weekend free-for-all – March 21-22, 2015

Lucy and OliveThis 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.)

Book Recommendation of the Week: The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne. This is the imagined inner life of a pre-teen idol with loads of tween fans, a stage mom, and an absent father. He’s far more compelling than you’d expect an 11-year-old to be.

* I make a commission if you use that Amazon link.

{ 883 comments… read them below }

  1. Shell*

    Wow, I’m early!

    Gonna go get dressed in a few moments to go for a swim. Then bouldering tomorrow. I’ve been so remiss on my exercise since I got my car. :)

    I’m forcing myself to bouldering tomorrow as it’s my gym’s birthday party, so the memberships are at a discount. Otherwise I might still put it off for weeks…(I do really enjoy bouldering, but I’m also tremendously lazy.)

    1. Chuchundra*

      Squats and deadlifts for me today. I’ve the shaky legs and I’m going to have issues with the stairs for the rest of the day. I’ve been so slack. Due to work and family stuff I haven’t done legs since early February.

      But yesterday I was cruising Reddit and I saw that Arnold Schwarzenegger responded to some guy who had trouble dead lifting 55 pounds, fell down and some people at the gym laughed at him. Arnie said he was proud of him for making the effort.

      Motivated me to go down into the basement and pick up the weights today. Thanks Governor.

      1. nep*

        Love it. Great story.
        Squats and dead lifts feel fantastic.
        I’m working on pull-ups. It’s great becoming stronger.

          1. nep*

            Already feeling stronger in it after a couple weeks of doing negatives and hangs. It’s a blast getting stronger.

            1. nep*

              (Had dabbled in it in the past but never really doing it regularly in order to make some real progress, until now.)

            2. Chuchundra*

              When I was working on pullups I used to do lat pulldowns on the cable machine, then as many pullups as I could do, then negatives until I couldn’t control my descent anymore.

        1. Stephanie*

          I was finally able to do successive double unders on the jump rope the other day. My legs have gotten way stronger.

          1. nep*

            Oh, man — double-unders. How great. This is another challenge. Seems impossible until one pulls it off.
            Nice work.

      2. OriginalEmma*

        I saw a gif on Imgur with Arnie enthusiastically cheering a lifter going for a deadlift PR. Jumping up and down, yelling, wildly gesticulating. If Arnie cheered me on like that, I would lift as much as Hafthor Bjornsson! (The Mountain from GoT/professional strongman who broke a 1,000-year-old weight lifting record).

      3. Purr purr purr*

        I find squats and deadlifts relatively easy (not saying they’re actually easy) but lunges are a whole other thing. My max lunge is about 20% of my squats. Is it just me or are they just really difficult?

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          You’re working from a position of much less stability, so yes, they are ever so much harder than squats!

          Are you doing them with dumbbells in each hand at your sides, or with a barbell in the front rack position? The latter is much harder. If you want to work leg strength, I’d do the dumbbell version, and if you want to work on your balance as well as strength, then barbell is the way to go.

          1. Purr purr purr*

            Both but dumbbells at the side most often. They’re hard enough without wobbling around as well. ;)

        2. Stephanie*

          Yes. I tried jumping lunges the other day (where you lunge and then jump into the reverse stance) and my ass was sore for two days.

          (Also, you apparently use the muscles in your hindquarters to lift, as I discovered the hard way after that when I went to my shipping warehouse job.)

          1. fposte*

            If you haven’t tried them, can I suggest single-leg glute bridges, where you go up and just hold, trying to get your duration up longer rather than doing reps? Getting up to 3 minutes almost allowed me to avoid back surgery, my glutes were so amazing.

    2. Miki*

      Go bouldering!
      I started teaching a coworker basics of climbing, it is mainly traversing/bouldering so she can learn basics before she heads higher. This Friday I had another person come up to us and ask if he could join us (no problem, more the merrier), followed by the question if I am a coach or something, hahha. No, I am not. But I like to help people get into this awesome sport (both physically and mentally). We meet twice a week at local university gym, and I have to be honest I am sometimes lazy as well, this came as a welcome push to go back in better climbing shape.
      I do hope you go bouldering tomorrow!

  2. StudentA*

    Can anyone recommend work clothes that are unique and aren’t the same thing hashed out every season, and don’t look like all other brands’ work clothes?

    If you recommend a department store, can you point out a specific label or brand?

    I am so sick of seeing the same things over and over, in every store.

    Thank you :)

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      I quite like the UK brand Jaeger, which does classic with a twist. I’m not sure if there is a US equivalent (although they do deliver to America), but perhaps that’s a question for this thread?

    2. fposte*

      Can you give a rough idea of budget–like, what well-known stores do you find within your current budget even if you don’t like the stuff?

      1. StudentA*

        I’m willing to go up to Nordstrom (mid brands, not high-end brands) and Banana Republic-type budgets, maybe even a tad more if it’s worth it!

        1. Stephanie*

          Nordstrom has a personal shopping service. I’d give that a try. (I think it’s free, but the personal shopper is on commission.)

          Also, I’d give higher-end consignment stores a try.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            Consignment is amazing. I’ve found some great basic stuff in a local store. I benefit from living in an area with rich ladies who like to clean out their closets and diet– when they lose a lot of weight, I get their “fat clothes”.

            1. Stephanie*

              I was at one once (where they specialize in higher-end items) and this woman comes in: “I just had all these extra Louis Vuitton bags sitting around and thought I’d bring them in!”

              Must be nice.

              1. AvonLady Barksdale*

                If she’s announcing it like that, I’m gonna go with… at least half of ’em are fake. :)

    3. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      If you want to shop online and you’re looking for something different, have a look at Simon’s (simons.ca), a Canadian department store with some really cute and unique stuff. It’s inexpensive, on-trend, and reasonably well-made. By and large most of what they sell is their own house brands, so it’s not anything you’ll find other places.

    4. Calla*

      I agree that Boden and Garnet Hill are nice, though idk how “unique” they are.

      Shabby Apple has some great stuff.

      Trina Turk–her clothing is more expensive but you can find good sales (especially on sites like 6pm).

      White House Black Market–their clothes are pretty classic but I also think they make great bold color and pattern choices.

      I know ModCloth can be considered too quirky/retro/hipster-y, but they have a “work” category where you can find super cute stuff. I once got a work appropriate skirt that had CAT PORTRAITS all over it. Another bonus is lots of items have picture reviews so you can see how it looks on real women.

      Right now I’m also big on online boutique… hubs I guess you’d call them, where you can shop local boutiques all over. Check out Shoptiques and Strolby!

    5. John R*

      A co-worker turned me on to this trick. When you travel, especially abroad, buy your clothes there. You’ll find things that no one else is likely to have. I bought a bunch of shirts when I was in Montreal that I get complimented on all the time.

      Also, I wear ties even though it’s not required and most people in my office don’t. By mixing them up and having some interesting ties you can make an outfit look like much more than it actually is. This is a cool trick because men generally have fewer options to look different from the pack yet still professional than do women.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        This is a great trick. Even if you just go to discount stores, it’s still something no one else has. And when they say, “Cute scarf–where’d you get it?” it makes you feel cool to say, “Oh, I picked it up in London.” You don’t have to tell them it was only £3 at Primark! ;)

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Heh heh, me too. How can you not, with £3 scarves!? I bought a cute purse there too. I don’t know what it’s made of but it’s TOUGH. I’ve beat the crap out of it and it still looks like new!

    6. SevenSixOne*

      Thrift stores!!!

      You can see a whole bunch of brands, styles, and eras (including stuff you couldn’t possibly afford to buy new) all in one place, and it’s cheap enough that you can afford to experiment.

    7. fposte*

      If you like floatier, drapier styles you might look at Eileen Fisher. They can run pretty high but there’s always sales.

    8. Nethwen*

      You could also try finding an accessory or two that you make your “thing” and start a collection. There are lots of interesting shoes that could still be work appropriate with the proper clothing. Try Fluevog or Alegria for quirky footwear (how come it’s the Canadian designers with the cool shoes?). I have some Alegria shoes that are very comfortable, but I got them on sale, which I hope is the explanation for why they squeak.

      Layering can also make normal clothes more interesting but might give off a hipster vibe.

      When I’m bored with clothes, I look in my wardrobe and try to combine things in atypical fashion. A necklace for a belt, a sleeveless button-up worn over a long-sleeve T, a scarf tied over my shoulder like a military insignia…

      1. fposte*

        Shoes are a really good point. I’m doing closet weeding at the moment and there’s a dress that’s in the “maybe” pile–it would look really cool with big chunky boots, but I don’t think I’m wearing big chunky boots anymore, and I think it would look dull and spinstery with the type of flats I’m doing these days.

    9. Gene*

      Good thing I looked at the comments.

      When I see “work clothes”, my first thought is Carhartt or Duluth Trading. Can’t go wrong with either of those.

      But I am clueless as to what you are looking for, I wear cotton pants and a denim shirt to work every day, except when it’s warm, then the denim shirt goes in favor of a pocket T.

  3. StudentA*

    Two in a row, that’s a first for me!

    Has anyone bought the at-home laser hair removal system? How do you feel about it? Supposedly, after a year or so, you should be mostly hair-free?

    1. JB*

      I tried my an earlier version of Tria. It definitely wasn’t as effective as the professional laser removal I’ve had done, but I definitely noticed a change for the better. Now whether that was because of the Tria or some other factor, I can’t say for sure. I’ve heard a brand sold in the UK is closer to professional strength (not that strong, just closer to it).

    2. Noah*

      Tried it. It took forever! I gave up and purchased a Groupon deal for several professional sessions.

    3. saro*

      I just bought a tria. I’ve done it worse and just started at the highest setting (5). Too soon to tell but I live overseas and my post-partum hair growth needs something!

  4. fposte*

    They may not be reading the weekend thread, but I was pleased to see not only one of the rare sightings of Wilton Businessman this week but also the return of Engineer Girl, who I felt like we hadn’t heard from in a while. (And I think Josh S. might even have popped in not too long ago.) I like seeing the familiar names!

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      I noticed Wilton Business man too!
      I know what you mean, it’s somehow comforting to see older regulars comment after an absence. (so don’t leave fpost!)

      Perhaps we should start AMM bingo for commentors….?

    2. StudentA*

      I always wonder about those who used to post a long time ago, but have all but disappeared. I used to enjoy reading what Charles and a few others had to say.

