weekend free-for-all – June 23-24, 2018

We got a tiny cat-sized sofa!

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school.)

Book recommendation of the week: Tell the Machine Goodnight, by Katie Williams. It plays out around a piece of new technology that tests your DNA and tells you the three things you need to do to be happier (from “take the night bus” to “eat more fruit” to “smile at your wife”), and that concept alone would be enough to keep me interested, but the story itself is about the humans.

{ 982 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Washi

    What are your favorite friend-date ideas? I’m trying to branch out to do more things besides just drinks or dinner!

    (If it helps, I live in the DC area)

    Reply
      1. Washi

        True! We’ve all lived here long enough and hosted enough guests that we’ve been to most of them many times, but there are a few of the lesser-known ones we could explore :)

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        1. Violaine

          When I moved to the area, I made a long list of places I wanted to go to. I didn’t see them all, but I tried. Some of the smaller ones I managed to miss were the Apothecary museum in Alexandria, the Frank Lloyd Wright house, and some of the smaller museums in Stafford/Fredericksburg area (Weems-Botts, etc).

          Also, Virginia is eyeballs-deep in wineries, if that’s your thing.

          Reply
        2. hermit crab

          I’m also in the area, and my new favorite thing to do is going to museums for just a short time at off-hours. For example, I recently met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages, and we walked around the Hirshhorn for maybe an hour right before it closed on a Saturday. All the tourists had gone to find dinner by then, and we weren’t under any pressure to See It All because we can come back anytime.

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        3. rahab

          Downtown Occoquan VA is a few miles south on 95 and it’s super cute and never crowded when I’ve been there.

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        4. Observer

          There is also something to keep in mind about a lot of better museums. They often have rotating exhibits that can take up a whole visit by themselves. Also, depending on the museum, sometimes the upgrades over the years can mean that a new visit would be interesting.

          Reply
    1. nep

      Going out to take in a live music performance or a play.
      In nice weather, take a scenic drive to a park or nature preserve that’s new to you both, just to walk and discover.

      Reply
      1. nep

        (That was one of my favourite things about living in DC–a relatively quick drive away from some beautiful outdoor areas.)

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        1. Washi

          Ooh, any favorite hidden gems? I’ve been to Roosevelt island, Arboretum, Great Falls, etc but I know I can’t have exhausted all the options yet!

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          1. nep

            I have great memories of Great Falls. You probably know of more treasures than I; for me it’s been a really long time so I’d probably have a lot to discover were I ever to visit again. I do recall visiting some beautiful places along the Potomac in Maryland–can’t recall names.

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          2. AnonEMoose

            DC isn’t that far from the Gettysburg battlefield. My DH and I visited the DC area about 10 years ago, and included a visit to the battlefield in our trip.

            It’s moving, and a beautiful place to just walk around. If you want the full experience, when we were there, we took advantage of a service they offered (hopefully they still do!). If you booked in advance, you could book a guide who would drive your car around and walk you through the entire battle. If you do that, make sure to tip!

            But you can also just explore on your own, and Gettysburg itself is kind of a pretty little town (you can still see bullet holes in some of the buildings!). Touristy, but still a pretty little town.

            You’re also not too far from the Antietam battlefield, which is also very neat to explore.

            Reply
            1. Red Reader

              They still do, we just did on Monday! (I am in the Richmond airport heading home from a Civil War road trip week.) It’s $75 for two hours, 1-6 people, and they recommend that you book it in advance.

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              1. AnonEMoose

                I’m glad – it was an amazing experience when we did it, and being there just gives so much more of a sense of the scale of it all.

                Reply
          3. Ranon

            It can also be great to revisit a natural area you’ve been to before in a different season- the cool thing about nature is it’s always changing.

            Reply
    2. Leticia

      I am particular to picnics. Just a “whatever is in your fridge”, bag it up and let’s meet somewhere green. Cheap, easy and fast.

      Reply
      1. Marillenbaum

        And on Fridays during the summer, there’s Jazz in the Park at the sculpture gardens! Bring snacks, and they sell really good sangria!

        Reply
    3. No Tribble At All

      DC also has some great escape rooms! There are some in Georgetown, Alexandria, and Rockville that I’ve done. The rooms are about an hour long and then you have something extra fun to talk about at dinner :)

      Reply
    4. nep

      I moved many times while in the area (so I lived in VA, MD, and DC proper). I always enjoyed just taking time to explore a ‘downtown’/Main Street sort of area of neighbourhoods that were new to me. So many shops and interesting things going on.

      Reply
    5. Max Kitty

      Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. Walk or bike the towpath, take a canal boat ride. We visited a friend who had lived in DC for years and it was something he had never done.

      Reply
    6. Fellow Traveller

      We live in the MD suburbs, and these are some of our favorite things in the area-
      – The Alexandria Clay Co-op has “Try it” sessions where you can try your hand a throwing pottery. I went with a bunch of girlfriends- we brought wine and play with clay and it’s a lot of fun. They will fire and glaze whatever you make.
      http://www.alexandriaclaycoop.com
      – Kayaking on the Potomac. (Ok, I haven’t done this yet because I have small children, but I really really want to)
      -Rock Creek Park for walking/ biking/ Picnicing (though bring bug spray)
      – Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center.
      – in Maryland and we like visiting Brookside Gardens and Glen Echo Park
      -also there are always interesting/ quirky ideas on this website: http://freeindc.blogspot.com

      Reply
      1. Washi

        Ahh thank you for the links! Haven’t seen either before. And kayaking on the Potomac is pretty awesome -recommend getting there as early as possible though, it gets crowded. If you want something a little more chill, Bladensburg Waterfront Park on the Anacostia is cheaper and quieter.

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        1. Fellow Traveller

          Oh cool! Thanks for the alternative kayaking suggestion- I will have to check that out.
          Also- we just went mini golfing with some friends today at Upton Hill Park in Arlington and that was fun. (They usually go to Top Golf, but, again, kids…) The mini golf was definitely a good way to catch up- engaging, but also leisurely enough that we could have some real conversation.
          Oh, the other thing I often do with my friends is volunteer at the Greater DC Diaper Bank. You can bundle diapers while getting a good chat in.
          And sometimes we go to Costco together. I’m all about hanging out with friends while I get errands done.

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      1. Marillenbaum

        You should totally go! I don’t know if they’re still at the Renwick, but I had a BLAST going–I had some great convos with other people as we studied them, trying to determine what happened based on the things we could see.

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      2. Engineering consultant

        The nutshell exhibit ended in January, but the Renwick has the Burning Man exhibit now

        Reply
    7. Not So NewReader

      Friends (and family) might be interested in checking out new-to-them things. These are ideas that perhaps you just do once together to see what it is. We took my father to a free hammer dulcimer concert. It was at a little church in a rural area, we sat outside on a nice summer evening. There was something about it, it captured the unique feel of our area? I am not sure. But we really enjoyed it and it was a great activity for my father who could not move about very much but still had keen interest in seeing different things. Such a simple thing but my father commented on how much he enjoyed it for weeks after.

      Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          I spent the first 15 seconds saying, “no. the raccoons will not be playing that dulcimer.” ha!

          Wow, he did a nice job on that eh? And the acoustics were pretty good considering he was outside.
          Thanks for the share!

          Reply
          1. AnonEMoose

            It’s definitely not the first song I’d think of when I think “hammered dulcimer,” but it really worked. And how cool was it that two of the members of Tears for Fears wanted to perform it with him?

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            1. Not So NewReader

              Amazing, the whole thing. I would never have thought of a HD working on a modern tune like that, makes me want to see more. Yeah, and TFF sitting there. just wow.

              Reply
    8. SpiderLadyCEO

      I love going to work out – especially in the spring and summer, you might be able to find a free park yoga class. I also like walking around famers markets.

      Also, seconding going out to walk around the city!

      Reply
    9. Stephanie

      Frederick Douglass house is really cool, if you haven’t been.

      If you’re into book talks or lectures, those can be interesting. Something like a jewelry making class or pottery class or those wine and painting things can be fun.

      Reply
      1. Washi

        I’m so glad you said that – the Frederick Douglass house is my absolute favorite. I’ve been there 3 times :)

        And I love all the class suggestions from folks! Somehow I had never thought of that!

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        1. Phlox

          And just up the hill, the Anacostia Community Museum has a cool looking exhibit on DC neighborhood history. Plus the lotuses at Kennilworth will be in bloom soon and free roller skating all summer long at Anacostia Park!

          Reply
    10. Envy

      try googling “things to do”, places to go/eat, day trip ideas, community events for whatever town/surrounding areas. travel brochures from AAA or hotel lobbies or tourism board. If you have pintrest type in the name of your town/state and see what comes up.

      Reply
    11. Engineering consultant

      What about visiting some botanic/estate gardens? There are admission fees, but Dumbarton Oaks, Hillwood Estate, and Tudor Place in DC. If you can drive, Brookside Gardens in MD and Meadowlark Gardens in VA are free. Or a hike through Rock Creek Park, which is an old standby of mine.

      Another thing my bf and I liked to do was to just pick a neighborhood of DC and wander around it for an afternoon, stopping in any shops or cafes we found interesting.

      Reply
    12. Anonym

      Late entry: walking around the monuments on the Mall late at night. They’re gorgeous, beautifully lit, and it’s very peaceful (and cool in the summer). And it’s easy to park! Especially the Lincoln, Jefferson and FDR memorials.

      Reply
  2. Falling Diphthong

    Query about robo calls:

    I seem to have attracted a new type, which start out “Hi, I’m Robert, a (tape jumps here), calling on a recorded line. How are you?” Sometimes there’s half a job title before the glitch, so it’s “a hearing blank” or “a mortgage blank” or “a rewards blank.” So this is presumably a variety of different scams. Different recorded voices, good sound quality and American accented English*, but it’s like there’s some legal jeopardy they skip by never having the job title be audible–even though that’s a dead tip-off even to people less grouchy than myself that this is a robot. Any theories as to what they are trying to accomplish?

    *With all due respect to Cormac McDougal who called me from India a couple of weeks ago.

    Reply
    1. Rebecca

      This is the best part about not having a landline any longer, it seems that the number of fake robo calls for everything from free cruises, mortgage relief, credit card refinancing, auto warranties, you owe the IRS and we want you to pay us in gift cards, requests for donations, and everything else under the sun have fallen precipitously, even without a specific call blocker on my cell.

      I think the intent of 99% of these calls is to defraud and separate us from our money. That’s it. In fact, I don’t answer the phone any longer unless I’m sure I know who it is. All other calls go to voice mail. If they leave a message, I call them back if it’s legit, and if they don’t, I block the number if they call back again.

      Aside, I have Xfinity triple play, it’s cheaper than internet and cable together, and I’m amazed at the number of calls that come in that pop up on my TV screen. I don’t even know what the number is!

      Reply
      1. PhyllisB

        Rebecca, this is exactly why I keep my landline. We let it go to recording, and if it’s someone we know, we pick up. If not, delete. If it’s a legit business call they will leave a proper message/phone number. I don’t give my cell number to anyone I don’t know really well, and if I get a call from a number I don’t know I never answer. Like you, I feel like if it’s legit they will leave a message.

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        1. Anonymosity

          When I still had a landline, almost all the calls were spam, and the other calls were for Child Support Enforcement. I was one digit off their number. It wasn’t worth paying for the line just for that. When I cancelled, I told the CSR about the latter and he said they would actually retire my number so that no one else would have to put up with all the misdials. Of course, this was AT&T, so I don’t know if they actually DID retire the number forever or just wait a while before putting it back out there. They lie. But I am now AT&T-free.

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          1. PhyllisB

            There was an English teacher in our town who had the same last name as us; and I always knew when report cards came out because I would get a slew of phone calls from angry parents wanting to know why I “failed their kid.” Most of the time they wouldn’t give me time to tell them they had the wrong number. Some of them didn’t believe me when I told them I was not the Mrs. B they were looking for. The ones that did would then ask me if I had her phone number. I did look in the phone book to see if I could find it but never could. I suspect she had an unlisted number. Considering these phone calls, can’t say that I blame her.
            I was sure glad when she retired so I didn’t have to put up with that anymore. And luckily before I had children who would have been in her class. (I’m guessing middle or high school) because obviously she was one tough cookie.

            Reply
      2. nonegiven

        All the numbers that start with the first 6 digits of your number are spoofed, anyway. No point in blocking them all, the person with that number isn’t who is calling you. We’re getting those on my cell, my husbands cell, and my Google Voice number. My landline is not getting those, they are only getting the another area code calls and lately political calls which should ease up after Tuesday.

        Reply
    2. Three Pines Visitor

      We still have a landline because reasons. Other than Mr. Three Pines and one work-related call for him last night, every single call this week has been either a phony charity or a robocall. I have a call blocker that works for some of them, but it has gotten to the point where we won’t pick up if we don’t recognize the number. A lot of times I google the number before blocking them; it’s interesting to see how they vary their scams.

      A recent development is that the robocallers have started spoofing numbers from our exchange (neighborhood) and local medical facilities, so far from places we have no business relationship with (the area medical college, a major trauma center). The calls are always along the lines of “Don’t hang up. This is not a sales call. We are getting back to you about your chronic pain.”

      The downside of this defensive maneuver is that occasionally we miss a real call, such as the one yesterday evening from a work colleague of DH. I didn’t recognize the surname on the Caller ID so we ignored it, and she didn’t leave a message. DH was by the phone the second time, saw the last name on the ID, and realized it might be her; it was, and the call turned out to be important.

      Reply
      1. Epsilon Delta

        My feeling is, if you can’t be bothered to leave a five second message it’s really not that important. Or even send a text to follow up! “Hi this is xx, call me back as soon as you have a chance.” Done.

        Anyway, I normally don’t answer calls whose number I don’t recognize but now that I am (a) job searching and (b) have a kid in various summer programs (so calls could come from a lot of different numbers), and (c) effectively on call for work, I am way more likely to answer. Once I get a robocall I block the number.

        Reply
          1. By Land and Cell we Prosper

            I find that leaving a message often doesn’t help. The recipient usually doesn’t listen to it, just calls my number back to see what I wanted. I think this is a cell phone thing, more than a land-line thing, but I often wonder why I bother leaving a message for some people.

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        1. Kat in VA

          This. I am job hunting and sometimes recruiters for the bigger companies like Lockheed Martin or Raytheon are in another state, or they use their own cell phones to call to talk about a potential position. However, I usually let it go to voicemail and if it is a recruiter, call them right back.

          I get tons of calls from my cell phone’s area code – I used to live in Idaho and there’s just one area code. Except…now I live in the DC area. So they get silenced and blocked. I must have 100+ numbers in my blocklist on my phone.

          Reply
        2. Anonymosity

          This. Especially if it’s business-related. Be a damn professional and leave a message. It’s not hard. Even “Hi, this is Moira [from the office] [from X business]; please call me back at 212-555-OMFG.”

          If you have phone anxiety, write down what you want to say beforehand and then just read it into the recorder. I’ve done this when I have to leave a voicemail for somebody and don’t know what to say. You don’t have to sound like an Oscar-winning actor emoting. Just speak clearly.

          Reply
          1. C

            My dad called an (out of town) relative recently. Relative did not recognize his new phone number so did not answer. My dad left a message. Relative never listened to message since she assumed it was a scammer! He finally reached her a few days later via Facebook messenger.

            So, sometimes even leaving a message doesn’t help!

            Reply
    3. Falling Diphthong

      Clarification: I’m aware robo calls are annoying.

      I’m curious as to whether anyone can explain some set of common circumstances under which being called by “Gina, a hearing (pause for silence) calling on a recorded line” convinces me to stay on the line and give them money, while “Gina, a hearing specialist calling on a recorded line” won’t work. Because I can’t picture any.

      Reply
      1. OhGee

        The gap leaves out information, so instead of quickly identifying that they’re someone you don’t need to talk to, you may wait to hear more, because they *could* be calling from your bank, doctor, etc. *Or* they’re trying to capture your voice (the gap might prompt you to say, “excuse me?” or something similar). Either way, it might be a tactic that is some variation on voice phishing: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_phishing

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          Many scams work this way, they figure people will tend to fill in their own blanks which some people are most willing to do. We see the same pattern in email scams. The email is written in very poor English, the story line does not make sense and some how people still manage to ignore that part and respond.

          There is a scam running in here in the newspaper classifieds. The person pretends to be the owner of a house that is for sale and decides to rent it out instead. [Punchline you send the rent money-first month, last month and deposit- to a fraudster.] People are willing to put up with not being able to meet the landlord for a few weeks, they are willing to put up with not walking through the house and a host of other red flags. They ignore the parts that don’t make sense.

          Reply
          1. Annie Moose

            I’ve read before that email scams are quite deliberately in bad English—the point is to weed out people who are paying attention and might catch on to the scam, thus leaving only the most vulnerable. Clever, if horrifying.

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            1. Not So NewReader

              Yep they want people who are willing to compensate for mistakes. It’s their people filter. For years I had the older folks around me send me their emails BEFORE they responded. I’d check it out on Snopes or whatever and go over the email with them. Older folks can be very forgiving and it makes them vulnerable in some ways. One relative sent me an email that we forwarded to the FBI. It’s pretty serious out there.

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    4. bunniferous

      In my work I HAVE to answer calls from numbers I do not recognize. I am so sick of robo calls on my cell.

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      1. PhyllisB

        Yep. I am on the Do Not Call list, which helps; but doesn’t totally block all of them. I don’t fall for the ones that come in on my cell with the same prefix as my cell number. The only other person I know with that prefix is my husband, and I obviously have him in my contacts. My neighbor said they got one that was showing from their own phone number??!!!

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        1. Rebecca

          I’ve gotten those! It was weird to come home from work, scroll through the caller ID and see that I called myself while I was 20+ miles away at work!

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        2. Falling Diphthong

          Do not call list effectively blocks legitimate businesses with brick and mortar addresses. (Whom I don’t want cold calling me, either.) Leaving only the scammers who either aren’t in this country, or expect to clear out of this boiler room before anyone raids them.

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      2. nonegiven

        DH has to answer his phone for work, it’s gotten him on the scammer’s lists. He gets way more roboscams than I do because if it isn’t in my contact list, I ignore it.

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    5. Kuododi

      DH and I both have our numbers on the Do Not Call list but that is not a cure all. We are also Verizon customers and have happily discovered our phones will flag suspicious calls as “Potential Spam.” Other than that….if someone calls from an unknown number, I let it go to voicemail. If they can’t be bothered to leave a message then they really don’t have anything to say that I need to hear.

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      1. Anonymosity

        Mine’s been doing that too. I also don’t answer any calls from the same area code as my Google Voice number (Los Angeles). I figure it’s just another Google Voice number being used by a scammer. GV will send me an email telling me I have a voicemail, so it’s not like I’ll miss it if it’s legit. I stopped applying for you-know-whats out there anyway, since nobody responded and I now have no money with which to move.

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    6. Courageous cat

      I keep getting ones that ask for my mom or dad by their first name, anyone else? It’s SO strange.

      Out of curiositiy the last time, I stayed silent, and they said “hello?” or something, so I just said “no”. And they said “Well nevermind, I’ll try again later”.

      SO weird. What are you going to accomplish?!

      Reply
      1. Lasslisa

        This isn’t typical and makes me wonder if they put your phone number down as theirs on a form somewhere. Maybe they meant to put you down as an emergency contact in the fields got swapped, or maybe it’s something more intentional.

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      2. BCHjudy

        I will answer a suspicious call with silence. I now pay for a service where I can block a landline call once I open the call for 5 seconds. That is plenty of time to see if it’s legit or not.
        If not, I hit *60 and add it to the list.
        This feature has saved the life of whoever was calling me up to four times each day for over a month. ;)

        Reply
    7. Becky

      Well I don’t have a landline but I am pretty sure my cell phone number has recently been sold because I usually get maybe 1 robocall every other month or so and now I’ve gotten 5 this week. At least most of mine give an option “press 2 to have your number removed from our call list”. Here’s hoping it actually works.

      Reply
      1. Times a billion

        I think if you press a button then they know they got ahold of a human and will continue to call you times a billion but maybe I’m just paranoid.

        Reply
          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            I got it at Wayfair but it doesn’t seem to be showing up there anymore. But it’s called the “Haven Dachshund Dog Sofa” — you will also find a bunch if you google “dog sofa” or “pet sofa.”

            Reply
            1. Kuododi

              Ooh!!! Love the name. Wonder if my two mini-daschunds would enjoy that sofa? Right now they are wrapped around DH like furry Velcro.

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    1. Be the Change

      It fooled me for a minute until I saw the caption! I thought, Oh stylish! but it looks kinda uncomfortable…

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        The animals don’t think it’s uncomfortable. I picked up a good used rug the other week. It was the end of the day and I was tired so I threw it in a heap in the room where I wanted it. This is a large rug and it made a pretty good heap.

        My dog slept the WHOLE night on that mess. When I asked him if he was uncomfortable, he hunkered right down as if to say, “This is MINE.” That dog would not budge. There is no way I would find that mess comfy.

        Reply
  3. Loopy

    Well I was all ready for a relaxing/ prep weekend before new job. Cleared my calendar and was feeling excited.

    My dog puked up what looks like blood this morning. Waiting for the vet to open.

    :/

    Reply
      1. Loopy

        I send it to my fiance’s mother who has run a kennel for 30 years and she said it looked like blood to her and to call the vet. She’s seen a lot so I trust her judgement. I’ll definitely be updating.

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    1. FaintlyMacabre

      My kitty puked up blood once and was diagnosed with acid reflux- it was pretty easy to take care of after the initial panic, so I hope you are dealing with something like that. Fingers crossed!

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    2. Loopy

      Thanks for all your well wishes! We are back and it was as some suspected- likely acid issues causing stomach lining irritation to the point of bleeding. The vet felt around and found no discomfort or abnormality and so doggo got two shots to help reduce acid and 5 days of meds to coat the stomach back up and promote some quick healing.

      At the time, I didn’t think to ask as much because I was so relieved and because vet saw me well after closing time to fit me in, but I wish I had asked what caused this and what could prevent it from reoccurring! For now I’m at home for the day to ensure he doesn’t puke again. So relieved. And the bill for the visit (exam), two shots and 5 days of meds was a pretty reasonable $104.

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      1. Slartibartfast

        Send the vet an email! I don’t want to guess for your specific situation, but those are good questions and there’s options, depending on what the vet found on exam.

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      2. FaintlyMacabre

        Glad it is all okay! The vet’s office will probably call to check on him on Monday, so write your questions down for then. And if they don’t call, it’s perfectly fine to follow up later- most people aren’t at their best at surprise vet visits!

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      3. Belle di Vedremo

        Glad you got good news, hope you’re able to relax today and be comfortable leaving your pup for tomorrow.

        Reply
  4. Foreign Octopus

    Just need a tiny little vent today (because I actually have a proper question later but I want to get this off my chest first).

    So I was talking to my parents yesterday for our weekly confab and my mum mentioned that someone who lives near them in the UK takes their cat back and forth to New Zealand with them without a problem (this came up in the context of me travelling with my cat). I asked her to find out more information such as if my cat can travel to NZ on the European pet passport like it can to Canada as NZ is a place that I’d like to live but I obviously won’t go without my cat.

    This isn’t a firm decision, it was just me thinking out loud (and I should really know better by this point but apparently I don’t learn). My dad jumped in and said “oh, no, this is just like Manchester all over again.”

    Background: in the midst of my depression five years ago, I wanted to leave where I was from and get a fresh start in Manchester (I chose the city off the top of my head) because I thought I’d feel better where no one knew me and I could be the person I wanted to be without the expectations of people who’d known me my whole life. Looking back now, I realise that would have been the worst thing to do but hindsight in 20/20. I confessed my desire to move to Manchester when I was literally slumped on the kitchen floor sobbing my heart out because I wanted to die and I couldn’t see anything but blackness in the future.

    (Spoiler alert: I’m better now – I have a good grip on my mental health and life is good)

    Thinking about his comment after the call, I got pretty upset by it. It feels like I can’t move on and be honest about my thought process with him if he’s just going to keep throwing Manchester in my face (this isn’t the first time he’s said – it’s Manchester all over again). He does it in a joking manner but it’s really annoyed me this time. I’ve put that time of my life behind me but it feels like he’s not letting me move on and it knocks my confidence, even though I know I shouldn’t let it.

    *Huge sigh*

    Okay, vent over. Thanks, guys.

    Reply
    1. No Tribble At All

      Boo on your dad! That’s super frustrating. Glad you’re doing better now! Idk anything about international travel with kitties, but I hope it works out for you. LLAP <3

      Reply
    2. Logan

      Ugh -that’s an asshole move on his part.

      Based on my online research a few years ago, almost every country takes pets now. It takes money (vet and admin fees, and airfare) and effort (lots of planning) but even harder places like Aus and UK are looking for rabies vaccines at specific times and titre (blood) tests, rather than months of quarantine. If you are willing to pay and make the effort then travel with a pet is possible.

      Reply
    3. Caro in the UK

      No advice as such (I wish I had some to give), but you have my complete sympathy, because my dad is very similar. He likes to make jokes about EVERYTHING I’ve ever done wrong. Even stuff I did as a kid and teenager.

      Some people might say that it doesn’t sound that bad, but over time it wears me down, because it’s constant. He genuinely believes it’s all in good fun, and when I’ve tried to explain to him that it’s hurtful, he just DOES. NOT. GET. IT. Argh!!

      My only comfort is that it’s not just me. Over the years I’ve realised that he has extremely low self-confidence and deals with it by joking about everybody else in a way that often comes across as mocking or ridicule.

      My only suggestion would be, if you’ve never mentioned to him that this bothers you, then give it a try. He might not be receptive, but at least you’ll have given it a shot.

      Reply
    4. Mananana

      Oh, how frustrating that must be. Any chance you can be honest with him and say “Dad, I know you mean it to be funny, but it hurts me when you bring up the “Manchester” situation. Please don’t do that.”?

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        Yeah, you’ll probably need to say something if it happens again.
        Use the time now to plan what you will say. Lining up several choices might be helpful.

        “That’s over the line, Dad.”
        “I don’t think that a serious problem is material for a joke, Dad.”
        “That is in the past, Dad.”

        See, there’s two parts here. There’s the part where they say it. We can’t control that part and we can’t always control how their words hit us. The next part is learning to stand up for ourselves. And this means planning what we will say if we hear it again. It’s super important to say something on our own behalf. Other people let us down, that is one type of problem. But when we feel we let ourselves down that is a whole different thing.

        I remember one time my father told me that I was getting fat. I had been working on the problem and I had not say anything previously. So when he said I was getting fat, I said, “I have lost 25 pounds. How many pounds have you lost?” We never went back to that conversation again. EVER. I got my weight down eventually. And in the end, he died from his excess weight (fluid build up). I look back on that with no anger just sadness. We could have had a real conversation and really supported each other. But there were bigger issues to deal with.

        Reply
        1. RestlessRenegade

          These are excellent. My brain went immediately to Captain Awkward scripts that are very similar–mentioning once that it bothers you, reinforcing that with boring but firm reminders that you are not interested in hearing that again, and then leaving the conversation if the other person doesn’t take the hint. I don’t know how much of that will be useful to you, but CA is a huge wealth of scripts for this kind of thing. My grandmother is a huge fan of inappropriate comments, especially related to looks, almost exclusively toward women (she once told my teenaged best friend, who was essentially a stranger to her, that she didn’t care for her facial piercing.) My favorite response is the dry “WOW”.

          I have no advice on the pet front, just sympathy!

          Reply
    5. KL

      Grr. Not funny dad!
      Well, the nasty vindictive side of me says start making jokes back at him of events that you know hit him where it hurts, but this isn’t probably the best way to handle the situation…
      Signed,
      Someone who’s parents are lovely but aunts are a bunch of passive-aggressive nastiness.

      Reply
    6. Triplestep

      I’m going to respectfully defend your dad, here. I am the mother of adult children – the younger one is 22 and has been known to make rash decisions. This is after maturing out of some real impulse control issues she had growing up.

      When she thinks outloud like you did when you talked about NZ, we worry. And most times for no reason because the thing she’s just considering is not yet a fleshed out plan, and may never be. Or if it does come to fruition, she’ll have given it a lot more thought and made some firm plans, often meaning we don’t need to worry.

      Should your father joke about your serious stuff? No. And sure – you’d be within your rights to address that with him, but know that he may be using humor (what he thinks is humor, anyway) to cope with his very real concern.

      I will always have concern for my kids. It doesn’t mean I don’t trust their judgement (at times I don’t, sure, but overall I do) and it doesn’t mean they aren’t adults. It doesn’t mean I am ACTING on my concern by meddling. But there’s no switch to turn off that will make me stop having varying levels of concern for them. Period. What matters is what I do with that concern – if, how, and when I express it.

      If it feels like you can’t can’t move on and be honest about your thought process with your father without his worrying about you, it’s because you can’t. Do you need to? Aren’t there other people in your life with whom you can think outloud? He’s expressing his concern in a way that feels belittling to you, and perhaps that can change, but you can’t ask him not be concerned. There’s no switch.

      Reply
      1. Courageous cat

        Yeah – not even a parent and I somewhat agree with this one. If you get to the point that you’re serious about moving, have it out with your dad about why this time is different and a new positive step for you, and I think he’d be likely to get it. Right now any sudden large move would probably seem like it was made in the same spirit/context of the one before, so he’d probably stop if he knew the thinking was different and less impulsive.

        Reply
      2. Marthooh

        Dad should find a different way to cope with his worry, if that’s what it is. Nobody suggested that he should not feel concerned, only that he should not act like a complete jerk about it.

        Reply
        1. Triplestep

          Nobody suggested the dad should not feel concerned … no one even mentioned his concern as part of the equation here! That’s what compelled me to write.

          The OP wrote “It feels like I can’t move on and be honest about my thought process with him …” and the answer may be “it feels that way because you can’t.” See the last full paragraph of my post.

          Yes, OP’s Dad is responsible for his jerky response (no matter what his motivation is) but OP has some responsibility as to what she chooses to talk about to her father. It takes at least two people to have a conversation – why is he the only one who needs to watch what he says?

          Example: I don’t talk to my 86 year-old mother about my job search because she’d lose sleep over it. She comes from a generation during which people hardly ever changed employers, and that’s a tough thing to let go of. My job search is a major thing on my mind right now, but I can manage somehow not to discuss it with Mom and still have a lovely relationship with her. That’s a conversation for my husband and certain friends.

          Here’s another: My daughter told me two nights ago that she was going on a date with someone she met in a bar. Then a few minutes later she confessed that she met him on Tinder. And then we both laughed because she had been trying not to cause concern and figured I’d find “bar” somehow better than “Tinder”, when actually I don’t really care as long as she’s being safe!

          Reply
      3. Gingerblue

        If dad can only process concern about things years ago by needling at FO when they happen to bring up completely unrelated topics now, then dad needs less sucky coping mechanisms for his own emotional fragility. That doesn’t sound like “concern” to me so much as an attempt to keep someone feeling properly squashed.

