Sunday free-for-all – June 15, 2014

SamIt’s the Sunday free-for-all.

Since we limited Friday’s open thread to work-related discussions, this comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. Have at it.

{ 901 comments… read them below }

  1. JessA*

    Just curious…what food blogs do you guys read? I’m hooked on (and

    Also, I’m beginning to get into plant-based eating. Anyone know of any vegetarian / vegan / nutritarian blogs that I should check out?

    1. Celeste*

      I don’t have links, but have a look at Stone Soup, and Can You Stay For Dinner. Smitten Kitchen has more vegetarian recipes than most regular food blogs.

    2. Fruitfly*

      I read a vegetarian food blog called They have colorful dishes.

      I also look at Jeanette’s Healthy Living, the Roasted Root, Feed Me Phoebe, and Big Girls Small Kitchen.

    3. Trixie* . My favorite column is “Amanda’s Kids’ Lunch.” Not only is inspiring when brown bagging gets old, its immensely encouraging to see kids such a variety of food. And not much different than what the parents eat.

    4. Ann Furthermore*

      I’ve just recently started trying to figure out ways to get rid of processed food, and I’m still working my way through Pinterest. So far I’ve found recipes for homemade cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, and red enchilada sauce that have all turned out great.

      Next weekend I’m going to try making refried beans, and also black beans using dried beans rather than canned. Sounds simple, but I’ve never done it before. Canned beans are pretty cheap, and if I get the ones with no added salt, the sodium content is pretty low. But if I make them myself, the quality will certainly be better, and no preservatives.

      Honestly, if the stuff I’d tried so far had been an hours-long ordeal, or hadn’t turned out well, then I’d probably keep buying the canned stuff. But I’ve had success so far so I’m encouraged!

      1. GrumpyBoss*

        Good luck! I’ve relied extensively on Pinterest as I’ve worked towards an all natural diet over the past few years. Never found a blog that I enjoyed as much as Pinterest. I always come across
        Something I haven’t tried before. Other times, I come across something where I think, “hmmm, I bet I can write a recipe that makes this healthier!” Challenging myself this way has really helped keep me true to the clean eating.

      2. Celeste*

        It’s not a blog, but I highly recommend a book, The Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler. She has some videos on Vimeo. It’s about changing your lifestyle to eat more plants and cook from scratch. Nicely written and very doable.

      3. LMW*

        I’m pretty late to this (it’s Monday), but I did a hundred days of real food challenge last year and did some blogging on it, including a run down of how different unprocessed flours and sugars worked in some of my baking efforts. If you’re looking for that type of info I can post the link. (All my recipes are pescatarian though, since I’m mostly vegetarian but very occassionally eat fish)

    5. Cristina in England*

      I second Serious Eats, Food52, Smitten Kitchen, and 101 Cookbooks. Also David Lebovitz (American pastry chef living in Paris), Tastespotting, Joy the Baker, Shutterbean, and Orangette.
      Joy the Baker and Shutterbean do a podcast together and dabble in vegan things. Orangette is an excellent writer and owns 2 restaurants in Seattle.

        1. stellanor*

          Smitten Kitchen is my favorite. I’m going to try one of the cakes she posted tomorrow for father’s day, assuming the bronchitis doesn’t take me out between now and then.

    6. Luxe in Canada*

      There are lots of good food blogs, but the absolute best thing that I have ever seen on youtube is a series called “Thirsty For” by a channel called Tastemade. The url is:

      It’s a bunch of traditional drinks from around the world, created from scratch with absolute love and beautifully shot, all to a song from the country the drink came from. My favourite is Thirsty for Sorrel (, but the whole thing is pretty awesome.

      1. S from CO*

        Luxe – thank you for the link for Sorrel. I really enjoyed it! My husband enjoyed it so much he could not stop laughing for some reason! We watched a couple of other videos also and now I plan to make the Sorrel. It sounds delicious.

        1. Luxe in Canada*

          If you’ve had Passion tea at Starbucks, it’s a similar concept. The hibiscus and cinnamon are the same, but with tropical fruit. Super yummy!

    7. nep*

      Hooray for plant-based eating.
      You could check out
      A couple of tumblr sites that are more along the lines of inspiration than strictly recipes:
      For healthy recipes and just a whole lot of fun, Thug Kitchen ( is a blast, if you aren’t offended by some spicy language.

    8. StarHopper*! I plan almost all my meals for the week using it. While it’s not exclusively vegetarian, there are tons of veggie recipes on there. I’m usually meat-free for budget reasons 3-5 nights a week.

    9. Felicia*

      Captain Awkward! This is where I go for work advice, but they have the best non work advice there :)

      I also like, which is written by a woman raising a gender non conforming son.

      I also like Adulting, which is a step by step guide (hundreds to steps now) to being an adult. As someone relatively new to adulthood I find it very helpful, and have heard from people significantly older than me that they find it helpful too

      1. Felicia*

        I fail at reading comprehension so early in the morning, I missed the word food. I don’t read any food blogs, but I guess you guys know what other blogs I read now :)

        1. Mallory*

          I’m going to look at Captain Awkward.

          And Adulting. I’m 44, but hey, I can still learn stuff!

          1. Felicia*

            A lot of people who have been adults for longer than me find Adulting very helpful!

            And I like Captain Awkward because similar to AAM there are very good scripts to help guide you through awkward situations. It’s very good for people who have trouble setting boundaries with people, or who are naturally more non confrontational in nature, so I relate to the letters quite often. It’s really similar to here, only the questions aren’t work related. But I often think they’re similar kinds of questions in that it’s often people who don’t know how to handle situations that upset them

            1. Mallory*

              I just upset my husband in a msrriage- testing way on father’ s day, so hopefully there’s some help for me on there. We have a woodpile ( my words) lt a pil of fine lumber ( his words) that 18 years ago I truly believed would be my new kitchen cabinrts; 15 years ago I truly believed would be shelbex for my books that have been boxed up evet since.

              My brother is coming for a visit so I told my husband that I would jab the woodpile up the attic hole so I could turn the woodpile (or Sanford) room into a guest room, and now he is mad at me. I told him I don’t believe in the woodpile anymore, so I don’t care if it’s in the bathtub or on the front lawn or on a firepit, it’s all the same to me.

              He said that’s a hell of a thing for me to say to him on father’s day. Which it is, but I’ve been keeping this in for several years, trying to be supportive. I just want something for myself, too, dammit!

              1. Mallory*

                I have typos because of a new device, but I think y’all can still understand me, right?

              2. Mallory*

                And I may have said that I’d put it on the firepit and light the match my own self.

              3. Vancouver Reader*

                Would it have been better in his eyes if you’d said something yesterday or tomorrow instead of today?

                At least you didn’t burn it right away, he should be grateful for that.

                1. Mallory*

                  No, I don’ t think there would have ever been a good time to say it. Fathers day was just a minor bit of extra freight.

    10. Darcy*

      Smitten Kitchen and Thug Kitchen are my husband’s go to blogs and he does all the cooking in our house. Fair warning though, Thug Kitchen is crass, irreverent, and uses obscene language to describe the good recipes.

    11. kristinyc*

      Oooh, so timely! I’m accepting a job at a food blog tomorrow. Check out Food52. It’s beautiful and has an awesome online community, and of course, awesome recipes.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Oooooh, I hope you read Authority Nutrition? It has some reciepies, though that’s not the primary focus. I’ve been into the Paleo thing lately (excepting that I still eat high-fat dairy).

    12. the gold digger*

      Homesick Texan.
      Also, I thank the Pioneer Woman for introducing me to the concept of cream cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped jalapenos. They are now our go-to special occasion appetizer.

    13. Ellie*

      I read my own food blog ;) it’s geared towards helping people on low income/food stamps still eat healthy good food

      1. Liz in a Library*

        Are you willing to post a link? I am really interested in discussion of food inequality, and I also can use some tips for healthy food inexpensively. :)

      2. Phyllis*

        I would also like a like a link too, please. I have a daughter on food stamps and I would like to share info with her.

        P.S. Did you know that if you use coupons in conjunction with food stamps that you have to pay the sales tax for your groceries? (At least in our state you do!!) I was trying to encourage her to be thrifty and get more purchasing power, but by the time she paid sales tax that ate up her savings. She said never again. Guess I can’t blame her.

      3. EG*

        I’d love to read your blog too! I often search for low income/food stamp related recipes to help stretch my food budget.

  2. Ali*

    So Monday is my birthday! I’m entering the last year of my 20s and I admit it’s freaking me out a little. Not really sure why, as I know people who are in their 30s and they said turning 30 was not a big deal. I guess I just wonder if I’ve wasted too much of my 20s and if it’s too late for me to do some things. (Rational response: Of course it’s not; there are people older than you who have done things later in life.)

    I did take a big step earlier this week in opening a bank account to start saving money to move out of my parents’ house and (hopefully) to NYC. It took me a while b/c I didn’t really earn a salary with health benefits and such until last year, and I finally feel ready to go. My sister lives in NYC as well, and I’ve been there enough times and spent time in non-touristy areas since she doesn’t live in Manhattan, and I’m confident that this is somewhere I want to be. It’s actually perfect for my introverted self since no one is in my business all the time like they are here.

    I also posted in last week’s Friday thread that I’m having a hard time getting started as a fitness instructor. I think it’s part out of anxiety because I’m not a natural teacher/leader, and also because there’s not tons of need for instructors in my area that I can see. I’m still struggling, but Zumba has a formal mentoring program set up and I enrolled in that. They can’t guarantee a mentor in my area has signed up, but I will get to look this week and see who might be available. Hopefully that will give me some confidence, as for some reason, the instructors I knew prior to being licensed are very friendly, but I feel like I’d rather have a mentor I’ve never taken a class with if one is available. Weird, I know.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      Happy Birthday! Personally, I was glad to leave my 20’s in the rear view mirror, because I was a complete train wreck. OMG. In my 30’s I became more comfortable with and accepting of myself, my career started to blossom, and I met my wonderful husband and we’ll celebrate out 10th anniversary next year.

      1. DEJ*

        I agree that I feel more comfortable about myself now at 32 than I did in my 20’s, and hitting 30 was really the start of that.

    2. Jen RO*

      I turned 30 in February and I don’t feel any different… except I can’t remember my age and my first impulse is to say 28. Sounds like your life is going in a good direction, so good luck with your NY move!

    3. Daisy*

      Happy birthday! Mine’s today.
      Re: “I feel like I’d rather have a mentor I’ve never taken a class with if one is available. ” I’m the same. I feel less judged if I don’t know whomever is teaching me whatever.

    4. nep*

      Happy birthday. Don’t overthink the age thing — it’s nothing but a number. Truly means nothing.
      I hear you about the ‘not a natural teacher/leader’ thing; same here, as I train to be a trainer. This might help — just don’t identify with any of those ‘limitations’. It’s all just thoughts. You’ll find your niche, and if you focus on all the positive things that have brought you to the point of wanting to do and teach Zumba, you’ll exude confidence. You’ve got what it takes. Drop the thinking about potential limitations, keep building your knowledge base, and tune in to what clients need. You’ll be great.

      1. Mallory*

        And there will be people who are glad that you re just the kind of teacher you are. Not everyone identifies with the same kind of instructor personality, and clients often appreciate an instructor for the very quirks that aren’ t on the list as ” typical” of successful instructors.

    5. Felicia*

      Happy Birthday!

      Sounds like you’re moving in a good direction! I try to view getting older as an opportunity to start again, make new goals, or finally do the things I regret not doing earlier. Maybe instead of thinking of it as too late thinking of it as a perfect time to start might be helpful

    6. kristinyc*

      Hi Ali! Happy birthday!

      I feel like we have a lot in common – I moved to NYC 4 years ago (and it took a year of planning/saving for it – check out for how I documented the whole process). And outer boroughs are great! :) My best advice: save up money for a year (try to get at least like $6,000), pay off any credit card debt you have, and then just move here and figure out the job and apartment when you get here. Stay on your sister’s couch for a while. I did that (well, stayed on a friend’s couch for a month), and it worked out great. It’s much easier to find a job once you’re here, and it’s much easier to find an apartment once you are here already and have a job.

      I’m turning 30 in August, and I THINK I’ve come to terms with it. 30 seems a lot younger now than it did five years ago to me (if that makes sense). I mean, my parents had three kids by the time they were my age, and I can’t even fathom that. When I first moved to NYC, I was still kind of in the mindset that all of my peers MUST be in their mid-20s, but then I met people who I thought were close to my age, but were actually in their late 30s. So it’s all relative.

    7. Artemesia*

      I just had my 70th and it will come oddly much faster than you imagine. The good news is that I am as relaxed, happy and contented now as I have been in my entire life. Try to embrace and enjoy the time you are in. My only real regret is the amount of anxiety expended over the ordinary challenges of life.

    8. C Average*

      Happy birthday! It is great that you’re making a plan, starting to save, picking your next destination, and pushing your comfort zone professionally. It’s scary, but you’ll learn lots about yourself.

      I remember being completely freaked out about turning 30. I had a dead-end retail job, zero romantic prospects, a gaggle of degenerate roommates, no money, and no plan. (It wasn’t ALL bad! I was skiing nearly ever day, kayaking and climbing and doing other outdoorsy things, and wasting what little money I made on trips and outdoor gear I couldn’t afford. That part was a LOT of fun.) I felt like there was a countdown clock to thirty and so many things I had to do before getting there. Get married (or at least meet someone marriageable). Get a real job. Get a plan. Have more than $17 in the bank.

      Thirty was actually a liberation. I thought, “OK, I guess I officially get my Old Maid Card now.” All the pressure and fear fell away. The countdown clock turned off.

      I got the job that led to the elusive real job at 32. I met the right guy at 35 and married at 37. I actually have money in my 401k and my savings account. It’s been a long, strange trip, but I’m OK now, and 30 was the start of that trend.

      Good luck. Hang in there and keep sharing with us here. I hope you know this whole community is rooting for you.

    9. Audiophile*

      Happy birthday!

      I’m entering the last year of my 20s as well, my birthday is in January. It’s also freaking me out, because I still live at home, while many of my friends are partnered and living away from their parents. I’m not so much bothered by my singleness as I am about still living at home. I really thought, when I was graduating college, that I’d be out in 6 months to a year. Boy, I had no idea. I’m still struggling but less so than before.
      I’m finally making a plan to get myself out of debt, credit card debt at least. I’ll attack the loans later on.

      Don’t worry about feeling like less of a leader. I’m sure you’ll find the right style that works for you. Hope you have a great birthday!

    10. Vanilla Bean*

      I turned 30 two years ago and let me tell you – so far, I’ve enjoyed it more than my 20s! :) Everyone told me that the 30s are much better than your 20s and I was skeptical at first, but it’s true.

      It’s hard not to get caught up in the “comparison trap” and not feel like you’re behind. That’s one thing (of many) that I’ve learned in my 30s – everyone’s path is their own and things happen in their own time, not necessarily when you want them to.

      My 20s were a time of irresponsibility, drama, and anxiety. I always felt behind the curve in my 20s – most of my friends got married in their 20s and started having kids, and me…well, I couldn’t find a decent guy to save my life. ;)

      I’m happy to report that since turning 30, I’ve made MUCH better choices (i.e. started dating men that were actually good for me, got a better job, became completely debt-free, etc.).

      Embrace 30 – it’s a terrific time in your life! Happy Birthday!

    11. Mimmy*

      I turned 40 last October, and I feel the same way you do about my 30s as you do your 20s. I can sympathize with wondering if it’s too late to do certain things. But then I remind myself of a recent conversation with a friend of mine. She told me she found her niche in her early 40s; she’s now in her early 70s and is still working in that niche. So yes, listen to that rational response :)

      1. ExceptionToTheRule*

        +1. I turned 40 this winter as well and struggled with a lot of career & personal milestone issues (and still do) – the “is it too late? god why didn’t I do things that way?” mental arguments that I’ve learned most people have. I find talking to people in their 50s & 60s to be a good reminder that life can still take some interesting turns and I’m not locked into anything unless I let myself be.

      2. Nurse-To-Be*

        You’re never too old to do anything. I’ve been in the hospitality/tourism industry in for the past 20 years. At 37, I left a stable but soul-destroying cube job and pursued my dream of working as a tour leader in Africa, which I spent the next three years doing, and absolutely loved it.

        Now, at 43, I’m preparing to enter nursing school in September. Being a full-time student again for the next five to six years is incredibly exciting, even though I’ve had some nervous moments thinking that I’ll be close to 50 by the time I fully complete everything I want to do.

        But, the way I figure it…I would rather be close to 50 and starting a brand new path in life that I’m passionate about but that I may only get to pursue for 20 years, than spend the next 20 years thinking…’what if’, or ‘I should have’, and regretting that I never did.

        So, at 30….it’s exciting! There are so many things you can do, don’t let a number deter you from any of what life has to offer! And happy birthday! :)

          1. Mimmy*

            Argh…really wish I could edit! I was particularly pointing out one part: But, the way I figure it…I would rather be close to 50 and starting a brand new path in life that I’m passionate about but that I may only get to pursue for 20 years, than spend the next 20 years thinking…’what if’, or ‘I should have’, and regretting that I never did.

            Love this!

    12. MarieQT*

      Everyone says that your 30s are better than your 20s because…it’s true. I never thought I would feel this way, and I still get freaked out occasionally about my age (32). That’s reality.

      Having said that, I live in NYC, and people here are about a decade off from the rest of the country, in terms of career and relationship opportunities/commitments, among a bunch of other things. I still feel like I’m in my 20s, but I’m much more confident than I used to be. NYC is tough, but it’s so satisfying to survive here. I recommend living in Brooklyn (I live in Williamsburg). Since I’ve moved here, I conquered so many issues, which I won’t describe in detail here, but in other words, I started my life over, for the better.

      Bottom line: You’ll love NYC, accomplish more than you ever would have dreamed, and have the opportunity to meet so many accepting people. I understand what it’s like to move to NYC, so if you wanna meet up sometime, reply to this message, and we’ll talk. :-) (I created this email address in 8th grade)

    13. Sunday*

      “Leadership” can feel like a loaded word. Most of us have areas where what we do feels natural but others see it as forms of leadership.

      Would the instructors you’ve already taken classes from be willing to have you sit in and watch, rather than participate? Perhaps if you watch a few of them a few times you’ll start to see things you think are adaptable to you and work well for different reasons.

      What about other folks from your training program? If there are a few or more of you in the area, maybe you could get together and trade off leading sessions for the group? That would get you some practice with a forgiving community and be a way to talk about what seemed to work well and what didn’t, and why.

      And happy birthday.

    14. Beth Anne*

      I kind of feel this way. I’m 28 and feel like I have accomplished NOTHING in my life :(

      Yes I have a bachelors degree and an accounting certificate in bookkeeping but I’ve never had a job that makes more than $12.00 an hour, still can’t afford to move out and live at home. And am now unemployed and struggling finding work due to my lack of experience :(

      I feel like most people my age are all living in fancy houses or apartments with friends or husbands and some even have kids.

      1. Anon34*

        Keep the faith*, Beth Anne. I did not have my first “grown up” paying job until age 30. At one point I was working as a lawyer and a lifeguard to make ends meet. My coworkers at the pool were high school students, with the maturity to match.

        *in general, regardless of religion or belief system

    15. YoungProfessional*


      I moved to NYC straight outta college with nothing but a temp job and a sublet. I’m still here almost three years later. You’ll be fine. =)

  3. kas*

    Based on last weeks post about the nosy coworker opening paycheques, what’s the “nosiest” thing someone has done to you?

    Thankfully I don’t know too many nosy people but my closest friend is the nosiest. I had left my purse and unlocked phone with her while I went to use the washroom, only to come back to find it not how I left it. She then began to question me about a guy that had been texting me and asking why I didn’t tell her about him. I was shocked and upset and ended up leaving. Little did she know, my “new boy” was just a guy that had the wrong number. I didn’t tell her that though …

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Oh man! That would make me so mad.

      I honestly can’t think of anything….if anyone has been nosy to me, they’ve hidden it well. Of course, my friends and I used to go through each other’s purses as teenagers (but in front of each other).

      1. kas*

        It definitely made me question our friendship. I get upset just thinking about it because of the way she confronted me about it.

    2. GrumpyBoss*

      Wow the only way that could be OK would have been if you were still in high school. Maybe not OK, but understandable, because none of us are at our most mature then. Grown women who are friends have better understanding of boundaries than that!

      I cannot think if a personal experience of noseyness that compares to that!

      1. kas*

        She has issues with understanding boundaries.

        She constantly asks me for my social media passwords so she can “see something” but I know she’ll just read my messages so I ignore her. She still has all of her exes passwords and often goes through their emails, social media accounts etc.

    3. Too Much Detail*

      I had a coworker have security unlock the only locked drawer in my desk while I was on vacation so she could snoop. Her excuse was that a critical file (never specified) could not be found and she had to look for it.

      Fortunately, I took everything out of the drawer (really only a spare pair of shoes) before I left, so her snooping netted her a look at a totally empty drawer.

      1. C Average*

        True story: In college, one of my roommates read my journal and then wrote about reading my journal in HER journal, and a third roommate read my roommate’s journal and reported back to me that the first roommate had been reading my journal.

        Once I knew, for a brief time I messed with her by writing things that weren’t true. That got boring pretty quickly, and eventually I quit keeping a journal altogether. For many years my “journal” has been a calendar, and every day gets a letter grade and a line or two about why it got the grade it did.

        1. en pointe*

          I wouldn’t need to read any of my friend’s journals thanks to the phenomenon that is Facebook over-sharing.

          I love your use of your calendar/journal to rate days. I don’t keep a conventional journal anymore either, as it always felt like a chore when I was younger. Now I treat mine as a sort of ‘what I learned today’. I don’t always fill it out, just on days where I’ve learned from a mistake, or learned a meaningful lesson, or gained some new understanding of something. I write the story of how I learned what I learned. (Some of you guys are actually in there due to insightful stuff you’ve said here.) Probably boring as bat shit to anyone else, but it’s special to me to be able to read back through it.

        2. Mallory*

          Ha! all the journal-reading!

          My siblings and I were adopted by my grandparents when I was eight years old. When I was thirteen, I started keeping a journal in which I wrote typical melodramatic thirteen-year-old things ( . . . the only reason they adopted us was so they could have slaves to do the housework [oh, the unfairness of being required to — gasp! — set the table], etc.).

          I knew my grandma was reading my journal, because she would periodically confront me whenever I put anything in there that made her mad. So I just started putting things in there for her (mostly more complaints about the unfair cruelty of being made to set the table, help wash the dishes, work in the family garden, etc.).

          She kept confronting me, and I kept putting things in there for her, until I guess we both just got worn out and it stopped.

        3. kas*

          Lol what a cycle. I kept a diary when I was younger and I was so paranoid that my sister would find and read it so I kept it under lock and key. Journal/diary readers are the worst.

        4. Vicki*

          These days, electronic journal apps all come with encryption and passwords. :-)

          I kept a journal all through College. To the best of my knowledge, no one in my family ever snooped. Those of you who specifically wrote fiction because of a snooper are brilliant. But did you ever consider keeping two journals?

          Dear Diary – today I learned an alarming secret about B. More tomorrow…

    4. Sascha*

      I’ve had friends go through my sketch books. I’m as protective of my sketch books as other are about their journals – I draw pictures instead of write, so there are some very personal images in my sketch books that I don’t want anyone to see. Plus, some (a lot) of it was just really really bad art, and I was embarrassed by it. The worst was my sister stealing my sketch book from under my mattress and going through it. The drama!

      1. kas*

        I’m no artist but I like to sketch and although my drawings are random, I would hate for someone to think it was okay to just go through my sketches.

      2. Mallory*

        Gah . . . the thought of someone going through my sketches. I mostly write in my journal, but resort to drawing pictures when the issue is really emotional or if I want something too deeply to put it into words. It would be beyond personal for someone to see it.

    5. KrisL*

      If a friend of mine had done that, I’m not sure she’d be a friend of mine any more.

  4. Stephanie*

    So I completed my first shift of order fulfillment at Everyone’s Favorite Online Retailer. Let’s just say this makes me appreciate my office jobs.

    Also, people order a lot of adult toys online.

    1. Celeste*

      Let’s take a moment and give thanks that you don’t have to take adult toy orders over the phone. Because holy crap, would that be miserable or what!

      1. DL*

        I once had to call a well known adult company about a toy that was sent to me by mistake – a friend had previously sent me a gift and the company accidentally used my address again. The representative would only refer the toy as “the item”. Then the guy called my friend’s house and spoke with the live-in mother about “the item”, and had to explain to her what it was. We never understood why the representative talked with the mother at all, as she has different last name.

        1. Blue Anne*

          I once had “an item” taken out of my checked luggage on an airplane. Expensive, very cool, nearly new toy, which I stupidly left the batteries in and it must have turned on while it was in the hold. When I picked up my luggage at the carousel, it had a “we went through your baggage for security reasons” tag on it, and “the item” was gone. Fair enough, should’ve taken the batteries out, but I want my either my “item” or my eighty bucks back.

          I called up to complain and the dude on the security support line WOULD NOT be convinced that it wasn’t a prank call. It’s starting to enter “funny story” territory, but I’m still pretty annoyed that he wouldn’t take me seriously!

          1. Annie*

            Ha! My uncle worked for one of the NYC ferries and right after 9/11 an ‘item’ went turned on in a bag that was left in the terminal- just think of the panic that ensued after when a bag in the corner of a ferry terminal was buzzing that fall/winter – they had to call the bomb squad and the whole shebang- when retelling the story this weekend (my sister was about 8 when it happened and hadn’t heard it) he said the bomb squad guy came out of the safety zone nearly peeing his pants he was laughing so hard.

            1. chewbecca*

              Once, when visiting a long distance ex, my razor turned on (it was one of those short-lived vibrating Gillettes, I think). Luckily it was while he was carrying my bag to his room, but the look on his face was priceless. “….um, what’s that?”

    2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Oh wow.

      This is like a movie star job. I read all the first hand accounts I can about that job. Tough, tough gig.

      I am fascinated by process and, well, that’s Process.

      You will need to tell us if it is a horribly brutal as usually written about or if there is another angle where there are good things to say.

      If you need a mental game to get you through the day, pretend you are a spy who is doing this just to get the scoop and then give it to the world. Intrigue!

      1. Stephanie*

        Haha, movie star job. Far from it.

        I read some of the firsthand accounts (including the longform Mother Jones piece). So why did I take it? Because I have no money. It was about the only place I could find that was hiring quickly and didn’t care if you had prior related work experience (like a lot of food service or waitressing jobs). I did omit my BS and prior work experience.

        I do have an interest in IE/OR/manufacturing, so I suppose I could mention this as having exposure to OR implementation. Plus, even if the work is exhausting, it is fascinating to see the inner workings of a huge company (and the strange stuff people order…like why would anyone order a stick of deodorant online that they could get at Target?)

        The firsthand accounts are pretty accurate. I think I walked about 6.5 miles today (according to my pedometer/watch) and that was light since I was in training part of the day. The mandatory stretching is true. Job itself isn’t hard, but the pace they want you to keep is crazy. The staffing agency stuff is all true. I came home and was still hearing scanner beeps.

        I’m not sure if I see this as a giant social justice issue like that Mother Jones article did. It isn’t a great job, but some of this would be present in any warehouse job. The staffing agency does some questionably ethical stuff in regard to workforce planning, but I’ve heard of some of the same practices with white-collar staffing agencies. What I do think was great about those accounts was that they showed the cost behind low prices and fast shipping.

        On the positive side, uh, they do always seem to be hiring. Wages are slightly higher than most low-skilled jobs and you do get a fairly good workout in (and are always moving).

        I say this makes me appreciate my office jobs because I took for granted little things like being able to take breaks/lunch when I wanted.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          I am so fascinated.

          There’s an Undercover Boss episode at Oriental Trading in their fulfillment center that is also fascinating.

          I used the Mother Jones article as fodder for closing down an unprofitable brand a few years back. We are B to B, which means our average order sizes are large so when we have to do pick and pack (maybe only 10-15% of our business), we don’t have to run like “that”. Somebody-who-wasn’t-me started a brand that was much more B to C and it was bleeding cash, and a lot of pick and pack.

          When PTB (finally) came to me to fix it, I made everybody read the Mother Jones article and asked them if they wanted to commit to that model because that’s what it takes to deliver pick and pack to consumers and still make some money.

          I’m with you in that I don’t see it as great social justice issue so much as a choice that everybody along the way is making to participate.

          SO fascinating to hear your first hand! I’d love to hear more in the next open thread, Fri or Sun, whichever.

          GO STEPHANIE! :)

  5. Shell*

    Alison, would it be possible to rotate the posting time of Friday’s open threads? I often can’t comment that much during the day and usually by the time I catch up at the end of the night, it’s massive and there’s no much point posting anything new in there since it’d get buried. Since we do have a lot of international readers across lots of time zones, maybe we can adjust the work-related thread’s posting time on a rotating basis?

    Sunday’s is easier because at least it’s the weekend, so if I reaaally want to get an early word in I can manage. Friday is really hard though.

    1. Ali*

      I would love to see another midnight on Friday (Thursday into Friday) open thread! I keep late hours since I work evenings, so if I go to the gym for a Friday morning class, it would be great knowing I got in my comment early, not come home to 300 comments by 1:00 ET.

