{ 1,019 comments… read them below }

  1. persimmon

    Dating app advice, anyone? Four or five years ago, I was on OkCupid and felt like I had the process down: choose a person, swap 5-6 email-style messages over a few days or a week or two, set up coffee or drinks if interested. Now, I’m trying out the newer apps that are more like texting than emailing (Tinder, Hinge, etc.) and I can’t seem to translate them into any dates. I find messaging to be pretty boring and like the idea of going on a bunch of dates even if they turn out to be a mixed bag–so maybe I am pushing to meet up too quickly? Or not answering messages fast enough? (Does it need to be a real-time text “conversation”?) For anyone who has used these apps with some modest success I would love to hear how it usually goes for you.

    1. KatieKate

      Try and make plans immediately. Anytime, on any dating site, where we message back and forth forever an actual date never happens.

      1. FDCA In Canada

        Oh yes, definitely. Making plans immediately always turned out better for me. I once got sucked into a long back-and-forth message chain with a guy and it seemed awesome, and then I met him in person and he was not as attractive as his picture, had atrocious table manners, was somehow incredibly boring, and told me he wasn’t all that into the sushi we were eating as the sushi he made at home, which was chopped-up pickles wrapped up with Minute Rice in tortillas.

        I am now happily married to a guy I met online, and we met after exchanging a few brief messages, and it has worked out very well for us.

      2. Kat

        Sometimes, but I would say also keep a good degree of caution and if you’re not OK with meeting so soon, don’t do it. I never feel comfortable doing that because I just like to know someone at least a bit better first. I appreciate it doesn’t always work out, but the last guy I met on Tinder and I didn’t meet for two months after our first exchange and we’re still seeing each other.

    2. scared of tinder

      I’m so bad at these. My friend convinced me to download Tinder this week, and I have 40 matches and idk what to do next. I was really just curious and not interested in hooking up/dating anyone (recently out of a long term relationship) but I’ve enjoyed chatting with some guys. I wouldn’t mind meeting up for a beer just to have some social interaction but I think that using the app already sets the wrong tone! I should just delete it :/

      1. Lisa Redetzke

        I’ve been on POF for 7 years, never any luck. They want f- buddies or a date & ghost s41tuation.
        My sister was meeting men at a bar, basic meat market. Wanted something more serious, met a POF guy who lived with her for 2 years (broke up when his unemployment ran out), a coworker has a boyfriend living w/her, & another friend had a brady bunch-style marriage except she worked & he didn’t.
        Two weeks ago, I got back on POF & the last guy, whom I’d only texted for one week, told me, via text, “I doubt if I’m working….but it would be nice to see you maybe I can get a place half way between us and we can chill together”.
        Wtf?! And I thought my ex who I knew as a job acquaintance for one year, friends for 3 months, on & off bcbs for the past three years was bad!
        I will stick w/chance meetings, mutual friend introductions & friending guys at work. F online dating!

        1. Anon Accountant

          Yes I’m so fed up with the crap of online with the wanting only a hookup, finding out he’s in another relationship, or the sudden ghosting are a few dates.

          Right now I’m working on meeting friends, asking for mutual friend introductions, taking up exercise classes and tennis, and a few new hobbies like tennis.

          I liked Eharmony but so few guys my age were on there in a reasonable distance.

      2. Internet social

        Yeah, I think that Tinder isn’t exclusively a hookup app, but if you’re 100% sure you don’t want to hook up or date anyone, it probably isn’t the way to go. Could you try Meetup, or other sorts of social groups?

    3. nutella fitzgerald

      I have the same exact problem! It’s like some rapid evolution happened over the years I wasn’t looking for someone to go out with, and now I’m being Darwined out of the dating pool :(

    4. NaoNao

      I think it’s possible to translate “swiping” apps into dating, but very rare.
      I would pursue a multi-pronged approach. OKC for the long-form dating options, and then Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, etc for more…entertainment or fun. If you’re up for it, perhaps make your first message (after “hi”) an invite to meet up.
      Something like: “Texting on a phone is so hard—you want to take a chance and grab a coffee?”
      You can also fill your calendar with fun events (cultural, sports, etc) so that you can ask guys out right away and have something specific planned. (Or girls, or whomever!!) “Hey, hitting up the Sportsball game at 7 tonight, would you like to meet me there?”
      I do feel online dating has really, really changed. I had moderate success on it 4 years ago with OKC and Tinder. Then after a breakup in 2016 I went back on—hoo boy. It was the wild west, even on “female friendly” apps like Bumble.
      People are getting really frustrated with the flakes and no shows and bots, and it shows in their profiles and responses.
      I’d also branch out to speed dating, events, singles groups, meetups, things like that. Online dating *can* work, but for many of us, it’s so much more trouble than its worth.

      1. Buffy

        I don’t have any firsthand experience, but my best friend met his boyfriend-now-fiancé on Tindr! I also have a female friend who seems to only get really graphic messages.

    5. Gala apple

      I recently started using Coffee Meets Bagel and I think it’s pretty good. I like that both parties have to show interest to start a chat, there’s a limited pool of profiles you see each day, and the actual chat window is only open for a week, so it pushes more to in person meetings. I have a date in 2 weeks, and had some good chats otherwise.

    6. Natalie

      Honestly, I’d switch back to OKC or Match if you actually want to date people. The swiping apps are like a game for some folks and in experience, rarely led to dates, much less second dates.

    7. Elizabeth West

      I got nothing. I’m done with this. The sites start off matching with age range, and I prefer younger men, but I always get matched with elderly men looking for a caretaker. As a younger-looking 52, I’m to them like a 25-year-old is to a 45-year-old. :P

      FWIW my age range is about 35-45. I’ll consider up to 50 if the guy takes good care of himself, but the older men around here tend not to. They all look like Santa. :( And most of the younger guys around here are either too young (20s) for anything lasting or to be interested in me or they aren’t my type at all. I’ve dated outside type, but it’s not just looks; it’s also attitudes, politics, etc. Or, they’re married because everybody here gets married at frickin’ 12.

      My range is not for vanity reasons; I tend to have more of the same interests as guys in that range. But the sites don’t work the way it works IRL. You can meet someone in person whom you might blow right by online and still find them attractive.

  2. FDCA In Canada

    Alison, I just want to thank you for the book recommendations! I’ve gotten so many wonderful books that way, and several more on my list. I just finished Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, which was charming and sweet and wholly engrossing. I’ve gotten such great recs from everyone else here that it’s been a real boon to my reading! I’m sure my library is sick of my ILL requests already.

    I’m going on vacation (well, sort of) to visit my in-laws in a couple of weeks, and I plan on doing nothing at all besides reading and doing blog book reviews and relaxing. Everyone, what are your best summer book recommendations? I love historical fiction, nice long doorstop books that are totally engrossing, and anything best suited to being read in the park with a cold glass of sparkling water. I also plan on searching back through old open threads for more book recommendations–honestly, getting an ereader felt like a huge betrayal, but my library here is very small and poorly-equipped, so my choices are ILL (and a long wait sometimes), or taking advantage of their ebook collection and borrowing that way.

    1. Authoria

      Just did some historical fiction recs downthread in response to Bored and Confused. Your vacation sounds fabulous!

    2. JayeRaye

      Historical fiction is one of my favorites! A few of my favorite doorstops in that genre are:
      The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
      The Alienist by Caleb Carr (the sequel Angel of Darkness is pretty fabulous too)
      Anything Donna Tartt has ever written. Ever.
      And if you like real history that reads like a novel, Erik Larson is your guy.
      I hope some of those help, and have a wonderful vacation!

      1. Bri

        Michelle Moran is amazing she basically moves to different countries then writes about her new homes historical heroines. I think her last one about Mata Hari was the weakest and would start with literally any of her other books.

    3. katamia

      It’s been a long time since I’ve read this, but you could try Margaret George’s The Memoirs of Cleopatra, which I loved in middle/high school. She’s also written a couple other books I never read because I was less interested in the time period.

      Colleen McCullough is good, too.

    4. Teach

      Summer Before the War by the same author as Pettigrew is amazing and a perfect summer read.

    5. Elizabeth West

      anything best suited to being read in the park with a cold glass of sparkling water

      I laughed at this because I don’t know what it means. I’d read a seriously gross horror novel in the park with a cold glass of water, LOL.

    6. Margali

      ” I love historical fiction, nice long doorstop books that are totally engrossing…” Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne In Splendour, or her Welsh Trilogy: Here Be Dragons, Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning.

    7. Liane

      A non-s/f & fantasy* favorite of mine is the autobiographies of Aline, Countess of Romanones, a US model turned WW2 spy turned noblewoman. I’ve read her first 3–The Spy Wore Red, The Spy Went Dancing, & The Spy Wore Silk. Just went to Amazon to make sure I had the titles correct and found out she wrote more books! Yay!

      *because I always mention those on these threads

    8. Searching

      I just finished “The Last Painting of Sara de Vos” and loved it! It takes place in 17th century Holland, 1950s New York, and 2000 Sydney. I read it in 3 days, it was so good. It is fiction, but based on some solid research about 17th century Dutch Women Master Painters, so will satisfy your historical fiction craving.

  3. Ask a Manager Post author

    We bought a house! (And that’s why there’s no book recommendation or photo this week; it has been an exhausting week.) There are woods in the back, and we love it. Also, I won’t have to work from the living room couch anymore. I can have an actual office.

    Now we have to put our current place on the market, which I’m dreading. Apparently norms have changed since the last time I sold a place, and now (at least in our area) the expectation is that you’ll move half of your belongings out before you start showing the house so that it looks half-empty and can be more easily staged. My real estate agent says that to do this, people use those pods that show up at your house, you load them, and then they go away and are stored until you need them back. This sounds like a huge pain, but I’ve resigned myself to it. (And she’s right that all the houses we looked at appeared to have done this.) Anyway, I would welcome advice from people on this stage of the process — and especially on ways to keep your house in showable condition when it’s on the market, especially when you work from home and have cats.

    1. Jessesgirl72

      How hot is your real estate market, and how much will the Pod cost (plus staging) versus how much more you can expect to get for the house with it staged instead of unstaged?

      I know Realtors, and they want things perfect. Like ours came in to do a walk through so we can do things to get ready to put the house on the market when the baby is no longer a newborn, and he wants all new paint colors and light fixtures. But then I see houses sell in 2 days that are full of junk and have avocado green carpet and weird paint colors, and I think- and why are we doing all this work again? ;) (And also, when we bought the house 4 years ago, he praised things he now wants us to change…)

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        It’s a pretty good real estate market. Comparable houses in my area have sold in an average of 11 days. (That said, they all appear to have done the pod thing.) It’ll definitely sell regardless, but I want to go as quickly as possible because I hate the period where it’s on the market so very much. So given that, I’m willing to throw money at the problem to make it go faster.

        1. the gold digger

          So if you are willing to throw money at it, do you want to throw

          1. Time, hassle, and cash of moving stuff into a pod (although really, you have to move stuff out anyhow) or
          2. Cash in the form of a price that you know will sell?

          I probably could have gotten $5,000 more for my house, but after just three days of having to leave at a moment’s notice (seriously, people – can’t you plan further in advance?), I was happy to be done. My realtor suggested a price that would sell and I had two full-price offers in three days. It was so worth $5,000 not to have to deal with the process for any longer than three days.

      2. joanne

        We used PODS when we moved. Our house wasn’t cluttered when we put it up for sale, although there were six of us living in 1150 sq ft (plus an attic and basement). It took two large pods and some cars to move all our stuff. One pod we filled and then had delivered to my mil’s house for free storage. The other stayed at the house until settlement and we had that moved first to our new house. The company we worked with was very flexible and very easy to work with. They were up front about all our costs and even recommended to store at family member’s home if possible to save storage fees. We could unload at our convenience. It was a very positive experience for my family because we didn’t have to worry about all our stuff on trucks or in moving vans over night or even packing and unpacking in one day. It was a lot less stressful than I had ever imagined it to be and I highly recommends PODS.

    2. PDX Native

      Our realtor had us box up the personal stuff & put it in the garage along with our oversized dining room table & some of the ugly furniture. His take was that people”get” moving in stages and that a full garage doesn’t discourage buyers. It was a reasonable balance for us. We sold almost immediately but the market was so hot then, you didn’t have to do much to sell.

    3. FDCA In Canada

      When we were showing our home we had two cats who had a tendency to strew toys everywhere, so we ended up cutting way back on the toys that were available and invested in a few nice-looking baskets. That way we could do a mad dash, pick up a bunch of stray things and plonk them in baskets, and it looked way more put together.

      Taking away a bunch of the stuff definitely helps keep things neater! What we did was actually commit to the things you should do all the time–clean up immediately after dinner instead of leaving dishes in the sink, take 15-20 minutes every night to pick up all the stray daily living stuff that got left everywhere and put it where it belongs, etc. For me keeping the bathrooms and kitchens clean was the trickiest part, so I put away absolutely everything I didn’t need on a daily basis into cupboards, and made myself a checklist before leaving for work–did I put away my makeup and hair straightener and junk? Did I put the clean dishes away and the Lysol bottle? Did I clean off the kitchen table? We already made the bed every day, but I’d make sure it looked “nice,” and I didn’t leave clothes hanging around on the hooks on the wall.

      When we were having a showing, I would run around picking up the cat toys and shoes and other assorted stuff and my husband would run the dry Swiffer around to collect the cat hair from the floors and maybe run a quick dust rag over the tables. Picked up the bathrooms and ran a Lysol wipe over the counters and sinks for any stray hairs or muck. Straighten up the first thing people will see, whether it’s the kitchen or living room or whatever, because first impressions are a big deal, and maybe have something nice? Bowl of fruit or flowers? We liked to leave the windows open so there was a breeze and fresh air, but if you have A/C that probably won’t help. A few times we packed up the cats into their carriers and took them with us, but that was a small nightmare, so we just cautioned our realtor to be really really really really careful with the doors, and it was fine.

      It’s nice to come home to a show-quality clean home, but my God it’s a lot of work to keep up with daily. Luckily ours was only on the market a couple of weeks, and after that we and the cats were thrilled to be able to leave our stuff around like normal people again.

    4. blackcat

      When I bought a few years ago in a market where that was also the norm, the current owner of my house simply bought tons of plastic bins and packed her belongings in tight in a corner of the basement. Any way you could do something similar?

      It will be easier to keep the house in showable condition if there’s less clutter, too, so even though moving a bunch of stuff out is a pain, it’ll save some later pain.

      Too, I bet you can put your stuff in the POD and have it stored until you are moving into your new place and have it delivered there. Then you may be able to get away with a smaller truck for your remaining stuff.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yeah, that last part was exactly my plan — to just have it stored in the pods until we move. I love the bin idea, except our agent recommends getting two large cat stands out of the house, so I figure we’re going to have to use a pod regardless so might as well put it all in there.

        1. blackcat

          Ah, got it. And I assume the cat stands don’t disassemble easily–if they did, then you could take them apart to store them without something like a pod. But it sounds like the pod is in your future…

          No matter what, I do recommend the bins for moving, if you’ll be packing & unpacking stuff yourself. It’s much easier to unpack if you can see inside! And you can stack them inside of each other when not in use after you move.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            I am totally hiring packers. Last time I moved, I promised myself I would hire packers the next time, and I am so looking forward to that part.

            1. Wendy

              I grew up in the military – packers are the way to go. BUT – any items of great sentimental value, whether fragile or not – I still recommend packing yourself.

            2. msroboto

              Unpacking is a nice thing too. I did that and though on the unpack they only place the items on the counter or table you will be amazed at how quickly your kitchen comes together when you can just place the dishes in the cabinet.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                Oooooh! I had wondered about unpacking — it seemed like they’d put your stuff in places you might not want it. If they just take it out of the boxes and leave it stacked neatly for you, I’m going to do that too. That really takes away one more sucky thing about the process.

                1. Fiennes

                  Usually they just unpack the stuff in the room where you want it but otherwise leave it out for you to arrange. This is rather chaotic for the first couple days–but less so than unpacking yourself, and IMO arranging stuff in its new places is the only part of moving that approaches “fun.”

                2. Ask a Manager Post author

                  Yeah, that actually sounds pretty great.

                  We are moving from a two-bedroom townhouse to a five-bedroom detached house with way more rooms than we have now (the new one has two living rooms — why? I don’t know) so we’re going to have about 1/4 of the furniture we need to fill it. I’m looking forward to doing that slowly though.

                3. FDCA In Canada

                  We’ve had packers and unpackers–you want to be really, really careful about the unpacking process, because with some places if you unpack yourself they won’t accept liability for anything broken during the move. Every time we’ve had them unpack it’s been mostly just having them literally put stuff out of boxes and piled on every available surface. I think the worst was the kitchen–yes, everything was unpacked, but the counters, stove, table, everything was covered in everything a kitchen can vomit up, which feels like A LOT. The closet stuff was pretty bad, too. And be ultra careful: when they say everything they mean everything, I know families who have had garbage cans full of trash carefully taped, packed, and moved many thousands of kilometers, only to greet them with a disgusting surprise.

                4. NotoriousMCG

                  I’ve only moved with packers/unpackers once (corporate move) and while it was nice not to have to do the physical part of it I honestly liked it a lot less due to the lack of control on my part. They wouldn’t let me pack anything ahead of time so for weeks while I would usually be putting things in boxes to prep for the move I was relegated to just moving things to the general area of the things they belonged with so that when the guys got there they could rapid fire throw everything randomly in a box for me? And even though I repeatedly told them not to move my husband’s music equipment (each time they passed it they would try to take it and I’d have to remind them – no this whole corner of things stay) I looked away for a little bit and they took an acoustic guitar and a drum. Both got warped because the truck was not climate controlled.

            3. Jessesgirl72

              And when we had packers (because corporate relocation insisted) is the one and only time I had things broken! And I couldn’t find anything (they put sheets and towels in a box, tossed a belt and a clothes hanger on top, and labeled the box clothes hangers/belts! For real) So be prepared for that to not be as great as you imagine. And this was our 8th move, so I thought I’d love it!

              I can never decide whether it is best to start or end with books though- they pack so fast, so it’s good to get that feeling of accomplishment, but we have 30+ boxes of them, so it gets really old and then there is everything else to pack.

              We have always hired movers, though, and they are worth every dime!

              1. Earl Grey is my BFF

                My next move (please not for a long time) I think I’m going to hire packers on one end, rent a truck, drive it myself, and hire unpackers. I like driving; I loathe packing and unpacking. I think it will be less expensive.

                I’d probably do the sentimental stuff on my own though.

            4. Gentle One

              Advice based on experience–before the movers come to pack, empty all trash cans you plan to take, throw out half empty cereal boxes, one tissue left boxes, etc. The movers will pack those things very carefully, trash in the bins and all!

              And if you are coffee or tea drinkers, pack the coffee pot/tea kettle and tea pot, relevant supplies and cups, spoons, etc. in your car. I spent the better part of a day searching through packed boxes for my coffee maker, cups, and coffee after the unloading!

              1. AcademiaNut

                If you”re moving locally, I’d reserve a box or two and a suitcase of the small things you’ll need in the first day or two – coffee maker, some cups, a set of sheets and towels, pillows, some toilet paper and tissues, some cleaning supplies, toiletries, pyjamas and a few days of clothing, and take it yourself in the car.

        2. Jessesgirl72

          When we had one rental, and they were showing it while we lived there, the landlord complained that people commented on our huge cat stand and were distracted by it instead of looking at the house. So that one I have experience with.

    5. Merci Dee

      Congrats on the new house! I’m so excited for you!

      I have no idea how the staging will go with cats in the home. Everything I’ve seen says that litter boxes need to disappear for showing, but I find that totally unrealistic. Because having cat poop on the floor is a more attractive alternative….? Maybe you could find something to put up in front of the cat area. Like a nice folding screen,or something along those lines.

      I hope the sale and your eventual move goes smoothly. I don’t envy all the packing, cleaning, and trashing you’re going to do!

      1. FDCA In Canada

        Geez, that seems like a horrible pain–and on top of that we frequently had showings during the workday when we were both away, and couldn’t have gotten home to put the pans somewhere anyway. We settled for scooping the boxes morning and evening and taking out the trash daily as well.

      2. Paula, with Two Kids

        Ours are near a garage, so they will go in the garage for a showing. Also have 3 dog crates that have to be dragged outside for showings. I’ve got another month before this process really takes off and I have to do all this. Not looking forward to it.

        On the plus side, I’ve really gotten rid of a LOT of clutter.

      3. Teach

        We purchased new litter boxes and were diligent about constant scooping and sweeping. We also had blankets over the couches and washed, newish, neutral bedspreads and pillows in the closets.
        When we got the call that people were coming to view the house, the clean spreads and pillows went on beds, boxes were scooped, all trash (litter, kitchen, bathroom) went way outside to the lidded cans, one kid grabbed the couch blankets and folded them up in the car trunk, and another kid swiped a clean rag with multi-purpose cleaner on tables, counters, sinks, etc.
        This was after a deep clean, deep de-cluttering, and pre-packing things that we didn’t use very often (kitchen appliances, extra pots and pans, off-season clothes, decorations, etc. The small book boxes at Hobby Lobby are great – you can’t pack them so full that you can’t carry them easily!). Daily cleaning and making sure the house was pretty near perfect every morning and before bed were exhausting. The cats mostly hid from people, but we thought about borrowing a very large dog pen to close them in. (Not like a carrier but a wire box enclosure that could have a small box, food, bed, etc.)
        I figured that everyone coming to see our house was watching House Hunters on HGTV every night like we were, so I tried to emulate the houses shown there – very neutral, few furnishings, empty surfaces, etc.

    6. Teapot Project Manager

      We last bought/sold a house in 2010 but i cam attest that it did help. We were fortunate in that my husband owns a business and rents a shop and he had enough storage space in the abovr the vehiclr bay so we didn’t have to rent a pod

    7. Episkey

      I work for a real estate agent and she will do a walk-through and make suggestions, but I have never heard her tell anyone they have to empty out half their house with a POD! If the people have a lot of knick knacks and/or clutter, she will usually suggest they try to box some of that stuff up and store in the garage or basement…but not 1/2 their house! FWIW. We are in a medium-affluent suburb of Chicago.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Well, not really half. Mainly just get rid of clutter, clear off all surfaces, and move out any ungainly objects (for us, that’s two cat stands). I do think she’d like it if we’d move out more stuff than that because emptier is better, but I suppose “half” is hyperbole. It is definitely true, though, that all the houses we looked at as buyers were really emptied out in a way that you wouldn’t normally see. They still had furniture, but it was fairly minimal. Nothing extra beyond the core stuff for living, if that makes sense.

        1. KAZ2Y5

          I did this and it definitely makes your house look better. But in all honesty I was laid off and had 2 months before I needed to move back home so I had 2 months to clear out my house (at least 17 loads to Goodwill and one large pickup by Habitat for Humanity!). When I put my house on the market I just had the main furniture and a few knick-knacks. And then my dog and I headed home.
          I’m not sure how your housing market is, but I ended up buying in one of the strongest seller’s market in the country (good for them, bad for me!). If it makes sense for your situation, I would honestly go to a hotel the first weekend your house is on the market and board your cats.
          I looked at one house with cats in it and was so scared that we would let them out by mistake! We made sure we could account for each cat before we left. And another house I bid on (but didn’t get) the owners put the house on the market on Friday, left for the weekend and told everyone they would take bids until Sunday pm. I was one of 13 people bidding….
          Good luck and I hope your house sells quickly!

    8. Wendy

      If you don’t have one already, a Roomba or similar robot vacuum is great for cat hair and kitty litter with minimal effort. Also, a cat litter deodorizer might be helpful. Even if you don’t normally have cat litter odors, it can provide the extra odor killing boost if you sprinkle it on the litter right before a showing.

    9. Mimmy

      No advice since we’ve never been in this position (though I am dreading the day it needs to be done!), but I just wanted to wish you congrats and best of luck with the process!

    10. Christy

      Congratulations! I’m so curious to know what neighborhood you decided on, but I understand if you don’t want to tell us.

      A question: when you say “we bought a house”, do you mean that you are now under contract for a house? When we bought our condo, I was very careful not to say we’d bought it until after closing. But I’m super unsure of what the norms are there. We still haven’t told the general world because it feels like bragging? Being able to buy at 28 around here is a huge privilege.

      Is your purchase contingent on selling your current place? Because I would think that if you can wait until after closing, then you could just have movers move the unsightly bits to the new house in one go. And if there’s any chance you can move yourselves and the cats before selling, that’s probably the way to go.

      My mom had her house on the market for approximately forever. It’s definitely a spartan existence, though she nows prefers it that way. Remember to mostly empty your closets, too, since a packed closet will make buyers think they’re too small. In terms of keeping it showable, you just have to create a daily checklist for yourself so it never gets too bad. Always keep it close to showable and it’ll never be too much work to show it.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yes, we’re under contract; the closing is later this summer. It’s not contingent on selling the current place, but I want to time them closely together enough that we’re not paying two mortgages for months and months. So my plan is to just have a month or so of overlap (which I’ll use for painting the new place while it’s empty, etc.) … which means it’ll need to go on the market before we’re out.

        Neighborhood — near Lake Barcroft but not actually in it. Still lots of trees, which is what I really liked about that area.

        1. Christy

          Definitely understand that! We were forced into a month of overlap thanks to the way giving notice at our apartment works, and it’s nice to have the overlap time. The paying double mortgages/rent thing is a pain, but what helped us (emotionally) is that the first month’s PITI and condo fees are all in closing costs for us, so we’re only writing our rent check. (I also forget that usually people move more than one mile from their previous residence so it’s not a five minute drive back and forth.)

          And congrats on the neighborhood! Our new/old neighborhood has a ton of trees and it’s wonderful.

        2. bunniferous

          You may already know this but I am throwing this out there for others-closing dates are never set in stone. Plan for delays. It is great if you do not have a delay, not so great if you think you will be having people in to paint and recarpet weekend after a closing but instead find out-nope, closing a week and a half late! (I sell foreclosures and I am privy to all the buyer agent headaches caused by slow loan officers, slow repair people, buyer problems, paperwork problems, and TRID issues. The latter triggers automatic three day delays to *protect the consumer*. Yep.)

        3. Kara Zor-El

          Welcome, new neighbor! My husband and I just bought a house near Lake Barcroft as well (Sleepy Hollow). I’m in love with all the trees in the neighborhood and our backyard. :)

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            Oh my goodness! We fell in love with a house in Sleepy Hollow and agonized about whether or not to buy it. It was right on Sleepy Hollow Road and we ultimately decided there was too much traffic in front of it, but I love that area.

            1. Kara Zor-El

              Ah yeah, I know that area, I wouldn’t want to deal with that traffic either! It is definitely a beautiful area though. And so many delicious Korean & Vietnamese restaurants nearby!

    11. paul

      any chance you can move some of your stuff to the other house early? Even just a few pieces of furniture, then box up bric-a-brack and store it out of sight in a closet?

    12. Anono-me

      Congratulations!

      I’m a dog person, so I’m not sure how this would apply to cats. When I was showing my house, I had my dog stay with family for the duration. She found it very upsetting to have strangers in the house without me there. Also, it was easier to keep the house show ready.

      I ate a lot of salads in a bag off of a lot of paper plates. That way I didn’t have much to take care of in the kitchen.

      I also stored all of my small valuables, all of my important papers and all my good jewelry at a friends place.

      I kept my medications and my laptop in my dirty clothes hamper. That way any time there was a showing, I just had to grab the basket and go.

      Most people have three boxes at any given time while packing; trash, charity, and stuff for the new home . We actually have discovered it works best for us with five boxes. We also have an undecided box. Moving is stressful enough, if we’re not sure about something, it goes in the undecided box. If we have time before the move we go through the undecided box. If not, oh well, it goes to the new house. Where it will either be gone through in the next six months, or donated sight unseen at the end of that time . The fifth box is the key box or critical box. All of the remote controls go in there, all of the cables, powe cords, all of the nuts and bolts, and all of the clock pendulum and winding keys. Everything in this box is in a clearly labeled individual ziplock bag. And this box itself is clearly labeled and marked with bright colored tape.

      I like having lots of extension cords for the new house. I find it’s easier to plug in an extension cord (that may never be used) before the sideboard is delivered then it is to realize a month later that I want a lamp on the sideboard but I can’t reach the outlet and that sideboard weighs ten bazillion tons.

      Good luck. I hope everything goes quickly and smoothly.

      1. BooksNCooks

        Seconding the critical box! When we moved across country, this box went in the car with us. We also put some “get us up and running” stuff in there–basic tool set, a set of clean sheets for each bed, some bath towels, hotel soaps and shampoo, paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, plastic silverware, lightbulbs. We figured that way we’d at least have enough stuff right to hand with us to get everyone clean, fed, and into bed on the first night in our new home with a minimum of digging through various boxes.

    13. Gentle One

      Advice from the best seller’s realtor ever–if your linen closet is messy, go to a good department store, see how they have the sheets and towels folded for display, and make your linen closet look as much like that as you can. Also–if one of the rooms (usually an interior bathroom) has no natural light, buy a small lamp, and turn it on (if you are there) or leave it on (if you aren’t). My wonderful realtor told me that people just instinctively don’t like looking or going into a dark room, even if the light switch is right there.

    14. Not So NewReader

      Alison, you can ignore this if you wish. I was wondering what kind of house you ended up with. Is it old or more modern era? What grabbed you guys about the house?

      Congratulations on your new home and wishing you both many happy years there.

    15. msroboto

      I just remembered another moving thing that was not apparent to me until I did an inter-state move. When they did move across state lines they did what I will call an inventoried move. They put a tag on each box or loose item and keep a list of what they are. At the other end they have you or they will check off the items. Then if you are missing an item you can go look for it.
      I don’t know if the bigger local movers do this but it does give you piece of mind that everything made it.

    16. Sandra Dee

      I just did this a couple months ago, but with 3 dogs, instead of cats, and two of the dogs were large (Lab and German Shepherd). They would stay in the garage while I was gone, or if I was able, take them out of the house for showings, but the whole process stressed them out. I was downsizing, so I had a couple of empty rooms, which helped in the decluttering phase. I didn’t get a contract on the old house until I actually moved into the new place. Had a contract within 5 days of moving out. I am convinced the dogs were a distraction. Only had one month of two mortgage payments. The market here (middle Tennessee) is crazy, and things are selling quickly, at full price, and zero contingencies, except the home inspection, and limited repairs after the inspection. Good luck and hope everything goes smoothly.

    17. LostCause

      Welcome to the hell that has been my life for the past 8 months. Super slow market.

      I cut it down to bare essentials furniture-wise. Well, everything actually. And it sucks.

      Keeping the house showing ready is mentally exhausting. I used to bring the cats and their litter boxes to my neighbor’s garage and lock them in there during showings. All cat stuff was hidden away.

      I’ve been letting cleaning slide since it had been so long. I do require 2hrs notice before last minute showings. My realtor is ok with it. I can clean everything in an hour and mop last, so it all works out.

      Good luck.

    18. Icecreamroll

      We loved our pods! They deliver it right up to your door, you take as much time as you need to fill it, then they take it away until you want to unload it. It was easier to fill than our moving truck, and when it was delivered to our new house we took 2-3 weeks before we empitied it-we finished painting every room. The price was cheaper than using a storage facility, and when we did move, we were able to do it ourselves with a rented truck.

    19. Swingbattabatta

      Speaking of moving, does anyone have any advice on a Canada –> US move? We are moving to a city 2 hours away, but the only wrinkle is that its cross-border. It seems as though it’d cost us a ton of money to use a company, because it is technically international, but that means we are going to have to rent a truck and figure out all of the labor on our own. Not ideal.

      1. msroboto

        The moving companies will provide labor for a price of course on both ends. The only issue would be that you would need to deal with two moving companies but that shouldn’t be too difficult. They will pack your rental truck.
        When I moved from Massachusetts to Georgia the inter-state moving company contracted with local guys for the labor and I think you could do that as well.

    20. ..Kat..

      My big recommendation: go through your house, including closets, and get rid of anything you no longer want/need. Give it to Goodwill or some other charity. Take pictures to document what you donated. Use the “It’s Deductible” software at tax time (don’t value stuff yourself; people always overestimate the value of their stuff). Then you have a nice tax deduction. Also, you won’t pay to move stuff you no longer want. Win, win. And your new home won’t fill with “instant ” clutter.

    21. Bazinga

      Well, it’s a nightmare. We did this with 4 dogs. Also used a Pod. Added benefit of a lot of stuff already being packed and ready for the move.
      Paper plates. Eat out. Straighten up and dust daily. Have cleaning wipes to do a fast swipe around
      Decluttering also makes this easier.
      We packed all our photos, etc. It does make the house look bigger!!

  4. MissDisplaced

    Removed because work-related, but you can post this in the Friday work open thread.

  5. Free Meerkats (formerly Gene)

    The visit to South Dakota is going great. Met up with a Navy friend I haven’t seen in iron since 79 for dinner yesterday; meeting the elementary school classmate I saw in Tucson in February for lunch today. The soirie is this evening, they say they’ve gotten over 400 RSVPs.

    Having fun, but either my allergies are really acting up, or I caught the crud. It’s hard to sleep when one is coughing every few minutes.

  6. Meemzi

    My boyfriend of 3 1/2 years passed away this week.

    Friends and family are taking care of me very well.

    Any tips, books, resources? I’ve never lost anyone.

    I would especially appreciate books and resources (& whatever else) that address schizophrenia and suicide. Thank you.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago

      I am so sorry for your loss.

      A friend of mine lost her partner a few months back and found a wonderful support network by attending something called Camp Widow.

    2. Sunflower

      I am so so sorry. I don’t have a ton but ‘How to Survive the Loss of a Love’ is a great book. It has a lot of small passages which make it easier to pick up and put down when you need it.

    3. Stacy

      I’m so sorry. Companion Through the Darkness helped me through a sudden traumatic loss years ago. I still keep a copy, because just knowing it is there if I need it is reassuring.

    4. kms1025

      Very sorry for your loss…words don’t really express it, but all we have…may your pain diminish and time go by more quickly as you learn a new normal coexisting with your memories.

    5. west MI represent

      I just lost a friend to suicide this week. I don’t think I have anything helpful to add other than that I’m so sorry. There really are no words to describe the hole left behind. I’m filled with SO many why questions, and so many morbid thoughts about how. It’s a brain itch I can’t stop scratching, and I know I’ll never get the answers. I hope you can find some peace in happy memories of the two of you. Just please don’t blame yourself. He was sick. You wouldn’t blame yourself if he passed from cancer, and it’s the same thing. It’s easier to act like some action or words would have changed the outcome, because the alternative is accepting that this was our of our control (which is a horrifying thought). I sincerely hope you are able to find comfort in your life again.

      1. Meemzi

        I’m sorry to hear that. There really aren’t words. I have some of those questions too.

        I’m holding hands with you across the internet.

    6. Gaia

      I do not have any advice, but I am really sorry for your loss. Take care of yourself and let others take care of you.

    7. Ophelia Bumblesmoop

      No advice, but I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. I’m glad your family and friends have rallied around you and it’s so very wise to search for resources even when you are deep with grief.

    8. Jean (just Jean)

      I am sorry for your loss. It is good that your friends and family are taking good care of you.

