton Brown always puts everything into small separate bowls and don't you want to be like Alton Brown?
Milk. 3-5 days before it gets a little weird-tasting. This one is easy, though, ‘cause you’ll know if it’s gross.

Beer lasts for 4 months if unopened; if opened it lasts for as long as you have it in your hand. Duh.
Wine has its own rules. If unopened it lasts for, like, 100 years; if opened, 1 week corked in the fridge.
Unless you’re an idiot, you know that opened soda goes flat, and unless you’re really weird, you know that flat soda is gross, so we're not going to address the soda issue.

You’ll know if it’s gone wrong. It’ll smell weird. Only exception to this is mascara, which you should replace a few times a year. Great Lash, which is the best, isn’t too pricey, so go buy some & save it. [Ed. note: It’s on sale at Stop & Shop right now, New Englanders.]

Steak sauce is good for 33 months past its date of manufacture. 33 months? What? Same deal with vinegar: 42 months. The editrices would like to meet the dude who was charged with tasting these condiments every month for 3+ years.
Once opened, deodorant is good for 1 year. If it takes you one year to use up your deodorant, you obviously go to art school.
Nail-polish remover never expires, but rubbing alcohol (3 years), Windex (2 years), and bleach (3-6 months, what?) all do. We KNOW that they aren’t the same thing but we find it sort of weird that different chemicals last for different lengths of time. A. Jane Doe would like to officially apologize to the late Mr. Penta, who was her chem teacher, for spending the entire year she was in his class drawing little picture in the margins of her notebook instead of learning things.
Moist wipes are apparently “good until they dry out,” but actually they’re good past that point, as long as you ADD WATER TO THEM. Hello.
Fire extinguishers should be replaced after 12 years. [AJD notes: We have had the same one since we moved into the house, which was (OMG) twenty years ago, so if I perish in a terrible inferno YOU'LL KNOW WHY.]
Soy sauce lasts for 3 months.
There is NO CONCLUSIVE DATA regarding life-expectancy of opened jars of pickles, probably because pickles are amazing and people run out so quickly. Or, y’know, because they’re stored in brine.
Peanuts are only good for 1-2 weeks after opened, if stored in an airtight container.
Opened jars of maraschino cherries are good for 6 months. [AJD notes: We basically had the same jar in our fridge for my entire childhood, so there.]
Honey basically lasts forever. It’ll crystallize past a certain date – to resoften it, put the jar in a pot of boiling water for a few.

Thanks for asking, Dear Reader! Hope our advice doesn't kill you.

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