Sunday free-for-all – August 17, 2014

vegetablesIt’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.

{ 680 comments… read them below }

    1. Stephanie*

      Is that from a garden? We’re awash in eggplants from ours (those and the collards really seem to like the climate).

      1. Jen RO*

        I recommend a traditional Romanian (and surrounding area) eggplant salad:

        I make it a bit simpler than described there: I cook the eggplant directly on the stove until it’s burnt all over, leave it for a bit in a bowl until it’s not as hot, peel all the skin by hand, then leave it for ~an hour to strain (you don’t want it too be too “wet”). On the side I chop up a small onion. After that I just throw everything in the food processor (using the knife-thing-accessory) and, while it’s spinning, I add olive oil and salt. When it tastes right, I take it out and put it in the fridge for a bit (it’s better when it’s cold) and then nomnom!

      2. Katie the Fed*

        If you end up with more vegetables than you can use, Ample Harvest is a great resource – it’ll direct you to local food pantries that can use your extra produce :)

        1. AVP*

          My dream is a tomato garden of my own.

          My grandpa used to grow them at our beach house when I was little, so ‘tomatoes growing’ is the smell that I most associate with everything good and summery.

          1. ForestPlot*

            I was told tomatoes are hard to grow- I have had the easiest time for two years in a row. Cherry tomatoes are easiest for me. I have a few heirlooms, but they only produce a few tomatoes. I am growing: kale, cabbage, beans, cucumbers (easy also), red cabbage, eggplant, peppers – green and yellow. And trying potatoes. I never had luck in containers, but with a yard I have tons. I think the key is compost.

            1. Jenna*

              For tomatoes, I suppose it depends on where you are and the dirt you have? I’m in southern California and the dirt is heavily amended clay(gardens in this yard for decades). I went to a local garden show in April and picked up about 7 different kinds of tomato plants(heirloom, cherry, and beefsteak varieties), and now we are awash in tomatoes. The beefsteaks are the most red round pretty sort, and the heirloom ones tend to have more cracking on the top, but, oh, they are tasty! I have yellow and gold fleshed tomatoes, purple tomatoes with green shoulders, and standard tomato red ones as well.
              My fig tree is also producing like mad. It’s a good thing my roommate and I both like figs, and my boyfriend likes figs, and my roommate’s coworkers like figs….
              My roommate has been taking some of the bounty to work and bringing home other tasty things in trade, like jujubes and lychees. Yay!

              1. Katie the Fed*

                I’m so jealous you have a fig tree.

                I really want a house someday with a yard so I can plant my veggies, and I want a fig tree, peach tree, apple tree, and probably more. I’ve been using a plot at a community garden but someone just absconded with my butternut squash and I really want my own yard.

  1. Elizabeth West*

    Am I first?

    I finished an outline for Secret Book–yay! I has a plan. :D Now I’m ASMR’ing myself to sleep. I’ll come back in the morning and see everybody’s posts. :)

    1. allegrofox*

      THAT’S what that is?! Awesome. Now I have a name for the tinglies I get in the optometrist’s chair. Would get my eyes checked every day if I could.

    1. NW Cat Lady*

      That is one stressed out kitty! :)

      On a related note, I really, really, REALLY wish I could have an office kitty. It’s one of the main reasons I miss working from home.

        1. Vicki*

          We do too! When we got her, the people we got her from thought she was a boycat. (8 kittens in the litter; 4 bluegray; 4 orange. The other orange were boys). Our vet said “nope, this is a girl.”

          She’s a love.

  2. Stephanie*

    The annoying family I mentioned last week is still here. They’re staying until Tuesday (so uh, they came for 10 days with little notice). Predictably, they’ve been pretty miserable house guests (they even invited someone else over our house). The preteen’s MO has been coming up behind me silently and waiting until I notice (I am looking over my shoulder as I type this). Yeah, it’s been a long week.

    On a related note, has anyone tried AirBnB? I may need to head to Houston next month and don’t want to inconvenience a friend for longer than a couple of days. Hotels seem to be kind of pricey there (including 17% hotel tax).

    1. James M*

      My folks were on vacation a few weeks ago to look at real estate for their retirement and they used AirBnB to book lodging. They were happy enough with it to mention it to me (which means they were quite pleased indeed).

    2. Jennifer M.*

      I’ve used AirBnB outside the US. It’s worked out pretty well. The only issue I had was that for one place it didn’t mention that the building was a walk-up and we were on the 3rd floor (well 3rd floor to them as they go GF, 1, 2, 3. As an American it was the 4th floor to me!). Though in fairness, I was familiar with the neighborhood and it is a lot of warehouse-y type places converted to lofts so I should have thought it through. There was also an issue once that the price was advertised in local currency, our receipt after entering credit card info was in local currency, but then the charge was in US dollars which is triple the cost. Took some work with Air BnB and the credit card co to straighten that out (though I partially blame the credit card company because they asked my friend – it was her card – to fax the receipt and wouldn’t accept a scan and email and we didn’t want to pay international long distance fees for a fax so we had to send to a friend in the US who printed and faxed for us).

      One thing I like about them is that typically they do not release the payment to the owner until after check-in so if you arrive and there is a problem you have time to contact AirBnB to try to work it out.

    3. Felicia*

      I’ve tried AirBnB while going to a family reunion in Ohio, and it as a great place and worked very well for me. My mom used it in Paris and had a great experience too. I’ve only ever heard good stories about it.

    4. Ella*

      I’ve used AirBnB in Paris and Venice – got waaaaay nicer places for much cheaper. The biggest bonus for me was being able to book something with a small kitchen.

    5. Kat*

      I’ve tried AirBnB twice on a two week trip to Japan and I had a nice overall experience; we were a group of five and renting a house worked out cheaper than booking hotel rooms.

    6. ClaireS*

      I used AirBnB in Chicago and Montreal and had great success both times.

      Another option is hotwire. I’ve had great success with that as well.

    7. DeadQuoteOlympics*

      We’ve used airbnb in Rome and Manhatten in the last year — worked great, no issues, really enjoyed being able to stay in an apartment instead of a hotel. We just made sure we chose places with several reviews, as we were neophytes.

    8. Artemesia*

      My son lives in downtown LA and I couldn’t find a hotel room for less than $400 for a recent visit (well, there were some in Skid Row for 60 — but?) I used AirBNB for the first time and rented a loft near where he leaves. It was not cheap but still less than half what the hotel rooms were and it was perfect. Clean, well appointed, big enough to sprawl in — even had a keurig coffee thing with the little cups of various coffees provided. So our one experience with this org has been super. (we have rented dozens of times around the world for the last 30 years but this was our first time with AirBNB.)

      1. Stephanie*

        I had an interview in LA last fall with a Big 4 Firm. I went through two interviews and was notified they wanted me to come in person. I get the schedule and no travel arrangements, so I just assumed I was responsible for covering my own travel. LA’s within driving distance (sort of–it’s about 6-8 hours depending on traffic there and where in the area you’re going), but I had a similar experience trying to find accommodations in downtown LA where it was $300/night or $50/night on Skid Row. I even posted a question to Yelp Talk, which was useless (lots of snarky responses saying “lolz, you could try Skid Row”).

        Day or two beforehand, I did a mock interview with a family friend who was like “Oh honey. I know things are rough for your age group and job searching, but [Big 4 Firm] really should be covering interview travel. Those places have consulting divisions where all they do is travel.” Luckily, the recruiter screwed up and forgot to send me the info to arrange travel (or maybe she was hoping I’d forget).

        1. De Minimis*

          I can’t believe they didn’t do a better job of handling that. When I did my interview they had everything arranged, and we only lived about 3 hours away. Guess it depends on the office.

          1. ForestPlot*

            OK- I am tagging in at end to not hijack but maintain relevancy….has anyone rented their home out on AirBnB or rented their home as corporate housing?

            I live in a popular metro area and in my dreams imagine ditching the job, getting an RV and renting my home for a small profit for corp. housing. I can only rent by 6 mos. intervals (so no AirBnb) due to zoning.

            1. cuppa*

              I don’t know anyone that’s done corporate housing, but I know someone who lives near a major university that rented out to med students. Not sure if that would work with the 6 mo. restriction, but it really was a win-win for them.

          2. Stephanie*

            I’m guessing the recruiter realized she screwed up, because I got two emails and a voicemail to my initial inquiry like “Book this now! The travel office closes at 9 pm EST on Fridays.”

    9. Lamington*

      sorry to hear about your guests, hopefully the remaining days go quick. Btw is really hot and humid now in Houston. Hopefully it will cool down.

    10. Cath in Canada*

      My sympathies – we just had my parents staying with us for three weeks, and are revelling in the freedom of having our house back to ourselves. And my parents are good house guests! I hope their remaining time with you passes quickly

    11. afiendishthingy*

      I had a bad experience with AirBnB but I wasn’t a host or a guest at the time. I was in my last apartment, where I lived alone, at about 9 pm. I was only wearing a towel, and all of a sudden a key turns in the lock of my apartment and two people I’ve never seen before started coming in, so naturally I started screaming and they shut the door very quickly, but told me through the door that they’d rented the apartment and started shouting about AirBnB. It eventually came out that my landlord, who lived on the floor below me and was out of town (and had a history of being an idiot), had rented an Italian couple the spare room in his apartment “and I TOLD them the first floor but in Italy the first floor means the second floor, and I thought I left them the key to my apartment but I guess I left them the master key….” I was displeased. To say the least. They seemed like very nice people who were also very startled by the experience.

      Everyone else I’ve talked to loves AirBnB, though!

    12. stellanor*

      I’ve used AirBnB for work stuff (long, confidential story) and our experiences were mixed. Some of the places we rented were lovely. A significant fraction were very dirty and/or infested with something. Some owners were hands-off, some were nice but all up in our business, and a few were nuts and became weird and aggressive when we didn’t want them all up in our business (and one person left a pet on the property without warning anyone, and left a note all ‘lol also plz feed’). People have this weird “but it’s MY HOUSE so I can do whatever I want!” thing even when you have paid them for the use of their house. Out of many rentals I’d say 50% were okay and 50% were in some way messed up, be it grossness or owner craziness.

      Having experienced that nonsense I’d never use it for personal stuff. I’m kind of shy and private and have a low tolerance for gross, and the reviews did not have any correlation with the actual state of the property or sanity of the owner in the majority of cases.

    13. Beth Anne*

      I’ve used with a lot of luck. Stayed in an awesome apt in Rome right by the vatican for 90 Euros a night verses over $200 a night for hotels in the area! I might try air bnb for my next trip though.

  3. Random Reader*

    This is definitely the season of weddings for me- I have one a month starting in September. It’ll bring the total for 2014 to a grand total of 7, and only one will be in state. I need a second job just to pay for all of the wedding expenses- yikes!

      1. Dan*

        So I gotta ask. Do I underrate weddings? Mine was family only, about 20 people, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

        Last week there was a post from somebody who was pissed that the future in laws didn’t want to travel for the wedding, but would attend a local f&f celebration instead.

        So unless its a close friend or family member, I wouldn’t go out of my way. Am I the only one who feels that way?

        1. LAMM*

          I’m the same way. I understand why people have big weddings…. but I’d rather have a small (like less than 50 people) wedding.

          If it was anyone other than my best friend or immediate family member I probably wouldn’t travel to be there.

        2. Claire*

          No, you’re not. I wouldn’t travel to attend a wedding unless I was really close to the bride or groom. Extended family, distant relatives, friends from 20 years ago who I haven’t spoken to since (yup, got that invite two years ago), these get a gift and a card.

          1. ClaireS*

            That’s generous in my books. I generally don’t gift unless I’m going and wouldn’t feel bad declining a wedding for someone I’m not close to if I had to travel far.

            1. VintageLydia USA*

              The only people who gave us gifts but didn’t attend our wedding were close family members who could not come last minute (there was actually a pretty major family emergency that I nearly postponed my wedding over. I’m honestly surprised I got anything given the circumstances.)

        3. nep*

          You’re not the only one who feels that way. I wouldn’t have it any other way either — small, with immediate family and perhaps those few friends who are like family. To each his own and I get that it’s an important occasion, but I’ve never understood spending so much for one day.

        4. Not So NewReader*

          Nope, I don’t think you off-base at all. I didn’t even want to go to my own churchy wedding. I wanted a JP and two witnesses.

        5. Canadamber*

          Back in September, I went to my first wedding. It was the daughter of my dad’s friend, who he rarely sees because they live almost 2 hours away. So we technically traveled a little bit for the wedding, and it was actually awesome, even though I didn’t know anyone (but I had my sisters!). My parents were happy, though, or at least my dad was. He got to catch up with his friend. :)

        6. Chuchundra*

          I went to my cousin’s wedding in Las Vegas, but it was mostly because it was a good excuse to go to Las Vegas. My first marriage was on the rocks at the time and any excuse to be far far away was good for me.

          I also traveled to Oberlin, Ohio to attend the wedding of two internet friends, neither of which I had ever met. Best wedding ever.

          1. Dan*

            I actually did get married in Vegas. Best ever. They actually have small wedding venues, decent hotels at any price range, and the whole town is your reception.

            I found it really hard to do a cost effective wedding back home for 20 people, which is why we went. Its very difficult to find the right size wedding and reception space.

            1. Chuchundra*

              For a wedding in the couple dozen people range you might want just a regular restaurant. My brother got married at town hall and the reception was held at a little Italian place.

              1. VintageLydia USA*

                I think for 50 and fewer people I’d probably just throw a massive house party, so long as you or someone you know had a house large enough. I had a friend rent a beach house for there’s and they had about that much. Cheaper than a lot of venues and with total control of the space and no getting kicked out! Though it was hard to kick others out when the happy couple wanted to go to bed.

        7. Lamington*

          For my wedding we invited 75 people and ended up with 100, I don’t know where these people came from. I think is odd someone wants to go to a weddimg of someone you are an acquaintace or don’t even know, besides the free food.

          1. De Minimis*

            We “eloped,” I guess. Went to a nearby resort town where a lot of people go to get married, bought a license from the county clerk and paid this lady $40 to marry us at a popular scenic overlook. Our 11th anniversary is next week….

            We did somewhat regret that neither of us had any friends or family there, but it just didn’t work out at the time.

          2. Beth Anne*

            It still annoys us that 20+ people that RSVPed to my sisters wedding didn’t show up! We could have saved a ton of money on a lot of things….oh well.

          3. Anonsie*

            Weddings are fun! You can chat with new people and it’s just all upbeat and nice.

            I always hear people talk about how they just don’t care unless the bride and/or groom is someone they’re very close to, but I don’t need to be really close to someone to have a good time at a wedding. Even as a +1 you get to sort of share in the family’s joy, and I always have a good time.

        8. SherryD*

          Sometimes, I think weddings are as much for the PARENTS of the bride and groom as for the couple themselves. That can cause the guest list to inflate. (One assumes the parents are also helping to foot the bill!)

          1. VintageLydia USA*

            I’m thankful the only “parent” invites for mine were my mom’s best friend and her SO. Both pretty awesome people so I was cool about that. No weird coworkers I might’ve met once 1o years ago or anything.

        9. Anon Accountant*

          Same here. Or a really close friend. Otherwise I wouldn’t travel outside of 1-2 hrs drive time.

        10. Katie the Fed*

          For our wedding, we’re only inviting people we are close with and actually want to see on our special day. It’s going to be about 80 people, including kids. I think that’s manageable.

      2. Liz in a Library*

        Agreed. Two of my favorite people on the planet recently married, and it was a huge relief to say no. I would have loved to go, but the overseas trip would have run around $8k and geez…

    1. Willow Sunstar*

      I’m also going to a wedding in September. It’s my cousin’s, she’s having it ND. I live in MN, so it will be a drive and I don’t have a lot of PTO left. But it’s ok because I can stay overnight at my parents’ place in northern MN. I just felt kind of bad for my cousin, since a lot of relatives can’t make it because of the distance.

    2. BRR*

      I always say I’m thankful I don’t have more friends because of the small fortune it would cost to attend their weddings. My brother feels obligated to attend every bachelor party and wedding he gets invited to and many of these are destination events, he could have easily bought a car or had a down payment on a house.

      A side note, it seems that most wedding advice is for a couple who are both from the same city and most of the people they know live there. It seems to be such a rarity to mention out of town people like it’s such an uncommon scenario.

      1. LibrarianJ*

        Yes. Planning a wedding right now — I’m a transplant to the state where my fiance & his family live, and my family is split across several other states. Way too much advice out there assuming I’m planning a wedding in my ‘hometown’ or that there’s plenty of family around to help plan. Not to mention the advice that it’s selfish to have a ‘destination’ wedding which is basically what ours is turning out to be….Confused by this in this day and age when so many people are moving around.

    3. Anonsie*

      Oh yeah! It’s wedding season for me, too, the most weddings I’ve ever had in one year so far at 5– all in a two month span, only one of which is in town even though all these folks live in the same city as me. Luckily, all are within driving distance and we had family in the way far away one.

  4. Windchime*

    I wanted to share a picture of my cat, but I can’t figure out how to do it easily. Sigh. Take my word for it, he’s very pretty. He’s from the shelter, but he’s long haired and marked like a Siamese, complete with blue eyes. He managed to get out a few nights ago and it scared me to death (he’s an inside cat and we frequently hear coyotes outside at night–not a good combination!). Fortunately, I discovered the escape within a few minutes and was able to find him and bring him inside within a few minutes.

    I would have been so, so upset to lose him!

    1. NW Cat Lady*

      If he’s long haired and pointed (marked like a Siamese), he’s likely at least part Birman.

      Glad you found him safe and sound. My Siamese loves to escape, given the chance. He always comes back, but we have raccoons and possums, and I’ve seen coyotes within a couple of miles of my house.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Okay I had to Google that one. I had a Balinese cat. Same idea but the Balinese have a lot more of the darker fur.
        She was incredibly SMART. She could open doors. I had to lock the house if I went out into the yard to work. She had extraordinary ability to climb. It was nothing to find her on the top shelf of my closet. She dug her nails into the clothes and climbed up the hanging clothes. I also found her on the top of my fridge and on the top bookshelf. (Built in shelves that go to the ceiling.) It took a bit of getting used to because I was worried she would hurt herself. Silly me.

        1. cuppa*

          My kitten is a climber too! I’m still getting used to it. She just started climbing in the coat closet last night.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            And the adventure begins! It’s a lot of laughs. I seriously considered putting peices of wood on the walls like stairs (wall need to be redone anyway) and have a landing pad for her over the door way. She looooved to perch and look down on us.

            1. Windchime*

              I’ve heard that cats are either “tree dwellers” or “bush dwellers”. Some, like yours, like to climb and be high. Others like to be in a cozy, safe corner. I’m not sure which my cat is yet, but he’s still fairly young.

              He makes me laugh all the time. Cats are an endless source of entertainment.

      2. Windchime*

        I looked at the pictures of the Birman. He doesn’t have the white paws, but otherwise he looks very similar. His tail is a long, fluffy plume. I posted a link to a picture of him below, but it’s in moderation. Hopefully it is released soon.

        Like NSNR’s cat, he was a climber when he was a kitten (not so much now). I have videos of him climbing the Christmas tree when he was a few months old.

    2. Rayner*

      Save the pic to your computer (or other memory device). Go to photobucket (it’s free), sign up, and click upload and follow the instructions. Click the picture once it’s uploaded. Take the *direct link* and paste it in here as a comment. Voila, one kitty pic.

      *process can be faster but this is easier to follow*

        1. Kiribitz*

          My cat who looks like that was sold to us as a papered ‘javanese’ – longer fur but no undercoat so little brushing needed. What a beauty!

      1. Windchime*

        Thanks, Rayner! I had uploaded a picture last night but then couldn’t figure out how to share. Link has been posted (in moderation at this time).

      2. Wo Fat*

        That’s a nice picture of a beautiful cat. His dark tail reminds me a bit of my snowshoe point siamese.

        I have not heard of photobucket. I was using Dropbox but then I got worried that it may have been inviting too much spyware. Is photobucket safe? Do you end up getting adware or even malware as a direct or indirect result of using it? That’s my biggest concern. Another smaller concern is if it will accommodate videos too.
        Many thanks to you Rayner.

        1. Windchime*

          Yeah, I’m thankful to learn how to do photo bucket. I’m going to have some yard work done soon and will get the opinion of the group on that if/when it happens. :)

        2. Persephone Mulberry*

          I have been using Photobucket forever…6 or 7 years at least. Never had an issue with spyware/malware/popups.

  5. Anonyby*

    Since this is still technically Saturday night where I am…

    What new food item/style/restaurant have you tried recently?

    Earlier a friend took me to his favorite mongolian bbq place–my first time having mongolian bbq.

    1. Stephanie*

      My sister’s home aide (my sister’s autistic and has a home aide who comes by during the week to help with “life skills”) is Colombian. For her birthday, we took her to a Colombian restaurant in town. She didn’t like it and claimed her arepas were better. I’m worried the staff overheard us and spit in the food.

      I thought it was solid (but I love fried plantains in all forms) and would go back to get the lulo drink.

      Whenever a friend is in town, I like to take them to this Cornish pasty place. It’s like the British version of the empanada and very delicious.

      1. Dan*

        There’s a South American place in Bethesda that’s pretty good. I’m going to take my parents there when they come visit in October.

        Since we’re on the subject of South American food, I was in buenos aires over Xmas. I thought the steaks were a bit overrated, although at least a bit cheaper than back in the US.

    2. Dan*

      I went to Jaleo for DC restaurant week earlier in the week. The food was really underwhelming, considering the chef is some sort of celebrity. He has several restaurants in the area.

      We had 5 dishes, none of them really popped, and the service was off as well.

      1. Stephanie*

        Is there still the weird shoe theme? Last time I went there for happy hour (in early 2013), the restaurant had this whole shoe/sneaker thing going on. We got our bar food in this way-too-realistic looking acrylic Chuck Taylor (it even had laces). It was kind of strange to eat potatoes out a shoe. I’ve only eaten there at happy hour and found the food eh, but I assumed that we weren’t getting the good stuff at happy hour.

      2. StudentA*

        I’ve tried Jaleo a couple of times and never liked it either. Seems very popular though. Lots of people love it.

    3. LAMM*

      I went to a Vietnamese restaurant earlier today that was delish. It was the first time I went to a Vietnamese place on my own (I’m 1/4 Vietnamese).

      So not completely new… but a place I’ve never been before and the first time I’ve been on my own.

    4. Schmitt*

      I tried a Japanese noodle soup and… didn’t really like it. Our friends are crazy about Japanese food and I’m definitely not a fishy sushi fan. What should I try next time? They have some rolls with cream cheese and veggies.

      1. GH*

        Teriyaki chicken with rice is a safe bet if you’re in a Japanese restaurant and not really a fan of Sushi or Udon. Or Katsu chicken (breaded and fried).

        How do you feel about Tempura? Tempura Yam rolls are a favourite of mine.

      2. Claire*

        I usually go for teriyaki beef and sticky rice with some edamame. Or some chicken katsu. Soba noodles are good, and I love miso soup.