      You may find some of these ideas helpful…?

      consulting the web site of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) or its affiliates (many state/regional/local organizations)…note: it’s a U.S.-based organization
      consulting the web sites of organizations that seek to study or prevent suicide, or to comfort people who have lost loved ones to suicide
      approaching a librarian in a public or publicly-available medical library (perhaps you’re near an institution of medical higher education?)
      approaching a therapist whose specialties include helping people close to others who have faced schizophrenia and suicide
      browsing online catalogs of publishers that specialize in mental health, grief, suicide, or schizophrenia..?

      Check each resource (book, web site, support group) for referrals to other sources of information and support. Be persistent if you don’t find useful info and/or connections immediately.

      Be kind to yourself because grief runs on its own schedule and has its own agenda. You may feel exhausted, inattentive, or angry as well as sad or uncomprehending. (I’m not a therapist–just someone experienced with primary and secondary bereavement.)

      There is still comfort in the world–as proven by your family and friends and the kind words of other AAMreaders–but I am sorry that your life now includes this experience.

    9. Sylvia

      I’m so sorry.

      I’ve lost relatives to suicide and the best people to talk to have been those who also knew them, and therapists. People have such varied experiences with and beliefs surrounding these things. You’ll find a variety of resources and, I hope, something you connect with within that.

      If you’re in the US, you may find NAMI helpful for schizophrenia resources.

      Many resources or support groups for those who have lost loved ones this way use the term “suicide survivors,” so that could be a good starting point if you’re looking for something local.

      I wish I could say more to help.

      1. Sylvia

        Two things I want to add:

        – I don’t describe myself as a suicide survivor and I haven’t participated in those organizations. Someone who has could give you much better advice, so anyone who wants to, feel free to add onto my comment!

        – Your grief and your other reactions to this aren’t going to be easy to predict or sometimes easy to understand. It might be very different from what others in similar situations have gone through. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. Be kind to yourself.

    10. Connie-Lynne

      I’m sorry for your loss; I lost my husband of 15 years to suicide in February.

      What has helped me most is talking. I have a ton of books that people gave me but can’t bring myself to read them yet. But being honest about how I feel and what is going on really helps, as does talking to other survivors — and there are far too many of us.

      In addition to my shrink, I recently started going to a peer support group for survivors, run by suicide prevention. It seems to help.

      The other thing I’ve been doing is writing down every memory I have of him, when I have it, so that I don’t forget him. I kind of wish I’d done that while he was alive so he could have seen how wonderful he was.

      1. Connie-Lynne

        Oh, also, if I need to cry, I just fuckin cry. I keep a handkerchief handy all the time.

        I don’t go and hide in a restroom or whatever, I just do it wherever I am. The exception is work, there’s a balcony I go to that’s a little more private, but sunny, and I go cry there instead of at my desk.

        Not scurrying away to hide my crying, as if it were something shameful, really helps me.

      2. Meemzi

        Thank you. I’m sorry for your loss. 15 years is a long time. It’s a comfort to hear that I’m not alone, sick as that is. You know what I mean.

        I’ve been looking at pictures and sharing memories with the friend staying with me. I’ll start writing them down.

        1. Connie-Lynne

          I totally understand. The biggest comfort to me in the first few weeks was hearing that others had been through this. It makes you feel less alone, in a time when you feel so very alone.

        2. Connie-Lynne

          Oh, to be clear, I don’t think it’s sick. Because you’re not glad for others’ loss. You’re grateful someone else might understand you and the tempest you’re feeling.

          1. orchidsandtea

            Oh, Connie-Lynne and Meemzi, I am so sorry for your losses.

            I had a different kind of loss last year, and part of what helped was respecting the gap the person left behind. Not making it okay (there’s no fixing this!), being present with the not-okayness. So I have little rituals I do in their memory, and I let myself frown when someone says “Great, we’re all here!” (because someone will always be missing). I talk to people who get it, and I remember that the ones who don’t get it still love me, even when they say terrible things.

    11. JanetM

      I am so sorry for your loss.

      I haven’t lost a partner (knock on wood), but when my parents died, both times I found a short course of therapy very helpful to deal with unresolved feelings and concerns. Also, after my mother died, my father told me that the grief came in waves, but gentler over time. I found that to be true as well.

    12. Ella

      That really sucks. I have a loved one with schizophrenia and it is a rough disease. I’m so sorry about your boyfriend.

    13. OldMom

      So sorry for your loss. My sister died a couple of weeks ago…different circumstances but I sympathize. While she was in hospice I was reading “caring for the dying: the doula approach to a meaningful death” most of it is about pre-death but there are some good self care ideas with the grieving process.
      I also tend to ear worm on songs about death. Warren Zevon “vast indifference of heaven,” any blues, gospel if that suits you… Take care of yourself.

    14. Misquoted

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad you have a support system and that they are taking good care of you. I haven’t been through this (though my partner of 3 years has cancer so I’ve had some dark thoughts about “what if”), but remember that everyone grieves differently, so do what you need to do for yourself. Wishing you peace.

    15. Workaholic

      A book resource for grief in general is second firsts by Christina Rasmussen. She’s a grief counselor and wrote the book after her first husband died.

    16. Dragonfly

      I’m sorry. I’ve heard of, but not had the chance to read, the book titled ‘Resisting Elegy’ (by J. Peckham), and just happen to know a bit about the tragic event that has led to the creation of the book. The writer, as you will know if you read his work, speaks from first-hand experience about loss. Good books have a habit of reading us even as they’re being read, so you may find some comfort in this! I wish you strength, love, and peace.

    17. Guest

      I found “I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One” to be very helpful after a sudden loss two years ago. Without going into too much detail, I became very familiar with my grief process in 2015. Best wishes to you for the road ahead.

    18. SeekingBetter

      I’m very sorry to hear about your loss. I agree with a lot of the books and resources shared by fellow commenters.

  7. Bored and Confused

    Any good book recommendations? I read pretty much anything other than romance (too predictable and ridiculous in my opinion).
    I’m trying to read 100 books this year and I’m discovering that there were only about 50 on my to-be-read list. Thanks in advance!

    1. Lady Jay

      Always! I’m reading Ursula K Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness right now & it’s excellent: essentially a spy novel on another world, peopled with human beings who are androgynous except once a month, when they enter sexual potency.

      Other recs:
      * The Evangelicals, by Frances Fitzgerald. A history of American evangelicalism.
      * Uprooted, by Naomi Novik. A fairy-tale/magical story with wizards and witches and an evil forest.
      * Canticle for Leibowitz. A darkly funny story about the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse.
      * The Disappearing Spoon, Sam Kean. Anecdotes about the periodic table.
      * The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro. Mysticism & racial/ethnic tensions in the waning of Arthurian Britain. There’s also a dragon.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

        I adore A Canticle for Leibowitz! One of the best parts of being a religion major was to spend half a semester rhapsodizing on paper about it.

        1. Lady Jay

          Oh, how fun! I once took an Eastern Philosophy course and spent a few weeks on a paper comparing Buddhism to the Jedi practices. :)

          1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

            Eastern philosophy is fun – my concentration for my major was Hindu philosophical systems. Way interesting, but I thought my spellcheck was going to give up and leave me by the time I graduated.

      2. Book Lover

        Uprooted is so magical. I didn’t like the second half as much as the first, but then was enraptured by the ending. She is a wonderful author – I like her fanfic too :)

      3. Thlayli

        Looking at your list I think you might enjoy Charles de lint – if you haven’t already heard of him. North American urban fantasy.

    2. NoMoreMrFixit

      I’m reading the Ring of Fire series by Eric Flint. A modern day mining town gets shoved into the middle of the 30 years war in Germany and starts changing history.

      1. Authoria

        If you like historical fiction, I’ve recently enjoyed The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman (about female boxers in 18th-C London), The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (an all-woman spy ring in WWI), and The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee (rip-roaring epic about an opera singer.) I also recommend The Magician’s Lie (female illusionist accused of murder in 1905) and Girl in Disguise (based on the real-life first female detective), but full disclosure, that’s because I wrote them. ;)

    3. Lady Kelvin

      If you like sci-fi I can recommend The Passage by Justin Cronin. It is a post-apocalyptic book with “vampire” like creatures. I’m not quite done with it but I’m really enjoying it. Its like a Michael Criton book and not like most vampire books. There are also two more in the series if you like the first one

      1. KarenK

        Loved this series. He also wrote two other books,The Summer Guest and Mary and O’Neil, that are completely different.

      2. Windchime

        Oooh, I just recommended this one below as well. It’s scary but it’s so well-written. I haven’t seen this kind of really good writing for awhile. Love, love, love it.

    4. Cari

      What do you like most about the books you read? Plot, characters, twists and turns, writing style?
      The last book I read that I couldn’t put down was If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. Murder and Shakespeare in a small arts school.

    5. Dr. KMnO4

      Anything by Ann Patchett.
      Jack McDevitt is a prolific scifi author. I especially like his Alex Benedict series.
      Anne George’s Southern Sisters mystery novels are funny.
      Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone novels (about a female PI, so mystery/thriller) are fantastic.
      The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett are funny and deep.
      “Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits” by David Wong was very good.
      “Severance” by Chris Bucholz.

    6. Elkay

      Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris is my go-to recommendation.

      Maybe add some classics to your list? I know a few people who try and read (or re-read) at least one classic a year. I haven’t read many classics but I think Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier probably counts, if you enjoyed that there’s a book called Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman which is good.

      1. Elkay

        Also, The Secret History or The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I didn’t like her second book (The Little Friend) and The Goldfinch divides people but I enjoyed it.

    7. Countess Boochie Flagrante

      Ooh, I’ve got a few. My tastes run toward sci-fi/fantasy.

      The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and its sequel A Close and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. I cannot recommend these books enough, and they are both ones that I reread over and over again. They’re especially good as understatedly LGBT fiction; neither of them directly deals with the issues, but the first one touches a lot on cultural and relationship expectations, while the second revolves mostly around the relationship of mind and body. The first one is also laugh-out-loud funny.

      The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. This one is a little weak in a few areas, particularly in terms of how to use made-up fantasy terms and languages, but it’s still an engaging and fun story about the mixed-race fourth son of a murdered emperor trying to get his political feet under him in the middle of a murder investigation.

      • If scientific non-fiction is more your speed, T-Rex and the Crater of Doom by Walter Alvarez is the story of how scientists (primarily including Alvarez himself) figured out just what it was that killed the dinosaurs, when, and how, and what kind of obstacles they ran into in the course of that discovery.

      1. katamia

        If you like Katherine Addison, you should give Sarah Monette a try–they’re the same person. I haven’t read her Katherine Addison books yet, but I found her Doctrine of Labyrinths series fascinating.

    8. katamia

      My reading tastes tend a bit toward the weird, so this list does too:

      -Haruki Murakami. Not sure how well your tastes would line up with mine regarding which of his books you might like best, but A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance Dance Dance are my favorites of his so far (although I’m going in order, so I haven’t read everything yet).
      -The Lost City of Z (David Grann)
      -The Hakawati (Rabih Alameddine)
      -House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski)
      -Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America (Helen Thorpe)
      -Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead if plays count and you’ve read Hamlet
      -The End of Mr Y (Scarlett Thomas)
      -The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Tahir Shah)

    9. Bored and Confused

      Thanks for all the suggestions! Thankfully I have access to an amazing library so I’ve been able to find a lot of these titles. I love having some variety in my reading so I enjoy reading books that I never would have even thought to look for. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on these (some of them are coming from other library branches so I have to wait) and exploring some new authors.

    10. Girasol

      The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. There’s some romance but it explores a fantasy religion and has wonderful characters. The audiobook reader does the original excellent book justice, too, if you like audio.

    11. MechanicalPencil

      Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson. Just came out and is from a new author (who I know personally and is a fabulous human being). It’s been opted for a film and is a great read.

    12. Stinky Socks

      Eifelheim by Michael Flynn. Aliens crash land in medieval Germany. It is awesome.
      Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis. Written in first-person as a woman, and I totally bought it.
      A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller. The fall and rise and fall of civilization.

      1. Red Reader

        One of my favorite book series is Harry Turtledove’s Worldwar series – aliens invade during WW2 with the intent of colonizing earth.

    13. Annie Mouse

      The After Cilmeri series by Sarah Woodbury is fantastic, definitely my favourite. It’s set between modern day and a parallel version of medieval Wales and is a bit of a historical what if/bit of sci fi. I can never do it justice. There’s not much in the way of romance and what there is is either a specific plot point (the first book is based around Meg falling for the last Prince of Wales but focuses on far more than the gooey romance) or as an aside to make it more fleshed out. There are 11 in the series so far I think!

    14. GermanGirl

      The Martian by Andy Weir. Imho the book is way better than the movie – I read it in one day because I couldn’t put it down and I kept cracking up. It’s about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars.

      Ready player one by Ernest Cline – I suppose this is best if you were into computer games in the 80s but Im not and still enjoyed this story. It’s about a dystopian future where almost everybody uses this virtual reality computer game and people even go to school in the game because that’s cheaper than building actual schools. The main plot has a lot to do with solving riddles about really old computer games though.

      Ghost in the wires by Kevin Mitnick – an autobiographical book about a hacker of the early days of computers. It’s full of technical details, which you don’t have to understand to find it interesting, because the main point is that he mostly used social engineering and most of those tricks would work just as well today.

      And something completely different: Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA, about a Norwegian guy who became a radical, joined al Qaeda, decided he had to alert the authorities when he got wind of planned terrorist attacks and became a double agent. Also autobiographical.

    15. Windchime

      I just finished a trilogy of books that was chilling and really, really good. They are by Justin Cronin. “The Passage”, “The Twelve”, and “City of Mirrors”. It’s a post-apocolyptic story that involves vampires, but not the romantic kind, or the ones with the capes. These are terrifying creatures. It’s a story of adventure, love, and heroes. Not for the faint of heart, because there are also some really gruesome scenes. But it was a great trilogy and I’m sorry that I’m done with the story.

  8. Transitioning

    I am finally buying window a/c units! I moved to NYC last spring, so this will be my second New York summer. I went through last summer in my top floor apartment without a/c, by sleeping with frozen towels, fans, and little to no clothes, and NOT turning on my stove/oven, thus relegated to raw foods (which was actually quite nice). I was resigned to do it again this year.

    Before this move, I’d only lived in 1) a house and 2) a house with central air and heating. The task of researching, buying, and installing an air conditioner seemed too daunting a task for me to want to deal with — it still is, but my family was sooo miserable last year when they visited, so I’m getting two.

    Has anyone had any particular success with one brand over the other? My living room is approx. 247 sq.ft. and my bedroom is approx. 168 sq.ft. Any tips or trick of the trade I should be aware of when it comes to ac noise, keeping bugs out, air leakage? I’m a neophyte!

    1. Ilsa

      I looked at Amazon reviews when I bought my A/C window unit and found them very helpful in finding one that met my needs.

      You can also check how accurate the Amazon reviews are for a particular item by copying the item’s URL and pasting it in at http://www.fakespot.com. Fakespot analyzes online reviews at Amazon and Yelp to determine if they are accurate, vs paid endorsements.

      1. Transitioning

        Ohh, thank you for both of those suggestions. I didn’t think to check Amazon. I’ve just been looking review on Home Depot, Lowes, PR Richards, Walmart, and Target. And I’m definitely going to use that link.

        1. FosterFoster

          Just go to PC Richards, tell them the size of the rooms and let them install it. NYC requires those safety arms to be installed and after watching the guys do it, I was very happy I didn’t try to do it myself. Also, I just left mine in the window for the 5 years I was there, including Hurricane Sandy and snow. They sealed it in well enough and NYC apartments are so hot in the winter that leaving the window “open” didn’t have any effect.

    2. JulieBulie

      The expandable things on the sides are usually not very good, so I’ve taken to securing them to the window with packing tape! I have an old house so I don’t care if it messes up the paint, but so far that hasn’t been a problem.

      I had a Haier that I didn’t like. It was VERY loud, so it was impossible to sleep. My Frigidaire is much quieter.

    3. Damn it, Hardison!

      The website thesweethomedotcom did a review of air conditioners and has advice on finding the right size, etc.

    4. Anono-me

      Please look at how the AC unit will be fastened into the window. A lot of times they are not fastened properly and can either fallout or be pushed in as a way to access the unit by intruders.

      I would also suggest considering how heavy each AC unit is, if you will be the one installing it.

      Stay cool.

    5. alex

      HOW did you survive an NYC summer w/out one?! After 11 years, I still have my original Frigidaires and no problems; I’ve hung out in tons of apts around here, and I’ve never found anybody’s model more or less desirable regarding your concerns. I do really like that mine have remotes. They all make white-noise somewhat, they don’t bring in bugs, and I’m not sure what “air leakage” means but they should all come with wings to secure them into the window panel. I live in a house from the 1920s, so nothing’s airtight, but any basic window AC would be perfectly fine.

      Also to install, you literally just lift it and place/balance it in the frame and shut the window into the ridge on top; then you close the side wings. I (a very-not-burly person) usually do it by myself — with some cursing aloud and precarious moments– and it’s always been fine. Two people make the job curse-free and easy-peasy. If you get some behemoth one, you might have to add a brace, but I’ve never sprung for that and have never been uncomfortable (in large-ish rooms) using regular units.

      The big thing is placement: you absolutely want them in enclosed areas, ie bedrooms or a living area that has doors. Otherwise the cool won’t accumulate. The second you get home, turn on ACs, close the doors, and then do what you gotta do around the kitchen/bath/whatever. It’s bliss to retire to the already-chilled rooms. :) For the kitchen: a cheap window fan is very helpful.

      Finally, be prepared for your ConEd bill to at least double during the months you use these.

      1. Transitioning

        Alex, thank you for all you insight!

        I didn’t consider enclosed spaces. My living room has no doors. When I measured the space, I didn’t add in the dining nook, kitchen, or foyer. It’s all open, but there are arches separating those spaces. I bought a 6,000 BTU Frigidaire for the living room space, should I take it back and get the 8,000, so that it has enough power to “touch” those other areas?

        And my air leakage, I meant the possibility of the cold air leaving room due to ineffective sealing.

        Thanks!

        1. Observer

          Get a bigger unit and hang curtains in the archways. It’s not as good as doors, but I can tell you form experience, it makes a significant difference.

        2. alex

          Gotcha. Yeah, I mean… I might consider the more powerful unit in that case, though you’ll never fully chill an open space like that. It will always be cool right near the thing, but there will be a ton of chill-loss throughout the space.
          I’d do window fans where you can, and strategically place the ACs so that they serve small areas. Also be mindful of what direction the windows face, and how the sun affects the space (this is massive for our (nyc) house, where some rooms bake in the morning and others don’t). And it’s not a bad idea to do curtains in the arches between the zones of the space. But generally the AC air just isn’t going to distribute that much– at least that’s my experience.

    6. Observer

      Get the right size – too big or too small are going to be problematic. There are some good calculators on the internet to figure out what you need. It’s not just square footage, but windows, which way your outside wall face, etc.

      One you get the units in you will kick yourself for not doing this sooner. You don’t need a “perfect” unit, just one that works. And window units for smaller rooms are inexpensive enough that if they don’t last for decades it’s not that hard to replace, unlike split units and central. Also, the overall quality has gone up in general, ime.

      If you have the budget for it, get the unit installed. It’s SO much easier.

      1. Transitioning

        I may have to get it installed. I thought I could do it myself…I can’t even install the AC support. Don’t have the proper tools or the no-how. Way more to this than I thought.

        1. GH in SOCal

          I grew up in NYC and the window unit in my mother’s bedroom has been there year-round for 50 years. I think she replaced it once in my lifetime. It cools her room to an icebox, or when we kids were there (or she has guests) she opens her door and closes the hall door and it makes both bedrooms bearable.
          She also used to have a Kitchen unit that she would put in every summer and store in the closet in the winter, but for the last 10-15 years she’s just eaten takeout in her bedroom in the hot months and abandoned the kitchen until fall. (And gotten out of the city as much as work permitted.)
          Like you, her living room/dining room/foyer are all connected, so all my life those rooms had to be abandoned in the summer. About 5 years ago when she had to host shiva at her house in July she got one of those rolling standalone units that just has a hose you stick in a window and we were stunned at how effectively it chilled those front rooms. Probably 600 square feet altogether! It’s a little more trouble to use because you have to empty its drip tray but it is nice to have the option to leave the bedroom in the summer.

    7. AcademiaNut

      You might what to check out the split systems, if you can install them in your place. These are the ones that have the actual AC unit outside, and only the fan part inside, which makes them much quieter (and takes up less window space). We went to one in our apartment and really like it – we have one unit which cools both the bedroom and living room.

      I do strongly recommend paying someone to install it, particularly in an apartment where you can’t stand outside to work on it.

      One thing to watch is that you don’t buy something too overpowered. Not enough power, and it won’t cool the room. But too powerful, and it will cool the room too fast, and won’t have a chance to dehumidify, which in humid climates makes at least as much difference as the climate.

  9. Rescue ALL the dogs!!!

    I broke up with my fiancé yesterday. I don’t know if it was the right decision but when I suggested it he shut down and stopped talking to me so I guess that’s that.

    I don’t know how I feel but I don’t think I’m sad at all. All I know is that I’m not looking forward to a family party tonight where I’m sure I’m going to get judged and harassed with questions.

    I’ve been hating the city I live in for some time now and I had been planning on moving to be with my fiancé. But since that’s not happening I’m starting to explore places that I may like to live in to keep myself sane while I process everything. I’m looking for a dog friendly city or town, with a low cost of living and good walkability. I’d prefer a more temperate climate, not too hot. Anyone have any suggestions?

    1. Junior Dev

      Hey, I’m sure you’ll get a bunch of people having unsolicited Opinions on your breakup, I just want to say it’s great that you made the decision that’s right for you.

      Maybe give yourself a month off of trying to make a firm decision of where to move, but try doing some fun or interesting things you’ve been wanting to try for a while and think about what it’d be like to do them in a new place/what places are good for those things. Check out hiking trails/indie bookstores/art galleries/live music venues (or whatever you’re into) and think about what cities have a lot of those things and what the pros and cons of living in them would be.

    2. Jessesgirl72

      Did you already tell everyone? If not, I’d wait to break the news until after the party, to avoid all the questions. “So as not to ruin everyone’s good time” ;)

      1. Rescue ALL the dogs!!!

        No I havent told anyone but my family never thought I’d marry him anyway since we were engaged for years. I’m the only family memeber that doesn’t fit the established mold of marriage + babies by 30 so I tend to get ganged up on quite a lot once the drinks start flowing. There’s lots of pity and judgment and I’m just not sure I can deal with it right now because even though I technically broke up with him I wasn’t really expecting it. All I did was communicate that the relationship wasn’t working as is because he wasn’t putting enough effort on his end to get us to our end goal and I guess he didn’t like that – which I suppose proves me right but I was really hoping it would open up a dialogue, not shut everything down.

        1. JenM

          This is probably too late but these are the circumstances that call for a mystery virus *cough* too sick for the party *cough*.

    3. Countess Boochie Flagrante

      Breaking off an engagement is hard and ugly, but when it’s the right thing to do, it’s such a relief. I ended mine almost a decade ago, and truth to tell, after the initial “oh god what did I do?” adjustment period, I’ve never looked back with anything but profound relief. There’s a lot of momentum that a relationship gains when it hits the engagement stage, but it is so much easier to break off an engagement than it is to get a divorce!

    4. Ann

      I am sorry as this is upsetting all around but I also get a happy I can do anything and go anywhere vibe that I think is very exciting. Wishing you great adventures.

    5. Wrench Turner

      I grew up and live in the area between Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC and it’s full of dogs and their parks, more restaurants from cultures around the world than you can ever explore in one life time, and beautiful natural places to hike all over. There are many colleges/universities for continuing education and training, and lots of hospital/medical centers. Living between the nation’s capital and a major commercial port means there are skilled, paying jobs to be found, even for blue collar wrench turners like me. It’s got all four seasons and I love it here.

      The cons:
      Unless you live in downtown DC or Baltimore, you’ll need a car. It’s sprawly and our public transportation infrastructure is lacking. Traffic can be real bad here. REAL bad. So bad. Unbelievable. The closer you live to downtown DC, its subway lines, or downtown Baltimore, the more expensive it is. This isn’t surprising, but the cost in DC can be real intimidating if you don’t have a good paying job lined up.

  10. Merci Dee

    I’m officially, completely moved in. Unpacked the last box last night. Hallelujah!

    Now, 2 of my 3 sisters are arriving in an hour to see the new place. Time to sweep up!

      1. Merci Dee

        It did turn out to be pretty fun! My sisters loved my new place. Thought I did a great job finding it. I’m the youngest of the siblings, so they all feel the need to look out for me, even though I’m 40 years old now and have been on my own for a couple of decades at this point.

        I guess that’s family, though. Willing to be there and look out for us, whether we need it or not! :)

  11. Anon for this

    I’m posting this anonymously because I don’t want my handle here linked to my name in real life, but I started a podcast!!. Definitely on the amateur side, but I’ve been having fun with it for about a month now. It’s called An English Prof Reads the Bible & is on iTunes, Google Play & Soundcloud (I’ll put the soundcloud link the comments).

    Getting it off the ground was a bit of a rigamarole but after that, it’s fairly easy to record and edit each week. And I’m learning a lot about sound editing to boot!

    1. KAZ2Y5

      Thank you! I’m adding this to my podcast list. And very excited that you are starting with Psalms!

      1. Anon for this

        I’ve loved doing the Psalms for this! I hope you like it; be patient with me, though – this has been a learning curve & the first episode is definitely *not* the best. I really like the one I just put up, on Psalm 46.

    2. Wrench Turner

      What software do you use for recording and editing? What microphone do you use?
      I’m always curious as to behind-the-scenes stuff.

      1. Anon for this

        I use the mic that came with my iPhone, actually. As long as I record the session in one go, so my mouth remains relatively the same distance away from the mic part, it works pretty well. If I keep doing this, I’ll probably splurge on a nicer one, but it was great to be able to start with stuff I already had.

        I use Audacity for editing. I’ve had mixed experiences with open source software (Moodle is *not* user-friendly), but I’ve been really pleased with Audacity. It works well & didn’t require a big learning curve.

        I may wind up needing to change my RSS feed host or splurge on a paid version, because there’s stuff that the free version of Soundcloud doesn’t allow for, like scheduling posts.

  12. Rescue ALL the dogs!!!

    Can anyone suggest dog-friendly cities or towns with a low COL and good walkability that would be good for a late twenties singleton? I’m looking for a change to a cooler climate post-breakup and I want to find a place I actually like to live.

    Any suggestions?

    1. KatieKate

      Chicagoan here. Not sure how LCOL you are looking for, but Chicago can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. VERY dog friendly and very walkable. Also fantastic public transit.

    2. Fiennes

      Seconding Chicago. I enjoyed that place a lot. Not mega cheap but very affordable as major cities go.

      1. Junior Dev

        Portland is a great place to not own a car, or to walk/bike/take transit even if you do own a car. Lots of people love dogs and there are a bunch of city parks with off-leash areas.

      2. Authoria

        Hard to beat the walkability in Philadelphia, and Center City real estate really covers the spectrum. Good luck with your choice!

        1. Rescue ALL the dogs!!!

          I’m very intrigued by Maine. I really don’t want to live in a massive city. I have dreams of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls but with more amenities :) Can you tell me what you specifically like about Portland, ME?

          1. Blue_eyes

            If you think you’d like Maine, try looking at Burlington, VT. It’s a medium sized city and I hear it’s very livable and pleasant. As long as you can handle the winters. (I’ve only spend a few days there on vacations, but they were very nice).

      3. tigerStripes

        Western Oregon gets a lot of rain, and there are a lot of overcast days. Other than that, it’s pretty good.

    3. west MI represent

      Grand Rapids, MI is pretty cool! It’s changed SO much just in the 3 years that I’ve been here. Lots of money coming into this city. Close to Lake Michigan, surrounded by a national forest (Manistee) and tons of trails for dog hikes. Plus there are a lot of active dog owners around here, I take my corgi to dog events once a week or so. Today was a corgi meetup at a giant fenced in dog park. Thank goodness they have a dog wash station here, because he was disgusting at the end. There’s also a local dog walking company that organizes community walks, where everyone walks their dog together for 30-45 min then the dogs get free doggie ice cream donated by a local creamery afterwards. It’s adorable. Plus, it’s not priced like a high COL city, but you can still find a place in a super walkable neighborhood. Lots of beer too, if you’re into that. Comment if you have more questions!

      1. the gold digger

        I go to Grand Rapids for work. I have yet to have a bad meal. (Be advised – Olga’s heat ratings at Chez Olga are real, not adjusted for the upper Midwest.) Beautiful old houses, gorgeous sculpture gardens, major employers with HQs there, and yes, Founders Brewery, where we took two Belgian co-workers. (They loved it.)

        And the commute from MKE to Grand Rapids in the summer is a blast. The ferry has wi-fi, so you can work if you aren’t too distracted by looking at the lake.

    4. Dr. KMnO4

      Chi-town adjacent, and I agree with the recommendations. Many of the suburbs have low COL, and some of the neighborhoods in the city are reasonably priced as well. If you don’t mind airplane noise look at the areas around O’Hare or Midway as they tend to have great public transportation options and lower prices. The climate is certainly cooler than, say, St. Louis or Cincinnati or Louisville, but it does get hot and humid for a few months in the summer. But spring and fall are nice, if they arrive, and it certainly is cold in the winter.

        1. Dr. KMnO4

          Franklin Park, Melrose Park, Northlake, Bensenville, Norridge, Harwood Heights are all close to O’Hare (so convenient for flights) and pretty reasonable for COL. I’m less familiar with the suburbs near Midway, but a lot of the southern suburbs are pretty reasonable AFAIK.

      1. Swingbattabatta

        We lived in Chicago for about a decade – just to put it all out there, the weather is not exactly temperate, and the violence levels are concerning. Also, the lack of a state budget has some implications across the board. That being said, there are amazing things about Chicago and we do miss it (also, I will be a Blackhawks fan until I die and nothing brings me greater joy than going to a game).

    5. Jessesgirl72

      Milwaukee. Cheaper than Chicago with less traffic, all the amenities of a major city with culture, food, diversity, and anything Milwaukee doesn’t have, Chicago is 90 minutes away by train or car. Art schools along with universities mean there is a good crowd for those in their 20’s, and move out slightly to the suburbs (and some are really more urban with good walkability) when you want more space and quiet.

      1. Jessesgirl72

        Also, since Milwaukee isn’t as popular as Chicago, they are willing to pay more to get people to move here. ;)

      2. EddieSherbert

        I love Milwaukee, but I would say it’s tougher not to own a car (especially if you do the suburbs!). And while it’s starting to get more bike-friendly, but has a ways to go before I’d feel comfortable using that as a main transport (versus one in a while, or to a specific place where I know the route has bike lanes/paths).

        1. Jessesgirl72

          I think it depends on where she would live and work, and few cities have good public transit to the suburbs. Oh, you can take the train into Chicago from far out, but to get around the suburbs you need a car. Milwaukee is no worse if you can live and work downtown or live on the express bud routes. I could bus it downtown though, from my untrendy Southside suburban neighborhood, if I didn’t mind the transfers and a couple people on my block get back and forth by transit and only use the car on weekends. With all the grocery delivery options, I can even avoid that

          1. the gold digger

            (Outing myself :) )

            I am in a first-ring suburb where we can walk to every single thing we want to do – grocery store, library, restaurants (including amazing African, Hawaiian, French, Thai, Mexican, and Italian places, tennis courts, summer outdoor concerts, church. When I worked downtown, I took the bus to work and it was great. Once downtown, I could go running to the lake at lunch. Tons of excellent restaurants downtown. COL is not bad at all, esp compared to Chicago, and, as I think Jessesgirl72 noted, it’s a quick and easy 90 minutes in the quiet car with internet connection to downtown Chicago.

        2. the gold digger

          PS Re bike – I rode my bike to work in the suburbs for a few months, but really, once it starts to snow, this is just not an option. At least, it would not be for me – I would not feel safe on a bike path or a road with snow and/or ice.

          Signed,

          The woman who fell off her bike in a light rain but thank goodness, the helmet was OK. The prescription sunglasses were not and the ER bill (I tried to go to urgent care and to my doc’s office, but they both refused to treat me) was $4,700, so there went all the savings from not driving.

      3. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        Also you can toss the dog in the car and drive off to any number of lovely state parks along the lake (heading north a half hour) on a weekend or head to plenty of state parks westbound. Easier to get out of Milwaukee than Chicago.

        Minneapolis was pretty dog friendly and lots of trails around lakes but thats moving from cooler into downright cold so maybe not. Ill toss out Reno, NV as well because everyone seemed to have a dog there, more trees than Vegas but less hot, and seemingly feels cooler with less humidity, not to mention you can get out in the winter easily. LOTS of easy to access dog trails in the low hills around the university area, and some lovely old neighborhoods too with lots of trees and mountain views, with low COL.

          1. salad fingers

            Crazy dog parks! I live in Chicago and I can confidently say our dog parks don’t compare to Milwaukee’s. My best friend is from MKE, so we drive up on weekends pretty regularly with her dog. Insane whole city block dog parks. Chicago’s are more like a small carved out corner of a moderately sized regular park.

            As for the rest of the Chicago v. Milwaukee conversation, I vote Milwaukee on cost of living, Chicago on walkability, I guess. Definitely on public transportation. My friend has considered moving back to Milwaukee but one big factor is work – there is more opportunity here in her field. In terms of being single, I think that one is a wash. More fish in Chicago’s sea, but …. harder to meet people in some ways? I’m not single and haven’t been for a long time, so that’s mostly info gleaned from friends.

    6. periwinkle

      Well, the COL isn’t great in Seattle but it’s hard to imagine a more dog-friendly city. The Pacific Northwest in general is enthusiastic about furballs.

      1. Rescue ALL the dogs!!!

        What about smaller towns on the outskirts of Seattle and the surrounding areas? Any noteworthy towns? I’d rather live in a small and quieter town and then just have the option to go into the big city if necessary. Right now I live in Key West, FL, and I find it’s the perfect size. If it wasn’t for the heat, the mosquitos and the cost of living down here, Id probably be happy with staying.

        1. fond_of_jam

          There are many great smaller towns/cities outside Seattle, but the cost of living is still pretty high (especially if you want easy access to the city via mass transit). Places like Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Issaquah have all gotten way more expensive–but also more fun!–since I grew up there in the ’90s.

        2. SusanPNW

          Another option is Bellingham. It is close enough for a day trip into Seattle, and is a university town so has a lot of amenities associated with that. I haven’t lived there, but have enjoyed my visits. I can’t attest to the walkability and I expect their transit isn’t great. But it is gorgeous there, and also a short drive to Vancouver BC, which is fun to visit.

        3. SusanPNW

          You could also go south to Tacoma, which has a lower COL than Seattle and is less than an hour away. The downtown area was dead for years, but is reviving with some really cool museums and a branch of the University of Washington.

          Another option is to go across the sound. Both Poulsbo and Gig Harbor are beautiful towns on the water with some good restaurants and shopping. Poulsbo is a ferry ride away from Seattle and ferry rides are the best! I live in Kitsap county (where Poulsbo is) and the natural beauty is amazing. Transit is pretty bad though.

          A little further away is Port Townsend on the Olympic peninsula. It would definitely be more cumbersome to get into Seattle (again with a ferry ride), but I know someone who lives there who goes in weekly to volunteer at the zoo. It is a very artsy town, very cool vibe.