      1. fposte*

        Yes, indeed; she introduced the wonderful concept of the “gate cut” in hiring, drawn from livestock purchase when you just let x number through the gate rather than judging each individual critter.

    3. Laufey*

      Does anyone know if anything’s happened to Hello Kitty Jaime? I’ve missed seeing her around, too.

        1. Shell*

          Sigh…I can’t believe I missed her check-in. But thank you for mentioning this, I actually dug through the last two weeks’ posts so I could read her post. Glad she’s okay!

    4. Mints*

      I don’t think I’m that famous, but I haven’t been reading super regularly lately, and have beem trying to keep up a little more. I like seeing the familiar names too! And there are a few I haven’t really seen; it does seem a little different

  5. Andrea*


    We have two resident cats (male and female) and rescued a female cat from a store basement three weeks ago. She is a love with us, though skittish around noise, but a tiny terror to the two resident cats.

    We’ve read and tried all the amateur “get over territorial aggression” suggestions and she has attacked the resident cats. We are asking our vet for drugs and cat behaviorist referrals to help. Anyone with experience with drugs for cats to overcome aggression and/or experience with an animal behaviorist?

    Thanks for any help!

    1. Fucshia*

      Since you say she is skittish around noise, she sounds like she might be similar to one of my cats. She attacks because she is scared and wants to scare away the scary things. Fight or flight response tends highly toward fight.

      What works with my cat is just getting her comfortable with the environment and new family members she will live with. Once they aren’t scary, she doesn’t feel the need to attack them anymore. Then she becomes their defender and runs to the rescue if she thinks any are hurt or in danger (like when they are climbing somewhere they shouldn’t and get stuck or they knock over something that makes a big crash).

      I start by putting myself as the separator between them since both parties know that I will protect them. I’ll do things like sit in the middle of the couch watching a movie and have one on each side where I can pet them. They both start to relax from the petting. Then, even when they remember the other is there, it is less scary since they associate it with the petting and relaxation.

      1. Andrea*

        Yes, it is linked to fear. She’ll hiss or swat us if she gets startled by noise. And with the cats, it is fear based–a good offense is the best defense. I’ve been trying to leverage my protection by holding her when we swap rooms, so the resident cats see her, but in a manner where they can’t be attacked.

    2. fposte*

      Are you keeping them separate now? Sometimes just doing that for a loong time can help–they get used to the smell but not the presence.

      1. Andrea*

        Yes, it is linked to fear. She’ll hiss or swat us if she gets startled by noise. And with the cats, it is fear based–a good offense is the best defense. I’ve been trying to leverage my protection by holding her when we swap rooms, so the resident cats see her, but in a manner where they can’t be attacked.

      2. Andrea*

        They have been on strict separation for the past week. It may take a long time. I want apathy to set in.

        1. Rene in UK*

          You should catch ‘My Cat from Hell’ tv show. It’s very interesting, and most of what the behaviorist suggests is of the ‘Oooh, that makes sense. Why didn’t I think of that?’ type thing. I wish you luck; cats can be sooo stubborn. But we love them!

          1. catsAreCool*

            This is a great show!

            Good luck with your kitties. After a while of separation, they may get more used to the idea of each other.

          2. Grandma Cat*

            This show helped me introduce a very perturbed grandma cat to her new roommate, a large maine coon cuddle-buddy (no concept of personal space). It took me two solid weeks of work to get this done, but when it was over they lived in peace. There was some chasing but never a fight. And they learned to share space (sleeping on the same bed).
            The main steps I took from this show:
            1. Keep them completely separated in the beginning.
            2. Use a wash cloth to rub there facial/neck glands and rub the cloths in the others cat’s territory, particularly on low wall corners (where they like to rub), the edges of furniture, etc. Also leave the cloth of the one of cat’s smell in the other cat’s territory, so they get used to the scent.
            3. After a few days, you can bring them into a neutral territory with only one cat free and the other in a carrier. Allowing the free cat to investigate the space safely and the other to be protected by the carrier. The next time, switch who is exploring and who’s in the carrier. Repeat.
            4. You can eventually let them investigate each other with a closed door between them.
            5. When they don’t show aggression, door can be opened.

    3. Diane*

      Feliway, either the plug-in atomizer or the spray, is a cat pheromone that has helped calm my kitties during moves, a new puppy, and vet visits.

    4. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I hate to endorse a product, but you might want to try Feliway. It generally mellows them out, and it was a lifesaver when one of our trio passed away and one of the survivors started spraying a lot. He quit it soon after we started using the Feliway diffuser, and we think he was just upset about missing his “brother”. After a few months we ran out and didn’t notice, and he was fine without it, by then I suppose he had adjusted.

    5. Monodon monoceros*

      Definitely try the suggestions above (keeping them separated for a long time so they get used to smells, Feliway, etc.) and I hate to be the downer, but prepare yourself that it may never work out. I adopted a kitty who tried to murder my other cat on sight for 3 years. With my vet’s help, I did all sorts of stuff: they were separated for a long time before introduction, both cats were on meds for a while (new cat on valium, old kitty on anti-anxiety meds because he always was an overly sensitive cat), had Feliway everywhere, catnip, etc. etc. etc. and nothing ever worked. New kitty is just a murderous little beotch. Sadly, old kitty died of unrelated causes after 3 years, and now murderous kitty will be my only cat until she is gone.

      Hope that wasn’t too much Debbie Downer, and I hope your situation works out better than mine! Good luck!

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, by “loong” I meant “looong”–the friends who managed to work it out between cats took a couple of years.

      2. Andrea*

        If she can’t woo the cat contingency, we will have to find a cat free home for her. The trauma of her previous situation (living in an unheated store basement, coming up to the NYC sidewalks to see anyone) is likely a reason for her fear, among other things. I want to give her the best chance at a happy life, which means helping her build the trust she can, calming the flip down and accepting love. She’s great with people–the only cat who climbs into our laps and falls asleep, so I have some hope, but am also realistic.

        1. Monodon monoceros*

          Yep, I tried to give my murder-kitty away a few times when my other cat was still alive, but I couldn’t bring myself to bring her back to the shelter. I was already her 4th home, which is maybe why she’s such a bitchy kitty. But if you eventually find someone who would give her a good home that may be the best (if it isn’t working out with your other cats).

          On a more positive note, since I was a downer before, I had friends who had to integrate their cats when they got married and moved in together. It wasn’t going well for a long time, and they had to separate them when they were gone, and keep one of the cats in a big wire dog crate when they were home. Then they graduated to one being on a kitty leash inside the house when they were home. Eventually they let him off the leash one day and everything was fine. That could be something to consider.

      3. Anon369*

        This has been my current experience too – we just haven’t been able to integrate them at all. :-(

      4. blackcat*

        I had to temporarily (~8 weeks) move my cat to a house with another. The other cat was super territorial, and I think it would have been worse if she weren’t 1/3 the size of my cat.

        My cat is a VERY social cat. He loves everyone and every thing. And he was SO SAD that she refused his affection. He would wait for her to fall asleep, then sneak up and try to cuddle and lick her. She’d wake up and hiss. Basically, my cat is a really creepy dude. We ended up not letting them be together unsupervised for the duration that they had to live together.

        The two had a personality miss-match–she is the equivalent of a cat introvert and he an extrovert. The same thing can happen between people. Even if we had had the two of them in the same house for longer, I doubt they would have ever really gotten along. I hope that that’s not the case for your cats, but it’s always a possibility.

        Good luck!

        1. Andrea*

          thanks. Yes,the male is hugely social and the new one is really social with people. The resident male and the resident female already have the introvert/extrovert relationship covered.

        2. Myrin*

          I’m laughing out loud at your description of your cat as “a really creepy dude”.

          Our cat is highly territorial of basically the whole neighbourhood, which is horrible for our direct neighbour’s cat who’s been her for five years whereas my cat has only been here for three. He’s older, though, and quite a bit heavier than our nervous, slim neighbour cat, and surprisingly doesn’t need to try very hard to keep up with neighbour cat when he’s running away from him.

          But poor neighbour cat is just so stressed out because of our cat all the time, especially since he used to come to our flat and sleep there regularly before we got our cat. Now they’re kind of obsessed with each other, but in a creepy “I’ll eat you” kind of way. Does anyone know Allie Brosh’s/Hyperbole and a Half’s origin story of the helper dog? That’s my cat, exactly. “Come out, neighbour cat, wherever you are. I might not be able to do anything to you through the window but I need to see you and instill terror in you through seeing me”.

        3. Rene in UK*

          I had a really curmudgeonly cat as well–he was neutered late, and was the feline equivalent of a no neck. He had *no scruff*; the vet reached in to hold him and there just wasn’t any extra skin there. He was perfectly friendly to humans-downright demanding of attention in fact–but didn’t have any use for other cats. He didn’t dislike (most of) them but just didn’t get friendly with them either, and they pretty much ignored each other.
          Then we got the kitten.
          She was found in a laundromat parking lot and was totally irrepressible. She would bounce up to him to play. He would smack her across the room. She would sit up, shake her head a bit and bounce right back. The expression of total disgust as the kitten just wouldn’t give up was truly wonderful! After a while, you could see him just resign himself and they were always nestled together. I’m just very happy that he never really tried to hurt her.

    6. John R*

      We’re down to one cat now, but when we had two that didn’t get along we put a large gate across half of the kitchen (it was actually several baby gates all taped together, it looked ridiculous). The cats could, of course, jump it but they didn’t. They hissed at each other and did their thing. After two weeks, we took the gate away and, though they never became friends, they learned to “split” rooms up so that they each had a separate area where they stayed.

    7. Elder Dog*

      I had a cat, got another, took a month to let them in the same room together, and they are now the very best of friends, and try to save each other from the evil human who gives them baths and ear drops.

      I put one cat in the bedroom, and the other out and about in the house with the door shut between them, then switched them off every 24 hours. Meals were given a few feet away from the door on each side for the duration, gradually moving closer as they got comfortable and could eat without fussing. They got to know each other’s smells, including litter boxen, till they stopped hissing at the door when switched, then I added a solidly built screen door for a couple hours a day under supervision. When they could look at each other through the screen door without hissy fits, I lengthened the time.

      I always left the regular door shut while I slept, and when I found them batting at each other and play pouncing under the door, which took about four weeks after I got the second cat, I let them bump noses in the same room, where I was wearing fireplace gloves and had towels for making kitty burritos, just in case.

