Sunday free-for-all – July 27, 2014

OliveIt’s the Sunday free-for-all.

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.

{ 884 comments… read them below }

  1. Al Lo*

    Happy summer Sunday!

    I’m just coming out of a 3-week stretch of “normal” work hours (9-5), and I’m so not used to my alarm going off at 7:30. Tomorrow is the first day in 3 weeks that I don’t have to be out of the house at any particular time, and I’m so looking forward to it — and to getting back to my normal work hours (rolling into the office around 11) on Monday.

  2. BRR*

    Has anybody been to Costa Rica? I’m thinking of visiting. I found a nice hotel near the Arenal volcano area.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I stayed there, in a hotel close to the base of the Arenal volcano. It was beautiful, and at night you could hear monkeys and the volcano rumbling. The closest town was La Fortuna, which was small but interesting, but the main thing in that area is the nature.

      Also, there’s a drink there called Cas which I was obsessed with and haven’t been able to find in the U.S. If you go, please find out what it is and report back to me. It’s been driving me crazy ever since.

      1. patty*

        It’s been a few years. But we took a river boat trip down the Tortugero River – the guide was amazing in being able to see wildlife along the way. We stayed in cabins perched high in a rain forest with spider monkeys right outside. I highly recommend Thorn Tree forum on Lonely planet to do research on specific spots.
        Allison, Cas is from Guava , yes?

        1. N.J.*

          Based on a quick Google search it looks like cas is a small green fruit in the guava family. The drink seems to be made from the fruit of the same name. Also referred to as a Costa Rican guava., but not the same thing as a guava.

      2. BRR*

        Sounds like you stayed in the same hotel I found. I’ll bring back cas for all!

        Thanks everybody for your responses. The reviews for everything I found online were plentiful and positive but I just like get information from more than one place. I can’t wait to go now except the trip isn’t planned for awhile

        1. dawbs*

          A day late, but we spent a week+ in the guanacaste region a year or 2 ago and it was divine.

          We spent a day here: http://www.buenavistalodgecr.com/thelodge.html

          ANd it was amazing (locally grown food, awesome canopy zipline with incredibly wonderful guides, mud bath, hot springs pool)–except the water slide (which I opted out of, but the rest of my family did), which was terrifying, death defying, and everyone came out with bruises. I’d skip the water slide)

    2. evilintraining*

      It’s also a great place for stargazing. You’re close enough to the equator to see Southern Hemisphere constellations, like the Southern Cross, between December and April.

    3. KJR*

      My daughter just returned from a trip there with the high school Spanish club. She said it was the best 9 days of her life, and she plans to return someday for another visit. She fell in love with the culture, the people and its beauty. And boy, did she LOVE those monkeys!

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        My daughter went last summer for a STEM trip and a colleague went this summer just because, and both came back with glowing reports.

    4. Purr purr purr*

      Yeah, I was there for three weeks overlanding. Arenal is nice and so is La Fortuna (definitely go to the waterfall!) but there’s not a huge lot of things to do in that area if you’re not a nature lover; if you are a nature lover then you’re all set! There’s so many great places in Costa Rica though – Monteverde, Manual Antonio, Tortuguero. If I was a millionaire, that’s where I’d buy my holiday home.

      1. Emm*

        Arenal is no longer an active volcano, so you might just want to head to the beach somewhere. Manuel Antonio park is nice, as is the Nicoya Peninsula. More rustic,but beautiful. Try Play Cielo in Santa Teresa, you will not be disappointed!

      2. Lore*

        If you have time to spend one night in Monteverde, there’s a boat trip–I think they call it “taxi-boat-taxi” or “jeep-boat-jeep” that’s an awesome way to travel between Monteverde and Arenal. It’s two shortish legs in a jeep or minibus and a ferry across Lake Arenal. Because both areas are pretty high in mountains, if you don’t go across the lake it’s about 8-hour drive, but the ferry/jeep route is about 3 if I remember correctly. Still perhaps a bit long to do as a day trip, but if you have a night you can spare, Monteverde is pretty cool. I don’t know if this is still true, but a few years ago, you could actually reserve rooms in the forest preserve itself (they’re technically for visiting scientists but between major expeditions they would let anyone book) for very, very little money. They’re not at all glamorous–dorm-style–but meals are included and you can’t beat the proximity to the nature.

    5. Sarah*

      I’ve been and loved it. I stayed along the Pacific coast, but the locations probably aren’t the best unless you’re there for surfing (Matapalo – gorgeous unspoiled beach, Dominical – funky surf town). I also did a lot of stupid stuff and never wound up unsafe. Theft, however, is rampant. You really can’t be too careful about it and people will steal things you never even thought of as a target. (For ex, I had cheap rubber flip flops stolen off the beach while in the water. Not a financial hit for me but it was painful to get back to my hotel room. Also had someone steal my wallet off the bed in a hotel room by breaking a window and reaching through the hole. Luckily I had multiple wallets with an ATM card in each of them – I knew others who didn’t take that precaution and wound up SOL.)

      For beaches, the Caribbean side has clearer waters but also some more safety issues.

      1. TootseaRoll*

        I’ve been to Costa Rica back in 2008! It was absolutely beautiful! I stayed all the county! My favorite was on the Pacific Coast in Guanacaste and I stayed at Villas de Sol. There were black sand beaches private island and I watched the sun set in 7 minutes! I also stayed at a hotel near the base of the Arenal Volcanoe (Hotel Arenal Manoa ). Even at night it was breathtaking. We also visited the Baldi Hostsprings!

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Saving these comments for future reference, ha. We had a customer at Exjob from Costa Rica. We talked about it a little and she said I should definitely get there sometime. :)

      1. BRR*

        I had seen it on a lot of lists and finally decided to actually look into it. It’s now our #1 choice for a honeymoon but we have to wait :(. After 20+ pages of trip advisors reviews I want to leave tonight.

    7. Weasel007*

      I want to go too, but I’m scared of velociraptors (jurrasic park: they are crafty) and large spiders.

  3. Ali*

    I cannot seem to stop getting hurt lately. Nothing major or anything like that, but for a while I’ve had nagging sciatica-type pain on my right side. That’s finally starting to go away, and then last night, I twisted the wrong way and pulled something in my shoulder so now even sitting up I can feel the discomfort.

    I’m gonna be staying at my sister’s in New York City in a few weeks and I considered using the gym near her place and keeping up running. Now I want to just set my calories to my maintenance weight and give my body a rest, save for some walking.

    The silver lining is that I dropped under 200 pounds this week! I realized I was snacking too much and having stuff I didn’t really need, so I cut back on a lot of that and boom, one pound gone. Can’t believe it took me so long to figure out though!

    1. Nina*

      Congrats about the weight loss! It’s really easy to snack when you’re bored or something and it adds up.

      Although I initially read that as “I dropped 200 pounds this week!” which just left me alarmed. Reading is fundamental.

        1. Fish Microwaver*

          Add me to the “dropped 200 pounds” club too. Congratulations on sticking to your program and making changes.

          1. Ali*

            Haha I realized I should’ve said “my weight dropped out of the 200s this week.” But that’s what I get for typing really fast at midnight before my comment got buried. Ah well.

            1. De Minimis*

              Congratulations! I’m hoping to try and reach that milestone over the next year or so.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Congrats, Ali! good work on that!

      When I dropped my weight- I found it to be a huge journey. Part of it was just as you are saying- pain here and pain there. One pain would go away and a new one would crop up. Now, I believe that it is just my body processing what it needs to process in light of the changes I made. But, yeah, it was not fun. At all. Hang tough!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Fifty pounds and seven sizes. I put on muscle so I had to adjust my thinking that scale was never going to say 130 pounds. NEVER. I had to go with weight is a number, that is it. I was happy with the size I got to and I was content with that reflection in the mirror. (I should say, it took me 20 years to do this. It was a siege.)

          But it took a lot longer to shake off that “fat person” feeling that I had. Not sure how to describe it, just an awkwardness I had, I guess. But the image of myself that I had in my head was of the old me. That was so weird.

    3. nep*

      Congratulations on your accomplishment.
      Sounds great to listen to your body and give it a chance to really rest — can do wonders.
      Good luck.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Ow, I hope it gets better soon. And that’s great about the pound! I’m going to pay more attention to my snacking. Perhaps that will give my efforts the boost they need.

  4. Ann Furthermore*

    My husband started our kitchen remodel today. I’m so, so, so happy! We’ve been living in this house for 2 years, and I absolutely love it, except for the kitchen. We agreed that we’d re-do the kitchen. It took everything I had to not nag him into oblivion about it. But it’s finally happening!

    1. Kerry*

      We’re about to start one too! Well, by which I mean ‘planning to start looking at new kitchens at some point soon’. Good luck with yours!

    2. GrumpyBoss*

      Enjoy! I have done 2 in the past 3 years (due to relocation). It disrupts your life for awhile, but I think they are a lot of fun! Not to mention the beautiful new kitchen that is waiting for you on the other side of it!

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Yay!!!
      I need to repaint and redo the floor and countertops. Other than that, my kitchen isn’t too bad. It’s the bathroom that is horrific. Seriously, a gas station bathroom is better than mine. >_< I can't even have people over.

    4. Anna*

      We had to sort of burn down our kitchen to start the remodel, but I love it every time I go in and it’s been a year and a half. :)

  5. Laura*

    Anyone want to share any quick-and-easy recipes? Healthy is nice, but anything goes. Ethnic or otherwise non-mainstream would be awesome, but anything good / any resources you like?

    When I say quick and easy – I don’t care if it takes 8 hours in the slow cooker, for “quick”, I care about how much of a person’s time it uses…. :)

    1. Stephanie*

      I like grilling a chicken breasts with this spice rub: 2 Tbsp of ancho chile powder, 2 Tbsp of paprika, 1-2 Tbsp of dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of salt (more on that, later), 2 Tsp of dried oregano, a pinch of ground cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of canola oil (or other neutral oil), 1/4 cup chicken broth (or water). That recipe yields enough for about 2 lbs of meat and I pair the chicken breast with a salad or make it into a sandwich. You have to cook the chicken breasts on medium-low heat so you don’t get hockey pucks, but I can usually get them made in under 30 minutes (uh, assuming I remembered to defrost the chicken breasts).

      I got this recipe from A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss*. I’ll post the original article in a reply to this comment.

      *This is a good blog for those looking for healthy eating or exercise tips. The author lost like 150 lbs. Also, don’t worry about the URL, I think she just picked it as it was available. She does go into weight loss and exercise and it relates to gender and race on occasion, but it’s definitely accessible if you’re neither black nor female.

        1. CC*

          I’ll have to give that a try. I love spice rubs — though I’ve usually done dry rubs, then cooked them on the BBQ.

          Probably on chicken thighs though.

    2. Sarah*

      I cannot find the original recipe I used to make this, but it’s quick, healthy, and unconventional. Basically you sautee some onions, add a can of diced tomatoes, then add a very large glob of peanut butter. Stir that into a sauce and then you cook some kale in it for a few minutes. You can also throw in cilantro or whatever spices you have. Sounds odd, but it’s good. I like to eat it over quinoa with some skillet-cooked tofu.

      1. Laura*

        It does sound odd. I’ll have to try it! Some things are so odd I have to wonder who first tried them, and yet they turn out to be delicious….

        1. Lore*

          There’s a very simple version of that peanut stew in the Moosewood “cooks at home” cookbook–sauteed onions and a bit of garlic, a can of pineapple, peanut butter, chili paste (or Tabasco, but I like sambal or Sriracha), and a mess of kale or chard or whatever (and I think cilantro at the end?). Can easily have a protein added–I’ve done it with chicken, shrimp, and tofu.

      2. A. D. Kay*

        Sounds amazing! I guess the peanut butter should be the natural kind, peanuts + salt only? You can tell the people to whom cooking is second nature, because they use highly technical terms like “glob.” :)

    3. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      One of my favorite meals is Aidells (or similar) sausages cut up and sautéed with kale, diced tomatoes, bell peppers… Or like whatever veggies you have lying around and need to get rid of. I add a sauce of some kind, again whatever you need to get rid of, and bam, super healthy dinner,

      My favorite additions saucewise are pesto, sofrito, recaito, or occasionally marinara.

      But seriously, if you’re into fast and easy, if you haven’t discovered Sofrito or Recaito, get on it. They taste like Mexican magic and are pretty healthy/minimally processed.

      1. One of the Annes*

        Thanks for the info about the sauces; I am so going to try these this week.

    4. GH*

      I have always loved the 60-Minute Gourmet recipes in the New York Times. I have a book of them. I wonder if they’re online…

      1. Laura*

        I will have to poke around a bit. Alas, neither of my libraries has the book – that would’ve been the easy way out. :) Thank you, I’ll see if I can find them!

    5. Diet Coke Addict*

      I make dragon noodles all the time–I don’t remember where they came from, but they’re dirt cheap, easy, and quick.

      Cook some good thick noodles–I like udon noodles, but lo mein is also good–according to the directions, and drain it. Make a sauce of 1 tbsp sriracha sauce, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and 1 tbsp brown sugar. In a wok or pan, scramble an egg in a tablespoon or two of butter with a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, until it’s mostly cooked. Then put in the noodles and the sauce, cook for another few minutes until the sauce is absorbed and there’s no liquid left. Top off with some cilantro or chopped green onions if you have them on hand.

      Very simple, very quick, delicious–tastes just like take-out.

        1. CCT*

          I’m pretty sure the dragon noodles recipe you just gave comes from Budget Bytes (.com)! That site has tons of easy and delicious recipes that are also really affordable! I highly recommend it. Banh mi bowls are one of my favorites, but I usually substitute the meatballs for some of the Budget Bytes’ slow cooked beef recipe.

          1. Diet Coke Addict*

            Yes, that sounds very familiar! That must be it. Because I remember making it and being slightly confused at how the author described it as “burn your stomach out” hot, when to me it felt…you know, spicy, but hardly something to kill you with! Anyway, very tasty. Also easy to toss in some chicken or tofu or beef or something to beef it up a bit.

    6. Anonyby*

      I find this to be quick and yummy, though I leave out the dried mangos:

      http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mango-Salsa-Couscous/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=salsa%20couscous&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page&soid=sr_results_p1i1

      Recently I’ve also started making shell-less taco salads for myself. A big bowl, pre-washed greens from the store, half of a can of refried beans that I heat up in the microwave, shredded cheese, salsa, and a bit of the storebought guacamole. Delicious, and doesn’t heat up the house to make!

    7. Liane*

      We make this stir-fry usually once a week:
      1/2 bag (58 ounce) Birdseye Teriyaki or Oriental Stir-fry Vegetables
      1 to 1.5 lbs (approx) meat. We use cooked frozen shrimp, hamburger, ground pork or chunk (“stew”) pork or beef. Chicken is fine too.
      1 of the 2 sauce packets from vegetables, or your favorite sauce.
      Cook the meat & drain well while microwaving vegetables, in loosely-covered large bowl for about 5-6 minutes.
      Add meat & sauce to vegetables. Microwave covered another 5 minutes.
      Serve with white or brown rice, crunchy oriental noodles & extra sauce.

    8. Stephanie*

      Oh! I also like to do a Spanish tortilla with potato chips (in lieu of chopped potatoes) as a quick meal. It’s basically an omelet. There are about 48169 different recipes for one and debates as to whether it should contain anything more than potatoes and onions, so I would just Google to find a good recipe.

      1. Annie*

        My favorite quick dinner is using whatever protein you have on hand and making a quick peanut sauce with sauteed veggies and either regular pasta or ramen noodles.
        I used add a heaping tablespoon (from the silverware drawer) of peanut butter to a pan (usually what I have cooked the veggies & protein) on high/medium high. Then I add about 1 tsp of soy sauce and teriyaki sauce to the pan and wisk(with a fork or wisk) it together. Once the PB is melted and the soy & teriyaki is incorporated I add ginger (any kind- fresh, powdered, or paste), Siracha & garlic powder or minced garlic (we get the giant jar of it) until this is incorporated. I add coconut milk and the appropriate stock (to match the protein), to thin it out, I whisk it until its the consistency I like. (I like it to coat everything thickly like the melted peanut butter by itself.) It takes about 5-10 minutes tops and then its just making the rest of things as you like.

    9. Ellie H*

      This is not really a recipe, but one of my favorite super quick super healthy meals is to steam half to two two-thirds a thing of spinach (the pre-washed kind in the smaller box, not the giant box) by putting in a small pot you’ve just boiled a couple tablespoons of water in and covered until it’s steamed, and meanwhile cook two (or three) eggs over easy in olive oil (or butter, I guess). When they are done, drain the spinach and put on a plate, then put the eggs on top of it, add a little more olive oil if you want, and a lot of pepper, hot pepper and some salt. Optional, a few sprinkles of parmesan cheese or I guess any cheese. I like to serve with chopped up tomatoes if I have them and sometimes with lemon wedges. You can break the yolks when you put it over the spinach or when you cut into them with a fork. That’s for one person, obviously but I love it and it takes about ten minutes.

  6. Ask a Manager* Post author

    We’re planning to debut the site updates late Thursday, so the site will be offline for an hour or two late in the day then. When it comes back, you’ll (hopefully) see expandable/collapsible comments, a slightly new layout, and some other minor changes.

    1. Jerry Vandesic*

      I hope this update will provide for grouping comments by question number in the multi-question posts. That would significantly improve this site.

        1. Gene*

          Even if somehow implemented, that would only work if commenters put the question number first, or had some other way to indicate which question the comment commented on.

        2. Sarah*

          Would a possible solution be to divide the short. Pm knee ones so that each has their own post and comments?

    2. Ruffingit*

      Thank you Alison! I look forward to the changes and appreciate you implementing them.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Oh this is exciting/fun. One or two hours is not long at all, considering all that you are doing.

      If you get an idea of what time that will be on Thursday can you let us know when to check back for you? (Am thinking if padding the time- suppose you think it will be back at 2PM EST, then maybe tell us 2:30- 3 PM?)

    4. Lillie Lane*

      Thank goodness! Now I can scroll past the political screeds like the ones derailing yesterday’s post.

  7. Gene*

    Any other scuba divers here?

    Where do you dive?
    Currently Puget Sound

    How long have you been diving?
    Since 76, took a few decades off. About 300+/- dives.

    Favorite place you have dived?
    Great Barrier Reef.

    Goals for the future?
    Short term, Rescue Diver certification; long term, closed circuit rebreather.

    1. Laura*

      I got my open divers licence and loved it but sadly haven’t dived since. I did my diving near Fraser Island (Australia) but have nothing to compare it to. Is the sound worth diving? I’m around the area at the moment

      1. Gene*

        I think it’s some of the best cold water diving in the world. Biggest octopus in the world, more life than tropical waters, any depth you want is an easy shore dive.Hit me up at sspi ffy diver at gmail dot com (put it all together). I’ve been injured, but about ready to get back in the water and always looking for buddies.

    2. Liane*

      My family dives; in fact, my husband is a certified Divemaster. Our favorite is the Florida Keys, especially Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, where we honeymooned. Have also dove in assorted locales in Arkansas, mostly around the Hot Springs area.

    3. Ruffingit*

      Open water diver here. I’ve only ever done it in Mexico, which is also where I was certified, but I love it there.

      Where do you dive?
      Mexico

      How long have you been diving?
      Certified in Nov. 2011 so not quite three years.

      Favorite place you have dived?
      Only ever dived in Mexico, but love the reefs in Cozumel and the cenotes in Playa Del Carmen.

      Goals for the future?
      Dive more often! Also do another night dive. Been on one.

    4. Purr purr purr*

      Sort of, yes. I haven’t been diving recently because I lost my job and haven’t had the $$$. I started diving in 2012 and my favourite diving spot so far has been Utila Island in Honduras; it seems to be a reasonably well-kept secret (or maybe it’s just too much of a pain to get to!) Goals for the future are to get my Rescue Diver, Dry Suit, Altitude Diver and maybe Enriched Air certifications.

    5. Hattie McDoogal*

      I’m a diver, though my current lack of funds (and lack of free weekends) means I haven’t been in over a year.

      Where do you dive?
      Most of it has been done in coastal British Columbia, which is not my preference (I’m not fond of drysuits) but it’s where I live. I got certified in Thailand and dove there a fair bit, and did Cuba last year.

      How long have you been diving?
      About 4 years.

      Favorite place you have dived?
      Gulf of Thailand.

      Goals for the future?
      Rescue diver for sure. It’s been a plan for the last year or so but keeps getting postponed (I’m putting it off right now because of the algal blooms). Long-term (and fairly silly) goal is to be one of the volunteer divers who clean the tank and such at the local aquarium.

    6. CC*

      I dive, but lack of a dive buddy has restricted me to paying for organized group dives that allow single-sign-ups only. Haven’t gone in ages. I learned in 1998. Most of my diving has been cold water (BC) but I have visited the Great Barrier Reef and the Gulf of Mexico. (I should have passed on the wetsuit entirely for the Gulf. It was bathwater warm.) Goals for the future… well, I’d like to dive more than once every few years.

  8. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

    Who’s watching the Commonwealth Games? Fourteen medals for New Zealand, whoop whoop!

    1. Laura*

      I’m not watching (no TV where I am currently) but i jut checked the tally. I’m Australian, so it’s looking good to me :)

    2. en pointe*

      Been watching a little bit. I like when they show the scenery as well. Scotland looks beautiful.

  9. en pointe*

    Hope everyone’s having a lovely Sunday.

    Due to a friend having to go interstate with no notice and a lack of other options, I am currently sharing my couch with a tabby cat named George. I don’t like cats, but I have to say this one might be winning me over. We’ve had since last night to get to know one another, and so far I’ve discovered his hobbies include watching Margot Fonteyn dance Giselle and watching highlights of Test cricket.

    So, to the cat people, and I know there’s no shortage of you guys around here, any tips for a first time cat-sitter? I already have a dog, Uliwa (small – see my Gravatar), who is gentle and always friendly with other dogs, but he’s never been around cats before so I’ve kept them separated for now. I don’t know whether I can attempt to socialise them or if it would be wiser to just stay away from that road, considering I don’t know how long I’ll have George for? Has anyone brought a cat into a house with a dog? How did you do it / how long did it take?

