Sunday free-for-all – October 19, 2014

Olive with skeletonIt’s the weekend 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. (This one is truly non-work only; if you have a work question, you can email it to me or post it in the work-related open thread on Fridays.)

Have at it.

{ 643 comments… read them below }

  1. Gingerbread*

    AM I REALLY THE FIRST TO COMMENT?!?! Anyway, hi. Who else is excited to watch cheesy, scary movies this month? I already have my DVR ready to record all the Halloween/Michael Myers movies.

    1. CoffeeLover*

      I love, love, love Halloween movies! I’m also really excited for the Simpson’s Halloween special. It’s always good fun :).

    2. Rebecca*

      The original Halloween movie still scares me in certain parts, even though I’ve seen it many times over the years. I might have to look that one up again.

      1. Kitty*

        Hey! Shout -out to a fellow-Wri-Mo, good luck! I’ve done it (successfully) the last eight years, but I’m taking off this year to edit my last three novels.

    3. Steve G*

      Yes! And in case no one else is aware of these, I want to share some of my favorites:

      1) Campfire tales, 1991 and 1997 versions, completely different stories
      2) Sleepaway Camp, 1983 and 1988. 2nd one is about the crazy girl from the 1st one growing up and then becoming a sadistic counselor at another camp
      3) Nightmares, 1983…collection of 4 short horror stories (well 1 or 2 aren’t really horror, but are more Tales from the Dark Side type stories)

    4. Clever Name*

      You have to go to a screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show, especially if you haven’t been before. The movie itself is pretty terrible, but the screenings are pretty fun. People dress up. Stuff is thrown at the screen. Good clean fun. :)

      1. Gingerbread*

        That sounds like it’d be a lot of fun. I’m going to find out if there’s an upcoming showing near me.

    5. VintageLydia USA*

      I don’t like scary movies but I have the Hocus Pocus BluRay coming in the mail (it’ll be here Tuesday!) and I already have Rocky Horror. Practical Magic and a few other non-scary Halloween/Fall movies and shows are queued up in my Netflix/Prime/Hulu lists.

    6. Scott*

      I like more psychological thriller type movies than hack and slash. Among my favorites: The Others with Nicole Kidman, Repulsion with Catherine Deneuve (sp?) and Jacob’s Ladder with Tim Robbins and the recently deceased Elizabeth Pena. Anyone else have any films of this type to recommend?

    7. HR Manager*

      Count me in – it’s one of the reasons October is my favorite month of the year. I was looking for horror movies as of October 1st. I’ve been a wee bit disappointed though, as it seems like the channels would much rather show the same movie 5 times than put 5 different bad horror movies on. I mean, how many times can you watch “Freddy vs Jason” in a month?

    1. louise*

      Worst: We got a dog from the shelter a few weeks ago, but knew we’d have to take her back for a heartworm injection and leave her a few days. Well, did so this week and it was hard! Felt weird not to have her here and felt terrible to know she has in a difficult place.

      Best: we got her back yesterday and our boxer was excited to see her and she was so excited to be back at our house–before she even got off the leash, she popped up onto the leather ottoman she’d claimed previously and curled into a little ball. She knows this is home! Now we just have to keep her calm for a month as she recovers from the heartworm tx…

      1. Dan*

        When you said “popped”, I couldn’t tell if you misspelled “pooped.” I took mine to a friend’s for the weekend a couple of weeks ago. I walked him a couple of times before we went and he wouldn’t do #2. He’s potty trained. I get down to her place, walk in the door, and the first thing he does is go #2 on her kitchen floor. Does that mean he knows where home is? He goes there every so often for weekend+ stays. Good thing she’s a softie for dogs.

        1. louise*

          Ha! No, she doesn’t poop on her ottoman; she poops right in front of our TV! We gotta figure out what to do about that. :/

          1. Not So NewReader*

            You might have luck putting a dog bed right there. A healthy animal won’t usually poop where it sleeeps. My last dog got house trained fast, except for occasionally pooping in the den. I put a cheap dog bed in the area the he used and his confusion stopped, no more accidents.

        1. louise*

          Best of luck with yours! There’s nothing like the adoring look they give you as they realize they are really home.

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Congratulations on your rescue!!! Poor little thing– heartworm treatments are really awful. Watching them go through that is heart-wrenching, but just know that she knows she’s loved now, and it’s ok. Keeping her calm will be hard, but she might take a while to recover from the excitement of rescue– our dog slept constantly for about three months. :) If she doesn’t sleep, give her some good stuff to chew.

        Also, see my post below– if she’s not chipped, ask the vet to do it ASAP. Threads collide!

      3. Jazzy Red*

        I had a lot of trouble keeping my dog quiet after the heartworm treatment. They said to leave him in his crate (it’s a wire type, he pooped in the crate, tore up the rug, and bent the frame trying to get out). Then I put him in the bathroom and went bezerk when I came home. I figured that he’d stay calmer if I just left him out when I went to work, and that’s what I did for the next 6 weeks. That was 6 years ago, and he’s still healthy and fine!

    2. Gene*

      Best – Today is our 17th Anniversary.

      Worst – Dinner was over $100. (hey, it’s been a good week.)

      1. Dan*

        I’m jealous. Where I live, I can’t get a decent dinner+drinks for that price on a “normal” occasion. $100 for a “special” dinner is a steal.

        1. Clever Name*

          Yeah. Same here. Unless you do fast-casual or fast food (or I suppose Chilis), that’s how much a meal and drinks costs.

    3. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

      Best: got to spend heaps of time with my little brother — he’s 12 and lives an 8-hour flight away so I don’t get to see him anywhere as much as I would like.

      Worst: today is the last day of 3.5 weeks of vacation and I am in no way prepared to go back to work tomorrow :(

      1. Dan*

        Heh. By American standards, I get a lot of vacation/holiday time. (4 Weeks.) I tend to blow all of my leave in one shot, traveling abroad. At 2 weeks, I get the feeling of “yup, need to be gone longer.” At three weeks, I get the feeling of “ok, could go home now.” At four weeks, even sitting on the beach, I really feel like, “Yup, can’t wait to get back home.”

        I like my job, so it’s not something I have to perpetually escape from.

    4. Stephanie*

      Best: Had two phone screens this week. No guarantee that they’ll lead anywhere, but it was still a bit of a confidence boost.

      Worst: I probably need to be kept away from keyboards. I spilled water on the office desktop keyboard and it shorted out. Let it dry, but it’s shot. I was using the office desktop because the some of the keys on my laptop have shorted out such that it’s not very usable (it’s still under warranty, but it’s a been a headache getting the warranty repair arranged).

      1. Dan*

        It should be a confidence builder. At the very least, it means your resume doesn’t look like shit. People don’t phone screen resumes just for kicks and grins. And more than one means it’s better than random chance that yours got picked out of the pile.

        As far as the keyboards go, maybe you could focus on ME jobs in the field instead of the office. Not sure how many are out there, but fingers crossed.

        Send me your address, and I just might order a keyboard cover from Amazon for you.

      2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        YAY phone screens

        Re: laptop and keyboards. I had to disable my relatively new laptop’s keyboard (less than 6 months old at the time) and throw a standard cheapo keyboard on top of it because some of the laptop keys were shorted. (I am also brutal on keyboards and the short is probably me and not them.)

        I cursed for about 48 hours and then I got used to it and am perfectly happy. Hey bigger keys.

        So this is a problem that is solvable for about $10 (cheapo keyboard) and 48 hours of cursing.

        1. Stephanie*

          Ha, I’m still in the cursing stage. I couldn’t figure out why there was this dull ache in my trapezius, until I realized it was the configuration of the keyboard and my laptop.

      3. Mimmy*

        You and me both!!! I went through several keyboards with my last PC because I kept spilling water on them. So far with my iMac desktop, I’ve been spill-free, save for a couple of drippy glasses and crumbs from snacks.

    5. Ann Furthermore*

      Best: Finished preparing for software testing that starts next week. I was able to do 2 dry runs and fix a few hiccups, and hopefully that will help things run more smoothly. I feel like I’m as prepared as I can be.

      Worst: Got my first “I hate you!!” from my 5 year old daughter, after she misbehaved before bedtime and I cancelled story time. When she said that, I calmly replied with, “Well, I don’t like you very much right now either, so we’re even,” which pissed her off even more.

      1. CoffeeLover*

        I remember the only time I said I hate you to my dad (I was probably around 12), he got so sad that I never said it again. I felt terrible and remember it to this day :P. Just thought I’d throw that nostalgic story in there.

        1. Windchime*

          I would just say, “Well, that’s a hurtful thing to say.” I think that my kids might have said it to me once or twice and that’s it.

    6. CoffeeLover*

      Best: Got a job (which I already thoroughly bragged about in Friday’s open thread), but it also means I can get the ball rolling on a lot of other great things like my vacation with the family to Hawaii, my trip to Europe to visit the boyfriend, applying for graduation, and looking for apartments. This was a great week :D.

      Worst: The entire week preceding the offer wondering if I would ever get a job and seeing my life as a mess of uncertainty. Employers have way too much control of our happiness :P.

      1. nep*

        Congratulations. Enjoy.
        (I get what you mean — but truth is, none but ourselves has control over our happiness.)

    7. Jen RO*

      Best: Got together with old friends last night. I remember how a few years ago they were bumming it at the seaside with zero money in their pockets… and now they’re all in IT, making good salaries and thinking about buying apartments!

      Worst: Too much beer, too many cigarettes, too much tossing and turning = headache. I hope it goes away soon.

    8. Stacy*

      Best & worst. Well, it’s been a dramatic week. I’ve mentioned in a couple of these threads that I’ve been dealing with some domestic violence issues lately. So my week has been complicated to say the least.

      Worst: my petition to keep the protection order in place was denied. And the DV world is not exactly geared toward LGBT populations., even though it happens in all types of relationships & demographics. So frustrating.

      Best: um…the week is almost over? And now I can start moving forward on my divorce. Also, I have some really great friends & I’m doing a pretty good job of figuring out who my true friends are and who just needs to be removed from my life going forward.

      I sure know how to liven up a conversation these days!

    9. Billy*

      Best : Got my car fixed for free

      Worst : I really need a significant other. A girlfriend is lacking in my life,and I’m hoping I can change that.

    10. Carrie in Scotland*

      Best: I have some great friends. I now know I like French onion soup. I woke up the other day and realised that actually, I feel ok (it’s been a tough few months).

      Worst: Continually slow at work. Must write 1500 words by Thursday.

    11. ExceptionToTheRule*

      Best: The Kansas City Royals won the AL Pennant!!
      Worst: my male cat with FLUTD had to have a perineal urethrostomy to prevent further urinary blockages.

    12. Emily shaw*

      Best: I finally got myself to a yoga class on Friday and it was the best thing I did for myself all week. I followed it with a cardio dance class on Saturday that was also fun even though I usually have no clue what the steps are supposed to be.

      Worst: work has been really stressful and I barely slept last night. And then I got more stressed thinking about how little sleep I was going to get. Hoping a follow up yoga class today helps.

    13. Jake*

      Best: I was officially promoted this week.

      Worst: I’m originally from the Midwest, and I am currently on the east coast. When I moved out here my best friend happened to live 25 minutes away. A few weeks ago he moved back to the Midwest. I talked to him for the first time since the move on Friday, and it has dawned on my wife and me that we live 800 miles from anybody we’ve known for more than a year. It was a realization that caused a lot of guilt and loneliness.

    14. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Best: I’m finally starting to meet people in our new home! This week I went to an amazing wine tasting dinner on Thursday (sans bf), a doggy playdate yesterday, and today we have brunch plans with a couple we met two weeks ago.

      Worst: I realized I really, really want a new job, so I have to start looking. It’s not the worst thing ever, but it’s not fun. Blech.

    15. Jordi*

      Best: I had 4 vacation days this week to go home for Canadian thanksgiving (I’m Canadian living in USA) and I came back with a nice supply of Canadian chocolate bars for Halloween

      Worst: Spilled coffee on my laptop and it instantly shut down. Took it in to see if it can be fixed but I’m afraid it’s fried.

    16. Mimmy*

      Best: Hooked up with a classmate to work on a field research project. We’ve only spoken by phone, but I can already tell she’s a really awesome person. We share a lot of the same frustrations about the class.

      Worst: Nothing really.

    17. Steve G*

      2 bests:

      1) The recruiter from my potential dream job started email tag with me about a bunch of stuff, which is great timing, since my company is going through a restructure and I’m not interested in “my” new job.
      2) Doctor’s results came back and found out a lot of my medical issues are tied to low functioning thyroid + started medication. Great to know exactly what is causing problems.

      Underestimating how hard one of the trails was in PA at hawk mountain in Kempton… was like 3 hours climbing stairs!!! And the paths weren’t dirt, but huge rocks with gaps in between, not really a path!

    18. brightstar*

      The weather is beautiful and I have David Bowie playing this morning while I do very little. The best part of my week was the director of the division I work in stopping me to tell me I’m doing “an amazing job”.

      Worst part of the week was finding out a former co-worker passed away.

    19. Steph*

      Worst: At work they announced this potential bonus for anyone that does 15 extra hours of billable work this year beyond their schedule time. PTO counts against this, and I have a scheduled vacation for 1.5 weeks in November for my sister’s wedding in Maui. Only this quarter counts apparently, so even though I pulled extra hours covering for my coworkers this summer and will likely work more than 15 extra this quarter, I am screwed out of the program.

      Second worst: my daughter got the stomach bug yesterday and managed to puke on me (not herself, not my husband) 6 times yesterday before noon.

      Best: the fact that my vacation is two weeks away, maybe? Not a good week.

      1. Camellia*

        Hah! Yet another way to give employees vacation time and yet try to force them not to take it. You have my sympathy.

    20. Audiophile*

      I’m going to cheat a little and have two bests: saw Amy Schumer live last night and have a phone interview this week for a communications job.
      Worst: Had to $120 and plead guilty to two moving violations.

    21. kf*

      Best – Being offered a new job!
      Worst – Homework. (It is my last quarter but there is still so much homework!)

    22. VintageLydia USA*

      Best: Discovered ALL of our parents are coming up for my son’s birthday party AND staying at the house (I love hosting people!)

      Worst: The whole family came down with the WORST cold. Mr. Vintage was hoping to take advantage of the gorgeous weather to finish up some work on the house before it got too cold but we spent all day yesterday vegging on the couch with take out. Got some work done today but he might’ve been finished with it all if he was able to work yesterday.

    23. Kyrielle*

      Best: Got family photographs done at the park, then let the boys play – they had a blast!

      Worst: two-way tie (on the same day):
      * Getting a 6 am call from work on my personal cell
      * Waking up from my nap to discover that one of the boys (probably the youngest) had dumped an entire thing of herbes de provence all over the carpet (luckily in a small spot) while my husband was busy. Sigh. That was, literally, a new bottle opened this morning.

    24. Trixie*

      Best: Started new volunteer position on np board which looks great on resume and if anyone googles my name. Quarterly meetings means minimal work unless I want to really dig into a project.

      Worst: Discovered small blemish on brand new item I’m trying to sell on CL. Hoping to fix/repair.

    25. Relosa*

      Best: finally committing to moving to LA – life circumstances all aligned at the same time … I buy my plane ticket next week! Even better because after both Big Dog and Helga (car) were badly injured this summer, I could only afford to repair one (Big Dog won :) Helga has now gone on to car heaven, and I thought that was a nail in my coffin for sure. NOPE.

      Worst: I don’t have a job or a place to stay – LAWDDDDD help me. I am not super worried about work; I am super worried about OMG I HAVE TWO MONTHS TO FIND A PLACE GAHHHHHHH.

    26. Liz*

      Worst. Taking my 6 year old Scotty to ER vet today. Very sick, came on suddenly, and may be bone marrow cancer. If so, I have made the decision to go ahead and have her put down. I will not slow her to suffer. Will find out more tomorrow, she is being kept overnight.

      Best. Celebrating my best friends’ birthday with her yesterday.

      1. Liz*

        Oops, meant allow. Grr on autocorrect, plus emotionally exhausted, so please forgive my grammatical error.

        1. Phyllis*

          Sorry to hear this. One of our dogs had cancer and had to be put down. She was 13, and had had a good life, but it’s like losing one of your kids. Hugs to you.

      2. Trixie*

        ER vet visits are so hard. Upside is I’ve found they have phenomenal staff, and they are keeping your girl comfortable with fluids. Sending so many good thoughts her way.

    27. John*

      BEST — got a call for an interview at a company for which I’ve always wanted work.
      WORST — cramming my tech skills for the interview, especially stuff I haven’t done in awhile (spent about 30 hours this weekend so far)

    28. HR Manager*

      Worst: Walking down my stairs late at night without the lights on and accidentally kicked one of my kitties in the head. My foot was mid-air so I know it wasn’t with much force, but the poor thing ran off and wouldn’t let me come near him for the next hour. Why do kitties home in on you with their radar when you’re on the stairs anyway??

      Best: My other kitty decided to sleep with me all night yesterday, and didn’t take up half the bed! He’s a big boy, and sharing a bed with him sometimes is a bit uncomfortable. Requires being a bit of a contortionist to get comfortable. Worse when both get on. :/

      1. Windchime*

        My kitty has started the habit of sleeping on the stairs. He is finding out that just because he can see in the dark, doesn’t mean the rest of us can.

  2. Cath in Canada*

    Current obsessions:

    The Knick (just watched the season finale. So many things going on! I have to wait how long for the next episode?!)

    Serial (new podcast from This American Life, telling the story of a real-life murder case over 12 episodes. I binged on episodes 1-4 and will be obsessively refreshing my podcasts on Thursdays for the duration)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m loving Serial! I binged on 1-3. is 4 out? I must listen to it immediately. I’m totally unsettled, though, that it sounds like they don’t know if they’ll reach a conclusion about his guilt or innocence. I hate ambiguity in stuff like this; I want to know that at the end I’ll have an answer.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Yes, I listened to it on the bus yesterday. I almost missed my stop!

        I actually kind of love that they’re recording it as they go. I read an interview with Sarah Koenig the other day in which she said that everyone assumes that they’ve finished season 1 and are already working on season 2, but they’re literally doing it week by week. It’s such a huge risk, especially because apparently some of the people who were featured in the first few episodes weren’t happy with how they came across, and it’s affecting their interactions with the production team as they record later episodes. It’s an experiment, and I like that :)

      2. The IT Manager*

        New episodes come out on Thursdays. Only problem is that I finished ep 3 by Thursday dinner time and gave to wait a whole week for the next one

    2. Julie*

      Yes on Serial! I was hooked instantly and I am so nervous listening to it play out, trying to wonder about all the little details missing now and if we’ll get answers later. I really hope we get some sort of answer but knowing the law I’m more afraid that we won’t because that’s just how the world works. Some of the actual players in the story have come to a subreddit devoted to the podcast.

    3. Ann Furthermore*

      My current obsession is Boardwalk Empire, which I just recently got back into. I’d watched the first 2 seasons, and never got back into it. It’s ending in the next couple weeks so I’ve been catching up on past seasons.

      1. Stephanie*

        I love it. Stephen Graham as Capone is fantastic. I’m a little upset that Bobby Cannavale is the only person to get an Emmy on that show (he plays a villain in S3 and does some serious scene chewing).*

        *Actually, Joe Morton winning for playing Papa Pope on Scandal might be worse.

        1. Melissa*

          I’m not sure how I feel about him…in the beginning, I loved him and thought he deserved an Emmy. Now, he chews the scenery even when doing mundane things. The line delivery to Ballard over roast was the turning point for me when I was like ok…this is a bit too intense too much of the time!

          Scandal is sort of losing it’s luster for me overall, though. I wish Shonda Rhimes had stuck to the case of the week format for longer, because the storyline with the President went way too fast, and anything interesting has been wrung out of it, and now I feel like they are doing the same thing over and over. (But I felt the same way about Grey’s – I got to season 3 and then I was like “meh.”)

          1. Stephanie*

            Yeah, a speech in a park last season (maybe it was about monsters?) was the turning point for me (“Ok…he just sounds exactly like the crazy guy in the park ranting about the apocalypse.”) I wonder if Papa Pope has elevated blood pressure from constantly talking in impassioned speeches. I think the actor is fantastic, but can only do so much with the source material.

            Season 3 was a mess and was very much Characters React to Crazy Sh*t. The James episode was sad, however. I still watch it, but it’s definitely not Appointment TV anymore. The most recent episode was better (case of the week was interesting, the spy stuff was minimal). Is it bad I’m actively rooting for Jake’s demise? The character’s just never worked for me (too milquetoast and I just don’t buy him as some super stealth assassin) .

            1. Melissa*

              I like Jake mostly because of Scott Foley and because he’s the only alternative Olivia currently has to a married overgrown child. But yeah, I don’t buy him as a super secret assassin. I did buy him as the goody two-shoes Air Force captain before, though.

              I dunno, I feel like political intrigue, covering up scandals, and resisting the pull of a bad relationship can be interesting enough without all the B613/super shady stuff and the current OPA interpersonal conflict (Abby and Olivia are best friends for years and now hate each other because Olivia went away to escape what was clearly an unhealthy environment for her? Ummm). I wish they would just focus on the case of the week. I wish we could go back to Season 1 style!

      2. Wonkette*

        I love that show, though it hasn’t been the same for me after what happened to Richard Harrow. I guess I have a soft spot for killers with hearts of gold. :)

      3. brightstar*

        I finished catching up on Boardwalk Empire this week! I’d stopped watching after Season 3 but a friend got into it and wanted to talk about it so I ended up catching up.

        Stephen Graham is so good. If you haven’t seen the “This Is England” series, I highly recommend it though at times it can be harrowing to watch. Stephen Graham is amazing in that, as is Joseph Gilgun. They’re currently working on “This Is England 90” and apparently Graham has a major part. Fun fact: his real life wife is also in This Is England! But they don’t act together in that as far as I can recall.

        I love me some Bobby Cannavale but his character was so over the top in that.

        1. Stephanie*

          The Academy: “Here’s your Emmy, Mr. Cannavale.”

          I think he did the best he could with that role. It was just written poorly or maybe would have been better in smaller doses.

          1. brightstar*

            I hadn’t realized he’d won the Emmy for that role. Sometimes the voting on that is weird, usually the people I feel deserve to be nominated (like Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black) are never nominated.

            1. Anx*

              Genre fanhood is a lifetime of rarely seeing the actors you feel deserve a nomination get one.

              What floored me is they didn’t get a single technical nomination for OB, either.

    4. MissDisplaced*

      Love The Knick… I think they really try to make this realistic, (and who doesn’t like Clive Owen?). The only thing I don’t care for with this show is the music score. It sounds really off and a little too futuristic to me, which takes me out of the time/place.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Yes, it’s an unorthodox choice. I found it jarring at first, but I actually barely notice it now – it’s just part of the show.

        I was re-watching Contagion the other week (great movie if you haven’t already seen it), and they use music that’s so similar it’s practically indistinguishable. It confused me at first because none of the doctors in the movie are coke-fuelled mad geniuses…

  3. Ludo*

    I want to move overseas. Like, really really bad. I don’t care where, or what I do when I’m there. I just want to go. I’ve wanted to do this for years.

    The problem? I have a dog (he’s 7) and I can’t feasibly take him with me (he wouldn’t travel well at all) and I would feel horrible leaving him here. I love this dog. I’ve had him since he was 10 weeks old. He’s been with me through hell and back. But how do I just keep putting off my dream? And I feel terrible even thinking that because he is my dog, my companion, my family. Ugh! I have no one here that I could have care for him and a shelter isn’t an option. So, what? I resent my loyal pup for keeping me from a dream I didn’t even have when he came into my life? That’s hardly fair to him. Thoughts? Ideas?

    1. HappyWriter*

      You could try rehoming him. If he’s a certain breed, there may be a “rescue” group in your area that rehomes just that breed of dog.
      Also – you might be surprised at how well your pet does with travel. I was convinced my cats would be awful on our cross-country move (2 flights totaling 12+ hours), but they hardly made a peep once we got to the airport.

      1. Ludo*

        Thanks, but I can’t rehome him. There are few people in this world that would take on a 7 year old mixed breed dog with severe allergies, arthritis and a general lack of manners when it comes to quiet hours. I would be in a constant state of fear and guilt that his new home would end up dropping him in a shelter where he would inevitably be put down.

        As for travel, I have driven cross country with him twice. It was incredibly rough both times and a plane would be exponentially worse for both of us, I’m afraid.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

          Rehoming him isn’t impossible. We were blessed to take in an 8 year old dog last year, not too far off your description re issues, and he’s the canine love of my life. He adjusted well emotionally pretty quickly and he’s very happy. We were actively looking for a senior dog who needed us.

          I’m not saying you should rehome him. I couldn’t do it. But I am saying it’s not impossible. The person who makes a commitment to take in the dog , the person who would do that, isn’t going to turn around and take the dog to a shelter. Experienced dog owners are the ones who adopt senior dogs.

          One thing to consider is what kind of financial commitment you can make to his healthcare. We spent over $3000 the first year on Casey’s medical bills. If you could commit to the vet bills for your dog, the number of people who are able to adopt might increase as senior dogs do come with a price tag that way.

          1. Rose*

            I’m sorry, but that’s just not true. People take in and then give up dogs all the time. I was my dog’s THIRD adoptive home; one woman brought him back after 11 months. And yes, he is an older dog. If Ludo would give him up after so many years, why believe a new family wouldn’t do the same when he became an inconvenience for them?

            Finding someone to adopt him wouldn’t be impossible, but there is absolutely no guarantee that those people would keep him long term, or be good to him. It’s a huge risk.

            1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

              Ok, now I hate people.

              You are right but that’s nuts. You don’t take an older rescue without a to the end of life commitment. That’s evil.

              1. Rose*

                Ya. And he came to me literally flinching every time I walked by. He had obviously been kicked more than petted.

                One woman took her bc her old dog died and he looked just like her old dog. 11 months later just dumped him back at the rescue. It made me so furious to think about.

        2. Melissa*

          Well, how long do you think you’d be abroad? It might be better for him (and you, unfortunately) to be stressed out for a few days but for him to be able to stay with you abroad for a couple of years if you live there than it would be for you to rehome him or miss your opportunity just to avoid the stress of a week or so. Of course, I’m not sure exactly how bad the traveling anxiety is in your pooch.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      So I … feel like you can’t. I know most people won’t agree with me, but I feel like you made a commitment to keep the dog for his lifetime when you adopted him, and so he either goes with you or you stay. I know I’m in a minority on this stance, but I wish I weren’t.

      Dogs bond in a major way to people.

      1. Dan*

        I’m not arguing with you, honestly… but dogs aren’t kids, so you can get rid of them, unlike kids, if life circumstances warrant. I’m not saying to throw caution to the wind, just that you can if it really comes down to it.

        … coming from a guy with a dog that I can’t take in the car for five minutes without him puking. So he either gets doped up for the ride or stays in his cage for lengths of time that some would suggestion would be animal cruelty. That’s not an exaggeration, the 6 lb thing can hold it for 24 hours. I’ve seen him do it. But that’s an agreement that him and me have to work out between ourselves.

        When it comes to pets, you gotta do what you gotta do, no matter how ugly the result.

        1. matcha123*

          I think that people do “get rid” of kids all the time, for various different reasons.

          That’s why people should think carefully about how major commitments like pets, kids, marriage, etc. will effect their lives.

      2. Ludo*

        I know and that’s what’s so hard. I am a firm believer that a dog is family and not something you just rehome when it is inconvenient. I’m just frustrated because I’m starting to realize that my window for following this path is closing.

        And don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret taking in my dog. He is an amazing friend. But I wish there was an option to make both work.

      3. Stacy*

        If you are in the minority, I’m right there with you.

        It might sound kind of harsh, but when we bring a dog into our household we are basically telling them they are part of our pack. Dogs really do form emotional bonds with their people.

      4. Oh anon*

        This is exactly how I feel and exactly why DH and I cannot do foreign travel. I don’t trust leaving my two pit bulls with anyone, not because they’re mean, but because I just don’t trust someone to take as good of care of them as I would and also be able to keep them in line – they’re very stubborn. After they pass, no more dogs for a while and then we will travel outside the US. Right now, they travel with us inside the US.

      5. Not So NewReader*

        Major dog person here. I hope you are not in the minority, Alison. I totally agree that it is a life commitment. The longer they stay with us the more we learn that we would not have learned any other way. I had my last dog for just over 14 years. Yeah, he slowed me down, especially in his last year. I really felt I could not leave him with anyone. He had a bunch of problems but we had spent so many years together that we understood each other very well. It made the problems easier to work through.
        Like OP is saying, I had mixed emotions. I did not like seeing him sick (I felt so awful for him). And some days I was tense because I had to hurry home after a long day as I knew he was waiting for me. Those were kind of selfish feelings, I thought. Later on at night, maybe he’d have a problem and I would walk toward him with my arms out. He knew that gesture meant I would help him. And he would wag in anticipation and appreciation. Some how that made it all worthwhile.

        OP, the problem with loving another being is that it usually involves giving up something else. And you really love this dog, I can tell by the things you think of to say. From a BTDT perspective, my vote is postpone your plans to travel. Use the time as an opportunity to save up more money or refine your plan. Additionally, look around you and see what opportunities you have been ignoring that are closer to home. I started trying things that I never would have tried if I had not felt “home bound”. It filled up my time and my life.
        And I saw my little guy right through to his last day. As heartbreaking as it was, I also saw the power of love. And yeah, I can say animals do love us.

        My take-away from the whole experience is that my dog’s story was complete. I never have to wonder how he made out living with some else. I filled my commitment to my buddy which makes me proud of myself. I think I am a bit stronger person for the experience. Sometimes when we give up something, OP, we get something bigger in return.

      6. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        I mostly agree with you. (No secret here that I am a huge dog person and that my dogs are family members.)