      One cat was totally thrilled, the other was scared, so back to their separate rooms. Next day, we did it again, and every day till both cats were unconcerned, then they took matters onto themselves and started washing each other.

      I still never left them alone while I was out or asleep for a couple weeks after that. No cornering each other, no beatdowns in the laundry room, no harrassing anybody while they try to pee.
      Having enough litter boxes – one for each cat and one for the house, and keeping them absolutely clean is also important.

      It was a solid 6 weeks before they were allowed to both sleep in the same room while I slept. Don’t try to rush this, or you’ll have to start over from square one, and they may choose not to ever get alone. Don’t let them get into it with each other. Remember cats often live in the same house, but arrange things so they are never in the same room at the same time unless forced to eat together. It’s like day shift and night shift almost never interact. That’s normal behavior, and you don’t try to force them to be best buds.

      1. Elder Dog*

        Oh, and just for the record, I’ve had 13 cats in one small house (several deaths of older relatives) and almost no fighting, because I made sure everybody had a safe place to go and sleep, and never let anybody in with anybody else till they were ready for it.

        Oh, and the younger cat is dominant, except older cats will kill baby kittens if they aren’t protected so don’t try to be all peaceable kingdom about it.

  6. Carrie in Scotland*

    Oh thank all the deities in the land that this is up!

    Warning: this will be long but I’ll try to condense it as far as possible.

    So, I have had an online journal (like a blog I suppose) since my mid-teens (about 15 years) in some form or another. I’ve been writing in my current “home” since late ’13. I’ve had an online friendship with someone, let’s call her..Mai, for about 6 or so years. I sent her a gift when she was pregnant for her and her baby. I sent her a birthday card and gift voucher. I sent her a box of craft items and a book when she was worried that Christmas wouldn’t happen for her daughter, as well as putting in money for a supermarket gift voucher with a group of her other friends.

    I’m trying to do 30 things before 30. No. 13 on the list is: Chuck, donate or sell everything I don’t need, want or love (with no mercy!) . I’m talking about computer documents, pictures, items in my house (e.g. do I need this cake stand? what does it mean to me, how does it enrich my life?) and friends – which is where Mai comes in.

    I wrote about this in my online journal. I did not name situations or people or anything. Privately, Mai asked me if this was about her – I said yes, but not just you….this has caused all lot of hassle as Mai took it very personally, discussed it with other friends who then came onto my journal, leaping to her defence (which is fair enough, I suppose) but who a) neglected to read what I read and b) left some not so nice comments.

    I am so, so angry because whereas I didn’t name anything, Mai clearly did, hence the comments. I know Mai has a lot on her plate, and I understand that but at what point is it worth keeping items, photos, documents, people etc in your life if they don’t give you something (memories, happiness, support whatever) in return.

    What do y’all think?

    1. JB*

      I’m confused. Is Mai a friend that you don’t want anymore, and that is what she’s upset about? And are you asking for thoughts on how you handled it, how you handle it going forward, or Mai’s actions?

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        Mai is a friend that I was contemplating cutting out, yes and yes she is upset about. I was just asking in general.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          They can feel however they want about it, but they get zero input into your decisions. That’s reserved for life partners, BFFs, and maybe family, depending on the family member.

        2. Sarah*

          Personally, I think it’s a bit cruel and unnecessary to claim that a person is equivalent to a photo or a document.

      2. Not telling*

        It seems to me that Mai has validated your concerns about the value of her friendship. It seems very one-sided and not positive, and she knows it. That’s why she recognized herself in your writing. In fact I question also whether your online journal audience is providing you with the emotional fulfillment that you need. I think you probably knew all this before you wrote the post.

        I’m sorry you were confronted about it. In my experience, people rarely react well when confronted with the reality that they aren’t a positive influence or treating their so-called friends right.

    2. StudentA*

      Are you sure all those commenters are unique individuals? Not just the same people over and over with different nicknames? Because what you’re describing – coming to the defense of someone whom the blogger didn’t attack, but had an offline conversation with, and in so doing, attacking the blogger – is odd. But hey, people do crazy stuff online, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

      In all honestly, I would be angry with Mai and hurt, but I would also be angry with those individuals who butted into a private, offline conversation via online means! And took sides, for that matter.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        They’re individuals – I can go and comment on their journals if I wanted to.

    3. Christy*

      I think I would’ve said “no, this isn’t about you, it’s about everything” instead of “yes, this is about you because it’s about everything.” And I think it can be unkind to admit that this cleansing is about people in addition to things. I understand the Internet friends, but I don’t think you needed to put the cutting-off-former-friends part online.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        Perhaps it was unkind of me, yes. I didn’t mean to be but they straight out asked me and I thought being honest rather than…not was the best way to be.

        1. Christy*

          I totally get your motivations. I just think that (as you learned) nothing good really comes from telling the truth in that circumstance. If you white-lie out of the situation, then you don’t have to deal with the confrontation and then the friendship is over anyway.

        2. fposte*

          I think it’s rare that honesty outscores kindness.

          I mean, the comments are being honest about how they feel about you, too–I doubt that you’re impressed by their sincerity.

          1. Shell*

            My somewhat-colder version of this is “choose the method that achieves the best outcome.” :)

            Years ago I would’ve hands-down voted honesty, but seeing that honesty rarely achieved anything, nowadays I’d lie guilt-free. If this was a friendship I still had hope for and thought was worth salvaging I’d have a heart-to-heart, honest conversation…but if I’m at the point where I’m done, I would absolutely white-lie and fade-away from it, guilt-free. It just works better with less messiness.

          2. JB*

            This is the perfect way to put it. You can usually find a way to be kind without lying outright–this is where ambiguous and vague statements come in handy. When I was younger, I thought I owed everyone 100% honesty so they always knew exactly where they stood. Now I know that kindness is more important. Not to say that you have to directly lie, just sometimes keep things to yourself.

          3. Jen S. 2.0*

            Co-sign. I believe in being honest as often as you can**, but I also believe that being honest means everything you say is true, NOT that you must tell the complete, total, unvarnished, unsugarcoated truth at all times no matter how much it hurts.

            Sometimes telling just enough of the truth is plenty.

            **I also think that petite cream-colored fibs have their place, but this was a case where you could have been honest without being as honest as you were.

        3. JB*

          I think Elizabeth’s suggestion for handling this (below) is the best way to go. Think of this as a harsh way of learning that one can easily be unkind without meaning to be, something that everyone has to learn at some point. At least this is a relatively low-stakes situation to learn it in–at least you didn’t irrevocably damage a relationship that was near and dear to you.

    4. INTP*

      Well, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect Mai to be completely supportive and understanding about being discarded from your life because you don’t feel she’s enriching it anymore. It’s fair to cut things and people out if you feel like there’s not enough return on the energy or space you devote to them but those people might not feel the same way and I don’t think you can expect them to just be supportive of it. It’s not as impersonal to them as it is to you – imagine how you would feel if what you thought was a valued, if not close, friend ended the friendship with the justification that you weren’t adding enough to her life to be worth the energy of keeping up with you – and if the friendship is ending, they don’t owe you a ton in the way of support or discretion anyways imo. (It would be one thing if she revealed damaging secrets told in confidence, but venting to friends about it is not a big deal, and it sounds like all that happened was some nasty comments on your blog, not “real world” consequences.)

      Basically, I think the group of friends coming to write nasty things on your blog was a bit immature, but overall, she didn’t do anything awful. If you really wanted to purge her as a friend just do that and stop worrying about what she says to her own friends.

    5. JMW*

      Maybe I am misunderstanding, but this is what it sounds like:

      You have a blog, and that blog has followers, and you announced to your followers in your blog that you were dumping friends (and other stuff) that you don’t need, want, or love. And when one of those followers, whom you had befriended personally to the point of sending her gifts, asked if she was included in that dumping you said Yes (as in Yes, Mai, I do not need, want, or love you). I think I can see why she is hurt, and I think I can see why people are coming to her defense and writing not-so-nice things.

      Sometimes we do need to let go of relationships that no longer bring us joy, but it can be done gently, over time, and with a bit of grace.

      1. Camster*

        This. It’s one thing to chuck “things” with no mercy, but, with people — especially someone you have bought gifts for in the past, so you are more involved in their lives than some anonymous commentators on your blog — it’s a whole different ballgame. You told Mai that you are “discarding” her and now you’re angry because of mean comments on your blog? I’m not sure why you needed to be so “honest”. Why not just phase that person gently out of your life?

        1. INTP*

          Or be honest, but be understanding about how hurtful it might be. Don’t expect the conversation to go, “Yes, I’ve decided to purge you from my friendships because you’re no longer adding anything to my life.” “Okay! I fully support you on this and agree that I’ve had nothing to offer you for awhile. It’s totally impersonal, I get it.” Because it IS personal. OP isn’t cutting out all the people in her life and running off to a monastery, they are cutting out some of the people and Mai did not make the cut. It’s absolutely a personal rejection for Mai and she is entitled to react emotionally in ways that are inconvenient for OP and process it emotionally in the standard ways like venting to friends.

        2. MsM*

          Heck, even if I were one of the friends you were keeping, I’d be a little off-put by being put in the same category as a cake stand. Even friendships you no longer want deserve a little more consideration before you discard them than that.

    6. Amtelope*

      So, wait, you said you were planning to get rid of friends you didn’t “need, want, or love,” Mai asked if she was one of those friends, you said YES, and you’re angry that she “took it very personally”? She shouldn’t have started a fight on your journal about it, she should have talked to you privately, but when you’re that harsh with someone, it shouldn’t be a surprise when she’s then angry and hurt.

      1. Gizmo*

        Agreed – plus, the details were posted in a very public forum, in such a way that Mai recognized herself. Did you intend for this to happen so you wouldn’t have to tell her in person how you were feeling? She essentially did to you what you did to her, except she talked to you about it in person first.

        I think this was a misstep on your part. We all make mistakes – I would maybe apologize to Mai for handling it badly and then move on. Presumably you’ve been feeling like she didn’t reciprocate your friendship at the same level, so you were feeling used or unappreciated and vented some of those feelings on your journal. I don’t think you were being malicious or meant to hurt her feelings – maybe this can be a learning experience for you both.

      2. nona*

        Yeah, I agree. And it’s not great to feel that you’re a disposable thing to a person.

        If you don’t want to be friends anymore, deal with it one-on-one or stop hanging out with her. There was no need to make that blog post.