    2. Stephanie*

      Alison posted one at midnight once, which was awesome for me since I’m in the western US.

      1. Ali*

        It was good for me too because I finished work and then got to come right into the open thread! Fun times…

      2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        That was my personal favorite time because, east coast, I can’t read during the work day. I could hit the thread before work that way.

    3. Jen RO*

      +1 from me! The usual Friday open thread is posted just when I leave work, and by the time I get home is already at 300+ posts.

      1. Audiophile*

        +1 from me as well. I happened to check that time it was posted at midnight and it was a nice surprise. I’m east coast, and by the time I remember to check on Fridays, it’s rare that it’s not already crazy full.

        Sometimes I get lucky because it’s a slow work day and I can get in early.

    4. louise*

      The last time I had a question I wanted to be sure to get on the open thread, I prepared the day ahead and wrote it out in an email draft. Then, I periodically refreshed and just copied/pasted once the thread appeared. But to actually read and interact with others, I don’t typically have time until many hours later when everything seems to be dying down.

  6. Trixie*

    Any pixie haircuts out there who go to a barber? I’m out of luck trying to find a decent cut where I live, and maybe the obvious answer is to go someone who regularly cuts short hair. If I saw more cute cuts I’d ask where they go, but I don’t see many. Since I never dry my hair regularly, the style/blowout isn’t really necessary anyway.

    1. Celeste*

      I have a friend who goes to a barber for her short cut! It’s cheaper and faster than a salon. They aren’t open on Sundays or Mondays, though. They’re union workers! You might also look at the local barber or beauty college. They need the traffic to practice on, and they are super affordable. I think price matters when you need a frequent trim. Good luck!

    2. Lizabeth*

      I’ve had good luck with the Supercuts chain and pixie cuts and they only charged $14. However I always bring a photo of my sister and say this is what I want my hair to look like.

    3. GrumpyBoss*

      I’ve done a pixie for years (but am currently growing it out to chin length). I really found that going to a great stylist vs a cheaper place like Great Clips made all the difference. It isn’t a style that has a lot of volume or much to do style wise, so it’s important to have a stylist who can give your hair a lot of texture and shape.

      Depending on city I’m living in, I’ve paid anywhere from $30-$75 for my cuts. As I said, it does make a difference. I find a place to save elsewhere.

      1. Trixie*

        Historically, I thought the exact same thing and happy to pay for someone who knows they’re doing. But the two stylists I’ve been using kind of have a handle on it but not really with any consistency. I’ll give it a shot and report back. Other than this maintenance issue, I absolutely adore pixie cuts and even mores in summer.

    4. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Last year, I used my boyfriend’s trimmer to give myself a buzzcut, and it grew into a very cute pixie. Does that help? :)

      1. Mallory*

        Hmmm . . . that makes me wonder what would happen if one used the 1 – 1/2″ or 2″ trimmer attachment if it would give a good pixie cut?

        Anyone willing to try and report back? :-)

        1. Mallory*

          I might do it if I had a stylist on speed-dial so I could go over there and get it fixed, if necessary, before anyone saw me.

          I did get into a fix with my son’s hair when he was little. I was using the trimmers to give him a buzz cut for the summer, and the trimmers took out on me about 1/3 of the way into the cut. So he had partly buzzed hair and partly longish hair. I took him straight to the barber where his great-grandpa, grandpa, and dad all get their hair cut.

          Mr. Eddie, the barber: How much did your trimmers cost?
          Me: Thirty dollars.
          Mr. Eddie: Well, mine cost $300, and that’s why I’m the hair trimmer.

    5. Mints*

      I don’t have a pixie, but I found my stylist by buying Groupons to test out people. It takes a bit of luck, but I eventually found a great one, who I’ve been going to for a couple years now

      1. Windchime*

        I saw the cutest short hair on a girl yesterday when I was visiting family in my old home town. One side was buzzed very, very short and then she had longish bangs that were swept from the buzzed side over to the other side. I didn’t get to see the back, but the whole thing was very funky and cute. She looked like a very cool girl and for a minute or so, I wanted to be her.

        1. Mints*

          Oh how did you know I’m secretly pining after an undercut? Some days I wish I had gone into cosmetology school or interior design or something so I could dress however I want and regress into my punk phase.

          Actually, I saw someone with a very modest haircut, between chin length and shoulder length, but she had an undercut in the back. It’s the perfect goth/punk on the weekends, business casual for work. It’s very easy to hide for conservative jobs

          1. Mallory*

            I had an undercut in college: waist-length hair with a tousled side part, and then I could pin it up or put it under a hat and it looked like an over-the-ears very short cut.

  7. Student*

    I’ve recently applied for an internship position for a big company and had a phone interview recently with the hiring manager. She briefly mentioned about the current intern and how the intern is doing exceptionally well in the role (Manager didn’t mention names). I looked the intern up on linkedin and was able to find her. Would it be too much to reach out to the current intern to learn about her experience even when a hiring decision hasn’t been made?

    1. DrLemur*

      I’m headed to San Diego and have a couple of weekend days free. What should I see or do? Keep in mind that I’m not much of a beach person.

        1. thenoiseinspace*

          The zoo was disappointing, actually – too many varieties of deer, not enough other animals. I’d say it’s not worth the money. (That said, I may be biased – I’m from Atlanta, and our zoo is awesome! Our orangutans even have a computer with games they can play when they get bored!)

      1. ZSD*

        I live in SD (hence the user name). Definitely go to Balboa Park. If you’re not a beach person, head east to the mountains or deserts. Better than the zoo is the Wild Animal Park.
        If you like water but not beaches, take a harbor cruise from the Hornblower Cruises company. It’s worth it to pay for the four-hour option.

      2. West Coaster*

        San Diego native here! Hope I’m not too late, but I wanted to second (third? fourth) some suggestions below:

        Balboa Park: Architecture is beautiful, and has museums and music for all tastes. I can easily spend an entire day here.

        Also, the Harbor cruise mentioned below is a lot of fun, if you want to be on/near the water but not interested in a day at the beach person. Check out hornblower cruises, they used to offer 1 or 2 hour harbor cruises leaving multiple times per day. One side of the harbor is more history of San Diego & marine life, the other side takes you right up by the military ships docked in the harbor & gives a great history.

        Also, Old Town is a lot of fun, even though its a bit kitschy. Don’t miss the fresh tortillas from the tortilla lady in the courtyard.

        San Diego is also home to a number of craft breweries, if you’re into beer, and many breweries have tours/tasting rooms. There are also some wineries in the northern parts of the County- I’d recommend Bernardo.

        Also, if you will be downtown, there’s a great farmers market in Little Italy on Sunday.

        You can always get tickets to see the Padres, and while they’re terrible, I always enjoy the food/drink/atmosphere at a baseball game.

        And I’m sorry to hear that people are disappointed by the zoo. I’ve always really enjoyed it, but I haven’t been in a few years. The Wild Animal Park (now called the Safari Park) is great as well, but is about 45 minutes north of downtown SD and really only accessible by car.

        Whatever you decide, hope you have a great time! Its a beautiful city!

    2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Hmmm, on the intern contact, I’m a bit mixed. On the one hand, I’d say it’s a bit much, but if you’re both interns in the same city, maybe a little networking practice would be good for you both? I’d say at least it wouldn’t be a grave misstep, though you might just ask the hiring manager to put you in touch directly!

  8. Trixie*

    Made some nice cash this last week selling a couple things on Ebay/Craigslist. Of course it depends on the market but now I’m looking around at what else I have that I’m not using/need and what the demand is. Cell phone, camera, car roof rack components, camping/paddling gear, etc. The couple items to expensive to ship had the best luck on CL where it was more understood what local pickup only means. Not so obvious on Ebay.

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      I’ve been meaning to do that. Every time I’ve bought something on CL, the seller ends up being a real creep! I don’t want the type of people I’ve met on CL knowing where I live!

      Did you have any issues?

      1. Liz in a Library*

        Unless the item I’m selling is very large, I try to meet somewhere public near my home (gas station, grocery store parking lot, etc.). I think that’s pretty good practice when you are uncomfortable with strangers coming into your home.

        1. the gold digger*

          I have sold a few things on CL and always just put them in the garage. A mattress and boxspring aren’t the best thing to have there, but I swept and then put down some plastic.

          A lawnmower, on the other hand, is an easy thing to have in the garage.

          Oh – we have a detached garage.

          PS If you are a buyer, realize I am not going to go out of my way to give you a ton of details about the mattress if I have already posted a photo, described the age and condition of the mattress (“bought five years ago when my boyfriend got divorced and used only occasionally once he met me and started spending all of his time at my house”), and told you it has no stains and tears. Honestly – what else do you want to know? You are too hard to deal with.

      2. Trixie*

        I haven’t but I’m still new at this. The items I’m selling are $150-$200 mirrors so maybe that helps narrow down the pool of interested buyers to serious shoppers? I’m not a huge fan of having strangers come to my house either but can’t transport these things in my car to public place. The first two buyers have both been young women so in retrospect, I’m glad things were non-creepy all the way around.

    2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Where are you located? I have a friend who needs exactly one half of a roof rack (who steals half a roof rack, anyway!?)

      1. Trixie*

        Kimberlee, I’m in NC but you should have your friend check out Ebay and even Amazon. Lots of decent used components so you’re stuck with buying a whole new set-up.

    3. Jazzy Red*

      I’ve given away a couple of things on CL that didn’t sell, and had the people come to my house to pick them up. No problems with that, but that’s the way it is in my area.

      I sold my car on CL about 2 weeks ago. It took less than 1 hour. My insurance agent let me use his office parking lot for that one, then filled out all the paperwork for me as well! Since then, I posted 4 items, sold 2 and have someone interested in the 3rd.

    4. Trixie*

      And I have to say the whole process between Ebay and Paypal is pretty seamless. Very beginner friendly and its not like there’s a minimum of stuff you have to have to sell. Starting with one item (that you know there’s a demand for by seeing if others are buying/selling) and going from there. I mean, who knew people were still using Palm Pilots? And a really Nokia? Huge demand overseas so I may try offering int’l shipping on it.

  9. Ann Furthermore*

    How wrong is it that I’m inordinately satisfied with myself for winning the battle of wills with my 5 year old earlier this evening?

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Ha! She is SO stubborn. I realize it’s a function of her age, but her daycare provider has told me that in her professional opinion, my daughter is exceptionally stubborn and strong-willed. Gee, can’t imagine where it came from!

        She refused to pick up her toys tonight, so my husband sent her to bed and told her if she didn’t pick them up tonight, she wouldn’t be allowed to play with anything at all tomorrow. I’m leaving tomorrow for a business trip, and I just couldn’t stand the thought of the 2 of them spending Father’s Day fighting over toys.

        I went to her room, and after alot of back and forth that involved taking away all her stuffed animals, her night lights, telling her that there would be no playing outside tomorrow (in addition to no toys), no flying her kite if there was enough wind (she’s been wanting to do that for awhile), no TV, and no bubbles, she still refused. She said we could do it tomorrow, and I reminded her that I wouldn’t be here tomorrow to help her. That finally did it and she grudgingly got out of bed and went downstairs and we put everything away.

        The only thing that seems to really strike fear into her is the thought of her daycare provider finding out she’s been misbehaving. So I told my daughter I was going to start telling the daycare lady about every time she’s naughty at home.

        1. Mallory*

          Telling the daycare lady — ha! Use what works!

          I always told myself I would never use the old, ” Wait until your father hears about this” tactic, that I would use only my own authority.

          But, dang, they were always so much more afraid of getting in trouble by him than by me ( even when he and I were doing exactly the same discipline!). I got to the point where I’d even say, “I can’t wait ‘ til I’ m telling your dad about this. You just wait and see!”

          1. s-tad*

            The police in my home country strike fear in everyone, adults & children alike. “I will tell the police if you are naughty” thing was used on stubborn son quite a bit when he was growing up there.
            When we immigrated to North America, my son’s school had a visit from a friendly neighbourhood cop. Since then, our children use the “I will call 911” thing on us!

            1. The Real Ash*

              It’s dangerous to make the police the bad guys to your children. What if they need to contact or interact with the police? They’re too afraid now because mom and dad have already told them so many things they did when they were being bad, what if the police don’t help them because they’re a bad child? Not a good idea, sorry.

              1. Mephyle*

                It’s that in those kinds of countries (not speaking for s-tad, but yes, been there, done that), the police *are* the bad guys, and you teach your children to stay away from police the same as you teach them to stay away from any other people whose appearance/behaviour/dress marks them as potentially dangerous. So, not a problem in the way you mean (but of course a big problem in many other ways).

    1. Clever Name*

      That’s your first mistake. Thinking you’re winning.


      -signed mother of 7-year-old future lawyer

      1. DeadQuoteOlympics*

        ha, I still don’t feel I’m winning. On Mother’s Day this year, my teenage son gave me a set of handmade game cards, including “the trump card” which entitles me to victory in any current argument; the “come along dear” which if played, means he must accompany me anywhere I want to go, among other cards. They can only be used once. I thought it was hilarious, especially since immediately afterwards we had an argument about whether I could take cell phone pics and play the cards that way, instead of having the actual cards on my person at the opportune moment.

        Since they are undated, I told him I was planning on using them in the future about during disputes about which college to attend, buying unsuitable vehicles, etc.

    2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      In our house, the triumph we feel over outsmarting our dogs is great. “ha ha! you thought you were going to grab that plate but *smarter than you*, anticipated your move and moved the plate before you could get it!!!”

      We never win the battle of wills though so please describe that feeling for us.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        My boy dog’s nickname is Little Mr. Stubborn. Fortunately, he’s extremely good natured and only occasionally shows this side of his personality.

        My dogs are my only kids, so I can’t speak about child rearing.

  10. Gene*

    I printed out the comments on my “Things to do in DC” question. Forgot it in the printer and today my wife pulled it out and was reading it. She said, “Wow, there are some intelligent people posting here, they use commas and periods and write full sentences.” Made me smile.

  11. Trixie*

    Any fans of DIY skincare? I’ve become a bit of an addict after discovering which recipes to make your own serums, skin peels, masks, sunscreens, etc. I also really like the finished products you can get from makeup artists choice. They have very affordably priced products including samples.

    1. Clever Name*

      I make my own makeup remover from olive oil. My skin is sensitive and has gotten more reactive as I’ve gotten older. Making your own is the way to go!

      1. Trixie*

        Big fan of coconut oil, and most recently, rose hip and apricot kernel oil. Really wish my Costco would start carrying avocado oil.

    2. Fruitfly*

      I wanted to have a DIY facial wash as well. I have trouble developing a facial routine because I have a busy school and work schedule. I read that for a facial scrub, you can use olive oil and sugar grandules; for facial wash, just use olive oil; for facial mask, use yogurt.

      I would love to hear about other DIY facial ideas!

      1. Trixie*

        I like to add baking soda to my cleanser for a gentle scrub, and just picked up some brown rice flour from Whole foods to try as well. I like the idea of sugar and oil, but that oil can be messy. And dangerous in the shower.

        1. Luxe in Canada*

          If you like how the rice flour works, then you will be delighted to know that you can get giant bags of it for dirt cheap at your friendly local Indian/Asian supermarket. Also available there is besan, raw chickpea flour, which smells less pleasant than you would like it to smell, but it makes a lovely mask or scrub. (Besan might also be called gram flour, depending on the brand, but it’s the same thing.)

            1. Luxe in Canada*

              It’s also used for pakora batter, as well as my absolute favourite Indian dish, kadhi pakora.

              Oh, pro tip: do not try besan as a hair mask. It’s just not a good scene. It took like, four shampooings to get all that muck out once it dried in.

    3. Stephanie*

      I’m into DIY hair products. I couldn’t find very many natural hair care products in my area (not enough of a black population here, I suppose) and I got tired of ordering online. So I went to the health food store and got to mixing. I find it a bit cheaper, but the main annoyance is that stuff isn’t always shelf-stable unless I buy some sort of preservative. Also, I think the honey in one recipe attracted a bee and resulted in a stung ear.

    4. Nina*

      Coconut oil is great. I use it as a facial moisturizer. I once tried oil pulling with sunflower oil, but it didn’t do anything for me.

    5. University admin*

      Lemon juice is amazing! It has natural AHA’s and really helps to soften and brighten your skin. For anyone with keratosis pilaris (which is very common), I highly recommend you try this as a treatment!

      People online also rave about a lemon juice & milk mask.

      1. AKB*

        What’s the process is using the lemon juice? How much do you use for a given area and how long do you leave it on?

        I have keratosis pilaris on the back of my arms and thighs, and have never had much luck getting it to go away.

        1. University admin*

          Squeeze the lemon onto a paper towel and spread over your skin like an astringent. They say to leave it on for at least 10 minutes, but some people recommend putting it on before bed and then washing it off in the morning. I just started about a week ago with it, and I can say it definitely works! I’m using it in combination with exfoliating w/a loofah, and using a salicylic acid body wash.

          Also, I’m experimenting with a bottle of lemon juice from concentrate to see if it works as well. I’m not sure if the AHA’s break down in the more processed lemon juice, but so far so good.

          Hope this helps! I have a prescription for lactic acid cream waiting for me at the pharmacy, but I’m waiting to see if this works first.

        2. Natalie*

          You may have tried this already, but I had really good luck with using a sugar scrub on the kp on my arms. Lots of people sell them, and you can find recipes online to make your own if you’re so inclined.

    6. nep*

      Coconut oil — simple and fantastic. I wash with it and then leave some on my face overnight. For the skin, the purer and simpler the better.

    7. Rebecca*

      I make my own lip balm and shampoo bars, plus I make a heavy duty moisturizing butter for my hands and feet for winter.

    8. Artemesia*

      Is there any evidence that fancy skin care does anything? My mother lived to her mid 90s and had virtually no wrinkles and excellent skin till the end on a regimen of ordinary soap and occasionally a little white petroleum jelly for moisturizing. I seem to have inherited her good genes and have no deep wrinkles (gotta avoid those mineral powder make ups or bright light as they do show the crepey skin of ageing) either and skin that looks decades younger. I just use sun screen moisturizer.

      In fact sun screen appears to be the major key. I have put it on the backs of my hands since I was 30 and at 70 have no dark age spots on my hands which most of my friends do.

      I experimented with a few skin care systems over the years and never noticed they did anything except lighten my wallet so I buy cheap sun screen/moisturizer and call it a day.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Ive been using a crazily expensive moisturizer (Tammy Fender) and I do see a difference from anything else I’ve used, but I suspect it depends on your skin. You sound like you have good genes so probably don’t need anything else.

        1. stellanor*

          I have terrifyingly sensitive skin and find that most cheap skin care products have ingredients that upset The Angry Skin. I’m using stuff from Kiehls right now because they make one of the only sunscreens that does not cause me to break out like I’m 15 years old.

          1. S from CO*

            I have sensitive/reactive skin and for the passed 23 years, I have spent lots of time /money trying to find skincare that works for me. I found mychelle 2 years ago and it has been the best thing that ever happened to me! For my skincare I use products from their sensitive line.

        2. A*

          I think it really comes down to trial and error. I think we all have the right match out there, be it expensive or cheap. Myself, it’s oil of Olay sensitive. I miss ponds dry skin face wash but I just discovered phisoderm cream cleanser. I’d been happy with the o o o wash but this works perfect with the lotion.

      2. Fruitfly*

        I used to used a face scrub that I bought at a drugstore for about $3–it was from a well-know brand. The scrub was harsh on my skin and I experienced peeling. So right now, I decided not to use any facial wash on my face. I just use plain water to wash right now. But I do plan to use natural facial washes in the future, so they will be less harsh on my skin.

    9. Mallory*

      I have been trying in vain to find a recipe that works like a biore strip. Any one had any luck with that?

      My grandma once said something about using potato starch to pull an infected nodule of some sort out of my uncle’ s arm when he was little, so maybe something with a starch of some sort?

      1. Incognito*

        Scotch tape. Not the cheap dollar store kind which can be too sticky, but the regular scotch tape with the matte finish.

        Read this tip ages ago and totally works.

          1. Jamie*

            Just a few minutes – always after washing with hot water so pores are open, but after skin is totally dry.

          2. Annie*

            A packet of plain gelatin and milk until its a paste (less than 1/4 cup) leave it on for 20 minutes (or until it dries) peel it off… works wonders you can put it all over your face (I do my forehead, chin, nose, & cheeks) and it doesn’t hurt as much as the strips coming off (my skin looks irritated for about 2 hours after I wax/use biore strips- there was a little irritation on my hair line where it got caught in my hair and pulled my baby hairs out).

      2. Trixie*

        I think this is where I had great luck with light chemical peels/serums from makeup artists choice. They have some stuff they helps calm down the oil glands while removing the blackheads. Plus diet really make a huge difference. When I was having a green smoothie for breakfast and sardines or tuna for lunch every day for a few weeks, my skin never looked better.

      3. Fruitfly*

        I have read that you can use plain gelatin mixture as a pore stripe. You mix the gelatin mixture and brush it on your face. I never tried it before, but plain gelatin shouldn’t hurt.

    10. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I have craaaaaaaazy oily skin, and I just learned that Milk of Magnesia, applied in a thin layer, is supposed to do wonders. I’m so pumped to try it!

      1. Sunday*

        I was astounded to discover that for some of us oily skin types, washing it less often means less oil production. At least some of the time, oily skin is actually super dry skin with a built in emergency oil response protection feature. I’m now careful to moisturize immediately after cleaning, which also reduces the EORP action. YMMV.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          I wish this were true for me! As it is, I only wash once a day (I’ve never done more than that, I’m way too lazy). I did use to have pretty combination skin, but I started moisturizing regularly and it’s just gotten worse. :(

            1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

              Intriguing! I also had 10% glycolic toner recommended, so maybe I’ll try the super cheap one first and see if it works :)

    11. Luxe in Canada*

      I forgot earlier to mention my fave diy natural care product: orange blossom water. Rose water works too, but I find the scent is too heavy for me. It makes a great toner with enough moisture to not make my skin feel tight. I used to sell fancy-pants skincare where a bottle of toner cost $30, and I honestly kinda like my $3 bottle of OBW better.

      Oh, and since a lot of people asked me during my fancy-pants days what toner is supposed to do: it removes any cleanser/makeup/dirt left on your face after cleansing, and brings your skin back to it’s ideal pH balance.

      1. Trixie*

        Luxe, is there a particular recipe/formula you use? Link or Pinterest pin would be great appreciated. I usually mix apple cider vinegar and fresh green tea, sometimes with essential oils.

        1. Luxe in Canada*

          I keep a bottle of orange blossom water in the bathroom and just pour it onto a cotton pad. There are fancier recipes, but I’m happy with the effort-to-results ratio of using it straight from the bottle. Rosewater, though, you might want to dilute 50-50 with water to cut the heaviness of the scent.

  12. Pleiades*

    I remember, years ago, seeing MBA students’ resumes and the impressive hobbies they’d have at the bottom.

    i.e. Marathon running, tango, chess, black belt in karate, etc.

    Now I don’t think I’d ever put hobbies on a resume nowadays, but I’m still curious to know what AAM readers’ own “impressive hobbies” are!

    1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      I always hate this question, ’cause I don’t really have any hobbies. I read. A lot. Like 100 books a year. And I work somewhat absurd hours. But that’s pretty much it!

      1. Pleiades*

        Mine are (not that impressive, but whatever):

        *Reading literature – like you Victoria, I also read, a LOT (I love big books – W&P, Infinite Jest, A Suitable Boy, etc)

        *Art Appreciation – I will travel pretty far distances to see exhibits, attend lectures/symposiums, all that jazz.

        *Music Appreciation – pretty much the same as for art above.

        *Learning the board game Go

        *Epicurean snobbery – food, cocktails, wine, tea.

        *A whole lot of ‘stuff that would be nice to be into more’ that’s a little too expensive for me to pursue more – horseback riding, sailing, film photography, restoring a vintage scooter.

        *Volunteer Work

          1. nyxalinth*

            maybe so, and I have soe intersting hobbies that require skills employers like such as teamwork (MMO gaes) attention to detail (jewelry making) good communication skills (writing), and reading (but the literary type stuff bores me, I’d rather read horror, romance, and fantasy) but still, if one shouldn’t put them on a resume, then I don’t! Your hobbies are a hell of a lot cooler than mine I have to say.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Oh, you made me remember board games! I’m a giant strategy board game nerd. My favorites are Agricola and Dominion.

      2. Mimmy*

        I too have dreaded that question. It’s only in the past couple of years that I picked up an actual hobby (crossword puzzles).

    2. Stephanie*

      I visited my friend who’s currently at an elite business school. That many Type A people together was exhausting.

      -Improv: I did this a lot in DC. No aspirations to be a professional comic (the DC folks were mostly hobbyists anyway), just wanted to try something different.
      -Cello: I used to be really intense back in high school and did youth orchestra, auditioned for All-State Orchestra (really competitive in Texas, especially at the large high school level), and considered going to music school. Now I just play for fun.
      -Martial arts: Just started doing this in January. It is fun taking out my job search aggression on a punching bag.
      -Hula: Just started this in January as well (it’s at the same studio as martial arts). I do this just for the exercise and have no intention of performing in public.
      -Cooking/baking: self-explanatory
      -Reading: I actually read primarily non-fiction, which I think puts me in the minority among AAM readers.
      -Volunteer work: various things. I’ve done a lot with FIRST Robotics. I’ve done a lot of tutoring as well.

    3. Jen RO*

      My hobbies are not impressive, so I’m glad I don’t have to add them on my resume. I read, I play online games, I travel… and that’s about it!

    4. Shell*

      Mine are…

      -Video games. RPGs mainly, although I also adore the Batman Arkham series. And I will talk your ear off about competitive StarCraft any day of the week.
      -Reading (fanfiction nowadays, mostly…)
      -Bit of volunteer work (not a lot, I get drained too easily)
      -Cooking/baking? When I get unlazy? (which is almost never)

      …wow, the hobbies that take up most of my time are the ones that I’d not share with employers… No one wants to hear me wax poetic about Terran’s mech vs. bio strategies in an interview…

      1. nyxalinth*

        Hooray, more gamers!

        I’ve not played Starcraft in many years, but i used to play the Warcraft RTS, which lead to me playing World of Warcraft. Been playing for six years now. As much of an Elder Scrolls fan as I am, ESO was a letdown to me. Also a huge Fallout fan (even F3) and love the old school stuff like Wizardry, Might and Magic, and so on. I haven’t tried the Batman game but it looks fun.

        1. nyxalinth*

          Also sometimes when I get the mood, I make player housing for games that are moddable. mostly Morrowind but if I feel especially ambitious one day, I will learn to do modding in the other TES games and Fallout 3. I like placing all he little clutter objects and decorating an empty shell and making it a believable home. I have yet to finish any for release, but one day I will.

        2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          Elder scrolls online wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been, for sure. What we really need is a non-mmo, plain co-OP ES game. Like make Skyrim two- player, and I’m good!

        3. samaD*

          Might & Magic :D

          also Dungeon Keeper, Master of Orion, and Master of Magic :) (Good Old Games has been a good and bad find for me :D )

    5. Elizabeth West*

      –Reading (when I get a chance and am not reading for book research). Faves include Preston and Child (both their individual books and the Pendergast series), Stephen King, Brian Keene, Robert R. McCammon (he has a new mystery series out that I missed a bunch of but I Kindled them), and random non-fiction stuff. Right now I’m reading an etiquette book aimed at people in Hollywood, LOL (not like I’ll probably need red-carpet etiquette, but you never know).

      –I had started getting into dollhouse miniatures and amassed a pretty fair collection of stuff, but I never seem to have time to work on them. I literally have not finished one dollhouse or room box yet. If only I didn’t have to work! :P

      –Figure skating. I take lessons and participate in shows at the rink. I’ve only done one competition, skating against the book because there was no other adult skater, and I won gold (probably because I had a sit spin at Pre-Bronze level). Now I’m working on my Adult Bronze freeskate test and Silver moves (ugh). I kind of suck at it, but it’s fun. I always wanted to do it. :)

      –Would love to make travel a hobby, if I could afford to do it more often!

      1. nyxalinth*

        Very cool things! I have never skated (wobbly ankles and poor sense of balance) but that is very cool.

        The dollhouse thing sounds lovely. Like an actual dollhouse, or more of a diorama type thing?

        I read those authors, too. I especially love Swan Song from McCammon. Have you read Brian Keene’s Dead Sea? If you like his zombie stuff, you might also like Tim Curran’s Resurrection.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Dollhouses AND room boxes–but like I said, I haven’t managed to finish any of them! No dolls; I don’t like them. It’s so fiddly and takes so much time that I just haven’t had while working full-time.

          I haven’t read the Gideon books yet either. I’m so behind! And Swan Song is a favorite. I don’t think I’ve gotten to Dead Sea yet–Brian’s pretty prolific and I’m behind there too. I did back his Kickstarter of the giant The Last Zombie omnibus (comic), and now I have a lovely fat book on my coffee table. I put the digital edition on my Kindle so I can read it on the plane. Imagine the person sitting next to me as I scroll through zombie comics, haha. They’ll be all o_O

          1. Liz in a Library*

            Doll houses! That’s so cool. :)

            My mom used to do a lot of work with miniatures (before she started having wrist problems). I’m not sure I have the patience, but I love looking at other people’s work!