        I mostly agree but think that the exercise of considering or investigating options is worthwhile when there is something life changing you want to do. “I always wanted to live abroad but couldn’t when I had the opportunity because I had a dog” is different from “I always wanted to live abroad. When I had the opportunity, I investigated every option but decided not to because I didn’t like any of the available options for Fido, who meant so much to me.” If, during the investigation, an unexpected excellent opportunity for Fido comes up, I don’t believe it is wrong to arrange it. (I also think the OP would ultimately decline the opportunity, after all of that, because the love seems to run pretty strong, but then that is choice and not trapped )

        Beyond that, there are dogs who should be rehomed. Our Baxter came to us around 1 year old from a lady who owned 9 cats and thought she should get a dog. Mutant designer dog she paid $1000 to have flown across the country and thought she should treat as a cat. Was shocked to find out that dogs are not cats. The only right thing she did was rehome him with dog people. (Us! Dog lottery! )

        So, you can see, I mostly agree with you. :)

        1. Jake*

          That was an incredible comment. The best part being that all options need to be explored, so that it is a choice and not a trap.

        2. QualityControlFreak*

          This is a really positive approach. Investigate all your options without guilt; knowing what your choices are doesn’t commit you to any of them.

          We’ve had horses, dogs and cats. All lifetime commitments but one, a mare we did rehome after our old herd boss passed on and she was alone here. See, that’s the other end of it. Our pets generally have a shorter life span than we do. Your canine friend is a 7-year-old, large dog. You’re not going to be tethered to him for very many more years.

          I know that timing may play a key role when it comes to making your move, so I can’t give you any better advice than Wakeen already has. Explore your options. If nothing else, it can help you feel more in control of your situation. And you’ll make better choices.

      7. Sarahnova*

        Yeah, I’m with Alison. Sorry. You made a commitment to this dependent, and you need to fulfil it. Yes, that means that you may not be able to do some things you’d otherwise be able to do.

        But your “dream” is, I’m sorry, a little vague anyway. What is it about living abroad? What would you do while there? Are we talking living “abroad” in the UK or in Islamabad or Phnom Penh? Because at the moment it just sounds like you want to escape and imagine that you would feel different, BE different, in another country. Which is fine, if you don’t have obligations in this one – but you do.

        I think you should explore the feeling of WHY you want to go and what you’d actually do where, then either look for ways to fulfil that drive here, or take your dog with you.

        1. Ludo*

          I actually know why I want to go and it is not vague at all. There are many reasons, none of which are appropriate to discuss here. And the plans are not vague either. The only question is where I would reside specifically (of which there are several options that would equally suit). What I want out of being abroad simply cannot be fulfilled here. There are fundamental obstacles that cannot be overcome. It has nothing to do with how I would “feel” or “be” but rather what I desire out of life and the impact I want to have on the world.

          And as I said, my dog cannot come. The stress of the travel would likely kill him. This is something I’ve discussed numerous times with his vet. And so, again as I’ve said, I stay here for him. What I don’t like is that I feel trapped and resentful which is unfair to him.

      8. A Teacher*

        I’m on intake for a rescue that fosters dogs and cats. You made a commitment to that dog when you took him on. We have had dogs surrendered when the owner has to move overseas, usually not by choice–military typically. It’s hard on the dog (or cat) and yes they eventually resettle. As one of the people that looks at lots of rehoming requests and owner surrenders, it may not be fair but when people put “moving and can’t take dog or cat” we think what a jerk in most cases. There are exceptions but you don’t see how many times people use that as an excuse.

        1. Melissa*

          I just adopted a dog from a rescue and when I was looking for her, I saw so many descriptions that said “Fido is a great dog; his owner surrendered him because he/the family was moving and they couldn’t take the dog/new landlord wouldn’t allow the dog.” I was also at a shelter one day when a dude came in to surrender his cat because he was moving; when the shelter told him there was a process and they might not have room because they had tons of cats, the guy got kind of frustrated and said it was urgent because they were moving within a week or so. It made me sad. I read online that it is one of the most common reasons pets end up in shelters.

          1. Manager Anonymous*

            My dog was a rehome. She came with lots of baggage. The first six months were incredibly stressful but now 12 years later we can’t imagine life without her. Right now in her declining, allergy ridden, arthritis plagued life she is a money pit. Perhaps there is a family nearby who would like to be co-owners. An older dog that is house trained who can walk on a leash without a 15 year commitment attached might be welcomed. Add in a medical fund, this might be a possible option.

        2. BRR*

          I think that reason is such cop out. Dogs are a lot of work and it sucks sometimes but you made a commitment. When I moved out of state a year ago it was very difficult to find pet friendly housing. If you can so easily abandon a pet maybe it wasn’t the right choice to get the pet in the first place.

        3. Rowan*

          We once fostered a dog whose owners had decided she’d be such a great mother and then got jobs in a nursing home that didn’t allow dogs. She was less than two weeks off delivering her puppies when she came to us. Complete assholes.

          1. Melissa*

            Wait, the nursing home didn’t allow their employees to have dogs? What kind of policy is that?

        4. Ludo*

          Rest assured, I’ve moved 10 times with my dog. None of them were easy (as I say, he is 90lbs so rarely falls under the allotted “weight limit” for rentals). Sometimes it seemed like I’d never find a place that would take us. But there’s always been an option and I always found it. The reality is, he is my family and fundamentally I know I owe him the basic level of caring for him. But that doesn’t mean I’m not resentful for what I am having to give up.

          Yes, that makes me selfish and as some have clearly indicated, not a very great person. I know that about myself. But it is honest. So yes, while I love my dog dearly, and no I am not going to rehome him, I do feel resentful. And I hate that. But again, it is just an honest assessment of where I am now in life.

          1. BRR*

            I don’t think it’s selfish to be resentful. I think it would be weird not to ever have those feelings. I think the selfish people are the ones who easily give up their pets. Having to always take the dog out in the morning, not being able to be away form home longer than a certain number of hours, having to walk a dog whether it’s raining or 0 degrees, limiting where you can live. The list goes on and on. These are things you consider before you get the pet and many people don’t. But it’s normal to be resentful about those things. There’s probably a small number of people who don’t mind but so many who tells you that it’s selfish to mind doing those things is a liar. As a pet owner it’s just the cost of doing business for the companionship or when they come over and rest their head on your knee.

      9. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I completely agree with you. I love my dog. I made a commitment to him, and besides that, we bonded and he is very attached to his mama. He’s curled up fast asleep next to me right now, and I just look at him and am overcome with love.

        But there could be a solution here. A family who adopted from our rescue moved to the UK and went there aboard the Queen Mary 2, which has a kennel! The dogs stay in their own section of the ship and have their own 24/7 staff members. Family can visit during the day and hang out in the doggy area of the ship. The pictures looked AMAZING. I told my boyfriend that if we ever have to move overseas, that’s how we’re doing it, even if we have to take the ship to England and drive for days through Europe. So if that’s even remotely a possibility, I urge you to look into it so you can follow your dreams of living overseas while keeping your buddy with you.

      10. Anne*

        I agree with you! A dog is your dog for life. (the dog’s life!) We have had two dogs and we have made lifestyle changes to include them in our lives…they’re family. And it is so worth it.

      11. Elizabeth West*

        I think that’s too harsh. Sometimes people have to move and they really can’t take the dog. There are numerous reasons a dog may have to be re-homed, and I’m sorry to disagree with so many people here, but a blanket “You’re cruel because the dog is bonded to you” is dismissive to the needs of both the people and the animals.

        I guess I’m sensitive to this because I feel the same way–I’m trapped here by a cat no one else would take care of. And this place is killing me.

        1. Nina*

          a blanket “You’re cruel because the dog is bonded to you” is dismissive to the needs of both the people and the animals.

          ITA, Elizabeth. No real advice, but I sympathize. It’s a lousy situation to be in and yes, when you have a pet, it’s absolutely your responsibility to care for them through good times and bad, but things happen. If I had been planning for something for years and couldn’t do it, I would feel some resentment, too.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            But if you’re only committed up until the point that it causes you some real inconvenience, that’s not really committed at all. We make trade-offs in life. We choose A, which means we can’t do B.

            It sounds to me like Ludo needs to either explore ways to take the dog or accept that the commitment to the dog means he won’t be moving overseas for ~6 years. “But I’ll feel resentful” isn’t license to do it anyway.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I agree–but it’s not always that cut and dried. Things change. I thought I could make a life here–I bought a house and even though the cat was dumped on me, I was okay with it because I thought I would stay here. But it’s become very clear to me that there is nothing here for me, and I am not okay with putting my happiness on hold for a half-feral cat who won’t come inside the house. I wouldn’t dump her because no one I know right now will care for her as carefully as I do, but if I found someone who would do so, it would be tempting. I would want to transition her as slowly and easily as I could, though.

            2. Nina*

              I didn’t mention resentment as a reason to go, I mentioned it because he’s been planning for a long time and it’s clearly important to him. He’s already said how much the dog means to him and he doesn’t really know what else to do, so “suck it up and deal” just seems like a dismissal. Conflicting desires like these happen all the time. There’s never an easy or convenient answer.

              Personally, I would see if it’s possible to take the dog with me, or try AnnaLouise’s suggestion about finding a new owner. Ludo, have you spoken to your vet about long distance traveling like this?

        2. A Teacher*

          There are times when it is legit, but in the hundreds of requests my small rescue gets a year, I’d say 25-30 of the, are legit “I can’t take my cat/dog with me.” Most are it’s now become inconvienent so I’m going to drop the ball in someone else’s lap. Harsh, sure. Reality, yes.

        3. Rose*

          It’s not “you’re cruel because the dog is bonded to you.” It’s “you’re cruel because the dog is bonded to you, you took it in when it was a puppy and would have had the best shot of finding a family that would love it for its entire life, and moving is entirely elective.”

          Knowingly doing major harm to a sentient being who you committed to care for for life just so you can *Live your dreams <333* is cruel, even if you don't want it to be.

          For the record, a feral cat wondering onto your doorstep and accepting food from you is a totally different circumstance. If it won't come inside the house, it's hardly yours. You did an act of charity, and it's time for you to let go.

      12. Steve G*


        Ludo, I lived overseas. It was what felt like a really long time, but was only 3 years. I did a thousand things and started to want to come back to US “early,” which is something I didn’t anticipate, I had thought I was going to stay for 5+ years. The novelty of living abroad wore off quick, and wore off more as my fluency in the language increased (it was Czech btw). Understanding everything going on around me was interesting, but also took away the mystery and novelty of the new country. Also, you still have bad days at work, get sick, etc. when abroad. One thing that I really didn’t like was the occasional loneliness, especially around holidays. My American friends would all go home, Czech friends would be around but obviously with their own families on the actual holidays….so I did spend one Christmas eve totally alone, not the greatest feeling in the world.

        You might put alot of effort into rehoming, then be back in only 1-2 years for various reasons. Also, you will probably be “free” in 5-6 years to move regardless.

        I still want to go abroad but can’t with my career. Living in NYC though, I find going to areas within a day’s drive as big of a culture shock as going abroad, perhaps more, honestly. If I went back to Czech Rep, I’d go back into my old routine, but when I go to rural Pennsylvania or the boonies in the Adirondacks in upstate NY, it’s as big a culture shock as any I’d get going abroad, and satisfies that need for adventure for me, anyways…

      13. Mister Pickle*

        I wish I had something helpful to add, but I’m with AAM: your only choices are Stay or Bring The Dog With.

        I think if it was me I’d concentrate on finding a survivable scheme for bringing the dog with. I don’t know what all is possible, but my gut feeling is that this falls into the “possibly expensive but not impossible” category.

      14. Relosa*

        I haven’t read the rest of the thread, but this +1000. Family is family, dogs too. Severing that bond will be absolutely horrible for him.

      15. Rose*

        I don’t think you’re in the minority, at least not among dog owners.

        Making another living thing a part of your family isn’t something you should do lightly. It just irks me that people take on such huge commitments and then bail when they become inconvenient.

        Why did you choose a dog not a fish or a cat or a rabbit? People love dogs because they know you and love you back and meet you at the door when you come home. They do those things because they have very real emotional bonds to their people. Enjoying those bonds while it’s convenient for you and then ignoring them later and saying “it’s just a dog” is really cruel.

        1. Windchime*

          Please don’t lump cats in with fish or rabbits. Cats can and do get very attached and bonded to people; cats are also a lifetime commitment in my book*. (Rabbits may be as well; I haven’t owned them so I don’t know if they get attached).

          I sacrificed a lot for my old cat who got very sick when he was 16 and died when he was 18. No more overnight trips unless the house sitter could come. No more late dinners, because he was on a strict feeding and medicine schedule. And at the end, carrying him to the litter box because the stairs were too difficult. I was very fortunate that I didn’t have to make the difficult, heart-breaking choice for euthenasia right away because I could afford the medical care and it wasn’t a hopeless and painful condition like bone cancer.

          *Elizabeth’s feral cat is different. You have taken over feeding a stray who might have perished without you. Can you find another neighbor who is willing to set food out for her? She isn’t bonded (or so it sounds); she is just eating the food and I’m guessing she isn’t particular about which porch it comes from.

    3. Dan*

      I get it. I “inherited” a dog from a former relationship. I’d feel like shit if I left him. But he doesn’t travel well — anything over 5 minutes in the car involves him puking or me doping him up. Yes, I’m the kind of person who would lie about him being a service animal so I can get him in the cabin of an airplane without paying an arm and a leg.

      And I do a lot of foreign travel. I’m lucky that I have friends who will take him for close to a month at a time while I’m gone.

      So… why can’t he go with you? I can’t take mine on vacation, I get that, but for a long term gig, I’d do it. He’s small enough (6 lbs) where I can get him into the passenger cabin of an airplane, but the only way I’d actually *do* it is if I was moving somewhere. Like you seem to want.

      1. Ludo*

        My dog is 90lbs and wouldn’t be able to travel in cabin with me. He has some allergies that would prevent him from taking anxiety meds and there is no way he could handle traveling 10+ hours to get overseas.

        He has driven cross country with me twice and both times he barely slept for the entire time it took us to drive. Travel is high stress for him.

        1. Dan*

          I used to be a baggage handler for an airline. I wouldn’t check a dog that couldn’t fit in the cabin. Mostly, because our training was nonexistent. Even though I’m a dog owner now, I *still* don’t know what proper handling is for a dog in the cargo hold.

          The worst part was that my airline would generally say “pets are not accepted in the cargo hold” except when they were (like military people traveling on orders) so we didn’t get any training when we were actually supposed to take them.

          Cargo holds are pressurized and temperature regulated, but I c0uldn’t imagine throwing my guy back there for an overseas flight.

          1. GH in SoCAl*

            Flip side, my Dog (55 pounds) has flown in Cargo many times, with no ill effects. Granted, these are flights within the US and Canada, so 3-6 hours rather than 10. I’ve never medicated him for the trip, and after one messy retrieval I learned to limit his food on the morning of. I’m not saying he enjoys it — he just curls up in a sad pile and waits to be rescued. But the plus side is, he gets to be with me! And when you’re living in a strange place, that little face waiting in your rented, furnished apartment makes it feel like Home.

            1. Dan*

              I’m not saying you can’t get your pet safely from point A to point B, but your response sounds a little cavalier when I told you that rampers at my airline (a regional carrier for a major airline) weren’t trained on handling them.

              I’d be a bit more worried if my pet is sitting on the ramp in PHX for two hours on a layover on a hot summer day.

              1. Stephanie*

                I had a roommate with a dog. She moved her dog from her parents’ in Arkansas to DC (where we lived). She had planned to bring the dog back with her after visiting her folks. Instead, she drove to Tennessee (or some other halfway point in that neck of the woods) after the fact to meet her parents because the airline wouldn’t fly the dog in the cargo hold because it was too cold. I forget which airline it was, but they had a policy of not flying pets if it was outside a certain temperature range outside (I think it was anything below 40 F or above 85 F).

                1. Relosa*

                  This is one of my biggest concerns because I’m moving in December. Airlines say the pet has to have vet’s clean bill of health and that they can withstand temperatures down to 20. My dog has refused to come inside at many subzero temps, but good lord it’s the thing I’m most worried about!

              2. GH in SoCAl*

                Not trying to be cavalier, just presenting the opposite perspective. You say you wouldn’t fly a pet in cargo; I would, without hesitation. Each pet owner has to make their own decision.

                In rereading your comment, I would add that it makes sense to research specific airlines for their pet-handling record. You mention that your airline would generally not accept pets, which could explain why they had poor or non-existent training when they made exceptions. Alaska Airlines, by contrast, which I usually fly, welcomes pets as cargo, has a clear policy for handling them, and has a “boarding pass” for the pet that they bring you at your seat once he’s been safely loaded. I don’t doubt that other airlines are less well equipped.

                1. Relosa*

                  awwwww a doggy boarding pass?! :D That would help me feel 1035801385x better when BigDog and I fly.

              3. TL -*

                There have definitely been multiple reports of dogs dying of heat stroke in cargo holds – my understanding is the plane is only temperature regulated when the plane is on, so if there’s a layover, there’s a good chance your pet is sitting in heat/cold/whatever it is outside.

        2. Rose*

          I think people are coming down hard on you, mostly because those sound like kind of weak excuses, and like you’re hinting that you want to use them to abandon the dog. Rereading all your comments, that’s clearly not true. So, sorry people are being a little aggressive.

          At the same time, the reasons still sound a little flimsy to me. Aren’t there other meds out there? And if not… ok, so he’s going to have a really bad flight. He might puke and bark and never sleep. He’ll be anxious. So what? You can do the flight in several shorter legs to maximize the number of times he gets to stretch/pee. There are even companies out there that can plan that for you. It’s obviously going to suck, but it’s far from impossible.

          1. Ludo*

            A little aggressive? Nah, I’m just the worst human known to man that wants to abandon my loyal companion to galavant off on some unplanned, child-like adventure.

            People make a lot of assumptions and tend to assume one post is a conclusive situation. That is the way of the internet, I don’t take it to heart.

            But, more on point. He would have more than a bad flight. Sedatives are dangerous with a healthy large dog. They have a high chance of being deadly to mine. This isn’t something I just assume, it is something I’ve discussed at length with his vet. Doing it without sedatives would leave him stressed to the point he may not recover.

            1. Rose*

              I’m sorry! I think it’s hard because your post was read as “he has no plans!” when it was really “detailing my life plans are not relevant here.”

              Ya I’ve heard sedatives aren’t great for most dogs but was unsure. :-/ Have you talked to your vet about the stress level too? I have a rescue dog that has been through a LOT. It’s taken a while for him to get his bearings, but he’s doing great. Your dog might stress easily, but he might still recover fine. I know it’s individual though. I agree that giving him up is not ok (and you’ve said that yourself), but I think I draw the line at avoiding living your life so that he doesn’t get too stressed.

              The way you feel is the way you feel. Feelings are never wrong. If you’re feeling grumpy or upset over this, don’t beat yourself up.

    4. AnneLouise*

      oops I posted this farther down the page instead of in the reply spot, so sorry for the redundancy, but…
      There is a site called Email Susie a photo and story about your dog. They will help you find a a kind person to take your dog. their FB page is Susie’s Senior Dogs. (Susie is Brandon Stanton’s dog. He is the Humans of NY guy)

    5. Sandy*

      I’ll comment more on the overseas part than the dog part, since others are already tackling that part.

      I live overseas. I work in a job that sends me overseas for two to five year stints at a time, and I don’t always (usually) get to choose where I go.

      Allow me a word of caution: living overseas is a lot like living at home. You still have to worry about health insurance, office politics, which laundry soap yo buy, dentist appointments, etc. you just get to do it with a different backdrop, sometimes a different language, and sometimes with thorny cultural considerations mixed in.

      If you don’t care now where you go, you will once you get there.

      Since you obviously can’t leave at the drop of the hat right now given your pet responsibilities, allow me to suggest that you take some time and make two lists: one of exactly what things you think will change when you go overseas, and one of what your ideal spot overseas would look/feel like.

      The first will act, yes, as a bit of a reality check, but also help you clarify what exactly you are looking for “away” and what you are looking to escape at “home”. If you decide you can’t leave your pet at this point, then you can use that list to identify what exactly you are unhappy with at home and work to change it.

      The second will help you narrow down where exactly you want to live overseas and what elements of your life there are non-negotiable, what are wants, and what you don’t feel as strongly about. Here is a big difference between moving to say, Paris, and say, Mongolia, and a lot of places in between. Do you have health care issues that you’ll need to have taken care of? Are you sick of the cold and need some time to thaw out? Is learning a new language important to you? Consistent electricity? Cheap flights home? Direct flights home? Etc.

      A short note on the dog: when you’ve to a new place, especially one that is on the other side of the world, far from the familiar, you will want “your companion/your family” nearby. If you’ve left him behind, it will make your inevitable culture shock and homesickness in the first six to eight months even harder than it might have been otherwise. Find a decision you will be comfortable with, because it’s not going to disappear.

      1. Dan*

        “If you don’t care now where you go, you will once you get there.”

        I’ll agree with that. I have the privilege of being an American who can holiday/vacation overseas for a month at a time. And I do. I stick to big cities (I travel on my own, utilizing extremely few package tours) and some places can be a complete culture shock, such as China. Yes, traveling to Beijing and Shanghai as an English-only speaker is a challenge. I can’t imagine what the less populated areas are like.

        By far, no matter where I am in the world, the thing that I spend the most time planning (and is often the most hassle) is where to get my laundry done.

        If you’re overseas on a US assignment, there’s that pesky issue of, “Not only do I go to the dentist, does he speak my language, and furthermore, how do I pay for it?”

        I’ve traveled to places where the best medical care you can get is a US medical student studying overseas on an internship (aka “fresh out of med school” if that). I even met the guy when my ex was in the hospital in Bali. Ouch.

        I’ve also traveled to places where I’m not sure I want to know what the best medical care I can get is, and get medical evac insurance just in case.

        But I bet the food and drink is much better than the average American joint ;)

      2. Lisa*

        I had the privilege of being offered a transfer to Former Co’s branch in northern Italy about 15 years. I got the offer because I’d done extended stints there over the previous three years & the branch mgrs liked me, my work & how well I fitted into the culture. Before I accepted the post, though, I figured out how to bring my cat with me – I would not have left her behind, but it was surprisingly easy to get her moved there.

        Having said that, living in Italy was a lot different from working there for 3 months. If you’re really intent on working overseas, you might look for opportunities to try it on for size – vacationing someplace is vastly different from living there on any metric you can think of.

      3. Ludo*

        Thanks for the thoughts. I should have worded my original comment better. I have traveled extensively overseas, and lived in one of the countries I am considering for just under a year. When I say I don’t care where I live, I mean of the countries I am considering (all of which share a common culture). I am very familiar with the ups and downs and potential pitfalls. This isn’t something that I suddenly thought of and did no research on. I have been researching and considering this for the last six years. When I vacation, it is to these countries – and not the resorts or tourist towns. Unfortunately what they offer is not something that can be gained here.

      4. Steve G*

        You said more eloquently what I tried to say. I forgot about the dentist and laundry drama abroad! And yes, the soap. Fortunately I knew enough Czech from the get-go to get through labels, but yeah, if the language is completely foreign, you best be sure the soap does NOT have bleach in it!! And even though it wasn’t hard to find a doctor/dentist, you have to start cart blanche with a completely new one, which is always a pain….and have to describe your medical history in a foreign language, which always required a little rehearsal on my part, even with all of big Czech words floating around my head.

        1. Monodon monoceros*

          This reminded me that for the first 2 weeks I lived in Norway I was washing my clothes with fabric softener…it’s the little stuff like this that make living overseas both fun and so frustrating, depending on how the day is going!

    6. Carrie in Scotland*

      Why do you want to move overseas Ludo? And even though you mention you don’t care where, you must have some inclination of where you might want to move to, the UK, Europe, Asia…?

      1. Ludo*

        I have four countries in mind, they are what I would be choosing from when I say I “don’t care” where I move. I could have worded that better :)

        I don’t want to get into the specifics here, but suffice to say they offer aspects that simply cannot be achieved here and for what I desire out of life, I require those aspects.

    7. Ilf*

      Why can’t you take the dog with you? In most countries it’s relatively easy to bring a dog that is up to date with the rabies shot. When I emigrated from Europe to US ten years ago, I took my dog with me. It wasn’t a pleasant experience for him, but he was completely fine. He was eleven years old then.
      My dog traveled in the baggage area. If your dog is smaller, he can travel in the cabin with you. The cost is not prohibitive either.
      I say don’t abandon him. And don’t resent him. It’s not him being in the way of you fulfilling a dream. It’s you of seven years ago, who wanted a dog, that is in the way.

      1. Ludo*

        I don’t resent him, really. I resent the situation I am in. Unfortunately, he cannot travel in the cabin due to size and would not fare well in baggage.

        FWIW, I didn’t actually “want” a dog seven years ago. I rescued him from a parking lot with the intent of finding him a safe home. He won my heart.

        1. Tex*

          Go abroad. Don’t feel guilty. People leave behind family when they go abroad. Animals in the wild cope by joining new packs.

          Find the best solution possible; maybe kick in money for the dog’s care to the next owner. But don’t put your life on hold for this.

            1. Kyrielle*

              Yes! I mean, if you’re going for a one-week trip and staying with someone else is less horrible than traveling for that…. For that I’d leave our cats, for example, at home with someone caring for them.

              But going overseas for a significant length of time, or flatly moving there? I’d need to find a way to bring the cats. (And the kids, but that goes without saying to most people, the cats don’t always. Even though the kids would cost more to fly over, and probably have a harder time with the transition.)

        2. Ilf*

          I understand.
          My main point is: explore options for taking the dog with you. You can’t really know how the dog will travel. I read your post upstream about the longer car trip, and I don’t think that’s evidence that he won’t be fine. Yes, he will get excited, anxious, and then he’ll be fine. You can find plenty of advice online how to prepare a pet a for such a trip, to make it easier for him.
          About sedating the dog: We had a very long trip, and had to change flights. The first leg of the trip we sedated the dog, for the second he was not sedated. He seemed to feel a lot better after the second leg than after the first. If I would travel with a pet again in similar conditions, I would choose not to sedate him at all.

          1. Sandy*

            Our vet actually refused to prescribe sedatives for our dog when we moved overseas (12+ hours flight). Now that I know more about it, I agree with the vet. Apparently a lot of the issues people run into with shipping pets cargo are related to the depressive effects sedatives have on the dog’s respiratory system.

        3. Rose*

          You keep saying he wouldn’t fare well, but so what? Unless you think he would literally die, he’s just going to have to deal. Your dog might have a shit day or two, but dogs are resilient.

          Also, I think this kind of thing (mentioning that you didn’t want him in the first place) is why people are being so harsh. It might just be a cute antidote, but it kind of comes off like “I never signed up for this so it’s not really my fault.” Not saying you mean it that way…

      2. gr8 candidate*

        I just Googled “international pet transport” and got a list of full service businesses who handle everything from what shots and documentation is needed, to finding the best way to transport the pet (airlines differ greatly in their policies, procedures, and concern about living cargo). A few years ago I was considering an overseas move, and the people who do this coordinate the pet’s travel with your schedule, the arrival of your belongings, the day you are able to move in, etc. They had families in major departure and arrival areas who would receive your pet and keep it over night, transport the pet overland to you, etc – I was really surprised at how thorough the services were.

        Just a thought. I could not leave my dog behind under any circumstances.

    8. PK*

      I feel for you, and I’m sure you love your dog. But, when you posted this question, were you honestly looking for ideas/thoughts or for people to validate your feelings and encourage you to follow your dream? I don’t mean that in a snarky way at all. I’m sure this is weighing heavily on you, and I’m wondering if you were hoping you’d get more encouragement and, in a way, permission to do what it sounds like you really want to do.

      1. Ludo*

        I’m not sure what you think I “really want to do” but it certainly is not leave my dog here while I move. What I really want is a viable solution to have both. And a few people have posted ideas (I didn’t realize QM2 still did pet cargo).

        1. PK*

          Ummmm… to live abroad. That’s what you really want to do, yes? I thought that was pretty clear. The problem is that lessening your suffering (pursuing your dream) will cause hardship for your dog. There is no solution that won’t upset his life in some way, even if it’s only for the extent of a 10 hour plane ride (I know that you care about him and want him to suffer as minimally as possible). So I think there’s a subtext here about needs. To what degree do your needs matter? To what degree should they matter? Is it okay to put your needs ahead of your dog’s? I think people face that dilemma all the time in so many different circumstances… with their children, their spouses, their elderly parents and, in this case, their pets. Your choice is even more internal because there aren’t external forces at work. For instance, it’s not like your company is making you relocate, or you have a family member who needs you in another country. That doesn’t make your desire to live abroad any less valid, but it does put even more responsibility on your for making that choice … and for whatever consequences follow in that wake. It can be very hard to talk about our needs/wants (and dreams!) without feeling like we’re being selfish. So, honestly, I do think you were hoping to get some reassurance from readers that it was okay to have those needs and to encourage you to follow your dream.

          1. Ludo*

            You can think what you want, but at no point have I considered giving up my dog, so no, I wasn’t looking for reassurance that it would be “ok” to do so as I think it would be deplorable.

            1. PK*

              I didn’t think you wanted to give him up and, re-reading my comments, didn’t write that either. I think you’re in a tough situation that many people find themselves in when their desires conflict with their commitments. I (falsely!) assumed that you were hoping for some empathy. That’s what I would want. Sorry for projecting!

    9. Monodon monoceros*

      When you say he wouldn’t travel well at all, is this really true? Like, it is not possible at all?

      I moved to Norway with my 80+ lbs crazy dog a year and a half ago. I new when I accepted my new job that moving him would be the most stressful part. There are companies that I’ve heard good things about that will help relocate pets for you. They will make the flight arrangements so that the dog will have a layover where trained people will let him out to pee and poop and stretch his legs. Or do what I did- work with your vet on how best to get your dog ready for travel. Luckily my dog was already very well used to his crate. But he does have a tendency to get nervous and freak out, so I was a nervous wreck the whole time he was on the plane.

      I searched and searched for the shortest route + least amount of takeoffs and landings. The longest he was in his crate was 13 hrs, which sucked, but not as much as giving him away! The best thing I did was take him on a 7 hr hike the day before we left to wear him totally out. He was so tired and I think that really helped him get through the travel day.