      3. Artemesia*

        I always get a mix of shrimp and vegetable tempura and happily eat that while my friends exclaim over raw flesh. I can’t stand the texture of raw — and what is it to anyone else what you eat as long as you don’t whine or act the buzzkill to their feast of raw fish? Everyone in my immediate family loves sushi except for me; my brother likes to take unsophisticated relatives for sushi and make them squirm. Me? I just order the tempura and enjoy it without embarrassment. My family is happy with that and so am I.

        1. Jenna*

          I usually find a few vegetable only sushi items, when I can’t deal with fish. Cucumber rolls seem fairly common. That way I still get the sushi rice, nori, and pickled ginger. Mmmmmm.

      4. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        I’m not big into the raw fish either, but I love Spicy Tuna rolls. It’s still raw, but there’s less of it and there’s other stuff… it’s a much better balance for me. :)

    5. nep*

      Lately I’ve been all about wrapping vegetables (some from the garden) in nori sheets. So good. The combination options are endless — avocado, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, sprouts, cilantro, carrots….

    6. Waiting Patiently*

      Just tried a little cafe here that only serves brunch. The place was so small, the crowd was so big but the food oh so, good! I had the best french toast.

      My boyfriend is always on the lookout for Indian restaurants especially the ones where he feels comfortable eating with his hands. So I find myself in little Indian dives (??), and being that I’m don’t like rice ( I don’t know how I would have survived as a kid if I grew in culture where rice is served daily)– I actually eat the rice- like by itself.

      Also attended a food truck festival that had lots of varieties –though I couldn’t bring my self to try the eclectic gypsy truck that was serving up all kinds of exotic meats.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      Just a pumpkin pasty at the British food truck Harry Potter Pub Quiz night. (My team did really well–I outnerded myself, heh heh.) Mmmm. I ate too much this weekend. Trying to save my calories until I go on vacation, where I will try the following:
      –Welsh cakes
      –Cockles (I was too chicken to try them last time)
      –Anything that looks good and doesn’t run away from me first

      1. UK HR Bod*

        Sounds like you are heading my way (maybe a bit more Wales?) – just remember we have some lovely cakes here too! Every local area has its own speciality.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          If it doesn’t fight back and looks delicious, I’m going to eat it. :) That’s why I’ve been busting my ass on the stairs at work, so I can stuff myself.

          I’ll be in London (Surrey, and running all over) most of the time, and Cardiff for four days, with one day in Inverness. But I promise to get out of the city some. I’ll be blogging everything.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Will do–I kind of hope I like it. If I don’t think about what’s in it (yes, I know), I should be okay. But I figure I should at least give it a shot.

          I’m FAR more adventurous re food now than I was the last time I went. My auntie was afraid I’d starve, ha ha.

    8. BRR*

      I haven’t been there yet but I’ve been trying desperately to get to this Ethiopian restaurant. It’s near a theater so I’m hoping the next event I get tickets to I can grab dinner there before hand.

      1. Nancypie*

        Ethiopian is my absolute favorite; I love the vegetarian sampler meal. I hope you get to have it soon.

        1. StudentA*

          I eat a ton of Ethiopian. I too recommend the veggie sampler, you can’t really go wrong with that. The spices/flavors are not for everyone, but my family and friends like it.

      2. Wo Fat*

        I like the veggie sampler too. But I might bet fish tibbs or chicken tibbs to go with it for the meat eaters in the party. The gomen wat is my favorite.

        1. Wo Fat*

          But I might get fish tibbs or chicken tibbs to go with it for the meat eaters in the party.

          Dang it! Spell check doesn’t catch everything.

      3. Artemesia*

        I love Ethiopian — we usually get a mix of meat dishes and a mix of vegetarian dishes and just serve them on the bread wheel and share. I particularly love the lamb dishes and the whole fish — both of these tend to be unavailable much of the time at the restaurants we frequent. I’d love to find a better place.

    9. Mimmy*

      Ooh there used to be a mongolian bbq where I grew up, but it closed some time ago. I miss it!!

      Can’t think of anything outrageous that I’ve tried–I did have some sort of butternut squash thing last week at a barbecue that was pretty good. It was almost like a dessert rather than a dinner item.

    10. Lamington*

      I went to Artisan’s, a French restaurant, for the Houston Restaurant Week and the lobster casserole was to die for! if it was cold, perfect confort food. they also have a chef’s table where you can see how the kitchen is cooking like on the Food network.

    11. AmyNYC*

      This afternoon I tried Paposas from El Salvador – kind of corn patties filled with veggies, meats and/or cheese the friend on a grill. Delicious, but my stomach is still recovering from all the grease and cheese!

  6. Dan*

    Since we’re on the subject of food, I bought two cookbooks that look really interesting although haven’t really dug into them yet.

    They are both by American test kitchen. The first is “Cooking for Two” which completely revamps recipes for smaller portions. I really like the philosophy, because its not as simple as cutting everything in half. Well you can, but youre still buying larger amounts and are likely throwing away a lot if you’re not careful.

    The second is their home cooking school book. It’s an 800 page monstrosity, should be interesting.

      1. CoffeeLover*

        Whenever I make soup stock, I freeze the majority of it into several small containers. Then I can just whip one out of the freezer, heat it up and add whatever noodles I want to it and BAM fast soup, less waste, efficient use of time :).

      2. fposte*

        Whereas I deliberately make soup to have enough extra to freeze in single portion containers. Mostly I take it to work, but sometimes it’s really nice just to nuke some good soup and have a fast, tasty dinner, too.

      3. CC*

        What’s so sad about cooking for one?

        Unless being partnered and having a family is a prerequisite for being happy, which I don’t agree with.

        1. Stephanie*

          I think the microwave aspect makes it particularly bleak (or that’s what made it sad for me). Otherwise, I love cooking for just myself.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I used to think that, but then I got a NordicWare Multi-pot that will cook perfect rice in the microwave. Makes it WAY easier to cook cool stuff to throw on top of it, because I hate cooking rice on the stove (messy).

        2. Jenna*

          My biggest problem when I was solo was ending up with too much food and eating the same thing for a week. Yes, I have a freezer and all that, but, past three ingredients you end up with so much!
          Now I have a roommate, and this makes things much easier somehow.

    1. Anonyby*

      Ooo, ATK! I don’t have any of their books, but I paid for a year’s subscription a while ago and printed out any and all recipes that looked even vaguely interesting for myself and my friends. I’m also subscribed to their podcast.

      Have you tried any recipes from the “Cooking for Two” book?

      1. Dan*

        No, just got it this week. Need to go grocery shopping tomorrow, so might browse through it before then.

    2. Sandrine (France)*

      I’m going to buy MyVirginKitchen’s cookbook next. The guy, Barry Lewis, is on Youtube and Facebook as well. He’s just awesome, funny, and… I just love the way he does his thing. So his cookbook is on my wishlist :P

    3. fposte*

      I love ATK. I’m on pre-order for the Make Ahead book coming out at the beginning of September; since that’s a huge part of my cooking, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can add to it.

    4. Hillary*

      I’m really enjoying Eat Your Vegetables by Joe Yonan. It’s a vegetarian cookbook with recipes sized for a main for one or sides for two.

  7. Chloe*

    All going well I think I’m going to resign this week or next. SO happy. ? I have I give 4 weeks notice and I can’t decide whether to take time off between jobs – if I don’t the financial windfall from accumulated leave is obviously useful, if I do I get some space to breathe…any wise words on the decision appreciated :-)

    1. Anon*

      Take a week – you won’t regret it! Give yourself a few days to relax however you want, and a couple to catch up on some domestic things that you may not have time or energy for after starting your new job. (Deep clean the house, cook some food and freeze leftovers for lunches, etc.)

    2. Windchime*

      I left OldJob on a Friday, started NewJob on the following Monday. Take the week off; I wish I had been able to. It’s nice to have some downtime and make the mental shift.

  8. Ali*

    I’ve basically been on vacation for the last two weeks and I go home tomorrow afternoon. Back to reality with a thud, especially since I have to dog sit/house sit for my family, who go on their vacation on Monday. Re-adjusting will be hard haha.

    However, all that said, I’m in the very early stages of getting a plan together to move to New York City. The plan I discussed with my sister may not even be feasible or happen, but it’s just an idea. My brother is graduating college in December and has no plan and not really any motivation, and I just can’t live at home anymore. It was fine while I was trying to find a job with salary and benefits and all that, but I have it now and I just want to be independent. I’d like to be out within the year.

    I’m aware of all the cons of NYC and have spent enough time here to let the novelty wear off, but the opportunities in my career field (which I don’t want to get into much here for fear of having my post deleted haha) are solid and I have had trouble learning to drive, so the transportation system is really going to be a help. Transit in my current hometown shuts down at like 6 p.m. I’m totally serious. :( I also get along with my sister, so knowing she is here is a help, in addition to the other people I’ve met that make their home in the city.

    Going home from here sucks though. I feel disappointed every time I have to board the bus to head back home.

    1. Sandrine (France)*

      Don’t give up on NYC for fear of anything, Ali. You seem to have your head on your shoulders (yeah, I can tell that much from a single post. Woo :P) , so as long as you think it over and plan ahead, it might not be easy but I’m sure you can make it :)

    2. Mimmy*

      Off-topic, but why does your post show as being posted at 3:02 p.m. today?

      Anyway, good luck with everything!

    3. AVP*

      Fellow NYer here…yes, we have a lot of problems here, but seriously having an all-night transit system that goes almost everywhere makes up for so many of them.

  9. Carrie in Scotland*

    I have been busy on recent Sunday’s Having Happy Times With A Boy, so while I have been reading open threads by the time Monday comes around and I’m catching up at work it’s usually too late to participate. Anyway, the Happy Times are at a stop, so this weekend I’ve already consumed quite a bit of vodka, and gone through all the bad parts of Luke & Lorelai’s relationship. What else should a heartbroken girl do?

    1. Chloe*

      Remind yourself of all the things you love about yourself, and what a wonderful future you have without the Boy. Say it out loud, once you’ve told yourself forcefully that you are, indeed, better off without him, you will believe it. Until the next wave of self-doubt, when you’ll rinse and repeat, until it becomes ingrained and you no longer have any reason to miss him or even think about him.

      But also feel free to watch terrible movies and eat a lot of chocolate, if that helps.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Go do something you couldn’t do whilst you were together. Maybe something you wanted to do and he didn’t, or you didn’t have time for because he was sucking hours of your life away from you. Make it be a thing that gets you OUT of the house. Tell yourself, “I’m going to enjoy *thing* because I am free of this asshole!”

      I’m sorry you got heartbroken. *hug* I wish I were there–I’d come get you and we’d go gallivant around and do fun stuff.

    3. Audiophile*

      Aw, sorry. Sometimes boys suck!

      I like your remedy – Gilmore Girls and vodka (though I prefer whiskey myself). As a few others said, just remind yourself of all the things you can do.
      You can pick the movie or hog the remote. You can pick the restaurant, no waiting for others to voice their opinion.


    4. salad fingers*

      Can’t pretend I’m good at breakups, so I don’t really have any advice except that hot showers greatly counterbalance the aftermath of vodka. You have my sympathies <3

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        The thing is, is that we broke up originally in January and then he got back in contact and it was 5 weeks of bliss and then…this. Part of it all is that I’ve undone all my good work from the previous 6 months – I went to Paris by myself, I got a new job, I started volunteering in a charity bookshop and found a few new friends. I just thought that – that it would work. That it was worth taking a chance on.

        Thanks for all the suggestions – I’ve counted it up and in 12 weeks I will be London (live tennis! meeting friends! my birthday!) and then I’m hoping to hop over to Belgium for a few days just because I can :)

        1. Perpetua*

          You haven’t undone it, the good work is still there! :) The good memories (Paris!) are not going anywhere, neither is the job or the new friends, and those are the things that are worth it even once the heartache is long over (and it will be, just not right now). Also, I (and many others) believe that it is better to take chances that don’t work out than live in fear or doubt. Looking back, I have much fonder memories of the things that weren’t the best but I did them and that was it, than of the situations in which I held back out of fear – those are the ones that linger much longer than necessary and make me go “shoot, I should’ve gone for it”.

          All in all, do plenty of self-care, call up friends if they can offer comfort, watch shows or movies, take walks outside, dance to silly songs or stare at the wall if it feels okay and try to accept that, yes, this current situation sucks, but that too shall pass, and awesome times are ahead of you. :)

        2. Elizabeth West*

          You’re going to have an amazing time! Without the Incredibly Wishy-washy Boy! :D

          Too bad it won’t be when I’m there. Not one person I know who is going to London will be there when I am! Argh!

        3. Dan*

          Whatever happened, you’re stronger for it. I filed for divorce last week, and I know its for the best. I also know I learned a lot about myself, and will be able to make better choices the next time around.

  10. S*

    I’m going on a long-ish (almost two weeks) business trip to China (Shanghai area) on Tuesday. It’s my first time in China, well, in Asia really, and no matter how much I read about the hot weather and huge crowds, I don’t really feel prepared… And don’t even get me started on my fear of the pitfalls that business-specific cultural differences present (I will meet with almost every manager on site, i.e. 100+ people to potentially embarrass myself in front of).

    I’m so nervous that I’m stalling completely. I haven’t even started packing.

    Soo… Any advice?

    1. BB*

      You can find information online and in books about how to behave in a foreign country’s business environment. One book is the Culture Shock: [insert country] series.

    2. BRR*

      Read up on using your tech in the country. The president of my organization went on business and was having problems with getting email. She went to ask about connectivity issues and they informed her she was typing in her email password incorrectly as it did not match what she typed in the last time she logged in.

    3. Lamington*

      take imodium with you, even my friend that is Taiwanese got ill with the food unfortunately.

  11. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

    Top Chef.

    I pretty much look down my nose at reality programming (“I don’t DO reality” <<< said in sniffy tone of voice), but um, Top Chef.

    I was out of Netflix I wanted to watch that wasn't super complicated and needing something to run on the TV. Having watched every last Kitchen Nightmares US/UK (ok maybe I DO do reality programming), I booted up Top Chef on my Hulu Plus/Roku set up.

    **Nine season later**, is this the best show or what. I love this show. The formula is getting a little stretched by season 9, but I have so much engagement with the contestants, the competitions and even the judges. Being behind air date by um years, at the end of every season I google my favorite contestants to see where they are now and that's even more fun, tracking their epilogues.


    Last night we went to a sushi place and with the way we ordered, there was a progression of dishes coming to our table, just as if we were at Judges Table. So I started doing my best Gail and critiquing each plate (we were sharing). I'll tell you that the calamari lacked in presentation. While the sauce was excellent, the chef could have done a lot more with the presentation and overall, the calamari was too chewy. The dish did not stand up.

    (Show makes me damn hungry to watch, though.)

    Top Chef? (no spoilers after season 8 please)

    1. Schmitt*

      Love Top Chef. Love Padma. Want new season now! Failing that, there’s a Top Chef Duels show going on, we’re going to grab that.

      There was a haircutting show in the same mold that only lasted a couple seasons, but “Tabatha Takes Over” is a spin-off from that and we enjoy it too, though it’s a bit more formulaic. Failing businesses get a reality check and a makeover, and Tabatha is delightfully no-nonsense.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        I love Padma. What is it with Padma? She’s so I dunno, refined, I shouldn’t like her, and yet she’s accessible.

        I looked her up and found out I’ve been reading about her for years, but didn’t know who she was. She was married to Salman Rushdie and she recently had a child with Adam Dell. The custody battle in the later was pretty big news, but I had no idea who she was at the time.

        Intelligent, accomplished woman with an interesting life.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Salmon Rushdie’s memoir (Joseph Anton: A Memoir — called that because that’s the name he used when he was in hiding) contains some fascinating stuff about Padma — essentially that she’s a crazy, cold-blooded narcissist. Take it with a grain of salt, obviously, since they were split up by the time he wrote it, but it was pretty interesting to read. The whole book is fascinating, but as a huge Top Chef fan, I got a particular thrill reading about that part.

          1. AB Normal*

            Ohh! I’m buying the memoir right now, I always was intrigued by Rushdie’s story. Thanks for the tip :-).

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I love Gordon Ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares, though I vastly prefer the UK version to the US one. He’s not nearly as screamy on those. And the restaurant people aren’t either. We Americans really are so freaking LOUD, aren’t we? >_<

      1. GH*

        His original UK show, “The F Word,” is the best — he hadn’t yet developed his screamy persona, and he is charming and kind and just a touch snarky in it. Track it down if you can.

    3. Jubilance*

      I love Top Chef & I’ve watched every single season. This most recent season was one of the ones that made me want to rip out my eyeballs, I was so upset over the result. Sometimes they just make the wrong damn choice!

      I totally understand your restaurant experience tho. There’s a restaurant here in the Twin Cities that does a fantastic 9 course tasting menu, and the first time I did it I felt like I was a judge on Top Chef & it felt so cool.

    4. Golden Yeti*

      I just stumbled upon Food Fight (there was really nothing on and I was getting desperate), which turned out to be interesting. The concept is home cooks vs. pro chefs. The home cooks prep 5 dishes, and then chooses one after they meet the competing chef–once something is chosen, that option is gone (kind of like the life lines in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire). The chef has to cook a similar dish (at least with the same main ingredients)–both cooks usually have no more than 25 minutes to cook–and the 2 are judged in a blind taste test by average foodies. No matter what happens, the home cook faces all 5 chefs, but (again like Millionaire) there’s a certain amount of money you get for beating each level, and it compounds.

  12. Schmitt*

    Here’s my news! I started a cat photos blog, because we acquired a dang fluffy cat and our cell phones are full to bursting with fluffy photos. And scheduling a photo a day in advance is just about the level of involvement I can deal with after a full work week and my other side projects.

    Cat photos! Lowering blood pressure since the invention of the internet! The blog is linked through my name here.

    Maybe Olive will do a guest post? :D

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Wow- the hair on that cat is awesome!

      Her (his?) eyes are the same color, does she hear okay?
      I had an all white short haired cat, with two different color eyes. Someone said if the eyes were the same color then she would not have been able to hear. Genetics. I guess eye color and hearing are paired? No clue. We had her for four years before we learned she was blind in one eye. Absolutely could not tell on the basis of her antics alone.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          ugh. I don’t know how people like that can sleep at night.

          Well, she has the world on a platter now, because she will have a long happy life with you.

          Has your other cat (cats?) caught on to the fact that she does not hear?

          1. Schmitt*

            Oh my gosh, it was hilarious. When she got here, Merlin was Unpleased and yowled at her non-stop for the first two days, and growled, and hissed… and she just trotted on past him. His confused expression had us rolling on the floor.

            He stopped after that, and they don’t make any noise when they wrestle, while with our former cat he’d have howling standoffs. So maybe he has figured it out.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Oh that is funny, all the fuss and falderall, and The Fluffy One appears to ignore it.

              It will be interesting to watch. A friend had two kittens one with hearing and one without. The hearing one would go get the deaf one at meal time, rather than eat all the food alone.

  13. Sandrine (France)*

    I am really, really sad today, but for a friend.

    I lost my job recently, but I’m at peace with it. Such a relief it’s not even funny. But I have this friend I keep supporting (psychologically, mostly) that just makes me sad. She does not have a lot of luck with men. She kept to men within her culture/religion/country of origin for a while, believing it was better for her. Not all men were bad, but I just wanted her to keep her eyes open, should another man come by.

    So, finally, a few months ago, she found a new guy… boom, different everything. And she was so happy, finally. Guy may have a temper at times but finally my friend has found someone different who likes her and treats her better! Woohoo!

    …. Or not. We were at dinner a little over two weeks ago and it was the first time in about six months of them dating that we were really together like that. Well… he’s not the worst guy in the world, but whoah. He’s an ass. And his most recent behavior is not any better (he didn’t hit her or cheat on her or anything, but he did things in his personal time that I will NEVER approve of, and I’m not a strict person) and I don’t want to see his stupid face ever again.

    So now of course my friend is sad because (they don’t live together btw) he planned for a month long vacation and she won’t see him for two weeks and whoah she knows she’s in love but real love this time and I’m all “Dang. You should dump him ASAP, lady” and then I’m thinking “Sandrine, silly, you’re 31. Let her make her choices” and of course I can’t force her but I’m so, so sad that after a string of men that didn’t work out, this one seemed so promising and is not at all, after all.

    So yeah. Good thing I have my cats here, my peanuts, and I’m going to play WoW on a free account to test it out, and tomorrow, new kitten.


    1. Not So NewReader*

      That sucks. It’s like watching a train derailment in slow motion, with your hand over your eyes a peering out between two fingers. I hope things change for the better in the near future.

      The new kitty will be fun, enjoy and take lots of pictures.

      1. Sandrine (France)*

        Yes. BF doesn’t know yet, and is going to kill me, but screw this, I need that baby.
        And yeah I will post the heck out of it… to anyone who’d like to follow, I’m ellinordreams on Instagram >:D …

        Yeah, I’m THAT evil.


        1. Ali*

          You do have to let your friend make her own choices with men. One of my friends is married to a guy (for 10 years now, so this dates back to before I met her) who she is almost always complaining about. However, she shot down the idea of divorce so they could stay together for the kids…although at least she tried to consider it. It hasn’t abated the moaning and groaning about Hubby one bit, though. But hey, she doesn’t want to even separate from him no matter how many times she kicks him out of the house for the night or complains. I’m sympathetic to her problems, but I really don’t offer my advice.

          I know how it is to be disappointed about a guy though. A few years ago, I began crushing on one who was currently in a relationship so there was nothing I could do of course. However, people at least knew of his girlfriend (he was in a public job where a lot of people knew him) and she’d always brag about what a wonderful boyfriend he was, the things they’d do together, etc…Facebook PDA basically and he’d participate at times too. It made me really jealous, and I even was like well if he loves this girl so much, I may not be able to have him but I may have a guy like him and that would be great.

          Well, about a year later, they broke up and I asked him out after a waiting period. He flipped out on me and acted totally hostile over some things I did that offended him (which I didn’t even know were offending him), then never even so much came back around to apologize for yelling at me that way. (Unless you count “sorry I’m being harsh” as an apology, which did nothing for me.) As the story got around in my friends circle, I later found out he had issues with long-term commitment, especially after the honeymoon period in a relationship wore off. He’s been divorced and had a broken engagement. And yeah, for some reason, his new job/career turned him into a jerk and standoffish rather than the friendly guy we all knew in his old job. The yelling at me with no apologies later was a huge red flag, even though I suspect he’s not abusive or anything. (He clearly has no problem getting women initially anyway.)

          Sometimes men suck.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          uh. You know the same thing happened to my husband. One day he suddenly had a kitten in the house. Stuff happens. He adjusted. (lol, he eventually decided that he really looooved cats).

          1. Sandrine (France)*

            Fun thing is, he claimed he didn’t like cats, but my Marvin knows better and loves him and goes for the special “I love you” heabutt more often with him and all… while my Flora now likes me to cuddle her like a baby (which isn’t easy).

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Oh that is funny.
              Yeah, my husband said he did not like cats, either. I think we have a pattern here.