          If you can’t tell, I LOVE this area!

        4. Swingbattabatta

          I’d say Edmonds is a great bet for a smaller town that is very Seattle-adjacent. And, I think they are expanding the lightrail out that way, so it’ll be pretty easy to get downtown…

      2. nom

        Or if you don’t need/want to be in a proper city, what about Olympia, WA? Good climate and super dog-friendly, but with lower cost of living than Seattle.

        1. GH in the PNW

          I am in Vancouver and I think you would LOVE it but since moving to another country is tricky, I’m going to second all these votes for Seattle-adjacent places. Once you get settled, come to Vancouver to visit. So much theater and music and great food, and really good mass transit.

    7. Dead Quote Olympics

      Columbus, OH. Lots of walkable neighborhoods, very dog-friendly, ramping up on bike commuting infrastructure in a serious way, decent bus system, CarToGo if you want to try going completely carless, probably mid- cost of living, lots of younger people, major industries are Eds, meds, insurance, food (both craft and industrial scale), and retail clothing (not doing well), as well as some serious investments in data centers, analytics, etc. Ohio has some of the best public libraries in the nation in every size category, including C-bus Metro PL and surrounding communities. It just got its own IKEA. Temperate climate, has the standard seasons including snow in winter, thunderstorms and some tornado warnings, heat and humidity during the summer, actual spring and fall.

      1. Gala apple

        I had just added Columbus to my short list myself! Would you say it’s a liberal city or a mix?

        1. Dead Quote Olympics

          Hmmmm. Probably a mix, if only because it’s the state capital and Ohio state politics are very consistently Republican, so things like laws regarding workers rights, etc. tend to skew small c conservative. However, Ohio State University is very dominant so liberal (but it’s huge with a lot of students from other regions including conservative farming regions); the city government has been consistently liberal both in social policy and in infrastructure investment but it’s surrounded by some rich white suburbs that can be very NIMBY and privileged; my neighborhood is full of multi-language signs in yards welcoming our neighbors no matter where they come from, it’s a pretty ethnically diverse city for the Midwest; and the Pride Fest is in full swing downtown with full city and business and community backing to everyone’s general enjoyment.
          I’d say it skews liberal “for the Midwest” but a mix compared to Portland or Boston or San Francisco.

        2. Dead Quote Olympics

          Agggh, the Internet ate my reply. I think it skews liberalish for the Midwest, but it depends on your comparison cities. The Pride Fest is in full swing downtown this weekend with full city/business/community baking, Ohio State U is very dominant so skewing academic liberal, but it is the Midwest and surrounded by pretty traditional farming regions.

          1. Dead Quote Olympics

            Backing, not baking. However, C-bus does have some fantastic artisan bakeries and I’m sure they are participating too!

        3. Jessesgirl72

          It’s Midwest Liberal, which means mix to most people.

          I’m from NE Ohio and went to college in SW Ohio, and I can’t quite place a finger on why I don’t like Columbus. Probably just the native’s dislike of the native land.

          Plus, it’s so flat there.

          1. Dead Quote Olympics

            I’ve heard, in a job recruiting context, that Clevelanders think of themselves as the East and Columbus as the Midwest, and that it’s sometimes hard to get people to contemplate moving.

    8. Gingerblue

      Ann Arbor is highly walkable, liberal, and pleasant. It’s more expensive than most of Michigan, but not big-ciy expensive.

    9. Surrogate Tongue Pop

      Charlotte, NC. Nice, clean, city without being a CITY city. Gets all the seasons (minus tons of snow), I can safely say it’s cooler than Key West, temp-wise! I lived there for 10 years right out of college and truly enjoyed it.

  13. OhBehave

    My mom suddenly died Tuesday. We are heartbroken. We know she’s restored and whole now.

    My boss was is so awesome. He texted me the other eve to ask how I was and how they could pray for us.

    1. QualityControlFreak

      “We are heartbroken. We know she’s restored and whole now.”

      First, I am so sorry. We lost my BIL this year, my spouse is fighting throat cancer and I was just talking to my 92 yo FIL on the phone the other night. He is in a nursing home and approaching the end of life. Your comment here resonates with me so much. As I told my FIL, when we’re going through hard times like we all are right now, it helps me to remember that this time that we are here in this physical life is just a small segment of the whole that is us. I remember that after this hard part is over, I will get to see my loved ones again and we will go on new adventures. It helps me when the going is tough. You know that your mom is restored and whole now. And you will see her again.

    2. Not So NewReader

      I am very sorry.Your boss sounds like a fine person who gets the fact that some things only happen once in life and we need to pause when those things happen. I think bodies die, but love does not. Love just changes form and keeps flowing between the two dimensions. She still loves you guys, let your love flow, OP.
      My prayers go out for you and yours.

    3. Jean (just Jean)

      I’m sorry–sudden bereavement is terribly difficult. It’s good of your boss to be so caring.

      1. OhBehave

        Thank you all.

        Mom had COPD but hadn’t been hospitalized this last year. She was tired though. She called a friend to pick up a prescription for her and 30 minutes later the friend found her. So very thankful she died as she wished. No prolonged vigil for us kids and no struggle. She looked very peaceful.

        And, yes, my boss is awesome. So thankful for him. I just started the job in February.

  14. TheLazyB

    London. Oh my god. Two terror attacks and that horrific, horrendous fire in less than three months?! I’m aching and I don’t even live there.

        1. Ramona Flowers

          Oh sorry yes. Manchester and the most recent London one are both on everyone’s minds here.

          1. TheLazyB

            Manchester+London+fire in the space of, what, less than a month? Also unthinkable :(

            1. Ramona Flowers

              Yeah. Sorry, didn’t mean to sound snippy. It’s been a super weird time – a good friend lives in Granby House in Manchester which was stormed by police and is really struggling.

              1. TheLazyB

                My sister used to live in that part of Manchester. It seems ridiculous that places that were so close to her could be raised! I hope your friend is ok it must be so scary.

                1. Ramona Flowers

                  She’s getting there. She was just super shocked to be evacuated and have all the media asking for interviews etc.

      1. Anonyby

        Maybe she’s including the attack at the Parliment? It’s just within three months ago. That and the Westminister attack make two.

        Not that Manchester isn’t a horrible, awful attack that never should have happened. :( The news lately makes my heart hurt. The hope I’m hanging on to is that the increase in attacks is an extinction burst, and that soon they’ll die off.

        1. Anonyby

          I’m getting the names of things confused. Don’t listen to me. I obviously need to go back and restudy geography.

          There’s still way too much going on. :(

      2. TheLazyB

        Yeah I meant Westminster. How seriously horrible that in less than three months there have been three terrorist attacks. But yeah I was talking specifically about London. I’m British :)

    1. Mimmy

      My thoughts exactly. The footage from the fire was astounding – the flames were so BRIGHT. I hope the missing are accounted for and safe.

      1. Caledonia

        As much as we would like that to be the case the still missing will have perished and it will be a painstaking process to identify them.

            1. Elizabeth West

              I feel very connected to London, not just because I have family and friends in the city. When I’m there, I feel how special it is.
              And something else just happened tonight–not sure what is going on yet. Car hit people coming out of mosque in Finsbury Park. :(

      2. Jules the First

        I went past it on the train on my way to work on Wednesday morning and an audible gasp rippled down the length of the train as we went by. It was horrible. And much worse than the terrorist attacks because this could so easily have been prevented.

        Know your escape route, people – and actually test it out!

        1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

          Jesus thats horrible. I saw the smoke on the skyline crossing Southwark Bridge and thought it was clouds at first (as you get sometimes). Then I realized it was smoke and figured something big had to be on fire. Rolled into work lobby a few minutes later and the tvs were on and it was like 9/11 all over again.

          This feels like it could staert something much larger though….

        2. Elizabeth West

          I see that TfL has closed Circle and the Hammersmith & City tube lines near the area because of fears that debris will fall on the tracks. My cousin lives in Hammersmith and she says it is horrific to see the building. She’s going down to light a candle and said she will light one from me too. :'(

    2. Book Lover

      I find the fire to be harder to cope with than the terrorist attacks. I left some years ago, but it reminds of Thatcher’s UK and that makes me very sad.
      After this past week I started making plans to travel with the kids to see England and more specifically London. It isn’t perfect but I love it and want to share it with them.

  15. Fiennes

    Anybody here dealt with a partner with depression?

    I’ve had depression episodes myself, and wow, understanding it doesn’t help that much. C is self-aware, never cruel, never blaming — but so very far away. I miss the person lying next to me. Really I know I’ve got to let C work through this while I’m proving support – but how do you deal with the loneliness and anger? The illusion of rejection is even harder to deal with than real rejection, it sometimes seems to me; at least then I’d move on. C is worth roughing it out for. But I need some help on getting tough.

    (I was single during my own depressions and have no good or bad personal experiences to draw from there.)

    1. Sunflower

      I haven’t read any of them but have seen numerous books and resources about loving someone with depression. It might help to talk to a counselor too if you feel overwhelmed and need guidance.

    2. Junior Dev

      When you say rejection, do you mean a specific behavior or type of statement? Or a general emotional state? Because while it’s true that you can’t​ demand your partner be/act happy and emotionally healthy, you do get to ask to be treated well.

      I’m a person who has had depressed partners and also lives with my own mental health problems and I’d say remember to have a life outside your partner–hobbies, friends, family. It’ll help recharge your social batteries when dealing with Partner is hard.

      1. Fiennes

        A type of behavior – C is very withdrawn, not cold but not warmly demonstrative as was the case before, uninterested in sex (as was DEFINITELY not the case before.) But C isn’t being unkind in any sense, verbal or behavioral. It’s just like my partner is camped out on Misery Island, a land I can neither reach nor provide rescue from.

    3. Kay

      My husband is more or less constantly profoundly depressed, so I have far more experience in this than I would like.

      It’s perhaps not ideal, but it works best for me to have other outlets – to give him the support he needs but refuse to get sucked into the hours of conversation about how awful everything is. We don’t really talk politics because he was actually on a suicide watch around the election and bringing it up plunges him to a dark place now. I work really hard to communicate what needs to be done and try to get him to be accountable for what he feels like he can handle.

      When he is really bad and I’ve done what I can (talked to him, made sure he’s eating enough & not drinking too much, attempted some basic problem-solving or suggested some steps forward, snuggling/self-care is not working) I detach. I ride my horse; I work on sewing projects; I go out on the porch and read for a few hours. If he’s in an angry place and wants to yell obscenities at a video game I take the dog for a long walk. It’s a lot of refusing to enable, participate, or indulge and taking care of myself. It’s not an easy balance. I do sometimes think of how much easier my life would be if I didn’t handle 95% of everything.

    4. Red

      My husband has depression. I find a therapist of my own is really helpful. It can be a neutral place where you can talk with no judgement or chance of your partner hearing what was said.

      1. Fiennes

        Idk whether I want therapy at this point – I’ve had great therapists before but finding them is HARD – but a real sounding board would help.

        1. Red

          Well, the next best thing to a therapist in this scenario is a friend who cares about you but is not the least bit close with husband or mutual friends, or is suitably discreet. The important thing is to have someone to listen to you when things are tough but also who won’t make them any tougher

    5. ThatGirl

      My husband has depression and is also a therapist! So he’s aware but professionals don’t always take their own advice. I get how you feel.

      I think it’s important to have your own support, maybe even your own therapist to check in with. Friends to hang with when he’s feeling distant. Your own life.

      Make sure he has good support who isn’t you, too. And that his meds are in order. Remember he’s not being depressed AT you.

      1. Fiennes

        Helping him connect with other good sources of support is definitely something I could provide help with – thanks.

    6. Clever Name

      I have. It sucks and I have no advice. Neither of us are especially happy together right now, and we don’t know what to do.

    7. youremindmeofthebabe

      I know I’m late to this thread, but I had to say that I totally agree with what Kay said. My husband is depressed and has anxiety and panic attacks. I went through it briefly years before I met him, although no where near as serious as his. It took a while to begin to move past the feeling of rejection. I knew he wasn’t rejecting me, but it is hard not to feel that way. Now I do what I can to help and then focus on myself and our daughter. One thing I do is to sometimes leave random notes with funny sayings, drawings, or just I love yous. It lets him know I’m here, not going anywhere, and I support him. Definitely take care of yourself, there was a time I started to feel the pull of depression again. That’s when I realized I really needed to set aside that time for myself to decompress. Otherwise I wasn’t going to be any good to him or anyone else!

    8. Thinking Outside the Boss

      My wife of four years has Major Depression and Anxiety, and the anxiety leads to agoraphobia. It was a minor issue when we met and I didn’t know about it, but after the birth of our son, my wife suffered from post partum, which in turn exacerbated the depression and anxiety. My wife is in treatment now, but she is struggling with it and tends to self medicate with alcohol. A terrible combination–having depression and drinking a depressant.

      I survive just by living every day. Fiennes, I have the same feelings as you do. The anger and frustration of not being able to do anything to fix the situation. All I can do is be supportive, which is huge for my wife, but when I see her spiral out of control, there is zero I can do about it. It’s not like making her favorite meal or uttering a code phrase will bring her back to reality. The hurt and loneliness of looking into her eyes and getting a blank stare … or not being able to look into her eyes because she’s curled up on the couch and won’t even talk to you … or really only seeing the woman you married once a week because the rest of the time I’m living with a stranger. Feeling helpless and powerless because we need couples counseling bad, but until my wife has working through her issues, she refuses to go.

      I’m not sure the anger a partner of someone who is suffering from depression ever goes away. The burden of the relationship falls on our shoulders. I haven’t found any good support groups in my area, so I just get through it by living. It sucks. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

  16. Lily Evans

    I posted a couple of updates about apartment hunting over the past few weeks, but I officially have an apartment now!!! It’s significantly closer to work, the roommates seem like neat normal people, and my cat will be the only pet which she will love (and the other roommates all like cats, so my clingy little cat will have so much attention)! And not only is it closer to work, it’s in a great area for restaurants, groceries, and exercise classes, plus it’s super close to a train line, so I’m super excited!

  17. Legalchef

    This is a bit of a long story, so sorry in advance!

    There’s someone using my email address for things. Basically, around a year ago I started getting emails to my old email address (w my maiden name, which I’ve had for more than 10 years, firstmaiden@gmail), all clearly intended for the same person, including emails for cable accounts etc. I actually got a background check report from Uber for this person, which obv had a lot of personal info, inc SSN. She has the same first and maiden name as me. There was a phone number for her in the background check so I decided to call it to try to see what was happening and to make sure she knew, since I assumed she wouldn’t want all this info floating around.

    When I called her, she first insisted her email was the same as mine (firstmaiden@gmail) and when I said it couldn’t be her email, bc I’ve had it for years, she said “it’s firstmaiden47@gmail” and apparently didn’t get that she had to put the numbers in the email address. After that convo, the emails slowed down, but now they are picking up again.

    I actually emailed her a couple weeks ago reminding her of our convo and asking her once again to use her email address and not mine, but got no response and the emails are continuing. Just in the past few days I’ve received emails from a dating website and a temp agency. I tried to unsubscribe from the dating website but I’d have to log in (and technically I could change her PW if I really wanted and mess w her profile).

    I’ve sent everything that I get for her to spam and/or unsubscribe where possible, but it’s pretty annoying. At this point, is there anything else I can do? I don’t think I have any obligation to let any of the email senders known things are going to the wrong person at this point, since I’ve had a conversation and a follow up email to her about this (and frankly who needs to be reminded that they need to use their whole email address to sign up for things?).

    1. Turtlewings

      I’m reminded of my grandmother, who kept getting calls for some business or other, had tried to address it with them, but nothing changed until she started cheerfully taking orders and then, you know, going back to sleep or whatever. Didn’t take very long for the calls to stop after that. :)

      I’d contact her one more time, and tell her flat-out that you’re going to do your best to screw up her life in whatever way is most convenient if this keeps happening. Canceling accounts, changing passwords, whatever. At this point you could easily steal her identity completely. Whether you follow through on any of that is your choice (though I personally would do the non-illegal parts) and whether she keeps giving you the opportunity is hers.

      1. Epsilon Delta

        I would not say/do anything that sounded like “threatening to mess up her life.” That is just not something you want on record. I would however mark everything as spam. It’s not your problem if she doesn’t give them the right email. Perhaps when she forgets her password for one of these accounts and can’t get the password reset link it will sink in (or perhaps not).

        1. Wrench Turner

          Seconding the “don’t mess with them” thing, even if it would be fun. It’s a big potential risk to you. Just unsubscribe/spam everything, annoying as it is.

        2. Liane

          Yes, this is one of those Great Fantasy/Bad Action things. Just the threat, not actually doing any of that, is more likely to mess up YOUR life than hers.

        3. Observer

          Thirding, 4thing, 5thing…

          Threatening to mess up someone’s life, in email no less, is really, really stupid. Don’t do it.

    2. Aphrodite

      You’ve already contacted her. If she cannot be bothered to use her correct email address, I wouldn’t bother to warn her that she’s going to lose a lot of mail. Just unsubscribe to everything you get and places you do not want to contact should be marked as spam. You did your part in contacting her. Now you can do what is easiest for you without worrying about how it will affect her.

      1. Legalchef

        Thanks. That’s what I thought too, but figured I’d get extra opinions just in case.

    3. Florida

      That is so annoying. I would not recommend changing her passwords, cancel accounts, etc. even though she is using your email address. That might open you up to some sort of liability.

      I would contact the dating site and tell them that someone used your email address to set up an account. Unsubscribe when you can. Otherwise block all the emails.

      1. Legalchef

        Yeah, I definitely don’t have the motivation or time to mess with her, though it is certainly tempting if for no other reason than it might actually get her to register for things accurately.

    4. Jane Dough

      This happens to me constantly, because I have a very common name and I was an early adopter of gmail. It tends to go in cycles.

      For a while I was getting stuff that violated HIPAA, because I think that person was an X-ray technician. I had to reply there as a CYA. Now I’m getting a ton of stuff for a notary, including financial documents for mortgage applicants, so I have to toe the line about proper procedure there as well. It’s a huge pain, and it took me less than a minute on Google to figure out the correct recipient, so it’s insanely frustrating that people can’t get this right.

      So, my overall policy is now this: I have a draft sitting in my e-mail that states that the recipient has gotten the wrong person. It links to the Gmail explanation that periods are not recognized within an e-mail address, and tells the person to re-confirm the correct address for future correspondence. If I could get in trouble for getting the info, like legal/confidential e-mails, I reply immediately with that draft and then delete the e-mail. If it’s personal/not urgent, I reply with the draft and delete. If it’s not urgent and a repeat (meaning they ignored my first response) I block the sender and move on with my life.

      If you’re thinking “Why don’t you abandon this problematic e-mail address already?” it’s because I’m a freelancer with 20+ years experience, and I’ve been using it too long to track down everyone to update it.

      1. JulieBulie

        Are you sure you can get in trouble for receiving unsolicited email of any kind? That doesn’t make any sense to me.

        1. Jane Dough

          There have been some that contained things like medical history, SSNs, and bank account numbers. I didn’t want the hassle of being caught up in a possible “breach” situation in the future. Doing due diligence to show that I was aware of the issue and was going through the proper motions was easier than worrying about it.

        2. Liane

          I know from a previous job, that the wrong doctor (or other medical professional) getting a medical transcription–didn’t opened or read it–is a HIPAA violation, but I don’t recall for which party(ies).

          1. Observer

            For all the big, scary language in most of the footers on these things, the recipient actually has no obligation. Otoh, the sender can be in major trouble. Nevertheless, something like a quick email saying “You have the wrong address, stop sending this, everything that comes here is going to spam and I’m not contacting you again” is a good idea. (Use punctuation, of course ;) )

      2. Connie-Lynne

        I also have this happen a lot, as an early gmail adopter with a short username.

        For me, it depends on my mood — if it looks crucial, and it isn’t the umpteenth misdirected email I got that week, I’ll respond. If I’ve gotten tons that week, I mark it as spam.

        You’ve gone over and above, Legalchef. She knows she has the wrong address, and she also must know she isn’t getting her email. I don’t think you have any further responsibility.

      3. AlaskaKT

        I don’t understand the whole “gmail doesn’t see periods in email addresses” thing. I have my gmail as first.last@gmail and I regularly get emails to firstlast@gmail.com, but I was able to email her and we just forward incorrectly sent mail to each other. But I only get an email for her every couple months or so.

        1. Jane Dough

          Dots don’t matter with Gmail. It ignores them. From Gmail’s help section:

          If the sender added or removed dots from your email address, the message will still go to your inbox. Your email address is unique; people can’t set up an identical account even with a different number or placement of dots.

          For example, messages sent to these addresses will go to the same Gmail account:

          johnsmith@gmail.com
          jo.hn.smith@gmail.com
          john.smith@gmail.com

          If you still think the message was meant for someone else, contact the sender to let them know they mistyped the email address.

          Note: If you use Gmail through work, school, or other organization (like yourdomain.com or yourschool.edu), adding dots to your username changes your email address. To change the dots in your username, contact your admin.

          1. AlaskaKT

            But I have first.last@gmail, and she has firstlast@gmail and we don’t always get eachothers emails, only a few times a year. So some if the time gmail must differentiate.

            1. Attractive Nuisance

              Nope. One of you is wrong, probably her. It’s occasional because she only occasionally screws it up.

              1. Lightly-chewed Jimmy

                +1
                you can log into your gmail account with either first.last or firstlast

        2. CAA

          AlaskaKT@gmail.com and Alaska.KT@gmail.com are the exact same email address. Try getting a friend to send an email to you with and without the dot in it (or do it yourself from a work or other address). Then login to gmail and you’ll find that you do indeed see both emails in your inbox.

      4. Legalchef

        See that just seems like so much work, especially since I had contact info for her and alerted her to the problem! At least in your situation it sounds like maybe the sender is making the error. In my situation the email doppelgänger is the one doing it.

        1. Observer

          If it’s something sensitive or potentially important, use a standard text that you have ready (so just copy / paste) to respond ONCE to the sender and mark it as spam. Gmail will almost certainly start sending anything else from that address to spam so you don’t have to deal with the garbage in your inbox. I also wouldn’t bother with a long explanation or links. Just the basics that you aren’t the correct recipient and you’re not going to look at any more of their emails, much less make any effort to contact the correct person.

      5. Dawn

        I have an uncommon name, but someone seems to think it’s their Gmail so I gets lots of stuff for them… but it’s in spanish.

    5. periwinkle

      You’ve gone above and beyond. You can, with a clear conscience, delete or filter at will.

      I had a dual problem in which one person was using my (early adopter) Gmail address and another was using my (mine since 1999) phone number. Neither was apparently doing it for any malicious reason but it was really confusing when someone else’s name came up under my phone number at PetSmart and Lowe’s. It was even more confusing to get a reservation confirmation for a casino in Reno – I had actually stayed there once for a convention!

      I changed phone numbers since I had moved across the country and had intended to switch to a local number anyway. I still get the occasional website registration for the other person, and just delete them.

      1. Ramona Flowers

        I once got a call offering me a job as a sheet metal worker as someone put my number on a job application.

        I was quite confused given I was a journalist at the time!

      2. Zen Cohen

        I have given out a wrong phone number to businesses for rewards purposes. I always switch the last two digits. It is a small act of resistance to maintain some pretend semblance of digital privacy but now I feel bad. I guess I’ll stop now.

        1. Al Lo

          Most of the time, you can give (your area code)-867-5309 for rewards without setting up an account, like at a grocery store. Someone, somewhere will have set up an account using Jenny’s phone number, so if you just want the discount and aren’t collecting rewards specifically, that will typically work.

    6. nonegiven

      It’s entirely possible for it to be another person with the same name.

      Call and leave a vm if you have to.

      Is there a new phone number in some of the info?

      Forward some of it to her, adding a warning at the top of the email, but she may have started a new email account. Then lock her out of everything you can access.

      1. Legalchef

        I know it’s another person with the same name, I’ve already spoken with her. She just doesn’t type her full email when she signs up for stuff.

      2. Lison

        I have my firstname.lastname@gmail.com and there is someone in the USA who apparently uses my email on occasion. When it is something banal I just ignore but I have a couple of times responded to legitimate businesses that were confirming appointments that im not the person they are looking for and if they have any other contact details they should use those because email won’t work oh and by the way please remove my address from your database. It has worked so far.

    7. Thlayli

      I occasionally get emails for a guy who has the same name as me and I reply and copy him saying “you want [his correct email address], please adjust your records” or similar. It seems to work.

      It’s totally not your responsibility to tell the senders, but it might work!

  18. Sunflower

    I started on anxiety meds this week. I went to a nurse prac. who specializes in this and had a psych eval. I started on zoloft 50 mg and she wants me to try 100 in 2 weeks as long as I’m feeling ok. I’ve never had side effects with medications so since I’m having them with this, they feel way worse than they probably are. Today was the first day I woke up not nauseous, my appetite has been down as well. I know I need to push through them and hope they go away. She also gave me visatril to take as needed as well as trazodone to help with my sleep(I haven’t slept a full night in years). I’ve never taken something ‘as needed’ but my guess is I won’t take it unless I really really feel like I need it.

    This might sound weird but how am I supposed to know if it’s working? I know I will never live an anxiety free life and my anxiety fluctuates from crippling to none so I’m not sure how to gauge if it’s working or not. I’m also not sure how I feel about all this. I’m nervous about the serious side effects (weight gain, disinterest in sex) and that I won’t be able to tell if I’m getting better or worse or still waiting or need to change my meds or dosage. I have a follow up appt in 6 weeks to go over all of this. I know a lot of folks here have dealt with this. Just looking for some reassurance and encouragement :)

    1. Junior Dev

      Hugs. I take Pristiq for my anxiety and depression and it makes me nauseous if I don’t take it with food–do you take the Zoloft with food?

      Also, you don’t need to live with side effects and hope they go away. In my experience it can take up to about two weeks for a new antidepressant to stabilize, if you have side effects longer than that you should talk to your doctor about getting a different medication.

      For me, I know my current meds are helping for several reasons:

      1) I have the energy to do a lot more of the self care that manages my mental health: exercise, a consistent sleep schedule, seeing friends.

      2) my default emotional state is a lot better

      Maybe try journaling about your day each night so you can look back on trends.

      I hope you can get to a place where you feel both physically and mentally well.

      1. Tookie Clothespin

        I was on Zoloft for a long time and the GI side effects were debilitating when I first started. I remember an awful holidays visiting family because I was so sick. Once I was on my actual dose for a while, I was fine and on it for 7 years. I had to go off for a while two years ago (terrible idea. Basically the doctor that took me off should never have done so). When I went back to medication after my break my therapist prescribed Lexapro because the GI side effects aren’t as prevalent. It’s been great. No side effects at all.

        For me, I know it’s working if I’m not having daily panic attacks and feel a bit more stable, like I can live every day life. Of course, I still get anxious, but it isn’t as dramatic. I also know it’s working because I’m able to leave the house which I wasn’t doing when the doctor took me off the meds. I do find I need regular therapy in conjunction with the meds for stability.

    2. MechanicalPencil

      I take daily medication for migraines, and the side effects can vary wildly. If what you experience significantly impacts your quality of life (disinterest in sex, weight gain/loss, extreme loss of appetite, dizziness, etc), you absolutely need to tell your doctor. I’ve played what I refer to as medicine roulette to find a workable solution. I can’t really help in this arena, but you should be able to have candid conversations about not liking a medication. Unfortunately/thankfully there is a whole market of prescription drugs available.

    3. ..Kat..

      I recommend trying the trazadone before you need it – and do it when you don’t have any obligations the next day. I know people who swear by it. But I also know people who were so logy the next day that they were not safe to drive a car. If it does make you sluggish the next day, you can try halving the tablets and see what happens.

      Be patient, side effects can diminish with time. Also, it can take 8 weeks or longer for the benefits to kick in. Do not discontinue medications like Zoloft (SSRIs) suddenly. Many of them need to be tapered off slowly.

      And finally, don’t be discouraged if Zoloft does not work for you or the side effects become unbearable. Another medication in this class could still be effective for you or have fewer side effects.

      I give this advice as both a nurse and a successful taker of SSRIs.

      Good luck!

    4. Birdbrain

      I take Zoloft mostly for depression, but also some anxiety. I had some side effects like increased anxiety, lack of appetite and minor nausea when I started it. They didn’t last more than a couple of weeks. If they persist for you, there’s nothing wrong with asking to try something else.

      My mood fluctuates too, so I find it really hard to judge if something is working in the moment. It was helpful to keep track of “bad days” on a calendar because it was something very simple that I could do quickly. You can just mark the days where you have significant anxiety, or you can rank them out of ten. You can then see trends at a glance: if you look back and notice fewer bad days, or the bad days are less crippling, that’s a sign that it’s working. Everyone reacts differently, but in my case starting medication was life-changing.

      Also, congratulations on taking this step!

  19. Namast'ay in Bed

    Alison, have you ever considered doing an Ask A Manager podcast? I love this site and I love advice podcasts, and my favorite is when those come together! The episodes you appear on Dear Prudence and Hannah and Matt Know It All are some of my most repeated listens.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yes! I’ve even lined up a sponsor. I was waiting until I was done with a major project, which has now happened … but now with the move this summer, I might not turn to it until fall.

      I’m also having trouble figuring out how to make it valuable beyond the print version. Like, if it’s just me answering letters but doing it out loud instead of in writing, is that really all that fun? There are ways to make it more interesting — have guests, have letter-writers on the phone so there’s interaction, etc. — but those are also a lot more work-intensive. And I am really eager to have less work rather than more since I’ve been over-scheduled for years now and am trying hard to change that. So I’m not sure!

      1. Junior Dev

        I think the Dear Prudence podcast is a good example of this–Mallory will talk about stuff that’s not just in the letters but share general opinions and thoughts. You could comment on something in the news, you could have guests on who help you answer questions and also interview the guests a little about their experiences with work.

        1. Junior Dev

          I know you don’t do these too often but I love the interviews you do with commenters who have weird jobs! I also love the Nieces columns. Maybe​ weird job commenters and the Nieces could be your guests.

          1. copy run start

            I would love to hear more weird jobs and even just jobs in general! What is it really like being a OTR truck driver? How about aircraft mechanic? What DOES a CEO actually do all day?

          2. Elizabeth West

            Oh, a podcast would be the PERFECT place for the interviewers! And Nieces, yay! I would definitely subscribe for those, and I’m not much for podcasts at all.

      2. Anonymous Educator

        If you’re talking about value to your readers, I don’t think the two would be mutually exclusive. I could easily follow the blog and listen to the podcast. I do the same for Dan Savage (read his advice column and listen to his podcast).

        I also think, even though there will be a significant overlap, you’ll probably get a lot of extra people listening who wouldn’t necessarily read this blog (some people are just into podcasts).

        1. Kay

          +1 to this – I was just thinking that the Savage Lovecast might be an interesting model, of answering questions but digging deeper and talking about a philosophy and framework behind it, with guests and interviews as appropriate.

          Also, you should have your nieces as guests to answer questions!

      3. Namast'ay in Bed

        Ha I would personally love even a “Alison just reads Ask A Manager” podcast so I could listen to the blog on my commute, but that’s just me being selfish ;-)
        I love what the other people suggested here. I feel even without guests you’d be able expand past your normal advice with personal annecdotes/experience/etc that lend itself more to being spoken than written. (But that might just be me selfishly really wanting this to happen :-) )

      4. Anonymous Poster

        Yes, guests! Invite people to come on and talk about their jobs, since it could expand beyond the advice column to overall career advice.

        Like, I’d love to listen to how people got to where they are in their careers, how they chose their majors and what that led to, unusual jobs and experiences, and the things you’d never expect were real jobs that you can get paid for!

        I’d love to tune in. And let me know if you want to talk to a former NASA flight controller for the space station!

  20. overcaffeinatedandqueer

    So, last Friday, after having broken her leg in four places (third health problem in a year that meant time off work, second problem that limited her mobility and made me wait on her), my wife’s father died.

    I feel really bad for her, but still, travel (and flying coach), with her when she uses a walker and wheelchair is so frustrating. And I’ve had to miss 3.5 days of work and find a new contract gig. So I am worried about money too.

    And to top it all off, we were quoted $260 or so for a rental car for these five days away- if the company picks the car. However, their pick could not physically take her wheelchair with us, so the agent offered an upgrade-not mentioning that that would bring the cost up to $430, until we had to pay.

    I feel that they took advantage of my wife’s temporary handicap and our exhaustion (it was 98 degrees out and I had just pushed her everywhere while carrying luggage for two by the time we got to the rental counter, so I was in no shape to negotiate).

    1. kms1025

      That’s awful…I feel for your wife, and for you as her caregiver. Would it help to complain to the rental agency once you are at home?

    2. NaoNao

      Wow you two just can NOT win! This is not your year so far!
      I’m so sorry about this.
      I don’t have any advice, just commiserations.

    3. Gaia

      Hmmm if you are in the US they may not be able to charge you for that. I’m definitely not a lawyer but when I worked for a car rental company we were told very explicitely that if someone had a mobility or other disability which meant they needed at least type Y but they asked for type X we were legally not allowed to charge them the difference.

      I’d call in and ask to speak with a manager or someone in their special needs department.

      1. overcaffeinatedandqueer

        Oh, I did one better. Looked it up and you were right about that being an illegal practice. Am filing state AG and DOJ Civil Rights Division complaints for violating the ADA (or at least that’s what I’m going to tell the manager I’ll do if I don’t get the refund!)

        1. Stinky Socks

          Good. Car rental places have *got* to stop screwing people over to get every last nickle out of them.

        2. Gaia

          I’m really glad you aren’t just accepting that. Too often people just give in to crap like this when they are over extended and it is absolute bull feces. Sometimes the only way these companies learn is by asserting our rights. I’m sorry you had to deal with this (on top of everything else) and wish you an easy path in recovering what is due to you.

    4. ..Kat..

      I am sorry for your wife’s loss and your difficulties.

      I believe you mentioned abuse in your wife’s past. This trip might bring up memories that make her relive the abuse or make a step back in her progress. Just wanted to warn you so you are prepared.

      Make time to take care of yourself, too. Caregiving is difficult work.

      Hugs.

  21. Emily

    I ran my first half marathon two weeks ago!

    It went great, minus some small digestive issues I was having – I finished in 2:07:02! (I was secretly hoping to finish around 2:10, but would’ve been okay with being slower than that, so I was very pleased.) The race day conditions were also great, both physically (it was cool and overcast) and emotionally (it was a very friendly, low-pressure women’s race with people of all ages and abilities participating).

    My success has made me want to sign up for another one (with the proper training, I think I could get faster!), but I’m going to wait a little while to see if it’s feasible to do all of my summer sports AND train for a second half marathon.

    1. Merci Dee

      How wonderful that you were able to achieve such a goal! And I’m impressed that you were able to beat the time you wanted, even if you weren’t feeling 100%. I hope your next half marathon goes even better!

    2. EA

      I’m considering doing a half.

      If you don’t mind me asking, how did you train? Did you follow one of the schedules online?

      1. Emily

        I didn’t follow a specific training schedule, though I imagine that a lot of the online plans would work just fine. I ran several (usually 2 or 3) times a week and gradually increased the distances over the span of a few months. By the end of my training, a typical week might be something like 5 miles on Wednesday, 5 miles on Friday, and 10+ miles on Sunday. (Plus rock climbing and strength training on other days, but I don’t think that those really helped or hindered my running performance.)