        FO, if the worst thing your father has to say to you is that you once expessed a desire to move to a new city, you sound like you have your act together! He sounds eager to belittle you—I mean, really, what a weird straw to grasp at as proof that you… what? Have thought through various possibilities of what you want your life to look like? “I once considered moving” is not exactly “I used to rob banks to fund my meth habit and buy my pet monkey jeweled collars”. People consider moving all the time, including at times of emotional stress! Sometimes they do it and it’s a good thing for them! Thinkin about moving is not a thing that normal parents consider a sign of poor decision making or try to throw in your teeth years later.

        Reply
        1. Triplestep

          I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but FO did not bring up a topic that was unrelated.

          And as the parent of a grown child who has a history of making and acting on rash decisions, I can tell you that it is quite “normal” for parents to worry about such things five years on. We don’t “throw it in her teeth years later”, but perhaps we have a better filter than FO’s father.

          It should go without saying, but I don’t fault FO for considering moving; I just think both father and child in this scenario should self-censor a bit around this topic. I’m sure there are lots of other things they can talk about and engender a close relationhship.

          Reply
      4. The Foreign Octopus

        Hi Triplestep. Thanks for your point of view, it’s really interesting.

        I’m aware that the worry never ends with parents but I’m now 28 years old and the mistakes I make will be my own. I haven’t had to rely on my parents for financial support in years. I want to point out, as you mentioned this a couple of times, that the only time I’ve made rash decisions was during my depression. When I’m mentally balanced (as o have been for the last five or six years) I tend to overthink the situation so I don’t have a habit of rash decision making.

        I’m aware by dad loves me and worries about me – I just wish that he wouldn’t use the darkest period of my life to express that concern.

        Reply
        1. Persephoneunderground

          I think this comes back to addressing it with him- you’ve said it above so well! So go tell him that. He sounds thoughtless to me, rather than deliberately unkind, using that example from your past as shorthand for worrying about you jumping to a rash decision that won’t fix your problems. I have been where you were, but I also can totally see saying what your dad did without thinking.

          Unless he has a history of being a hurtful jerk deliberately, in your shoes I’d suggest tell him that it hurts when he brings that up and you need him to find another way to make his point if he’s concerned about this in the future.

          We all have things we can’t joke about, it’s ok to draw that line. Aside: Recently I’ve been reminding my husband that the joke phrase “you suck, kill yo self!” is not funny to me, and he’s working on dropping it from his vocabulary. He’s never said it to me, he just uses it in the same place as “epic fail!” Think he picked it up from younger co-workers who can be kinda immature.

          So yeah, what you said! Say that to him.

          Reply
      5. Anon for this

        With all due respect, you said yourself that when your daughter thinks out loud, you worry “most times for no reason.” Like you said, expressing your concern is up to you, so do you think that you are setting up your daughter to be in the situation FO is in, where eventually your children don’t feel like they can consult you honestly without triggering your worries?

        Something that I’ve discussed in my family is “at what stage do you consult others?” Some people like myself prefer to mull something over on our own first, consider if it’s a passing thought or serious issue worth pursuing, and then once we’re about 75-95% sure we toss it to a parent or friend to see what they think. It’s a simultaneous “did I miss anything?” and “just to let you know, I’m doing x.”

        But some people like your daughter like to think out loud, and float ideas at all stages, even 5% completed ones, and use others as sounding boards to evaluate if it’s serious or not. It sounds to me (without knowing your daughter beyond what you have written) that you may act like your daughter is the former type, not the latter. Perhaps when she brings up an idea to you, you can try (if you don’t already) reserving judgment and putting aside your worry, since it’s unfounded at this stage, and neutrally help her think it out. If you jump on it expecting it to be a fleshed-out plan, then of course it’s natural to worry that the plan isn’t finished…but instead your daughter is just involving you at an earlier point in the planning stage and valuing your opinion. I imagine that’s more gratifying than being left out because she doesn’t want to worry you or doesn’t feel she can be honest with you.

        Reply
    7. ScarlettNZ

      New Zealander here. If you are coming from a country without rabies (which the UK is) then bringing your cat with you would be relatively straightforward (expensive, but straightforward). You would need to get a permit, her vaccinations would need to be up-to-date and she would have to have a vet check but she wouldn’t need to be quarantined. From countries where rabies is present, cats and dogs need to have a six month quarantine period.

      Reply
      1. The Foreign Octopus

        This is really useful to know, thank you. I’ve found a lot of conflicting and out of fate information about the whole process so this clears it up, thanks.,

        Reply
        1. TL -

          Clarifying (American in NZ) – you don’t need a 6 month quarantine if you’re from a country with rabies, but it is an 11-day quarantine from USA –> NZ for dogs. My friend did this back in October for two dogs. Your cat also needs to be microchipped, I think.

          It’s at least USD $1000 to pay a company to ship your animal for you, which is the best/easiest option – they’ll handle all the logistics and ensure your cat is in a temperature controlled cargo hold/direct flight.

          Cats are also hugely destructive to the native birds here, so you might want to think about what lifestyle your cat would be okay with – indoors, indoors at night, bell on collar – that would make her more wildlife friendly. I live in Dunedin and the amount of animals hit/killed by cars is shockingly high to me, so my cat is indoors only.

          Reply
    8. Teapot Reader

      Is it not that the issue which seems rather odd to your dad, and is causing this suggested move to seem random rather than carefully planned, is that you asked your mum to research a deal-breaker aspect for you, rather than researching it yourself?
      FWIW, I was in a similar situation and simply told my parents about it when I had a job interview for the overseas job, had worked out visas and cost of living, etc.

      Reply
      1. The Foreign Octopus

        The onl reason I asked my mum is that this would be a first person account of the process rather than stories from years ago written on the Internet. I won’t ask myself because they’re neighbors of my parents and I have absolutely no relationship with them. I’m doing everything myself, rest assured, but the first person account was too good to pass up.

        Reply
        1. Teapot Reader

          I’m sure that you wouldn’t be using stories from the Internet for your research – but wouldn’t the first point of call be the official NZ guidance on bringing animals into the country rather than a neighbour? Or were you hoping to get your mum feeling more of a contributor to the process, and it backfired?

          Reply
          1. Logan

            I have researched the process and found it confusing and complicated – I would love to have access to someone who has actually moved their animals. The official pages are not as easy as you seem to think they should be (for example I needed to find a government vet – is there one in my town? Nope, and I had to make a special request for them to visit the airport… )

            Reply
            1. Observer

              It strikes me that “I looked at the official pages and they are really confusing, so it would be useful to hear from someone who has dealt with it” would come off very differently than “Oh, I’ve been thinking about this, could you ask them?”

              I don’t think the FO is being thoughtless about this process, but it’s easy to see why the question could look that way to the parents.

              Reply
  5. Violaine

    Spent yesterday with a packout team, and today, the movers are here. Virginia Beach-bound in a few days. :)

    Reply
  6. Overeducated

    I’m in the market for a bike! Possibly replacing a cheap big box store mountain bike that has seen years of service but is no longer worth the money I’m sinking into parts. I’d like something a bit lighter and faster, so I’m loking into hybrids maybe. I commute about 15 miles round trip with a child seat on the back, and have to store my bike outside on a rack, so not looking for something incredibly expensive and nice. Suggrstions, cycliats of AAM?

    Reply
    1. Rebecca

      I bought a bike after over 30 years of not having one, so I went to my local bike shop to tell them where I expected to ride, terrain, etc. and they helped me find a bike to match my height and needs. Perhaps that will help? I bought a Specialized hybrid mountain/road bike with 21 speeds and I love it.

      Reply
      1. Zathras

        Seconded, this is what the bike shop staff are there for! And if you end up in one of those shops staffed by snobs who think road racing is the One True Cycling and you are an idiot for not wanting a $5000 carbon fiber bike, leave immediately and try a different shop. :-)

        I recommend you set aside a day or an afternoon and plan to go to several different shops regardless – the bike manufacturers control the market by limiting the number of shops that carry a given brand in a certain geographic area, so you need to go to several shops to see all your options. Go for a good solid test ride on each bike, not just a circle around the parking lot. Bikes are like shoes, different brands or models will fit better for your particular body, and it’s not always obvious that they are comfortable/uncomfortable in the first minute or two.

        Also, if you are a woman looking at women’s bikes, do some research to make sure they are equal in quality to that brand’s equivalently priced men’s model and not a piece of junk painted pink, because unfortunately that’s A Thing.

        Reply
        1. Overeducated

          Haha, I’m afraid all the shops here are snob shops! Rather, I have a very average income in a pretty wealthy area. So I feel like I have to figure out exactly what I need and have to spend before going into a shop. I also just don’t want to take the time to visit all if them in my town though, spending a whole day shopping sounds like a nightmare. I’ll go to one or two I guess.

          What is the actual difference between men’s bikes and women’s? Is there any reason not to buy a small enough men’s bike if i find one?

          Reply
          1. Zathras

            I feel you on the all day shopping thing. Another approach is to identify some bikes you are interested in online so you can figure out which shops have what, and pick one or two that have the best selection of the ones you’ve already picked out to try.

            The 3 parts of the bike that are different on women’s bikes are the top tube (the horizontal part at the top of the frame), the handlebars, and the seat. Women on average have shorter torsos and narrower shoulders in proportion to their height, so women’s bikes have shorter top tubes and narrower handlebars. Women’s bike seats are wider since women usually have wider sit bones. But, all that is the “average woman” so it’s completely possible to find a men’s frame that fits, particularly if you are taller and/or have a long torso. I’m a woman and my daily commuter bike is a men’s touring bike from the 80’s to which I added a short stem and a wide saddle. I love the way it fits.

            It depends on the bike, but if you find a men’s bike that you like and which fits reasonably well already, the shop may be able to swap in different parts to make it fit even better, like a narrower handlebar, a shorter stem, or a wider seat. This kind of adjustments won’t make a bike fit you if it doesn’t 95% fit you already, but they can get you that last 5%. It may cost extra but you can ask about a discount on the parts since you are buying them as part of a bike purchase.

            The seat thing is particularly important – a seat that is too narrow is a huge pain in the butt, literally. :-)

            Reply
          2. runner girl

            Depends… if you’re small, then yes. I’m 5’6″ and do fine on a men’s bike, though a slightly smaller frame than a man of the same height would typically find comfortable. Women tend to have long legs and shorter torsos as compared to a man of the same height. From what I’ve read and observed, if you’re less than 5’3″, you’ll almost certainly have better luck on a women’s specific model. Some taller women still prefer a women’s specific bike.

            Reply
              1. families!

                I’m 5′ and the way the top tube slanted made a world of difference on the bikes I tried, even though they were all the shortest ones around. Even within the women’s models, some top tubes were straighter than others and made it impossible for me to dismount without getting hurt. I only really knew this by getting on and off different bikes, the difference is barely noticeable to the naked eye, especially when I first was looking.

                The other thing is they make a smaller women’s models that take 24in tires and I was discouraged from getting that because it is harder to get that tire model than the more standard 26 in (I think those are the numbers, haven’t look into it in a while).

                Reply
                1. runner girl

                  If you are 5ft tall and the bike shop was trying to persuade you away from the smaller bike, it’s because they wanted to sell you something they had in stock and not special order. Pure sales laziness on their part. 650cm tires and tubes aren’t exactly unicorns.

                2. Overeducated

                  Having replaced 2 tires and 6 or 7 tubes in the last 2 months, I can say being able to find the 26″ at any random store is really helpful. I bought a couple at a Target that literally only had one. Not one type…one on the shelf.

              2. Gillie

                Bikes are also sized bizarrely large. I am 5’1 and I ride a (women’s) XS Giant and an XXS Scott, which is odd because I am definitely not the shortest woman out there. My friend is 5’3 and she rides an XS Specialized. So even an XS men’s bike will be quite large for a lot of women.

                Reply
          3. Belle di Vedremo

            A good bike shop will take pride and pleasure in educating potential customers. Going in to one or two with your questions and priorities should get you good information, which you can then use shopping with them or elsewhere. You should also try different bikes to see what suits you best. I’m guessing you’ll find them enthusiastic to talk with someone who is commuting by bicycle, and interested in helping you find a good next bike. I like to do this kind of shopping in a few shorter stints rather than all at once.
            Happy hunting.

            Reply
      2. Not So NewReader

        Definitely go to a bike shop. They will make sure the bike is fitted to you. (Seat adjustment, wheel size, etc) Tell them how you use it so they will set you up with an appropriate bike.
        You might want to check out bike locks while you are there.
        And you can ask about upcoming sale items.

        Reply
      3. Stephanie

        Thirding going to a shop. If you go tell them exactly what you’re looking for, they should be able to help you.

        Reply
    2. Photographers

      Aren’t hybrids heavier than road bikes? How much are you off-road? I would get the lightest I could afford which I think would be a road bike…

      Reply
      1. Logan

        I got a hybrid because the roads here are brutal in spring. The added weight is worth it due to cost savings from repairs that I would inevitably be doing to a road bike.

        Reply
          1. Logan

            Tube or tire? Tube is 28×1.75 and tire is Schwalbe Road Cruiser 45c w/K-Guard and Reflex (I googled it)

            Reply
      2. Overeducated

        I do some riding on trails for my commute, and I guess I’m not sure how a very light bike would handle a child seat and a 40 lb kid on the back. Thoughts?

        Reply
        1. Natalie

          For towing capacity, bike design matters more than frame weight. Since you’re the one providing the power, if all else was equal the lighter frame would be better, as it means lower gross weight.

          If you’re not doing touring (multi day trips by bike) you probably don’t need a bike specifically designed to carry a lot, so any road bike that has the appropriate accessories for a burley should be fine.

          Reply
      3. LCL

        Depends on what you buy. Many hybrids are aluminum frames, which in general is lighter than steel frames at the same price point. Specialized has some 500-600$ bikes that look pretty good, they are all aluminum frames. Any good shop will order you a different size bike in the lines they carry. If they won’t do this and won’t let you test ride, go elsewhere.

        Bring the child seat with you when you look. I even suggest considering what some call market or Dutch style bikes with the step through frame. They are god awful ugly to me, but the step through aspect looks like it would be easier to handle a loaded bike. All of the cargo bikes I see have, if not a step through, at least a somewhat dropped top bar. I did break a step through frame when I was a young maniac, but my riding is much more conservative now. Or it will be when I get back on the bike after my broken wrist heals from the last crash…

        Reply
    3. families!

      I went to a bunch of bike shops and tried a bunch of bikes in my price range. I found that even though I was looking at the same size bikes, the way they were put together made the difference between being comfortable on them, getting on and off easily, slight weight variations, etc. Bike shops here at least have a couple of brands, so it was useful to go to different ones.

      Reply
      1. Overeducated

        Interesting and good to know, thanks. Current bike was $30 on Craigslist a decade ago so no comparison shopping was involved.

        Reply
      2. Logan

        This. I had a friend who wouldn’t stop talking about a particular bike brand’s wonderfulness, so I went and tried one and it felt all wrong. They immediately responded with “Fair enough. If it doesn’t fit there is nothing to be done” and never mentioned it again. The nice thing is that each brand uses the same frame (in different sizes) so once you find one that you like then you can get a cheaper or more expensive version without having to try every one.

        Reply
    4. AnonEMoose

      Go to a bike shop. You’ll pay a bit more, but the people there will be very able and willing to help you find the right bicycle for you, that fits you well and is intended for the purposes you want.

      And do invest in a good helmet and a good lighting system. Thanks to LEDs, there are now some excellent, lightweight systems that will really help you be visible and not add much weight to the bike.

      Reply
    5. FD

      I absolutely love my Giant Escape 3 bicycle for commuting. It’s lightweight and a really lovely, smooth ride. I have a much shorter trip than you do (8 miles round trip), but I enjoy it. I only bike in the summer months.

      I think I spent about $350 on my bike when it was new? I don ‘t exactly remember now, I’ve had it for about four years, I think.

      One caveat, I only bike when there’s no snow or ice and the tires it came with won’t handle at all in slippery conditions. I don’t know if that’s a factor for you. I know that one CAN get snow tires for it, but I live in MN so I prefer to just take the bus in the winter.

      Reply
    6. MCL

      My bike commute is about 8 miles round trip. No kiddos, but I have a rear basket. I have a Trek hybrid that I bought about 10 years ago and it’s been great. I suggest testing several at a bike shop and go with the one that is most comfortable for you.

      Reply
    7. Trixie

      After you test ride what local bike stores offer (maybe used bikes if you’re lucky), keep an eye on Craigslist and local Facebook Marketplace pages. Many people upgrade or simply don’t ride as much these days. Great way to pick up a bargain.

      Reply
      1. Zathras

        This is a good strategy, although I would caution that if you go this route and aren’t already knowledgeable about bikes, you should do some research on how to evaluate a bike, or bring a friend who knows enough to check out the bike. Engage the seller in conversation and try to learn about the bike’s history. You don’t want a bike that the person is trying to offload because their local shop refused to repair it after it was in a crash; sometimes small amounts of damage to the frame that looks cosmetic can be very dangerous. I worked in an outdoors store for a few years and we saw these now and again when the new owner brought it in for a tuneup, our bike shop tech would have to tell them their Craigslist deal was unsafe to ride.

        I don’t want to scare people off buying used bikes – I have one and it’s awesome, and lots of people buy great bikes on Craigslist all the time. But I just wanted to call this out particularly since Overeducated mentioned installing a child seat on the back, so definitely worth doing some extra due diligence.

        Plus, if you do a thorough inspection you will likely find something (wobbly wheel, etc) that needs attention and can ask for a discount!

        Reply
        1. Trixie

          Agreed. I would often just make my best judgement based on the person selling or friends of fiends. These days, lots of folks want to see perfectly good items end up with someone else can use them.

          Reply
    8. Not So NewReader

      A little off topic, but a good tip for recovery of a stolen bike: Put your business card or some other identifying (but not confidential) information down one of the tubes of the bike. Even if the thieves paint it, they probably will not notice the card inside the frame tube.

      Reply
    9. TheLiz

      I’d also recommend puncture resistant tires and/or Slime-type inner tubes. I made the switch when I realised that cycling >100 miles/week meant getting a puncture every 100 miles was really not sustainable, and it let me use much thinner wheels than I otherwise would have been able to put up with.

      Reply
      1. Overeducated

        Thanks. I actually just replaced one of my tires and tubes with a puncture resistant tire and slime tube after an awful run of flats (another reason I’m not ready to switch to a road bike), so I’m with you! It’s frustrating that then another part broke a week later, but I’m getting to the point where it feels like if I’m going to replace half the parts and build a new bike, I could at least have a frame and wheels I like better.

        Reply
      2. tires

        And some of it’s pure dumb luck… my road bike w/ Conti 4000GPs is my commuter/race/tri bike and it’s served me well for many, many miles, including getting tagged by a pickup truck last fall. The only thing that is seeing more wear than I’d like is my shoes/cleats and if I had a dedicated commuter rig, I’d have mountain bike shoes/pedals. I’d also probably throw on Gatorskins for good measure, ’cause why not?

        Reply
  7. Hopeful Kitten Fosterer

    Cat people of AAM! Have any of you been kitten fosterers while renting? Spouse and I would loooooove to foster kittens, but we rent an apartment, and the rules typically say no more than 2 pets. We already have two cats. I’m guessing most cat rescue orgs want you to get permission before bringing home a pile of kittens, since the last thing they want is for the landlord to kick the kittens / you out for breaking the lease. Did you have to explain the difference between fostering and adopting? Did you just smuggle the kittens in? Do you just have to hope the landlord is a cat person?

    Thanks in advance! =^.^=

    Reply
    1. Logan

      I have done it. I don’t remember asking for permission, as I had a cat so the landlord had okay’d pets, and I don’t think the rescues were too picky about it if you weren’t adopting.

      I don’t think a landlord should have a problem, but for both you and them I strongly recommend a reputable rescue. Ask their policy on vetting (where is their vet? How do they approve vet visits if an animal looks sick? I have had some rescues dismiss my concerns and refuse to approve a vet visit, and the kittens were seriously ill). What would they do if you have a family emergency – can they take them back in an emergency? (You should find a rescue with at least minimal extra capacity, otherwise they will always be pressuring for help with emergencies). Do they have a healthy adoption program? (Some rescues don’t do well at this and rely on fosters to help find homes).

      A rescue wants fosters who have the time, a separate room (this was my bathroom, for me, because I could wash it down easily), and commitment (some are wary of students).

      If you have all those things and do your research on the rescue then I think your landlord should be more than happy.

      Reply
      1. Crafty

        Yep, same experience. I’ve done it for many years, in 4 different apartments. They were all pet friendly apartments to start but I didn’t ask special permission (though all my landlords have been extremely hands off or pet lovers). It’s my most rewarding form of volunteering.

        Reply
    2. Doodle

      Not foster specific, but I’ve had good luck getting landlords to relax the pet number/type rules if I’ve already lived there a bit, and they can see how I care for the existing animals. So, cat #3 in a two cat rule apartment was fine because he’d seen that we kept the litter box clean, didn’t let the cats smell, etc.

      Number rules are almost always either about smells or hoarding — if you could show your landlord that you’re not a risk for either, I think you have a good shot.

      Reply
    3. neverjaunty

      Reputable places will want to talk to your landlord. Don’t sneak the kitty in.

      I have had good luck with landlords asking and offering to put down an additional pet deposit.

      Reply
    4. FD

      I’m a property manager. Please don’t sneak the kittens in. I’m going to be totally honest here–if someone does that, it probably means that they’re willing to break the lease in other ways. If the landlord finds out, you’d be in default, which can lead to you having to return the kittens or get evicted. It also tends to broadcast that you don’t take that lease seriously, and to be honest, if someone does that, it makes me pretty wary about renewing their lease. Moreover, a reputable shelter should check with a landlord before putting kittens in your care.

      So, you’re thinking about the cute kittens, and how you’re going to help them, right?

      Here’s what the landlord is thinking about. Kittens may not know where to do their business right away, which means you have the potential for cat urine or feces on the walls and floor. Cat urine is NOTORIOUSLY hard to get out–a lot of times you need to completely rip out the carpet or drywall and replace it to get it out. And it can soak into the cracks between hard floors too. Moreover, kittens love to climb, which means we can be talking about curtain, blind, and wall damage. You can easily be talking about thousands of dollars of damage, which is likely way more than your security deposit.

      Honestly, in my opinion, this is a “Don’t do it in a rental” situation, but if you’re really determined, the best case would be to do the following:
      1. Have you been renters for multiple months, with a good record of paying rent on time, no damages, no noise complaints? You can start with that.
      2. Have a plan about how to avoid the damages I mentioned. Maybe that’s demonstrating how you’re going to put down tarps to avoid any possible floor damage, or maybe that’s showing how the room you want to keep them in won’t have any way to climb in ways that will cause damage.
      3. Offer to let the landlord come and inspect frequently, like every two weeks or something, to see that no damage is being done.

      And still, be prepared to hear no, because this is a huge risk from a landlord’s perspective.

      Reply
      1. Hopeful Kitten Fosterer

        Thanks for the advice, all, especially FD. Good idea about putting a tarp/shower curtain down. I’ve never lived in a place that provided curtains, lol. We’ve helped TNR a few times, and it’s tough to find and rescue kittens and not be able to help them all the way to their new home. Our current landlords are pretty inflexible (things like giving <24 hour warnings for inspections) so we didn't even bother to ask. We're moving in August, so we'll probably hold off on trying to foster for a while :(

        Reply
        1. families!

          It’s not the same thing but may I suggest volunteering? at least here, there’s always a need. You get to spend time with extra cats and really increase their quality of life and adoptability – cats that are withdrawn and depressed: are more likely to get sick, are less likely to attract adopters. There are even kittens.

          Reply
      2. Not So NewReader

        My friend is a landlord. His biggest complaint is the cats pee on the floor and you can never get the smell out.
        Be prepared to explain what you will do if the cat pees on the floor while you are working/sleeping/etc.

        Reply
      3. TardyTardis

        You can also put a cheap large room rug down, either thin enough to be washable or cheap enough to be tossed (we did this for my son whose housekeeping, for various reasons, isn’t that great)–it will look and feel better than a tarp. If you have a Big Lots in your area, you can find some nice ones for less than $50.

        Reply
      4. Logan

        Point 2 is exactly why I keep the cat / kittens in the washroom for at least a week. Fosters are often sick, and I’ve had plenty of icky litter boxes (I always put the boxes in the bath, so it’s easy to contain and clean the mess).

        Reply
      5. MattKnifeNinja

        I would checked your lease.

        My lease says any more animals other than what is okayed on the original lease starts up the eviction process. The property management has no problems starting eviction proceedings by how many notices are taped to doors where I live. (my place is a huge rental property)

        Animals not on the lease that causes damage, the renter will be charged the full cost of the repair. Ask anyone who has tried to get cat pee smell out of a subfloor, it’s not cheap. The property managers also fire up small claims court to recoup the damages, which can trash your credit rating.

        Cats are a $50 monthly surcharge per cat compared to $25 for a dog. That’s how much landlords dont’t want cats around here.

        The atmosphere around where I live has gotten bad because people are sneaking in animals, and claiming they are emotional support animals.
        You don’t pay a pet deposit or fees for a ESA. What people don’t realize (at least where I live), ESAs don’t have any fees, but you better pray to God the animal does nothing but minimal wear and tear. That’s were small claims court and don’t count on a good reference comes in.

        The only reason I mention the above, is you might be person number 5, who wants an exception to the animal clause of the lease, and the manager isn’t feeling it.

        I guess, spin the situation around. Would you be thrilled by tenant doing stuff on the down low, which potentially could cost you a lot of month if it goes south?

        Go to the landlord and ask. It makes you look way more responsible than sneaking around like an kid.

        If the person does a full bore hell no, you know what type of person you are dealing with. They’ll go both barrels to recoup any damages done to the property.

        And if they say okay, you won’t have dread hanging over your head and can enjoy the foster experience.

        Reply
    5. Former foster

      I fostered kittens for a while, and absolutely loved it. I do strongly second the recommendation of finding a reputable organization. The organization I fostered with required a home visit before they would give you fosters to care for, to ensure that the cats would be in a safe space. They also had a vet and a vet tech who worked in the main shelter, so whenever a cat was sick I was able to call the foster coordinator, get her input, and bring the cats by whenever it seemed necessary. In addition, my experience with the kittens’ personalities was taken into consideration when finding a home for them.
      On the downside I did experience a good bit of pressure to take in new kittens. This is because in the South East there is a huge overpopulation in kill shelters, so literally not finding a foster often means that healthy kittens are euthanized because the rescue can’t take them in. The other issue is that although most kittens know exactly where to go, I have made the experience that fosters coming out of hoarding situations are not so good about using only the litterbox. This is because they were born into an environment where they did not have a dry, sandy space to do their business, so they have learned that anywhere will work. I did not have a lot of carpets in the apartment, so the few kittens with this issue usually would pick a towel or card box to pee on. Because of this, you should have a room without carpets where the kittens can hang out, like a bathroom. The room also shouldn’t be drafty so the little things don’t get sick. Also, you want to make sure that the space you have is not a space your cats can enter, in case you need to quarantine the fosters (hello, URIs), and because at first you should keep them separate anyways.
      So those are all things you should consider. I personally absolutely loved it, and my cats really bonded with some of the kittens, which was just heart warming, but made it harder to give them away. If you find that this is more than you can commit to, a lot of rescues need help at the shelter, and with places like petsmart / petco, where they often keep cats for adoption.
      In case you are looking for a rescue in the Atlanta area you should try Furkids.

      Reply
  8. My two cents

    In our newly globalised world (i.e. due to social media)…
    Does anyone have suggestions on how to address imbalances between countries, within groups? I am part of a group for a specific topic, and most people discuss small things in their lives. In some countries, participants are targets of hate, and have legitimate and very serious concerns about their health, finances, and lives. I want to acknowledge these huge problems, without making it into 24/7 guilt because my little problem isn’t life-threatening. At this time most people just ignore those comments, likely because they don’t know what to say. While we have an easier life, we can’t afford to sponsor everyone, nor can many people afford to donate to charities which could help them. I’d prefer to at least say something, but don’t want to accidentally be hurtful. Does anyone have experience with this dynamic?

    Reply
    1. Forking Great Username

      Well, as you already seem to know, just don’t ignore them – the whole “not knowing what to say so you don’t say anything” dynamic is a pretty awful one, in my opinion! All you can really do is be a sympathetic ear to listen – tell them that you’re sorry, if you’re saddened and outraged on their behalf, etc. You don’t have to feel guilty for living in a better situation, but you should feel guilty if you’re ignoring their pain because it’s unpleasant to think about it. We can’t all be “on” to this stuff 24/7, but at least while reading and responding to their posts.

      Reply
      1. Triple Anon

        Yeah. And I think it’s ok to open up about how you’re feeling. “I really wish I could help,” or something like that.

        Reply
    2. My two cents

      Thanks for the input! You have agreed with my plan, which is a relief. Life isn’t perfect but we can at least aim to do our part.

      Reply
  9. Jack Be Nimble

    I posted last week about my nerves before meeting my partner’s parents, and it went well! I made a pound cake and loaded the dishwasher, and I’m 110% crediting my domestic impulses with winning them over.

    Reply
    1. Vancouver Reader

      Or just that you’re that awesome, with or without loading a dishwasher or making pound cake. :)

      Reply
    2. Triplestep

      Awesome as you may be, I can personally attest to the power of loading the dishwasher. I did this the first time I met my now-inlaws, and it’s become a tradition. At the time I was thinking “I don’t know this kitchen; I don’t know where anything is or where anything goes. I think I will plant myself here and load the dishwasher”. And it stuck!

      Reply
  10. Anonymous Ampersand

    Just had a party for the child. 9 kids plus a sibling that wasn’t invited but who I guessed might be there and 5 grown ups.

    Is it bedtime yet?

    Reply
    1. Anonymous Ampersand

      At home. Missed out the key piece of info!!

      So glad my friend and sister agreed to help out!! Weirdly I put paper and coloured pencils out in case any of the quieter kids wanted to draw but actually loads of them did!

      Reply
    2. Loves Libraries

      I remember my worst headaches during child rearing years were when I had a birthday party at my house. I soon learned not to make this mistake again. How about some wine?

      Reply
      1. Anonymous Ampersand

        I knew it was a mistake before I even agreed to it but Medium Child was adamant that was what he wanted. At least it kept the cost down, although I think I owe my helpers a night out that I pay for!! Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

        I can highly recommend the drawing corner idea. In fact Medium Child was insistent we had to start with “free time” – about half the kids played the party games I had planned, but honestly, if I’d just let them all carry on drawing/doing jigsaws/marble run etc that probably would have kept them all happy :)

        Oh, also, I accidentally let my own child win pass the parcel. I was trying SO HARD to make sure it was Anyone Else. Heh.

        Reply
  11. AnonyAnony

    I’m picking up a new car later today! It’s more car than I really need space-wise and seating-wise, but it’s really comfortable and has lots of bells and whistles. Things have been stressful lately at work and I’ve been dealing with caring for a family member with a short-term medical issue, so doing something nice for me should help change my perspective to be more positive – or at least less negative, I hope.

    Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        You are the second person I have ever heard mention this. Someone threw change in the back seat of one of my cars and I left it there until I sold it and had to give it a good cleaning.
        Any idea where this tradition comes from?

        Reply
      2. Chaordic One

        In my Roman Catholic family the first thing you did when you got a new car was to install a St. Christopher medal in it for good luck.

        Reply
        1. SpiderLadyCEO

          Mine too. We have car rosaries hung from our rearview mirrors as well, and mom keeps buying us all safe travels medallions. At this point, I have the rosary, two medallions, a travel prayer book, and a third medallion in my wallet that says “I am Catholic, call a priest”. My mother is a little bit worried about us driving, I think.

          Reply
          1. Chaordic One

            Now that I think of it, I’ve also seen a lot of “Guardian Angel” medals and pins for cars, too. They seem to be part of the “angel” craze that started back in the 1990s.

            Reply
  12. Minimalism

    Any minimalists here? I have anxiety and depression and have noticed that there is a correlation between how I am feeling and shopping (the less good months for me, mental healthwise, the more I tend to buy). I sometimes struggle with feeling envious of what other people have and was curious if anyone has noticed improved happiness/contentness after embracing a more minimalist lifestyle.

    Reply
    1. Photographers

      Try using the FlyLady method of decluttering. She is really attainable for people with mental health issues and it can feel very validating to accomplish a small task.

      Reply
      1. Photographers

        To more directly answer: it feels good to have fewer things— less to clean/maintain, so more time to relax. Visual clutter can also be mentally taxing.

        Reply
        1. Triplestep

          I liked her years ago (still use her 15 minute timer method for big jobs) but I found that she was really geared to homemakers, or people who work from home. This might have changed, but if you signed up for her reminders, you’d get message throughout the day that would tell you to do something you couldn’t accomplish unless you were at home.

          Reply
      2. MattKnifeNinja

        I’ll second FlyLady. Even if you don’t go beyond the beginner 30 day steps, it still gives you a decent outline to declutter and regain some control.

        Reply
    2. Leticia

      I think it depends on what you mean by minimalism. I have very few clothes but A LOT OF art in the walls. Visual clutter is not something I struggle with. I actually enjoy it.
      What made me a lot less miserable was quitting social media – everybody is there selling the idea that they are the happiest ever and not seeing all that made me more content with what I have.

      Reply
      1. Minimalism

        I actually don’t have much on my walls, but I’m thinking more about getting rid of a ton of “things”—books, clothes, etc.

        Reply
        1. Trixie

          I find this kind of purging /downsizing helpful. Donating books, clothes, dishes, pans, just stuff I really don’t use or wear anymore. I instantly find it feels more organized and easier to straighten or find what I do need. Lands somewhere between FlyLady and Marie Kondo methods.

          Reply
          1. Triplestep

            I agree with this. We went through a major remodel last year and got rid of a lot of stuff. But I found I was happier when I had *plans* for the give-away piles. For example, all the office and school supplies went to my neighbor who teaches public school (and she took some winter jackets as well.) Old eyeglasses went to a Lion’s Club collection, and professional clothing we no longer used went to an organization that prepares immigrants for job interviews. This meant I had to keep stuff around longer when it would have felt better to just get rid of it, but I liked knowing that the stuff was going to the place it would do the most good.

            Reply
        2. sharon

          My sister in law remodeled her house 15 years ago. She did a pretty good job decorating. My only issue is: in her bathroom is one towel bar and a pedestal sink. So no where to stash tp and a decorative set of towels that are “visual use only”, ON THE ONLY BAR! I live with her now, so I see this every day and SMH. Any ideas to getting rid of the towels?

          Reply
    3. Detective Amy Santiago

      I am eager to see what kind of responses you get because I’m considering embracing minimalism too.

      Reply
      1. Coldfeet

        I’m just catching up on the latest B99 season, and actually thought of you while watching and wondered whether you’ll be changing your handle to Sergeant Amy Santiago!?

        Reply
    4. neverjaunty

      I would recommend Don Aslett’s books about decluttering – they are relentlessly positive and have a lot of good advice about streamlining your life.

      Reply
    5. Caro in the UK

      I suffer with depression and anxiety too, and I’ve found decluttering to be immensely cathartic and beneficial. I’ve found it’s particularly helped my anxiety, perhaps because I have less (physical) stuff to worry about? It’s also a very satisfying task and makes me feel like I’ve “done something” on days when I struggle to do anything.

      I’d also second Leticia’s recommendation to quit social media. It’s made a huge, huge difference to my depression.

      Reply
    6. RestlessRenegade

      Agree 100% with people saying having less physical stuff means less anxiety. I feel the same way; it also reduces the amount of time I spend cleaning/organizing. I’m at the point where I can’t really declutter much because I’ve already decluttered most of the junk I own, but that was really fun. I also have just a few things that I collect and feel OK collecting (books and DVDs) so when I want to buy things, I focus on those so that I’m not adding extra stuff that I don’t “need” (like clothes, makeup, etc.)
      For me, the important thing about minimalism/organizing is everything having a place, even it’s just a very broad category (like one of my closets is for “decorations/wrapping paper/camping stuff”), and if I spend a little time each day making sure everything’s put away, I feel less anxiety about my space and I always know where everything is.
      Something else I enjoy is online window shopping. I like to look at what I would buy, or what’s available, but then not actually buy something–but this might backfire if you can’t resist actually buying the stuff. I also keep lists of things (books, DVDs, care products, etc.) to buy when I have a little extra money and then I get to make a day of it (recently bought a TON of books at Goodwill for $14, and then spent $50 on a huge haul at my favorite used DVD/music store–worth it!)
      I usually want to shop when I feel bored or sad, so I try to fight that emotion with other things (reading, exercise, etc.) If I feel like I want to splurge, sometimes I watch minimalism/decluttering videos on YouTube to inspire myself. If I’m already going shopping, I will pick one item that really spoils me and is under $10 or so and just buy that instead of buying a lot of things I want but don’t need.
      Hope this helps!

      Reply
      1. Minimalism

        This is an excellent idea to watch YouTube videos about minimalism when I feel the urge to go buy something, as they were what inspired this idea of downsizing in the first place!

        Reply
    7. Not So NewReader

      Definitely not a minimalist here. But the idea fascinates me.
      I probably got rid of 1/3 of the stuff I had here. omg. It was hard initially. But once I decided to let go of a few things that were a big deal to me (yet USELESS), the decisions started getting easier and faster. It was kind of like a dam burst in my thought process.
      I can’t recommend it highly enough. I am not saying to perfectly declutter and certainly I haven’t. But it’s very freeing to lighten up our homes.
      I got rid of the stuff that provoked sad memories. We have these ball and chains we carry around and don’t even realize. If it’s got a strong negative memory then get rid of it. It’s just not worth it. Some of the items were sale-able. I took that money and used it to repair items I planned on keeping. That made me feel better about selling the negative item. (Looking at YOU, Family Heirloom that I never liked! I refuse to be a museum for my ancestors.)

      I looked at things we have not used in recent years. The rule of thumb is one year. Well, my life is odd so I moved it to a two year rule. If I had not used it in two years then out it went. I brought these things to auction with the negative things I had collected up.

      I did make a rule that if I bought something I had to get rid of TWO things. This really helped me to watch how much I brought home. Was it worth digging around to find two things to get rid of?

      As I went along, I started realizing that as we move through life our needs change. What is important now, may not be necessary in seven years. This made me think about using a purge-as-I-go method. I now have a garbage bag in place where I can toss things as I come across them. When the bag is full I donate it and start a fresh bag. I also collect stuff to recycle.

      Finding good homes for some items was key in helping me get rid of the items. I knew the person I gave it to would actually use it.
      Unfinished craft projects was another big category. I got rid of every other project. This felt so good, I felt weighted down by the reminders that I had not yet made this or that. And I stopped buying craft projects.

      It did work into a lot of self-examination. I had to figure out what was actually important to me given my time constraints. I believe the more stuff I removed the clearer my thinking got.
      I only made two serious mistakes through it all. I was able to find similar items at garage sales and replace those items that I had gotten rid of in error.

      Just my opinion but our belongings can weigh us down. We feel obliged to take care of them and then when we don’t the guilt comes flooding in. It’s a no win thing. Barebones, get rid of the stuff that has a negative connotation to you. The next owner will not have that connotation and they will happily use the item. And you will be glad to see it GONE.

      Reply
    8. Chaordic One

      I recently read an article where the author said something along the lines of, “Don’t think of it as clutter, think of it as Abundance.”

      Reply
    9. Ermintrude Mulholland

      I’m mid declutter for a house move and it Is very cathartic. I really didn’t think we had anything to declutter but it has been weeks of us recycling and taking things to charity shops and now, the tip. We haven’t got rid of enough yet to get that feeling of lightness but hopefully we are getting there – I can feel it in my future – so long as we keep going!

      Reply
    10. Stephanie

      Not necessarily minimalism, but I definitely notice I spend more when my house is cluttered and messy (because I don’t want to be at home and being the child of the suburbs that I am…I go kill time at the mall).

      Reply
    11. Cedrus Libani

      I’m the kind of person who thinks of stuff as a net negative. I’ve got to find somewhere to put it, I’ve got to remember where I put it, I’ve got to spend money and time to buy the right thing and keep it in repair, etc. Having piles of random stuff around stresses me out. Left to my own devices, I could move around the world with a suitcase or two (and I have). But I’ve got a partner who thinks of stuff as a net positive, a source of security and a trigger for good memories…this is the one axis where we can really grind each others’ nerves. (Fortunately, we can throw money at the problem – we have a second bedroom that I pretend doesn’t exist, where he can hoard his junk in peace.)

      I think that’s different from expecting a new shiny object to make you happy, though. It won’t, and it’s good to deal with that up front.

      Reply
    12. SS Express

      I’m very similar to you – anxiety and depression, shopping to feel better – but over the years I’ve been decluttering and acquiring less. I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist by any means, but I have nowhere near as much stuff as I used to and everything I have is stuff I truly love and/or get a lot of use out of. It’s soooo good. The less I have the lighter I feel.

      Practical tips:
      -Don’t put pressure on yourself to get rid of EVERTHING or to never shop again unless you desperately need something. If you’re the sort of person who likes to have Nice Things or you’re very into clothes or books then it’s absolutely fine to have more items than strictly necessary, as long as it feels like something you’re consciously choosing.
      -Read a few books/blogs and see what approaches work for you, but don’t feel that you have to follow any one approach strictly (Marie Kondo’s philosophy really suits me but I definitely didn’t follow her exact method.)
      -Focus on wanting what you have: take good care of your belongings, get broken things fixed, enjoy wearing an outfit over and over because you love it so much, organise things in a way that is convenient as well as aesthetically (or otherwise) pleasing. I have pinterest boards where I save outfits I could recreate from things I already own, and even pictures of just individual items that I have, instead of pinning beautiful things that I will then want to go and buy.

      Reply
    13. OtterB

      If you find shopping enjoyable and the issue is stuff rather than the finances of it, can you shop for someone else? Charitable organizations sometimes have Amazon wish lists – for books or household things – and I enjoy going through and picking out some things to donate.

      Reply
  13. OperaArt

    Do any of you have experience ordering custom tailored pencil skirts from Rita Phil? I have a lot of experience ordering from eShakti, and am wondering how the two compare.

    Reply
  14. Loopy

    Random advice needed:

    Any tips for cleaning oil/non-stick spray off pans? Like the non-stick ones? I can’t tell if I’m just using crap/cheap dish soap or being lazy (we hand wash) or my technique is off. I just let one soak with soap overnight and water is still beading up/I can still see traces of oil when it’s filled with water. Why don’t know how to properly wash a pan?

    Also, does anyone else feel discomfort when wearing dangly style earrings? I got a bunch from my grandmother and they don’t seem hugely heavy or solid but by early afternoon I usually have to take them out because at least one ear feels sore. Is this just a reality of dangly style earrings or are my ears sensitive?

    Reply
    1. Green Kangaroo

      The nonstick spray becomes very gummy when exposed to heat, so I find that regular dish soap doesn’t get them clean. I make a paste of baking soda and coconut oil (seems counter intuitive) and use it to gently scrub gummy pans, then wash as usual. Hardware stores also sell products to clean gunk from surfaces, but I’m not 100% sure they are safe for food containers.

      If the earrings are ones your grandmother used to wear, they may have some metal or alloy in them that you’re reacting to?

      Reply
      1. Violaine

        It might seem counterintuitive, but “like dissolves like” is something that stuck with me from college chemistry. I makes sense that it would work.

        Reply
      2. Violaine

        It might seem counterintuitive, but “like dissolves like” is something that stuck with me from college chemistry. It makes sense that it would work.

        Reply
        1. runner girl

          Yes, but once it’s gummy, the oil has started to polymerize, so you can’t readily take advantage of that property. Greased Lightning or Simple Green are going to be your best bets that you can buy at almost any store, without getting into caustics. You said your pans are non-stick, so Greased Lightning + scrubbing is probably what you’ll need to do. Caustics will make pretty quick work of polymerized oil, but probably not a good idea on non-stick coatings. (Qualification… used to work in a salty snack manufacturing facility and grease goes *everywhere* there)

          Reply
      3. Loopy

        I’m glad it’s not just me. And yes, gummy is the perfect word. Sadly I dont have coconut oil on hand to try that today.

        Not sure it’s the material as they vary in the metals and my ears don’t seem irritated after I take them off. It too bad, I adore them all so much. I wear so much black they go a long way to adding some flair/brightness to my look with no effort.

        Reply
        1. Kat in VA

          I’m thinking almost any kind of oil would work, though – olive, canola, whatever you’ll got (that’s food safe, of course!)

          Reply
    2. ThatGirl

      Don’t use vegetable spray on baking pans. I know, I do it too, but on metal baking sheets it bakes into the finish and becomes gummy and sticky.

      For existing gunk, barkeepers friend or baking soda.

      Reply
      1. Loopy

        On baking pans I usually use aluminum foil and that way I dont have to spray the actual pan. However, with stovetop frying pants that’s not an option :(

        Tried baking soda but… forgot I had mixed vinegar in the water I was soaking the pan in so… I think I started taking the non-stick coat off… uh oh.

        Reply
        1. ThatGirl

          True, I didn’t realize you meant stovetop. Cooking spray can work but for nonstick pans it doesn’t, you shouldn’t need any spray. A little butter or oil for flavor.

          Reply
          1. Loopy

            Ah, directions for a silly frozen veggie burger stated I should spray the pan and then cook the burger so… I never questioned it. The Directions are not to be questions… by an abysmal cook. Also the are such old pans… I dont trust them very much, even to do their one job of not sticking. They are pretty…well…I’ll stick with old.

            Reply
        2. Anonymosity

          If the non-stick coating is coming off/scratched, toss the pan. A damaged coating is more likely to release harmful substances when heated.

          I quit using non-stick altogether. I only have stainless steel, cast iron, and two ceramic pans–a tiny shallow square one for sauteing small amounts of stuff, and a tiny saucepan for melting butter, etc. My George Foreman grill has a non-stick coating and so does the waffle iron, but the heat is controlled on those appliances. Once they get gnarly, out they go.

          Reply
          1. Loopy

            Oh my…. uh oh. I didn’t realize it was such a risk. It’s not noticeably peeling so I guess I didn’t think much of it.

            Reply
            1. Natalie

              It’s really not, actually. When heated over 500F, the coating can start breaking down on a molecular level and there’s conflicting research on whether the resulting gases are carcinogenic. But that is unrelated to visible flaking.

              Reply
    3. ann

      You can try spraying it with vinegar using a spray bottle and letting it sit a few minutes before washing. I read that tip on wire cutter recently.

      Reply
      1. Loopy

        The vinegar helped but the water was still beading in a way that suggested the surface was still oily. These are old pans so I’m honestly not sure if that’s a factor. Also I accidentally let it sit, was distracted (waiting for vet appointment for my dog) and dumped baking soda over it.

        I may have ruined the pan…and it still doesn’t seem clean.

        Reply
      2. Slartibartfast

        I have a spray bottle that’s filled with hakf white vinegar, half blue Dawn dish soap. It takes the gunk off if just about everything, spray and let sit overnight. (This is the best shower cleaner ever)

        Reply
    4. RMiranda

      I’m on Team Don’t Use Spray… and also Team Stop Wrecking Your Pan. Non-stick pans can be “seasoned” just like cast iron. Get food particles and excess oil off, but don’t try to take it back to off-the-shelf new. Seasoned is not the same as dirty. I have two non-stick pans; one has a history of being washed very thoroughly, and the other (seasoned) gets a quick wash in the sink with a gentle scrubber, hot water, and minimal soap. I wash it a little more thoroughly if animal fats were involved. Even though they are the same brand and style (different sizes), the seasoned one is a MUCH better pan in terms of even heating and not sticking. Yes, you will see water beading. That’s a good thing.

      Reply
      1. Loopy

        Oh man, I had no idea. I cook a veggie burger and the direction say to spray the pan…so I do. I am an awful cook and never question The Directions. Even for a forzen veggie burger. I kept fretting I was being dirty because the water was still beading (I have a history of being abysmal with hand washing dishes, I wash never really properly taught and have serious insecurities despite good intentions).

        We have an OLD set now and put a nice new set on the wedding registry so i wanted to figure it out before we get anything nicer!

        Reply
        1. RMiranda

          Don’t beat yourself up. I was an incompetent cook too until I got a couple of Blue Apron meal kit boxes and learned by following their very good instructions. (In fact, that’s how I justified spending money on meal kits: I got better ingredients than my terrible grocery store carries and finally, at the age of Well Into Adulthood, learned to cook nice food.)

          I discovered this nonstick pan thing by accident, after messing up a different pan by putting it in the dishwasher. (Don’t put nonstick stuff in the dishwasher.) I was *delighted*. If you’re fretting about the pan being icky for cooking, remember that the first thing that happens when you put it on the stove is it gets hot and thus sterile!

          I don’t use cooking spray at all. Olive oil or canola oil (for stuff you don’t want to taste like olive oil) is great, and less expensive by quantity. Just put a little bit in and heat. Oil thins as it gets hot so you’ll need less than you think to grease the pan lightly. Just swirl it around a little and boom! Greased pan with no sticky spray additives. If you do like spraying, especially for baking pans, you can get a reusable oil sprayer bottle and fill it with the oil of your choice.

          When you get your new non-stick stuff, you can even pre-season it. Then you’ll know why the water beads. :) https://madeincookware.com/blogs/beyond-the-burner/seasoning-your-non-sticks

          Good luck!

          Reply
          1. Lasslisa

            I haven’t used cooking spray since I started to keep my own kitchen, but regular oil polymerizes in just the same way and doesn’t always make a nice seasoning-type coating. I’ve got a couple of non stick pans that tend to develop orange sticky gunk around the edges (wherever there may be oil without food) and stop being effectively non-stick, and my trick for getting it off is a paste of baking soda and dish soap. I’m not sure it really ever returns the non-stick coating to the same level of non stickiness it had when it was new, though.

            I mainly use cast iron for that reason, and also because it can handle higher heat – you’re not supposed to use most nonstick coatings above Medium.

            Reply
    5. MRK

      On the earrings, if you think it is the hook part of the dangles bugging you, you may be able to switch them onto studs that allow a hanging piece to be attached. Obviously this requires being a bit crafty but it doesn’t really require major skills/tools (needle nose pliers and a pack of the studs should be in most major craft store jewelry sections)

      Reply
    6. Not So NewReader

      The only thing I have ever had much luck with is Dawn. You can pick up a small bottle at the dollar store now. I use that when nothing else works. I don’t use it all the time because it dries my hands until they crack and bleed.

      Your pans may have hit their life expectancy time. If the non-stick is coming off you don’t want that in your food.

      Earrings. I have sensitive ears and a long history of ear problems. Earrings that seem like they should work okay, actually don’t. Like you say, as the day wears on I have to take them off. I have no idea how other people can do it.
      Maybe you can take a small pair of wire cutters and shorten the earrings in a manner that makes sense and the earring still looks nice.

      Reply
      1. Loopy

        I think they are past their life expectancy. We have a wedding registry with new ones on there so I’ve been putting off buying anything. We have about 6-7 months of holding out… but… well with how much I like cooking I’m considering just trying to avoid them!

        Reply
    7. Star Nursery

      I think that the”like dissolves like” applies to cleaning oils so I’m interested to try the coconut oil/baking soda suggestion above. I usually use Olive oil or butter on the frying pan. Before I wash in the sink, I will wipe out the pan with a paper towel so get most of the oil then wash with Dawn. My spouse has said he thinks I use too much oil in the frying pans so I have been recently trying to cut back how much oil I heat up and that might help too.

      Earrings – I am the same way with long earrings unless they are super light. I’ve become more and more picky to buy metals that won’t have allergic reactions and if they are long and dangling to be very light weight. Sometimes I keep two pairs in my purse if I do want to pair a long pair with an outfit and I figure that u will have to take them out before the end of the day so I switch to another pair. I don’t think I’ve heard any comments from co-workers and u don’t do this a lot so they might never notice.

      Reply
      1. Loopy

        I think it may be worth splurging on Dawn. We use a cheaper brand!

        The back up earrings is an EXCELLENT idea!!!

        Reply
        1. Star Nursery

          Yay, glad you like the idea for the extra pair of earrings.

          We were previously using Joy but switched to Dawn.

          Reply
    8. SpiderLadyCEO

      My ears can’t seem to tolerate any weight at all- I used to wear small hoops all the time, but now dangle earrings just seem to tug. I just wear them for evening events now. I think it is just the reality of dangling earrings for some!

      Reply
    9. Jemima Bond

      Um, the water is going to bead on a non-stick pan even when clean because of the Teflon surface. If you keep cleaning it until the water behaves like it would on a normal pan, that’s when you’ve scrubbed the non-stick coating off.

      Reply
  15. Family Trip Dread

    Family Trip Dread

    Thank you so much to everyone who responded to my post two weekends ago. I’m home now from my family trip and have digested the comments in comparison with what frustrated me about this vacation and the ones that have come before.

    Many people said that I should just leave in the morning and do my own thing. I did want to do that but the few times I mentioned doing that to my mom, she asked me not to do it, to wait for her and my sister. Those who pointed out the money issue were right. Because she and my father paid for the entire trip (flights, hotel, rental car, food, etc), I felt like I should be following her wishes and thus restrained myself to the plans of her and my sister. So I do think if I take back a little power with money, whether pay my airfare or get my own rental car, that would help me feel more in control.

    The other reason it was harder for me to strike out on my own during the trip was just due to our location. There was little to no public transportation in our vacation spot. So it definitely was harder for me to get around without my own car. So I’ll take that into consideration when deciding if I would want to go on a trip with them, by making sure there are taxis or buses for me to utilize on our next getaway.

    So thanks all for the comments! I don’t think I will be completely swearing off vacations with my family; I just need to set better expectations and plan better for being able to get away on my own when I need a break from them and want to do something else. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. LCL

      Since you don’t mention any blowout arguments and are still speaking to each other, consider this trip a success!

      Reply
    2. LadyKelvin

      Another option (and what we usually do for family trips) is that we will overlap with our families but either arrive a few days earlier and leave after 3 days with our families, or arrive a few days later than them and stay a few extra days to make sure we get to do what we want. Its a win-win for us, and it might be an option for you.

      Reply
  16. Come On Eileen

    I am having trouble sleeping in on weekends. I tend to get up early most days during the week so I can exercise, and I’d like to be able to sleep in a bit on Saturday or Sunday. But my body isn’t having it. I know there’s lots of sleep hygiene recommendations that say you should get up at the same time every day, but weekends are the only days I could sleep in and I’d like to. My eyes opened around 5:00 today and for the life of me I couldn’t get back to sleep. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Photographers

      You can’t force your circadian rhythm around. Can you treat yourself to a nap instead? Or cozy around in bed reading or eating breakfast?

      Reply
        1. Kat in VA

          Fourthing nap. I get up at 0530-0600 every day. I’m in between jobs and I’d rather just stick with that schedule, since any job I get (unless it’s in my town which is unlikely, welcome to the DC metro area!) I’m going to have to get up around that time to get out the door. However, I am a FIEND for napping on the weekend and it doesn’t seem to impact my overall sleeping ability too much.

          I’ve noticed on the rare occasions when I wake up at my usual time and wrestle myself back to sleep, I’m screwed up and groggy for the entire day.

          Also, you don’t actually have to sleep to get snooze time in…some ear plugs, a fan, and just dozing in and out is just as good! YMMV

          Reply
          1. Anonymosity

            I so freaking need to do this. I’ve been going to bed at midnight and getting up at 7 or 7:30. My schedule will be a nightmare once I’m working again.

            Reply
    2. Anonymous Ampersand

      I find this too. All the disclaimers about sleep hygiene, but: i find that playing Bejeweled stars for a while then trying to sleep again works for me. Other games are available :)

      Reply
    3. Not So NewReader

      Agreeing with those who said take a nap later on. Decades ago, I had a problem getting up in the morning. I deliberately stopped sleeping in on weekends because that only left me wanting to sleep in on weekdays. Weekend naps were my solution and I just loved them. Sometimes I sleep better in a nap than I do at night.

      Reply
    4. CTT

      I’m like you, but I cannot nap during the day (believe me, I’ve tried). So when I wake up early on weekends, I treat myself by staying in bed and watching something on my laptop. So I’m up, but at least it’s a restful being up, and I won’t really start my day till 8 or 9.

      Reply
    5. Erin

      Come over and hang out with my 2 year old who also gets up at 5am despite the rest of us wanting to sleep later? :-)

      Reply
  17. Forking Great Username

    How do you plan a vacation overseas without getting completely overwhelmed? It’s still a while away, but husband and I want to do something special for our 10th anniversary in a couple of years. We’ve never been outside North America and want tropical and relaxing – at the moment Bora Bora is at the top of my list. But just researching the process for getting there has me a bit overwhelmed! We’re in the Midwest and I’m more used to planning trips to Disney, NYC, Chicago, etc. I’m not sure where to even begin! Those of you who do international travel, do you usually use a travel agent (something I’ve never done before) or just research and book on your own? All I know at this point is that I’m obsessed with the idea of a bungalow over the water, and have done some research on what resort should offer them and preliminary info on pricing, differences between resorts, etc. Oh, and also know that our flight will likely involve at least three legs…one to the west coast, one to Tahiti, then one to bora bora.

    Reply
    1. Annie

      I use tripadvisor to find hotels and to get an overview for things to do. Tropical relaxing vacation is actually more simple to plan, because you’re not jumping from location to location ( like traveling around say in France from town to town).
      It’s not fun to plan, but with online resources, much less complicated.
      We use expedia for the flight and often for the hotel booking ( tripadvisor as the research tool).
      I’m too cheap to pay a travel agent, and would wonder if they picked the right thing, making me research anyway.

      Reply
    2. Falling Diphthong

      Google visit bora bora for ideas; you also might peruse travel guides at a book store. That will help you narrow down areas. I have had good luck, once we knew where we were going, with pulling up google maps and checking out hotels that have the location I want.

      This may not be what you want, in which case ignore, but if the criteria is just tropical and outside the US I would recommend both Costa Rica and Belize–charming, diverse (i.e. beaches, mountains, rain forest), the latter is English speaking, and jet lag is minimal. Anywhere Costa Rica was really useful for booking; they do some other countries but not Tahiti.

      Reply
      1. PhyllisB

        Random comment on Google maps: my daughter used to google our address for her son, and there was a shot of my husband trimming the wisteria tree!!!

        Reply
    3. Thlayli

      I usually look into it a bit myself first, but surprisingly quite often a travel agent is the cheapest way to do it.

      Reply
      1. MCL

        Seconded. I generally plan travel for shorter trips, but we went through a travel agent to organize our honeymoon to Costa Rica in 2017 and it was really great. I told her about our interests and budget and she put together an itinerary that we could sign off on or alter. It was a huge time saver and was a good experience. They can get discounts on a lot of things.

        Reply
        1. MCL

          It was important to us to stay at locally owned and operated resorts/lodgings instead of big international resort conglomerates (no judgment if you do; just not our style), and she was able to do it. You really can customize!

          Reply
      2. Thlayli

        Do you have go hop where you are? I went around Cuba with go hop a while ago. I had bought the lonely planet Cuba guidebook and we took the proposed itinerary from gohop and looked in lonely planet for estimates of accommodation and transport for the itinerary – by the time we got to day 5 of the guidebook estimate we had reached the total of the 12 day gohop tour.

        Lonely planet guidebooks are great for figuring out stuff you want to see though and for getting info about the history of the places. I have a little library of them now.

        Reply
      3. Parenthetically

        Nthing this — additional benefit being that if you’re in a jam while you’re traveling, your agent can help you out, often at no additional cost since they can get airlines to waive rebooking fees or it may be covered in their agreement with you. Totally worth it in my experience for international travel.

        Reply
    4. Dan

      You’re sort of asking two different questions, and I’m not entirely sure where you want the advice to focus. Question 1) as I see it is “How do you plan trips overseas, especially as a first time DIY?” Question 2) is: I want to go to Bora Bora, help me out!

      I’ve been to 30 countries and 6 continents (all DIY), and I split out the question like this for a good reason: Bora Bora is one of the most difficult to trips to plan on your own, especially as s first time DIY. As you noted, you have to get from LA to Papete, (which I think requires an overnight stay in Papete) and then from Papete you have to take a small flight out the islands. Bora Bora overwater bungalows are also insanely expensive: Most of what you’re finding is likely in the $1k+/night range.

      So you’re compounding some stress and anxiety by planning an expensive trip to places that are going to leave you wondering “Am I *sure* I did everything right? What happens if I miss X and lose some money?” (One answer to that is “cancel for any reason” trip insurance, but that is pricey.”) What I would *not* do in your shoes is book non-refundable hotel room.

      But to your question, yes, there are travel agents who specialize in all of this, and if you want to go to Bora Bora, I’d probably recommend that you use a reputable one. (Unfortunately, I don’t use travel agents, so can’t help you with that one.)

      Another area that offers over water bungalows is the Maldives. These days, it may be *slightly* easier to get over there, but it won’t be any cheaper. (You’ll likely take a middle eastern carrier such as Qatar, Etihad, and Emirates from Chicago or New York to the Middle East and then to Male. Alternatively, you can take Cathay Pacific from Chicago to Hong Kong to Male.) But from Male, you will need a sea plane or speed boat transfer.

      I will also tell you that these over-water bungalow places are typically isolated with little activity. E.g., if all you want to do is sit around and read a book, that’s your place, but if you want any more than that, you’ll get bored in a hurry.

      A recommendation for a first time DIY to a relaxing tropical place outside North America: Bali, Indonesia. You can catch a flight out of Chicago to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, then fly straight into Denpasar (only international airport in Bali). Bali has everything but over water bungalows. You can get night life or isolation, tropical hangouts, really nice villas for a reasonable price, and good food. There’s all kinds of stuff depending on where on the island you go. You can get around the whole island hiring a car and driver for $50 or so a day. Cost wise, I do find Bali to be much more value than those remote island places. But if you want what those places offer, then you don’t have many options.