    The other thing is, George is pretty fat, bigger than Uliwa, and the amount my friend told me to feed him is pretty ridiculous. Like that cat eats more than I do. Cat owners, can I feed the cat less while I have him or is that bad etiquette, and I should just do as instructed? (Bearing in mind I told my friend her cat would live like royalty, and I won’t be contacting her to ask because she has her mind on family stuff at the moment.) I’d really appreciate any advice!

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      I’ve had cats and dogs together my whole life and have never had a problem. In fact, I currently own a border collie who is pretty sure she is really just a 60lb cat! She is a fantastic foster mom to kittens.

      When bringing a new cat into a house with the dog, I just put the cat in the litter box and walk away. He will wonder and explore the house – including the dog – at his own pace. Sounds like you may beyond that point, so just put the two together in a room, but be prepared to remove the dog if he shows aggression. I find that the animals tend to pick up on your body language. If you are nervous, they’ll respond accordingly. If you are relaxed, act like there is nothing to see here, they will be more comfortable around each other.

      1. en pointe*

        Thanks for the advice, but it’s kind of already been implemented for me. Played scrabble with my neighbour for an hour earlier, and my mother let the dog into the living room, despite my specifically and politely asking her not to. So I asked how they reacted to each other, and she was pretty much like ‘I can’t be bothered to talk to you’, and I was like ‘thanks mum’.

        Anyway, that doesn’t matter now because there has been no blood shed. They’re currently on opposite sides of the room not really paying much attention to each other. But when I fed George (cat), Uliwa (dog) was sniffing around his food heaps, so I just tried to keep him away, he’s a pretty old and gentle rescue.

        It’s obviously pretty early to tell, but as long as there’s no conflict over food, I think they might just leave each other alone. Probably for the best if I can manage to have them tolerating each other anyway, because I don’t usually spend so much time at home. Bailed on my friends to try and watch how the cat settles in, and still failed at keeping them separate! Thanks again.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think you should feed her according to your friend’s instructions. That’s really her call, and there could be good reason for it. At the very least, I wouldn’t change it without explicitly clearing it with her, especially since you’re new to cat care!

      1. kris*

        I agree with AAM. Don’t change the kitty’s food without checking first.

        Be careful if you introduce the cat and dog.

      2. en pointe*

        I feel like Olive up there is telling me I better do what her mum says :)

        Seriously though, I think you’re right that it’s her call, and I may not know all the details. I am going to feed her the amount I was shown. I just wish she wasn’t almost out of food; this is going to cost me a bloody fortune!

        Thanks for the advice.

        1. en pointe*

          Feed him, rather. I am mixing up my friend and her cat. George is pretty protective of his food actually, just swiped his paw at my dog for sniffing around it again. I think I’ll have to try moving it somewhere else.

        2. kris*

          I’m surprised the person who owns the cat didn’t bring enough food or offer to reimburse you for the food. When someone watches my cats, I make sure to have plenty of food for them.

          1. en pointe*

            Oh, I’m sure she would have if it was a planned thing. But it was a ‘I have to get on a plane, WTF do I do with my cat?’ thing. And her family are housos so they’re not even technically allowed to have the cat anyway.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I have brought three new cats into my house with a dog already in residence. I watch it closely. And if I am not home I separate the two of them until I return.

      My biggest concern was that they would start fighting. And, of course, putting your hands into that fight means risk of injury. I kept a spritzer of water handy. I would tell them NO, once. If they did not stop what they were doing, I would squirt them. (Okay, I would squirt the one who was the most of out line.)

      It quickly got to the point that all they had to do was see the spritzer in my hand and the petty stuff would stop.
      Make sure the cat has comfy places that he can get away from the dog for down time.

      1. Sarah*

        I have a cat, and am currently watching my brother and sister-in-law’s Collie. The Collie, Sierra, wants to be friends with my cat, Jack, so bad that she can’t stand it. Jack wants nothing to do with her. However, he just kind of ignores her or tends to steer clear of her. No hissing, swatting, or fighting. I was never worried about Sierra, but Jack seems to think he rules the house.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          Ha, this is what I deal with. I have a pit bull mix and two cats. The dog really wants to sniff and lick the cats, and they hate her. She’s gotten a few good swipes across the face for invading their personal (felinal?) space.

    4. Lynn*

      My cats and dog are friends BUT I would not mix your dog with the friend’s cat- you just don’t know. It’s not worth the risk.

    5. Windchime*

      My cat is an only pet, but my sister sometimes brings her little dog over to play. We left the leash on the dog for the first couple of trips, because we wanted to be able to quickly separate the two if there was trouble.

      They get along fine now. My cat tolerates the dog, who keeps making friendly overtures. Kitty has a cat tree that he can climb if the dog starts to get too friendly; we also block the stairs with a baby gate which allows the cat to retreat upstairs if he’s had too much doggy love.

    6. Helka*

      Long-time cat owner, former combined cat & dog owner here, introduced the dog to multiple cats over the years.

      Depending on how long George is going to be staying with you, introducing him and Uliwa is probably going to be saner for you than trying to keep them separated. The best way to sound this out is to do a “cracked-door” introduction — separate them with a door, and prop the door so it can’t be opened more than a couple inches, and stay to observe. This will let them sniff noses, paw at each other, and get used to the existence of the other animal without giving either one access to do more than swat (and there’s no possibility for lunging/aggression so it’s easy for the target to back away).

      That’ll let you assess whether further introduction will go well, or if they just need to stay separate for the whole time.

      As far as feeding goes — stick with what your friend told you. Number one, it’s good etiquette as a pet-sitter to follow the owner’s requests for care. There may be a very good reason for his diet. As well, it’s better for the comfort of the animal. Many cats can be extremely sensitive about what they eat, and George has already been dumped in a strange place full of strangers. Having his usual food in his usual quantities (or a bit extra, if he’s a comfort eater) is something that is normal and familiar for him, and that’s a big deal.

      If he needs to go on a diet, that is something for his owner and her vet to discuss another time; it isn’t your job to decide on.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      Best: Booked a plane ticket today for a high school reunion weekend in a few weeks. So excited!

      Worst: My 5 year old is going through a very unpleasant phase. She’s always been very stubborn and willful, but lately it has been really bad. Mostly it’s along the lines of throwing a major tantrum when she’s told “no” for any reason. My husband and I have adopted a zero tolerance policy, and now she’s either sent to her room, or straight to bed if it’s later. Hoping this passes soon.

      1. Dan*

        Ha. A few of us got together with a friend who couldn’t get out of mommy-duty tonight. We got there just as she was putting the four-year-old to bed. The four year old Had. Other. Plans. Like. Seriously.

        I looked at the others and said, “I have no experience at this. I just tell the dog to go to bed, and he goes. Never a fuss.”

        There was an ensuing round of “this is a bit different” and “I think that was his point.”

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          Yes, it’s one of the joys of parenthood; you never know which child you’re going to be dealing with. Is it the sweet angelic cherub that makes your heart melt? Or is it the demon spawn whose head spins around like the girl in The Exorcist?

          A friend of mine just got back from a 2-week road trip with her daughters. Her oldest is about 11, and her youngest is my daughter’s age. I talked to her today and she said they had a great time and both kids were very good. I said that I didn’t think it would be a good idea for my daughter and I to be in the car for that amount of time right now.

          1. Dan*

            When I was growing up, my grandparents lived a nine-hour car ride from us (my parents, my brother, and me). When my brother and I got going, over the years, there were many threats of “If we have to pull the car over…” Well, they never finished the sentence and they never pulled the car over. To this day, I’m not quite sure what was actually going to happen.

            1. the gold digger*

              My husband sent his dad a father’s day card that showed the family in a station wagon with the dad threatening to pull the car over. I don’t remember what the punch line was, but my husband’s dad was really insulted and pissed and told my husband it was a “love/hate” card.

              1. My husband’s dad actually did turn the car around and go back home a few times
              2. My husband’s dad has absolutely no sense of humor and apparently thinks that Hallmark made up one card just for him.

              1. Windchime*

                We actually did pull the car over once when my oldest was about 7. We were on the way to the drive-in movie theater and he was misbehaving in some way (I don’t remember how). Well, after being warned he didn’t stop, so we actually turned the car around and headed home (per the warning). He had a huge meltdown so then-husband calmly pulled the car over at a grassy spot and asked son to please get out and finish throwing his fit on the grass; we would continue home when son was done.

                The poor kid quietly sobbed all the way home, but we didn’t really have to issue that threat ever again.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  Ha, we learned our lesson from actual follow-through. My mother would tell us to behave in the store and more than once, she left the cart and took us out. She stopped taking us after a while because we were so annoying. Meaning we got whatever snack SHE picked out for us, instead of what we were begging for, and it always turned out to be Nutter Butter cookies and green grapes. Every. Single. Time.

                  I’m over the grape thing, but to this day I can’t look a Nutter Butter in the face.

    2. Jen RO*

      Worst: new(ish) co-worker driving me nuts with his helpfulness. It’s not even something I can criticize – he’s genuinely trying to help, but most of the time he doesn’t understand the problem, and he keeps coming to my desk and standing behind me. I hatehatehate people staring into my monitor if they weren’t invited, and I hate it even more when it’s a person who is trying to help me against my will. Ughhh.

      Best: Filling in for the team lead on her 2-week holiday. Nothing went wrong and I wasn’t stressed, so maybe I can do it while she’s out on maternity leave too. Also, board games with my brother and his friends yesterday. I’m not a big fan of board games, but it was real fun.

      1. Ruffingit*

        UGH yeah, the unhelpful helper is always annoying especially when you’ve not asked for it.

    3. PuppyKat*

      Yaaaay, I love this part of the Sunday open thread!

      Best: A tie between meeting my newest great-niece, who is all of three weeks old, and my husband and I having dinner with a dear friend

      Worst: Extremely frustrated at work these days. I’m going to ask for assistance from the AaM community in Friday’s open thread.

    4. De (Germany)*

      Best : making progress on my pull-up and handstand training. Also, the gymnastic rings arrived. And I went to a social outing yesterday where I only knew one person and it was great.

      Worst : apparently missed my uncle’s birthday and felt like crap for it. Will need to send a card…

    5. evilintraining*

      Best: I’ve been at my current job for a few months. I send a report to my boss’s boss in Philadelphia every Monday via email. This week, she replied to me and said that she’s been hearing a lot of good things about my work. I do get feedback here, but it’s nice to know that my boss is sharing her thoughts with the big guns!

      Worst: I had to plant 15 ground cover plants in a kiddie pool to keep them alive because my husband wants me to wait to put them out front until after our retaining wall is repaired. He has recruited a work friend to do the wall, and only God knows when it will be done!

    6. Liane*

      Worst: Thursday and Friday at work. No one I would wish it on. Well except for Coworker From Hades Who Was Inexplicably Re-hired.

      Best: Book Daughter and I have both been wanting arrived Friday and she finished it las night! So it is my turn!
      Bonus: Threatening to read it first and then hold onto it motivated her to do chores with less delay. NO teen hates dishwasher and laundry room as much as she does. She’ll take out garbage voluntarily, but the rest. I don’t understand her…I know, I am not supposed to.

      1. Ali*

        Best: Finally figuring out what was causing my weight loss to stall and dropping a pound as a result of my new diligence. Also, seeing how some advice from a mentor really did work when I put it into action.

        Worst: Getting (teasingly) chastised that I should go to a dentist when I have a fear of doing so. Now I know I need to look for one but part of me doesn’t want to now that someone nagged me about it.

        1. Windchime*

          Ali, I used to have terrible dental fear and actually stopped going for several years because of that fear. Finally my teeth started to literally crumble out of my head because some of my huge, old fillings were falling apart. (I’m older than you and those fillings were many decades old).

          I actually researched “dental phobia” online and you would think it would have made me feel worse but it actually helped. So now I am able to go to the dentist with very little fear and anxiety (it helps that I take a xanax before I go, hahaha).

          I know what you mean about not wanting to go because someone told you that you should. I am that way, too.

          1. Ali*

            Oh I have fear too. I had cavities filled as a teenager and I got lectured by both my parents and the dentist for crying and being upset. The hygienist at that particular office was not nice either, but the assistant and the receptionist were, so at least there was that. I admittedly haven’t been to the dentist in several years, and I’m putting it off more b/c I hate the “you have to go” or “you should go” plus I fear getting a lecture from the dentist the way I did all those years back. Not to mention the toothpaste makes me gag and I have built-up worries like “What if I need work done and it costs me so much (think upwards of $10,000 like some people need) that I can never pay it off?” Just things like that. And yet I deal with people who nag me to go or be like oh it’s just the dentist. Yeah I’m pretty sure I’d rather have a pelvic exam…

      2. Jazzy Red*

        Dishes: “at least you don’t have to wash and dry them by hand”

        Laundry: “at least you don’t have to go down by the river and beat the clothes against the rocks”

        1. Jean*

          I use the Laundry line on myself but add to the end “…while bullets fly overhead because you’re in the middle of a civil war.”
          No disrespect intended for the horrible suffering of people _really_ living amidst warfare–I’m just trying to get myself to haul the washing down the hall & through the elevator ride to the laundry room! So far this method isn’t working.

      3. Graciosa*

        Not sure if this will help (and admitting you didn’t ask, so kind of intrusive on my part), but I hated those particular chores the most myself as a teenager because of the need to do them RIGHT NOW when it was time. If the buzzer for the laundry went off, I had to stop whatever I was doing that minute, and the dishes were similar (had to be loaded right after the meal and I always wanted to get to it “later”). I remember feeling like I could never do anything I wanted or have any time of my own just because of those chores.

        What my parents finally did (which I thought was brilliant in retrospect) was separate out the learning-to-take-care-of-yourself aspect of the chore from the contributing-to-the-running-of-the-house-you-live-in aspect. They told me I could switch from the chores I hated to others I didn’t really mind once I demonstrated that I could do the ones I disliked by performing them perfectly without any prompting for 30 days in a row (no excuses or exceptions).

        My perfect 30 day record of dishwashing started that day.

        1. Liane*

          Have to try the beating with rocks & warzone comments–thanks! And extra thanks for the 30 Days suggestion. Maybe I was subconsciously asking for help.
          The parts I can’t understand are Like To Take the Trash & the How Awful Doing These With a Clothes Dryer & Dish Washer parts. Because I spent my teens doing dishes with my hands & laundry with a washer & clothesline *because I was the only one around to do them & the rest of the housekeeping.*
          You see, as a teen my mom went her own way, leaving me & my Dad to run the house. He had this horrible idea–to Teenage Liane anyway–that since he was out all day running his own business that I should be doing 90% of the routine housekeeping. Especially since my school was on split sessions so I had the whole morning I could devote to it. Vacuuming, bedmaking, bathroom, laundry–but the dishes had to be done *right after* dinner.
          Now don’t get me wrong–I was not Cinder-Liane by any means. I had lots of time in those mornings to spend on the phone with my friends, play with my dog, and read. And Dad had a good enough crew of carpenters that he could leave jobsites most days in time to get cleaned up, relax a bit and make the most amazing homecooked meals by the time I got in around 6 at night. And he also did the tougher and non-routine tasks.
          So maybe it’s more 1–I think she has it easier & 2–her older brother is not so likely to use delaying tactics.

          PS: I think doing laundry–when you don’t have to haul it somewhere, I feel for you, Jean–is my favorite indoor chore. I find it’s the Ideal Chore for Internet-lovers. Between putting things in machines & taking them out you can get a lot of surfing done. But, I can’t fold clothes while playing on my desktop or iPad. Which is why I prefer Teens to do the folding. Hmm, is there some kind of iPad easel I can buy to solve this problem?

    7. Layla*

      BEST: The promotions. There were three promotions in our office. I was one. the other two were great choices. We all work well together so I’m glad they were chosen.

      WORST: Hopping on the scale. Grr! I’ve been working HARD eating clean meals every day, exercising every day for at least 30 minutes, and have lost not one pound in the past month.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Hopefully, your clothes are fitting a little looser? I either lost inches or pounds. Never both at the same time.

    8. Felicia*

      Best: I got a new job!!! Non work related, I went to a Sunday Assembly meeting which was very fun :)

      Worst: So many relatives are in from out of town and constantly around in big groups, which is a nightmare for my introvert self with no chance to recharge.

    9. Rebecca*

      Worst – I couldn’t find my digital camera, and there are about 2 dozen pictures of progress on the Firebird that I hadn’t uploaded and gotten developed. I looked high and low, scoured my Dad’s garage, etc. No camera.

      Best – I found my digital camera :) The case had adhered itself to my coupon folder’s hook & loop closure and I just didn’t see it when I pulled everything out of my giant purse!

    10. Jazzy Red*

      Worst: my sister had to go to the hospital.

      Best: she’s doing better and might go home today.

      1. QualityControlFreak*

        Glad your sister’s doing better! BTDT, and support from my sister meant the world to me at a very tough time.

    11. Kerry*

      Worst: I went to a picnic yesterday but didn’t realise how hot it was, didn’t drink enough water and ended up feeling pretty ill both last night and today. I’ve drunk a lot of water since and feel better now!

      Best: Last week I found a really good Indian restaurant that does a set lunch menu (main, side and drink) for £5. £5!! And it’s so good!

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        I posted a couple weeks ago whining about having to go camping with my husband. I think the same thing happened to me — I was exhausted the day I got home, and then had a headache all day the next. I think I got dehydrated. It wasn’t too hot up in the mountains, but the sun up there is very intense.

    12. Mimmy*

      Best: Nothing really.

      Worst: I have the upper-respiratory infection from hell :( I was so spaced out yesterday. I was really looking forward to getting together with some friends this afternoon, but methinks it might not be the wisest idea.

    13. Sabrina*

      Best: Got a job offer for a very part time job. Can’t quit my FT job, but it’s a start.

      Worst: My digestive issues continue. :(

      1. Ali*

        I’m in the same job situation right now. I don’t want to get too into it since this is the free-for-all thread, but I’m hoping it’s the light at the end of the tunnel and I can quit my full-time job soon enough.

        1. Sabrina*

          Yeah, I’m hoping it works out and can lead to other jobs and maybe do freelancing, but I just don’t know yet.

    14. Purr purr purr*

      Worst: Lack of sleep thanks to my noisy neighbour upstairs. Her living room is above my only bedroom (so it’s not like I can change rooms) and she goes to bed late and wakes up early.

      Best: After a loooooong time of unemployment following a redundancy and not hearing back from any companies I applied to, I finally had an interview this week! Now I’m just waiting to hear if I got the job (I hope so).

        1. Purr purr purr*

          I do but it seems I wake up and place them neatly on my bedside table at some point during the night. So sometimes they’re able to help for falling asleep (although I can still hear all her thudding and crashing – she’s a fairly large lady) but they don’t help with being woken up in the morning. If I get this job, I’ll be relocating though so hopefully no noisy neighbour!

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            For now…white noise machine? You can probably find a perfectly good used one at a consignment store with baby stuff, as they’re great for kids who are still of napping age.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Seconding the earplugs. My husband snores like nobody’s business. Now I can sleep through it, but when we first got together it was pretty bad. I tried earplugs and they worked like a charm.

        I also use them when we go camping. We have a trailer with a heater, which is great for keeping things nice and toasty, but it’s pretty loud. Earplugs drown out almost all the noise.

        1. Al Lo*

          Heh. I’m the opposite — I slept through my husband’s snoring much better when we were first married than I do now. Then, I only wore earplugs occasionally; now I wear them every night.

    15. Vancouver Reader*

      Best: meeting up with friends
      Worst: freaking out about running out of gas before we get across the border (we made it thankfully).

      WTF moment: walking to the bus stop and seeing a guy masturbating.

    16. Windchime*

      Worst: Code Freeze is tomorrow and I’m not ready, so I will spend much of this gorgeous day working to try to get things finished up.

      Best: Anticipating “Mom’s Weekend” this coming weekend. My kids and their partners will be here, plus my nephews and their partners. We will have a fun day trip to a pretty city up north, and then come back and have “Seafood Night”, which is loads and loads of fun. Can’t wait!

    17. Elizabeth West*

      Best–Eddie Bauer shipped my back-ordered raincoat. IT’S ABOUT TIME

      Worst–I haven’t gotten much work done this week on either novel. In fact, I shouldn’t even be reading this thread! :3

    18. Waiting Patiently*

      Best: I recently started back walking. This week I ran at least .5 miles of the 3 miles I walk each day.

      Worst: No job offer still.

    19. Al Lo*

      Best: (I know there are a lot of opinions around here about direct sales companies, but here goes anyway…) I started selling Jamberry about a month ago, and have had a pretty awesome first month, which brought in about $600 extra in spending money for my trip to Austria in September. I’m pumped to have the extra cash socked away for the trip.

      Also, the weather is gorgeous. I could spend the entire year in summer.

      (…”And I’ll be doing whatever snow does in summer”…)

      Worst: Nothing, really. It’s been a pretty straightforward week.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        Woot! Jamberry is fun. I’m a serial home party consultant, and Jamberry might be next on my list.

    20. kf*

      Best – Spending time with my late fiancé’s family. It was sad but so nice to share in the loss too.

      Worst – HOMEWORK. I have a class I am struggling in this quarter and trying not to pull all of my hair out. I seem to have a serious lack of motivation this quarter.

    21. Littlemoose*

      Worst part: in the hospital since yesterday. Not sure when I get to go home. I just want to feel better and have my life back to normal.

      Best: sister and friend publicly announced their pregnancies so I don’t have to keep them secret anymore. I’m very happy for them both (and their babies are due at the same time!).

    22. Elizabeth*

      Best: Getting a job offer
      Worst: Stressing about giving my two weeks’ notice tomorrow morning–they’re not going to be happy. Luckily I’m going to happy hour with friends afterwards?

    23. Kalliope's Mom*

      Best: Both hubby and I received promotions and my daughter returned home from my mother’s house!!

      Worst: House full of relatives and very little sleep but still blessed!!!