      2. Vancouver Reader*

        I really liked the Gideon’s Sword by Preston and Child, but Pendergrast (can’t remember which one) bored me and I couldn’t get into the character. Are some of the books in that series better than others?

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’m very biased because because I love Pendergast. The Cabinet of Curiosities is good; that’s where you meet Constance, and the whole Diogenese trilogy is too (evil brother). I haven’t read Gideon yet–gaaah why can’t days be longer! Or why can’t I be a lady of leisure and sit by the pool with a book (in the shade, of course)?!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Oh crap, I forgot Still Life with Crows–you meet Corrie Swanson there and she is a great secondary character. They’re doing fun things with her later on.

          2. Vancouver Reader*

            Maybe it’s because I read the book out of order. I should try it again.

            I suggest watching “How to Marry a Millionaire” to see if you can get any tips on how to be a lady of leisure.

    6. stellanor*

      I JUST FINISHED SCHOOL (insert confetti) after a year of working full time and school part time, so I get to have hobbies again! The only hobby that survived work+school was cooking, because I do the cooking in my household. I’ve been expanding my repertoire now that I have a big kitchen and live with my SO who will eat anything.

      Impressive-but-on-hold hobbies include photography, sewing, and learning stuff from the internet (up next: linear algebra, because I need it to learn machine learning).

      My unimpressive hobbies are reading and video games.

        1. stellanor*

          My SO loves food but is indifferent to actually cooking, so I cook and he does the dishes. I have an unreasonable loathing of doing dishes (I mentioned above that I have super-sensitive skin — any soap that will actually get a dish clean will also dry out my hands so bad they crack) so this works well for me.

    7. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      I’ve been rock climbing for about 8 years now and so feel pretty impressive at that! I’m also very proud that last summer I taught myself to program enough to write my own iPad app.

      I’m also excellent at starting craft projects… not as good at finishing them.

      1. C Average*

        Fellow climber here, although I don’t do it much anymore.

        Writing your own app . . . now that’s impressive!

    8. FD*

      The closest thing I manage to an impressive hobby is designing my own cross-stitch…I’m working on learning embroidery though! One of my dreams is to learn to sew and quilt, but I don’t have the time, space, or money right now.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        Do it now! I developed arthritis in my wrists and hands, and now I can’t hold an embroidery needle. I miss stitching more than I can say.

        Designing cross-stitch patterns impresses me!

    9. Felicia*

      I watch what most people consider too much tv, and read a lot of books. I sometimes write, which is only impressive in November when I always do and win NaNoWriMo . A lot of people are interested in the fact that I’ve been taking Mandarin since last September, though I’m still not good at it and it’s not offered in summer so I’ve forgotten a bit already. I go to a monthly comedy show where they read and act out really bad fanfiction, and I go to monthly Sunday Assembly meetings. All of those things are mostly just impressive to me, because I didn’t used to have as many hobbies other than reading and tv.

      1. Jillociraptor*

        I’m going to need more information about this bad fanfiction comedy situation. Your life is kind of my dream.

    10. en pointe*

      Oh, what a great question. I’m loving reading these.

      I’m an aerialist and dancer (predominantly contemporary ballet). I’m a member of a semi-professional performance group, and we perform roughly every few weeks.

      Reading – whenever I have time, mostly mysteries and biographies.

      Running – I love to run through the bush, particularly in the mornings.

    11. Iain Clarke (UK, no, SE, erm...)*

      I used to have an awesome hobby – writing computer software. Now it’s my job, so I had no hobby…

      Now I have a 2 year old, so no time for a hobby anyway!

    12. Rana*

      My hobbies aren’t impressive, but they are numerous: knitting, sewing, spinning (yarn), weaving, photography, drawing, painting, guitar, recorder playing, reading, hiking, camping, ceramics, jewelry making, gardening, foreign languages, blogging… and that’s just the most recent ones.

      Basically, if there’s an apocalypse and you need to equip a household with stuff, contact me. ;)

    13. Jazzy Red*

      Back in the olden days, “hobbies” was a category on the job applications. A Personel Manager told me that my hobbies were too solitary, so I had to make up a few that indicated I was good team player.

      My hobbies today are still of the solitary sort, except for singing in the church choir and since they take anyone who wants to join regardless of their ability, it’s not exactly impressive.

    14. Mallory*

      My hobbies aren’t impressive at all. Just reading, which is pretty much like breathing to me. I usually have several books going at once: one in the kitchen that I read while I cook, one in the bedroom, one in the bathroom, one on CD in the car, and one in the living room. My grandma once asked me how I keep track of the plots of so many books at once, and I told her it’s just like watching multiple soap operas and sit-coms. You just switch between them and keep them separate.

      The other thing I do is play Facebook games (used to be Farmville, but I’ve moved on to Suburbia for the moment).

      I used to be a jogger, which was very satisfying mentally and emotionally and kept my weight down. I need to get back into that, because I’m kind of stressed, a little depressed, and my weight is higher than it’s ever been.

    15. Cath in Canada*

      My big one is writing – mostly non-fiction (blogging about science and scientific careers, as well as more personal topics), but very occasionally some fiction too. But the non-fiction stuff is relevant enough to my career that it goes in an “Other Experience” section on my CV, and I don’t mention the sillier stuff!

      I’m also part of a really fun writing group – five female scientists who meet in pubs to discuss pieces we’re working on then critique each others’ drafts. I also just joined my first book club, but we haven’t met yet – and I go to various non-technical science lectures, live storytelling events, etc.

      I also read a lot, play a lot of word games, and very occasionally play classical guitar (the longer I put it off, the more I know I’m going to suck, so the less motivation I have to play). Oh and I’ve been taking some MOOCs through Coursera – three were really for work (although fun nonetheless, and all done in my spare time), and one was just for fun (map making! It was awesome). I’ve signed up for a couple more later in the year – it’s very much a winter hobby.

      Also swimming, watching sport, camping, kayaking (nowhere near as often as I’d like), cycling, rampant beer snobbery, and obsessing about Game of Thrones.

    16. Mints*

      I still see this! I wonder if it’s school or major dependent.
      I actually did write a line of this, but took it off. Let me try to remember…
      Interests: Reading, football, cosplay, comparative politics and history, baking
      Is that it? I’m boring

      1. Sascha*

        Yay cosplay! I’d be a professional cosplayer if I could, but I lack the funding. :)

    17. Sascha*

      Wing chun kung fu. If you are not familiar:

      It’s the most counter intuitive thing I’ve ever done with my body, but once you learn the logic behind it, it makes total sense. I’m going to be testing for my first level at the end of the month. Glad to have my teacher’s confidence in me, but I feel like a flailing octopus when I do it.

    18. QualityControlFreak*

      Hiking, backpacking, camping, gardening, reading, writing, web-browsing, costuming, drawing/painting, martial arts, music and performance arts. Usually not all simultaneously. Had horses for 30 years, but not currently. Boating/fishing while growing up.

    19. Windchime*

      Nothing impressive or exciting for me! Mostly knitting, quilting, crocheting — any kind of needle craft, really. Others are reading and, this time of year, tending to my outside pots of flowers (all 19 of them…I just counted and I had no idea there were so many).

      After reading that list, I sound like a lonely old cat lady. Oh, add another activity: Playing with the cat.

      1. ArtsNerd*

        I aspire to your lifestyle, if that helps anything. I’ve got a wonky crochet project going…

    20. Natalie*

      I hate sports but I like outdoor activities a lot – biking, gardening, walking around the city. I’ve recently started hiking again as my new man does it a lot, and I’m looking forward to picking up snowshoeing with him come winter.

      Inside, I cook and bake, do yoga (not as much as I use to), read, and I actually make a bit of a hobby of cleaning and organizing my home.

    21. samaD*

      I read a lot :)
      otherwise, in varying amounts: pen & paper RPGs, computer RPGs, bellydancing, horseback riding, and music (listening & playing)
      but mostly I read :)

  13. Kate*

    My husband and I are going to NYC at the end of the month for a Friday – Sunday trip. We are planning on driving and if we can’t find in street parking we will hit a garage/lot. Thoughts? For some reason the thought of the MTA makes me nervous but maybe that is because I can’t figure out their website at all. Is it me or is it really confusing?

    I also have to figure out what we want to do. We’ve done the major museums/Times Sq./major tourist spots.

      1. Pleiades*

        Do you have a smartphone?

        The Embark NYC app has saved me from blowing all my money on cabs. It was a game changer for me.

      2. Pleiades*

        When you say the major museums…

        did that include:

        The Cloisters?
        MoMA PS1?
        The Morgan Library?
        The Noguchi Museum and/or Socrates Sculpture Park?

    1. Mk*

      Hopstop’s a pretty good website if you need subway directions. It may be confusing to use the MTA at first, but you may feel more comfortable after you try it a couple of times.

    2. meg*

      The most confusing thing about the subway is that construction usually happens on weekends, so there are detours, trains skip stations, etc. So be super careful when reading the signs at the station. The good thing is that they usually tell you how to fix your trip (in the same sign). Just keep an eye out.

      Oh also trains can be local or express. That used to trip up visitors too.

      1. Ali*

        Hopstop has been a life saver for me the more I stay in NYC and try to get around. I’m also hoping to move there, and I’m now to the point where when I visit, I don’t even need Hopstop to get me some places because I’ve memorized the route. I just always check ahead of time anyway to make sure there’s no delays or constructions where I might have to pick up a shuttle bus to a station or what have you.

        As for suggestions of things to do, maybe you could try a smaller museum? I went to the transit museum in Brooklyn a few years ago and LOVED it. Really fascinating history of the subway system. Or try shopping down by Union Square or Bryant Park. Union Square especially is less touristy and they have the Greenmarket on Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday, as well as Filene’s.

    3. BRR*

      When I drive up I park in a lot near Jersey City city hall, it is pretty cheap although it would then be a trek to the UWS.

      I really enjoyed the United Nations tour, the rockefeller center tour with going to the top of the rock, high line park, and you can ride the staten island ferry free. You just have to get off and get back on.

      I usually have the mta subway map open and google maps. Between the two I’ve managed to only mess up a couple of times.

    4. TL*

      I’m on the bus leaving NYC right now! We took only the subway and it was a little confusing at first but fine overall. We never got lost or spent more than 5-10 minutes figuring things out Also, if you look lost with a subway map, about a million New Yorkers are going to ask if you need help. Seriously. Google Maps was all we needed to navigate, though we did leave lots of extra time if being punctual was important. (For comparision, the Boston T is much easier to navigate but the NYC mta is more convenient and runs 24/7.)
      Things off the beaten path: the Citibikes are big right now if you’re into being active. The smaller museums (we went to the museum of sex, which was cheaper and had a really cool exhibit on different animals’ sex lives) are fun, and it’s the World Cup, so going to a sports bar was fun and there were a lot of international people at the ones we went to.

    5. V*

      Park and ride lots are the best thing ever. We left the car in one in New Jersey, took the train in, and then didn’t have to worry about parking or driving in & out of the city. Leaving the car on the home side of all the bridges meant we didn’t hit any ugly traffic.

    6. YoungProfessional*


      Street parking is difficult to find in the city and parking garages are expensive. I highly recommend using public transit. MTA employees are stationed in booths at many subway stations and can assist you. You could also rent a CitiBike and ride around the city.

      1. Annie*

        We usually park in Jersey and take the commuter bus in (my cousins live in Hoboken and East Rutherford so we usually park around their places) last year I think it was less than $20 round trip on a weekend.
        If you drive in and have the time I’d go out to the beach in Queens (Rockaway & Far Rockaway) it will probably be busy but its kind of awesome to see what they’ve redone since Sandy.
        Also, if you haven’t, walk the Brooklyn Bridge – I did it during the Avon Walk 4 years ago and it was great but I’d love to do it again and have time to hang out in DUMBO (the area between the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges both of which you can walk across)- we passed these great parks and funky art galleries that I’d love to wander through.

  14. Greek*

    I felt kind of bad that I did not show my family my college graduation photos that my school took. I graduated from college a year ago. The photography company has emailed me the photos after the date of my graduation, but during that time, I did not think those photos are that important.

    My graduation ceremony took place a semester after I have finished all my courses and received my official diploma. After receiving my diploma, I job searched for months. I felt very frustrated from submitting CVs, having failed interviews, and traveling to various locations to interview. I felt my bachelor’s degree was worthless, and I also do not feel any meaning from going to a graduation ceremony to celebrate having my undergrad degree.

    Right now, I think back and I realized that maybe I should have showed the photos to them. The photos the school took were not as nice as the ones my family took, but they should see it. My family contributed a lot to support my education.

    Currently, I have some project deadlines I need to make. Maybe I should show it to them after I finished my projects…

    1. Greek*

      I also wanted to add that I felt a bit nervous telling my family about the graduation pictures since it has been so long.

      1. Artemesia*

        If they were there and took pictures I would let it go. As a parent I would have no particular interest in official pictures of my kids’ graduations since I have wonderful pictures we took at the time. But of course you know your folks — but if it makes you nervous, why do it?

      2. Not So NewReader*

        “The pictures you took were better, so I did not really think about the ones from the college. I was going through my drawer the other day and spotted them. Then it dawned on me that maybe you would like to see them anyway…”

  15. Gates*

    I’m a lawyer and one of the assistants that works with my group doesn’t take directions from me,. I’m in my mid-20s and she is in her 50s. When I first started working for the firm, she asked me if I was a full lawyer, because “I seemed too young”. She constantly makes nitpick comments about my age.

    I don’t really care about the personal remarks, but in several instances she has asked the paralegals whether she should be doing X task that I requested. The paralegals always back me up and tell her to just do it- our paralegals are amazing, and I often ask their opinion- but the fact is that she shouldn’t be second guessing me.

    Most recently, I’ve been working on a project and she was assigned to help me by the partner on the file, and she has been ignoring the fact that I am leading the project and adding in her opinion when it’s not being asked for, usually in front of the clients and in direct opposition to what I’ve just said.

    This is becoming a problem and I don’t know how to deal with it. She’s not my direct assistant, but a floater, and so she doesn’t report to me in the same way that my assistant does, but I don’t want to be seen as a whiner because I really like my job, my firm, and my group.

    1. KrisL*

      Maybe talk to someone who this assistant does listen to. Have that person and you sit down with the assistant and explain how this works. You are in charge. The assistant is not. If the assistant disagrees with you about something, she needs to talk to you privately about it and should *never* be opposing you in front of clients.

  16. Ask a Manager* Post author

    So I’ve started using and, despite the terribly cheesy name, I kind of love it.

    I’ve gained weight since breaking my foot (because the injury/long recovery made me way less active, not that I was running marathons or anything to begin with), plus the whole entering-my-40s thing happened, but somehow MFP has inspired me to stay at 1200 calories and walk for an hour daily. I love how it tells you at the end of each day “if every day were like today, you’d weigh X pounds in five weeks.” I am super into it. Anyone else?

    1. Jen RO*

      I really wanted to like it and use it, but adding anything (that didn’t come from a can/box) needed way more work than I was willing to put in… so I gave up and I’m just trying to eat less sweets.

      1. Deedee*

        I have a fitbit which I am really loving. I just got the one for counting steps (don’t want to mess with sleep since I am a great sleeper and don’t wish to analyze that). syncs well with the fitbit so that I can track my food there and it shows up on my fitbit dashboard. Out of all the online trackers I’ve tried, myfitnesspal is the best for me. I only eat real food too, no processed food at all, so it is a bit of a chore for recording my food, but really not that hard.

    2. Nina*

      I’m a fan. I think MFP is probably the best food tracking app out there. It’s the most current and user friendly. Others were pretty old and out of date (like LoseIt!) or a waste of time (Fooducate, I am looking at you).

      My only issue is that I eventually get sick of tracking my meals and I stop using it. Whoops.

      1. Stephanie*

        I like the idea of Fooducate, but I agree I found it less useful once I figured out what was rated lowly.

      2. Trixie*

        MFP would probably be a good fit in my case because i eat the same meals fairly consistently.

    3. Stephanie*

      I’m a fan! It can be hard finding the appropriate entries (hula dancing gets listed as “belly dancing” in the exercise, for example), but it’s really good for journaling. I don’t like weighing myself, so I don’t track weight on it.

      1. Nina*

        Yeah, that is a flaw in MFP. They update food all the time, but not exercises. I wish they integrated full programs into the system, like the 3o Day Shred by Jillian Michaels, P90X or Insanity. Instead, you have to put every exercise in there separately.

        1. Natalie*

          I like it a lot. A couple of years ago I used it to lose the 20 extra pounds I’d picked up from college. I actually also use the food notes area to keep track of other stuff

    4. Ann Furthermore*

      I use, and it’s similar. It lets you build recipes too, so you can figure out exactly how much you’re eating and what the calories are. And you’re right — the best part is hitting the “Complete” button each day and having it tell you’ll weigh X amount in 1 month and 3 months. I also find that I hold myself more accountable when I’m recording everything I eat.

      I’ve actually put a pin in trying to work out and just really, really focus on what I’m eating. When I’m working out I find myself subconsciously telling myself things like,”Well, I worked out this morning — I can have that cookie!” So the underlying issue, my bad eating habits, are still there. I’m down 20 pounds. So far, so good. I’m going to keep doing this for awhile longer, and then start back up with yoga.

      Really thinking about food, when I eat, and so on has been interesting. Earlier this week, I had not gotten to the grocery store and I had a couple early morning meetings, so I didn’t take breakfast to work like I usually do. I found that I was insanely craving doughnuts every morning. I couldn’t figure it out. But then on Friday, I was back into my normal routine of having a bowl of Kashi cereal at my desk, and I worked through the whole morning and at about 11 I realized I hadn’t had the doughnut urge. Very interesting and useful information.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        That’s been my breakfast, or two pieces of Marmite toast with my tea. I found that I was starving before lunch, until I added an egg to my lunchbox and scrambled it in the microwave (I bring milk for my tea and to drink at lunch). Now I can make it much longer before I get hungry, and resist the cake people keep bringing in!

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I haven’t used any tracking stuff–I just have been going by how my clothes fit. It’s frustratingly slooooowwwww. I need to ramp it up a bit–there’s only three-and-a-half months until my holiday! o_O

    6. Kate*

      Like you I broke my foot in the fall and gained some weight. I’ve used it a bit and like it so far. I am doing a low carb diet now too so that is helpful.

      I’m also considering getting a Jawbone UP24. I also want to be able to track my sleep since I have the feeling I am tossing around a lot at night (or like right now when it is 2:30a and I’m not even pretending to be alseep).

    7. GrumpyBoss*

      I use it periodically to track my caloric intake. I’ve used every single fitness tracking app in the Apple Store, and I have not picks about all of them. But I do think MyFitnessPal has the best food tracking options available.

    8. Rebecca*

      I bought a FitBit, and it motivates me to get out from behind my computer, or off the recliner, and walk :) I haven’t used the food tracking part of the software, but I have made great strides in eating “real” food, like less processed foods that I make. Example: if I want mac & cheese, I make it from scratch instead of buying the boxed neon orange version. Plus, I’m trying to eliminate HFCS as much as I can, but it seems to be in everything, so that lead me to try to make my own salad dressings.

      My goal this summer is to lose 20 lbs by Labor Day.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Regarding salad dressing, I have found a couple great sounding recipes for ranch and Italian dressing mixes on Pinterest. I have some recipes that call for envelopes of dressing mix. I’m trying to remove much processed food from my diet as I can. I’m I interested to see how these work out.

        1. Anonymous*

          I like the ranch dressing recipe from the back of the Hidden Valley ranch envelopes, using buttermilk and mayo, plus the packet. I also found a recipe using buttermilk and mayo, plus adding your own herbs, etc.

          I love olive oil/vinegar dressings, but I’m also concerned about calories, and they can really add up if you’re not careful.

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            I’m not a nutritionist, but calories get a bad rap. I really feel that if you’re gonna scrimp on calories, don’t scrimp them from olive oil! It’s one of the healthiest foods you can eat!(extra virgin.)

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I love making my own salad dressings. They’re so easy and they’re nearly always better than what you could buy. I’ve found that you can use very little or even no olive oil in them (but then I love vinegar and have been known to dress a salad with just red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar and nothing else).

    9. Powerpuff*

      I started out at 1200 calories a day, but I found that my work was seriously suffering. I just didn’t have enough fuel to focus (my job requires near constant focus, which is difficult enough at the best of times). I recently upped my limit to 1400 calories. I’m still not at my most productive, but its an improvement.

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        1200 is really low! Obviously every body is different, but for most folks that’s a pretty intense restriction.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, 1200 calories is brutal. I would not make it through my day. sigh. I know people who have done it, though.

    10. C Average*

      I think it’s the best tool of its kind (my work is in the fitness tracking industry, so I’m pretty well acquainted with all the major players in this space). As you say, it’s pretty intuitive and does a good job of motivating and encouraging.

      I just hate tracking stuff, though. Any stuff. I hate it when I get a new boss and he or she announces we’re going to track our time use. I hate tracking my expenses on business travel. And I hate tracking my food. The whole quantified-self thing is a mystery to me because I find all the tracking mechanisms, even the well-designed ones, just excruciatingly boring.

      I am glad it’s working for you, though!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        For me, the tracking has been incredibly educational. I just had no idea how many calories I was putting in my mouth versus what I should be. It was really an epiphany. Now that I see that it’s just a math problem, it feels weirdly simple.

        1. Calla*

          When I started MFP it was shocking to see that stuff I thought WAS healthy actually had like half my daily calorie intake for the day! (Of course more than calories matter, but still, I thought I was eating well.)

        2. Natalie*

          It really helped me be motivated to cut a lot of my empty calories. I gained weight after college because I had a sedentary office job and was eating takeout food for lunch every day plus usually a soda. Having to enter in those sodas, in particular, and take the hit on it when I didn’t even want them that much made is so much easier to cut back. I got fizzy water for most of the time and now when I have a coke I actually enjoy it.

    11. NylaW*

      I like MFP for general tracking, but it really only works well if you’re using things that are already in its database which is mostly restaurant and packaged food. I have found that putting in recipes doesn’t work well. So unfortunately, for most recipes that I know the portion sizes and nutrition info, I just do a quick entry of calories and fat. I don’t like how it does exercise at all, so again I just do a negative calorie entry for that.

      I have a FitBit, due to a stupid wellness program work started where we have to track how many miles we walk, but I have found I actually really like it and that I had no idea how much I was walking in a day. I like that it knows when I’m going up and down stairs and that it keeps track of my pace so I know how fast I went and can translate that into calories burned a bit easier.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’m eating mostly fresh foods or recipes I make and it seems to work. It takes a little while to enter the recipe, but so far all the ingredients I’ve needed to enter have been in there. (Their recipe builder is annoying though; the recipe part of the site doesn’t always bring up ingredients that ARE in the database part of the site.)

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’ve been pretty surprised that that’s not more of a problem. I think it’s because I’ve been deliberate about eating stuff that’s low cal but still filling. Believe me, I adore eating and I like to eat in large quantities. So I’ve just found stuff that I can eat big quantities of (like vegetables). Oh, and zero-calorie shirataki noodles are my latest revelation. If you prepare them right, they taste like Vietnamese rice noodles.

        1. KrisL*

          I keep meaning to look for a site that will help me make better choices so that I can “cheat”. Not really cheat, but find food that I actually like that is reasonably good for me and tastes about as good as food I like that isn’t so good for me but I love :)

      2. Esra*

        For me, I wasn’t hitting the 1500 cals it allocated me, but was going over in the specific breakdowns. Turns out I’m not a big fan of protein, but am a HUGE fan of butter.

          1. Esra*

            And that’s how I stopped tracking my diet.

            I do like myfitnesspal for tracking workouts though.

    12. Anna Moose*

      I heart mfp! I’ve been using it since March, and have lost 17 pounds already. My settings are for 1550 calories and sedentary though. (I hate exercising or sweating.) I don’t know if I could do a 1200 calorie diet. I’d feel deprived and would down a whole box of Krispy Kreme donuts every night!

      What are some of your meals if you’re doing a 1200 calorie diet? I’m always looking for some low calorie ideas.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        * See above about the amazing shirataki noodles!
        * Big salads
        * Stir-fries
        * A homemade insanely spicy tomato soup (sort of a vegetarian take on tortilla soup, minus the tortillas — so good)
        * Egg white omelet with vegetables and hot peppers (and one whole egg amid all the egg whites), drenched in hot sauce
        * frozen Greek yogurt bars (Yasso brand — amazing)

        Also, congratulations on the 17 pounds! That’s awesome.

      2. Trixie*

        I think plenty of protein goes a long way towards feeling satiated, whether its a serving of whole wheat pasta or a turkey patty from Costco. I also like fruits like fresh cranberries with my oatmeal. Healthy, low sugar, and the tart flavor packs a punch. Around the holiday when they’re in season I’ll stock up on fresh cranberries because they freeze beautifully and they keep for months.

        1. Fish Microwaver*

          I agree. A serve of protein goes a long way to keeping hunger at bay, sepecially at breakfast time.

          1. Trixie*

            I swear one of my best purchases last year was a BPA-free $7 microwave steamer at Walmart. Throw a frozen tilapia breast in it with some veggies for an easy, quick and tasty male.

            1. Vancouver Reader*

              Is it okay if I laugh? I’m sorry but it just struck a funny bone. The combination of breast and male (and I know you mean meal) just made me giggle like an adolescent.

              1. Vancouver Reader*

                I want to know which store I should be shopping at to find one. They seem very elusive to me.

    13. bo bessi*

      Love it. I did Weight Watchers for a bit, and that’s the closest I’ve found (for free) that helps me maintain. I like that you can save favorites there too which makes it much easier if you tend to eat the same things over and over.

  17. Shell*

    I had a friend ask me for advice re: her cover letter and resume a few days ago, and she also asked me on how to phrase a question to her instructor about breaking into a particular niche field. I gave her some specific phrases to try (running along the lines of “don’t ask about her company in specific, don’t sound like you’re begging for a job, make it about the field, let her do the talking since you’re asking for her opinion, etc.” but in better words).

    The whole time, I felt like I was channelling Alison and I felt very proud of myself. If only I had discovered this site three years ago!

    1. ArtsNerd*

      Yay! That’s awesome. I have friends coming to me for work advice, and I am very direct about AAM and say “this is basically what I think this blog would say”

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        Sometimes when I’m reading some of the discussions on some other groups on LinkedIn, I feel like writing in all caps to them “Go read AAM already!”

  18. Rayner*

    Hej! I finally get an open thread where it’s not 800 comments when I find it!

    I have an etiquette problem, that I’m not sure how to resolve. Two of them actually.

    1. I’m leaving Finland for good in a few weeks (*sob*) and would like to get a card or a small gift for my colleagues/people in the office to say thank you for being awesome. What kind of things would people like to receive? I was thinking maybe a small box of chocolates to leave in the break room as kind of a general free for all gift? What kind of thing do I write in in the card? “Thank you for being awesome and nice to me?”

    2. Since I’ve been here, I have had several friends support me so much during the darkest days (literally, winter here was 4 hours of sunlight per day!), and I’d like to say thank you to them as well. I’ve known then for about two and a bit years, I think, and would love to let them know how much I appreciate their help and support and friendship.

    What kind of gift to you give to someone like that? Do I write them a letter?

    I think (know) I’m over thinking this, but UUUUUGH, I want this to be right and not entitled or greedy or ostentatious.

    Also, this is how you can tell that I’m still recovering from traveling for two days straight. I feel all wigged out.

    1. Kate*

      What about a small dinner party for your friends before you leave? Either at a restaurant or at your home. One last get together and chance to take photos and share stories.

      1. Rayner*

        Forgot to mention – they all live overseas as well. America, Sweden, Canada. No meet ups with everybody for a couple of years yet because all but one of us are broke ass broke.

        I’m going to meet one of them in Sweden in a few weeks but she’s the only one out of six that I’ll meet in person.

        Has to be mail presents/gifts then.

        *brain fart*

        1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          I think a letter would be really nice. If you wanted to add something tangible, then I personally always think it’s fun to get/give snacks or other little things that are local specialties. Maybe some salmiakki? Or you say they helped you through dark days – if you live near an Iittala outlet, could you get them a candle holder? :-) A bit cheesy, maybe, but I love Iittala glassware.

          (You’re making me wish a trip to Finland was in the cards for me this summer!)

          1. BrianA*

            I was going to suggest similar – sending a card or letter with a small gift from Finland, like salmiakki or something else that reminds them of Finland. If it were me, I would live to receive Hopea Toffee or Marimekko dish towels!

            For your coworkers, a box of chocolates or something easy to share in the break room would be good. I had a summer job in Helsinki years ago, and coworkers often brought a box of chocolates to share after vacation. Could you have someone send something from your home country?

    2. Graciosa*

      If this is really a good bunch of people, a letter (note I did not say card) would probably be infinitely more appreciated than any food item, although I recommend that whatever you choose for the latter should be something easy to sample in small portions.

      In it, you would write about what you learned, what you appreciated, and what the experience has meant to you. You write the things people don’t say nearly enough in real life. You spend some time at this thinking about what made this group and this experience special and how best to express it. This also works with individual friends.