        Since it was my first half marathon, I focused more on being able to run the full distance than I did on increasing my speed. (I don’t know how often/how far/how fast you typically run now, but I started my training as someone who could comfortably run a 5k around a 10 min/mile pace.) I probably went a little faster on my shorter runs than I did on the longer ones, but I didn’t do any interval training or tempo runs. I think that if I do another half marathon, I might add in some dedicated speedwork.

        1. Bazinga

          Way to go! For the person asking about a training plan, try the 12 week one on halfmarathons.net.
          General advice: practice everything in training. Don’t wear anything new on race day, including the race shirt. You don’t know how this will rub, itch, etc. Try different energy gels, see what you like. Same for food the morning of. Don’t eat anything different than training days.
          And go for it. I started basically from scratch to a half marathon in 4 months, after an injury and unrelated surgery. And I’m not athletic. Plus I was 40 when I ran my first half.
          Since then I’ve done 11 more halfs, a full, and I’m training for my second full marathon-Chicago in October.

  22. Stacy

    Okay EDSers, hot on the heels of last week’s threads (which I still need to catch up on!) I took a fall at work the other day. Or, actually, my chair took a fall with me in it. While I was working with a customer, so not embarrassing at all!

    Everything hurts and/or is tight and stiff. I don’t think anything is terribly injured, because of course we bend instead of breaking, but what tips might I not be thinking of? I’ve been using arnica oil liberally, some magnesium oil, and I am already on a good NSAID and muscle relaxers. I also already happen to have a massage therapy appt scheduled for this afternoon. I want to just curl up and sleep, but I know I should keep moving as much as I can. But my BP has also been a little wonky this week, so in that regard I feel better when I sit still with Netflix, salty snacks, and plenty of water.

    This week has not been my favorite.

    1. kms1025

      I am so sorry…no advice other than be sure you talk to a doc, and pamper yourself. The victim of my own falls and no logical reason why I can’t walk correctly without stumbling. No grace at all in this body :(

      1. Stacy

        Same! And I should have mentioned I told my primary care doc & neurologist because I had appts with them anyway. Primary care ran me through some range of motion tests for my shoulder, elbow & wrist just because I was already there for my sinuses and it was just a few hours after the fall. And today I called and scheduled an official appt for next week. I’m probably doing all the right things, I just want a magic wand.

    2. Junior Dev

      Can you take a hot bath, or visit a hot tub? That often helps me with pain and muscle tension.

      1. Stacy

        Heat feels good, but seems to make it worse later. Probably encouraging inflammation. I might try the hot tub after work one day next week though!

        1. EDS academic

          I am on a run of freezer gel packs. I hate cold and always feel better after a hot bath but my PT talked me into hot then cold.

          When bad things happen sometimes taking to your bed like a victorian heiress is the way to go. Simple meals like protein smoothies. distracting tv. most recently I streamed The Americans.

    3. AlaskaKT

      If this was me, I’d double up on my turmeric and go to a chiropractor.

      Also, I know how embarrassing that can be. I biffed it in Home Depot and legitimately gave my self whip lash. My husband said it was awful.

    4. Elizabeth West

      It will just take time. When I fell while skating in January 2016 (lost my footing and landed flat on my back and sprained my neck), I was a MESS. I could not turn my head for a couple of days, and everything between my hips and my head hurt like hell for a week. I hit my head too and thought I might have had a mild concussion, as I had total brain fog for a couple of days, but it might have just been from being in so much pain.

      Warm showers were awesome. They helped loosen up the muscles and ease some of the soreness. If you have someone who can help you in and out of the bath, soaking might be good. I didn’t because my bathroom is gross and also I’m alone and didn’t want to sit down where I might not be able to get back up again.

    5. Ella

      Physical therapy! I was rear ended last month and though it was low speed the soreness was intense for a few weeks. I also did muscle relaxers & heat but the PT (&prescribed exercises) seems to have helped a lot. Good luck!

  23. Laura

    So my friend’s visit has come and gone. She and I had a wonderful time and we’re both unsure about where the two weeks went.

    I got to play home tourist a bit which was fun. Fortunately normal is setting back in with minimal negative effects. And she got home safe so I’m super happy about that!!!!

  24. Sugar of lead

    I kinda lowkey want to try therapy; life has been stressful and while I’m not stabbing myself with a pen to get through the day anymore, I still do not deal with stress very well, and I run a little paranoid because I can’t read affect. Multiple people have recommended therapy, saying it did wonders for them, but the best experience I’ve ever had with it was a lot like talking to an echo chamber–she just repeated back everything I told her with slightly different wording. You do not want to know what the worst experience was like. In between, we mostly have people who seemed hell-bent on misunderstanding everything I told them to the point that I just gave up and let them roll with it, which is more exhausting than therapeutic and just reminded me how incompatible I am with the rest of the human race. Seriously, how warped do you have to be that someone whose job it is to understand people can’t understand you?

    My question is a) is there anyone else out there who’s struck out repeatedly like this and b) what am I doing wrong? I want the good, beneficial experience that everyone keeps talking about.

    1. fposte

      None of those sound like CBT or DBT, which are more action-oriented. Have you looked into those?

    2. katamia

      I really think it depends a lot on your personality. Different people are just going to mesh better with different therapists. I generally need someone to kind of kick my ass a little bit (I know what my problems are and usually just need help finding/sticking to solutions) and not let me get away with things, whereas someone else might need someone who treats them much more gently or might not really be sure what’s wrong and need someone to do more analysis to figure out where the problem really is.

      Much as it sucks, there’s not much you can do beyond just continuing to try different people. If you have friends or family members who you feel have a good understanding of what you need, you could try asking for recommendations, too. If there’s a specific issue (e.g, depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism–not saying you have any of these conditions, just naming them as examples), you could also look for organizations that address that condition and see if they have a list of therapists that specialize in whatever it is.

    3. Ramona Flowers

      I promise it’s not you. There are some cruddy therapists out there sadly.

      The good ones do exist but I don’t know how I found mine, in the end it was luck.

    4. Junior Dev

      I’m in therapy now and have been for years. When I found my current therapist, I looked on the Good Therapy website. I contacted several therapists for consultations and rejected the first one I saw since she seemed more of the “let me talk without feedback” type.

      You are paying for a service and you get to shop around and ask about your concerns. It’s not a sure bet you’ll get a helpful therapist, but talk to several (many will do an initial session for free), ask about your concerns and if they can help you in the way you want, and take notes after. Then decide once you’ve seen several which one is best for you or if you need to keep looking.

    5. Not So NewReader

      I went to counseling twice in my life and both times the people were… weird, twisted.

      I think what I would do differently if I had to go again, is I would ask friends who have mentioned to me that they went for counseling. If nothing else, I’d get a good list of who to stay away from. But if they did recommend someone, I would ask,”why did you like this person?”. Some answers are stronger than other answers and some answers may resonate more with you personally.

    6. Schmitt

      Last week my therapist ended the session by telling me that I am unfriendly and arrogant, because I don’t smile right when I greet her, and she doesn’t like the face I make when I am listening.

      She is now my former therapist. I got nothin’.

      1. TheLazyB

        What the what?!? I’m so glad you added that last paragraph.

        But sorry you had to hear it!

    7. Anon attorney

      I am on therapist #4 and she’s a keeper. Sometimes it’s just a question of trying them out. Also of trusting your own impression of a therapist; if it’s not working, it’s not you, and it’s ok to either bring that up with the therapist or move on.

    1. Ajaya

      Yes, but unfortunately also not surprised. I’m more worried about the message these verdicts will continue to signal.

    2. Dr. Doll

      Saddened by the entire situation. No verdict would bring him back.

      I spend time with law enforcement, and it certainly provides a different perspective. Unless we were in the courtroom hearing everything the jurors heard and engaged in their debate, we cannot come to a decision with comparable rigor — and our system of justice is that we trust them.

      Whether our system of *retributive* rather than *restorative* justice is serving us, I think is a different question, and I’m thinking Not.

      1. Not So NewReader

        I think the news media should include why something was decided the way it was. I read a couple articles trying to understand how this conclusion was reached and I still don’t understand. I had to read several articles just to find out he cannot return to his job.
        I have no words, none.

        1. Dr. Doll

          I agree. I would like to understand this, to the extent possible.

          In fact the media’s…selectivity…is a major gripe of law enforcement. “Tell the whole damn story” is a phrase I hear fairly often. …of course as a devoted NPR and BBC follower I hope I’m getting a more complete picture than if I listened to, ah, not those outlets.

          I grieve, greatly. For those who are harmed, “justified” or not, and for my dear, beautiful, wild, flailing nation.

          …and we should end here. It’s the weekend free for all on a politics free zone. Bless us every one. No exceptions.

    3. Transitioning

      Sad doesn’t even begin to explain the pain. The hate and obscene mistreatment and disregard of African-Americans in this country is utterly astounding. Being black in this country is an unfortunate and unimaginably galling yolk.

    4. JenM

      Not surprised but sad. Being in fear of your like now seems to mean “eek a black person”.

    5. TheLazyB

      Oh my god. I just looked it up. I’m #surprisednotsurprised I guess. Not right, not right at all.

  25. Anon for today

    My boyfriend is moving out. He hasnt told me yet. We have been together over 3 years and living together for over a year. him me and my teenaged children. I am pissed bevause he is not on the lease . We aren’t fighting. There wasn’t some big blow out. He has decided he isn’t good enough and has checked out. I am upset but I am not.

    1. NaoNao

      Hmm. I’m sorry to hear that.
      I actually think it might be better, all things considered, that he’s not on the lease. You won’t have to remove him officially from the lease and he has no standing to, say, get drunk and angry and try to kick you out. The home where you and your children live is still in your name, which is good.
      If I’m misunderstanding and *neither* of you are on the lease (like he’s subletting under the table and you live with him?) then my sympathies.
      I know it’s very hard right now; but as you said, since he decided he’s not good enough (ugh. why do men say/do this? HOW ABOUT BECOMING GOOD ENOUGH! /endrant) he’s probably…not.
      I would do a couple things immediately:
      Get your financial house straight. Take him off any accounts, including Amazon, Netflix, bank accounts, authorized user, etc.
      Even if there was no “blow out” things can get ugly fast in a breakup.
      Decide how you personally want to handle it. Then stick to that. If you want no contact, block him on all fronts after one final message “Ex, I’m sad to hear that you’re no longer interested in being with me. I accept this as your choice, but I need to have a clean break. Please don’t call, email, or visit. Thanks.”
      If you want to stay friends, or let him be in your kids’ life, that’s fine too, just set boundaries and make sure he knows them and sticks to them.

    2. Not So NewReader

      You are upset but you’re not. It must be that you saw signs of this right along?
      When people decide they are not good enough, there is probably little that one person (like an SO) can do. They need several people helping them. I hope he gets the help he needs at some point. I am sorry.

  26. kms1025

    So last week I posted with an unabashed plea for sympathy with a dislocated, and as it turns out, broken elbow. Had surgery on Wednesday and severe reaction to the anesthesia (when it rains it pours time). Finally feeling mostly human again, on strong pain meds, and firmly in recuperating stage. Plus, now I have this handy, dandy metal implant in my elbow where the crushed radial head was removed. I hope to take no more steps towards being a bionic woman :). Thanks for the warm fuzzies last week :)

    1. Jules the First

      Glad you’re feeling human again!

      On the bright side, bionic joints don’t get arthritis (says mid-30s girl with two dodgy hips, two wonky ankles, and a wrecked hand….)

  27. KatieKate

    I have been deep cleaning the kitchen this morning and now my arm is covered in some kind of rash. The weird part–it’s my upper arm, nowhere close to my body that was touching chemicals? So bizarre!

    I feel so gross but my kitchen is so clean now :D

    1. JulieBulie

      Your skin is one great big single organ, and sometimes the rash doesn’t show up where you expect it to!

      I wish I had a clean kitchen. But every time I try to clean it, I suddenly seem to remember a more urgent task.

  28. Rebecca

    My Dad has been gone for 8 weeks now, and I’ve been doing my best to help my Mom but I’m really struggling. It feels like nothing is good enough and I don’t have enough time besides working full time, having my own home, and taking care of things for her to do anything but run run run until I fall exhausted into bed, toss and turn, then get up to do it all over again. I could really use the summer off to regroup and get things done, but that will never happen.

    Example: I tried to use the hedge trimmers to cut back some holly bushes, and Mom of course supervised, and when I was done, she wasn’t really happy with the way they look, and said “maybe you should just pull them out”. Which is OK, I can hook the truck up to them and pull them out of the ground, but I wish she would have come to that decision before I spent 1.5 hours trimming them. I know she’s sad and grieving, and I am too, so I let it all go.

    The hardest thing so far has been sorting through Dad’s clothes for donation and handing over his hunting camp treasurer’s stuff to the next treasurer. I am so impressed with him. All these years he kept the ledger and used cash to pay the bills, and when we reconciled the cash to the ledger, it was off by just a single dollar.

    I’m making some progress on letting people know by word of mouth about selling the tractors and antique vehicles. I’m not advertising them in media because I don’t want to deal with a bunch of nonsense from people calling and texting endlessly, and this will give me time to find the manuals, etc. in the meantime.

    Oh, and my Mom finally bought a car, but she doesn’t know how to “make it go” as she puts it, and I warned her to buy something simple. One of my friends took her on his day off (he drove it home for her), which was great, but now she’s second guessing the purchase, wondering if she made the right decision, maybe this isn’t the right car…OMG. I know someone who has the same make and similar model, so she’s going to stop by and help Mom later today. I really have no clue, and I’m pressed for time today so I’m “calling in an expert”.

    Just send some good wishes my way. Not looking forward to tomorrow at all, so I might just take a few hours and take a bike ride to decompress.

    1. Ophelia Bumblesmoop

      I’m so sorry you’ve lost your father and are struggling with this side of grief. Is it possible to slow down on the “outprocessing” of your father’s items? Maybe that will help your mother adapt if not everything is changing at once.

      1. Rebecca

        Seeing Dad’s clothes makes Mom cry and upsets her, so the run of the mill/not special items are getting donated, and special things, like shirts that were made for him with his cars on them, or his fire company shirts have been folded up and put in a cabinet until we can make a memory quilt, but out of sight.

    2. The Other Dawn

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I also want to say that I’m really impressed with your dad, too, for keeping such a balanced ledger! I lost my mom about 9 years ago and she was the one who took care of household bills. When she died, my dad took over. One of my sisters and I had to teach him, and we took turns balancing the checkbook. That was…fun, to say the least. I have to give him credit, he really tried hard, but it was tough for him. Especially the last year or two when he was declining. Finally my sister took over and got things back in order. We lost him about three months ago, so I know what you’re going through as far as having to deal with cleaning out the house and all that; it’s tough.

      1. Rebecca

        And when I say ledger, it’s putting it loosely :) It’s a re-purposed calendar planner from the early 1970’s. Dad made handwritten entries, plus and minus, what they were for, dates, everything precise. No calculators, no spreadsheets, and the money was in three bundles, stored in a paper sack with a string around it. I am still marveling that it was only $1 off after all those years. And the change was right on too, 47 cents exactly.

    3. Hellanon

      My condolences.

      And you know, your mom may be angry – really, seriously, bone-deep angry – with your dad, and feeling guilty because of it, and you’re the only place for her to put that anger. I saw that when my grandfather died. My grandmother was absolutely furious that he’d left her… logic to the contrary, that’s part of how she was experiencing his death, and it was so hard for her to come to terms with the anger on top of loss. (Not that it makes it easier, but more understandable, maybe?)

      1. Sled dog mama

        Yes, this many people experience anger at the person who died. It’s totally normal, I was so pissed at my grandmother when she died 7 years ago but she was 81, bed-ridden and very ill. The bigger problem is the guilt some people feel because they are angry at someone who died.
        Support your mom by letting her know that everything she feels is right and normal, it’s her grief and it’s a very personal experience no one can say she’s doing it wrong because no one is her.
        My condolences on the loss of your father and you remember that there is no right or wrong to grief there is just grief.

    4. Not So NewReader

      Grief fills up so much of our brain space that it makes it really hard to make decisions. Decision fatigue is real. I can vouch for that.
      I know that cleaning up estates can take the better part of a year, for just a small estate. Larger estates may take longer.
      I’d like to suggest that mom could be encouraged to only make decisions that are necessary for right now. Other decisions can be made later. If she wants she could make a list of things she will decide on later.

      I think you are an only child (me, too) or perhaps you have sibs but they are not close by. I know first hand that taking care of the parents can run us ragged. I ended up in the hospital from exhaustion. Draw your lines. Explain that you have x amount of energy and you can only help her where she needs you the most.
      You can coach her to say yes when other people offer to help. For example, there must be someone around who could help with the holly shrubs. But anyway, the important thing is for her to say yes more often. People will only ask a couple of times, if they receive all nos then they will stop asking. She needs to say yes more.

      I am not sure how old your mom is, am thinking 50s-60s? And I don’t know how close you live to her. We were about a half hour away from my MIL when my FIL died. The first weeks were intense but after a bit we had to go back to life. It was that or go bankrupt. So we set one day a week where we went to her house and helped her. And we took her grocery shopping one night a week. It did not solve all her problems.
      Life is unfair like that, as long as we are living we need to participate in our own care and the care of what we own. As gently as possible maybe you can encourage her that she needs to make a plan for things. Such as make a plan to get the lawn mowed, make a plan to get the driveway shoveled, etc. Let her know that you cannot run/maintain two households, she has to participate.

      A family member was leaning on her only child too much after losing her husband. I said to that family member, “Be careful. You will burn her right out. Think. What you really need her to help you with are personal things like finances and health issues. You can hire or barter with someone to get your windows washed or dig your garden. Anyone can do that stuff. There will be times where you need someone who really knows you to help you with a question, that is when you call her.”
      I hope I can encourage you along the same lines. There are some things that any one can do and it will be fine. There are other things where you as a daughter are definitely needed. Encourage her to start building plans for the longer term. The year of firsts is very difficult as it involves revamping almost everything in life. Now is the time to build those plans. Because you are right, you cannot continue at this pace indefinitely. (BTDT) If nothing else works tell her that you will end up in the hospital and then she will have to build plans because you will not be available from your hospital bed.

      She has been very fortunate to have you, you have been like three kids rolled into one for her. Again, unfairly, part of processing grief is processing all the life changes that come with a loss. Participating more will help her process her own grief.
      FWIW, I think you are a mighty fine person.

      1. Rebecca

        Yes, only child here, and Mom is 81 :) Dad and Mom would have been married for 59 years last month; he died a month and a day short of their anniversary. And yesterday was the 2 month mark; he died April 16 and it was June 16. Mom said she needs to get at least the clothing we’re going to donate sorted out because she cries every time she sees it. We’re keeping keepsakes, and just normal clothes are going to the thrift store. I suggested a memory quilt with particular items to make the patches, and she thought that was a great idea, so I’m going to find someone to help.

        She has a house cleaner that comes every other week for a few hours, and Mom is very able both physically and mentally to do laundry, cook, wash a few dishes, etc. I’m very grateful for that. Once she learns how to work her new car she’ll be back on the road making short trips to town and the library. Her old car (19 years old) has a head gasket problem (oil in antifreeze and vice versa) and is on its last legs.

        Mom’s next door neighbor will plow the driveway, got that covered, and I have partial coverage on lawn mowing, which thankfully only takes 1 hour and 20 minutes on the new mower Dad bought the other year. It goes fast and powers through the grass. I put my earbuds in, listen to my audio book, and chill and mow. I like doing it.

        Thankfully I have help from the neighbors and other friends, so like when Mom’s air conditioner needed to be put in the window, I had help and it was an easy job. The central vacuum is giving me a headache, so I called another person I know, and she recommended a shop owner who makes housecalls in the evening! How cool is that?

        For my part, I went to a picnic this afternoon and visited with my best friend from high school and other people in the town I grew up in. It was wonderful.

        Thank you for all the suggestions :)

    5. ..Kat..

      Ask him what you can do. Seriously, he can tell you what is most meaningful for him.

      I am so sorry for your losses.

    6. Mimmy

      I hope the bike ride brought you a little bit of relaxation. I can’t think of anything more peaceful and restorative than spending time for yourself in the fresh air (I assume the weather was nice!)’

      I see from your reply down thread to Not So New Reader that you have some support – definitely do not be afraid to use that support. I do not want to see you run down physically and mentally.

      Wishing you peace – sending warm, healing internet hugs to you and your mom.

    7. SusanPNW

      Sending you best wishes. Such a tough time!!

      My father died over a year ago, and it was a long haul getting everything straightened out (account name changes, changes in Social Security, etc). So you do need to pace yourself. Everything seems to take forever. My Mom has been gradually clearing my Dad’s things out, but there are still a few things left. There’s no deadline on getting rid of his clothes and personal items.

      My mom had never done any of the finances, so that has been a huge learning curve for her. We found a good financial planner and consolidated all her resources in one place in investment vehicles that don’t require a lot of her attention, which has a been a big help. I have regularly helped her with her checkbook balancing, etc. My sister helps her with her long term financial decisions and taxes. Unfortunately my mom has become more forgetful recently and has been making mistakes, so I am pretty much taking over for her. So make sure you are on top of what is happening financially for your mom.

      One thing we kids sort of insisted on was getting my Mom to agree to put her name on a waiting list at an independent living place that also has assisted living. She doesn’t want to leave her place, but we want her to have a plan in case it becomes necessary. So you might want to bring that up in a few months.

      I take part in a online support forum for people taking care of their elderly parents. It has been very helpful, not only for moral support but also for very practical advice. You might try to find something like that. I would suggest mine, but it is an off-topic thread in a website devoted one of my particular hobbies, so unless you are a sewer it probably wouldn’t be for you.

      I hope you went on that bike ride!! How wonderful that you mom has you to help, so be good to yourself so you can keep it up.

  29. The Other Dawn

    How can I best support my brother, who is terminally ill with Stage 4 cancer? He’s got probably less than five months left. I’m about 2.5 hours away, but I’ll be seeing him next weekend for my dad’s burial. He’s a very practical, logical person (and so am I), so I’m torn between just acting as though nothing is going on and letting him bring it up as he wants or needs to and talking about it practically, or just asking him how it’s going, etc. and probably getting all emotional (which I’ve done by myself almost everyday for the last month or so). On the one hand, he’s got to be tired of talking about it, as I know everyone is always asking him how he’s doing, but on the other I feel like I’m being disinterested or have a lack of concern if I don’t.

    1. EddieSherbert

      I think you should talk to him about it – not at the burial though. Let that be about your dad, but if you are going to see him after, you should talk to him. Even if it’s just to say “hey, do you want to talk about this?”

      He might be tired of talking about it, but I think it’s better to show you’re concerned that “act normal and just hope he knows.”

      I’m sorry about your father, and your brother’s illness. Sending you good thoughts.

      1. EddieSherbert

        I’m also super going to recommend you reach out to him now – visiting him while you can, or seeing if there’s anything he really wants to do while he can, or even just calling him to see what’s up.

        My brother passed away about 4 years ago from leukemia. I lived about 3 hours away at the time, but visited a lot… And I have a lot of gratefulness for our time together at the end, along with sadness that I couldn’t be there more.

    2. fposte

      If you’re not sure, I’d err on the side of bringing it up. I’d rather be tired of people’s sympathy and interest than think they don’t have any.

      I’d also come with some suggestions about things you might do to help so it’s not all on him. “Bob, I was thinking I might be able to come up to buy the kids new clothes/wash the zebra in July. Would that be useful?” “Bob, we talk on the phone about once a month now–what would you think about changing that to once a week?”

    3. Not So NewReader

      Speak up.
      My husband’s sibs did NOT. Then he was gone.
      Talk with him. Tell him whatever you have to say. “Bro, this fn sucks and I think you got a bad shake in life.” Just say it, whatever “it” may be.
      Be sure to tell him you love him.

      Say what you need to say. IF it is wrong somehow, then apologize with sincerity, and continue talking with him. Ask him where his concerns are, what does he think about. Then just listen.

    4. The Other Dawn

      I think part of the issue I’m having is that I don’t even know what to talk to him about, other than superficial stuff. I’d said last week that he was in prison for almost my whole life, so basically I got to know him through letters, short weekly calls, and the occasional visit. He’s only been around for about the past 12 years. Plus there’s a pretty big age difference– he’s 20 years older. We usually talk about our favorite shows, the cats (we both have them), and maybe a couple other things. Beyond that, it’s tough to come up with much. I manage, but it can be a struggle sometimes (even before he got sick). I know I’ll get through it and it will happen naturally, but I do think about it a lot.

      1. fposte

        What about family stories from before you were born and before he went to prison? You may wish you knew them one day, and he’s a source.

      2. Sled dog mama

        You could take the approach I have taken with my 29 year old brother who was diagnosed with type 1 diabeties last year.
        When he was first diagnosed I told him that I was probably going to ask questions he didn’t want to answer about his health and I promised not to be offended if he didn’t want to answer (or was sick of answering that question) as long as he remembered that I was asking because I care and want to talk to him, I also make sure that if I ask a question and he changes the topic to remember that topic it’s something I can ask about later.
        I’ve also tried hard to figure out the root of what I want to know, for example my brother is going on a big wilderness canoe trip in a few months, he’s been before but that was before his pancreas quit. I used to be an outdoor guide so I’ve helped people with managing diabetes in the wilderness before and been told it’s a bit different. I really wanted to make sure my brother knew that it would be different and he would need to be more vigilant. I realized that I really just wanted to know that he had thought about it and talked to someone about how managing his blood sugar could be different. So I asked had he talked to his doctor about how it could be different. That gave him the chance to give a yes or no and leave it (and if he said no planted the seed that maybe he should).

      3. the gold digger

        I don’t know if this would be appropriate in your situation (and I am very sorry that you and your brother are going through this), but when my dad was in hospice, about a week before he died, we had a going-away party for him. We had a roomful of family, including my mom, my brother and my sister, his mother, my mom’s mother, his siblings and in-laws, some of my mom’s siblings, and some cousins. My aunt Pat brought a pitcher of old-fashioneds and we also had champagne. We talked about everyone he would see in heaven (including our cat, O’Malley, who had died 12 years before), and what they would do up there. It was super sad but also fun in a way because we were all together and we were acknowledging what was happening.

        1. TheLazyB

          Oh wow that sounds like an amazing thing to do if you know someone is dying. I wish we could have since something similar before my grandparents died. Thank you for sharing GD, I’ll keep that in my back pocket in case I ever need it for myself or anyone else.

    5. Anono-me

      My sympathies on the loss of your father and on your brother’s illness.

      I would suggest focusing on your father next weekend.

      Soon after that, I would suggest a brief conversation, telling him that you care about him and are upset, but as it is his cancer you would like to how he wants this issue addressed. I would also suggest asking him to please let you know if his feelings change.

      Please try to spend as much time with your brother as you can. Many times people with diagnosis like this windup isolated. Remember you don’t always have to talk, you could just watch shows together or enjoy a nice meal together.

      Also please remember to take care of yourself, it sounds like you’ve had a rough patch.

      1. Anon attorney

        This is really great advice. Especially about the self care. So important especially after a series of losses/painful events.

        I think that if he wants to acknowledge that his life is coming to an end then one of the kindest and bravest things anyone can do is share that acceptance and give him the space to express his fear, anger, regret, etc.

        Make audio recordings. Everyone has photos but you miss hearing their voices.

        1. the gold digger

          Yes to the video. We have a video of my dad that we made in hospice. It took me ten years before I could watch it, but I am so glad to have it. It was after Primo and I were married – Primo never met my dad. My dad started talking and Primo said, “Wow! Your dad had a really strong Wisconsin accent!”

          Which he did – he was from northern Wisconsin – but I had never noticed because you know, he’s my dad and he talked like my dad. So now I get a kick anytime I hear someone refer to a “bubbler” or say, “ainahay” because I always thought that was normal and now I know it’s something unique to my dad and the place he was from.

  30. EddieSherbert

    So I applied for a puppy through a local rescue this week, and it ended up not working out due a mistake on their part. The rescue is completely volunteer run, so I give them SO MUCH CREDIT for doing what they do, and I get mistakes will happen but I was so disappointed!

    Basically, the volunteer who does their online posts got the dogs’ age incorrect (saying they were 6 weeks and going home early July), when they were 6 weeks when they came into the rescue… and are currently 8 weeks and ready to go home.

    I have vacation next week, so I can’t bring a puppy home today.

    The foster mom doesn’t have social media, so she called me, we both got surprises (come pick up your puppy! What? It said July pick up!), and at the end of the day, I didn’t get a furbaby :(

    They really handled everything well. The foster gave me her number so I can contact her right away if I see another critter I’d want to meet. The adoption coordinator called me the next day to apologize for everything. So professional. So Good.

    … still a little heartbroken (which is a little silly since I didn’t even have a chance to meet the pup).

    Just telling myself it just wasn’t meant to be!

    1. Lady Jay

      Awww, I’d be a little heartbroken too. Getting a new puppy is exciting, and it’s sad to miss out on one. But you’ll get one soon enough!

    2. Annie Mouse

      Maybe it wasn’t meant to be because the furbaby you’re going to give a forever home to is one you’re yet to meet. When I got my little fur ball, I went to one shelter who just threw up problem after problem, and then the cat I was interested wasn’t suitable. So my friend and I went to another shelter and I fell in love with the perfect cat there (who is currently going mad as I’m just in from work!). Good luck :)

      1. EddieSherbert

        You were totally right! The puppy’s brother ended up having TWO applications fall through (the people cancelled their meet-and-greets at the last minute)… and I was next on the list! I’m meeting him tomorrow, and hopefully he’s coming home next week :)

        I’m so very excited!

  31. katamia

    Looking to buy a region-free external DVD drive. Anyone have any recommendations for specific ones, either to consider or to avoid? The smaller the better, although I don’t want something super flimsy, either.

    1. fposte

      Less a comment on specific brands than on a general problem–if you’re converting non-Blu-Ray DVDs to an HD TV, some of the interlacing algorithms get kind of visually funky. If possible, get information about how a specific player works with the TV you have. (It works best just to try them together, but that’s obviously not always easy to do.)

      1. katamia

        Oh, it’s not for a TV (I’m going to another DVD region for a while and am not going to have a TV). It’s for my laptop, which doesn’t have a CD-ROM drive. I want something that can play DVDs, PC games, CDs, etc.

        1. fposte

          Have you also looked at external drives? And are you looking for something that plays multiple regions or is something that plays your home region while you’re away going to do the trick?

          1. katamia

            Multiple regions. I want to be able to play things from my home region, the region I’ll be in, and another region I might be traveling to in the future. I also like the idea of something I can use for a long time rather than just for this one trip.

            Not sure what you mean by external drives exactly. I’m looking for something I can plug into my computer, similar to the way you plug an external hard drive in a computer to look at the files that are on it.

            1. fposte

              Oh, duh, you said “external drive” right in your first post–sorry! No wonder it was confusing.

              I haven’t shopped in those extensively, but I know it’s really common for DVD drives to have a 5-use limit before they make you pick a region, so that’s what you’re trying to avoid.

    2. Not So NewReader

      Years ago, my husband bought something online that he used with the DVD player we had. I think it came from the UK. He had to get Euros at the bank, I remember that. At that time, there was nothing he could find in the US.
      Probably does not help you that much though.

    3. AcademiaNut

      I have an LG portable super multi drive that’s help up very well. It’s compact, but not flimsy, and has held up for years (I have the same multi-region problem, and don’t have legal access to most things I’d be interested in streaming).

      For other advice – VLC is an amazing piece of free software for playing videos of all sorts. For ripping stuff, Handbrake is also amazing and free. Both work on Mac, Windows and Linux.

  32. MechanicalPencil

    I’ve reached my limit in so many ways. My immediate family sat me down for an intervention/inquisition about my SO. Who they’ve never met. I’m realizing as I spend time with them this weekend that I’m extremely different from them and it hurts a bit that I got blindsided. Like my values are different and politics and religious beliefs. I’m not sure whether to just have the blunt conversation about “hey SO and I may not go the marriage route. No, I’m not a raging conservative. No I don’t attend church and have no intention to” or just let it be. Life is weird.

    1. EA

      I’ve gone through this. My parents are religious conservatives who have a big issue with people who are different from them. And I am well, different from them.

      I think you need to consider how your family would take the truth conversation, as well as what your goals are for the relationship. If you want to have a superficial relationship with your parents (not saying you do, I just have learned that is all I will get from mine because they cannot accept anyone not like them) it might be worth it to just smile and nod and live your life the way you want (this was my solution). If it’s stressful to hide your true self and you think they will come around, then maybe tell them, but I would recommend in small doses.

      I also think you need to consider intentions. Did they sit you down about your boyfriend because they are curious because he hadn’t been introduced? Or was this more ‘why aren’t you married’. If you were just like we are not in a rush, how would they react?

      On another note, I first started getting into therapy to learn how to set boundaries with my parents (shut them down when they would go on about my life choices) and it was very helpful.

      1. MechanicalPencil

        I have a list of therapists to contact and I need to get back to that. Conversational boundaries would be helpful but they’re seeing a lot of it as me being too private and not sharing enough. And their concerns about the SO is that I don’t talk about our relationship and we’ve been dating for a few years and “is it serious”. My issue with it all is that they’ve never asked how our relationship is. It all boils down that if you want to know ask the question for me. It’s what I do.

        1. Not So NewReader

          Somehow, I am thinking this is a snap shot of a larger problem.
          Sat you down for an intervention? Really? What looks like a word choice problem could actually be a methods problem.

          When people don’t bring home SOs or friends there are reasons for that.

    2. Temperance

      I dealt with this with my own family, and still deal with it with my in-laws. My parents are evangelical Christians and super right-wing. My in-laws are Catholic and for some reason assumed I was going to convert to marry Booth (lol no). We’re liberal atheists.

      I pulled back from my family because I couldn’t deal with their hatred / judgment and their constant pushing of their values as the only way to live. I tried the blunt request, and making my positions clear, and they didn’t respect it. Even after years of affirming that we weren’t going to be evangelicals OR catholic, our families would randomly demand or ask about us finding a church home.

      I guess it depends on what kind of relationship you want.

  33. Ajaya

    I’d like to start learning about stocks and investing, and to just improve my financial literacy in general. Any resources you’d recommend? Honestly, I have no idea where to start.

    1. KatieKate

      reddit.com/r/personalfinance

      they have some amazing guides and faqs, and are a really supportive community for beginners!

    2. fposte

      William Bernstein’s free pamphlet “If You Can” and the Bogleheads wiki.

      Mostly you don’t need to know about stocks, because you want mutual funds, not individual stocks. If you go through your entire life without owning an individual stock, you will almost certainly be financially better off.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger

        Yes, this. Either a timed retirement fund, which basically gets less and less risky/volatile as you approach the date (the fund is usually called something like “Retirement 2050 Fund”), or if you’re going to leave it invested for decades, an S&P index fund. Basically, an index fund approximates a stock index (Dow Jones, NASDAQ, S&P) [1]. If you read up on funds, they all try to say how they outperformed the S&P 500 index for a year, or the last two years. But in the long run, it’s really, really hard to do, so why not just invest in what they all seem to consider the standard for performance? The key benefit is that, because the fund is fairly simple, the expenses are usually about as low as you can get for a mutual fund. For the same rate of return, if your fees are 1% higher when you start investing in your 20s, you could be losing $590,000 in gains by the time you retire![2]

        Links to follow in a reply.