      3. Artemesia*

        I don’t understand why people choose to create middle school drama on line and then are shocked when it creates middle school drama. Announcing you are dumping people is unkind — telling a particular friend that she is one of those in this context is unkind. And naturally since this is being hashed out in a public forum the entire middle school as chimed in.

        This kind of stuff just doesn’t IMHO belong on line.

    7. Kat*

      I think that was a dick move on your part. Honesty doesnt need to be cruel.

      In the case of online friends you no longer wish to keep, fade out. Dont make some self righteous post about discarding things and people that have no value to you anymore. That she asked if it was about her leads me to believe you were probably being a dick in the original post as well.

    8. Traveler*

      I think you just need to take this as a lesson at this point. Why was announcing that your dumping friends publicly important? Could you have accomplished that and still made this journal entry private? Spoken in more general terms so that that Mai did not know it was about her?

      To be honest, the people that do this sort of thing on social media outlets/blogs and so on that announce this sort of thing seem to be attention seekers IME. Instead of addressing the problem head on by confronting the person or simply cutting them out without the fanfare, they make a public display. It never seems to end well. Someone’s feelings always get hurt, or the original poster gets mocked… and I don’t understand what the positive benefit is on the other end that would make it worth it. At this point your friendship is damaged, and you were already planning to cut it out anyway, so end it and block the posters that are bothering you.

      1. Gizmo*

        I don’t think it’s so much attention seeking or being a “dick” as an outlet for negative feelings without the attendant responsibility of having a difficult conversation with the person who is the source of the negative feelings. It’s so much easier to vent to other people than to tell someone else a hard truth. It gives a little rush of validation. But it ends up causing more heartache than facing things head on in a kinder manner would have, and it inevitably makes the “venter” look bad in the process.

        1. Traveler*

          Never said it was being a “dick”? Just that IME (in my experience) the people I’ve known that have done this sort of thing do it on a semi regular basis. I’m not saying OP is doing this (it sounds like a one time deal here), but OP could get lumped in with the crowd. I completely understand wanting to vent, but that’s why I think its better to find a close confidant or therapist. For me venting/the rush isn’t worth it if it means I have to deal with a mess afterwards. It’s not that we all don’t go through those moments in our life but its like you said – it causes heartache and makes us look bad in the process if we don’t attempt to spare feelings.

    9. Vancouver Reader*

      Are you tossing her because she hasn’t reciprocated with tangible items? How much do you value this friendship? Is it worth a cooling off period rather than a complete discard?

      Like others have said, Mai has a right to feel angry even if you didn’t name her in your blog; she concluded correctly that you are dumping her and that hurts, even if she isn’t named.

    10. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Carrie, this was a 100% predictable outcome to 100% certainty. If you post online about shedding friends, knowing that one or more of the friends you are planning to shed are reading, it was 100% certain one of them was going to ask “Who me?” and then 100% certain for her to get pissed off and enlist other people in your circle to be pissed off at you.

      What did you think was going to happen when she read the post? Genuine hurt feelings + drama was guaranteed.

      I don’t know how you get out of it other than apologizing for being thoughtless. OTOH, if these were all people you wanted to shed, that job is done.

      1. JB*

        I’m wondering if this is something that comes with age and experience (although I don’t know how old Carrie is). About 90% of the time when posting something online or saying it in an email, I think about how the readers will most likely react. And then I think about whether the posting/sending is worth the most likely consequences. Maybe it’s the lawyer in me, but foreseeability plays a big part in my decision-making.

        1. some1*

          She mentioned that she was in high school 15 years ago and that this is in preparation for turning 30, so I would guess 29.

    11. jhhj*

      I guess other people will be chucking friends who add major drama to their lives, like ones who post on their blog which their friends read that they will be dumping the friends they don’t love.

      You should be angry, but the person you should be angry at it yourself, for being needlessly cruel to people in public.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      First of all, *HUG*

      Perhaps this wasn’t the best thing to say, but it’s done now, and you need to take what you can from it and move on. If it were me, I would message Mai privately and sincerely apologize for hurting her feelings. She may not respond, and that’s okay. If you want to write a mea culpa on your blog, I recommend staying away from explanations like “I meant this, not that” and just say something like “Well, I screwed up and said things that hurt people. I am truly sorry. From now on, I promise to be more mindful of what I say and how I say it and think about how it might affect others first.” And then do that. You’re a bright and awesome person and I know you can. :)

      1. Gizmo*

        Agreed, x 1000. Carrie, I think you got piled on a bit. Elizabeth’s comment expresses what I was trying to say way better than I did. I think you’re a good person who got caught up in a less-than-ideal situation. Hugs to you.

    13. Dr. Johnny Fever*

      Is it true?
      Is it helpful?
      Is it needful?
      Is it kind?

      Someone taught me this along the way and when it comes to tough conversations, I go bye this. Not to mean that I won’t say anything if my feedback doesn’t hit all four criteria, but that I will rework what want to say that really is necessary and true, but is said kindly and offers some specific action.

      This may not help you now, but you might find it valuable later.

  7. SeekingGoodTherapist*

    I started seeing a therapist about four months ago to work out some issues. I have a medium high profile position (my accomplishments are frequently featured in the media, but I’m not a politician or government official or anything) and a lot of what is discussed in therapy is work related. This is the second therapist I’ve seen and I find her “ok” but not amazing. The problem is that she occasionally TALKS ABOUT HER OTHER CLIENTS in our sessions!!! She never mentions names, but she’ll go “Oh, that is similar to my other client who is a teacher and is of x race and is also going through xyz because when she was a little girl she abc and so xyz happened.” Like…WHAAAATTT?!! It’s happened on at least two occasions in the last four months (and the last incident occurred during our last session). It’s really jarring to me because I think to myself, “My God–I wonder if she talks about my issues to her other clients and even her friends since she’s that open?” I also am rattled because …I talk a lot about my career and a lot of that is covered in some press in some form or fashion. I was wondering about opinions on this since I am fairly new to therapy (this is only the second therapist I’ve seen–the first one closed her practice and moved to a new field)?? Oddly enough–part of why I go to therapy is because I often cut people off when I deem them to be toxic, so I’m also wondering if I’m being too ….over the top with this and this is just a manifestation of my pathology of dealing with people–cutting off my therapist???? Is it normal for therapists to talk about clients during sessions though?

    And by the way, can anyone recommend a really good therapist in the NYC area (Manhattan)?? My issues are mostly inter-personal family and work related (dealing with jealousy, betrayal). I have Oxford insurance so one of the reasons I’ve even stuck with this therapist this long is because she takes my insurance.

    1. StudentA*

      Holy meatballs. I can understand a comment every once in a blue moon, but to make it a habit? That is irresponsible and stupid. I’d have a talk with her, like “Something’s been bothering me” and tell her what you’ve said about the fact that you’re in a high-profile position, etc. But to answer your question: Yep, I’ve had therapy and have had the provider mention things here and there about other patients that they think matter in context of that conversation, but never with identifiable info. Also, it was not a habit of theirs.

      Most insurance companies pay *something* if you go out of network. You might want to look into a different arrangement, if you do decide you want someone else.

      Even if you decide to move on, I think this would be one of the times where you’d share why, so she can stop doing it with other patients. If no one mentions it to her, she’ll just keep going.

    2. INTP*

      I’ve never had a therapist do that and it seems extremely unprofessional to me! The most I’ve ever heard about another client was only what might be relevant and helpful to me – i.e. “I had a previous client around your age (I mostly saw therapists in my teens and college years) who was also going through X, and she found Y very helpful.” Certainly no mentions of occupation or race or anything that could have allowed me to identify a person even if I knew them personally, unless they had disclosed a LOT of therapy stuff to me. I do think it’s a good idea to look for another therapist because anything that makes you hesitate before speaking freely in therapy will inhibit how helpful it can be for you.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      That seems really inappropriate and unprofessional to me! I’m not a therapist, and even I usually just say something vague, along the lines of “I know someone who went through something similar. They had a very aggressive, verbally abusive dad, and they spent as much time as possible at friends’ houses as a child.” Citing demographic specifics and professions, which are not relevant and can only help to violate confidentiality, really worries me.

      Next time she says something like that, can you say something like “Whoa! That’s a lot of personally identifying information! Are you sure you want to be that specific when discussing other patients?”

    4. Mimmy*

      I think a previous therapist (a psychologist) did that on occasion with me, and even my current one may do it in extremely vague terms. I’ve always thought that was a technique to illustrate that your situation may not seem as odd as you might think. But you have to go with what YOU’RE comfortable with. I think it’s fine on very rare occasion if the therapist thinks it’ll benefit you in some way AND if the details are not potentially identifiable. If you think the level of details being shared, even if no names are given, is too much, I would definitely say something.

    5. SeekingGoodTherapist*

      Sooo..I thought it jarring because the last time she did it, she revealed this other client was Asian American and a teacher at a school and very accomplished and went through xyz. Sure, she related it back to my therapy to show it was a similar issue in the workplace but honestly, I was sitting there thinking….WOW–could you not have used another technique?!! After these comments, i realize maybe I’m not being so paranoid or out of order…I definitely will seek out a new therapist. Another thing that’s sort of annoying is that I think the therapy is actually in her house. I can’t really tell because it’s an apartment but I think we are in the foyer of her apartment and she closes off the rest of the apartment with a divider. That should’ve given me the hint that maybe she doesn’t know how to draw boundaries (I just feel like of all professions, therapy is not good to provide in your home!). Sigh. The search for a good therapist continues.

    6. StillHealing*

      A great Therapist would not talk about other clients or patients. Mine just retired and in the three years and three months I saw her, she never ever talked about any of her other patients.
      Yes, yours is probably talking to patients about you as well as others. I encourage you to log on to your insurance web site to see if there is a “preferred provider” link on which you can look through. In your case, if you can afford out of pocket and hear of a great Therapist word-of-mouth, it might be worth it. Sometimes the best ones are the ones you hear raves about. No one wants their stuff discussed with others. You need and deserve a trustworthy Therapist.

    7. Tara*

      No, I don’t think that is normal at all! It’s one thing to say “This isn’t uncommon, I’ve had other patients who’ve said the same thing” or “No, you’re perfectly normal, I hear about this all the time”. But identifying information is so inappropriate!