      A well written letter of appreciation has more impact than you realize (until you receive one yourself!).

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Definitely, put pen to paper. They can keep the card and re-read it as they wish. Does not have to be long. Talk about a couple things that each did that was very helpful. Bonus points for coming up with things that they did not even realize how helpful they were.

    3. Ruffingit*

      A heartfelt letter to the friends who were there for you will be cherished for a long time. Do that for sure.

      1. C Average*

        +1. Gifts come and go, but I’ve received a handful of really amazing letters that I STILL have!

    4. Mints*

      Cards for everyone! You asked what to say, and I just wrote two thank you notes yesterday. What helped was to write about what I reminisce about when thinking about the whole experience (job, in your case). Just write nice things about them. I appreciated when you… Your [good quality] was so important when…
      Maybe on the cheesy side but I’m not really emotive, so cards is basically when I’m most expressive

  19. Rayner*

    Also, bonus second question, since I’m gonna double dip here.

    What are some good tips for packing up a place and moving overseas? I’m returning to England in two weeks (to move back in with the ‘rent while I continue job and apartment hunting), and since I’ve been here, I’ve acquired quite a bit of stuff. I have two weeks and a three bedroom apartment to clean and tidy, and a lot of personal belongings to return home. Obviously, I can’t just box it all up and mail it/ship it, because that’s very expensive…

    But does anyone have any tips? Any hints or recommendations of WHAT NOT TO DO?


    1. matcha123*

      When I was sending things back home to the US from Japan, I started months before I left…but life happened and I spent my final month trying to clean out my place.

      Shipping things (by ship) is cheaper if that option is available. Selling things you don’t want/giving things away/donating things. I don’t know how many things you have, but it took me forever to clean out a one-bedroom place and I didn’t have to worry about getting rid of furniture.

      If you want to keep a lot of things, shipping them before you leave or giving friends money to ship it to you after you leave is the best option imo…

    2. Graciosa*

      This will be really hard with only two weeks! I definitely sympathize. I still have nightmares about one particular move, and kind of hope never to have to do it again.

      This is more for general long-distance moving than overseas, but maybe some of it will be useful.

      1. First and most important rule is to be RUTHLESS. You have to change your mind set from looking at all your useful stuff – which is, after all, still useful – and already paid for! – and thinking about how useful (and paid for) it is (or how “yours” it is and how much you like it and what great memories are attached to it). The way you need to look at it is from the perspective of whether it is financially worth the cost to ship and within your shipping budget.

      Figure out some concrete metrics related to shipping cost (how much per pound / per box / whatever) and start using them as your guide. Your Great-Aunt Emma’s diamond wedding set that weighs less than an ounce is probably worth taking. Your sofa – especially a sleeper one (they are heavier) is almost certainly not. Your mind will go to “But if I give up my sofa, I won’t have one!” or “But I *like* my sofa” and you need the mental discipline to squash this thinking.

      Pretend it isn’t yours, and figure out whether or not there is a business case for taking each item (or category of items). If it will cost $500 to ship a now-used sofa that would fetch $250, the business case just isn’t there.

      Be very careful in your calculations if you start thinking about how much it would cost to replace something. You will be tempted to think about either what you originally spent or buying another one new – and if you can afford to, that’s great, but it’s not always the right calculation. A wooden breakfast table probably could be replaced with a used one. This is kind of like what happens if another driver totals your car – the insurance company is going to assess the actual value of your used car and what it would cost to replace with the equivalent, not to buy new.

      Again, you need to be RUTHLESS in looking at your stuff. Much more is replaceable than people realize. I tend to think of military moves as an example – a lot of service families have the benefit of knowing how little is really needed rather than just familiar.

      The reason I brought your shipping budget up earlier is because your budget matters. Even if you determine that you have $5000 worth of items that would be worth shipping at a cost of $500, that doesn’t matter if you only have $200! Again, treat this as if you are putting together a business case; what is the best use of your $200 shipping budget?

      The hard part is that you need to get rid of everything that doesn’t make the cut (unless your budget allows for monthly storage fees indefinitely which would be another story). You can give away to friends, sell, donate to charity, or just get a garbage dumpster. Which one you do doesn’t matter as much as making sure the stuff is gone and you’re not left running around the night before your house sale closes trying to stuff someone else’s power tools into the car (sorry, flashback).

      2. Rule #1 may not apply to some small, portable, truly important personal items that you would save if you were escaping from a fire. Figure out what these are and put them aside. Assume you have no more than ten minutes to escape an imminent disaster which will destroy anything you leave in your apartment – take this seriously and set a timer – and grab what’s important to you on the way out the door.

      In my case, I would be grabbing my purse, medicines, and a firebox of important papers. A second trip (if possible) would be for the photo albums and a loose box of pictures. Third trip is probably going to be my laptop. If I have time and space, I would try to squeeze in the quilt and afghans my grandmother made for me.

      Everything else is replaceable.


      Yes, I probably would want clean underwear, but I could buy it or wash what I was wearing. If the pictures are gone, they’re just gone.

      This is how you separate out the important sentimental stuff from the sentiment associated with “MY sofa” and “MY chair – the great one I found on that day trip in 2007.” The rest of your items have to meet the business case test.

      3. The last comment is about organization – spending time now (even when you don’t think you have it) will really pay off later. If you can designate space for what your budget permits you to move (see above) you can move things there by pulling from your apartment, re-assessing to make sure you’re moving the right things (evaluate your business case a couple times to make sure it’s right), and then packing those and disposing of everything else. Ruthlessly. If you just start putting things into boxes (even well-labeled boxes) you will probably not be making the best use of your available funds.

      For those things you do pack (which should be less than you’re now anticipating looking at everything in your apartment) be very disciplined about some type of labeling. You should have no more than one box labeled “Miscellaneous.” If you have two, the label just became useless.

      In my last move (not the one that gives me nightmares), I was really big on colored dots. I grabbed a package from the grocery store and put them on boxes to color code them. It was really easy to tell the moving men where to put things (yellow dots in the kitchen, green in the den) – but this is probably not your biggest problem right now. You may have more time to go through things when you arrive, but very little to determine what stays and what goes.

      Unfortunately, this is the difficult part of the job. I wish you all the best – I know how tough this will be, and it seems to get harder each day as moving day approaches.

      You might think about taking pictures or video of your apartment as it stands before you start tearing it apart to pack. It can be comforting to memorialize something of your memories there – and may also help you with insurance issues (if items you take are lost in transit) or documenting donations for tax purposes.

      Good luck.

      1. CollegeAdmin*

        This is great. I’m saving this post for reference when I move out (hopefully in 18 months, when my master’s degree is done).

      2. Jean*

        Thanks for writing and posting these suggestions. I will apply your advice to the challenge of reducing household clutter.

  20. matcha123*

    Maybe I can get some advice?

    I find that in general I have two types of people around me: those that will thoughtfully listen to the things I say (ex: You should ride train X at Y time to get to place Z.) and even if they disagree with me or…whatever, it’s not a big deal.

    I have another group of people who seem to do nothing other than disregard every other word I say. Using the above example, I tell them the train time, but they insist it’s a different time. After missing the train, they blame me for not telling them the right time. After I point out that I did indeed give them the correct information, they tell me I should have spoken up. Of course they forget the 3 times I repeated myself and was told, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    I wonder what’s the best way to deal with these types. This becomes a bigger problem when I’m in a group of friends who act like this. It’s really shaking my confidence. Luckily it’s not a daily occurrence. But, I don’t think anyone wants to be told that information they know to be correct is wrong, and then later have the same person repeat that same information back as fact. So, any advice on dealing with strong personality types?

    1. Rayner*

      I think it’s often best if you weigh up if staying with them is worth the frustration and annoyance of dealing with that. Seriously, consider whether or not this behaviour really is rare or if it’s just you backing down more often than choosing to argue your point.

      People who bulldoze over you and then blame you for their problems aren’t usually fantastic friends.

      It’s often helpful to point to actual facts in cases like the train times. “Let’s check on the internet, shall we?” or pointing to the document if they insist it’s wrong. If they choose not to listen and then blame you after the fact, the other option is simply to say, “Well, obviously our memories of that are very different, and we’re going to disagree. Let’s move on.”

      My brother does this a lot, usually with travel directions and money, because he hears what he wants to hear and then blames it on other people when he doesn’t get what he wants. Pointing out that you won’t engage is good for shutting down the conversation.

    2. OhNo*

      Ugh, those kind of people are absolutely awful. For the ones I’ve known, their main problem is that they are just physically incapable of admitting or even conceiving that they could be wrong. So, of course, when they inevitably are, it can never be *their* fault, because they’re *never* wrong, so it must be yours.

      I have no advice other than to cut and run. Those people are massively toxic, and if you keep putting up with it you will become their go-to whipping boy whenever the world conspires against them. Do not engage, just get the heck out of there.

      1. Ruffingit*

        THIS. I too have dealt with this kind of negativity. It usually comes, as OhNo says, from an insecurity on their part of appearing to be wrong. They just cannot deal with that so they blame you, even when it’s absurd to do so.

        Cut them loose. It’s really the only way to get some peace in life.

      2. C Average*

        +1. Get away. Better to be alone than hang out with nattering nabobs of negativism. (This line was before my time, but my parents used to quote it a lot.)

        1. matcha123*

          Wow! Thank you all for the advice!

          I have really been thinking that *I* was bad at communicating and I’d been spending a bunch of time trying to think about how I should say things differently. Glad to know that others have experienced the same thing…well….not that glad….

      3. Rana*

        Agreed. Unless you’re related to them, or have other reasons why you can’t just get them out of your life, I’d start pulling a slow fade and let them drop out of the group of people I consider friends.

        And that’s not so much being “strong personality types” – I have a lot of strong-willed, big personality friends, but they have better things to do than nitpick and fight with me over every. little. thing. These people you describe, are, bluntly, a-holes.

        1. KrisL*

          I agree with Rana about the big personality types. This behavior has nothing to do with big personality.

    3. Jazzy Red*

      Why are you hanging out with my sister? Seriously, every single thing I say, she picks apart and disagrees with. Then when she finally “gets” it, she says (and this is EVERY SINGLE TIME), “oh, yeah, it IS whatever”. She’s been doing this all our lives, and she’ll do it until the day she dies.

      My advice: listen to what they say, don’t argue with them, then immediately forget everything they just said. And whenever possible, don’t tell them anything in detail, ie, “I’m taking a train to Clarksville” and not “I’m taking the 3:10 to Yuma, then changing to the A train to Clarksville”. The fewer details you tell them, the fewer things they can argue about.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      “Using the above example, I tell them the train time, but they insist it’s a different time. After missing the train, they blame me for not telling them the right time…..”

      You know, I know people who married THAT!

      So, serious answer for if you decide to keep these people: “You know, you say that every.single.time. I try to tell you something. I think that it is best that you stop asking me and you go find other people that you can trust to ask. Going forward, I will not be answering those type of questions any more.”

      Then stick to it. Stop answering their questions. They are wasting your time.

      Personally, I make it a habit to ask questions of people that I think can answer the question. For example, I do not ask my mechanic about the flowers in my front yard. He is a mechanic firstly and I am wasting his time on the clock.

      It took me a long time to realize but watch out for the people you stand next to. Friends should lift you up, not pull you down.

      1. TL*

        Yup. My dad’ll argue with me about directions – in a city that I live in and he has never visited before – and as soon as he does I just stop giving them and let him/everyone else in the car figure out how to get where we’re going. It hasn’t stopped the behavior but now I don’t spend the entire trip frustrated and feeling like an idiot.

    5. KrisL*

      My thought is, if you can avoid these people, do. If you can’t completely avoid them, avoid them as much as you can.

      Stop trying to help them unless these are co-workers you are supposed to help. If they’re co-workers, use e-mail so you have proof of what you said.

  21. Elizabeth West*

    Not a bad day today. I cleaned out my car, the yard people showed up super early (my guy’s wife and son were doing his yard stuff before he got off work as a Father’s Day surprise–aww!), and I drove to my hometown and bought my dad dinner. I also got to talk to my best HS friend and her hubs at Walmart for a short bit. Plus it was sunny and not too hot. :)

    And I have a three-day weekend! So it’s ditching stuff out of the garage, binge-watching Orange is the New Black, and getting some outlining done on Sequel Book. However, there is another book pushing its way out. I’m not ready to write that one yet, because it demands a lot of research that, at this point in time, would be too intensive and problematic. I may have to just let it out and fill in the blanks later so my head doesn’t explode.

    Brian K. advised me to work on two at once by spacing them out in the workday so they don’t bump into each other. I didn’t think of that, and was all, “Genius!” but then I remembered that he writes full-time and I only have evenings, weekends, and lunchtimes. So I’ll have to stagger days instead. And somehow I have to find time to teach myself screenwriting. Gah! Well, if I can get Sequel finished quickly, I can take my time editing. I was planning to write and blog on vacation anyway.

    1. en pointe*

      What do you write about/what genre? (Totally get it if you don’t want to say.)

      I admire you for being creative enough to write a whole book, and to consider juggling more than one at the same time. It seems like such a huge endeavour for one single project, if that makes sense, but I assume that it gives you pleasure as you go through the process? I love to write, but if I were to try writing a book, I don’t think I would be able to go the whole distance.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I do like it–in fact, it’s more of a compulsion than a “like” thing a lot of the time. :P

        So far it’s a variety of things–the last book was a crime novel (I’m trying to make my detectives a series thing). That’s the one in critique with Brian K. (I wish he’d send it back). I was hoping I’d get it back before I started this one because I’m sure he had some useful suggestions. The new one is paranormal (it’s about ghosts). And the one struggling to get out may be somewhat literary, somewhat magical realism/low fantasy. All my books seem to have some weird element to them, except the crime stuff. It’s probably because I read so much horror fiction for so many years!

    2. Graciosa*

      If staggering days works for you, great. If not, you might think about working one during the week and the other over the weekends. It could give you more time to keep your head in each with less time wasted in mentally moving back and forth.

      Good luck.

    3. Rayner*

      I find if you just take notes/write down the plot/do a few scenes on the one that wants to come out – like, writing the part that NEEDS TO BE WRITTEN OMG NOW SHUT UP AND WRITE MEEEEEE – then it’ll actually fade back again to a manageable level.

      For me, for example, I have a sequel to the story that will drop in August, and a story about a victim of acid attacks. The latter is being written first – I’m up to seven chapters, with a further fourteen planned for the moment. (Editing will be fun, I tell you). But the other one has nagged and nagged me to death so I wrote out two scenes that were really speaking to me and boom. I still hear the story, I still want to write it. But my brain is content with those two written scenes, and will let me refocus on the other one.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing–if it wants to happen, I let it happen and then go back to the other one. I really, truly can’t write that one without 1) first deciding what the period should be (it would matter) and 2) doing a whole bunch of research. When I do actually write that one, I want to immerse myself in the research so I make it as convincing as possible.

        In the meantime, I’ll write around that part and I can smooth it together later. I find that works better for me sometimes than a linear progression. I wrote Rose’s Hostage pretty much straight through but skipped around a lot on the new one.

        Congrats on the impending drop! I’m jelly!

    4. KrisL*

      I don’t know if this helps. I’m not a professional writer, but I write a monthly article for a non-profit I’m involved in, and I have written (but not gotten published) a few children’s books.

      What I do is keep pen and paper around all the time so when I get an idea or a great turn of speech or something like that, I can make a note of it. I’ve lost ideas sometimes because I was sure I’d remember them and didn’t.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I do that too–write memos on my phone, and I usually have a little journal book in my purse I can write stuff on until I get back to my computer and note it in a special file.

  22. Kate*

    What are some good shows that are available on Netflix? I am almost done with my yearly watch of the West Wing and am considering Big Love again, but thinking maybe I should try something new. I have watched and enjoyed Weeds, 30 Rock, Studio 60, Dowton, Call the Midwife, and Dexter.

    1. Nina*

      Comedies: Psych, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Bob’s Burgers, American Dad, Futurama, Arrested Development, and Archer.

      Dramas: Friday Night Lights, The Fosters.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      The UK version of The Office is excellent, and a show also by Ricky Gervais called Derek. Warning: while Derek is very funny, it’s also got a lot of very emotional stuff and you will need tissue.

      Orange is the New Black
      Sherlock (Series 3 is on now so you can watch them all- it’s hilarious)
      Parks and Recreation (haven’t started that one yet but it has Amy Poehler)
      Fawlty Towers

    3. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      I’ve been watching Poirot lately. It’s based on Agatha Christie’s mysteries, and even though it’s a show with frequent murders, it’s lighthearted and a little goofy.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        They have the videos at our local library, and Miss Marple too. I’m tempted to start binge watching.

    4. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      So many good shows:

      House (for a multi season enjoyable drama with light bits)
      Louie (because it is fecking brilliant comedy)
      Parks & Rec (because you like 30 Rock)
      Sherlock (because why haven’t you watched it already!)
      Lie to Me (procedural drama)
      Burn Notice (lighthearted spy drama)
      White Collar (lighthearted kinda spy drama with major eye candy)
      Walking Dead (because Zombies)
      The Office (in case you haven’t)
      Bones (procedural drama that is just fun)
      Once Upon a Time (because …. just because)
      Law & Order Crimnal Intent (the best L & O, don’t fight me on that)
      Law & Order SVU (because Meloni)
      Law & Order vanilla (only the first 8 seasons which really pisses me off, need more)


      Medium is one of my all time favorite shows and I can’t say why. I think I love Patricia Arquette’s voice. Love that show. Maybe it is the family combined with the storylines. Do not under any circumstance watch the series finale. I am not kidding around. Finale ruins everything you watched before, it is one of those. I pretend it never happened.

      There’s more, that’s top of my head.

      (You have done House of Cards, yes? Must.)

      1. Tigress*

        I agree, do NOT watch the last ever episode of Medium! It was the worst possible way ever to end that show. They broke my heart! Such a great, interesting and intriguing show and then they just wrap it up with a slap in the face. I too pretend that episode didn’t happen.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          I finally got over it enough to run episodes of the show again on Netflix recently.

          I really was devastated by the last episode, disproportionate to just a teevee show. We shall never speak of this again.

      2. Felicia*

        Ooh I forgot about House, Bones and Once Upon a Time because I’ve watched those on TV rather than on Netflix. But those 3 are awesome! Though Once Upon a Time has its rough spots.

      3. Harper*

        I really enjoyed Medium, too. I was devastated when it ended, especially the way they did it, but I suppose I’m over it now.

    5. Felicia*

      Orange is the New Black!
      Others I like include Sherlock, Charmed, Buffy, Veronica Mars, Dollhouse, Firefly.

      That’s about it and i’m looking for new things to so I’ll watch this with interest

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

        Veronica Mars is on Amazon Prime. One my of favorite ever, marshmallow.

        Charmed was so much fun. Like many shows, it lasted a season or two too long, but I enjoyed it a lot.

        1. Felicia*

          How did you feel about the Veronica Mars movie? (if you’ve seen it). I thought the movie was amazing and perfect and it made me watch the series again. But I’m a total marshmallow :)

          I never rewatch season 7 or 8 for Charmed because the last two season are bad, and it should have ended at season 6. But the first 6 seasons I really enjoy

          1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

            Ha if I have seen it. I was in the first 5000 Kickstarter backers. :)

            Loved it. Played it all weekend when I got my digital download, 25 times or so, continuous loop.

            YES, season 7 and 8 of Charmed were terrible.

            1. Felicia*

              Even I haven’t seen it 25 times . Only like 5 :) But it was everything it was supposed to be! And I was just so happy to see them all again, like old friends.

              I was a little shocked at how bad season 7 and 8 of Charmed were. I expected it wouldn’t be great, but not the “wtf, this is the stupidest thing ever, why do I watch this?” that it ended up being. The ending of the series finale was satisfying in a super cheesy way,, but didn’t make up for the horrible season

        2. Felicia*

          Also us Canadians don’t have the access to shows on Amazon Prime like Americans do, it’s so unfair! I believe Canadian Netflix is often inferior too

    6. Artemesia*

      There are a ton of British mystery shows I have never heard of on Netflicks — the Bletchley Girls, Rosemary and Thyme, Foyle’s War etc so if you like that sort of thing, they have lots of it.

      I am totally disappointed in streaming netflicks for movies though. It is like they only show the worst movies. Saw one the other day with Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Irons — how bad can that be? Let me tell you — really really bad as in turned it off after half an hour. Even their old movie catalogue is disappointing.

    7. Artemesia*

      There are a ton of British mystery shows I have never heard of on Netflicks — the Bletchley Girls, Rosemary and Thyme, Foyle’s War etc so if you like that sort of thing, they have lots of it.

      I am totally disappointed in streaming netflicks for movies though. It is like they only show the worst movies. Saw one the other day with Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Irons — how bad can that be? Let me tell you — really really bad as in turned it off after half an hour. Even their old movie catalogue is disappointing.

    8. Audiophile*

      Thanks to someone’s recommendation here, I think it was Stephanie, I got hooked on House of Cards. Really didn’t expect to like it.

      I watched Orange is the New Black because enough people on my FB news feed were talking about it. I enjoyed it, but I’m skipping the second season for now. I haven’t watched any of their other original series and my original intention for signing up, to watch the fourth “season” of Arrested Development and cancel, well I haven’t finished it.

      I did not know that Big Love was on Netflix, going to have to add it to my queue.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

        Big Love is on Amazon Prime. Amazon picked up the back catalog of HBO shows, so you’ve got: The Wire, Sopranos, Big Love, True Blood, Treme, Band of Brothers, etc. etc. etc. etc.

        It’s not the most current HBO, its the back catalog, but Amazon Prime, not Netflix.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          Ooh, Justified is on Amazon as well. I keep telling people that it’s the best thing currently on TV, and they keep not believing me. It’s super good!!!!

        2. Audiophile*

          Oh that’s right, I DID know that. I saw the announcement on Amazon’s website. I spent the night watching Treme.

    9. Mimmy*

      I second those who suggested House of Cards! My husband convinced me to give it a try and, while it is a bit over my head (NEVER understood politics!), I really enjoyed it. Kevin Spacey is outstanding.

      Also like Orange Is the New Black.

      Has anyone seen Grey’s Anatomy? I’ve considered binge-watching that someday. Same for House, but I can’t stand the character.

      1. Felicia*

        Greys Anatomy was really good for the first couple of seasons, and then was just too much and it’s kind of boring now. So maybe watch it until you get sick of it, which happens to most people at some point usually around season 6. It’s one of those shows that was good but then went on too long

        1. Audiophile*

          I still can’t believe it’s on. I quit around the third season, I think. Like you, I really enjoyed the early seasons but then it just got to be too much. It felt like every season started and ended with a huge crisis/catastrophe.

          1. Felicia*

            In one episode people online often say it was like their hospital was on a Hellmouth. If you’re familiar with Buffy, that’s a hilarious and accurate comparison

        2. stellanor*

          I watched the first two seasons on the runup to and in recovery from a major surgery, so I was on The Good Drugs the entire time, and I looooved it.

          Then I got off all the drugs and tried to watch season 3 and ragequit after two episodes, because apparently I only like Grey’s Anatomy when I am doped up on Vicodin.

        3. Noah*

          I watched Grey’s Anatomy for the first three or four seasons but at some point I got so far behind that my DVR started erasing ones I had not watched. At that point I gave up and I really don’t miss it much. The same thing happened with the last two seasons of Desperate Housewives for me. A show I watched every week just became boring.

          Several weeks ago we had a thread on celebrities we know or had met. I mentioned Jensen Ackles from Supernatural. At that point I had only seen a few episodes but I realized it was on Netflix and have been watching 3-4 episodes a night. Love it.

      2. Windchime*

        Oh yes, House of Cards! I need to re-watch that one because there were a lot of smaller details that I didn’t really understand the first time around, but the series as a whole was really good (and chilling!).

    10. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      Here’s what I’ve watched during work travel:

      Mad Men
      Orange is the New Black
      House of Cards
      Friday Night Lights
      Parenthood (which I sortof hate watch. it’s a well-done show but GOOD LORD I hate all the Bravermans)

      1. Windchime*

        Mad Men! I watched previous seasons on Netflix and now I watch it in real time. This current 1/2 season seemed so short; it just got started and now it’s done.

    11. Windchime*

      I just started Season 3 of Big Love and really like it. I’m planning to have a binge-watch this afternoon.

      When I first got Netflix, I watched all of Battlestar Galactica (the one with James Edward Olmos). I really liked that one. I’ve watched all of Downton but have tried Weeds twice and just couldn’t get into it for some reason. Have you seen Breaking Bad? That’s another good one.

    12. hildi*

      If you’re at all into historical fiction/non-fiction type of stuff , then The Tudors is really awesome. About King Henry VIII and his wives. Johnathan Rys-Myers is Henry. It’s a Showtime flick so there’s lots of skin -but if you are into anything from that time period it really brings it to life.

    13. Sadsack*

      The Fall is a BBC program, only one season so far but it was very compelling – not a comedy though.

      1. Sadsack*

        Freaks and Geeks was also only one season and has a special place in my heart! Top of the lake is a New Zealand series that was only one season, too, but really good. Actress from Mad Men is in it.

        It’s Always Sunny…I stumbled upon that and binge watched 8 seasons in about a week’s time, went into a depression when it was over! No season 9 up yet, but I keep looking.

  23. KCS*

    Anyone recommend (or not recommend) any long-distance movers?

    I’m moving from the Midwest to the East Coast, and would love some recommendations.

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      I had good luck with Stevens World Wide. Nothing broken or lost.

      They did a full pack for us and half of our belongings went into a storage unit while our new house was being built. Having the multiple drop off locations increases the likelihood of problems, but other than the fact that the unloading crew was a little crabby, I think they did as well as I could expect. They were pretty good at getting the right things to our apartment and the right things to storage. There were some head scratchers of what they packed in the same boxes, however. Like yard tools were in the same box with some Christmas ornaments, or candles with my silverware.

    2. Artemesia*

      Long distance movers use local movers often to manage the important parts of loading and unloading. Check your Yelp reviews locally.

    3. NylaW*

      My in-laws moved from NC to IL and instead of hiring an traditional moving company, they hired one that basically does shipping. They showed up and loaded the truck, and made sure the furniture was padded and protected. The boxed stuff was put on pallets and wrapped. They charged by weight and it ended up being cheaper than a regular moving company. When the stuff got here, they parked the truck trailer at their house on a Thursday and came and picked it up on Monday. The downside is that it takes longer for it to get to you, so you may need to take more things in your own vehicle so you have clothes and all the necessities.

    4. Rana*

      Bekins has generally been good for us – punctual, professional, good estimates (we usually went with the estimate, because, with a ton of books and very little furniture, a more accurate count would have cost more).

      That said… I agree that scoping out the local situation beforehand is useful. When we moved from small-city Indiana to Chicago, we discovered there were a number of things that a local mover would have known about (like asking the alderman ahead of time for parking signs so you could reserve a place on the street for the truck, or how to handle walk-ups that don’t have elevators) that would have made life a lot easier.

    5. BRR*

      My company hired Whalen’s Moving and Storage to move me and the movers were awesome. They were quick, clean, and respectful of my belongings.

  24. robot chick*

    I’m not 100% sure it’s on netflix (which isn’t available where I live), but I’m really into Suits (pretty lawyers ^^), Black Sails (pirates! very brutal though, not for everyone) and Spartacus (same caveat, could’ve also done with less sex scenes, BUT there’s Lucy Lawless (my queen))

    1. Valar M.*

      Love Spartacus! So sad about the main actor though. His replacement didn’t do it for me so I quit watching subsequent seasons. How far are you?

  25. Elizabeth the Ginger*

    I have two days of professional development, and then I am on summer vacation! The last month of school has felt like such a whirlwind, and, much as I love my students, I’m really ready for a break. This last week has been especially crazy because five days ago I learned that the wedding venue my fiancé and I booked for July has fallen victim to the drought in the western US, and so we’ve been scrambling to find a new venue about six weeks before the day… yipes!

  26. Tigress*

    I’m thinking about starting a tiger blog. I adore tigers and follow all the news I can find about tiger conservation and connected topics from all over the world. It’s really something I’m passionate about and I hope that one day in the future I’ll have the chance to work for an organization like Panthera or WWF. My field is communications and I’d really like to get more experience running a focused blog, and it would be a dream to actually run a blog like Alison’s that makes such a difference in people’s lives (I know it certainly has in mine). So, since all of you are AAM readers and obviously appreciate blogs with good quality content, and I know a fair share of you are also cat lovers, what advice and suggestions would you have for an informative, follow-worthy blog about tigers, tiger conservation, ways to end the abuse of captive tigers, etc. What would you like to see in a blog like that and what would make you continue to come back to it? I really appreciate any advice!

    1. Schmitt*

      I was going to recommend a well-done turtle blog but then I remembered it’s in German. I believe the most important thing is to have regular content – whether it’s daily or weekly. Writing in advance and scheduling is your friend!

      Also stunning pictures of tigers, obvs.

      1. Tigress*

        Thank you! I’d love to check out the turtle blog even though it’s in German. I’m Swedish, so I might actually understand some of it. It would also be useful just to see how they have outlined the page, balancing news and evergreen content.

    2. C Average*

      Pictures. I’d read the articles, but I’d mostly visit for the kitty porn. Tigers and other big cats are such amazing creatures.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Pictures, of course.
      Someone told me that they purr. If you can get a sound file of that- I think that would be awesome.