      Anyway, it can be done, with a lot of preparation, a good vet, and I won’t kid you and tell you it will be fun. I was really worried and I cried when I dropped him off, then at the layover in Reykjavik I sprinted off the plane to watch them unload him (and cried when I saw his crate even though he was fine) then I sprinted to the next gate to watch them load him onto the next plane (and cried again). And on each plane even though I saw them load him on, I made the flight attendants check and see if he was on, mainly to make sure the pilot knew a dog was down there.

      Good luck!

      1. Mints*

        Yeah, I think I’d move with the dog. I don’t have one (two cats). But the dog would be miserable, for like a day max, then it would just be a normal move. I’m sure it would suck, but I think if you can manage a normal move, one day of travel probably isn’t a deal beaker for me.

        1. Monodon monoceros*

          Definitely. I’m sure he didn’t exactly have fun down in the cargo area (he is big enough that they didn’t even classify him as baggage, he had to be classified as cargo…which was essentially the same thing just 3x more expensive). But honestly, when I arrived in Oslo, he was probably better off mentally than I was! I was a nervous wreck, crying, etc. etc. and then when I opened his crate he was just like “Hey mom, what’s up? I’m gonna take a huge dump on this Norwegian grass here. And then I think I’ll pee on everything. Hey look, a bird! Let’s go chase it!”

          1. Relosa*

            This makes me feel better. I have a malamute, and I’m super paranoid about putting him on the plane. I have a FULL PAGE of questions I need to ask EACH pet-permitting airline. I know the numbers are in my favor, by a long shot, but good lord I’m worried.

            I weighed the option of driving versus flying. BigDog hates cars, pukes everywhere, won’t eat, and whiiiiines. AND it would be a four-day road trip with him…but it’s just six hours from ticket lobby at point A to baggage at point B.

            1. Relosa*

              Good lord, now I re-read the baggage / cargo thing. Some airlines say that over 100lbs altogether (including crate) are too much. My dog is like 82lbs right now.

              1. Monodon monoceros*

                That’s why mine had to go cargo. You may need to call and actually talk to someone. If they allow pets in general, they may take him as cargo.

                BTW, mine is a malamute mix with German shepherd and Anita. Thick fluffy coat, fine in -30 degrees but overheats over 60. Go in the winter if you can!

                1. Relosa*

                  my biggest worry is the takeoff – if I’m leaving from Cold Midwest City and it’s under 20 but warm in our new home , will they still put him on the plane? So many questions to ask them.

                2. Relosa*

                  Mine is also a mal/white GSD mix…he’s so purrrdddyyyyyyy :D I bet yours is an adorable goofy fluff ball!

                3. Monodon monoceros*

                  That is the best way to describe him!

                  As for the temps, from what I remember the airlines will check the temp at the destination too. But I didn’t worry about this very much since I was moving from AK to Norway, so definitely ask them.

                  The one thing that went wrong for me is I gave the airline the original health cert when dropping him off. It didn’t make it to Oslo and the intake vet in customs chewed me out. Apparently you should not let the originals out of your hands!

                  Otherwise it was pretty smooth.

                  Good luck! I love big fuzz ball dogs!

    10. Relosa*

      As a dog mom…find a way to keep him with you. It’s worth the extra work. Saying this as someone who’s decided to put her dog on a plane with her in two months. He’s been my rock for ten years, and we’ve weathered a lot together. I can’t bear to leave him either. A struggle I have wrestled with is that my dog is a “winter” breed, and so I was torn about moving him to a warmer climate. So for a long time I thought I would have to wait for him to go (whether or not I had another dog at the time) but that’s not the case, it seems.

      I can’t even start to read the other comments, but if I were you I would find a way to keep him. You’re all he knows.

      1. Ludo*

        Don’t worry, he’ll stay with me. Rehoming is not an option.

        A word of advise on winter breeds in warmer climates: they handle it well, overall. I wouldn’t cut their coat. My pup is a winter breed and I moved him to Oklahoma which gets hot, hot, hot in the summer. I worked closely with the vet who explained to me that his coat actually acts like a cooling blanket by keeping the sun off his skin.

        If all else fails: get a wading pool. Mine loved that!

        1. Relosa*

          Glad to hear! It’ll be a struggle but worth it! BigDog’s coat isn’t really trimmable (he gets the winter layers and just blows them out in the spring and through most of summer) so I’ve never messed with it other than lots and lots of brushing. He hates water (steps around puddles!) but looooves ice cubes!

          And basements. Tile floor and basements.

  4. No name this week*

    I’ve tried a couple over the years and have had the best luck with Pristiq. Then, due to an insurance change several months ago, it went from $25/mo to >$200/mo. Eek! I switched to generic Effexor and found that if I missed a dose, I’d end up incredibly dizzy and weird feeling. Also, I’ve been hot all the time and prone to lots if sweating if I slightly exert myself.

    I just switched back to Pristiq yesterday because I have a new insurance plan (it’s still $60/mo but if I feel better, I can handle that!). Has anyone gone straight from Effexor to Pristiq? Should I expect any weird symptoms as I transition? I felt really tired and weepy today, wondering if that’s why.

    1. Dan*

      My depression has been situational. I’ve never been on meds for it, so can’t say about you specifically. What I can say is that changing the situation has worked wonders. It really sucks when that involves leaving significant people in your life. However, what I told somebody once was, “If you have to get on meds to maintain a relationship, you may want to reconsider if that relationship is for you.”

      Depression sucks ass, that’s about the only response I can give you.

      1. Anx*

        I appreciate this post. I had had situation depression (mild, chronic) during most of my unemployment and underemployment, as well as bouts during college and related to underachievement.

        I never went on medication, but did use CBT. But it wasn’t until I started school again that it really lifted. My brain fog and inability to concentrate and sleep issues persisted, but are much more manageable. Of course, I couldn’t just go to school easy peasy and medication would be cheaper, but I almost felt as if the depression was a normal response to my situation (although not healthy and certainly not conducive to getting into a better one). I saw the value in medication, chose to opt out do the situational* nature of it, but have felt self-conscious in my though I was choosing not to get well.

        *Incidentally, I didn’t recognize myself in many depression narratives, as many of them went something like “Susie has 3 beautiful kids, is a successful X, and is always the life of the party, but….” It’s great that there’s an effort to show that success doesn’t immunize someone from depression, but it would be nice to read a few narratives about depression that arise when life isn’t going well, and a normal reaction develops into an abnormal illness.

      2. Sophia*

        Hmm…I think in your case that advice worked but not in all. My being on meds saved my marriage. When I’m not on meds, I can be cruel and pushing people away and think my husband is awful and safe (when he’s really a stable presence in my life). That’s the difference between situational depression where getting out of a relationship will help alleviate it, and in my experience, chemical depression which absolutely infects any intimate relationship

        1. Dan*

          Yes,in your case, meds are a good thing. But think about it from the perspective of your husband, because thats where I was. If he needs meds to keep his sanity in that marriage, I’d think long and hard about leaving before being on those meds long term.

          My ex wouldn’t manage her meds properly, which is why I had to go.

          1. Sophia*

            Yes, definitely! Me being on meds has been a non-negotiable since I brought up getting off them to lose the weight I gained on them.

      3. No name this week*

        In my case, I always thought it was situational–high school was rough for me, college was rough for me, navigating an extroverted world as an introvert was rough for me–and I’d tell myself ” just as soon as I get through _____, I’ll be fine.”

        It wasn’t until I’d been married a couple years–and happily!–and in a good job that I realized this wasn’t going away. Maybe there’s help?

        I’ve always been a very thankful person who finds it easy to focus on the good things, and in my case I’m lucky to have found a human who I love beyond what I knew was possible. Never knew I could want to be with a person this much and love talking with him this much, but it’s been over 8 years and we both still feel that way. But when I can’t get out of bed or go out in public? Yeah, medication has been the ticket for me.

        1. Dan*

          I wasn’t saying that meds are overrated, just that I don’t have any experience with them.

          You are right that when there’s really nothing that you would want to change about your life, but then you still get into the dumps big time, that its time to consider medication. When you’re living a life you want to enjoy, but can’t, yup, its time for options.

          At the points where I was at my lowest, I knew that it wasn’t a life I wanted to enjoy anyway.

        2. gr8 candidate*

          I have been on medication for over 20+ years. Once I had to wean completely off one Rx to be able to switch to another and it was holy hell. It was so bad I decided that I would choose to adopt rather than bear children so I never had to go off the meds. Later, my meds needed tweaking – I now take four mental wellness medications, and right now am going through a hard time. I’m responding appropriately to situational depression, but am too afraid that any changes in my meds will have a major effect on my stability.

          The problem is that I have been unemployed or underemployed and without insurance for almost all of five years. None of my Rx’s are covered by those advertised ‘prescription assistance programs’ – and they cost me $250 a month. This is indeed stressful!!

          From my vantage point today I can look back and see I probably spent most of my life with major depression. I have been fortunate to finally find a wonderful psychiatrist who I meet with every other month or so. He is my person who monitors my depression level – and is much more effective than CBT because he is one who cuts to the chase in half the time of an office visit with a psychologist.

          The depression absolutely hinders my ability to promote myself, have confidence in my skills and talents, and I am sure has lost me several jobs. Does anyone know whether depression is one of those things employers cannot discriminate against, or must make allowances for?

          1. NoNameEither*

            OMG… did you wind up adopting? That’s something I think abut constantly. I’m 24 and far from that stage in my life, but whenever I go off my meds I become too depressed to even hold down a job. People at work always talk about how friendly and happy I am, but without my pills I just stay in bed and cry all day. If I go to the office, I leave my desk at least five times a day and just sit in the bathroom and sob. I just cannot function.

            People always say stupid things like “exercise helps!” Great, thanks for the tip, person who hasn’t been to the gym in 3 years. This started when I was playing varsity soccer in college.

            I want kids, but I’m not suited to human life off my meds. I would be afraid to have a fetus growing in such a terrible environment, hormones wise. I’d love to hear what other people have done…

            1. gr8 candidate*

              No. The realization that I could not have any quality of life without the miracle of appropriate pharmaceuticals came at about 40. I had 10 + years of a career that fortunately I realized would be utter chaos to bring a child into (the you’re single so you don’t have a life syndrome). At this point, I’m past the point where I have the energy or life expectancy to raise a child or siblings.

              Do not miss your chance. (I was more concerned about the effects of the meds I take on a child I would conceive.) I need to have excellent doctors in my life, and strongly suggest that for you – the care of a child will demand a lot from you.

      4. Ludo*

        Depression is ugly and cruel whether it is ongoing or situational. I’ve suffered situational and my sister suffers ongoing (along with a myriad of other mental illnesses). It is helpful to talk about it. To let people know they aren’t alone and it isn’t their fault.

    2. Anon for this*

      Unfortunately, as you probably know, antidepressants effect different people differently, and can effect the same person differently at different times in their lives. I’ve been on many a med where it’s worked for a while and then stops. So I try a new one. Right now, I’m on two different anti-depressants and an anti-psychotic (which is new to me, and is supposed to supplement the anti-depressants which have stopped working). Fun stuff, especially when you go through it every few years. Good luck!

    3. NoNameEither*

      Holy crap getting off effexor was a nightmare for me. I would be dizzy, get “zaps”, throw up, want to kill myself (NOT normal for me), and be more feverish and in pain than I can possibly describe. I was told I had a particularly strong reaction to it, and that for larger doses like what I was on the withdraws were similar to heroine.

      The worst part was I asked extensively about side effects and this was NEVER mentioned to me. I felt really, really betrayed by my clinician.

      No real advice, just effexor sucks solidarity, and good luck! Getting off of it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I’m on citralopram now and none of those have been an issue.

  5. Mister Pickle*

    Random stuff:

    I caught up on _Downton Abbey_ today and I won’t give away any spoilers, but I was genuinely surprised at some of the things that are happening. Mary *really* surprised me.

    Also finally watched the end of _Outlander_. I want to like it, but it has such a weird “rapey” vibe to it that it is disturbing.

    Saw _Life After Beth_ – I liked it, but it was most definitely not _Warm Bodies 2_. An extremely black comedy, don’t take the family.

    Still trying to make up my mind about going to the Austin Housecore Horror Film Festival. I really only want to see one band (Author & Punisher); I’m not sure how much $$$ and hassle will be involved. And he’s only scheduled for 45 minutes.

    Speaking of which: I posted a piece of Author & Punisher fan art to deviantart. Where – like most of my artistic endeavors – it sank like a stone.

    1. Anon for this*

      There is a lot of sexual assault and rape in Diana Gabaldon’s books, so I expected it in the show. Although I haven’t seen the most recent episode yet.

      1. Barbara in Swampeast*

        My MIL wrote historical novels about Scotland. Her agent was always telling her she needed more sex in order to sell the books. Gabaldon has NO problem at all with sex, especially in the Lord John series. I am amazed that my local library here in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt has the Lord John series on the shelves!!!!!

    2. Ludo*

      I am in the states but I stream Downton Abbey from the British channel so I’m watching Season 5 now and all I can say is…WOW. All round. All of them. WOW.

    3. Elkay*

      Downtown really is a soap opera now. I still watch it but the long speeches on the state of society are starting to grate. Someone needs to explain the concept of show, don’t tell to Julian Fellows.

      1. Stacy*

        “Someone needs to explain the concept of show, don’t tell to Julian Fellows.”

        Yes. This!

        Also, it sounds like I totally need to catch up before I accidentally get spoiled again. Like I did for series 3. Not to mention Homeland which has recently been spoiled for me twice. That will teach me to get behind on popular shows, I guess!

      2. The IT Manager*

        Thank you all for not spoiling DA season 5, but yeah a total soap opera now – that was obvious in season 4. My main complaint, though, it that they are rushing the soap opera. Season 3’s plot of Robert’s affair had only a few minutes airtime. Likewise with last season’s plot for Edith, I never figured out if she loved Gregson before he vanished. Stuff like that matters to me caring about these characters and the show.

        Still plan to watch on PBS in January while avoiding spoilers. I’ve caught a few hints so far, but no major spoilers. It’s so hard to avoid spoilers on, though.

    4. Melissa*

      Yeah, I really liked Outlander (the book, I haven’t watched the show) except for the relatively large amount of sexual violence in the books. I thought it was kind of weird. I just started the second book.

    5. INTP*

      Thanks for posting about Outlander. I had considered downloading it to try, but I am completely sick of rapey shows. Seems like most of the sophisticated premium shows have to have the “constant threat of rape” undertone.

      1. Anx*

        Agreed. My SO likes GOT and AHS, and I will watch GOT with him and express my discomfort with the sexual assault and racism and still enjoy it. I have to hate watch AHS; if I just hear it from the other room I get annoyed. He defended it initially as being portrayed as a negative, but find it to be exploitative.

  6. Dan*

    Full disclosure: My post contains the word “work” in it, but it’s not really about work.

    I threw a dinner party tonight for some old coworkers. Honestly, few of these people I actually *worked* with, these are all people who I knew through work, and whose company I enjoyed. And I still do. It was a lot of fun. Some are still there, and some have moved on, including me. But it’s really interesting when you can spend 6 hours together, and less than an hour of it is spent chatting about work.

    So there’s no point to my post other than that you can be friends with people from your work place, even after you move on.

    This was a place I was laid off from, and don’t regret that for a moment. The place I don’t miss, it’s the people.

    1. Lillie Lane*

      That’s great! Glad you all had a good time. I went out for drinks with two former coworkers this week (I left that job 10 months ago, one coworker just was laid off, the other still works there) but in all honesty we mostly rehashed what an awful boss we had/have. My husband can’t understand how we can talk about it over and over, but honestly the boss is so bad, it’s akin to therapy for PTSD. You’re right, though, it’s the people that are missed.

      1. Dan*

        Thanks. We’ll spend 20 minutes rehashing how much the boss sucks, and then let loose with Cards Against Humanity. Not that we plan it that way, but we are who we are. We’re the kind who would get fired in 10 seconds if anybody would bother complaining to HR. Oh, the CAH thing makes it easier for the +1’s in the group who just can’t know all of the inside jokes.

        The problem with CAH and the +1’s is you never know if the judge is the literal type or the humorous type.

        One of the reasons we’re no longer coworkers is that *I* was the one who got laid off. And now I’m trying to poach former coworkers, who are actually trying to jump ship ’cause things haven’t gotten any better. You know how awkward that is?

    2. periwinkle*

      Some of my closest friends are a group of former co-workers. We occasionally talk about the horrible old days (we worked together in the late 1990s), but otherwise we talk about all sorts of things like, well, normal people. It can happen! I think of it like being in the military – life goes on, but your platoon is forever.

    3. Gene*

      I’ve been in two weddings of a former coworker, took her daughter to Vegas for her 21st birthday, and she’s one of two people I know I can call any time, day or night, for any reason.

    4. the gold digger*

      you can be friends with people from your work place, even after you move on.

      Absolutely. We had houseguests Friday night – my husband’s former boss and his wife, who have become friends. And yesterday, I drove 90 miles to Major City so I could see my former boss from the Peace Corps, who was in the US for her current job. I had not seen her in 15 years, but we are friends. And I keep in touch with several of my former bosses.

      I am so grateful for the good bosses – I didn’t realize how good I had had it until Sergio at SergioLand, with his horrible mean management style. He, I will not be seeing again.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I’m still friends with a supervisor and a coworker from OldJob. Though we barely see each other–this happens when all your friends have families and you don’t.

    6. ThursdaysGeek*

      I meet for breakfast about once a month with co-workers I had in the late 1980s, and have lunch almost monthly with former co-workers from two more recent jobs (not at the same time). I only recently realized I was networking — I’ve always thought I was just keeping in touch with people I like and used to work with.

  7. AnneLouise*

    There is a site called Email Susie a photo and story about your dog. They will help you find a a kind person to take your dog. their FB page is Susie’s Senior Dogs. (Susie is Brandon Stanton’s dog. He is the Humans of NY guy)

  8. Anx*

    I know there has been some ADHD discussion recently and it’s October, so I suppose today is as good a day as any to ask about the diagnosis processes (official or unofficial) for users here.

    I just received a 0 on an online quiz, because I was planning on studying enough to get a 98+ without being tempted to review my answers (some of the answers aren’t in the version of the book I have access to or the power point notes). So I put it off and put it off and got distracted reading an etymology book I picked up until right as the quiz closed. This is the second time this happened, so my A is in jeopardy. Normally I wouldn’t care about my grades; but accepting Bs in the passed led me down a bad path. Combined with the pressure not to look ‘grade hungry’ I completely blew off my marks during undergrad and anything less than an A may do more harm than good, as I need to take years of school just to raise my GPA to a 3.0 (the minimum for many programs). Anyway, I’m considering dropping the course (I have a few weeks, and while there’s no refund, I believe the class is mostly ‘free’ as tuition caps itself at 16 credits (I have 20). It was an elective.

    It is also prompting to realize that despite all of the progress I have made in the past 5 years academically and more recently with behavioral health (anxiety, perfectionism, procrastination) are still issues. My GP knows I have anxiety (Dx) and panic attacks related to a phobia, and also believes ADHD is reasonable. The behavioral counseling clinic therapist I worked with last year also thought it seemed reasonable. But this was not a focus of my sessions, and I was hesitant to pursue any diagnosis.

    To anyone that had health insurance on the individual market pre-ACA, did you need to answer questions about your ADHD to get insurance? As a pre-existing condition?

    And has anyone struggled with wanting to avoid a diagnosis to avoid feeling as though you must disclose to schools or work or give up on certain fields altogether?

    For context, I am in my late 20s, would be ADHD PI, may have a sleep disorder/anxiety/dyscalculia instead, and was in ACC as a child (with academic difficulties starting in middle school and exploding in college). And a woman.

    1. Noah*

      I was diagnosed as a child, but never took medication just did behavior therapy. I still refuse to take medication for personal reasons, although I understand why people do and certainly do not judge their choice. I’m also more ADHD-H, so not quite the same as ADHD-I.

      I’ve never had issues with the diagnosis, either before or after ACA. Also, I did therapy as a child and also as an adult. Both helped me to deal with some of the illogical thought patterns that can really effect those of us with ADHD. For me, becoming hyperfocused on particular tasks because I’m avoiding an issue is a big one. Also, when I become impatient or irritated at lack of progress.

      FWIW, I read somewhere once that ADHD might be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act which would require workplaces to make reasonable accommodations. Personally, I’ve never really told an employer, at least on the outset of the relationship. I do eventually tell my manager, because I figure it helps them to understand where employees struggle. I don’t really go into details, but I do tell them I have trouble focusing sometimes or may dive deeply into particular projects and would like for them to pull me back if needed. By framing them that way instead of as a disease it prevents them from having all the preconceived notions.

    2. BRR*

      I can’t speak about the insurance part but I can speak to the other question. I too excelled academically as a child with difficulties starting later on. I was fired from my first professional jobs for stupid mistakes because I couldn’t pay attention to my work enough to catch them. I was fortunate to find another job pretty quickly and saw the same mistakes happening again. I quickly sought treatment for my ADHD/depression/anxiety and it really helped the quality of my work. I never wanted to disclose that to my coworkers or boss and because I was able to focus on my work I never had to.

      TL:DR I didn’t disclose because being treated helped me get my act together enough that I didn’t have to disclose.

    3. INTP*

      Pre-ACA, my insurance company had to call my doctor every month before paying for my medication. I was on my parents’ insurance at the time so I don’t know about any sort of pre-existing condition issues. I don’t believe it was ever a problem.

      Post-ACA, I unfortunately did have to pay out-of-pocket for the neuropsych testing because the school psychiatrist couldn’t prescribe meds without it. My insurance wouldn’t pay for it because it’s clinically pointless – studies show the neuropsych tests are just as easy to fool as a clinical interview. Sometimes you can get a discounted price by working with psychology PhD students.

      I never struggle with wanting to avoid a diagnosis – I actually found it very freeing because all my life I had just assumed that I was an underachiever because I didn’t care enough (I was a kid in the 90s, when ADHD was recognized but it was generally kids, especially boys, with the hyperactive type and behavioral issues that got diagnosed). I thought that the reason that I let things slip away or that I zoned out in class was that I didn’t care enough not to, even though I was beating myself up constantly about not being able to muster up this “care.” I was already dealing with the problems – having a diagnosis just gave them a name and a strategy to treat them.

      I also found it freeing to let my ADHD put limits on my career. I had felt obligated to consider only what I was interested in and like it was absurd or lazy of me to avoid certain careers because of long hours during the early years or a lot of stress and deadlines, even when I knew deep down I would be just miserable no matter how interesting the work is. I felt a lot of peace when I finally decided on a field to go into based largely on lifestyle factors (predominantly remote and self-employed work) because it eliminated the “How can I possibly do this for 40 years without jumping out the window” anxiety I felt in my other jobs. (For context, it seems to take me a lot more time than most to keep my home environment clean and non-chaotic, and I also need 8-9 hours of sleep per night to function well and ideally a good amount of aerobic exercise. Even with 40 hours and a long commute, or 45 hours and a short commute, it tends to be physically impossible to do all of that and therefore to function at my best.)

      You don’t HAVE to disclose to your school or work. I have not registered with the disability center or told the majority of my professors and I’ve never disclosed at work. You only need to share if you want an accommodation for your own benefit or need one to do your job. And you don’t need to give up on certain fields just because of your ADHD – there may be certain jobs that it limits you from doing, but that will be more about the specific tasks of the job than the field as a whole, and you will not do well at them whether you have the diagnosis or not. It seems to vary individually a lot – I know several teachers with ADHD who can’t imagine having to do anything else but I really struggled as a teacher, while I do well when I can focus only on one intensive task for hours or days.

      1. gr8 candidate*

        The Rx I take for ADD is a controlled substance, so I will always fail a urine test initially – then the testing lab contacts my Dr. and verifies that I am using the drug appropriately, and by prescription.

      2. Anx*

        Thanks. I’m not very interested in having medication covered, but I am concerned about what could happen if the ACA is attenuated (I live in a very anti-aca state). I don’t think it’s likely, but the pressure to be normal and healthy and have a perfect health record is still so strong; it feels so surreal to go to the doctor and try to find out what’s going on instead of crossing my fingers that nothing gets noticed. I was burned pretty badly by trying to put my health first, getting a ‘just in case’ biopsy and it almost cost me being covered at all. I avowed never again to have any tests or discussions that weren’t critical, in case I want to move again.

  9. Stephanie*

    Taking the GRE Tuesday. It’s been a bit of a humbling experience as I had to study way more for the math than the verbal (I’m weird and found verbal not that bad). And I was an engineering major in college, so it was kind of like “Wtf? Shouldn’t this be easy?” I will be glad to be done with it.

    1. Dan*

      Never took the GRE, but took the GMAT. I hated the GMAT math test, because once you moved on from a question, you couldn’t go back. Pointless, unless those more learned than I can point to studies telling me that that’s the best way to score a test.

      That said, I moved mountains in math as a high school student (no joke… never took a college calculus class because I finished that in high school.) I was a so-so English student.

      Yet, when I took the SAT’s my math and verbal score were 20 points from each other. (Both in the 600’s.) I never could figure that out, ’cause I expected to crack the 700’s if not a perfect 800 in math. Oh well. Some shit just doesn’t matter when you get old.

      Unfortunately, some shit matters when you want to go to grad school. Good luck.

      1. Noah*

        I never took the GRE or GMAT, so I can’t comment on those. I did take the MCAT while I was still pre-med and that sucked because I was not a science major.

        Anyways, I did a professional exam recently and it did not allow you to review questions or change your answer once you moved on. It also asked increasingly more difficult questions in each section until you failed. Apparently if you get the difficult questions right it moves you on to the next section in fewer questions. The wonders of computerized testing.

        I took the SAT twice, ended up with the same score both times. The second time I scored 50 points higher on verbal and 50 points lower on math. Of course, I took it back in the dark ages when the top score was still 1600 and there was no writing section.

        1. Rose*

          Kind of proof of how dumb these tests can be, unless you got both smarter and stupider between tests. Scores are only meaningful within about a 75-100 point rage, which is HUGE.

    2. Jubilance*

      I had to study for the GRE math portion, cause it was all stuff I hadn’t done since high school! I did calculus and differential equations in college, so some of the nitpicky points of algebra had escaped me by the time I took the GRE. I was really disappointed that the math section didn’t test the math I learned in college.

      Best of luck on the test!

      1. Anx*

        Yes! That’s so frustrating. The math is essentially the same as the SAT.

        I suppose math isn’t really something you’re expected to learn in college, which is odd to me.

      2. Stephanie*

        I think, too, the advanced math you use for science/engineering classes is more straightforward. You set up your problem and then do the integration (or whatever). Also, you have the book handy.

        I found verbal easier because the jobs I had required reading lots of dense material and parsing text for meaning. I also am a voracious reader in general.

        1. Mister Pickle*

          My sister is an actuary. If you really want to freak out about math on an exam, take a look at an actuarial exam sometimes.

    3. Jordi*

      I was lucky and found the math section easy. I did a lot of University of Waterloo math contests in highschool and always loved math problems. Got an 800 without any studying.
      The verbal section was a different story. I never took the SAT or any other standardized exam so those type of questions were completely foreign to me. I studied like crazy for that and managed an okay score but not great. Luckily the GRE was more of a formality for my grad program. As long as you didn’t blow it, the admissions were really based on undergrad grades and interview.

    4. Mimmy*

      I was thinking of taking the GRE when I was considering a PhD last year, but chickened out on both, lol. Good luck on Tuesday!!

    5. INTP*

      Good luck! For the record, I found the actual GRE much easier than the practice tests. Especially the verbal section – I struggled to consistently score over 160 on my practice tests (standardized tests are basically my biggest skill in life so I was counting on doing very well). On the actual test I scored a 168, the questions on the first round were much easier than my practice books (they get more advanced according to how well you do, so the second section was pretty crazy).

      I’ve heard complaints about the math section from several engineering/math/science students. Apparently the questions are written in a way that involves a decent amount of verbal reasoning, and the math is not complicated so having a foundation in advanced maths doesn’t help that much.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yes, I’ve noticed that. The actual math is easy, but it’s the figuring out whether it’s a permutation or combination or noticing that the variables could be equal part that’s tough.

        1. Rose*

          Ya, it’s not a math test at all. I’ts a test of your “analytical reasoning” that also requires you to have memorized a lot of 10th grade math rules (WTF Is a 30/6o/90 triangle??) As an engineering minor about to take the test, it’s frustrating me too. I never use this stuff.

    6. Mister Pickle*

      I don’t know how valid this might be today in 2014, but it might generally be helpful for some test-taking situations.

      Long story short: if it is offered, pay attention to any information on how the test will be scored. Ie, is there a penalty for a wrong answer? Is there any information on how correct answers correlate to percentile scores? For example, I took a specialized GRE on Computer Science (and didn’t read the fine print in the testing booklet). I passed but didn’t score well. Afterwards I discovered that if I had known better, I would not have focused on answering all of the questions, but instead on getting at least half of the questions correct. I forget the exact details, but 50% correct would have given me something like 85th percentile right there.

      This was back in 1983 – testing is different nowadays, but I still think it’s important to learn the scoring details before you take a test. It might make a difference in the strategy you use during the testing.

      Good luck with this!

    7. notfunny*

      Good luck! I take it the Tuesday afterwards! I’ve been studying more math than verbal (but I’m definitely not an engineer!) I would describe the studying process as humbling too.

  10. Gene*

    Workish, in the same way my work pranks post a few weeks back was.

    Funniest bad thing that happened at work?

    This one is from late 70s when Dad worked for Western Airlines in Phoenix. One of the other agents (we’ll call him Dave) who had to work with Dad one Thanksgiving also had a houseful of relatives visiting, so he made a deal with a supervisor of the commercial kitchen that provided food for Western at the time to roast a couple of large by huge turkeys for him, prepare all the fixings, and deliver it to him so his wife wouldn’t have to do everything by herself. So, about an hour before shift change, the catering truck pulls up to the ramp shack and the guys on it bring in this pile of food and say, “Dave said to bring this here.” If you know ramp agents, you’re already laughing.