    8. soitgoes*

      It sounds like your therapist is using other clients as examples of how things play out. I get it – when I was in counseling in the past, I would say things like, “I’m feeling very vulnerable and I’m not comfortable taking a lot of risks; can you tell me why you think [this suggestion of action] would yield positive results for me?” In a case like this, it’s helpful to hear a variant of, “I had another client in a situation like yours, and when she tried this solution, this is how it worked for her.”

      Now I can’t say whether it qualifies as a professional violation to say something like that, but I’m sure your therapist has other clients who ask for that particular type of reassurance. However, if you haven’t asked for it, your therapist shouldn’t be leaning on that crutch.

      1. DD*

        It’s absolutely unprofessional! A co-worker of mine referred me to his therapist. When I brought up our crazy boss in one of my sessions with the therapist, I said, “I’m sure you already know about my boss from my co-worker Phil.” The therapist got really uncomfortable and scolded me saying that everything she discusses with other patients is strictly confidential and we would never discuss another patient’s situations and vice versa. I was a bit mortified for not having had known. Find a new therapist!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          In your example, names are said. I am not sure if names are being used in OP’s case. If names are used, I’d say “good-bye”.

    9. Traveler*

      The therapists I’ve known personally, not professionally, have talked about their clients before in very vague terms. As in – even if it was my SO, I probably wouldn’t be able to identify based on the parameters. It sounds like yours is getting a little too specific if the information she’s providing is possibly identifiable. I’d start looking for another.

    10. Today's anon*

      I have been in therapy for a long time and also have not experienced my therapist talking about others either. I would raise this issue with her, tell her how uncomfortable you feel, how it makes you wonder if she talks about you to others, what her thoughts about confidentiality are etc. I think you can learn a lot about your therapist that way and whenever I have brought up something that is bothering me about our relationship, it has benefited me and the relationship with my therapist.

      NYC is hard because there are a zillion therapists! However, none of the therapists I know do take insurance so maybe you need to start with the Oxford list and narrow it down? I also went out and interviewed a bunch of therapist before starting with my current one.

    11. SeekingGoodTherapist*

      I don’t even want to go to another therapy session. You think I should email her and say I’m not coming anymore because she’ made me very uncomfortable? I also want to warn her not to use me in any sessions because a lot of the things i’e done are sort of unique and identifiable career wise (you don’t need my name–you can just search other terms). Should I say “Do not use my examples in your other therapy sessions.” I mean I would not now if she did unless something came up, but I also want to let her know I’m not above reporting her

      1. Today's anon*

        I totally understand not wanting to go to another session and that is what I would have done myself at one time, cancelled with a phone call. But I have found that having a conversation about the things that bother me about therapy in therapy has been really helpful to my growth, and I was considering leaving her over some of the issues I brought up. I think it can also lead to more closure for you as well rather than just never seeing her again, because right now you are holding all this anger inside, and it will stay there; so best to get it out to the right person. But if you really feel strongly it is toxic, then you need to honor that obviously.

        I don’t know if this helps, I missed it earlier, but I also see my therapist in her home, and I have not found it blurred our boundaries. She keeps that space (her living room) fairly neutral, there are no pictures of her personal life for example. To me it is more that office space is really expensive in Manhattan, especially in more desirable areas.

        1. Sunflower*

          I agree with all of this. It’s very common for therapists to work out of their home and I’d have to imagine even more so in NYC.

          I’m not saying that you aren’t warranted in asking to not be talked about in other session but it doesn’t sound like she discloses enough for you to know who the person is. My old therapist would talk about other clients every so often(I think because I needed a lot of reassurance that what I was dealing with was normal) and she cited professions, what cities they moved to, sometimes colleges they went to. It was never enough information that I would have had a clue where to start if i wanted to find them. Also why would I want to?

          I think you should go back and explain the problems and your feelings. It’s okay to let your therapist know you’re bothered or angry. Some therapies consider the client/therapist relationship to be a big part of therapy and I think it’s worth at least talking to her to see if you are cutting her off too soon or leaving for good reason.

      2. louise*

        One other thought: one of my psych profs in college was a great storyteller which meant he didn’t want to give generic details. He was very specific, even using names. I would have been unnerved, except at the very beginning he told us that all details were changed. If you’re uncomfortable, there’s no reason you need to keep seeing this person, I just wanted to throw out another possible explanation. If that is indeed what she does and all those identifying details are actually changed, she really out to tell people that so they can focus in the point of the examples instead of wondering.

      3. Andrea*

        Yes, I would tell her why immediately and fire her with no guilt. If you can identify other clients based on her details it is not ok and she is likely indiscreet about your personal info too.

        I’d also report her – both to my EAP if they were involved and also to her licensing board. For what it’s worth my therapists have mentioned clients before in context to try to help, but never with identifying details.

        1. Alma*

          Licensing boards will often have online a list of those licensed against whom complaints have been filed. You might check to see if s/he is on the list – but I agree. Even if the people and scenarios are 100% made up, it gives the client hearing the story the impression that confidentiality is not maintained. I would report him/her, as well as expressing this to the therapist.

    12. John R*

      This depends. For example, I work in tech and went to a therapist to work out some issues with “imposter syndrome”. She told me that she had many high-profile tech clients who also had “imposter syndrome”. This was helpful to know. She didn’t give any specifics, though and certainly not anything personally identifiable.

      I MUCH prefer a therapist that talks to you, gives their opinion, etc. than one who sits there and says “how interesting” or “tell me more”.

      1. just a girl*

        Ha ha….me too. It feels like they’re trying so hard not to say the wrong thing, and they let you do all the talking. I’ve had that. I’ve also had the opposite–therapists that are super long-winded, which really surprised me.

    13. Elizabeth West*

      This is not okay. I’ve had therapists mention situations, etc, that are relevant to what we’re discussing, but they disclosed NO information I could ever use to identify anyone. If you’re in a high-profile profession, you NEED to have someone you can trust. And if it bothers you, absolutely you can bring it up.

      In fact, make sure you tell her why you’re upset about this. I agree with StudentA–she needs to understand what she’s doing wrong. It’s the same if I had a doctor who had a lousy bedside manner. I’d have no problem telling him/her, “Well, I’m switching docs because every time I come here, you dismiss my concerns for X reasons and I don’t think that’s very professional.”

    14. Lindsay J*

      Mine tells me about other clients sometimes – people who went through similar things to what I am going through, what they did, how it affects them, etc.

      However, the specific demographic information would bother me. I could see mentioning that she was Asian-American, if you were also Asian-American and the issue at hand had something to do with race, identity, culture, social groups, or fitting in. Or I could see mentioning she was a teacher if you were also a teacher and it was a workplace issue or something surrounding that.

      However, when I was in school we got some very specific HIPAA training. And part of it was not only should you not use names, but you should also not give enough demographic information that would make the person personally identifiable. So, in writing up one of our papers or discussing a case, something like, “J, a 5 year old caucasian male” would be acceptable. “E, a 25 year old female suffering from Wernike’s aphasia,” would be acceptable. Something like, “W, a 32 year old African-American male podiatrist from the Woodlands who is suffering from dysarthria after incurring a TBI in a motorcycle accident 6 months ago,” would be problematic because it’s providing too much information (that most likely isn’t clinically significant) to the point that the information could be used to identify the specific individual in certain circumstances, and it seems like your therapist is getting to that point.

      I mean, say you had a friend who was a teacher and is Asian American, and you know she sees the same therapist you do. Now you know that you likely know personal information about her. However, if your therapist simply said, “a teacher I know,” or “another Asian American client I have,” or “another young woman I’ve seen who struggles with that issue” you wouldn’t know it was about her.

  8. The Other Dawn*

    Well, the big day is Monday: court for the eviction case! I’ve got all my ducks in a row. I’ve made all my photocopies, got my ammo, and today I got my last court document I need. Had to race around to get a military affidavit for each of the tenants at the last minute, because the Marshal didn’t call me back all week. And the court clerk kept telling me to call the Marshal. I did and he’s not calling me back! Finally he called me yesterday…and I need the papers Monday! So today I had to pick up my sister and meet the Marshal halfway so my sister could notarize the document. But now I have it and I’m ready for court.

    And now I’m dreading it. All I can think about is how many ways the tenant may try to screw me. Logically I know I’ve got the law (and evidence!) on my side, but it’s tough not to let my mind run away with me. I guess I should look forward to it; it’s almost over and I have to look at it that way.

    1. acmx*

      Try not to let your mind run away with you. Think positive. Or failing that, at least try to put it out of your mind until the time comes.
      Fingers crossed for you!

    2. Carrie in Scotland*

      Fingers crossed Dawn.
      If it goes pear shaped for you, they better watch out as there will be a group of angry on your behalf AAM-ers to contend with! (seriously hope your tenants get what they deserve)

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      It sounds like you have everything you need and you’re clearly in the right. You gave them plenty of rope to hang themselves with, and the judge will see that. You may be dreading court, but imagine months or years of this dragging on, and think of this as ripping off the band-aid.

      Good luck! :)

    4. Mimmy*

      Whew, I’m glad the Marshal finally called you back. Sheesh, they make YOU wait, then make you run around like crazy because he couldn’t be bothered to give you the time you needed!

      Anyway, you got all your ducks in a row and that’s what’s important here. Good luck Monday!!!

    5. Apollo Warbucks.*

      Good luck in court with a bit of luck you’ll have the house back soon. Just focus on the fact your tenants are the ones in the wrong and present the evidence you have as clearly as possible. Then find some good tenants who’ll pay their way.

    6. StillHealing*

      Hang in there. You’ve done your homework and are prepared. Don’t let them screw with your mind in court. Stay calm and professional. Just keep telling yourself, “I’ve got this!” Hopefully you will have a great judge who will be able to see right through any shenanigans the tenant may try to pull. Best wishes and will be thinking about you and sending you good thoughts Monday. 😁

    7. The Other Dawn*

      Thanks everyone!

      I’ve seen this person’s true self and it’s just…amazing that people live their lives like this. So many lies and they definitely know how to game the system. That’s why I’m so worried. But I will stay positive…positive that I’ll defeat them!

      1. Shell*

        Dunno if you can manage it, but I’d recommend going for some exercise today or tomorrow. I know once I’m done a workout I have an air about me like I can take on the world and win singlehandedly. Probably the endorphins at work. But whatever it is, it’s a great confidence booster (and helps me sleep too).

      2. Anonyby*

        Think of it this way… When you did go and look, you found cases that had been ruled against them. The system has already come down against them before. You’ll be adding one more check mark against them when they already have a dubious past. There’s ample historical proof that they aren’t innocent angels!