        1. fposte

          I run to total market instead of the S&P, but that’s more about philosophy than any significant advantage, and I actually have a fair bit in an S&P 500 index because that’s the cheap large cap in my 457.

          The first big difference is between putting money away and not putting money away.
          The second big difference is between putting money in low-expense funds and companies and high-expense places.

          The differences after that matter a jillion times less than those two.

          (I know we’re kindred spirits on this, CA; I’m just continuing the thread.)

        1. fposte

          Not really. What you want are low-cost vehicles, period. There are high expense ETFs and low-expense mutual funds. It’s true that you may shave a basis point off if you get the ETF version of the mutual fund, though you also have to have a brokerage account (which sometimes will cost you money) and there may be brokerage account transaction fees. But that’s not always true–Admiral shares at Vanguard often have the same expense ratio as the ETF, and my 457 account has access to institutional Vanguard funds with lower ERs than the ETF versions.

          Here’s an overview of the difference from Vanguard: https://investor.vanguard.com/etf/etf-vs-mutual-fund?lang=en

    3. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      index tracker funds through Vanguard. Low fees and you practically “set it and forget it” with good returns and low risk compared to stock picking.

      Try the Mr Money Mustache website as a lot of people use that strategy there to retire early and its a welcoming community.

      1. NDQ

        Mr. Money Mustache is fabulous. Even if you don’t think retiring early is for you, the philosophy still works. Besides, sometimes life happens and you could be forced to stop working. Having investments removes a lot of anxiety.

        NDQ

    4. Adara

      Investopedia has some great articles and advice for people starting out with investing. They also have a mock stock market you can “invest” in without using real money so you can get a feel for how things work.

    5. D

      It is Canadian but greaterfool.ca is a great read. He advises ETFs rather than individual stocks to minimize the impact of market volatility.

    6. Zathras

      I highly recommend the Stock Series at jlcollinsnh.com. Or, if you’d do better with a book format, the same info is in his book The Simple Path to Wealth.

  34. Not a Whisperer

    Last fall my husband and I rescued a kitten that crawled into our garage, starving and near death. We’re pretty sure his mom was run over on the highway near our house, since they both have distinct coloration.

    I did not want this cat. I fed him formula and nursed him to health, but we already have two cats, one of them elderly with special needs. We also have a insanely hectic life right now, with ailing parents and professional upheaval as well.

    My husband decided he was attached to this kitten and wanted to keep it. It’s an aggressive, holy terror, tormenting our cats, tearing the house apart, and covering us in bloody scratches that have turned into scars. It took me until NOW to convince husband that this cat needs to go, and only because he destroyed an expensive guitar amp. Now, of course, he’s out of the cute kitten stage, and it’s going to be even harder to find him a home.

    I resent this animal so much. My belongings have been destroyed (he’s chewing apart one of my Ficus trees right now, actually, and nothing gets him to stop for more than a couple of minutes). I am covered in scars. My own pets are a nervous mess from his harrassment. The vet swore he would calm down after neutering (he didn’t) and then that he would calm down as he grew older (he hasn’t).

    I have been an animal lover my whole life, and I am d*mned good with most of them, but I hate that I can feel my warm-heartedness to animals shriveling up in my chest. I feel like I’m being punished for being a good Samaritan. And I resent the hell out of my husband for taking this long to get his head out of his posterior.

    1. fposte

      Really this is about the last sentence, isn’t it? The cat’s just being a cat in an unhappy situation. Your feeling like you were stuck with this cat because of your husband isn’t necessarily going to go away just because the cat does, either.

      So what’s up with that? Did it strike at the core of his view of himself to surrender a kitten, did the stress make him want something endearing to break up his day, does he not get how much this is asking of you and that it’s unfair to do that without your buy-in, all of the above? Can you have a non-yelly conversation with him sometime where you talk about not just what to do about the cat but why this makes you so resentful?

    2. Jean (just Jean)

      What an awful experience! It sounds as if the demon kitty has been the absolute last straw in an already horrible situation.

      How soon can you contact a local cat or animal rescue organization? (If not a domestic setting, maybe this cat can be placed on a farm or elsewhere as a mouser.) Seems to me this critter needs to leave your home as soon as possible so the rest of you can start recovering. Sometimes it’s necessary to be hard-hearted–to save yourself and your sanity (and ability to handle the rest of your life w/out collapsing) you may have to evict the cat even if to a shelter not its next & forever home. When life is hard one needs a restful home.

    3. Not So NewReader

      I am concerned about the scars and scratches. Animals can carry so much crap and then infect us.

      Well, I think this deserves a longer conversation at a later (calmer) date. The person carrying the workload needs to be the one who has final say. It has to go that way. Do you guys take walks together? A conversation like this is good on a long walk. Walk and talk it out.

      You’re right, though, that animal had to go. I get it about the destruction, too. I reached a point where I said, “We will have to work until our dying day, because we can never have anything nice/neat for very long. Items always need to be replaced.”

    4. Merci Dee

      I rescued a kitten once that showed up in my back yard. Cute little thing, but he played pretty rough with scratching and biting. My established cat tolerated him, but wasn’t a fan.

      Ultimately, I had to surrender him to a shelter. I was enormously pregnant and due in 2 weeks, and there was no way I could have an excitable kitten around who defaulted to scratching and biting to play. I hope he found a good home, because he was just so adorable.

    5. ..Kat..

      Is there a local rescue cat organization that can take him and re-home him? The cat, not your husband.

  35. EgyptianCotton

    A kid’s bedroom in the basement with no windows (with really good lighting). Scary or doable?

    1. JulieBulie

      Er… for what purpose? You mean to rent for yourself?
      Or to imprison the celebrity who has stolen your heart?

      1. JulieBulie

        D’oh, you meant creating a bedroom in the basement for a kid. I thought there was already a kid’s bedroom in a basement that you were trying to figure out what to do with.

        My nephews sleep in a basement bedroom. There is a window, but it’s small and high, so not good for much; but it’s easy enough for the kids to get to a window if they just want to see.

        The room isn’t scary at all, and of all the bedrooms in the house, it’s the one that’s closest to an exit.

        I imagine that things like the water heater and furnace make sort of spooky noises at night, but the boys don’t seem to mind.

    2. katamia

      Probably depends on the kid. Some might like the privacy/lack of sunlight waking them up (my childhood bedroom was set up, unfortunately, so the sunrise would hit me right in my sleeping face) and find it cozy, while others might find it rough. If the kid is interested/if this is possible, let them try it for a week or two and see how they feel, and make sure you have another alternative in mind if it doesn’t work for them.

      1. Chris

        My mom ran into this when she wanted the kids moved into the basement. It isn’t legal (MI) without windows that are large enough to escape through. Dunno about other locations, but I would suspect the same.

      2. ThatGirl

        Yeah, in the US at least there has to be means of egress/escape or it’s not legally a bedroom.

        1. Elizabeth West

          This is why my mum won’t turn one of the rooms in her basement into a guest room, although there is a kitchen and a bathroom down there; it’s like a mother-in-law suite with a separate entrance. You could not escape through the window in that room; it’s more like one of those little well windows. So if family comes over and sleeps in the basement, out come the air mattresses and they go in the main room.

          I have actually slept in that room, however, on an air mattress and was fine with it. Frankly, if the house were burning, I’d be more than happy to run through the flames out the basement door with a blanket over me.

        2. Turtlewings

          My family has successfully used both a renovated garage and a walk-in closet as bedrooms. Probably not legally, but I don’t know who would be checking.

          1. fposte

            The rules are literally all over the map here, because a lot of this is local fire code, etc. However, there’s usually more intervention with a rental, since somebody’s profiting from the dangerous mislabeling; if you own it, the bedroom count thing is mostly going to come up when it changes hands.

            But the question I’d ask is even if there’s nobody policing this particular use is it a good idea; do I think the reasons why it would be illegal in a rental unit aren’t a problem here, do I think any grandfathering is enough to make me satisfied that this is a safe exception and not just a hard to legislate exception.

    3. Menacia

      Depends, how old is the kid, how close to the utilities (gas, oil burner, etc.) would they be, did the kid ask to have their room in the basement? I’m asking because my sister’s teenage kids use her basement as a bedroom, or used to, until it just was not doable because of the washing machine/dryer, not enough privacy. It was a finished basement too, is yours?

    4. FDCA In Canada

      I wouldn’t. Not because it’s scary, but because it’s a fire hazard. And depending on the kid, dangerous if they could lock themselves in and have no other method of entry.

      1. Observer

        By that logic, you wouldn’t be allowed to put a kid in a room with bars on it either.

        What you need to do with young kids is either remove the locks, or use locks with keys or that can be easily forced. No slider bolts or the like.

    5. Book Lover

      It wouldn’t be legally considered a bedroom without a window large enough to exit through, but that is a sale issue, not a real problem if it is your own family. My brother had the (very nice) basement when he was a teen.

      What is the fire exit plan? Where is the bathroom? Those would be my concerns.

    6. Hollis "Holly" Flax - not my real moniker

      Nope, wouldn’t do it, because fires aren’t just stories that you see on the evening news – speaking from personal experience (apartment rental, thankfully, I wasn’t home at the time, because that would have been too frightening) and have known at least two other people/families that have experienced home fires.

    7. Anono-me

      Super scary. My child not having an egress window in case of an emergency would absolutely terrify me as a parent.

    8. HannahS

      Depends on the kid, I think. Two things that are scary for a lot of younger children are being far away from the parents (will you be able to hear if they call you in the middle of the night? what if they wake up sick/vomiting?) and shadows. If the basement looks more like the rest of the house , i.e. with a hallway and open stairwell, smooth walls, flat ceiling it’ll be less scary to a small child than, say, a big cinder-blocked rectangle with a door at the top of the stairs with piles of boxes and exercise equipment. Also, make sure that window-less bedrooms are allowed. Where I live, each bedroom legally has to have a window large enough to climb out of in a fire.

    9. Icecreamroll

      Needs egress, and a really good carbon dioxide alarm, good fire alarm. Otherwise dodgy.

    10. Kate

      I did it as a young teenager. I loved it for the privacy. It felt like my own little apartment. I definitely didn’t care about details like egress ;)

    11. Observer

      I think most of the folks talking about egress must live in areas where there aren’t a lot of apartment building or crime.

      Once you get to the third or fourth floor, a window isn’t really “egress” and the only windows that can’t have locked gates are the ones on the fire escape – which is generally only one window in the entire apartment. And safety gates are legally required on the third floor. Yes, they can be removable, but they are legally required to be difficult for a child to remove.

      On the other hand, bars are standard practice on ground floor windows in NYC. I’m not going to say that they are universal, but very, very common.

  36. EgyptianCotton

    The kid is too young to know whether they like it or not (at least too young to articulate their feelings). It’s a NYC condo that I’m considering buying.

    1. Menacia

      Wait, you want to put a young child into a basement bedroom (on a different floor than yourself)? Hrm, not getting good vibes from this… Would they feel like you were punishing them by putting them in a windowless room (but with good lighting)? I don’t think you’ve painted the best picture here.

      1. EgyptianCotton

        Our realtor said that there are many families in NYC that do this or also use a closet as a kid’s bedroom. Just trying to decide if it’s unacceptable or not out of the norm.

        1. JulieBulie

          If the child is very young, I’m not sure this is a great idea. Will your own room be too far away to hear if the kid is crying or choking or something?

          I don’t think it’s unacceptable, but if I were a parent I’d be uncomfortable having such a young child’s room too far away from mine.

          I thought the closet sounded worse at first, but if that will keep the child closer to you, it might be better. A closet bedroom doesn’t sound good for an older child (I keep thinking of how Harry Potter slept in a nook under the Dursley’s stairs), but for a very young child it might be fine for a couple of years.

          1. Observer

            Baby monitors work fine.

            It’s also worth noting that you can be on the same floor and STILL not hear the kid. So, if you worry about the child crying and not hearing, get the monitor regardless of floor.

        2. What's in a name

          Building codes require all bedrooms to have a window of a minimum size and usually have the ability to use as an exit in an emergency.

          1. JulieBulie

            Definitely not… and even if what the realtor says is true, that’s not a relevant data point. Other people do lots of things that they shouldn’t!

        3. brushandfloss

          Its common for NYers to turn a Junior-4 ( a one bedroom with a den/dining room) into a two bedroom.
          I wouldn’t trust your realtor on this. I think a using a windowless basement for a young child’s bedroom is outside the norm.

        4. AcademiaNut

          I suspect that this is both highly illegal and very common in NYC – when housing costs are insane, people are more willing to live with stuff that’s both dangerous and uncomfortable.

          However, I absolutely, 100%, would not put someone who was not old enough to sign a rental agreement in an illegal or unsafe bedroom situation. An adult can decide to take that risk. A child cannot. And I wouldn’t put a child who was too young to verbally indicate a preference in a sub-standard bedroom on a different floor.

      2. Observer

        In NYC, putting the kids on a different floor than the parents is extremely common. It’s totally unremarkable, and the kid probably won’t be that only one in his social group with that set up.

    2. Dead Quote Olympics

      Like everyone else said, the main issue is fire safety. Then I think the scariness factor for kids has more to do with distance from parents than windowlessness or basement location. And the last can depend very much on the character of the basement.

      Windows can be hella scary for kids at night — as I’m recalling reading Salem’s Lot as a kid and get freaked out by every brush of a branch against the window.

      1. Observer

        Yes. I’d also say that if you move into any duplex, you want detectors on both floors, and if the space is large you may want more than one on a floor.

  37. Naruto

    Alison, you were SO RIGHT about the Golem and the Jinni — thanks for the recommendation!

  38. EA

    Does anyone have any suggestions for how to split expenses with a salary differential in a relationship?
    I make 50k a year and my boyfriend 80, we have been living together for a few years. We both make enough to pay for our expenses and save, and we don’t feel stretched in anyway. He has more educational debt than I do, but we both have no consumer debt. He pays a little more for rent than I do, but mostly because he drives and the apartment comes with a parking space. Other than that we split things down the middle.
    I can’t tell if I am being resonable to be bothered by this. I value my independence, and I am able to pay for everything we do. I guess I feel like because he makes more money, he should offer to pay a little more often, and be more generous. I do feel guilty for feeling this way. I guess when roles have been reversed in previous relationship, I tried to help the person out, and I don’t feel like he has been like that. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, I guess I want to know if I am being unreasonable.

    1. Ramona Flowers

      Have you actually told him any of this or are you upset that he hasn’t guessed?

    2. Belle

      We always split it evenly unless there was an obvious usage difference (such as the parking spot you mentioned). Income doesn’t really impact how you use something — so that is why we always did it evenly. I know that probably sucks to hear — but that is how we looked at it (and I was the low income person at first until I got a few promotions at work).

    3. super anon

      My partner and I spilt our expenses 75-25. He makes 75% of the income while I make 25% (he is in a very high paying job – he made my yearly income by March of this year). 75-25 is also an even split when we look at the expenses (ex: he drives a very expensive car and i have no car payment), and also an accurate split of our combined assets. It works for us, but it also works because I wouldn’t be able to pay 50% of our bills on my salary as our monthly living expenses are $5000 more than I make in a month and my partner respects that.

      1. Melody Pond

        I’m in a similar boat. Mr. Pond and I (we’re not actually married, even though I call him “Mr. Pond”) have three accounts – we each have our own individual account, and then we also have a joint checking account for all of the shared joint expenses. This doesn’t only include needs, like basic food and rent, internet, etc.,, but it also includes some joint “wants” like a joint entertainment budget.

        I make about 33% of the income, where Mr. Pond brings home about 67% of the income. So that’s how we split everything that goes into the joint account. And I’m in a similar situation as “super anon” because our housing in particular is much higher than anything I’d ever be able to afford on my own – even at a 50% split.

        I really like our system. It enables us room to do our own thing without feeling like we need to explain ourselves to each other, when the money comes from our own individual accounts. But we also have an agreed-upon plan in the joint account, and we are pretty good about communicating with each other regarding use of the joint account.

    4. Not So NewReader

      People who are not married may look at things differently than married people? Not sure. I brought home 40% of the income so I paid 40% of the bills. My husband brought home 60% and paid 60% of the bills. We both ended up with the same amount of discretionary money. But neither one of us had debt from before we met each other.

      I felt guilty about not bringing home 50%. I shopped sales, grew veggies and so on to cut the burden down a bit. I think feeling guilty about an imbalance is pretty normal.

      1. the gold digger

        People who are not married may look at things differently than married people?

        As a married person, I just look at all the money as ours. When Primo was working and I was not, it was all ours, and I have the same view now when I am working and he is not. (And that IRA he got when his dad died because his dad didn’t have his act together enough to remove Primo as the secondary beneficiary and had never bothered to update his designations to send the money to the estate rather than to Primo? That’s ours, too. I suffered. I earned that money.)

        But if we were not married (and both working – I would not support someone if I were not married to him), I would be very wary of shared expenses, ie, if he held the mortgage and his name were on the deed but I were paying rent. I would not be happy to be helping to pay for an asset to which I had no legal title.

    5. Dear Liza dear Liza

      Suze Orman used to recommend couples contribute the same percentage of their salary. (We no longer have cable so I don’t know of she still does!) But that advice worked well for Dear Henry and I, who had a similar salary differential as you and your partner.

    6. fposte

      I think it’s not about being reasonable or unreasonable but finding something that works for you. As Ramona Flowers suggests, some of what you’re saying is about what you think he should do without asking, which isn’t entirely fair to him, so I think you need to talk to him. It also sounds like you guys might benefit from planning out a budget together. I’m a big fan of the contribution by percentage approach that other posters mention, but it’s about what works for you. Don’t forget to factor in the unpaid labor of running the household–if that mostly falls on one or the other of you, whether it’s arranging the cleaner or doing the laundry, that matters.

    7. Dan

      You gotta talk to the guy, and only then can you decide what reasonable is. And reasonable is what works for you guys, not what the internet says.

      For me personally, I’m making decent money, but am not interested in a relationship where I am “expected to help out” beyond what we’ve agreed to.

      Keep in mind that he makes less “extra” than it first appears. At his income, taxes take a huge portion of the difference. He also doesn’t get much if any of the student loan interest deduction, as it phases out around that income level. His car stuff costs money, he pays more in rent, he has more student loans… If there are long term savings goals such as a house down payment, wedding ring, and wedding in the future, that “extra” money disappears in a hurry.

      You’re best off coming to an agreement you both can live with, and not expecting more than the agreement.

      1. fposte

        Agreeing with most, but assuming similar deductions since we don’t know differently, taxes take out 10% of the difference; that’s not a huge portion.

        1. Dan

          How do you figure the taxes are that low? I’m talking about the income he earns in the 50k-80k bracket, and assuming 25% fed, whatever for state, 7.5% so and Medicare. If he’s got a 401k, there’s a chunk for that. I know the 401k isn’t a tax, but I digress. Single people at that income level who rent pay a significant amount of taxes.

          The larger point I want to make is that the BF is putting nowhere near $30k in the bank every year. While he may earn 60% more than she does, his take home pay is nowhere near that. It’s going to be closer to half that before we get into his other expenses.

          1. fposte

            Nobody’s suggesting he’s putting $30k more than her in the bank, but since state and FICA taxes are flat the same percentage applies to both his income and hers. (And decisions about 401ks should be made together in a household.)

            Basically, I’m just pointing out that taxes aren’t going to eat up the difference between $50k and $80k (and it’s not like she doesn’t have to pay taxes either); he’s going to take home substantially more than her even after taxes. That doesn’t obligate anybody to anything, because, as you and I clearly both agree, they need to figure out what their financial household plan is together.

            1. Melody Pond

              Yeah, but FICA taxes (aka, payroll taxes) are relatively low. It’s federal income tax that can get pretty high, and federal income tax is a “progressive” tax system. The higher your income is, the greater percentage of your income you pay on taxes. So there actually IS a difference in the total amount of taxes that OP’s partner is paying, over what she’s paying. And not just in the amount, but in the total percentage of his income, versus the percentage of her income (I’m making assumptions about gender and pronouns, for simplicity).

              For 2017, I believe it’s as follows:
              $0-$9,325 – income taxes are 10%
              $9,325-$37,950 – income taxes are 15% of the excess over $9,325, plus 10% of 9,325
              $37,950-$91,900 – income taxes are 25% of the excess over $37,950, plus 15% of the chunk from $9,325 to $37,950, plus 10% of 9,325

              And so on and so forth (I don’t want to keep writing it all out, hehe). So Dan’s original statement that:

              Keep in mind that he makes less “extra” than it first appears. At his income, taxes take a huge portion of the difference.

              … is technically correct, if the two partners are in different tax brackets. I mean, for me personally, Mr. Pond and I still divide up our joint expenses based on our gross income amounts, but my point is that Dan was technically correct. And one way to correct for the income tax variable would be to use “after tax” incomes, although that can sometimes be harder to plan for, if you haven’t been at your same job and income level for a long enough time.

              1. Melody Pond

                Ack – sorry for all the post-scripts – and I’m also assuming “similar deductions” as fposte mentioned above, I think.

              2. fposte

                Now you’re making me interested–let’s calculate this thing out.

                $50k per year – standard deduction 0f $6300 = AGI of $43,700. That’s a federal tax of $6696 plus the FICA of $3825 (@7.65%) plus state taxes of $2500 (I’m going for a 5% state tax for a random semi-average between states with no or low tax and states with high tax), so the total take home minus taxes ($13021) for $50k here is $36979.

                $80k per year – standard deduction of $6300 = AGI of 73,700. That’s a federal tax of $14196 plus the FICA of $6120 (@7.65%) plus state taxes of $4000, so the total take home minus taxes ($4000) for $80k here is $55,684.

                So $80k is still making $18,705 more than $50k here; I guess to me that’s not losing “a huge portion” to taxes, because it still leaves enough for a significant differential of more than half the pay difference between them.

                1. Melody Pond

                  Yes – although if you’re including the standard deduction, you might as well also include the “personal exemption” that every person gets, as long as they’re not a dependent of someone else. I think that’s about $4,050? Or it was around that figure last year.

                  Also, FYI – AGI refers to gross income minus “above the line” deductions – which are deductions listed on the first page of the 1040, and those include things like qualified moving expenses, HSA contributions, IRA contributions, and student loan interest. The standard deduction (or itemized deductions, if the taxpayer qualifies for them) and personal exemptions are deducted after AGI is calculated, and the term for that is “taxable income.”

                  And yes – in this particular example, both incomes are within the same marginal tax bracket of 25%. I’m too lazy to do the actual calculation, but if you calculated their “effective tax rates” (total taxes divided by total gross income), I bet the percentages would be pretty similar.

                  Really, the place where you would see the phenomenon that both Dan and I described, more clearly, would be if they had incomes in wildly different tax brackets. Because then, it’s not only the dollar amount of taxes that’s wildly different, it’s the percentage, or proportion of their income. And that might be a variable worth accounting for, when it comes to splitting household expenses proportionately, based on each person’s income.

              3. overeducated

                So the take home here (har har) is that they’re in the same federal tax bracket, so the $50 to $80k income would not have a larger percentage taken out in taxes than the 0 to $50k, right? Both earners would have the same proportional tax burden and take home, though the actual amounts differ. So yes the $80k earner is not putting another $30k in the bank, but would still be taking home approximately 60% more after taxes because the lower earner has to pay them too.

    8. Thlayli

      My husband and I pay equal amounts for everything to do with kids/house /family. There have been Pay differentials in both directions since we started doing this. As long as we can both afford it I am happy for us both to pay equally.

      If it was at the stage where one of us was having a lower standard of living than the other, or one of us was totally broke or something like that, I would want to revisit it. But as long as we both have enough money to pay equally and still have enough of our own money left to live as we like, I don’t see why either of us should give more than the other.

    9. Rookie Manager

      We do the %age of take home pay thing. Currently we both put 2/3rds of our net pay into joint accounts (this proportion has gone up over the years as our relationship and money became more entwined). I’m currently earning about 3/4 of his salary but put a much larger cash deposit into the house. When I worked p/t the differential was greater but I contributed proportionally much more to running the house.

      To be honest, this situation was sorted very early in our relationship, I had been insisting on splitting things equally (or time about) on dates, one weekend he invited me to something and I declined as I couldn’t afford it. He got annoyed and said ‘well I want to go and I want you to come too, I’m not asking you to pay just to join me!’ I realised my attempts at being independent were stopping us doing things so we(I) agreed to stop worrying about everyrhing being equal.

      I would always ensure we had some personal money though as he just doesn’t need to know how much I spend on haircuts or presents for him.

    10. Naruto

      When we were dating, my wife and I split rent in rough proportion to our income and to what we could afford. Then eating out and stuff like that was closer to down the middle or someone would offer to pay.

  39. paul

    Former co-worker was murdered this week. Found out Thursday afternoon. Amazingly sad end to a pretty rough week. Couldn’t sleep and wound up doing a 2am lifting session until I couldn’t move; basically spent Friday on tylenol and ice packs.

    Apparently got beaten and hemorrhaged? Something like that.

    It’s been a long time since someone I knew well died like that :/ Kinda shaken up. Spend the morning hiking and playing outdoors with my kids to re-center myself. it helped but I’m still in a funk. Gonna go engage in retail therapy later and buy some useful outdoorsy stuff for the older toddler–d they make toddler sized hydration packs? Surely they do? And hats for both the kids.

    1. Not So NewReader

      Oh my. So very sorry. Yep, recenter, reconnect with your life. Maybe you can send a donation somewhere in his memory, even if it’s the rescue squad that came for him.

      It is scary when it hits closer to home like that.

    2. Jean (just Jean)

      I’m sorry. Life can be horrible this way. Enjoy your kids–they can be a relief in the face of catastrophe.
      NSNR has two good suggestions.

    3. Turtlewings

      D: That’s terrible, I’m so sorry. Of course you’re shaken. You might consider sending a card or flowers to their family; gestures like that even from strangers can mean a lot when something like this happens.

    4. Hrovitnir

      Oh god, I’m sorry. I’m also sorry it’s been a “long time” rather than the first time someone you know has died like that.

  40. Courageous Cat

    Is there really no way to get an email when someone responds to my comments on here? I’d probably be more active if I could, but I almost never see people’s replies to me as it stands. I was also recently surprised to find the “notify me of follow-up comments by email” button emails you literally every comment anyone makes, haha.

    1. Jillociraptor

      You can Control + F and search for your name to see if anyone has replied to you (or of course search for anything else you want to follow).

    2. Turtlewings

      Same here!!! I have to remember to check back and Ctrl + F my name; not my favorite way to go about things.

    3. Thlayli

      Click on the date stamo under your post and save to favourites – this link will bring u right back to ur post each time and u can see the comments.

  41. Fellow Traveller

    Can anyone share tips for planning a group trip? We are taking a week long family trip in August (six adults, and three children under the age of six). We have an air bnb reserved for half the dates and airplane tickets, but then feel overwhelmed as to what to do next in terms of planning. We are mostly having issues coordinating with the other branches of the family, and feeling overwhelmed by all the researching for activities. Anyone else plan a big group trip and have some advice?

    Also- We’re going to Nova Scotia (Cape Breton) and PEI, if anyone has any suggestions for things to do.

    1. FDCA In Canada

      I can’t help with the group stuff, but I used to live in the Maritimes! For Cape Breton: gorgeous in August, but bring bug spray for the black flies. Driving the Cabot Trail is a gorgeous experience, and there’s some fantastic biking in the area as well. The Castle Rock Hotel in Ingonish has a lovely restaurant with truly breathtaking views and very friendly proprietors! Visit Cheticamp on the west side of the island for whale watching–even if you don’t see whales, you’ll probably see seals, birds, and gorgeous scenery. (I went with my parents, and my mom got terribly seasick whale-watching. We were staying at the Castle Rock, and the owners noticed that only my dad and I went for dinner, so they sent up my mom a tray of fruit and crackers and cheese for her to nibble on until she felt better. Without even asking! Truly wonderful people.) There’s some excellent hiking in the area as well.

      PEI is probably more child-friendly in general, but still very fun. If you have any interest at all in Anne of Green Gables, prepare to be swamped. The Green Gables site itself is fine and not overly touristy, but there is just nonstop Anne everywhere else, which can get a little old. The island has some outstanding beaches (red sand!), many of which will be almost bathwater-warm by August, especially on the south shore, and the north shore has gorgeous cliffs. If you like lighthouses and sea views, PEI has ’em. It’s really flat, so there’s some very nice cycling trails that aren’t too challenging. PEI could be a great place to split up for the day–beach people to the beach, adventure people to do some cycling, and meet for dinner. It’s so small that almost everywhere is driving distance within a couple of hours. It’s truly amazingly scenic, and if you’re there on a nice day it’s almost impossible not to want to stop every few minutes for a photo. There are three marked scenic drives on the island, and honestly they’re all actually worth doing. If you have an eye for the weird there’s a potato museum in PEI where you can get fudge made from potatoes which is surprisingly not that bad. Charlottetown and Summerside are the two main areas in PEI, and if you use either one as a home base, you’ll be close enough to do almost any activities you care to do.

    2. Jessesgirl72

      Closed FB group for coordinating and each branch takes responsibility for planning one day, in turns.

      Or 36 people for my husband’s family reunion next week, and we do dinner all together each night, and a meeting plan for breakfast for anyone who wants it, but people can break into smaller groups or venture on their own during the day. Each of my FIL’s siblings are arranging for one dinner . They have done it that way, every other year in various locations (Rocky Mountain Park, Williamsburg, Rural Indiana, now The Dells) for decades and learned early on that trying to get multiple families to agree on one thing and stay together all day just caused hard feelings

      1. the gold digger

        Oh yeah. Totally make it voluntary! I hate mandatory togetherness and fun! For me, a vacation where I have to be with a lot of people rather than just sitting on a porch BY MYSELF reading is not a vacation.

    3. Dan

      Don’t over plan. Don’t expect everyone to want to do everything together every day.

      Cynical but accurate point: the lower your expectations, the more likely they are to be exceeded

      1. overeducated

        Yes, this. Some people need a plan every day and want to make sure they hit all the attractions. Some people just want to relax on their vacation and not have to get somewhere at a certain time every day. Type 1 can really annoy type 2 by trying to drag them along or overplan. Type 2 can annoy Type 1 by making them feel responsible for everything…but only if Type 1 assumes there has to be a plan and that they are responsible for entertaining everyone. Ideal solution: plan what you want to prioritize, offer the option for others to join, and don’t try to make plans just to make others happy or put something on the schedule.

        FWIW I went on a really lovely and memorable trip to PEI and Cape Breton as a kid and my main memories were running around the woods, playing with other kids in the campground, local music, and of course the Anne of Green Gables house. It was a lightly structured trip and that worked well in such a beautiful place to be outdoors.

      1. Jessesgirl72

        Or you let the over-planners do that and have their way for themselves, with the play it by ear types allowed to play it by ear, and no one can make the other type too miserable. ;)

        On my MIL’s side of the family, her parents took 30+ people to Italy and wanted us all to be together all day every day. Before I met my husband, they did the same thing at Disneyworld.

        It really makes so much more sense for one group to say “We’re doing X for anyone who wants to join us” and another family says “We’re doing Y” and if an adult wants to kick back and lay on the beach all day instead of X or Y, or people need to leave X early because the kid needs a nap, then that happens, and we all see each other at dinner. One year, it happened to be planned over when one of the Harry Potter books came out, and half of us had the books delivered to the Lodge we were in. The other half went white water rafting while we book worms stayed in the nice lodge reading. 2 years ago, we were in Williamsburg (29 that year) and we were the only ones who wanted to go to Virginia Beach, so we did. I really admire the ease of it all, and how well it works out with so many different personalities.

    4. paul

      Plan slack and down time. I just planned and executed our first full family vacation las tmonth and learned the hard way that the more people you have the more allowances you have to make for people having problems and different preferences. This’ll cut into your available tie for sightseeing and destinations.

      We had 3 adult couples (my folks, my wife and I, my brother and his wife) and 3 toddlers, so it wasn’t a patch on what you’re looking at and it was STILl an issue.

    5. the gold digger

      My mom, brother, sister, brother in law, husband and I rented a house for a long weekend for my mom’s birthday.

      The biggest thing we did wrong was not plan meals. My mom wanted a menu three months in advance and I did not want to do that. (I wanted to eat out – this was in southern Colorado and I knew we’d be able to get Mexican food there that I cannot get at home.)

      The proper way to do that (for us) would have been to designate one person to be in charge of each main meal and leave it at that. But we waited until we got there and then went shopping. My sister got super cranky and started cooking and she made food I did not want and that my brother could not eat (he has worse migraines than I do and has to avoid a lot of foods).

      So. Either hire a cook (you know – because we are all rich here!) or put one person/family in charge of each major meal.

      This might also work for planning activities – say that each family is in charge of figuring out something.

    6. Meag L

      I’m from Nova Scotia and I LOVE PEI.
      Some random PEI thoughts:
      – PEI has some really great local brewery’s (for the adults :) resto’s and tons of Anne stuff.
      – Check out the Confederation Centre to see if any productions are going on.
      – Shining Waters might be fun for the kids
      – If you like “escape rooms” check out Room Escape Cavendish ( I think they have a family room)

      If you are taking the ferry from NS over to PEI make sure you arrive nice and early to board. In the summer the waits can be LONG. Consider taking the confederation bridge back – The bridge is 8 miles long and is the longest in the world to span over ice covered water.

      Have fun :)

  42. Carmen Sandiego JD

    A lot of first world problems…
    1) Two weeks of dental work (1 nearly avoided root canal; 1 replaced a leaked filling).
    2) My tooth (leaked filling one) was fixed 72 hour ago but I can’t chew anything on that tooth (unlike my other molar that was fixed). As in, no crunchy pb. Is that normal?
    3) I have a $19 toothpaste prescription bc my teeth are so painfully sensitive, and I feel like the money I make keeps disappearing like this. I do have an ample savings acct but growing it more is tough, and I already live off 69 cent tuna and a bag of $3 greens. Tips for saving more?
    4) Bc of dental stuff, no chocolate and during aunt flo, this feels like torture X (((
    5) After my mom yelled via 3 emails 30 lines to me about things not in my control (bf’s license application taking 1 month longer bc they misspelled his name and she blames me for covering up his “procrastination/lies” even though he’s studying hard and fully invested) I’ve gone no/low contact at least till end of July. Thoughts? Was I too harsh?
    6) No internet at the apt….

    …..my body hurts everywhere….reading, indoors X (

    1. Not So NewReader

      FWIW, I think you were not harsh enough. Her lack of respect for your BF is jaw-dropping. Her lack of respect for you… well, I have no words for that.

      Just like Alison says about toxic jobs goes for toxic families also. The longer we spend around the toxic family (or family member) the more they damage our world view and the more they distort our understanding of how the world works.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger

        Seconded. CSJD, I hope your no/low contact time allows you to get used to life without criticism and attacks, and lets you reset your expectations that people should be kind or at least civil, and those that are close to you should be actively trying to help you, not do you harm. And berating, scolding, and blaming is not helping!

        Once you get used to kindness being the default, I hope you’ll be able to maintain no contact as long as your mother is unkind to you. Sometimes people like that can learn to respect boundaries, but usually the only way they’re willing to try is if the boundaries are enforced consistently and fully.

    2. JulieBulie

      Chocolate shake? Would that interfere with the dental stuff? Or chocolate pudding? That’s another dent in the budget, but dammit, you need chocolate.