    They ate everything. There was so much food they called rampers from other airlines to share in the bounty. When Dave drove to the shack to get his food, you can just imagine his surprise when someone said, “Thanks man, that was great!” as he was seeing the picked-over carcasses. Even better, you can imagine his wife’s surprise when he shows up at home with fast food burgers and fries. But the ramp guys loved him and would do almost anything for him after that.

    1. Dan*

      I know ramp guys, ’cause I was one, but not sure what the joke was where you said we’d already be laughing. “WTF?” would be escaping from my lips, and I’d certainly eat the turkey.

      I miss those guys. I work white collar in the business now, and me and the guys who used to do the slave labor always BS about the good old days. I think about going back to work for the airlines, but the $ just isn’t there most of the time. Working for the man has at least one benefit.

      1. Gene*

        Dad was a CSR for Western from ~’66 (RAP, PHX, and LAX) until he retired from Delta after the buyout, and Mom worked for National Rent-a-Car, so back in the day, our vacations were essentially free.

        Older sister started on the ramp for America West and is currently a US Airways CSR. Younger brother was ramper for America West for a few years before quitting.

        1. Dan*

          I ramped for a United Express feeder at IAD. Loved it. Too bad it didn’t pay worth a shit, and neither do most airline HQ jobs. I interviewed with two different US Airways jobs, and the pay was god awful — less than $50k for someone with airline experience and an MS. To give a reference point, I make twice that doing government research in aviation transportation.

          With US Air, I’d at least get flight benefits. Thing is, my interests these days are traveling overseas. They don’t do any Asia stuff, and their white collar stuff is NOT in PHL or CLT. So coming from PIT or PHX, I’d have to make a connection going to Europe. I’ve done enough NRSA travel to know that I do *not* want to go standby on two legs each way. That’s asking for trouble.

          I’d rather have a better paying office job and pay for my tickets. Or, in my case, use frequent flyer miles from credit card signups to confirm my tickets in advance. In the spring, I’m going to Australia for a month, and have confirmed seats in first class on miles both ways.

          1. Noah*

            I was a flight attendant for ACA/Independence Air, based at IAD at the end. Still in the industry now in an HQ job with a different non-airline company. I started a part-time job as a cross utilized agent (ticket/gate/ramp all in one) and love those 6 hours a week that all I have to do is take care of passengers and get the flight out on time.

            1. Dan*

              I left ACA a few years before the Indy Air debacle, but if you ever went through IAD in ’01/’02 we probably crossed paths.

              I think about getting part time work on the ramp. Several of the guys I worked with on the ramp had full time day jobs and then did the PM shit part time.

              When we bid vacation, there was no requirement that we actually debit the hours from our leave bank. So the PT’ers with good jobs would perpetually be out on leave, and block the slots for the junior guys. Sucked.

              I take it you’re at an outstation? At the hub, we never cross-trained. One of my friends told me that nothing beats the rush of having 50 passengers on a cancelled flight stare you down.

              1. Noah*

                Started there in ’02.

                Yup, a small outstation. The worst flight I’ve ever had was a mechanical that was delayed 7 hours and then finally cancelled. Those were not happy passengers as I printed hotel vouchers to put them up for the night.

          2. Jam Wheel*

            Hey Dan, I know this is supposed to be un-work related, but I would love to hear more about what you do and similar type jobs, how you got into the job, etc. Airlines and air transport are a big interest of mine, but I haven’t really worked in the industry (though I did a general aviation impact analysis for a western state about 10 years ago). If you are open to emailing that would be great!

            1. Dan*

              Sure. Drop your email here and I’ll respond to it.

              I’ve had two white collar jobs in this industry, and as useless as this sounds, everybody’s career path is different. Some come with industry/domain experience, some don’t.

          3. Gene*

            Since Dad retired from Delta, I can still get NonRev passes a couple if times a year if I want them. I don’t even try anymore, the flights are all full and the last time I did SEA-STL I got stuck in SLC overnight.

            That’s not the worst, back in the 73 I was flying back from BNA to PHX, changing planes at DAL on AA when TWA went on strike while I was in the air on the first leg. I got stuck at Love Field for (IIRC) six days before a CSR took pity on me and put me in the cockpit jump seat. Post-9/11 that could never happen.

      2. Jill of all trades*

        My first job at Delta was on the ramp, and I can safely say that no unattended food is safe, cookies make an excellent argument for swapping shifts, and bad weather sucks. I moved all over the company from there and moved to a different industry after grad school, and I still miss that job (on days with nice weather).

  11. Cool Beans*

    Looking around for apartments and may get a studio. Any tips on conserving space?

    Also regarding having people over: how do I conserve space without compromising on spaces for people to sit?

    1. Stephanie*

      If you can find a place with high ceilings, that will make it feel a little less claustrophobic (speaking from experience when I lived in one).

      For the kitchen, I made sure to buy just one brand of Tupperware. That way, I could stack pieces in each other and lids on top of each other.

      If you can hang stuff on the walls, that also will help. You could install shelving units.

      If you don’t mind the height (or feeling like you’re in a dorm room), you could loft your bed above a sofa or desk.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        Bad thing about high ceilings – heating the room! (my city’s buildings traditionally have high ceilings incl. my own flat) Nightmare to feel warm in.

    2. Dan*

      I have a 1-BDR in the suburbs. Yes, some people think it’s far out, but I have more space. I work in the suburbs as well; if I had to commute into the city, I’d reevaluate things.

      My place is comfortable enough to entertain a total of 8 without feeling too cramped. At this point in my life, I’m not sure I could move into a place with less space, even if it was in the city.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Consider floor pillows if you have friends that are willing to sit on the floor. Or get one for yourself so that you can sit on the floor.
      I like furniture that has dual purposes for example a sleeper sofa or a foot stool with storage space. A set of nesting tables might work well. Currently, I have an antique trunk that I use as a coffee table. I can store things in it and I can throw pillows on it if I want to sit on it. (The top is flat, not rounded.)

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        Yes to floor cushions. I’ve also seen space-saver tables that have several chairs that fold and fit underneath the table when not in use.

        Depending on where you are and how much space most people have in their own apartments, having people sitting on the floor may feel perfectly normal. I’m in NYC, and people are perfectly fine sitting on the floor, without even a floor cushion (or standing up in the kitchen having a drink), here. Most of us don’t have “discretionary” space that can be used to make guests comfortable, so I think people here are just so happy to be invited to someone else’s home rather than just meeting up at a bar that we don’t bat an eyelash at cramped conditions that might annoy people who live in cities with less astronomical real estate.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I lived in a 500 sq ft studio (large for the area) for 8 years. When my guests came over, they sat on the sofa, the bed, and the floor, plus I had a couple of nice folding chairs I kept in the closet. Closet space was key– that place had more closets than the 1-br I moved into. I like a very spare living space anyway, but I made the most of my furniture– I have a drop-leaf console table that is nice and narrow when the leaves are down but can seat 4 when the leaves are up. It also has two shelves. My coffee table has a drawer, and you lift up the top for storage. You can invest in storage ottomans too– Crate and Barrel has nice ones that are high enough to use at a table but narrow enough to put unobtrusively against a wall. My end table has a drawer and a cabinet, so I have storage there.

      Don’t furnish with stuff you don’t need. Think about things like end tables, accent chairs, dining tables– probably not practical if you don’t have the space. I also found that rectangular furniture is better than round– if you can push it flush against the wall, you’ll save space. Put your bed on risers so you can store things underneath.

      Get a place with plenty of natural light! My studio had one huge window facing south, and it made the place feel roomy and comfortable.

    5. BRR*

      I second the storage foot stools/ storage ottoman. You can get a tray to put on top if you need to use it as a coffee table. Utilize under the bed storage. People will most likely be sitting on your bed. If you don’t want them directly on your bedding, get another throw or blanket to throw on top.

    6. Graciosa*

      Living in a small space is about budgeting your stuff as much as your money. Every item in your space needs to earn its spot – which may mean letting some things go. For example, if your wardrobe has a lot of variety, you may need to pare down to one basic neutral so you only need black shoes (all of which go with everything you own) instead of trying to store black, brown, and navy. You may need to give up your first coffee table to buy one with storage space. You may need to weed out extra kitchen equipment and stick to the basics.

      If you approach this with the right attitude, this can be incredibly liberating as you discover you can have everything you need with much less than you used to believe was possible. It is also a huge timesaver not to have to search for or retrieve items from hard to reach storage spots, or stand in front of your closet debating what to wear – but again, you need to have the right attitude. You will find there is a huge difference between living in a small space which is efficiently designed and one crammed so full of stuff that you feel constantly overwhelmed and desperate for a place to breathe. Ruthless editing of your possessions makes a difference.

      For other resources, I would recommend Tiny House Nation (some of their multi-use furniture is brilliantly designed) and the Project 333 web site for wardrobe editing.

      1. AVP*

        Also- someone (a movie, maybe?) gave me the idea to donate or pitch one thing a day for a month. Find something you don’t need, and get rid of it. For the first few weeks its easy, but it’s really rewarding further in when you start to think, do I really need three decks of cards? And wouldn’t these binoculars that I got in a prize package three years ago and never opened do more good with someone who might want them? Oh maybe I should just shred these tax documents from ten years ago! It’s amazing how much totally useless crap I have.

    7. AVP*

      Hello from a 200sf studio!

      It’s tricky but not impossible to live in such a small space. You have to prioritize – figure out which two to three things you really can’t live without and make them fit, and then add in the other things that you want.For me, I love books and love to cook, so I have a bookshelf and a big thing of kitchen equipment, but only a tiny table for one and not a lot of sitting space, and I don’t have a closet for cleaning stuff.

      If you’re worried about having people over and having them essentially in your bedroom the whole time, either look for a studio with a “bed nook” or try to set up your bed area in such a way that it can be cordoned off with a curtain or those movable Chinese doors.

      Honestly, I rarely have people over, and then only two people at a time tops. But I have a great stoop out to the street and I’ve always wanted to have a stoop party.

      Oh and REALLY think about closet space – will you have enough? I don’t and thats the one thing that drives me crazy.

    8. Ludo*

      Room dividers. I have a studio now (less of a cost issue than a “I moved without furniture” issue) and the only way to make it not seem like a dorm room, to me, was to have a pretty room divider so that when you sat on my couch, you weren’t staring at my bed.

      1. Manager Anonymous*

        Former NYC resident. No space. We rarely had people over. I had have friends for over 15 years and had never been to their apartments. We got together with people in restaurants,bookstores, churches, parks, museums, libraries and the occasional bar.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          +1 to this. When we moved here and someone said, “We have to have you over for dinner,” I thought it was so weird. :) I did have people over occasionally when I lived in NYC, but that was maybe twice a year.

    9. INTP*

      Have small furniture if you can stand it. When I lived in a studio, I had a twin bed, a loveseat sofa, and a convertible ikea table (seats one person at its smallest). It allowed me a lot more room than if I insisted on a queen bed and full-size sofa. You want to maintain those different areas – it’s not good for your sleep if you’re basically in your bedroom all the time, so you want to be able to spend daylight hours in a section that doesn’t “feel” like your bedroom even if it’s 2 feet from your bed.

      I can’t say much about company because I never had any at the time. I am a territorial oldest child and don’t want company all in my bedroom!

    10. Fucshia*

      Do you have an Ikea around? They set up small sample rooms that are great for inspiration and being able to walk around to experience the setups.

    11. Mints*

      Very generally, I suggest going to Ikea and walking through the model apartments. They have some that are an entire furnished studio with little notes that explain choices. I always end up with too many ideas and not enough money, but going sparingly helps me come up with storage solutions

  12. Anonyby*

    I spent most of the week painting, and I”m rather proud of the way my room has turned out. The ceiling and the top of the walls are a light blue (Olympic’s A54-2 “Fond Farewell”), there’s a middle band of a more medium blue (A55-4 “Harbor Sky”), and then a darker blue for about the bottom 4′ (A55-5 “Fantasy”). Along the edges of the color I blended them as I applied them, using a brush… I really like the effect. It doesn’t show up as well in pictures as it does in person. It was a heck of a lot of work, though! And I still need to paint the door frames and the inside of the door that leads to the hallway…

    Now, I really need to start thinking about hinges. The original hinges from the closet doors were from the early 50’s. Most of the similar hinges that I see in stores today are a) self-closing, which means they have a taller profile that will stick out above the doors, and b) the holes in the plate where the screws go into the door don’t match up. They’re slightly towards the edge from where the original hinges are, but close enough that if I were to try to use new hinges and drill new holes, the holes would overlap with the old ones. That wouldn’t be very secure.

    I really don’t want to use the old hinges. They have no anti-rust coating on them and they’re caked with old paint that just Won’t Come Off. :( Not to mention that when I tried to clean them, I kept getting tiny metal slivers in my hand–not fun.

    1. Lisa*

      You can sometimes boil paint off old hardware if you want/need to keep using it, then do a light spray-paint with Rustoleum in one of the metal colors. I’ve repainted all the rusting clawfoot tubs in my building with dark bronze & it looks great.

      1. Anonyby*

        I’ve already tried heating them in a crock pot to try to get rid of the paint… It got the top layer off, but not the bottom primer layer. Plus it left paint clinging to the crock that was a pain to try to clean off. :/

    2. VintageLydia USA*

      I love house guests. Next weekend we’ll have 5 or 6 (depending on whether my brother is coming) staying here and two more at a nearby hotel. It will be crowded and a few people will have to share rooms (they’re all family so it’s fine–if they weren’t, more people would be getting hotels, lol.) The most stressful part is feeding everyone and cleaning up after (mostly the laundry, but I’m sure my SIL will bring her dogs and at least ONE of them will pee somewhere that she won’t notice. Unfortunately her normal dog sitters will be up here, too.)

  13. ALC*

    Do people here like having house guests? My initial response is basically ‘no’. I just like my weekends for me. I work and travel very long hours during the week so I really feel like I need the down time. Plus, if I was going away to see a friend, generally I’d prefer to stay in a hotel. That way I feel like I get the best of both worlds. I enjoy having people stay for a night here or there but a whole weekend and I’m not thrilled! My husband couldn’t care less about house guests. He’d have them here every weekend (although he always enjoys it when they’ve visited and we can get back to some normalcy and alone time)!

    My husband is from interstate so we have people at our house fairly regularly. I always just think ‘wouldn’t you be more comfortable in a hotel?!’

    It probably doesn’t help that we’re mid renovation (although our place is very liveable by now) and it’s small enough (one bathroom, one toilet) that it can feel fairly cramped pretty easily.

    How do others feel? I went out with 3 girlfriends last weekend who all agreed with me but given the number of guests we have over the year I wonder if it’s just be that prefers the hotels!! Maybe it’s a cost issue, I don’t know.

    1. Stephanie*

      Ummmm, depends on the person’s houseguest manners (we’re going to assume we’re talking about people I like and would want to see, not unwanted houseguests) and my living situation (I find it tougher to host someone if I have a roommate or am living with my family).

      One of my closest friends is a terrible houseguest. Books awkward arrival and departure times (“Do you mind picking me up from a 1 am flight?”), sleeps on a different schedule (I’m generally a morning person and had to awkwardly wait/time errands while he slept in), used my shampoo once (only once after he realized it was specifically formulated for kinky, coarse hair), etc. Last time, I snapped and suggested he stay in a hotel as that seemed to be more in line what he was looking for.

      On the other hand, some friends/relatives are really good guests and I don’t mind.

      On my end, I am finding it more awkward to couch-surf as I get older. Some of it I think is due to more friends getting married (or cohabitating) and finding myself closer to one half the couple than the other. That and enjoying being able to go back to a hotel room and veg out.

      1. Dan*

        I can be the “books 1am arrival time and do you mind picking me up from the airport” type, but I also really try and make it convenient for my hosts. Like, I’m actually going to ask you, and if I’ve already booked it, tell you to get back to me within 24 hours so I can change my ticket without a fee, kind of guest.

        My mom and dad came out to DC awhile back. Since they can get nonstops to DCA (I live close to IAD) I get it. So I told dad, book your flight into DCA, just don’t book the one that gets in at 5pm unless you come in on Sat or Sun. So what’s he do, books a 5pm flight on a Wed. I told him I’ll pick him up at the metro in Falls Church; I think he learned his lesson. Two weeks ago, they had a 1pm departure on a Wed; I drove them straight to the airport, I think they got the message. They’ll do the metro, they just like front door service better.

        What does your shampoo do to people’s hair who don’t have what you got?

        I’ve never couch surfed. When I travel abroad, I frequently stay in full-service hotels due to my miles and points hobby. Which is kinda weird, because a lot of the people I meet abroad are of the hostel variety. It’s really, really weird to say “uh, I’m staying in a place that mostly rich people stay. I have my own bedroom *and* bathroom.) Plenty of hostels have single rooms with private bathrooms, and I’m cool with that. The last time I stayed at a place with a shared bathroom, it felt kinda scummy.

        1. Stephanie*

          Ha, I didn’t know until my friend (who’s Asian) used it. It was literally like “Your shampoo’s weird. I used some and it doesn’t spread.” “Ummmm, you used my shampoo? C’mon, it’s hard enough for me to find shampoo already without you using it up.”

          I think “ethnic” shampoo (ie, the stuff in brightly-colored bottles that’s clearly for black people) adds moisture and is a lot thicker. I don’t think it’d do anything adverse, but it’d maybe make finer hair oilier and be harder to wash out? (Totally guessing.)

          1. Dan*

            I donno what it means to have shampoo that “spreads.” When I visit family, I steal theirs, and never have problems. But they’re are of the non-“ethnic” variety, like me.

            I had no idea that all y’all have special shampoo that is “clearly” not for me, and for that matter, is actually hard for you to find. I’ve learned more about “ethnic” hair from reading your posts than I have anywhere else on the internet, so thank you for that. But I’ll admit, it’s not like chicks are in the habit of talking about hair and hair products with dudes.

            The most in depth hair conversation I ever get is whether or not the hair is actually a natural blonde. Until they skip a stylist appointment, and then it’s kinda obvious.

            I will certainly be more careful about whose shampoo I will steal from in the future. Rest assured, I will still steal shampoo.

            1. Melissa*

              They’re easier to find these days than they used to be. I know that even just 5 years ago it was difficult to walk into a box store or drugstore and find a *good* shampoo for my hair. It’s because our hair is in general kinkier and curlier, and so we need more moisture; the shampoo they generally sell in drugstores for the cheap can strip our hair and make it really dry and straw-like. So I used to go to a specialty store to buy my shampoo, and it was expensive ($20 for an 8 oz. bottle).

              Nowadays, though, it’s a lot easier! Drugstores and box stores like Target and Walmart are carrying a variety of brands that work for kinkier and curlier hair textures (which generally overlap with non-white people’s hair, but is not exclusive to us. I know some white folks who use my brand of shampoo or other things that I use in my hair). The brand of shampoo I use is sold at CVS, Walgreen’s/Duane Reade, Walmart, and Target, which is really nice! And it’s only $11 for a 12 oz. bottle.

              So basically the shampoo that we use won’t hurt your hair, but it’ll probably leave it much oilier than most other brands of shampoo would. And it might not – it depends on the exact shampoo and the hair in question. I know a lot of black people who use shampoo brands that were not originally intended specifically for black hair – like Aussie, Giovanni and Trader Joe’s. They sell Fekkai in drugstores now too and I know people of many races use that.

          2. Melissa*

            What kind of shampoo do you use? I’m black with kinky/coily hair, too, and I use Shea Moisture (the coconut and hibiscus one in the pink bottle). It is very thick and moisturizing, but I do know some white people/folks with thinner, oilier hair who use it! They just wash their hair less often. More of them use the African black soap one in the black bottle, which I use as a clarifying shampoo.

            1. Stephanie*

              I use a shampoo from Qhemet Biologics (the Egyptian Wheatgrass Cleansing Tea). When I still lived in DC, I could find it in the stores. I order it online now (it’s a little spendy–$13 for an 8 oz bottle, but shampoo last several months for me). I have what I lovingly call Frederick Douglass hair (i.e., super thick and coarse) and I had problems finding even natural products geared toward the “Type 4” hair (way too many advertise “moisturizing coils”, which I don’t have without putting product in).

              Target in DC had like salon-quality products. Out in Phoenix, um, not so much. But it’s getting better! Walmart started carrying Shea Moisture and Target started carrying Shea Moisture, Jane Carter, and Carol’s Daughter (which didn’t work for me).

              1. Melissa*

                Oh, I’ve never seen that brand before – their Hydrate & Twist butter looks pretty great. I agree with you that too many natural hair products these days are advertising towards coils and curls that hang as opposed to type 4 kinks (I have type 4a/4b hair, I think).

                I was in NYC so I had lots of access to lots of great products in different kinds of stores, but now I am in a small college town. Luckily I was already using Shea Moisture so I can buy that here, and anything else I just order online these days (like Bee Mine, and there’s a moisturizing spritz from Alikay Naturals I like, but I haven’t had to reorder that one yet). I’ve tried both Jane Carter and Carol’s Daughter; the old CD stuff was my go-to shampoo (black vanilla!) but they changed the formulas and it’s pretty drying. Jane Carter is okay but I prefer the SM.

                1. Stephanie*

                  I used the Black Vanilla as well, but it was just too drying (especially out in the desert). I wanted to like Carol’s Daughter, but it just wasn’t moisturizing my hair enough. I really like the hydrate and twist butter–highly recommend it. It was backordered for a while, so I’ve been making my own twist butter.

                  I think there’s a general bias toward the Tracee Ellis Ross-style natural hair (like coils and ringlets). I remember when there as a Change petition to get Beyonce and Jay-Z to comb Blue Ivy’s hair (for real, people?). I can’t help but think that was due to her hair texture and all the baggage around kinky hair. It’s like “Yeah, I’m sure these two multimillionaires know what they’re doing and/or have access to people who know what they’re doing. That’s just want really kinky hair looks like naturally.”

              2. Waiting Patiently*

                Yes, these products get really pricey–and its so hard to find good products for us 4c’s! I just recently broke down and tried the Kinky Curly the Curling Custard and Knot Today but their Come Clean shampoo dried out my hair. So I’m back to cowashing only. My hair loves the simple stuff like Shea Butter and oils (olive and coconut). I make my on concoction for twist outs. I try to keep it simple.

                1. Stephanie*

                  I had a similar result with the Kinky-Curly. Loved the Knot Today, found the Come Clean drying. (Haven’t tried the Curling Custard.) The Qhemet stuff is seriously the best stuff I’ve found for 4c hair.

                  I tried cowashing for a bit, but found it didn’t work very well for my hair. I found it wasn’t very cleansing (and I needed a leave-in anyway for moisture) and would just end up with crazy dandruff. Apple cider vinegar is my best friend.

          3. TL -*

            My roommate (Jewish, curly coarser redhead) uses the Shea Butter shampoo/conditioner (and loves it.) I used the shampoo once – just to see what it would do – and didn’t really notice anything. I have blond, wavy hair that’s on the finer side, I guess. But I’ve only ever had problems with one brand of conditioner; generally I can use whatever I want on my hair without issues.

    2. Dan*

      It depends on who and how much space you really have, and how many people are coming. I have a 1-BDR apartment, and my parents get a hotel, period, no questions asked. I’ve put my brother and his wife up for a night or two on my air mattress, and been fine with that. But the parents things is because I can’t stand my mother. If dad was by himself, different convo.

      But one of the things is, I’m a night owl. So, if I want to stay up late and people are sleeping in my living room, what am I supposed to do? And how do I tell them to keep it down so I can sleep until 11am undisturbed?

      When I see family and friends, I’ll stay at their place if space crunches aren’t an issue. Luckily, my peeps have single family houses with extra bedrooms so we’re not really crowding each other out.

    3. Jen RO*

      I don’t mind house guests for a limited period of time (under a week), if they are close friends. It’s not the material things that bother me, mostly (all guests are told to consider themselves at home, eat from the fridge, use my toiletries etc)… but having to interact with people gets exhausting. I need my alone time, and I am *not* a social person right after I wake up.

    4. Noah*

      My immediate family is welcome anytime. I can get crowded if everyone shows up at holidays because I’m the oldest of five kids and by the time you get everyone and their spouses and kids it is get a lot of people. However, we are all spread out and don’t get to see each other that much, so I really enjoy it for the most part. Five days is about the limit though and then I want everyone out of my space.

    5. Elkay*

      It depends who it is but 9 times out of 10 I wish they’d get a hotel. I try and book hotels whenever possible because I like my own space to recharge.

    6. Colette*

      It really depends who they are. Are you comfortable telling them you need time alone? Do they understand you still need to do laundry and otherwise live your life?

      I mostly gave family visit, and most if the time it’s fine. And when it’s not, I can tell them that.

    7. Melissa*

      No, I’m with you, I don’t like having house guests and I prefer to stay in a hotel rather than with friends. I love my friends, it’s not them – but when I have people come I am gripped with a sense of anxiety, because I feel like I need to cater to and entertain them (and impress them, even if they are people who already know and love me). I have a pair of friends coming to visit me in two weeks, and I am nervous about it because I live in a small college town without a whole lot to do and I am like “oh god, what are we gonna do?!”

      When I do stay with friends, though, I try to be an impeccable house guest.

    8. AvonLady Barksdale*

      We finally have enough room for guests– 2 bd/2 bath– and I’m like you. I have to figure out how I feel about guests. It totally depends on the guest! My parents came and stayed in a hotel. My grandparents will do the same, though I invited them to stay here– it’s easier for my grandmother, who uses a walker– to stay in a handicapped accessible room. My mom stayed twice in my studio apt several years ago and she hated it, which had nothing to do with my hospitality. My family just refuses to believe that I can make a nice, comfortable home.

      My cousin is welcome to stay at any time for however long she likes. She’s easy. I have a couple of friends who are invited to stay and I know it will be easy. One of them told me he refuses to be entertained– he just wants to visit my dog. Other people, though, stress me out. All the cleaning and the being quiet and using the second bathroom and making sure they have what they need… I love entertaining, but it’s crazy stressful. Mid-renovation? No way.

      I try to be a very chill houseguest. I will only stay with certain friends because I know I won’t disrupt them too much. My boyfriend and I had to go back to NYC for a memorial service recently and we stayed with a friend who has a 2-bd, 2-ba apartment, a doorman, and a spare key. It was perfect. I think she liked having us. I hope she did! But believe me, I get it.

    9. Christy*

      I hate houseguests. My girlfriend’s 14-year-old sister stayed with us for two weeks in a one-bedroom last year, and it was too long. She’s a cool kid but I always had to be “on” and there was never enough privacy to have sex.

      Now we live in a two BR, and the library has a nice, comfortable, not inexpensive futon that is also the dedicated guest bed. So far we’ve had my friend crash one night (so she didn’t have to drive home so late) and it was totally not terrible. Now, it was my BFF and she left in the early morning, so of course it wasn’t terrible.

      My girlfriend and I have an agreement that houseguests can’t stay for more than 3 days, and I think that will be a really good rule. Not that my family will want to stay with us (they only like 75 minutes away, though to hear them tell it I live in another time zone) but for people like my college friends and her family from the west coast.

      I just need my down time when I’m not working, and guests really cramp that. I don’t even work crazy hours, but I need that down time to recharge and not have my anxiety ramp up.

    10. matcha123*

      I feel uncomfortable with people in my place. I can’t use the bathroom without wondering if they can hear me (my place is one room with a thin wall between the bathroom and the room. You can hear everything.).

      There’s also no space in my place. I don’t know. I just can’t relax having people in my place because I am hosting them and it’s my job to ensure they have a pleasant time.
      I have had friends stay over or crash at my place (hate that). The only people I would feel comfortable with are my immediate family. And that’s because I was raised with them.

    11. Ann Furthermore*

      It totally depends on who it is. Right now we don’t have a guest room, because my mother in law lives with us. Our house has a walk-out basement that is finished with a bedroom, full bath, and mini-kitchen, so it would be perfect for guests. Or even a renter, if we really needed the money (which thankfully is not the case). But for right now, that space belongs to my MIL.

      When we moved 2 years ago we were homeless for a month. Closed on the sale of the old house in mid-June, couldn’t get into the new one until mid-July. Staying in a hotel would probably have cost us about $2500. Plus we had 2 dogs to board, which was already costing about $1500.

      We stayed with a friend of mine from college, who I was roommate with years ago, for about 2 weeks. He is gay, with no children, and has a beautifully remodeled house full of lovely crystal and other breakables. At the time my youngest daughter was 3. He had a finished basement, with a bedroom and bathroom, where we stayed. The day we got there, I took everything breakable I could find that was within my daughter’s reach and stored it in a closet. Then spent the next 2 weeks following her around saying, “Don’t touch!” As a thank you gift, I bought him a really cool wine decanter and crystal wine stopper in the shape of a skull (he is very into Halloween). And I also cleaned the bathroom, ran the vacuum, and washed the sheets and towels we’d used before we left. We all did our own thing for meals, but few nights we took care of dinner and invited him to eat with us. It was actually kind of fun, because it was the same house I’d lived in years before, and my friend and I were able to hang out and have many late evening talks over beers like we did back in the day. And he totally bonded with the kids too, which was really nice.

      Then we stayed with some other friends — a friend of mine from college, her partner, and their 2 daughters. Add in me and our 2 daughters, and you have my poor husband trapped in a house with 7 chicks for 2 weeks. We did the same thing there — they also had a finished basement. The last day, I washed all the sheets and towels we’d used, and ran the vacuum. We also did the dinner thing there too. And we also bought them some cool sports memorabilia, as they are both huge hockey and football fans.

      I hope we were decent house guests. Having someone stay in your house for 2 weeks is a HUGE imposition and we were aware of that the entire time. With the second set of friends it was more awkward because one of their kids was really not very nice to my little one. Normally you address that kind of stuff with another kid’s parents, but in this situation we really felt like we couldn’t say anything, because they were already being incredibly generous by opening their home to us for a couple weeks. They moved last year, and found themselves in the same situation. We were going to be on vacation for a week during their transition, so I offered our house — since it would be empty, there would be a bed for everyone. They were able to stay with some relatives for the whole time they were displaced, so it ended up not being necessary, but I was glad to be able to make the offer and return the favor.