  10. TheSnarkyB*

    Does anyone remember a commenter who had a blog about email marketing? It was a really funny take on the trends in that field, etc. and I can’t remember the name of the blog! :(

    1. en pointe*

      Yes, the commenter’s name is Kristin or Kristi or something, and the blog’s called Email Snarketing.

  11. Windchime*

    I’ve lived in my current house for 3 years. When I first moved in, I was surrounded by empty land; meadows, basically. One night I saw a coyote trotting down the sidewalk.

    Now I am surrounded by giant, hulking McMansions. Some of them have these big balconies hanging off the back in mid-air, and they overlook my back yard. (I can also clearly see/hear the people who live there when they are BBQing on these weird balconies). The “fishbowl living” bothers me and so I finally got a recommendation for a landscaper and he came out this week. He’s got some great ideas for plantings to increase the privacy and buffer some of the noise and I am *so* excited. I should have done this last summer! I hope the bid comes in at an affordable price point.

    1. Dan*

      My aunt and uncle solved that problem and bought the surrounding land so nobody could build on it.

      1. Windchime*

        It’s too late for that and I couldn’t have afforded it anyway. The land was already plotted (is that the word?) and ready for new houses to be built, but it had overgrown into a grassy meadow. But yeah, I often look around and wish I had been able to do that.

    2. GrumpyBoss*

      Not sure if you are willing to commit to this, but here is how I solved a similar problem. I had one set of new neighbors who were a little bit overbearing and basically jerks. I’d be in my backyard and they would be on their deck loudly talking and then start giving unsolicited advice on whatever I was doing. I missed a spot while weeding. I should use charcoal instead of gas. I shouldn’t bag my grass clippings. What did I feed my dog because the dog’s waste wasn’t looking good. That’s right. They loudly talked about my dog’s poop from their yard. There’s being neighborly, and then there’s intentionally being an a-hole. These people were just snarky jerks.

      I wanted to put in a higher privacy fence, but the quotes came in higher than I had budgeted. So I gave it right back. I cut a hole in my chain link fence and let my dog wander into their yard. I’d have loud parties with the most obnoxious people I knew. I would use profanity loudly while out gardening. The tables had turned, and *I* was the neighbor from hell. They put up the extra high privacy fence on their side of the property by the end of the summer. Worked for me, because I ultimately got them out of my business without having to spend a dime.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        OMG GrumpyBoss you are some kind of evil genius! That is the sort of thing that I would fantasize about doing, but when it came right down to it, I wouldn’t have the cajones to actually follow through. You are awesome!

    3. Stephanie*

      Commiserating. I live in a one-story house surrounded by a bunch of two-story houses. Our neighbors say things like “I see you drinking your coffee in the mornings, Stephanie!” or “My mother-in-law is fascinated by [my dad]’s weekend projects. The patio looks nice!”

      We just planted trees and are being patient.

      1. Windchime*

        My neighbors don’t actually say anything to me, but they have shouty conversations with other neighbors from their decks.

        Unless I plant evergreens, the trees would only work for about half the year because they would have no leaves for the other half. Most evergreens would take over my small yard by the time they got big enough to do any good, so I’m going with arborvitae (I think). I don’t have to worry about deer here so it should work pretty good.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I keep my curtains shut all the time. No one can look into my living room, and they keep the heat/cold out. I don’t have much of a view across the street anyway.

        My neighbors don’t do that–when I look out or take the trash out, I can see what they’re watching on TV.

    4. The IT Manager*

      Congrats. I will have to figure out something similar myself soon.

      Not quite the same, but I live in a townhome community. When I move in 6 years ago, they had not build next to me, but were about to. Six years ago, the housing economy crashed, the builder slowed the building, and they are just now about to finish the house next to me. I had no expectation of open space when I moved in, but I had it for 6 years and got used to it. The new house blocks the sun I used to get in the afternoons and our upstairs windows face each other so I am going to lose that privacy too. I am going to have to figure out if I want to add extra curtains since I know that my wooden blinds still allow someone to see shadows at night when the lights are on inside.

    5. Gene*

      How much do you dislike these neighbors? The quickest privacy vegetation is bamboo. You could put in a bamboo strip and only put a barrier on your side. Quick privacy for you, never ending headache for them.

    6. CoffeeLover*

      Do you mind sharing what was suggested? My parent’s backyard is surrounded by backyards (one on the left, right and back). The neighbour in the back just decided to build a large deck right in front of our backyard (and our kitchen window) even though this deck is across the yard from his house… Seriously he has to traverse his entire yard to get to this random stand alone structure. My parents are upset to say the least.

      1. Windchime*

        Oh good lord, that sounds terrible.

        I’ll try to post some pictures and link to them once the work is done. The problem houses aren’t directly behind me or next to me; if I stand on my back patio, the giant houses with the hovering decks are to the left and behind me. My yard slopes slightly downhill toward these houses. The plan is to level out the yard a little (still allowing for draining because it’s Seattle, after all!), and build a slight berm near the fence line. Then we would plant a tight line of BIG arborvitae along the fence, which would block the view of the Giant House Dwellers.

        It’s hard to explain but it looks like it will work. I’ll put some pretty smaller plants in front of the arborvitae on my side so that it won’t just look like a big stark hedge.

  12. Holly*

    Does anyone have any experiences with IBS? I’m starting to wonder if I have it after having to leave work early yesterday with..uh.. intestinal problems, then being in and out of the bathroom yesterday and today, and sleeping off/on 15 hours..it’s either that or the stomach bug from hell.

    1. Student*

      Do you bleed out your arse? Are you unable to get to the bathroom in time frequently? Have you been having similar intestinal problems for a long time?

      If it’s IBS, then it’ll persist for the rest of your life. Give it 2 weeks, then go see a doctor and browbeat them into a specialist referral for a bunch of highly unpleasant medical exams. The pills that you get at the end are fantastic, though, and well worth the crap (har!) you have to go through in the meantime.

      Your description makes it sound like you ate something that gave you the runs, and you’ll probably be fine in a day or two. Just go easy on your stomach or a bit. Food-borne illness is incredibly common, a lot more likely than IBS.

    2. Jill-be-Nimble*

      My mom thought she had IBS for 20+ years. Turned out it was Celiac disease. No one ever thought to test for it until she almost died from it. All she had to do to make it better was not eat wheat. There’s an easy blood test for it…have your doctor run one!

    3. evilintraining*

      Go to the doctor for some tests if it persists. My daughter has Crohn’s disease, and if it’s something like that, waiting to go to the doctor is a really bad thing.

    4. straws*

      Definitely go to the dr. If this is a new thing, it could be a bug. I had similar issues last year and it turned out to be a c. diff infection, which could have become serious if I’d waited too long!

    5. Jazzy Red*

      If you eat dairy, it could be that. My health improved a lot after I stopped drinking milk or eating cottage cheese or ice cream. Now I take expensive probiotics from the homeopathic doctor, and I’m not lactose sensitive/intolerant any more, and my immune system is better.

      Whatever it is, get it checked out! That’s a hard way to live.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, this could just be allergy overload.

        For me, chocolate was just soooo bad. It felt like my insides were falling out. ugh.

        Try some rice, maybe? Brown rice, long cooking, not the cheap fast cooking white rice.

        1. Stephanie*

          Another chocolate allergy! Yay. Your allergy sounds worse than mine, however. I just get itchy and (sometimes) get swollen lips.

    6. Meredith*

      I have IBS that manifests as constipation (woooo). I went to the doctor about it, she diagnosed me after eliminating nastier causes like cancer and celiac. Apparently it can just up and happen to women around 30. After following medical advice, the problem is largely solved. If the stomach bug doesn’t clear up, a Dr or PA in gastro can really help.

    7. Sophia*

      I thought something was really wrong with me because I was getting “food poisoning” all the time and my stomach hurt. When I went to the doctor the prescribed me acid reflux and anxiety medication because nothing was “wrong” with me and they thought it was just stress.

      The “food poisoning” went on for a year or two and got worse and worse. Until I met my boyfriend. He is very lactose intolerant and put it together that I was having “intestinal problems” after consuming dairy. I didn’t believe him at first because I was having issues almost all the time. The thing is, I was eating dairy almost every day too.

      Now I avoid dairy or take lactaid pills and I’m MUCHHH happier. If I drink milk or have some ice cream, I know with a certainty I’ll feel like I got food poisoning. So at least now it’s my choice if I want to suffer for that milk shake.

      Most adults start to get lactose intolerant at a certain point as it’s not natural for humans to continue drinking milk after youth. There are expensive doctor’s tests for it – but as it has been pretty clear to me that I only have issues when I consume dairy, I didn’t feel the tests were at all worth it.

    8. NylaW*

      I thought I had IBS but it turns out it was endometriosis. The two often go hand in hand so also consider what your cycle is like and if the IBS symptoms show up around the same time.

    9. Ellie H*

      Yes, I have pretty bad IBS. I had it really bad when I was about 16, then it got fairly mild during the rest of high school and college, and then last year (I’m 26, so just about ten years later) came back much more severely after taking many antibiotics in a series of unlucky events (so general bacterial imbalance). I saw a nutritionist (referral from my doctor) and went on the FODMAPS diet for some time which helped a lot. I also started taking very strong, very expensive probiotics (VSL #3) which help a lot and also drinking kefir, especially homemade kefir. That almost totally cured it for quite a few months, and I got kind of lazy with totally ignoring the FODMAPS diet and not taking probiotics anymore, and now it’s back fairly severely again. I do believe that ultimately a lot of it is stress based which we do have less control over, unfortunately. Anyway, I would recommend FODMAPS, probiotics and kefir to start with.

  13. Dan*

    For you DC folk:

    Silver line opened on Saturday (over budget and behind schedule, but that’s to be expected.)

    Are you going to use it? Is this going to be the “bridge to nowhere”? The immediate strategic concern is that they built no parking in the Tysons Corner stations, so those that live in the area can’t park and take metro into the city. They’ll continue to do what they already do.

    Me, Metro is so damned expensive, and with free parking at work, it’s not going to be a regular part of my commute. I’ll likely use it for after work and weekend trips into the city. So not what they designed it for, but if I were to commute it, I’d be looking at $200 in bus+rail fares vs $60 in gas each month. It’s only worth it if I’m going straight into the city and have to pay to park. (I both live and work at one of the new stations.)

    1. Stephanie*

      There’s no parking? Yeah, that would make it a lot less attractive in my opinion.

      I used to joke that Metro was going to start offering financing, given all the fare increases: “SmartCharge by MasterCard, offering affordable financing for your commuting needs.” I was always in the negative (or about to be in the negative) and would miss trains trying to reload my SmarTrip with those 1960s supercomputer-looking fare machines.

      1. Windchime*

        Haha, the super computer fare machines. I do computer stuff for a living and those things confused the hell out of me for the brief week that I spent in DC.

    2. Jill-be-Nimble*

      I’m attracted to it just because it’s a viable option to Dulles. It’s always been an $80+ cab ride from where I am (and I don’t have a car), so I’ve only even attempted flying out of there once. It was terrible. BUT, if I have a cheap and easy option for getting out there, it will make my flying choices easier.

      1. Dan*

        Well, with the current phase, metro stops about 7 miles from Dulles. You still need to take a bus to get there. In which case, I’d argue that the city bus that runs from downtown dca is no less convenient today than it was last week.

        1. Stephanie*

          I’m guessing it won’t run express? Seems like from DC or the inner suburbs, it might be better to take the express bus. I’m cringing thinking about riding that from Eastern Market and taking 21 stops (or whatever) to the airport.

          I’m a weirdo and like buses, however.

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            I love DC busses. Once I got up the courage to start using them, that is. I hardly ever take the metro anywhere now.

            I just can’t believe how long I walked almost a mile to the Metro station, transferred and walked more (or took the red line to Adams Morgan and walked the mile to get to anywhere good) without realizing the 90 bus stops two blocks from my house and drops off at the doorstep of like everywhere good. :)

            1. Stephanie*

              When I was still there, I lived in Shaw and had a friend who lived in Glover Park. She jokes I changed her life when I told her about the 96 (provided a direct route) as she used to catch a bus to Dupont and take a transfer on the Metro or do two buses to my place.

            2. JC*

              Yes, the 90 bus goes everywhere! I live on the eastern edge of Adams Morgan, in a kinda-metro-dead-zone (about .6 miles from the Columbia Heights metro and .8 miles from Woodley Park), and I take the bus often. I have such a love-hate relationship with the S line on 16th Street.

    3. Jen RO*

      Question from a non-American: how expensive is it? Here (Bucharest, Romania) taking the metro would be at least 5 times cheaper than driving (even with free parking). In the US, I suppose, they even out because public transport is more expensive, but gas is cheaper? (For my commute: 1-month metro pass = ~$20; 1 tank of gas = ~$100. )

      1. De (Germany)*

        Wow, that’s really cheap even from my commute standpoint. I spend about 150€ a month for gas, and on public transport, the monthly ticket would be something like 80€.

      2. GrumpyBoss*

        I think public trans is still a lot cheaper in the US than commuting in basically every instance – especially when you calculate the wear and tear on your car. But it is the opportunity cost that pulls me away from public trans when I have it as an option. The time I lose when walking to a stop, waiting for it to arrive, dealing with delays, etc. makes it a less attractive option for me.

        1. Liane*

          The problem in the USA with local public transit is that in many cities, even big ones it is not practical for everyday use. For example, where we live now, the nearest bus stops are 2-4 miles from us, and one of those is only for the Express. (two or 3 runs to/from downtown for early morning and late evening weekdays)

        2. Dan*

          I haven’t done a nationwide study, but for my commute, I’ve seen a calculator that takes wear and tear in to account and still indicates that driving is cheaper. DC as a whole is NOT known for cheap public transit.

          I only put about 8000 miles a year on my car. I still have several service items that have to get done on a timed basis, so at some point wear and tear doesn’t go down (much) just because I don’t use the car.

          1. Katie the Fed*

            I drive a lot around here, but I HATE it. The roads in/around Arlington seem like they were designed by a madman, and driving in the city makes me stabby. Fiance and I have finally worked out a deal where I’ll drive through Arlington and he’ll drive in the city.

            1. Stephanie*

              Arlington/Alexandria’s roads were bonkers to me as well. DC’s aren’t bad once you figure out the grid system (although the grid breaks down a bit on the periphery). Taking the bus a lot did help me learn the streets and the crosstown routes.

              1. Katie the Fed*

                What drives me nuts in the city are the tour buses and idiot pedestrians and cars that just stop in the right lanes and construction and garrhgghhh I HATE IT.

                1. JC*

                  A lot of the DC pedestrians are idiots, but to be fair, so are many drivers. For example, it is DC law that drivers have to stop for a pedestrian who is already in the crosswalk, but I am amazed how often I am stranded in the middle of the road in a mid-block crosswalk because drivers in the far lane will not stop. Drivers don’t realize they are supposed to stop. And I have no sympathy for the drivers who block the box during rush hour and then are stuck there when pedestrians get the light and cross in front of them. I’m not waiting to cross because of your mistake that stuck you in the middle of the road.

                  Signed,
                  A sometimes idiot pedestrian who also gets fed up with idiot drivers on occasion

      3. Dan*

        My commute is 11 mikes each way. I go through one tank of gas per month, to the tune of $60-$70.

        In DC, there is a “zone” pass that would cost me $140/mo. A full system wide pass would cost $280. Now throw in the fact that I live 1 mile from the station. And I’m looking at taking the bus to get to/from. Bus costs me $3 r/t. So add $60/mo.

        In NYC, $2.50 gets you anywhere you want to go on the subway line. A comparable long distance run in DC is $5.90.

        1. Tris Prior*

          In DC, you guys get charged based on how far you’re riding, yes? I can see how that would really add up… here in Chicago you can ride the el all day long and be charged the same as if you went one stop.

          1. Dan*

            It’s bad now, at least IMHO. When I started college back in 1998, the max fare was $3.25. It’s now almost double that. To be clear, we get charged based both on distance AND time of day.

    4. GrumpyBoss*

      I’m staying in Tyson’s Corner on business this week and had planned to check it out. When I stay out there, the drive into DC is more than I want to tackle. I guess I can use Uber or the hotel shuttle to get around no parking.

      1. Dan*

        If you have a rental, you can still drive to west falls church and park. But if you’re right next to a silver line station,mother hotel shuttle will certainly be cheaper, if not a little more convenient. Tysons corner isn’t terribly walkable yet.

    5. Katie the Fed*

      I probably won’t use it much in its current iteration. Maybe if I have to go to Tysons (shudder) so I don’t have to deal with the traffic (shudder), but that’s all I can really think of. McLean might be nice but I have to see where the station is.

      I’m really excited for it to go to Dulles because there’s really nothing quite as soul-crushing as having to drive to Dulles. No wait, coming through Customs at Dulles is the worst, but driving out there is a close second.

      Metro is most useful for me as a way to go out on the weekends in the city without having to worry about parking. But because I don’t live right by a metro station I still drive more than I should.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        I actually don’t mind customs at Dulles (when compared to O’Hare). I always have a connection, and at Dulles you can go through customs and then take an escalator right up to the concourse. In Chicago, the international terminal is huge. When you get off the plane you have to walk down 3 or 4 huge hallways that are each about 1/4 mile long. Then after going through customs you have to catch a train to the domestic terminal. Ugh. Nightmare. And since it’s Chicago, everything is always delayed.

        1. Windchime*

          People from my workplace are always having to travel to the midwest and there is no direct flight to the city they are traveling to. We have all learned that it’s never, ever a good idea to have your layover in Chicago because it is almost always delayed. Much better to layover in Minneapolis. I’ve even done my layover in Detroit and then backtracked an hour to get back to Wisconsin rather than layover in Chicago.

        2. Dan*

          I only did O’Hare once for customs, and yeah, it wasn’t, um convenient. The one time I did it was back in May, on the day there was a fire in the control room that shut down the airport for a couple of hours. My connecting flight was canceled, and the one they booked me on was delayed three hours. There’s nothing worse than spending 8 hours at ORD when you are tired as all get out after a 15 hour flight from Hong Kong. We finally landed at DCA at 2am. Metro was shut down and the cab line atrocious.

          It was either that or JFK. New York City in the summer is just as bad as ORD, so you take your pick, and your chances.

      2. Dan*

        The McLean station is right next to my office; there is *nothing* within walking distance, except my office and a couple of others.

        Back in the day, I lived Arlington and worked at Dulles, and didn’t find the drive soul crushing. In fact, I found it a bit relaxing. When you’re on the access road portion, there’s not much traffic and quite a breeze.

        I seem to clear customs at random places, and have only done Dulles twice, and I didn’t find it bad. I got Global Entry after clearing customs at MIA after New Years and the place was a zoo.

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          How is that Global Entry thing? I’ve considered getting that, plus the TSA Clear Pass thing. But my work travel is pretty sporadic and just depends on what project I’m on at the moment. The last couple years have had alot of travel, but it’s not guaranteed. So I’ve gone back and forth — I would hate to spend the money on it, and then not use it.

          1. Dan*

            It’s $100 for five years, so I guess if you use it once a year you probably get your money’s worth. TSA Pre Check isn’t guaranteed on any given trip though, and only works with certain airlines (I fly a lot of international carriers, and not all of them participate.) You do skip a lot of lines with Global Entry and pre-check. Honestly, you’ll probably decide it was worth the money the first time you encounter a long-ass line that you get to skip because of it.

            FWIW, I actually had the fee paid through one of the AmEx platinum cards. It’s a $450 annual fee, but generally gives 50,000 bonus miles and $200 airline fee credits. If you don’t incur airline fees, you can sometimes get that credit to cover gift cards. You also get the fee credit on a calendar year basis, so the first year you get it twice for the one fee. So, for that $450 fee, I got 50,000 bonus points, $400 in American Airlines gift certificates, and Global Entry + TSA precheck. Not a bad deal.

    6. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I am mildly pumped about taking the metro to the mall. I’m from out west, so I kinda miss MALL malls.

    7. JC*

      I live in DC and don’t own a car. I work in Ballston, which is not a new station of course, but I am still stoked that the silver line is open because it means more frequent train service on my commute (more orange + silver trains total than there were orange trains previously).

      I took the silver line from Farragut West out to Wiehle today, using its opening as an excuse to visit friends in Reston. As someone who doesn’t own a car, I like the idea of being able to get to more places via public transit. Practically speaking, though, I doubt I’m going to take the train to Tyson’s too often. It just would take too long. I did see a bunch of people coming from DC get off at the Tyson’s stop this afternoon, though.

      I like that I could now get a job in Tyson’s without theoretically having to drive there, although if I worked in Tyson’s I’d realistically probably buy a car.

      1. Dan*

        You have a real mall in Ballston, so there’s no point in going to Tysons unless you have to.

        If you had a job in Tysons that was convenient to the metro, I wouldn’t be buying a car. Tysons is a BEAST to drive around. Lots of lights + lots of traffic = don’t go anywhere fast. Even when I drive through late at night, the lights aren’t synchronized, so I still waste a lot of time driving. Plus, getting back into DC during PM rush is not a picnic.

        Wiehle-McLean is a 15 minute metro ride. That’s faster than taking the back roads. If you take the toll road, it’s about the same in metro fare as it is in tolls. So you’re saving gas and wear and tear. I do hear that the toll road turns into a parking lot during rush hour, so if metro is convenient, you get your time back.

  14. Buffet the Vampire Layer*

    This is going to be difficult to articulate (and long-winded, sorry!), but does anyone have any advice on how to adjust from being a fit person to an unfit one after an injury?

    Here’s the background information. Though never a long distance runner or particularly excellent athlete, I always have prioritized fitness – I played a lot of softball, lifted heavy, and probably did around 4ish hours of cardio per week. I was never thin, but had an athlete’s body of which I was proud, and I loved the fact that I could take the stairs to my sixth floor job and run for the bus with two armfuls of groceries with no problem.