      Tips for saving more… well you know non-bagged greens are cheaper than bagged ones, but I’m guessing you have your reasons (TIME!) for buying bagged. I’m not sure how else to cut your budget because I’m not sure how you spend… but if you buy coffee aleady made, you can save quite a bit making it at home and there are cheap ways to do a cup at a time if that’s all you want.

    3. Jules the First

      Re the dental stuff, my dentist recommended that I add a Vitamin K2 supplement to my diet (I use Life Extension’s Super K) and it’s been a life changer. She also made me stop using foaming toothpaste and my teeth are now cleaner and my gums healthier, because I actually spend time brushing (my mouth literally feels dentist-clean after brushing now).

    4. Paula, with Two Kids

      1) I had two crowns (one was a root canal) a year ago to fix old cavities that has cracked both teeth. The first week was the worst, but I had difficulty for at least a month. You’ll probably have a follow with the dentist if it was a crown? They file it and make it “fit” better. If not, and it’s still unchewable, call the dentist and see if that’s normal for what they did. We all recover at different rates. And the sensitivity with mine improved, after six months I could use regular toothpaste again, and not worry about hot/cold.

      5) If she’s a narcissist and that’s why the low contact….you are probably doing the right thing. Extra contact won’t make her happier, healthier, or nicer. And it might make you miserable. I’m low contact with my Ex. I can’t tell you how stressful it is when there is contact. Every communication is 20 times more difficult than it would be with a rational person. Telling him the maintenance cost to have some work done on the house this week involved 10 emails. Normal people would have responded with one email, saying “OK”. Not a narcissist, it’s a gaslighting blameshifting carousel of misinformation.

      I hope you feel better!

    5. brushandfloss

      2) Changing out a filling can cause some trauma to the pulp and tooth so some sensitivity afterwards is normal.

      1. brushandfloss

        I wanted to add if the pain persists or get worse on the filled tooth, you should to the dentist to make sure you don’t need more treatment on that tooth.

    6. Observer

      I’ve been wondering why you don’t go at least low contact for a while. Your mother won’t stop trying to interfere and mess with your relationship. It doesn’t matter whether you had control over your BF’s situation or not – if you guys mutually decided something and it’s not something that affects any obligations to others, then that’s your decision to make and not for your mother to get involved in.

      And to be clear – You and your BF have absolutely ZERO obligation to your parents around his licenses / certifications / degrees etc. Keep reminding yourself of this, and shut your mother down when she starts. You don’t owe her to move at certain pace, and you don’t owe her any explanations.

    7. Carmen Sandiego JD

      Update: my dad wants “for us to be a family again” and invite my mom along for our movie weekend next week. Apparently, he’s trying to smooth things over and pretend moms tirade never happened, that maybe I was the one hallucinating. UGH. Enablers. Sweet enablers….

      My response to my dad: if mom tried to be a civil human being. There’s only so much crazy I can take. Getting roasted for something out of my control: enough is enough. I have to do the hard work of enforcing boundaries because you’ve allowed her verbally abusive behavior to be acceptable.

      It is not ok, and I deserve better than that.

      Saturday: father/daughter.

      1. Observer

        It is not ok, and I deserve better than that.

        Yes, you do!

        Please keep on enforcing boundaries. And don’t let your father gaslight you on your mother’s behalf.

      2. Carmen Sandiego JD

        Thanks–trying. My dad now says if I don’t apologize things will get worse. He’s so brainwashed he can’t think straight :/

        1. Not So NewReader

          Well, the truth is that things will get worse. When five year olds don’t get their way they sometime pitch a fit. Likewise, your mother has been getting her way for a very, very long time. The NO word is going to be a real shocker.

          He’s not brainwashed, he’s a hostage. He does not want to deal with your mother being upset. In order to accomplish that he has to get you to apologize to her.

          You can suggest therapy to one or both of them. Your father might hear you. I doubt your mother will.
          If she threatens with something that is illegal then you can tell her you will call the cops.

          Take a hard look at this and, please, please, try to understand you are never going to please this woman. She is not going to let you please her. She feels that if you know she is unhappy with you that you will do whatever she wants so she will be happy with you again. It’s all about you pleasing her, except she won’t ever be pleased with you.

          Most parents find reasons to be pleased with their kids. Some parents are over the top, “Look! Junior colored on the freshly painted walls, isn’t that great?!” This so does not describe your mom.
          You cannot ever be the daughter she wants. And she can never be the mother you want.

        2. Observer

          Well, it WILL get worse – for him. For you? It depends on your willingness to enforce boundaries. If you let her, your mother will certainly keep on browbeating you and your SO. But, you CAN refuse to talk to her – even in the moment. So, you can refuse to pick up the phone when you see her number. And, if you picked up you can hang up. And you can, if necessary, go no-contact. It’s not something done lightly, I get that. But you’re not dealing with minor issues here.

        3. Carmen Sandiego JD

          Thanks. After my dad sent a blank email with the title “your mom is waiting for your response” (to her apology expecting you to forgive her) when in fact the apology was her apologizing she felt I was hurt b/c of her being too good a mother, I canceled the father’s day stuff, told him nothing till end of July, and if mom’s not enjoying herself, I had 2 dental surgeries so suck it up (in mildly polite terms).

          I mean. All I wanted was peace and quiet. Am I really that irrational here?! Sheesh.

  43. Belle di Vedremo

    Hi friend, how are you? Where are you? Still in transition, already moved and settling, something else? I hope that you continue to find some light in your days and in your heart as you move into this new phase of your life.

    Belle di Vedremo

    1. fposte

      I’m thinking this is about Marcela, but then I realized there are several people who’ve posted about difficulties and that I hope are doing well, so it could apply to all of them. So good luck to all of you.

      1. Belle di Vedremo

        Thanks fposte, you are correct. Thought I’d changed my name to hers before posting but clearly that didn’t happen.

    2. Marcela

      Hey Belle, thank you again for checking on me. It looks like magic, when I need company and everyone is sleeping, I come here and see your message.

      Since 10 days ago I am in the East coast. I started my new job and I am working to make it indefinite instead of a temporary contract. I have decided I will never go back to my husband, who is an asshat. I won’t accept his conditions, which essentially are unconditional surrender of my dignity, values and principles. It hurts so much to know I was living an illusion. It breaks my heart to think all the effort I made for someone who calls love something horrible and warped, something that never protected me. I am afraid now of that. I am afraid of every word he says, for he would tell me he loves me while stabbing me. But he refuses to start the divorce procedure. I will have to force him to do it. And that’s another thing that breaks me: I used to think he was a decent guy. He was somebody I admired, honest, caring, loyal. Even these 3 months, I considered him somebody who made a mistake in one specific area of his life, his love life with me. However, by refusing to let me go, even threatening me to fight me for the small amount of money we have, I’m seeing that even there he wasn’t who I thought. He told me at the beginning that sure, he was going to sign everything I wanted for our divorce, to make it easier. He lied. He is destroying everything, even things he didn’t have to. Next month I’ll send him a process server so I can finally divorce him. I need some stability before I can be ready to pay more to my lawyer.

      Thank you for thinking about me. You help me a lot. Seriously.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Living an illusion. Sigh. This one hurts so very much. Grieve, cry, push those tears out.
        And realize something. You were sincere. Please think about this at some point. You were sincere.

        Keep that sincerity. One thing I have seen in life is that sincere people draw other sincere people to themselves. As you meet new good people, they will pick up on the fact that you are a sincere person and your sincerity will work FOR you in building these new relationships. While your new life may not be the same as your dreams/ideal life, you will find that some awesome things happen to you. Keep going and know for a fact that you are going toward something better.

      2. Belle di Vedremo

        I am glad to hear that you have moved and are moving forward. I’m sorry it’s so hard.

        No love is ever wasted. It may come to an end, it may twist and turn, but every bit of love in the world is good and useful.

        It feels as if he’s realizing how much he relied on you, how much you framed his world, and just how much he is losing. Sometimes we lean on others to help us learn to be decent, honest, caring and loyal. We think we’ve learned to be those things but sometimes, as when a relationship comes to an end, we find out how much we’ve build our lives on someone else’s heart and strength. It’s a terrible thing to realize how much damage one has done, how much of one’s world is crashing down around us, and we can be our worst selves out of fear and hurt and outrage – and recognition that it is one’s own doing.

        Tears can be balm, let them flow. Use your clear vision to help steer you in your own direction now, with your heart as your rudder. It will be messy, as he has chosen, but in time you will come through this clear eyed and generous of spirit.

        Please keep us posted. I don’t get here every weekend, but I do try to be here at least twice a month.

        We know that you could never give up your dignity, values and principals

        1. Marcela

          He is not doing any of that. He is very deep in the blaming game, saying that I am the reason for what ‘happened’. He can’t even say ‘what I did’. He even tried to shame my principles, telling me the reason I reacted as I did, was because I share, deep down, my conservative parents’ beliefs, instead of being the liberal and enlightened person I ‘”claimed” to be all these years. Yeah, the reason I don’t want a marriage of three is because I am conservative.

          And yet, he claims he loves me. The whore “saved him from himself “, and he could never stop speaking with her, because she is a nice person, and he loves me. He never felt as alive with me as with her, but he loves me and was always happy with me. It hurts. More than anything I’ve felt before.

          1. Not So NewReader

            That is some pretty twisted logic right there. I think it’s safe to say the time for talking about problems has passed.

            I am so sorry. He violated your trust on some many levels that it is not fixable. You did nothing wrong by trusting the person who married you. But he violated that trust too many ways and too many times.

            Life does not have to be this hard. I think you know that and that is why you are moving on. Yep, no doubt in my mind that this hurts in every cell in your body. It’s okay to feel the feelings, that is how we process stuff. Be sure to do good self-care because this much upset/anguish can cause the body and mind to feel run down. It’s a good investment of your time and energy to eat good meals, hydrate, rest and even take short walks when you can. These habits can fortify you and they can carry you through some tough-tough stuff. I know. So simple, yet so hard. Do what you can each day.

            I hope some good things happen to you really soon.

  44. MovingToCaliSoon

    I’m trying to pack all my stuff for a big move (east to west coast). I keep imagining driving to a quiet road, putting all my stuff in a big pile and lighting it on fire instead of dealing with it. :) Anyone have good packing and then road trip music suggestions?

    1. JulieBulie

      Play something that you really like to sing along with. I find that singing staves off fatigue.

      1. Elizabeth West

        I second this. I made a HUUUUUGE playlist on my phone for driving to St. Louis. Since I’m alone and can’t change the music while driving at 75 miles an hour, and have nobody to do it for me, I just stuck all the songs I liked best to sing to in one long string. :)

    2. Jillociraptor

      Uhh, that’s not the worst idea! :)

      My biggest packing tip is to pay someone to do it for you. Many movers provide a la carte packing and unpacking services, and it’s not super expensive. I think I paid about $300 to have someone pack up my 2 bed apartment when we moved from DC to CA, and probably another $100 to have them unpack the kitchen on the other end. (Unpacking the kitchen, BTW, is SO worth it. All the little glasses and individually wrapped forks, yikes.) They also hauled away the boxes. Really, it’s a great deal.

      When we moved across town, we discovered the unanticipated benefits of tossing crap willy nilly into boxes: when the contents aren’t well-ordered, you are kind of forced to actually unpack all of the boxes in pretty good time because otherwise you’re without your bath towels or pots and pans. :)

      For our cross-country road trip, we actually listened to lots of audio books. “Bossypants” by Tina Fey and “Dad is Fat” by Jim Gaffigan were fun road trip books! I bet Harry Potter would also be good, especially if you already know the story.

      Good luck!

      1. MovingToCaliSoon

        Thanks! I’m not hiring movers/packers this time, but I will look into audio books for the drive, that is a great suggestion!

      2. tigerStripes

        Audio books are great for long drives!

        If you want to just get rid of stuff, there may be some charities nearby that would come and be happy to take it.

      3. KR

        That’s so cheap! I paid $2900 to move a mattress, a TV, a coffee table, boxes for a bedroom and some kitchen stuff, a kitchen table, and a hope chest from NH to Southern California.

        1. JulieBulie

          I think Jillociraptor was talking only about the cost of packing and unpacking – not the moving which is yeah, wicked expensive.

    3. periwinkle

      Podcasts are fabulous for long, long road trips. We moved from DC to Seattle a few years ago and I had to make the one-way drive twice, solo (we have 3 cars and two drivers). I loaded up on podcasts and spent many hours going through the creepy delights of “Welcome to Night Vale.” Tip: If your route takes you through long lonely stretches of interstate driving in the Southwest… pick a different podcast.

      1. Gingerblue

        As a huge Night Vale fan, that sounds like the BEST way to listen, but by that point in a move I’m usually hoping to be disappeared by a vague yet menacing government agency anyway.

        1. JulieBulie

          Seconding Night Vale. I also loved Within the Wires, but that’s not long enough for this move!

      2. Ruffingit

        I love the podcast Stuff You Should Know. I learned a lot from those and the hosts are funny!

    4. Gingerblue

      I’m also gearing up for a move, and I’ve been using my running playlist and podcasts for motivation. Among podcasts, Welcome to Night Vale was mentioned downthread, and I’d add Alice Isn’t Dead, The Hidden Almanac, and Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap as things that keep my brain occupied while doing stuff like packing. (The first three are narrative, while Kevin and Ursula is two people sitting at their kitchen table reviewing packaged foods. Because they’re both hilarious, this is a lot more entertaining than it sounds.) For work music, I usually stream Digitally Imported stations these days.

      I was just fantasizing this morning about setting all my belongings on fire and walking away, so total sympathies.

  45. Red

    Running tights. I bought a pair on the recommendation of a friend and they are so freaking comfortable, I don’t know if I’ll ever wear anything other than these again. Knowing that, anyone have a favorite store for them?

    1. Mischa

      I adore Oiselle. They only have a mortar and brick location in Seattle, but I’ve had great experience buying from them online. For a more budget option I go for under armor — not too expensive and they get the job done. My favorite cold weather tights are from Patagonia. I honestly want to wear nothing else as well.

          1. LCL

            Junonia, sometimes Eddie Bauer, Woman within, sometimes REI but really limited selection, Fred Meyer Cascade Brand, Terry bikes has plus size bike shorts. Athleta has a few offerings. Junonia has a wicking Capri that is the bomb.

              1. LCL

                …and Columbia usually has a few women’s size offerings, but they run short and small so don’t work for me. If the rise is too short they won’t stay up. Good quality, though.

          2. Ruffingit

            I bought some running tights from Walmart. Danskin. They are wonderful and they carry 2x and up sizes.

    2. Effie

      I used to work at Paragon Sport in Union Square (NYC) and I second the recommendation for Under Armour as a decent and budget-friendly option. Also tasc performance wear is amazing – it’s a cotton bamboo blend with amazing odor control.

  46. Miso

    So I got my tonsils removed in Tuesday. Came home from the hospital yesterday.
    So far the pain has been a lot less than I expected, but then I got two different pain meds at the hospital and more whenever I wanted. I feel the pills I got for home are a little less good, but it’s still very manageable.
    We celebrated my father’s birthday today and I’m sad I couldn’t eat the goulash, because that was seasoned too much, unfortunately.

    Ah well, now I’ve got another week at home – so much time to play Zelda :D
    (I’m a bit scared the real pain starts now, but I’m trying not to think about it, nope nope.)

    1. JulieBulie

      From what I remember (I was 33 when my tonsils came out), the pain does NOT get worse. It was bad the first day or two, but was less after that.

      However I was unable to eat any solid food, even scrambled eggs, without discomfort, for a couople of weeks. I ate a lot of ice cream, ice milk (which I never see in stores any more), pudding, jello, and shakes/smoothies for a couple of weeks and actually lost weight because there is only so much of that stuff that I could stand to eat, no matter how yummy it was, because I got tired of it.

      1. Miso

        Virtually everyone whom I told I was getting a tonsillectomy responded with “Oh, then you’ll get to eat so much ice cream!” – I didn’t get any at the hospital!
        In fact, about an hour after I woke up from surgery, they gave me lunch, which was, you know, just normal lunch… Yeah, didn’t eat too much of that. But at dinner I actually started eating completely normal. Hurt a bit of course, but not too bad. But I’ve definitely never chewed as carefully as this last week, haha.

        1. JulieBulie

          They didn’t give me any ice cream at the dr’s office (it was outpatient surgery). Nor any food. They gave me pills, though, which were uncomfortable to swallow. When I got home, I chased ’em with ice cream.

        2. Mimmy

          “Normal” lunch after tonsil surgery?? Are they kidding?! They probably just give it to everyone in the recovery room without considering the nature of the procedure.

          So I guess that getting ice cream after the surgery is a myth! :P

          1. Miso

            Well, my doctor did say I should try to eat normal as soon as possible (and asked if had eaten a bit). And really, dinner was okay – hurt a bit while swallowing of course, but swallowing spit also hurt, soo…
            I think the main reason I didn’t really eat lunch was because I simply had no appetite and was still a bit groggy after the whole thing.

      2. Liane

        Ice milk, in the US, is now called “low fat ice cream.” The government rules changed in 1994.

        @Miso, I hope your recovery continues to go well.

        1. JulieBulie

          Thanks for that info, Liane. That makes sense. I have a (probably irrational) aversion to the words “low fat” anyway, and thought it was something other than ice milk (more fat, less fat, who knows).

    2. Elizabeth West

      I’m staying away from all you guys–everybody is having tonsil surgery right now! Do not want!

      I hope you don’t have too much pain and a quick recovery.

      1. Miso

        Thank you! :)
        It’s really not too bad and I’m sure I can go back to work after this week.

      2. JulieBulie

        It was only a minor nuisance, and after the constant infections I had been getting, it was totally worth it. I don’t miss ’em at all. And even though it’s supposedly a myth, I SWEAR I get fewer colds now.

        1. Miso

          I’m so hoping for the fewer colds as well!
          I used to get one or two a year, but since the stuff with my tonsils started, I was sick every two months at least.

  47. Mischa

    Anyone had any luck in finding an apartment with an “aggressive” breed dog? My Rottweiler is a sweet, gentle, kind (giant) marshmallow, but he’s a Rottweiler. I have references from his dogsitters and vet and a rider in my renter’s insurance, but I have a feeling the leasing agent will hem and haw at my dog’s breed despite advertising themselves as dog friendly.

    If I don’t get this apartment I will have to commute 2-2.5 hours every day for work, so I really need this to work out.

    1. Rogue

      We have pit bulls and although finding a place is harder and we just can’t live in some locales, we’re always able to find somewhere. Good luck!

    2. Jessesgirl72

      It can be so impossible. You basically need an owner who doesn’t know he is violating his insurance to allow it- because even though we have a sweet Rottie and our insurance covers her, it wouldn’t cover us as landlords allowing someone else’s Rottie. It’s not about leasing agents wanting it or not- it’s totally their insurance company.

      The exceptions are Michigan and one other state that doesn’t allow insurance companies to breed discriminate.

    3. Turtlewings

      Ugh, this is the worst. A pox on whoever came up with breed restrictions. Whenever we’ve had mixed breeds that we strongly suspected were partly some restricted breed, we just kept our mouths shut about it and listed them as “lab mix” (probably true of our dogs specifically, and also probably true of virtually any American mutt) or even “who knows” (also totally true). I don’t guess there’s any chance of playing her off as a mix? Maybe not worth the risk, but so much ugh for your situation.

        1. Jessesgirl72

          Huskies are now on the restricted list too.

          Basically all big dogs are, including incredibly gentle ones like Great Danes.

          1. fposte

            There isn’t a “list” per se–it’s completely dependent on the insurance company (and of course any local ordinances, but those tend not to be very broad). Some insurance companies are breed reactive and others aren’t. There are also apparently a couple of states that forbid breed-reactive restrictions on policies, which is interesting.

            The problem is as a renter you don’t know what insurance your landlord is dealing with (and of course they can have their own further limitations).

            1. Jessesgirl72

              As in everything insurance, it’s all about the actuary tables, so if there is not an “official” list, there might as well be, since the actuary tables don’t vary based on insurance companies and only a little by state. And I see the exact same breeds on everyone’s list except for Farmer’s and State Farm and a couple smaller insurance companies. I own a Rott mix, so I have had to do the research. I tried helping the rescue where we got her once, try to find someone a rental before she had to surrender her dog. (I swear, I’d move to Michigan first! No breed discrimination allowed there!)

              (And some places ask for the name of the rescue where you got the dog- can’t demur when we got her from “Wisconsin Rottweiler Rescue”-)

              I also heard our landlord complain about it 7-8 years ago, when the list got so long, rather than “just” the perennial Dobermans, Rotts, Pitties, and Wolf Hybrids that had been on it for so many years.

              It just sucks all around, and is why we’ll never rent again.

              1. Mischa

                Man! I was going to move to Michigan this year but law school didn’t work out up there, so I’m going to school in my home state. More states should adopt this practice of banning breed discrimination. All those poor animals being surrendered because of no fault of their owners just breaks my heart. I had tried to get an apartment with this same leasing company earlier this spring, but it turns out my student loan package wouldn’t allow me to rent out the nice, new place. They were cool with my Rott with his references. This apartment I’m seeing Monday is in the same property management company but it’s not as nice (and much cheaper, which is great). Fingers crossed this is my lucky break!

      1. GH in the PNW

        Yeah, my guy was part Golden Retriever and part Chow Chow. His personality was all Goldie so I’d just list “GR Mix” on forms — apparently Chow Chows are biters?

        I also didn’t get him DNA typed until very late in life so I could have plausible deniability.

    4. Loopy

      I’m not sure what to do about this particular apartment as I’ve never tried to budge a certain place BUT if you want to consider other options, a good place is to reach out to local rescues who might know of rentals that will allow “aggressive” breeds. I have a Pit Bull and I’ve seen a lot of Pit Bull rescues very active in advertising pit bull friendly housing, for example.

    5. Red Reader

      Maybe get him references? Past landlords, your vet, if you can take him to a training class and show that he’s passed a good behavior course or something?

      1. Amadeo

        That rarely works unless your landlord is a private owner or something. I had a CGC cert for Ende and it never meant anything to the places that forbid specific breeds. I had to find a private owner who asked to meet her first and allowed her based on her good manners.

      2. Liane

        Mischa said they had the references.
        And I hope can find something Mischa. A lot of places restrict based on size or the pet deposits and additional rent are prohibitive for the bigger breeds.

  48. Hey, Marcela

    Hi friend, how are you? Where are you? Still in transition, already moved and settling, something else? I hope that you continue to find some light in your days and in your heart as you move into this new phase of your life.

    Belle di Vedremo

    /Hoping this time it shows with “Hey, Marcela” as the poster instead of my own again./

    1. fposte

      Top is centaurea. I think you’re right that the bottom is an azalea or rhododendron.

      1. The Other Dawn

        Thanks!!

        I think the magenta flowers are definitely from the azalea or rhododendrun family, which makes me happy because I love them both and they make me think of my childhood home.

        1. Elizabeth West

          I think azalea. Rhododendrons are bigger flowers, I think. I’m remembering the ones in Isabella Plantation gardens at Richmond Park, which were giant both in flower size and the size of the plant (like a tree). The azaleas I googled (and saw also in the gardens) looked a lot like that.

          1. The Other Dawn

            I do have azaleas already, and these are a bit different, although quite similar. The biggest difference being the size of the bush. The one in the picture is about 6 feet tall, whereas my azaleas, and ones my parents had at home, are maybe 3 to 5 feet tall and somewhat compact.

            Rhododendrons…*sigh*…it’s my dream (yes, my dream) to have a huge rhododendron in my yard with massive purple or magenta flowers, with giant fuzzy bumble bees buzzing around it all day. As a kid, it scared the hell out of me to see so many bees around the bush at home, but I now know how beneficial those bees are, and that they’re not the angry hornets and wasps I see in other parts of the yard. I have one dwarf rhododendron in my yard, but it doesn’t seem to want to grow of bloom. I planted it two years ago and it just sits there. I’m thinking of relocating it.

            1. Not So NewReader

              When plants don’t bloom it’s one of two things: incorrect light or they are planted too deep.
              Rhodos like shade. If the leaves are not scorched from sunburn then it probably has okay light and it is just planted too deep. Plants can be such little fuss-pots. “Plant me at the exact level I was at in my contain OR ELSE I will NOT bloom!” annnnd “NO! I do not like that additional two inches of soil across the top of my roots. I am not happy!”
              I have had to dig things up a few times and reset them because I misjudged the depth. whoops. It’s still alive so it will be okay in the long run.

      1. IT Squirrel

        I think this is correct – I have both Weigela and Azaleas in my garden and this definitely looks like the former. The Azalea flowers tend to be…fluffier, a little like they are made of tissue paper, while the Weigela look like little trumpets. Both are lovely bright pinks though!

      2. The Other Dawn

        Thanks!! I agree it’s weigela. I believe I have the “Red Prince” variety, based on some Googling. I’m going to try rooting it. According to the Better Homes and Gardens website, it says it would be best rooted right about now. I also have honeysuckle and scentless mock orange, both of which I plan to root so I can plant them on the edge of the field out back.

      3. fposte

        Oh, I think you’re right–the leaves are more weigela, and even for Dawn’s northern clime it’s getting kind of late for azaleas.

    2. The Other Dawn

      I have to say, you all are a wealth of information for me. I’ve created a folder on my computer with pictures of the plants I’ve (you’ve) identified and have another with the “unknowns.” So far, you’ve all helped me identify: poppies, milk weed (which I want to eradicate because it’s getting out of hand), weigela, gold sedum, jimson weed, centaurea, and crab apple.

      Maybe next week I’ll make another blog post with more plants t be identified.

    1. Chaordic One

      Yup, just watched tonight’s episode. But I’m sad that it is in its last season. I hope they come up with a good final episode that ties up some of the loose ends.

      1. Amadeo

        No. I don’t really expect it to when it’s done. I used Dos Equis, which isn’t really the strongest smelling stuff, but it’s what we had. I read that sometimes you can sort of smell the hops in the finished soap, but I imagine that’s with darker/stronger stuff. All it smells like is the fragrance I put in it, patchouli and lemongrass essential oils.

        The beer stank to high heaven when I mixed it with the lye though. I couldn’t get it cooled off fast enough. It smelled like hot, wet, rotten grain!

  49. Bazinga

    I thought I would tell this story cause Alison once said she’s a sucker for separated at birth type stories.
    I have a cousin named Joe Smith. He has a son named Bill. Joe is my mom’s sister’s son Joe died a few years ago.
    I got my mom an ancestry.com DNA test for Christmas. When she got the results she got a list of people she is related to, based on DNA.
    She wrote to some to see who they were. One, named Jane,wrote back and said “I’m adopted but I’m told my dad is Joe Smith. ”
    Turns out my cousin cheated on his wife when Bill was a baby. The mom put the baby up for adoption. That’s Jane. Jane never expected to meet family when she submitted her DNA. She just wanted to know her nationality.
    We reached out to Bill and told him he has a half sister. After the shock, he was excited to contact her. They’ve met, we will meet her soon and she now has a whole family she didn’t know about!!

    1. Becca

      That is so wonderful!!! Something similar happened in my family!

      My aunt had a baby when she was about 18 that she put up for adoption (this was 45-ish years ago) and no one ever knew where the baby ended up. My grandparents of blessed memory both wondered what happened to him until the day they died. My mom joined ancestry.com and recently was connected with someone— turns out it’s my cousin! It’s a happy event all around :)

      1. waterthechances

        My dad’s company was sending leaflets to a different country with photographs of the service providers in it (sorry for obliqueness, I’m not sure about the details) He got a call from a woman in the other country, saying, “Can you help me get in touch with one of the people in your leaflet? He’s my child’s father…”
        He had had a one night stand while on holiday in that country and had not left a forwarding address. My dad helped her out and she is now a good friend of the family :)

  50. The Weekende

    The Food Network or Cooking Channel or one of those was on when I was at a restaurant, an there was an instructional-format show on led by a woman baking stuff. It was awesome and I want to find what the show was because the sound wasn’t on in the restaurant. The woman was darker skinned (probably African-American or mixed?). Does anyone have any idea what the show was?

    1. Sparkly Librarian

      Possibilities:
      Lorraine Pascale, How To Be A Better Cook / Simply Baking
      Padma Lakshmi
      Sibahle Mtongana, Siba’s Table

    2. Nicole

      It doesn’t ring a bell, but you could try checking the listings on the TV Guide website for the time you were at the restaurant to see what was airing on those networks.

  51. Hollis "Holly" Flax - not my real moniker

    This is may be a random thought, but, heck, it’s the weekend!
    I’ve noticed a few families in my neighborhood who let their small children (2-3 years old) play in the driveway. I don’t have children, but this seems really dumb. Am I overreacting? I’m not necessarily opposed to older children playing with sidewalk chalk and stuff like that in a driveway, but they should be old enough to fully understand a driveway can be dangerous. In my opinion, the driveway is already a dangerous place for small children, so it’s probably not a good idea to teach children to play there. I’m not an expert on child-rearing.

    1. Sparkly Librarian

      Depends on the traffic, I’d say. If they’re old enough not to run out into the street, I think it’s about as dangerous as playing on the front lawn. The people who would be pulling into the driveway know their kids are there, right? No one else should be using it. I wouldn’t let kids that age play alone out front, but would have no problem with them in my own driveway while an adult was around..

    2. fposte

      How busy is the street? Kids play in the driveway all the time around me and it’s no big deal. Sometimes my next door neighbors pull their car across the bottom of the driveway to limit escape potential :-).

    3. LCL

      I’m wondering if you mean a shared driveway, like the entrance into an apartment where all vehicle traffic has to use it for access?

      1. Hollis "Holly" Flax - not my real moniker

        Nope, not a shared driveway. I am only concerned due to the age of the children I see (at 2-3, too young to understand that cars can be dangerous).

        1. Thlayli

          Depends on the child. Some kids are able to understand cars are dangerous and/or follow orders to stay in the driveway at that age. My eldest at age 2 was very good for always staying on the footpath (sidewalk) and would never step into the road without me. My youngest is still 1 but I suspect won’t be able to follow those orders at age 2 just based on personality. By 3 I think both of them would be able to follow rules to stay in the driveway/garden.

          I wouldn’t let them out the front of the house unsupervised At the moment anyway, but I have an enclosed back garden that is bigger than the front and a big green area at the bottom of the road. If the driveway is the only place for them to play I would find it hard to judge people for letting them play there at age 3.

          At 2 it very much depends on the child.

          Have you seen Any of them running into the road? If not then I say trust the parent to know their own children’s capabilities.

    4. Emily

      As long as they’re in their own driveway and know not to run out into the street, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. I guess I can understand being nervous if they’re playing really close to the street or are playing with a toy that might end up in the street (like a ball), but probably not otherwise.

      Is it a really busy street? That might affect my judgment.

    5. HannahS

      Provided the parents are there, then yes, you’re overreacting. Especially with something like sidewalk chalk, where the danger of a child running into the street before a parent can stop them is pretty much nil. After all, children play with sidewalk chalk on sidewalks, which are as close or closer to the street than the middle part of a driveway. A lawn is also close to the street. Is what you’re saying that because cars go on driveways, they shouldn’t learn its a place they can play? I wouldn’t worry; kids that young generally aren’t allowed outside–or anywhere, really–without an adult, and can’t reach the doorknob, and aren’t strong enough to open heavy front doors on their own. The only ways that I’ve heard of children being accidentally injured or killed by someone while playing is a) chasing a ball into the street and being hit by a car and b) riding a bike and being hit by a car.

    6. neverjaunty

      I think of comments like this every time I see someone rant about “helicopter parents” or all the supposedly dangerous things we survived as kids yet turned out fine.

    7. Celadoncanopy

      Kids ride bikes in the driveway, they draw with chalk on the driveway, they play basketball on the driveway, they race their toy cars on the driveway, they roller skate in the driveway.

      They face less danger doing these things in the driveway than they do on the street.

    8. AvonLady Barksdale

      There’s a house in my neighborhood that I think is a kid’s paradise. Their driveway isn’t big by any stretch, but there’s a little extra parking area that is always covered in sidewalk chalk. The trees in the front have baby swings on them. There are little kid trucks that sit outside. Every time I see the kids outside, there’s either a parent out with them or the front door is wide open. When I walk by with my dog and the kids are out, they (two boys) walk up to the curb and wave. Seems pretty great to me. The only danger would be if someone were coming home and didn’t look before pulling into the driveway, but it’s such a family norm that I think that would be considered a strange fluke.

    9. JulieBulie

      We always played in the driveway because we weren’t allowed in the street. We had a very good view of the road to see if anyone was coming, and we certainly knew if someone was preparing to leave because they would come and talk to us first.

      A shared driveway might be more dangerous, but if it’s one driveway for one family there shouldn’t be a problem. There is no other place for kids to ride their Big Wheels or bounce a ball – these things don’t work well on the grass.

      1. JulieBulie

        I meant to add, there are suburban neighborhoods where kids play in the street (street hockey) because a driveway isn’t big enough. That makes me really nervous.

        I am in a more urban setting where many people don’t have driveways and have to park in the street, often on the side of the road opposite their home. Before getting into the car or after getting out, sometimes a kid will loiter in the middle of the road, or dart across it unexpectedly. I have slammed on my brakes many times.

        Driveway safety is very important, but I’m not in much danger of hitting a kid in a driveway. I wish more kids had a better appreciation for street safety!

    10. Hollis "Holly" Flax - not my real moniker

      I don’t think I explained my thoughts on this very well. My concern is not for older children. I do not believe you should allow a young child (toddler to early preschool) who would not understand the danger of a moving car and who is too short to be seen by the driver of a car when close to the car (thankfully, we now have backup cameras in many or most vehicles to reduce this risk) to play in the drive way. Although, I am not an expert on child development, I believe it may be confusing for a young child if in one moment you teach them that the driveway can be dangerous but then the next you let them play there (and thereby “tell” them it’s a safe zone). I don’t have immediate concern for children when parents are watching them; my concern is when the parent has turned their back and a child wanders into the driveway or when a young child wanders outside without the parents’ knowledge (see “Bye-Bye Syndrome”). Of course the parents need to take other precautions as well. Driveway accidents do happen despite parents’ best intentions for their children. Supposedly, it’s something like 50 accidents a week in the US usually involving children younger than five (I saw that a few places online as the statistic; sorry, I can’t cite the original source of the information without spending more time on this). Does this help explain my opinion or is the consensus still that I am wrong?

      1. LCL

        I think the statistics you read don’t give the full story. The reason kids get hit by cars is they see the car or person driving and chase it. Kids are More avid about following cars than country dogs. In the neighborhoods where kids play in their own driveways, every one knows that driveways have hidden hazards.

        1. Jessesgirl72

          Toddlers are more likely to be hit by cars because their height puts them at bumper level, and they aren’t seen by the drivers.

          In their own driveway, the person backing out (normally) knows they are there, and I’d hope they are being supervised.

      2. Sara

        I don’t know about consensus, but for families in the areas where I lived the only people driving onto a driveway are the owners of the house who know to watch for children, so it’s not inherently more dangerous than any other thing they do as a family. I suppose if the kids can’t hear or see or otherwise notice a car approaching then it would be dangerous, but odds are very good that deaf and blind children have accommodations for that.