      1. Tigress*

        Thank you for your input! Yes, pictures and videos and cool audio are definitely a must. :D Actually, tigers don’t purr. Their hyoid bone is different from domestic cats. But cheetahs and cougars purr! :)

    4. KrisL*

      I’m fascinated by tigers. I’d like to know more about tigers as personalities – little quirks and cute things that specific tigers do.

      I’d like to know more about how good animal places take care of their tigers. How do they keep them interested? How do they feed them? How do they deal with health care?

      1. Tigress*

        Yes, great suggestions! I definitely plan to shed more light on how captive tigers are treated, and how to know that the facility you’re visiting is one of the “good ones.”

  27. Carrie in Scotland*

    I ended up watching that film last night, He’s just not that into you and yeah, it’s not the most amazing of films but I still couldn’t help but melt a little at the line “you’re my exception” – as opposed to being the rule. Sigh. I guess I just want to be someone’s exception someday.

  28. James M*

    I watched Wreck-It Ralph again recently. It’s still my favorite movie so far.

    If you’re looking for someone exceptional, try or or

    1. nyxalinth*

      Having tried the first two before giving up on online dating completely, I would say these names are pretty amusing :D

  29. Anonymous*

    I’d like to give an update and a thank you to those who commented last week about my health insurance drama.

    I’m relieved in one respect. The hospital wrote off the nearly $10K bill, so I don’t have to pay anything. I spoke to their billing department, and the letter I received was automatically kicked out because of the age of the account, it wasn’t sent to a collection agency, and they have written it off.

    I’m angry that Anthem (and other companies) get away with this stuff so often. The billing dept worker told me they end up writing off about 100 accounts per year because insurance companies refuse to pay, even though the doctors state the care was medically necessary, their policies allegedly cover the procedures, and the patient didn’t just show up one day and say, oh hey, I guess I’ll check in for a while.

    In my case, the doctor and hospital followed all the admission rules when my husband was admitted, the insurance company was notified on the day of admission, everything was fine, and 2 days later, nope, not medically necessary, we’re not paying.

    I still tried, through the insurance broker and my HR department, to get them to pay, but they said the hospital didn’t follow the admitting procedure properly, so that’s the new reason for non payment.

    While I personally didn’t have to pay, everyone is paying for this in the form of $20 aspirin and $50 IV fluids (as an example).

    And still, no one will answer my question. What should consumers do when a medical doctor wants to admit them to the hospital, stating they have a life threatening condition that must be treated immediately?

    I don’t make much money, and get by week to week with a little bit of a cushion, so the possibility of running up a bill of $10K or $20K would impact my life for years to come.

    Are we all at the whim of the insurance companies? What if the hospital decides not to write it off the next time? What then?

    1. Ruffingit*

      I am totally with you on this. I too would be massively financially screwed if I had a hospital bill even in the low thousands. It’s ridiculous that we pay and pay and pay for insurance and then, when we’re recovering from whatever illness brought us to the point of hospitalization, we have to fight the insurers to pay. I’m not going to get into an argument with anyone here about the clusterfudge that is our health system, I’m just going to commiserate with you that it is outrageous and something needs to be done.

    2. Valar M.*

      Yes. We are at the whim. Having been on both sides (the recipient of and working for), I can tell you the system is so complicated most of the people on the inside don’t even care. Doctors often don’t understand how insurance works either – because there is no way to keep up with all the companies and versions. Your best bet is that most hospitals have representatives that are paid solely to understand how insurance works and go to bat with you/figure out how to bill appropriately. I had to have expensive surgery a few years back and that person was invaluable as a consultant for how I was going to pay/navigate that.

      1. Artemesia*

        And what a waste of resources when doctors have to hire insurance consultants for their office and hospitals can’t figure out how to bill the various insurance companies etc etc. No better argument for single payer insurance exists. The American health care dollar is wasted on this sort of non health care delivering nonsense.

        1. KrisL*

          Single payer insurance – because our single payer tax system is so simple and easy to use?

          I don’t know the solution, but turning things over to the government usually seems to make them more complex and less efficient.

    3. Graciosa*

      If this situation persisted to the point where it was harming you (like being sent to collections) I would have been recommending contacting the state insurance commisioner (or whoever in your state regulates these companies) or seeking legal counsel. With a five figure medical bill, it’s worth it. The legal fees would be much less than the medical bill if you had to pay them, but check with your state bar association and any local law schools about legal aid or clinic programs that could help you at low or no cost.

      Does a local news channel have a consumer assistance feature (where they help someone with a common problem like this and do a story on the air about it)? Even if they don’t, maybe you can interest someone in yours.

      The important takeaway is that you are not a helpless victim unless you think you are and give up. There are ways to deal with people or companies behaving badly in most situations if you keep looking for them. They aren’t always easy – and often require persistence and determination – but knowing that you are not powerless may reduce your stress levels and help you sleep better at night.

      1. Anon1234*

        Actually sometimes we are: “helpless victim.” Just like in most American workplaces we have no ability to negotiate other than leave and with healthcare we can’t just quit going to the doctor; well, we can but we will the suffer and probably die earlier than we would with txt. Medical insurance and healthcare is a boondoggle- ever try to get a specialist on a HMO? My spouse once went to ER and ended up seeing a specialist- we had a PPO at the time and he was seen by a gastroenterologist at the PPO apporved hosp. The doctor billed us $900 for one visit and refuses to accept the PPO rate. It was an emergency, we begged the hospital, insurance and doctor- to no avail.

        Note: just because you go to a hospital approved by insurer that does not mean everyone you see is in network.

        And had it been more- say a surgery- we’d have gone bankrupt and no amount of crying or pleading would matter. That’s life and acting as if you just keep trying and it will change is unfair to those who done all they can.

        1. Graciosa*

          I said very carefully that there are ways to deal with this in “most” situations and I stand by that. If you really have done all you can – which includes not only the legal options, and consumer reporting ones but a lot of others – then sometimes it still doesn’t work. It is also perfectly reasonable to make a choice *not* to exhaust your options – sometimes the cost and stress of fighting on is not worth it – and that can be a legitimate decision.

          However, recognizing that it is a choice is both important and empowering. I’m not suggesting that everyone controls the cards they are dealt, but you do make choices in the way you handle them. There are usually many more options for doing so than most people realize – and once people under stress get caught in the trap of thinking they are helpless victims, they stop trying to think of them. Our natural responses to stress bolster physical capacity without doing much for our mental states, so it’s easy to get caught in this trap.

          People who think that there is a way to change things if they keep at it are occasionally wrong – but the odds are overwhelmingly in their favor. People who think they are doomed to failure are always correct.

    4. Artemesia*

      The US medical system is all about profits for middlemen like insurance companies and for big pharma and big hospital. It is not oriented to providing care at a reasonable cost. We pay many times as much for services as any other western country and often for poorer services. One thing I noticed between French medical care (which is generally superior and costs much less) and our medical care is the tremendous amount of money spent on fancy buildings and decor here.

      In addition to the totally unreasonable behavior of your insurance company, is the ridiculous cost of such a short stay. My daughter had bleeding at week 30 of her pregnancy and that can be catastrophic for both mother and child so she was admitted to the hospital. The only services were ultrasounds and IVs and luckily things were okay and the pregnancy proceeded well. The bill for that was around 4K for one night in the hospital with nothing much in the way of services. Her insurance did cover most of it, but an uninsured person would have been in big trouble. The whole system is designed to generate revenue and not health. Glad your hospital at least was an exception and hope they keep hammering the insurance company.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        “tremendous amount of money spent on fancy buildings and decor here.”


        They redid the lobby of a hospital near me.
        There is a waterfalls going down one of the walls of the lobby.
        I don’t want to pay for that. And yet, here I am. I cannot imagine what the maintance cost is on that thing.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Yeah, really.
            Maybe it is supposed to be soothing.
            My blood pressure goes up thinking about the expense and my kidneys need a ladies’ room from listening to the falls run.
            No, I am not feeling soothed by it.

    5. C Average*

      An anecdote . . .

      I went to law school for a year (and then flunked out, but that’s another story). One of the first cases we read involved an insurance company, and the way the opinion was written made it clear that the judge took a dim view of the insurance company’s very obvious shenanigans.

      When we discussed the case in class, the professor said something I never forgot: “This case illustrates something interesting you’ll see again in other cases. You’ve heard lawyer jokes and you’ve probably come to believe law is the least well-regarded profession out there. That’s not the case. Lawyers aren’t well regarded, it’s true, but we’ll always be better regarded than anyone associated with the insurance industry.”

      1. Not So NewReader*

        My husband was an insurance adjuster for a few years.

        He always said “We are taught to resist claims.”

        This makes sense. It’s a pyramid scheme. People have to pay in more than they take out. Or else the company goes under. Look at Lloyds.

        My husband could not deal with the lack of ethics and he got out of the biz.

    6. Mimmy*

      I think the whole system is a huge mess, even with the ACA in place, and I agree that the big pharma and insurance companies play a big part in that. My father is an oral surgeon, and he gripes all the time about reimbursements, and I don’t blame him. Ugh, I don’t understand all the ins-and-outs, but I do know that it’s just out of control.

      It’s an absolute crime that you’ve had to fight to be covered for a life-threatening situation. I’m happy to see that the hospital has been willing to work with you.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I hear you; it’s just terrifying and wrong that one bill like this can bankrupt even the most responsible people. And the insurance is almost a scam these days, what with paying in and not getting any coverage for it. It’s almost like extortion.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      It may vary from state to state. But in my state it gets sent into collection. When the collectors do not collect it goes BACK to the hospital.
      (I got a big, “scary” letter from the collection agency saying that it went back to the hospital. I guess I was supposed to start shaking in my sneaks like they are going to come harvest my body parts?)

      Anyway- in my state you hammer out a payment plan. If the best you can do is $5 per month the hospital pretty much has to accept that.

      Over all, yes, we are at the mercy of the insurance companies.
      I read a story of a guy that was going to pay in cash- and this was in the range of 100’s of thousands of dollars AND the hospital gave him a ration of garbage because he wasn’t using insurance to pay.
      I dunno. I think that hospital gets a Darwin award from me.

    9. KrisL*

      I think publicizing these types of cases as much as possible should help shame the insurance companies into doing the right thing at least more of the time.

      One of the great things about Facebook is how people can sometimes get something to get passed around all over the world. Maybe this is a place to start.

      Sometimes posing an issue on a company’s web page can get results. Id on’t know if this company has a web page though.

  30. en pointe*

    Does anyone have a recommendation for an RSS reader? I don’t really understand the whole RSS thing, except that it’s supposed to be great for following sites and comments.

    I downloaded Feedly today but it wasn’t showing the most recent post (this free-for-all), only previous ones. I also clicked the “Subscribe to all comments on this post by RSS” link on one of yesterday’s posts (multiple times), but nothing seems to have happened, and it’s not showing up in Feedly anywhere.

    I didn’t have any luck googling, so if anyone could please tell me what I’m doing wrong or recommend another RSS reader, I’d appreciate it.

    1. Ruffingit*

      Just a small suggestion – try another browser to see if things are showing up in the feed.

    2. Jen RO*

      I haven’t found anything as good as Google Reader :( I use Feedly on desktop with the GReader app on my mobile devices (it uses Feedly’s feeds, but had a better GUI in my opinion), but I’m not very happy. The feeds I mall as read on my tablet still show up unread on my phone and it’s annoying as hell.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Google Reader’s definitely the best (RIP). I found Feedly a bit buggy. I’m now using Inoreader.

    3. Vancouver Reader*

      My feed shows up on my mac mail account, but I guess that involves being on a Mac to start?

    4. Cath in Canada*

      Newsblur! I tried various options when Google Reader was so cruelly taken away, and this was the only one I liked. In fact, I now like it so much that if GR came back, I would probably stick with Newsblur.

    5. Sarah*

      I use Digg reader, which has been the least buggy replacement I’ve found for Google reader

      1. Sparrow*

        A bit late responding..but I use AOL Reader (reader dot aol dot com). I was able to import all my old stuff from Google reader and I log in directly via my Google account. It’s the closest thing to Google reader that I’ve found.

    1. Felicia*

      And for non job related best and worst:

      Best: Binge watched Orange is the New Black and got an awesome new book about zombies~!

      Worst: The birds have been chirping extra loud the past few mornings so I haven’t gotten enough sleep

    2. en pointe*

      Best: Babysat a super precocious six year old. Somehow ended up explaining a (heavily doctored *no one dies*) plot of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, complete with illustrated diagrams (at her request). Too cute.

      Worst: Finals for school, which of course, are scheduled at exactly the same time as the momentous occasion that is the World Cup. I’m embarrassed to admit which one has been winning.

    3. Ruffingit*

      Worst: This week was crazy busy and I was driving all over the place in an incredibly hot climate with no AC in the car since it’s broken right now and I can’t afford to fix it.

      Best: I was at home on Saturday and got my office area cleaned out, which was desperately needed. Also just hung around the house and generally relaxed. It was a good day!

      1. Ali*

        Best: Going out on an unexpected lunch date on Tuesday with two ladies from my yoga class, and one invited me to a class with a different teacher during the week. Also, finishing the 30 Day Shred program!

        Worst: Not getting the role I was applying for within my company and getting the dreaded “experience” excuses as a reason.

    4. Graciosa*

      Worst: A car accident literally right in front of me – a pretty bad one – while I was on way to an appointment I almost missed as a result.

      Best: When I stopped to help, I could find things quickly in my trunk because I had cleaned it out and put things in one of those organizer dividers a few weeks ago! The state of my trunk even impressed another witness.

      The last buoyed me up enough that I stopped on the way home and replaced my flares. ;-)

    5. NylaW*

      Best: I learned how to do something pretty complex in SQL all on my own and it worked the first time. Plus my boss agreed to use our Microsoft licensing vouchers to cover the classes I wanted to take for a couple of certifications. All I’ll have to pay are the testing fees, but he said we have some discount vouchers I can have too.

      Worst: My 16 month old daughter refused to nap yesterday, finally just passed out after supper, and then woke up at 3am like hey I’ve had 8 hours of sleep what about you let’s play! Not cool, kiddo.

    6. C Average*

      Best: Going to the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus concert and afterparty with my sister last night. Also, finding out I’m going to be working in the war room for a product launch on Tuesday. (I love the war room.)

      Worst? This is a really lame “worst,” but it’s what I’ve got. My sister-in-law is friends with a fashion designer and sent me a bunch of cute new clothes from this designer. The problem is they’re not my style at all and they’re not cute on ME. I’ll thank her, of course, but I know I’ll never wear them and in a few months I’ll give them to the Goodwill with the tags still attached and feel guilty about it.

    7. Mimmy*

      Best: This is incredibly dorky, but my favorite singer, Kelly Clarkson, had her first child on Thursday. So happy for her and her new husband!

      Worst: Which reminds me yet again at how fast time is flying!! I swear it was just yesterday that she was a dorky 20-year old on a little TV talent show called American Idol. I want my 30s back dammit!!!

      (Okay, not really the *worst*, but things have been pretty smooth these past couple of weeks :) )

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        :) I’m celebrating a bit because it’s North West’s birthday. I had intended this event to be a major excuse to party for the rest of my life, but I forgot to request it off work, so now I’m celebrating on AAM with you.

    8. Vancouver Reader*

      Worst: Not hearing back from one job and getting rejected by another.

      Best: Talking by email to some wonderful friends and figuring out how to take better photos of my soaps.

    9. Liz in a Library*

      Best: I had a really great Friday, spending time with several friends who never fail to pick up my mood. Didn’t really do anything special (ran errands and took a nice long walk), but it was just so pleasant.

      Worst: OK, I recognize this is kind of silly since I never met the guy…but I’ve been mourning comic genius Rik Mayall all week. I cannot exaggerate how much his work meant to be as a nerdy, kind of gross, weirdly humored teenager–seeing someone kind of like that do awesome weird things was so, so important for me. I’ve been forcing my husband to re-watch his back catalog with me (we went through The Young Ones this week, and are doing Bottom next), because it’s all new to him–it’s been so enjoyable seeing how much he’s loving it, too. Simultaneously good and sad, I guess.

    10. robot chick*

      best: sealed the deal on an awesome thesis internship starting October

      worst: err… “confrontatio” with the fact that I’m a really awful driver

    11. salad fingers*

      Best: Time off work and finally sleeping right again!

      Worst: Time off work and finally sleeping right again because I got doored on my bike and am taking muscle relaxants and pain killers and can barely keep my eyes open! Best part of this experience: the 3 calls and 35 minutes it took the police to arrive on the scene, the 35 minutes of repeatedly being called a bitch and being told to ride on the sidewalk where I belong by the motorist who doored me, and the fact that the motorist had no car insurance!

      But really though, the best part is that I’m not more seriously injured. Could have been much worse :)

        1. salad fingers*

          Thanks Elizabeth! I really do sympathize with drivers frustrated with super erratic bikers, but this wasn’t that. I have no sympathy for anyone who yells and swears at someone who was just injured, can’t move their neck, saw their life flash before their eyes, etc. I also don’t sympathize with people who tell bikers to ride on the side walk, because that is illegal and silly.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Gee.I thought cars were supposed to share the road.
        Not something we do well with here in the US.
        But most places have laws about not riding bikes on the sidewalk- or so I thought.
        I hope the motorist’s insurance company is picking up the tab.
        And I hope you feel better very soon.

        1. Ruffingit*

          She mentioned the motorist had no insurance so no help there. Hope she can figure something out with the bills, possibly may have to sue the guy if it comes to that. UGH, I hate people who do crappy things like this to others and then yell at them like they are the ones who did wrong.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Whoops, reading too fast again.
            Sometimes the one who yells the most is the one who has the most to lose. Best defense is a good offense?
            Am shaking my head.
            We have lost the ability to say “I am sorry”.

            1. salad fingers*

              Yes, general anger at the situation misdirected. I think there was some element of, if I yell at this girl long enough maybe she will be too uncomfortable to stay and file a police report (esp. since the cops took so long). And also, I live in a gentrifying neighborhood — there were some “stupid white girl, this is the hood, nobody cares about you here, you really want to call the police, do you know who I am, do you know who I know” and “oh great, the cops come to save the stupid white girl on her stupid bike” happening. I don’t feel great about gentrification, racist police, icky power dynamics either, but I also don’t love hospital visits and totalled bikes.

              BLAH, anyway, thanks for the kind thoughts :)

      2. Prickly Pear*

        This drives me so crazy. I’m not a bike rider, but I’m aware that they’re much more vulnerable than us and try to be more cautious, etc. I live right near a major trail too, so there are lots of bikers around. We don’t own the world, drivers!
        I’m so sorry for your injuries and hope you feel better soon!

        1. salad fingers*

          Thank you, Prickly Pear! Totally appreciate this, especially being aware of simply how much more bodily vulnerable bikers are. I think people don’t often think about that.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      Worst: periodontal therapy (concluding Tuesday), and two fillings (yesterday).

      Best: online friend with phenomenal paper crafting skills sent me the most amazing birthday card ever–a tiny box filled with little affirmations, flowers, kitties, and a surprise in the middle, LOL. Also, the dental work wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be considering I haven’t been in a long time due to lack of funds and insurance. But I’m going to look beautiful for my holiday, my hygienist said. I just want to be extra kissable. You never know who might want to kiss you! In the words of Lovey Howell, “One never knows whom one might meet.” ;)

    13. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Best: Finished monthly reconciliation on Friday, and it is theoretically the last one I’ll ever have to do! Oh and I got to hang out with a puppy!

      Worst: Got carried away at a ‘last day’ happy hour for a colleague on Friday and bought $50 worth of shots for my co-workers. It was a good time, but who charges $6 a shot during happy hour anyway!?!

    14. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      Best: Spent an AMAZING day in Chicago yesterday. I’m here for work, and for once I actually got out of the hotel room and did interesting stuff. I <3 Chicago.

      Worst: I've been working a lot of hours, which has been really fun (love my new role!), but has meant that since I live at home I, um, haven't been leaving the house that much… which is a little pathetic.

      1. Windchime*

        Best: Visited two little nephews last night who, despite not seeing me for months, ran up to hug me and show me their blankies, cars, and pajamas.

        Worst: My foot is still giving me problems, 7 months after Achilles surgery. I’m starting to wonder if it will ever be OK.

    15. stellanor*

      Best part of my week: Launched my very first project, it didn’t totally implode!

      Worst part of my week: Tie between probably having bronchitis and the one person on my team who somehow got through training on my project and learned LITERALLY NOTHING, so I have to spend all of this next week retraining.

    16. Persephone Mulberry*

      Worst: Moving is hell. The movers we booked claimed their work order said nothing about a full pack and were double booked, so they haphazardly threw the big stuff into their truck and then into our storage unit and took off. I will probably have to contest the bill after I get a copy of it, since they failed to give my husband one before they left.

      Best: first, the backup movers I was able to get at the last minute to do the packing did a PHENOMENAL job. And second, I got to attend my first networking vendor lunch as a representative of my company. I felt like a Pretty Big Deal. :)

    17. Natalie*

      Best – guy I’ve been seeing and I decided that we are officially a thing now. So that’s been fun.

      Worst – I guess the weather. It’s June but it’s been cold and rainy. We get such a short summer. I want it to be hot.

    18. Prickly Pear*

      I don’t usually have so much good that I have to *choose*, but I do so yay!
      Best: Getting called for an interview! (I haven’t told anyone outside my family- I’m so happy that at least my AAM skills are working!)
      Worst: I hit a possum the other night, and it was compounded by the fact that I both tried to slow down and swerve, but I was being tailgated at the time and only managed to hit the poor creature harder. I was so pissed and sad.

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        Good luck with your interview! Not much you can do about animals crossing the road in your path, but I feel your pain.

    19. oh baby*

      best–found out I’m pregnant! Excited!

      worst–I have no insurance. I’ve always been eligible for Medicaid since I’ve never had a FT job, but this year I made just enough to NOT be eligible (I’m currently unemployed) but we cannot afford any private insurance. and then all the posts here about insurances refusing to pay….scares me. When I went to the dr to be absolutely sure, he was pretty pissed off and said I shouldn’t have gotten pregnant and he had warned me (I’m diabetic) to not get pregnant now. He wasn’t wrong but it was hurtful. And hubby said to be careful not to gain too much weight and again he’s right, I know I’ll never have the type of pregnancy where I can relax and eat whatever I want,

      and I just want a cupcake. :-(

  31. Felicia*

    Best: I got a new job!

    Worst: Before new job was working a crappy telemarketing job that made me cry every day, but that’s over now!

    1. Audiophile*

      Congrats on the new job.

      Best: parked at train station for interview, didn’t pay for parking but didn’t get a ticket either.

      Worst: Didn’t get to interview, had to reschedule.

    2. Nina*

      I remember you mentioning the telemarketing job from hell. So glad you got away from it into something better!

    3. Ruffingit*

      Super huge congrats on the new job because I know what it’s like to be in a crying every day type of situation. It drains you like nothing else can. Glad you’re out of it!

    1. Jen RO*

      Yes! I read the books a while ago, so after each episode I have to check whether the bits I couldn’t remember were new for the show or simply something I had forgotten. Looking forward to the finale! Last episode was kinda meh, I missed the other characters and the Castle Black stuff is not *that* interesting. I am hoping for Lady Stoneheart in the finale, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen… actually, did they show anything about The Brotherhood without Banners? Beric, Thoros?

      1. Valar M.*

        I agree. When I read the books (haven’t read Dragons yet, need to get on that this summer), while I like Jon Snow’s character I speed-read through most of the Castle Black stuff. I know people say “This is the most important part!!” but it’s just not as interesting most of the time – though I think they did a good job of showing it last episode given how meh I found it in the books. The preview looked like it was alluding to the Tyrion scene, but I didn’t see any hints about Lady Stoneheart. I agree though, I hope it comes this episode. They are touting it as the greatest finale yet and it has the longest run time of any episode so far.

      2. Valar M.*

        Oh and I don’t think they’ve mentioned Brotherhood without Banners in some time actually… but I could be wrong as well?

    2. Mimmy*

      I don’t but my husband does. He’s bummed that tonight is the final episode already. Seems like this season was shorter.

      1. Valar M.*

        Yes. I read awhile back that they were sibs. Didn’t hear that rumor though. It is strange, but then when you see a picture of them, I can totally see it.

      2. Jen RO*

        Can I just say that the Ramsay plotline is the most disgusting in the books/series, that I hope he dies already, but Iwan Rheon is so so talented. Someone on AAM recommended Misfits to me and he was amazing there too. For a guy who can play a psycho so well, Hoodie-Simon was an incredible change.

    3. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I am SO PUMPED. I haven’t read the books, but I’ve been book-spoilered here and there and I still don’t know what will happen. Everyone keeps telling me that there’s no point in even speculating, because it’s so totally crazy and unexpected that I’ll never guess.

      :( for Oberyn though! Such goodness. And while at first I was lamed out that they’d recast The Mountain for a third time, when I saw the new guy, he was just perfect. Apparently he’s like the third strongest man in the world, and used to play basketball (so he can move also).

      While I’m sure that it won’t happen, I really want Tommen to pardon Tyrion. I think that would be really sweet.

      1. Valar M.*

        I know. When I read they recast him I was confused – seeing it in action though, I applaud whoever had that vision. Also the picture of him and the guy that plays Oberyn hanging out normally, was even more shocking for the size difference.

        I do like Tommen. He seems to be the most kindhearted member of that family anyway.

      2. Cath in Canada*

        I felt much more connected to Oberyn on the show than I did reading the books – his character was much better developed. When I read the trial by combat scene I was rooting for him, of course, but mostly for Tyrion’s sake; when I watched it on TV, I was rooting for him for his own sake, too.

        Have you guys seen the Denial edition of the fight? (spoilers, obvs)

    4. Cath in Canada*

      Read all the books, love the show, terribly sad that tonight is the end of the season. There’s a big group of us at work who are similarly obsessed, and I’ll really miss the Monday lunchtime recaps!

      I bought a Targaryen key chain and a Stark dire wolf-shaped USB key from the HBO store this week. Yes, I am That Geeky.

      1. Valar M.*

        Sounds like I need to mosey over to the HBO Store. I’ve seriously considered traveling to one of the cities that’s hosting the exhibit so… I’m not sure what that makes me, definitely at least in the realm of geeky.

    1. Felicia*

      Me! It’s where I go for all my non work advice. I also went to a Captain Awkward meet up last week that was AMAZING

    2. Audiophile*

      I thought this said Captain America for some reason. And then I read blog and thought “Captain America has a blog? Weird and also someone’s going to get a nice cease and desist letter soon.”

      1. Zed*

        Obviously you need to check out Steve Rogers’ American Captain! :)

        (A web comic more than a blog, but…)

    3. Windchime*

      There are parts of it that I really, really love. But sometimes I find it a bit confrontational or something.

      I do like that CA and the other commenters are all about teaching people to teach others to treat them with respect.

  32. Michael*

    Alison and others mentioned about a few days ago that they liked old etiquette books. I thought you might also enjoy this archive of ephemeral films: There are lots of preserved films from the 50s and 60s about etiquette as well as homemaking, cooking, advertisements, etc. Enjoy!

    Etiquette specific films:

  33. Canadamber*

    Graduating high school this year \o/ graduation is in 10 days and I’ll be honest that it’s kind of freaking me out a little!!! :$

    Is university really better than high school, even if you don’t move away during those years?

    1. Audiophile*

      Congrats on graduating!

      I enjoyed it more than I did high school. High school was rough for me, we moved in my freshman year about 30 minutes away and it took some adjusting.

      I also didn’t move away and commuted for most of my college education. I briefly lived on campus, for about a semester in my junior year and that was a disaster. Though it did make me realize, what all my friends were talking about when they mentioned their new found freedom.
      College was an adjustment as well, but I liked really being able to take whatever I pleased. There was less structure, which was both good and bad. I think you’ll enjoy it.

    2. Ruffingit*

      University was tons better for me, although I will say that if you can live on campus, you should do so. The people at my school who lived at home and commuted had much less social opportunities with fellow students and ended up not experiencing as much freedom. This was something they told me themselves so I’m not just speculating about that. Not saying it doesn’t work for some people to commute, but for many of the people I spoke with about it, they said they wished they’d lived on campus. I did so and made lifelong friends as well as just had more of a feeling of separation from parents, which was needed at that time in my life.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        This. The college experience is completely different living at home versus living away from home. Different things work for different people, but at my college all freshman and sophomores were required to live on-campus, and they *strongly* discouraged people from visiting home for at least the first six weeks… They said that students who do that end up never really separating out as well, and it actually leads to a distinct and noticeable drop in their satisfaction with their college experience!

      2. Felicia*

        I think university was much better than highschool!

        For me it was better because I got to only study what I wanted instead of being forced to take courses I wasn’t interested in and would never going to use.