    12. Sabrina*

      I agree with others, it depends on who and for how long. On the other hand, I recently had a friend who moved back to Chicago from LA. He happened to drive through Omaha. I wish I’d known he was coming our way, I would have asked him to stay with us. As it was, he ended up at a motel less than a 1/2 mile from our apartment.

    13. VintageLydia USA*

      This posted in the wrong place originally :(
      I love house guests. Next weekend we’ll have 5 or 6 (depending on whether my brother is coming) staying here and two more at a nearby hotel. It will be crowded and a few people will have to share rooms (they’re all family so it’s fine–if they weren’t, more people would be getting hotels, lol.) The most stressful part is feeding everyone and cleaning up after (mostly the laundry, but I’m sure my SIL will bring her dogs and at least ONE of them will pee somewhere that she won’t notice. Unfortunately her normal dog sitters will be up here, too.)

    14. Tris Prior*

      HATE having houseguests. Hate feeling like I have to be on all the time. I worry about things like, are they going to hate the brand of coffee I keep in the house, or do I have enough snacks around (I typically don’t buy junk food).

      I’ve dealt with the food/coffee issue by asking beforehand if there’s anything specific that they want me to have on hand for them, and that’s been helpful.

      I also tend to stress out that the place won’t be clean enough for them. I am not particularly tidy and I have a cat who’s always been barfy and will hurl right in front of people. I remember one guest in particular – I knew she was a neat freak and I spent days scrubbing my apartment so that she wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Upon arriving, she walked into my kitchen and immediately noted that I’d missed a bit of dirt around where the kitchen cabinets met the floor. That still sticks with me to this day. (unfortunately, due to our relationship this is a guest we can plan on hosting again….)

    15. Cath in Canada*

      A few days is fine. My parents staying for 3-6 weeks at a time? SO not fine, especially because our house only has one bathroom and I’m not good at sharing bathrooms. But that’s the price you pay for being the bad daughter who moves to Canada, and the upside is that getting our house back to ourselves when they leave is positively divine.

  14. Ann Furthermore*

    Today was my daughter’s last flag football game. I’m so glad it’s over. She liked playing, but the coaches were both complete idiots. The team only won 2 of their 8 games. I realize the kids aren’t being groomed for the NFL, and yes, the most important thing is to have fun, but winning once in awhile is fun.

    What was so frustrating is that the kids wanted to play and learn, and had a lot of potential, but because the coaches were so disorganized, they didn’t really know how to work together as a team. Practices were hit and miss. Once it was rescheduled and moved at their request, then they ended up going to the wrong place because one coach forgot it had moved, and the other didn’t check his email. So no practice that night. Just one thing after another like that all season long.

    One coach was unable to be there today because he had to go to Australia on business. I understand — people volunteer their time but things come up and of course your paying job takes precedence. So he had a friend of his fill in for him. This guy and his wife showed up and walked up to my husband and me to ask where the team was, if the other coach was there yet, etc. Then he said, “Is this the single moms team or something? Why didn’t any of the dads step up? If you’re not involved with your kid’s activities, YOU ARE FAILING YOUR CHILD.” With my husband standing right there. My husband, who has spent every weekend for the last 3 months remodeling our kitchen and wasn’t able to come to any games until today. So effing rude and clueless! I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, so I said, “Well, no one knew Mitch was going to Australia until recently, and no email was sent to the team parents asking for someone to help out. And as far as my husband goes, he gets a hall pass because he’s been remodeling our kitchen.” I think he knew he’d pissed me off, because he shut up, and then wandered off to talk to someone else.

    The good news is that I think my husband will volunteer to be a coach next year, which will be awesome. He’s very organized, he knows a lot about football, he’s really good with kids, and he’s got a great knack for explaining things very simply so they’re easy to understand.

    I asked him once what powder coating was. We were watching some show where someone was going to do that. He started off with a very technical explanation about how you have to give the object an electrical charge, and then stopped and said, “You know how when you rub a balloon against your shirt it gets charged up with static electricity and it will stick to the wall? Same idea. Whatever you’re powder coating is the balloon, and whatever you’re coating it with is the wall.” Made perfect sense.

    1. Steve G*

      Ugh, hate it when adult drama taints what are supposed to be fun/innocent kid’s activities…hopefully next year is fun w/ your husband coaching

  15. Anonsie*

    I’ll need to go to a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery in January, and I’m hoping to be able to stay there for a day or two cheaply. I need to be there at least overnight and I’m on a very tight budget. Does anyone have recommendations of where to stay and how to get around? Can I avoid renting a car?

    I’m also told you can get bereavement airfare– do you usually have to get some kind of documentation to book that? I know this one I could find the rules on my own but if there’s an especially simple way to get it done, I’d like to know.

    1. Stephanie*

      Arlington National Cemetery is off the Metro close to the city center, so you can avoid renting a car that way. Metro’s solid enough that you won’t need a car and you can get to Arlington from the airports via public transit.

      Unfortunately, no suggestions about cheap lodging aside from the obvious (AirBnB, hostels, etc). I do think that’s off-season, so hotels should be cheaper.

      Sorry for your loss.

    2. Corry*

      Anonsie, I’m really sorry for your loss. My understanding from my friends who’ve had the bereavement fare is that it drops the cost from what you’d normally pay for a plane ticket to travel the same day or next day, to about what you’d pay if you had bought it several weeks in advance. If it’s for a funeral, they call and verify with someone at the funeral home; most funeral homes have someone answering the phones, even after-hours, who can give as much information as the airline needs.

    3. hermit crab*

      First, I’m sorry for your loss. Second, you can absolutely avoid renting a car. The cemetery, the closest airport (DCA), and the surrounding neighborhoods are all very transit accessible. There are a number of inexpensive (for the area) hotels close to the Blue Line (the metro line that goes to both DCA and the cemetery). Also, if you will be in town for a funeral at Arlington, I wonder if you could get the military rate at a hotel? I’m not sure of your situation, but maybe it’s something to look into. I live in Arlington, so let me know if you need any other information.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Bereavement fares are usually for last-minute trips, and they only provide minimal discounts. You need to have a death certificate or an obituary, I believe. Because you’re going in January, chances are you can get a reasonably priced airfare without jumping through hoops for bereavement fares, depending, of course, on where you’re flying from.

      The Arlington Cemetery Metro station is about 1/2 a mile from the cemetery itself. It’s on the blue line, so stay somewhere on the Blue Line– you may be able to find a good, inexpensive hotel room in Crystal City, Arlington, or Alexandria. You wouldn’t need to rent a car if you stayed on a Metro line. You don’t even need to stay on the Blue Line, necessarily (transferring is pretty easy), as long as you’re near a Metro station, so that opens up options in DC proper and Maryland, as long as you’re willing to take the time to travel.

    5. Seal*

      Very sorry for your loss. Washington DC has an excellent Metro system, so you shouldn’t need to rent a car. There’s even a Metro stop at Arlington National Cemetery. Reagan National has a Metro stop, while Dulles has bus service to the Rosslyn stop (I think – I’ve never flown into Dulles). There are plenty of hotels ranging from cheap to expensive available, too. Use or something similar to find a hotel in your price range that’s close to a Metro stop and you’re all set.

    6. fposte*

      It’s airline by airline. If you Google “bereavement fares [airline]” that should get you to the policy for the relevant airlines. (Be aware that not all airlines do them–apparently American just stopped theirs.) Documentation again varies, though it’s not generally onerous–Delta just asks for the name and phone of the funeral home or hospital.

      However, bereavement fares are often more expensive than a cheap open-market fare, even at the last minute, so make sure you check your favorite aggregator to see what you’d be paying if you just bought a ticket outright.

      1. Jill of all trades*

        One of my many jobs at Delta over the years was reservations, where I dealt with bereavement fares. At Delta, you’re buying flexibility, not a cheap ticket. B tix (at least back then) were fully refundable and changeable, and it was a discount on the full fare ticket that provides that flexibility. Since you don’t need the flexibility as much in this situation, you’re better off shopping around for options. Depending on your city of origin, you may be better off flying into another city and taking a train in to DC. I’m sorry for your loss.

    7. Sunday*

      Sorry for your loss. Re bereavement airfare – I’ve found it more expensive than some alternatives, so with advance planning you may well find something cheaper than any bereavement fares. Because that was my experience (and that was flying across the country with one week’s notice), can’t help you with paperwork needs. My guess is that that will vary somewhat by airline.

      As to lodging and car – lodging by public transit is more expensive than that which would be easier with a car. Figuring out what would be easiest and cheapest together will matter. You might call the Cemetery and ask what info they have for family members; they might have great info and might have very little. If you know the plans the family contact is making, that person may also know about discounts/group options. You could also call your congressman’s office for information; if they don’t have someone who handles service members and families and funerals, they’ll know who does.

      Have a look at hotel and tourism websites for general information on hotel options and such; be prepared for some sticker shock if you’re from anywhere but NYC/Boston/SF. Having some of that info on hand before you start having conversations will help. (see above, where Gene describes a $100 celebratory dinner for two, and Dan says that would no longer happen in metro DC.) William Penn House is a Quaker organization that does offer shared rooms at much lower than average rates; you might see if that looks like a place you’d be comfortable.

      The Cemetery itself is lovely

    8. Dan*

      Where are you coming from? Bereavement fares are mostly a thing of the past, and as others have said, if you do find them, they’re for last minute travel.

      Since January is a little ways away, hold off until buying your tickets. Somewhere between 21-60 days out is optimal.

      Southwest can be a good deal, they have a few flights into DCA, but a ton into BWI. BWI is transit accessible to Arlington Cemetery.

      I second the suggestion of getting a hotel near Chrystal City/Reagan Airport. That’s the cheapest unless you want to go into the Maryland suburbs and spend tons of time and money on the metro. Metro fares are distance based, so the longer the ride, the more expensive it gets. And metro can’t be considered cheap any more.

    9. Alice*

      Just in terms of transit and lodging together, see if there is a hotel just south of the airport on the blue/yellow metro lines. Near braddock Rd station or even near Franconia – Springfield station. Probably cheaper than if you go north into D.C. Also old town Alexandria. If not for hotel it’s a nice place to knock around by the waterfront (even has a free bus/trolley that goes from the waterfront to the metro on King St.)
      I live in the area, so I know places, but not hotels. But if you stick close to the metro you shouldn’t need a car.

    10. Zed*

      If it is within your budget, try the Americana Hotel in Crystal City. I’ve stayed there for about $100 a night. It is more motel than hotel, but it was perfectly fine–nothing fancy, but clean and convenient. It’s walking distance to the Crystal City metro station, but there is also a hotel shuttle. If I remember correctly, Crystal City is on the Blue Line and only a stop or two from the cemetary.

  16. Billy*

    I want to buy my first vehicle soon,an SUV. I was considering a Jeep Wrangler or Cherokee. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience on the newer models? What other SUVs would you recommend? My price range is 25K or under.

    1. ExceptionToTheRule*

      I’ve got a couple of friends who got two new Cherokees over the past two years and this was after the husband swore he’d never ever buy another one about 10 years ago. They’re both pretty discerning car buyers, so I take that as a positive, but it’s all I know.

    2. CTO*

      I really love my Ford Escape. Be sure to pay attention to repair costs–that’s where some cars can become a lot more expensive than others to own.

      1. Adnan*

        I had a Jeep Compass for 7 years and traded it in for a Patriot two years ago. Both were acquired brand new at less than CAD $25K and didn’t need much repair costs other than routine maintenance and switching to & from winter tires twice a year . They are 4 wheel drive. My daily commute is 15 km round trip and I had long distance trips once every couple of years when I relocated for work.

      2. gr8 candidate*

        My Forester is a 1999 model, has 274,000 miles on it, and I just had to invest in rebuilding the engine. I should get another 150,000 or more miles. I love it. It helps to find an independent mechanic who specializes in Subarus. These cars are happy with oil changes and scheduled maintenance.

        1. Trixie*

          How much does that cost, rebuilding an engine? At 207,000 miles on a 1999 Outback, I’m expecting more than usual maintenance. Plus my car has pesky EGR valve / CEL issues.

    3. Noah*

      If you really want a Jeep I would go with the Wrangler or look at a 2012 Liberty. The Patriot, Compass, and new Cherokee are all primarily front-wheel drive crossovers. There is nothing wrong with a crossover but keep in mind it will not have the same ground clearance and abilities as a true SUV. If you are just buying it because you enjoy the looks and would like a good vehicle for snow then a crossover is perfect and will be more comfortable and get better gas mileage.

      Personally, I have a Wrangler Unlimited (4 door version of Wrangler) and love it. However, it is not my daily driver either, for that I have a Mazda. The Jeep sucks down gas, is loud on the highway, and lacks some creature comforts. It is so much fun to use for four wheeling though and is great to drive around in with the top off on a sunny day.

      I had a 2004 Liberty and later a 2011 Liberty that were company cars. I really liked the high driving position and they were heavy and felt solid. However, they also had horrible gas mileage. They were surprisingly capable offroad and were amazing in snow. Also, both were more comfortable day-to-day than the Wrangler is.

      1. Billy*

        I actually need a 4×4,especially to handle all the New England weather. It doesn’t have to be a Wrangler, but I do need something stable.

        I was thinking a Ford Edge,but that is too much out of my price range.

        1. Jill of all trades*

          Look at the Outback. I have one and let me tell you, it was a total champ during Atlanta’s Snow Jam in January. Steady, sturdy, surprisingly roomy, well insulated little trooper just kept picking its way through those front wheel drive messes with grace and aplomb. And I’ve loaded it with tons of stuff from Ikea and the home improvement place and none of it was an issue. It may be my favorite vehicle ever.

    4. kf*

      I live in Minnesota and I have a new Jeep Cherokee 4×4. Love the 4 wheel drive in the snow. My driveway is steep and I have struggled in the past getting my front wheel drive vehicle in the garage when there is snow. I have not had an issue with the Cherokee. My son has a 2005 Jeep Liberty 4×4 and he has had no difficulties and even ended up driving through a mud slide with no issues.
      My parents have a Nisson Rogue. They warned me that the AWD is very difficult to deal with after having driven front wheel drive vehicles.

  17. Chocolate Teapot*

    Did anyone see Nozze di Figaro from the Met yesterday? I sometimes wonder if there are other posters on here who also tune in to these live cinema broadcasts.

    1. BRR*

      No :(. But I’m going to see Die Zauberflöte at the Met in three weeks. I’m super excited. I previously saw La fille du régiment there from the highest balcony and it was amazing, especially for an opera I never knew (I have a masters in music performance). I haven’t done a live broadcast yet but I’m always very tempted.

  18. Jen RO*

    Supermarkets have started importing Reese’s and Hershey products. Now I get why so many Americans who live abroad miss the peanut butter cups. (They won’t become my favorite sweet, but they are different from anything I’ve eaten before.)

      1. Jen RO*

        We do have Twix (it’s super common actually), but not the peanut butter kind. Peanut butter is not a ‘thing’ here actually, I literally don’t know anyone who eats it on a regular basis.

        (And, sorry guys, but the day I learned what a PB&J sandwich is, I was very disappointed.)

        1. Rebecca*

          My Grandma made me peanut butter sandwiches with butter, peanut butter, and strawberry jam on white bread. So yummy, not so great calorie-wise, but to this day I still make one with one slice of bread and it takes me right back to my childhood.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I saw Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at a Shell petrol station in London. I did not even look at them–my bag mysteriously filled up with Wispa Gold bars and those giant Chunky Kit Kats. The peanut butter ones were fantabulous.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      Ha, that’s funny! I was in Sweden several times last year, and one of the people I work with was telling me about peanut butter cups. Someone else from our office had brought some when he went to that office. She told me that she was in the office working one weekend and kept eating them. Then said, “I keep eating them….I can’t decide if I like them or not, but somehow I can’t leave them alone!”

      1. Jen RO*

        I saw E.T. when I was so young, I don’t remember anything (But I’m sure there isn’t a Romanian cut!) I don’t know when the movie was shown, but it was probably early 90s, when everything looked sci-fi to us. We probably assumed the Reese’s Pieces were Bonibons (M&M type things made in Turkey).

    3. Mints*

      Ooh, have you had peanut butter Snickers? I generally don’t like peanut butter candy, but peanut butter Snickers is amazing!

      1. Jen RO*

        Nope, as far as I know Reese’s stuff is the only peanut butter stuff you can get here right now! (Plus 2-3 brands of actual peanut butter in a jar, but I’m told by a peanut-butter-loving American that it’s mediocre.)

  19. Starbux*

    Any advice for dealing with someone who is always seeking advice but who questions your expertise at the same time?

    I have a friend who is constantly asking work and relationship advice. She will do this with other friends as well. She will call us individually and proceed to ask for advice, but will then question us. For example, she asked a friend of ours who is a physician about some medical concerns she had. The friend provided feedback and said she was welcome to visit her at her office if she wanted a more in – depth explanation/consultation. The friend then said, “well, how much do you really know about X disease because you haven’t been out of medical school that long?” Basically, she totally dismissed doctor friend’s knowledge of anything medical related.

    With me she asks me career questions because we work in a similar industry and I have a consulting business. She asked me to work on her resume and I did. A few months later, she called me to ask some questions about the resume because a relative of hers (who works in a clinical field that hires very differently than our industry) said the resume was terrible and needed to be redone. In short, she decided to revamp the resume according to her relative ‘ s standards.

    1. Colette*

      Ask her questions instead of giving her answers – i.e. “What do you think needs to change on your resume? Why don’t you think it’s representing you well?”

      And stop doing things for her – provide her resume feedback, but leave it up to her to take it or leave it.

    2. KCS*

      I’d be so tempted to respond to her next request for advice as, “Sorry, I don’t have any advice for you. Good luck!”

      But I suppose the more reasonable way to respond is, “Hey, I would love to help. But I’ve noticed you don’t value the advice I’ve given you in the past. Is there someone else out there whose advice you genuinely value?” If she argues she’s valued your advice, point out a couple examples (not all 10,000 because she might get defensive). If you approach with the “Look, I only want you to be happy”-attitude, maybe she won’t be offended.

      Basically: Stop giving her advice. Direct her toxicity toward someone else.

      Just reading about her annoys me.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I’m not too sure if this is a friend.

      I’d stop answering her questions. Really. The bigger picture here is that for whatever reason she herself is filled with doubt. She likes your idea until another idea comes along.

      So the choices here are:
      Answer the question. Realize that you have just trumped the previous person who advised her on the situation. And realize in a short time some’s answer will trump your answer.

      Answer her questions with a question. Make her work out her own answers. Encourage her to read up on the current topic of concern.

      Stop answering. Say things such as “I don’t know.” or “Didn’t your Aunt Becky help you with that the last time?” You could even go as far as asking her, “Why do you ask me, when next week you will ask someone else and use their advice*?”

      Mostly she is a person filled with doubts, hence the constant changing. Maybe you can get into a bigger conversation and suggest some counseling.

      *I have an odd attitude toward advice. I don’t care of people use my advice or not. I do care that they find answers to their concerns. Let’s say someone says, “You know, NSNR, I really did not like/understand/use your advice, but I got to thinking after we talked and I figured out I am going to forge ahead with XYZ. ” I feel good about that. Sometimes the best we can do is shake up another person’s thinking so that they land in a new place with their thoughts.
      That is not what is happening here with your friend.
      She is not consoled by people’s advice and has a restlessness/unsureness about her that causes her to keep asking the same question of more and more people. Her concern does not calm down.

    4. BRR*

      At this point I’d flat out say, “You don’t seem trust my advice so I’m just not going to give it anymore.”

    5. Steve G*

      Sounds like the friend is just into the drama of talking about her problems. She probably wants answers, but it is pretty boring to just ask a question and get an answer, she probably wants all the drama of discussing things for hours + going through the countless possibilities of what could happen, what other people are possibly thinking, etc. That’s just how some people carry conversations…..

      At least if she is your friend, you can tell her you don’t like her questioning your expertise…

    6. Mister Pickle*

      There are a few possibilities:

      – Sometimes being confused and uncertain can bring out the worst in a person.

      – Maybe she’s not really looking for answers and she just wants to talk about a situation (I’ve mentioned this before in AAM comments: Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand goes into ‘male’ vs ‘female’ communication styles).

      – Maybe she’s just obnoxious.

      – Maybe she’s clueless. If she does this to you again, what if you said “look, you called me to ask for my advice, since I know a thing or two about X, and now you’re telling me I’m wrong. I don’t care if you believe me or not, but don’t waste my time.”

      And yeah, unless/until she cuts this crap out, I’d minimize the number of favors I do for her. Not to be mean, just: why waste your time?

      1. Dan*

        – Maybe she’s not really looking for answers and she just wants to talk about a situation

        That explains something. I see a few times on AAM how people will shoot down every piece of advice they’re given, and I don’t get it. This is a free message board (and we’re not paid to keep giving you an answer until you get one you like) so what’s the purpose of taking the time to shoot down a suggestion? It’s going to irritate the person who you respond to, waste your time writing the response, and for what? Don’t like it (say thanks, or just ignore it) and then move on.

        But arguing with people isn’t conducive to actual conversation.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I noticed that people who say thanks on here, or say anything, for that matter, get more interaction than those who don’t. And speculation does not run-on, either.

        2. Trixie*

          I read it as folks who just like to complain or see themselves as the victim of the situation. Or they’ve gotten so used to complaining they don’t even realize how often they’re doing it. I also see this a lot with those whose partners or SOs who are unhappy in their jobs. Of course my solution is usually proactive tough love: fix your situation or decide you’re going to accept it and move on.

          1. Mister Pickle*

            Yes. And I know this will sound bad, but sometimes people are just lazy. They have a problem, they don’t know what to do, they ask for help – but even though one or more valid helpful answers are offered, they require effort to implement. And the OP isn’t having any of that. What they really want is a Magic Answer that makes the problem go away with a snap of the fingers.

  20. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I had an interesting day on Thursday, and I have to share with you all (and add a PSA). Thursday afternoon, I took my dog out for our afternoon walk. On the way back, a dog came bounding up to us out of nowhere. Luckily, she was very friendly, and she and my dog had a nice, waggy-tailed sniff. I looked around for a human but saw no one. This dog had a nice collar but no tags. I started to put my jacket sleeve through her collar in an attempt to make some kind of leash, and she totally let me– very good girl! Two men who were driving through the neighborhood pulled over and offered me some spare rope, which one of them made into a leash. I walked both dogs home (only about 4 blocks away but probably the longest walk I’ve ever been on, since I had two sniffy dogs, one of whom kept pulling, and a pseudo-leash). I let my dog inside– the girl nosed her way in and sniffed around a bit– then took the stranger dog to the vet down the road to have her scanned. She didn’t have a microchip.

    I figured I would take the dog back to my house and walk her around later in the day, assuming she got out of her backyard and her owner was at work or something. I decided instead to drive around the neighborhood first and see if I could find someone looking for this dog, who was, again, sweet as can be. VERY good in the car, too. I turned down a street and saw a woman driving verrrryyyyy slowly, then I opened my windows and heard calling. I turned my car around, pulled up next to this woman, and hallelujah, it was indeed her dog. Tears and hugs all around. The sweetheart had escaped while her mama was packing up their car to drive to their beach house. They had a lovely reunion and I went back home, where my buddy gave me his most forlorn look, like, “Mama, where’s my new friend? I liked her.”

    The PSA: please please PLEASE chip your dogs and cats!!! It would have saved time and anxiety if the dog had had a microchip. My dog is chipped– the rescue we adopted from chips all their dogs– and it’s the easiest thing in the world. If your dog ends up at a vet or animal control, the first thing they do (in most cases) is scan for a chip, and if the dog has one, it’s (usually) a quick phone call or two and everyone is reunited. My biggest worry since moving from an apartment in the city to a house in the ‘burbs is that my buddy would run off; he has a collar with a flat ID tag, but if he ever loses that during his adventures, I know he has a microchip that has my phone number and his vet’s number and I can rest a little more easily. So DO IT.

    The irony in all of this? That sweet, crazy pooch’s name is Trouble.

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      My cat is chipped but she will not wear a collar. I am convinced that somewhere, there is a mythical tree with the 4-6 collars I’ve tried my cat with on branches….glad the dog & owner were reunited!

      1. Cath in Canada*

        My cats won’t wear collars for more than a couple of hours. I’ve tried all kinds, and I always double and triple checked the fit, but every time they come strolling back in with no collars, looking smug. I’ve officially given up now.

        A few months ago we had to move our dryer to have a part replaced, and there were 12 collars behind the dryer. There’s barely enough space for a mouse there – I have no idea how two such stupid cats managed to pull this off! Luckily they do have ear tattoos, so they’re traceable if they ever go to far, although they’re usually really good at coming back in when we call them.

    2. Melissa*

      Crap, you just reminded me that I went to the vet and completely forgot to ask about the microchip. I adopted a dog from a shelter a week ago, and she’s up to date on all of her vaccinations and everything – and I think she IS microchipped, I just need to get the microchip re-registered to me instead of the rescue. She does have tags on her collar, though, with her name and my phone number.

      I have to take her back in 2-3 weeks to get her Lyme booster so I’ll make sure to ask about it then!

      Anyway, you are so sweet – taking the dog in and trying so diligently to find his owner. It’s harrowing but it makes me laugh that he was just trotting around having a little adventure without knowing he was freaking somebody out!

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Glad I could help with a reminder! Do it asap, especially since you have a new rescue. Rescues can freak out and bolt without warning, so I’m going to give an extra PSA and recommend you walk her with a collar she can’t slip out of, like a harness or a martingale. Our rescue recommends walking a dog with two collars, one for the ID and one for the leash, and attaching them to each other with a carabiner.

        For about 10 minutes, I wanted to keep this dog, she was so good and sweet. Nutty girl! Trouble indeed.

        1. BRR*

          I recommend everybody use an easy walk harness. They can’t slip out and it prevents pulling but his better than a choke collar. Not only microchip but make sure they have a regular tag on and make sure you have a dog license.

        2. Melissa*

          I use an EasyWalk harness, partially for the slippage and partially to teach her not to pull. She’s doing MUCH better on the pulling!

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        By the way– congratulations on your rescue! I forgot that part. :) I hope these first few weeks go smoothly for both of you.

        1. Melissa*

          Thanks! It’s going well so far. I have acquired a new shadow, apparently :) She’s a sweet, gentle, happy dog.

    3. Mister Pickle*

      Awesome story! I’m glad you found her owner! I’m impressed that you picked up on the woman driving slowly.

      I’ve been running a listserv for my neighborhood for almost 20 years now. It’s not at all ‘official’ but approximately half of the neighborhood is subscribed. It’s very low-traffic, but “lost pet” is hands-down the #1 most frequent message that goes out. And (I’m somewhat proud to say) it almost always has a happy ending.

    4. Trixie*

      The other PSA about microchipping is keeping your contact info updated. I’ve moved a few times and it would be hard to track me down if my Orange Boy was picked up.

      1. Julie*

        Yes, please do! I once got a dog home even though his microchip contact number was outdated but it was very difficult. I only managed it because I’m a wannabe private investigator. The dog made it home but it had been missing for over a month and the owners had about given up hope. Plus, they were looking in the wrong county. Keep it updated!

    5. Relosa*

      This! I just got Parapuppy (aka Bigdog) chipped this month at his dental cleaning. After his neck injury he can’t wear regular collars anymore so only wears a harness (with tags) when we’re deliberately out and about. Otherwise he’s naked all the time now.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Me too! :) And so quickly. It was a lucky day. I hope someone would do the same for me if my crazy beast ever cut loose, though I also hope I never have to find out.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Karma. With all the wallets I have found, I figure my wallet is set for the next couple of lifetimes. Your dog is set now too. ;)
        But it is a good feeling to successfully find that owner. We understand the importance of that reunion.

  21. halloweenie*

    Question about health insurance and the exchanges…

    Currently I work for a healthcare company and have full benefits and a HdHP. The benefits aren’t terrible but not great either. I’m currently job hunting outside of the company and it seems like there are not as many companies (particularly smaller ones) that are offering full benefits.

    I’m currently single so I really need to have full benefits at this point. I know very little about the exchanges but have heard they are expensive. Has anyone here used the exchanges or other forms of insurance to fill in the gaps (i.e. your company offers medical but not vision).

    1. Eliz87*

      I bought my insurance on the exchange. I’m under 30, so I was able to get a “catastrophic” plan. It’s 170 a month in my state. Really high deductible, but it’s there if I need it.

    2. CTO*

      You should talk to a Navigator in your state. Their assistance is free and should be informative. Without more specifics about your situation, it’s impossible to say if the exchanges would be expensive or not, or what kind of financial assistance you may qualify for.

      1. Anx*

        Second this.

        Keep in mind that the navigators aren’t very well versed in anything beyond the basics, though. And they were virtually useless when I was trying to get my questions* answered between last fall and this spring. They also won’t be able to answer a lot of ‘what ifs’ since the law is so new and hasn’t been implemented as planned. But they can go over the basics pretty well.

        If you have an accountant or lawyer it may be worth it to discuss it with them, if you believe you qualify for subsidies.

        *I was misinformed several times, but I also had a more complicated situation in that the state that I live in outlaws cohabitation. So I couldn’t use my partner’s income officially because the IRS would not accept it. Then I felt like I was lying by pretending I was completely financially independent. I also couldn’t get any information on the 19943 Omnibus Bill Medicaid Asset Recovery program and what exactly adults 55-65 would owe back to the state.

    3. Anx*

      I used the exchanges. I have never worked in a job that provided insurance, so I have no experience on that end.

