Welcome to “Ask Clare” – which is something that we hope to feature as a regular feature here on Cactus Hugs. Clare knows everything there is to know and more about living in the Coachella Valley and she is more than happy to answer any and all of your questions and help with your dilemmas using logic, common sense, and superior intelligence, but no actual degree for this kind of thing. Get in your questions to Clare for future posts by adding them in the comments below, messaging Cactus Hugs on Facebook, or in an email (should you wish to remain anonymous).
And now, away we go…
The temperatures are going to start dropping soon and, like many with friends and family in cold climates, our guest room is about to become a hotel room. I think they assume that because we aren’t shoveling snow we must not have anything else to do but host their annual visits. Any advice for locals who want to put a kibosh on unwanted guests this winter? – Reluctant host in La Quinta
Turn your spare bedroom into an office with a pullout couch or an exercise room with a blowup mattress. Guests who are told the setup will likely cut their visit short or plan more comfortable arrangements. You could also save yourself the expense of a room renovation and learn to make up excuses like the rest of us.
“Thinking about a weeklong trip to the desert, you say? Funny, we’re out of town for 5 of those days. You’re certainly welcome to stay with us for two and I can recommend a lot of wonderful boutique hotels you could check out in downtown Palm Springs. Airbnb is also so popular here now, too.”
Alternatively, you could embrace your far-flung visitors and return the favor to each of them throughout summer.
Help! I’m a single woman, early 30s, who recently moved to the Coachella Valley for work. Where can I go to meet single, professional men my age? While I don’t mind the occasional drink, bars and clubs aren’t my scene. I’ve had some luck with dating apps, but call me old fashioned because they still creep me out. – Lonely in the Desert
Lonely in the Desert,
I’m sorry, didn’t you Wikipedia the Coachella Valley before moving here? This is not our strong suit. Now that you’re here and have survived your first summer, think about getting into something you can do outdoors with others. There are hiking clubs and lots of team sporting options at Big League Dreams.
We’re also heading into peak event season – so start booking your calendar.
If being out and about isn’t your thing, there is a new silent book club that may conjure up an ideal introvert.
The bottom line is that if you fill your time with things you enjoy, you’re bound to find someone that you wouldn’t hate enjoying things with.
One of my friends has a son that’s becoming a real jerk. I think that work and other things are getting in the way of my friend’s parenting. It’s really none of my business except that his son is starting to bully mine. How do I ask my friend to step up his attention to his child? Or do I avoid it and just try to distance myself until they figure it out? – Fatherly Figure
Invite your friend to do something fun with the kids, like checking out the rock gym in Palm Springs. Hell, offer to watch the child the next time he mentions an after hours work obligation.
What you see of your friend and his child is only a small glimpse into their relationship.
Make sure that you’re firm and clear about boundaries and consequences with both children when they’re together. If either child crosses a line, it is time to separate them. Tell your friend about the specifics of any incident and other things you’ve noticed that give you pause.
Try not to tie the behavior problems with your friend’s work or obligations. Let him reflect on his circumstances without feeling judgment from you.
Also – Think about signing your kid up for karate at the Boys & Girls Club.
A close friend thinks her husband is cheating on her. I don’t and think she is being paranoid. She confronted her husband and his responses don’t raise any alarm bells for me. Now she wants to do a stakeout outside her husband’s work and gym. I told her I support her no matter what but I want no part of this? What should I do? – Voice of (t)reason
Voice of (t)reason,
It sounds like you may be right about your friend’s paranoia. It’s hard to say what is upsetting the balance in their relationship. Sometimes fears of infidelity sprout from other weaknesses in a marriage. Sometimes they are justified. Suggest dinner or drinks instead of the stakeout.
Encourage your friend to explore why she’s feeling like her husband isn’t being faithful. Is it late nights? Emotional distance? Lack of intimacy? Working on those ‘symptoms’ will likely help their relationship regardless of what the root cause is. Talking with you and with him may really help.
After you hash this out over some rosé, have a girls’ night and don’t talk about significant others. Get pedicures, stroll El Paseo, go paint awful artwork while slightly intoxicated. Having a good time with friends can leave her feeling stronger and more independent. Self-confidence will not only whittle away her fidelity foibles, but also make her more magnetic.
Note to spouses: embrace a rare bout of jealousy. It’s a sign that you’re wanted.
I have a few friends with political views that I do not agree with (to put it lightly). Every time gun control or immigration comes up, we end up in an argument. How can I avoid hating my friends? – Politically put off
Politically put off,
Talking about anything with friends can be frustrating when they don’t agree with you – if everyone agreed all of the time, that would be horrifying in its own right.
One thing I do when people are spewing things that I avidly disagree with is repeating back what they’ve just said but a little slower and sounding confused at the end. This technique is a great one if you don’t mind making new friends.
Joking can also be a good way to diffuse tension. The next time conversation is heading toward politics, interject with a horribly bad pun or a laughable memory from the Red Barn that you can enjoy. Your friends will (hopefully) get the hint and you can enjoy the rest of your outing.
If all else fails, go get yourself another drink and imagine that your friends are speaking in tongues.