    I’ve always had terrible joints though. I first went for physical therapy for my knee when I was in college, and my hip started to bother me soon thereafter. About a year ago, my hip really started to deteriorate, and icing and physical therapy exercises weren’t helping anymore. I had to cut back my cardio and then stop it entirely by last October or so. By December, I couldn’t even bench anymore because of the minor hip involvement. I had to start using a cane right after my 25th birthday.

    I had surgery at the end of January and it’s overall been fantastic. I’m not in constant pain, I can walk wherever I want to, and I’m introducing cardio again, including running at very very short intervals.

    The thing is, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to be the fit person I was. This is really difficult to deal with; I don’t feel like myself in so many ways. Not only the fact that my body can’t do the things it used to, but also everyday things like the fact that I’m about 10 pounds heavier and can’t wear heels, so I feel dumpy in my khakis and flats instead of the heels and belted structured dresses I used to wear.

    I’m really hoping that this is all just temporary, but does anyone have advice for how to adjust if it turns out otherwise?

    1. Fish Microwaver*

      I’m glad your surgery has helped and you are feeling better. There is every reason to believe you will continue to improve, perhaps not to your previous level abut certainly to the extent of being able to drop the pounds and get fit again. Do you think you could focus on that, rather than worrying about the worst case scenario. I think you’ll find you feel better mentally as your physical health and fitness improve.

    2. nep*

      Can you do strength training, yoga, and/or pilates? One can have (perhaps surprisingly) gratifying results from these activities. (Especially yoga that includes working on some arm balances and other challenging poses. Even if you don’t master them, the work along the way can really boost one’s strength, balance, and overall fitness. It’s all about consistent practice.)
      Great that you’re feeling better and that you’re able to walk and run in short intervals — seems that will go a long way to getting back to feeling healthier and more fit. All the best to you.

    3. Sandy*

      I have rheumatoid arthritis, and used to be a very active athlete. With medication, I can still be active, but definitely not an athlete. It’s been a very hard adjustment every time my body has reached a new point that it can’t do what it used to.

      The best advice anyone has ever given to me on the subject is to “let yourself grieve”. You will eventually find replacement activities, or maybe be able to return to some of your old ones, but give yourself room to grieve for the person you used to be and the body you used to have. THEN you can work on building towards something new.

      It is incredibly hard. I feel for you!

    4. Jean*

      It’s possible to find shoes that have style without also having heels. It does take a lot of looking and trying on (and returning if you’re ordering online) while you learn which types are best or worst. You may find your personal style evolving to something midway between khakis and structured dresses. If your clothing becomes less dressy can you acquire interesting accessories?

    5. Purr purr purr*

      Sadly I do and it’s extremely hard to deal with. The first time I was only a teenager and didn’t handle it well. I was injured after falling down some steps and landing on my back and basically had to give up my swimming career, gained weight, etc. My response at the time was depression and an aversion to exercise because I wasn’t as good as I was before.

      The second time was actually more long-term illness than injury. I had to stop working out and felt awful about it. I did try and do some things but would feel demotivated at how much endurance/strength I had lost so my attempts were half-hearted.

      The thing I found that helped with me was to focus on something else instead that’s related. So for me, I chose nutrition. I experimented with foods and macros until I found one that suited me (ended up being high fat low carb) and so I lost weight and felt good and that helped improve my mood.

      I’ve only recently started working out and, again, it was hard to see how much I had lost. Now I just try not to think about the past. I’m at a lower standard now and I try and beat myself from where I was in my last session, not where I used to be before the illness. Thinking in that way lifted a huge weight off my shoulder – it’s about finding a new equilibrium rather than trying to force myself into the old one.

      Also, with respect to the clothes, after I gained weight and was dumpy, I felt bad in my jeans, trainers, etc. Really plain and ordinary, you know? I tried to find clothes that had something special about them, like I have some flats that are made of a lacy material and look pretty rather than mummyish. Ditto with my jeans – they have sequins on! It’s probably not for everyone and perhaps others think I look a total mess but to me they’re less boring.

    6. Ehlers-Danlos anon*

      Been there! Though I was much younger when it happened. I loved running when I was a kid and I was able to exercise for a long time. Unfortunately I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, so that didn’t last.

      Like Sandy said, let yourself grieve. My next advice is to ask a doctor or physical therapist about what you *can* do. Specifically phrase it that way so that the answer will be a list of opportunities instead of a list of what you can’t do. It might be a lot more than you expect. :)

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I second the advice to allow yourself to feel bad about it. It is what it is and you don’t have to be a Pollyanna about it if you don’t feel like it. Try different activities than you did before, like some suggested. One or more of them might be what you need to be more fit than you are at the moment (when you’re completely healed), even if it’s not like it was before. I’m glad you got the surgery done and you’re not in pain so much anymore.

    8. QualityControlFreak*

      I feel for you.

      I’m more than twice your age, so some hip and joint pain is inevitable, but I’ve always been fit (hiking, backpacking, horses, and some martial arts).

      A car accident early this year changed that. Five months and two surgeries later, I’m finally regaining my former energy level, but my injuries were pretty serious and honestly I’ll never be the same. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – I can still be fit and enjoy many of the activities I did previously. Some things I may have to modify or let go of, purely from a safety standpoint. But there are other activities I’ve always been interested in, that I never had time/resources to pursue previously, so I’m thinking of phasing in some of those.

      I guess what I’m saying here is, are there other options available that you would enjoy, and that would accomplish the same things for you physically/mentally/emotionally?

      I may never be the same person I was. But I can still be fit, healthy and active. You can too. Good luck!

    9. Vancouver Reader*

      Try finding a physiotherapist that will give you exercises to do. I worked at a couple of rehab places and so people were coming in with work related injuries. The feedback when they were done with their treatment was how much the physics helped them not just learn how to strengthen whatever they’ve injured but also many of them lost weight as a result of what they had to do during their sessions.

    10. Buffet the Vampire Layer*

      Thank you all so much for your responses! This site’s commenters are really a wonderful group!

      I think I do need to give myself permission to feel bad about all this. I’ve been trying so hard to focus on the fact that I still can walk when so many people can’t even do that, but all I can think about is how much I want to lace up my sneakers and go for a run on a nice day like I used to.

      It will be a long process to adjust to my new normal, but I’m going to bookmark this page and come back to your thoughtful comments later when I need some encouragement!

  15. Anx*

    Ugh. It’s very late and I am trying to get myself back an a fully diurnal schedule, but two roaches have crawled out tonight. I live in an area where they are very common.

    One of my biggest accomplishments, sadly, since moving in here was my ability to transform our apartment from a roach infested one to one where we didn’t see them or any traces for weeks or months at a time.

    But in the past month we’ve had water damage and now there’s a big hole in the wall and there’s literally nothing I can do to keep them contained. When I think about all the time and effort and strategy that went into keeping them out of our living space it makes me feel so discouraged.

    I know logically that most of our neighbors have them, that I’m not a slob, and did everything right to keep them under control. But having roaches makes me feel like such a failure and not at all like a ‘proper adult.’

    Does anyone else have something that they can’t seem to keep under control that’s not really their fault that makes them feel like they don’t have their life together?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      There is something about infestations that drive me nuts. I remember my father installing a dishwasher. He must have hit an ant’s nest in the process. There were ants everywhere, non-stop. I remember seeing a black spot on the floor the size of a dinner dish. WTH. When I went closer to it, I realized it was moving. omg.

      I live in a pretty rural area. We get all kinds of critters here. I think I have called an exterminator for just about everything. But it doesn’t matter if it is rats/bats/mice, I can’t sleep at night until I know I have taken the most steps possible to stop the problem.
      One year the dog got fleas so bad, that it took me into February to get rid of all of the fleas. Like you are saying, I keep a reasonably clean house and this was beyond discouraging. And to keep working at it day after day with no results and no end in sight… just ugh, ugh, ugh.

      1. Purr purr purr*

        Oooh, I have a tip for flea problems (we get them occasionally with the cats)! You find a deep dish and put up a bit of liquid soap in it and then fill it with water. Then you put an upturned cup in the centre of the dish and then place a lit tealight on the upturned cup. The heat attracts fleas from all over the room and they try to jump onto the candle but end up in the soapy water where they drown (the soap is essential since it removes the surface tension for the fleas and causes them to sink). I actually found this worked better if I left the tealight burning for around ten minutes and then blew the candle out. You keep repeating this process in all affected rooms until the dish comes out empty.

        It’s strangely pleasurable to count the dead bodies after each attempt! If you use a glass dish, it’s easier to see their corpses. ;)

        1. Meredith*

          A bit of apple cider vinegar plus a drop of dish soap in a jar will attract and drown fruit flies. Cover the jar with plastiwrap with holes poked in it so it’s harder for them to fly back out. Resulting fly-filled jar is gross but super satisfying.

    2. Tomato Frog*

      I grew up in places where roaches were a fact of life and it wasn’t until I was older that I realized that people associated them with squalor and viewed them as a referendum on one’s housekeeping. I started to buy into it myself and it really did a number on me: I would feel like some disgusting failure when I saw them around. This is sort of dopey, but personally, I found it helpful to work on how I think about cockroaches. I watched some videos online that explained that roaches actually like things clean (just damp, warm, and dark), and that actually helped me. When I see a roach I just tell myself, “It just wants the same things I do in a home: warmth, water, shelter, cleanliness.” And then I kill it.

      But to your question: I used to live in a very old basement apartment. Mold seemed to generate instantaneously and the walls seemed to produce pounds of dust every day. The landlord was a strange man who had repaired some of the windows and doors rather strangely. Living there definitely made me feel like less of an adult sometimes.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I feel that way about my house. It just makes me so crazy that I can’t seem to get ahead of it. It’s like an old car–for every thing I do to try and make it better, another thing crops up. I can’t keep up and want to ditch it. But I can’t until I get the horrendous bathroom fixed up. I don’t really want to spend the money on it, but I have to.

        I’ve nicknamed it The Crumbling Albatross. That makes me feel a little better because it’s kind of funny. Kind of. :\

        When I lived in a roach-infested apartment house, I used this: http://www.bengal.com/roach_spray.html. It was the only thing that actually worked, and it didn’t make me sick like Raid products do. It didn’t rid the building of roaches, but it kept them out of my apartment. Cover the hole and spray the dickens out of the baseboards, etc. I guarantee you, those roaches were probably there before you were.

      2. Kerry (Like the County In Ireland)*

        I feel you on the roach infestation–I have them too, and they’ve been very bad for about 2 years.Oh and my building’s management are utter assholes, and especially about this. It’s like they have an expectation that I should not own anything or use my apartment as not to encourage the roaches.

        The only good thing is I have recognized I am the type of woman who kills roaches with her bare hands, and that functions as enough of an intro to my personality to warn others not to mess with me.

    3. kris*

      Yellow jackets have decided to live on the roof of my front porch. I’ve been spraying them. They’re still there. I’ve been stung twice. Ironically, I was stung when I was minding my own business and not spraying them. For the first several hours, it feels like someone is jabbing and re-jabbing a needle into you (although icing it pretty much kills the pain). Then for a fair bit of the next day, it feels like someone is jabbing you with a thinner and shorter needle every few minutes. Then it starts itching!

      1. Windchime*

        For yellow jackets, I have had good luck with a spray that comes in a black can. It has an extremely strong stream, so you can stand way back from the nest as you spray. Wait until after dusk and then soak the nest with the spray. You can literally see the bugs dropping out, dead. We just sprayed four nests a few weeks ago and haven’t seen a yellow jacket since.

        I’ve been stung by them before and you’re right, it’s horrible. Way worse than a normal bee sting.

      2. EG*

        Look into alternative remedies for wasp stings. I’ve used plantain leaves for bug bites and burns with a lot of success. Something in the leaves helps speed healing and draws out any poison.

    4. Waiting Patiently*

      A few years ago, I had an ant infestation. I had mixed a concoction of borax, water and sugar and that got rid of them. To stop them from entering I used chalk around my doorways and I sprinkled cinnamon in my window sills.

      This year there is a wasp nest on the side of the garage. I’m going to leave that alone and let my landlord take care of that. Sidenote: one of my Facebook friend posted a pic of the biggest wasp nest I have ever seen. I was terrified just looking at the pic.

  16. Audrey*

    I’m visiting Chicago for the first time in September! For three days – not very long so I want to make the most of it.

    I would really like suggestions from the list of what to do. Of course I have a list – I’m a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, so I want to go to Oak Park. I want to go to Wrigley Field. If there’s a lake tour I’d like that. I always enjoy just walking around a new city. But I’m sure there are lots of great things that I have never heard of!

    I’d also like suggestions of where to avoid. A couple of weeks ago Jamie and salad fingers mentioned some areas, but if anyone has anything to add, I’m all ears!

    1. fposte*

      You might also be interested in the architectural boat tours on the river– there’s a lot of amazing history that people don’t otherwise see there and the guides are really good. Millennium Park (see the Bean!) and its gardens are great–there’s sculpture and people-watching, but then the gardens are an oasis of quiet in the middle of the city.

      If you’re a museum person, I’d recommend prioritizing the Art Institute.

      1. Graciosa*

        I strongly second the recommendation for the Art Institute. It also has (or used to have?) a children’s section that I loved as an adult; everything was meant to be touched or played with.

        The Museum of Science and Industry was also a lot of fun, although it’s a bit further from downtown. My brother liked the Shedd Aquarium, but I don’t think it would make the top of my list if I only had three days.

        If you like to walk around, State Street, the Magnificent Mile, and Water Tower Place are good choices (assuming you’re not opposed to shopping).

        For something a little different, consider a visit to one of the exchanges. They all have visitors galleries where you can watch the trading floor while it’s in session. If you have never seen open outcry trading, it’s fascinating (for a short time – definitely not an all day thing). Time your visit to see the market open or close if possible. If you’re interested in architecture, the Chicago Board of Trade would probably be a better choice than the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and it’s within easy walking distance of what used to be the Sears Tower (I know it has been renamed, but I keep forgetting what they call it now!).

        Chicago has some really great theater and comedy clubs, so make the most of your evenings while you’re there.

        Have a great time!

        1. Graciosa*

          Oooh – forgot something. Lou Mitchell’s for breakfast (cash only). Also seconding Katie the Fed’s recommendation for Greek food (my weakness is flaming saganaki cheese at Greek Islands).

        2. Vancouver Reader*

          I loved the Museum of Science and Technology! Course, I went when they had the Body Worlds exhibit going on, but it was still cool to see. The university campus is gorgeous too.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      In all seriousness, my favorite thing to do in Chicago is eat. Greek Town – soooo good!

      If you like comedy, Second City is great. The original Saturday Night Live cast got their start there.

    3. Sabrina*

      If you take a cab, do not act like a tourist. If the driver asks where you’re from, don’t say out of town. You’ll get to your destination, but it will be the scenic route for sure!

    4. Stephanie*

      There are rough areas on the South Side, but I couldn’t imagine you’d be going to those as a tourist as they’re pretty residential.

      1. salad fingers*

        This is true. The only thing I’d be concerned about (or really, just aware of) is that you’ll be going through very rough areas on the west side to get to Oak Park. If you’re planning to take the CTA, you’ll be taking either the green or blue line, which may be comfortable for you if you’re familiar with public transit and feel competent at using it, or may be scary for you if you don’t usually do public trans and are uncomfortable travelling through bad neighborhoods. If you’re driving I’m sure you’ll be fine.

    5. Jon*

      Art Institute
      Museum Contemporary Art
      Water Taxi from Union Station or Ogilivie to Michigan Ave (or take it to our small China Town)

      *Boystown is over hyped and now dangerous (see Crime in Boystown blog) – go to Andersonville (can take brown line and walk over to Clark)

      *Do not use your iphone/ipad in particular (probably most devices) in public- there have been NUMEROUS attacks on tourists and residents. Be smart it is a city and crime has been going up.*

      Millenium Park for Bean and concerts- check Grant Park Orchestra- free, bring a picnic.

      Go to Pastoral for picnic goods.

      Checkout what neighborhood fests are going on but be careful, a lot of beer and fair games no culture.

      Take an architecture tour by boat (water taxi) or off of Navy Pier.

      Museum of Science and Industry great and Field, all of the museums really….take 146 bus from Michigan ave to Museum Campus and buy museum pass to get into all. Don’t bother with free days if you are here when they run- PACKED.

      Fun city, but no where near as safe as it was. I have been here 20 years.

      1. Jon*

        *Checkout Yelp events/Metro Mix for guides to what is going on. Oh and look up Groupons for deals.
        There’s a lot- like Facets (theatre- foreign. indie films) so checkout some guides, but yes go to Art Institute.

        Tour the Newberry

        Free and open to the public Thursdays at 3 pm and Saturdays at 10:30 am. Visitors of all ages are welcome.

        1. salad fingers*

          This is a great list :) Jon, are you a Facets member too? I don’t understand why more people aren’t, though I’ve heard from employees that Facets is past it’s prime or something — again, why is unclear.

          Honestly though, I’ve had a lot of visitors and no one has ever expressed feeling unsafe as a tourist here. I know there were like the flash mob concerns in 2012 and like a lot of large cities, concerns about theft from tourists (I guess?), but I didn’t realize Chicago was now considered unsafe for visitors in a noteworthy way.

          1. Jon*

            Depends on where you live and work- I lived in Boystown for 16 years, it is dangerous now- really checkout crime stats and the blog I mentioned. I work downtown near Michigan- police on every other corner all day/night NOT like that years ago. Chicago is a city and great one I love, but something is going on.

            1. salad fingers*

              Yeah, I don’t know. I live in a historically/statistically much worse part of the city than boystown and I don’t feel unsafe, so maybe my visitors recalibrate their danger meter after stopping by my place and find the rest of the city to be utterly charming, heh. I also work downtown(ish) and don’t notice all the cops, but I probably just don’t pay attention.

          2. Jon*

            Ps

            RE: Facets? Don’t all indie types think it was better back in the day whenever that was… ;-)

        2. Jon*

          Taking public transit? get a Ventra card, register it to get $5 back and use cta bus tracker/trip planner. You can get a Ventra card at O’hare- I am cheap so I including this:

          The ride on the blue from O’hare is $5- buy a one day, three day or week pass to AVOID this fee. If you are here three days and traveling by public transit, I’d get pass.

    6. NatalieR*

      Seconding an architectural boat tour (the Architecture Foundation’s is supposed to be better and was the one we chose) and the Art Institute. The Art Institute has a great Decorative Arts wing which pairs nicely with seeing the Frank Lloyd Wright homes, as much of the collection is contemporary to his design. There isn’t a ton to do in Oak Park other than see the homes, so plan that outing accordingly.

      If you like to eat, there is no end of great choices. The Publican is our favorite (but go ahead and reserve now, not kidding), especially if you are a meat eater. Other great places – Urban Belly, Belly Shack, Carnivale, Taxim, Slurping Turtle, Babareeba tapas, Saigon Sisters, the French Market, Phoenix for dim sum, Piece Pizza, Revolution Brewery, The Whistler for cocktails, Emporium arcade/bar… Or just pick up a Time Out Chicago and see what they recommend.

      If Mucca Pazza is playing a show while you are there, I highly recommend them. They are a “punk” marching band, complete with cheerleaders, and unlike any other show I have seen.

      Most hotels are concentrated right downtown, just look for one close to a train. We usually stay in the financial district which is dead on the weekends, but often a little less expensive because of it.

      Chicago is my favorite US city and September should be perfect weather. Have fun!

      1. Jon*

        Hemingway’s home and museum is in Oak Park- nice tour and cute little town accessible via Green Line from downtown.

    7. salad fingers*

      This city is so big and full of fun/interesting stuff, it’s really hard to pare down what you’ll love without knowing more about you. Let’s see…

      You’ve already chosen Oak Park and Wrigley Field, which are in very different parts of the city. You might want to do those on different days and maybe find things close to either to check out.

      I’m probably pretty useless when it comes to Wrigley Field stuff, as I don’t love that area. Jon doesn’t like Boystown, but if you’re sold on Wrigley, you might consider checking it out. Wrigleyville and Boystown are, in what might be the city’s funniest juxtaposition, the sort of Broey and LGBT centers of the city. Wrigleyville reminds a lot of people of college at a big 10 university (drinking, sports, drinking, drinking, bags/bayroot/beruit). There’s probably some cool shopping there too? Boystown is next door, and has a lot of boutiquey/costumey shopping, restaraunts, and more drinking. As mentioned, very LGBT-centric. Boystown is a part of Lakeview, which is again, a concentrated area of boutiquey shopping, food and drink. This is all on the North Side of the city. This area is also close the lake, so maybe combining lake and Wrigley Feild visit would make sense. There’s a bike share program called Divvy that you might be interested in using. Biking the lakeshore path is popular.

      Oak Park is a western suburb that borders the city. The Frank Lloyd Wright stuff is very interesting and Oak Park has a cute downtown area. You aren’t going to find a lot of other neighborhoods close by that you’ll want to visit though, as there’s a long stretch of not tourist friendly neighborhoods that comprise the West Side between Oak Park and the loop. I’d suggest taking the train out there, spending the day seeing Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, Hemingway museum, etc, and then hopping on the Blue Line train to either go back to the loop area (where you’ll presumably be staying) or through the loop and up (northwest) to the Wicker Park/Logan Square area for more sightseeing/food and drink.

      In Logan Square, (as mentioned by NatalieR) Revolution Brewery and the Whistler are great. Longman and Eagle, Lula Cafe, Analogue for great food — I mean, the list really goes on and on. In Wicker Park, Violet Hour (hidden cocktail bar), Big Star (mmm, tacos), The Bedford (used to be a basement bank vault, is now a basement bar with vault beautifully intact), etc. There’s a lot of boutiquey shopping in Wicker Park, and to a lesser extent Logan Square. If you happen to be in town on the first Friday of the month, the Flat Iron building is an amaaaazing place to see a lot of local art. Anyway, these neighborhoods are generally considered to be the one of the “hipster” areas of Chicago. At this point, I feel like WP and Logan Square are safe as your mother’s loving womb, but they were recently/currently gentrifying, so some people may be wary.