        I also lived at home and commuted, and I think what helped for me to have social opportunities was to have a job on campus. I met sooo many people in different programs who are still good friends by working there, got good experience on the resume too. Also join a club, it really makes it better. I was part of the school Glee club and it was amazing, but I’m sure they’ll have a club with whatever you like. Doing that also helped it be amazing even though I was still living at home. Also the 2 best friends I ever had I met during university, and we’re still friends, so I hope that happens for you

      3. Nina*

        Yeah, there’s something about living off-campus, especially if roommates are involved. I had five roommates in just two years, and I would only live with one of them if given the chance again. But living off-campus forces you to grow a bit more and take care of yourself, and also shows you what you will and will not tolerate from others. For better or worse, I learned a lot from having roommates.

    3. Mints*

      University was a lot better for me. High school was boring academically, and in college I finally got to be challenged and everything was more interesting

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Yes, it is, but you will have to be organized because it will now be completely up to you to keep track of your assignments. That said, university life is fun and interesting and diverse, and I second those who recommend living on campus, if at least in your first year. :)

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I hated grammar school.
      High school was a slight improvement but not a lot.

      I have no idea why I went to college. I guess I felt I was being told I had to go.

      I LOOOVED it.

      I was a day hop- I went home every night. But your days are so fill that home is just a place to sleep, that is all. I did not even mind the ride back and forth because it felt like I was actually working toward something. I never had that feeling with my previous schools.

      My profs were professional- unlike my some of my previous teachers.

      And for once, it was “cool” to be interested in education and learning. I was so sick of the pot culture where learning was for jerks.

      It’s okay to freak out a little. Everyone else does, too.

      Get a map of the campus- go wander around the campus this summer. Get a feel for where things are. If you see summer students talk to them.
      Maybe you can find someone who will commute with you. I found that very helpful.

      It’s an adventure. You never know who you will meet. I had a prof that is FAMOUS in his field. Years later someone said “You studied under Dr So-and-So???!! They were wowed. I knew why.
      It took the class a couple weeks and then it dawned on us- this prof speaks continously for 45 and he never looks at notes or a class outline.
      One day for fun we started asking questions. (He was formidable so we did not do it sooner.) OMG. He talked off the top of his head answering all our questions. And then he started explaining how other scholars in his field think and view things.
      This isn’t easy to describe here- but all of us were wowed. We knew we had a prof that was the cream of the crop.
      Stuff like this happens and it’s just an awesome experience.

      Now. Punch cards? Not so much. But the punch cards make good stories now.

      Going home every night meant that I could be a little less scared. I would be touching base with family and home on a daily basis. In an odd way it was kind of comforting.

    6. KrisL*

      I liked college much better than high school. My high school was pretty small, so it got kinda clique’ee if that’s a word. In college, being popular didn’t seem like such a big deal (people like me, but I’ve never been that kind of popular). In college, there are people who are just partying through, but there are more people who care about doing a good job, and it seems more important somehow to get things right.

      College teachers are usually very helpful is you ask for help nicely. Some colleges have free tutoring, etc. that can be very helpful.

      Don’t be too proud to ask for help if you need it. You can be a great student and still need a little extra help here or there.

      1. KrisL*

        And you may already have this in mind, but college is very expensive, so try to get the most out of it. It’s great to be social, but some college kids get lost in the partying. This is probably the last time in your life you’re likely to have to get a lot of formal education all at once instead of a class or a couple of classes at a time while you have a full time job. College/university is a huge equalizer. You can go into college as someone who grew up poor and get out with a major in something that gives you a great chance to create a financially comfortable life for yourself.

  34. Graciosa*

    Another post made me think of this question: If you had ten minutes to evacuate from your home, what would you save?

    I’ll repeat my previous comment that I would first grab my purse, medicines, and a firebox of important papers. Next would be the photo albums and a loose box of pictures. Third trip is probably going to be my laptop. Last would be the quilt and afghans my grandmother made for me. At that point, I’ve probably used up my ten minutes.

    What would you rescue in ten minutes?

    1. Ruffingit*

      My husband and dog of course, but as for actual items:

      My husband’s bike
      My backpack
      Important papers such as birth certificates and our marriage certificate
      A wall-hanging someone made for me when I left my very first job after college
      My college degrees

    2. Rana*

      Baby, cat, laptop (has lots of important info on it, plus I need it to make a living), phone, wallet, passport.

      There are too many other precious things in my house for me to be able to make quick decisions as to which to save, so probably all of them are going to be lost. I don’t like this, but I’m resigned to it. :/

      I have friends whose house burned completely to the ground, leaving them with only the stuff they could fit into their cars (wildfire), so I think about this a lot.

    3. Incognito*

      Tbh I’d need all that time to get the cats out and or verify they fled outside. The dogs would jump right in the car but I have two elderly cats who would probably freak and hide, the younger ones would jump out a if open but we’d have to find them.

      If all the living beings make it out alive I’ll be okay.

      If you excepted that and it was just material items?

      Purse, iPad, chargers, briefcase of my dads with sentimental stuff, jewelry box, framed artwork made by my kids, strong box with important papers, ceramic statue of Mary handed down in my family swavorski crystal HK fairy, angel figurine my sister got all of us when our mom died, rosary, wall crucifix handed down in the family. Oh and my Pillsbury dough boy canisters.

      Newspaper framed – article from 1942 when my dad joined the marines and was leaving for war – he was so young and handsome in the pic.

      And if I still have time pack the china cabinet – it would kill me to lose the glasses my grandparents brought over from Germany when they immigrated. Kinds engraved silver baby spoons/forks, my dad’s silver baby spoon..heck the whole silver box…

      Yeah…I just can’t have a fire because I have too much stuff to carry.

      1. Graciosa*

        That article from your father joining the Marines sounds very special – I’m so glad someone saved it at the time so you can cherish it now.

    4. Vancouver Reader*

      Definitely the laptop but there’s precious little else that absolutely has to be saved. I guess purse for all the pertinent documents. I’d love to say my Le Creuset pots as well because they’ve discontinued this style but I’m sure there are other things in my house more worthy of saving.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      If it’s a fire, you have less than three minutes.

      Anything else–I would grab this stuff:
      –Laptop and charger (both of them, if I had time)
      –Phone and tablet
      –Fire safe with important things in it
      –The stuffed animal I’ve had since I was born
      –Probably those mega-expensive shoes I bought for vacation!
      –Glasses and medication

      When I lived in CA, I had a bug-out bag during fire season. I probably ought to make one again, because of all the wonky weather we’ve had.

    6. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      I’m really not very sentimental, so I probably would just take the “important papers” box and my engagement ring, if I wasn’t wearing it, and the journal in which my husband and I write lover letters to each other. Maybe a box of pictures I’ve been meaning to put in albums.

    7. Windchime*

      In 10 minutes?
      – Cat
      – Laptop
      – Purse containing car keys and wallet

      I can’t think of much else. I’m not very sentimental, I guess.

    8. Not So NewReader*


      That’s it.

      I live in a match stick. These old houses go up in a heart beat. I estimate I have 3-4 minutes to get out.

      Please, folks reading this, get a fire safe. They work. Get one or two or whatever you need. Don’t die running after old documents, photos etc. Just don’t.
      My friend was given an old safe that did not lock. His apartment building burned to the ground. The safe and contents were FINE. I can’t explain how the lid stayed closed. But it did.

      I have watched two houses near me go to the ground. They go very fast. One went from the owner’s “oh no” to totally engulfed inside of minutes. Professional fire fighters can become disoriented when fighting inside- I don’t think I will make out better than the professionals.

      My plan is to cover my dog’s eyes and drag him with me. That may or may not work but I hope I never have to test it.

      1. Valar M.*

        No fire experience, but I had to wrangle my elderly dog downstairs during a tornado and that was an exercise in and of itself. Then when we were downstairs, huddled under a mattress he gave me a look like “Really? I mean really human? I think you’ve lost it…” The tornado missed us, so I am pretty sure he thought I was nuts from that point out.

    9. KrisL*

      Kitties and purse. (Purse has my ID, credit cards, etc. that I’d need to stay in a hotel.)

    10. anon*

      Cat, computer, phone, medication, passport, file folder of important papers, the cards I’ve saved from birthdays and holidays since I was a kid.

  35. Incognito*

    Just staying out of the search feature…

    Sometimes I think I’m a sociopath.

    I’m not speaking to my husband right now because I was furious about something Friday and it was the wisest path so I didn’t say something I’d regret. That was kind of mature.

    But now? I’m not even that mad, I was kind of over it by yesterday morning but the peace and quiet has been amazing so I’m not in a hurry to talk again. It’s just been so restful to have the bedroom to myself – I organized my closet and drawers, watched exactly what I wanted, cleaned without asking him to move, or debate about where his crap should go.

    I really like sleeping alone.

    It’s weird because he’s not even that intrusive – it’s just that I’m never alone and this has been kind of great.

    It’s not the first time I’ve thought I am meant to do the whole pair bond thing, at least living with someone. I love him and he’s a good person, but I’ve really enjoyed having space to the point I am dreading having to forgive him not because I want to punish him, but because I just don’t want someone 20 feet away from me whenever I’m home weekend. And stupid half hour conversations about dinner, or whatever stupid show he’s watching.

    I should feel bad because objectively he does cater to me a lot in some ways because he’s easy going and I’m…particular. But I kind of don’t feel bad and that’s scary.

    What would be so weird about separate bedrooms? We have the space – but I’ve brought it up a couple of times and you’d think I suggested becoming vampires – he thinks it’s crazy. But the only time I sleep through the night is once every year or two when he goes to a sleep study and now. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to wake up after sleeping a solid 8 hours – I never get this. No whistling of that stupid machine he wears to sleep, no one rolling over on my hair, no noises, no movement, I can roll over and move wherever I want without bumping into anyone.

    I like this full night sleep deal – I think I like it more than I like being married but not enough to go through the hassle of doing anything about that.

    I’m going to hell.

    1. the gold digger*

      I love my husband but think my life would be better if we lived next door to each other rather than in the same house. I like living alone.

      PS Check your avatar.

      1. Incognito*

        Oh I know, it’s me, I just didn’t want my name showing in a search function. Because I’m a total narcissist and assume people spend a lot of time searching for my posts in AAM.

        Hence the incognito kitty, you can’t recognize me when I’m wearing sunglasses! It’s my disguise. :)

        1. QualityControlFreak*

          Chuckle. We’ve had separate bedrooms for the last 15 years of a 30-plus year marriage. It’s no big deal; we all just need a lot of personal space. I have trouble sleeping, and snoring or other extraneous noise exacerbates that problem. I say, if you have the space, go for it.

    2. Anon1234*

      I think your behavior is crappy. Don’t treat your husband like this. I am confirming that this behavior sucks, not you.

      Sounds like you are trying to be intellectual/philosophical but really it’s just selfish.

      1. Anon1234*


        The sleep thing- talk to him more, don’t just isolate him. Go to therapist if need be.

      2. Incognito*

        I wasn’t trying to be philosophical or intellectual about it, it’s just how I think and how I talk. I’m totally being selfish, I know that, I’m not rationalizing it to make it okay – it’s totally not.

        I’m just concerned that this isn’t bothering me more than it is – I think that’s weird for me.

        And tbh it’s not like he’s clamoring to hang out and I’m rejecting him, or mopey and sad – we’re just hanging out in different parts of the house this weekend. For all I know he’s enjoying the space, too.

        1. Anon1234*

          I have taken my spouse for granted and learned from my mistake. I hope you two talk it out and find a way to cope. Sleep deprivation clouds all, so I get where you are coming from. And maybe it’s a phase in relationship, but you shouldn’t just let it slide. I have gone through many times of feeling nothing (25 yr. relationship), but realized that love isn’t just passion. Life can drag you down and make you feel like crap about everything including spouse. I am only speaking for myself, not making any judgements based on your post.

        2. Windchime*

          I sometimes think that maybe I would still be married if I had been allowed to have my own bedroom or even just some kind of small physical space where I could be alone sometimes. I like a lot of solitude and I never got to have that when I was married. There was always someone right next to me whenever I was home. He didn’t hover or try to control, but was just always right there and sometimes I need space. I love my alone time and I particularly like sleeping alone. I like having the room temperature how I like it, nobody else snoring or tossing and turning. If I need to turn on the light and read for awhile at 2 AM, I can do it without disturbing anyone.

          Besides, having separate bedrooms doesn’t mean you’ll never get to have sleepovers with your spouse. :)

        3. Natalie*

          Do you guys ever take separate vacations or something? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting a break from your partner, and everyone else for that matter. Maybe you could start working that in occasionally – go get a cabin alone for a long weekend, resort on the beach, whatever.

    3. Ruffingit*

      Doesn’t sound like you’re a sociopath, it sounds like you’re exhausted because you’re not getting enough rest or me time. Frankly, I’d say to the husband that you simply must sleep in separate bedrooms. It’s not a suggestion or discussion, it’s a statement because you need real rest as much as he does and you’re not getting it.

      Now, if you actually do like being alone more than the marriage, then get out of the marriage. Sure, it’s a hassle, but it’s better for all involved if you just do that rather than drag it out.

      1. Rana*

        What Ruffingit says. A large part of what I appreciate about my husband is that both he and I understand the importance of sometimes letting the other person just be by themselves, alone and unbothered.

        You sound sleep-deprived and exhausted – mentally if not physically. If you love your husband, you need to find a way to meet your needs so you’re not having to avoid him in order to survive. Otherwise, yeah, this isn’t a relationship to stay in.

    4. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

      Eh, I love my husband and I love my space. He feels the same way. We joke about winning the lottery and buying adjacent houses.

      I think we are higher functioning than a lot of couples because we have little problem making decisions together and cooperating with each other.

      But we both like our space.

      1. Rana*

        That’s absolutely true. When we first moved in together, we looked at apartments that allowed us to each have our own room. I feel little need to be in each others’ hip pockets all the time. (And, oddly, as a result, it makes it much more likely that we will hang out with each other, because we know that we can go recharge in our own space at any time.)

    5. Diet Coke Addict*

      You’ve mentioned that your job has been particularly stressful lately–more so than normal. Do you think that this or other stressors (family, work, etc) are exhausting you more than the usual–which is why time to yourself is seemingly particularly precious?

      Separate beds and bedrooms have worked for some couples, but there’s a whole galaxy of other things that may harm or help. Do you think if you were getting solid, consistent sleep, eight hours or more, every night–you would feel less bad about it? Sleep is terribly important and so neglected, and a long-term sleep deficit can really, really mess with the psyche and the body.

      1. Incognito*

        Actually, I think that has a lot to do with my attitude. This is one of my two most stressful times of year and I’m averaging about 65 hours a week now and it’s high intensity work load.

        This is the time at work I really feel like I’m emptying the tank everyday.

        Typically I work about 10-15 hours more per week than he does, and but now it’s like 25 and I’m still doing 90% of the housework. So weekends I spend 6-8 hours a day on laundry, floors, dusting, cooking for the week, etc.

        I shouldn’t complain because he will help if I ask, and he’s not whiny about it (and he does the shopping which is huge because I hate it.) But as irrational as it sounds I resent even having to ask.

        The litter boxes needs to be cleaned everyday. Why do I need to ask you to “help me?” Or empty the dishwasher or take the garbage out without my having to ask. I’m working all the time – my commute is an hour longer than his each day due to traffic times – why is taking out the trash or emptying the dishwasher a favor to me and one I need to point out?

        And I have RAGING PMS right now. Everything is rubbing me like sandpaper on an open wound and I’m inordinately bothered by stuff that normally just elicits a sigh.

        I don’t feel like fighting about why he needs to be asked to help, because I’m resenting it to an irrational degree right now, and so him sitting in the family room playing a video game and watching TV or whatever is more tenable than my having to ask him to lift his feet so I can mop the floor under them.

        It’s not like he even sees it as my job or it’s some kind of macho thing – it’s that he thinks the house is clean enough. He will unload the dishwasher when he needs to do another load. I want the dishwasher empty so it’s ready for the next load.

        He doesn’t see things that need to be scrubbed or floors to be washed. He just has much lower standards of clean.

        But I can’t work these hours this hard and come home to fucking laundry sitting in the basket because why put it away when he can just grab clean shorts out of the basket. Because I want it put away – because it bothers me and it would take a couple of minutes and after 10 years He could make an effort to raise his game a little bit when I’m working like this if for nothing else as a thank you for my doing it without bitching 10 months out of the year.

        But yeah, with this I’ll stop complaining because it’s petty and overall he’s a good man and a good dad and I am just buried under a ton of work stress, exhaustion, PMS, and I’m down the road of “if you loved me you would…” And that’s not good for me. He’s not being lazy at me, he’s not even necessarily being lazy as he does stuff, just stuff I don’t care about. (He spent a ton of time yesterday sketching out plans for a new deck. I don’t give a shit about a new deck) I’m just feeling sorry for myself and combined with not getting much downtime or sleep it’s made me a not very nice person last couple of days.

        I’m not using introverted in the personality type sense of the word – but I get extremely introverted and emotional this time of year because in the next couple of days is my dad birthday and the anniversary of my mom’s death. And he died 4 months later within days of her birthday – so even without being aware of it until it’s in force I get real internal and kinda lonely and sad during those anniversaries….so it’s just like a perfect storm in my head.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I get in a funk every year around the anniversary of my dad’s death — often even if I’m not consciously thinking about it. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s playing a role here. Throw in work stress, exhaustion, and PMS, and of course you’re feeling like this.

          That said, I hear you on the space issue. I love being alone.

          1. the gold digger*

            A few years ago, I was on my way someplace and couldn’t figure out why I was crying. Then I realized it was Fathers Day and my dad’s birthday (or within a few days) and then I remembered. I hadn’t been thinking about either one because my dad died in 1997, but the heart does not forget ever.

            1. Jamie*

              Seriously what is it that triggers it subconsciously.

              I totally wasn’t even thinking about it until my daughter said I always get sad and crabby this time of year because of them. I could understand it if we saw the calendar and consciously Thoth about it and missed them – but the emotional funk happens long before I connect it with the dates.

              It’s an interesting mental phenomenon.

              1. Jazzy Red*

                I smelled Dad’s after shave (Old Spice) in a department store many years after his death, and I almost burst into tears. Both my parents are dead, and the period from mid-April through mid-June has their wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day, Mother’s birthday, Dad’s birthday, and Father’s Day. Sometimes it’s tough, sometimes not so tough.

                1. Mallory*

                  The first time I heard “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” (George Jones) on CD after my grandma died, I immediately burst into tears and had to pull over to the side of the road to cry. I didn’t realize I’d have that reaction, but it was a song that she loved, and she would always tell me who all the references were about (the red-headed stranger, the man in black, the Okie from Muskogee) in country music. And when George Jones sang the refrain, “Who’s gonna fill their shoes . . . ” she’d always say, “Nobody, that’s who!” because she loved her country music heroes that much.

                  Her birthday was June 13.

        2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          I think you guys should consider hiring a housekeeper. If you have a higher standard of cleanliness than he, but don’t want to spend the extra 6 hours a week on it, that might be the best answer? Or at least pose it to him as “I’m really not into doing as much housekeeping anymore. Are you willing to do x,y, and z once a week for me from now on, or should I hire a housekeeper?”

          I’ve been really thinking about this myself, as I value my time more than my money at this point, and boyfriend is working too much you pick up the slack (I presumed his “working from home” would leave plenty of room to get laundry done and maybe sweep up once a week or something, but he actually works A LOT so it seems like neither of us are willing to put in cleaning time anymore).

          Even once a month would give you a cleaning-free weekend once a month, it would help, right?

          1. Jamie*

            It’s funny because I think that would cause me more stress because I’d never be able to let a housekeeper see the house if it wasn’t as close to perfect as I could get it! Like Paul said to Jamie on Mad about You – “we don’t need a maid, just the threat of one.”

            And usually I do like cleaning, it’s my one hobby. It’s just times like this when I’m physically tired it’s rough.

            I am thinking about getting seeing if the fur babies could get used to a Roomba, though.

            And paying tuition for all three kids in college is really important to us, but doesn’t leave a whole lot of disposable income. Don’t get me started on the contestant changing of overpriced textbooks.

            I’m just in a weird funk at the moment. I walked in the family room to get something and he’s sitting there reorganizing the Christmas ornaments (?!) and watching the Six Million Dollar Man looking sad that it broke my heart. All I could think of is here’s this guy who took on the responsibility to be a dad to 3 kids from my first marriage without one comment ever about them being my kids or resenting the money and aggravation and worry…and is far nicer to me than I deserve most of the time.

            So yeah – I’m just super emotional right now. We’re okay. I’m making him homemade no sugar added ice fruit bars he loves and I gave him a bowl of the perfect cantaloupe…he gives me his life and I give melon. I need to up the ante on that. :)

            1. Mallory*

              I’ve been in sort of a pattern with my husband lately where I’m furiously dissatisfied with our relationship, then I feel sorry for being so mean. I want to be married (AND to him), but I feel like I just need some time where he and the kids get the heck out of the house, and for longer than just a few hours. I need to be alone, in my house, with nobody wanting a damn thing from me (especially not wanting me to feed them when I’m not even hungry my own self).

              I read a book recently, “The Seasons of a Woman’s Life” that made me feel so much better about my utter resentment of having to DO things for the people I love. I feel like I hate them sometimes, but I don’t. I just don’t want to have to DO for them so damn much. Anyway, the book says that at this stage of a woman’s life, it is normal to be pulling back from doing so much for others and to be looking to fulfill more “selfish” desires. This is totally where I am right now. I am pulling back on the amount of serving my family that I’ve always done, and sometimes it seems that the kids accept this more readily than my husband does. The kids will fix their own lunches, and they like it when I call for a “root hog or die!” supper.

              I get really irritated with my husband, because it seems like he’s clinging to a lot of my doing stuff for him that the kids have more readily relinquished. I’m at the point in my life where I want a little more freedom for myself, and it sometimes seems like he’s the only thing between me and that. Like he’s really attached to the things I did (that I was only doing because our kids were toddlers or young children). I don’t want to keep doing it indefinitely, and he really enjoys that I do it and wants it to never end for him.

              It makes me want to hit him in the head with a baseball bat (see Fried Green Tomatoes — I don’t really plan to hit him in the head with a baseball bat).

            2. Schmitt*

              GET THE ROOMBA. GET THE ROOMBA. GET THE ROOMBA. Holy mother of cats, it’s a game-changer. Our cat took three days to get used to it.

        3. RJ*

          It sounds like you’re married to my husband. “He’s not being lazy at me” is something that I really need to remember. I could go on and on with my own examples, but let me just tell you that I understand and sympathize. And I’m pretty sure if you were a sociopath, you wouldn’t be worried about this at all. Take good care of yourself. :)

    6. The Other Dawn*

      There’s nothing wrong with wanting your space. I live for the three or four weekends a year when my husband goes camping with his buddies. Not because I don’t love him, but because I understand the value of “me” time and “him” time. It makes our together time that much better. I always shook my head in wonder at the couples who need to be joined at the hip and do everything together. Of course, other people think it’s nuts that I “allow” my husband to go on camping trips and he “allows” me to go on cruises with my sisters.

      As far as sleep goes, you mentioned a CPAP. I don’t mean to be intrusive, but is your husband overweight? If so, maybe losing a few pounds would improve his sleep apnea and eventually he might not need it. And that would improve YOUR sleep. I had very severe sleep apnea and once I lost some weight, it went away. No more machine.

      1. Incognito*

        Yep, I know that would help so does he – I made a huge effort to go healthier in meals last couple of years, but I can’t micromanage his eating habits. I just won’t – I say stuff trying to help and he nods and ignores me, he does try and has had some success, but it’s never because of external factors or me or whatever.

        Like before he finally quit smoking I’d get on him from time to time, but it’s not good for our marriage for me to nag at him about things he will not change until he wants to change.

        I’ve been asked why I don’t I make him quit smoking, why don’t I make him lose weight from people in his family. Because he’s an adult, and stubborn, and I have a job so I can’t follow him all day and police his habits.

        I know you weren’t suggesting that – just a tangent. :).

        He has quit smoking and his weight is steadily going down but it’s a marathon not a sprint on that.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I love when people ask, “Why don’t you make him/her…” You can’t make someone do anything. They have to want it for themselves.

          I tried many times to lose weight. I’d lost a ton of weight, gain it back, lose again. I did that three times. Finally, I got to rock bottom: for the first time ever I had to ask for a seat belt extender on a flight to Las Vegas in 2013. That’s what made me decide to go for gastric bypass. It’s drastic, but it’s the best thing I ever did. No more severe sleep apnea, heart burn, shortness of breath, and I’m no longer pre-diabetic.

          My point is, people have to get to a point where they just can’t stand to continue to keep doing what they’re doing. No one can make them get to that realization; they have to do it on their own. (And I don’t mean to say your husband’s at a “rock bottom” point; I’m just making my own point.)

          The fact that he quit smoking is great! And weight loss is usually best when it’s a marathon – the changes will last and so will the new habits created.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Yeah, you absolutely cannot make another person do anything. It’s amazing how many people want to blame the spouse for their family member’s bad habits. As if it’s the spouse’s job to do 24/7 surveillance on someone making sure they don’t buy a doughnut or smoke a cigarette or whatever. It’s just really, really ridiculous. People are allowed to have bad, destructive, life altering habits and only they can decide not to do those things.

    7. Vancouver Reader*

      If you’re a sociopath for these reasons, can we start a club together? Not sleeping in the same bed, whose parents did not/do not do that? My parents slept in separate rooms when we kids moved out. My in-laws have their own bedrooms. Hell, hubby and I have our own rooms 1) because we the space 2) I love the bed with the pillow top (which is the king size bed too, so I win) whereas he finds it too soft and likes the bed that to me is like sleeping on a plank.

      I think like everything else, the way a marriage works changes over time as people get older and preferences change. Hubby came home the other day and started talking quite animatedly at me and even though I listened politely, there was a part in my head that just wanted to tell him to leave me the hell alone.

      tl:dr: do whatever works best for both of you. It may take some time to adjust and maybe all you need is a compromise of 4 days together, 3 days separate. It’s not a deal breaker IMO.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      You’re not a sociopath; you’re just tired. And probably still a little disgusted with him right now (you say you’re not mad anymore, but you’re still saying stupid show, stupid conversation, etc.).

      I don’t sleep well when I’m with someone either, but the trade-off for me is not waking up alone. Which I hate. But it’s a completely personal preference for each person. It doesn’t mean you don’t love someone, just that you like a little space.

    9. Noah*

      Not married, but I’ve always said I would prefer separate beds and possibly bedrooms when I am. I just don’t sleep well with someone else in my bed and I crave alone time and my own space. People tell me it will be different if I ever find “the one” but I’m not convinced.

    10. saro*

      What about two different beds, same room? That’s what solved the issue for us. He’s a light sleeper and I am told I snore. :)

      1. saro*

        Also want to add, there’s nothing wrong with wanting quiet and space. I used to love it when my husband was out of the house. I don’t think it’s normal to be around someone 24-7

      2. Windchime*

        I have relatives who did this. They have a large bedroom with two double beds. It might look funny to other people (who aren’t Lucy and Ricky Ricardo), but it works for them. My parents have had separate bedrooms for close to 20 years and it works for them.

    11. Graciosa*

      You already have a lot of good comments, so I thought I would point out that separate bedrooms used to be a privilege of the aristocracy (and then the wealthier merchant class) – only commoners who couldn’t afford better shared beds. ;-)

      It sounds like you’re going through a lot right now, and I thought you could use a touch of humor or a diversion. If you do end up moving to separate rooms, just tell yourself you’re following an old and honorable tradition.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      You are exhausted.

      Take a look at how many people have said this. You are mentally and physically drained. Nothing left to give.

      I have been to my own version of this place.

      I concluded that:
      1) We had too much crap around the house that we were not using and we could not take care of. I ditched some crap.
      2) My health sucked. I got involved in alternative medicine. I needed to get my vitamins and minerals up.
      3) We were doing too much for other people and not enough for ourselves. This included workplaces. I developed the NO word.
      4) Overall I felt I was not happy with the person I was becoming. And above everything else, that was the worst. I had to take a hard look at the person I wanted to be and take deliberate steps to get there. I actually kinda like me on some days. This is a massive improvement. Like you are saying I felt that I was hostile to society as a whole.

      Having had gone through my own little hell, I really believe that this is happening to you because you need to change something in your life. It’s time now to do that. Take one thing and tweak it.
      See where that puts you. Then tweak another thing and see where that puts you. Go one thing at a time. If you do more than that you will have no idea what is working and what is not working.

      Wanting down time/quiet time is actually normal and healthy. Plan quiet time each day. Read/pray/meditate/nap- who cares. Get there make it happen. Turn off the tv, the computer, the cell phone- just shut them down. Stop reading the news so often. The world will be a mess whether we read about it or not.

      I could have written every line you wrote here. Well, almost. You do come out the other side. I promise. And you will be different. It’s okay.

      (Yeah, I tried counseling. The guy was dumber than me. What a waste of money. I got more out of the vitamins and healthy food. I got more out of sorting out my crap and getting rid of items that pulled me down- Items with sad memories attached. I got more out of telling family “No, you cannot ask me the same question 30 different ways. You are draining me. I will not be answering these particular questions any more.”)

      In short: Look at your life. Where do you want to be and what are the steps to get there?

    13. KrisL*

      Sounds to me like you’re an introvert. You need more space. Maybe there’s some way to organize things so you have more space and time to yourself?

      1. KrisL*

        Now that I’ve read all the comments, it sounds like you’re already tired enough without trying to organize more things. Separate beds/bedrooms does sound like a good idea. Maybe you could rotate it – Friday through Sunday share a bed and the rest of the week alone? Something like that?