              1. QualityControlFreak*

                My spouse is actually allergic to cats. Guess where the one who adopted us sleeps. ;)

          2. Cath in Canada*

            My husband said he didn’t mind cats, but had a mild allergy and was pretty reluctant to have any in the house. I talked him into it on the condition that they’re never allowed in the bedroom, and not two weeks later I caught him cooing “who’s a good kitty? Who’s my fluffy belly kitty cat?” when he thought I wasn’t home.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Ouch. It’s hard to watch a friend make mistakes, but all you can really do is be supportive. She won’t listen to advice until she’s ready to hear it. I know–I spent ten years listening to a friend cry over an unhappy relationship. She always had an excuse not to leave (mostly out of fear), but when she finally mustered up the courage to do so, she got happy.
      And now I don’t hear from her as much, sigh…. :P

    3. BRR*

      Ugh I feel you. One of my good friends married an ass. She was visiting me by herself and were in Target, she stopped and grabbed a snack size of Nutella and goes,”Ooh I want to get this, Bob forbids me from eating this.”

      1. Sandrine (France)*

        Oh my. The “Bob forbids me from eating X” .

        I told my BF I’d like him to stop me from eating chips… but that’s mostly because I go through them wayyy too fast xD . Next time we shop, no chips, no peanuts, nothing :P . Cause yikes xD

      2. Stephanie*

        No no no no.

        There’s a bakery outlet nearby that sells its really good bread for 50 cents to a dollar on Friday afternoons. There’s usually a rush when the store opens. Last Friday, I was waiting in line to purchase and this woman next to me was making small talk.

        Customer: “Oh, is that nearby loaf sliced?”
        Me: “No.”
        Customer: “Oh. I can’t buy it then.”
        Me: “Oh, you don’t have a serrated knife? You can get a pretty basic one at Target cheaply.”
        Customer: “We don’t. My husband is very particular and won’t eat hand-sliced bread. He likes the precision cuts from a bread machine. Maybe I can buy the loaf and ask the grocery store to slice it for me. He gets really upset if it’s not precision-sliced.”

        I’m hoping my face didn’t show the “WTF?!” thoughts that were going on in my head.

        1. BRR*

          Not only is that wtf but I feel classier buying non-sliced bread and slicing it myself. Like somehow that makes the loaf better.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Hopefully, this is a very normal person with a couple of quirks. It is possible for nice people to be very particular about a few things. And, yeah, the stuff they get particular about is reeeally strange.

          But this type of thing does make me shudder when I hear it.

      3. QualityControlFreak*

        Wow. My reaction to a SO attempting to “forbid” me from doing something would probably be to laugh loud and long at them and then do what I wanted.

        The only time I can remember anything like this actually happening to me is a couple of months ago, and no one did any “forbidding.” I had been having vision problems and had brain surgery, which corrected the issue completely, but it took some time for my vision to return to normal. I went back to work the following week, but my spouse made it clear that he would be doing all the driving until a date he had designated, or in his words, “You’ll get the keys on ______, and not before.” Still had to chuckle every time he said it. Couldn’t really be angry with him; I knew he was just scared for me.

        I got the keys the day before, with his blessing. ;)

        1. Kalliope's Mom*

          I actually did laugh at ex bf who was constantly telling me that I was forbidden to do something. It was weird stuff, like wash dishes at a certain time or when I could talk to my sister on the phone. This relationship ended when he told me that once I was pregnant (mind you we had only been dating a few months) that I would not be allowed to work after that. ummm.. how about no! Go find some other girl that is willing to accept all of these Forbidden rules that are just plain stupid.

      4. Elizabeth West*

        Yeah, it’s one thing for a bf to remind you that you said you didn’t want to eat so much of X food, and another thing entirely for him to FORBID it. That is scary and controlling.

    4. Stephanie*

      That’s tough. Our friend got married to a guy the vast majority of us dislike. Everyone wanted to say something, but it would have fallen on deaf ears as she really wanted this guy to be The One (and to give her the benefit of the doubt, maybe he has some redeeming qualities in private that aren’t readily apparent). All you can do is let your friend work through it herself (unless this dude’s abusive or something).

      UCB has this hilarious video about how to react to a friend’s terrible engagement: I was big on stating the facts in an excited tone when that friend got engaged (“Oh! You’re making a legal commitment of your relationship!”)

    5. Golden Yeti*

      Just wanted to say be careful in those kind of situations with friends. Just in January, I lost my long distance best friend of many years over a situation like that. Mr. Yeti and I had visited her for the first time (after several years of marriage). He gave her a gift that was probably ill-advised, but given with the best of intentions. Once we were home, she told me that she was offended by his gesture, and went on to question my happiness with him, his personality, etc. (he and I are opposites). This sudden unloading about my spouse did not sit well with me, but she was going through a hard time, so I said nothing. I also hate conflict, which provided further fuel to say nothing. Fast forward several months of noncommunication, and I see we’re no longer connected on social media; I assume it’s due to this situation, and try to write a nice quick note accepting the dissolution of the friendship. Then I find out this was not intentional. Oops. So then I have to come out with it, and we have it out. It does not end well.

      My policy in friendships has always been, “Don’t question someone’s choice unless they are already questioning it themselves.” That was what I had always done with my former friend, too. And I think that was part of why her venting did not sit well with me. Mr. Yeti had gone above and beyond to help my friend over the years, and we were already married all that time–in my brain, that’s a little late for friends to be questioning my choices, especially if I am content.

      In hindsight, this friend and I had grown apart anyway, and I am better off without extra drama. Still, it’s a shame that a friendship that long had to end in that way. So again, that’s why I say just be careful in how you approach your friends’ relationships.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Yes, definitely be careful. Many years ago my sister got dumped by her idiot boyfriend, and I finally felt free to tell her that I’d always thought he was an asshat and she could do much better. They got back together a couple of months later… the next year was pretty awkward, until she finally dumped him for good.

    6. Jen RO*

      Sandrine, if you need help/gold/etc, join Alonsus and look for Jen. It’s an English realm. (I might also have a low level something on a French realm – maybe Elune?)

        1. Anonymous*

          Hell yeah Jen once I’m in (got distracted by the Sims 2 and GETTING ALL THE CLOTHES lol) I am adding you :D.

    7. AcademicAnon*

      You can do pet battles on WOW and there is even a Crazy Cat Lady (or Man0 achievement you can do.

      1. Jen RO*

        Posting to avoid getting someone’s hopes up – you can’t exactly get Crazy Cat Lady straight away, unless you either have lots of money or friends to help out.

  14. Sandy*

    Decided to grab the dogs and a couple of friends and run away from real life for an evening. Drove out into the middle of the desert, parked the cars, camped out under the stars (we saw meteors, Mars, Saturn, and Neptune), choked down on homemade junk food (the chocolate chip cookies with tea for breakfast were particularly good) and traipsed around the river beds.

    Feeling human again for a short time! Back to crazy workplace tomorrow…

    1. Ruffingit*

      I love that, good for you! Escaping life and getting back to nature is so important once in awhile.

    2. evilintraining*

      If you’re into stargazing, go to an observatory (if possible) the last weekend of this month. Comet Jacques! It will only show up as a fuzzball in a store-bought telescope, but if you have an observatory near you, you can get a great look.

  15. Elkay*

    The dangers of Netflix – I’m currently binging on Comic Book Men and the PlayStation just popped up a message asking if I was still watching, guess I hadn’t moved in a while…

    1. Monodon monoceros*

      I hate when Netflix judges me like that. I can’t defend myself. Whatever Netflix I went on a really long hike yesterday and today it is pouring rain so I’ll watch a whole season of House of Cards if I want!

    2. Sabrina*

      DirecTV started up the screen saver on me the other day. I wasn’t really watching, just had it on in the background and it was a marathon, so no channel changing required.

    3. De Minimis*

      We’re having Netflix fatigue around here…we’ve tried numerous shows and movies and just can’t find one we like.
      Tried to watch ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK earlier this weekend and gave up after about 20 minutes. Just had no interest in the characters or story.

      A lot of the movies don’t seem so great either–I don’t know how many times we’ve decided to try a movie that seemed okay only to give up on it.

      Last weekend we had a better time movie watching, but it seems like once we run through anything that’s been added every month we run out of things really quickly.

      1. Windchime*

        I didn’t care for Orange is the new Black either. I made it through one or two episodes but just couldn’t get into it enough to care about anyone.

    4. brightstar*

      I’ve had an upsetting week so I’ve been spending this weekend watching ‘Lost Girl” which is so cheesy I find it as comforting as macaroni and cheese.

    5. Mints*

      Netflix is so judgy. It’s not just “Are you still watching Futurama?” it’s “You’re still watching Futurama??”

  16. matcha123*

    I’m wondering if anyone has experience with surgery for fibroid tumors?
    I’ll be having it at the end of the month, but while I’ve found a lot online about surgery techniques, I haven’t found much related to post-surgery recovery, etc. This is something that really no one in my age-group has to deal with and most things I find deal with women in their 40s or 50s or women trying to have babies…none of which apply to me.

    Has anyone had the surgery? How long did it take for you to get back to normal activities?

    1. Rebecca*

      I have some experience with this, although I didn’t have surgery. When I was in my mid 30’s, I started having terrible menstrual problems, to the point I’d miss work because the flow was so much (sorry for the TMI). I had an ultrasound, and then a CT scan, and they found a fibroid in my uterine wall. After birth control pills didn’t work to control the heavy flow, we tried Depo Provera as a last chance before performing a hysterectomy. The Depo shots worked, and the fibroid has diminished to a fraction of its former size. I’m 51 now, so I need to stop the shots at some point so I can go through menopause.

      Things have probably changed now, but at that time, surgery to remove just the fibroid wasn’t an option due to where it was located. My doctor said if it had been inside or outside of the uterine wall, they could have removed it, but its location inside the wall indicated hysterectomy instead.

    2. fposte*

      What kind of surgery are you having? In general, laparoscopic is a little easier than open post-surgical because there’s less incision to deal with (though I’ll say from having had one for a different reasons that you want to beware of sink and counter edges–a very natural lean against them will surprise the heck out of you); I believe there are also newer surgical interventions that I don’t know anything about. I also suspect that your youth means you’ll bounce back a little faster than the usual patient, whatever it is.

      Some aspects of recovery will also probably depend on how much is actually involved, since fibroids vary in size, number, and location. Here’s Mayo Clinic with a little more detail and some time frames:

      1. matcha123*

        Thanks for the replies :) I never thought about counter edges or anything like that!
        The dr said keyhole surgery, which has a faster recovery and shorter hospital stay.
        I feel kind of foolish because I don’t know exactly what information I need and I don’t feel
        satisfied with what I find online. The dr says everything’ll be fine, but I guess nerves are getting to me.

        Thanks again for the replies, I’m glad to see that you all seem to be doing well!

        1. Fibroids TMI*

          Laproscopic surgery is a terrific choice. Mayo Clinic is a good choice for information.
          Practical stuff-
          Loose clothing.
          Stock the fridge and pantry with easy to eat stuff.
          Stuff to take pills with…crackers, milk, yogurt. applesauce .

          Give yourself time- its still surgery.

          Have a shift of people scheduled to help out…even when your feeling better- believe the Dr.
          Ask for help….making the bed etc.

        2. Risa*

          I had a very unusual fibroid surgery – single fibroid on the outside of the uterus, weighing 4 pounds. The doctor said it was about the size of a 7-month fetus. I had a full incision surgery, left with a scar about 6 inches from the navel down. I was on medical leave for 8 weeks, in the hospital for four days before being released and bedridden for at least 2 weeks. During that time, I was remodeling my house, planning my wedding which was 2 months away, and training a brand new puppy (the surgery was a surprise and happened very quickly once diagnosed). I was easily tired for several weeks, but after about 4 weeks I was chomping at the bit to get back to work. Listen to your body – it will tell you how fast you are healing.

  17. Rebecca*

    Update on the pregnant semi-stray cat that seems to live at the trailer at the end of my road: she had her kittens either late Friday or Early Saturday. I’m usually up around 6:30 on Saturday AM, and when I took the bird feeder and hummingbird feeder back out onto the porch for the day, she was there and her back legs were wet and bloody, and she’s much thinner. She seemed OK, purring, rubbing my leg, etc. so I petted her, made sure there wasn’t anything sticking out of her backside, felt her belly, etc. and as far as I could tell, all seemed well. The last few days there have been little gifts appearing at her food dish overnight, 2 mice and a bird, and I though that was a little odd. Yesterday afternoon she came back, and was a bit more tidy. Both times I gave her canned and dry food, and water. She came back briefly this morning as well, and has disappeared again. I’m making sure she has extra food and water, and cooked some beef trimmings for her as well.

    My hope is she’ll bring the kittens here so I can tame them, and when they’re 8 weeks old take them to the SPCA and her to the vet for spaying at the same time. It’s time to break the cycle of this poor cat having 2 or more litters of kittens per year. At least the kittens should have a chance at adoption that way, and she can continue to be a semi-stray with outside shelter, food, and water but not contribute to the feral cat population.

    Still keeping completely mum about this so if anyone tosses a fit about their cat having surgery without their knowledge, none of the neighbors will know it was me.

    1. Sandrine (France)*

      You’re awesome!

      My mom’s coworker’s cat had kittens two months ago… in fact, I’m mentioning getting one upthread and I decided to take one of those.

      I shouldn’t do it, really… but something tells me I need that baby. Heh!

        1. Rebecca*

          I’m trying to figure out where the kittens could be. I was just outside checking my clothes on the line to see if they were dry, and she appeared suddenly. I think she may have them under the back porch. I’m not going to try to follow her, or upset her in any way. If/when she’s ready, she’ll bring them.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            If the space is too small once they start growing then she will move them to a new spot. Is there something you could put outside that would make a nice new home?

            1. Rebecca*

              I have a “habitat” on the back porch. It’s an old crate lined with fleece, terry cloth towels, completely covered with a towel for a “door”. In the winter time, I surround it with an old heavy flannel sleeping bag. I keep it clean in case one of the stray cats needs shelter. I’m hoping she brings them there.

    2. A Teacher*

      If you’re taking the kittens to SPCA, hopefully they won’t do the FIV testing until closer to 12 weeks, false positives are possible before then. Cats can totally live with FIV too–just can’t live with cats that don’t have it.

      Kudos to you for helping the mama and saving the kittens!

    1. fposte*

      There’s a whole career in the answer :-). Short version: more than once, and backwards once if you can; spell out proper nouns and check anything you don’t 100% know to be true.

      1. Is This Legal*

        How does the backwards help, it seems to me like the sentence is not coherent? What are you looking for when you read backwards?

          1. fposte*

            To be fair, I only do that for really short stuff, and I do a lot of really short stuff. But it’s worth reading stuff too long for that aloud.

          2. Is This Legal*

            Thanks fposte, maybe I’m doing something wrong but how can I spot missing word when I’m reading backwards, because the sentence doesn’t make sense?

            1. fposte*

              It might be something that takes some experience, like reading upside down :-). Stick to aloud then.

            2. CC*

              When I proof backwards, I go backwards on a sentence level, not a word level. That way I can evaluate the grammar of the sentence, but I don’t get caught up in the flow of the larger piece.

        1. nep*

          Making sure sentences are coherent = copyediting. Finding typos, misspellings, and the like = proofreading. OP asks best way to edit/proofread a paper — Does the slash mean ‘and’? These are two different processes.

          1. CC*

            There’s copyediting, proofreading, and editing. Before getting too deep into either copyedits (which also includes fact and consistency checks) or proofreading, I do the editing stage where I make sure the writing overall is coherent, flows sensibly, says what I want it to say, doesn’t have any pieces missing or any extraneous pieces, and is in the right order.

          2. Is This Legal*

            I meant both, sorry I didn’t realize there is a difference to writers. I’m an accountant sometimes I need to read my reports/emails to executives and want to make sure they’re good. Sometimes after I hit send I notice Oh that’s not what I wanted.

    2. BRR*

      In addition to fposte’s excellent suggestions I would add do it with a hard copy, read it out loud, let it sit for a couple hours or overnight if you can, and take a sheet of blank paper and use that to go line by line (I have ADD and that’s been the most helpful to keep my eyes from jumping around).

      1. nep*

        Yes. One of the best things you can do for either editing or proofreading — get some space, get away from it for a bit.

    3. Lore*

      Reading on screen can be helpful for catching spell-check-able typos, and also because you can easily search for things like doubled punctuation (or, if you tend to make the same genuine mistake over and over–like, there’s a particular word that you just can’t spell). I tend to do a couple of search-and-replace passes through documents, then print them out. Reading aloud can help, but it’s actually sometimes better to read aloud to someone else. I also find printing in a slightly bigger font or with slightly more leading/line spacing makes it easier. And time is crucial–read over once right when you finish writing to clarify anything you meant to say, but proofreading is better done when you’ve let it drain out of your head. Otherwise it’s too easy for your brain to substitute what you meant to say rather than what you said.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I recommend at least one pass-through on paper, however, because your eye sees things differently on screen than it does on the page. After major revisions, I always print a book out and go over it and I see like fifty typos I didn’t see on the computer. Arrrggh.

        It wastes a lot of paper, but I try to recycle it. I can’t send a manuscript full of mistakes to anyone (if anyone ever asks for it!).

        1. Lore*

          Agreed. I’m getting better and better at copyediting on-screen only (because that’s what we do at work now), but it’s still really helpful to do the final proofread on paper.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I do it at work that way too and we don’t print stuff. I wouldn’t have time, and other people besides me look at it too, thank goodness. But for my work, it gets printed. Even 375 pages worth.

  18. Libby*

    Has anyone tried one of those sensory-reducing flotation tanks? I was just reading about them in Nautilus. Are they really as amazing as they sound?

      1. Libby*

        I think I will give it a try. I’ll definitely report back. Thanks for sharing your experiences, folks!

    1. Rebecca*

      I haven’t, but my office mate won a gift card for a free session. I told her not to watch “Altered States” before she goes.

    2. salad fingers*

      I did a float once when I was 16 or 17. It was okay, but it was not transcendental. My mom had just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and was trying a lot of natural remedies, so my aunt got her a series of 5 or 10 floats. She offered some of them to me, I read a bunch about it and was very excited to go. I was a bit disappointed. The float was for an hour and I spent what felt like 55 minutes acclimating, wondering why I was there, wondering if there was something wrong with me for not feeling all the feelings. In my case, too, I didn’t just instantly float– I was smallish but I still hit the bottom of the tub and the sides every once in a while. I didn’t lose the sense of where my body ended and the water began like I had read I would. I’m not claustrophobic, but it gave me mild anxiety. For a long chunk of time I was just annoyed.

      I don’t really remember what sensory deprivation tanks claim to do (relaxation, transcendence, hallucinatory experiences, spontaneous cessation of the urge to smoke…?) but it didn’t really do it for me. Tbf, at this point I had done some meditation, a sweat lodge/vision quest and was also experimenting with hallucinogens, so my expectations may have been a bit too high. Also, I do get the sense that like meditation, you could become a better floater over time. And now that I’m thinking about it, what the hell does a 16 year old know about anything. Screw it — try it if you want to. Don’t expect a miracle, but why not? Personally, I’d prefer a massage, but everyone is different.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I did one a few years ago! And … I was bored and got out after 20 minutes. My husband, on the other hand, stayed in for an hour and a half. I wanted to love it, but I just wanted to have a book to read or something. The people who love them really really love them though.

    4. Claire*

      I’ve used a flotation tank several times, though the last time was a couple of years ago now. I keep meaning to go back, but the place that has them here is awkward for me to get to.

      I really liked it. The first time, it was a bit weird for the first while and I kept thinking I’d need to get out, but after about half an hour my brain finally switched off and I lost track of time (and was suprised when the cue music to let me know the time was coming to an end came back on). Afterwards I slept so well and felt incredibly relaxed for several days. The second time, and every time after that, I found I switched off much more quickly and didn’t have the over-thinking it response at the start, which was good.

      I found them very good for making my whole body relax in a way that even massage can’t manage, and for improving my sleep, my energy levels and my concentration. I would definitely recommend giving it a try!

    5. Anonymous*

      I’d like to try one someday. Part of me thinks I’d be like Alison and get bored/have trouble switching off my brain, but then I remember how much I love zoning out in a tanning bed (can someone please invent a “tanning bed” minus the skin cancer risk? I’d never get out…), and I think I might enjoy it.

  19. Anxietysucks*

    I hate anxiety especially when it manifests itself as fear of things that could happen, but likely won’t. Sigh. I will once again have health insurance in September and my first stop will be my doctor’s office to get back on meds.

    1. Mimmy*

      I hear ya. Though, I’m terrible about taking my meds because they make me a little foggy, which isn’t too good at the times I need to be sharp. But I know that’s not a good excuse.

      1. Anxietysucks*

        Meds aren’t for everyone. Maybe you will be helped by therapy or perhaps a different kind of med. I just know for me, they work great. Went off them over two years ago because I could no longer afford them and I was having a side effect, very mild one, from one of them. Totally willing to live with that though because the anxiety is just taking over my life right now.

  20. MousyNon*

    Oy, I’m in a pickle. Early this year, a friend of mine (we used to be close but since she relocated we’ve barely spoken) called me up and assumed I would be her bridesmaid (admittedly, I’d agreed to be a bridesmaid for her previous relationship, when we were much closer). I decided to just go with it, figuring I had plenty of time to minimize costs and do this favor for her.

    Unfortunately, fast forward 6 mos and NO contact from her at all (not even an email to tell me where I should be looking for the bridesmaid dress, or a save the date to buy plane tickets!) and suddenly my inbox is filled with “omg” emails with a flood of last minute information, because I guess it took her that long to make a decision about where she wants us to get the dresses.

    The problem is we’re just 2 MONTHS away from the wedding now. All of the dress quotes have additional rush fees on top of them (and making them prohibitivly expensive), plane tickets have shot up in price, and on top of all of that I have my full time job AND I’m smack in the middle of moving (my house is packed in boxes), both things she was aware are factors.

    I just don’t have the time or money for last minute bridesmaidery, and honestly I’m pretty vexed that she didn’t speak to me for months about any of this (not even when I sent her a small gift–I had to prod her with emails to see if she even got it, because I was worried it got lost in the mail!) because she “wasn’t on email.”

    Ugh, I’m so frustrated. Am I overreacting? Is there any way I can get out of this? I would be ok to attend her wedding as a guest, but the rest of this is just too much right now.

    1. fposte*

      Is there an acceptable version of being a bridesmaid for her right now? Can you tell her “I can do x, y, and z, and that’s pretty much it between now and then. I’m happy to bow out if you need more”? Are there bridesmaids plural or are you it? Can you touch base with the others and present a lower-cost/lower-impact alternative?

      If you’re happy to attend as a guest, despite the air fares and your busyness, dialing down the bridesmaid portion of stuff might be enough to get by here.

      1. MousyNon*

        When the flood of emails first started, she originally had arranged for a designer to custom design our dresses. I balked at the cost, and told her then that I’d be happy to be a guest, but the cost of a custom made dress I will never wear again was outside of my comfort zone. I thought that was the end of it, but instead, she cancelled the custom order and chose a bridal store designer, I guess thinking this was a cheaper alternative, and it would have been but because of how last minute this is happening the rush fees make the dresses almost as expensive as custom made!