    8. soitgoes*

      Everyone who’s ever had a terrible neighbor is rooting for you (even though they’re tenants, not neighbors)! It’s so great to hear about some jerks actually being evicted for once! Good luck!

    9. Not So NewReader*

      I don’t blame you for dreading it. Who needs this crap. You are definitely well prepared. They did not spend one minute preparing. Everything is in place for this to go your way. Wishing you all the best on this one.

    10. Jean*

      Can you take someone with you? Doesn’t have to be a lawyer; just someone intelligent and aware of all the history who can keep up with a multi-strand conversation and stay cool when the drama starts flying. We’ve found this very, very helpful when advocating for our child in the context of a public school district.
      Take along some self-care items: bottled water and/or travel mug of tea/coffee, some snacks or fullblown lunch, tissues, paper to write on and pen to write with.
      GOOD LUCK! I hope your day in court brings this toxic tenancy/former friendship to a very clear FINISH and eviction.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Thanks! My husband will be with me and he’s pretty level-headed. He doesn’t get rattled like I can sometimes. My friend wants to meet us there, and I would love that, but I really don’t want to do anything that might get the tenant’s defenses up unnecessarily. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but many people have told me that the tenant, for all her talk of love and forgiveness, etc., seems like a vindictive person. (She told someone we both know that she’s going to sue us for defamation of character. Love to know how she’d manage that, but that’s what I’m dealing with. I think she would sue someone just because she can.) I don’t want it to seem like I need a body guard or I can’t deal with this as an adult. Know what I mean?

    11. Vancouver Reader*

      I don’t think I need to wish you luck since you have evidence on your side. Remember to breathe and no matter how much you worry or dread it, the court date is going to happen, so try and relax until Monday.

    12. Steve G*

      I’m so jealous. I found out 2 weeks ago that the tenants I thought would be gone April 1 never got an eviction notice. My landlord said it would be too expensive. He said they he can kick them out but that their lease allows them to recoup the amount they put into the apartment ($2000), but they beefed up the cost/expenses and asked for $10K. It is BS because they asked for $2000 for a broker, to move in an area where 4 room apartments at the same or lower price are advertised by the owner for the same amount or a hundred or so less all over the place (it is not like inner NYC where the rental market is competitive). They also asked for hundreds of dollars each for stupid items that cost tens of dollars….so if it ever got to court, any judge would see through their amounts.

      I discovered this because I came home and found an “alarmed by ADT” sign on the door. I asked why we needed an alarm system and my landlord said he didn’t install one. They did. I go, why are they putting $ in an apartment when they are leaving (and we have huge doors with a million locks that are impossible to break into?). It was definitely a random thing to add from people crying poverty.

      Now I guess I will have to be the one to move. Every morning they walk in heels for 30-45 minutes back and forth, every night they are dropping stuff on the hard floors or their small kids are riding a wagon on the floor or throwing metal rings on it. If I’m home, I have to live around their schedule….I so regret moving in December

      1. The Other Dawn*

        That’s just crazy! I’m sorry you’re going through this. And I totally understand the feeling of regret. Living it right now, also.

        Just gotta say, if it were me, I’d never write a lease that allows the tenant to recoup the money they put into the place. Seems like it’s just asking for trouble. And why would they want to put that kind of money into a place they’re renting??

        1. Steve G*

          The lease addition is OK, it’s that my landlord is being lazy in how to enforce it. They did meaningful upgrades (kitchen cabinet, floors, door) which were pre-agreed to, and my landlord said he’d pay xyz for them if they left before the year (in exchange for “cheaper” rent).

          The only problem is that he isn’t shutting them down when they add ridiculous items like “added shelf to closet – $600,” etc. Either bring the shelf with you, or ask for the real price of it – $100 materials +/- $60 labor.

          It is nuts, the noises. After I wrote this last night, it sounded like they dropped a couple of dead bodies on the floor close to midnight, then at one someone came charging in and walking back and forth in heels. I am so done with it. I told my landlord today I am not paying April rent until he fixes this. He is supposedly talking to them (again) today because I said this. But how much can “we” keep managing what adults do? If they want parties every day, like noise, sleep odd hours, argue loudly, like to keep the kids late playing blocks on a hard wood floor – sounds like it would benefit us both if they found a more suitable place to live.

          This is a veerrrrrryyyyyyy quiet area of NYC, its not like my old ‘hood where there used to be block parties, etc. Not sure why they want to be somewhere where they stick out like this.

          1. Steve G*

            I mean, they get cheaper rent for doing some upgrades, but if they leave early, they can’t take advantage of the cheaper rent, so he’d pay them in that case. But not with a 400% markup!

            1. Steve G*

              Yeah we have a # 311 in NYC you can call to make a complaint, but from past experience they will just mail the person a letter and you have to follow up if they keep making the noise again. Also, they might do a random noise inspection, which can really work against the complainers – you have to make sure the noise is happening at that second they drive by. One time me and 2 other tenants in past building called 311 and the cops because someone had a boom box going on across the courtyard on their window sill past 1AM, and the cops never came. We followed up and they said they had too many noise complaints that night. They never came or followed up.

              So in many ways, you’re kind of on your own.

              Anyways, landlord came an hour ago, tenants were magically quiet for 2 minutes, so he wouldn’t talk to them. After he left more people came, and now there are two toddlers screaming (not crying, but random screams), music, and lots of heels on hard wood floor. I called my landlord and he didn’t pick up. I guess I am left to fix this, so I texted him I am leaving April 30th. No response, as usual.

              It’s kind of scary being unemployed and having to move. I have been avoiding being home because of the tenants, but today I have ten million things I need to do at home (job, search bills, some paperwork, learning SQL and practicing VBA to practice for my interviews this week, ironing, do our weekly recycling/garbage) so I can’t just leave again for a day to avoid them. Urgh……

          2. Alma*

            Steve, I’m coming in to your story new, so I don’t know the backstory… but I lived on the second floor of a restored building. Hardwood floors, original woodwork, etc. My landlady said something to me like “I hear you are really noisy” and I had no idea what she was talking about. I don’t wear my shoes in the house, I had large rugs covering traffic areas… and I had grown up in a two-story house where ya had to learn to walk so the floor didn’t creak if you wanted to get away with anything.

            Apparently the issue was no insulation between the floors and ceilings. It was just me – and I am sure I dropped things, but there was no way I could’ve been any quieter. That being said, with no insulation, I knew the person in the bedroom under mine was bulimic, I heard every conversation they had, etc.

            Be sure to visit any new place you’re considering when the neighbors are at home – if they smoke, does it come into your apartment? Do they like loud music?

    13. The Other Dawn*

      I’ve done a good job of staying busy today. I was awake mega early and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I took advantage of it. I went to the store this morning to grab some cheap spices, uploaded all my tax documents so we can get the taxes done tomorrow after court, made homemade onion dip, made a chicken crockpot meal (to be fair, it was all combined in a Ziploc bag in the freezer; all I had to do was empty it into the pot and turn in on), made roasted potatoes with onions and carrots, made pasta salad, did some laundry, and now I’m relaxing for a bit.

      Next on the list is to print the pic of the house showing where they spray painted the street, driveway, curbs, mailbox post and fence (yup, they did that). It’s about 5 months old, but I don’t care. I just want to have in case I need more ammo. Also need to print out a spreadsheet showing our monthly net income and our expenses so they can see how close we cut it every month due to this fiasco.

      Thanks for the good wishes everyone!

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        The spray painted the street (et al)?? What the devil for? Was it graffiti or were they trying to decorate?

      2. The Other Dawn*

        There is a business next to the house (it’s on a dead end). At one point the business was very busy around the clock. When they ran out of parking they’d park in front of the house (when I still lived there). That was not good because I have a tiny driveway and more than one car. I’d always have to tell them to move when I got home from work. So the tenants moved in a used florescent orange spray paint on the street and driveway to say it’s parking for that address only. BIG letters. Also painted the curb running the whole width of the house, the steps, the post holding the mail box and the fence. And the kicker? They don’t drive or own a car! Yeah.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            Yeah should be fun removing it. Not sure what it would cost to have it done so might have to do ourselves. We really don’t have the money to spend on it until we get new tenants.

            1. fposte*

              There’s got to be some kind of product or method, given that commercial buildings have to deal with this all the time with graffiti. Aaand I just googled “removing graffiti from concrete” and found some good suggestions and product recs that might help you. (Weirdly, one of the top hits was from the city page of Wilmar, Minnesota. Is that a big graffiti hub?)

                1. Catherine in Canada*

                  Be sure to let us know what happens. (I can’t wait til next Sunday for an update…)

    14. The Other Dawn*

      We had court today. Not thrilled with the outcome, but it’s just because I didn’t get to have my say and really nail her to the wall. Mediator agreed there are no good options for the landlord when it comes to this. She got her wish to stay until April 28. Said she’d pay April rent by the 3rd (doubtful). Told the mediator she and Her husband are getting divorced (doubtful) and they have a place lined up for April 28. So it was take that option knowing she’s still there for a month (unless she doesn’t pay me, they we can get a Marshal to get her out), or risk going to the judge, who might say she could stay for another few months and she could possible delay it. Especially since it was obvious she’s trying to okay the sympathy card. With the option we picked, she can’t request a longer stay or reopen the case. She waives all her rights, which really is the best option in this. Mediator made it clear the there’s no discussion of arrangements for the back rent. Have to go to small claims for that.

      So it’s not great, but i know where she’s living for the next few weeks and that will make it a lot easier to do the small claims case. Also we have a definite end date in sight. And she has absolutely no chance of trying to stay longer. Could be worse.

      1. acmx*

        So if she does not pay by April 3 then you have to get the marshal again? Ugh that sucks. Then what? How long does it take from then for them to GTFO? Can you sell their possessions to help pay their debt? >:-)

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I have to get an Execution if they don’t pay. In order to obtain an Execution, I have to file (in person, of course!) an Affidavit of Non-Compliance, stating that they didn’t pay, along with a completed Execution form. I then have to immediately mail a copy of the Affidavit to the tenant. An Execution will not issue until the third business day after the filing of the Affidavit. If the tenant files an objection, a hearing will be scheduled. If no objection is filed, an Execution will be signed and issued to me, which I assume goes to a marshal, which I will have to pay for.