      Basically, it’s hard to screw up Bali on your own, and there’s little to stress about and it’s cheap.

      I hope this helps.

      Reply
      1. Mad Baggins

        Seconding anywhere in Southeast Asia. Flight might be pricey but it’s cheap once you get there. Lots to see and do, toasty weather, great beaches. You can go through a travel agent or do it all yourself. I prefer to get the hotel on my own (I use tripadvisor or wikitravel to find them, and skyscanner for flights) and then sometimes find guided tours arranged by the hotel or a local travel company (often stated on wikitravel, or use lonelyplanet books).

        If you’ve never been outside North America, you might want to do some research on the country you’re going to and travel tips in general. Make sure you can answer questions like
        -do you need a visa and if so how do you get one?
        -what is the local currency and conversion to USD? can you use credit cards or is cash more common?
        -what is the best way to get around (and how will you navigate?)
        -will you get an international SIM card for your phone/portable wifi? experienced travelers may not need this but first timers probably want it as backup
        -how do you say hello/thanks/yes/no/how much/where is/please give me in the local language?
        -are there any cultural differences you should be aware of (like tipping, meal etiquette, local laws about trash disposal/conservation, how to get wait staff’s attention, religious customs and holidays that overlap your trip, common dangers/scams to be aware of)
        -what do you want to do there?? This is the fun part! I like to think of each day as 2 halves, so when I look up fun things to do I think “will this take a half day or full day?” and mark where it is on Google. That way if it rains, we can do these two half-day activities that are near each other, and if it’s sunny, we can do this full day activity farther away. I also make a list of foods to try!

        Reply
    5. CAA

      Sometimes I buy a full package that includes everything; sometimes I do it all myself. It just depends on where we’re going and how much time I have to work on it. I think a package is probably your best bet for French Polynesia since it’s an extremely expensive place to go and you want to stay at a resort with overwater bungalows. There are many options available that include airfare, lodging and some meals, and you may find that’s the cheapest way to do it. Even if you think you don’t want a package, looking at the itineraries that other companies have set up is a great way to get ideas for your own trip.

      When we went to Polynesia for our 25th anniversary, we used Paul Gauguin cruises and it was definitely an amazing and special trip. They include airfare from LAX on Air Tahiti Nui and they can also book the land portion of your trip before or after the cruise. I highly recommend them if you want an extra special experience without having to work out all the details yourself.

      Reply
      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        Oh man, I looked through their website once and the boats look incredible! Glad to see the reality lived up to the images.

        Reply
    6. AcademiaNut

      We do lots of travelling, generally budget. We sometimes book the plane travel through an agent, particularly with odd locations, as they have a better grasp of what connections work well. I’ve had bad experiences with third-party sites like expedia for booking, because if anything goes wrong, you have to deal with expedia for changes, not the airline, which is a lot more hassle, and means that you can be standing at the airline counter with a problem, unable to change your tickets.

      For accommodation, we usually use booking.com or agoda.com. We usually start with a location, and look at hotels that are in our price range and have good reviews. I’ve found that places that have reviews that praise the staff and owners have always given us great experiences even if they might not be as fancy as some others. At the same time, you also have to accept when an area is just plain expensive, particularly if you want the luxury experience. We book hotels and (sometimes) train tickets between places in advance, and have a general plan for things to do in each location. And I generally buy a Lonely Planet guidebook for the region when it comes to figuring out what cities to go to, and general ideas.

      It helps, a *lot*, to not be too anxious about everything going just as you planned it, and be willing to adapt and go with the flow because I can guarantee it won’t. Flights get delayed, weather gets bad, random illnesses and injuries occur.

      As someone else said, your trip is probably a good candidate for a travel agent, given the complicated nature of the travel, and the fact that you have strong ideas about what you want.

      Reply
    7. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      If you are determined to go Bora Bora:
      – I would build in time at each stop rather than go straight through, at least for one of the days. Like spend two days in LA coming back to help with the jetlag and reaccustom yourself to everything, see a different city. Or spend a day in Papeete on the way out (never been but I hear it is a bit dull) to start to immerse yourself. I’m a big fan of these short stopovers, which I have built in going out and coming back in for our trip to Asia in the fall (Singapore going out, Doha coming in). Usually for those stop-overs I break my “stay local!” rules and allow myself to book an international chain if needed, and do some light exploration.

      Regarding DIY:
      – I dont use travel agents (for the most part) as I truly enjoy the thrill of the hunt of a really good airfare and booking up convoluted itineraries for dumb reasons, not to mention research. However, I will caveat that with some of these areas where tourism is the only game in town, they are geared for the big resorts and if you color outside those lines, it will be a bit more challenging. We just went to Antigua, which was a bit more “rustic” than I was expecting, and we DIYd using an Airbnb. Had a fun time, but given how much food and alcohol is imported, not to mention potentially intermittent water and electricity supplies ,there is some benefit to staying ringfenced in a resort to eliminate high costs and keep the budget down. To DIY, to us, is to live a bit more like a local and interact with the community, but damn if that wasn’t the wrong time and place to do it! :) So if you want to truly relax and not worry about where food is coming from or having to drive etc, a resort is fine, and a travel agent will usually have access to certain deals the general public may not, or be able to bundle a certain airfare class with a resort, etc.

      Dont forget package vacations!
      -I seem to recall Costco have package travel if you are a member and I also seem to recall they had Bora Bora included too.

      Good luck – Ive always found planning to be the best bit.

      Reply
    8. Holly Flax

      Sorry I am late to this thread, but I recently went to Tahiti/Moorea/Bora Bora for my honeymoon and I can confirm that booking through a travel agent is your best bet. We used Costco and had a flawless trip! They booked all of our flights/transfers apart from the ORD-LAX and we even got one night for free on each island. We flew from Chicago to LA, then LA to Tahiti (8 hour flight). From Tahiti it’s about 1 hour to Bora Bora (we did a 45 min boat ride to Moorea, stayed 5 nights, then flew from there to Bora Bora).

      One thing I would also recommend if you decide FP is to over-budget for food/drinks and excursions. Water is not free and will cost you about $6 for each meal, and meals start at $30/plate. Most resorts have a free (and delicious) breakfast buffet, which helps a little bit. Excursions start at $75/pp but are worth the money.

      Reply
    9. pur8ple

      I recently looked into using a travel agent to help plan an upcoming vacation and I was very surprised to find out that they didn’t charge anything for their services- they get paid on the other end from the companies that you book with. I’d avoided using one before because I didn’t want to pay someone to do something that *technically* I could just do myself, but I talked to three different agencies and none of them charged the customer. It wouldn’t hurt to touch base with some travel agents in your area to see what they have to say…

      Reply
  18. AnonA

    This is my first ever post after years of reading! How do you handle a “one-upper” when its your Mom? Everything I (or my sibling) tell my Mom gets a response of how it has also happened to her. Both positive and negative. I could tell her I lost 5lbs and she’ll say “I lost 10!” Or how my car broke down on the side of the road and she’ll say “Well i drive further than you everyday!” Its not just about her either. Sometimes these responses are about her neighbors/friends/husbands kids. I certainly don’t need to tell my Mom every part of my life but I’d like to be able to talk to her about things without feeling like its unimportant. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Photographers

      Ugh. People like that are trying to relate and don’t realize how annoying / competitive it comes across. Can you just breeze by it? Ignore it? If you are really seeking behavior, I’d team up with your sister and have a talk about it.

      Reply
      1. Thlayli

        This! Most likely she is trying to relate to you, and I t’s your perception that she’s trying to compete with you. People think I’m different ways. It’s actually a really common way for people to interact. Like “x happened to me” “oh, x happened to me too”. That’s what she’s doing in her head. But you perceive it as competitive. it’s peobably related to low self esteem – like she doesn’t feel part of the conversation unless she has something to add on the topic. and people with low self esteem often feel like they have to make something bigger than it was too, to justify their feelings. hence it’s coming across as one-upping.

        Try explaining to her that when she says that it feels to you like she’s turning it into a competition, and that makes you not want to tell her things. She probably doesn’t even realise that it’s coming across that way, and would be horrified to hear that it makes you not want to talk to her.

        It’s a hard habit to break though, so don’t expect one conversation to change a lifetime of behaviour. Explain to her that it is coming across to you as competitive, ask her if that’s her intention (i’d be very surprised if it is) and then tell her that from now on when she does it you’re going to remind her it’s not a competition. Then follow through. Every time she says something that you perceive as competitive, remind her that it’s not a competition. After a while she will figure out another way to respond. It might take her a while to figure out another thing to say though. Maybe give her some advice on other things to say.

        Reply
        1. Cristina in England

          Agreed, and also sorry from a person who totally says “oh that happened to me too” etc as a way to try and show empathy and understanding and has recently realized that that is not the actual effect. :-S

          Reply
          1. Flinty

            I actually think that can be an ok thing today in some circumstances! I think that when someone is sharing something that feels really embarrassing/shameful, hearing “that happened to me too” can be a huge relief in a vulnerable moment. It’s just that if you’re trying to vent or celebrate, validation is usually more welcome.

            Reply
    2. Foreign Octopus

      I feel you, AnonA (and welcome to the thread). My mum is similar. It’s so frustrating to relate something that happened to you only to have her leap in and either undermine your achievements or invalidate your negative experiences.

      I’ve sort of pulled back on telling her things, which isn’t ideal for you. You could talk to her and I’m sure Captain Awkward has some scripts, but maybe something like – “Mum, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but when I tell you things you automatically try to one-up me. It really bothers me when you do this because I’d just like to tell you things without feeling like its unimportant.”

      (Your last sentence was gold so I stole that).

      Reply
        1. Lissa

          I have actually said this out of sheer frustration to a one-downer friend… went over ok surprisingly!

          Reply
    3. Jessen

      Honestly, my strategy is to close my eyes, then roll them.

      It doesn’t actually help her behavior, but it gives me a bit of mental permission to figure she’s being ridiculous.

      Reply
      1. Triplestep

        A friend recently told me that her response when someone is clearly lying is to just stare at them. I think that would work with this mother, too.

        AnonA, I agree that your mother is trying (and failing) to relate. She is just not a skilled conversationalist, and has not picked up over the years that this is not how conversations work!

        Reply
    4. Middle School Teacher

      I had a friend like this, although in a negative sense: whatever I was dealing with, she always had it way worse. So if I was pretty tired because I had a bad sleep, she was WAY MORE TIRED because she had a bad sleep AND so did her kids! And since I don’t have kids, I don’t know what tired is!! That sort of thing.

      I just stopped engaging with her in that way. All our conversations became very light and fluffy and I stopped saying anything substantial because she always had it worse and I got tired of it. So maybe just don’t share your news with her anymore? And if she asks why you don’t tell her things, point it out. I bet she doesn’t even realise she’s doing it.

      Reply
    5. ann

      Have you tried saying it again after her response? “Mom, I lost 5lbs” or “That’s interesting. Mom, I lost 5lbs”. Or even “Thanks for relating. Mom, I lost 5lbs.” Might be a respectful way to help her snap out of it and realize she had taken attention away from what you had wanted to tell her.

      Reply
    6. Melody Pond

      “Mom, when I’m trying to share something meaningful with you, and you respond by redirecting the focus onto your own experiences instead, I get pretty annoyed/frustrated/hurt/whatever-emotion-word-is-appropriate. I just want you to listen to whatever I’m sharing, and be validating/supportive/empathetic. For example, if I say I lost 5 pounds, please don’t respond by telling me how you lost 10. Just say – good for you, sweetie! Or if I tell you about how my car broke down, please don’t redirect by talking about how you drive so much farther than me. Please just listen to me, and show empathy by saying something like – that sounds stressful! Or ask more about what happened. Can you do that?”

      à la Alison Green. :)

      Reply
    7. PolicyChick

      My oldest friend is like this. If something good happens, the same thing happened to her only better! If something bad happens, something worse happened to her…If it’s the rare happening she cannot trump, she dismisses it as inconsequential.

      I have another friend who opines that Old Friend “has to be the Most Superlative Person in the Room.”

      When she does this, I tend to give it a beat, then say, Okay well, (subject) is still something I wanted to talk about, because X, Y, or Z (reason I brought it up). Sometimes when I’m feeling testy, I’ll respond with, Oh okay well you win + I need to go now! CLICK.

      I just try to keep in mind that this is either 1) her way of commiserating (Like, “Oh no way! Me too!”) or 2) she is insecure to the extent that all Conversational Roads Must Lead Back to Her. So I try to keep my expectations of support or kind noises from her at a very, very low level. The lower your expectations, the less likely you are to be disappointed. You know how she is; hoping for blood from a stone is wasted emotion.

      I don’t know if that was any help, but that’s how I approach it. Good luck!

      Reply
  19. annakarina1

    Thanks for your earlier support when I was down about being single. I’ve taken some steps to feel better, and while I am still single, I’m not as negative as before.

    I got a self-help book called How to Be Single and Happy, and it’s a book by a psychologist about stopping patterns of negative thinking and doing mental exercises. It helped me to stop obsessing over being single, as well as for me to stop beating myself over mistakes.

    I had a nice date last night with a guy I met through Bumble. We had a mutual friend in common, and mostly talked about being cinephile nerds the whole time, seeing a film, then walking through the city to the train station. I liked him in a casual, friendly way, so hopefully we meet up again.

    I also was to have another date on Thursday through Coffee Meets Bagel, but I realized I really wasn’t attracted to the guy, so I cancelled it and wished him well.

    I stay busy a lot through playing bar trivia 1-3 times a week, and have met nice people through it, it’s my regular social thing.

    Seeing my FWB last week was really nice for intimacy, and we watched a Voyager episode afterwards. I like my relationship with him while I date on and off, and I enjoyed having that close intimacy, I felt happy afterwards.

    So things have been improving. I still want to have a boyfriend, but staying more positive and having some better luck has been a nice turnaround.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous for this one

      I’ve had an FWB for the last couple of years — not just a booty call, but a regular thing. I have a bit of a checklist for people that I will settle down with, and if they don’t meet those criteria, I’m happier staying single. Realistically, I’m generally happy doing my own thing, but what I think it really comes down to is preferring to not have the stress of having to worry about others’ well being and happiness. (I’ve been married before, and I get the whole “when you love someone, you want them to be happy and will do what it takes” mentality. I’m not discounting that — I’m talking about how a crappy relationship is worse than being single. I’m also talking about living in a HCOL area, and need a partner who is financially stable. I won’t carry the financial relationship on my back — that’s where the stress comes from.)

      Reply
      1. Triplestep

        I developed a checklist after my first marriage, and I’ve been happily married to husband #2 for 15 years. This used to be called “having standards” and it got a bad rap somewhere along the way; I got a lot of crap from men I met on match.com when I wouldn’t consider a serious relationship with them because they lived too far from me, or too far from kids they had with wife #1, or any one of a number of things that would just complicate our lives/our kids’ lives if we ever got serious. Men thought a checklist was cold and heartless. “What about love?!” I heard more than once. My standard response was “Don’t you want to meet someone for whom the stuff of your life is a good thing and not a drawback?” Sorry, my kids were too important to just allow myself to fall for someone who happened by. If they didn’t feel the same way, that was another good reason not to date them!

        Reply
        1. Anonymous for this one

          At first I used to think that peoples’ standards for distance were too restrictive (I live in the outer suburbs for my metro area, about 1 mile from the terminal station on the subway line. It’s 40 minutes from my station to the city center.)

          But then I had to look in the mirror, when I realized I generally refuse to date women who own houses “on the other side of the river.” (It’s not the same connotation as “the tracks”. The river has very few crossing points and this particular highway routinely medals in national “crappy commute” contests.) The thing is, I like my job, and it’s not going anywhere. I am presuming a woman who owns a house and dates a guy who rents expects that he will move in with her… while that may be presumptuous, home ownership in this HCOL area really is an achievement, and people in their 30’s are proud of it. I sure as hell am not going to deal with a significantly worse commute to live in a house I don’t have an ownership stake in.

          Reply
    2. Triplestep

      I didn’t see your earlier thread, but this all sounds very positive. Kudos to you for giving yourself a good nudge!

      Reply
  20. Bike racks

    We need a bike rack for our SUV. Right now, we have 3 young kids (5/2/baby) and our bike “fleet” is one 14” wheel princess bike with training wheels, one trike, and 2 adult bikes. Trike will obviously go inside the car or not come.

    Do we get a 2- 3- or 4- bike rack? Eventually we’ll need 5 spaces, but not for 4+ years. Also, of all the hitch-mount options, what do we want? Our vehicle right now is an Acura MDX with a 2” hitch. We’ll likely move to another vehicle at some point but I assume same hitch size. We want to get into the trunk if possible.

    If we buy new I’d like something that will last us vs getting a 2- bike now and having to upgrade in 2 years. And the used market is…overwhelming.

    Reply
    1. Ranon

      The Wirecutter did a big bike rack review- between their review and the comments there’s probably all the info you’d ever need on their site.

      Reply
    2. LCL

      Start with checking your vehicle owners’ manual for recommended maximum weight for a hitch rack. If the hitch is aftermarket, see if you can find any rating info for it. That will help narrow your options. Adapters are available if your next hitch has a smaller receiver.

      Reply
  21. Jessen

    How do single ladies make friends anyway? I’m kind of at that stage where everyone else but me is getting married and having kids. I don’t want to do either of those things, but I end up feeling left out because the social lives of women my age seem to revolve around mommy activities. When I go to different activities and such they tend to be all either college kids, or retired adults – I’d really like to be spending more time around people who are sort of at the same point in life I am, if that makes sense? But I also want to skip the “I’m so desperate will you date me pleeeeease?” sorts.

    Reply
    1. Forking Great Username

      Well, it’s too bad we can’t just switch – my problem is that all of my friends are childfree. Well, not really a problem, it’s just that I don’t really have anyone to talk about/do kid-related activities with.

      Maybe try a local meetup group or taking some sort of class?

      Reply
      1. Jessen

        That’s kind of where I’ve been having the issue – local groups tend to be either a bunch of college students, or entirely retired people. A lot of stuff around here also seems to be assuming you can just kind of…take off on a Tuesday afternoon and show up. The general impression I get is that people my age are usually too busy with family and kids to do social activities for adults, and those that aren’t tend to be in the “I’m 30 and single I NEED SOMEONE NOW” stage.

        Reply
        1. Anon for this

          My problem with making friends is I am married and my kids are grown (raising a grand-child, but he’s old enough to have his own social life now.) My husband is one step above hermit. He doesn’t care if I go and do, just leave him out of it. But the married women I know want to socialize with their husbands included, and the single ones want to go to bars or other places to meet men. I just want a friend I can go to the movies or theater with, or go out to eat, or meet up for a glass of wine. That’s hard to find.

          Reply
        2. PhyllisB

          Don’t discount making friends with the college students and the retired people. I realize it’s more fun to hang with people your own age, but there is a lot to be learned by having friends of different ages/life experiences. I have friends of all ages and I enjoy all of them. Friday night I went with a group of ladies to an out of town dinner theater. The oldest one in the group is in her eighties and the youngest one was 25.(I’m 67.) We all had a blast.

          Reply
    2. Leticia

      Good question. I have been trying to figure that one out for the last decade. I had some luck with meetup and weirdly on OkCupid. For friends, not dating. Taking classes in something you like sometimes works, but not frequently. Other than that, I have resigned myself to have a less active social life and that is fine by me.

      Reply
      1. The Grammarian

        I would like to know the same. (I’m married, child free, and 35.) I’m starting to think I just won’t have local friends anymore, since I moved away from the town where I grew up three years ago.

        Reply
      2. Jessen

        I dunno, I feel like I get along ok with everyone at work, but there’s no one that I’d really want to hang out with outside. Most of the people who want to do meetups are the ones who want to go out to bars and spend the night getting drunk.

        Reply
    3. FrontRangeOy

      Possibly community theater? Mine attracts a lot of people who are not on typical date/marry/kids life tracks. There’s always a need for volunteers for everything from admin tasks to customer service to back stage and technical crews.

      Reply
    4. Triplestep

      If you like traditional music, and you have never heard of contra dancing, look it up. I promise you it is fun. It is also high energy, good exercise, and the music is more often than not played live. It attracts a very eclectic bunch of people – singles, couples, some families …. people of all ages. Sometimes spelled “contradancing” or “contra-dancing”, it is not just for the crunchy-granola types! It is also not to be confused with square dancing or country line dancing. At all!

      See contradancelinks dot com to find one near you. There’s probably one starting in a few hours!

      Reply
      1. Mimosa momma

        I would recommend dancing as well, any kind of dancing. Tango, salsa, swing, ballroom, country, whatever seems interesting and challenging. In my area dance provides a strong social network and I’ve met friends from all walks of life.

        Reply
    5. Stellaaaaa

      I got lucky with meetups. I personally do not recommend anything centered around a creative pursuit (music, theater, open mics) as an avenue toward making friends. It’s an easy way to feel like you’re part of a scene with the added bonus of feeling cool, but those things don’t always lend themselves to real friendships. Those crowds are full of people who want you to be a paying audience member, not a friend. It’s really frustrating to find out that they never even liked you, that they just wanted your money.

      Reply
      1. Jessen

        I’d be better at nerdy stuff, but then again there’s the “omg GURL” types that you have to deal with.

        Reply
        1. Aurora Leigh

          Check out your public library and see what kind of events they have going on! (Disclaimer: I used to work at public library, and that’s where I met all my nerdy (female) friends!)

          Reply
    6. SophieChotek

      I agree — something like community theater or similar-minded groups.

      I met some of my friends through church-related activities. We get together now and do things (which all have nothing to do with church or religions) — going out to eat, the theater, movies, museums, etc.

      Also met another friend through a book-club. Book-club as long since disolved but friendship has remained.

      Reply
    7. Saskia

      I’ve made friends through attending regular activities that I like, or by going to meetups of like-minded others (commentariat meetups from favourite blogs).

      So far some of my friends have been from meeting at work, or at the gym, and also I’ve become friends with a pilates teacher (we met up quite some time after I finished going to classes).

      In my case I tend to take a long time to warm up to people, so the repeated contact over time helped me a lot. But now I have friends with interests in common. Most of them either have grown-up children or no children, and are very autonomous even if they are partnered (I am single and childfree).

      I found that it wasn’t possible to establish a workable friendship with women my age who had young children because our lives and lifestyles were too different at the time. I hope this might change once those children are more independent (fingers crossed).

      Reply
    8. SparklingStars

      I can relate to this. I actually feel like I have enough friends ; it’s just that we’re all so busy that I only see each of them maybe once every 6 weeks these days. Most of them are individual friends ; I really don’t have a group of friends at the moment (which is something I would love to have!) One thing I’ve always been really bad at is being the one to initiate plans, so that’s something I’ve been working on. And the last couple of months, I’ve been fairly successful (for me, anyway) at having at least one friend meet-up on most weekends.

      Reply
    9. Marillenbaum

      Bumble BFF! It’s basically Tinder for making friends, and it’s pretty lovely. Also, bring it up with people you see going about your day. When I was looking to join to a book club, I mentioned it in a lot of my interactions: in line at the post office, or while grabbing a coffee. It turned out one day that my cashier at Trader Joe’s had just moved to the area with her husband and was starting a book club! Those people became my friends while I lived in that town, and it was really nice. I hope that helps!

      Reply
  22. EvilQueenRegina

    Relatives inviting themselves to stay/just turning up with no notice. Am I alone in being bothered by that?

    So my cousin Jon and his wife Ygritte recently had a baby, and I am visiting them at the end of July. While planning the dates, Jon did say that they do have a lot on this summer and not to book anything without confirming with him, which I wouldn’t, and we agreed a suitable weekend.

    Mum mentioned it to our Uncle Robert who said that he and Aunt Cersei have been trying to invite themselves to visit Jon and Ygritte. It sounds like they have been suggesting a lot of dates Jon can’t do, but Robert and Cersei are perceiving it as Jon fobbing them off. I don’t think he is, I think they are just asking themselves on inconvenient dates. Robert had a bit of a moan to Uncle Ned, Jon’s dad, who gave him the amazing advice to just turn up. Seriously? That is exactly what Jon and Ygritte don’t want!

    Whilst I won’t interfere in this specific situation I don’t think Ned gave Robert good advice. Robert would do it; I once had him and Cersei turn up with no notice for a mid week visit and without notice, I couldn’t get time off work to spend with them.

    Am I the only one to think just turning up is a bad idea?

    Reply
    1. Forking Great Username

      It’s a TERRIBLE idea! Completely presumptuous! It basically expects that they’ll be willing and able to just drop everything and have the house ready for guests and entertain them and crap. Literally the worst.

      Reply
    2. Temperance

      It’s a terrible idea! I still remember the day that my MIL showed up as a “surprise” when we had friends staying with us already and literally no room for her in our tiny apartment. She had to go to my BIL’s place.

      Reply
    3. ann

      I think I would request they make arrangements at a hotel nearby, but say “but we would love for the baby to meet you. We would like to have you for” (or “take you to”) (dinner/ lunch/ tea….whatever the parents can handle) “on x day while you’re in town!”

      Reply
    4. Foreign Octopus

      I think I just saw the face of hell reading this.

      Nothing, and I mean nothing, would make me angrier than people turning up unannounced under the best of circumstances. If someone turned up today for example (I’m doing nothing except reading outside and kicking about on the Internet – hello Queer Eye) I’d be mad because I’m dressed in leggings, a T-shirt, and no bra, and the house is a mess.

      If someone turned up after I’d just had a baby and I’d told them specifically to check the dates with me – ho-boy, I would cut those people off faster than they could say how-dee-doody.

      What the actual hell?

      No. No. No-no-no-no-no.

      No.

      Maybe contact Jon and Ygritte to give them a discreet heads up. I know I’d appreciate that so I could contact Uncle Robert and Aunt Cersei and shut that shit down.

      Reply
      1. Amy Farrah Fowler

        Umm, yeah… I’m sitting around in my pjs planning on playing a board game, and if someone (anyone!) showed up unannounced, I probably wouldn’t even answer the door… I’m not talking to anyone who doesn’t already live with me without being properly dressed.

        Reply
        1. Gatomon

          Exactly! If I don’t know someone is coming, I don’t answer the door. Period. Just because someone shows up or rings my door doesn’t mean I’m obligated to answer or spend time with them. It’s the 21st century. You can mail me a letter, call me, send an email, text me, FB message me… there’s no reason or excuse to show up uninvited.

          This is a thing in my extended family, but thankfully I live very far away now. They would also typically skip the front door to just enter through the garage if it was open, or the back gate. I have no idea how my relatives stay sane.

          Reply
          1. Paquita

            (Almost) no one comes to our house. We do answer the door though because 9 times out of 10 it is our neighbor needing something. She is 70+, in semi-poor health, and lives alone. She came over the other day to tell us she was going to stay with her nephew for a few days so we wouldn’t worry.

            Reply
    5. OhBehave

      This is an incredibly bad idea! When we are expecting people, the house is clean. Right now I am looking at bits of fur on the floor from our pup. The kitchen has dishes drying on the counter, our son is packing for a mission trip, etc. If people do just show up, I have determined not to be embarrassed by the state of our home. I think some men wouldn’t think it’s a big deal to just ‘show up’ to someone’s home unannounced. They typically don’t fuss with making sure things are clean and tidy in preparation of visitors. It would not have bothered my dad. You might want want to give Jon a head’s up that this may happen!

      Reply
    6. Dan

      I’m guessing from some of your word choices that you’re not in the US? In the culture that I’m familiar with, if Uncle Robert kept proposing dates to Jon, and Jon kept saying “busy that time” *without* proposing an alternative date, then Uncle Robert would be correct in assuming that Jon is “fobbing” him off. (Sorry, don’t know the definition and a quick google indicates a slightly different meaning than what makes sense in this context.) If Jon is indeed not fobbing Uncle Robert off, on this side of the pond, the onus would be on Jon to propose alternate dates to Uncle Robert.

      Reply
      1. EvilQueenRegina

        I’m in the UK, and I mean that Robert thinks Jon’s trying to brush him off, put him off visiting.

        Reply
        1. ..Kat..

          Well, maybe Jon is brushing him off. Jon and wife just had a baby. They are probably not up for a lot of company. Robert does not seem to realize this. Perhaps Robert and his wife are demanding/high-maintenance.

          Reply
          1. Lissa

            Yeah, I can understand feeling hurt if you suspect someone is trying to give you the brush off (I’ve had this with friends, it is not a good feeling) but the person hasn’t necessarily done anything wrong (certainly not here, what with the just had a baby..) and showing up unexpectedly is very unlikely to make them want to NOT brush you off later in the future!!

            Reply
      2. Temperance

        FWIW, I have a lot of weekend commitments (season tickets to sporting events), so planning weekend events is very difficult.

        Reply
        1. EvilQueenRegina

          That’s the impression I got from Jon, he does have quite a few weekends where he knows he’s not free to entertain people.

          Reply
      3. Observer

        In the cultures I am familiar with, you might be correct that Jon is trying to for him off (or not, it depends). But, it’s also incumbent the Robert to actually accept that he’s being told no, and not show up. Most would consider that he’s entitled to be offended, though.

        Reply
    7. Red Reader

      Terrible idea. People who just turn up unexpectedly don’t even get invited into my house, unless they’re my parents. (And they would get a lecture about not turning up unannounced. Not that they actually would do.)

      Reply
    8. Completely anon for this stupid rant

      Horrid idea. If you can, give Jon and Ygritte a heads-up that they might try this so they’re prepared to deal with it if and when it comes up.

      Reply
    9. Not So NewReader

      Why doesn’t Robert ask Jon what dates are good for him?

      I have fallen into a system with friends where I throw out 2-3 dates, if they don’t like the dates they come back with 2-3 dates that work for them. Between those to passes we usually find a date to get together.

      Reply
    10. Llama Grooming Coordinator

      …GRRM needs to write this as an actual story immediately. (I was going to say, “wait, didn’t this actually happen in GoT?” but then I realized it was Ned’s place that Robert and Cersei showed up at. It’s been a while.)

      Anyway, you’re not off base! Plus, more importantly it seems like Robert and Cersei don’t have great boundaries to begin with, otherwise they’d realize this wasn’t a great idea themselves. (Especially after crashing your place.)

      Reply
      1. EvilQueenRegina

        They really don’t. They have no boundaries in other areas as well – Robert once spent Boxing Day Googling my ex (that had been over for 13 years, the ex was married to the third party involved in the breakup and I wouldn’t have him back if it was a choice between him and Joffrey Baratheon. Why would I want that guy Googling?) and Cersei felt it was appropriate to start discussing my wedding with my relatives when I had been in a relationship for a week and a half and therefore was not planning anything of the kind.

        Reply
        1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

          Robert once spent Boxing Day Googling my ex

          …I have so many questions (like, for starters, I thought Boxing Day in the UK was kind of like Black Friday in the US – you mean to say that there wasn’t a really good deal on a cheap store-label flatscreen TV that he could go after?)