      Closer to where you’re presumably staying, a drink at the Signature Room at the top of the Hancock is one of the best and potentially most affordable ways to get an amazing view of the city. Three Dots and a Dash is a neat tiki bar (don’t judge) in the Gold Coast (again, close to where you’ll presumably be staying). I haven’t been there yet somehow but it’s constantly been on “best new” and “best of chicago” lists.

      Speaking of which —- the Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, Time Out Chicago — all of those will have best of 2013, 14, etc. lists that will include things other than food and bev.

      I’d add the Chicago Cultural Center to the museum list (free with a lot of interesting seasonal exhibits, artists with disabilities in residency, their art on display, beautiful ballroom, centrally located and across from the Chicago tourist mecca — the bean.) Sadly the Museum of Holography has closed, so you’ve missed the boat on that one. The Museum of Mexican Art is lovely too if a bit out of the way in Pilsen, and in an area that, again, some may be wary of (even though is a great neighborhood too and full of a lot of art and food and drink and things). Really, all of the museums are excellent. At the moment, my druthers is the Jellies exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium. The Lincoln Park Zoo exists, but it makes me sad so I avoid.

      Oh also, there are a lot of cool music venues in Chicago if that’s your thing. In Ukranian Village, which is next to Wicker Park, Empty Bottle is one of my (and my visitors’) favorites, but there are tons. Rosa’s Lounge is in a “bad neighborhood” but is a Chicago blues classic — unfortunately, maybe don’t go if you’re concerned about safety. Please don’t go to Kingston Mines. See the Chicago Reader for a more comprehensive list of venues.

      Sorry this is not succinct. I don’t know — I guess my advice is to strategically plan your visit with the vastness of Chicago in mind, check out the Reader/Metromix for things happening during the time you’ll be here, and be aware of safety concerns but not terrified. Chicago is also a city of neighborhoods, so you might investigate to see which ones most interest you and again, plan to visit them in a way that makes sense.

      1. Audrey*

        Wow! Thank you all so much, this is fantastic. I love taking public transit, am very definitely a museum person, and love the idea of visiting a market while it’s in session. I once went to NYSE (where they allow you to spend about 10 minutes) and was blown away.

        We are staying near the river and Lakeshore Drive, half a mile from the Art Institute, so that will be a definite. And the food recommendations are fantastic. Now I will study all these comments in depth. I was already excited, now more so :)

    8. Nicole*

      Since you’re planning on visiting Oak Park anyway, I recommend the Oak Park Conservatory. I’ve lived in and near Chicago my entire life and only just discovered that little gem a few years ago. In addition to plants , it houses parrots, turtles, and Koi. I believe admission is free (although there is a small suggested donation). Google them to check hours as they might be closed certain days.

    9. Nina*

      Oak Park is pretty, but don’t rent a car; the parking there is awful, like most places in Chicago. But OP does have great public transportation, and the Green Line isn’t far from the Frank Lloyd Wright museum, if you don’t mind a bit of walking. And that same train line can take you downtown to the Loop. Good bus system, too.

      Co-sign on the Art Institute. I still love going there.

  17. Jill-be-Nimble*

    Just had my cat turn his nose up at yet another dinner. (And yes, Alison, I had been feeding him Sheba until all of the places around me stopped carrying the Cuts of the different flavors! He won’t eat anything in the Pate version at all.) I felt like I was getting graded badly on a Human Review.

    What do you do to reward a kitty for a year of being good? How do you tell a kitty that he can improve?

    1. Rebecca*

      I feel for you. One of my elderly cats is diabetic, and I she needs to eat before I give her insulin. I put her canned food in a pretty glass dish, spooned with a silver spoon. And then, sometimes she looks at me and I swear she’s thinking “you expect me to eat THAT?” And it’s the [insert flavor here] that she readily gobbles down any other time.

      My absolute last stop gap is solid white albacore tuna. As a bonus, I make tuna salad for myself after Her Royal Highness has eaten a few bites.

      1. Sabrina*

        Have you had her kidneys checked? Mine is diabetic too and has kidney disease, and sometimes they just don’t like their food.

        1. Rebecca*

          She’s 15 1/2 years old, and at this point, I’m just trying to make sure she’s happy and comfortable, which she seems to be.

          1. Sabrina*

            Hobbs is 15 too! He was dx a couple years ago. I just hope he doesn’t get worse, I can’t handle that!

    2. kris*

      My cats won’t eat the pate food either.

      Have you talked to your vet about this?

      Sometimes not eating can be a symptom of a problem. I hope it isn’t though.

    3. Windchime*

      Oh, the Sheba! My kitty didn’t care at all for the beef flavor but he really liked the chicken one that I gave him last night. He only likes the pate version of cat food; for the others, he will lick the gravy but leave the little chunks of meat.

  18. De (Germany)*

    Anyone here into cool exercise stuff? What are you doing?

    After three years of on and off barbell strength training, which I sometimes loved and sometimes hated, I recently started something different with bodyweight strength training. I now have paralletes, gymnastic rings and a pull-up bar. I train handstand (still at the early stages) and dips and ring rows and pull-ups. I am looking forward to eventually progressing to cool (in my opinion :-)) exercises like free handstands, muscle-ups, levers and so on. Those are a fair amount of exercise away, but I am motivated and I know I can stick to exercise for months as long as I progress at least a bit.

    I am not big on endurance training, though. Hated running, love swimming, but that’s such a hassle with having to drive to the pool and such.

    1. Kerry*

      I’ve just got a pull-up bar and I love it. I do bodyweight exercises in my living room while I’m watching silly action TV shows, it helps me pretend I’m a spy in training.

    2. nep*

      Wow you’re doing great stuff. Bodyweight exercises are amazing. I’m working on chin-ups and pull-ups. It’s also been great trying all sorts of challenging variations on the plank. I’ve been having fun using kettlebells and battle ropes as well. But pure bodyweight exercises really suit me best — simple and hugely effective.
      I’ve also been amazed at progress in a few challenging yoga poses — the strength work enhances the yoga and vice-versa.
      Keep up the great work.

    3. Stephanie*

      I go to a MMA studio that has its own version of CrossFit. Same idea–varied daily workouts with interval training, but the weightlifting is swapped out with bag work (kicks, punches, etc).

      Same studio teaches hula, so I also take their cardio hula class (more emphasis on continually moving versus perfect form).

  19. evilintraining*

    This is slightly work- related. I need suggestions on what to do with my hair. I work at a food manufacturing plant, and even though I’m in HR, my hair is in a clip and hairnet for most of the day. As such, my fine, thin hair always looks like crap when I go home. I can’t cut it short (long story). Any ideas?

    1. Rebecca*

      Could you put it in a French braid during the day? When you go home, it should have a pretty wave in it.

      1. Liane*

        I do French braids and I have very fine hair. It does work well, when I want to take the few extra minutes. Otherwise I am a clip, bun or tail girl. I haven’t tried it out yet but I got one of those gadgets that is supposed to make it easy to do updos.

    2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Ooh, I need some ideas too! I have very fine hair and lack whatever genes/training it is that makes the pretty girls understand how to do hair. I know what cut I’m going to get when I’m done growing my hair out, but I’ve never had actually long hair before so I want to cross that off the list before settling into comfortable short-hair-hood. But it’s getting long enough that it’s kind of irritating, and I’m trying not to use heat tools on it so my go-to of straightening every day isn’t viable. :(

    3. WorkingAsDesigned*

      I have long, fine hair, too. (It’s also layered.) One thing that works for me is to create a multi-ponytail holder ponytail.

      You take a section of hair at the top of your head and side, and secure it with a ponytail holder. Take that section and combine it with a another section, just further down on your head, and secure it with a 2nd holder. Do this again and again until you run out of sections of hair to pull together and/or hair that’s in a big enough section to hold the ponytail holder.

      (My hair’s down to the middle of my back, and I can get 3 holders in before the holder slips out due to the fineness of my hair – the last holder’s at the nape of my neck.)

      It keeps my hair contained all day long, and if I want to take out the holders later, it leaves waves similar to those Rebecca mentioned for the French braid, although fewer.

      1. Liane*

        I will have to try those clips myself. The barrette styles just slide out.
        Like WorkingAsDesigned I also have layers but am thinking of growing the side & back ones out, just keeping the ones in the top front. (Hair is fine enough that it goes flat from its own weight if I don’t layer there.) And I second her multi holder ponytail variant.

  20. Canadamber*

    So, yesterday, I drove to join my family at my sister’s rowing regatta. It was actually really scary being in the house all by myself, because it’s a pretty big house and I was worried that I wasn’t going to remember to lock everything up, and possibly get murdered or raped in the middle of the night (my mom would have you believe that these people are everywhere). That didn’t happen, of course, so here I am! Whoo. I got up at 5 AM, got on the road at 6, stopped at 6:45-7:30 to visit a friend (he had something I wanted to borrow from him, but since he lives so far away I couldn’t justify just randomly driving there) and grab some food at McDonald’s, and then my family met up with me bear the place so that they could lead me around the (very confusing) roads at around 8:50. The road trip was pretty good, and I actually really liked driving alone on a trip that long! However, I was actually rather lonely by that point because I hadn’t seen my family since 11:30ish AM on Friday. Meh. What can I say? I’m a teenager; I need my peeps. XD

  21. Ruffingit*

    OFFICIAL AAM BOOK CLUB :)

    What is the last book you finished?

    What are you reading now?

    1. MJ*

      Just finished Tom Rachman’s new book Rise and Fall of Great Powers in two sittings. Also loved his Imperfectionists. He builds characters in your head through an amazing dexterity with words, and the characters are so interesting!

    2. Rebecca*

      I’m enjoying Hugh Howey’s Silo series, and finished Wool, Proper Gauge, and Casting Off. I’m a little busy with some things this weekend/week coming up with my car project, so when August 1 hits, I’m going to download the 4th book. What a plot twist at the end of the 3rd book!

      I really like Hugh Howey’s writing style, and the books are shorter and fit into my reading schedule nicely. I’m looking forward to Shift after I finish the Wool series.

      1. Cruciatus*

        I’ve read the first five. I’m hoping the next 5 (or so) will also be put into an omnibus, though I just looked it up the other day and I think most of the rest of the books are available for free through Amazon Prime’s library. I had no idea what to expect with them but I have enjoyed them so far. And, like you, I do appreciate the shorter books.

      2. The IT Manager*

        I loved Wool, but haven’t started Silo yet. I am bit scared off by a bad review, but on the other hand although I enjoy Luke Burrage’s Sci Fi Book Review Podcast, he and I do disagree sometimes. I am planning to get to Silo soon.

        1. Windchime*

          I loved, loved, Wool, Shift, and Dust. He’s got a newer one now called Sand and it doesn’t seem to be connected to the others, but you never know about Hugh Howey. I enjoyed Sand but it’s different from the others.

          I’m so glad to see others enjoying him. He is one of my favorite authors.

    3. Jazzy Red*

      The Summer of the Danes (The Eighteenth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael, of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, at Shrewsbury) by Ellis Peters. I watched the Brother Cadfael mysteries on PBS years ago, and rediscovered the series at the library. Set in 12th century England, very interesting to read how people lived then, and how the politics of the time affected their lives.

    4. Cruciatus*

      I just finished Nelson DeMille’s “The Charm School”. It was…OK. It was recommended in a forum for the TV show The Americans because it was a similar theme. In the book, U.S. Embassy people working in Russia in the 90s and discover a school that is teaching Russians to be Americans by using missing American soldiers from the Vietnam war. There’s a cat and mouse chase as the real Americans try to expose the school. And that part was good, but then DeMille added this horrible romantic angle and, UGH. It was just odd and I hated the woman and how she acted.

      And now I’m reading the latest Linda Castillo book. She has a series about a former Amish woman who is now the police chief in a small Ohio town where lots of Amish live and lots of crimes happen (sometimes to the Amish, sometimes not). But you pick up little facts about the Amish and the books are usually a reliably good read.

    5. brightstar*

      I’m currently reading “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” by Diana Gabaldon. I love her books but I do wish they’d edit her a bit more as I notice there are plots or pieces that don’t seem to go anywhere.

      1. Purr purr purr*

        Me too! And I agree with the editing. Sometimes I just put down her books and can’t deal with them right there and then. The lack of editing and the long length sometimes makes them feel more like a soap opera where nothing is really happening but day-to-day existence.

        1. brightstar*

          Sometimes I skip pages. How do you like the jumping of perspective from one person to another? I’m bored with Williams’ story (again) but found myself fascinated with Bree and Roger’s plots and wished, for once, the books would focus more on them.

      2. Lore*

        She writes the sections out of order and delivers them to the publisher really late. Makes it very hard to edit!

    6. The IT Manager*

      Last weekend I finished All Change by Elizabeth Jane Howard. I loved it and was very sorry to see it end especially since it is the definitive end of the Cazalet series. Books 1-4 were published in the 90s and seemed finished (took the family to post WWII and settled a number of relationships) until she published All Change last year right before her death. I am so glad she did because I really did enjoy this more than the previous book. I was actually sad when I started the book just because I knew that meant I would be approaching the end of my time with the Cazalet family. I whole-heartedly recommend the series about a very close English middle class family from 1937 – 1959. This is a thinly veiled story of Howard’s own life (key life events applies to different characters), but she immerses the reader in WWII era England. I think it’s like or even better than Downton Abbey in immersing the reader in the world as it was then and not viewing it through a modern lens where modern views are imposed on the situation. Also like Downton Abbey, it takes the family through the transition from where these middle class families all employed servants pre-WWII (not ladies maids and valets, but housekeepers, cooks, and drivers) to where they don’t any longer in the 1950s. I can’t recommend these books enough, but I warn you it’s not a beach read – especially in the early books where you’re getting to know the huge cast of characters and the setting which was not written to explain things to modern American readers. Sometimes you have to guess by context or look it up. These books were a very time consuming read, but I am already thinking of rereading them again because they are just that good.

      The last audiobook I finished was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell on Thursday; it was fun and an easy listen. I managed to get through this audio book in TWO DAYS. Although the first half is better than the second half, I still did not want to stop listening which is the only way I made it through a 13 hour audiobook in two days – also listen while doing everything – driving, daily ablutions, cooking, cleaning, waiting to fall asleep, and in place of tv watching. I’m usually not that into an audio book. I actually wished I had it in a regular or ebook so I could read faster.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Ooh, the Cazalet series sounds very interesting. I just bookmarked the Goodreads link. I’d like to try my hand at some historical fiction, but I should read some good work in that genre first.

        1. The IT Manager*

          Cool! FYI in a way the setting was as foreign to me as in some sci fi novels.

    7. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      I’m just about to finish The Orphan Master’s Son. It has been a bit of a slog, which is rare for me (I’m a fast, voracious reader), but about 3/4 of the way through I fell in love with it.

    8. Persephone Mulberry*

      I currently don’t have the motivation to try and find something new, so for now I’m re-reading all the J.D. Robb books in order.

      Related question: anyone sign up for Kindle Unlimited yet? I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but I’m thinking about it. I don’t read as many new books as I’d like because I hate the thought of paying $5-15 for something that might be terrible, so this could be excellent for me.

      1. KJ*

        Before you sign up for Kindle Unlimited, make sure they have the selection you really want. Their number of available titles is inflated by self-published books; while there’s nothing wrong with self-published books, it’s not always what people are looking for.

        I’d also check to see if your library offers ebooks as well. No monthly cost (your taxes already pay for your public library) and the selection is likely to be much better.

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          I know my library does, I just find their ebook site really hard to navigate.

    9. Elkay*

      I finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt on Monday. I was surprised how quickly I was absorbed in the story. To me it didn’t top The Secret History but it made up for the slow in originality of The Little Friend.

      I’m now reading Victoria Coren’s poker autobiography.

      1. Windchime*

        I loved the Goldfinch. I was absorbed into it completely and it was so good for a story that was really, really dark and sad in places.

        1. Collarbone High*

          A friend who’s active on Goodreads told me that people haaaaaate The Goldfinch. I don’t get the hate — sure it was long, but I too found it so absorbing I didn’t even really notice the length.

    10. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I just started The Poet by Michael Connelly (dude who wrote Lincoln Lawyer). Not sure if I actually like it or not, but it’s an easy and quick read.

    11. Gene*

      Nothing on the just finished list, been trying to cut into the stack of magazines/

      Currently reading “The Long Mars” by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Oops, this was meant to be a reply to Elizabeth the Ginger’s news about getting married. Hee.

    12. Ann Furthermore*

      I haven’t started anything new yet, but here are the last 2 books I read.

      I stayed up late to finish Inferno by Dan Brown on Friday night. Don’t bother. I was very disappointed. The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons were great books. The Lost Symbol was enjoyable too. No, probably not realistic, but good yarns that kept me turning the page, and I learned a few interesting historical tidbits along the way. Inferno tries to do the same thing, but just misses the mark. And it seemed like he had thought through the plot, but didn’t know how to wrap it up because I thought the end was kind of lame.

      Also, realistically, how many times will a professor of symbology become swept up in a web of international intrigue? And why is he always able to find a beautiful and brilliant woman to help him along the way? I realize that it’s a stretch to believe that it would even happen once, but you can only suspend your disbelief for so long.

      The book before that was Natchez Burning by Greg Iles. It is the first in a trilogy featuring the Penn Cage character that has appeared in many of his other books. I really enjoyed it. It’s a very long book — almost 800 pages — but it didn’t take me that long to get through it because it really kept my attention. The story weaves in quite a bit of history about the South and the civil rights movement.

      If you haven’t read Greg Iles, I’d recommend reading his Penn Cage books before tackling this one. I enjoyed them all, plus you can get to know the main cast of characters that appears in the series.

      1. stad*

        I love these book suggestions in the Sunday open thread – I have the local library’s website open in a separate window. As I read the book suggestions, I look them up in the library catalogue and place holds on them.
        Thanks to the person that suggested ‘The Casual Vacancy’ by JK Rowling in an earlier open thread. It was a great read and I just finished it yesterday. Had to read it in a hurry as the library has multiple holds on it and would not allow me to renew.

    13. WorkingAsDesigned*

      “Think and Grow Rich”, Napolean Hill and “A Wind in the Door”, Madeleine L’Engle (re-reading a childhood favorite :-) ).

    14. Elizabeth West*

      Watching the English, by Kate Fox. (I messed up and got the older version–then I noticed there was an updated one. Nuts!) It’s a really insightful and hilarious look at why the English are the way they are. A lot of the things she talks about I had seen or experienced, but this goes into the mindset behind certain cultural norms and behaviors. Fox herself is English, and it’s really funny to hear her describe how uncomfortable she was when she had to violate those norms in the interest of research. I got it not just because I’m going to England, but because one of the characters I’m writing now is English.

      I’m currently working my way through 11/22/63 by Stephen King on my Kindle. After that will be NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (his son). And Joe’s book Horns is a movie with Daniel Radcliffe. I can’t WAIT–Dan is a great actor and I loved that book. :D

    15. Windchime*

      I’m reading “The Gods Themselves” by Isaac Asimov. It’s weird and I’m not sure I like it, but I keep reading because I want to know what happens.

        1. The IT Manager*

          I completely agree. I enjoyed most of Asimov that I read – admittedly this was as a child/teen. I found Clarke more miss than hit, and never really enjoyed much of Bradbury.

    16. Vancouver Reader*

      I’m reading A Dirty Job thanks to all the wonderful people here who suggested it.

      Previous book was In a Glass Grimmly (A Tale Dark & Grimm #2)
      by Adam Gidwitz.

    17. Ruffingit*

      Just finished The Beach House by Jane Green and am now reading Dune Road by the same author. I’m also reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Almost done with it and I’ve enjoyed it.

    18. Liane*

      Currently reading Brotherband Chronicles 4: Slaves of Soccorro by John Flanagan & just finished re-reading other books in series while I–and my 16 year old–eagerly awaited this latest.

    19. Littlemoose*

      Just finished Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It’s historically accurate but reads like a novel – very engrossing and well-written.
      I’m just about to start The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I’m hoping it’s as good as I’ve heard.

    20. Nina*

      Just finished “Project Girl” by Janet McDonald. Such an engrossing tale of what racism, classism, and just low self-esteem can do to a person, and how one can slowly overcome their past.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        Currently reading Morven Callar by Alan Warner (Scottish author) I saw the film about a month or so ago and have wanted to re-read the book ever since. I’ve always said it wrong, as well, not realising the second word is Callar, I’ve been saying caller for many years!!
        I’ve just finished “under a silent moon” by Elizabeth Haynes – I enjoyed all her other titles (psychological thriller types), this one is a more straight forward crime novel.

    21. Cb*

      Just read the Storms of War while on holiday this weekend, also sped through Expo 58 yesterday.

  22. Katie the Fed*

    Alison, you mentioned doing this last week, so I’m going to kick it off.

    Tell me some products you absolutely swear by.

    Here’s my list:

    Kitchen –
    – Emile Henry bread cloche. It steams bread as it bakes so you get a wonderful crust on it. Very easy to make artisinal bread
    – Pizza stone (also Emile Henry for me) – LOVE making homemade pizza from scratch
    – Immersion Blender – if you make soups or like to preserve things, it’s incredibly useful
    – Ball whisk (*not a bedroom toy*) – a whisk with balls on the end metal spikes – works way better than a traditional whisk
    – Mini food processor
    – Ikea cheese graters I mentioned last week. They’re storage containers with snap-on graters that catch all the cheese, with lids so you can keep your cheese. I eat a lot of cheese.

    Coffee –
    – Contigo autoseal insulated coffee mugs. I bring my coffee with me to work everyday and this keeps it nice and hot and spill-free
    – Haitian bleu coffee – same bean as Jamaican blue at a fraction of the price, and organizations like Singing Rooster use it to support growers in Haiti

    Travel:
    – Portable luggage scale. Got this as a gift and it’s saved my bacon many times
    – Eagle creek zip-it packing bags – great for organizing toiletries and other things
    – Travel power strip with USB ports. Belkin makes one I really like

    Other:
    – Wave iron (for hair) – it’s like a giant crimper but gives my hair nice waves
    – Argan oil – another must for my frizzy hair
    – Dyson Animal. God bless the good people of Dyson. This thing is amazing. I could build a new cat with what I vacuum each time

    OK – tell me yours!