          1. Catherine in Canada*

            Amazing. Thanks for the update. Makes me glad that we are selling our rental property. After my son and daughter-in-law moved out, I decided I didn’t want to be a landlady any more.
            It was hard enough being one for family! they left the house in a mess, it’s taken me two months of evenings and weekends to get it painted and cleaned up…
            Good luck with the rest of the saga.

            1. The Other Dawn*

              I definitely wouldn’t be a landlord again if I didn’t have to. Unfortunately I would not get enough money to payoff the mortgage, and with all this BS I just can’t afford to take that hit right now.

          2. acmx*

            Wow that’s a lot of hoops, again…tons of stress!
            I thought she waived her rights? But now you say she can file an objection?
            Maybe you can think about selling the house quickly, at a loss? I feel like she will never leave!

  9. Stephanie*

    So I’ve been taking HIIT bootcamp classes at a martial arts dojo for the last year or so. The instructors have always been encouraging me to stick around for the actual martial arts. I finally did this week and it was a lot of fun! I think I may be hooked. I tried grappling and self-defense and it was fun (I learned how to disarm someone with a nife). Realistically…I don’t think I would break out the self-defense moves if I did find myself in that position, but it was still cool to learn.

    1. jamlady*

      If you train long enough, those moves start to come out instinctively. I’m what my husband calls a “hitter” when I’m scared (you jump out at me, I don’t scream or jump, I attack lol) and I noticed my “ready stances” and initial moves totally changed when I did some classes like that for about 7 months straight haha I miss it! I hope you keep going!

  10. The Cosmic Avenger*

    Well, interesting week. I had a wisdom tooth out, and apparently I have such a big mouth that it only took 10 minutes, including stitches. I know I should count myself extremely lucky, but I keep worrying that I’m going to rip it open or overdo it with food on that side, because I really never felt any discomfort at all, so I was eating solid foods about 6 hours later, I am just trying not to chew on that side.

    1. Cruciatus*

      I had all my impacted wisdom teeth out when I was 16. I threw up one time a few hours later, didn’t take a single painkiller over the next few days (no pain or chipmunk cheeks) and after a couple of days I didn’t listen to any of the advice of what not to eat and it was fine! (In my defense, I was 16…). I’m sure everything will be just fine!

    2. Traveler*

      Just don’t use straws/spit. Those are the two things that seem to dislodge the clot most often. The food is usually less of a problem. I’ve always had dentists tell me I can eat on the other side when I feel comfortable again, just don’t create suction.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Top. The top ones have given me trouble and both had to come out under nearly identical circumstances, the bottoms seem like they might be fine indefinitely.

        Thanks for the good thoughts, everyone!

    3. OriginalEmma*

      I had all my wisdom teeth out at once as a teen, with only injected novocaine for pain relief (though seeing all these YouTube vids of kids behaving loopily after having gotten knock-out gas makes me super jealous…that or my dentist was a sadist). I didn’t experience any tearing but was on soft foods and soup for several days. Also took lots of gentle prying to be able to open my mouth and time for the chipmunk cheeks to reduce.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Me too. And apparently, I’m not so great with general anesthesia–it took me so long to come out of it they started to worry. My mum said when I had my gallbladder out a few years ago, that I was talking gibberish (I don’t remember it) so I guess it’s still a thing with me.

    4. Myrin*

      Ugh, wisdom teeth. I had all four out four years ago and the guy screwed it up so badly that two weeks later the area had become heavily inflamed and I had to go to the dentist’s every two days for about a month. And then my dentist screwed up and I eventually had to have surgery with my current dentist half a year after getting the teeth out and it was like getting half of them out all over again. Ugh.

    5. Samantha*

      Oh my gosh. Yes, you are lucky! I had all 4 of mine out at once when I was 26 and it was an absolute nightmare. I think it took about 3 hours and even though I was careful not to use a straw, I still got a dry socket. I think it was close to a month before I could really eat normally again. Best of luck in your recovery – it doesn’t sound like you have anything to worry about.

  11. Alistair*

    Hello again everyone. As mentioned in the work thread, I have been having problems at work relating to Just Not Caring. Some thinking and reading and talking has got me thinking this might be minor depression. I get a little bit of that at home as well, but not as bad. I’ve scheduled an appointment with my doc for next week, and I’m going to ask for a therapist recommendation (which is something I’ve been thinking about for a while).

    Does anyone have good recommendations for coping and understanding resources, whether online or in print? I’ve been reading Captain Awkward for a while and found a few good things through that. Any other ideas? Thanks in advance!

    1. Trixie*

      I’m sorry to hear about this. I don’t have suggestions for resources but I do recommend getting out for a walk when you can. Five minutes of just moving outdoors often leads to another five, and so on. Walks may not solve everything but I usually feel much better about responding to the day’s challenges.

    2. Short and Stout*

      Google Mood Gym — it’s an online cognitive behaviour therapy work book. I worked my way thru it before CBT with a therapist and found it helpful.

      Also a book called Depression: Curse of the Strong; can’t remember author name, and it’s UK published so might be hard to find, but it’s written in a easy to read in the middle of a depressive episode style and well worth seeking out.

    3. Christy*

      i cannot say enough about how exercising has helped with my anxiety. It’s amazing. (Therapy, too, is helping.)

      1. Nodumbunny*

        Yes to this. I have pretty major depression, for which I take medication, but regular exercise really helps me too. I also find it helps to make myself get outside and/or call a friend for coffee or lunch. Just making a connection with a friend and getting out of my own head for a bit helps.

  12. Layla*

    I am so happy! My mother got checked out at the oncologist and no more signs of malignant cancer cells! She and my dad are doing better. They even went on date night today. They went to the park. Happy everything went well.

  13. Cruciatus*

    I have some stuff I want to get rid of but I don’t know how. I mean, I know I can just throw it away but, being the product of parents whose parents lived through the Great Depression, I often find myself going “But it’s mostly OK!” or “that’s such a waste!” For instance, I have an office chair that’s sitting next to my new office chair. With the old chair the tube started to poke into the ground. I emailed the chair company and they sent a new doohickey and it seemed to work for a month or two before it started to fail too (I think it wasn’t the same fit as the old one.) The company had already told me getting that one part was a one time only thing so I didn’t pursue the issue and for Christmas I received a new chair. So the old chair doesn’t work to sit in (super wobbly) but the chair part itself is in good shape so I hate just tossing it. But I’m not handy enough to fix it. Answer seems obvious (toss it!). Perhaps I just need people to tell me it’s the only option.

    Another thing is my mom’s (very large) all-in-one-printer. It was slow, but fine yet when it came time to replace the ink cartridges we discovered it cost as much as the printer–which might have been fine if they didn’t crap out a month or two later (my mom does not print that much. Just a few recipes and articles a week). It’s been 2 or 3 years now so the warranty isn’t over. I asked her to write to the company but she didn’t. Maybe I should, but eventually she just bought a new printer and the old one just continues to sit in the living room. So what do we do with the monstrosity that is the old one? The other functions work just fine (scan, copying, etc.) and with new print cartridges it MIGHT work just fine (but not going to pay the money to find out). We don’t live in a place that is super responsible about electronics. I also have…an old scanner that is great but incompatible with the latest Windows software, a laptop, an old PC, another old PC…cameras, CD players, DVD players that don’t work (and maybe someone handy could get them working but, again, that’s not me). I’m ready for some of these things to just be out of my life so all advice is appreciated!

    So, in short, what are some options for getting rid of big stuff and electronics? Just getting rid of a few of these things would be great.

    And I guess any tips for ebay? I do think some things around here are good enough to sell (not the chair, don’t worry) and I think I can figure out how much to charge, but how do you know how much it will be to ship and that sort of thing?

    1. Trixie*

      I didnt’ find Ebay very profitable when shipping was involved. I’d consider CL, or maybe a local neighborhood FB group page. And maybe jsut donate to local Goodwill for tax deduction would be most time-efficient.

        1. Alma*

          Our Goodwill accepts any and all electronics, especially computers and printers. They fix what they can and sell it in the store and then completely recycle the rest of the stuff. They’ll give you a receipt. Some family or small office will be thrilled to have it.

    2. fposte*

      Have you checked to see if there are periodic recycling days offered anywhere near you? Otherwise I’d think about Freecycle or free on Craigslist, or if there are any charitable rummage sales that take that kind of thing. To be honest, electronics don’t retain much sales value, so it’s quite likely it’ll cost you more in time than it gets you in money even if you do find an eBay buyer for some of it.

      Do you know if there are additional charges for garbage if there are irregular sized or shaped things? They do that here, so I’d have to pay extra to throw out a chair.

    3. Phlox*

      I wonder if you have enough stuff to warrant a load to a place to recycle. I know you mentioned that you live somewhere that isn’t super responsible about electronics but is there anything like an hour drive away? I just did a run with some of my stuff (I live in a city so it was sticking my busted stuff in a bag and biking to the office supply store that e-cycles) and goodness, it felt great to just get rid of it all. The planned obselecense design on modern electronics is frustrating. If you do sell, do make sure that all of your data is wiped clear. It looks like ebay has a built in shipping calculator tool (just a quick perusal, haven’t used it personally)

    4. Carrie in Scotland*

      In my city, there is a charity shop that is specific to furniture and electronics, is there anything like that were you are?
      Could you try and sell these items at work or through friends? My workplace has an email list that you sign up for and can send recommendations, sales, wants etc.

    5. danr*

      For the electronics, look for electronics recycling. Most firms that do this for consumers will take the stuff for free. Just take the hard drives out of the computers.
      My town and county have various recycling days for the odder stuff. We can take electronics and hazardous materials on special days. Being a hoarder of sorts (it might come in handy some day), we cleaned out our old computers and printers. Also old TVs, radios, etc.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        My town does this, too. There are specific days for electronics recycling that are free to drop things off.

        There is also a non-profit here in Canada called Reboot that takes your old computers and stuff, refurbishes it and gives it to families who can’t afford to buy computers. It is unfortunately not near to me, but the last time I did it, I got a tax receipt in the mail for the stuff I donated. If you have a lot of stuff, the Salvation Army or Goodwill or the United Way *may* pick up, you have to call and ask. Otherwise, there’s always 1800-got-junk

        If you’re handy with computers and have the system install discs, you just have to format your hard drives (more than once if you feel like it) and that should get rid of all your data.