      For me, the premiums on the exchange were higher than my non-compliance EPO (which had 0 repro health benefits [except the ones it had to adopt during the first wave of ACA rules) and no mental health coverage]. It was all I could afford at the time. Even though my state had a 1 year extension, I bailed on that insurance and joined the marketplace. I had had a new job and in theory I could have earned the ~12K I would have needed for the subsidy. Well, that job laid me off and there’s simply no way I will hit 5 figures for the year, so I will owe a fine. I believe it’s 300 dollars. Definitely worth the fine to get the subsidized insurance for me. The unsubsidized rate would be comparable to what I was paying a few years ago in state that didn’t have a separate maternity rider. I’m a female in my late 20s.

      I don’t know if I’ll be allowed to use the subsidies next year since I didn’t earn as much as I anticipated this year, so I think I’m just gonna drop it next year.

  22. Carrie in Scotland*

    I’ve discovered pinterest, mainly through asking last week about budget christmas presents. This was a bad week to discover a major time-sucking internet thing as I’m trying to write 1500 words by Thursday. & I’ve got season 3 of The West Wing to watch too.

    1. Melissa*

      I feel you, I have about that much to write by Tuesday on a specific topic (applying for a loan repayment program; it has a 20,000 character limit, which it says is about 6 single-spaced pages, which is actually probably closer to 3,000 words, ugh). One that works for me with writing is chunking it – so committing to a certain manageable amount each day but not leaving the writing area/state until it’s done. If you have 4 days, you can make yourself write 500 words Monday through Wednesday and then leave Thursday for proofing.

    2. Colette*

      I had a virus this summer that knocked me out of commission for about a month, and it joined Pinterest when I was bored as a result. It gives me a lot of ideas of things to try, but it can be a huge time suck.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        My favorite thing about Pinterest is the fails, where people try to recreate ideas and then it turns out a mess and they put it up with “NAILED IT” on there. Makes me giggle.

        1. Nina*

          There’s a website called Pintester which has tons of fails. The strawberry cake-in-a-mug is particularly funny.

  23. Christy*

    I am about to take my first ever work trip, which for the purposes of this thread I’m about to take a 10-day-long solo trip where I’m staying in an embassy suites and don’t have to watch my money as closely as I normally would. I’m even taking a cab from Silver Spring to DCA.

    I’m so nervous the night before I leave for a trip. I’m afraid I’ll forget something or I’ll oversleep or my phone won’t be charged or I’ll forget something.

    Oh, and I have to carry on two laptops, so my carry-on is really heavy, and I’m using my giant dorky rolling laptop case and it STILL is almost too heavy to lift. My flight is super short though–only 1.5 hours in a tiny plane.

    I’m trying to look forward to the trip. I’m going to get to see a close internet friend for the first time and I’m really excited about that. And I have a rental car so I’ll be able to go on excursions. And I’m staying in a new state–Kentucky. So far I’ve stayed overnight in: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland (where I live), DC, Virginia (I’ve lived in both), both Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Indiana, and California. So it’s my 20th state! I really should get to West Virginia, because I can’t recall ever staying there and is only like an hour away!

    1. Christy*

      Oh, and I’m bringing my stuffed dog with me because I hate sleeping alone.

      And I just checked with my mom, and she says we stayed in West Virginia a few times when I was a baby. I should still go back.

      1. Steve G*

        I’m so jealous! I have been wanting to see some new state in the US, but living in NYC, its a 10+ hour drive to get to any “new” states to the south, + 6-7hours to Maine, where I’ve never been. America is so darn huge. I’ve been to so many rich cities, what I really want to see is rural, small town America – Iowa, rural Ohio, etc. etc. Sometimes I go on google map and keep on scrolling west, west, west….

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Depending on where you’re staying in Kentucky, you can get to Ohio, particularly Cincinnati, pretty easily– one more state for you! As far as forgetting something, that happens all the time. But don’t sweat it– you will have a car and you’re not going to the middle of nowhere (presumably), so even if you forget underwear, you can buy some somewhere. Just don’t forget your laptop, like my boss did. That kind of put a damper on his last business trip.

      Personally, I like (most) business trips. I love hotels. I like getting away when it’s not on my own dime. I hate (most) client dinners, extra-early mornings, and rushing around with no time for lunch, but if it’s a relatively calm trip, take advantage of what you can.

      1. Christy*

        I’m in Covington, so I’ll definitely be able to see Cincinnati. That’s where my friend lives. But I only count overnights for the official count.

    3. Dan*

      I’ve stayed overnight in more countries than I have states. And it takes all my fingers and toes to count them all. Some day I’ll see more of the US. I’ve lucked into a situation where it is easy to travel abroad, so I feel the US will always be there, easy to get to, and therefore can wait.

  24. The Other Dawn*

    Has anyone ever started a cooking club? What was your theme? Did it work well?

    Now that I’m moved into my “forever” home, I want to start doing things. I’m thinking of something along the lines of a cooking club. One where we make only unusual foods. I don’t mean like the things on Bizarre Foods. I mean more like gourmet-type stuff. No one in my family, including my husband, have any sense of adventure at all when it comes to food. I once got one sister to try a California roll, but that’s about as far as it goes. It’s American, Chinese or Italian. And almost all my friends are the same way. So boring. and frustrating.

    I had some former coworkers to my house yesterday and they like unusual foods. I made Swiss Chard grilled cheeses and they raved. Artichoke dip, too, and they loved it. I know, those aren’t “unusual,” but in my family they are. Actually, “weird” is the operative word most of the time. So, that’s what made me think of a cooking club.

    Oh, and I hit the 129 lbs-lost mark today. :D

    1. Trixie*

      A few years ago when cooking clubs seemed to be all over the place I joined one through Cooking Light. These days, I’d probably look at Meet-up instead if I was looking to meet new folks. I think that would be a great outlet for you, and most of the folks who participate probably have similar tastes so your food would be the norm. I think we each took a turn hosting and deciding a theme which could be elaborate or simple. It was mostly women, and a very easy, relaxing way to practice entertaining.

      Another thought is a monthly potluck at work.

  25. BRR*

    I got a french press this week. How do people heat the water for it? I used my keurig for hot water but my coffee wasn’t hot enough (although very delicious). I know it recommends heating the water on the stove but that seems like a lot of work for my morning coffee. I was thinking microwaving in a glass container.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I think mine said not to bring water to a boil. But I use the stove to heat the water. I just get concerned that my mic won’t evenly heat the water.

      1. BRR*

        I read a couple times that you should bring it to about a boil, take it off the stove, let it cool a bit while you grind your beans, then it will be the right temperature.

        1. Alice*

          +1! Boil (or near boil) then let it sit. My brew time seems to be around 3 mins. (I also have to pour it all out when brewed, not just my cups worth, otherwise it gets too bitter for my tastebuds)

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I use a kettle, which actually strikes me as less work than a microwave! It doesn’t take long at all. I put the water on as soon as I get up, so I brush my teeth and put in my contacts while I’m waiting for the water to boil. Microwaved water might result in water being too hot or not hot enough, but the kettle always works. You can also keep water in a kettle; it doesn’t have to be refilled every day.

      1. Elkay*

        I hate re-boiled kettle water, it tastes musty to me. I didn’t realise what it was until I went for a weekend away and couldn’t work out why my first cup of coffee in the morning was fine but every subsequent one tasted rubbery, I finally worked out whoever made coffee in the morning was overfilling the kettle and everyone else was just reboiling that same water.

    3. Stephanie*

      I have a tea kettle that I use for my press. If you spend a little more, you can get one that allows you to pick the temperature and boil it to 195 F (or something else near boiling) and use that for your coffee.

      My parents have a Keurig and think a French press is too much work. My coffee tastes significantly better (and it’s like 1.5 more steps) and the Keurig is always malfunctioning.

  26. Tenley*

    I read Gone Girl to see what the fuss is about and thought not only that it’s overrated but that flat-out sucked.

    1. Diet Coke Addict*

      I hated Gone Girl as well. I hated the plot, hated the writing, hated the characters, and then someone had the balls to tell me “Oh, you just didn’t understand it.” No, thank you, I understand the concept of unlikable and unreliable narrators just fine–I just thought the whole book sucked.

      1. Tenley*

        Oh my God, and it was hack-city from the start, where she opens with the narrator opening his eyes up in bed, looking at the time on the alarm clock. That right there was such a cliche that can get a manuscript trashed right there before editors bother reading more. And I let that slide because it’s gone on to make millions, I thought surely the substance must be what pulled it through.

      2. Raine*

        It was very simple to understand. And you’re correct, the characters are so unlikeable. I actually wanted to get away from them, the book and their ugly relationship was so oppressive.

          1. Steve G*

            Ha ha! Another thing on today’s comment board that reminds me of my years in Czech Republic. This was one of those books that Czech people say you HAVE to read, and of course it was written by a Czech. To me, it was a “normal” book, like, I understand it takes a lot of effort to write a book, and it wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t a story that stuck in my head for very long.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      I really liked it, but I know a lot of people didn’t. I can understand why it wouldn’t be someone’s cup of tea.

  27. Graciosa*

    Any suggestions for a tablet computer? I admit I am a complete novice in this area and know nothing. The closest I’ve come is a netbook from several years ago.

    I am looking for something lightweight enough to carry around easily in a purse that will let me write and store text on the machine (or a flash drive) instead of in the cloud. Web surfing is optional (and how do you connect other than at coffee shops with free WiFi?).

    That probably makes it clear how behind the tech curve I really am at this point, but I’m open to advice to help me catch up!

    1. Colette*

      Do you have a smart phone? Those are essentially small tablets, so that will give you an idea of what you’re looking at.

      It sounds to me like a tablet isn’t your best bet – I have an ipad, and it’s great for some things, but typing isn’t one of them. I know you can get external keyboards that probably help, though.

      Tablets also don’t run traditional software (word, for example), although there are apps that let you type and store text.

      1. Graciosa*

        No smart phone (except for work) – not kidding about being behind the tech curve. ;-)

        Typing and storing text would be enough, and I don’t mind a light external keyboard if needed.

        1. GH in SoCAl*

          If you get an iPad or iPad mini, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard cover is THE BEST. Great for taking notes in a meeting or working on a novel at a coffeeshop. IPads don’t talk to flash drives or SD cards without adapters, though, so I wind up emailing myself whatever I work on on the iPad. I tried a lot of word processing apps but mostly I just takes notes in a a Draft Email to myself, then it’s stored in my “Drafts” folder in Gmail and I can access it from anywhere.

          Even though I enjoy my iPad, it’s more of a toy than a productivity tool for me. I wonder if you might like the Surface or one of the newer convertible tablets?

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Oh! I know I’m late, but I have to chime in on this one. I have an Anker Bluetooth keyboard, and it’s SO light, and it works with any mobile device that has Bluetooth (which is just about any phone or tablet made in the last 10 years, definitely anything in the last 5). I can’t say if it’s better or worse than the Logitech, as they make some good products, but I’ve got a few things by Anker and I’m not only very happy with them, the keyboard was only $20, and it’s the exact same footprint as my MacBook Pro keyboard. I mean identical size and shape and position of everything, except for the actual printing on the keys.

            I don’t use it a lot, but it’s SO much faster and easier than typing on a phone or tablet that I have to recommend some kind of BT keyboard if you’re going to be doing a lot of emailing or blogging from your device. Although most of them do pretty good voice recognition now, if you’re in a quiet environment you can speak your email or comment or blog post and just do a little light editing, and it’s much faster that way.

            Graciosa, if you’re looking for something that fits in a purse, but a phone feels too small, there are “phablets”, which are mutant phone-tablet hybrids. The Galaxy Note is one of the more popular ones, try to test one out at a store. The iPad Mini is a smaller table that’s not a phone, but it is more portable.

    2. Apollo Warbucks*

      I’ve got an iPad mini and love it, you can get two types one that only has wifi and another that has wifi and a SIM card like in a mobile phone so you can use data on the move, but the wifi only version of the iPad is cheaper and you also have to get a contract with a phone company to use data on the move.

      If your writing a lot then it’s best to get a keyboard as the touch screen isn’t the best for typing, you can get stands with a built in keyboard that plug into the iPad.

      There are some really good free applications called Pages, Numbers and Keynote which are the apple equivalent of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

    3. Rowan*

      I’ve got an iPad Mini at the moment and it’s great. There are some really nice lightweight Nexus tablets too, but my feel is that Android tablets are generally slightly less intuitive and if you’re really behind the curve, you might find something like the iPad to be less frustrating to use at first. Do you have any friends who would let you test drive theirs so you can see what you like the look and feel of? I do all my writing on my iPad these days, either directly on the touch screen (not as fast, but eminently doable in a pinch) or with a cheap Bluetooth keyboard.

    4. Ann Furthermore*

      I got a Verizon tablet about a year ago that I really like. I was all prepared to buy an i-Pad and then when I went to the Verizon store they had their own version on sale for $99. I figured I’d start with that and then upgrade later. But really, it’s great for what I need it to do and haven’t really felt the need to spend any more money.

      If you’re new to tablets, I’d recommend starting with a cheaper one, using it for awhile, and then think about upgrading after you’ve had a chance to learn how to use it, figure out what additional stuff you want, etc.

    5. Noah*

      I have a full-sized iPad and you can either use the Pages app or download Microsoft Office apps. The Pages app is free, the Office apps require an Office 365 subscription. There are also lots of other word processor and office-style apps in the App Store but I don’t really think they are any better.

      If you really don’t want to use cloud technology to sync files, you have to connect your iPad to iTunes, which is kind of a pain. In that instance an Android or Windows tablet would probably work better for you, although I have limited experience with them. The only thing I would say is avoid cheap Android tablets, they are usually running an older version of Android and they may not have access to the Google Play store to download apps.

      If you’re also looking to upgrade your phone, you might look at something like the Galaxy Note series. They are a large phone or small tablet depending on how you look at it.

      As for web surfing, you can either use WiFi or some tablets have a cellular data option. For me it was $10 to add my iPad to my AT&T data plan and it shares data with my phone. Many smartphones can also be used as a WiFi hotspot, where they act as a mini WiFi router and connect multiple devices to their cellular data signal.

      One final thought, if you plan on doing a lot of writing, you might also look at Windows ultrabooks. My manager just purchased a Sony Vaio ultrabook and it is not much larger than my iPad when folded up and it has a keyboard and full version of Windows.

    6. Jen RO*

      My father in law got an Asus Transformer as a gift and it seemed pretty easy to type on. (It’s basically a tablet that turns into a netbook.) His came with Windows 8, though I would prefer Android if I was buying it for myself.

    7. Mister Pickle*

      I have to run so this is a short answer, I may follow up later if there is any interest. If you actually want a tablet computer (versus a tablet ala iPad), you might want to peek at Lenovo. The latest is the Yoga Pro 3, which is rather nice, and the older Yoga Pro 2 has some bargains. (Confusingly enough) there are also the Thinkpad Yoga and the Helix models, which are also older but offer some interesting features and bang for your buck.
      Again, I’m assuming you’re looking for a tablet computer – something that has a keyboard on it, but you can fold it to become a tablet.

    8. Jubilance*

      I have a Nexus 7, which is considered a Google tablet. I absolutely love it – it’s lightweight and slim enough to fit into my purse or totebag. It runs Android and since I have an Android phone all my apps/settings sync which is great. My fiance has a Galaxy Tab which also runs Android and he loves that, though it’s bigger at 10 inches.

      1. Jen RO*

        Nexus love! I have the old Nexus 7 and my boyfriend has the new one; we also have two Nexus 5 phones. Highly recommended!

    9. KarentheLibrarian*

      A lot of libraries (at least in Ohio where I live) now lend tablets and other electronics. You might check into what your library offers and borrow different tablets to try them out before you buy one. My current library lends out e-readers with books and apps already loaded on them, and my previous library lent iPads, digital cameras, GPS devices, e-readers, etc. At the very least, I would recommend going to try out different ones at a store, like Colette suggested.

      Also, once you decide on a tablet, your library will be a great resource for you as you learn how to use it. You might be able to attend programs on using your device, or make an appointment to talk one-on-one with a librarian about any questions you have.

    10. Mister Pickle*

      It looks like this thread is mostly ‘done’, but I do mobile app development at my day job, so I can’t help wanting to weigh in.

      If you’re looking for a genuine “tablet”, go for an iPad. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I feel that Android tablets are simply a poor choice for people who aren’t software developers.

      Hopefully there’s an Apple store near you and you can go in and check out the various models. The big choice here is really “full size” versus “mini”. I love my mini, but a) in some apps text will present very, very tiny, and b) there are some apps that are harder to work with because of the smaller touch-screen. The keyboard, for instance.

      The fact that you are interested in using the device to write makes me want to suggest that you look into a “tablet computer” (like the Lenovo Yoga) I mentioned earlier, since they will tend to have nicer, easier-to-use keyboards. An 11″ Macbook Air might be to your liking, as well. The downside is that these kinds of devices will tend to be somewhat larger and weigh 2 or 3 times as much as an iPad. Although if you’re using an iPad with an external keyboard, the weight may be near equivalent.

  28. Nurse-To-Be*

    What are your thoughts on sending an ex-boyfriend a Christmas card? Bit of a background….we were friends twenty years ago. I moved from my home town out west and he came to visit me…one thing led to another, and we fell in love. Numerous visits followed by both of us, tons of letters (this was way before internet!!) and a lot of phone calls….sadly, after a long while, we finally realized the long distance thing just wasn’t working and the relationship slowly fizzled out. There was no bitterness or anger or harsh parting on either of our sides, it just didn’t work out. We haven’t been in touch at all for 17 years, although I’ve thought of him over the years and wondered how he’s doing.

    After having lived out west and abroad for the past twenty years, a few months ago I moved back to my home town to start nursing school, and started wondering a bit more about him. After a bit of ‘social sleuthing’ I discovered he’s still in the area, married with a couple kids. I would love to get in touch just to catch up, see how he’s been. I’m not at all interested in getting back together with him, but I genuinely cared for him as a friend before he became my boyfriend, and I would love to just hear how he is.

    I thought a Christmas card might be the way to go here, just a short one to say hi, letting him know what I’ve been up to and wishing him well, but am wondering if this is a good idea to get back in touch after so long? I’m not married so I can’t really imagine how I would feel if my spouse got a card from a long-ago ex…although I am pretty laid-back, so I’m fairly sure I would be ok with it…we all had lives before, and if it was just a friendly card I really wouldn’t have a problem with it.

    Anybody have any thoughts one way or the other? I really am leaning towards sending one, as Christmas seems like such a perfect time to reconnect, but maybe there’s some reason I haven’t considered as to why this might be a bad idea? Thanks for any advice, greatly appreciated!

    1. Weasel007*

      A request to reconnect is usually more than it appears. As long as you admit that to yourself and understand he may not want that, or may be in a position where that is not possible, i guess it would be fine. I’d look for him on facebook first to see if he is married etc.

    2. Dan*

      Married with kids? Leave it be.

      If my spouse got a card from a long-ago ex, I’d wonder what that person’s intentions are. Granted, the gender roles are reversed here, but men can be really f’ing pushy and not respect boundaries. So I’d wonder. And the spousal relationship does come first.

    3. Mister Pickle*

      He’s married and he has kids? I’d strongly advise against this. Especially if you live near him now. I’m probably in the minority, but when it comes to cheating, I think there’s a sliding scale of badness. And cheating on someone who has young kids – you risk hurting the children, and that is SUPER-BAD.

    4. Nurse-To-Be*

      Thanks for your thoughts, really appreciate it. Your replies really have forced me to think hard about why exactly it is I want to get back in touch. Perhaps ‘reconnect’ was the wrong word….I’m not looking to get back into his life and become friends again, the card is more about just saying hi, how’s life, hope you’re doing well as Elizabeth West pointed out.

      If we had just strictly remained friends as we first were, I would have had no hesitation in sending off a card…with all my wanderings around the world, I’ve lost touch with a lot of people over the years, and then gotten back in touch years later with a simple card, just to say hi. That’s all this is about, but it’s the whole ex- relationship that’s got me wondering. Probably not the right thing to do I guess, even though my intentions are not nefarious in any way, shape or form… but I don’t want to impose on his life and cause any problems. Thanks again…

      1. Anon for a second*

        I just want to tell you that I admire your ability for honest self-examination. Would that more people possessed such!

        I can tell you from my own past experience that this kind of thing is playing with fire. Unlike you, I, with the best of intentions, did the un-wise thing and reconnected (via facebook). It didn’t take long before things began to get out of hand. It was extremely difficult, but I finally told them “I simply cannot do this”. It was very painful. Although not anywhere near as painful as if we’d gotten together and had an affair!

        I believe in Karma. And I believe that your wisdom and self-denial here will be rewarded.

    5. hildi*

      The first thing that came to my mind was “why all of a sudden this need to reconnect with him?” For me, I could easily see myself in your position and I think my desire would stem from the fact that I’m back in my hometown, back surrounded by all of those memories. What I think I’d really be wanting to get back in touch with is that point in time and who I was back then. Because I totally agree with others that you just do not want to open that can of worms. Instead, I’d suggest pulling out some photos albums, some memorabilia, love letters from that time. Let yourself get lost in those memories and then choose to put them away and know that was a different places in time, a time you can never get back to. Let yourself mourn that if you have to and then move on. Another thing: When I moved back to my hometown after being gone for almost 10 years I discovered that it was nothing like what I remembered and treasured. I’m sure it was because I was now an adult, with responsibilities and the grind and obligations of life didn’t leave me just because I went back home, to a place where I didn’t have all of those obligations. This is a total ramble, but I felt compelled to answer because I could so easily see myself in your shoes. I think often about my past, about the people that were in it, and who I was back then. I really liked myself back then and wish I could recapture that. I think that’s what I’d be after if I was wanting to contact and old flame.

  29. matcha123*

    Any standard phrases or thoughts that I can use to help myself not feel like The Worst Person in the World when I try and tell someone “no”?

    I have spent a bunch of time this month interpreting for English speakers who have been in Japan for a number of years but can’t speak Japanese well enough to do anything.

    Then, this past week, a coworker asked to switch hours because she wants to get off at the same time as another coworker who has the same hours as me. I asked about switching months ago when I started and she said “no” because she’s not a morning person (neither am I). I tutor a few days after work, and have the times set up to allow me to relax/plan and get to the lesson on time. A later start time would mess up those days…which I’ve explained, but she wants to try a late start on the days I don’t tutor…which I have set aside in case I have to switch days.

    How do you all tell friends that you are not going to do something without it being turned back onto you as the bad guy? Especially friends with depression/anxiety? I know helping these various people makes them feel better and it’s because they have no one else to reach out to, or they have found some thing that makes them happy and they need my cooperation to attain that happiness, but I feel so selfish for wanting to say “no,” even though I know I’ve done way more than others in my situation would have…

    1. Colette*

      First if all, you’re allowed to say no. It’s important for you to prioritize your needs at least as highly as other people’s needs.

      Secondly, don’t give a reason. “I’m sorry, switching shifts doesn’t work for me” is all you have to say. When you give a reason, it’s an opening for people to try to convince you that your reason isn’t important, as your coworker is doing.

    2. fposte*

      Totally agreeing with Colette, especially on the “don’t give a reason”–don’t fall into the Pit of Justification. And you know, your friends shouldn’t be turning this back on you as the bad guy. If that’s what’s happening, and not just you feeling guilty, they’re not being fair to you.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      True friends don’t turn you into the bad guy. When ever we put ourselves out there and ask someone for something we run that risk that they might say no. It happens.
      A simple, “no, I can’t” should be enough. Don’t fall into the explaining trap and don’t fall into the guilt trap. Decide not to. You’re not saying no to be mean. You are saying no because you need to say no.
      I have used my “no’s” to remind myself how difficult it is to say no and to be gracious when it is my turn to hear the NO word.

      I think there is some cultural things coming into play here, too?

      1. matcha123*

        Thanks for all the replies :)

        In this case, all of the people are North American by citizenship, but two immigrated when they were younger. One has a parent that immigrated to the US.
        But, I think they are used to being somewhat babied by their families and get pouty when they don’t get their way. One is taking meds for depression and anxiety and the other is depressed due to other issues, so I don’t want to be too harsh. I do want to be there for them in some form, but at the same time, I need my space too!

        I’ll see how it goes next time they ask for things…

    4. Mister Pickle*

      There are any number of books out there on Assertiveness Training. Find one or two and read them. I’m no big fan of “self-help” books, but (for me, at least) reading about assertiveness actually helped me become more assertive. That is, it helped me to say “no” without guilt.

      The basics, in short:

      1. It’s okay to say “no”.

      2. You don’t have to offer an explanation. If you do offer an explanation, it does not have to be an explanation that ‘convinces’ someone that you’re justified to say “no”. Ie, “I don’t want to” is good enough.

      3. If people try to argue with you, or make you feel badly, they are attempting to manipulate you. Just knowing this should help you stand up to them.

      4. If they just won’t let it go, try saying something like “Look, you asked me and I told you ‘no’. Asking me again and again isn’t going to change my mind. So drop it, okay?” And if they don’t drop it, hang up or leave or whatever. It doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the relationship. Although if you start to notice that the only reason you talk to someone is because they want something from you, well, you may want to re-evaluate that relationship.

  30. Cruciatus*

    Does anyone else have that friend(s) who, when you discover something, is like “Yeah, that’s been around forever. How are you just discovering it?” Well, I just discovered Simon’s Cat on YouTube (a series of animated short cat videos). I may have watched all 40 while at work (slow day!) Apparently I’m an idiot for never having discovered them earlier, but for those other cat lovers who haven’t discovered it yet, check ’em out. They’re usually between 50 seconds to 2 minutes long. I had been having a bad week and honestly, they made me smile and sometimes laugh and feel better (as lame as that may sound).

    Now I just need to discover something my friend hasn’t and be like “How do you not know about this already?! Jeez!”

    1. the celt*

      I’m a huge fan of Simon’s Cat! They just had an Indiegogo campaign that we got in on, so I can’t wait to see the longer version to see what they can do with that format. (It’s not movie-length or anything, but it should still be great fun!)

        1. skyline*


          (My home wifi network is now named breakingcatnews. The password is not, “Ma’am? Ma’am?” but boy, was I tempted.)

        2. the celt*

          That is so cat-like! “Why would I even go near the baby?” I have a new site to subscribe to, so thanks, Kerry!

    2. Mephyle*

      I would be that friend, but I know it is an annoying and unfriendlike attitude to take, so I am working on not doing that any more.

      I recently read something wise about this from someone who is famous on the internets (I forget who). Anyway he said, (my paraphrase) “When you find out that your friend didn’t know about something that you thought everybody knows, don‘t be all ‘You mean you didn’t know about X! Everybody knows about X. Were you living under a rock?’ Because nobody likes that. Instead, take delight in your friend’s discovery of X and let it remind you how cool it was when you discovered X.”

      So, you can secretly revel in the fact that your friend has not yet learned this wisdom.

  31. Need opinions*

    I started hanging out and seeing someone new. I’m 28 and he’s 40. We don’t have too much in common(not that I have much with other people either) but have amazing conversation and great laughs. Is the age gap too large for this to actually work?

    1. Rowan*

      No, absolutely not. People make much bigger age gaps than that work. I’ve been with my partner for nearly ten years and our age gap is about the same as yours.

    2. Blue_eyes*

      I think “amazing conversation and great laughs” are a great place to start. If you enjoy spending time together, the age gap and lack of things in common shouldn’t be barriers. 12 years isn’t that big a gap, especially since you’re already in your late-20s.

  32. Weasel007*

    Uggghhh, I am sick as a dog, on my vacation. At least I have a week to sleep. But I feel bad for my Husband who was really looking forward to the beach.

  33. Nervous Daughter*

    For as long as I can remember, my mom’s always been unhappy. Nothing any of us siblings have done has made her happy or proud of us. It’s been a painful realization process. We all live under the same roof so I have to deal with cutting comments on a daily basis.

    I can try not to let it get to me but the thing is, if I stop letting the sharp comments get to me, I have to close myself off completely and not have any good feelings towarsd her either.

    I’ve been around people like this, but whenever I realized they were so high maintenance and unhappy, and nothign would change with them, I cut them out of my life, no regrets. That’s not an option with my own mother.

    Can anyone relate? Any advice/tips?

    1. BRR*

      Is it clear what would make her happy? Or are you just screwed no matter what you do? You might just need to tell her how it hurts not having her support for anything you do.

    2. fposte*

      That is a tough one–good for you for realizing it’s not your shortcoming but your mother’s inability. I don’t have a particular post, but I’m pretty sure relevant themes have come up on Captain Awkward periodically–maybe just have a read through the archives with the “families” tag?

      I know that if you’re living with her, you can’t cut her out of your life, but don’t rule out the possibility of at least a hiatus from her, especially if you find a way to live elsewhere. It can really help with perspective and loosening the wiring of the buttons parents push.

    3. Steve G*

      How old are you? I don’t think you should ever get used to the sort of comments you are getting, even if you know the cause. She can be unhappy, but doesn’t need to dish you guys comments that cut you down. Don’t let her say them, if she comes out with one that insults your looks, or intelligence, or drive, or whatever inadvertently, immediately reply with questions. If she makes a comment about how you could look better, ask her what she wants you to look like. Keep pushing. I’m sure the conversation will get ridiculous pretty quick, when it becomes obvious that she’d be making the same comments even if you looked like Christie turlington.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      If you can, go for counseling.

      Barest minimum check out some books at the library about mother-daughter relationships. There’s a few good ones out there.

      Look for positive older women for role models. This could be as easy as a neighbor or aunt. Hang out with them and watch how they handle life.

      It’s fine to move away from high-maintenance, unhappy people. Matter of fact that is pretty healthy. If you are living at home, build yourself a plan to get out on your own when you can.

      You can try telling yourself that you dislike her poor behavior. Don’t force yourself to like her or even love her. It is what it is. But if you can frame her comments as poor behavior that you do not like maybe that will help you from shutting down entirely.

      I moved out as quickly as I could. Keep an eye out for opportunities in life- they are there , if you watch you will find them.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        “It’s fine to move away from high-maintenance, unhappy people. ”


        OP, it sounds like your mother has very deep problems, but you need to realize they are NOT your problems, and that you have a right to a good life. If that means without her, so be it. Don’t let anyone guilt you into staying around, or try to confuse you about this. You get to have a balanced, good life. It may not be easy to leave, but your life depends on it.