        She does have three other bridesmaids (who have very different lives than I do, which may be a part of why she just assumed I’d be able to cram in all of this stuff last minute), but she is also very persistent.

        Tl; Dr I don’t know what to do but I feel totally stuck.

      2. MousyNon*

        I forgot to answer your other questions–the dress is the real sticking point for me, so there’s no bridesmaid option I’m willing or able to deal with right now (to get the dress on time (even with the insane rush fees), I’d have to get measured now and I’m in the middle of a move.

        I don’t think there’s any other low cost option (unless someone else has any ideas!). We’re all different sizes and live in different states, and don’t know each other at all, so it’s not like we could go shopping off the rack at target. Besides, the other girls seem fine with all of it. I’m thinking she communicated with them more than me, so they were prepared.

        1. fposte*

          If she covered the cost, would you do the measuring? I don’t think you can outright ask her to do that, but it’s useful to know, since it’s possible that it will happen. What I’d do is find the closest equivalent dress in your budget range and say “I’m afraid this is all I can afford; let me know if that will work for you.”

    2. Ruffingit*

      It is possible to get out and you can tell her this: “I’m sorry, but I simply cannot afford the rush fees on the bridesmaid dress and the plane ticket costs this close to the wedding. It is better that I let you know this now. I wish you great happiness on your big day!”

      If you can go as a guest, then remove the part about the plane ticket from the above because that makes no sense since you clearly can afford that if you’re going as a guest.

      Asking you to be a bridesmaid and then going quiet on you until 8 weeks before the big event is not acceptable. People need time to plan. Therefore, I think it’s fine that you are bowing out. If she makes a big stink about it, what are you really losing anyway? The woman hasn’t spoken to you for months. No big loss in my view.

      1. Rebecca*

        Agreed. At this point, I’d simply tell her I’m sorry, I can’t make the last minute accommodations, and I wish you the best.

      2. MJ*

        Agreed! Why would you spend such a huge amount of money on a friendship that is clearly fading? I would find a gracious way to decline: “I am so sorry to do this to you at this late point, but I have too many demands in my own life right now to make it.” The reality for her is that she either finds another bridesmaid or has one less. Neither is a disaster.

      3. Katie the Fed*


        As a bride, I’d be horrified to subject my bridesmaids to those kinds of expenses. Actually, I’m not – I told my close friends that I was only have one maid of honor (my sister) but asked if they could help out in some small, specific ways. It worked out really well – we’re all old enough that nobody really wants to be a bridesmaid anyway.

        I’d tell her sorry but you can’t. Then she’ll either pony up some money or “fire” you from your duties. She doesn’t sound that close anyway, does she?

      4. Who are you?*

        One of my friends bowed out on being a bridesmaid for my wedding. I totally understood that cost was a factor in her decision. What hurt was when I offered to pay for everything and she wasn’t willing to do it, even though she claimed to be my friend. Then she never showed up to my wedding (though she RSVP’d and I was responsible for paying for the plates of her and her plus one). I wouldn’t say it ended the friendship, but it definitely made me look at our friendship a little closer. I realized that I was always the one making the effort and the only time she was involved in the good in my life was when there was a benefit to her. Once I got pregnant we drifted apart. We’ve sailed through each other’s lives once or twice over the years but I’ve changed and she hasn’t so I keep on sailing. :) Oh well.

    3. Anon*

      If you were the only bridesmaid, or there were 1-2 others who hadn’t bought their dresses yet, I think it would be okay to say that you can’t afford the last minute rush fees and don’t have time to do all the fittings now, and suggest that instead of those dresses you all just buy dresses from a regular store with some guidelines from her (color, long or short, etc).

      If there are other bridesmaids who are definitely buying the dresses of her choosing, and you aren’t that close with her, I think that it’s fine at this point to say, “Unfortunately the next two months are just a very busy time for me, and I hadn’t budgeted for these rush fees on the dresses. I will have to bow out but I am looking forward to going to the wedding as a guest!” If she wouldn’t even email you for months, I don’t think that she’ll be broken-hearted about losing you as a bridesmaid and it isn’t worth you using time and money that you don’t have to stick it out.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      You don’t mention shoes. I guess waiting until two weeks before the wedding will be fine for that.

      I would back out, in the gracious manner that others here have shown.

      It could be me, but I thought that weddings were supposed to include people that you are close to and have an active relationship with. It does not sound like you have an active relationship with this person. I think that lack of contact, after agreeing to be in her wedding, is a bit extreme.

      If it’s not in your budget, then it’s not in your budget, period. If you lose the friendship over it, I would question how much friendship was left there anyway.

    5. SherryD*

      “Wasn’t on email.” Wait, what? It’s 2014!

      If I were you, I would gently explain that you are not able to be a bridesmaid due to the costs, and let her know that you’re excited to attend her wedding as a guest. I’d hold off on telling her what you think of her lack of communication. She kind of deserves it, but on the other hand, it seems she’s not that great at planning a wedding, and she’s stressed out enough.

    6. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I wouldn’t just back out without giving her some options. Why not say to her, “I’m so sorry about this, but the cost of this dress is just more than I can afford right now, given the rush fees. Is there some other option, like a dress in a lower price range or just not doing matching dresses, or would you rather I just attend as a guest? I want to leave it to you and will do whichever you prefer.” Let her choose, so that it’s not “MousyNon backed out of my wedding party at the last minute.”

      And if she’s open to a different dress but doesn’t know where to look that wouldn’t have rush fees, J Crew has a whole bridal line (including bridesmaids) which is ready-to-wear and can be ordered right off the website.

      1. Stephanie*

        Is it bad that I like some of the J Crew bridesmaid dresses? Like I’d wear them even if I wasn’t in a wedding. For whatever reason, I’m drawn to the styling of bridesmaid dresses (the better ones, that is). I’ve definitely had a friend of two talk me out of a dress like “Er, that’s just a little too shiny or there’s just a little too much ruching. Also, it’s salmon/lilac/spearmint colored. You look like you should be carrying a bouquet of flowers in that.”

        1. littlemoose*

          My sister did bridesmaid dresses from J. Crew. She picked a color and a fabric, in which several different styles were available, and told us to pick whichever style suited us. It was cheaper than the bridal-shop bridesmaid’s dress I’d bought for another wedding, and was a versatile color that would have been easy to wear again (um, if I hadn’t gained weight). Ann Taylor also carries bridesmaid’s dresses online, though I don’t know what the required lead time (if any) may be.

      2. Lora*

        The weddings I’ve been in where they had J Crew dresses didn’t go so well though–wrong sizes, broken zippers, needing serious alternations to make them wearable, hems not properly hemmed.

        Ann Taylor also does off-the-rack wedding party dresses for similar prices and better quality. And their sizing is more true to fit.

  21. Is This Legal*

    I visited NYC this summer and loved it. But there is one thing that kept bothering me—no public bathrooms. Each time I needed to use one I had to purchase something from StarBucks/MacDonals, albeit the long lines. What do NYokers do?

    1. Former NYC Librarian*

      My favorite book is Where to Go: A Guide to Manhattan’s Toilets (Second Edition) [Paperback]
      Vicki Rovere (Author)
      Might be out of date….

      There is a sit or squat app. I don’t know how accurate.

      My strategies…Bookstores…

      Museums often have public facilities , department stores.. Macys, Saks , Bloomies. Public Libraries, Hotels. Favorite mid town toilet…Trump Tower, favorite Central Park , 59, Columbus circle ,

    2. Anon*

      Not a NYer, but I once peed my pants when I had a UTI in a different city’s downtown area, had just moved out of my apartment and had a 2 hour drive to the next one, and couldn’t find a public restroom.

      Then in Brussels I went into a shop that I really did want to buy from, but I had been holding my bladder all day in search of a restroom so the first thing I did when I saw one in there was go use it. When I opened the door, there was a woman waiting for me to come out, demanding a euro. When I explained that I planned to buy something, she didn’t seem too happy or convinced but let me out without paying up, though she did watch me like a hawk to make sure that I did, in fact, make a purchase.

      When I’m the benevolent dictator of a country, my first social program will be free, clean public restrooms within a 10 minute walk of any location.

      1. AVP*

        Fancy hotel lobbies are great for this – they always have a bathroom, and they’ll almost never say anything to you (so as not to risk offending people who might be guests).

      2. Traveler*

        In Europe a lot of bathrooms have attendants. They’re there to keep the restrooms tidy, and its custom to give them 1 Euro or so for the job. It’s completely separate from what you buy/do not buy in the store. It’s an understood custom which is why she reacted so negatively to what you did. It would be like eating at a restaurant in the States without tipping.

        I feel like the last time I was there it was 50/50 on the attendant thing, but I always made sure I had a Euro ready in case.

    3. TheSnarkyB*

      Lol I give this city plenty. AND Starbucks. I usually just use them without buying anything.
      Also, it doesn’t come up that much. I mean, if you’re visiting you’re usually at tourist spots with nice bathrooms (museums, etc.) and if you live here, it’s not often that you have to be away from home, work, or a friend’s place, for so many hours that you need a public restroom. (Especially since so many if us are always at restaurants and coffee shops.)

      1. TheSnarkyB*

        I don’t think they actually make you. I think that’s just such a comom policy that people assume it’s the case everywhere

      2. Is This Legal*

        They said “bathrooms for customers only,” and I assumed that meant I had to purchase, right?

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, I would buy something. I have worked a few places where the manager would make a big scene if someone used the bathroom and tried to leave. Embarassing. I mean it was embarassing that this was my manager.
          But it did show me that there are people out there who will make a scene. Just buy some cheap little thing and be done with it. Their point is that it costs money to maintain a restroom. No arguing with that, it does cost money.
          If I am with a group, I worry about it a lot less. Usually a couple people buy something and I get to coast along.

    4. Steve G*

      Other people responded, so I won’t repeat, but do want to add that as a native NYer it always annoyed the hell out of me that we don’t have them. Because when you actually are a paying customer of Starbucks, for example, and you can’t use the bathroom because there is a constant line of people coming in from the street, that is really annoying.

      I guess no one wants to be the 1st to set up a public bathroom because….it’s always like a comedy sketch, some guy with a pot belly always comes out of nowhere and runs in ahead of everyone and stays in there for 20 minutes.

      Wait, no one mentioned that there are public bathrooms on the NE side of Bryant Park, on the west side of the library, on 42nd st.

    5. Sadsack*

      I once ducked into a hotel lobby. My SO and I walked right in as if we were guests, then I walked up to a hotel employee and asked, “Are there any bathrooms down here?” He pointed me to the bathrooms off of the lobby, no questions asked. I figured if I said “down here,” it would seem like I was a guest on a floor above.

  22. AVP*

    Single women who live alone – how the F do you get into a dress that zippers all the way up the back?

    I have to go to this wedding, and I know what I want to wear but I just can’t figure out how to get into it….usually I would meet my bf at the train to leave for the event, but do I need to tell him that I want to get ready at his place instead? Or is there a trick?

    1. fposte*

      I wonder if being shorter waisted helps me here. I can pull from the bottom (elbow around the back) until it gets around the braline, then I hike the dress up and pull from the top (elbow up by head) for the rest.

      It’s the side zippers that killed me until I realized the trick–close the hook on the top before you put the dress on. Some makers are even sewing the fabric shut at the top now–much easier!

    2. Aam Admi*

      Reminds me of the time we had just arrived in this country as immigrants. Having grown up in a very conservative Asian society, the culture shock was immense.
      We were renting an apartment and did not yet know most of the people in the building. One evening there was a knock on our door. The lady standing outside introduced herself as one of the tenants in the building. She was clutching her dress and asked: “is there a woman in your household? I need help – the zipper is stuck and I am late for a party”. We invited her in & helped her with the zipper.
      We felt good that a stranger stopped at our door for help and made us feel we were not aliens any more.

      1. DeadQuoteOlympics*

        That’s a lovely story. I spent two years living in SE Asia and it was humbling how ready people were to help a complete stranger — especially when riding unfamiliar public transportation!

    3. MJ*

      Put a safety pin through the zip pull and tie a long ribbon to the pin. After it is pulled up, you just remove the pin. You can reattach it when you get home to unzip.

    4. Trixie*

      Yoga pose known as “cow face” pose or gomukhasana. If you can do this, you can do the other :)

      1. Jazzy Red*

        I’m convinced that zipping up a dress was the reason some invented cow face pose.

        I no longer wear dresses or skirts, but when I was younger I had to zip up my own zippers. Maybe that’s what screwed up both my shoulders (rotator cuffs).

    5. kas*

      Maybe a wire hanger or loosely tie a string and pull it up? Haven’t tried either but maybe it will work.

      I’m the “zipper-upper” for my coworker – she comes all the way to work with it unzipped and always asks me to zip up her dresses for her. With all the clothing alterations I help her with, I might as well be a seamstress.

      1. class factotum*

        Exactly. I wait until I am at work to ask someone to help me zip. (I leave for work before my husband is awake.) I also rely on the kindness of strangers at the gym.

    6. Lore*

      I have more trouble getting OUT of such dresses. Somehow the way my arms twist, it’s easier to go up than down with the zipper…

      1. littlemoose*

        Um, I once tried on a back-zip dress I’d ordered online, and while I zipped it up fine, I couldn’t reach to unzip it. I was stuck in the dress for about 30 minutes until my boyfriend came home and freed me. I don’t know what I would have done if I was still living alone when that happened.

    7. AVP*

      Thank you all! I just tested the hanger method and it worked!

      Fposte, I had been doing it your way, but I must have gained a couple of pounds because this dress has less wriggle room than it used to.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, I wear stuff pretty loose. And I figure I’m going to run out of joint flexibility one day, so I’m taking notes on alternatives.

    8. Claire*

      I just thread a long ribbon through the zip pull so it’s doubled, and hold both ends to pull it up.

    9. Anonsie*

      By being really bendy… I can zip up anything, an unexpected upside of having a connective tissue disorder that gives you long arms and double joints ;)

    1. Rebecca*

      Worst – somehow I caught a virus or something, and I have the worst sore throat. I’m not sick otherwise, just this miserable sore throat and it’s been 5 days now. Yesterday and today it’s a little better, but it’s wearing on me. I didn’t even walk yesterday, for the first time in months.

      Best – my new Winter walking shoes arrived from 6PM – they’re Adidas with Gore Tex, great tread, and pretty sturdy. I plan to wear them around the house and to work a few times to break them in. Plus, I got not one, but two checks in the mail! One for $25.80 from a class action thing I signed up for in 2006, and another for $30 for a refund from my doctor’s office from last October! Both went toward the new shoes (covered about 65% of the cost!!)

      1. Trixie*

        Worst – I caught the same virus towards the end of the week. Or its doing to morph into a cold, hasn’t’ decided yet.

        Best – Successfully filmed and uploaded my group instruction class. Should hear back with pass/fail results next week.

    2. Aam Admi*

      Best: vacations next two weeks – off to the West Coast
      Worst: Boss came by to wish me happy vacations on Friday afternoon and reminded me ‘work will be waiting for you when you return’. I was hoping the ‘outstanding items’ list I had prepared on Friday would magically disappear when I was away and I could start with a clean calendar.

    3. Mimmy*

      Best: The weather has been absolutely gorgeous lately.

      Worst: My ear is clogged up…again. It’s something I inexplicably get about once or twice a year. And it’s almost always my right ear.

      1. Trixie*

        Mimmy, I’ve similar problems for YEARS. Have you been to a specialist? Not to get detailed or overwhelm readers with TMI, getting them cleaned makes such a difference. They can use a soothing warm water bath, and my hearing is always a thousand times better after.

        1. Mimmy*

          Yeah, I’m thinking of making an ENT appointment. I did see an ENT before for this, and he thought I had a eustachian tube issue, but I don’t recall if he offered any solutions. I’ve also had a bit of a cough leftover from a recent chest cold, so I may have him check that out too.

          1. Trixie*

            I have small ear canals which are easily blocked, and its a common problem once you start googling.

            1. Mimmy*

              That probably explains it then–I wear hearing aids and have been told my ear canals are small. I can’t even wear standard ear buds without them falling out.

      2. Amethyst*

        The same thing happens with my left ear. The last time I got it cleaned out at a doctor’s office – just a GP, I didn’t have to see an ENT – the doctor looked at my clean ear and said that it looked like I had scarring from ear infections as a kid. The scarring prevents wax from being cleared in a normal fashion, but the scarring itself doesn’t impact my hearing. Maybe it’s something similar with your ear?

    4. De Minimis*

      Best–had a long weekend, celebrating my wife’s birthday.

      Worst–partially a best too I guess. My wife applied for position with her former employer, and they want to interview her. If she gets the job, our lives will be in chaos yet again and I’ll need to quit my job and move. So there’s a lot of anxiety over what’s going to happen next, but that’s the only part that’s really bad. Our current situation here isn’t really sustainable, so I’m eager for any kind of change at this point.

    5. Stephanie*

      Worst – The relatives being here all week. They don’t even want to go anywhere. They just sit around the house all day and ask what’s for dinner.

      Best – Signed a contract to do some technical writing work. Yay for relevant resume entries.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Congrats on the contract, that is awesome! Hope the relative GTHO before you no longer have to worry about a job because you’ll be in jail for murder. I will totally contribute to your defense fund by the way because relatives who overstay their welcome…if you get a jury of your true peers (those of us who have had this problem), you’ll get off and get a medal.

        1. Stephanie*

          Hey, and you’re a recovering attorney too, if I recall correctly. If your bar license is still active, you can defend me.

          My dad is kind of a gun nut. My mom was like “All the guns are unloaded, yes? Because if Wakeen makes me angry enough, I can’t guarantee his safety.”

    6. Carrie in Scotland*

      Best: struggling for a best. My friend came back from her travels (she’s been away a month) so it was nice to catch up. I’ve got some good books to read.

      Worst: Other than the up-thread noted heartbroken-ness, work is not going well. It is still 12 days until payday.

      1. Ruffingit*

        I am really sorry about the breakup Carrie. Those things just suck and there is really no way around them, you just have to go through them. It does get better though, hang in there! HUGS from across the pond.

    7. Windchime*

      Best — I have the house to myself this weekend and it’s been very peaceful except……

      Worst — The neighbors behind me have a kid that screams 24/7. It’s not crying, it just screams bloody murder for every occasion. Happy? Scream! Frustrated? Scream! Sad? Screaming WITH crying.

      I don’t know how they can stand it.

    8. evilintraining*

      Best: I’m a first-time grandma! My granddaughter, Aubree, was born at 12:51am last Sunday, and I had the privilege of being in the delivery room with my daughter and her husband to watch her come into the world. Still feeling so warm and fuzzy!

      Worst: Our FIOS box is dying. They’re shipping me a new one that will be here tomorrow, but I lost everything I recorded this week, and this week’s “Dance Moms” is not in the on-demand menu. :(

    9. Jen RO*

      Best – going to Finland next Thursday! And I had a lovely Friday all alone at work (national holiday), getting a lot of stuff done before the vacation.

      Worst – not too bad, but I did something to my neck and I couldn’t turn my head all the way for most of the week. It’s finally better and I can sleep on both sides once again!

    10. Claire*

      Worst: school started back so it was back to work for me after six weeks off. The worst part of THAT was the five hours of “staff training” on the first two days back (when the staff are in but not the pupils) – lots of meetings/briefings, way too much info to process, and no time to actually prepare for teaching classes.

      Best: I had the best bath in forever on Friday night to destress. Lush Dragon’s Egg bath bomb, seriously. It was AMAZING.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        Ah Robin :( I can’t even…It’s such a shame (which doesn’t even begin to cover it)
        What is it about reviews that makes us dread them? It’s like seeing a police car/policeman and thinking that they are watching you…

      2. Another English Major*

        Ugh, I know. I feel silly that it bothers me so much considering I didn’t actually know him. I ‘ve never been this upset before over someone I didn’t personally know. I guess I can relate given my own person experiences w/depression and addiction.

        Best for me would be winning tickets to Universal. Daigon Alley here I come!

      3. Mimmy*

        Oh Robin Williams – so sad :(

        What’s weird is that I was never a really big fan of his…I always found him to be too hyper and silly. But for some reason, when he passed last week, the social media reaction was so, so moving–I honestly had no idea how much he was loved. So now I’m wishing I’d appreciated his work and his impact more when he was alive.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            His mind moved so fast. Sometimes the jokes flew out at such a pace that you couldn’t finish laughing at one and the next joke would be flying at you.

            The times I have seen quick humor like that it is moved by a deeper sadness. I think he managed well, when you consider what possibly could have been on his plate.
            Very sad.

    11. A Teacher*

      Best: home visit for one of my foster dogs was stellar! He’s going to be with 3 other dogs, one is his age and even walked us out to the car and cried when we left! He gets to go camping year round and they have horses and take the dogs trail riding. He will be my 37th foster dog adopted!!!

      Worst: internal politics with the group I volunteer for. It just sucks when a few people want to control everyone else.

      1. Sandra Dee*

        That is wonderful the home visit went well. I was just chosen to be a forever foster for a senior dog. He is a 13 yr old rotti mix, and will be living with me and my 11 yd old german shepherd for the remainder of his life. I can’t wait until arrives sometime next week.

        1. A Teacher*

          A 13 year old rott mix? That’s way past life expectancy for that breed so awesome to hear that! Congrats and bless you. I adopted my first foster dog (11 year old schnauzer mix) she’s now 13.5 years old and has cancer but I know that the last few years she’s been with me have been blessed. I’m sure you will give your new foster pup all the love you can and make the last years the best.

          If you’re on instagram, you should follow Don’t bully my rottweiler, she posts some really cool pics of her rotts and other rotts/rott mixes in the community.

    12. Ada Lovelace*

      Best: attending the NY screening of Doctor Who. Eight hours in line but it was hands down awesome.

      worst: exhausted from arguing with boyfriend and sending more applications going out into the abyss that is the internet.

    13. QualityControlFreak*

      Worst: Kind of a stressy week in general, but yeah, Robin Williams.
      Best: Management review went well and so did an important medical followup. I feel like I’m moving forward again.

    14. littlemoose*

      Worst: all of the unrest in Ferguson, MO. I live in the St. Louis area, though not in the North County area near Ferguson. While things are normal around me, it’s distressing that there is so much going on, and that the discord is persisting. It’s still part of my city, even if I don’t live right there.

      Best: it was going to be the football game I attended with a friend yesterday – until this morning, when my boyfriend brought home a rescued kitten! She’s about eight weeks old and was in a puddle by the side of the highway (way too close to cars!) and he stopped traffic to go get her. She’s in our bathroom now with food, a bed, and the other essentials, after checking out okay at the vet. If she gets along with our adult cat, we’ll keep her; if not, we’ll find her a good home. But she is safe and dry, with a full tummy, now.

    15. LAMM*

      I know I’m late but…

      BEST: I got the promotion at work that I’ve been busting my butt off for the past 2 years to get. I didn’t even interview for it. It was just offered.