    14. Gene*

      I’ve often said that the ideal living situation for a couple is a ranch-style triplex with locking doors between the units. You each have your own and share the middle one.

    15. Prickly Pear*

      I totally want my mythical husband and I to live in a duplex with each of us having our own side. We can meet and hang, then call it a night. I’d so love this, but I’m pretty sure I’m a minority.

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        Didn’t Woody Allen and Mia Farrow live next door to each other? (We’ll just ignore the rest of their history). And there are other famous couples who do that too so it’s not completely out of the realm of reality.

    16. LMW*

      Late to this, but: A few years ago my mom started sleeping in the guest room because my dad was getting up too much at night. They both slept a lot better. And they stopped bickering (which was a little weird, actually) Now they have a king size bed and they share again, but it was really good for them for awhile. Sleep is so important!

  36. Jamie*

    Two things that are annoying me:

    1. I can’t find sunglasses I love. There is something about the right pair of sunglasses that will change my mood and make me feel glamorous and sexy and I can’t find any that do anything except block the sun.

    2. I took a personality disorder test online because I was bored and apparently I have narcissistic personality disorder – which I thought was funny until I took another test and it said the same. I don’t like the questions – I.e. Do you think you’re special, or do you think you’re an exceptional person. Duh, yes. But I think everyone is, we all have our gifts and our failings and everyone has something extraordinary to offer. I need essay questions, or maybe to stop trying to get medical diagnosis from quizzy.

    So apparently I’m a narcissist lacking decent sunglasses – how am I supposed to get through the day?

    1. C Average*

      I just ordered new sunglasses yesterday. I am so excited. Yes, the right sunglasses are really wonderful to have! I wish you luck in your quest. (How I found mine, by the way, was to go to the ridiculously chichi boutique optical shop my husband patronizes and I have previously mocked. My reasoning: the place in the mall is a zillion times cheaper and has perfectly acceptable options. But the new glasses and sunglasses I got really are orders of magnitude more awesome than anything available at the mall, so I guess sometimes you DO get what you pay for. And I’ll probably have them for at least 2-3 years, so it’s probably worth getting something I like.)

      Can you post the link to the test? I’m intrigued. I recently read a critique of personality tests in general that essentially said “people like these tests because all the possible outcomes are phrased in positive terms and people enjoy being praised, but let’s face it, an honest personality test would inform some people that they were unemployable sociopaths of dubious intelligence, because statistically, some of the test-takers will be.” So I’m interested in seeing a test that DOES have a potentially negative outcome.

    2. Rana*

      Something you might consider with the sunglasses is to find a regular eyeglasses store and choose frames that you like – even if they’re not “sunglasses” frames – then have them put tinted lenses in them. (I require prescription lenses, so I have to do it this way.)

      My problem with most personality quizzes is that they’re all so absolute and black and white. For any given question, I can usually think of at least two responses, depending on context. I might be loud and outspoken among my friends, for example, but not in a gathering of people I don’t know well.

      So I typically end up careering all over the landscape with my answers, or answering everything with responses that are in the middle of the scale if it’s not broken into discrete options. Most of my results are decided by 5% points, as a result. Take that same test a different day, in a different mood, and I get a different answer.

      The best tests I’ve seen have a “how strongly do you feel about this answer” rating as well as the questions, but those are rare.

    3. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      For sunglasses, try You can take any of the hundreds of glasses they have on that site and make them sunglasses! And they’re super cheap so you can get like 4 pairs and try them out until you find one you love.

    4. RJ*

      Ha, in our premarital assessment, I answered a question like “Do you hope that your spouse will change his/her behavior in the future?” with a yes. Our counselor really pounced on that as a danger sign, until I told her how poorly worded the question was. I don’t “expect”, “require”, or “demand” that he change, but yes, I “hope” that he will stop tearing open the cookie package and leaving it open so they get stale. I “hope” that I will change some things too. Maybe the counselor thinks I’m a sociopath now.

  37. Mimmy*

    When someone is newly-admitted to a degree or certificate program, how long does it take before they begin to get you set up with registering for classes, orientation, etc? As I mentioned a couple weeks ago (late May/early June), I was admitted to a Graduate Certificate program. I accepted, and it said an admissions rep would contact me regarding registration. I have yet to hear anything. I wish I could remember the process when I was accepted into the MSW program in 2003 (different school), but even then, I imagine things have changed.

    Maybe I just need to give it more time.

    1. Diet Coke Addict*

      When I got into grad school, my acceptance came in the spring–April, I think–but I didn’t receive registration information until late summer, Julyish? Possibly even August for September classes to start. This was in Canada so it may be different, but there was definitely a longish wait.

  38. The Other Dawn*

    I’m wondering if there any history buffs on here who can help me with something.

    I’m buying a house that was built in 1735. I want to put a flag outside, but I want it to be period-correct. I’ve done some Googling and have come up with a few, but it seems like there were so many at the time. The obvious, and easiest, choice seems to be Queen Anne’s flag; however, there are a couple flags that are specific to New England (I’m in CT). I found the information here: (Sorry, I don’t know how to do a link on here.)

    Not sure which one would be the best and most correct. Any thoughts?

    1. Jamie*

      I am SO jealous! I love New England and I love old houses so I want to do a freaky Friday thing and be you for a while.

      Timeline wise I think the Queen Anne would be it, (great website) if you’re going from when the house was built. I think the war has been over long enough it shouldn’t be a political issue anymore :).

      Aesthetically I love the British east India company flag – that’s very cool looking.

      What a fun project. Does your town have a historical society? Maybe they have some details of what was used locally at that time?

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yes, they have a historical society and I sent them an email today to ask. :)

        We’ll see after we move in if I’M the one who wants to do the Freaky Friday switch. LOL Actually, it’s in great shape for it’s age. So much space. It’s the typical four-over-four New England colonial and it has 3 (!) fireplaces that all run off a center chimney. Acre and a half with a brook, covered bridge (that’s leaning) and a barn.

        It’s got some cook details, too. Like a secret room in the cellar to hide from the Indians. And tree trunks (bark intact) are the beams supporting the house. Oh, and wooden pegs holding the peak on the roof.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        Forgot to mention I plan on buying a reproduction of a map of New England from 1720. i think that would be cool to put over the fireplace or something.

        1. Jamie*

          I hope you’re documenting all of those with photos for yourself because that will be such a cool thing to look back on years from now.

          It’s always been my dream to live in a house with history, but you’re goes back even further than any I’ve seen here (of course tbf the Midwest was developed later.). When we lived near DC I went to Surrat house all the time because I just loved the house.

          The covered bridge reminds me of Mr. blandings Builds his Dream House – this is where General Gates watered his horses. You are living the dream.

          I better stop talking about this because my house is getting jealous and lord knows I don’t need it getting mad and breaking anything expensive in me. :). It’s a split level in a subdivision built in the 1950s – not exactly rare around these parts. It’s only history is the ugly shag carpeting we ripped out of upstairs when we got here.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            Yes, I’ve taken tons of pictures. And that was just the private showing with the realtor.

            There’s wallpaper throughout, but there is some really fugly wallpaper in the foyer, which I plan to take care of at some point. Problem is, I know it’s hiding some crumbling plaster so I have to be ready to deal with that mess.

            I need to figure out what to do with 3 fireplaces. And 3 living rooms. Actually, there’s a family room, a formal “parlor,” and an extra room with a fireplace that isn’t the dining room. I’m thinking in that room I’ll put a couple big leather chairs with an old table and set up our chess board. I’m sure the cats would enjoy playing hockey with the chess pieces.

    2. danr*

      Personally, I would go with the Pine tree flag. Interesting site. Thanks for posting it.

  39. C Average*

    I am trying to improve my diet. I’m a healthy weight and I’m relatively fit by objective standards, but I’m not as fit as I’ve been at other times and it bugs me. Also, I just plain eat an embarrassing amount of really crappy food (processed stuff, vending machine stuff, restaurant food, candy, just utter crap).

    I’ve been doing better about lunch and dinner, but breakfast is just impossible. Nine times out of ten, I wind up having my black coffee (which I know is fine) with some horrifying pastry sort of thing full of empty calories.

    I don’t cook in the morning ever, I don’t eat eggs, and I don’t like smoothies. I just want something healthy I can eat every day that’s portable and can be made ahead of time.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Rana*

      Piece of fruit and a bagel with cream cheese? PB and J? Yogurt? Slice of cold pizza?

      No need to limit yourself to “breakfast” foods. :)

      1. C Average*

        Hmmmm. Never thought about PB&J. I like that! And pizza for breakfast is always awesome. I often make homemade pizza with lots of healthy stuff on it.

        I have weird texture issues and can’t/won’t eat anything slimy or mushy, so yogurt and cream cheese are both deal-breakers. I basically have the palate of a four-year-old. I’m not proud of this at all. About every three years I try yogurt, hummus, avocados, and oatmeal to see if my tastes have evolved, but they never have and I kind of doubt they ever will!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I make little breakfast sandwiches ahead and take them to work and microwave them. You can leave off the eggs and just have ham and cheese if you want. And you can put whatever you like extra on them. The pizza is a good idea too, if you have healthy stuff on it. :)

      2. AVP*

        PB&J on a rice cake is the BEST for breakfast.*

        *I make my own jam so it’s exactly the way I like it, and doesn’t have a lot of sugar or crap in it. Natural peanut butter with only peanuts and salt in it is easy enough to find. The rice cake is still probably pretty processed but I figure one processed thing with 2 natural things is an okay combination.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      What about oatmeal? You can make it, put it into muffin tins, add the toppings and freeze. Then just pop a few out when you want them and reheat.

      Another option is making pancake bites. There’s a recipe here:

      I eat a lot of Greek yogurt since I’m a gastric bypass patient. I like Dannon Light & Fit Greek. I add peanuts or high protein granola to it. I may try almonds next. For me it’s very filling and high in protein.

    3. Diet Coke Addict*

      Do you like bananas? Peanut butter and banana sandwiches are breakfast regulars for me–enough protein to keep me full, the banana for some sugars, and carbs. Or in a whole-grain tortilla wrap. Slap it together the night before and it’s good to go.

      1. C Average*

        I love bananas! I tend to prefer ’em just plain, though. Maybe a PB&J and a banana? That’s totally something I would eat for lunch. Never considered eating it for breakfast, but that would totally work.

    4. Vancouver Reader*

      Some days, we’ll just do PB&J toast and take it to work to eat. How about making up some muffins or scones on the weekends? At least you’d know what’s in them and you can add either lots of fruits or cut down the sugar or whatever you feel you need to make it healthier.

      1. EG*

        Oh, yes to scones! I made my first ever real batch of scones last week (banana bread flavor) with a whole stick of butter in them. Savored each one (or two) per morning with an apple for my breakfast, warm or cold.

    5. Anna Moose*

      I’m not a big breakfast eater either. I grew up as a latch-key kid and never got the taste for it. What I do is mix 1/4 cup chopped walnuts & 1/4 cup of Craisins for breakfast. I put everything in a cup with a lid and snack on it all morning. Lately, I’ve been adding a tablespoon of granola. The whole thing is about 330 calories. I make enough for a work week and just grab a cup each morning.

    6. tango*

      Granola. Then buy some small individual milks (or almond/soy/coconut milk singles) and there you go.

      I’m also a fan of premade breakfast sandwiches. You don’t eat eggs at all? If not then just make it with bread of your choice (toast, bagel, English muffin, tortilla) and fill it with meat like cooked bacon or ham or sausage and some cheese. Maybe some fried hashbrowns or sautéed veggies if using a tortilla or pita pocket. Then individually wrap in plastic wrap, put in the fridge or freezer and bring them to work and microwave there.

    7. Rebecca*

      I ate home made tuna salad on Wasa crackers the other morning for breakfast. I have an ironclad gut, so I can eat whatever/whenever with no ill effects.

      For breakfast I usually have a protein shake made with whey protein powder and almond milk, made in my Ninja blender, with a tanker truck full of coffee through the morning. Mid morning, I eat raw fruit and a yogurt. Lunch is usually peanut butter on whole grain sandwich thins or Wasa crackers, home made tuna salad, egg salad, that type of thing, with carrots and fruit. For supper I’m a huge fan of salads with meat.

      Right now for lunch I’m having leftover salmon, Birds Eye steamed rice and veggies, and brussels sprouts. I’m a huge fan of cook “right in the bag” microwave veggies. I cook chicken breasts in the oven, and portion them out into meal sized packets to freeze, so when I get home from work, I have a quick healthy meal without resorting to Lucky Charms.

    8. Graciosa*

      Reading the other comments, it sounds like you have plenty of things you would eat if you weren’t mentally limiting yourself to “breakfast food.” Stop that. ;-)

      My favorite supper is made up of “breakfast” foods (scrambled eggs, sausage, and blueberry muffins with cocoa) so I have a bit of rebellious streak that comes up when people think certain foods are only appropriate during scheduled hours. Anything you would eat at another time of the day and are willing to eat in the morning is breakfast food.

    9. Windchime*

      I have the same breakfast every morning without fail. A big mug of tea and whole-wheat toast with peanut butter. It would be portable, but be careful; I would probably drop the toast peanut butter-side down and get it all over my clothes! I usually eat it sitting in a chair while trying to wake up

    10. Natalie*

      Toasted English muffin with pb, honey, and sliced bananas. It’s kind of sweet if you like that in the morning, and really sticks with you. Personal bonus, I don’t like bananas but I’m trying to eat them more for the potassium, and I like them this way.

      Yogurt and granola – plain Greek yogurt of your choice, granola of your choice, pepitas, craisins and honey. I jacked this recipe from Starbucks. All the ingredients keep well at work or whatever.

    11. samaD*

      yoghurt and fixin’s is my go-to – any of a variety of things: dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or homemade granola (homemade’s pretty easy and you can put in exactly what you like in the proportions you like. Give it a light toast in the oven, let it cool, then pop it in a sealed container and a couple of cookie sheets worth is a week or two, depending on how much you use)

    12. EG*

      I make a batch of pancakes or waffles on the weekend, then just toast a couple each morning. Serve with fruit, bacon or sausage, or peanut butter, honey, jelly, whatever sounds good. I’m not a fan of eggs for breakfast right now, or in general, but I do like making a quiche and taking a slice or two for breakfast or lunch, when it’s full of veggies and meat/cheese. When all else fails, I try to keep store bought frozen waffles and sausage patties, and make a breakfast sandwich with a bit of honey and butter. Great to-go meal with or without fruit!

    13. Mephyle*

      Further to the “don’t limit yourself to breakfast foods,” simply make a little more supper and for breakfast warm it up the next morning: meat with veg or salad, soup, stew, casserole, stirfry, or whatever it may be.

  40. The Other Dawn*

    What do you like to collect and why?

    I’m moving soon and it’s a very old house. I thought it might be fun to start collecting something from the time period (1735), but I have no idea what.

        1. Sunday*

          If you need a few to get you started, I’d sell you a batch for cheap. Won’t let you have them all, though!


    1. kas*

      I like to collect postcards from trips/vacations. I always make sure to buy a few before I leave. My plan is to create a scrapbook and include other things from those trips such as bus/train tickets, a few pictures etc.

    2. Felicia*

      Fridge magnets from various places! At first it was just places I’ve been, but then I’ve started getting them for other people when they go on vacations, so I have a lot from places i’ve never been. I’m up to 40. I like the one from Kuala Lumpur

      1. Ruffingit*

        I do this too. Fridge magnets because they are easy to carry back home and they don’t take up much space except on the refrigerator :)

        1. Felicia*

          I don’t put them on the fridge anymore:) I actually now have a rectangle magnetic piece on my wall in my room where I put them

    3. Jamie*

      I am the tackiest collector EVER!

      I have a HK themed item or two, ahem, and I love Barbie, KISS and Van Halen stuff. Also love penguins. And tiaras.

      I know – very classy and adult.

      I also have 14 different kinds of mascara which is either a collection or addiction- not sure.

      My gramma loved owls, but I remember her saying she wished she’s had more carried interests because after 24 grand kids and tons of great and great grand kids she had more owl themed stuff than she could display in 10 houses.

      So when I’m old and you come over to visiting we can take tea in the HK room, or the Barbie room…or the penguin conservatory, the KISS library…

      1. Mints*

        Where do you put your collections? I finally bought a couple nerdy things I liked and they’re just sitting in a closet. I feel like ideally I should have a china cabinet of toys I’m collecting, but I don’t have the space
        The penguin conservatory is definitely what Mr. Mints would like to have

        1. Jamie*

          I really need a curio cabinet for the nicer things, but the stuffed animals and dolls I kinda rotate on my dresser. I’ve got a lot of seasonal things – so HK Christmas, HK easter…but the regular stuff gets rotated.

          I know someone who has a wife who also collects HK and Barbie and she has a room i. Their house for each – and a disney room. No kids so her collections get the spare bedrooms. I was jealous for a second and then I thought about it and I wouldn’t do that anyway.

          I do need some kind of custom built tiara cabinet – but thats not on the list of priorities right now. :)

          1. Mints*

            Oh a curio cabinet! That’s what I was thinking of. Furniture has so many weird names that I just don’t keep track of
            I’m thinking I’ll buy a shelf and brackets. I keep thinking “I’m too old to have a toy shelf” but I’m trying to switch my thinking to “These are collectibles”

        1. Jamie*

          The problem with them is I have to get them as gifts – I wouldn’t be able to buy one for myself because that’s too weird for me. So I’ve got one from my mom, two from friends, one from the kids, one from my sisters, one from my boss (nope, don’t wear it to work), and one from my husband.

          This may be the weirdest thing about me.

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            So the real question is, how do I, as a grown-ass adult, start dropping hints that what I’d REALLY like for my birthday is multiple tiaras! :)

            1. Jamie*

              Easy! Where ever you do something awesome casually say I an a humorous way, “where is my tiara?!”

              Because it is t fair that you can only earn one in a pageant – plenty of other awesome qualities deserve tiaras. So work it into your conversation…and after you get your first one it’s now your thing. I’ve been know to complain that I have a tiara for dish washing, but not one quite right for carpet cleaning. Then I bookmark the ones I like.

              Ebay has great ones – bridal stores, also if you don’t want to order online.

              We were watching Gilligans island the other day and Ginger has this amazing rhinestone headband about 1.5-2 inches wide. I gasped and my dh said – oh look, a tiara you could wear everyday and pretend it’s not a crown!

              And that’s my current quest – although I still wouldn’t wear it to work. Which makes me sad.

              1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

                You are a genius. Tiger Direct has a million super cheap tiaras, but like you, I haven’t had the (courage, maybe?) to buy one for myself.

                But the boyfriend and I are having a big 10th anniversary party on Halloween, and I’ve already decided my “costume” will be whatever thematically matches the extravagant ball/prom dress I will eventually select, and that sounds like the perfect opportunity to buy a tiara. :)

                1. Jamie*

                  That IS perfect – I didn’t think of that because I haven’t done a costume in ever – but it’s perfect opening – just keep it out as your thing when you put the costume away.

            1. Jamie*

              They are the ultimate ‘just because’ – no utility whatsoever. Just happiness and beauty.

    4. CollegeAdmin*

      Various things I used to collect, mostly just because I thought they were pretty, and that people were supposed to collect things:

      Miniature tea sets
      Cat-related things (I now dislike almost all animals)
      Penguin-related items
      Fortune cookie fortunes
      Mardi gras beads
      Decks of playing cards

      These were all between the ages of 6 and 18, I’d say. After that, I kind of stop collecting things – I’m interested in minimalism, although I’m not really “practicing” (I’ll probably start when I move out). The only collections I’ve hung onto are a few of the fortune cookie fortunes (about a dozen or so out of a hundred) and the playing cards (which I still love).

      My mother collects teddy bears and bear-related items. I’m in out living room right now, and I count 16 bears from where I’m sitting.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I love to collect Victorian cabinet cards. I have several of those old albums to put them in, though some are in frames. I’m trying to cut down on the clutter so the framed ones will probably end up on the wall or out into the albums. I choose them based on how interesting the people look, and if there are any unusual elements in the pictures, such as clothing or props. When people try to buy them for me, it spoils it–I’d rather pick them out myself.

      The really cool ones, like sideshow performers, are too expensive, though I did spend $25 for a Wendt midget card (it’s Major Willie Ray). For those who may not know what cabinet cards are, it’s these things:

        1. Rana*

          I have 1467 of ’em. Thank you, LibraryThing, for keeping the count for me!

          (My husband’s about as bad; right now we have 7 big IKEA shelves triple-stacked with books while we’re trying to decide where the other smaller shelves should go, and there are still a bunch of boxes waiting to be unpacked. Sigh.)

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I’m trying to get rid of some stuff in here, including some of my books. Ouchhh. In my mind, I try to pretend I’m moving and can only take so much with me.

            1. Rana*

              Did you know that Powell’s Books will buy books from you remotely? I find that easier to deal with than shlepping them to a bookstore locally.

    6. Rana*

      I don’t really collect them, in the sense of deliberately adding them to a collection, but I regularly acquire small figures or sculptures of animals, in all kinds of materials. Ceramic cats, wooden goats, pottery sheep, metal owls, stone alligators, plastic ostriches, iron frogs, knitted lions, felt ravens, straw yetis… I think one of my favorites, just as an example, is a ceramic and wire guinea hen that my husband gave me for Christmas one year.

      I like that they’re not all the same, particularly since this means that while people will give me gifts of similar creatures, I’m not facing the “Oh, she likes cows, let me buy her this tacky cow magnet” situation.

    7. The Other Dawn*

      I’m thinking I might collect cook books from that era. I assume there were cookbooks back then.

      I’m not normally someone to collect things. When I moved into my house I started collecting miscellaneous things and then it got cluttered and I didn’t want to dust it all. So then I got rid of the clutter and didn’t want to collect anything. Many things were off-limit as Christmas gifts after that. But being that I’m moving into a historical house I’d like to collect something.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        I collect a children’s book series about a boarding school. I managed to get them all a few years ago and then discovered via google that much of them had been abridged, some very much so but that a small publisher is re-publishing them a few books at a time, so I’m working my way through those, which is going quite well.

    8. Nina*

      Shot glasses. The funny thing is, I rarely drink, and I hate shots. But I love anything in miniature, hence the shot glasses.

      I used to collect Polly Pockets as a kid, and I still have them.

    9. the gold digger*

      I get a Coke can or bottle whenever I find the name in a language other than English. Right now, I have several bottles that say “Coke” in Arabic and I think I had some cans in Spanish, French, and German, only the sun faded the writing so now they are gone. I guess I need to travel again.

      1. Felicia*

        I kept a Coke can that said the name in Hebrew ….everyone thought I was weird for keeping that, but I thought it was awesome!

    10. KrisL*

      Books so that I can read them again.
      Jigsaw puzzles so that I can put them together again.

    11. Littlemoose*

      Postcards. Mostly I love postcards from far-flung places. I guess I just like the idea of having something tangible that came from far away. (Yes, I realize a decent percentage of items in my house were manufactured in far-flung places, but it’s not the same.)

  41. Audiophile*

    Has anyone used ReadyForZero? My best friend turned me onto it the other day, it’s similar to Mint but focuses on credit card debt. I like the setup so far, you input your user name and password for your online accounts and it gives you your total debt (it’s not always accurate, so for instance one credit card balance is off by $10) and then gives you a suggested plan to pay it all off. I’m trying to be ambitious and pay it off by next July.

    It’s scary because I had believed I was only in single digit debt only to find out I’ve actually crossed over into the double digits. And I was also doing everything backwards, I was trying to pay off a low limit card, when I really should be attacking my two store cards because of the high APRs those always have.

    Part of what prompted this is, a coworker suggested I buy a house and let him live with me and pay me rent. (Crazy and there’s no way I’m doing it.) But it did make me realize, sort of, that I might actually like to own a house one day and that it would certainly be easier to save to rent (or buy) a place when I’m not having to pay all these credit cards. I already knew this, of course, but I’ve struggled a lot financially in the six years since graduation. I’ve had several low paying jobs, including my current one which still leaves me making less than 30k a year gross income.

    1. danr*

      Don’t put your stuff online. A simple spreadsheet will do the trick. I did that when we ran up credit cards while buying a house. I realized that trying to keep it all in my head wasn’t working. Here’s my setup. One spreadsheet tracks monthly spending and I put automatic payments on it and add the non-utility payments into the monthly spending. The second spreadsheet tracks credit card amounts that aren’t paid off and below it, the amounts in savings and checking accounts.
      Decide on an amount that you can afford each month per card to work towards payoff. It has to be more than the minimum amount plus interest.
      Now, watch the credit card balances go down, while the amount in checking and savings goes up.
      I have another sheet for gas and electricity. If you track that, you’ll know when the gas or electric company are pulling fast ones by estimating your reading on the high side.
      You’ll know how much you are spending and where it’s all going.
      Good luck!

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Cool spreadsheets can be hard to set up, so I can see why some people prefer to use an online tool. We tried using Mint for forever, and the boyfriend liked it, but I use quick books at work, so online stuff just seems clunky and weak to me.

        Which is to say that I, also, use a spreadsheet. Not a fancy one, but it’s the only way I’ve ever had any success with tracking my finances.

      2. Audiophile*

        I tried the spreadsheet thing already and just found it hard to track. Thanks for the tip, though!

        I’d normally agree with you about not putting sensitive info online, but I already have Mint (though it was very inaccurate when I looked them side by side) and I pay almost all of my bills online, I don’t write checks. I’m probably the only person who has three almost full checkbooks, from when I opened my account.

        This was significantly easier, because it pulls the interest as well, so it makes suggestions above the minimum. So for instance when I signed up and added four cards, it told me to apply more to my Macy’s account. The suggestion was to pay it off completely this month, but I know that’s not doable because my check will be short, as I missed a day.

        1. danr*

          I’m not a spreadsheet person at all… Months across the top, credit cards down the left side and use the summation key and ranges for the totals. That’s it. Oh, and a new sheet each year.
          The first couple of months that we did the spreadsheets were eye opening. And then the amounts started to go down.

          1. Audiophile*

            Maybe I’ll give it another shot. What you just suggested makes a lot more sense to mean, than the different ones you mentioned above.

            I did a spreadsheet for my job apps, thanks to the wonderful people here. But I just opened it as again and realized I haven’t tracked anything since March. It feels to daunting to backtrack now.

              1. Audiophile*

                I got a little lost in the first explanation. I thought you were tracking credit cards across two spreadsheets, because you mentioned automatic payments.

                I could probably do it on one spreadsheet and just track credit cards. I’ll give it another shot. If anytging I’ll know Excel very well at the end of this project.

    2. Rana*

      Do you think it would be worth doing if you only have one card? Or is it best if you’re managing several?

      1. Audiophile*

        It can be used for more than just credit cards. So you can include student loans, car loans, etc. And if you have any non major credit cards, like store cards, in your profile you can add those.

        I would suggest you Google it and see if you think it will be useful to you. If you’re carrying a balance on one card, I think it may be helpful.

    3. Vancouver Reader*

      I realize this isn’t what you’re asking, but if you’re paying on credit cards, can you get a line of credit with your bank and use that to pay off your credit cards instead? That way the interest is a lot lower and you’re only paying off one debt.

      1. danr*

        That only works if you don’t charge anything on those cards until the debt is payed down. This is one of the cycles that made the credit bubble so big… get a loan to pay off credit cards, buy more stuff on credit and not pay it off every month, get another loan to pay off the card and the earlier loan… repeat until the bubble bursts. Don’t laugh, I know people who did that and boasted about how they were beating the system. Then the system changed.

  42. Nicole*

    I’ll be traveling to Omaha, Nebraska and Des Moines, Iowa later this month and have never been to either city before. I would love any suggestions on things to see/do and good restaurants in the general area. Thanks!

    1. the gold digger*

      If you’re going to pass through Cedar Rapids (probably not, based on your agenda), go to the Czech and Slovak museum. There is also a little historical village in CR. And don’t forget the kolaches.

  43. Jamie*

    I get that she’s personable or whatever – wait who told Trisha Yearwood she could cook?

    Opening cans and putting them in the grossest possible combination is not cooking. Seriously, back away for the stove and out down the mixing spoon before anyone gets hurt.

    I need a magic wand which will make people vanish from TV.

    On a positive note, anyone else love Impractical Jokers? No matter how bad my mood I’ll end up cracking up. I love those guys.

    1. kas*

      Love those guys too! I think my favourite “joke” is when one of them had to read an inappropriate speech at a wedding, I was crying, too funny.

      1. Jamie*

        That was awesome – Sal is so easily embarrassed he’s the best when things get weird.

        My favorite was Joey going to the bathroom and yelling for toilet paper. oh and the giant cat at White Castle, or Q giving the sex talk to his parents….I can’t pick a favorite. :)

    2. Rana*

      Have you ever watched the show “Semi-Homemade”? She excels at that sort of weird non-cooking.

      Seriously, her shows are hilarious, all the more so since they’re not intended to be jokes.

      1. Jamie*

        Yes – she’s Sandra Lee without the booze and crazy tablescapes.

        I used to watch semi-homemade and wonder about the person whose job it was to match the curtains with Sandy’s outfits and tablecloths.