    5. Dan*

      My mother is like that. Unfortunately, the only advice I can give is what you say you can’t do — cut her out. I’ve cut my mom out as much as I can, considering she’s still married to my dad.

      A couple of weeks ago, I took my mom and dad to NYC for the weekend. Dad went in college, but mom has never been. When I say “I took” I mean that I helped dad get some credit card points and use them for free airfare. I paid for a decent hotel with my own stash of points.

      As we were concluding the trip, my mom looks at my dad and says, “Dear, thank you for everything.” I looked at my mother and said, “Who the fuck do you think paid for your hotel room?” I got a blank stare and a stammer.

    6. Not my real name*

      Sorry you have to deal with this :(

      I don’t have the best of relationships with my mom (and that’s an understatement) she only lives 10 miles from me but I barely see her which suits me fine. Don’t feel bad about looking out for yourself if that means closing yourself off a bit then so be it, you don’t need to put up with being mistreated.

    7. Mister Pickle*

      I know it might be extremely difficult, but – find another place to live as soon as you can.

    8. Jill of all trades*

      I had to make the break with my mother. You are not obligated to have an unhealthy relationship with anyone, even your parents. Good thoughts heading your way – it’s a terrible situation she’s creating for you and your whole family.

  34. anomnomnomimous*

    Can anybody give me the link to the article from Evil HR Lady that was re-posted here about why you shouldn’t call to schedule an interview? I’ve been checking both sites and I can’t find it. Thanks!

      1. fposte*

        People were/are told to do it a lot, because it makes them seem assured and commanding or something. We still occasionally get cover letters that close with “I will call you next week to schedule an interview.” Fortunately, they mostly don’t.

  35. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


    Now there’s an American food with endless variety + comfort. I was excited to put our first meatloaf of the fall/winter in the oven a few minutes ago. (Yes, excited. See: I don’t get out much.)

    Here’s what I whipped up:

    3lbs of ground beef/pork/veal mix
    2 eggs
    1 cup panko bread crumbs
    1 cup (approximately, didn’t measure) chopped sweet onion
    salt and pepper
    and, a generous amount of McCormicks Worcestershire Pub Burger seasoning (which, I found this summer for our hamburgers and I love, so hey, meatloaf)

    Since meatloaf varieties are endless, what’s your favorite? Or what’s the last one you made?

    1. fposte*

      I love meatloaf. What is wonderful is that when I make the fabulous America’s Test Kitchen Beef Chili with Kidney Beans, the amounts ground beef comes in at my supermarket requires me–*requires* me, I say–to make meatloaf with the other half of the ground beef purchase. The meatloaf is very nice, but what I truly love is the glaze, which would probably make shoeboxes edible.

      1/2 cup ketchup
      1 teaspoon sriracha
      1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
      1/2 cup cider vinegar
      3 tablespoons light brown sugar

      Cook it in a pan for a few minutes until it thickens some; glaze the meatloaf and stick it under the broiler until the glaze glazes and browns, then repeat. While waiting until it cools to eating temp, you can pick the burned splatters off the foil and eat them. They don’t count anyway.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Aw man, that sounds soooo good. I love meatloaf, but I live in a vegetarian household. I’m gonna live vicariously through you right, mmkay? Then I’m going to order meatloaf at the deli for lunch tomorrow.

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Aw man, that sounds soooo good. I love meatloaf, but I live in a vegetarian household. I’m gonna live vicariously through you right now, mmkay? Then I’m going to order meatloaf at the deli for lunch tomorrow.

    2. BRR*

      I love meatloaf, it reheats so well and I love meals that give me leftovers. I use the recipe from simplyrecipes

      2 lbs either beef or turkey. I read the best is a mix of beef and sausage but I’m not a pork fan.
      1 or two ribs celery chopped
      1 carrot chopped
      1 cup chopped onion
      1/2 cup chopped green onion
      1 cup bread crumbs
      2 eggs
      Lots of minced garlic
      salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce
      2/3 cup ketchup divided in half

      Saute all of the vegetables, then add 1/3 cup ketchup, garlic, and worcestershire to the pan and let it sit for a min. Then add it to the meat, breadcrumbs, and eggs. Form the loaf and pour the rest of the ketchup on top. Bake at 350 for an hour.

    3. The IT Manager*

      Bar-b-que meatloaf! Its the only kind my mom made when I was a kid, and I never understood why meatloaf got such a bad rap until I found out how dry and didferent the regular meatloaf is.

    4. Anonyby*

      Oh man, I haven’t had meatloaf in years… (Partly due to no working oven, partly because of the price of ground red meat.)

      We always just used the recipe on the back of the boxes of onion soup mix. I’ve wanted to try Alton Brown’s recipe for years, though.

      I’ve made AB’s mac and cheese before… Didn’t like it so much as-is (I’m not a fan of cheese sauces, or strongly-flavored cheddar), but then I did a mexican-flavored version with cumin and chili powder and pepperjack cheese… NOM.

    5. Mister Pickle*

      Mmmm! I love a good meatloaf.

      Some friends of my parents, call her L and him C, were going to have meatloaf for dinner one night. C went out, L started prepping for dinner and cut herself chopping onions. She put on a bandaid and went on with the cooking. A couple of hours later, C was home and they’re dining on the meatloaf when L notices that her bandaid was missing. She’s just about to say “Odd …” when C swallows a bite of meatloaf and says “Got a bit that was a little chewy”.

      True story.

    6. Rebecca*

      I make mine with hamburger, 2 or 3 eggs, depending on how much hamburger there is on hand, bread cubes, chopped onion, a little chopped green pepper, salt, and pepper, and I mix it up with my hands until it’s well blended. Into the meatloaf pan, and I cover the top with bacon, and a bunch of ketchup over the bacon. I put it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes or an hour, depending on how thick it is. I don’t really measure anything, I just mix it up until it looks right, and same with cooking – until it smells and looks right.

    7. Jordi*

      Not meatloaf, but I just finished making mini lentil loaves stuffed with mashed potatoes. I use muffin tins and line them with lentil loaf batter, fill them with mashed potatoes and then top them with more loaf batter. Excellent with a little mushroom gravy.

    8. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      My meatloaf was amazing. I love the contributions to this post…maybe I will have a Meatloaf Adventure this fall/winter and make a different one every month.

      Gotta make fposte’s sauce. My mouth watered reading that.

  36. Elizabeth West*

    So people were asking me if I would write about my holiday today. I really don’t want to re-hash my blog posts, but I’ll try and add a bit to that. If you click on my name and go to my blog, you can see pictures too. I actually got some good ones, which isn’t typical for me. Using a smartphone, no less!

    1. I over-packed. Really. I should not be allowed to start packing until no earlier than a week before I leave. I’m making a list of things I did not use and those will be chucked soon. If I didn’t use them there, I won’t use them here, so no point in hanging on.
    2. I over-shopped. But I got a FABULOUS deal on a leather computer bag from a luggage shop in Cardiff–it was marked down from £145 to £31. My computer fits in it and it’s great. Woo hoo! It’s still in London; my auntie has to send it to me. I left her some postage money. It’s exactly what I was looking for. I also bought SIX scarves. I’m wearing scarves now. :) AND BOOKS YES I BOUGHT BOOKS. I am incapable of not buying books everywhere I go. Waterstones, Hatchard’s (my new fave), a stall in Cardiff City Market, Word on the Water (the London bookbarge), and Leakey’s Bookshop in Inverness. Time to chuck some books here to make room.

    In fact, I loved Cardiff. I can’t wait to go back and explore more of Wales, but Cardiff is really, really cool.

    3. I over-planned. There was a lot I didn’t get to because I bookmarked too many things (mostly eateries and stuff like that), but it’s okay. I’ll catch it next time. Most of those things have been there for centuries and aren’t moving anytime soon.
    4. I over-hoped. Did not meet anyone special. I guess maybe it’s post-holiday letdown, but I feel a bit like the entire thing was a waste. 4,000 miles from home and I still can’t get it right. A friend said, “Hey, your person wasn’t ready to meet you yet,” and I hope that was right. My person must be doing something stupid right now and needs time to disentangle himself. :) (Without complications, I hope.)

    I had no culture shock until I got back. I had got used to things and BOOM, back to the U.S. When I took my American money out of my backpack in Atlanta, it looked weird. People sounded weird. The nasty, HFCS-infested U.S. food is making me not want to eat. I want a bacon butty and I can’t have one. I hate it here and I actually miss sandwiches from Greggs (oh my God, all the sandwiches everywhere you go) and peak time on the tube (did that deliberately to see if I could deal–I could) and diving for abandoned copies of the Metro and Evening Standard on the carriage and even riding the BUS. I’ll have the tube announcements in my head forever–“The next station is…Turnham Green. Change here for the District line to Richmond.” “The next station is…Covent Garden. This is a Piccadilly line train to Cockfosters.” *snicker* Thank God I can read those papers online. My computer still defaults to MSN UK and Yahoo UK in the morning–it thinks we’re still there. How I wish that were true.

    I miss Pret a Manger and Branston tomato / red pepper relish and tea, tea, tea. I miss getting my Earl Grey everywhere I go and people constantly asking me if I want a cuppa. Yes, I do, thank you very much, milk and two sugars, please. I miss carrying my brolly in my purse and one day I got off the tube at Warren Street and looked at the sky and without even thinking about it, took out the brolly. Twenty seconds later, it rained. I felt like a real Londoner at that moment.

    I’m afraid I’ll gain back all the weight I lost from walking everywhere–I won’t be able to do that here because of the deep cold coming and no pavements and no public transport, so I’ll have to go to the gym EVERY DAY to sustain this. But I’ll do the best I can, because I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the fat tunnel. I had a chat with a hilarious Welshman who told me, “The women in London are too skinny–we don’t like skinny women here. We like our women meaty!” I’ll have to remember that if I can’t shake these last fifteen pounds.

    I got tired of people asking me where in the U.S. I was from (a couple of people thought I was from Canada, ha ha), because where I’m from is so lame. “Missouri, where nothing ever happens” and a chuckle was my stock response. What I really wanted to say was “I’m originally from Missouri but now I live in [insert London suburb here].” At my B&B in Cardiff, I met a couple from a town just an hour or so from me. Go figure. I met a friend from my online community in Cardiff but we only had an hour to chat because he had to go to London for work (still, yay). I met a really nice Scottish girl and her brilliant nan (seriously, she was awesome) on the sleeper train coming back from Scotland–they were on their way to Egypt for a holiday and we got pissed in the first-class lounge car and ate Pringles (yes, really) and took silly laughing drunk pics in between carriages.

    I got a little bit of research done for Secret Book but didn’t write a word on it until I was on the plane going home and bored of watching movies. I have a couple of weeks until November begins, after which I’m going to bite the bullet and do an unofficial NaNoWriMo just to finish the damn first draft. No matter if I have to go back and change stuff later–first drafts are just framework. I have the entire thing outlined already. It’s standing there with its arms folded and foot tapping–“You know this is good; just write me already.” The thing I will have the most trouble with is not hearing British speech all the time, as I’ve decided to write both main characters separately and the Englishman is the first one. Thank God for the Internet. I need to think in his speech patterns to get them right, and it helps if you can hear it.

    I wish I could take a sabbatical and stay there for three months and finish it. Hell, I was joking at work about going remote and managing my schedule with a six-hour time difference. I don’t think it would be that hard, though I don’t quite make enough yet to live on there. I got a merit raise whilst I was gone, but I have so much debt it’s not going to matter. All the more reason to get on this book and querying the others. If I moved, I know I wouldn’t want to come back. Ever.

    Maybe someday soon, I’ll get all my wishes. You never know. There is a meetup of my online community in London in April and I AM GOING. Lodging is no problem–auntie said I could crash at her place. All I have to worry about is having the PTO and paying for the plane ticket and feeding myself. I still have my Oyster card. I still have a purseful of British change (like £13 worth). I haven’t even taken the tube map out of my cute little Primark purse yet. And maybe, just maybe, I won’t.

        1. Dan*

          I mix it up. I’ve traveled with family, my ex, friends, and on my own. They all have their benefits. We just have this stigma in our society that “by yourself” = “bad” when it really doesn’t have to be that way.

          I love getting to do what *I* want.

          I just won’t go to beach resorts by myself.

        2. salad fingers*

          Well, fwiw, you sound like a TON of fun to travel with, so whenever you find that someone special I’m sure you guys will have a blast. That was a lot of fun to read, thanks for the update!

            1. salad fingers*

              Thanks! I used a lot of totally random handles until Alison asked us to stick to one, and this was the last one I had used. Came from me clumsily navigating commenting while eating a salad/the disturbing cartoon series by David Firth (who is english :D)

    1. Dan*

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I tried skimming your blog to get a sense of the purpose of your trip, but really couldn’t find the post where you introduce it. Was the sole purpose of your trip to meet someone special? Whenever I go overseas, the purpose of my trip is to.. just go. Unless work is sending me, which never happens. Certainly helps manage expectations.

      #1. The first trip I took overseas with my ex, she over packed. Like way over packed. I told her that if she expects me to help with her bags, that she’s going to have to pare down what she takes. She didn’t do it, and IIRC, I made her handle all of her own luggage. You don’t really need more than three pairs of shoes, even on a long trip. Coordinate your outfits from there.

      #2. Everything I buy abroad ends up in my stomach :) I have a small apartment, so don’t have room for too many knick-knacks. The mementos I keep are photos from my camera blown up onto 20″x30″ canvas prints and displayed on my wall.

      #3. Over planning is probably the easiest crime to commit. Honestly, a good way to plan is to make two lists: 1) Musts, and 2) Nice-tos. Only schedule one must per day, unless one is a day time activity, and one is a night time activity. But then have your nice-tos as backup filler in case you do have extra time, and you won’t have to spend it figuring out what to do.

      #4. I temper this with “meet somebody”. I did a long distance relationship in the US once, and that was enough. I’m not seeking to really have to do one over an ocean. And there are plenty of people to meet. I’ve met some great couples even.

      1. NL*

        Was the point of the trip to meet someone? I hope not because that’s borrowing trouble. Long distance relationships are really tough and not something most people will want to enter into after only knowing someone for a week. So even if you did meet someone it likely wouldn’t have gone anywhere.

        As Carolyn Hax has pointed out, you may not ever meet someone. Start figuring out what life you want to lead if that’s the case and then lead it. I know that’s not what people like to hear (we live in a society where we like to tell people that “the one” will come along, there’s someone for everyone etc etc etc) but you letting your happiness rest so much on the possibility of a someone else is such a disservice to yourself. My 2 cents.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        #1. Overpacking–I’ve packed hundreds of times for shorter trips, but I think I just started too early. Won’t happen again. I’ll revise my packing list and remove what I didn’t use.

        #2. Stuff– Some of the stuff I got will replace other stuff. If I hadn’t overpacked, I would have had more room. And shopping was fun. :)

        #3. Over planning–That’s pretty much what I did. I put everything I wanted to do on my map and just went with whatever I had time to do/see that day / wasn’t too far away from. The rest can wait for another trip. I’m pretty satisfied with what I did get to see–most of those things, like Loch Ness and the paintings, were the main things. I built in some free time around the planned activities for just wandering around. The poetry reading at Keats House was a spontaneous thing, though I was planning to go to Hampstead. :)

        #4. Meet somebody–shouldn’t have said anything. Forget it.

        1. Carrie in Scotland*

          I think it’s very easy to overpack. I tend to overpack toiletries, which at least are small.
          I’m trying very hard not to do the over planning. I guess it helps somewhat that I’m watching men play tennis for a whole day but on the other hand, I’ve been to London 4 times in 3 years and so I’m looking for different things to do.
          I like stuff *nods*.
          & on your last point, sometimes there’s a point where you just want to turn around to someone and say “did you see that, that was amazing?”. I travelled to Paris earlier in the year and saw my favourite band and I felt very alone because, here I was, all these hundreds of miles with all the other fans but I felt I had nobody to share that with. That goes for when things go wrong or you want to say “here have some of this, it’s delicious” to someone.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            & on your last point, sometimes there’s a point where you just want to turn around to someone and say “did you see that, that was amazing?”. I travelled to Paris earlier in the year and saw my favourite band and I felt very alone because, here I was, all these hundreds of miles with all the other fans but I felt I had nobody to share that with. That goes for when things go wrong or you want to say “here have some of this, it’s delicious” to someone.

            THANK YOU.
            That is EXACTLY IT. It’s not about what other people think of me, or what they think I should be or do or societal expectations. THIS is what it’s about, what I want for MYSELF. Thank you for articulating it; when people start advising me about it, I lock up and just can’t make myself understood!

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I think that’s perfectly understandable. At the same time, though, there’s a point where it’s worth figuring out, okay, how can I be happy on my own, if that’s what life deals me. (I think that’s what NL was getting at with the Carolyn Hax reference.) If you’re at the point where the trip feels like a waste because you didn’t meet anyone there (to say nothing of the practicalities of how that would work when you live an ocean away!), it might be a flag that it’s looming in your consciousness in way that’s harming your overall quality of life.

              Ultimately, you can’t control whether you ever meet someone, but you can arrange your life in ways that will make you really happy regardless.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                I will also add: I know this whole issue is a huge pain in the ass and it sucks when everyone else thinks they have answers for you and they’re not resonating with how you feel. So I’m sorry to contribute to that! But I also think that you are an awesome person who I want to be happy in the long-term, whether you are coupled up or not. That is all :)

            2. Dan*

              I think you’re reading too much into something here. This the second reference where you said “what other people think of me” and I don’t think anybody said anything about what others thought about you being on your own.

              I’m also going to suggest that AAM’s comments (among others) who are suggesting that figuring out how one can be happy on their own is vital to meeting someone. Is that a contradiction? Quite the contrary. When women are hell bent on meeting someone, it shows, and it makes the guy (or this guy) think, is she into *me* for who I am, or is she into being able to update the facebook status to “In a relationship”? I do know women who seem to be perpetually in a relationship, and it always makes me think twice. I don’t want a “girlfriend” I want a long term partner.

              And you know what the biggest attraction to this guy is? A happy and confident person. If someone is miserable on their own, and thinks that “someone special” is going to make them happy, I think that it’s *my* job to make them happy, so if they aren’t, it’s a reflection on me. But I’m only really responsible for my own happiness, and I look for people who understand that they’re responsible for their own happiness.

              It’s clear that you’re really, really sensitive to the issue. I’m having a hard time piecing together all of what you’ve written and concluding that all you want is someone to look at and say “wasn’t this food good?” I’m dead serious when I suggest this: If you have the opportunity to speak to a professional, it’s worth considering. It’ll help you articulate why you want what you want without locking up. It’ll help you accept the fact that you don’t have what you want *just right this minute*. It’ll help with your internal struggles.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                And you know what the biggest attraction to this guy is? A happy and confident person. If someone is miserable on their own, and thinks that “someone special” is going to make them happy, I think that it’s *my* job to make them happy, so if they aren’t, it’s a reflection on me.

                Oh for heaven’s sake, I don’t think that!

                SHEESH. I don’t need to “talk to a professional.” I’m done with this topic; I’m never bringing it up again.

                1. ratbag*

                  I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t think Dan is that far off the mark – I have noticed this as a common thread through a lot of your comments on other topics; that’s what made me re-read this thread. It’s not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with you to flag talking to someone, it can just be a good way of processing something that is an issue for you. We all have something like this that bothers us for whatever reason, and I often think we would be a lot happier (general we) if it wasn’t considered a ‘thing’ to go and talk to someone to help us process it all.

            3. Not So NewReader*

              I am an only child and now a widow. Fortunately, I am happy with my new life on my own. But it does come up, for example, the sunset is spectacular one evening and who do I tell? The dog. I am talking to the dog.
              The lonely feelings happen. Oddly, there are times where I have seen people feel lonely in a group of friends or family. So just because we are surrounded with people does not protect us from feeling lonely.
              We don’t get to pick when those feelings happen, they just happen and there we are. And the reasons for the feelings vary from person to person. Just as what triggers the feeling varies from person to person.

              My husband took his bike and made a trip from the east coast to the west coast. He said he did not stop at the Grand Canyon, because there was no point. Meaning, he was traveling solo and there was no one there to share the view with. But he did other things, like one day he felt like driving. He covered 700 miles in one day. You can’t do that if you have someone with you.

              My point is that life is a mixed bag. It’s important to respect our mixed bag of feelings. I have sat at funerals with a group of people and laughed my butt off because of the stories the people were telling. I have sat at weddings and cried because so-and-so was missing. This is life.

              I am not saying this in a “brush it away” manner. No. I mean the exact opposite. I mean we have to respect our own emotions and not try to fight those emotions off. It’s when we try to fight off the emotions that suddenly everything gets ten times WORSE. Why. It’s disrespectful to our own selves. If other people minimize/rationalize our feelings that is one thing. But if we do that to ourselves that is a much bigger problem. If we cry/feel sad when we need to then we can also experience joy and happiness when it presents. Life is a range, a spectrum, of events and corresponding emotions. We are supposed to have experiences/emotions from many areas of the spectrum. It’s part of being human.

              1. Jean*

                This is lovely and helpful and well said.

                You say “respect”, I say “accept” but I think we’re talking about the same thing–acknowledging not denying our emotions.
                Another life lesson I’ve discovered is that there’s a huge difference between acknowledging and acting on our emotions. It’s actually possible to feel an emotion without next running around making rash decisions, or speaking unwise comments, or grimly chomping through an entire package of crackers. Sometimes it’s enough to notice that such-and-such situation or s0-and-so situation really grinds my gears. After that, I’m ready to move along calmly to the next activity.

          2. Jean*

            Elizabeth, please bear with me: I’m trying to offer solidarity and some comfort without sounding like a Smug Married Person.

            The panic and sadness of feeling SICK AND TIRED OF BEING ALONE and WILL IT ALWAYS BE LIKE THIS? is a horrible (but human) reaction to the circumstance of being single. But recently I realized that the same feelings can also arise in response to other seemingly unending sources of distress in life (e.g., having a spouse with a chronic but nonfatal disease; having a spouse with a fatal disease that combines long periods of smouldering ill health with brief periods of intense crisis; having someone other than a spouse with either of the above conditions; losing a loved one to something seemingly avoidable such as addiction or a terrible accident; losing a child to, well, anything…Thankfully, I don’t know this last from personal experience).

            In my case, I realized recently that I have stuffed away, rather than resolved, my earlier sadness at not having produced The Perfect Family to walk into our congregation each week. (We have one child, not multiple children; and I’m the only one of the household who really enjoys our community’s religious services. Thus most times it’s just me by myself instead of Mr. and Mrs. Noah’s Ark trailed by several shining, faithful children.)

            I also realized that I’m not going to make any progress in resolving my situation until I fully acknowledge why and how much I am still unhappy–not to wallow in the situation but because, for me, naming my distress is the first step in beginning to tame it. Only after I’ve accepted things as they are can I begin to work on changing my reactions. This is where the Carolyn Hax approach lines up nicely with the small bit of Buddhism I’ve absorbed through cognitive behavioral therapy: “Yes, I wish my life had XYZ but since it doesn’t, what else can I do (or am I already doing) and enjoy(ing)?”I’m not trying to go around behind a phoney smiling mask; I’m just trying to make the best of things. Most people have some serious disappointments in life. In these cases, the road to being remarkable or resilient is paved with workarounds.

            You sound like you do this a lot, already. You planned and participated in this amazing travel experience. To somewhat paraphrase Alison, I think people are wonderful whether they are single or partnered. When I agree with your desire to find someone, it’s because I agree with your wanting to be happy–not because I think that a person is incomplete without a Significant Other!

            Egads. It’s almost midnight. I need to stop typing. Please reassure me that I haven’t inserted my feet into my mouth (or that, at worst, I’ve only inserted my own pair, rather than also borrowing additional feet from everyone else within a five-mile radius)! And enjoy the memories, pohtos, and other souveneers of your travels.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              When I agree with your desire to find someone, it’s because I agree with your wanting to be happy–not because I think that a person is incomplete without a Significant Other!

              Well thank you, but I don’t think that either.

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      #2 – I understand buying books (I always pack a collapsible bag in my suitcase so I have an extra bag for the trip home, so the books I’ve bought will fit. But what’s this about tossing books to make room? I don’t understand. I thought you just built more bookshelves, and periodically moved to a larger house. :)

      By the way, if you ever come out to the west coast, check out Powell’s Books in Portland. Let me know when you’re coming, and perhaps I can make the drive over, so when you walk in and say “this is wonderful,” I can be there to hear and share the wonderfulness with you. Unfortunately, it won’t come with British accents.

  37. salad fingers*

    I’m finally reading Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr, about cult fragrance hero Luca Turin. Fposte, I don’t think this is the particular book you recommended but thank you for putting Turin on my radar – he’s fabulous!

    What are y’all reading right now?

    1. fposte*

      If I didn’t, it was a mistake, because that’s the one that got me interested in him. And the Perfumes guide is a stitch to read.

      1. salad fingers*

        From the excerpts in this book, the guide does sound hilarious. Only half way though, but so far my favorite moments: everything Turin has to say about Russia, esp. the description of Russian scientists in cheap polyester shirts tearing apart an English visiting lecturer; Turin describing a perfume as the equivalent of a silk shirt that looks two different ways depending on the light, only to then be told that the initial request which was something like: please make a perfume that is remniscent of a silk shirt that looks two different ways depending on the light; and the whole email chain during the process of Turin’s paper being peer reviewed, Turin’s outrage but ultimate restraint, truly an inspiration and lesson in professional diplomacy for the AAM crowd.

  38. Sabrina*

    We’re closing on our first house on Wednesday. Our house is in a neighborhood that will surely have trick or treaters. We’ve never had one in the 10 years we’ve been together. Hoping to see some good costumes!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Try to find out how many you get in your neighborhood.
      I was so glad I asked- 200 kids. Man, I would have bought candy for 50 or so if I didn’t ask.

      1. Sabrina*

        Yeah if the sellers are at closing, I’m going to ask them. Otherwise I guess we’ll have to introduce ourselves to the neighbors! :)

    2. salad fingers*

      Don’t have much to say here except for congratulations and awwwww, cute! Living in a third floor city apartment, I miss having trick or treaters. Word of advice — don’t give out those orange and black peanut buttery caramelly candies. Bad first impression on the neighborhood kids ;-).

    3. Diet Coke Addict*

      Congratulations! We’ve been in our first house for a few weeks and I’m psyched for trick-or-treaters. I even have a front porch for a pumpkin here!

  39. Rebecca*

    I bought some Climate Right Cuddl Duds items at WalMart in hopes I can stay warm while walking. It’s only October, and it’s pretty chilly today, about 50F and windy, so I’m going to try a few layering options. Yesterday I was OK as long as the sun was shining, but boy did I feel cold when the clouds moved in and the wind picked up. Yikes, and it’s not even winter yet!! I just hope to find a warm combination that doesn’t leave me looking like Ralphie’s brother on A Christmas Story.

    And along those lines, I’ll be walking more in the dark, so I’m going to look for some flashing LED lights to affix to my safety vest. I also saw some ankle reflectors for bikers, and thought that might be a good idea.

    I really want to keep up my step count through the winter, and while I realize that making 10,000 steps per day in snowy weather might not be possible, I’m going to give it my best shot!!

    1. danr*

      Buy a safety vest along with the leds. The best ones that I’ve seen as a driver are the bright green ones with the reflective tape.

      1. Rebecca*

        I have the old generation fire police safety vest, the orange ones with the reflective stripes. Current ones are the neon green with reflective stripes, so I got this for free when the local fire police upgraded. I know there has to be rechargeable LED lights out there somewhere that I can fix up for on the vest :)

        Oh, and the layering worked today. The wind was pretty stiff, over 20 MPH, and I stayed nice and warm with a layer of Climate Right fleece Cuddl Duds under my walking outfit. Yay!

    2. Jill of all trades*

      Just remember that with snow, each step will have a higher quality because it’s harder, and keeping your balance on slick surfaces works your core. Yay snow?

    3. Gene*

      One thing to remember is that sweaters, Cuddl Duds, and the like are inner and middle layers. If it’s windy, you need a windproof shell. Get one with pit zips and a vented back so you don’t sweat yourself to death under it.

  40. Ali*

    Anyone have experiences on wisdom teeth removal, especially if they’re of the non-horror story variety?

    I’m having my bottom two out on Friday, and for some unknown reason, I am scared like crazy. I have mentioned here before that I have a fear of dentists (lucky for me, I found a very understanding and non-judgmental regular dentist), but I also even get nervous about simple blood work. (Yep, cried getting that done back in February.) I was a mess when I went for my consult with the (very experienced and kind) oral surgeon. Basically, I guess I have some fear of medical procedures? Anyway, one thing led to another, mostly curiosity, and I saw a bunch of horror stories online about dry socket, people who are still eating soft foods after two weeks, and people who were laid up in bed for a week. Bad for an anxious person to see, I know. I also have seen those YouTube videos of people who are on another planet from the sedation. I’m having IV sedation, and I have no idea if I’m going to be proclaiming to the world that I’m a wizard or if I’m just going to be quiet and sleepy. Kind of hard for me to accept being out of control like that.

    The reason I’m only having two out is b/c the bottom ones are the most problematic and my family is coming in this coming weekend, plus I’m having issues with my boss having backup coverage for me the Sunday after the surgery. (He checked with some people but can’t guarantee me help, and he’s now on vacation so I can’t follow up.) I just have too much going on to deal with the worse recovery of having four teeth out.

    I know it makes no sense to be afraid of this because so many people have it done, but I have a little fear of the unknown about my recovery. So if anyone has any tips or non-eventful stories, I’d love to hear it!

    1. Stephanie*

      I had all four out at once. All were impacted: two were impacted at a 90 degree angle and the other two had erupted from my gum line and were starting to cause some jaw pain. So with all that going on….my extraction was uneventful (I was under general anesthesia) and my recovery took about three days. No dry sockets or anything.