    1. Rebecca*

      Kitchen:
      – my Grandma’s cast iron frying pans. I’m done buying non stick, teflon, whatever.
      -my Ninja blender system, I’ve had it for 2 years now and love it.
      -pepper grinder

      1. stad*

        Kitchen
        – I have had the Ninja blender system for about a year and it is amazing. I use it mostly to make dough for roti and to grind spices. I have tried over a dozen different American made blenders in the past 15 years; none were half as good as my Ninja.
        – I also have a Hamilton Beach rice cooker that I use daily. It has settings for different types of rice, whole grains etc. (ideal for Indian cooking)

    2. BRR*

      -I’m also a cast iron person.
      -I love my contigo as well.
      -Certain products from Kyoku, their lava mask is awesome, their anti-oil lotion works fairly well, and their eye fuel helps with the bags under my eyes
      -kyjen dog toy, the squirrel one (the pig one was much messier for some reason), it holds together better than any other stuffed dog toy and my dog loves it better than any other toy
      -chuck it dog toys, especially the balls

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Yard equipment count? I love, love, love my Garden Way cart. When I was younger I could push 900 pounds up hill in 90 degree heat. I choose not to do these types of things any more but I still love what a back saver this cart is.
      A while ago, I had to empty out a room to prepare for a new floor. I loaded three air-conditioners into the cart and brought them to garage by myself! yeah!
      I take extra good care of the cart.

      My latest purchase has been one of those portable folding tables. But, again, I have to be able to lift it. This one folds in half and has a carrying handle. I cannot believe how much I have used it and I have only had it a few weeks. Because it folds down to almost nothing, I can throw it in my car with ten other large things and everything fits. yippee.

    4. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I just discovered it but I’m already so happy: Ofra’s universal eyebrow pencil. It’s just such a dream. I have pale eyebrows , and I never used to bother penciling. But then I got this one, and now if I only have time for one makeup before I leave, it’s brows. :D

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Oh, good. I love this topic. I’m a huge evangelist for the following:

      These sheets:
      http://www.brookstone.com/Bamboo-Sheet-Sets_7994113_2
      (just the sheets themselves; not the pillow shams or comforter with the weird woven thing going on)

      This blanket:
      http://www.brookstone.com/nap-blanket?bkiid=World_Landing_Page_Bedroom_Nap™_Pillows___Blankets|CategoryWidget|810364p&catId=

      Ceramic knives — so much better than the rest

      This hot sauce:
      http://www.thehotsaucestop.com/Holy-Jolokia-Hot-Sauce/

      This crazy root beer flavored Stevia, which you can put in seltzer water to make your own delicious zero calorie root beer:
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008C2BIV8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      This air filter, which has now cured multiple people’s indoor allergies:
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0099UO83M/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      This carpet cleaner, which removes every stain I’ve tried it on, including red wine:
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VP7J4E/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      This hand chopper for chopping jalapenos (I chop a lot of jalapenos):
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004HFR2MS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      1. Katie the Fed*

        What do you do with your jalapenos? I grow a lot of them but I don’t know what to do with them all. I’ve been freezing them to use in my salsa verde if my damned tomatillos ever ripen.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Well, we eat a ton of guacamole, which I load up with a huge amount of them, but I also put them in just about anything else where heat wouldn’t be inappropriate — soups, stews, etc.

        2. Ann Furthermore*

          You can throw jalapenos in just about anything. My hubby grows them and it seems like we get a bumper crop every year. Thankfully they freeze really well. I’m still working my way through what we got last year!

          I chop them up and throw them in Mexican dishes, chili, stews, and so on. If you remove the seeds and ribs, they’re not that spicy. When I’ve got a ton of them, I use 2 or 3 to substitute for a green or red bell pepper.

        3. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          My mother in sort-of-law makes a jalapeño jelly that is sooooooooo delicious. I don’t know the recipe, but I bet there are many out there. Great on like crackers and whatnot as appetizers.

      2. salad fingers*

        I’m blanking on this one for some reason but in addition to electric kettles, I recommend getting an electric toothbrush to anyone who will listen.

        Is that too basic/does everyone use an electric toothbrush?

        1. Stephanie*

          I love my Sonicare. Never going back to a manual toothbrush. I’m prone to cavities and periodontal pockets (my molars are close enough together that floss gets stuck) and it definitely helped reduce my pockets.

          1. salad fingers*

            Another benefit- not brushing too hard. Mine shuts off if you’re using too much pressure, which apparently most people tend to do using manual brushes. Happy gums!

    6. James M*

      “Hot Shot” electric water boiler. Boils up to ½ liter of water in minutes. I drink tea at work and this is vastly more convenient than a microwave.

      1. salad fingers*

        Second that so hard. I don’t think “Hot Shot” is the brand I have, but electric kettles are amazing for tea drinkers, pasta makers and water boilers generally. Came here to say that.

      2. Girasol*

        Absolutely! We’re on our fourth Hot Shot, all second hand (no one here sells them). They’re way better than an electric kettle. Pour a tea mug of water into the top, hit the switch, and 30 seconds later, dispense boiling water back into the teacup.

        1. NW Cat Lady*

          I had one of these in college and it was amazing! I tried putting milk in it one time for hot chocolate. That was a mistake. Oops. But it made terrific tea!

    7. Ann Furthermore*

      I had to go look for the cheese grater, as soon as I read your post, and OMG what a genius idea! I’m going to adding some to my kitchen very soon.

      I second the immersion blender, but recommend getting a stainless steel one. I had one that was plastic, and it worked like a charm, but then someone (either my hubby or daughter) put the blender part on the bottom shelf of the dishwasher. It was misshapen when it came out, and I couldn’t use the blender.

      Also for the kitchen I love my food scraper/shovel. It’s basically a piece of stainless steel with tapered sides and a plastic handle, and you use it to scoop up chopped vegetables to drop into your skillet, soup pot, whatever. Makes things so much easier! You can get one from the Rachel Ray line on Amazon.

      For chopping onions I love the Vidalia Chop Wizard. It’s a plastic container with a lid that’s hinged on one end. It comes with a steel blade grate which fits into the container. Put the onion on the grate, press the lid down, and presto! Chopped onions, all about the same size. I saw it years ago on a TV commercial and never paid much attention to it. Then one day, my the woman who used to do my nails raved about it, so I stopped and got one on the way home. It works just as advertised. You can chop an onion quickly, and avoid the tears.

      Another as-seen-on-TV product that works just as advertised are the Perfect Tortilla pans. Love them.

      For makeup, I swear by Urban Decay eyeshadows and eye pencils. Great colors, they go on smoothly and evenly, and last all day long.

      1. Windchime*

        I also love the Urban Decay eye pencils. I haven’t tried the eye shadows yet.

        I love, love, love Smashbox CC cream. I use it instead of foundation and it makes my skin look pretty (for a 50-something woman!).

        One thing that I recently got and never thought I would like/use: Navigation in my car. I used the Nav on my phone before I got this car and it was fine, but the car Nav is so much better. I have used it weekly since I got it.

          1. Mike C.*

            I discovered last week that the bluetooth headset I have at work pairs to both my work and personal phones AT THE SAME TIME. How cool is that?! :D

    8. Elizabeth West*

      “Ball whisk (*not a bedroom toy*)” made me laugh really hard!

      Kitchen:
      –A small cheese grater with a handle (kind of like this one http://www.chefsfirst.com/v/vspfiles/photos/OXO20581-2.jpg). I love it because it’s so tiny and I can grate all the Parmesan I want without having to wash a huge grater (and shred my knuckles at the same time).

      Makeup:
      –I absolutely love Bare Minerals Correcting Concealer. It’s broad-spectrum SPF 20, and it actually covers my under-eye circles or anything else without caking like that horrible tube stuff. It’s more expensive, but it’s worth every penny. A little goes a LONG way.

      –Lancome’s Crushed Rose lipstick. I buy a tube a year because it’s $30. O.o But it makes me look fabulous. It’s the only time I use a lip brush, to get every last bit out of that tube.
      –I have to second the argan oil (I use something from Garnier). I’ve been putting it on my hair, which is dry from coloring, and it makes it feel nice and smells terrific.

      Travel:
      –An inflatable neck pillow I got from US Airways. Love that thing.
      –You know those plastic things that sheets and curtains come in? They make terrific packing cubes/containers. They zip up and you can find everything because they’re see-through. I save them. :)

      1. Katie the Fed*

        “You know those plastic things that sheets and curtains come in? They make terrific packing cubes/containers. They zip up and you can find everything because they’re see-through. I save them. :)”

        You just blew my mind! Maybe next week I’ll start a thread of things you can repurpose.

    9. Vancouver Reader*

      I love my Le Creuset pots (as per last week’s open thread discussion) and silicone spatulas. I can’t live without chopsticks because they are so multi-purpose, from picking things up to getting our toaster toasting because it’s lost the lever. I miss my Braun immersion blender because it came with so many different attachments, but the immersion piece is what I really loved.

    10. Graciosa*

      Neutrogena sunscreens with 100+ SPF. The dry touch sunscreen really isn’t greasy, and there’s a spray version that works just as well with easier application.

    11. Littlemoose*

      Clinique’s redness reducing facial moisturizer has been better for my rosacea than the prescription cream. It’s pricy, but it works very well, and the jar has lasted a long time.
      Stila eyeshadow in Kitten. I’m fair-skinned, and this is a flattering basic color that perks up my face without overwhelming me.
      My little travel steamer. Couldn’t even tell you what brand it is, bought it a zillion years ago – but it’s super useful, both for traveling and for everyday use at home.
      Gap’s curvy jeans. They fit beautifully. They recently became an online-only style, but as long as they’re still available, I’m a happy camper.
      Toaster oven! Love it for reheating leftovers or just making something quick. I’d never had one before, but boyfriend swore by it and I’m a convert.

    12. ThursdaysGeek*

      Yeah, I’m reading this very late, but these two products are important in my life:

      — Great Scott Skin Cream. It’s made in southern Idaho by a very small business, and it is incredible. I use it for dry skin and best of all for chapped lips. If my lips crack, I’ll put a bit on at night, and by the next morning they are healed. It’s not addictive like Blistex (the more you use it, the more you need it), and my lips are usually good for a few weeks after using it.

      — Dilmah Tea. This comes from a family owned business in Sri Lanka, although you can now buy it off Amazon too. It’s a good smooth black tea, not bitter, tannic, and nasty like the teas you usually buy in the US. There are lots of flavors too, and the blackcurrant tea makes excellent ice tea.

  23. TheSnarkyB*

    Ok 2 but it’s late in the day (in terms of how long ago the post went up) so I’m gonna combine them:

    1) Favorite podcasts anyone? I’ll post mine in a reply

    2) I lost track of this last time – what should my avatar be?

    1. TheSnarkyB*

      I LOVE podcasts, and I listen to a million. Here are my favorites:

      – NPR’s Planet Money & other NPR ones
      – Audiosmut
      – 99% invisible
      – The Read
      – Mental Illness Happy Hour (if you struggle with difficult stuff, or are interested AT ALL in the mind, hardship, mental illness, addiction struggles, etc.) it is Fascinating. Hosted by Paul Gilmartin (remember the guy from Dinner & a Movie?)

      I’d love to pick up some new ones…

      1. Stephanie*

        I listen to most of the ones you mentioned.

        I’ll also add
        -On the Media
        -Risk! (it’s a more vulgar/out there version of This American Life, basically)
        -This American Life
        -StarTalk with Neil Degrasse Tyson
        -Frontline’s audiocast (I can never remember when it shows on TV)
        -WTF with Marc Maron
        -Marketplace Weekend

      2. Windchime*

        I love Ted Talks. The morning news is so depressing and the morning shows like GMA and today are hyperactive and shout-y, so now I start my morning by listening to Ted Talks on my iPad as I’m getting ready for work.

      3. Nina*

        This American Life

        How Did This Get Made? This one rags on crappy movies, from The Room, to Sharknado. It’s hilarious.

    2. Cruciatus*

      I don’t listen to many, but I almost always enjoy Doug Loves Movies when I listen to it. I usually stockpile them for when I have a long drive somewhere.

    3. Sabrina*

      I have a podcast, so of course it’s my favorite! The Spline, it’s for Sims & SimCity players. http://www.thespline.com :)

      I also like The Liquid Geek Show and The Paranormal Podcast. I also sometimes listen to several World of Warcraft podcasts.

    4. brightstar*

      I listen to a lot of comedy podcasts, and was excited to see that someone else listens to “Doug Loves Movies”. My list:

      The Smartest Man in the World – Greg Proops
      Who Charted
      Doug Loves Movies
      Harmontown
      WTF with Marc Maron

    5. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I really only listen to one podcast, but I listen to it every single day on my way to and from work: My Brother My Brother and Me. It’s an advice show for the “modrin era.” MBMBAM for short. Love it!

      1. Windchime*

        Oh, yes, I also love the Moth. Lots of really good stories. Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me is fun for long drives; it always makes me laugh.

        The Vinyl Cafe is also good. I could do without the musical features but I love the stories about Dave and Marley; the way Stuart Mclean tells them in such a deadpan way is just so funny.

    6. Anonyby*

      My favorite podcasts:

      -Go Fork Yourself. It’s with Andrew Zimmern (of Bizarre Foods fame)
      -America’s Test Kitchen. By the folks from Cook’s Illustrated, just like the show on PBS.
      -Fear the Boot. It’s a podcast primarily about tabletop RPGs. And a lot of the episodes where they talk about handling conflict within the group ends up sounding like they were reading managing tips from Alison!

      I’ve also been meaning to download Alton Brown’s podcast…

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I don’t listen to many of these, but I like to download old-time mystery radio shows. There are a lot of free ones on iTunes and I found a mystery radio club thing online where you pay a membership fee and you can download mp3s. They make doing tedious tasks go by pretty quickly.

      1. Al Lo*

        What’s the name of the service? My dad loves old radio shows, and a subscription like that might be a great gift for an impossible person to buy for. :)

    8. Al Lo*

      Podcasts:

      *Nerdist
      *Up Yours, Downstairs (snarky recaps of Downton Abbey and other Edwardian period pieces)
      *The History Chicks (the lives of interesting women throughout history)
      *Alohomora (global re-read of the Harry Potter series, a chapter a week)

    9. MT*

      they have made a new one in forever, but they have a lot of episodes, it call “Mike and Tom Eat Snacks” also love the how stuff work podcast

      1. Pontoon Pirate*

        A day late, so maybe nobody will read this, but… Welcome to Night Vale is one of the best podcasts out there. I mean that, and not just because I just got a note from City Council telling me to say that.

  24. Jazzy Red*

    My dog eats poop.

    It makes me feel like a bad dog mom. Mostly, he snacks on the other dog’s poop, not his own. I keep cleaning up the backyard, but if he can’t find poop, he digs little things out of the ground and eats them. Then hours later he throws up on the living room carpet. (I’ve started keeping old mail order catalogs in all the rooms to stick under his mouth when I see his sides heaving.)

    The vet assistant suggested that I sprinkle unflavored meat tenderizer on the other dog’s food. It doesn’t change the taste of the food, but the enzymes makes the poop less appealing to Little Poopie Mouth. It seems to be helping, so I’m happier. He’s not, though, because the backyard snack bar is C-L-O-S-E-D!

    1. Katie the Fed*

      Dogs are gross. It’s not a reflection of you or the dog. They’re just nasty. I caught mine trolling the cats’ litter box for breath mints more than a few times. GAHHH.

      1. Windchime*

        We used to call this “Kitty Roca” (instead of Almond Roca).

        Yeah, dogs are just gross. You’ll never catch a cat eating poop.

        1. Alicia*

          I respectfully disagree. I caught my cat eating poop once. It revolted me because sometimes he gives me kisses, and I thought I was safe since cars aren’t as obviously gross as dogs (from an outsiders viewpoint).

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I am not sure how you would pursue this information to find out more, but I heard a while back that dogs do this because of a nutritional deficiency of some type. A shot in the dark, but maybe you find more info in a while.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        He was a stray when I adopted him, and I think he might have eaten poop during that period, when he was starving. It’s possible that he just can’t pass it up now. These things can stay with them forever, just like some things stay with us. The vet assured me it’s not doing him any harm, his health is great, and I do give them good quality food. He has a touchy tummy, so I’m careful of what I give him to eat.

    3. Liz*

      Nasty habit. Mine is 6 now, and every so often she still does. Ugh!!
      No, you are not bad dog mom. I know nothing of her background, but if she is a rescue, it may be because when she was a pup she was punished for having an accident. A lot of times, this results in them eating it to cover up and avoid punishment.There is a name for it, begins with a C. Corgiphagy? Corcophagy? Something like that. If you google it, you may get some tips on how to break the habit. Also, Drs. Foster & Smith have an online advice column, where you can email them and ask. They are usually pretty responsive, maybe they can give you some advice on how to handle it.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        It’s coprophagy.

        I do rather like the word “corgiphagy” though – makes me think of eating corgis. :)

        1. Liz*

          Thanks much for the clarification. I should have verified the name of it before I posted.

    4. Jazzy Red*

      Thank you all for your comments. I never had pets before, and even though I read everything I could find on dog care, consulted with a highly qualified dog trainer and run things by my vet, I’m still pretty insecure. I don’t know how I lived before these two came into my life. They mean the world to me!

  25. Rebecca*

    Sorry for the double post – about the Haitian bleu coffee – which one(s) would you recommend? I buy just cheapo grocery store coffee (I just paid $1.49 for Chock Full O’ Nuts 11 oz on sale with a coupon) so for me this would be a big step :) I think the Cuckoo Roo looks tempting!

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I get the cuckoo roo – it’s so good! Medium roast is also good. And I love this organization – I drink a ton of coffee but I like to know I’m helping the growers :)

        1. Rebecca*

          Thank you! I like to try new things, but I’m cautious at the same time so having a recommendation is great!

  26. Rebecca*

    My Dad and I made some good progress with the Firebird this week. One of the car club members was able to clean the original carpet, so that’s in, the T Top storage bag is cleaned, T Top panels are cleaned and stored in storage bag, the back seats are in, plus one front seat. There are some small trim pieces that need to be figured out/installed, and then the big bugaboo – the Delco radio. There are other non mechanical things, like the T Top headiner, that need to be found or ordered. I’m still trying to get a quote on molded hood insulation, and found a source for the wheel caps.

    I’m really hopeful I’ll be able to drive it to a cruise in before the season ends in late October!! Fingers crossed!!

  27. young in NYC*

    Does anyone have any advice regarding apartment hunting in NYC? I just started a new job this summer in midtown Manhattan but have been commuting from Long Island until I find a place. It currently takes me 2 hours to get to work so I would love to settle in as soon as possible by this fall.

    I’m in my mid-20s, female, and looking for a reasonable commute to midtown (ha anything less than 2 hours would be glorious at this point), but I would also like to be in a fun/young neighborhood. Currently have my eyes set on Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

    Any advice or recommendations are appreciated RE brokers vs no fee apts, finding roommates, anything! Thanks so much!

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Park Slope is wonderful, I have some friends that live there and it’s pretty affordable (for NYC).

    2. TheSnarkyB*

      Hey! I’m searching too and have some thoughts that helped from my last apt. hunt but I’ve commented A BUNCH today and my thoughts are pretty extensive. If you’re interested, feel free to hit me up on Gmail (same as username).
      Otherwise though, I’d say 100% look in Washington Heights & Inwood. SO much space for the price, and it’s really safe (at least I think so). I’m in a huge 3br right now that’s $2675/mo if that gives you some idea, and we have 4 people living here.

      Also, I really hate to be that jerk that completely shoots down another comment, but since apartment hunting is SO hard and lost time can be such a big deal (bc you get kicked out of your place once you submit your notice to vacate), I’m gonna do it. I know Park Slope very very well (I give a lot of details about myself on this site lol so I’ll leave it at that), and it is absolutely not affordable. It’s become almost the Upper East Side of Brooklyn, and the rents there are crazy expensive, and there are a lot more small apartments than you’d expect. Kimberlee, please don’t think I’m a jerk! But if your friends think PSlope is affordable, they either don’t actually live IN PSlope, maybe adjacent, or are loaded. (Or are in hard to find rent-controlled apts.) It literally gentrified like 10-15 years ago, so it’s become kind of the quintessential pricey Brooklyn neighborhood (along with Fort Greene, and the luxe versions like Brooklyn Heights and Boerum Hill).

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Hahaha, they must be adjacent. I think they pay $1300 a month for a one-bedroom that they share, which I consider to be reasonably affordable, but they might be in rent-controlled, not sure.

    3. Riki*

      I’ve used brokers. I know a lot of people hate them, but if you’re short on time and are willing to pay the fee (usually 10-15%), it can be worth it. As for roommates, start with your friends. Someone might need a roommate or know someone who does. There’s also the chance that someone might have a scoop on a great apartment. I found my current apartment through a friend who lived in the building. I was able to deal directly with the management company, so, no broker fee. Also, Craig’s List. Yes, there’s a lot of junk posted, but it is probably still the #1 go-to site for apartment and share searches. Streeteasy is also pretty good.

      Main things to consider are you budget and your absolute must-haves. When I was in my 20s, I HAD to live in Manhattan. That meant paying a little more for smaller, decent but unrenovated apartments. W’burg is getting pricey. If you must live there, keep in mind that you may need to sacrifice certain things in order to find something in your price range. Check out Bushwick, too, since that is basically W’burg East now, but rents haven’t exploded, yet.

      Whatever neighborhood you’re looking at, make sure that you visit during the day and at night if you’re not already familiar with the area. New York can be very block to block–even very nice areas have sketchy corners that people tend to avoid. You don’t want to end up somewhere you’re not comfortable. Also double check you possible work/home commute. Just because two points look close on a map doesn’t mean that your commute will be easy. Good luck!