      WORST: Getting stranded at work on Monday because it rained so hard that the roads were flooded and the freeways were closed. My boyfriend in his F150 had to come rescue me. It took about 3.5 hours and a half a mile walk in flooded roads for me to get home (off at 9:30pm. Home at 1am). Good times.

    16. Kalliope's Mom*

      Best – started training on my new QA job!!! So excited. Also Kalliope is using the potty – do the potty dance YAY!

      Worst – had an argument with my TL about a coaching. I just don’t know what to do with this whole situation anymore. I just keep counting the days until I am officially a QA.

    17. Who are you?*

      BEST: I know it sounds like it’s worst but I had a migraine on Saturday that ended up with me getting sick. My husband was amazing. He took care of me, held my hair, put the toothpaste on my toothbrush, rubbed my head, tucked me in, and he even slept on the couch because he was worried that bouncing the bed while rolling over would be too much for me. It was one of those sweet moments that made me appreciate him more than ever.

      WORST: took my kids school shopping. OMG. When did stuff get so expensive? We’re not in the tech part of school stuff. They’re in 3rd and 4th grade. This is strictly clothes, backpacks, and supply shopping. Believe it or not, the most expensive thing I bought was a backpack and I had that damndest time finding one that was affordable that didn’t feel like it would fall apart before the holidays. Part of the reason my trip was so expensive was my son had a growth spurt this summer so all the pants that he owned that didn’t have holes in the knees suddenly were above his ankles. Grrrrr! But on the positive side? Clearance racks ROCK!

  23. JDG*

    I was hoping to get some advice from everyone. Next weekend I’m going to be visiting family. They’re throwing a bridal shower for my brother’s fiancé (they also offered to throw one for my fiancé but we declined for reasons below*). I’m getting married about a month after him but he’s having a huge wedding 200+ and my wedding is only ~60. We had to go smaller because my brother and I come from a large family and my fiancé has a huge family plus my brother’s future in laws are loaded and have offered to foot the bill and I am not in the same situation.

    That’s resulted in is my wedding being limited to inviting aunts and uncles while my brother is inviting our cousins and their children which we can’t afford (*we declined the shower because it’s a family only shower and we didn’t want a shower with people who weren’t invited to the wedding). Everybody is a little disappointed but ok with the situation. I was hoping everybody here could help me with what to say when people say things along the lines of “Oh I just wish we could make it to yours.” I know they won’t mean it in a malicious way, it’s genuine that they wish they could make it. I’m not happy with everything I’ve come up with such as “yeah, me too” or “who would have thought I would have the smaller family.” I just feel like I need a polite response back. For what it’s worth I would also like them to attend but there’s simply not enough money to add what would be about another 100 people.

    1. fposte*

      A polite response doesn’t have to be an explanation, though. “I know, but we’re so looking forward to seeing everybody at Great Uncle Ebenezer’s funeral in November!”

      1. JDG*

        This is perfect! I’ll have to kill someone to use the line but I can make it work. j/k. There is another family event coming up that I can utilize. Thank you for the advice.

    2. MJ*

      Maybe you could shift your thinking from “We can’t afford a bigger wedding” to “We have chosen to have a smaller wedding.” After you experience the stress of your brother’s big wedding, you might be grateful for the more intimate affair you are planning!

      Alternately, you could try humor. “We wanted to have both of our families, but Madison Square Garden just wasn’t available.”

      1. JDG*

        Lol @ Madison Square Garden. My fiancé’s older sister got married and her husband has a large family. They had 407 people! Thanks for your help!

      2. Liane*

        Yes, Miss Manners recommends the “We’re having a small wedding” phrases a lot–pointing out that Etiquette has never defined the meaning in terms of a number. ;)

  24. Perpetua*

    Does anyone have advice for sweaty hands? I’ve had them pretty much all my life (e.g. I’ve used tissue paper under my hand for writing so the paper would not get wet for most of my elementary and high school years), so I’ve gotten kind of used to them. Also, as I had to write less by hand in college and my first workplace, it wasn’t as important.

    However, now that I do interviews and meet people at my new job, I’d rather not greet them with clammy hands. My current solution is to have a tissue in my pocket and dry my palms under the table as the end of the interview approaches, but that is obviously not always applicable or convenient.

    I’ve heard about Botox injections, but have no idea about the cost (I’m not in the US) or the possible downsides.

    1. kas*

      I would like to know as well as I’ve always had issues with sweaty hands/feet. It doesn’t happen all the time but I start to get clammy even when it’s a bit chilly. I’ve never had to go as far as tissue under my hand but it is annoying.

    2. salad fingers*

      Looks like you can be prescribed a heavy duty antiperspirant gel by a doctor. Sounds like something you’d want to try before botox, and presumably it’s much less expensive. Good luck!

    3. Alicia*

      I have hyperhydrosis on my hands and feet (lucky me!)… Basically means excessive sweating. I buy a heavy duty antiperspirant (drysol) and apply it at night before I go to sleep (warning, it can stain fabric). I found better results for my feet than my hands, but it does work on both.

    4. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Have you tried liquid chalk? It feels weird, but then I suppose tissue paper would too. I’ve seen it sold both to ball players (marketed to basketball, football etc players), and to pole dancers :)

  25. Waiting Patiently*

    Runners, any tips about what to eat after running. I eat a banana or steel cut oatmeal mixed with flax seed beforehand. I walk/run, I feel great and then afterwards I try to eat plenty of fruits. My friend said to drink water to fill up but that leaves me feeling gross. Talk about empty calories…no thanks. I’d rather drink water throughout the day. Anyways like 2-3 hours later, I am so hungry that I find myself eating up everything insight. I’m not training for a marathon, I just want to incorporate running into my lifestyle.

    1. fposte*

      There’s a segment that swears by chocolate milk. I’d try that just because it’s chocolate milk! If you Google you’ll see more specifics (I think skim vs. 2% vs. whole might be a discussion), but basically, it’s what it sounds like: chocolate milk.

    2. Anon*

      I like to eat some protein after a workout, it will keep your blood sugar more stable. If I run or do any other workout in the morning, afterward I eat my normal breakfast of (plain, not sweetened) greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, and granola and it keeps me full for a long time.

    3. Trixie*

      I’ve had great success with PB&J, or my version which is usually nut butter with honey on a whole grain bread. Not 2-3 sandwiches either, just the one. Then regular lunch or whatever next meal is. I might have chocolate milk, but just a bit depending on how much water I’ve had.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Thirst will often dress up as hunger. Sometimes serious hunger is nothing more than thirst. I have to say that because you know how serious dehydration is- it’s nothing to play with.

      My second thought is a protien drink.

    5. CC*

      First, water has no calories :) Drink as much water as thirst requires, not so much you feel bad.

      Even when I was training for a triathlon then later for a half marathon, I ate my normal meals, with access to healthy snacks if I got extra hungry between. If I ran first thing in the morning, I’d eat my breakfast immediately afterward (I get queasy if I run right after eating) and plan for a mid-morning snack.

      One thing I learned, and this applies to both workout-hunger and that random restless “want to eat something” hunger, is that if you eat a snack and the same hunger feeling comes back in less than half an hour, what you ate was not what your body wanted, so switch food groups. Usually my mid-morning snack was a banana; some days that wasn’t what I needed, so rather than eat another banana and still be hungry I’d put some peanut butter on a celery stick and that usually took care of it.

      Listen to your body, not your friends. (And certainly don’t listen to the fitness supplement industry. Nobody needs special sports drinks or gels or protein powders or any of that nonsense until they’re doing something marathon-length or longer, and even then you can plan normal food and drink to cover the input you need.) Your body will tell you what type and timing of food works for it, and that may be different from what works for your friends. It may also take some experimenting and acclimation.

      1. Waiting Patiently*

        Ha! I was saying no thanks to water because I want to eat something with calories and plenty of it!
        But seriously, I’ve been trying to distinguish between hunger and trying to understand what my body needs. My random restless eating happens at work or when I’m anxious about something. And if I don’t start my morning off with something solid for breakfast–it’s down hill from there. My evenings are typically busy so again, I find myself eating this and eating that to satisfy hunger.
        I’m going to try switching up the food groups too because I have noticed, I can eat a banana in the morning and it will satisfy my hunger but if I try to eat it later in the afternoon, I don’t get the same satisfaction.

      2. Me*

        + a million.

        Unless you’re running for more than 2 hours at a time on a regular basis, there is absolutely no need to eat immediately after a run, let alone making sure to “get in some protein or [insert whatever].” Just eat your regular meals and eat when you’re hungry. Do drink water after, though.

    6. Waiting Patiently*

      Thanks everyone for your suggestion!
      I’m going to give the chocolate milk and the pb&j a try because I love them both! I don’t think it’s thirst related, as I try to hydrate throughout the day and at least hour before I run/walk– but I will keep that in mind.
      I’m in the very beginning stages of this so I’m mostly walking and running a little in between. Today I hit a milestone , I ran a complete lap around the field (.63 mile) and I felt like I kicked a$$…

    7. Robin*

      Try high protein foods right after working out: eggs, nuts, yogurt. You will feel full longer.

    8. Loose Seal*

      I’m not a runner and I don’t know if you’d want to take the time to blend something up after a run but I’m loving this blended drink from the website Carob Powder “Wendy’s Frosty” — Blend 1 large frozen banana, 1 1/2 tbsp carob powder, 3/4 cup almond milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tsp cocoa powder, 1 ice cube, and 1 tbsp chia seeds until smooth, icy, and thick.

      It truly does resemble a Frosty and keeps me full for a long time.

    9. Another English Major*

      Slice apples w/natural peanut or almond butter does the trick for me. Sometimes I’ll have a smoothie if I know I’m not going to eat anything else before bed. My smoothies usually consist of 1.5 c fruit, .5 c plain greek yogurt, .5 c milk, .24 c steel cut uncooked oats, 1 tbs. almond or peanut butter, handful of spinach, and a handful of icecubes if I didn’t use frozen fruit.

  26. Rebecca*

    Second post – but I have to ask. Have any of you tried “Graze”, the snacks by mail company? I got a coupon for a free box and it seems intriguing, especially since there are so many choices, and cost wise, it seems like a good deal. For instance, I bought 2 snack bars with pineapple, macadamia nuts, and coconut, and while they are very tasty, they were $1.50 each. I think the Graze boxes are $6.49, shipped, with 4 snack choices, and I don’t have to go shopping.

    1. fposte*

      Yes! I heard about it here and tried it as a result, and I love it. It’s like getting a box of little food toys every week. They’re very clever with the variety, and it comes pretty reliably, barring holidays, on the same day every week, so it’s easy to schedule into work (it would take longer to get to me at work so I have it sent to my house).

    2. Anon*

      I subscribe to Graze but it’s not really a good deal, at all. Each snack pack is a couple of tablespoons worth and they average out to about $1.50 each. I consider it $6 spent on the novelty of opening my box every month and seeing what I got, like a present. For perspective, an entire pound of novelty flavored nuts costs about $6 at Trader Joe’s and the dried fruits are much cheaper than that. If you are motivated by cost, I would suggest buying some dried fruits and nuts at Costco or Trader Joe’s and making your own mixes. If you think it sounds fun to get 4 new snacks in the mail every month and have $6 to spend on that novelty and $2 worth of snacks, hen Graze is worth it.

      1. Rebecca*

        That’s what I was afraid of – a few tablespoons of product. You’re right – I could make my own snack mixes at home, and not have to worry about the package making it to me.

        1. fposte*

          For me the kicker is the variety. I really couldn’t make the variety at that price point. I’m also at a point in life where the value of not having to do the prep is pretty high. So it’s very much an individual choice based on what else you have access to (no Trader Joe’s near me) and what it makes sense for you to spend to get. For me it’s about the same as four trips to the vending machine, and I’d rather do Graze.

    3. Trouble*

      I have(had) Graze in the UK. It’s very expensive for what you get. If you can justify the cost, the snacks are nice. As they don’t fit into my diet plan these days I found myself rationing them out two a week as I had fortnightly delivery. It got to the point I thought why am I bothering. When they started in the UK the idea was on your graze day you would have a healthy breakfast, ‘graze’ on your snacks all day and then have your evening meal. That didn’t work for me! Some Graze snacks are quite small. Before you assume Graze is a better value than your bars, you should check them on a gram for gram basis. I find myself putting my account in vacation for long periods now because I’m grandfathered in at £2.99 a box and don’t want to lose it as they are much more expensive now but also, I don’t really need/can’t justify the cost of the boxes. You should totally try the free one, just remember if they’re not for you to cancel in time to stop the next paid one coming.

      1. Elkay*

        Interesting that they don’t up the price for existing customers, although I’d save a whole 10p per box!

        I keep considering going back purely for variety of snacks but on the other hand I’ve done pretty well at cutting mid-afternoon snacks out (I will deny all knowledge of the Caramel bar and Toffee Crisp in my desk drawer).

    4. cuppa*

      I had Graze for about six months when they first came out. I loved it at first, and I still love the concept, but I ended up getting the same snacks over and over again (I had very few “trashed” and this still happened). I eventually found that I was bored and the little snack packs were piling up.

        1. cuppa*

          Yeah, and it seemed like I never got the ones that I really wanted to come around again, like Habas Tapas (only got it once!) I guess you can “trash” things you don’t want to see again for a little while, but it was just too much upkeep. I see they’ve gotten some more snacks since I left; I’m jealous of the popcorn!

    5. Claire*

      I used to get it when they did fresh fruit, but they stopped doing those options and I ended up cancelling my subscription soon after. It was a good enough novelty thing, but the quantities are not enough to really be cost-effective. Some of the treats they did were really nice though.

  27. Anon*

    Could you guys describe all of the stuff you do on weekends as prep for the coming week?

    I’ve been getting sick or run down by the end of the week for the past few weeks. My work schedule doesn’t involve grueling hours but it’s unpredictable and irregular. (Basically, the opportunity for extra hours comes up unpredictably and I want to take advantage whenever I can to make extra money.) I haven’t adjusted to it very well and my sleep and exercise tend to get disrupted. Hoping that if I can get super organized and prepared, I will be able to take these fluctuations in stride with minimal disruption to my outside-work routine. So please describe what you do to inspire me!

    1. Rebecca*

      On Sunday afternoon, I gather up the things that I brought home from work to wash, like my coffee mug and silverware, replacement snacks, tea, peanut butter, that type of thing, put it in my tote bag, and leave it on the kitchen chair. As I find other things, I toss them in while I’m buzzing about. I make sure I have enough fresh fruit, veggies, and yogurt for the week, and sometimes I cook large amounts of food, split it up, and then I have meals for the week when I come home from work with minimal effort.

      I’ve been getting into the habit of packing my lunch bag the night before too, so all I have to do is grab it out of the fridge on my way out the door. I usually do this while I’m putting away the supper stuff, as I’m already getting in and out of the fridge. When I put the dog out before heading to bed, I set up the coffee pot for the next morning and set the timer.

      I lay out my clothes the night before after checking the weather forecast, complete with socks and shoes.

      I hope this helps!

    2. Trixie*

      For myself, I like to run errands after work on the way home (during the week) so my weekend is free. Laundry was usually a weekend thing but again varies on whether I had easy access to machines on the rental property or had to to do a laundry mat . I like to prep food on Sundays when I’m relaxed, and find it extremely satisfying way to wrap up the weekend. Exercise is always an after work thing, no matter what it is or how much time I have. Even if its just 10-15 minutes of body strength training or yoga, something is always better than nothing.

    3. Nodumbunny*

      Hmmm, I can’t think of anything beyond the basics you’ve probably already done:
      – meal planning and grocery-shopping done;
      – laundry done and outfits planned out, everything in good repair;
      – calendar and task list up-to-date;
      – anticipated errands and chores done as much as possible – pet care, house cleaning, drugstore/dry cleaning/bank runs made, etc.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I am doing most of the above plus I like to take 15 minutes and tidy up my car, purse and wallet. I don’t know why but I tend to toss things in those places and they sit for a week. (Receipts, wrappers, Dollar store items, little stupid things.) Taking a short time to do that makes me feel like I cleaned up last week’s junk and am ready for this week’s junk.

    5. FD*

      I’m usually exhausted on weeknights, so I tend to not do very much useful after I get home. On the weekend, therefore, I:

      – Go grocery shopping
      – Do laundry
      – Clean the apartment
      – Make dinner for the coming week (I’m single, so I usually just make one big batch of something and eat it for dinner for the rest of the week)

      Also, before I go to bed, I make sure my bike bag is packed with a change of clothes, and anything else I need to bring in.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Laundry, mostly. I try to get it done on the weekend during the day because if I wash clothes in the evening, I tend to forget about them and leave them in the machine. >_<

    7. fposte*

      Haven’t seen this one yet–I have to take some medications during the daytime, and I keep the bottle in my purse and stock it up every weekend so I don’t have to load up each morning. (I also try to have a couple of extras in the office in case of a glitch.)

    8. Graciosa*

      This may sound a little odd, but my key piece of advice would be to pick a day each week NOT to do anything. I find that I really do need a day of rest, and the best thing I can do on Sunday is to rest and recharge before I have to start a new week. I usually get my morning workout in and sometimes pick up a bit before going to bed, but not always. If you’re feeling run down, by suggestion is to give yourself a break.

      A few random tips that have helped me (YMMV) –

      Part of the reason I can relax is that I usually do my chores on Saturday to get them out of the way so I don’t feel guilty relaxing on Sunday. If I did chores on Saturday and didn’t get something done, it waits until the following week.

      I keep two weeks worth of underwear at all times, just in case I can’t do laundry one weekend.

      Speaking of laundry, I use color catchers so I can combine whites and colors in the same load if I want to (when separate loads would take more time than I have). They work, and cut another hour out of my laundry time.

      I am practially religious about putting my purse, walley, keys, cell phone, and work bag in the same place every time I walk in the door. If you find yourself scrambling around trying to find something, pick a place for it and NEVER put it anywhere else.

      I worked out a system of always keeping a spare of some basic things that I would have to replace immediately if I ran out (shampoo, toothpaste, vitamins, etc.). When I run out, I grab the spare and write the item on my grocery list. The magic of this is that it actually cuts down on my shopping trips, because I don’t HAVE to go get shampoo that day – and then discover I need something else on Thursday, and another thing on Sunday when I really don’t have time to keep running to the store. I can pick a time in the next month or so to go shopping once when it’s convenient instead of necessary, and this has been a huge time savings and a weight off my mind. When your schedule is chaotic, there are moments when squeezing one more thing on to your “To Do” list feels like a Herculean task.

      Speaking of shopping, I go very early in the morning when the store is empty and I can zip through in a fraction of the time it would take me after work when it’s crowded.

      I keep a small emergency stash of cash accessible so I can avoid a trip to the ATM if necessary (basically the equivalent of one regular withdrawal) although I then have to double the amount on the next visit to replace it.

      I keep emergency stashes of meal bars at home and at work (also healthy snack bars). There have been moments when I don’t have time to get a regular meal, and I finally got smart and started preparing for that.

      I know how long a roll of toilet paper lasts in my home (I actually calculated this over a one month period to get a decent average). This means I can look at supplies of bulky things like toilet paper and gallons of drinking water and translate units into days of supply in my head. I look before a trip to the store to see how much I should get when I have to go shopping anyway.

      You can probably see that a lot of this is focused on finding ways to minimize chores, or at least manage the scheduling so it’s a bit more convenient. I do recommend you keep up your exercise routine as much as reasonably possible (not if your only option is 3:00 a.m.!) as studies show that this is a great stress reducer even (or especially) when you’re very busy, but otherwise please try to give yourself a break. If you want to be able to keep this up for more than a week or so, it is really important that you find a way to pace yourself and protect your health. If you start dusting a litle less frequently, life will go on.

      Best wishes.

      1. Graciosa*

        Sorry for the typo – I have no idea where I keep my “walley” or even what that would be (or why spellcheck didn’t object to it), but I can always find my wallet. :-)

  28. Bend & Snap*

    Husband and I work in the burbs and have a baby. We hate it out here and are thinking of moving to downtown boston.

    Are we crazy? Moves usually go the other way…

    1. BRR*

      You’re not crazy. Different people like different environments. Doing something just because it’s usually done that way is what is crazy.

    2. YaelS*

      Nope, not crazy at all. It is much more common now, especially with the millennial generation, to go from ‘burbs to city. Go for it and good luck!

    3. Meghan*

      No, not crazy! I lived for two years in Boston, and it’s great. Which neighborhood are you thinking of moving to?

      1. Bend & Snap*

        We’te definitely not millenials :)

        Beacon hill (me) or the Fenway (him). Where did you live?

  29. salad fingers*

    Does anyone here live in an urban apartment (or anywhere, really) and have any neat tips for washing and drying laundry by hand? Boyfriend and I started washing clothes in the bathtub and hanging them on a porch strung clothesline. He’s way better at it that I am so far — when he does the washing the clothes feel cleaner and he can’t explain to me what he does differently.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      He might be rinsing them longer? Or maybe he let’s them soak for a bit?

      But this could just be like food that someone else prepares, it’s ALWAYS better than my own.

      With one of my apartments we had a shell for the bathtub/shower. (It’s one of those pre-fab things, not sure what you call them.) But this meant there was a little edge up above the shower that went all the way around the tub. I bought a second shower curtian rod and put it across the middle of the tub. It rested on that little edge on either end. It gave me a place to hang clothes to drip dry and I did not have to worry about putting them outside (rain today?) or having them inside (dripping on the floor).

      1. salad fingers*

        Oooh, I really like the idea of an extra bar above the tub for drippage. We have an old clawfoot tub with a weird and a little flimsy curtain hanger thing (kinda like this one: so I’m not sure about a bar, but maybe extra clothesline. It would have to be removable because we’re both tall and our heads stick out above the rod thing, but I am totally trying this next time. Thanks!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I also got a metal wire drying rack. I cannot believe how long it has lasted (almost 30 years now). It has lasted much longer than the wooden racks. I have set the metal rack (when partially set up it forms the letter “A”) in the bathtub to let few things drip.

          It folds up to about two inches thick. I can slide it behind something when not in use.

      2. Aam Admi*

        Air drying clothes indoors would not be good in the long term, especially if you own the apartment. The high moisture in the environment could result in mold growth.

        1. Jazzy Red*

          It’s good in the winter, though. That’s when you really need more humidity in the air.

          During the summer, run the bathroom vent when your clothes are drying. It’s still cheaper than a clothes dryer.

        2. ThursdaysGeek*

          It depends on where you live. I air dry clothes in our closet all the time (but they are never dripping wet, just damp), and it’s partially so that we have a bit more humidity in the house.

    2. DeadQuoteOlympics*

      Okay, I actually have relevant experience here — lived in SE Asia for two years and did ALL my laundry by hand — including sheets and towels. It is backbreaking labor, and all those literary descriptions of brawny laundresses with beefy biceps? Believe it!

      You are probably using too much laundry soap and/or not rinsing enough. Americans (if you are) in particular are chronic overusers of detergent, apparently. Depending on what you are washing (delicates versus t-shirts versus jeans?) heavier fabrics require more hand agitation/rinse cycles than you might be using. Is your bf filling up the bathtub with more water for each load (both wash and rinse)? Using less detergent? Using greater upper body strength in agitating in the service of carrying off more bubbles of detergent from the fabric? I’d experiment with those three variables.