          (that had been over for 13 years, the ex was married to the third party involved in the breakup and I wouldn’t have him back if it was a choice between him and Joffrey Baratheon. Why would I want that guy Googling?)

          …and now I have even more questions…

          and Cersei felt it was appropriate to start discussing my wedding with my relatives when I had been in a relationship for a week and a half and therefore was not planning anything of the kind.

          …trying to maintain the royal connections, I’m sure. (I sincerely hope that she didn’t remind you to make sure that the doors didn’t lock.)

          Anyway, the part that I missed on first read was that it was Ned that suggested they show up, which…is really bad because he’s directly going against his adult son’s wishes. Like, I get that he’s his dad and parents can be weird (see: every letter that involves a parent on AAM, approximately 1/3 of the threads on the weekend post, the vast majority of advice columns on the internet), but he knows that his son and his wife just had a baby and want to limit visitors – and he told his brother to barge in uninvited anyway. Jon should have a serious talk with his dad about that, in my opinion – especially if this isn’t the first time Ned’s done something like this.

          Reply
    11. Totally Minnie

      The only way to justify showing up on a relative’s doorstep with your luggage and no prior notice is if you’re in the middle of a major life crisis and this is the only option available to you. Otherwise? That person’s going to be sent to a hotel and not invited back for the next 6 or 7 years.

      Reply
    12. Lora

      Oh god no. This happens to me a lot though, and it’s a bit like the “working from home is really a vacation day, right?” people who think they can just interrupt you for trivial crap like no big deal.

      I live on a hobby farm. Manual labor and animals and nature help me decompress, because work is stressful and other humans are also stressful and I need this downtime. Flip side of that is, literally every weekend I’m shoveling manure, slaughtering chickens, stacking hay, processing three bushels of peaches into fruit salad – something that can’t be put off till whenever. I can’t just not do it for several hours because Cersei thought it would be cute to hang out on the patio. If I have to travel, I hire someone to come over and do some of the things (feeding and watering) but they can’t do all the things (weeding, shoveling, picking fruit, butchering chickens), and even that needs a few days notice.

      Some of my friends imagine that my hobby farm is like a petting zoo, and also have zero clue how much work goes into making petting zoos full of cleanish, minimally poopy, well fed, friendly animals with minimal hazards. They also apparently think I have a platoon of landscaping companies to manage my vegetable garden and orchard. They drop by just to say hi and pet the critters and are shocked that I don’t drop what I am doing to chat or whatever, or that I smell vile and am covered in blood or poop and not fit to go to a restaurant with them even if I wanted to. They are also surprised that they actually need to watch their children very carefully and tell them not to touch things because a farm is realistically about as safe as a construction site. It’s not a playground, there’s angry intact male livestock, feral cats, bits of loose fence wire that WILL give you tetanus, heavy machinery, chainsaws etc.

      It drives me nuts. Completely nuts, for days. Being rational and explaining doesn’t work. I love my friends in other contexts but I wish they understood this. I have one friend who is a veterinarian and grew up on a horse farm, and she’s the only one I can tolerate just dropping by because she either helps shovel or entertains herself, and she minds her kids.

      Reply
    13. Observer

      It’s a TERRIBLE idea. And Jon’s Dad really should have his head examined. I’d be willing to bet the if Jon hears about this, it’s not going to do their relationship much good.

      Reply
  23. Anonymous for

    Ahh…ignore my above comment. My phone has a mind of its own today!

    Summer vacation is upon us and my kids (ages 4 and 5) have been asking to have their cousin stay the night sometime. I would love to have him over, he’s the same age as my youngest and a total sweetheart who gets along fabulously with our kids. Problem is, he has a 7 year old brother who is a total bully, and my sister in law might expect that we should host both kids. Is it ever okay to ask just one kid over when you’re all family?

    I don’t want this kid in my house overnight where I can’t constantly have my eye on him! He attacks the younger ones (“because I like hurting people” to quote him), tells me kids he hates them at that they’re annoying, argues with me about everything (especially the fact that at our house the kids aren’t allowed to watch PG-13 movies, play Five Nights at Freddy’s, watch anything they want on YouTube, etc). I realize it’s largely the parents’ and grandparents’ fault he’s a nightmare…but I don’t want to host him overnight.

    I have been somewhat blunt about this once in the past when my mother-in-law wanted to have the two oldest grandsons overnight, and I said I wasn’t sure it was a good idea since we’ve had some issues with X telling our son he hates him and doesn’t want him to come over. Her response was to glare at me and act like she didn’t know what I was talking about, and sister in law’s was to say “oh, that’s just kid stuff!” (Listen, I have boys a year apart. I know sometimes they fight and say mean stuff. But this is different. I’m sparing more examples for length reasons.)

    Ideas for scripts to invite just the youngest? I’m researching my brain for a reason/excuse I can use that won’t put sister in law on the defense.

    Reply
    1. Photographers

      I don’t think you can just invite the youngest, sorry. And from what you said, the older would be an issue for sure. Why not do fun play dates and forget the overnight component? PS I am hoping the older one turns around soon. Yikes.

      Reply
    2. A bit of a saga

      Well, your two and her youngest are the same age while the 7-year old is a couple of years older so I would play that card. At that age two years is quite a lot in terms of what interests them/what you can do with them so I think it’s fair to say that it would be more harmonious just the three of them.. Also, why not talk to your sibling (their parent) about it if you think you can have a more honest conversation with them? This can be tricky but I wouldn’t punish the younger sibling and your kids for the bad behaviour of the older one

      Reply
      1. Forking Great Username

        It’s my husband’s sister. Unfortunately he tends to steer away from these conversations because anything he says to her gets immediately reported back to their mom. The good, the bad, the mundane…they’re always together. Weird dynamic for adults in their 30s, but it is what it is. So yeah, I’m probably better off sticking with the age reason if anything.

        Reply
        1. neverjaunty

          I get it, but these are YOUR CHILDREN that Problem Child is hurting. Husband needs to put on his daddy bear pants and deal.

          Reply
          1. Forking Great Username

            That feels unfair – I never said he wasn’t protecting our kids. He generally prefers just not seeing his family much and keeping a very close eye on the kids when we do. (I should clarify – our kids have not been attacked because we are always right there. Obviously the verbal insults still aren’t okay though, and we’re very limited contact but have some guilt about youngest nephew, who adores our kids.)

            Reply
    3. neverjaunty

      How is sister-in-law related to you? If she’s married to your brother or husband’s brother why not talk to that person as well?

      The age excuse is good, but her feelings are not the most important thing here; she is enabling her child to hurt your little ones. It isn’t “kid stuff”. Stick to the facts: Ruprid did X, Y and Z and until he is at a point where he can be trusted around your children, you can’t have him over.

      Reply
      1. Forking Great Username

        Husband’s sister but totally enmeshed with her mom…sticky dynamics over there. Thankful for my family with healthy boundaries but feel bad for little cousin!

        Reply
    4. Laura H

      I think you could just invite the youngest!

      But you have to get SIL to understand and accept WHY! If that’s impossible, then it’s a no go.

      My cousins weren’t terrors, but we did have the older two stay for a week when I was a freshman in HS. (And excluded the youngest who was 3 going on 4.) because we only could accommodate the two (male cous bunked with the bro, female cous bunked with me.)

      The youngest still got to spend time with us when they came with mom and dad to retrieve their siblings.

      But again, mine weren’t terrors so my milage definitely varies.

      Reply
    5. FD

      I don’t think you can do this without putting the sister-in-law on the defensive. The reality is that her child is behaving inappropriately. This can be a good opportunity to model the behavior you do want for your kids though, and set boundaries!

      I would probably say something like, “At this point, Bobby hasn’t respected the rules of my house. Clint has done that. So at this point, Bobby isn’t welcome to stay overnight until and unless he shows that he can consistently respect our family’s rules. And that’s going to have to be during short supervised trips first.”

      She’s probably going to say that neither kid can come over then. You may have to have an honest conversation with your own kids at that point. Maybe something like, “Sometimes, we have to make rules around what other people we have in our life. It’s okay to not invite people we don’t feel safe around. Sometimes, that might make other people angry, and that might mean that other people we DO feel safe around won’t visit us. That’s their choice too, even if it’s sad.”

      This kid sounds genuinely scary. I think your instincts are good, and I would not let him be unsupervised with your kids ever.

      Reply
    6. Erin

      have been asking to have over for the night. Is there a day that works for you?

      If she expects older son come, say “I think we need to do this one at a time. Is there a day older son has activities and we could take younger off your hands?”

      Reply
    7. OhBehave

      You can absolutely invite the younger without including the oldest. SIL already knows what a problem older son is and ignores the issue. His behavior gives me deep concerns for him! It’s either shock value or deeper issues at play. You are well within your rights to exclude him.
      Is there a particular activity the youngers have in common? This could be a way of extending an invitation.
      “The boys really want to show 4yo their new xyz. Can we pick him up for a little cousin play date?” I suggest you pick up so they can’t foist the older brat off on you when they arrive (or drop off and run!). If they do push the older kid on you, this is the time for your husband to take this kid in hand and manage his time. It’s bad enough hubby avoids the issue in general, but in your own home with HIS kids? NOPE. No one gets away with speaking to my kids that way. Imagine what this kid does to his own sibling at home! The little needs time away too.

      Reply
    8. Thlayli

      I think you will have to be pretty blunt. Say something like “I hope you don’t mind but I don’t want to invite OLderBoy because he doesn’t get on with my two.”

      Probably he is jealous of the younger ones but that’s not your problem to deal with.

      Reply
    9. Myrin

      I don’t think there is an answer that won’t put SIL on the defence but honestly, I think that is a very good thing! Generally, there’s nothing against being really blunt here in the vein of “Older Sibling has behaved in ways that I don’t want to see in my house, end of discussion”. The sooner SIL understands that Older Sibling is being an Inappropriate Person and that that will have consequences, the sooner she can try to turn him around. (Or she might not do that, but at least she’ll have been shown that horrible behaviour isn’t consequence-free.)

      I also agree with others that your husband NEEDS to be on your side here, vocally. I understand that he has a difficult dynamic with his sister and mother but really, this is about his children’s wellbeing. (And also, to a lesser extent, that of Younger Sibling. If they suffer under Terror Sibling’s reign, they may really value time with reasonable people, especially as they all grow older.)

      Reply
    10. Nana

      Absolutely OK! The age difference at this point is huge, and you can use that excuse if you want. Or you can say, my kids really enjoy being with your little one (and leave it at that). Do not allow this bully in your house unless someone is delegated to supervise him. Obviously, an overnight with him is out of the question.

      Reply
    11. JamieH

      First of all, calling a seven year old a bully is pretty inflammatory, so I would cut that out even in your own head. To be acting out in these ways at that young age is very sad and is a good sign that he is dealing with something out of the norm (trauma? Issues at school? Adhd or another disorder?). Could have plan a time to sit down with your SIL and talk with her and see if she needs any support with her older son? Sometimes parents are dismissive when they are overwhelmed and if he is truly hurting people and being malicious then this child needs help.

      All of that said, I would hold off on sleep overs for now. Is that “fair” for the younger one? No. But it’s also not “fair” that the older one is experiencing significant emotional disturbances at age seven.

      Reply
  24. sad and lonely

    Is this what life as a single 30-something going to be like? It seems like every other week someone is getting engaged or getting married or announcing a pregnancy or having a baby.

    Meanwhile I’m still trying to sort out my personal life, just feel like I’m never going to find someone. Just here, going through a cycle of constant self-pity and continuous feelings of inferiority.

    When’s it my turn?

    Reply
    1. Anonabom

      It may not be your turn, but this phase will end. I didn’t even want any of those things at that time and I still was pretty miserable. I did stop going to all the baby showers and bridal showers because I don’t enjoy those events at all. I found one baby gift and one wedding gift and gave them over and over. I also had 1 handmade baby gift that I made for special friends. And then it all passed.

      Reply
    2. OhBehave

      My daughter is 23 and feeling the same way. I know she’s still young, but when your peers are all getting married or have boyfriends, it’s hard to deal some days.

      My advice to her is to take it easy on herself. If she’s doing all she can to be ‘out there’, then her day will come. Meanwhile, she tells us hilarious stories about some dates she’s been on. Such as the lactose-intolerant guy who agreed to meet at an ice cream place for a date. Yep. He ate a big bowl of ice cream and then ended the date quickly. DUH! She said she mentioned a ton of places they could meet and he chose this one. She dodged a bullet.
      The best thing you and she can do is to continue to sort out your personal lives. Once you’re in a place that you are satisfied with yourself and who you’ve become, that will be a new kind of attractive to someone else. Try daily affirmations.

      Reply
    3. Dan

      If you have a wide social circle and/or big family, then yes, this is what your 30’s will be like. On the flip side, I have a very small family and am mostly an introvert, so I’m spared most of the that. (My kid brother — who isn’t much of a kid anymore — got married 13 years ago and he and his wife have yet to have kids, so I really got spared.)

      I’m 38 and divorced. And you know what? It’s entirely possible your turn will never come, and that’s ok. However, you need not resign yourself to that fate. Your life will not be a failure if you die single.

      As a dude, my best advice for you echos OhBehave — get right with yourself. When you are a happy person comfortable with what life is dealing you, you become more attractive. Look at the flip side — the absolute last person I want to date is someone who is interviewing people to fill the role of boyfriend, and feels insecure and desperate by being single. I want someone who is interested in *me*, not just “having a boyfriend” or someone who makes decent money.

      Reply
    4. Zoey "Bookbag" Bartlet

      I relate to what you are saying. I was in a very serious relationship for years and after it ended I never really bounced back. I tried dating again, but it didn’t feel great (getting ghosted/broken up with over text). So I have been focusing on my interests and being better to the people in my life. I have started some more ambitious projects and am planning a big trip. I’ve also made the effort to reconnected with friends whom I had lost track. It’s lonely sometimes but it helps me remember how much I can offer myself.
      Please treat yourself to something you love doing.

      Reply
  25. Not a Mere Device

    No, you’re not the only one. “Just turn up” isn’t just rude, on the purely logistical level it risks anything from “we don’t have room, we’ve already invited Sam and Rosie” to the self-inviters turning up and discovering that Jon, Ygritte, and the baby have gone to visit Ygritte’s family.

    That said, I suspect Robert is right that Jon and Ygritte were trying to fob him off, given his past history of showing up on your doorstep for a midweek social visit without asking. If Jon and Ygritte actively want Robert and Cersei to visit, Jon could have suggested a time that would work better. This is someone who, according to his own version of events, wants to visit new parents even though he thinks they don’t want him to visit.

    You know your family and I don’t, but it might be worth telling Jon and Ygritte about this, because a (grand)parent who tells his siblings to just show up for an unwanted visit to his son, daughter, and new grandchild is a parent who may try to step all over other boundaries. Worse, who isn’t just sure that he knows best, but expects Jon and Ygritte to let all their older relatives push them around.

    Reply
  26. Laura H

    Mentions that which is not mentioned on weekends, but because TWINMOW is kinda how the money gets there.

    I sat down the other day and took a gander at my finances.(Prompted because I acquiesced to taking half my portion of the phone bill- I still live with my parents, but pay rent as well)

    After looking at my planned outgoings and my current bank balance, I was kinda panicky before realizing I’ve paid everything for June- so I can use this upcoming check to hopefully get back to and stay at that comfortable amount.

    I just kinda had to take pause and remind myself “This is EXACTLY why you like keeping your balance above $400 (its part time hourly employment) so that if you have a particularly more spendy week than usual, you’re not reaching the legit bottom of the barrel yet.”

    I think I may start using cash for my pre-TWINMOW breakfasts… maybe that will help.

    Reply
    1. Photographers

      Take the areas that fluctuate— usually food, entertainment, etc. — and go cash-only for a while. On Sunday (for instance) decide what you’ll spend on those for the week. And there you go!

      Reply
        1. Anonymous Ampersand

          Never would have got that!

          Honestly, the “WE MUST NOT MENTION ****” mentality on the weekend threads bemuses me. But that’s its own post.

          Reply
          1. Thlayli

            Yeah – Alison will delete a post if it’s ABOUT work, but not if it justs mentions work. Like politics. People mention politics in passing as part of another post where it’s relevant and that’s fine, but posts just purely ABOUT politics aren’t allowed.

            Reply
          2. caledonia

            Me also to be honest…mentioning work or job will not get you put into moderation. And it’s a lot simpler than using a large acronym which nobody understood.

            Reply
      1. hermit crab

        I admit that I googled it – and got a LOT of pages about lawnmowers – before realizing what it was :)

        Reply
  27. Laura H

    If the touring production of “An American in Paris” is coming to your city, I can secondhand recommend it. (Bought tickets for mom and grandma (for grandma’s birthday gift) and they LOVED it)

    Reply
    1. Former Employee

      If you’ve never seen the movie (1951), do check it out. Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Nina Foch and Georges Guetary (French music hall performer who I’d never heard of prior to seeing the movie and he had a wonderful voice).

      The story line is a bit much for modern times, but the singing and dancing are fabulous and more than make up for it.

      Reply
    2. SophieChotek

      I hope it comes here. My friend saw it in London and loved it and sent me the nice glossy program brochure. It was filmed and show in London movie theater, so if it doesn’t tour, the filmed stage production might come to something like Fathom Events or Broadway HD later in 2018 or 2019…or sometime…

      Reply
  28. Mimmy

    I did it….I survived my big trip to Pittsburgh!!! (I wrote about the networking aspects in yesterday’s Open Thread). Big kudos to all the encouragement from those of you who followed my ramblings in the last couple of months, especially nep.

    I don’t know how I did it without completing losing my mind! Okay, I was nervous, but it all worked out. I hit a few snafus throughout, but I just kept my cool and asked for help where needed.

    I have a white cane – I do have a lot of usable vision, but it isn’t always reliable in busy environments. For years, I’ve been hesitant to use it because of misconceptions. This week, I learned that it is my friend. The conference was very congested (people I talked to said it was unusually so), and I felt so much more secure when I used it.

    There is something I noticed that I could use some input on:

    Whenever I go off-routine, especially when I go away (even for the day), I find that I am horrible about taking my daily medications. Sure, I could use the timer feature on my phone, but I don’t think anyone wants to hear alarms going off every couple of hours lol. Plus, when you’re away, you’re running around from place to place (that was most DEFINITELY the case at the conference!!). When I remember, “ooh I have to take X pill!”, I take it right there, even if I have to be discreet, which isn’t always easy.

    Any tips would be very helpful.

    Reply
      1. Thlayli

        I was also going to suggest alerts other than alarms. You can set vibrate and some phones have a visual only pop up on the lock screen too.

        Reply
    1. Jessen

      What kind of phone do you have? I know my android has apps that let you do vibrate-only alarms, which would be less disturbing to other people.

      Reply
        1. Mimmy

          My concern with a FitBit (or similar) is that I’ve reacted in the past to certain metals. Not as bad as my husband, who can’t seem to wear any sort of wrist-wear. Plus, I haven’t worn wrist-wear in many years. Still a good suggestion I will certainly consider :)

          Reply
          1. Enough

            I have issues with my fitbit if worn all the time. It might be okay you’re wearing it only during the day and only in limited situations like the conference.

            Reply
          2. hermit crab

            I actually have a soft cloth band for mine that I wear mostly on my ankle. I bought it for about $10 from a company called The Step Counter but I’m sure there are others out there (and a handy friend could probably make you one pretty easily).

            Reply
      1. Mimmy

        Thanks NSNR.

        I think I started to appreciate my cane more when I noticed some of my students (I work with blind & visually impaired adults) who used a cane despite having some good functional vision. There are misconceptions that people who use it have little to no useful vision whatsoever, but that’s not entirely true. Maybe they have limited field of vision or issues with depth perception. My issues are depth perception and visual-spatial processing; lots of sounds (like crowds) make it particularly hard. So, I can see very well in familiar places or in environments with minimal sensory input. Otherwise, I’m lost.

        That was probably more info than you wanted to know :P

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          Actually this is helpful in an odd way. I have friend who is losing her vision to macular. I try to keep running lists in my head of things to remember that are helpful and supportive for her. Like if we go somewhere together she likes it if I wear a bright shirt. It makes me easier to find. But I also try to listen to her describe what it is like to be her. This is so I can anticipate things that might be difficult. I read and re-read your posts on vision so I can get a better idea of all. the. things that go along with vision problems.
          With this post I will tell my friend how you found the white cane played a supportive role for you. I think she will use that tip. Fortunately, my friend and I have pretty open conversations and it helps a LOT that we can talk about whatever.

          Reply
          1. Mimmy

            I am so glad to hear that my posts have been helpful to you and your friend, that really means a lot :)

            I’m always happy to answer any other questions you may have – just hit me up here in the Weekend threads.

            Reply
        2. Jules the First

          Hi Mimmy – wondering how you feel about stairs vs escalators vs elevators? I’m having an ongoing debate with some colleagues about which is more exclusionary. I’m not good with personal space and have no depth perception, so I much prefer actual stairs to escalators (tricky to judge the speed) and elevators (glass ones are particularly terrifying, but ordinary ones have problems too!) but I’m always collecting data points from others.

          Sometimes it feels like a losing battle trying to get my colleagues to twig that “accessible” means more than just “wheelchair accessible”.

          Reply
          1. Mimmy

            Interesting question!

            Escalators can be a little scary for me, especially going down, because I want to make sure I get on that first step and I’m always afraid I’m going to step wrong. I would think it’d be particularly scary for someone with more severe vision impairments.

            I have no problems with elevators – many seem to have good visual and auditory indicators as to what floor it’s on and the buttons are usually not too bad. Sometimes when there are multiple elevators, it’s hard to tell which one is open because either I don’t hear where the bell is coming from or the light-up indicator isn’t distinct.

            As for stairs, believe it or not, I have more difficulty with smaller staircases. At the conference, the main ballroom area had a couple of spots with maybe 2 steps, but I could never tell where they were because it all had the same carpeting and I was having enough trouble dodging exhibit booths and other attendees.

            I completely agree that there is more to accessibility than just wheelchair ramps and handicap parking spaces – I think a lot of people forget or don’t realize that. (I believe accessibility is even more than that, but that’s beyond the scope of your question)

            Reply
            1. Jules the First

              Thanks Mimmy – that’s super helpful!

              And I hear you on the little flights of stairs…I can’t count the number of times a couple of stray steps in a garden or a convention centre or a shop have sent me flying because I didn’t twig. For a while, my baby sister thought you called them flights if stairs because they made people fly…

              Reply
  29. SparklingStars

    I’m having an incredibly lazy day so far, and trying not to beat myself up for getting absolutely nothing accomplished. I did have quite a stressful week this week at the place we don’t mention on weekends, so I guess I just need a day to veg out. I just worry sometimes that I’m an inherently lazy person who will never get any better.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous Ampersand

      Taking the time to care for yourself means you can be more productive later. It’s not laziness.

      Reply
    2. Saskia

      One day of resting after a stressful week doesn’t mean you are a lazy person. You’re taking care of yourself! Please don’t be judgemental or unkind to yourself about having a restful day when it’s obviously needed.

      Reply
  30. Amadeo

    So, Star Wars Celebration is in Chicago next year. I am going and sharing a room with a friend and some of her usual con-friends (and also so stoked that all I have to do is hop the train for 5 and a half hours instead of dealing with the airport). So this means I need to finish my Rebel Legion aspiration Jedi general (soon) and I’d like to do at least a ‘thrown together’ Jyn since I won’t have time to make it Legion-passable.

    Are any other AAMers going? Are you going to cosplay? Maybe we can say hello.

    Reply
    1. KayEss

      I’m SO STOKED, because I live in Chicago and I haven’t been to Celebration since it was in Indianapolis. So glad Disney remembered flyover country exists!

      I’m working hard on a costume of Phasma from the Delilah Dawson novel (her postapocalyptic planet pre-movie youth), and maybe a Jedi archivist-style outfit for my (professional librarian) husband. These are my first cosplays in years, so I’m going slow and meticulous as I try a lot of new things.

      Reply
      1. Amadeo

        Are you just going by the description of her outfit in the book or is there a guide/photos somewhere? After the general, I really want to do Rebels Ahsoka, but that’s going to be a huge challenge.

        Reply
        1. KayEss

          I’m just going from the description in the book, so basically just really beat-up/grimy partial stormtrooper armor with weathered cloth underneath and leather accessories, plus her weapons–there aren’t any official images at all, so I’m designing a lot myself. I’m not really into the super regimented Star Wars cosplay groups, because I’d rather be a little creative. (The obsessively documented screen-accurate stormtrooper armor builds have been very helpful, though.)

          Ahsoka sounds really hard but really rewarding if you can pull it off! I saw a tutorial somewhere recently about using a pair of tights to make full-length colored gloves instead of using body paint on your arms/hands where it wears off easily, I think it was actually on the Sock Dreams blog or something?

          Reply
    2. I'm A Little Teapot

      I’m going! Considering making a Leia cosplay. I had started teaching my self to sew for this type of purpose (all the costumes!), but have been sidetracked working on my house. I do have an awesome corset dress I got at DragonCon last year that I can wear, I just need to figure out how to lace it to fit me better. Again, distracted.

      I live close enough to commute, which kinda sucks cause commute time, but it’s also kinda awesome since it makes it really cheap for me and I can sleep in my OWN bed every night.

      Reply
      1. Amadeo

        You’d better get tickets if you haven’t already. 5 days passes are sold out. Saturday is sold out and Thursday is also almost sold out.

        Reply
          1. Amadeo

            I mean, I’m certain there will be folks who will end up having to sell theirs at some point through the year, so there’s that, but yeah, they went on sale the 5th of this month.

            Reply
  31. Jessen

    I am apparently no longer allowed to go back to sleep once I wake up in the morning. The queen of the household knows that I’m awake. It is therefore my responsibility to get up and brush her and rub her ears and tell her how wonderful she is.

    At least I get purrs in exchange.

    Reply
    1. Amadeo

      At least yours waits until you’re awake? Heh. My 20 year old starts up as soon as the sky begins to get light, doesn’t matter if I’m awake or not. Getting in my face, walking up and down the bed (either on me, or just the blankets, doesn’t matter), howling at the top of her lungs. You know, all the fun stuff.

      And only after I am up and she has her half can of food morning feed that she licks 5 times and walks away from do I get the polite purrs and trills. I love her, but I would not wish her on anybody but my worst enemy.

      Reply
    2. Foreign Octopus

      Amen to that.

      I’ve become accustomed to afternoon naps where she can’t reach me.

      It is cute when she lies sprawled out on my chest in the morning though. She’s missing her front teeth and so her little tongue pokes out and I fall in love with her all over again.

      Reply
      1. Jessen

        I live in a studio apartment. There is nowhere she can’t reach me, other than the bathroom. She owns the place. I just pay the rent and clean.

        She is adorable though. She’ll start rubbing her head on me and licking my arm and purring up a storm. She has a special “I want petting now” purr, it’s very loud.

        Reply
      2. Annie Moose

        I’ve only had my boy for a few months (he’s a rescue!) but he makes it SO HARD to get up in the morning when he curls up on my chest. It’s the sweetest thing ever and I wouldn’t give it up for the world… but I also need to get ready for work sometimes!!

        Oh, who am I kidding. It’s worth it. I’ll tell my manager I overslept…

        Reply
    3. A.N. O'Nyme

      I know the feeling. When His Majesty wants cuddles, he’ll meow until you wake up.
      On the bright side, we know he has good lungs.

      Reply
    4. FutureLibrarianNoMore

      You’ve got a weird roommate…

      I imagine she forces you to buy her food and toys as well? ;) Haha

      Reply
      1. Jessen

        Food, yes. I’ve given up on buying toys. She loves chopped up toilet paper tubes and old shoelaces.

        Reply
  32. anon for today

    I just really need to vent.

    I’m been stressed out and miserable at work for the past year. Long days, sleepless night, bouts of crying because the place is so awful. Personal life has been lonely and stressful as well. I have no interest in any of my hobbies anymore.

    I’ve gained 15 pounds that I can’t seem to shake. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’m 5’5″ and my weight keeps fluctuating between 150 – 155. It’s noticeable, especially in my face and stomach. I’ve had people comment on it. I’ve had strangers ask when I’m due. A lot of my clothes no longer fit. I feel the extra weight.

    I eat healthy and watch my calories. No alcohol, caffeine, junk food, or processed food. I go to the gym 6 days out of the week and alternate between strength and cardio. I’ve been to the doctor and have had every test imaginable and nothing is wrong. I still can’t lose the weight. I’ve been trying for the past four months and there’s no budge.

    It’s making me really unhappy. To the point that I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve covered all the mirrors in my house. I went to buy new clothes and started bawling in the store. I’m so unhappy and I don’t even want to look at myself because I’m so disgusted.

    I know I really shouldn’t care about this and it’s not a significant weight gain compared to a lot of people’s struggles, but it’s making me feel so awful and I’ve been avoiding gatherings and hate going outside. I’ve had some dark thoughts, but calling help hotlines just made me feel worse. Anyone who tells me it’ll get better makes me feel worse. I don’t really know what to do.

    Reply
    1. Photographers

      I’m sorry. How old are you? It’s normal to gain as we age. Keep in mind that the dieting/weight yo-yo is damaging to health. Perhaps a focus on fitness, not weight, could be beneficial. Wishing you well.

      Reply
    2. Jessen

      Maybe do a little looking into makeup and styling tips? I’ve found sometimes learning how to look good with the you that you have can help. A good bra, a wardrobe that’s tailored to your shape and size, and a bit of makeup and hair/nails if you like that can really help. Smaller clothes actually make people look heavier than clothes in the proper size.

      I can’t seem to find it now, but I’ve found some fun pictures of people mimicking weight “before and after” pics simply by changing out their clothing and posture.

      Reply
    3. Lulubell

      Stress is known to cause weight gain, especially in the stomach area. Also, six days may be more than you need at the gym. I noticed I lost weight when I cut my average weekly workouts from 4-5 days per week to 3-4. I think I just started eating less because I wasn’t as hungry! Also, I replaced at least one of those gym workouts with hiking or tennis, which I found I got more enjoyment from. Do you have a physical hobby you could take up, that might give you more pleasure/relief from the stress of the rest of your life? I found tennis was particularly effective for this, as I had to focus – for an hour or two a week, I had to completely focus on the game – I absolutely could not think about work or life like I would on the treadmill. It was like a meditation that also burned endorphins – I always felt amazing after! Is there a small change like this you could make? Perhaps it won’t result in weight loss right away, but might at least give you something to look forward to?

      Reply
      1. nonprofit director

        I was thinking something similar. You are stressed at work and you exercise vigorously six days a week, which is adding more stress. I bet your cortisol (stress hormone) is not in optimal ranges right now and that is causing you to gain/hold onto weight.

        My advice is similar to Lulubell’s. If I were you, I’d cut back on the gym visits. Maybe do only two strength workouts per week and one cardio. Add in walking somewhere outside that makes you happy. Consider yoga and/or meditation to help with stress. Plan relaxation and recovery. Stop worrying about calories right now and eat what makes your body feel good; it sounds like your food choices are good. For now, focus on behavioral goals, not weight loss goals. This way, you will feel that sense of accomplishment no matter what happens with the weight.