    4. Lore*

      Williamsburg is really, really expensive right now. Even South Williamsburg, which used to be both pretty sketchy and pretty affordable, is turning into wall-to-wall luxury condos and fancy cocktail bars faster than you can keep up with it. (Greenpoint, too.) You might be able get one step ahead of super-expensive in parts of Bushwick, Ridgewood (technically Queens but right along the border with Williamsburg/Bushwick), the edge of Crown Heights that borders Prospect Heights (near Franklin Ave), and Bed-Stuy, all of which are also getting younger, wealthier, and trendier by the day. But a lot really depends on what your budget is. You might also look in Astoria (especially the southern half where it borders Long Island City) and Sunnyside in Queens. (Long Island City is great but also, I think, somewhat crazy expensive now.)

      1. Sunflower*

        Williamsburg is getting super pricey. There are parts that are more expensive than Manhattan!

        If you’re willing to go over the other river, I have a few friends in jersey city who love it. I also believe it takes around 10-15 mins to get to downtown Manhattan

        1. Lore*

          The biggest downside to Jersey City and Hoboken (other than a two-ride commute if you don’t work near the PATH), in my mind, is if you go out in Manhattan/Brooklyn a lot in the evening. The PATH train outside of rush hour runs much less frequently than NYC subways, and whereas a cab ride to many parts of Brooklyn and Queens can be under $20 from lower Manhattan, it’s at least $45-50 to get to NJ–if a cabbie will even take you. Having said that, the Grove St area in JC is lovely these days.

  28. Bend & Snap*

    Any other working parents here? The little one started daycare a month ago and it’s been brutal–she’s coming home not hydrated enough, catching everything that comes along and life is just general go go go/drudgery right now.

    It’s work, the dinner/bath/bedtime battle and pass out, repeat. The house is a disaster and my grooming hasn’t been up to the usual standards.

    Tell me it gets better?

    1. MJ*

      It gets better. Forget the housework. Wise words from Phyllis Diller: “Cleaning the house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling the walks before it stops snowing.”

      Each stage has its own challenges, but the toddler ones are particularly high energy for parents. The teen ones are particularly high worry.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      The only thing that would concern me is her not coming home hydrated enough. We’ve used 2 daycare providers (both daycares run out of someone’s home) and they were both good about making sure the kids get enough water during the day, particularly in the summer when they’re doing a lot outside.

      The worst part for us was not only did our daughter catch everything, one or both of us caught it too. We passed a cold back and forth between us for about 6 months after she started going to daycare. Ugh.

      It does get better. You do settle into a routine. I only do a bath every other night, unless my daughter gets exceptionally filthy during the day. Also, try planning out your menu for dinner for the week on the weekend. If you know what you’re planning to make, take meat out to thaw in the morning before leaving, and so on, it does make it easier. And, if you can afford it, consider hiring someone to clean your house. We have people come every other week and it is a real lifesaver.

      Good luck!

      1. kris*

        Yeah. What Ann said. The hydrating part is a concern; bring it up to the day care. Kids tend to catch and pass around colds when they go to school or day care.

        Take it easy on the housework. Prioritize things like clean dishes, food, clean clothes.

    3. Bend & Snap*

      Thanks everyone. I did bring the hydration issue up with the daycare–sternly–and scared the bejesus out of them. This was Friday and she was okay that day.

      The house is still a wreck but the fridge is stocked, the laundry is done, dishes are clean and I snuck out for a mani.

      This does help. I feel like I’m on an island lately and it’s been brutal.

  29. Kimberlee, Esq.*

    Oooooh, I can poll readers worldwide on this very important issue: have you ever played Beer Pong/Bayroot/Beirut? If so, please tell me:

    1. Where you are from/where you went to college
    2. Which name you called/call it
    3. Whether or not you use a rinse cup
    4. Whether you played two person teams or one-on-one
    5. Whether you played “live ball” or turn-based

    I am weirdly interested in the regional differences with this game, especially since my tiny college in Idaho of 800 students seemed to use a set of rules that I’ve never run into anywhere else!

    1. Stephanie*

      Haha.

      1. Dallas area, went to school in Houston.
      2. Beer Pong
      3. If someone remembered. Gross, I know.
      4. Two-person.
      5. Turn-based.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        On the rinse cup, that’s the biggest difference with my college and others: we *never* used a rinse cup. It never once occurred to anyone at my school. And we played outdoors and in gross frat house basements. I tend to think everyone that uses a rinse cup is a wimp now. :)

        Though it’s also way less common than I would have thought to play live-ball. It’s THE BEST. It’s soooo much more fun. Assuming you are willing to dive for it.

        1. acmx*

          1. Florida/private school (lots of non Floridians. Well, I guess state schools are the same way; not a lot of Floridians in FL lol)
          2 Beer pong
          3. I don’t think so. And rinse cups don’t make this game any less gross lol
          4. One on one
          5. Live I think.

          This beer pong was played using a ping pong table. I’ve seen it played further south with the red solo cups.

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            Oh interesting! I had no idea there were non-red-solo-cup varieties. We played on a table much longer than a Ping-pong one, though.

            1. acmx*

              The one around here is, the cups are in a pyramid and you toss the ping pong and try to get it into a cup. In college, we used the table, ping pong and paddle and I think only one cup one each side. We also played a$$hole. (Ok, I didn’t really play, I wasn’t much of a drinker back then).

    2. Anonyby*

      I’ve never actually played it… I wasn’t into frat parties at school. I only know about it at all thanks to one of my classmates using it as the subject of a poem in my poem writing class…

      My school was in Tacoma, WA and we called it Beer Pong.

    3. CoffeeLover*

      1. Western Canada
      2. Beer Pong
      3. Yes, always
      4. Both though I prefer teams
      5. Turn-based

    4. manomanon*

      1) Western Mass-not the Zoo but I spent a good deal of time there.
      2)Beer Pong
      3) We did when we remembered…. we also played with water in the cups and drank from whatever we were drinking when someone scored.
      4) Mostly teams.
      5) Turn based

    5. Felicia*

      1. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Went to school on the outskirts of Toronto basically.
      2. Beer pong
      3. No , not that I know of.
      4. Primarily one on one, though teams sometimes happened
      5. Turn based

    6. Prickly Pear*

      1. Indianapolis, no college (always just played with friends)
      2. Beer Pong
      3. Depends on how lazy we felt/the people that were playing
      4. Both, again depending on who was around
      5. turn based- if “live ball” means play until you missed

      On a related note, I saw a Beer Pong set for sale yesterday that was over 20 bucks! What the what. I bought a set a few years back and felt that my own 5 buck purchase was a little nutty.

    7. Stephanie*

      Oh, this reminds me. For our senior-year engineering capstone projects, we used to be able to pick our topics. Turns out the straw that broke the camel’s back was when one group decided to build a beer pong playing robot. They were planning to program the robot to get drunker as it played. One, the professors found it immature. Two, the professors thought the scope was way too broad for a year-long project for undergraduate students (as designing and programming a robot that could do that could take years). So after that, we had a predetermined list of possible projects.

    8. Lindsay J*

      I’ll do two areas.

      1. New Jersey (Richard Stockton College, specifically).
      2. Beer Pong
      3. No rinse cup
      4. 1 on 1
      5. Live (IIRC).

      1. Houston, TX area, but the people I was playing with graduated from UT San Antonio.
      2. Beer pong.
      3. Cups were actually all filled with water. Players drank from their own cans of beer.
      4. 2 person teams.
      5. Turn based.

  30. Elkay*

    I want to thank this site for introducing me to the concept of Bitch Eating Crackers. I have two people in my life that fall into this category and it’s useful to have a label for it :)

  31. SaraV*

    So what are people’s grammatical pet peeves? Weird Al’s new song “Word Crimes” addresses many, but not all.

    Mine is when people use “loose” for “lose”, or vice versa.

    Lose – to cease in having something in your possession; to not win

    Loose – describing something that doesn’t fit well; to set free

    I believe the dislike of this particular grammar problem stems from me being active on a sports-centric message board. I see “loose” being used instead of “lose” a lot. It’s very difficult sometimes for me to back away from the keyboard so that I don’t quote the post, place the fixed word in bold, then comment “FIFY”.

    So what grammar error sets your teeth on edge?

    1. Ali*

      Oooh I’m an editor so I could probably go at this all day. Haha. Loose/lose drives me nuts, but I have to fix your/you’re and it’s/its a lot from writers who should know better. I also hate when people write one complete sentence and then the next phrase is a fragment. It just doesn’t look right.

      1. kris*

        You’re and your and its and it’s drive me crazy, too! But I work mostly with other computer people, so it’s pretty common.

      2. AMD*

        I hate the it’s/it’s as well, but sometimes even catch myself doing it, not out of ignorance of grammar but just because I am typing too fast, and forget to do a double-check before posting. Typing on any auto-correcting device also means all bets are off. Knowing that makes it slightly less aggravating for me to see the errors made by others.

    2. GrumpyBoss*

      “How are you?”
      “I’m good.”

      Makes me pull out my hair. Seriously. I cannot be friends with someone who doesn’t understand when to use “well” vs. “Good”.

      1. TheSnarkyB*

        This one’s really funny bc every person I know knows when to use “well” vs “good” and almost none of us do it “properly.”
        With this one, don’t assume the person doesn’t understand the difference. I use the wrong word (“I’m good.”) all the time for many reasons- to seem relatable (very important in my work/life for some weird reasons), to not come off as pretentious, bc the person I just asked said “good” and I don’t want to sound like I’m correcting them, to not be accused of “sounding white” or being “too assertive/aggressive”
        It’s more useful than you’d think to be able to tone down formality and code-switch like that.
        Of course, you’re 100% entitled to your pet peeves but perhaps another perspective will make it feel less like nails on a chalkboard next time :)

        1. Stephanie*

          Very good point on the code-switching. I’ve definitely done this for similar reasons.

          I went to a panel in college featuring Michael Eric Dyson (who’s a black sociology professor at Georgetown). At the time, Bill Cosby was in the news for making controversial statements criticizing lower-class blacks. Prof. Dyson was like “Even with degrees from Princeton, I still use Ebonics. Why? Because if I went back to the hood where I grew up talking like an academic, people would think I had a superiority complex and was trying to forget my roots.”

          1. Dan*

            What’s code switching? (I guess I could google it, but it’s late and I’m lazy.)

            On a (somewhat) related note, I have a blue collar background in the same domain in which I presently hold a white collar job, which pretty much requires a graduate engineering/math degree. As part of the work force, we employee several consultants who have retired from industry, where this may very well be their first office job in 30 years.

            These guys once told me that they loved working with me because I was the only one they knew who could use “triple integral” and “f bomb” in the same sentence. (And the later was usually as an adverb describing bovine excrement.)

            1. Stephanie*

              It’s where a speaker alternates between two languages or dialects or methods of speaking (at least in the way TheSnarkyB and I were referencing). An example would be American blacks switching between English and African American Vernacular English (aka Ebonics). Another example would mixing Spanish words in with English (like our family friend earlier today telling us about his abuela).

              Before he retired, my dad worked in HR for a defense contractor. I think some of his success was that he could easily talk to both the executives and the guys on the floor.

              1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

                The best thing about code speak, to me, is that it doesn’t value one pattern of speech/dialect above another. Language becomes situational vs proper/improper.

                “How are you doing today?”
                “How ya’ll?”
                “How ya doin’?”
                “Sup?”

                Are all proper in the proper contexts. Being able to switch speak for the right context is a great asset.

                sidenote: wish to heaven I took Spanish in school. Our receptionist is trying to teach me at least a few words but I mangle the pronunciation so badly that fitting into a conversation that includes any Spanish is out of reach for me atm.

                1. nep*

                  About switching according to context — It’s been interesting to see how that goes in a foreign language. My French is different when speaking with colleagues at a meeting compared to when speaking to youths in the streets of Abidjan.

                2. Apollo Warbucks*

                  I’m trying to learn Spanish as well I found coffee break spanish on iTunes very good and noted on spanish as well.

                  Both free so maybe wroth a look

            2. TheSnarkyB*

              Dan:
              It can also mean changing how you come across in other ways. It’s a way for people to get along, blend in, etc in multiple worlds without feeling out of place. And, importantly, it’s not considered “being fake” or anything like that, it’s just a skill. There are a million examples of how it could manifest, but here are a few:
              – When asked about my favorite podcasts, I might mention an NPR one (Ask me another) first or another one called “The Read” first, depending on which one the person is likely to know (either answer is true)
              – I might dress more casually/not wear my nicest or trendiest clothes in my neighborhood since my class-dynamics don’t always match up with most of the people who love here
              – or someone else: a gay man might use a different voice and vernacular with his gay friends than his straight friends. He could be perfectly comfortable with both, but just switches based on the environment around him.

              It’s all about finding common ground- I have enough things that make me different that sometimes I can tone down a few to be more socially comfortable.
              In general, looking into code switching opens a really fascinating door into learning about how people move through the world & I bet you’d find it super interesting! There are some awesome books about this stuff out there.

          2. Prickly Pear*

            I code-switch to a certain extent, but really, I’m already known as ‘the whitest black girl’ so I don’t make a particular effort to ‘sound hood’ because it’s not natural in my mouth. I do find sometimes that I’ll pronounce a word a little less properly and correct myself, and the inverse rarely happens.

            1. Stephanie*

              Yeah, I wouldn’t say I try to sound hood either, but I do notice my speaking manner changes if there’s a worry that speaking the King’s English would come across poorly. I definitely modify my way of speaking to sound more casual and use more slang.

        2. Bea W*

          That’s what people say here all the time, “I’m good”. If you came out with “Well” they might look at you weird, and I know if I say “well” in answer to that question, it feels wrong. I just think of it as a standard greeting exchange even though it’s improper English to say “I’m doing good.”

          I honestly don’t know if this is a white vs. black thing. I grew up in a white neighborhood, and “good” is what everyone said, white or black. I never thought of it in racial terms.

      2. Dan*

        Since we’re on *that* subject, people who use “How are you?” as a rhetorical question, almost like “Hello”.

        1. Kerry*

          That’s an acceptable use of “How are you?” (or similar questions like “How do you do?”/”How’s it going?”).

          1. Mimmy*

            I only know one other person who says “how do you do?”–it was such a shock when I first heard it, but I think it’s charming (he’s a kindly, older gentleman who chairs one of my volunteer councils).

          1. Jazzy Red*

            Exactly!

            And the correct reply is “I’m fine, how are you today?”

            Another one: “Thank you”. “No problem”. Correct reply: “You’re welcome.” Learn it, people!

            1. Kerry*

              I also think “no problem” is fine! It’s very common in other languages too (“de nada”, “de rien”, etc) and it’s no less ‘correct’ (whatever that means) than “you’re welcome”.

              1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

                I totally agree. I usually use ‘no problem’ because “you’re welcome” sounds too stilted and uptight for a lot of situations.

              2. CC*

                I have no problem with “no problem” as a reply, but what really grates for me is when I thank somebody and they reply “uh-huh”.

            2. Prickly Pear*

              I look at the issue thusly- if I had to do whatever it was that I’m doing, like at work, then you get ‘no problem’. I’m obligated to do it, but it wasn’t willing service. ‘You’re welcome’ is saved for when it was done because I wanted to and am glad I was able to help.

        2. TheSnarkyB*

          Speculating here but I think Dan means when people actually and truly treat it as a replacement for hello. For instance, I get really annoyed when I’m crossing paths with someone and I say (instead of hello) “How are ya?” And they respond “How are you?!” And keep walking. Like… Lol what just happened?
          And I’ve also had people say “How are you.” Back (no question-tone, no enthusiasm. Same exact tone as Hello.”
          It’s weird then

          1. Kerry*

            Funnily enough, replying to “How are you?” with “How are you?” is correct. The precedent is “How do you do?”, to which the proper response is also “How do you do?”. That’s if you want to be strict about etiquette.

            I think this is a good illustration of how it doesn’t make a lot of sense to stick very strictly to perceived rules of etiquette and (maybe more contentiously) grammar, outside formal communication. Those rules should be in place to help people understand each other, not as a tool to be snobby about other people’s usage.

              1. Dan*

                Same here. How did we get to a point where correct etiquette dictates that someone *not* directly answer a question that was posed?

                In German class, they taught us how to actually answer the question “how goes it” with a real answer :)

                1. Ellie H*

                  It’s not exactly a question, it’s a greeting. Words have different meanings in contexts.

          2. Dan*

            That’s exactly what I mean. They’ve wasted a lot of words, and confused me, when one or two syllables would get the point across with no confusion.

        3. kris*

          I know what you mean, Dan. I know it’s rhetorical, but it feels like people are asking me to lie to them if I don’t feel so good.

        1. GrumpyBoss*

          There is a lot of debate if good vs well is acceptable in response to this greeting. It probably wasn’t the best example for me to use, since the overall misuse of good vs well is what irks me. I’ve always seen the use of good in this example as a leading indicator towards other misuse.

        2. KSM*

          This is fundamentally a difference between descriptivist and prescriptivist linguistics.

          Prescriptivists say there is one right way to do things. It dates to the 1700s with the work of Robert Lowth, who based his grammar of English on Latin. He is the source of the rule that one should not end a sentence with a preposition, for instance. A prescriptivist would insist on “well.” There are also prescriptivist ways of justifying “I’m good” (e.g. your link to Grammar Girl).

          Descriptivists (also dating to the 1700s, via Priestly) instead claim that language is malleable and/or that attempts at creating a single English grammar ignore and flatten dialects. This does not mean that every possible sentence is grammatical (“I swimming yesterday again”), but that there are grammatical tenets that vary based on region, class, race, and sometimes religion. For instance, you can tell who is francophone (assuming no noticeable accent) or who grew up in a francophone community here by whether they say “close the light,” a direct translation of the French “fermer la lumière.” This is itself a matter of dialect, as it is correct–but informal–in Canadian French but is patently ungrammatical in French-from-France. It is therefore “grammatical” Canadian English for a certain subset of the population, but still likely to get corrected in an English class. A descriptivist would say that “I’m good” can be a correct answer to “How are you?”: does the group in question almost exclusively use “well” in the context of being not-sick or not-ill (wellness programs, “feeling well,” etc.)? Can “good” be colloquially used as an adverb in that region and dialect? What do they answer if it is an honest question and they aren’t feeling so hot?

          As a fair warning, I am a former editor but I am a pretty firm descriptivist. There is, after all, a reason publications have internal style guides that differ in their opinion on Lowth’s many bugbears. In addition, I find prescriptivism tends to prioritize, in north America and the British Isles, overwhelmingly white, protestant, middle- to upper-class, dialects of English, for no reason other than those are the people who had power and money.

    3. Ann Furthermore*

      Using “its” and “it’s” incorrectly.

      Also people thinking that “irregardless” is a word.

        1. James M*

          Don’t misunderestimate the ability of some people to make language an impediment to understanding.

          I like weasel words.

        2. Jazzy Red*

          When someone on TV would say “irregardless”, my mom would say “I think they mean ‘disirregardless”, and we’d laugh like hyenas (we kids were easily amused).

      1. Stephanie*

        Ugggggh, irregardless. Gah, even Chrome thinks it’s a word as no red squiggly line is appearing underneath it.

      2. Dan*

        Ok, let’s get the lawyers and the engineers in the room together and start splitting hairs.

        If something shows up in the dictionary, does that means it’s an actual word? Even if the definition says “use regardless instead”?

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

          Irregardless is a word. It’s an annoying word but it’s absolutely a word, right smack in Merriam Webster.

          A word that is considered non-standard is still a word. Really, the only thing that a string of letters need to be considered a word is a conveyance of meaning (and probably something technical like being able to be pronounced).

          I can’t stand “irregardless”. I also can’t stand “inflammable” for the same reasons, and I’ll never use either of them. It doesn’t matter to me that “inflammable” is considered standard and “irregardless” isn’t. They are both stupidly redundant.

              1. Kerry*

                I didn’t know that was a word, thanks! Inflammable is one of my favourite words because it can mean two opposite things and there are pretty significant consequences to misunderstanding it (“Should I throw kerosene on this fire to put it out?” “It’s inflammable!” “Great!”), although I never actually use it for the same reason.

                1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

                  Erm, as far as I know, inflammable doesn’t mean nonflammable except when people are mistaken.

                  “Inflammable” follows “inflame” and “inflammatory”.

                  Now that I write that out, I probably should like “inflammable” more than just “flammable” because it follows.

                  Irregardless, I choose “flammable”.

                  :p (just a little joke there)

                  * re “inflammable”, if enough people misuse a word enough to common understanding, meanings change. If “inflammable” includes a meaning of nonflammable now, I’m unaware.

        2. fposte*

          Otherwise known as: are dictionaries prescriptive or descriptive? (Generally, they’ll each have their own call on this anyway, which is why it matters which dictionary you cite and why an old Usenet group used to fondly talk about the Oxgord English Dictionary as the “big dic,” phrased for maximum entendre.)

      1. Good*

        This!

        People seem to have problems with things like this: “My friend and me went to the show.”

        To get it right, take the other person out of the sentence and see how it sounds. “Me went to the show.” Not working? “My friend and I went to the show.” There you go.

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          I find people do the opposite much more often.

          “Bob ordered lunch for Julie and I, but not for you.” BZZZZT, wrong.

          What’s extra entertaining/annoying is when someone says “me and Julie” and someone “corrects” them that it should be “Julie and I”. BZZZZZT, still wrong.

          1. NoPantsFridays*

            Yeah, I’ve seen this much more often than the error Good points out. It bothers me more because the person is actually trying to be correct and still can’t!

      2. Windchime*

        Arrrrgh, the misuse of “myself” makes me nuts. People, it doesn’t make you sound smarter to anyone other than yourself when you use “myself” when you should use “me” or “I”.

      3. SherryD*

        Years ago, there was a CBC Radio host who always ended the show by saying, “[Show] is created by Jane Doe, Joe Blow, and myself, Firstname Lastname.” I guess a lot of people wrote in to complain that he used “myself” when it should have been “me,” because he addressed the issue on the show one day. He basically said, “That’s how I like to say it, and that’s how I’m going to keep saying it.” Like… WTF, dude? I’d consider myself a descriptive linguist, not a prescriptive one, but if you’re on national public radio, maybe you could alter your style a bit? I don’t know.