      When I did laundry it was in a “wet room” — a completely tiled room with a drain in the floor. I used plastic tubs for washing and rinsing, but also could spread items out, scrub with a brush (if things were really muddy) and pour water over laid-flat items. It took all morning and I was exhausted and drenched by the end of it. I have an enduring admiration for just how much sheer work “housework” was before machine-assist or the extra cash to send laundry out to the laundress.

      1. salad fingers*

        Yay for brauny laundresses!

        So our method so far has been to put all of our hardier clothes in the bathtub, cover them with water, add a totally random and unscientific amount of laundry soap and let them soak for like 20 minutes. Then, we get in the tub and stomp like maniacs for a totally random and unscientific amount of time. We let the water out while stomping to remove excess water from the clothes, then fill up with fresh water and stomp more. I’ve been repeating til there are basically no suds. Then I wring the clothes out. If there are any that seem still sudsy or otherwise problematic, I take them to the sink to assess. Clothes are wrung out and hung on clothesline with clothespins. Delicates are soaked and washed in much the same manner, except with hands and, you know, more delicately.

        In terms of what we’ve done differently, he does tend to be more sparing with things like soap, though I also don’t tend to be an overuser. He has a size 13.5 foot and is really tall, so he probably has more leverage and surface area for his cleaning/rinsing cycle. I will say, he does also tend to be more patient so I could see him spending more time on all parts of the process. Food for thought indeed, thanks!

        1. fposte*

          “He has a size 13.5 foot and is really tall, so he probably has more leverage and surface area for his cleaning/rinsing cycle.”

          That is a very funny sentence :-).

          1. salad fingers*

            Hehe. Basically, he is better at being a washing machine — it’s science. Looks like I’m off the hook, right?

              1. salad fingers*

                Not sure if you’re serious but I was going to make this joke. Next on shopping list: flippers and stilts, heh :)

        2. Not So NewReader*

          My last thought is water temp, if you have hard water. He might be rinsing with cooler water which could be less hard than warmer water.

          1. salad fingers*

            Hmm, don’t know if Chicago’s water is hard or soft. I will definitely as BF about temp as well.

            Also, I meant to say this earlier, but I think you also might be right about there being an “everything tastes better when you make it, honey” element here. Is this a subconsciously self-serving impulse? It seems like it could be..

            1. Not So NewReader*

              I no longer think it is a self-serving impulse. I think it is reality! Other people’s cooking is actually better! lol.

    3. BB*

      For drying, a laundry rack might be more convenient. IKEA has a few good ones. However, you might have to do laundry a little sooner than if you had a washer. If you aren’t already, you each would have to do your laundry on a different day.

        1. Jazzy Red*

          It is! I used one for years. Everything is usually dry by morning. And the racks fold up, so that helps if you’re short on space. In fact, I used to put the rack in the bathtub after I showered to keep the floor area cleared.

    4. Victoria, Please*

      Oh dear, why are you doing this? You are probably using three times as much water as washing in a machine would take. Where I live, water saving is the top priority for household activity decisions, so take this for what it’s worth.

      Do you use a laundry board, a la a Hee Haw jug band?! Those are pretty effective.

      1. salad fingers*

        We don’t have a washing board, but we’ve definitely discussed it. Could double as kitschy decoration/occasional Hee Haw jug band instrument. Thanks for reminding me of that!

        Re: why we are doing this…

        1. We live in a building with no laundry onsite with a lease that specifies absolutely no washer/dryers allowed. It’s a third floor (more like three and a half, actually) walk up — kind of a pain to carry clothes up and down. We don’t own a car and the closest laundromat is a mile away. We can bike to it, but doing that would mean taking small loads often in a way that’s not feasible/desirable with our schedules. It’s an inconvenient bus ride away. I guess we could take a cab, but the long and short of it is that we don’t have easy access to a washer and dryer.

        2. When I do go to the laundromat, the industrial size washers and dryers appear to take a toll on my clothes in a way that hand washing has not. I witnessed someone’s socks *catch fire* in the dryers there once. I’ve toyed around with settings a bit without a ton of success. The place is also one hundred percent neon decorated.

        3. I enjoy having the clothes drying time happen at my house while I can do other productive things/overnight while I’m asleep.

        I hope that doesn’t sound snarky or anything — I totally appreciate the concern. I have noticed that these washes have required what seems like a lot of water, but we are conscious of that have talked about ways to cut it down. Honestly, I also haven’t done much research into how much water a regular washing machine uses — maybe it is way less (eek). We aren’t in California or any other desert climate but neither of us like waste.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I have to say, I quit drying my clothes. This was back when we had an apartment and did the laundry mat thing. It took a bit, but I noticed that my clothes (sheets and pillow cases) lasted almost three times as long. Dryers really kill clothes. Now I have some tops that will not wear out- I can’t get rid of them!
          I run my towels and my jeans for 20 minutes, because I like them fluffed by the dryer.

          My husband used to say that anytime you are using electricty to heat anything you are running up a good-sized bill. So double whammy- more expensive to dry them and they wear out quicker.

          You may want to try things like baking soda or vinegar (not both at once, please) to see if you are more satisfied with the way your stuff comes out.

          1. Liz*

            I am with you on not using a dryer. I am pretty budget conscious, and I try to save on all my utilities. I have drying racks. In the warmest months, I tuck stuff on my downstairs deck, out of sight of the neighbors. I never hang any of the “unmentionables” out. During summer, most stuff is dry by end of day. During winter, I put my racks upstairs. Heat rises, so most stuff is dry by early the next morning. Works for me.

        2. Steve G*

          I did it by hand when I was 22 in my first apt. I worked such irregular hours and was always out in the city that I never had time to (go real far) to the Laundromat (I was in Prague, which is very spread out). Fortunately, we had very strong heaters and putting clothes on them for only an hour or 2 did it. Otherwise, in the summer, dry rack-thing.

    5. AVP*

      I only do this when I’m in a crunch but – first of all I like to use the hyper-concentrated organic detergent, so I really only have to use a tiny amount. Duane Reade makes a cheap one, if you’re in America.

      After drip-drying, I usually give everything a once-over with a hair dryer. I take it off the bar, let it sit on my bed and really get in there with the dryer. I think it has to do with the heat, but it gives the clothing more of the soft feel you get from a real dryer. And it fixes the “stiff jeans” problem which drives me nuts, and takes out some of the wrinkles.

      1. salad fingers*

        You know, the stiff jeans problem — that’s another thing I want to address. I don’t mind a little bit of that with jeans, actually, but I do like my shirts to feel soft. Thanks for the blow dryer tip. I wonder if there’s also a good way to simulate dryer sheets with hand-washed clothes that are air dried (like a conditioning component to the wash or something).

        I think Duane Reade is just an east coast thing, right? We don’t have them in Chicago, but I’m sure I can find something similar, thanks :).

        1. Rowan*

          In the UK we have fabric softener you put in with the rinse water to make clothes softer when air dried. I wonder if you could get that anywhere?

    6. Waiting Patiently*

      Are you using different detergent? Is he adding something into his wash? Also are you agitating the water and clothes?

      My only tips, last summer I discovered Fels Naptha laundry bar soap (.96 in Walmart), when I stumble on a youtube video of people making their own detergent. The detergent was easy to make but if you don’t have the space to store 10 gallons of detergent, I wouldn’t suggest you make it. But anyway the Fels Naptha soap can be used to treat stains. My daughter left her baby cake lip gloss in her pants pockets and it ruin 3 white shirts. I used it on the shirts and it got rid of all the stains.
      And lastly, I think someone else mentioned it too but buy a wash board. You might can make one or find one in a Goodwill Store.

      1. salad fingers*

        I think you might be on to something with the agitating of the clothes and the water — I’ll ask him about that. We use the same liquid soap and have not been very choosy about which. We used Zote Soap a couple of years ago (a solid much pinker version of Fels Naptha, it looks like) and it was not bad, but I felt like it left my clothes stiffer and it was a bit messier. It is easier with our space to just have liquid around, I think. I like the potential for stain removing though. We’ve been lucky enough not to have had any real stains to deal with yet, so I hadn’t even considered that. Thanks!

    7. Traveler*

      Get a hand agitator – they sell them online, you can google it. They have very simple ones for about $20. The washboard things can be helpful too, but they can be rough on your clothes, especially ones made of more delicate fabrics. The hand agitators will give you the leverage you are looking for, and get more of the soap out, and negating the need for stomping.

    8. Student*

      Depending on how much water you’re using, you might not be saving much money over going to a laundry mat. It’s also extremely time-consuming to do this; are there other ways you could save more money by spending comparable time? Cooking comes to mind.

      1. salad fingers*

        Definitely see your point, but for me is actually way less time/energy consuming to do it this way. As mentioned above, its a PITA to get to and from the laundromat and their machines are super industrial/arent great for my clothes.

        And fwiw, landlords in Chicago are required by law to pay the water bill, so it costs essentially nothing for me to do it this way.

  30. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Lasik. I’m increasingly having trouble thinking of reasons not to get it, aside from not being able to wear contacts for the week before, which seems like a small price to pay. People who have had Lasik, is there anything you wish you knew before doing it?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      A friend of mine had it done and her comment was “Why did I wait so long?”

      She had thick glasses, so it made a big difference for her.

    2. Adams*

      I had Lasik 2ish years ago and have loved it. Besides the day to day ease, I felt no longer needing to buy glasses or contact supplies justified the cost.

      A few things, see what the policy/cost is for enhancements (my eyesight changed just enough afterwards that I needed to have it re-done a year later), ask if any medication is available to calm you during the procedure (I get a bit worked up mentally), and breathe through your mouth while the laser is on (don’t think about what the smell is). Both times, I felt a like sick afterwards and found some comfort food and a long nap did wonders. While of course you want to pick an office/doctor you trust you will need to go back for regular check-ups so pick somewhere that going multiple times won’t be a huge hassle.

    3. Lore*

      I had it, and it was great for about five years, and then my vision started to decline again. (My eyes had been stable for three or so years before the surgery.) My correction was severe enough that they don’t think there’s enough cornea left to redo the surgery. (Plus, I’m possibly getting pre-cataracts, rather than just declining in vision again.) My prescription now is still way less strong than it was before…but I’ve just hit the “reading glasses” age. So I’m back to wearing glasses full-time, pretty much. Progressive lenses, now, which kind of makes contacts not a realistic option.

      Which is not really an argument against–just an acknowledgment that depending on the severity of your near-sightedness, it might not be a permanent solution. I will still take “able to function around my house without glasses but need to wear them in the world” over “can’t even read the alarm clock without glasses or contact lenses…”

      1. BRR*

        To add to the it might not be a permanent solution my mom had it done about 12 years ago and last year had to get contacts again as her vision got worse. But she really enjoyed the 10ish years she only needed reading glasses.

        1. Judy*

          Most everyone I’ve known that has had it was wearing glasses again at about 10 years. I looked into laser surgery ages ago, and the success rates at that time (20 years ago) were not that great.

          A co-worker got it and had to have it redone several times to get it so he wouldn’t have to wear glasses. And now 3 years later, he’s wearing glasses again.

          Look at quantity of surgeries for the surgeon.

    4. Elizabeth*

      My husband had done it a few years before I did, so I was familiar with everything was involved on the procedure side. There were a couple female-specific things I didn’t expect.

      It was almost 4 months before I could wear eyeliner, as my eyes were more sensitive to the tugging.

      My eyes also changed shape slightly, since I had worn contacts for almost 30 years. Without the daily stretching of skin around my eyes, I lost a bunch of wrinkles that had developed. I’ve been told I look at least 5 years younger because of it. Apparently, this is far more common for women then men.

      If you’re prone to migraines, just figure you’ll have one that day and be ready to deal with it.

      I love that I did it.

    5. Eva*

      My brother and my sister have both had Lasik at the same clinic more than 5 years ago. My brother has had no problems whatsoever, whereas my sister continues to have non-negligible problems. Unfortunately I don’t recall the details (she’s not the complaining type so I only have heard her talk about it once, when I myself was considering having Lasik), but she definitely wishes she could go back in time and not have Lasik. There are many success stories, but the success rate is not quite 100%. The risk is small, but it’s there.

    6. Sandra Dee*

      I had my LASIK surgery in Jan 2000. Yes, over 14 yrs ago. I was unable to wear contacts due to constant eye infections. Super super thick glasses, that would slide down my nose, even with the featherweight lenses. I had an alarm clock with 4 inch numbers so I could see the time without my glasses. Having LASIK was a life changing moment. I still have 20/20 vision. The only down side is that is does not halt the aging process, and 2 years ago I had to start wearing reading glasses whenever I am doing computer work. It’s a small price to pay.

      Go for it!

    7. VisibleVoice*

      I’ve thought about this on and off and ultimately decided against it, I’ve worn glasses since I was 7 and still do (never switched to contacts). kathy Griffin has a horror story about her Lasik and it scared me. My dad had it and loves it though.

    8. Just Visiting*

      I’m not a candidate for Lasik because my eyes are too bad for it, but both my parents had it done and they both had to have touch-up procedures. My mom was right on the borderline of how bad your eyes can be before they won’t do it anymore, and she has had to wear glasses (not thick ones like before, but still glasses) for the past few years. She can no longer wear contacts. If your eyes aren’t that bad, then maybe this doesn’t apply, but if you’re worse than -5 or 6 diopters (my mom was -8 diopters), I’d reconsider.

      1. Stephanie*

        Might depend on the eye doctor and his experience and confidence level. I looked into it once and was told that they couldn’t guarantee that I’d be corrected to 20/20 (I’m around -8.00D myself) or that it’d stay corrected. My friend, however, had about the same degree of myopia and hasn’t had any issues. A coworker said his doctor wouldn’t correct anyone above a -10.00D.

        1. Lore*

          I was 8.25 in one eye and 8.75 in the other, I think, with a mild astigmatism. So probably right at the edge of what’s correctable. And we get cataracts really young in my family.

        2. Just Visiting*

          Ha, well, I’m around -26D so nobody will touch me. I even said that I wasn’t looking for 20/20 correction, I’d just prefer to wear thinner glasses or easier-to-procure contacts instead of spending a ton of money on specialty contacts every year. No dice. The only surgical option is contact lens implants but I am not pleased with the outcomes on the patient blogs I’ve read and insurance won’t cover it ($6k an eye!). Man, I WISH I had -8D, that would be sweet. :)

          1. Mimmy*

            Did you have congenital cataracts? I looked into getting lens implants in 2002, but they found my eye pressures were too high. Even with my pressures now controlled, I’m not really a good candidate for the implants because of my eyes’ anatomy. Sounds like it isn’t really worth it anyway. I’m not sure what my prescription numbers are, but I do know that I’ve tested out at 20/60 with correction (though that’s pushing it, imho–I think I’m more like 20/80). I’m just glad that they can make such strong prescriptions without having to use such a thick lens. It’s still thick, no question, but nothing like when I was little.

            1. Just Visiting*

              Not that I know of, but my eye pressure is also super high and they say I’m in danger of glaucoma (and maybe cataracts too). I try not to think about it. What killed the idea of the implants for me, besides the cost, is that they can lead to light sensitivity and severe halo effects. One of the patients who blogged about the procedure said she can barely walk outside at night because of it. I don’t want to get a procedure that will keep me from walking or biking home after dark.

              Do you wear contacts or glasses? I kinda want glasses even if they have to be thick because I’m sick of wearing contacts and I’d have better central vision with glasses, but then I’d have zero peripheral vision and being a biker I kinda need that. :P

              1. Mimmy*

                I wear glasses full time now but I did wear contacts also for about 10 years until I got tired of dropping or ripping them. I definitely had better peripheral vision with the contacts though.

              2. ThursdaysGeek*

                I’ve had a intraocular lens for at least 15-20 years, replacing a congenital cataract. And I’ve never had any halos or light sensitivity. I didn’t have high pressure, so maybe that’s the difference?

                My bro-in-law had cataract surgery in the last year or so, and got a lens that focuses, so now, at nearly 60 years old, he needs no glasses of any kind. That technology is still being developed, but when my age related cataract in the other eye needs fixing, I’m hoping the technology will be more stable. That’s what I want!

                BTW, even at the time, I considered the cataract surgery about as rough as going to the dentist (except for the cost). It was seriously not as scary as I had imagined, and the recovery was painless too.

      2. Rowan*

        But LASIK is not the only refractive surgery option, so even if your prescription is stronger than that, there are options. It’s worth talking to a surgeon.

    9. Mimmy*

      I’m not a candidate for Lasik because I have no lenses to begin with (thank you congenital cataracts)! All of you guys are making me jealous :P (although I can picture myself getting rather squirrelly when the laser is right in my eye!!)

    10. Graciosa*

      I went to a fantastic place for mine more than ten years ago, and I am very pleased with the results. One of the great things they did was have a designated hand holder (yes, literally). I really needed it. When they put in whatever holds your eye open to make the flap, it pressed enough on my optic nerve to blank out my vision. That hand was a great comfort.

      Also, they tell you to look at the center of the laser when it’s doing its work – but my vision or astigmatism or something was bad enough that all I could see was an irregularly shaped blob that changed shape every time the laser blinked. There was no way to figure out where the center was, which was kind of freeing as I couldn’t see how anyone could expect me to do it.

      The medical team puts a lot of drops in your eyes while your head is tilted back so that they fall vertically into your eye. I woke up in the middle of the night and tried to do the same thing with mine but really misjudged it – there was terrible pain, and my follow up visit the morning after the surgery showed an abrasion on my right eye which required a bandage contact (I didn’t know these existed). It worked fine, but I switched to putting eye drops in by pulling my lower lid out a bit so I didn’t have to tilt so much and kept the bottle away from my eye. Figure out a good position for this and practice before the surgery – there are a lot of drops while you’re healing.

      I was fine right after my surgery, and we picked up food coming home. Shortly after I ate, I was just utterly done like someone flipped a switch. I crawled into bed just after five in the afternoon to sleep it off – not even putting food away or anything because I suddenly knew I needed to be in bed that second. Sleeping it off would have been fine if not for the eye drop incident. Sleeping with goggles takes some getting used to, but it was still totally worth it.

      I think a lot of people focus on the convenience of not having to wear contacts or glasses, and that has been great, but my vision was bad enough that there was a safety element. Fixing it made traveling much more comfortable, and I love to travel.

      Final piece of advice – invest in a really good surgeon, even if you have to save up a bit longer. Your vision is too important to risk.

      Good luck.

        1. Graciosa*

          I think it was a combination of the surgical drugs finally wearing off and the trauma kicking in. I don’t remember being in noticeable pain (although I was a bit achy), and my sense that I needed to go to bed was not that woozy sedative feeling. I was just suddenly Done and had to go to bed Now. I even left a trail of discarded clothing en route to my bed, which is definitely not my practice.

    11. CoffeeLover*

      There are two types of laser eye surgery: Lasik and PRK. Lasik has a far shorter healing time (like 1 day) while PRK has a longer healing time of about a week where you’re eyes are swollen, extremely light sensitive and your vision is hazy. You also have to take more drops than Lasik, but that’s covered by healthcare for me so I didn’t care. Some people are forced to get PRK because of weakened corneas, but I chose to go that route. Laser eye surgery decreases the size of your cornea which makes you more susceptible to certain eye diseases and may mean you can’t get adjustments later on as happened to Lore above. I chose to do PRK because it reduces the cornea significantly less (think like 10% while Lasik is 30% or something like that… can’t remember specifics). Also, doctors are more familiar with PRK (my doctor even said that to me) because it’s a technology that’s been around for a lot longer than Lasik. Finally, I chose to go to an eye surgeon that does a variety of eye surgeries and I felt like they really cared and took care of me throughout the experience and followups. In Canada, we have LasikMD (you might have it in the states too) which focuses solely on Lasik and is cheaper. I had friends do it there and they said they basically felt like the place was just churning out surgeries rather than really taking care. I also studied them in my business law class because the company has a history of law suits for botched surgeries.

      Basically what I want to say with all that, is make sure you do what feels comfortable for you. Chances are I could have gone to LasikMD and gotten the Lasik instead of the PRK with no issues, but after reading (probably too much) about it, I just didn’t feel safe.

      My results: Better than 20:20 vision and loving every moment of it. Definitely recommend doing it overall.

      1. CoffeeLover*

        Oh as a side note, I used to work at an optometrists. We referred patients with issues such as cataracts to the surgeon I went to.

    12. Katie the Fed*

      I did it in 2006 and it was worth every penny! My eyes have changed a wee bit since then but no glasses.

      A few tips:
      – For people with Flexible Spending Accounts through work – get your estimate in November, then allocate that much money for next year’s FSA. Get the surgery in January. That way you get the whole thing tax free.

      – Don’t schedule any important meetings for the week you do it. My eyes were COMPLETELY bloodshot – like the whites of the eyes was full red in one eye and half the other. I was giving a briefing that week and the briefee paused and looked at me and said “what happened to your eyes?!”

  31. Trixie*

    Some how I landed a cold this weekend and not feeling motivated to tackle anything. A good friend has regular sinus infections (even after surgery) and has learned to work through them. The one upside to something like this is hot food generally tastes so much better. Any favorite comfort foods out there? Mine is probably anything with tomato sauce (soup, pizza, meatball sandwich, etc.)

    1. Rebecca*

      There has to be some mystery virus going around. I have it, my daughter has it, my Mom has it, and now I’m hearing from other people on the interwebs who have it! I just made a DiGiorno Pizza because I thought the hot spicy food would feel good on my poor sore throat. Hope you feel better soon! I’m extra whiny because I rarely get sick, and I feel so badly for people who get this stuff all the time.

    2. brightstar*

      My favorite go-to when I’m congested is pho. The heat of the soup plus the spiciness of the Sriricha sauce helps relieve the sinus pressure and congestion more than anything. I’ve gotten pho when I’ve had colds or sinus problems and my head felt pounds lighter after eating.

    3. Jazzy Red*

      Ice cream. It helps with the swollen nasal passages, and feels really good on a sore throat. Plus it’s *ice cream*.

      My brother and I used to have a saying: It’s never too cold for ice cream, and never too hot for coffee.

    4. Stephanie*

      Seconding pho. If I have a sore throat, I also like to drink warm pickle juice. Sounds weird, but the vinegar and the salt is really soothing.

  32. Vanilla*

    How do you “break up” with a hairdresser?

    Back story: I’ve been a client of my current hairdresser from about three years. She is reasonably priced for my area and has always done a great job. Plus, she is really easy to talk to, understands what I’m looking for, and is a genuinely nice person.

    I moved away from my area about a year and a half ago, and recently moved back about three months ago. I returned to the same hairdresser and ever since then, she has just not been the same person. She’s grumpy, not chatty like she usually is, and my haircuts just haven’t been as good as they once were. I’ve had two haircuts since returning. The first time, I just thought she was a weird mood. I went last week for haircut #2 and was the same way, and she barely did anything to my hair.