      3. LaterKate

        I understood what you meant with your original post. I still think it’s fine for young kids to play in the driveway if their parents are there. I don’t teach my young children that the driveway is unsafe. I teach them that going outside without me is unsafe, and I take precautions against that happening. I teach them that running into the street is dangerous. I teach them that they need to pay attention to cars approaching or backing out of other driveways while we are taking a walk. Of course, my youngest (18 mos) doesn’t yet understand these things. Teaching children is a long process that starts before they are “old enough” to actually learn or implement the thing you are teaching. In the mean time, until he is old enough to play outside by himself (which is a long time away) he is well supervised. Our doors stay locked when we are indoors. I am not a perfect parent, and I’m not saying that there is no risk at all. But if there is a risk of my child wandering outside and subsequently being injured, I don’t think that restricting him from playing on the driveway will mitigate that risk.

      4. HannahS

        No, I understood that you were concerned with younger children. Here’s the thing. The tragedies you described can’t be stopped by teaching two and three year-olds that some places are safe and others are not, because nothing is a safe zone for a child that young. A two year old unsupervised is a disaster waiting to happen. Their own homes are filled with danger, even with childproofing. Falling down the stairs and hitting their head could be catastrophic. A two year old toddling in their kitchen while a parent prepares a meal involving boiling water, knives, and raw meat is not in a safe environment, but it would be absurd to suggest that parents teach their children not to climb on stairs or go in the kitchen. Instead, you childproof and supervise. Children that young need to be supervised literally every waking moment; they don’t need to learn that certain areas are unsafe, they need to learn that they can’t go anywhere alone, because they lack the understanding, memory, and impulse control to keep themselves safe in any setting. A parent playing with their kid on their driveway isn’t sending mixed messages any more than a parent taking their kid walking on a sidewalk, or playing in a park, or swimming in a pool is–all of which are extremely dangerous for a child under five alone. If you’re seeing parents literally facing away from their child who could run into the road, then that parent is endangering their child through a lack of supervision, not the location of play.

  52. Junior Dev

    I’m going to be in my first Pride parade! I am going to try and roller skate but will bring shoes and a backpack to carry the skates in if I can’t do the whole thing on skates. I’m excited and nervous.

    1. Melody Pond

      That does sound exciting! I keep wishing I participated in Pride, in any way, shape, or form, every time it rolls around.

      1. Junior Dev

        Are you able to attend your local parade as a spectator? That’s a good way to be involved! A lot of cities have smaller events during June as well.

  53. Seren

    I’m making huge gains on students loans by paying $800 extra per month, but I’m wondering whether I should start diverting that towards saving to pay cash for a car. I live with my folks and they’re retired, so they only need a car for errands and appts. My work likes to send me to different locations around town on short notice though, so it can be tough to keep the appts and I feel guilty for having to reschedule my folk’s stuff when it happens. What should I do?

    1. Victoria, Please

      Whew, if you choose to get a car, for goodness sake spring for a reliable one. Having an iffy one is worse than rescheduling appointments. My husband and i chose to buy new for our last two, and they have lasted over 20 and 10 years respectively with zero issues (Honda civic and fit), so, very good value imo.

      1. Seren

        We’re a Honda family as well, so I’d try to spring for one if I could. Because of their renowned reliability though, it’s tough to get one for as cheap as I’m hoping – around the 5K mark.

    2. Melody Pond

      Oo, fun question! (I love personal finance stuff, I know I’m a huge nerd)

      1) Are you in an area where you can use something like Zipcar, Getaround, or Turo, when those sudden work needs come up?

      2) Are the work needs infrequent enough that the variable cost of those car sharing services are less than the fixed costs of owning a car would be, for you?

      Assuming the answers to the above are both “no” and you really do need to own your own car for work purposes – then, to get to your original question, yes, I would absolutely divert that “savings snowball” as I would call it, to a car fund. And if I were in your shoes, and I knew I needed the car, I would probably divert the entire $800/month to a car fund, meanwhile paying only minimum payments on the student loans. If you do that for ten months, then you’ve just saved up $8,000, and while I haven’t been car shopping in a while, that definitely seems like enough to go buy a reliable, used, older-but-not-ancient, car – which will hopefully see you through another few years at least, while you knock out the rest of your student loans with that $800 snowball.

      1. Thlayli

        Check out what insurance you need. If you are using a car for business purposes (other than travel from home to your normal place of work) you may need different insurance. You may also be entitled to compensation / expenses from your employer. So figure all that out too.

        Also – hopefully you have already done this – but before you pay down extra on loans you should put away 6 months of living expenses in a quickly accessible savings fund for emergencies/in case you lose your job. If you are still living at home that’s probably not a huge amount of money (assuming your parents wouldn’t charge you rent if you lost your job).

        Have you talked to your parents about it? They might actually prefer you pay your loans faster and not be worried about the rescheduling. You could make an agreement with them to do something for them every time this happens to make up for the hassle – e.g.bring them out for dinner or something. It might alleviate your guilt, make them feel better and would cost a lot less than buying another car. Or you could pay them a lump sum for 1/3 of their cars current value and pay 1/3 of maintenance costs etc – then it really would be your car too and you may feel more justified in using it.

        Personally I think it seems like overkill buying a car just to avoid a little rescheduling – this is part of how families support each other and if it is infrequent I think most parents would be happy to do it to help their child pay off loans faster. A car is a huge expense.

        1. Thlayli

          Last point – If your work does this frequently then you should be asking your boss about travel expenses. I don’t know where you live but in my country I’m pretty sure frequent travel as part of work would definitely mean you need business insurance and your company would give you either expenses to pay for a taxi each time or if you were using your own vehicle they would have to pay you mileage (a payment per mile or per km) and/or a lump sum car allowance each year. The car allowance is untaxed where I live so it’s common for highly paid people to have a car allowance as standard part of their remuneration if they do even infrequent travel.

          Tl;dr: if you travel for work your company should be paying you something towards your travel expenses.

        2. Seren

          Hi Thayli. I do not have 6 months in an emergency fund… I ought to do that first. You’re right. My parents know that I’m focused on paying my loans faster, but I also assist in repair and ins costs and helped pay off the car last year. I guess I could always rent a car for the day when necessary, which would be way less financial commitment in the long run than for New Car. Thanks for helping me see past the frustration and guilt.

      2. Seren

        So the answers for your questions are yes and yes, I do not need to get a car right now. I misspoke when I said sudden. It’s just frustrating to look at the family calendar and think, oh theres no way my folks will make that appt that week… guess I have to reschedule AGAIN. Thanks boss for throwing me at Different Location and thanks ME for not checking the family calendar before I agreed to do it.

        Eventually I’ll move out again, the reasoning for owning New Car becomes crystal clear, and New Car becomes my only car. But right now… even renting a car for $25 a day when they need to get to an appt is cheaper than owning+raised ins costs. Thanks for the clarity Melody, appreciate it!

        1. Melody Pond

          Ah, I see. Well, in that case, if I were in your shoes, I’d probably try to make use of those kinds of services (Zipcar, Turo, Getaround), assuming that you’re getting enough notice from your boss about your work schedule, to be able to reserve those cars in advance.

          Plus, that’s all the more money you can put towards your student loans, in the meantime! :)

    3. Swingbattabatta

      I haven’t read any of the replies yet, but I think you should keep funneling your cash towards whatever has the highest interest rate. If you can get a car loan for 1-2%, and your student loans have a higher interest rate than that, then you are better served paying down the loans.

  54. Loopy

    So thanks to everyone who commented with curly hair tips last week! I’m working my way through the products suggested and am already having much more success. And my DevaCurl Cut is scheduled for June 29! You guys were a HUGE help!

    So I decided to come back for more great advice! This week’s project: healthy snacking. I have a major sweet tooth and sometimes things like hummus and carrots just don’t cut it when I want dessert! Any ideas for sweet treats that are still firmly on the healthy side???

    1. Merci Dee

      Sometimes when I have a craving for something sweet, I grab a spoonful of peanut butter and a glass of ice cold milk. Sometimes, it turns into 2 or 3 spoons of peanut butter! :)

        1. Sara

          Me either! But I grew up with just ground peanuts, maybe the processed stuff has sugar added?

    2. Junior Dev

      Fruit! It’s summer in the Northern hemisphere and stuff is in season. Cherries, strawberries, nectarines, raspberries, anything else.

      1. Loopy

        I love fruit! It’s just sometimes I want to jazz it up instead of just eating it raw. But I’m not creative. Right now I have apples, strawberries, and blueberries!

    3. Sylvia

      I like those Outshine fruit pops or frozen fruit.

      Frozen grapes are better than you’d think (better than non-frozen grapes IMO). Just put them on wax paper on a plate and freeze them. I also hear you can use them to chill wine.

    4. Annie Mouse

      Fruit, a handful of granola clusters and some low fat yoghurt. That’s been my treat at work this week and it’s tasty!

    5. Jules the First

      Dates stuffed with peanuts or peanut butter is my go-to – sweet, but also packed with fibre and protein.

      Also popsicles are kinda my thing – much preferred to icecream. I have a set of moulds that are for kids so they are tiny servings if you can stick to one.

      1. Chocolate Teapot

        Two of my favourite chocolates are mendiants (blobs of chocolate decorated with nuts and dried fruit) and dried apricots dipped in chocolate. I buy mine, but I suspect they would be easy to make yourself.

        1. Jules the First

          I get mine in bulk at the Lebanese grocery and I don’t think they’re that bad – you only need a couple for a really solid snack.

    6. Yetanotherjennifer

      Chocolate covered Katie blog has good ones. I like the German chocolate balls which have pecans, dates, coconut and cocoa powder. Two make a filling snack.

    7. fposte

      I am currently on a major kick of frothed whole milk with a little honey. I have a little home frothing wand (under $20 from Amazon) so all it takes is a quick second. It’s like marshmallow milk!

      1. Loopy

        I have never had frothed milk, but we have one of those frothing wands that came with a hot cocoa kit… hmm. Do you think it would work almost as good with 2% milk?

    8. Gingerblue

      Homemade popsicles can be pretty great in muggy summer weather! There are tons of simple recipes online. I like making ones with yogurt, strawberries, and a bit of honey. Massive sweet tooth here, too.

      1. Loopy

        I hadn’t considered mixing yogurt in or using yogurt at all. That sounds great! Usually straight fruit has a lot of sugar and yogurt would be a good way to possibly offset that. Do you have a favorite combo/recipe that uses yogurt?

        1. Gingerblue

          I don’t, sorry. It’s been a while since I made some and I was just hinking last night that I should try to re-find the recipes I used last year. This one has similar proportions, but I know I was using plain yogurt and adding a bit of honey instead: http://www.lovebakesgoodcakes.com/2016/06/strawberry-yogurt-popsicles.html

          Basically, though, it’s hard to go too wrong! I suggest mixing equal amounts of any fruit puree and yogurt and sweetening to taste with honey or simple syrup. If you google food blogs, you get everything from moms making no-sugar varieties for kids to adults making boozy popsicles. Some people get really elaborate (multicolored layers, flavored syrups, incorporating whole flowers or herbs etc.)–I’ve just stuck to simple varieties.

    9. AvonLady Barksdale

      My go-to dessert is Greek yogurt (nonfat plain these days), whatever fruit is in season, and a little honey. I just picked up some amazing blueberries and blackberries at the farmer’s market and froze them so I can enjoy this treat year-round. I also make compotes with whatever fruit is around and sometimes eat that over yogurt or just with a spoon.

    10. Not So NewReader

      Watermelon. And this is a great time of year for good watermelon. Years ago, I got myself pretty run down because of life. I decided to regain my health in part by watching what I ate. Watermelon was my one cheat because I let myself have as much as I wanted. It became my go-to when I wanted a sweet and it saved my butt because I would have totally inhaled a box of cookies or something other junk. I ate so much watermelon, it just tasted so good.

      Don’t forget to watch your water intake. I found that keeping my water intake consistent each day helped reduce the number of cravings I hit during the week.

      1. Loopy

        I hadn’t thought about water. I don’t drink enough and I never track it. Do you have a good method for that?

        1. Not So NewReader

          I bought a large glass bottle that has a spout on the bottom. You can find these at tag sales or maybe someone you know has given up with theirs. I think Target and Ace have them, not sure. The first time I used it I had to measure the water out to the amount I think I should have and mark it with a piece of tape. Now I just fill it in the morning so it is fresh.
          This works very well for days at home.
          I wanted glass water bottles for travel. I bought a case of Voss Water in glass bottles, finished the water but kept the bottles. This gave me 12 glass bottles for the same price as 2 travel bottles sold in stores. When I lose one, no worries, they were $2 each and I have 11 more at home. (I plan on losing one or more.)
          So with the travel bottle I can keep track of how many times I filled it during the day. (Maybe once or twice at most.) Then I don’t worry about finishing the container at home, I make a guess as to how much more I need.

          Another way I have of keeping track is when I start feeling crappy. Then I realize I have been slacking for a couple days. After going through all this set up there are still days where getting enough water skates by me.

  55. Green with Envy

    Does any one struggle with envy? Lately, I’m having a really hard time getting over envious feelings and I just end up making myself feel awful.

    Logically, I understand that what most people show to the world is their “highlights reel,” but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’m most envious of one of my cousins. He’s a year older than me, an accountant, and he’s married to a doctor. They live in a hip apartment in a hip area of town blah blah. I just feel like…. these people have already “won” at life. I wish I could explain it better, but seeing these people almost makes me not want to bother with my life. Nothing I ever do will be that great. I’m in my late 20s and still struggling to find a place with my career. I’m going to grad school in the fall and (hopefully) this will work out for me. My father died this year too, and, again, these people still have dads. My romantic life is just… nowhere. I think the chance of me ever getting married is slim to none. Anyway, I don’t know. I just find it hard to keep on going some days when other people my age just have everything.

    1. Paula, with Two Kids

      Ah, things sound so rough for you right now. I have no words of wisdom, I’m watching my son struggle with some negative feelings about himself. Counseling is helping him, but not as much as I would like. I’m so sorry about the loss of your father.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger

      For me, I put it in perspective by thinking about how many people have it better than the person I’m envying, or have it worse than I do, or both at the same time. There are always people who will have it better than you, and there will always be those who wish desperately that they could have what you have. And when I say I think about them, I actually visualize people and their situations, their lives, their feelings, and try to take their perspective. As I’m typing this out, I think that’s key, because part of the problem is that we can get too caught up in our own issues and forget about the bigger picture.

      My dad died last year, and my mom 8 years ago, and while it felt too soon, I think of the people I’ve known who have lost parents in their twenties or even younger, and that they both got to know and spend time with my daughter. Fair doesn’t enter into it, it’s just the way things are, and it could be better and it could be worse.

      1. Ramona Flowers

        I don’t know about this. Sometimes the bigger picture isn’t important because you feel what you feel. Sometimes things really are unfair. I think perspective comes later, when you have first paid attention to your own grief. To change, we must first accept what is. And sometimes what is is a powerful sense of being robbed, of injustice, of loss. Sometimes jealousy or envy tells you that you need to minister to your own grief. It’s okay to do that.

    3. tigerStripes

      Have you gotten checked for depression? Losing a family member can cause it, and depression often feels like “hard to keep going”.

    4. Stellaaaaa

      A few weeks ago I had the thought that while my instagram looks more awesome than ever, I also have more problems in my social life than ever before. I’m totally that person who seems like she has an awesome job and the best clothes and the funnest friends but really there’s a lot going on behind the scenes with these people that I’m not happy about.

    5. HannahS

      Firstly, I’m sorry for your loss.
      The TL;DR version is that I don’t think your feelings of envy are bad, and I wonder if your feelings of defeat stem, at least in part, from deep, deep grief, and I think that talking to a professional could help.
      Long version:
      One thing that’s important to remember is that while no one’s life is perfect, some people really do have it better than you. The “highlights reel” thing is…true, but not really helpful. I feel like the implication is that you shouldn’t be envious because everyone’s life is roughly equally sucky, but in different ways. And that’s nonsense. If you can look in the world and see that some people have it worse, then it makes sense that some people have it better, and it’s not wrong to want what they have.

      Example: When I was in my late teens/early 20s, I was very sick. On top of physical suffering/as a result, my career (and whether I’d be able to work at all) was in question, I couldn’t do my hobbies, I had a poor social life and no boyfriend. I was wildly envious of a friend who had all of those things and also found time to be fitter more likable. Now, lots of people had it worse than me–worse illnesses, worse financial positions, worse families. But if someone had said, “Hannah, your friend’s life shouldn’t make you feel bad, because she probably has some secret misery you don’t know about,” I would have punched them. Her secret misery would have had to be pretty miserable to have outweighed good health and a normal future. It doesn’t mean that her problems didn’t exist, and I didn’t resent her for it, but, yeah, at that time, she had it better than me. While I was grateful for what I DID have, the point is that I was suffering and it wasn’t wrong of me to look at healthy people with full lives and desperately long for what they had.

      Envy isn’t necessarily a bad emotion; it shows us what we want. Sure, a person can be consumed by it or begin resenting other people, but that doesn’t sound like you. You want a career, a relationship, and a nice place to live? You want your dad? Those aren’t shallow things to want! Of course you want them! I don’t think you have an envy problem. Your feelings–that other people have won and it makes you want to not bother, that you don’t think you’ll ever get married because your dating life is nowhere in your late 20s, that it’s hard to keep going–well, that’s more worrisome. It actually sounds a lot more like depression than envy. You’ve suffered a terrible loss, and I wonder if your grief is what’s making the rest of life so hard. I’m not saying that not being where you want in life isn’t frustrating–of course it is–but feeling defeated or hopeless is worth talking about with a professional, like a therapist or grief counselor.

    6. Thlayli

      I installed an app that blocks social media. It rocks. If social media is making you feel more negative than positive then why keep using it.

    7. Elkay

      I don’t have much to add but I want you to know you’re not alone. I’m envious of all sorts of things I see on social media, even though objectively my life is good (job, house, relationship) it doesn’t stop me being envious of others. I think some personalities just lean that way.

    8. Temperance

      Yes. I struggle with this. I grew up low-income with a very mentally ill mother and a father who enabled her. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are some of the worst times of the year for me, because I see everyone else with their loving parents and it bothers me. I also really struggle with my weight, and seeing people who drink tons of beers and eat horribly and stay thin really grinds on me.

      What sort of helps is remembering the whole “highlights reel” thing, and that I have other stuff going for me. So do you! I’m a lawyer married to an IT manager / consultant and we were among the first of our friends to buy a house. You’re going to grad school this fall! That’s HUGE. While I’m sorry that you lost your dad, it sounds like you had a loving relationship with him.

    9. Not So NewReader

      I agree with those who said, grieve first.
      Grieve the loss of your dad, grieve the passage of time, grieve the holes in your life. Cry. Not only is all this stuff normal but we need to process this stuff also.

      Next tell yourself, “Okay, I have legit concerns here. What am I willing to do to go up against these concerns?” [Here you are showing self-respect by acknowledging that some thing is bothering you. Then you follow up immediately with starting action steps, “What can I do to make me feel proud of ME?”]

      Some things I landed on that worked for me, but may/may not be useful to you:

      1) I decided that for the rest of my life I will find people that raise the old jealousy pangs in me. I just decided to accept the fact that I will not have everything that everyone else has. Let’s face it. Jealousy is a random actor, it picks random people and random things to fuss over. So we can even end up blindsided by our own envy because of the randomness of it all. So I resolved that from time to time I will have feelings of jealousy because of someone else’s successes. It became part of my new normal.

      2) This one is going to sound too basic to be anything of value: Feel the feeling. Feelings are not actions. If you feel jealous you did not commit murder, you felt a basic human emotion. It’s allowed.

      3) There was a song by Barry Manilow? “You remind me, I live in a shell, safe from the past and doing okay but not very well….” There are many mechanisms in life that cause us to change, grow, and develop. I suggest to you that jealousy maybe one of those mechanisms. It pushes us forward, it reminds us to “get on track, set goals, grab a handful of life and live it.” I think sometimes jealousy happens to get us to press forward, to be more and to do more. You can use your feelings to motivate you to take on different things or to push yourself along more than you usually do.

      4) Optionally, you can do a random act of kindness for the person you feel jealous of. It’s really tough to hang on to strong feeling of jealousy when you are trying to do something kind for them. (Not for every situation, use carefully.)

      5) The big picture tool. This is one tool that you have to be careful with, it’s not for beating yourself up, okay? But there is truth to the idea that life is a movie not a snap shot. There are plenty of snap shots we see in life that will cause us endless difficulties. The mental image in my head of the day that car hit my dog. It still sends shivers up my spine. That was a snap shot, not a movie. Looking at that mental image does not help me. If I want to help myself, I have to think about the good times we had in her short life and I have to think about current time with my latest dog. Likewise yourself, staring at your cousin’s success is probably not going to make you feel great. You could think of times you enjoyed his company or his family. When we move to a bigger picture focus we can gain some relieve from our current pain. And this is true of many things. But remember, it’s a tool not a baseball bat, do not use it as a baseball bat to beat yourself up. Think of sweet things that help you along.

    10. Mallory Janis Ian

      I don’t usually envy other people very much, but I’ve been having a very specific case of envy lately that is making me avoid going to my brother’s house. It is because of all the finished projects at his house. My husband starts projects and then loses steam right when things are at the state of ‘worse than before the project was started’. I have been distressed over this and we’ve had numerous unproductive talks. So to go to my brother’s house and see one project after another started and finished? I just can’t. It feels like my brother loves his wife more than my husband loves me.

  56. cash donkey

    Can anyone here share their stories of being thrust into the “provider” and/or “money manager” and/or “bankruptcy prevention” role in your relationship when you did not expect it? I think there are lots of us who, for cultural reasons, have always expected to *at most* pay our own way. We didn’t think about our money management and career choices in terms of potentially needing to financially support others, especially other adults. Why did you have to change your mindset? What did you start doing differently? How do you feel about it? I’m realizing that my partner just doesn’t see financial stability as even possible. It has to be something I work towards for both of us rather than something we plan and work towards together (unlike almost everything else). Just kind of struggling with this at the moment.

    1. Paula, with Two Kids

      It didn’t work out for me. His financial problems were a sign he only cared about himself, and did not care how hard I had to work to pick up the slack. I hope that’s not the case in your relationship.

    2. Stellaaaaa

      This probably won’t help you, but I end relationships if it becomes apparent that the guy can’t handle basic finances. That’s not someone I can build a life with.

    3. Rookie Manager

      Yeah I agree with Stellaaaa and Paula. If something terrible has happened to your partner so they can no longer work/work as much then I would absolutely cut your cloth accordingly, that is what a partnership is about. However, if they are a healthy adult with a job and just refuse to take responsibility then that is not something I can work with. If they don’t care enough about you to want to make a stable future for you both then that would be a big red flag for me. (This doesn’t have to mean equal income/contribution but both being in the same page)

      1. Rookie Manager

        Just another thought, my brother in law struggles with personal money, always has (buisness/charity money, no problems). He knows this and wants to be better. Therefore all their income goes into a joint account and his ‘pocket money’ then goes to his solo account. They discuss purchases/spending but my sister ultimately manages the household finances. If your partner wants to be financially responsible but doesn’t know how to so it this could be a way forward.

    4. Red Reader

      The relationship ended. (He left me for his own reasons while I was planning my exit strategy, but his reason had a basis in his unwillingness to contribute financially to our household, he just didn’t make that connection.)

      At this point I do not mingle finances with my fiancé. We have an arrangement that works for us and if I want to spend $300 on cute dresses and leggings and he wants to spend whatever on a video game, as long as his share of the bills are paid and he’s not asking me to borrow money, I don’t ask what he’s doing with his spare bucks and he doesn’t ask what I’m doing with mine. The bills are largely in my name, because I’m the one who legally owns the house, but we also have a prenup that what’s mine stays mine and what’s his stays his and our property should not be considered joint unless deliberately established so.

    5. LCL

      We got divorced. I was willing to do all of the money managing and get us out of debt, he wasn’t willing to cede any control of his finances. I understood his concerns, but he was spending us into bankruptcy with credit cards that weren’t in my name so I couldn’t cancel them.

    6. NDQ

      The marriage ended. After court, he had to pay most of the bills and he got stuck with the house. I got next to nothing. Seven years later, I own a multi-family apartment building, I only carry “good debt” and all credit cards are paid off monthly. I just bought a new car with cash and have a ton invested for early retirement. My credit card rewards cover nearly all of my personal travel.

      I struggled for 12 years to keep him/us afloat and it was always paddling upstream. Life is 180 degrees different, and 100 percent better now.

      NDQ

    7. Not So NewReader

      My husband made sure the bills were paid and paid on time. He went out the door every day to work without fail. He was rock solid, no frivolous spending, no random loans to people and so on. I could trust him.

      He absolutely could not, in any way, plan or help plan our financial future. That scared the crap out of him and he was never going to deal. I helped him get an IRA when they first came out. Oh boy, what a time that was for him. I have no clue why. We sat down together and looked at the statements. “See, this has your name at the top. It’s yours and only yours.” Then the account started to grow a little and he started calming down. (My husband was a super-smart guy so his reaction here made no sense at all.)

      He never did learn to look at account statements on his own.
      So I got scared and I took the bull by the horns. This was way outside my norm, I am not a good saver. I started cutting expenses and watching where our money was going. I got rid of stuff that we were paying for and not using. It was not hard to get him to agree that something was not working out. I made it a life habit to bank our inheritances. That was the number one thing I did that helped us. Those inheritances did not seem that big, but once we received a few it started working into something.

      I think I am seeing here that with my story there were a few things going right, other stories here show different relationships. My husband was trustworthy. He was not a big spender. And he was agreeable, he did not make day-to-day things harder than need be. He had accounts in his own name and he was happy just to let them sit there. He was responsible with a credit card.
      I see other couples around me who do not have this much. Yes, I jumped in and picked up the slack. On the surface I resented going alone on such a big matter but my real feeling was fear. I was scared what would happen if I did not do something. I got a financial adviser for us because I knew I was out of my league. That helped also.

    8. Anonacademic

      My partner came around from being a spender to being a saver but about 60% of that was him getting ADHD treatment finally, 40% was him maturing over the 14 years I’ve known him (we met when he was 27 and had his first stable white collar job). But him getting his financial act together was definitely something that I needed to have happen before we got engaged, which it did.

  57. atexit8

    I have been an Amazon customer before they started offering Prime.

    I recently made a purchase for some pet medication that was fulfilled by Amazon so it is in their NJ warehouse somewhere.

    I placed the order 9 pm last Wednesday June 7.
    Thursday 6/8 – not shipped
    Friday 6/9 – not shipped
    Saturday
    Sunday
    Monday 6/12 – not shipped
    Tuesday 6/13 – not shipped
    Thursday 6/14 – shipped 11 pm
    Friday 6/15 – arrived in Staten Island, NY

    9 calendar days
    1 day for shipping and 8 days “preparing” for shipment

    In comparison:
    Boxed.com
    6/12 – order placed 9:15 am
    6/13 – order received 11:45 am
    NJ warehouse too

    Walmart.com
    6/15 – order placed 9 pm
    6/16 – order shipped
    6/17 – order arrived 12:15 pm
    NJ warehouse too

    Amazon deliberately delays shipment to get you to buy Prime even though if you lived near one of their warehouses you shouldn’t need Prime.

    Buyer beware.

    1. Rogue

      They do this to me every single time I go with their “free shipping” option. Every time. However, my items always arrive on or before the last date in their estimated arrival date range.

    2. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      Its sort of like net neutrality and prioritizing of some content over others by ISPs for whatever reason (usually money).

      I find logistics really fascinating – the optimal movement of goods through a sub-optimised system that can only handle X amount of flow at any given time. Just to point out here – FBA means Amazon is picking and shipping from whatever a provider has sent. There could have been delay if product was not on the shelves (I have been in an Amazon warehouse, FBA items are checked in and placed on the shelf with all other Amazon products, there is no difference), delay due to non-Prime (provider didn’t want to offer that option which had a higher cost to them to offer), or traffic management by Amazon (Prime takes precedence, similar to First Class vs Second class USPS). Also, optimal network economics may not mean that items from the closest warehouse go direct to your door – Amazon does not store everything in every warehouse and some are more specialised than others (e.g. do large items only).

      Alternatively boxed.com and walmart probably have “cleaner” chains where they arent managing/depending on the inventory of others and can get it out the door faster (in fact Walmart have a pretty strong incentive to do so as they are looking to up that component of their business to compete with… Amazon)

      1. the gold digger

        Amazon deliberately delays shipment to get you to buy Prime

        Not exactly. Amazon fulfills Prime orders first. Non-priority orders get pushed to the back of the queue. It’s not that they are delaying your shipment, it’s that they are prioritizing the shipments where customers have paid to have the order prioritized.

        Signed,

        A person in the industry

      2. Not So NewReader

        Walmart logistics needs you, asap.

        I ordered an item from Walmart. No not really. You look at the site and realize Walmart is a middleman. They ordered it from the manufacturer. I got one email that said it would arrive on the 12th. Then I got another email that said it would arrive on the 14th. I did not care when it arrived, but this made it look like the item would arrive twice which concerned me.

        I got worried when they told me the package weighed 9 pounds. No, this is a 108 pound item.
        So I checked the tracking. A message came up that the tractor trailer had a roll over and they had no further word.
        So I emailed Walmart. They said that the tractor trailer had flipped over and they had no further word.
        Days later I emailed, asking about my item. “What item?”
        I was worried but I had no time to deal with it because of other things. It was close to the 12th so I decided to wait and see. (I needed the item to meet a deadline. I set myself up very poorly on this one.)

        On the 13th the package arrived. But the UPS guy could not find that 9 pound package in his truck. “Uh, it’s 108 pounds, not 9 pounds.” He did a few other deliveries and came back. Sure enough, he uncovered my package. He said he was going to mention it to his boss that UPS got billed for 9 pounds rather than 108.

        It fell together but it sure seemed like it was not going to be okay.

    3. Jerry Vandesic

      When you ordered from Amazon, when did they say the package would arrive? When you checkout it says something like “Guaranteed delivery date: June 20, 2017 If you order in the next 11 hours and 9 minutes.” They are usually very good about keeping to their estimates.

    4. LCL

      I expect Amazon to get into trouble re antitrust laws shortly. Maybe not immediately given our current president’s past profession, but soon. I live in a large enough city that I try to never use Amazon.

  58. Nervous Accountant

    Anyone familiar w apple products? I just got a new iPhone 7, from the 6+. I’m having a hard time transferring my data from the 6 to 7.

    I’ve always used iTunes but for some reason this time around I kept getting an error message saying that my computer to not have enough faith to back up my phone. I have enough space on my computer I’m only using 30 GB of data and my computer have 500 GB available. I took this to T-Mobile and they couldn’t figure it out.

    So I tried backing up to iCloud and restored my new phone to that backup but when I checked , only some data was backed up and not all.

    I just logged in to my iCloud and there’s no picture! I turned the pic sharing on but nothing’s there and I get the msg that says pictures cannot be loaded.

    I’m frustrated, I’ve never had this problem before with iPhones; I have 5+ years of pictures I just do not want to lose!

    1. Anonymous Educator

      I’ve always used iTunes but for some reason this time around I kept getting an error message saying that my computer to not have enough faith to back up my phone. I have enough space on my computer I’m only using 30 GB of data and my computer have 500 GB available.

      This is definitely odd. Have you tried creating a separate user account (on your computer) and then backing up via iTunes in that new account? You could delete the account after a successful restore, if it works. It’s possible there’s some weird corruption in the user profile that’s misreporting how much available space there is.

      So I tried backing up to iCloud and restored my new phone to that backup but when I checked , only some data was backed up and not all.

      Are you paying for 30 GB of iCloud storage? By default, you get only 5 GB free, so when you back up, only 5 GB of your stuff will back up (unless you pay for more).

      I have 5+ years of pictures I just do not want to lose!

      Can I recommend you back up your photos, then? Moving the photos from one iPhone to another iPhone isn’t backing them up (unless you’re planning on keeping all the photos on your old iPhone and also keeping the old iPhone itself).

      You have 500 GB free space on your computer? Import those iPhoto photos into Photos. And (not just or) back them up to the cloud somewhere. Google Photos will give you unlimited backup of photos up to 16 megapixels per photo (I doubt your photos are bigger in size than that). There’s a Google Photos app for iPhone and for desktop (Mac or Windows).

    2. Sam Foster

      New phone means you have the initial period of AppleCare, call them and have them help you. I believe it is 90 days with the phone and two years if you buy the extended.

      1. Anonymous Educator

        But it doesn’t sound as if the problem is anything with the new phone (or maybe even the old phone). Sounds more like 1. out of space on iCloud storage and 2. some problem on the computer reporting full disk space when there’s plenty of empty space.

  59. AlaskaKT

    So we had a black bear at our place yesterday. And of course, this happened the same day I complained to my husband that we’d lived in Alaska for over a year without seeing a single bear yet!

    We are probably the least gun-toting-est Alaskans I know, but we have started hauling our shotgun with us now, loaded with bear shot. It’s one thing to know there are bears around, and another to see them sniffing around your place. I do kind of want to put up a trail cam now though. It’s be interesting to see how many are around.

    1. MechanicalPencil

      I have discovered that as soon as I make a “you know it’s funny that as long as I’ve done/lived X I’ve never seen/experienced Y” because it inevitably happens. Like recently thinking (not even tempting fate by saying!) that I’ve not seen a snake in a while despite living in a state kind of known for it then Friday evening leaving my apartment building there was a teeny tiny baby garden snake outside that both of my dogs stepped on while I tried to keep myself from having the girliest of girly meltdowns because I Don’t Do Snakes. Even tiny ones.

      1. AlaskaKT

        I even told my husband that I wanted to see a bear on a trip to town, not out at our place! Maybe we are calling animals by putting our thoughts into the universe.

    2. KarenK

      We’ve got a black bear in our vicinity, too. It cleaned out our suet feeders. Apparently, it’s going through the neighborhood emptying birdfeeders. BTW, I live in southern Maine.

      1. AlaskaKT

        Black bears eat everything! Up here we get THREE free black bear tags with our hunting licenses, just because there are so many bears. The black bears also eat baby moose. We get a brown bear tag free with our license as well. Alaska has roughly 738,000 people, and about 134,000 brown, black and polar bears. The bear density can be as high as 1 per mile! Thats a lot of bears!

    3. Not So NewReader

      Think carefully about that trail cam. lol.
      Friends put up a security camera on the front door of their vacation cabin. In reviewing hours of footage, they saw a bear come right up to the front door and he appeared to be periscoping up to the camera.

      Sometimes you can bang pots and pans together and that drives them off. I have heard of people playing rap music as a bear repellent also.

      1. AlaskaKT

        Rap music, never heard of that as bear deterant before! We have 3 husky type dogs, and they usually do a good job of keeping wildlife off our property (which is why I think we hadn’t seen any bears yet). Two of our dogs were tied up because we weren’t home, and the third didn’t notice the bear until he ran down the driveway to great us. Now I’m wondering how many pass by without the dogs ever noticing!

        1. Not So NewReader

          Dog pee/poop in the yard, even frozen seems to help deter critters of all kinds. My friend was having trouble with foxes getting her chickens. She got a small dog, she noticed that she stopped having problems with foxes.

          I will say, I have a husky mix here. He is not the most observant dog I have ever had. ha!