        (Didn’t want to say the host’s name since I actually really like him, and because I may be misremembering part of this.)

    4. en pointe*

      My boyfriend says youse. I absolutely cannot stand it. Youse is not a word, unless you’re spelling it ‘use’.

      Like, I can deal with the lack of planning, and the reluctance to show emotion, and the liking of McChicken burgers from Macca’s, just stop f*cking saying youse.

      Sorry, it really is a pet peeve :)

      1. Laura*

        ‘Youse’ is probably my biggest peeve too. I also see a lot of ‘aloud’ used in place of ‘allowed’ and the frequency of it is really starting to bug me

      2. Chris*

        Ha! I once had a boyfriend that would say “gots”. Like, “I gots a new a bike.” How can anyone think that sounds correct?

        1. GrumpyBoss*

          I grew up with a lot of guys who said “alls” as in “Alls you have to do is….” I wonder if it was a regional thing, but it sounds so uneducated to me.

          When I was single, it was a trait I looked for while dating to determine if it was someone I wanted to spend more time with.

        2. Jazzy Red*

          I live in the South now, and you wouldn’t believe what they think sounds correct. Or “correct-ed”. Just axe me about it.

      3. Apollo Warbucks*

        I heard a lot of people in austrailia using the word peoples as in plural of people

        That nearly made my head explode !!!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          That’s useful for in instances where you have more than one people. ;)

          The only time I have heard “peoples” is in a geography or sociology class. Your comment made me laugh out loud.

          1. Apollo Warbucks*

            More than one people

            That’s hilarious I’ve just sat my coffee out from laughing so much

        2. TheSnarkyB*

          Are you sure they were incorrect? That usage is appropriate sometimes. (ie “The indigenous peoples of Australia”) when you’re referring to many “peoples” – whether many cultures, nations, or tribes. It’s the same reason that it’s correct to say “a people” if you’re talking about the whole group.

          1. en pointe*

            I’d bet they were incorrect on the basis that nobody really talks about the Indigenous peoples of Australia. But that’s a separate issue.

          2. Apollo Warbucks*

            They were in correct, sample sentence

            See those peoples over there

            Some peoples are coming to the party

            The bar was full I peoples

            M honk to ask one of those peoples or directions

            1. Apollo Warbucks*

              Apparently I fail at typing

              That last one should say

              I’m going to ask one of those peoples for directions

        3. Windchime*

          A few years back, it was common to hear “He’s good people”. It’s supposed to mean , “He’s a good person” or “He’s from a good family”, but it just sounds so…wrong.

      4. the gold digger*

        “Youse” (or “youse guys”) goes to code switching. It is used quite commonly in northern Wisconsin where the majority of my relatives live. If I were to say something about it being incorrect, it would not go over well. Not that I have any interest in trying to shame my relatives. I just understand that that is how they speak.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

          Ha, just try to tell somebody from Philly that “youse” is not a word.

          I don’t think I’ve said it in 40 years, but I don’t blink when I hear it, ’cause yo, ya know?

        2. danr*

          Are they all escapees from the NY/NJ metro area? That usage is common here and is not gender specific.

      5. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Oooooh, that reminds me: I cannot stand when people say “and I sez to Willa I sez….” eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (that’s the sound I’m making in my head just thinking about it).

    5. Dan*

      Using gerunds when the noun is more appropriate. I.e, “Tell us your thinking on the matter” when “Tell us your thoughts on the matter” is probably more appropriate.

      Also, using reflexive nouns inappropriately. I.e., “I myself went to the store.”

      1. TheSnarkyB*

        Uugghhhh I hate the gerund thing!!! It also sounds like such corporate-speak to me which makes it that much more infuriating!

        1. Stephanie*

          Not incorrect grammar per se, but can we also add corporate speak in everyday life? (Or maybe just corporate speak in general…)

          1. Dan*

            I was getting around to that.

            You don’t “reach out to someone”. You don’t “connect” with them either. You contact them.

            Euphemisms drive me bonkers, unless they involve dirty words. Then they’re funny.

            1. PuppyKat*

              Yes! I grind my teeth every time I hear someone say “reach out” instead of “call” or “e-mail.”

              I’m also really tired of “drill down” these days.

              1. Noah*

                My current manager says “ping” instead of contact. Like “I’ll ping you about that project” or “I sent you a ping yesterday regarding the client issue”.

                1. GrumpyBoss*

                  I use ping all the time – it has infiltrated my normal life. I’m guilty of spreading this one about.

                2. Dan*

                  Ping is an old unix function and still works. It’s purpose is to see if Internet connected machines are alive and well on the net. It also tells you response time.

                  Because it didn’t originate with corporate speak, it doesn’t bother me.

                1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

                  It’s an acceptable word. “Incent” is a simpler way to say it.

                  I think this was in the first modern wave of “izer” add ons, which is why some people find it grating, the general “izing” of words.

              1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

                God, I say this.

                It is so very shameful and yet, I persist.

                I TRY to switch to “incent”. I know that is the right word to use but still, I persist.

                (Between usage re employees and usage re customers, it comes up a lot.)

            2. the gold digger*

              My mother in law has “reached out” to me countless times, apparently, and I have rejected her. I am not sure what form this “reaching out” has taken, as she did not give examples to my husband when she was complaining about me. It has not included

              1. emails
              2. letters
              3. phone calls
              4. an apology for threatening to boycott our wedding (I would have been delighted for them not to attend) because I had written on my blog (not the golddigger blog) that I was worried about how to seat the three very vocal atheists (one of them being my brother) at the post-wedding dinner with the pastor and the priest. She thought I was implying that they didn’t have any manners, which indeed I was, because they do not.

              (Yes, my husband very unwisely gave them the address to my blog when he met me. “Everyone else likes it,” he said. “I thought they would.” They did not.)

          2. salad fingers*

            Hate the word “utilize” to a probably irrational extent. Would prefer “use” be utilized instead 99.99999% of the time.

            1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

              I am absolutely on the same page as you. Using “utilize” instead of “use” most of the time communicates “I want to sound smart, but I’m not, so I’m not sure how.”

    6. Stephanie*

      -Textspeak overall
      -Conversate. This is a not a word!

      Incorrect usage of:
      -Its vs. it’s
      -There vs. their vs. they’re
      -You’re vs. your
      -Good vs. well

      Much, much more minor pet peeves:
      -Less vs. fewer
      -“I could care less” (At this point, this is probably just an illogical idiom and the correct version just sounds weirder.)

        1. kris*

          I hate it when people use “alot” instead of “a lot”. Very irritating! And they think they’re right.

        1. Jack*

          This. In the UK we always say, “I COULDN’T care less.” Surely that makes more sense? Like, I care so little about this, I could not possibly care any less?

          1. TheSnarkyB*

            Right, that’s how we say it in the US too. But many people have just started saying it wrong and now it’s pervasive like an infection.

        2. GrumpyBoss*

          I read an article recently that made the case that “I could care less” is now appropriate, since language evolves and all.

          Not buying it.

        3. kris*

          I thought “I could care less” was part of the sentence. As in “I could care less, but not much less”.

          Sort of like Groucho Marx saying “I had a great time, but this wasn’t it.”

      1. Audiophile*

        I can’t stand textspeak. That was my litmus test for potential dates when I was trying online dating.

        Conversate is NOT a word?? Mind fully blown! *sarcasm*

    7. Anon for this!*

      The latest thing for me is people writing “should of” instead of “should have” or “should’ve”. Get it together!

      Also, I’m starting to see some two-word titles being shortened to a single word, and it can’t handle it. The biggest offender is bestfriend, but there’s more that aren’t entering my brain. Hashtags are killing our children.

      1. Variation*

        It seems I have not used this browser to comment for a while. No need to be anonymous for grammar issues.

      2. Dan*

        I’m doing text mining for a living, and in the data set that I’m working with, there are 400 words that are spelled both as one word and two words. My job is to go through and figure out which way is “most correct.” We’re talking about domain specific terminology (which I’m well versed in) but because so much of the usage is spoken, and little is written, I’m not actually sure what “correct” actually is. FML.

      3. Mimmy*

        The latest thing for me is people writing “should of” instead of “should have” or “should’ve”. Get it together!

        I was going to say this one as well.

        Another one: I have a friend who writes “all well” instead of “oh well”. Gahhhhhh!!!

    8. samaD*

      I haven’t yet heard Word Crimes, but so many. Oh so many.

      loose/lose and it’s/its, absolutely.

      rein/reign.
      a rein is something you use to control the speed and direction of something. a reign is the period of time someone is in power.
      Which makes it distinctly possible that during your reign as Director you might rein in spending.

      weary/wary.
      I am tired of reading that people are tired of things when they mean they’re unsure of them :/

      I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and blame auto-correct, but those ones just get me :)

    9. SherryD*

      I’ll answer something different than what you asked (God, I’m difficult!), and say that I’m disappointed Weird Al called out the phrase “I could care less.” I think that’s a delightful expression, like, saying “the Internets,” or “yous guys.” It’s something you say wrong on purpose because you find it hilarious.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

        So me.

        I’ve been a word geek since I was a tiny tot reading “It Pays to Increase Your Word Power” in Readers Digest and I love expressions like “I could care less” or regional codespeak or cultural codespeak. There was a period of time I was talking like George Bush because I found it hysterical.

        I love playing with words. I got the proper down a ways back; now let’s have fun.

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          I do this a lot…think “I can haz Random Capitalization!” but there are some lines I don’t cross, and “irregardless” and “I could care less” are on the far side of the line.

        2. Lindsay J*

          I considered majoring in linguistics in college and I would have loved to do research on internet dialects. My younger brother and I can have conversations in Cat Macro and in Doge, and both consistent structure and grammar rules.

          There are also so many site specific acronyms and conventions that crop up on large bulletin boards (and comment sections). I find it really fascinating.

      2. fposte*

        Seconded on this. It reminds me a little of Yiddish inflections, which I love, and the same happened to “head over heels” (it’s an inversion of the more logical “heels over head”) and nobody complains about that one, do I think the aversion is more about personal familiarity than logic.

      3. louise*

        “I seen” (instead of “I saw” or “I have seen”) is so common where I live that my husband and I use it ironically at home and it makes us giggle. I took it a little further a couple years ago and created a new conjugation for “to hear” so that I could then misuse it the same way as seen. This is why I often say “I hear’n”. The first time I used my husband cracked up. Now I just fear I’ll accidentally use it in public, ha!

        1. Audiophile*

          My first job out of college, was the first time I heard someone say “I seen” and it took everything I had not to correct them. By the time I quit, I caught myself doing it. Now I’m very careful not to use it.

        2. Lillie Lane*

          My dad says this all the time and it drives my mom batty. She has tried correcting him but now just tells herself that he actually said “I’ve seen” but she just couldn’t hear the “‘ve” part. I choose to see it as a charming quirk from a lovely man with a big heart and interest in simpler things than grammatical correctness.

    10. Buffet the Vampire Layer*

      Great question for this board!

      I have a bunch. Most of the comments are focusing on written communication, so I’ll chime in on spoken grammatical errors.
      In no particular order:

      “graduated school” instead of “graduated from school”
      “I am taller/smarter/faster than her” instead of “than she”
      using “robbed” instead of burglarized
      using “loan” as a verb
      less in place of fewer

      1. Lee*

        I see people on my Facebook all the time saying ‘his’ instead of ‘he’s’. As in, ‘Look at my puppy, his the cutest!’ It really bugs me because I read it as ‘his’ and then it just sounds so wrong in my head!

      2. Audrey*

        But in my vocabulary “burglarized” is wrong. The word is “burgled”. But I’m from Australia.

        1. Buffet the Vampire Layer*

          That might just be a culture difference, as I’m an American. My issue with it is because of my law enforcement background. To be robbed you have to be present, when you come home to a ransacked house you’re the victim of a burglary, not a robbery.

          1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

            Irritates me also, because of my law enforcement background ( in my case, watching 100000000000 hours of L & O).:p

              1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

                I was prepped for a civil deposition last year and I said, “oh, don’t worry. I know what to do. I watch “The Good Wife” ”

                Yes. No. Don’t give up any information unless they ask you quite specifically if you hid the file in your pants for awhile.

                1. Audiophile*

                  Exactly. I need to start watching that show again, I stopped for a while, but it took an interesting turn in the last few episodes.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        People used to wear their underwear underneath their clothes in the pre-Madonna days.

    11. PuppyKat*

      The usual ones already cited:
      Your/you’re
      Its/it’s
      Rein/reign

      Also, site/sight/cite. I frequently see stuff along the lines of “I’m going out to the sight.” Oh, and desert/dessert.

      And, of course, affect/effect.

      1. GrumpyBoss*

        Thanks to websites, I see “site” way more often than I used too. I’ve just come to accept it.

    12. De (Germany)*

      Very few. I am a non-native speaker, so… But I find it interesting that most of the errors listed here, which are often homophones are things that native speaker do a lot more often than non-native speakers, because while learning English we usually get “hear and here are different! You’re and your and you are are different!” drilled into our heads until we want to scream.

      1. De (Germany)*

        And this may make me sound grumpy, but this thread makes me feel quite bad as a non-native and non-perfect English speaker. I know most of you will probably swear that you’d never make fun of non-native speakers or be annoyed by their mistakes, but these days, more people speak it as a foreign language than as a native one and especially on the internet, you often can’t tell. And I had quite a few situations where people pointed out my mistakes in a “this is my pet peeve…” way and I just don’t get why they needed to do it. If the person manages to get their point across, what does it really matter?

        1. GrumpyBoss*

          To be honest with you, I find that non-native speakers make these mistakes much less frequently than native speakers. Learning the language and having to focus on English’s sometimes nonsensical rules makes someone speaking it as a second language more prone to pay attention to details.

          Most of these examples on this list are things some of us have been doing since we learned to speak, unfortunately.

          1. De (Germany)*

            Thing is, lists like these make me aware that other people might be annoyed by or laughing at my mistakes : I say “taller than her” and I have no idea when to use affect and when to use effect, and I don’t even care.

            1. salad fingers*

              Hey, on a related note, DE, any common german grammatical/spelling mistakes that drive you a little verrückt?

              1. De (Germany)*

                Not really. Als/wie makes me wince a bit (größer wie statt größer als), but that’s only because other people pointed that out to me as something I should wince at. I generally don’t care much about these things, as long as I understand people.

        2. Kerry*

          I agree with you. I’ve worked as a copy editor for almost ten years and it’s actually made me a lot less strict about grammar use in everyday language. Not only is it often just a way of coding prejudice against other classes or groups that aren’t perceived to ‘speak properly’, but half the ‘rules’ people say they’re annoyed by aren’t actually rules at all. (I’ve also just finished reading David Foster Wallace’s excellent dictionary review/essay/confessions of a language policer “Authority and American Usage”, which I really recommend and is free online.)

          1. Tech Writer*

            I was a Technical Writer and I’m going to Business school this coming year. On the GMAT, I scored in the 98 percentile in Verbal.

            I know my grammar well and I’m perfectly cable of using it. But when I’m writing for personal use or more commonly, talking in a non-formal setting, I LOVE to break the rules. With the nature of English and language, I think it’s okay to do so too!

            I hate when people correct other people’s grammar. Unless you’re a close relative, I think it’s rude to assume someone is or is not doing something on purpose. And like Kerry brought out, half the ‘rules’ people think are rules, really aren’t. It’s a HUGE pet peeve of mine when people correct me on things that aren’t really rules and I’m intentionally doing a certain way. The only thing I’m okay with people correcting me on, is my pronunciation of words. I grew up with a mother who uses “ebonics” and I still have some bad pronunciation habits I inherited from her. Even then, it’s all about how you approach it.

            1. CC*

              Unless you’re *asked to*, I think it’s rude to correct somebody’s grammar!

              Although I will sometimes comment on a particularly funny wrong-word-correctly-spelled typo, because those happen to everyone at some point. Including the time my BB inserted an hilariously and appropriately inappropriate swear word into an email I was sending to my boss. (Fortunately, boss thought it was funny too.)

        3. Purr purr purr*

          I agree! I don’t understand why people have to act like the spelling and grammar police. I think it’s a superiority thing.

          I live and work in my 2nd language and I know some people don’t realise and so judge me for the mistakes I make with the language. The ‘amusing’ thing is that the people who are most critical of errors are usually unilingual people because they have no idea how much of a struggle it is to become fluent in a language. Even if my 2nd language was my 1st language and I was making the same mistakes, not everybody is able to access a good education so rather than berate, they should help.

          1. Good*

            I think it might be about insecurity. Grammar police need to prove that they’re smarter or more educated.

        4. Graciosa*

          I think that there are situations where people are operating on the assumption that you want to communicate in the foreign language as correctly as possible, and the comments are intended to be helpful coaching to support you in achieving that goal. Obviously that’s not true in your case, but I would encourage you to regard the attempts kindly. There’s nothing wrong with saying thank you (or just “Really?” or “Huh” in a noncommittal tone) and moving on.

          This does not really apply on the internet or in real life situations where the person is being gratuitously critical (and therefore rude). There is a difference between trying to help someone who has legitimate reasons for needing the help (and can be assumed to want it) and pointing out another person’s flaws just because you enjoy identifying them. I would never defend the second, but would ask you to think kindly about the first. There are non-native speakers who truly do want this type of coaching and struggle to find people willing to give it.

          1. De (Germany)*

            I do say thanks and I do realize most people just want to help. But it’s not something I’d do unless specifically invited to do so.

    13. Canadamber*

      They’re their and there!!! Like God. Idk, unless you have a learning disability or something (of which I know many people), shouldn’t you be able to tell the difference? A lot of my friends say they’re too lazy to get it right but I mean… it’s not THAT hard…

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        I so appreciate the fact that you get it right since I always thought of those errors as more of a younger (than me) generation mistake, and you’re definitely younger than me. Although I have to say, my husband is horrible with some of those and he went to school back in the day of one room schools. (jk!)

    14. Rebecca*

      Using these phrases: “this here”, “that there”, “ain’t got no”, “journally” (for generally), not knowing the difference between your and you’re, and there, their, or they’re. Oh, and “I seen that”. And “we seen that”. Oh, and “you seen that, dincha?”

      I have two coworkers who talk like this. They even write emails and send them with these odd phrases. Apparently, the grammar check is turned off, otherwise, wouldn’t they wonder about all the green squiggly lines?

      We all went to the same high school. Needless to say, I don’t think they paid attention during English class.

      1. Cruciatus*

        I didn’t see your post before I just added about my own coworkers who say “I seen” a lot. It’s not something you hear a lot where I live. They are both educated and I think the one picked it up from her husband, but it makes me want to pull my hair out. And they also talk about expresso, which I believe Weird Al touches on in the song… I’d send her the link to the video but she really seems to hate the guy!

    15. Glimmer*

      A number of my co-workers have a loose grasp of tenses.

      E.g.
      “Did you talk to Wakeen about that task?”
      “Yeah, he come and seen me about it.”

      Drives me nuts.

    16. nep*

      Its / it’s and your / you’re are biggies.
      A former colleague always wrote yours’ or her’s.
      Yes — ‘Loose’ is far too often used for ‘lose’.
      Grammar in speaking — ‘irregardless’ still pops up in conversation once in a while. Cringe.
      People quite often mix up lie / lay and farther / further.
      I was listening to a lecture for an online course this morning and the speaker used ‘expecially’. No joke. There’s another cringe-worthy one.

      1. De (Germany)*

        From what I can tell from an internet search, that’s just a distinction between American and British English.

        1. nep*

          Right — I’ve read a wide variety of perspectives on this one. I suppose it’s just a preference. ‘Different than’ just sounds incorrect to me, as ‘different’ is not a comparative word along the lines of ‘more’, ‘better’, ‘bigger’, ‘brighter’, etc. But points taken.

    17. Graciosa*

      Use of discrete instead of discreet.

      People rely so much on spellcheckers that I don’t think they even realize that this is actually a mistake.

      1. Good*

        “Discrete” and “discreet” were weirdly hard for me to learn.

        Tip for anyone else who makes this mistake: “Discrete” means separate or distinct. The T separates the two Es.

    18. geegee*

      My pet peeve is people who say “I’m sorry for your lost” on Facebook. I always want to correct people who do this in the comments but it always seems petty to correct people’s spelling errors when someone has died. Another one is people who call others out on their “grammer”

    19. Reader*

      Misuse of pronouns. I, she, he are subjects. Me him, her are objects. And the speaker does not go first.

    20. Cruciatus*

      I agree with all the ones people have written. Another one I’ve been seeing a lot lately (on Facebook) is the misuse of apart/ a part. “We want to think everyone for being apart of our organization.” So, you’re happy no one has joined it? What?

      And this isn’t a written thing, but my two college educated coworkers (who happen to be married to each other) constantly say “I seen…” Why! Why!?

        1. TheSnarkyB*

          yes! My username makes me cautious sometimes bc I don’t want to be The Snarkiest B of all B’s , but.. yeah. Also, it was a super ignorant comment but it was already off-topic so I didn’t want to be that one progressive agnostic asshole who just replies: tenet.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        I have rejected an alarming number off job applicants for using “apart” instead of “a part.” It’s so huge to me because not only is it an error, it’s an error that usually makes your sentence mean the opposite of what you intended.

        1. Good*

          That mistake bothers me, but it seems like such an easy mistake to make. It’s a misplaced space. Typos happen to the best of us. You’ve rejected applicants over this one?

          1. Graciosa*

            I would do this as well, however I am in a business that requires high levels of writing skill and attention to detail. I can see letting this slip if I were hiring for different roles – just not the ones in my department.

          2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            Yep. It’s just a space, but errors involving spaces are among the easiest to spot. If you *know* the difference between “apart” and “a part” and do even a cursory read-over to edit your resume, you should catch it.

    21. LadyB*

      Using unique with a qualifier. e.g: “Almost Unique, Very Unique”.
      It’s either unique, or it isn’t. Has me shouting at the TV every time.!