    She’s also in the middle of her first pregnancy (after having a few miscarriages), so I’ve tried to cut her some slack with all this, but I also don’t want to continue to spend my hard-earned money on a service that I’m not happy with.

    1. fposte*

      I think it’s perfectly fine just not to go back and to have no official breakup. It’s part of business.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        Yeah I just wouldn’t go back. Ask around your friends/co-workers and see who they use and try them?

      2. Another English Major*

        Agree, this is what I’ve done. Just stop making appts with her. No need to make an announcement. I’ve even run into my hair stylist that I “broke up” with, but she didn’t say anything about it and it wasn’t awkward at all.

      3. Traveler*

        Yep. No need to breakup. Hairdressers know this happens, and I haven’t met any so far that take it personally. I’ve run into some of my previous hairdressers and still had friendly conversations with them.

    2. Steve G*

      I liked the show Tabatha takeover, and was surprised that with women’s hair…there were so many hairdressers that barely did anything to it, and the woman customer didn’t say anything until Tabatha asked them if they liked their cut.

      With men with short hair, a bad barber becomes a lot more obvious. Don’t go back if they don’t do much

  33. BB*

    Unless you are friends with her outside of the salon, I don’t think you need to do anything. However, once the baby arrives, maybe she won’t be coming to work for awhile and then you won’t have to worry about finding a new stylist.

  34. SherryD*

    I’ve done this, and I just… stop going. I am a serial “dater” of hairdressers. I usually see one 3-4 times, then move on to a different salon. I get tired of the small talk, and I also wonder if there’s a better hair cut waiting for me somewhere else (grass is always greener!). I’m not proud of this, but it’s just business! I don’t think you need a “goodbye” conversation at all.

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      I like the ones who just leave me be with the magazine. All the small talk exhausts me :(

      1. Nina*

        Same. I hate the small talk, because I am not that close to my hairdresser. I don’t see him that often and he expects me to say something new is happening with my life whenever I see him.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I don’t mind the small talk, but if I’m not getting what I want, then I will leave. My old hairdresser left the salon she was working for (it was Fantastic Sam’s–not great but cheap and she was cutting my hair the way I liked it). I went back and had another person trim it, but I wasn’t happy with her–she didn’t really listen to me and the cut seemed like what it was–a cheap cut.

      Instead of following the other hairdresser, I decided I needed a change and found a FANTASTIC hairdresser / brow waxer at a cool salon. My hair looks amazing now even when I don’t do anything to it (!). I just have not gone back to FS, though I might when I run out of leave-in conditioner because I love theirs. I’ll just purchase and not make an appointment. If they ask for an explanation, I’ll give them one, but I doubt they will.

    3. CoffeeLover*

      I used to be this way… but that’s because my hair is really really hard to cut (curly and ridiculously thick… plus I like to wear it curly and straight sometimes). After decades of bad haircuts I finally found my goddess of a hairdresser. Perfect cuts and great to talk to (I’m not a small talker and she doesn’t chat my ear off which is nice, but we can still have a conversation). I’m not planning to stay in this city for much longer, and I dread the day I have to leave her :'(

      1. Mints*

        As someone who drove three hours for a haircut on Saturday, I understand this. Curly hair, blessing and curse. I’m not sure the logistics of your move, but if you’re moving from family, you might be able to time haircuts with birthdays or thanksgiving or whenever you’re visiting. I’m not loyal to any other service provider. Not doctors, dentists, optometrists, mechanics. Just my hair stylist

        I found her through a Living Social coupon, I got lucky!

  35. BB*

    Anyone else shopped at Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale? It was my first time last month and I had no idea the bargains to be had.

    On the same note, I also want to mention ebates for online shopping. I highly recommend anyone to join ebates, if you haven’t already. What it is is that you get a small percentage of your purchase back in the form of a rebate.

    1. CollegeAdmin*

      Yes – I had never shopped at Nordstrom either, but I found some great stuff, including a women’s sweatshirt that is *gasp* actually warm! I can’t wait until winter so I can wear it all the time. (If anyone’s interested, it’s the Nike District 72 Full-Zip Hoodie.)

    2. Stephanie*

      Yup, love it. I love Nordstrom for their bras and shoes, as they have pretty good extended size selections in both.

  36. Jen RO*

    I finally got the hang of Konad nail stamping! Soo pretty! Any other nail polish lovers around? I have brittle and, by consequence, short nails, but painting them is very relaxing to me. I’m not a girly-girl, but I love having pretty nails!

    1. Stephanie*

      Yes! Love nail polish. However, it’s always a disaster when I move because that stuff’s hard to transport. A friend was helping me pack and holds up a gallon bag of nail polish bottles like “So are you moonlighting as a nail technician?”

    2. Loose Seal*

      I love, love, love doing my nails! But I’ve not had any luck with the stamping. I want to learn how to do it but I think I’m just too clumsy at it. How long did it take you to get the hang of it?

      1. Jen RO*

        Not much, a couple of hours one evening! I couldn’t get the model onto my stamper and I watched a couple of videos to figure out why – the trick is to just smack the stamper into your plate instead of pressing it slowly. Now, I get a perfect pattern most of the time! I have some Konad plates, but also a no-name plate, they all work just as well. I will say that I *have* had more success with Konad nail polish than regular brands, but I haven’t experimented much.

    3. Claire*

      I love nail polish and nail art, but I was never to able to figure out how to make the stamping work – it always ends up a mess for me. I’ve become hooked on using decals this summer though!

        1. Claire*

          I’m using both types, yeah. I like the little accent ones best, I think, I have the cutest little owls. And my skull and crossbones manicure is my favourite ever!

    4. Perpetua*

      How do you learn how to paint nails with your non-dominant hand? :P I always say that it’s a good thing I love having my nails painted a “natural” color because I’d mess up darker colors anyway… I wear red on my feet and even that is a struggle to get mess-free at times.

      1. Jen RO*

        I am not very good at it… but it’s a matter of having more patience than for the other hand. That, and lots of acetone for clean-up :D

        1. Nina*

          I agree. Patience and time. I take longer to do my right hand and try not to use as much polish since I’m more likely to mess it up.

      2. Claire*

        Practice, and a good brush shape/size. With certain polishes, like Rimmel Pro , the brush is such a good shape that I never make any mess. Others, especially those with long skinny brushes, I always end up getting a little on the skin and having to use acetone to clean up after.

    5. Nina*

      I love getting manicures, but since they cost money, I do them myself. LOL. I’m fortunate because my nails are very healthy and tend to grow pretty long. It’s weird, my hair grows at a snail’s pace, but my nails need to be trimmed every other week.

      I’m a big fan of OPI nail polish. It’s not cheap, but it goes on clean and doesn’t leave bubbles. I want to try Butter London (very pricey) and I’ve heard so-so things about Essie.

      1. Stephanie*

        I’m the same way—my nails grow pretty quickly, but my hair grows slowly. Essie is ok. I like OPI as well. There’s a line called Zoya that’s good (does take a little longer to dry). If you subscribe to their mailing list, they have all kinds of offers (buy one, get one free, free red of your choice, free gold of your choice were all past offers).

          1. Stephanie*

            Also, I did see Butter London at Nordstrom Rack for about $6/bottle. Granted, it was just one shade of pale yellow (which I love). I would have purchased it had I not already had two or three yellows.

        1. Loose Seal*

          I love Zoya. If you have issues with your nail polish chipping badly like I do, Zoya is a good brand to try. When you use their whole “color system” (base coat and/or ridge filler, color, top coat), it causes the polish to dry but still bend with your nails. Other polishes tend to dry inflexible and I will chip it in less than 24 hours.

          Definitely subscribe to Zoya’s Facebook page or follow their blog because they frequently give away polish for the cost of shipping or have half-price sales. For instance, for Valentine’s Day, they were giving away one red polish from their line and for Earth Day, you could buy up to 24 polishes half off. Unless there is a polish from another brand that I really, really want (like OPI’s Coca-Cola Red), I pretty much only get Zoya polishes.

          (Not an employee or an investor. I just love their stuff!)

          1. Persephone Mulberry*

            I love Zoya. I have at least 30 of them, and they have sales so often that I’ve never spent more than $4 a bottle.

    6. 15*

      I have been obsessed with nails and nail polish for the last 4 years. This weekend I managed the first sponge gradient manicure that I really like and looking at my nails makes me so happy! In case someone is interested, my nails improved a lot with a product called Nailtiques formula 2+. Now I use formula 1 as base coat and when I got my nails professionally painted a few weeks ago, the beautician told me “Wow your nails are really strong”. SATISFACTION

      1. Jen RO*

        Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll try to see if that brand exists here! I’ve heard great things about Nail Envy, but it’s ridiculously expensive here compared to the original price (~20USD regularly, but almost 40USD once it’s imported).

    7. Waiting Patiently*

      I love nail polish! My nails are brittle but I just keep them short anyway. I don’t paint the nails on my hands that much, but I love to paint my toe nails weekly. Whenever I’m in CVS or Riteaid, I always leave with about 3 bottles of nail polish. I just can’t help it. OPI and Sinful Colors are my favorites.
      Last year, I purchased Del Sol, the kind that changes color in the sun, and I loved it. The only downfall is it chips easily.

      1. Jen RO*

        I want to understand why my toenails are able to grow without any issues, but my hand nails break when you look at them! :(

    8. CanadianDot*

      Huge fan of nail polish! I don’t have any stamping stuff – I would recommend checking out Vivid Lacquer and Moyou, though, as they both design their own high quality nail stamping plates. The new Zoya autumn collection just came out, and there’s a few of those polishes I’m hugely craving. I would also love to do an order from Elevation Polish.

      There’s a website called Ravelry, which is a big knitting community/information site, and I’m part of a nail-polish themed group on there. We chat about nail polish SO much! It’s nice to find people with common interests!

      1. Loose Seal*

        There’s an Ask A Manager group on Ravelry. We don’t talk much but there aren’t that many of us on there. Come join. The more the merrier, I’d say!

    9. littlemoose*

      I love nail polish, but only do pedicures. I just don’t like it on my fingers for some reason (and I type all day, so it wouldn’t last anyway). My boyfriend is also appalled at my nail polish hoard. I can’t help it; I love the colors. OPI is my go-to brand, but I’ve got some Essie colors as well.

      1. Jen RO*

        I type all day too, and it doesn’t cause it to chip! My polish usually peels off together with a bit of the nail :( I’m sure that polish would last longer if my nails were less crappy!

    10. AcademicAnon*

      I like having polish on my nails, but I cannot go more than 24 hours (usually more like 12) without doing something to the polish. I’m also in a job where I wash my hands a lot and wear gloves and both do a number on my nails. I haven’t tried the gel polish yet, not sure if it’s worth it, as I don’t have time to regularly go to the salon to get it done so I would be doing it at home.

  37. Jazzy Red*

    Is anyone here crafty? I’m going to make chalk paint and do a small plant table that I’ve had for years. I just tested the colors I have at home, and selected one. Actually, two colors because I want to paint some kind of accents on it. I’m not crafty or artistic, so it should be interesting.

    Any tips?

    1. fposte*

      I’m messy, and I stick to water-based paint. For that, the tip that’s really helped me is to keep a bucket with some water and a rag in it for a quick swipe of paint that got in the wrong place, whether it be on the item painted, me, or the floor.

  38. Arminius*

    I’ve been suffering from depression for a while, and took a dance class with a teacher near my age just to get out and relax/have fun. She said that she took it up to help herself get over it, and I want to also. I know this is a personal point, but then I’m not sure if I should ask or not given this. And also, it’s a personal point for me too, as whilst mental illness is common now (well it always has been, but you know what I mean) I don’t want it to come out.

    I’m not sure if I should broach it or not, but thanks for any comments/advice in advance.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      You don’t have to disclose anything if you’re not comfortable doing so. You’re there to learn to dance, and if it comes up naturally and you feel safe, then go ahead, but it’s not a requirement. I hope you do have fun and it makes you feel better. :)

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I would only open the topic if I WANTED to, but not because I felt I had to.

      I would go a few times and see before deciding. You may find that she covers the general topic of movement and depression just in the course of teaching her class. That might be enough input for you OR you could decide that you have specific questions to ask her after class.

      After my husband passed, all my muscles just clinched up tight. Gosh, it was painful. I started to investigate some yoga. It was very humbling to me how much range of motion I had lost, I really did not want to share a yoga class with a bunch of people. I found a person that did one-on-one sessions. This seemed like a good compromise -a way to get started and not die from embarassment or constant explanations. That is my suggestion to you- find that compromise point that is comfortable for you.

      (My muscles were so tight a massage therapist could not help me. That was scary. I moved about like an 85 year old person. ugh. I just kept trying things until I hit something that started to break down the problem.)

      1. FX-ensis*

        The thing is I’ve been going for over 18 months now, and we talk from time to time online and on Facebook. She had mentioned this a while now, maybe a year, but I was thinking of my own issues, and remembered how she said practice helped her. I’d say I am at intermediate level, as I know many of the basic positions well.

        But thanks for your comment.

        1. Perpetua*

          Are you worried about her level of comfort in talking about it or about your own? From what I understand, she has mentioned her experience with depression and the things that helped, so I think it would be perfectly fine to follow up on that. If you’re uncomfortable with disclosing more about yourself with her, I don’t think you have to do it, you can just ask her “You said dance/other things helped you with depression, could you maybe tell me more about it?” The exact language will, of course, depend on the closeness of your relationship, on your (and hers, if you know it) preferred way of communication (direct? more subtle?), etc., but it seems that you have a very good opening on the topic with her and that it wouldn’t be unusual to ask for more specific information.

          1. FX-ensis*

            I’m interested in two things, one point I’ve already stated, the other about my own confidentiality. I know teachers are trained to handle confidentiality, but I’m not sure in this case. Not that I suspect she’s untrustworthy, but then not many people know this in real life.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Ahhh- then ask her if she is available for a confidential conversation that is personal in nature.

              I would be very surprised if you were the first person to ever approach her. Or for that matter the second person.

              I have found the more I talk about my own experiences the more people ask me about stuff. I can see they are really working at the conversation but in my mind I know that they already starting to heal because they are talking about it. Isolation does more damage than almost anything else.

  39. brightstar*

    Tuesday is my 40th birthday. I’m planning a little celebration at my apartment on Saturday night, does anyone have any tips? I’m thinking of having chicken skewers, mini quiche, and tiny food while we have drinks and watch Doctor Who. Is this too lame for a 40th birthday party?

    Also, I’ve realized a close friend of mine isn’t that close anymore. When I’ve asked her to be there for support in the past she told me she was too busy working. And that she’ll be too busy working to make it to my party. And then she and another friend took my suggestion of going to Austin and didn’t invite me. I’m thinking the best way to deal is to just distance myself since I tried telling her why all this upset me and she didn’t understand. It makes me sad, though.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          My 40th is coming up in a few months and I struggle with the whole “is this lame” thing, too. I’d be perfectly fine with having a few people over for a cookout and campfire and that’s it. But I have friends who would be at some kind of night club, drinking it up until 2 am. That’s probably why I feel lame sometimes. But I know I’m just an introvert and more low key than them.

          1. Steve G*

            Don’t go drinking yourself to death! That is what you do when you are 22 or 23. Don’t feel your plans are lame. I think there is pressure to make people’s 40th Bdays huge events, and it can feel like a let down when you just have a small thing. So just enjoy whatever you have/do.

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      Happy Birthday for Tuesday! Your birthday should be whatever you want it to be. Your food sounds lovely. And if you enjoy Doctor Who then you should watch it :) Shame about the friend situation though :( but I guess it’s a part of life.

      1. brightstar*

        Thanks! Unfortunately, it is part of life. I lived out of town for three years and think we just drifted apart during that time.

    2. Another English Major*

      Your birthday party sounds like fun! It does suck when you realize you’re not a close friends as you thought, though. I think distancing is a good route. I would just stop reaching out to her and stop inviting her to things. If she reaches out to you you can always go, but I think this approach helps lower your expectations and not feel so disappointed.

      Happy birthday!

    3. Felicia*

      That sounds like an amazing party. Can I come? I’m going to an actual Doctor Who premier party on Saturday night, but it sounds like my kinda party.

      1. brightstar*

        The more the merrier! I’m planning on having food from a variety of cuisines to keep in the theme of Dr. Who. And a friend is bringing dalek ice cube makers!

        1. Felicia*

          You should have bananas! haha like the 9th Doctor said, bananas are fantastic :) I think my friend will be making bow tie pasta, because bow ties are cool, and I think there will be jammy dodgers :)

          Have you ever had a sonic screw driver? You should drink those! They’re like regular screwdrivers, but blue, because they contain blue curacao .

          But seriously, it sounds like the coolest party ever.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Yep, just let the friendship fade. It might pick up in years to come or not.

      In times like this, I like to remind myself that there could be someone out there who is hoping I will be more of a friend to them and I am totally missing the cues. So I strengthen my resolve to listen closer for “hey, let’s get together and do X sometime!” . It’s easy to skate past that sometimes.

    5. FX-ensis*

      Lame? lol…not really. As it’s between people you care about, why not? :)

      sorry to hear about your friend. It’s hurtful, but then I’ve come to realise not to take that personally.

  40. The Other Dawn*

    Ever since I moved to the new house (three weeks ago), I’ve had a problem with one cat pooping on the carpet. Don’t know which one it is since i have multiple cats and I haven’t caught anyone in the act. And I don’t know if it’s one cat or more than one. Anyone have this issue before and know how to deal with it? I’ve had cats all my life and never had this problem before.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I only had this once and I got very lucky. I put a new litter box near the area the cat was pooping.
      That worked.

      I had gotten a second cat. And things seemed to have settled. After a bit I noticed someone was pooping in the entrance way into my house. (Nice to come home to with an arm full of groceries and I can’t see where I am putting my feet.) I put the new litter box next to the area that kept getting hit. I waited. Yep, someone was using it. I waited a bit more and I found out which one.

      Apparently, my first cat was such a meek personality that if the second cat was using a box and first cat had to go, she would just find her own solution in my entrance way.
      This may or may not work for you. My secondary finding was that with the two cats they prefered to have the box fill deeper with more cat litter. (I scooped every day- wth?)

      In short – one more litter box and deeper litter.

    2. Elkay*

      Have you tried the Feliway dispensers? They’re supposed to calm cats down. Might just be stressed by the move. I’ve only ever used the spray in an attempt to stop one cat scratching the furniture, it sort of worked but I think you need to use it for 6 weeks or so (which may not help with a pooping cat).

    3. Trixie*

      Probably short=-term stress around moving and new house. When I’m moving with cats, I usually place them in an enclosed room first with food/water, litter, and something to hide under. Then move the rest in while they slowly explore. Since you’ve been there a few days, I’m seconding these guesses they you add one if not two more litter boxes throughout the house. I’ve usually had luck with one box per two cats, and at one point, two boxes for four cats but that was too extreme. Also, if the new home has carpeting who knows what scents they’re picking up. Maybe there are beautiful hardwood floors underneath!

    4. The Other Dawn*

      TI have 12 cats and 9 litter boxes, so I don’t think the boxes are the issue. I’m thinking it’s just stress, but I’ve never had this happen before. Maybe I’ll move around the upstairs boxes since that seems to be where it’s happening most. BUT, it’s not confined to the upstairs so I’m not sure if that will work.

      I am using Feliway. I installed the plug-ins the day before we moved in. We moved the cats up that, set up litter boxes, put down beds, bowls, food, etc. We moved in the next day. We kept them confined for a total of three days and then let them explore.

      Eventually the carpets will come up, but I’m not ready to start renovating yet. And, yes, there are hardwood floors underneath. The house was built in 1735 and the original planks are there, complete with the old rectangular nails they used to use.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        You might be able to find something at a health food store that might be supportive for them. I was thinking something similar to Bach’s Rescue Remedy.

    5. littlemoose*

      Maybe set up a video camera or webcam near the spot, so you can identify the culprit? Our friends did this when they couldn’t figure out how their puppy was getting out of his pen (turned out the little bugger was just climbing right out!).

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Ha! That’s a good idea. If going back to scooping everyday doesn’t help, I think I’ll have to try that. With so many cats it’s impossible to know who’s doing it unless I catch them in the act.

    6. krisl*

      There could be a lot of reasons. It can be caused by illness – it’s a good idea to check with your vet. Sometimes it’s caused by stress. Sometimes the other cat is hogging the litter box (it’s good to have 1 box for each cat plus 1 extra box). Sometimes the box isn’t quite as clean as the kitty wants, even if it is reasonably clean.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Now that you mention it, I’ve been scooping every other day rather than everyday like I was at my old house. Mainly because we now have boxes upstairs and downstairs, and I’ve been so busy with unpacking, putting out fires, etc., that I’ve been lazy about it. I’ll have to go back to everyday.

      2. Zed*

        I agree on the number of boxes–I always have n+1 litter boxes, where n is the number of cats in the house.

  41. BB*

    Do you have a litter box for them? Maybe they are also just adjusting to the new house and are confused about where to use the bathroom.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      They know exactly where the boxes are. I have 12 cats and 9 litter boxes, so I don’t think the boxes are the issue. I’m thinking it’s just stress, but I’ve never had this happen before.

      1. Windchime*

        I used to have one cat who would stare down the other one while she was in the litter box, and it freaked her out so much that she stopped using it and would poop in the corner. Unfortunately we never figured out how to solve the issue. Later we found out that the one who was doing the intimidating actually was very sick with tooth trouble, so that’s probably what was causing the whole bad dynamic.

  42. Carrie in Scotland*

    Misheard words/phrases/song lyrics etc.

    In the film “I give it a year” the main character played by Rose Byrne mishears and sings “Sweet jeans are made of this” instead of “sweet dreams are made of this”. I just misheard “fuss to cause” as “fustercause”.

    Any others?

        1. Carrie in Scotland*

          Ooh thanks! :) these will be looked at during “slow” periods at work (i.e the whole day)

          1. salad fingers*

            Isn’t it great? It was coined a group of linguists from a bunch of different universities who run a blog called Language Log. I haven’t read it since ’05 or ’06 but it was amazing then, probably still is.

      1. Jillociraptor*

        You used to own the domain “mondegreens”? Like “”? I would like to know more about this. Did you sell it and become fabulously wealthy????

        1. fposte*

          It was, and it was a present from a friend. I never figured out what to do with it so I let it lapse. I still feel like a missed a delightful opportunity there.

    1. Cath in Canada*

      I love Mondegreens!

      The best one that’s happened to me in real life wasn’t a song lyric, but a misunderstanding with a colleague. The other grad student in my lab in Glasgow was called Mike, but everyone called him Mikey Boy. One day I was walking through our building’s main lobby area towards the stairs to the lab area. The bike racks were right outside the glass doors of the lobby. Our IT guy was standing by the doors, coat on, and looking at his watch. As I approached him, he said something to me.

      What he actually said: “If you see that Mikey Boy upstairs, can you tell him to move his fat arse?”

      What I heard: “See that bike of yours outside? You can tell it’s made for a fat arse”

    2. Al Lo*

      This may get me sent to moderation, but my favorite personal mondegreen is from Train’s “Soul Sister”. For the longest time, instead of “Like a virgin, you’re Madonna,” I heard “Like a bird in your vagina.”