        Reply
    4. NDQ

      When I was feeling fed up at work, I started setting goals (what I wanted my life to look like) and making exit plans from current job. My job hunt is in progress and that makes me happy that I am being proactive. I also looked at what was frustrating me at work, then took steps to make those areas better. I also started saving/investing as much money as possible which has a really positive effect on my brain. I feel less stuck knowing this available cash gives me more options.

      Currently, the days are better. I’m still looking, but I don’t feel any urgency.

      Physically, I go to water aerobics several times a week. That’s my therapy.

      Give yourself a break and start slow. Find a professional to talk to. Let us know how you’re doing.

      NDQ

      Reply
      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        ALL of this. I hate my current position too but found that when I started taking positive steps for my future that didn’t focus on what I wasn’t getting out of this place, I was SO MUCH happier and more inclined to take better care of myself in terms of eating and making sure I got to the gym.

        Note: positive steps include looking for a new job but wasn’t the primary focus (we all know how that can impact mentality). I was/am lacking the chance to learn and grow at work, so I am focusing on learning/growing skills and trying new things and finding what does actually make me happy.

        Reply
    5. LCL

      Im worried because you sound like you are feeling awful at work and feeling awful at home. I hope you can reach out for more help than is available on a helpline. Helplines are great but they are only a start.

      Reply
    6. annakarina1

      I’m sorry you’re feeling so awful. I don’t have advice, as I am about the same height/weight you are, and carry most of my weight in my upper body. It is frustrating that general healthy diet and exercise doesn’t get rid of it, and I’m annoyed on your behalf that people have commented on your body like that. I just feel for you, and I’m sorry you’re going through a hard time.

      Reply
    7. Amara

      Quite frankly I’m pretty sure stress can cause our bodies to hold on to calories. So getting to a different situation at work might help you lose the weight. Also, it’s possible that your stress at work, which feels uncontrollable, is causing you to fixate on your weight, which seems like it should be controllable.

      I was so stressed out at work because I hated my job and my new boss, and then they fired me :/ I’m doing something else now, which, while it doesn’t pay nearly as much, makes me *so* happy. So I hope things get better for you one way or another.

      Reply
    8. nep

      Sorry you’re struggling. (I can relate–I could have written this.)
      Agree with the others about stress/cortisol. A personal training client of mine had a lot of trouble losing weight; she always dropped some during periods she was not thinking much about it and when she was more occupied with other things, things she enjoyed. But when she was stressed about the weight and felt she had to really restrict, things just stood still.
      You’ve got a lot of good suggestions from people here. I wish you all the best.

      Reply
    9. Triplestep

      I addition to cutting back at the gym, maybe make sure you’re eating enough. I use myfitnesspal dot com to log food and see how many calories I’ve consumed. Make sure you are getting at least 1200 and drink lots of water.

      I’ve always struggled with my weight, so I feel your pain. I’m sorry this is happening to you.

      Reply
    10. LilySparrow

      It sounds like the lack of sleep is affecting you. Stress hormones and sleeplessness really do change your metabolism and body chemistry.

      Could you maybe focus on doing whatever you need to do to improve your sleep, and see how that changes things?

      For me, self-care around something like sleep doesnt carry as much emotional baggage as food/weight issues. Maybe it could help you make changes without getting down on yourself?

      Reply
    11. a name

      One thing I find helpful in these situations is to pop a Benadryl at bedtime on a weekend when I can, so I can get a night of good solid sleep.

      A good night’s sleep is so important for your physical and mental health!

      Reply
    12. Bry

      You need to go to a Doctor or the ER and tell them you need help NOW! Call someone and get help with someone who can actually do something to help. By the time you are calling hotline and it is making you feel worse you need someone to take over and get you help. You aren’t at a place you can make good decisions.

      Reply
      1. ThatGirl

        I’m not sure the ER is warranted here. Most ERs are not set up for doing much beyond stabilization and keeping you alive, not great for psych care. I do think a psych doc or therapist is warranted, the OP sounds depressed. But would not recommend an ER unless it’s a true life threatening emergency.

        Reply
        1. ..Kat..

          you are correct. The ER is not the place for this.

          Therapy might help. Also, a registered dietician might have suggestions.

          Good luck.

          Reply
    13. Saskia

      I’m so sorry you are feeling this terrible. I don’t want to talk about weight or exercise, or clothing, or any of that.

      Please seek professional mental health help as soon as you can.

      What you’re describing seems like it really calls for immediate, professional help.

      You sound like you are experiencing a mental health crisis to me (I was married to a person who had this experience).

      If you can get to an ER or urgent care, please take care of Future You by getting yourself there right away.

      P.S. in the longer term, if you aren’t sure where to begin when finding long-term therapy, Captain Awkward has some posts regarding how to access low-or-no-cost mental health care in the US and Canada

      Reply
    14. BugSwallowersAnonymous

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I can definitely relate- I gained a fair amount of weight in the last few years and lots of people have commented on it (are you okay, are you pregnant, etc). To be totally honest, I feel much better now that I’ve stopped trying to lose weight and got more involved in the body positivity/fat acceptance sphere online. For me, the mental drain of trying to lose weight was sucking the life out of me way more than the extra weight I was carrying. Accepting my body as it is was a huge weight (ha) off my shoulders, and now I fill my time with stuff I actually want to do. I’m starting to enjoy exercise, food etc. w/out worrying about whether it will lead to weight loss. I totally get that this may not be what you’re interested in, but it was a helpful shift in perspective for me. I hope you have lots of love and support regardless.

      Reply
    15. Sparkly Lady

      I have IBS issues that means I am often bloated and look 3-4 months pregnant. It’s frustrating, especially because it’s also physically painful. But I have no choice but to come to acceptance because I’ve already done a lot of dietary changes with minimal impact.

      What’s helped me was doing a lot of experimenting with silhouettes, fabric, and color to figure out what works with an apple shape. It wasn’t just a question of sizing up. My old style was never going to look good with my current shape. I found that rockabilly and draping tunics work well and also fit older me personality wise. I’ve always liked that Stevie Nicks witch of the woods type vibe, but I couldn’t carry off the layers when I was waifier. Now I can.

      Reply
      1. Man with Hat

        If your insurance covers it, Saxenda is extremely effective for weight loss. See an endocrinologist for details.

        Reply
  33. bassclefchick

    Oh, boy. My 30th high school reunion is next weekend. I still have NO idea why I agreed to go. Sure, there are some people I would love to see. But the vast majority of them made my school years a living hell and I would just as soon not ever see any of them again. My husband isn’t coming, either. So I won’t have his support. Mostly it’s because he won’t know anyone (we didn’t go to the same school). The other part is because one of my classmates caused way too much drama at my wedding and destroyed our friendship. Haven’t spoken to her in 5 years. Hubby, obviously, does NOT like her.

    I know if it’s too much, I can just bail. I have PLENTY of friends in the area that would also be happy to see me while I’m in town. Has anyone gone to a reunion and it turned out BETTER than they expected? I could sure use the encouragement.

    Reply
    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      My reunions have always been more fun than I anticipated, but the circumstances are kind of unusual; I went to a small-ish private school and we do 5-year reunions with other classes, so it’s never just us, and the events themselves tend to be pretty loose. Plus our teachers come. It’s nice to meet young alumni, especially the ones at their 5-year who are just starting out after college.

      It’s the “after”, class-only events that can be… interesting. My 10th was ok, I skipped my 15th, but my 20th ended up being a lot of fun. People were generally gracious and nice, and those of us who weren’t friends in high school but had known each other since we were kids kind of fell into some fun reminiscing. It was also interesting to meet some of the spouses and see who married whom.

      I would advise you to go with your plan of show up, see how it goes, and bail if you want. Focus on the ones you say you would love to see. And stick to a single glass of wine (that’s the advice I would give myself, may not apply here!).

      Reply
    2. Thumbcat

      My 20 year one was great! I sort of prepped by watching Gross Point Blank, and Romey and Michelle’s High School Reunion. That put what could actually go wrong into some perspective, so I could relax about going. It turned out to be unnecessary, because people seemed to have finally grown up.

      Reply
    3. It’s all good

      I’ve only been to our 15th. I expected a lot of reminiscing but it was mostly everyone talking about current events in their life, it was great. Everyone was happy for each other, no jealousy or one upping. It was as if we never left each other (i think a spouse or two were miffed). And the popular kids acted humble. My hubby and I started going out in high school and married. Because he didn’t go, people assumed we divorced (he isn’t one to look back so that is why he didn’t go. Afterwards he said he would of gone if he knew the experience was going to be like it was). Sadly, no other reunions have been planned since then. -I recommend going! Let’s us know how it goes if you do go.

      Reply
    4. Stephanie

      Yes! I went to my five-year college reunion unemployed. I had some shame about being out of work, but no one really cared (and I got a couple of job leads from it) and it was fun reminiscing with people and connecting with old friends.

      Reply
    5. Public Health Nerd

      Yup. Just went to my 20 and was pleasantly surprised. Most of the people were less horrible, a few good people came, and I was able to disengage quickly from those I didn’t feel connected to. I did give myself permission to bail if it was bad, which helped.

      Reply
      1. hermit crab

        Global entry is SO worth it (though I also use mine mostly for the precheck). I hope you get to test it out soon!

        Reply
    1. Middle School Teacher

      My new internet provider! For the same price as terrible old company, who charged me about $75 for Internet only, I get internet and a bunch of tv channels!

      I learned that terrible old company bought the company I use for my home alarm system. I hate them so much I might switch.

      Reply
    2. Lily Evans

      I got to meet a Norwegian Forest Cat who walks on a leash and was so fluffy and chill and majestic.

      Reply
    3. Anonymosity

      My dharma group. :)
      Today we met in a parlor at the church where we regularly sit (they were having some kind of event in the big space). It was so nice–we could actually hear each other. The other space is so cavernous and when the heat/AC blowers come on, you can’t hear shit.

      I really look forward to the group every week. We finally finished reading/discussing verses from the Dhammapada (that last chapter on the brahmin, or monastics, was neeeeeever-ending, LOL) and have now started on the Samyutta Nikaya. We’re skipping around with that one instead of plowing straight through.

      And then we go to coffee afterward, which is nice. :D

      Reply
    4. You spin me round round baby

      Drinking delicious wine then taking a nap on the hotel couch with my husband.

      Vacations are wonderful.

      Reply
    5. Sue Donym

      I love that pre-check extends to minor children under 13 – makes travelling alone with the kids SO much easier.

      Reply
    6. Marillenbaum

      My parents’ dog! I’m visiting them for the whole month, and I LOVE how much Bella likes spending time with me. She’s the best.

      Reply
  34. FaintlyMacabre

    I’ve spending too much shopping online (in slight defense, due to my schedule I can’t always make it to stores) and have been feeling self concious about the amount of packages I receive. This was compunded by running into my mailman, who said I was their “best customer!” Oh dear. Time to scale down. He was very nice, but I was kind of mortified.

    Reply
    1. Kate Daniels

      Part of the problem is that these companies always send items in an order in individual packages! This week. I ordered three things from Amazon at one time and I get two boxes and one package (even when checking off the option to send in as few as possible!).

      Reply
      1. Middle School Teacher

        That’s annoying and so wasteful. I ordered some little things from Walmart, and instead of all in a box, one thing came in a padded envelope and the other items came in a box that was far larger than necessary.

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          I ordered 8 items from Walmart. They said two day delivery. It took over a week and it spanned four boxes. Then they canceled two of the items. I could have gone and gotten the stuff myself for the amount of work it was.

          Reply
      2. The Other Dawn

        The whole packaging thing is so annoying! I once ordered something really small–I don’t remember what it was, but it was an item that was maybe CD-sized. It came in a box that could have fit at least three shoe boxes in it!

        Reply
    2. Kj

      We do the same thing at my house. I rarely go to the mall or other stores. My husband NEVER goes to any store but the grocery store and IKEA. I’m sure people think are crazy for the amount of packages we get. That’s OK. I hate shopping in person, so I’d rather order online.

      Reply
    3. The Foreign Octopus

      I feel you.

      I always order a lot of books every month (I live in the mountains in Soain and it’s the only way to get English books otherwise support your local bookstore of course) and the post woman loves all the packages. She gets excited about seeing what country they’re from, which is sweet, but it does mean that she thinks I lead a far more interesting life than I do.

      Best thing to do is just embrace the embarrassment. Get your parcels and just own it.

      Reply
    4. Courageous cat

      Hmm, I’m not sure this is anything to be embarrassed by or feel a need to defend! There’s nothing strange or wrong about shopping online, some people do it almost exclusively for time/convenience/etc.

      Reply
    5. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      I get my cat litter delivered. I always feel SO bad for the delivery guy wheeling in the boxes with like 50 lbs of cat litter (not to mention their dry and wet food), but he knows now to just go in through the back gate so I dont have to lug the box through the house!

      Reply
    6. Arjay

      I know just how you feel. I belong to Gwynnie Bee, so I get bosex of rental clothes a couple times a week. More than once I’ve been tempted to corner the mail deliverer to say, “These are rentals. I send them all (most of them at least) back! Honest!”

      Reply
  35. Seriously Grandma?

    After both my mother and I took Friday off of work, drove three hours, got my grandmother out of her rehab where she has stayed for three months, hauled all her crap back into the house and set it all back up, clean the house, go grocery shopping, set up her doctor’s appointments, fix her TV service, do laundry, refill her meds, meet with her visiting nurse and physical therapy people, and more… after all of that…

    My grandma looked at my mother and I this morning and say ‘Why are you both here? I can do all this myself.’

    Very frustrating to give up my weekend and go out of my way to help my grandmother and get that as a response.

    Reply
    1. FaintlyMacabre

      Ouch. But if it makes you feel better, she is probably in some denial about how much there was to do and really couldn’t do it all. But still, ouch.

      Reply
    2. msroboto

      Are you sure there aren’t some memory issues? I am dealing with someone with serious dementia. She wouldn’t even know all that excitement happened.

      Reply
    3. Barbara

      she may feel her independence is threatuned. Is she unable to do any of these tasks or at least to participate?

      Reply
  36. Jean (just Jean)

    Yes, it’s crummy, but maybe this is your grandmother’s way of dealing with her less-than-full ability to cope because of rehab, life, and aging. It is not fun to have one’s physical, mental, or emotinoal energy decrease. Try reminding her that you are glad to have her company. Or that being helpful is what family members do for each other.

    When you get home, treat yourself to some self-renewing down time.

    Reply
  37. Llama Grooming Coordinator

    Happy weekend everyone – let’s talk running! No specific questions this week.

    I do have a question as to who is in charge of the weather, though! It’s 60 today where I’m at. It’ll be close to 90 tomorrow according to the forecast.

    Reply
    1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      As for the 60 degree weather… don’t question it. It’s probably the last we’ll see of it till October, and it’s lovely to run in. Gonna miss this in July/August.

      Reply
      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

        I’m not questioning today’s weather – it’s tomorrow’s I’m worried about! I love Lager (the race I’m doing tomorrow), but 6:15 PM at the end of June is NOT the best time to go running!

        (Also I’m missing Pride and I’m slightly salty about that.)

        Reply
    2. Stephanie

      I signed up for my second half marathon in late October! I have done little since the last one in May. Will start training soon.

      Reply
      1. A bit of a saga

        I’m also running my next half marathon end October and did my last end May. I need to find an ‘inbetween’ race in September because otherwise I predict I will struggle to maintain my motivation. I’m thinking a 10k for a bit of a change – and because I haven’t found a nice half marathon close-ish to me

        Reply
        1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

          Both of you – good luck!

          Having a tune-up race is a great idea – and 10k is a pretty good distance.

          Reply
          1. Stephanie

            Yeah, I did a 10k a month before the last half and it helped (and also felt short after training for the half, heh).

            Reply
        2. Stephanie

          If you’re anywhere near Pittsburgh, the Great Race in mid September is a good 10k (and it’s all downhill).

          Reply
          1. A bit of a saga

            I’m a whole continent away from Pittsburgh, alas, so will have to find something a bit closer! (my half marathon is in Amsterdam – where is yours?)

            Reply
      2. Llama Grooming Coordinator

        Okay – so I really hate phone typing, so here’s a better reply: Again, good luck, and you still have a fair amount of time for late October for a half. (If you’re doing a 14-week training plan, you have until early or mid July.)

        I’d definitely say that if you’re comfortable with it, follow A bit of a saga’s lead and plan a shorter race (10k) a few weeks out (like 3-6 weeks). And definitely review your first race to see what needs fixing…and what doesn’t. (Plans for my fall races: Continue hydrating more on the course. Maybe not so much before the race.)

        Finally, good luck! All the usual tips about running in the summer apply, and the good thing about fall races is that the temperatures are usually dropping.

        Reply
        1. A bit of a saga

          My third half marathon will be flat & fast so I’m hoping to shave 10 mins off the time of my first one – I will be in better shape and know what I’m doing. I haven’t been running for a week due to a heavy schedule and on the one hand I feel lazy, on the other hand I really want to get out now!

          Reply
          1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

            Hey, so find time to get out! Like I said, both of you are good in terms of how much training time you have, so don’t stress too much. (To be honest, I’m probably due for a week off soon myself.)

            And good luck in hitting your goal – I know you’ll be able to do it.

            Reply
      3. A bit of a saga

        I also have a next half marathon in end October and did my last end May. Need to find something in between in September – maybe a nice 10k – as otherwise I predict my motivation will slip (I did 2 half marathons this spring with 7 weeks inbetween so needed to keep on going. But now I’m in decent shape and end October seems far away)

        Reply
    3. CheeryO

      I’m finally in early enough to be able to contribute! I’m a longtime runner, doing my second NYC Marathon this November. I’m just building easy mileage now and will start a 14 week Hansons plan in late July. I can’t wait! I’ve never run a marathon on anything resembling high mileage, so this will be a first for me.

      As for the weather, I always struggle in the summer. This morning was in the 60s, but it was so oppressively humid that I was dripping by mile 2! I think I’d rather have the heat.

      Reply
      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

        Good luck! I’m…definitely going to be at NYC this year, just not sure if I’m running!

        Just curious if you don’t mind – what was your peak mileage on previous marathons, and what’s the peak you’re looking at now?

        Reply
        1. CheeryO

          Sorry for the late reply! I suck at the weekend thread. I’ve trained for all of my marathons on 30-35ish mpw, with a peak of ~45 mpw. I’ve built up to being comfortable at 40 mpw with speedwork this spring, and will try to build a bit more in the next month. The plan averages around 45-50 mpw, which I realize is not high mileage for serious marathoners, but it’s a lot for me!

          Reply
          1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

            Hey, I’m a slacker at the weekend thread myself! (Also, beer is not the top choice recovery beverage, especially when you get an extra because one of your teammates offers her ticket. I can’t quite drink like I used to!)

            But actually…I think you’ll do fine because that’s kind of what I did. For comparison, I went from ~30 baseline up to ~50-55 average this spring. (High week was 66, which was a fun week! I did my 20, then got dragged into another long run the day after.) See how you feel during and after the race – maybe the extra mileage might help, maybe you’re better at 40 (which is still what a LOT of people do).

            Honestly, the worst part I found was the time suck, since I was spending 10+ hours a week on running related things. Plus, to cross the streams, I’m a project manager (It’s Monday so I can talk work!), and between my project getting crunched due to changes and trying to get a BQ…I had very little free time.

            Reply
    4. Jane of all Trades

      Hello! I loooved that it was cooler yesterday. Ran the Pride run in Central Park. Would have loved for it to also not be as humid, but you take what you can get. This was my second race longer than a 5k. My first longer one was a 10k in April. This time I noticed that (1) not all races seem to be as well organized as my first one (2) I really missed the gatorade hydrating stops they had for my first race. Other than that, I loved seeing everybody’s outfits, I so love the people who stand on the sidelines and cheer, it always gives me a boost, and I think I will look into finding a race outside of Central Park to mix things up a little… (it’s just really convenient). Shaved a few seconds off my average mile from last time too.
      I think the thing I like most about doing sports, which I really only started in October 2017, so its all pretty new, is that I feel a lot more powerful in my body. So I’m trying to keep the momentum going.
      How is everybody else on this lovely Sunday morning?

      Reply
      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

        First of all, congratulations! How’d you do? And also – welcome to the tribe! (I started running really seriously about the same time as you did, in fact – although I’ve been running casually since about 2013 and started doing group long runs in late 2016.)

        The weather yesterday was great. Unfortunately, the weather today was NOT. (As in, we got caught in a thunder storm after the race.)

        You sound like you’re in New York – there are a TON of races outside of Central Park, let alone New York itself. I’m more familiar with New Jersey (since I live there and it feels like literally every race organizer has me on their mailing list), but there’s at least one race in my area every weekend in the spring and fall, and usually multiple races. Some of them are better organized than others – larger races (like USATF Championships) tend to have their acts together more out of necessity, from what I’ve seen. (I’ve seen some small races too! Those are the ones that tend to go REALLY sideways or have weirdness.)

        New York Road Runners (NYRR) races, in my experience, tend to offer a lot of amenities (I mostly look at the Five-Borough Series and NYC Marathon, not so much their shorter races), so you can’t really go off of what they do. I’ve kind of dumped on NYRR before for things they’ve borked (they literally apologized to everyone for screwing up the bag check at Brooklyn Half this year), but their courses are HUGELY supported. Brooklyn had water stops nearly every mile, and I think most of them also had Gatorade. Most other races…don’t have that. (If I remember, Newport was about every two miles. NJ was 2 miles/1 mile, then every 2 miles on the out and back portion of the marathon. Both of these are major races in New Jersey. I haven’t done my club’s half yet, but I can’t imagine the support levels are much higher than that.)

        Reply
    5. Llama Grooming Coordinator

      Okay, so – a LITTLE disappointed in how I ran today. Which is silly because I ran a massive PR. (Like, I ran high 17’s last year at this 5k and was over the moon, and I ran a high 16’s time this year. Also beat a couple of my friends, which is nice – there’s one guy who ended up beating me at the 10k I ran last month that I beat out by ~15 seconds at this race.)

      It was pretty hot and a lot of people wilted in general. I felt like I was wilting myself, but I managed to run a good race all considered.

      Mostly, didn’t score as well on the team end of things because Humongous Club and Smaller Elite Club both brought like EVERYONE. (Humongous Club usually dominates these kinds of races. Smaller Elite Club can give them a run for their money. We are a Tiny Somewhat Elite Club.) But a lot of us did great – one of our members shaved four minutes off her time (from 34 down to 30).

      Reply
  38. Kat

    I feel a bit sad today. Mainly it’s PMS-related sadness, but still, it affects me even when I know to expect it. However, I did go and get a new running top and a couple of books (dangerous to go in a bookshop), and took myself for lunch and a short sit-and-read in the park. I am home now and it’s Saturday evening and summer and I feel I should be ‘doing something’, but I really just want to veg on the sofa and maybe do a bit of yoga later.

    No point to this, really, except to say I am sad but doing my best. If you are too, hi :)

    Reply
    1. Almost Violet Miller

      I often get really sad because of PMS. I keep telling myself that it’s temporary. Being conscious of the sadness going away soon has been somewhat helpful. I also just explore what I am feeling and it sometimes brings back things i haven’t fully dealt with. It’s not the nicest feeling but it has helped me get rid of some emotional baggage I was carrying and hadn’t had the time to properly mourn etc.
      And yes, bookshops are super dangerous. I’m thinking of popping into the closest one to get Shakespeare’s Midsommer Night’s Dream…

      Reply
    2. WellRed

      It’s so easy to hunker down on Saturday night in the winter, but a gorgeous summer is a different story. It csn feel very lonely imagining all the fun others are having at some fabulous outdoor spot.

      Reply
    3. Stephanie

      Yeah, I always get a little depressed right before my period. Not extremely so, but I notice I’m always a bit blue a couple of days before onset.

      Reply
    4. Marillenbaum

      That’s totally reasonable. It sounds like you’re trying to be kind to yourself, which is all we can ask of ourselves. Also, you officially have my permission as a Responsible Adult Person to veg on the couch and maybe do some yoga later.

      Reply
  39. Kj

    Anyone swim to work out? Any tips? I’m in my 2nd trimester, nearly at the 3rd, and I am not feeling comfortable running or biking. My balance is REALLY off (all my weight is in my belly, I have gained nowhere else per my husband and everyone else in the world, all who seem compelled to comment….) I tried swimming this week and enjoyed the feeling of weightlessness in the pool, but I’m wondering how to get a good work out out of it. Any tips for strength training, swimming strokes, etc? I am in fairly good shape, but swimming is not my usual thing. And all the water aerobics classes are not really designed for a younger person at my pool (I’d be literally 1/2 the age of most of the people in the class).

    Reply
    1. I'm A Little Teapot

      Honestly, just moving around in the pool is a workout. You may feel weightless, but it’s actually a lot of work pushing against the water. Particularly since you’re pregnant, that might be sufficient for your body right now. You could try some of the aerobics moves in the pool, or I bet you could youtube water aerobics moves, etc. But listen to your body.

      And feel free to tell everyone who’s commenting on your body exactly where they can put their unwanted comments. They’re being rude. Including your husband.

      Reply
      1. Thlayli

        This. Just walking up and down the pool is using your muscles a lot more than in air. If you’re not a swimmer at all, pregnancy is probably not the time to learn. If you are able to swim a little then just do whatever stroke you find easiest, take as many breaks as you need and just keep going till you feel tired.

        Reply
        1. Kj

          I can swim-it is more that I don’t know how to take getting from one side of the pool to the other and make it a workout. But you are right I was tired after swimming the way I did. It is likely enough just to move in the water.

          Reply
          1. Thlayli

            There’s no special type of swimming to make it a workout. It’s like running. You just do it and it makes you fit. Just swim up and down the pool and that’s it. I find it relaxing. Makes you switch your brain off.

            Reply
            1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

              Well, there is, but a proper swim workout::track work out as a long run::just doing un-timed laps in the pool.

              In this instance not seeing the point of setting rest times and sets when getting in the water and moving is all that is important.

              Reply
      2. Kj

        To be fair to my husband, he’s reassuring me I look pregnant, not fat. I appreciate that, as I prefer for people to look at me and think I’m pregnant.

        Other people, however, seem delighted that someone as thin as me is putting on weight at all. Ugh. People. I keep reminding myself it is for my future child. And that they are jerks.

        Reply
    2. Thumbcat

      Swimming is a really good aerobic workout. If you are a beginner to medium swimmer, I recommend using a kickboard and working on breathing techniques and different kicks. Lots of turning and twisting that you just can’t do out of the water is good for the back muscles (and fun). Also don’t overdo! The return of your non-buoyed mass can be startling, especially if you are having any balance issues.

      Reply
      1. Melody Pond

        This is a great idea – just using a kickboard. Also, maybe try breast stroke? You could do a fairly simple version where you’re not really ducking your head under water at all, just kind of doing the basic arm and leg motions to slowly move yourself through the water. I’m A Little Teapot is also right, moving your body through the water is much more difficult than moving through the air – 800 times more difficult, to be precise. Because water is 800 times more dense than air. So even if you just do a slow, gentle breast stroke or use a kickboard – if you do that for a while, you’ll probably notice yourself getting tired.

        Plus, the pregnant belly would probably act as extra drag in the water. I would think that would make anything you do in the water, even more physically exhausting than it would otherwise be.

        Reply
    3. Nana

      If the water aerobics seems too easy, try doing those exercises in deeper water. And/or use a pool noodle. Walking while ‘swishing’ it back and forth, riding it like a bike. You can probably Google other ideas. Swimming is wonderful exercise for just about anyone — good luck!

      Reply
    4. families!

      Can you swim without stopping for 15-30 min? or 500m, 1000m etc. that’s pretty aerobic and easier said than done, esp. if swimming is not your thing. Other things you can do is the kickboard as others have said, you can also put a buoy between your legs and just use arms to move and if that doesn’t burn enough, there are paddles you put on your hands that make you pull more water – be careful though, you can easily strain the shoulder if it’s too much. If you have one of those noodle pool things or something similar you can hold on to that and “run” in the water, run fast, run slow, etc. you don’t have to actually move from one end to the other, but you have to be somewhere you can’t touch the bottom, it’s exhausting! I did a class like that when I couldn’t run because of an injury and it was hard!

      Reply
    5. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      Go ahead and do the water aerobics. I (not pg) went and did deep water aerobics along with a friend in her third trimester, and then we would finish off with laps after. Who cares about the age? It is good exercise, and you can modify it to be as much of a workout or as easy as you need. I miss it. The baby is here now.. and I haven’t gone on my own. (A different topic).

      Reply
  40. AnonymousInfinity

    Six weeks ago, my hair stylist cancelled on me with one day’s notice and no explanation (just a “I can’t make our appointment tomorrow; call me to reschedule!”). My hair had grown out to an obnoxious-to-me-style, and I ended up going to someone who was…not so great but not terrible. After six weeks, that okay-ish cut has grown out to resemble a mushroom unless I spend a lot of time with the flat iron. Last week, I made an appointment with my original stylist for this morning, arrived 5 minutes early, and, when she saw me, she said “I’ll be RIGHT with you”…as she literally walked someone else back to shampoo them so she could BEGIN a cut and style. I waited for 45 minutes without another word from her or anyone else before leaving. I wasn’t nice about it, but I also wasn’t mean – just matter of fact about being up against another obligation.

    I can be unforgiving about these things, especially with two unprofessional misses in six weeks, and am looking for some calibration. Would you ever go back? (First world problems, right.)

    Reply
    1. The Other Dawn

      I wouldn’t be upset about the first incident. Maybe something came up unexpectedly and she had to deal with it. It happens to all of us from time to time. The second incident, though, I’d be really pissed off about. That was really rude. At the very least she could have said she’s running behind and given you an estimate as to when she would be done. Preferably calling you before you arrive, otherwise letting you know when you get there if she couldn’t reach you.

      Reply
    2. Caledonia

      Nope, I would not go back. Maybe if she explained the situation (double booked, over-ran, someone out sick) but she just ignore me you which is not only poor customer service but bad manners.
      Ask your friends/work colleagues for hairdresser recs and go elsewhere.

      Reply
    3. new kitty to the mix

      I would look for a new stylist, esp if she didn’t offer other appointment options. Not your responsibility to call her when she is canceling the appointment.

      Reply
    4. Not So NewReader

      That is so unusual. Yeah, I’d be done. And I’d figure she wanted me to be done for whatever reason, so no guilt, just mutual agreement.

      Reply
    5. Triple Anon

      No. Say something to the management and don’t go back. It’s not a small problem; I’m sure this is affecting other people too.

      Reply
    6. ..Kat..

      Find a new stylist, complain to her manager, and post what she did on yelp. This is ridiculous, rude, obnoxious behavior on the part of your stylist.

      Reply
    7. Marillenbaum

      Nope! Life is too short to stick with a bad/unprofessional stylist, especially since there are other people out there who could do as good a job without canceling on you like this.