      1. Cruciatus*

        Very similar, non-eventful story here. All 4 removed at once, all impacted. I was terrified the anesthesia wouldn’t work, and he had me count backwards from 10 and I thought “10?! That’ll never work!” and I think I made it to 9 before I was out. I woke up and felt fine. I was 16 at the time and even asked dad if I could drive home (he said, “Um, no.”) I threw up one time, which sucked, but I felt just fine after that. I never even needed the pain meds. There were no issues regarding the stitches or dry sockets or anything like that (and I know I didn’t follow the post-procedural rules to the letter). My face was slightly off for hours after the surgery (partially because I had gauze in my mouth for a while), but after that night I had no hint of chipmunk cheeks or anything. The next day I was doing relatively normal things. My mouth/jaw were slightly sore, but you really couldn’t tell anything had been done if you didn’t know.

    2. Diet Coke Addict*

      My husband had an impacted wisdom tooth out last week, and it was a piece of cake. I took the morning off to take him, and honestly he remembered nothing. His appointment was at 11, he laid down in the chair and zip–out! Forty minutes later they were calling me to go sit with him in the recovery area. Afterwards he was just zonked out–not rambling, just kind of dazed and no idea what was going on. He fell asleep on the way home, I gave him some juice and ibuprofen, and he went to bed for a few hours more. Later that evening he could have some room temperature soup and a little cold pudding. He was eating soup for another day or two (supplemented with pudding, Jello, and ice cream) and then he graduated to very soft foods–mashed sweet potatoes, applesauce, maybe some very well-cooked fish, etc. He was on soft foods for a week or so, and his face was swollen for about the same amount of time, but he said it wasn’t very painful or anything as long as he kept taking Motrin. No dry socket, no infections, no issues or anything. For him, the worst part was being hungry with the soft foods in the next couple of days.

    3. Rebecca*

      I had my wisdom teeth broken and cut out, with just novacane in the dentist’s chair, about 28 years ago. I had 2 on one side done 1 week, then the other remaining tooth (I only had 3) the next week. I didn’t have any problems, and returned to work within an hour of having them out. I didn’t have much of a choice, given we had no sick time and I had no vacation time, but I made it through with minimal pain and suffering. My cheeks didn’t even swell, and there wasn’t any bruising. No dry socket. I did have to be careful chewing, and was very careful to follow the post tooth pulling instructions to the letter.

      And by the way, I am terrified of dentistry. The nurse was kind enough to cover all the instruments for me, so I didn’t see them ahead of time, and she also put a towel over my eyes so I couldn’t see (at my request).

      I’m very hopeful you’ll be OK!! Try not to worry (easier said than done, I know).

    4. Tris Prior*

      I had all four out about a year and a half ago. The part I was scared about most was the anesthesia but that was no problem – it felt like I blinked and the procedure was over. I did not get dry socket, didn’t swell up much, was off the prescription painkillers by the second day after.

      The hardest part of recovery for me was that my jaw felt stiff and it was hard to open my mouth very much for the first few days. It didn’t hurt; was just stiff. It passes.

      Have lots of soft foods in the house and ready to go beforehand – and not just carby stuff like pudding and mashed potatoes. Stuff with actual nutritional content and protein and healthy fat. I lived off fruit smoothies and hummus and mashed-up avocadoes when I couldn’t choke down any more mashed potatoes.

    5. Relosa*

      All four at one time, surgically. From check-in to “walking”out recovery was less than an hour. I’ve also hear horror stories about unending pain, crying, dry socket, etc.

      Nope – I remember being walked down the hall to recovery and giggling with my mouth stuffed with gauze. I woke myself up laughing 20 minutes later. Was on Vicodin for a week, never felt a thing. It was great :D

    6. Mints*

      It was easy! I agree with the having food prepared ahead of time. I also suggest having a few different beverages (chocolate milk was especially good). Try to plan for soft foods, too, not just liquid. Do you like Mexican food? I ate rice and refried beans with soft cheese from Mi Pueblo for like three days.

      I do remember the procedure but it was a fuzzy twilight experience and didn’t feel pain.

      I had a couple movies at the top of the Netflix instant queue (children / family movies), which was a good idea. I felt kinda gross and puffy, but vicodin sure helps. It was overall a totally fine procedure

      (Oh, and you should ask about cleaning not just on the first day, but how it progresses. I was cleaning very tenderly a week later but apparently I was supposed to be more thorough by then and wasn’t doing a good enough job. [I went back and got a plastic syringe to power wash])

    7. Mimmy*

      I had a couple issues with my wisdom teeth removal in 2006 (had all 4 taken out, one was wrapped around a nerve), but I don’t remember having to take my pain meds for more than a day or two–it was a lot easier than I’d expected. I also was able to avoid the dry socket. I think that comes with following the post-removal instructions as closely as possible and getting clarification on anything you don’t understand.

      Best of luck on Friday!

    8. The IT Manager*

      Mine was a long time ago, but I only remember drooling in the car on the way home and not noticing b/c my mouth was still numb. I wasn’t knocked out and recovered quickly. No worries!

    9. Mephyle*

      I only had two wisdom teeth. I had them both out at the same time. It was not traumatic. I was surprised how effective the sedative was. I didn’t experience a thing until I woke up and it was all over. I thought that because it was a sedative and not a general anesthetic, I would be somewhat aware, but that was not the case.
      The only disappointment was that I asked before I went under if they would keep my teeth for me, but the dental surgeon forgot. When I asked, afterwards, he gave me two random teeth which turned out to be somebody else’s. Good thing he never went into obstetrics instead.

      1. Cruciatus*

        While it’s weird he would give you someone elses’ teeth, I also asked to take mine home. Some of them were in pieces and probably a year or so later when I came upon them again I had to ask myself “What the hell are you going to do with these!?” and I threw them out. They were not pretty (and it kind of makes me wonder what the hell happened during my procedure…).

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          I still have 2 of mine. I soaked them in perioxide for a day or so, and now they are pretty and white. I figured they’d make great earrings maybe?

    10. MeUnplugged*

      I had mine out about 10 years ago. I didn’t have any problems and even had spaghetti for dinner that night. (Using the syringe to power wash afterwards was kind of gross though.) I do remember being upset on the way home because the doctor didn’t give me my teeth so I could leave them under my pillow for the tooth fairy. Yeah, I was 22…
      Like everyone says just follow the post op instructions and yay Vicodin! :)

    11. matcha123*

      I had two wisdom teeth on my right side (top/bottom) removed in my final year of university.

      Like you, I was very worried about the procedure. I was not sedated because that was the more expensive option. I was given laughing gas and was awake the whole time. I was incredibly frightened, and cried a bit when they started, but was numbed up very well. And the laughing gas really helped calm my nerves…it was like being drunk, really.

      I could feel the pulling, but no pain. Unlike others, my jaw wasn’t all that swollen. My mom drove me home and we picked up my meds and some Jell-O at the grocery store. I didn’t have a lot of bleeding, there was some, but it was manageable. I just felt very tired afterwards. By the second day? or so I was dreaming of eating solids.

      I think I stuck to soft food/ramen/chicken noodle soup for a week or week and a half just because I was so worried. But, I am happy to report no serious issues. No issues when I took out the other two a few years later.

    12. Melissa*

      My husband and sister-in-law have both had IV sedation for different dental procedures (him a bone graft and her wisdom teeth removal). She was just dopey and sleepy, and didn’t really seem aware of what was going on around her. My husband, on the other hand, was straight loopy. He probably did proclaim to the world he was a wizard. In both cases the effects wore off within a few hours. My sister-in-law’s recovery was just a few days; my husband’s was longer but different procedure.

  41. Monodon monoceros*

    I have mice in my storage room :( I don’t want to kill them, but I also don’t want them living in my house. I searched the interwebs today and saw that they don’t like peppermint oil. The recommendations were to soak a cotton ball in peppermint oil and then place it in the area. Has anyone tried this? It would be nice if this really does work!

    I also read that they don’t like cat pee, which makes sense, so I took some out of the litter box this morning and put it in a bunch of little containers in the storage room, so now the storage room smells like a litter box. Gross.

    I can also try live traps, but if I can avoid handling the mice, that would be my preferred option…

    1. Stephanie*

      I’ve found peppermint oil to work, but with a couple of caveats:
      (1) You have to refresh it when the smell fades, or the mice just come back.
      (2) Related to (1), if you don’t refresh, the mice will loooove the cotton balls. I’d cover it in aluminum foil or put it in a covered container with some slits in the lid.

      The peppermint oil can stave them off for a bit, but you want to figure out where they’re entering and seal the hole. Check for openings by gas or water lines.

      1. Monodon monoceros*

        Thanks for the tips about the container and lid. I will definitely do that.

        I think I know where they are getting in, tomorrow I will go and find some sheet metal to put over the hole (it’s a big hole, I think where someone a long time ago may have vented a dryer but now there’s no dryer, just a big hole).

        I’ll do the peppermint, cover the hole, cat pee litter, if anyone else has other non-lethal tips, let me know!

        Also, my cat is totally useless…

        1. danr*

          Let your cat get hungry and open the storage area so he can get in there. You might get a trophy one day.

          1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

            I agree that enlisting the cat might help…but don’t use mice to replace it’s meal, especially if you don’t give your cat de-wormer. Send your cat in when it’s playful (vs. hungry) – a lot of cats are so used to their free-food-on-demand that they won’t bother crunching those mice – but they still think killing the is fun! Just be sure that you remove any dead mice, or you’ll have a smell worse than a litter box! Sometimes the mice are mortally wounded and crawl up into places that are hard to get to to die. That’s not awesome

            1. Monodon monoceros*

              No worries there, I won’t be letting her in the storage room. She’s almost 15 and a delicate flower, so while it would be nice to have the mice go away, I wasn’t really thinking I would have her help me out anyway (besides providing pee and fur to scare them away, hopefully…).

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Victor makes some traps that kill the mice in a container so you don’t have to touch them, if you get to that last resort. Definitely cover that hole. I’m sorry about your cat, because when we had mice, I almost let a cat stay in my apartment (I am decidedly anti-cat) because I wanted those m*****f*****s GONE. My dog got one once, but he’s more of hunter than a killer (“Mama, Mama, there’s something that shouldn’t be here! Shoot it!”).

    3. Cath in Canada*

      We used to have four cats in our house (our two plus our former tenant’s two, who lived in the basement), and the mice still came in if the weather was nasty enough outside. It was ridiculous! We’ve managed to find and plug the holes they were using, so the problem seems to have been solved… for now.

    4. krisl*

      Can you put some cat fur into the storage room? Mice are frequently afraid of it. I agree with the posting about having the cats play with but not eat the mice.

      1. Monodon monoceros*

        She is a long-haired cat, so I have plenty of fur. I’ll put some in there.

        The cat litter didn’t seem to work though. I went in there a few hours after and saw a mouse scurry away :(

    5. HAnon*

      Nothing helpful, just an anecdote that reminded me of my college days…

      We had a mouse in the house who kept stealing our crackers…we decided to name him Henri due to his good taste in snacks. After about a week of chasing him, my roommates and I were able to trap him under a bucket and let him loose in the wild in a nearby wooded area.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        We had mice in our shop, so we put peanut butter on a plastic knife and put it in the bottom of a large metal garbage can. The next morning, there were two mice there, which we removed to the field on the other side of the house and road, and reset the trap. Next morning, two more mice, who were also removed. Next morning two more mice, as well as the next. I started getting suspicious, so on about day 6, I carefully used a green sharpie to color their tails green before letting them go. The next morning there were two mice with green tails. We drove them a mile away, across a highway, and let them go that time, and it finally worked.

        1. Monodon monoceros*

          Excellent mark-recapture technique! This is a good point if I end up live trapping them. I’ll make sure to bring them far away.

  42. Anonyby*

    Here’s a funny/interesting monde green that just happened…

    I have Pandora going, and “Burning Bridges” by One Republic came on. Only instead of the line “burn my bridges down”, I kept hearing “pull my britches down”…

    1. Cruciatus*

      There’s that new song by Sia, “Chandelier” and, maybe if I had known the song was titled that I would have heard it, but I hear “I want to swim to the Champs Elysees, to the Champs Elysees!” Even now, I still hear that instead. I thought it was weird since I don’t think there is any water near there. She sings the word chandelier in the weirdest way possible.

  43. acmx*

    PC question: today when I turned on the computer, I have a dos window that flashes up regularly. It’s too fast for me to see what it says. I’ve run a virus scan and nothing came up. Any ideas on how to figure what program/process could be causing it?

    1. me*

      type msconfig from the start menu and uncheck all the programs in the “startup” tab and restart the computer. See if the box shows up. If it does it isn’t caused by any of the startup programs and you can turn them all back on. If it doesn’t you can turn them back on in small batches to narrow down which one is causing the box to appear.

    2. danr*

      It might be for your display. I get one on my laptop that was added in a display update to counter a series of BSOD occurrences. It delays the response of the screen when coming out of sleep or hibernation. It mostly works.

  44. me*

    type msconfig from the start menu and uncheck all the programs in the “startup” tab and restart the computer. See if the box shows up. If it does it isn’t caused by any of the startup programs and you can turn them all back on. If it doesn’t you can turn them back on in small batches to narrow down which one is causing the box to appear.

      1. acmx*

        As I was reading your reply, the window kindly popped up slow enough for me to read it. I’ve turned off the startups associated with it but I still get the box (which I can almost read now about an error starting up or something) it happens to be RIM so I need to see why it’s now giving an error when I haven’t used it recently.

        Thank you for the help!

  45. frustrated*

    Anyone ever been in a long term relationship where the partner decided that they no longer had any interest in having sex? We’ve been married for 12 years and in the last year we’ve only had sex twice. They don’t have any desire to “talk about it” and when I try they simply say “ interest”.

    I’ve never been one to cheat or think about cheating but I’m there.

    There are no known medical conditions or anything like that, I’m a male in my mid-40’s shes a female in her late 30’s.

    1. fposte*

      Wow, that’s tough. What I think is tougher still is it sounds like she’s not really bothered by how you feel about this.

      I don’t think it’s a rare story, but I think it’s no less painful for that. Is she willing to go to couples counseling? (I wasn’t sure if not wanting to talk about it meant a refusal to go to counseling.) Have you thought about going on your own?

      1. frustrated*

        She has no interest in discussing this with me or anyone else. She doesn’t feel that this is a big deal. We have the normal distractions in life (kids, work, etc) so she routinely finds one of them as a reason in each case. On a case by case basis that seems fair until you look at the big picture that there is never an opportunity.

        I have zero desire to leave her because this is really my only issue but it is a big one.

        I may consider going on my own but I’m not sure what I’d gain if the solution is either learn to live with it or leave.

        1. fposte*

          Tools for coping with both, and a third possibility that you don’t have the ability to see from where you are, maybe? I guess I’m going with the chicken soup theory of what could it hurt? (And also, I think taking even that action might make you feel like you have a little more agency in the situation.)

          I think this would be a big issue to a lot of people, and I’m sorry you’re going through this.

          1. frustrated*

            I appreciate your comments. I know I’m kind of looking for some miraculous answer that may not exist.

            I really would like to hear if anyone has had a similar situation from either perspective.

            The whole situation makes me question my own abilities which I have no reason to believe are the cause but you start thinking that.

        2. Elkay*

          Seeing you going to counseling on your own may make her more willing to come with you. I agree with the theory that going to counseling can’t do you any harm.

        3. Dan*

          As others have said, the not talking about it is a bigger issue. That’s the part, if it continues, that is really going to drive a wedge between the two of you until you’re actually thinking of leaving.

          Honestly, by not talking about it, she’s telling you that it really is a big deal. If it wasn’t, what does she have to lose by talking to you? “Not a big deal” things are ten second conversations and a little compromise, if that.

          My ex had legit mental health issues, and was under care. But the biggest deal was that she wouldn’t talk to me, nor give consent for me to talk to her therapists. I got fed up and left, because if your spouse isn’t going to talk to you about anything, what kind of relationship do you really have?

          I see this as a slippery slope. If she won’t talk to you about this, then what’s next?

          You said you have had no inclination to cheat in the past, but you’re rethinking it now. That’s a conversation for a professional, because I’m trying to find a tactful way to broach this with your wife a bit more forcefully. I’m probably wrong on this approach, but do you dare broach the subject of an open marriage with her? She’s going to have to talk to you about this someway, somehow. The only real question is how ugly the situation gets before the conversation happens.

          1. azvlr*

            I have to agree. “In sickness and in health” is one thing. But the refusal to get any kind of help when you are sick is a total deal-breaker for me. I really hope that Frustrated will find some answers for himself.

    2. Anon for this*

      I’ve been living with this for years. “On a case by case basis that seems fair until you look at the big picture that there is never an opportunity” – yes, that is it.

      I guess all I can tell you is that you aren’t alone. I’ve considered cheating but it’s really not for me. I try to look at the bright side: we live in the age of Internet pornography.

      There are better places to ask about this issue.

      1. frustrated*

        Thanks for the response. Trust me I get the Internet porn thing but that is not a true substitute for the closeness that is achieved with the real act.

        What better place is there to ask? I look at this forum like a bunch of “normal” people and was just curious what their perspective would be.

          1. Anoners*

            Dear Prudence often talks about this. Maybe read up on her columns? Not sure where exactly she talks about it, but I remember it coming up quite a bit.

    3. Anon for frustrated*

      I’m kind of on the other end except my relationship is only 4 years old and we have no kids. My reasons for not wanting sex are depression (it recently started getting worse after being bearable for awhile), I’ve gained weight and don’t feel very appealing, and I wasn’t happy with my partner’s performance (lazy).

      BUT, I recognize that it’s an issue. My partner wants more and since I have been in the mood less it is hard on him. It has led to arguments which have led to discussions and while it’s not better yet he at least knows what is going on. It’s troubling your partner doesn’t see it as a big deal. Not because of the issue itself but because it’s what you want in a relationship.

      I really hope she changes her mind about counseling. I think you should go because as fposte said, it might give you skills to cope and getting an outside perspective is always good.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Good points. The answer may or may not have anything to do with sex itself. Or it could be a mixture of reasons. Or, OP, she may think that she is protecting you by not telling you the reasons. Tread with care.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Tell her that. Let her know that she means that much to you, you are willing to listen to whatever she has to say.

      2. frustrated*

        Thank you for the response. I think a lot of her issues does have to do with weight and body image issues. I tell her that I think she is beautiful all the time but she never seems to take it to heart.

        I do wish she’d at least acknowledge that there is an issue rather than making me feel like I’m just being pushy, when I ask once a month or so, I don’t think I’m being overly pushy. If she’d talk to me or would initiate if she actually felt the urge that would be helpful.

        I appreciate your input.

        1. Anon for frustrated*

          My partner also gives me positive comments towards me. Unfortunately I still feel embarrassed being naked in front of him at times. Which I admit isn’t really fair.

          I think my reluctance is mostly depression. It makes me want to withdraw from him physically (since it’s gotten so bad though I will be seeking treatment). Is there a possibility she’s suffering from depression? It’s tough but you need to be blunt and tell her it’s a problem and you need answers. Let her know it’s safe for her to say things even if she’s worried they’ll hurt your feeling.

    4. Anon for a bit*

      Frustrated, my husband and I went (are going through) a similar situation. After being married for a few years I just wasn’t really interested in having sex any more. It got to the point my husband told me he was contemplating divorce. That woke me up to the fact that while it wasn’t a big deal for me, it was a big deal for him.
      We both read a book (can’t remember which one at the moment), and honestly he said it didn’t help him a ton. There were some things that spoke to him but not many. However, I got a ton of insight from it.
      While the reasons for my disinterest were varied there were a few things that after talking to my husband have improved our situation.
      One reason was because I didn’t feel like he desired me outside of the bedroom. On the few occasions that he would give me a kiss or a back/foot rub I didn’t really enjoy it because I always felt like I had to have sex in return. Kissing was Always a precursor to sex. I no longer felt like a wife or a partner worth being around unless it was time for sex. So it started to feel like I was just his roommate until he wanted sex and then I was just an object to have sex with.
      While our situations are different are you affectionate with your wife when you are not having sex? Do you kiss her goodbye in the morning and hello when you get home? Do you touch her back just below her waist when she’s making dinner and not have any of those things mean that sex is next?
      Also do you do things for her not related to sex? Do you make dinner, put the kids to bed, actually do the things on your honey do list?
      Maybe she’s tired of fulfilling the desires of her boss all day, then coming home and fulfilling the desires of her kids, and then after a long day there’s no energy to fulfill any of your desires?
      Again, ymmv, and with her not being willing to talk about it, it’s all speculation. But I hope my story helped a bit.
      Lastly, I want to say, my non interest has nothing to do with my husbands skills. I know it can hurt being on the other side, but when I was rejecting sex, I wasn’t rejecting my husband. Although I understand now that that’s how it felt.
      If your wife isn’t willing to talk to you, I think you should at least ask her if she’s willing to listen to you.
      Good luck!

      1. frustrated*

        Thank you for the very thoughtful reply!

        To answer your question I think I do acknowledge her for things other than sex. Our schedules do not allow a goodbye kiss in the morning but yes I kiss her hello every evening. I try to do things for her without her expecting them. I’m sure there is more I could do though and I will make a concerted effort to be more like that. She has mentioned that we never just cuddle on the couch anymore so obviously I need to be more aware of hints like that.

        Thank you

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Definitely cuddle. For a lot of women that is on the same level as sex is to a man. (Not that men don’t want to cuddle and women don’t want sex- not going there with that. Just saying it’s important.)

      2. not brave enough to say*

        Yes. Every single thing about this yes. I’m female, 30s, young children, married for 12 years. Mostly, I am just so effing tired. By the end of the day I just want to be left the hell alone. I don’t want to be touched anymore! I have one kid that’s hanging all over me and yapping at me every waking moment; I’ve got a baby attached to my breast, all through the night, even the damn cat gets kicked when he tries to snuggle with me when I just crash out on the couch after kids are in bed. The last thing I want is to be touched by my husband. Which hurts me so much because I know it hurts him. I also avoid talking about it with him because I feel guilty as charged, so my way of handling is to try to avoid. We go in cycles: I put him off; I have an excuse; he tries and gets rebuffed. This happens enough then he starts to get noticeably distant and irritated/disappointed with me. Then I get more annoyed at him for not being able to leave me alone; yet at the same time I feel terribly guilty and know that I’m damaging my marriage by closing myself off. Then somehow we find a way to come back together (at which point I always question, “why the hell was I avoiding this in the first place!? That was great! – so I am very lucky there). Then things are good and intimate again for a while, but the inevitable crush of life presses down upon us and we go back through the same cycle.

        And this is with a husband that’s truly a very good man, great family man – helps with the house, the kids, etc. But I have had to explain to him numerous times about touching me in non-sexual ways outside the bedroom. I’m not a very PDA type of person, but I want to know that when you hug me, or kiss me, sex is not the next thing that’s expected. I often feel that way because that’s the only time he touches me. So we’re working on that.

        I often don’t have any advice – everyone else does a good job with that. I agree with the book recommendation; and counseling. I think this author can be sometimes controversial, but the book, “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” by Dr Laura Schlessinger really gave me some good perspective. I had my husband read a few parts and he was nodding his head enthusiastically the entire time. Best of luck to you.

        1. frustrated*

          Thank you very much for the response. I do appreciate hearing from someone that can speak on the topic from my wife’s perspective.

          I totally get the “why were we avoiding that” thing, that seems to be the case with us as well..when it actually happens. The problem is it is getting less and less often that even that happens.

          I will look up the book you recommended.

          1. not brave enough to say*

            I wish you the best of luck. You sound like a really good guy that cares enough about his wife and marriage to fight for it. Not just walk away or give into porn. Ok, also. I just thought of it. I don’t know what your religious affiliation/tolerance is, but if you are open to approaching from a Christian point of view, the movie “Fireproof” is a good look at this. In the movie, the husband uses a book called “The Love Dare,” which is actually now a real book, to win his wife’s attention’s back. The husband (Kirk Cameron is the actor) is advised to do this love dare – just love his wife through these different ideas for something like 30 days. What I liked is that she’s still really pissed and angry at him for much of the time. But he keeps doing it because he can see how he’s been pulling away/not meeting her needs for the past XX years. It’s not a Hollywood blockbuster by any means, but I think it’s very honest look at how both partners contribute to a situation like this. And how often one partner has to be the first one to swallow his/her pride and start behaving differently.

            Also, I’d recommend any book from Dr Kevin Lehman. I have read some about raising children and I know he has some about “How to Have a Different Husband by Friday” or something like that. He has a whole series of “how to have a different ___”

    5. Anon for a bit*

      The book I talked about earlier is The Sex Starved Marriage. If you choose to read it I hope it helps open the lines of communication in your relationship. It really helped me figure out why I wasn’t as interested in sex (like the need for non-sexual contact) as I used to be.

  46. The IT Manager*

    I have been in more of a reading mood than a TV watching mood (other than football), but I finally watched a few episodes of that new show Scorpion and it is so STUPID. It’s based on a real life genius (4th highest IQ), but it’s not only scientifically inaccurate but there’s also no zero sense i.e. if you are going to speed through LA by changing all the traffic lights to green the lights have to change BEFORE you reach the intersection not the moment you blow through it. Also I keep coming up with the next solution before the genius comes up with the same thing. I’m smart but I am not a genius.

    That said there was a something (can’t articulate it) in the two episodes that was appealing, but that can’t overcome the stupid.

    Uggg! I was hoping this would be another Person of Interest which looked formulaic but has become anything but. Scorpion is not the next Person of Interest.

    1. krisl*

      I’ve been enjoying Scorpion, but in the episode with the plane problems, if they could find someone with a working cell phone on most of the planes, the problem would be solved for those planes, right?

      Also, the plane that came really close to the car so they could download the version, why couldn’t it have just landed?

      And they had no backups that they could use? Insane!

  47. Shell*

    The Nexus 6 has finally been announced! I’ve been waiting for this phone forever because my current phone is old and really crappy now.

    …but it’s a 6″ phablet. SIX INCHES. WHY do manufacturers keep making phones bigger and bigger? The size is making me have serious doubts… But it’s the highest contender for me because Google phones tend to be cheapest for their specs. >.>


    1. BRR*

      As I posted last week I lost my phone on a roller coaster. I was deciding between the iPhone 5s and 6 as a replacement. The 6 (not even the 6 plus) felt huge. Like hard to hold in one hand and I have large hands. It’s not to say large phones don’t have their positives but some people like to be able to put their phone in their pocket.

      1. Stephanie*

        I upgraded from my iPhone 4s to a 6. It felt awkward and huge and really light for the first few days, but I’m used to it now. It does fit in my hand, but barely (I also have large hands). The 6-plus was just too big. I couldn’t use it with just one hand, which was a big deal breaker for me. The pocket thing was moot since women’s pockets are laughably tiny anyway.

        On a related note, I live near the plant for the contractor that was supposed to make the sapphire glass for the iPhone. Turns out Apple only wanted the glass for the watch, so the plant is shutting down and laying off 700 workers. =/

    2. Mimmy*

      That’s how I feel about the iPhone 6-plus. My husband has that, and it’s HUGE! First they were making phone smaller and smaller, now it’s going back in the other direction! (at least the iPhones…not sure about other brands).

    3. kas*

      I have a Samsung Galaxy and haven’t had any real issues with it, I love it. I would like to stick with Samsung and get the latest model when it’s time for me to get a new phone, however, they keep increasing the size. I refuse to go bigger than my S3, which is already bigger than I’d like it to be. I share your frustration.

      Also, I love the term phablet – never heard/seen it before.

    4. Noah*

      I think my iPhone 5S is too big most days and would rather have the smaller screen of the 4 with the thinner form of the 5. I really don’t understand the appeal of massive phones. I want one that fits in my pocket and I don’t want to haul around a tablet sized device constantly. Of course I still miss my Blackberry so I’m not the most hip on phones either.

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      I’d been curious about both the Nexus 6 and the new Moto X. Both too large. I’m loving my 1st-generation Moto X, just the right size. What is with these enormous new phones?

  48. De Minimis*

    Tomorrow is my last day in the office for most likely the rest of the month, but it’s definitely not going to be much fun having time off, after two years we are finally moving the rest of our stuff here from out of state. Hoping it won’t be too big an ordeal, but an ordeal it will definitely be.

    Reading GILEAD, I enjoy it but it is pretty slow paced.

    Finally finished watching True Blood…WTF was up with that season finale?

    1. Wo Fat*

      It’s definitely not going to be much fun having time off for me either but my situation is different. I’m being forced to use my accumulated leave time until I’m under the maximum. I live in a state where they can’t take it away from you in a “use it or lose it” scenario. It wasn’t my idea to take this much time off right now. I have to figure out what to do with it.

      1. De Minimis*

        This is going to exhaust all my leave and I will actually end up doing some leave without pay next week. I generate leave at a pretty generous rate due to prior service, but the holidays will probably use up a lot of it too–you have to use vacation time to be off the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, etc.

        Will probably be next spring before I’m able to have some extended time off that will be an actual relaxing vacation….

  49. Canadamber*

    I’m excited for NaNoWrimo! :) I went to an event in Toronto the other night and it was awesome. Met so many cool people! Anyone else partaking in this event?

    1. Felicia*

      Me! I went to an event in Toronto on Saturday (the workshopping workshop. I guess you weren’t there because it wasn’t night:P) I am ElphabaGalinda on the NaNo forums if you’d like to be writing buddies. I’ve won NaNo the past 2 years and i’m most excited this year I think

    2. Relosa*

      Wellll I waaas planning to, exceppppt now I’m moving in Deceemmberrrr sooooooo idk. But something ALWAYS comes up and then I never get to do it. It’s not officially scrapped yet but I have to work a TON of extra to save up for my move, so…yeah

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I’m just using the concept to finish my book. I don’t know if I’ll blog during it or take a break. Probably take a break. In fact, I may have to disappear until it’s finished. Then the REAL work will begin: finishing the research and revising and editing, whilst still querying the last book. Ugh.

Comments are closed.