  60. ay

    Has anyone ever had a perfectly good friendship go sour over one big thing? We were newish friends and I liked her a lot, then An Event happened that, all said and done, showed me that we have different approaches to friendships, and despite trying to rationalize and reframe it, it’s left a bad taste in my mouth. I have lots of close friendships that have developed over many years, so I do not have issues developing friendships with people, this is the first weird friendship thing of this magnitude to happen to me.

    I’d like to make clear that I’m not looking for advice. I’d just like to know if people have ever ended friendships that they counted on lasting over an incident?

    1. Chaordic One

      Yeah, I’ve had a couple friendships that I’ve ended because of things that the ex-friend did that really deeply offended me and that deeply and seriously hurt other people. This kind of stuff happens.

    2. Thlayli

      I’ve had friendships disappear over what I thought were perfectly tiny things. New friendships.

      I think when you are only newly friends it can sometimes turn out you have very different opinions on friendship and on what is a big deal.

    3. JulieBulie

      Yes, even friendships that were a few years old. Sometimes there are things going on in a friend’s mind that you don’t suspect. People are not always who you think they are. You can cross a line that you didn’t know existed, or vice versa. And… then you both move on.

      It seems weird and it definitely sucks, but it’s just life.

  61. Elizabeth West

    I had a nice day today. :)

    We had a smaller group in meditation so we sat in a circle, which was kind of nice. Then we went to coffee and a friend from the group and I had an interesting conversation, and then we went to a small artsfest in a nearby park. We were going to walk, and he showed me this huge amazing footbridge that I didn’t even know existed, but it’s currently closed for renovation. So we just hopped in my car and drove around the railroad yard, instead of taking the bridge over it. We saw some cool art. I wanted to buy some and of course, I don’t have any money, arrgh. But I took a few cards so I can look the artists up when I do have money. :)

    Then my Doctor Who group had a small party at Panera for our fourth anniversary. We were supposed to bring gifts for a yankee swap but I didn’t realize and so forgot. Another friend did too, so the leader gave her turn to him. Then another friend didn’t want the t-shirt she got so she gave it to me (she said she had more t-shirts than she could ever wear). Also, cake.

    And despite the humidity, my hair looked nice today for a change! :)

    1. Hrovitnir

      This is a really nice post. I’m glad you had a nice day! I also had a nice day, and I’m not very good at those. :D

  62. SL #2

    I got sick on Wednesday, so I took a sick day on Thursday and Friday was my usual day off… and so I’ve spent most of it resting. But I figured, it’s Saturday, I’ve slept for two days, I could probably handle the (fun) plans I’d originally made… but now I’m exhausted and definitely paying the price for having fun. :( It probably doesn’t help that it’s 95 degrees out today!

  63. Lynne879

    How can you tell if you’re beginning to suffer from depression or if you’re just burnt out?

    It’s almost been 2 years since I graduated college and I never figured out what I wanted to do with my life. As time goes on I feel more and more “lost.” Since I graduated college I started to work 2 part-time jobs & I volunteer. Because I’m doing so much I have little free time. But when I do have free time I’ve discovered that I’m not even doing any of the hobbies that once made me happy. I’m no longer playing video games or watching anime or writing. I think about starting to play a game that’s been sitting on my shelf forever, but don’t because I think about how long it will take me to finish it.

    It isn’t that my “interests have changed,” in my heart I still like these things but I don’t actually do them because I feel exhausted and I feel like even taking the time to watch a new tv show is too much work. My main hobby nowadays is watching videos on Youtube.

    And then there’s the fact that I basically resent the people I knew from high school and college who got a job right out of college or are currently very successful in their chosen professional field (For people that say “Get off of social media! It’ll help with your self esteem!” a good chunk of my volunteer job is managing the company’s Facebook… so no, I can’t just “get off of Facebook.”)

    I basically just feel like a failure and that there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t feel like I’m qualified for any full-time job posting I see, I just entered a relationship that I know for a fact will end at some point (And aside from my friends, the only person who knows about my relationship is my mom who so strongly disapproves of it that she wishes I would’ve just kept it a secret.), I don’t really have any skills that people are looking for & learning new skills seems difficult & pointless, I’m too scared to get a new car to replace my lemon because I hate car salesman, and I’m angry with myself that I still have the emotional maturity of a teenager.

    I feel tired. I’m tired and I don’t know if I’m beginning to suffer from depression again or if I’m just burnt out and frustrated with myself.

    1. Thlayli

      I can’t say if you have proper depression but I definitely think you would benefit from talking through things with a counsellor/life coach/career guidance person.

      good luck.

    2. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      Hi there – I am 15 years further in my “career” and you are writing me at the moment. But when I first left school I felt the same way too. Those first few years are tough and it feels like some others get moving a lot faster than you, for whatever reason. And when you dont have clear direction or a clear career path (like a nurse, or accountant) choice can seem overwhelming. I think I am now in the same place wanting to do something different in my career and being in the wrong spot, but until there is a massive external push, its easy to just let things drift. Change is hard.

      So I have no real advice to add other than what the commentator above suggested other than just to start. Pick one thing (say the car) and just do it. Force yourself if you have to. Believe me I am the world’s worst at this too (and hence why my other half deals with a lot of things) but sometimes you just need to get the ball rolling. And once its rolling and accomplished you can start something else with a defined end goal. Make sure its defined rather than “find a new career” because thats easy to put off or be in the research vortex. But can it be broken down into little bits you can accomplish?

      By the way, for the car – did you consider Carmax? No salesmen and while I didn’t buy from there, I did sell and it was a painfree experience. Just a suggestion!

    3. Jillociraptor

      Yes to counseling, whether it’s depression or burnout. It will probably help to externalize and process some of these thoughts.

      I wanted to add, though, that I recall many to most of my peers feeling this way in their mid-20s. The first 2-3 years out of college were, for me anyway, these weird moments of huge letdown where all of the expectations of the transition to a new life stage were brought back to reality. It was hard to see the real good because it stood in such contrast to the ideal vision I had created. When I was two years out from graduating, I had dropped out of grad school and was working two part-time jobs with no real forward movement toward a career. I was in that liminal social space where I was no longer in touch with all but my closest friends from college, but hadn’t yet really made new friends. It felt like there were so many things I was supposed to be doing, that were supposed to be fun about being young and living in a great city, but it was just too overwhelming to figure out how to actually do any of them.

      It’s pretty hard to be an actual, permanent failure in your mid-20s. Frankly, it’s pretty hard to be an actual, permanent failure at any point in your life. There’s always room to grow. It feels some times like there are life tracks and some people get on fast ones while others are stuck on slow ones, but in my experience, most people face these moments regularly throughout their lives where either their ideals didn’t match up with reality, or the reality that had been working suddenly doesn’t work as well anymore. We grow and change, we learn to be more comfortable in uncertainty, we develop skills that make things that used to be hard much easier, we gain perspective. You will too, I’m sure of it.

    4. Not So NewReader

      As I am reading this I can “hear” your fatigue. No doubt in my mind that you are TIRED.

      I think address what it will take to get some decent rest. My thing for awhile was TV. Then it dawned on me, that if I am too tired to do anything but watch TV then I needed to go to bed and skip the TV.

      As far as the car, my suggestion would be to get advice from people around you who you respect. This could be coworkers or people at your volunteer job. Be selective about who you ask. Once you pick someone out, ask them if they know of any car places with a good rep. Or ask someone who seems to pick out good used cars where they got their car. You do not need to just ask close friends, it can just be any person who seems to make good choices. Take someone with you when you finally decide to buy a car. Again, this person should be a trust-worthy person, but not necessarily a parent or other family member.

      You get some rest and your emotions will “mature”. By that I mean you will have more control over your emotions. Beings who are not rested can really emote. BTDT, myself.

    5. LCL

      Two part time jobs and a volunteer job? You are working full time and then some. You are also at the age, I am guessing, where your body can’t function on very little rest. Some people can keep a no sleep on busy days schedule until they retire, but those people are rare. Most people are done with that by their forties, a lot of us are done by our mid twenties.

      Some interests don’t really go away, but the way you express them might. Try a search for writers or art related to your game, you can do this on the couch.

      You know you have to spend less time on social media, because you bring it up. Quit the volunteer job, and do some other volunteer work to support your cause. Or don’t, for awhile so you can recharge your batteries.

  64. Quiet

    (This post mentions work, but isn’t exactly work related.) I had a very stressful job for the last 3 years. I’d work 90+ hours a week and would be on call 24/7–not to mention how dysfunctional that place is. My job sucked the life out of me. I barely talked to friends, family, or even my partner because, beyond not having time to hangout or talk to them, they would always point out that I look stressed, I’m too quiet, I never laugh anymore, etc. I know they are right — I have changed for the worse.

    I finally quit my job. I will be starting a new career, making a lot more money and working a lot fewer hours. The problem now is that I don’t know how to be “normal” again. I feel like my relationship with friends, family, and even my partner will never be the same. I stress over the smallest things and just feel… sad all the time. (Not sure if sad is the right word.) To be honest, I don’t even remember how I used to be. I still keep to myself all the time because I feel like a Debbie downer and don’t want to impose on anyone.

    Has anyone felt like this after leaving a stressful job? How do you feel normal again (if at all possible)? It’s been months since I left my job but I still feel the same.

    1. paul

      disclaimer; i am intoxicated, and am fond of therapy.

      But

      get thee to a professional! therpasit can do wonders to help you move on from bad situ ations and if you hav emoney why not? I wou ldn’t jump right to thsi but you’re sayin been months. any improvem4nt? at all?

      als, what is yoru picture o normal?

      1. KR

        I agree with Paul! What’s your picture of normal? Try talking to your partner and family and close friends to figure out specifically how you’re different, and decide what you would like to try to change or address.

        Also Paul, please stay safe and remember to drink plenty of water!

      2. Thlayli

        I agree with drunken Paul – talking to someone may help.

        Time heals wounds – except sometimes it doesn’t. Try to remember the things that used to make you happy.

        There is a book called “I can make you happy” by a hypnotist Called Paul McKenna. There is a lot of good advice (and a hypnosis cd) in it. Things like:
        – smile 20 times a day
        – laugh 3 times a day (even if it’s fake)
        – exercise
        – get enough sleep
        – eat healthy
        – cut back on alcohol/drugs
        – look up a lot
        It has lots of meditation type exercises too.

        Also – social media definitely doesn’t help. Can you ask your volunteer place to reassign that job?

      3. The Other Dawn

        I agree with a session or two with a therapist. I saw one when I went through the weight loss surgery approval process. When my company closed, which was right before the surgery, I went back to her to talk about the fact that I now felt lost without all the work chaos going on and wasn’t sure how to deal with it. I wasn’t working 90+ hours a week, but I was THE go-to person in a small company who wore MANY hats and it was exhausting; work became my life and that was my identity. When it was gone, I didn’t know what to do or who I was anymore. Just talking with someone objective helped me to settle down and calm my mind, and realize that I needed to figure out my identity.

      4. TheLazyB

        I love this post so much. I wouldn’t want everyone posting drunk here all weekend but as a one off it’s hilarious.

    2. AnonyMouse

      Oof, I’m sorry you’re in this place. I do think that therapy could help (suggest looking for counselors specializing in CBT). From what you’ve written, it sounds like you currently believe some narratives about yourself that are pretty daunting, e.g. “I feel like my relationships with friends, family, and even my partner will never be the same” and that you’re a Debbie downer, and a burden to others.
      Narratives like that can be powerful and can shape the way you think, so I just wanted to call those out. Your friends, family and partner may not think of you as a Debbie Downer and a burden, but if you do, you’re going to cut yourself off from them. You say that relationships will never be the same — never is a very strong word, and closes off the possibility for things to change, improve, progress. Can you tell yourself more open ended narratives? E.g. “My relationships with friends, family and partner aren’t where I’d like them to be right now, but I hope to improve them over time”?
      Think of yourself as in recovery. If you lost your voice because of a bad infection, you wouldn’t “sound like you used to” and even when you were past the worst of it, it would take a while to regain your normal voice. This might be a similar case. Be patient and loving of yourself! I can hear you beating up on yourself in your writing.
      Finally, you might have a new normal, a new you that develops over the next few months, I’m not sure that you can or even should be the person you were 3 years ago. Take care and I hope things look brighter soon for you.

  65. WriterLady

    Any avid quilters here? I’m planning on trying out a hexagonal quilt but… never tried it and I’m slightly nervous. Any tips appreciated!

    1. Yetanotherjennifer

      I want to say that Missouri star quilt company has a video tutorial for this type of quilt. Although now it sounds a bit too complicated for their style. But check it out. The videos are fun to watch. My only other tip is to do a sampler first to get the process down before using your good fabric. Good luck!

    2. JenC

      What kind? If it’s English paper piecing, there are tonnes of tutorials and once you get used to the method it is completely hypnotic, engrossing and satisfying. It seems difficult but it is actually quite simple, and it ensures you perfect hexagons with little fuss. I confess I don’t know anything about a hexagon quilt made with machine piecing though. Go for it, it will be amazing!

  66. paul

    anyone got book reccoendations on high plains ecology? I knwo it’s kind of a niche question bt its become a hobby of mine these last fe years.

    talking like from the Tx panhandle really up into central canada…eastern CO, eastern NM, lots of KS, lots of WY, straight line north from there, about covers the region I’m talking about

  67. KR

    I need advice. I was recently married last November. For context, my husband and I are definitely considered a young couple (he’s 22 and I’m 23). My in-laws have said that I can call them “Mom” and “Dad”. The thing is, this makes me really uncomfortable.
    My mother died suddenly when I was a preteen, and while I love my MIL very much, I don’t like calling anyone “Mom” who isn’t my mom. I’m very attached to my dad and don’t see my FIL as my father at all. I know he cares about me very much and I care about him as a FIL, but if I need parental advice or support I reach out to my dad. My dad is my emergency contact when my husband is deployed and he is the first person I would call in an emergency in the absence of my husband. I cannot stress enough that my father is my main parental support person.
    Basically I don’t want to call someone “Mom” and “Dad” when they aren’t my parents. I call my step-mother by her first name. My parents always used first names for their in-laws and I guess that’s what I would feel most comfortable with long term (right now I am still doing Mr. Lastname and Mrs. Lastname, which is obviously too formal given that I married their son). My in-laws call their in-laws all “Mom” and “Dad”, so I think that’s the accepted practice in their family.
    They refer to me as their daughter and a part of the family and I’m happy to be included. I’ve always been independent and value that independence because it gives me the freedom and space I need when I need it not just from my family but also my husband’s family. I really am having trouble internally just giving in and calling them “Mom” and “Dad” because they like it and it will signal to them that I am a willing member of the family.
    Experiences with in-laws? Are there any scripts I can use that can say, “I love you guys and I’m happy you’re including me but I really don’t want to call you “Mom” and “Dad”. I feel like those names are really only for me to use for my parents.” without hurting their feelings? My family understands that I like to be the lone wolf but I don’t think my in-laws fully Get It.

    1. Jules the First

      I think the first thing you need to be (gently, warmly!) reminded of is that no one is suggesting that your in-laws are trying to replace your parents. There are lots of families where Mom and Dad are just convenient nicknames that don’t carry a lot of personal meaning – when I was a teenager, the group of friends I hung out with called all of each others’ parents Mom and Dad when we were at their homes.

      I think what they’re looking for is a tangible way to feel like they are your family, now that they are especially if you’re still calling them Mr and Mrs. So you could switch to calling them by their first names, like you do your stepmother; or you could find some other word for Mom and Dad that makes them feel like family but lets you keep them (emotionally) distinct from yours. So, for example, could you call them Ma and Pops? Mama Jane and Papa Charles? Auntie Jane and Uncle Charles? Nanni and Nunkie? Do either of them have nicknames they use with friends that you could start using?

      In terms of script, I don’t think this needs to be a sit down conversation because really it’s none of their business. Just pick something less formal than Mr and Mrs Lastname and start using it, and if they ask you again to call them Mom and Dad, just say lightly that you find it too confusing to do that and change the subject. If they continue to push, enlist your husband to explain to them that you’re not comfortable calling them Mom and Dad because it reminds you of your Mom and they need to learn to deal. Depending on your plans, he could also point out that when you have kids it will be confusing for the kids if both sets of grandparents are Mom and Dad, so you’re just starting with something everyone can stick to. Remember: the best thing about in-laws is that you have an interpreter to negotiate for you!

      1. Chocolate Teapot

        In Fallen Angels by Tracy Chevalier, a character calls her mother in law “Mother Surname” and makes a comment that she dislikes having to do that. Mind you, it is set in Edwardian London.

      2. the gold digger

        they’re looking for is a tangible way to feel like they are your family

        Which is probably why Sly and Doris never suggested I call them Dad and Mom. :)

        Not that I would have.

      3. The Name Game

        “Do either of them have nicknames they use with friends that you could start using?”

        Or if they have grandchildren, what do their grandchildren call them? My in-laws have many grandkids (my nieces and nephews), who all call them by the nicknames they chose when the eldest was a baby. The nicknames are not Grandma/Grandpa or anything close, so I use them too. It feels like a good compromise because it is more familiar than their first names but not Mom and Dad.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger

      I love my in-laws, and often like them more than my family of origin, but I love(d) my parents very much, and it doesn’t feel right to me either to call my in-laws mom or dad. I called them by their first names, although I believe I was invited to call my MIL “mom”. (My FIL was not quite as outgoing and warm, but he was still a wonderful, sweet guy.) If they push, and you get along with them well, practice/imagine saying something like “You and [FIL] are very dear to me, but right now it just feels forced to call *anyone* other than my parents mom and dad. I just didn’t hear anyone doing that growing up. Is it all right if I call you [MIL-firstname] and [FIL-firstname] instead?”

    3. Red Reader

      My (now-ex) inlaws really wanted me to call them mom and dad. I wouldn’t have minded, if I had actually liked them. But I didn’t. And really, who wants to go “no, I don’t like you enough to call you mom and dad.”

      I mostly managed to not call them anything, actually. I’ve always had a pretty weird ability to go ages without addressing people by name. I have no idea why. It never became a thing though. They signed cards and stuff that way, but that was easy enough to ignore.

    4. The Other Dawn

      No advice, but wanted to agree that I feel uncomfortable as well when it comes to this. My in-laws have never asked me to call them mom or dad, but I know they would welcome it. But it just doesn’t feel right. I have a mom and dad (who are now both gone) already. Plus, I’m not someone who bonds easily, so calling the in-laws mom and dad feels very insincere to me. One of my sisters called her first in-laws mom and dad, but she bonds a lot more easily than me and was comfortable with it.

      I would just tell them that you prefer calling them by their first names. No need to say you already have a mom and dad, or it makes you uncomfortable. I think if they’re reasonable people, they’ll be OK with it. And maybe over time you might start feeling differently. Or maybe not.

    5. Temperance

      I would probably reword your suggested phrasing. Instead of “I feel like those names are really only for me to use for my parents”, what about “it’s really hard for me to call anyone else ‘Mom’ since my own mother died when I was so young. I hope you understand.”

    6. Ask a Manager Post author

      I think you’re really, really normal with this! I love my in-laws and there is zero chance I would ever call them Mom and Dad. I have a mom and dad. (In fact, everyone in their circle — relatives and non-relatives alike — calls my husband’s grandmother “Grandma,” and I cannot bring myself to do that either. It’s too weird; she’s not my grandmother. We just didn’t do that in my family.)

      Anyway, I agree with everyone else — have your husband explain to them on your behalf that you’re not comfortable with it. But if necessary, it should be totally fine for you to say something like, “I so appreciate you making that offer — it means a lot to me. Because my mom died when I was young, I don’t feel right using those titles with someone else. I hope you understand. But I’m so grateful for the way you’ve welcomed me into your family.”

      1. Not So NewReader

        This.

        It sounds like they are very welcoming people. And if this is what it takes to make you feel welcomed then I am thinking they will probably agree. You can say something to the effect that calling them by their first names does not reduce your gratitude for their raising that little boy who became your husband.

    7. New Bee

      My husband’s mother died when he was a teenager, and he calls my mom by her first name. I ran interference with my mom, though I think she said “you can just call me Mom” out of politeness/convention rather than a real desire. Can your husband do so for you?

  68. Kat

    Wondered if anyone here has been scared of flying and is now no longer scared? I love to see new places and my list of ‘to visit’ is so long! I am very tempted to spend the next year taking as many holidays as I can (within reason of course; I’m not rich, unfortunately, but I don’t have kids or commitments, so I guess now is an ideal time). I’m also going to Canada next month with my friend (lived there about 10 years ago and don’t remember being scared going or coming back). But I’m so scared of flying now! I don’t know why or even when this manifested. I went on a very short flight earlier this year (less than an hour) and because it was a bit bumpy I cried the whole time and the flight attendant had to sit with me and chat for a bit. Pathetic. I don’t want to rely on drugs but should I go to the doctor and maybe get valium or something? I guess that doesn’t fix the underlying issue. But the Canada flight will be 10 hours, and next year I really want to go to Argentina… 16 hours, I understand! Even short hops to Europe stress me out but I need to visit places… Still never been to Greece or Portugal or Germany.

    What should I do? I hate that this holds me back. (I have history of anxiety/depression too so I am by nature an anxious worrier.)

    1. Jules the First

      You’re not pathetic! I lose it on airplanes all the time. Even when it’s not bumpy. (That person sobbing in 37A? That’s me. Sorry….) The trick is not to let it stop you from flying. Know it’s going to be a problem and have a plan for coping (just like any other kind of anxiety!).

      You can absolutely talk to your doctor and see if there’s something that will take the edge off for you, but it’s not the only solution. I won’t take drugs on the plane for lots of reasons that don’t apply to anyone else, so I just warn my flight attendant (and my seatmates) that I’m probably going to lose it but that it always happens, I’ll be fine, and I’ll buzz her if I’m not. Things that help:
      – have a plan to occupy yourself. Divide the flight up into little segments (ideally 20-30 minutes) and switch activities often. I’ll read a magazine for 20 minutes, then listen to a podcast, then I’ll have a snack, then I’ll take a walk , then I’ll watch a bit of a movie, then I’ll read my book, then I’ll go to the bathroom, then I’ll colour for a while, then I’ll listen to some music, then I’ll do some yoga in the aisle….it’s hard to panic when you’re multi-tasking.
      – make sure you have lots of things to do with your hands. You mostly can’t knit on planes any more, but snacking (things with little bits that you can eat one at a time), colouring, embroidery, crosswords, puzzles, phone games, etc. I have a set of mini snap-together blocks called Twiddle which fit in my handbag and are brilliant for keeping my hands busy on a plane.
      – spoil yourself before you get on the plane and have a treat planned for when you land. For example, I’ll get a pedicure before I go to the airport and plan to do a sunset swim as soon as I arrive at my hotel. Or I’ll have breakfast with an old friend at the airport and buy a caramel latte at the Starbucks in my destination airport (I love them but that’s the only time I drink them….). Or I’ll save a book for the plan that I’ve really been wanting to read.
      – upgrade. Flying premium economy or business gives you more personal space, and more attention from flight staff. It may or may not help, but it’s worth trying once.
      – CBT. Like any type of anxiety, a few sessions of CBT can give you tools for coping in the moment.
      – flying lessons. This is a bit more expensive, and isn’t possible for everyone, but I have a friend who did it and she’s a lot calmer in the air than she used to be (this is ideal if your problem is that you’re terrified of not being in control).
      – volunteer for a disaster simulation. (Stay with me!) Airports, airplane manufacturers, and airlines often have to run simulation evacuations or emergencies and while not all of them do, some will allow volunteers to participate. My office sent a bunch of us as simulation passengers when a new airport terminal opened and we did a simulated emergency landing; another friend volunteered for a hijack simulation. It won’t be fun (you may end up stuck on a plane for hours and/or lying on cold tarmac for hours pretending to be a casualty or pretending to be security screened), but you will get to practice putting on your life jacket and evacuating the plane using the slides, which can be really useful if your fear is of emergencies. Reach out to the airline’s customer experience team and ask if you can get involved – sometimes they’ll also let you sit in on a flight attendant training day where they cover evacuations.

      And wish me luck – I’m getting on a nine hour flight on Wednesday and the only cabin that had seats was Economy. *terrified face*

      1. Kat

        Thanks! These are good suggestions. I actually have a couple of colouring books so they might be ideal. I want to keep trying to travel solo and I need to get better at this (my main holiday friend lives in another country too, so we usually have to meet somewhere, and so my flights are often solo even when my holidays aren’t!).

        Good luck indeed. You’ll be fine, of course, but I know the feelings! I get worried just passing the airport these days. I want to be able to look at it and think ‘adventure’ rather than ‘ARGH’ but I guess that’s the phobia’s lack of logic. I know I’ll be OK, but my brain wants to tell me otherwise.

        I do wish I could enjoy it more because I flew back from Nice to Brussels last summer (with my friend and plenty of wine, so I didn’t feel too bad) and the view we had over the Alps was stunning.

    2. Anon for this

      I became afraid of flying about 10 years ago. I got an Rx for valium. It took the edge off. I still didn’t like flying, but it got me through. Eventually, I wanted to try flying without the Rx. I couldn’t do it entirely, but I was able to wait to take it until I was on the plane, as opposed to before arriving at the airport.

      Last week I took my first flight with no Rx at all. I had it with me, but did not use it. I found just knowing I had the option to use it comforting. I think all the times of flying (while on the Rx) and seeing that nothing bad happened reset my expectations. I also had some therapy that taught me ways to self-soothe during attacks of anxiety.

      The Rx really helped when I needed it. I will probably use it again. I like that I can decide to use it or not, depending on circumstances.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        I have to agree here. I think valium (or Ativan, my drug of choice) might be helpful to you as you get started. I used to hate flying, and I still don’t particularly love it, but I do a lot of it. For me, it’s all about control. I’m much better than I used to be; I’ve been on enough flights to recognize certain steps in the process (like descent at a certain point– the plane tipping forward used to terrify me), turbulence, and how weather affects things. I always sit in the window (and if I don’t, it makes things really hard, so I work hard to get that window seat) and I pay attention to what’s going on. I don’t sleep on planes regularly, but I have slept on three flights because I was exhausted. I wish I could bottle that, but alas, wide awake even on overnight flights! I’m one of the weirdos who prefers a smaller plane (my favorite is an E170) because I feel like it gives me more control or gets me closer to control or something. And for several long-haul flights, I have taken an Ativan to get over the anxiety hump. Very low dosage, but enough to relax a bit more.

        1. fposte

          Hey, me too on the smaller plane!

          Kat, I’m a semi-former flying phobic; I’ve been flying on Xanax for well over 20 years, and it’s meant I could go places that otherwise I couldn’t. I suspect they’d start me out on Ativan instead of Xanax these days, but since the Xanax is working I’m not messing with it.

          I second the suggestion to try it at home first; ideally, you’d then step up by trying it with a trip to the airport where you weren’t going to take a flight, and then with a short flight, because that gives you a chance to develop some confidence in the medication.

          Keep in mind also that it takes a while for the medication to kick in and consider your main stress points. For me it’s the night before and takeoff and climb, and then my stress dials down; I therefore take a small dose the night before and then a dose when I get to the airport. I may or may not take a second dose during a long trip; it depends how I’m feeling, and Xanax hangs around for a pretty long time.

          And in general it’s easier to beat a phobia back if you start earlier; mine was pretty entrenched before I found something that worked (biofeedback and hypnotism were a waste of time for me and a couple of previous medications were useless). So I would encourage you to consult with a doctor about this now so you don’t have a 10-hour trip of anxiety to groove your fear further into your brain. It really is something people can get past, so I hope you do.

          1. Kat

            I hope so too! I want to get over it. I have about 10 tabs open with ideas for holidays but each time I think about the flight.

            How long does the medication last once you land? I’d still want to be able to get myself places safely if I’m on my own. But I guess it’s something that you learn to manage. I should go to the doctor soon, I suppose…

            1. fposte

              I often fly alone and I get myself places just fine the whole time. I tend to avoid driving a car until about 8-10 hours after a dose, just in case, but I can find my way around a transit system or an airport shuttle with no problem.

      2. blackcat

        Test valium (or other drugs) at home first! In a small, but significant portion of people, it has the opposite effect than you intend (like 10 cups of coffee + the paranoia of too much weed). It is very bad to discover this when you want to be calm at that moment. I know from experience.

        1. ann perkins

          Oh wow, I wish I had known to do this. Luckily the first time I took a Xanax, it worked wonderfully, but if it hadn’t, I would have been in trouble.

        2. Kat

          Good to know, thank you. My friend once gave me some of his valium prescription (he uses it for phobia of the dentist) and I took it with me, but I was far too worried about trying it on the plane without knowing what it would do. So I didn’t use it, but yes, I will try it out safely on the ground beforehand. :)

      3. Kat

        Yes, this sounds like something I could use. It’s the helplessness of not being able to calm down that bothers me. I get into a cycle of worry and it just means I hate those few hours like nothing else. I may go to the doctor in the next few weeks and see what they say.

    3. ann perkins

      I have a weird situation. I used to love flying and had zero issues. I remember a nightmare 12-hour ordeal one Thanksgiving and I was completely fine being stuck on a plane for like three hours. Today, not so much. I am not sure what triggered my extreme claustrophobia, but something did in recent years and as soon as the door to the plane closes, I feel trapped. If the plane is moving, I’m fine. But door closed + just sitting = panic attacks (inwardly at least). I finally talked to my doctor and he gave me Xanax, which works wonders. It really, really helps. I have also been able to make it through flights without taking it. As someone also mentioned, sometimes just having it, and knowing it is there, is enough to not take it.

    4. Courageous Cat

      My two cents: rely on drugs! Seriously! Drugs are great for this. Klonopin got me back on a plane again for the first time in 12 years and enabled me to actually start getting over my fear and living my life. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Plus now I’m starting to associate the airport with a pleasant calmness so I almost look forward to it now.

      1. Kat

        Ha, yes. I am not anti-drugs at all. I just worried about ‘relying’ on something, I guess. But I am quite bad for putting myself through stressful things without finding a workaround and just dealing with it miserably, so maybe time to change!

    5. Teach

      Do you just want to work on this one thing? Looking for a provider who can treat a phobia would be totally worth it. Exposure therapy, a little short acting medicine, and some changes to your thought processes could make a world of difference!

    6. Mimi

      I found Capt. Tom Bunn’s Fear of Flying to be very helpful. I still don’t like flying and I also don’t do it often, which probably exacerbates it, but I feel equipped to do it when I need to. Also I take ativan before a flight, which blunts the physical sensation of anxiety, which I really appreciate.

      1. Kat

        I think I’ve read that. At least, I was given a book about flying that explained all the myths and worries. I can’t say it outfoxed my illogical phobia, but I did try to take it on board. I try to think of the turbulence like bumps a car goes over in the road, but although that’s helpful to a point, my anxiety will just override everything else. So hmm, yes, drugs may be the answer.

    1. Jules the First

      I don’t think it’s been approved in the US yet, but Ectoin is absolutely brilliant – it comes as a nasal spray called Natur-Ease and is made by Benadryl in the UK. I made it through last year’s allergy season with just the spray and some eye drops (normally I’m on one or two antihistamines). This year I ran out, so I’ve had to switch to chemicals, but I highly recommend it.

      1. April Showers

        Hmmm. And it’s safe and everything? I wonder why it’s not approved in the US yet. Maybe I can get it on eBay or something lol.

        1. Jules the First

          It’s a German product so we can get it anywhere in the EU; I figure it’s very safe as there was a 2009 clinical trial on kids which reported no adverse effects. There should be no reason why you can’t import it, as there are no pharmaceutical ingredients.

          It works by forming a barrier on top of your mucous membranes do you do have to start it asap when the allergens arrive and keep using it regularly, but it really does work!

    2. Lightly-chewed Jimmy

      Family’s had some very good luck with Dr. Vogel’s Pollinosan, mostly for hay-fever.
      I find Sinusalia (Boiron) does wonders for sinuses – family with constant sinus issues occasionally uses that in conjunction with Vogel’s Sinna. A serrapeptase supplement also helps.

      If your allergies are airborne at all an air filter helps so much too. We’ve got one of those about the size of a desktop – shut it in a room for 30 min or so and it makes a huge difference.

      1. April Showers

        Thank you. I’ve never heard of any of those things but I will look into them!

    3. GirlwithaPearl

      Earlier this year was terrible and I needed drugs (then spent weeks recovering from Flonase withdrawal…) but now I’m just using a neti pot daily and it’s helping!

      I also diffuse with eucalyptus oil. Might be placebo effect but I love it at night.

      I haven’t died local honey enough to say if it works.

    4. Chaordic One

      I’ve found that using a neti pot helps reduce the symptoms. If using the pot is awkward, then the Neil-Med Sinus Rinse kit with the plastic squirt bottle is easier and works well. Sometimes a thin layer of petroleum jelly inside your nostrils will help a bit.

      I’ve heard that different herbal teas can help and I tried dandelion tea but it didn’t really do much, if anything, for me.

      1. April Showers

        Does a netti pot work if you’re not sneezing? I have congestion but it’s way up in my sinuses and gives me vertigo and nausea and headaches. The Nasacort worked for me though. But had bad side effects.

        1. Chaordic One

          In my experience, “yes!” I found that the netti pot helps if you have a runny nose or are in that awkward in-between boogery state. It seems to slow it down, as well as you just feel better getting a lot of that stuff washed out of your sinuses.

  69. Chocolate Teapot

    After church, a group of the congregation usually go to a nearby restaurant with a bar for post-service coffee (there isn’t any served after this particular service). For the past few weeks, we have been getting the impression we are no longer welcome. (Shooed away from the nice tables on the terrace, taking ages for somebody to take the coffee order, ignoring requests to pay when we are standing right in front of the till) To cap it all, the coffee is expensive and not very nice.

    I have decided to stop spending money on bad coffee. I think the restaurant would prefer to have the business from their brunches, but there is never anyone eating brunch at the time when we go for our coffee. And we have been going for coffee there for a very long time. Still it is sad to have the end of an era.

    1. Cinnamonroll

      It might be that the restaurant is not making enough profit for the amount of time your group spends.
      And if there is table service, same for the waiters/waitresses. If you are in the US, and your group take up 2-3 tables, and only get coffee –the tips might not be enough for the staff to make a minimum hourly wage while you are there.

      1. The Other Dawn

        I agree with this.

        A friend of mine is a waitress at a diner and has been for many, many years. She (and her coworkers) loathes the coffee-only groups. She says that the amount of time the people spend there, the number of tables taken up, and the tips they get in return are just not worth it, and it typically affects her earning potential for that day. She said she wouldn’t mind so much if they either spent less time there, gave her a better tip, or ordered a little food.

        As a customer, I agree you should be able to go wherever you want and do whatever you want, but I can see the business side of it, too. Having a bunch of tables taken up for a long period of time can affect their profits, and it also affects the servers’ earnings, which may mean they don’t even hit minimum wage while serving you group. And that could be truer in a regular restaurant setting, based on what you described.

    2. fposte

      It’s sad to change a pleasant habit, so I get that. I know in the U.S. post-church groups are widely considered to be a strain on restaurants; it’s complicated here by the fact that they legendarily tip poorly or not at all, despite the fact that in most states it’s part of the server’s wage. As a U.S. customer, if I were a group only getting coffee in a restaurant, I would tip the hell out of the waitstaff–I’d basically tip them as if I had a full order, since the amount of running around isn’t much different. If your group is interested in salvaging a welcome there despite the bad coffee, I’d try that approach.