      Reply
  41. La

    Working moms/parents – what does your morning routine look like?
    Particularly for a baby newborn to a year??

    Reply
    1. Thlayli

      Check out the working moms board on what to expect – really good advice to be found there.

      It makes a big difference whether you have to drop the baby off or someone comes to the house to mind them. I have a Childminder who comes to house so I literally put socks on the kids and bring them downstairs and she takes it from there. I also shower in work during the week and eat breakfast in work. If you have to fit all that in at home you will need to get up pretty early probably.

      Reply
    2. SS Express

      I don’t have kids so this may or may not be useful, but as someone who really struggles with mornings I have a super streamlined routine. I do my “proper” showers at night (wash hair, shave legs, whatever) and just take a very quick one in the morning. Then I just brush my teeth and hair, slap on some moisturiser and get dressed in my personal “uniform”. I keep a makeup bag in my handbag at all times so I can apply minimal makeup during my commute, and keep breakfasty snacks at work so I can eat at my desk. I’m the sort of person who takes forever to get ready but I can be out the door within ten minutes of getting out of bed with this routine. It’s especially handy on days when I have something else I need to do in the morning, so I imagine it could also work well if your something else is caring for a baby.

      Reply
    3. NewWorkingMama

      It depends on a bunch of things (including if you’re nursing/formula-ing) but basically for us it’s a team sport, wake up, husband changes baby and gets her out of her sleep clothes while I brush my teeth/do the bathroom things, he showers, I nurse the wee one, husband dresses her (he tries to get in a lot of morning time since he’s home later and also I find his outfits hilarious), while he’s doing that I do the daycare bag (count out milk) and pack my pump supplies (washed the night before) and various work-related items, I usually get dressed somewhere in there, but if not I get dressed, wrap up whatever else I need and we’re out the door in (roughly) 45 minutes. We’ve done a few different things and this one worked the best for me. Originally I was doing everything and it’s just too much time. It really depends on your morning needs (I eat a snack and water in the car on the way to daycare and a real breakfast at work). It takes a while but you get into a rhythm.

      Reply
  42. The Other Dawn

    I went to a lecture and book signing earlier this week for Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, my two favorite authors. It was so exciting! The lecture was basically a Q&A with them, which was a little over an hour. They’re funny guys and they play well off each other. They told some stories about their early writing days, how they came up with the idea for the last book in the Gideon Crew series, The Pharaoh Key, where the idea for Pendergast came from, and a few other things. It was really interesting. The book signing was afterwards. Each person got a couple minutes to chat with them as they were signing. I thanked them for finally coming to my state, that I’d been waiting a long time to meet them, how it was my late brother who got me into reading their books, and that all their books need be 1,000+ pages since it seems like I devour them way too fast (a joke, of course). Lincoln joked it would take them three years, so the choice is wait a year or wait more than three years between books. It took me so many years to be able to meet them, but it finally happened and I’m so glad.

    Reply
    1. Ree

      That’s so cool! I LOVE their books and I also really like the solo books Lincoln’s a child wrotes(I haven’t been about to get into the solo Douglas Preston books)

      Reply
      1. The Other Dawn

        I’ve read them all except for the Gideon series and I think the non-fiction books one of them wrote. I think their individual books are just as good as the ones they write together.

        Reply
      1. The Other Dawn

        A dream come true after so many years! Apparently they only made two stops on this book tour. I know they don’t usually do a lot anyway, but only two is strange.

        Reply
      1. The Other Dawn

        I haven’t read the Gideon series either, which is funny because the book they signed was the last one in the series. That I didn’t read. (Actually, I think I may have read the first one, but I’m not sure.)

        Reply
    2. Ellie

      Did you get to find out why they cut allllll these characters from the Pendergast series after/due to the plot line involving his children? I’m a few books behind because that irritated me so much- maybe he got his head back on straight and made amends to D’Agosta and the other people who put up with him for years?

      Reply
      1. The Other Dawn

        They mentioned other characters and said that they’re not gone. They just don’t have a place in the plot lately. The next pengergast book is done so I’m guessing that will come out later this year, and the one after that is 1/3 of the way done.

        Reply
    3. Jennifer

      I love their books, but the last few have left me disappointed. Mainly because they just can’t seem to write fully fleshed our female characters. They all seem to be in need of saving.

      Reply
  43. new kitty to the mix

    Hi everyone, I posted several months ago when I got a new kitty and was worried about her acclimating (to our doggies and our home). I just wanted to post that she has acclimated just fine, she did it in her own time and pace. One day I was in my kitchen and felt her rub up against my leg. It scared a little because at that point (wasn’t sure what it was) she hadn’t come out of the guest room and there she was :-) from that day forward she has been playing with us and the dogs like she has been with us forever!!

    Reply
      1. New Kitty to the Mix

        Thanks! We came home last night and she made a “decoration” with the tissues from the kleenex. It was so cute we couldn’t be mad. She is turning into quite the character!

        Reply
        1. I Love Thrawn

          That’s how they get you – the Cute is their path to world domination…. One house at a time. Just ask mine.

          Reply
  44. Completely anon for this stupid rant

    So last week, someone here mentioned not having known Harvest Moon had changed names into Story of Seasons.
    So settle down, interested ones, and allow me to briefly recap what happened.
    The Harvest Moon series is made by Marvelous Entertainment in Japan, where it is known as Bokujō Monogatari (which apparently translates roughly to “Ranch Story”). In the US, it was localized by a company called Natsume under the name Harvest Moon, but in 2012 the companies went their separate ways and Marvelous chose Xseed, which they own, to localize any further games.
    There was only one small problem.
    Natsume owned the name “Harvest Moon”.
    This forced Xseed to find a new name for their localization and they settled on Story of Seasons. Natsume, in the meantime, decided to do something with this name they had lying around and started making their own Harvest Moon games. The most recent addition, Light of Hope (which for several reasons is more “Light of Nope”) was advertised as “the first Harvest Moon on PC” and costs around $30 or your local equivalent (and recently I found a site listing the Collector’s Edition for around €70). Thing is…It’s not very good. Definitely not worth $30, being such a lazy mobile port that the mobile controls are even still in there (I’ll post a link with a review in response).
    So, if you want the “real” Harvest Moon, you’ll have to look at Story of Seasons, as any Harvest Moon made after Harvest Moon: A New Beginning (2012) is not Bokujō Monogatari. And if you want Harvest Moon on PC, you’re better off with one of a plethora of similar games, one of the most popular ones being Stardew Valley which sells for less than half the price.
    This…Ended up being bigger than intended.

    Reply
  45. The Foreign Octopus

    Learning for fun.

    Now that my life has settled down, I’m finding my day to day routine a little monotonous and I’m looking to shake it up a little. Since I live in the middle of nowhere sans car for the next few months, I though a distance learning course might be fun. My only experience with DL is the Open Universoty and it wasn’t very positive as they kept calling me at work to discuss my classes even after I told them not to call me there. I eventually dropped out of the course because of it.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for distance learning providers? I’m not financially ready to do a Masters yet but I like the idea of studying for a GCSE, A Level, or diploma of some kind in any subject that interests me.

    Has anyone done distance learning before? What was it like?

    I’m really just looking for something new to fail my days with and I’m not looking for a qualification for work or anything, but I would like proof of accomplishment at the end.

    Reply
    1. Beth

      For tech courses, check out Udacity and Udemy. Udacity has some particularly good free ones.
      I think my first comment was deleted, but sorry if this is a duplicate.

      Reply
    2. Jane

      I’ve done part of my BA by distance, and all of my post-grad cert by distance, and enjoyed it. But you have to be very much a self-starter – I knew people who tried but just couldn’t find the time or energy to do the studying. For now, I’m like you – not wanting to do a masters, so I’ve been doing free courses at futurelearn.com, they’re short but interesting. Some of them you can get a certificate at the end to print out. There are other online courses you can do but I don’t know much about them. A good google search would tell you more.

      Reply
  46. Almost Violet Miller

    My best friend is turning 30 in a few weeks. I want to get her some jewellery. Does anyone have any experience with Paul Hewitt bracelets? I am not going for the rope ones but found one that’s stainless steel with a gold-plated surface.

    Reply
  47. AnonGirl For Now

    UPDATES:)

    A few months ago I got some really kind advice regarding my long-kept secret that I was maybe going to see my highschool study abroad year crush.
    Well, he’s been incredibly flaky and we have agreed to meet maybe in the automn. In the meantime I met someone and have started what seems to be turning into a LDR. I’m so excited. I asked for advice for LDRs a couple of weeks back, and just wanted to say thank you:)

    Reply
  48. Laura H

    How about a bit of (perhaps out of season) fun?

    What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie and how do you buy em?

    I like thin mints, the s’mores, and the do-si-dos (peanut butter sandwich cookies).

    I buy 12 boxes and open one a month-even 6 box split between do-si-dos and thin mints. June’s box is thin mints.

    Reply
    1. Nervous Accountant

      I love the lemon ones. At least 1-2coworkers have the GS cookie hook up so I bought a few boxes from them. Last year the Girl scouts set up a shop in the building across the street so coworker and I took a bunch of orders, cash, and did a haul.

      Reply
    2. Anonymosity

      I like the lemon cookies and the thin mints, but my all-time favorites are the shortbread trefoils. I had trouble selling those as a kid (back when they were 50 cents a box! Yes I’m old! Shut up LOL!) because I always wanted to eat them, haha.

      Reply
    3. The Other Dawn

      Weirdly, my favorite these days are the Trefoils. There are two reasons: they’re awesome right from the freezer, and they don’t have as much sugar as the other ones. I also love Thin Mints. I usually buy several boxes of each ad stash them in the freezer. Although, I’ll admit they don’t last longer than a week or so. (That’s pretty bad considering I’m the only one eating them…) I typically buy them from people at work whose kids are selling them.

      Reply
    4. The Foreign Octopus

      I’m British and I’ve never tried Girl Scout cookies but I desperately want to! They sound amazing. Everyone seems to rave about the thin mints so I might try those first.

      Reply
    5. Loves Libraries

      Love thin mints! Buy and freeze. Eat a sleeve at a time. For 12 years I helped my daughter’s Girl Scout troop sell cookies. This was the first year I didn’t help since she graduated and went off to college. I really didn’t know where to buy them. Finally my husband found someone at his work selling them.

      Reply
    6. Marillenbaum

      Samoas, ride or die. I’ve been in grad school for the past two years, so I had the Girl Scout who sold on campus outside of my department building; she was a CHAMP who was working on her Gold Award, AND she and her mom took Venmo!

      Reply
      1. LCL

        Samoas are the best! What is this freezing and saving others are talking about? I get the concept but buying enough to freeze just wouldn’t be prudent. Yes I’m joking.

        Reply
    7. LadyKelvin

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE tag-a-longs (peanut butter patties I think is their other name?) but at $4-5 for 15 cookies, I just can’t justify the expense. Thin mints are a much better deal…but I hate thin mints. My mom did have a genius way of eating them though, she would bite a bit off two sides then use it as a straw to suck milk through. Then the inside would be soft and milky and the outside crunchy.

      Reply
      1. Arjay

        This may be an unpopular opinion, but WalMart sells a peanut butter patty cookie that is nearly as good as a Tagalong and sells for $1.50 a package. It’s my go-to outside of cookie season.

        Reply
  49. Dan

    My dog knows what day of the week it is. I know some dogs can tell time, but he knows what day of the week it is to boot. I work a typical M-F office job, and my dog will spend the day in his crate while I’m gone. It’s to the point where after we go out in the morning, he just goes straight to his crate without me telling him to do that. On weekends, he somehow knows that I’ll be around so he doesn’t go to his crate.

    Except yesterday, I took the day off for no reason. I took the dog out in the morning and he went straight to his crate as usual – and stayed there all day, waiting for me to leave.

    Reply
    1. Not So NewReader

      Too funny. My old dog let us know he knew it was Saturday. He knew if we were still home at 7:30 we would stay home. Long about 7:35 we’d be faced with a huge burst of silliness, running, jumping etc. It was his glee that we would be home that day.

      Reply
    2. Daphne

      Aww good dog! I guess you couldn’t encourage him to come out incase he thinks that’s the new normal and upsets the routine.

      Not the same thing at all, but makes me think of my cats that seemed to recognise my parents cars driving past/parking up but would ignore other vehicles. I’m probably projecting.

      Reply
    3. Triple Anon

      My dog does that too. He knows when it’s time for me to leave and he goes under the bed and goes to sleep. I don’t work a typical shedule, though, so I can’t tell if he picks up on patterns like days of the week.

      Reply
    4. Middle School Teacher

      Mine definitely does too, I think because of what time I get up and what I do. If I get up earlier and hustle him outside and out on nice clothes, he knows it’s a school day and he sits outside the bathroom and watches me wash my face and do my makeup. If I get up a little later and sit on the couch in the morning and wear jeans, he’s pretty chill. On days when I can wear jeans to school, he thinks I’m staying home and he gets all excited! Then he’s sad when I leave. I swear, for a dog with a brain smaller than my fist, he’s pretty smart.

      Reply
    5. Jules the First

      My pony absolutely tells time – if I’m at the gate on my usual day at my usual time, she’s there waiting. If I’m late, she’ll have gone back to grazing and gives me attitude for trying to bring her in. If I show up on what is not one of my usual days I get a huge greeting with an excited whinny (normally I get no audible greeting). She also sulks the following visit if I’ve skipped one of my regular days, but she makes up for it with cuddles at the end of the evening (usually she’s more likely to bite than cuddle, even on her good days…)

      Reply
  50. Mrs. Magoo

    I’m going to be getting new eyeglasses fairly soon and I’m hoping for some advice on two things. I currently wear bifocals (At one point my doctor said I might consider switching to trifocals with a third lens for looking at computer screens) and I’m wondering about switching to “progressive lenses”. Has anyone done this? How do you like the progressive lenses?

    I’m also wondering about the eyeglasses that automatically adjust their tint to the sunlight. I currently have a pair of eyeglasses with “Transitions” lenses, but they really don’t get dark enough outside in the sunlight. I also have a older pair of permanently tinted prescription eyeglasses that I bought during a “Buy 1, get 1 free event at an optical center, that I use when outside and they’re darker and better than the Transitions eyeglasses, but it is a hassle switching glasses every time I go outside. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Enough

      I got progressives the last time. What the optician failed to tell me is that the larger the lenses the more distortion there might be on the periphery. It occurs on the left with my worse eye and in certain situations makes look like they are slope to the left if I’m looking down. Usually only noticeable at short distances. Have you considered clip on shades? I also like darker sunglasses and never tried the transitions for that reason.

      Reply
    2. Yetanotherjennifer

      I have progressives and I really love them, but you need to get the spacing between the different corrections right. My first pair were in a fairly small frame and that worked perfectly. When I switched to larger frames it seemed like the reading portion would only work well if I had eyes in my cheeks. I’m getting replacement lenses that will hopefully fix that.

      I also have to do the sunglasses switcheroo and it’s a pain. I looked into transitions but they tend to read being in a car as being indoors and so don’t provide the tint when you’re driving. They also tend to be slow to transition. But if you remember the flip style sunglasses that clipped on to your glasses frames…they now have ones that attach with magnets. That might be something to look into.

      Reply
    3. TheTallestOneEver

      As someone already mentioned, the challenge with Transitions is that they don’t change when you’re driving since the glass in the windshield blocks the UV that triggers them. Also, when I wore them I found that they only got really dark in the winter, and the cold temperature caused them to take longer to lighten. That’s why I just stick with a separate pair of prescription sunglasses.

      Reply
    4. Earthwalker

      I haven’t done progressives because I figured that I’d rather have my corrections as wide as possible with no lens space wasted on being somewhat in-between. I’ve had bifocals since middle school so lines don’t bother me, so I can’t comment on how well progressives work. I did get trifocals once (distance/computer/reading) and concluded that the two lower lenses were both too narrow to be useful. I had to move my head up and down too much to read a page or to use the computer. What worked for me in the end was going back to bifocals (distance/computer). When reading a book I take them off and hold the book close. I like it better.

      Reply
    5. Courageous cat

      People seem to like progressives (working at an optometrist’s office currently), so I rarely see bifocals anymore. I see progressives constantly. I would recommend them.

      Reply
    6. Big Person

      I had progressives first, and switched to bifocals! An optician once explained to me that all (at the time, it may be different now) progressives were made from large lenses cut to fit the frame, and if your frame was quite small, you would lose a larger portion of the reading (bottom) part of the lens than perhaps you might like. I have never had a problem with the bifocals and I would never go back to progressives. For the computer, I opted for single vision lenses calibrated to the distance at which the computer sits away from me as neither of the focuses on the bifocals worked for the computer and I didn’t want to go trifocal and cut either lens down further.

      Reply
    7. CBE

      I’ve never done bifocals but just got progressives a few months ago, and they are great. Took a day or so to adjust but I really like them now.

      Reply
  51. Myrin

    Has anyone heard of fposte recently? I feel like I haven’t seen a comment of hers all week and was wondering if anyone knows of her whereabouts! (Or maybe she’s been just as present as always but I somehow missed it which is totally possible!)

    Reply
    1. Not So NewReader

      I was wondering the same thing, she’s been very quiet.

      fposte, I hope you are okay but just busy.

      Reply
      1. PB

        I believe fposte and I are in the same field, which is having a huge conference right now. Not sure if she’s there or not, but if so, that could be affecting her availability.

        Reply
      1. Myrin

        What!
        I always search for the names of the people whose comments I usually like and didn’t see her come up at all! I might have developed selective vision or something. Thanks for letting me know, Alison, I was getting really worried!

        Reply
      2. The Foreign Octopus

        You don’t know how Katie the Fed is, do you? I know she had her baby and would be taking some time away but I was thinking about her the other day and wondered if I’d missed a post from her.

        Reply
            1. Jean (just Jean)

              A bit off-topic but here goes (Alison, feel free to delete):
              Yes, it’s mind bending. But nice.

              Reply
  52. You spin me round round baby

    So for our anniversary, my husband and I are on the north fork of long island to do our normal winery crawl, including a wine festival with 20+ wineries. Our… mistake(?) this year was to stop at the distillery tables to try the whiskey as well as a ton of wines. This is definitely our favorite festival. Anyone else have favorite wine festivals?

    Reply
  53. Cherry

    Is this normal for an adult friendship???? B/c I honestly feel like this is so childish, but well, here we go:

    Cucumber and I are friends. Cucumber and I are happily married (to other ppl). Our spouses know each other.
    On at least 2 separate occasions mutual friend Potato has joked–to me only–that Cucumber & I were dating or messing around.

    Crude, sex jokes are common in our friend group but never the “Cucumber & Cherry are hooking up” kind. That just feels too far. This bothers me not b/c I’m worried that Cucumber will hear this and distance himself from me for, I don’t know why. I just feel worried that we will not be friends. I feel silly and childish for even thinking this, but….umm…yeah.

    Reply
    1. Beth

      I don’t know if it is normal, but it would bother me if someone made a job about me hooking up with my friend.
      I’m guessing your friend, and your spouse are of the same sex? I hate that people make it a big deal, when it’s not.
      I’m married and I have both male friends, and female friends. Maybe Potato is projecting, and wants to hook up with you. Not really :) But I’d be tempted to call them out on that, next time they make that joke.

      Reply
      1. Cherry

        I am female married to a male. Cucumber is male married to a female. That’s a good idea, I’ll call Potato out on that. To be honest, I never had a “type” that I was attracted to, I’m usually more attracted to a guy’s personality and looks are secondary. But I don’t think about Cucumber in that way.

        Reply
    2. Cedrus Libani

      Yeah, that’s gross. Grown-ups can have friends of a type they’re theoretically attracted to, while not actually having sex with that person in particular, whether that’s due to incompatibility, agreements with existing partners, or Just Don’t Wanna. You’re not the one acting like a child.

      Reply
    3. Cherry

      Sorry there was a typo. I meant this bothers me b/c I AM worried that Cucumber will distance himself***

      Reply
    4. Anonymosity

      Nothing to add to the advice, which is good; I just wanted to say I like the fruit/vegetable names. :)

      Reply
    5. Triple Anon

      That’s annoying. It’s juvenile. And, now that the genders are known, I have to say that it could also be that Potato has strong opinions on male/female friendships and is trying to force those views on you and Cuke. Some people are weird like that. I would ask Potato to back off.

      Reply
      1. Saskia

        I agree with Triple Anon. I reckon Potato is maybe also not such a good friend and would be on the lookout for them trying to cause drama.

        Reply
    6. Lasslisa

      That is a terrible thing for your friend to say. Sometimes people don’t realize how bad what they’re saying is until someone else points it out to them. I would either bring it up – with a serious/stern voice and manner – or prepare to visibly recoil and take obvious offense if your friend says it again.

      Potato is not just implying some attraction that you don’t have, they’re implying that you would cheat on your partner and that you would induce your friend to cheat on his partner. Maybe Potato is testing the ground to see how you feel about the idea and maybe not, but either way you can make it very clear that you don’t like being considered the sort of person who would do something like that.

      Reply
      1. Lasslisa

        One more note: Your social group may have some different norms in how you talk about sex but it may help to keep in mind, for perspective, this kind of statement is old school Pistols at Dawn stuff, and that’s still the world we live in every day. You are within your rights to take it as an insult and treat it as a threat to your friendship and possibly marriage (maybe accidental – still, *don’t wave that thing around, it’s sharp*).

        Reply
        1. Cherry

          Yeah, we roast each other all the time, and many crudejokes. but this feels like a “don’t go there.” I guess I’m a little worried that I’m not sure if I would feel so strongly about it if Cucumber and I were single though if that makes sense.

          Reply
          1. Lissa

            Eh, it makes total sense. When I was single I had lots of friends, and lots of crude jokes were made about things like that – it was fine. But now that I’m partnered, it would really bother me if someone made a comment about me and my best guy friend. It’s completely different and far more insulting to be like “maybe you are cheating on your spouses!” vs “maybe two single people are getting together/hooking up!”

            Reply
          2. Lasslisa

            That’s exactly what I’m trying to say – this isn’t a cute “tee hee will they or won’t they” joke, this is a joke about the two of you cheating on and grievously hurting your spouses. There’s an insult implied WAY beyond if you and he were single.

            Reply
    7. Anonymous Educator

      Normal for you to be friends. Not normal or okay for people to make crude sex jokes about you two.

      Reply
  54. Penguin

    Hey AAM folks! Can any of you recommend a good (probably online/remote?) course to learn typing? Yes, as in “touch typing” aka “using a keyboard.” My skill is fine but I need to be able say “yes I took a course” for… reasons. I’ve poked at the internet but have no idea where to look. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Chaordic One

      It seems to me that the most popular courses are the ones from Mavis Beacon. You can buy the software very cheaply for about $20.00 at office supply stores, bookstores, or from Amazon. When I googled it, I found a listing for a free version, but I can’t verify that it is as good as the regular version.

      (Mavis Beacon is not a real person, she’s kind of like Betty Crocker.)

      Reply
      1. Anonymosity

        Yesssss! Mavis Beacon worked very well for me.
        And chatting in my chat room made my speed improve, because it’s real-time and in order to keep up, I had to speed up!

        Reply
    2. FrontRangeOy

      Mavis Beacon, absolutely!

      I learned to touch type in high school, back in the stone age when WordPerfect was pretty much state of the art computer based word processing but you had to physically read through the code occassionally just to make sure the format was set the way you wanted it because format didn’t actually show on the screen. Ah, those were the days. . .

      My school taught us touch type out of Mavis Beacon and for your purpose (simply demonstrating mastery), Beacon comes with the stamp of time and name recognition.

      Reply
    3. Thlayli

      Not sure why specifically you need to say you’ve done a course, but it may also be possible to say you passed a test? There are definitely typing tests out there – the ECDL has one as far as I know.

      Reply
    4. Penguin

      Chaordic One, Anonymosity, FrontRangeOy, Thlayli, thank you! It’s good to know Mavis Beacon is still around! Unfortunately, this is in order to meet a job app requirement (sorry, I know, talking about a work thing on the weekend) and since it’s civil service thing they require a “typing course”. I’m not sure that an at-home software package will be acceptable, but darned if I know what else to do, either.

      Reply
  55. MsChanandlerBong

    We had the house appraised, and it came in at $18,000 under what the seller (our landlord) wants for it, so we went and talked to a loan officer today. We have more options than we knew about, so the new plan is to look for another house and get away from our landlord ASAP. I am excited!

    Reply
      1. MsChanandlerBong

        Thank you! I agree. This is a good lesson in what happens when you are a bully. She could have had a guaranteed buyer, avoided having to pay fees to a real-estate agent (b/c if we bought the house we already lived in, we weren’t going to use an agent), had a buyer who was willing to buy the house as-is without asking for any repairs or allowances, etc. But nope–she had to be a bully, so we’re going to take our money elsewhere.

        Reply
        1. Former Employee

          When I sold my place, I knew I didn’t want to fix it up because I couldn’t stand the thought of paying for 2 places – I felt I’d have to move out while work was being done – and then there would be the additional time while once it was listed and even if it sold right away, the escrow would take at least 30 days… So, I contacted a few real estate agents and asked if they knew anyone who wanted to buy a place “as is” so they could fix it up to their liking. It all worked out and, as far as I can tell, I don’t think I would have made much more if I had fixed it up and gone the traditional route.

          Bottom line is that your landlord should have had their own appraisal done and if it came in around the same amount, just agreed to take the lesser figure.

          Reply
          1. MsChanandlerBong

            That would have made more sense, but she was pushing us to sign a purchase agreement for around $20,000 more than we thought it was worth (we were close; there is an $18,000 difference). When we balked at the price, she wouldn’t budge, and then she said if it appraises low, she may not sell it–or she may have to take all the appliances out and sell them for extra money (I don’t know how much she thinks she’s going to get for a nine-year-old dishwasher, but that’s neither here nor there). We decided it’s just not worth the hassle of trying to work with her. She seems to think that she paid X amount for the house, real estate goes up in value every year, and now she’s going to get Y and make a profit. The appraised value is actually $6,900 less than she paid for it. Also, we qualify for more financing than we thought we would, so we can get a much nicer house that meets all of our criteria rather than buying this and spending thousands of dollars to repair the broken fence, put in a bathtub, etc.

            Reply
            1. Green Kangaroo

              That makes her stubbornness on the price understandable, at least…she would likely have to bring money to the closing if she doesn’t have enough equity. Even though the real estate market has evened out in much of the U.S., there are still a lot of people who bought at the wrong time and will be upside-down on their properties for a long time to come.

              Reply
              1. MsChanandlerBong

                She does have enough equity, though. FHA won’t lend you any more than the house is worth, but even if we paid her the appraised value, she’d have almost $30,000 left over after paying off the mortgage (I know how much she owes b/c the mortgage balance was listed on the purchase agreement she gave us). Plus, we were going to do the deal without an agent, split the title-search fees with her, etc., so she would pay a lot less to sell to us than someone else. Now she’s going to have to put the house on the market, wait for a buyer to come along, pay the agent’s commission, etc.

                Reply
    1. Belle di Vedremo

      Sounds like your landlady did you a favor by making it so difficult to work with her that you have learned about better options. Hope that your search for a place you’ll love goes well.

      Reply
  56. London calling

    I’ve realized this week I really want to move to London, not New York. I am a US citizen and moving to London will be much more difficult but that’s what I really want.

    Reply
    1. Jemima Bond

      Hello! I live in London. What particularly attracts you? Have you got any questions? Happy to help if I can.

      Reply
      1. UK Bound

        I’m not the original poster, but we are moving from the US to London in just over a month. A lot of pieces are in place, but there’s so much to do.

        Does anyone have a recommendation for an international moving company? Or those to avoid?

        Any recommendations for letting agents focused on the Sloane Square area?

        And, we’ll need to get new SIM cards for our mobiles. Ideally, we’d like to get the SIM cards before we leave the US and have them ready to go. I only have a couple of days between when we land and when I begin working. The more we can have done before we arrive, the better!

        Reply
        1. Jemima Bond

          Afraid I can’t recommend any letting agents near Sloane Square specifically because that is one of the most expensive areas of London to live in, but rest assured there will be loads and they will have your arm off if you’ve got that kind of money! To help with your googling though you want an agent based in Belgravia, Knightsbridge or Chelsea. It’s a beautiful area!
          Re SIM cards if you have a handset you like I understand the pay as you go SIM cards from the supermarket Tesco are really good value and you can get yourself set up the same day; you just walk out of the shop and pop it in the phone, pretty much. Or get a similar pay as you go SIM from an outlet for one of the better known service providers – Vodafone, O2 and ee all have good coverage and have outlets all over.

          Reply
        2. MT

          You can try to have a look at giffgaff, they will send you a sim in the mail, you can activate it online.
          I did not bothered (I moved from an European country on a short notice) and buying a top-up sim in a shop on a high street takes little time. But yeah, getting a phone number does sit anyway at the top of a pretty long to do list, those first days.

          Reply
    2. Kate Daniels

      I feel you! I’d kill to move to either Scotland, Germany or France, but both my parents are just U.S. citizens, so I guess that means I’ll have to find a Scottish, German, or French guy to marry me! ;-) But more seriously, my [redacted thing we aren’t supposed to talk about on weekends] potentially will provide opportunities to travel internationally a few times a year, though I’d love to live overseas long term instead of just one or two-week week stints here and there. So, in the meantime, I’m just working on my foreign language skills in case a more long term overseas opportunity arises.

      Reply
    3. Ermintrude Mulholland

      Bear in mind that there’s a pretty good chance we’re about to trash our country with Brexit so it might not be a good option…

      Reply
  57. Nervous Accountant

    Just been thinking about this for a few days now. I want to have a child but I’m worried I won’t be a good parent.

    Pregnancy & parenthood in general has been on the back burner for a bit,while I got the diabetes under control and all the other life crap calmed down. I had a miscarriage last May, the pregnancy was so early on that I would have thought it was just a heavy period if I hadn’t gotten the confirmation from the obgyn. Anyway, it happened in the morning and then I went to work, and carried on w/ my life. Then in January, about a few days after my dad’s funeral I realized, “huh. I would’ve been due this month. Guess that worked out for a reason” (i.e., I wouldn’t have been able to go to my dads funeral if I’d come full term). Still don’t have a mystery reason as to why the other two didn’t work out but whatever.

    My mom did and does constantly say that you reap what you sowe…like why am I desperate for kids, they all turn out awful anyway, that My kids will treat me like crap just like I treat her. I keep my mouth shut. Meanwhile, in my head I think “Well I won’t be like you.” Its not nice, but there are just so many things that I would do very differently. She doesn’t accept or acknowledge or remember anything…..just one example, she said I developed T2 diabetes at age 11 b/c I ate all the candy bars from the school candy drive. (conveniently forgetting the steady diet of cake, soda, rice, being obese since age 4 etc). I hear how she speaks about other people, and I just feel so so sorry for her a lot of the time. but I don’t want to be like that?

    So, i’m like…yeah I won’t do the things she does but then what if I make a whole other set of mistakes? What if I mess up so bad that my kids DO turn out to be awful. What if they have such awful personalities like I did/do? Its scary. Like I would know what NOT to do but I’m scared of what I wouldn’t know what to do. Idk if any of this makes any sense.