      Yes, as an adult. And I knew it couldn’t possibly be right, but the earworm got stuck, and now the song makes me giggle every time I hear it.

      1. Anon*

        Hehehe! I’m so late to this, but mine is Alanis Mortisette –

        “like a death row hard on, a minute too late”

        made perfect sense to me till I saw the real lyrics at karaoke *blushes*

  43. No Energy!*

    Can someone give advice for having no energy? I take B vitamins, a multivitamin and Iron. I drink lots of water and caffeine. I do have 2 medical conditions that can cause some lack of energy, but I think my tiredness is excessive even with those 2 conditions. On top of it, I have depression, which I know also is a major energy sucker.

    So I just wondered if anyone can share any energy secrets, maybe something that worked for you better than you expected, or something that not many people know about? I have a child and I really feel like I am not being the best mom to my kid because I am exhausted all the time.

    1. brightstar*

      How’s your diet? With everything you have going on, eating well can be the first thing to go. I found when I cut down on carbs, my energy level went through the roof. Are you able to exercise at all? That also helps increase energy levels, though with medical conditions and depression it can be hard to get started, if your doctor has okayed your exercising.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Are your vitamins from natural sources? Synthetic vitamins can work well at first then over time pull you down. Multi’s can be a real culprit here.

      If you can lose the caffeine that might help. I do too much coffee myself. But for each cuppa, we lose soooo much water. It’s as if we never drank any water. Tying into that make sure your bowels are working each day. Preferably 2-3 times a day. Constipation does a real number on the human body and the mind. It will mess a person up, each time, every time. (Personal stuff, sorry. But this is something that is not discussed much and is absolutely important.)

      Limit how much news you read/view. When you do read chose things that are positive or proactive. What we put into our brains on a regular is hugely important.

      Eat simplier foods, the more ingredients, the more steps in the making means the harder and harder it is for your body to break it down and use the nutrition. Certian foods can be a real downer.

      Check out allergies. I had allergies that put me flat on my back, sleeping way too much. Chemical allergies do me in the quickest. I changed over to natural cleaners in my house and the results were almost instant.

      This last one is hard. Do you have a negative person in your life who is just pulling you down every time you see/speak to her/him? Watch out for people who want to suck energy out of you. This one is tough because for me it ended up being people that I care about.

      Probably it is no one thing zapping your energy. Use a multi-way approach by investigating a couple things at a time. For me relief came incrementally. Getting rid of the chemical cleaners in my house gave me bit more energy which meant I could build more salads. The raw foods gave me a bit more energy so I could do something else. It just kept going like that.

    3. BRR*

      On top of everything else how are you sleeping? Not just how long but the quality. I get 8ish hours however I get up a lot (bathroom toss and turn), when I don’t wake up every two hours I feel better than I usually do.

      1. maybes*

        This. Found out I had sleep apnea, having it treated has made a huge difference in my energy level.

    4. BB*

      I agree with cutting down on caffeine. You may need to gradually change your diet. What are you eating right now? Is it healthy? Do you eat junk food and fast food? Is there a lot of sugar in your diet? I’ve heard that people feel a lot better once they start eating healthy.

      1. No Energy!*

        I have awful eating habits. Not to make excuses, but the tiredness makes my cravings crazy. But that’s just a part of it; obviously, I am not making good eating decisions.

        Did you really feel better after cutting down on caffeiene? And how did you accomplish that?

        1. BB*

          I actually don’t drink caffeine but I do think it’s affecting your energy levels along with your diet. I think that once you start eating healthier, it will be easier for you to cut back on caffeine. What kinds of beverages are you drinking for caffeine? Is it something from starbucks or similar? The combination of caffeine and sugar is not good for you or anyone at all. If you need caffeine, for now, try tea. The sugar gives you a quick burst of energy but then you soon crash.

          For your diet, if you don’t have time to cook, locate a supermarket like Whole Foods. Buy something ready-made. Eat some fruits for sugar instead.

          1. Stephanie*

            Also, on the sugar thing, I’d look into the type of sugar you’re consuming. Things with a really high glycemic index (white pasta/breads/rice, highly processed sugars, fruit juices with added sweeteners/no pulp) will make my blood sugar levels go all wonky and cause headaches and fatigue.

        2. BB*

          I used to work at a children’s nonprofit. The director had someone come in from the health dept at the county office who taught the kids and the employees about how to eat healthy. She told us that if you can’t buy fresh fruits and vegetables, buy frozen since they are usually picked and flash frozen while fresh. That’s another thing I would recommend. If you don’t have time to cook, buy frozen vegetables. You don’t need a bunch of ingredients to cook a dish or side dish. Also use olive oil when cooking.

          1. No Energy!*

            You’re right, I often reach for sugary caffeinated drinks. Thank you so much for your tips and encouragement. I really appreciate it. It gives me hope.

            1. TheSnarkyB*

              One thing that really helped me with this came about when I realized I was too dependent on caffeine. I couldn’t even fully enjoy a vacation around Christmas time bc I woke up in a cabin without any access to coffee and was really wonky for hours after waking up every day. So instead of cutting out coffee, I tried switching to Chai. I don’t make it right/authentically bc I can’t/don’t know how/don’t want to put the time into it, but it always felt like a more steady caffeine source than the coffee spike.
              So what I do is I brew 2 bags of spiced chai (like Twinings ultra spice or Yogi Chai) in hot water (like 16oz), add a little half & half, no sugar, and drink. I would have like 2-3 of these per day instead of 4 cups of coffee or espresso (grad school), and still be able to get tired when I wanted to fall asleep. It also helped because I tend to reach for carbs or sugary things when I need an energy boost bc the immediate effect reinforces the idea that they’re the best/quickest ways to wake up. But… bad cycle.

              TL;DR Try Chai for caffeine replacement/quick NRG

    5. Elysian*

      I know it seems counter-intuitive, but have you tried exercising? When I’m regularly exercising I find I get better, deeper sleep and that helps me feel well rested.

      1. Trixie*


        It may be rough going at first but eventually you’ll come to depend on some kind of movement to give you energy.

      2. CoffeeLover*


        Exercise has been shown to help with sleep and to significantly improve depression. Definitely worth giving a go.

    6. fposte*

      Nobody else has belabored the obvious, so I will. Do you actually get enough sleep, or is this an attempt to make up for a sleep deficit? Do you have to do kid duty in the night, and can you pass it on to somebody else for a while? Can you get to bed earlier? Are you turning off screen stuff–TV, computer, phone–well before bedtime?

      1. No Energy!*

        Yep, have to do kid duty at night! It is exhausting! Some nights it goes on for hours! I get a break once in a while, and it helps. I’ve never tried the no tv/computer/phone well before bedtime. I’ll try it, though it sounds like you have to have a lot of discipline to do that :)

    7. ClaireS*

      Everyone’s already given some great tips, I just want to commiserate and provide support. I was on some energy-zapping meds for a while and it’s exhausting being so exhausted all the time; it’s so frustrating.

      I hope you find something (or many things) that work. One thing you may want to do is talk to your doctor. Adjusting your meds may be an option.

      Good luck.

    8. Loose Seal*

      Have you had your blood levels checked? I consistently am super-low on Vitamin D and, before I got that under control, I was so tired all the time. It felt like I was moving through peanut butter. I wasn’t sleepy but it was such an effort to move my body. Frankly, it was almost a little scary that I was so lethargic. I take 2000 units of vitamin D every day now under orders from my doctor since my body does not seem to absorb it properly and I feel so much better now (although it did take three months or so to get back to normal).

      I am not a doctor (obviously) but it might be worth explaining your tiredness to your doctor and asking for a complete blood work-up. If I recall correctly, the vitamin D panel was ordered specifically; it’s separate from the general bloodwork.

      1. Lamington*

        Same here, my Vitamin D was super low, so when I complained about being tired or maybe having thyroid issues the lack of vitamin D was the culprit. I also start seeing an acupuncturist and the combination of acupuncture and the herbs has helped with my metabolism as well.

    9. Sadsack*

      Alive Once Daily Women’s Ultra Potency! I started taking it a few weeks ago and wow I can’t believe the energy I have. I didn’t take any vitamins prior, so it was a significant change that I noticed right away. I have adjusted to them now and don’t feel the energy surge when I take them like I did at first, but I feel energetic over all and more inclined to do chores after work. I got mine in my local health food store, but they are also available online.

  44. Not So NewReader*

    Looking for a good source of cheap printer ink.

    I have been buying my ink online and saving big bucks. But, of late I have been disappointed in the product and would like to find a new source.

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a place that is really good?

    1. Gene*

      I finally gave up on inkjet printers. I don’t print a lot at home, and pretty much every time I wanted to print something, a nozzle would be clogged or dried out. I bought a Brother all-in-one monochrome laser printer and a year or so later am still on the toner that came with it. Lower cost of printing, nothing dries out, it sits there in deep sleep mode until I hit print.

      If I really need a color print, I’ll head to Kinkos or the like.

    2. Nicole*

      I own a Brother laser printer as well which I purchased 10+ years ago. I’ve changed the toner only a handful of times and I print daily. It will save you so much money unless you need to print photos. In that case, sorry, I can’t recommend an ink place.

  45. Cath in Canada*

    I just got home from watching the women’s rugby world cup final. England (where I was born and raised and lived until I was 24) beat Canada (where I’ve chosen to spend most of my adult life) in a really good game. I’m very grateful that my two countries usually excel at different sports – talk about mixed emotions! This dual citizenship lark is hard sometimes!

    (I was cheering for England because I can’t not cheer for England at rugby, but I would have been happy if Canada won, too. It’s complicated).

  46. CollegeAdmin*

    Late to the party: Has anyone done a Keratin treatment on their hair? Would you recommend it?

    1. Dang*

      I haven’t done Keratin but I’ve done Tressla and I don’t recommend that particular treatment- it helped with frizz but not straightening, which was what i was after.

    2. Mimmy*

      I’ve been getting the Keratin treatment about once a year. Usually, it lasts several months and looks really good. This time around, I don’t think it held as long.

      I think it works well if you are vigilant about the slight restrictions during those first 72 hours (don’t get it wet, no ponytail) and if you’re careful about using sulfate-free hair products. The treatment is pricey, though.

      1. Beth Anne*

        I’d love to get some kind of straightening treatment but know nothing about them and don’t want to screw up my hair but straightening my hair all the time gets old!

  47. just a girl*

    I did and I love it! Sets me back like $400+ with tip. I do it every 5 months. It makes my curly hair less frizzy. If you flat iron or blow dry your hair straight, it’s supposed to make the job easier. I just wear my hair curly.

  48. Shell*

    Etiquette question for parents: do you think it’s necessary for your kids to “introduce” their guests? Does the duration of the stay affect your answer? Does whether or not it’s an SO affect your answer?

    My brother brought a woman home yesterday when he was stopping by to grab something (both of us live at home–we’re Asian, it’s pretty typical for Asian families). They said a very brief hi to me as they passed since I was reading in the living room. My mother ducked into her room to change out of PJs since there was a stranger in the house, but she didn’t catch them again before my brother and the woman left, and my brother did not introduce who this person was.

    Relevant: my brother is in a long-distance relationship. (I’m also in a relationship, but not LD.) And my parents fit the stereotype of interdependence seen in a lot of Asian families, although my brother and I–being gen 1.5-ers–are much more private. It’s a regular source of chagrin for my parents.

    My parents (both mom and dad) asked my brother about who that person was after he came home, and he said it was his girlfriend. My parents thought it was very rude of my brother to not introduce her and that we should introduce visitors (“especially since this is your GF!!!” they said emphatically.) My parents think that Brother should’ve introduced her (since she’s LD, none of us really know her or know what she looks like), and said “bye, we’re going now” on their way out. It is a Very Big Deal to them. In fact, this mysterious visitor was such a source of curiosity and speculation for my mother that she fretted to me about whether my brother was cheating on his GF (I told my mother in great detail how ridiculous she was being with that assumption) until she finally got to ask Brother who the woman was.

    Both Brother and my default reaction is “this is not a big deal.” I mean, if the person was sitting around the house for an hour of course we’d introduce them, whether it’s a friend or an SO, but honestly…they were in and out in five minutes. Were they supposed to wait around until my parents finished changing to properly say hi/goodbye? If my dad had been out in the yard, should they have searched for him to introduce him to the girlfriend? Is greeting one parent enough, or must it be both? (I’m aware this may differ by family, it’s rhetorical.) If it’s a long stay, sure, but for a quick stop I just thought the level of formality was ridiculous even if she didn’t come by very much.

    This isn’t a hill I (nor my brother) want to die on so yeah, we’ll go along, I just thought I’d ask the rest of folks on here. Do you expect your kids to introduce everyone, whether it’s SO or friend, pit-stop or long stay, or whatever?

    1. Diet Coke Addict*

      My parents would have found it Extremely Weird if I’d had someone over–even briefly–and didn’t introduce them. And honestly, I would have, too–whether as the result of my parents’ expectations, or just because yes, I would find it very weird to have someone in the house not introduced to my parents when they saw them. I have to say I would have found it very weird for your brother not to introduce his girlfriend to his family–yes, even though she’s long-distance. Even if she was only there for a few minutes.

      It’s possible to your parents it’s an issue of respect. My in-laws are also very traditional southeast Asian, and they would have also found it very disrespectful to have someone in the house who wasn’t introduced to them, even for a few minutes. I think that’s pretty typical for their whole social circle as well, because my husband and I regularly get introduced to people who are only stopping by their house for a few minutes or whose houses we are stopping by.

      So yes, I would say I’d find it quite weird and my parents would have found it very rude as well. A quick poll of my husband says the same.

    2. Student*

      Only mentioning my ethnicity since you seem to be interested in the cultural side of other perspectives: I’m white, 2nd+ generation American, of mixed eastern European decent.

      My parents would be livid if I happened by with a boyfriend but didn’t introduce him to them. They would be annoyed if I did this with a friend, but furious if it was a mate or potential mate.

      In response to this, I DO NOT bring boyfriends over to the house unless everyone involved is prepared to meet and warned ahead of time. My husband didn’t meet my parents for several months into our relationship. Many of the casual boyfriends of my youth were never mentioned to my parents, and others were mentioned but never met them.

      That said, my parents are very fixated on mates for their children. They care about having grand-kids, and evaluated all boyfriends purely from the view of him being a prospective father to their grandchildren. They didn’t really account for how irrational this expectation was, especially when I was still in middle/high school. My parents’ behavior was (understandably) alarming to any guy who wasn’t practically a fiance. Keeping my parents away from my boyfriends was a defensive maneuver to protect myself and my boyfriend. I don’t know if there is any similar dynamic going on with your parents, but it might help you to contemplate what their motivations might be. It might be worth trying to talk to your parents to dial down their expectations, if you and your brother are dating people casually instead of searching for life-partners right now.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I would not have dared to bring someone into the house without introducing them to my folks. Even as a adult, it still would have been a no-no. But I would have been told about it in a more adult manner than when I was a kid.

      There are numerous reasons: privacy, personal security, interest, formality, etc. Not all the reasons are a big negative.

      Sadly, I have grown into that adult. If someone is in my house, I want to be introduced to them and at least know their first name.

      My rule of thumb was that if there wasn’t time for introductions and small talk then don’t stop at the house.

      My family is of northern European heritage, if that helps.

    4. kas*

      Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a big deal if he at least gave them a heads up? I never bring someone by without letting my family know beforehand, even if it’s last minute. For one, I want to make sure they’re decent and two I just think it’s polite to do so. They don’t really care about formal introductions but they at least want to know who is in the house. However, since your parents have never met your brother’s girlfriend, I definitely think he should have introduced her. If it was just a friend it would be different but since it’s his SO I can understand their point of view.

    5. FD*

      Personally, if I’m bringing one person into another person’s space, I introduce them. If at all possible, I also give them an advance heads-up. I would find it a little bit odd to have someone in my apartment who hadn’t been briefly introduced to me.

    6. Shell*

      Interesting! Looks like my brother and I are the minority in this one. (For the record, I’d been talked to previously for a similar issue–not that I didn’t introduce my SO, but that I didn’t go “Mom/Dad, SO is leaving now!” and the SO subsequently saying goodbye before he left.)

      Both my brother and I are of the age where my parents are starting to fret about life partners (mid-late 20s), but this seems more like a culture thing than a thing about SOs (although the SO part may make it more emphatic). Or maybe not a culture thing since a spread of cultures/backgrounds unanimously agreed with my parents on this one.

      I consider myself appropriately schooled. Thanks, all.

    7. CoffeeLover*

      Eastern European culture here. It would be very rude and unusual to bring someone into the house and not introduce them. That being said, when my brother was living at home, he had his girlfriend stop by in the evening and told my parents he wasn’t ready for them to meet her. They respected that and let them do their own thing. Honestly, I think it’s weirder not to introduce friends because there’s no added pressure in the meeting :P.

      Also, I’m in a committed relationship now and have shifted all the “when will you find someone” pressure to my brother. haHA! ;)

    8. The Other Dawn*

      I believe anyone who comes to the house for the first time should be introduced to the household members. I think it would be rude to not introduce them, and kind of weird for the person coming into the house for the first time. I don’t think ethnicity, culture, etc. has anything to do with it; it’s just good manners.

    9. Anonsie*

      I’m with you. I’d say it was strange to bring her inside if he didn’t want to introduce her, considering she’s someone important. I’d think just saying “this is my girlfriend soandso” to whoever they actually came across (rather than hunting people down) would have been sufficient, though. If they didn’t think introducing her to your parents was a good idea at this point, it would have been fine for her to hang outside for a few minutes– assuming this is preferable to her as well, not just your brother.

      However, I suspect more of what’s going on is that your brother knew/feared your parents would make a bigger deal out of it than he wanted to make, but he felt rude leaving her outside as well. Since it was indeed a Very Big Deal for your parents, I can see that he may have wanted to skip the big formalities this time even though it made it a little weird. I see this happen constantly with my friends who are (I like your term here) 1.5gen-ers with Asian families as they try to establish different boundaries.

  49. Late Dater*

    Remember me from a few weeks ago with the flower story? I’m back with more news. Well I haven’t gotten any flowers yet BUT we did meet in person for the first time last weekend and went on a date. And I didn’t die or get murdered or any of that other crazy stuff. (I for real had a friend tell me meeting this guy in person was the craziest thing I ever did)

    It was the best date I have ever been on :) he was the perfect gentleman, paid for everything, opened doors, let me go first ,etc. We went to an amusement park (ha) but it was A LOT of fun. I haven’t scared him off yet he’s still talking to me and he’s planning to come visit me soon and then I’ll go visit him and we’ll see what happens :)

    1. CoffeeLover*

      Plenty of people meeting others online. Don’t listen to your friend. There’s still a bit of a social stigma around it in some circles, but I think it’s awesome and makes sense in our world of busy lives. Besides, you have just as much of a chance of meeting a creep through the conventional dating channels :P.

      I’m happy it went well for you! All the best, and keep us up to date :). I’ve got some personal bliss as well since my LD love has just flown across an ocean to come visit me :).

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Ditto from me. A good friend of ours met his other half online. They have been together for over 15 years now. Back then you did not talk about how you met each other! ha! What difference does it make? These are two very, very happy people. It makes the rest of us smile, too!

    2. EG*

      Yay for you! I met my husband online and we’re going on 6 years now. I think we communicate a lot via email and text during the work week because we did so well with this method while dating. Sort of the modern equivalent of love letters.

      1. Late Dater*

        Yeah :) I’m not anti-online dating at all. My sister met her husband online….and I have tons of friends that met their spouses online. The weird thing was this friend has done online dating and has gone on a few first dates with guys she met online…but I guess she’s never talked to anyone long-distance so the idea of traveling to meet up is crazy to her.

        I’m really hopeful about the whole thing :) Thanks for letting me check in here :)

  50. ThursdaysGeek*

    I wanted to get on earlier, while everyone else was still on. We had our annual church youth campout on Friday night/Saturday morning, and I didn’t sleep until all the teens were gone. The rest of the weekend has been recovery from that not sleeping. We painted my car with all colors of poster paints: hand prints, foot prints, splatters, drawings, cat foot prints, and lip prints, and I’m looking forward to driving it to work tomorrow. It is totally cool!

  51. LF*

    Chiming in belatedly on Monday to say that I got one of those woolen cat caves that Alison has for the kitties and it is super adorable with the cat in it!! The cat has only gone into it once so far, though… so I’m wondering what I can do to make it more attractive to her?

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      Catnip? That’s what I use to make something new more attractive to my cats. It does depend on how they react to it. Ideally, your cat is the kind that curls up and goes to sleep when exposed to catnip.

      1. LF*

        Unfortunately, my cat’s eyes just get really wide and she gets the zooms when she uses catnip! I should try it anyway and see if she’ll play in the cat cave.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      There seems to be a range of preferences in how cats use them! Lucy loves to go inside, but Olive likes to sleep on top of it. You could try luring her in with a toy or a little catnip and see what happens! Also, make sure the size is large enough for her; Olive definitely wouldn’t fit in the smaller size anymore, even if she didn’t prefer sleeping on top of it.

  52. Mints*

    Okay, I’m super late to the party. I’ll post this as brainstorming for stragglers, and I’ll try to post early next Sunday.

    I’m looking for book recommendations featuring happy realistic couples/marriages. I read the Time Traveler’s Wife recently and overall really enjoyed it. It made me realize I read so few books with long term couples. I also generally read lots of fantasy, so most protagonists are loners, but I’m open to any genre. Just books (that are otherwise interesting and well written, hopefully) with healthy modern couples.

    Thanks everyone!

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      How modern? Do you like mysteries? I really love Dorothy Sayers with her Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet characters. Although, perhaps it just seems like a long-term marriage because it takes so many books. :)

  53. Canadamber*

    Been reading a lot of r/nosleep on Reddit lately. Anyone else read this sub, or am I the only one? :)

    Also, blah, anxiety. I’m thinking about seeing if I can get a formal diagnosis because I’m pretty damn sure I have it mildly (even my doctor suggested that I might a few years ago, and being as how I have been formally diagnosed with Tourette’s, then that’s already on the “spectrum” of anxiety disorders) and I kind of want to be able to talk to a therapist, too, because of some issues I’ve been having… Should I? I feel like that would be weird.

    Also, starting university in September! Yay! :) I’m staying home for it, but I am still so nervous!

    1. Stephanie*

      Therapist could be helpful, especially since you’re about to start university (yay!). University can be stressful. Unsure if this is the case in Canada, but it’s pretty common for universities in the US to offer on-campus counseling. Maybe you could see what your school offers?

      1. Canadamber*

        Hmmm, good point! I’m at a satellite campus that shares with a college, and the university students at this campus get all the same services that the college students do, so I may actually check into that. :) Thanks for suggesting it!

        1. Felicia*

          On campus couselling is great! I did it for all 4 years and it was super helpful. Also if you get a referral from a doctor to see a psychiatrist, that’s fully covered by OHIP, if you want to go that route.

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