      2. Windchime*

        I went through a spell of being fascinated by Semi-Homemade. There is nothing homemade about it! She just rips open packages of pre-made food and combines them together in weird ways. Oh, and then makes a silly boozy drink to go with it.

  44. Shell*

    What can I cook with dry sparkling wine?

    Over two Christmases, I was gifted two small bottles of Henkell Trocken dry sparkling wine (and giving the greenish bottle, I think it’s white wine) and I have no idea what to do with it. I dislike drinking. On the rare occasions I do drink, the drink is as sweet as humanely possible. I usually cook with wine, but…what do I do with sparkling wine? Do I still cook with it as per normal?

    …I’ll refrain from my rant about gift-giving holidays stressing me out (both in the giving and receiving of gifts).

        1. Luxe in Canada*

          Sec is French for dry. So just like dry in Emglish, it means it’s not sweet.

          Sparkling wine makes lovely mimosas. Grab a pitcher of orange juice, add a couple slugs of orange liqueur if you have it in the house (leave it out if you don’t already have it), and pour in the chilled wine. It’s fancy and dead simple, and the OJ sweetens it enough.

          I’ve seen champagne truffles, so I don’t know how you feel about experimenting with ganache but it would probably be very tasty. Chocolate covers a multitude of sins, anyway, so you wouldn’t taste how not-sweet the wine is.

      1. Rana*

        My sense of “dry” is that it’s roughly the same as “not sweet.” But I’m not much of a wine drinker, so take that with a grain of salt.

    1. danr*

      You can use it in anything that needs to be deglazed during cooking. It gives a different taste to the dish. And it bubbles a bit more when you pour it in.

    2. Vancouver Reader*

      I like danr’s suggestion. How about using it in place of water when making Jello? That should be interesting.

    3. Sunday*

      How about sorbet? You need to like the flavor of the wine enough to use it to flavor the sorbet, but champagne sorbet can be yummy – and I don’t really drink alcohol.

      Also, this sounds to me like the perfect opportunity for “regifting.” If you know someone who would really like these bottles, no reason not to offer them to such a person.

    4. AVP*

      I used champagne to deglaze a chicken dish for a New Years dinner party once. It worked perfectly, just a little fizzier than regular white wine.

      I think chicken thighs with, I think, peperonata peppers, cherry tomatoes, chives and olives, I think – if you need any ideas!

  45. Kimberlee, Esq.*

    Ok, are there any Asian AAM readers here who have chosen to go by an ‘American’ name professionally because you don’t want to hear your name mangled over and over again?

    I’m super fascinated by this entire construct, and I’d love to hear a bit more about the other side (my side is ‘the white girl that will probably mispronounce your name’).

    I had an intern whose name is very common in Vietnam, but not here. In preparation for her first day, I learned the pronunciation by heart, and helped other people on staff with it, including sending those who asked an online pronunciation guide. I was so proud of myself! Then, on her first day tour of the office, she started introducing herself as Alice. And everyone was even more confused. :)

    I guess what I really want to know is: how do you choose your name? Is it just your favorite one? Do you try to approximate something close to what your real name sounds like? Or is it like a nickname where someone else chooses it for you at some point?

    1. kas*

      Lol too funny, all that preparation and she goes by Alice.

      I always wondered this too though, it would be interesting to know.

    2. Diet Coke Addict*

      My husband and his family are in this boat, and while my in-laws use their actual given names, when they came to Canada they gave their sons new, English names. They’re as close to their given names as they could get, sound-wise, so I think they were going by the “sounds-alike” principal rather than any other. My husband’s cousins, though, have “meaning switch” names–their given names and English names have approximately the same meaning in both languges.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Interesting! Does your husband/do his siblings ever use their original names, or do they use the English names all the time, for everything?

        1. Jamie*

          I think we should have our name meanings on our business cards – because then I’d make everyone nervous.

          Jamie the Usurper.

        2. Diet Coke Addict*

          His parents and their friends and anyone in their community call them by their given names. Friends, coworkers, and my family know him exclusively by his English name. Both names are legal, but I don’t know if his father has ever once called him by his English name, you know? So it depends, but the former.

    3. Vancouver Reader*

      We were given both chinese names and western names at birth because mom wanted us to be named after saints. So our chinese names are nothing like our western names.

      I’ve worked with students whose western names seem more like they went for something that sounded cool or cute rather than something that approximated their asian names, but that seemed to be more prevalent with chinese students, not sure why.

      1. Onymouse*

        I’ve heard it’s something along the lines of:
        1st day of English class in China: “OK class, let’s pick your English names!”
        *elementary school student*: “Spiderman sounds like a cool name! Call me Spider!”

        Then they keep going along with it over time just due to inertia.

        1. Felicia*

          I know someone whose English name is Tiger, and he said he came up with it in the same way!:) He was a former coworker of mine. But his daughter, who is my age (24) never had that experience in her English class in China and ended up never taking an English name. It appears a lot of younger people now only take an English name if they end up living in a primarily English speaking country

    4. Noah*

      My first name is Greek, and nearly impossible for most Americans to pronounce. I was born in the US and grew up here, although my grandparents were immigrants. Most of my family uses a nickname based on the longer Greek name.

      At school and work I’ve always used my middle name, Noah, which at least everyone can pronounce.

    5. Onymouse*

      If you ever have a professional development chat, you should mention to her to put Alice on her resume. I think I’ve read on here before about people who go by a different name than the one they interviewed with and it’s just confusing in general. (Not to mention the more practical aspects, like having your email set up in your preferred name)

  46. Mints*

    I’d like to recommend this book to the group at large: Mary Roach — “Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex”
    It’s, as expected, about the science of sex.
    It’s also literally laugh out loud funny. And I don’t want to compare the author to Alison’s writing, but if you’re a regular reader because you appreciate her knack for wording/writing, I think you’ll like Mary Roach. There are lots of cringing moments in the book. But it keeps my attention because of Mary Roach’s funny commentary

    1. Cath in Canada*

      I read Stiff last year and laughed more than seemed decent given the subject matter (the use of human cadavers in medical and other research). I have Bonk cued up on my e-Reader!

    2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I haven’t read that one yet, but I am reading another Mary Roach, “Packing for Mars” and she is a really phenomenal non-fiction writer.

    3. Gene*

      Mary Roach may just be the funniest nonfiction writer alive. Find some of her interviews online and watch/listen. Of you like her, try reading Mark Kurlansky.

    4. Stephanie*

      Bonk was awesome! I just finished Gulp (about the digestive tract) last night. Also interesting–she had a whole chapter where she interviewed inmates about rectal smuggling.

      I’ve read Spook and Stiff as well. I couldn’t get into Spook as much, just because I didn’t find the material as inherently interesting.

  47. Kimberlee, Esq.*

    Ok, I’m feeling feisty: have any of you made any good/crazy mixed drinks lately? Ever since I discovered that 2 parts red wine and 1 part bourbon or whiskey tastes great, I’ve been pretty fearless about mixing stuff up. Most of my friends think it’s gross, but I’m enjoying myself.

    I (inadvertently) had Remy Martin and Pinot Grigio the other day, and it was reasonably good, so the sky is the limit!

    AND I learned a very important lesson: When you mix tequila and rum together, they taste like gin! #themoreyouknow

    1. Laufey*

      I had a Blue Velvet recently (Guinness, Cider, Liquor (Blue Curacao, I think). I think I want to try the wine and whiskey combo, though I’m normally wary of mixing wine and liquor.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Gin and limeade. Even better if you make the limeade from fresh limes and a ton of sugar.

      Variation: make the above and then put it in a blender with a bunch of ice.

      Blood orange juice and anything.

      1. salad fingers*

        Second the blood orange sentiment. Came here to say that I had (a whole bottle of (:/)) prosecco + blood orange juice last night, it was very tasty.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          Ooh, that sounds lovely. I love me some sparkly wine, so that’s probably a winner.

      2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Ooh, that sound great! I’ve never made lemon/limeade from scratch, but I’m sure Newman’s Own will suffice. :)

    3. Cath in Canada*

      I always thought beer cocktails were a gross concept, but I’ve actually tried a couple of good ones recently at the bar near my work:

      – a good hoppy IPA with gin, grapefruit juice, and chilled Early Grey tea
      – ruby red ale with port and lemon juice

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Ooh! I like beermosas: cheap beer (usually PBR around here) and orange juice. Surprisingly good!

        1. Cath in Canada*

          I haven’t seen those here – just red eyes (beer + tomato or clamato juice). I have not been tempted…

          Oh, and I also forgot the third cocktail – apricot wheat beer with bellini slush on top. Not as good as the other two, but not bad.

    4. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      That blue velvet sounds pretty good! I used to hate Guinness, but then I had one of those bombs where you drop a shot of Irish cream in a Guinness and chug, and it was really good!

      And I love love love Blue Curaçao. Blue Drink, which I think normal people call a Blue Motorcycle, is a dangerous but downright delicious drink, which I don’t order nearly often enough (I guess because it’s a one-and-you’re-done kind of drink).

    5. Vancouver Reader*

      We bought a cocktail book which we love. One of the best (and most caloric) drinks we like from it is called Silk Stocking. Tequila, creme de cacao, cream and grenadine.

    6. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      I’ve been making whisky sours lately. Not crazy, maybe, but tasty!

      * 1/2 cup whisky (your choice)
      * 1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is best!)
      * 1/4 cup lime juice (ditto)
      * 1/3 cup sugar syrup
      * 1 egg white

      Shake in a cocktail shaker, first without ice, then add ice and shake again. (Shaking without ice first helps the egg white froth more.) Pour into glasses and add a maraschino cherry. Makes something between 2 and 3 drinks, depending on the size of your glasses.

  48. BRR*

    Any tips on academic writing. I’m working on my thesis but I’ve been working a full-time job the past year and it’s hard for me to get back to academic writing. Namely I am a brief writer, but a 20 page thesis is generally frowned upon.

      1. BRR*

        In my program it’s only about 50 pages. Broadly speaking it’s about fundraising in the arts.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          Well, the cheap answer is block quotes. I padded many a paper with those in college. Otherwise, I suggest using the journalist’s method: collect WAY more information than you need or will use. Throw in a section about the burgeoning art of social media fundraising. Include a section that is a case-study of a specific organization, maybe? But ultimately, if your thesis can be written in 20 pages and be a good argument for the topic, then I think it either should remain 20 pages or should be a different topic. :)

            1. Ruffingit*

              My thesis was helped tremendously by a ton of history on the topic I wrote about. I got several pages out of explaining the back story. Maybe that will help you.

    1. Rana*

      Oh, ugh, don’t overquote. It’s annoying.

      The best rule of thumb is to imagine someone both nitpicky and a little dim reading your proposal. So you’re going to want a lot of specific examples and what I call signposting (“In this section I’m going to talk about X, Y, and Z in order to… As you can see, X here relates back to my central claim in these ways… Y confirms that X isn’t a fluke… Z relates to X and Y and the claim in this fashion… Now, having looked at X, Y, and Z, it can be shown that…”).

      I agree with Kimberlee about the page/topic issue. If you’re coming up short, you’re either not explaining things in sufficient detail (maybe by assuming greater knowledge on the part of your readers, or assuming that they can follow your train of thought without signposting), or the topic’s just not a 50-page topic. If you’re struggling to reach the page count, that’s a sign to either open up the topic to include related ones, or pick a new topic.

      1. Rana*

        Actually, coming back to the quoting thing… my general rule of thumb is that most quotations rarely stand on their own well. So if you’re using them, expect to spend at least as much space explaining them and their significance. So a one-paragraph quotation should warrant at least a paragraph’s discussion, for example.

      2. BRR*

        Ahh thanks for the advice.

        My topic is good, I just suck at writing long things and combine that with two years now of writing at work where we have a template where I just look the information up and fill it in.

    2. KrisL*

      One tip for writing in general – you’re going to get good ideas sometimes when you’re not at a place where you can sit down and really do much with the idea. Keep a pen and paper with you as much as possible so that you can at least scribble down the basic idea. Or just use your smart phone for this.

      If you are somewhere where you’re waiting for something and have a free hand or 2, start thinking about and maybe writing down what you want to write. Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t sound polished. Just get it down. You can polish it later.

  49. anon*

    I look younger than I am. People ask which high school I go to. I wouldn’t care if this didn’t also happen at work. Help?

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      If you are male, I recommend some facial hair. Everyone looks older with facial hair.

      If you are female, try aging up your makeup? A darker but muted lip, neutral shadows, etc.

      And, I suppose, enjoy it while you can!

      1. anon*

        Female, and that’s a good idea. I usually don’t wear makeup, but a little bit wouldn’t hurt.

        I’m enjoying it, but I would like to be taken seriously, too, haha.

        1. Rana*

          Consider things like your hairstyle and jewelry, too. To be honest, I find that a lot of people are really shitty at telling people’s ages, and rely on those sorts of cues more than they realize. (Says the person who was mistaken both for a 17-year-old and a person in her 40s in the same week… when I was in my early 30s.)

          1. Noah*

            That’s a really good point. I was carded buying alcohol recently for the first time in years and I’m 30. I was laughing about it when a friend mentioned I was wearing cargo shorts, a tshirt, and flip flops and looked like a college student with a clean shaven face and my hair spiked up that day.

          2. Mimmy*

            I remember when my husband and I were flying to visit a friend in Chicago, I got carded buying a drink; my theory is that the flight attendant mistook my husband and the woman next to us–who we’d never met–for my parents!! (I don’t think she came out and actually said that, but that’s my hunch).

        2. Felicia*

          I think leaving your hair down if it’s long makes people think you’re younger sometimes. Though my hair’s always up and people still think i’m in highschool. My mom is 50 and most people guess she’s 35, and my female cousin who’s 35 often people assume she’s about 22 (they think she’s just about to graduate college). So it’s a bit genetic. My mom and cousin like it

    2. Felicia*

      I have the same problem! Possibly because I’m really short and have a naturally round face, which are both things I can’t help. The make up thing does work, I just personally don’t like it so I hate that I have to do it while others don’t

    3. KrisL*

      Smile and say “Thank you. I hope I still get carded into my 30’s!”. The more pleased you act when they think you’re young, the more mature you’ll seem.

    4. Hummingbird*

      You have good genes. You’d be happy to hear it when you’re 40. At least that’s what my mom tells me.

    5. Diet Coke Addict*

      Makeup and hair can go a long way towards the way people “read” your age, along with clothes. Try professional-style makeup (Bobbi Brown is particularly good for looking clean but not made-up, and Clinique is very good at introductory makeup and basics) that stays away from bright colours and looking overly “done.” Ditto with hair–do you wear it long, loose, or messy? Something shorter or more kept-looking will generally read as more professional, or a bun for work. As for clothes, if you do a search here on AAM for “clothes”, the comments section in some clothing-related questions are real treasure troves for professional-type clothing that won’t break the bank .

      Good luck!

  50. BRR*

    Another question, some kids (around ten years old) in my neighborhood have developed a game of screaming when they see me. I never did anything, they’re just playing a game but it’s terribly annoying plus I’d rather onlookers not see a group of children scream when they see me. Any thoughts on how to handle this? They typically also run away so I can’t ask them to stop and I’m not sure who their parents are because my first through was just approach the parent and let them know.

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Hmmm. I think this is a situation where I’d advocate letting it go. They’ll find it hilarious for a few days/weeks, but I seriously doubt it will last much longer. And it becomes much, much more fun when they start getting a reaction out of it, so I say don’t give them one!

      Though, I guess if it’s been happening for like 3 months already, I have no idea what the best course of action is. :)

      1. BRR*

        The story progresses. They were in my apt building’s hallway earlier and somehow managed to drop buffalo chicken everywhere. I moved it in front of their door (you can skip the preaching, I know I should be more mature). Well the chicken managed to make it’s way right in front of my door. I went out and picked it up and one of the kids watched while I gave her a stare down. She looked like she was knew she did something wrong so I’m hoping it’s over now.

        1. Jamie*

          So you know where they live now, because of the chicken?

          Yeah, if it happens again I’d be a knockin’ on the door in search of a grown up.

          I have to say that whole 8-11 phase is my least favorite phase of childhood. At that age we’d put KISS make up on and stand on the corner and yell at cars.

          Kids of all ages have issues, but babies and toddlers you understand why they act up, ditto understanding the angst of adolescence. It’s not always fun but it makes sense. The whole 8-11 think is just the wtf stage – because it’s just weird for the sake of it.

          In your shoes I’d be very tempted to scream right back, and back away quickly as of terrified and fleeing certain danger. Let their parents reimburse you for all the groceries you drop in fear.

          Actually I startle so easily they’d never stop since I would jump and drop crap every time.

          1. BRR*

            Very long story short I think at least one of the three either lives there or is visiting family in this specific apartment. It’s this awful stage where they’re not quite children but not quite teenagers (at times you might be able to talk to teenagers like adults). I’m not good with children so I was hoping to figure out the way to handle this.

            I figure next time I’ll ask them why they do it and go from there or tell them to stop it. And of course in my head this has escalated to world war 3.

            1. Jamie*

              You won’t get a rational answer to why – I would bet 17 pay checks they don’t even know why they do this.

              I feel for you, this would be Wwiii in my head, too.

        2. Vancouver Reader*

          I think you find the voodoo lady to put a curse on them. You have the chicken bits already, why not put it to good use?

  51. Choxie*

    Should I be upset that my boyfriend of 2 years didn’t get me anything for my birthday this week?

    We both had a lot of unexpected stuff/stress/busyness that came up this week (my car died and is the shop; he had to end up buying a new car unexpectedly and is in the middle of out-of-state job hunt plus traveling). He normally gives fantastic and thoughtful gifts so I’m not sure what happened.

    I’m really trying hard not to be too upset because a.) it’s isolated incident type of thing and b.) I believe it honestly just slipped his mind until the day of.

    1. BRR*

      Did he acknowledge it at all? If he makes it up to you I wouldn’t let it bother you. Also you mentioned a job hunt and a new car. If he can’t afford to get you anything it sucks but it’s understandable.

      1. Choxie*

        He absolutely acknowledged it. We are currently long-distance but he drove up here to attend a party my friends threw me. He didn’t even get to stay for 24 hours because of his work schedule. It was really important to me that he be at the party, so it meant a lot to me that he made it. :)

        1. BRR*

          Well if he didn’t acknowledge not getting you a present I would just ask him why in a non confrontational manner. I know others would say let it go but I know for me it means a great deal because it’s the one time a year I get something as a surprise.

        2. Jamie*

          I think that’s huge that he made it – I personally wouldn’t bring it up because if it was due to money issues it could embarrass him. His effort to be with you means more than anything you could have unwrapped.

          1. Nina*

            I agree. Since he usually has great gifts for you, I’m thinking he’s bummed if he can’t afford to do that now. He made the trip to see you, so regarding the gift, I would let it go.

            1. Ruffingit*

              Totally agreed. He made the effort to drive up even though he’s in the midst of a ton of crap right now. Let it go and be grateful for the effort he was able to make.

  52. Shell*

    Brief rant:

    I do not have the mental capacity or patience to deal with computer troubles today, and maybe not for the next five or six weeks. I just do not. Why I am the resident IT substitute for this household is beyond me. My background is in chemistry, with chemicals and Erlenmeyer flasks damn it. Aaaaaaagh.

    My parents always find super creative ways to break their freakin’ PCs.

    Jamie and all the other IT folks out there, I salute you for your patience.

    1. BRR*

      I’ve been having a battle with the person in charge of our office intranet and things not being protected. I always go this is open, anybody can edit it. She responds that it would be difficult to due unintentionally. Then I think of what my parents of accidentally done to their equipment.

      1. Shell*

        My mother, who is hopeless with computers, once crashed her Windows so spectacularly that my manually regenerating her boot records off the Windows Recovery disks couldn’t even make it boot. It just died overnight according to her. I still can’t figure that one out.

        I keep telling my parents, “if you want to play around within the confines of a program, knock yourself out. You really can’t break MS Word by screwing with styles. But do not, do NOT, make any system changes without me. Do not download ANYTHING without my approval.”

        Somehow things still break even without them having admin access. Although my father has finally began to suspect “Windows alerts” that are actually malware windows in browsers masquerading as Windows alerts. Honestly, it’s less because he’s noticing the URL or suspicious signs and more because he’s been yelled at by me a few times so now when something goes wrong he just makes me look at it. Baby steps.

        Then my parents suggest I go into IT because “you’d be so good at it.” No, no I will not, saying I’m good at IT is an insult to real IT professionals everywhere. I’m just good at at googling and swearing into my Mickey’s fur instead of at people.

        1. BRR*

          That’s exactly my point when I bring this up. Some people who don’t know what they’re doing can somehow do more damage than people who do know what they’re doing.

        2. Nicole*

          I had to lock down my parents’ computer so they are unable to install programs because they were getting viruses and unintentionally installing all sorts of things like that annoying Ask Toolbar that comes with Flash. I also finally convinced them to use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer because it is less vulnerable. I then installed TeamViewer on their machine and mine so I can log into their computer remotely and help with little things until the next time I’m able to visit and help with the larger issues.

          1. Persephone Mulberry*

            Oh, part of me wants to do this because YAY not having to drive over to my parents’ house to fix things, but as it is I’ve finally got her trained not to call me unless its a crisis.

        3. Jamie*

          My first day as an IT the highest and most important of tptb gave me a dead laptop. He was cleaning out his computer and saw a bunch of folders he never uses and deleted them because they were clutter.

          It was the Windows folder.

          Do not underestimate what people can do accidentally.

        4. Vancouver Reader*

          You’re their go to person because you’re a university grad and therefore are way smarter than the average bear.

        5. Rebecca*

          OMG it took me YEARS to train my Mom to actually tell me what the Windows error box actually says! I can’t tell you how many times she’s called me, complaining that the computer is doing funny things, and this box popped up. Almost without fail, her answer to my question of “what did it say, Mom?” was “I don’t know. I just kept clicking the X’s and then I unplugged it”.

          Head to desk. I swear this is true.

          Fast forward to the present. Their old PC died, and they got a new PC with Windows 8. I thought I’d need a prescription for anti anxiety drugs, but surprisingly, nothing has happened yet, and it’s been over 6 months! My nearly 80 year old parents are adapting to Windows 8 better than I did!

          Oh, and my Mom thinks that getting 10 emails in one day is a lot, and that her computer will get full. LOL I get 10 emails every 15 minutes or less at work!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            My mom has a new laptop with Win 8 and of course it sounds like it has bloatware on it, and that she needs an adblocker. She complains that stuff keeps popping up and she’s going to take it back to the store. She won’t listen when we try to help her. If she wasn’t three hours away, I’d go take the damn thing and delete all the bloatware and lock it down tight and write instructions for her to handle the updates.

            She doesn’t do the internet. I’d love to have some way to get into it remotely so I could do stuff.

            1. Jamie*

              If you can get her to go to the library and use their wi-fi and install logmein you can just remote in and clear it up for her.

              One of the most useful things ever.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                She would never do that. She throws a fit every time she even has to check email. I think she thinks it’s too hard, which is bunk because she’s super smart and could learn it in about two seconds if she’d quit fighting it. But she has this pathological aversion to the internet.

                Next time I’m over there I’ll see if I can get that put on. Or have someone else do it. I just didn’t want her to go to the store and pay some stupid kid $60 to do something I could do for free. It’s too bad we’re three hours apart.

    2. Jamie*

      That’s so funny because i am so slow on addressing computer stuff at home. It’s like the shoemakers kids going barefoot.

      But I did an audit the other day where I audited a process of checking chemical composition of a solution and I was green with geeky jealousy. I want beakers – and things that change color. I picked the wrong field.

      1. Shell*

        The grad students at my school used to have beaker mugs. As in, they had lab-grade beakers brought to the in-house glassblower to add handles onto it.

        I was always kind of sad I didn’t buy one before I left.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I used to work in a materials testing lab–I was the receptionist, but sometimes people would bring in water samples to test after the lab personnel had already left. pH tests can’t wait, so they taught me how to do them. I would do it and write down the results.

        My favorite thing was the stir bar. I thought those things were hilarious.

    3. Windchime*

      I have relatives who think that I am the logical person to ask for help when their printer breaks or they get a blue screen of death. I am a database programmer and I know very little about either of those things; some people assume that if you have technical knowledge of any kind, you must be skilled at All Things Computer.

  53. Jamie*

    Okay so this isn’t work related, just a wtf that happened to come for that place I go to earn a living. :)

    So I got an email letting me know they were changing our external auditor because he was moving to a different area. Very happy for him, but bummed for us because he was great. Very fair and personality wise it was like they made him from an auditor kit. No sense of humor, not dour, but just didn’t get stuff…very pleasant and easy to work with but 100% work focused.

    If I have to spend 2 days glued to your side I appreciate it being centered only I work which is my wheelhouse as well.

    So the rep said of the new auditor that I will “love him” which was weird. That he had a big personality, a great laugh and is super tall.

    I did a double check on the email addy to see if I accidentally signed up for Match dot com.

    I’ve never exchanged banter or any kind of small talk with the rep who sent this to me, so it was a weird description. I wanted to ask her if he had dreamy eyes, but I restrained myself.

    One – a big personality in an auditor I’ll be joined at the hip with for 2 days – not usually a selling point for me. He called me to put a voice with a name (okay?) and …I need to get into training for small talk and laughing at puns – neither of which are my primary skills.

    Seriously, that description is weird right? I mean I only care if someone is super tall if I need something off a high shelf.

    I wonder how people describe me. She’s quiet but once you get to know her you’ll find she thinks she’s funny. And she’s highly alert, so try not to startle her!

    1. Shell*

      My description of you would include Hello Kitty somewhere. :) Probably by the assortment of HK things you have on your desk (at least I’m assuming you have it on your desk).

      I need to bring a Mickey to work…

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I would agree that’s a weird description. Makes me think he’s been ousted from other job sites because of his “big personality” and they just don’t know what to do with him.

      1. Jamie*

        I didn’t convey the tone right, she sounded kind of gushy about how wonderful he is. I’m now expecting Alex Van Halen to show up, proclaim his love for me, be crushed when I refuse to leave my husband for him…and then he’ll hand me a big box of money and a cupcake.

        Because that’s worth getting excited about!

        Come to think of it I have never noticed someone’s laugh unless it was obnoxious. I’ve heard that before about people, that so and so has a great laugh and that just isn’t on my radar as far cool things about people. Interesting how we all have different things we notice.

        Like hair isn’t an issue with me, I wouldn’t care if a guy was losing his hair or bald – it’s not sexy or unsexy to me – I don’t care either way. Kind of a waste that my husband still has a perfect head of hair and I wouldn’t even mind if he didn’t.

        I’m all about the eyes, shoulders, and masculine hands and voice. I couldn’t be with a guy who didn’t laugh, but I don’t care how they do it.

        1. Windchime*

          “Big Personality” and “great laugh” sounds like a way of saying he’s going to talk your leg off and be goofing around all day long. I hope I’m wrong about that, for your sake!

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I almost wonder if you could just say, “Oh, I hope not — I actually really loved how work-focused Bob was; I love working with people like that.” If it’s the kind of thing where they can assign you someone else and it’s not too late for it, maybe that would spur them to do it. If they care about such things — I realize they may not.

      1. Jamie*

        I thought about that, but this is a one off due to our former auditor dropping out so it was pretty tough for them to find anyone with an opening on our schedule.

        So if it’s not an optimal experience I’ll certainly request different for next time, but I don’t want to look like I’m auditor shopping without meeting him because that can make you look like you have something to hide.

        1. Ruffingit*

          It’s weird to me to mention someone is tall unless they are abnormally so as in they are 7 feet or taller so that they’d want to warn you in advance before you see the person. With the gushing you describe, I have to wonder if the woman on the phone has a crush on this guy.

  54. Jamie*

    Okay I have just done every bit of laundry except that which is in my daughters room. The rest of the house, not one more thing to wash.

    I have 42 unmatched socks. Just mine, not the kids or my husbands – just mine. 23 of which are HK socks (don’t judge me.). My daughter went through a phase which isn’t wholly over where she likes wearing mismatched socks and doesn’t really see it as theft when she takes mine out of the basket.

    Now one could say that she’s a decent young woman with a good heart. Kind, generous, works hard, goes to school…loves animals…but she’s clearly a criminal beyond hope for rehabilitation.

    It’s my new quest to steal my own socks back as she does laundry and then I’ll match them with my now hidden stash of whimsical hosiery.

    1. Windchime*

      I’m an admitted laundry theif. When he was a teenager, one of my boys bought a shirt at the thrift store that had a racy silhouette of a naked lady on it. I objected but he continued to wear it. One day, it mysteriously disappeared out of the dryer and ended up in the trash.

      Hey, things will go my way, one way or the other.

      1. Jamie*

        Oh, that’s funny but my husband has been looking for old ripped sweats and my sons have both had gross shirts go missing.

        I don’t know what could have happened – I’m usually so very careful about that kind of thing. ;)

        Sometimes we have to save people from themselves. Oh and my socks – are now in an extra gunbox under lock and key. Along with the nail clippers and tweezers that vanish if left out.

        They wouldn’t steal money ever, but apparently leaving me without means to keep toenails and eyebrows under control is just fine. I should punish them by sporting untrimmed nails and ill divined arches. That’ll show ’em.

    2. Reader*