    Reply
    1. Junior Dev

      I think the fact that you’re worried about being a good parent means you’ll be a better one than your mom. She sounds like she’s acting mean and inappropriate, and I would guess she also acted that way when you were growing up.

      Everyone makes some mistakes in raising kids, and all kids grow up with baggage, just because it’s a part of being human. But there’s a big difference between trying your best and getting it wrong sometimes, versus being cruel and selfish to your kids. I think my parents are in the former category; I definitely was hurt by some of the choices they made but I overall know they love me and did their best.

      Have you had therapy? I know it’s a common suggestion but it’s helped me a lot in unpacking some of the unquestioned ideas I internalized from my childhood.

      Reply
      1. Nervous Accountant

        Yeah, I definitely think they tried their best and sometimes got it wrong.

        I’ve flip flopped on therapy for years. Right now I dont have the time or funds to go to different ones until I find the right fit. I feel like I’d desperately need it, make an appointment and by the time it comes around, I feel “fine” so I cancel it.

        Reply
        1. Junior Dev

          Can you look into low cost resources in your area? Sometimes you can get free or low cost therapy from psychology grad students at a local university, for example.

          You could also try going on a forum like the Raised By Narcissists subreddit–she doesn’t have to be a diagnosed narcissist for you to post there, it’s an overall resource for people with manipulative or selfish or otherwise inadequate parental figures.

          I don’t want to impose my view of your childhood on you but some of the things you are describing do not sound to me like trying her best–especially this part: “why am I desperate for kids, they all turn out awful anyway, that My kids will treat me like crap just like I treat her.” The implication being that 1) you “turned out awful” 2) your desire to have kids is not valid 3) you “treat her like crap” (I suspect that you do not treat her like crap and this is her way of punishing you for being an independent person with boundaries).

          Reply
          1. Nervous Accountant

            I guess I meant “try their best” in childhood…not anymore. She showed her love in material ways. and through food. For food, we know better now and I’m suffering through that. Maybe I would be more forgiving if she would say “I screwed up, we didn’t know better and I’m sorry.” instead of “stop taking insulin its making you fat.” But no.

            My dad was never like this. He had his annoying tendencies but he was more educated and rational and loving too.

            I’ve talked to my friends and others (people I know in real life for a long time, not social media). When I describe a lot of things, they’re like “oh yeah typical of women in her age/ethnicity group.” Which I don’t disagree with. But if she were really so typical and average, then why did they turn out so great and I turned out so awful? I don’t even know why I’m so awful. B/c I’m not skinny and pretty? No matter what I do,or how I would have turned out, she’d be unhappy. So I realized this, and just do whatever I can…be respectful, but at a distance. Sorry I just went off on a tangent.

            Reply
        2. Cedrus Libani

          What Junior Dev said. Also, maybe try reading a book as self-therapy? My therapist recommended “Feeling Good” by David Burns. It’s a good intro-level guide to cognitive-based therapy techniques.

          I also have the problem where, once I’ve realized I need a therapy appointment and have summoned the energy to make that happen, I’m already most of the way towards sorting myself out. But books are cheap and don’t require leaving the house, so.

          Reply
    2. Cedrus Libani

      Been there. I…did not have a normal childhood, and frankly I’m nervous about my ability to give my kids one. But, simply giving a damn puts you ahead of a large portion of parents, and being aware of your deficiencies and willing to look for help puts you ahead of even more. And kids are resilient.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous Ampersand

        What they said. Heaven knows I’m not the greatest parent, but I’m trying, and I’m willing to apologise when I screw up, which is already a few orders of magnitude better than my mother. And my child has his issues, but I’m aware of them and am getting help for him, and the general consensus seems to be that he’s a great kid. (I know parents can’t be objective but his teachers seem to like him a lot and people who I trust not to talk shit to me seem to think he’s a good un.

        So. I think you would be great. BECAUSE you know what you know. I’m not saying it’s easy but what is?

        Reply
    3. Not So NewReader

      Good parents have bad kids and bad parents have good kids. And everything in between. It’s pretty random.

      You got one thing going right already. You know how to ask for advice. Keep doing that and as now, be choosy about who you ask. My failing parent would never, in a thousand years, talk something over with other people. She said she would not lower herself to asking advice of other people because they were stupid. I think you can clearly see the problem here and you can really see how you are different.

      I did not have kids, however I thought if I did I would read everything I could get my hands on. My mother read some and yep, you guessed it. The authors were stupid. Remain willing to learn what you don’t know. Let the kid show you things. And last, I love the saying love is not an emotion it’s a commitment. Commit to loving the kid no matter who they are. Kids who know they are loved have a big leg up on life.

      Reply
    4. Yetanotherjennifer

      You can absolutely parent differently than you were parented. It takes patience and awareness and education, but it can be done. Look to the philosophies of T Berry Brazelton, Ellyn Satter, Montessori, Piaget… to guide you. Think authoritative vs authoritarian or permissive. You can do it. But you will make new mistakes too, that’s just part of being human. You can’t be perfect, but you won’t wreck your child. Your goal is to be loving, consistent, attentive, and good enough. Send your child to a cooperative preschool if at all possible. They were so supportive and taught me so much about parenting. Also see if your area offers any early childhood education for families. And the ‘Your X-year-old’ books are fantastic for understanding the developmental stages.

      Reply
    5. Kj

      I’m a child therapist and I’m in my 2nd trimester, so I have thoughts on this.

      Good parents are a myth- what matters that you are “good enough”- that is, that you try the best for your kid, are willing to listen to them and adjust your parenting base on their needs. That you reach out for help. That you are engaged with them, aware of their needs and aware you can’t meet those needs 100% of the time. That awareness is what this post is showing, so you are already most of the way there.

      Your mom is being cruel to you- I hate the idea that if you are “good” or “right” then you can have a kid. Miscarriages and infertility happen to many people who would be great parents. I have PCOS and had a hard time conceiving. I am, in the mind of practically everyone, the perfect future parent. I’m a child therapist, I’m patient, I’m compassionate, I own my own home with a large backyard, have a wonderful husband, etc. I still struggled with getting pregnant and that sucked. I’m glad it worked for me. (BTW, if you are worried about being able to have kids, I’d consult a specialist- mine was amazing and solved my problem fairly quickly).

      I’d reframe your fears about making mistakes. Dollars to donuts, you will make mistakes. Your kid may very well inherit your temperament for good or bad. But you can help them and you will seek help for fixing any mistakes you may make. I see imperfect parents in my office all the time. But when they come in, they are trying. Most of them need just a little bit of support. Some of them have kids who are just difficult. Some kids are. They need extra-special love, care and attention. You know what? You can learn how to give them what they need. I promise. I see parents do it all the time.

      My goal with my own kid is to be good enough. To adjust to their needs. To be the best parent I know how to be, while being fully aware I can’t be perfect.

      Reply
    6. Jemima Bond

      Well, I’m not a parent but I am fairly sure that most prospective parents worry that they won’t do a good job. It’s pretty much par for the course! The way I see it, the worry is not a sign you won’t be any good, but really a symptom of your intention to do well. It means you care!

      Reply
    7. Anon for this

      Breaking the cycle of abuse is a hard thing to do. I grew up with one abusive parent and one great parent. My spouse had an abusive parent and an absent parent. We have two kids now and we talked a lot before we had them about making sure we didn’t make the same mistakes.

      With the best will in the world it can be so hard. Very few people ever decide “I’m going to abuse my kids”, for most people it just happens like they are subconsciously acting out behaviours they learned as a child, or they lost their temper or whatever. It can be really hard some days not to be abusive.

      However, it sounds like you are aware of the dangers and want to make sure you don’t fall into the trap.that’s the first step. Just having made that decision puts you ahead of the game!

      It sounds like there are two categories you are concerned about – health and emotional abuse. Health is pretty easy – there is loads of advice out there on healthy eating for kids just pick a reputable source and stick to it.

      Emotional abuse on the other hand is the easiest to do accidentally. It’s so easy to say something hurtful without thinking or in the spur of the moment. Apologising makes a big difference. One of the main differences between my abusive parent and non-abusive parent is that the abusive parent would never admit any fault – whereas the non-abusive parent would alway acknowledge when they were wrong and apologise. That goes a long way to setting things right. Having a second parent there as backup is also very important – my spouse can see if I’m getting frustrated and tell me togo take a break.

      I think you might benefit from talking to a counsellor about all this. Without knowing how bad your emotional abuse issues with your mom are, it’s hard to say whether you should just go for it, or whether you should try to sort your head out more first. The good news is that most likely even if you do have big issues to deal with – you can probably deal with them!

      Good luck with your decision.

      Reply
    8. ..Kat..

      Your mom sucks. Personally, I chose not to have children – because I couldn’t live with myself if I treated my children the way my parents treated me. It is not enough to want to not treat your children the way your parents treated you. You need to know how to treat your children. Which is not intuitive. If it were, no survivor of child abuse would abuse their children. You need to know how to treat your children, not just how not to treat them. If you want children, please get therapy.

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        Oh how true. My father was raised in an abusive home. Every Thursday was beat the kids day. He was radical for his time because he KNEW not to hit kids. But as you show here, it’s a two step process. You have to figure out how you will handle problems.
        One little secret my father was not really thinking about: It’s okay that this info is not in our genes at birth. It’s okay to say we have to learn more about positive parenting habits.

        Reply
      2. Nervous Accountant

        “You need to know how to treat your children, not just how not to treat them.”

        THATS EXACTLY IT. Like I know what NOT to do but what TO DO isn’t intuitive. And I don’t know how anyone else figures it out.

        Reply
        1. Sparkly Lady

          I read parenting blogs to figure out how to navigate situations. I found positive parenting blogs very helpful. Some of it was too hippy-dippy for me, but the nice thing about parenting is that you get fairly quick feedback about whether an approach is working or not.

          It’s harder now with an elementary age child than a baby/toddler… situations are more complex, and I don’t think anyone’s really figured out good answers for how to deal with the fact that there’s a lot of cruelty in the world. Baby/toddler development is a lot more straightforward, IMHO. But I still find reading helps a lot.

          I think the biggest thing is really to care. A lot of harmful parenting IMHO is caused by the parent expecting the child to be what’s convenient for the parent. Really caring about helping your child safely develop into who they need to be to be healthy/happy can go a long way.

          Reply
        2. Epsilon Delta

          I think somebody else suggested books already, but I have found that reading a ton of books from different perspectives helped me a lot when I became a nearly full-time stepmom to a preschooler with behavior issues (I did not have any kids of my own, so I really felt overwhelmed a few times). You can try different techniques and see what works. It’s ok to make mistakes and not handle something perfectly. Kids know who is trying to be a positive influence in their life and who is not.

          Also, your partner can be a great source of support and advice. My husband and I often talk about how to handle problems and ask each other for advice. And honestly I think a lot of Alison’s advice for managers can be applied to raising kids — be direct about your needs/questions and enforce logical consequences.

          Reply
        3. Forking Great Username

          I’ve read a lot of parenting books. Some were helpful, some weren’t, but what I actually found to be the most useful in terms of concrete, evidence-based “here’s how to parent” type advice was developmental psychology! I went back to school when my kids were babies and had an awesome course in this – and my professor also worked as a psychologist/therapist who specialized in parenting and establishing your own independence/healthy boundaries as an adult. It sounds like you could really benefit from seeing a therapist like him, but if that’s not possible then the developmental psychology take on babies/parenting is a great thing to read up on.

          Reply
        4. Thursday Next

          Honestly? Therapy. Lots of it. In my case, a lot of it was about distancing myself emotionally from my parents in the present. What I mean is, it was important for me to work through the childhood abuse, but there came to be a dividing line between Then and Now, and I didn’t have to let anything they do Now get to me.

          And books. Books that lay out parenting philosophies, so you can reflect on how you relate to those particulars. When you read about sleep training, for instance, you may find you have feelings about some of those suggestions. Make a note of that.

          Other parents can be a gold mine—you’ll want to have people you can talk to on an ongoing basis.

          Finally, know that for all your preparation, you may run into situations you didn’t prepare for. My mother f$#*ed me up regarding food, so I spent a lot of time working out a parenting food philosophy. Aaaannnd I threw it out the window when one kid turned out to be a severely underweight disordered eater, and the other needed feeding therapy for years to be able to eat at all.

          I would say for me a lot of it is about knowing that I spend a lot of time thinking about what to do, and that I talk to people (friends, online groups, and expert professionals). So I feel pretty confident that I’m always trying my best, because I’m not sticking to a rigid idea without revisiting it. Does that make sense? I’m not sure I’m explaining it well.

          Finally finally, I apologize to my kids if I screw something up. I discuss things with them, to varying degrees based on their ability to understand, but I try to let them know that I always want to hear what they think, and that I’m always on their side.

          Looking back, I would have liked to have had kids a bit earlier, BUT I know that I was ready when I got pregnant, so waiting was the right call for me.

          Reply
    9. Temperance

      Your mom sounds a lot like mine. You don’t have to talk to someone who makes you miserable, and you don’t have to be like her.

      My mother used to say the same thing to me. My younger sister has 2 kids, and she’s a great mother. Literally the polar opposite of our mom. Her kids are sweet, well-behaved, and fun to be around. And hilariously, they do not like our mother, either. Our mother hates how good of a mom my sister is, which is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever typed out.

      You don’t have a bad personality. You are a kind, caring person. You put more thought into having a baby than she put into literally anything in her whole life.

      Reply
    10. Belle di Vedremo

      Just because she says it doesn’t mean it’s true. You know that, already, but I’m saying it anyway. Your posts show your care and concern for others all the time, hardly the mark of someone with a “terrible” personality. Even when you are worried about or unhappy with someone, you’re always looking for ways to do things better, to make things better. That’s an admirable trait, and again shows concern for others and for yourself. You did not “turn out to be awful,” that’s just hogwash and I’m really sorry that she is willing to say that to you.

      What you’re doing is really, really hard. It’s tough enough to untangle these kinds of relationships with professional help and some distance. You’re trying to do it all on your own and with her in your home. I hope you will cut yourself some slack, and that you’ll continue to look for ways to support yourself and your ongoing commitment to your health. You deserve it.

      Reply
    11. LilySparrow

      I have heard really good things about “Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves,” for people who are trying to parent in the face of big deficits in the way they were parented.

      What is so awful about your personality? Do other people than your mom have major problems with you?

      Reply
      1. Nervous Accountant

        According to her I’m just bad bc I never listened to her and I am never like other girls. In childhood it’s b/c I was too fat and not skinny. In HS/college b/c I was too “bold” and not good in school and fat. As a married woman, I don’t keep house well enough and fight w my husband too much…and fat. Nowadays, god knows why, lately she’s been saying “now I see ur true colors, I see how u really are.”

        In my teens & 20s, I used to be very negative and had a foul mouth. I had 0 goals or aspirations in life, complained a lot…I was just all around very cringey. I didn’t have a lot of friends. But somehow eventually I fixed myself I guess. Still have moments of being needy, clingy, snippy, selfish etc. I tried so hard to make her happy but I’e realized this late that this will never happen.

        Anyway hopefully this saga is over for now. She’s going to stay with my brother for a few weeks, and tbh I’m starting to consider other living arrangements. At the en d of the day she’s still my mother and I can’t treat her horribly

        Reply
        1. Forking Great Username

          I think you absolutely need to figure out other living arrangements – in fact, your ability to be a good parent might somewhat hinge on it. A good parent needs to set boundaries with family members that aren’t safe people. Your mom has been terrible for your mental health and self image. Don’t let her do the same to your future child. People in your situation, especially when they haven’t had therapy, often have a hard time not letting the grandparent repeat this cycle – despite your best intentions to protect your child, it’s easier said than done. But it’s impossible to protect your child from it when that emotionally abusive grandparent is living with you. He or should would be getting the same comments and judgment you got growing up plus get to hear grandma constantly tear down their mom, which from personal experience, I can tell you that’s a terrible position for a child to be in.

          Reply
          1. Thursday Next

            Yes. It’s also difficult for a child to see their parent denigrated, so even if your mom were kind to your child, if she’s unkind to you, and you don’t succeed in stopping her or leaving, that wouldn’t be great for your child.

            Reply
          2. Nervous Accountant

            Yeah ideally we’ll have another place before we have kids; I’m not pregnant right now nor do I foresee it happening this year. Have too Many things to get under control before we try for that.

            Reply
        2. LilySparrow

          Making sure you have enough space to stay civil isn’t treating someone horribly, but the opposite.

          One thing I will say about parenting, as a mom of 2…

          It sounds like you didn’t have support in separating yourself from your mom, and learning to hear & value your legitimate needs. When we get guilt-trips about everything, we build up a lot of resentment and defensiveness. That’s normal and even necessary, but it can make it hard to set boundaries for ourselves in the right place and be confident about what to say “yes” and “no” to.

          If any of that sounds familiar, those are the kind of things you’ll want to work on or get counseling about.

          Because parenting is a lot of self-denial at first, moving gradually into setting boundaries that let the child learn independence. All parents encounter a lot of guilt, a lot of criticism, a lot of self-doubt, a lot of frustration, and a lot of emotional depletion.

          Gaining confidence in your own resilience and ability to handle those things constructively is going to help your parenting skills enormously. Because it’s when we feel frustrated, depleted, overwhelmed, afraid, or defensive that we lash out or use guilt or manipulation.

          Reply
  58. Junior Dev

    Mental health thread! How are you doing? What are you struggling with? What are you proud of?

    I’m proud of taking the day off yesterday and scheduling a massage in response to realizing I was extremely stressed out and it was affecting my ability to be around people and get things done.

    I’m struggling with feeling extremely tense and anxious and finding the balance between powering through and taking care of myself. I think I spent so many years where I thought the only way to hold down a job and otherwise be functional in society was to constantly force myself to do stuff I didn’t want to. I’m working to unlearn that.

    I’m also proud of myself for going to a roller derby bout and mostly enjoying myself even though it was loud and overwhelming.

    How are you doing?

    Reply
    1. cat queries

      I wrote a detailed post below, but the past couple of weeks have been rough. Dealing with pet loss, possibly introducing a new cat to the family and dealing with some marital issues have led to depression and anxiety. I can feel the weight of sadness on me. I’ve been going to work and getting stuff done around the house, but it feels like going through the motions. I normally enjoy the process of doing my hair and makeup, but I haven’t worn makeup or styled my hair in a couple of weeks. I know that might sound superficial, but I know that’s a problem for me. I took a very long nap this afternoon and feel better after getting some rest. I think getting out of the house to see a movie would be good.

      Btw, I’m glad you post the mental health thread every week. This is my first time responding, but I find it helpful when someone asks how I’m doing – like really doing, not just in a superficial way. It helped to type this out. Thank you.

      Reply
    2. Not So NewReader

      Recharging is such a huge topic. My previous generation referred to it as self-indulgence. Uh. Not really. Energy has to come from some where. We cannot endlessly give without putting something into ourselves. As we age this becomes more and more apparent. “If I don’t stop and take care of my health/finances/home I am going to have some big problems.”

      I aimed for recharging in ways that had lasting purpose. Massage is an excellent recharge, it’s an investment in your health later on in life.

      Reply
    3. Jemima Bond

      The black dog has been circling a bit. I need to be more diligent about taking my (fairly mild!) meds.
      Feel free to slap me with a big wet fish and say, Jemima have you taken your pill today? :-)

      Reply
    4. Thlayli

      Mmm massage always works for me. I started seeing an actual physical therapist this week coz my back has gotten so bad. He was really good and I’m hopeful it will go well.

      I’m still taking wednesdays off work and it’s starting to bear fruit – I’m feeling a lot more on top of things both in work and at home. Finally sorted out the bills for the first time in 3 months which has been a big source of subconscious stress that is finally lifted. I’ve also made a bit of headway on clearing out some of the crap that has built up in the house in last few years. So all in all it’s a good week.

      Reply
    5. Fiennes

      Anxiety has roared back with a vengeance. :( I have been meditating and doing other things to get centered, but with varying results. If this keeps up for another couple months, I’ll need to talk to my doctor.

      Reply
    6. Flinty

      I have my first therapy appointment and I am so excited! It’s literally taken years, partly because my anxiety and depression are very cyclical, and when I feel better, I think I’ll never have problems again, and when it’s worse, it’s hard to pull myself together to find someone. I’m in a difficult period, but I somehow feel like I have my wits about me more than usual, and I was able to get a referral from my EAP so my first 3 sessions are free.

      If anyone has any advice for a 1st ever therapy session, I’d love to hear it! I have no idea what to even expect, since I haven’t seen anyone since my early teens.

      Reply
    7. Llama Grooming Coordinator

      You’re making me want to take an impromptu day off! I realized I needed to manage my stress levels when I came down with a cold this week (usually if I get sick this time of year it’s because I’m running myself down). Between work and training (I’m at about 50-55 hour weeks for the past couple of months, plus commuting, plus about an hour running a day on average – Sunday is usually my only down day), I’m feeling slight burnout as well.

      Reply
    8. Alpha Bravo

      That balance between powering through and making sure to to take care of oneself is a tough one to negotiate. You’re taking it on mindfully. Good going!

      I’ve been … busy. Trying to accelerate my schedule on some major projects on my property as I may decide to go back to work sooner than I had planned. (This would be a helping a friend thing, not an I have to have a job thing.) So right now I’m dealing with various contractors, getting bids, and as folks who have worked in construction may surmise, generally herding cats again. It’s their busy season and they’re inundated with work. I’m tired, but relentless. I’m aware the work won’t be done tomorrow, but it won’t be done at all if I don’t get it on the schedule.

      This is probably good for me. It forces me to interact with people and keeps me engaged. And I can look forward to enjoying the results when the work is completed. So all in all, not bad. Thanks for asking.

      Reply
    9. The Other Dawn

      Struggling with the prospect of having to find another job (company is being acquired), and possibly ending up in one with either a huge pay cut or doing something I hate in order to get more pay, or just not finding anything at all, and trying to figure out exactly WHAT I want to do. Mourning the loss of our company’s awesome culture. I made myself a Patron margarita last night and enjoyed it with a pepperoni pizza (not the whole pizza! LOL).

      Reply
    10. Red

      Over a week out of the hospital and I haven’t had any thoughts of harming myself! However… I go back to work on Monday. I’m so nervous!

      Reply
    11. Marillenbaum

      I’m doing pretty okay lately; I think it’s because I’ve had a whole month (!) off between graduating and starting my new job in July. I’d been in kind of a shitty place in the run-up to exams and stuff, and having time to do things for fun (tennis lessons, swimming, learning to sew) has been lovely. I’m struggling with taking my meds every day, which…why? I know I need to. And putting off new hire paperwork for the job. And what I’m proud of? Probably, walking my parents’ dog daily while I’m home. It’s good for her, and it’s good for me, AND I get to listen to my podcasts, which are a bit sweary for my folks.

      Reply
    12. TheLiz

      I’m proud that I went to an anti-Brexit protest yesterday (in Berlin, where I live now because I fled the Benighted Island). I’m struggling with the fact that my grandmother died on Tuesday and I’ve gone into high-stress “shut-down” mode. I know that somewhere in my brain I’m very sad, but I can’t pull that out to process it and it’s expressing itself in weird ways.

      Related: if anybody’s got a script for saying “I know you’ve offered that funeral reading from a place of love and trying to respect my viewpoint, but I find it offensive so please don’t” without coming across as a superior, condescending jerkwad, I’d love to hear them!

      Reply
  59. Marguerite

    Every time my sister and BIL go to my mom’s house, they complain about her cat. They have a cat too, but apparently their allergies get really bad when go by my mom’s. My mom cleans, vacuums, and has allergy medicine, but they still complain about it.

    It’s annoying and to the point where I want to be like, “Then don’t go over there?” but they need her to babysit…

    Any thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Not So NewReader

      Since both households have cats maybe cats are not what they are allergic to?

      They could find someone else to babysit, oth.
      If they are complaining to you then you can ask them what they expect you to do about it. If you think they will say they want you to babysit, then don’t say this! ugh.

      Maybe tell them to see a doc because it seems to be concerning enough that it gets mentioned often.

      Reply
      1. Marguerite

        They claim that my mom’s cat’s dander is different/his fur is different and that’s the cause of everything, but it just started up 2 years ago- my mom has had the cat for 10. Why the sudden change? First it was his meowing, then they called the cat fat, and now it’s about how they’re allergic to him. Ugh. I don’t know what to do.

        Reply
        1. Kuododi

          To quote a line I’ve seen floating around this forum for awhile:. “Not your circus…Not your monkeys!!!”. In all seriousness, just because you are related to these folks does not mean there’s a Congressional Mandate that you involve yourself in what appears to be their escalating silliness. Be kind to yourself and take a pass on this drama. Good luck!!! Forgive me if I am rambling a bit…. insomnia is cooking my brain cells. Best regards…

          Reply
        2. The Foreign Octopus

          I actually learnt something interesting from a student if mine who happens to be a vet that might be of use here.

          Apparently, there are three things you can have allergies to with cats.

          1. The fur
          2. The skin
          3. The oil a cat secretes from its sub-something gland

          It depends on you reaction to individual breeds of cats.

          However, you BIL and sister are being super annoying about this and is they did it when they came to my hous, I’d just stop inviting them. Not really a solution in your cas, but I feel you.

          Reply
      2. LCL

        I think you hit the nail on the head. They are softening up Marguerite to babysit for them. It’s up to her if she wants to. She says she doesn’t know what to do. I suggest stay out of it and do nothing.

        Reply
    2. Chaordic One

      It sounds like your mother has made a good faith and considerable effort to accommodate them. I have several friends and relatives with cats who are absolutely terrible housekeepers, and with my allergies visiting them is an ordeal. I take anti-histamines (usually Benadryl) before visiting and I make sure to bring a box of tissues with me. Fortunately, I don’t have to do it (visit them) very often.

      The only thing I can think of is, if your mother has transportation, maybe she could babysit at your sister’s house.

      Reply
  60. cat queries

    Talking about pet loss and introducing new cats…

    During the first week of June, my husband and I went on a week long trip to Europe with my parents. We found a couple who to stop by and take care of four cats. My big tabby boy was on medication twice a day for a heart condition and they were experienced with giving medications to animals. Unfortunately, on the last day when we were at the airport waiting to fly home I got a call from the sitter that my tabby boy had passed away. It was most likely sudden heart failure. I knew it was a risk given his condition. I broke down sobbing in the airport and had to give the phone to my husband so he could talk to the sitter. It was still early morning there so they wrapped the body in a towel and put him in the bathroom downstairs where it was cool. We got home around 9 that night then drove out to my father-in-law’s house out in the country to bury him. He was my first cat ever and the first one I’ve lost, so needless to say that was a rough day.

    A couple of days after we got back from vacation, I was getting ready to go up to bed and I noticed a black cat run across the street and jump on our porch. There is a semi-feral black cat I’ve been feeding for the past several months so I thought it was him.When I opened the door instead of seeing my usual scardey cat, there was a super friendly little black cat who started rubbing against my legs and purring. I set the food down for him and he gobbled it up pretty quickly.

    He started coming by more regularly and I got a better look at him in the daytime. He looks to be around 1-2 years old, super sweet, but he isn’t fixed. When I saw that I knew I had to get him into the vet.

    That first week after I lost my boy and this new guy started to come around were weird for me emotionally. I just felt such a responsibility to care for this little guy. He was always so sweet and affectionate and absolutely loved to be petted. I broke my heart every time I saw him peeking through the patio door or front window. He even tried to follow me inside a couple of times. I just felt like he really deserved a home instead being an outdoor stray. I’m just so sensitive to animals in need and hearing sad stories about them can really affect me in an intense way.

    At the same time I was still trying to process my emotions from losing my boy. I had absolutely no plans to get another cat. I still had my other three kitties indoor to care for. I volunteer at a cat shelter and if anything, I considered trying to foster for them at some point. It felt like I was spending all my time thinking about this new guy and what to do with thim that I didn’t feel like I was able to properly grieve the loss of my other cat.

    It’s been about two weeks since the loss of my boy and about the same amount of time the new guy has been coming around. The past couple of days it’s been raining a lot so we’ve let him hang out in the garage. This past Thursday when we let him in, my husband noticed he had worms. His neuter appointment is not scheduled for another week, but I was able to get a pill from the vet. At this point, I didn’t want to let him go back outside so now he’s set up in the spare bedroom.

    I would love to find him a home, but it seems like it’s always so difficult to find homes for cats. So I have a feeling we may end up having four cats again. My two girl kitties will adjust okay, I’m just concerned about my big, floofy black cat named Louis. Funny enough, he was a stray that we just took in last fall. I think he was dumped or left behind by his previous owners when they moved. He got along well with my big tabby boy and girl kitties, but I’m not sure how he’ll be with the new guy. There was one time I thought Louis was in another room while I let the new guy explore the house, but when Louis saw him he slowly started to approach him and smell him. I thought he would leave it at that, but then he pounced on the new guy. Luckily no one got hurt and I’ve made it a point to keep them separated for now.

    So this is what I have done so far to incorporate the new guy (we named him Slim) into the family. He’s been in the house since Thursday night:

    1. Slim is set up in the spare bedroom with food, water, litter box and some toys. I’ve tried to come in an check on him and play with him a few times during the day.

    2. I will put Louis in a separate room and let Slim explore the house. He is pretty confident and friendly and enjoys exploring.

    3. Scent exchange with socks. Slim hasn’t responded negatively to the scent of the other three. Likewise, the resident kitties have smelled the sock with his scent and didn’t hiss or growl.

    4. There is a baby gate at the door. I’ve opened the door it and fed both Louis and Slim on either side. No hissing or attempts to attack.

    5. I’ve also had playtime with both Louis and Slim on either side of the baby gate. I have Louis treats for sitting outside the gate and not being agressive.

    I think I will continue this pattern for the next week. I don’t want to have any further physical interaction with Slim and Louis until after Slim is neutered. The girls are not interested at all in what is in the spare bedroom. Ella spends all her time downstairs and Nina spends time downstairs and mostly in the master bedroom. Louis is extremely curious and I’m most concerned about him due to the previous interaction.

    Any other tips for letting the cats meet without the baby gate? I feel like I should have toys and treats handy for distraction.

    Also, I feel so bad about keeping Slim in a single room. I tell myself it’s better than him being outside in the elements. I’m in there with him how and he’s sleeping on the bed.

    Reply
    1. Trixie

      You are pretty sure he isn’t someone else’s outdoor cat? I’ve neighborhood cats make the rounds for food at various houses, and some even end up overweight from so much love/attention.
      The fact that both Louis and Slim can chill on opposite sides of the baby gate, or within 5′ of each other period, is a really good sign.

      Reply
      1. cat queries

        I’ll post on our neighborhood Next Door site to see if anyone claims Slim. The fact that he wasn’t neutered makes me think he’s a stray.

        Yes, I’m glad they are cool with each other across the baby gate. Luckily they are both pretty food motivated so I can reward them with treats for good behavior.

        Reply