    6. Treena Kravm*

      If you’re trying to make money off the salvageable stuff, then ebay or craigslist is your best bet. Take good pictures, write detailed descriptions, choose a low price. For ebay, I think after you’ve photographed it, put it in the box you’ll use, and you can type in the dimensions and weight into the USPS website and it’ll tell you how much. If your post office has a kiosk you can do that in person as well, but it’s a bit of a hassle to lug it all the way there and back.

      The broken stuff (chair, dvd players, etc.) just list for free on craigslist or freecycle. Be honest about them not working, but that’s where fix-it types tend to look for stuff. I went to a yard sale once and the guy had 20+ vacuums. He said that he buys broken/not working properly ones and fixes them and sells them. He had $20-$300 ones. So you’re hoping to attract guys like him. After a month or two listed online, you can try a “free” box on the sidewalk (if weather permits). Finally, you can try to google and see if there’s anything that pops up that sells refurbished X but that’s a bit of a long shot.

      After all that, toss it. It’ll feel really good, I promise!

    7. INTP*

      I found Craigslist very inefficient and generally annoying. The thing is that buyers will say they want the item and arrange a time to show up and the vast majority of them never show (without canceling). I have only used it when I wanted to sell things before moving and I found that the only way to get rid of things within a reasonable period of time was to promise the item to every person who called and just hope someone eventually actually showed up to get it. I hate being flaky like that (because theoretically I could have promised the item to someone and then sold it to someone else first when they were actually planning to show up and buy it as agreed) but if you only promise things to one person at a time it could take weeks for someone to actually show up.

      This was all pretty low-end basic household stuff btw. Cheaper furniture and kitchen appliances that would be pretty interchangeable with the other used cheap household stuff at other garage sales and craigslist sales – it might work differently if you’re selling higher end items that people might specifically seek out.

      1. Stephanie*

        Ick, yeah. I absolutely hated selling stuff on Craigslist. My friend didn’t get why I would just donate stuff versus going on Craigslist (“You could have gotten some cash!”). Sometimes, I just found it wasn’t worth all the hassle.

        I remember selling a papasan cushion on Craigslist and having one person flake out on me twice. Another was afraid to come into DC at night (direct quote: “I don’t enter the District at night”), so I had to set up some weekend daytime meeting at the one Metro stop she felt comfortable going to (and that also had a kiss and ride). And this was for…$15. After that, I decided I was only dealing with Craigslist if I was netting at least $50.

        1. INTP*

          Yeah, I used to do Craigslist (or leboncoin in France, which is the same deal) before every move and I’d generally get around $200 total but I got sick of it. Now I just either throw things away or leave them on the sidewalk with a “free” sign. If I had a higher end item and no deadline to get rid of it, I’d use it again, but the few weeks before a move are stressful enough without dealing with Craigslist flakes and their schedules on top of everything. I also never went out of my way to meet people to hand things off – they could show up at my place (and I’d take the item outside) or no dice.

          1. Stephanie*

            If I had a higher end item and no deadline to get rid of it, I’d use it again, but the few weeks before a move are stressful enough without dealing with Craigslist flakes and their schedules on top of everything.

            Yes, this. The stress of Craigslist flakes on top of moving led to many “F*ck it. It’s going on the curb.” moments.

      2. fposte*

        This is interesting to me, because this happened on Freecycle around here a lot and I thought it was the “free” element. I guess not.

        Though I’m still bummed that something is happening to take our local Freecycle list away. I got rid of some odd stuff that way.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          I had the same experience on Freecycle, people saying they wanted X item and then never showing up, even when I would say I’ll meet you at _____ to give it to you. The thing about Freecycle that I also hated was the non-stop of it and the people who would post things they wanted. There was one woman who posted she wanted a Roomba, expensive blender, big flatscreen TV a bunch of stuff that was just… unreal. She must have read The Secret or something and thought if she just asked for these things they would just show up. I unsubscribed shortly after that.

          I had a bad experience with a garage sale once where someone came back a few years later and asked if I was willing to sell something that wasn’t for sale then or later to them, so that’s out. I would only participate in some sort of garage sale if it was located out in our street or something where it wasn’t identified with any specific house. Now I just take stuff to Value Village or the Reuse Centre.

          1. abby*

            Yeah, we don’t do garage sales because we don’t want someone poking through our stuff. We always donate, even if we could sell and get money. I don’t want the hassle factor of craigslist or ebay. We will do one garage sale only, and that is when we move out of a house.

        2. INTP*

          It happened to me in all price ranges of items. With the cheap stuff like box fans I totally get why someone might just decide to buy one at Target for an extra $10 and cancel their appointment with me (though they should still call/text to cancel), but I had the same stuff happen selling a surfboard. (With that one, I’d had two buyers flake out and was moving out of the country and wound up having to bargain another buyer that was trying to flake – but kindly called me to tell me so – down to a ridiculously low price that he decided was worth showing up for and take a 200 EUR loss on a board I had barely used since buying it used.)

        3. Anon369*

          Our Freecycle has a rule that if you promise a pick-up and don’t show, you’re kicked off the list. It works very very effectively.

          1. JB*

            Oh, I like that. If I remember, I’m going to see if my local Freecycle will adopt that rule.

    8. soitgoes*

      Ebay is good for clearing stuff out, but you can’t expect to make too much money on it. I bought a mid-priced dress for myself but it was the wrong size and the return shipping wasn’t worth it. I ended up finding it in the right size, and sold the other one for about $7 on ebay. For a dress that cost about $25 that’s not a lot at all, but I kind of liked knowing that it went to someone who wanted it, and $7 is still more than the $0 I’d have gotten from donating it.

      That said, it sounds like your office chair isn’t even usable anymore, and electronics are iffy because of compatibility issues. I wouldn’t feel guilty leaving the chair out on bulk trash day for a dorm-dweller to pick up.

    9. The IT Manager*

      Let me just admit I have this exact same problem. I don’t want to keep things / I want to downsize but throwing things away is actually hard. Honestly some things can be donated but other items not.

    10. Not telling*

      Check to see if your municipality has any programs. My city has once-a-month trash drop off for certain items–large furniture, appliances, CFL bulbs, paper shredding, etc.

    11. Yoshi*

      Could you see if a local nonprofit could use the items? They might have less stringent standards, or older models of electronics might be compatable with their older- model computer systems (but obviously, warn them up front). That way they’re going to a good cause and hopefully still being useful. Also, if it’s a 501 c 3, you should be able to deduct it off your taxes.

    12. weird name gal*

      take the electronics to Best Buy and put in the recycling bins, then it will be recycled responsibly and made into new stuff

    13. jhhj*

      I usually just leave this stuff outside the day before garbage day. Invariably anything that has value gets picked up by the scavengers and the value is usually not worth my time to deal with, so I figure it’s a win-win.

    14. Elizabeth West*

      Can you put the chair out on the curb, or with the garbage? That’s what I do, and people come along and take it. I figure they either fix it or use bits from it or trash it, but after they take it, it’s not my problem anymore. I put out a lawnmower with a leaky gas tank once (I put a sign on it that said “My gas tank leaks but I’m free!”) and went back in to use the loo and the thing was gone in three minutes.

      Look and see if anyone in the area recycles electronics too. There’s usually someplace, though they might charge a small fee for certain items such as CRT monitors or televisions.

      1. Mints*

        It’s kind of amazing how quickly stuff disappears on the curb. We gave away a bookshelf (heavy!) and it was gone in like twenty minutes. It’s the least hassle option. And I kind of feel like, whoever is picking stuff up on the curb is needy enough

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yeah, or they don’t like the idea of putting it in a landfill any more than I /we do. I’m just happy when someone can make use of it. If it’s in too lousy of shape to use or could be hazardous, I break it up before I put it out in the trash.

  14. Come On Eileen*

    YOU GUYS. I’m starting the Whole30 tomorrow. I’m a little nervous but mostly excited! I’ve been a comfort eater for as long as I can remember, and I’m really into the idea of changing my relationship with food.

    Has anyone done the Whole30? Got success stories or tips to share?

    1. JB*

      I don’t know what that is, but years ago food allergies forced me to change my diet almost completely. It was so very difficult at the time, but now I can’t believe I ever ate any other way. Just remember that extinction burst is real, and if you can get past that phase, the rest is easier. It took me a lot of researching on the internet at first to figure out different ways to eat different foods, but it’s not so time-consuming now.

    2. Christy*

      I tried it and hated it. A lot of the literature is about how it’s not hard, things like cancer are hard, but it is HARD. Changing your entire relationship with food is hard. Don’t pretend it isn’t and then get overwhelmed. Be ready for the labor involved in cooking for yourself for 30 days, because it’s nearly impossible to eat out. And be prepared for your grocery budget to go up because you can’t use cheaper carbs to stretch your meals.

      1. INTP*

        Hah. I read up on the vegetarian version of whole 30 and my tastebuds wanted to die of boredom just imagining what I could eat. I actually like fruits and vegetables but to only be able to eat tempeh or eggs and vegetables or fruits, maybe some potatoes and sweet potatoes, for every meal for 30 days – my history with diets that restrictive is that once I get bored of things I can eat, I lose the will to eat and I get very depressed and cranky because I’m not eating enough because being hungry is physically less unbearable than gagging down more of the foods I’m sick of. So I don’t think I’d do well on it.

        1. Christy*

          Yes! I basically lost the will to eat and then was getting closer and closer to losing the will to live. Like, I’m exaggerating, but it was as if I sunk into this insta-depression and I didn’t want to do anything and I didn’t want to eat anything and I was an utter jerk to my girlfriend.

        2. AvonLady Barksdale*

          We have a vegetarian household– the bf is a veggie, I’m not, but we don’t prepare meat in the home. The idea of creating meals without brown rice? Without beans? No cheese? I can’t even begin to think about what to make. Passover with a vegetarian is complicated enough, and that’s only eight days!

          1. INTP*

            Just vegetarian and gluten free has been pretty damn complicated. I can’t eat out here in the Midwest for the most part, not a huge deal but it’s really inconvenient not to have the option of even picking up takeout near work if I forget my lunch. Cooking at home is easy enough but I rely on grains and legumes. Too much soy upsets my stomach and for some reason if I eat eggs more than a few times a week they start to disgust me.

            I’m actually technically a peacetarian (I eat only sustainable fish and only about once a month, so for practical/nutritional purposes my diet is vegetarian) but the whole 30 site said you have to be all or nothing for some reason, if you use the vegetarian accommodations you can’t eat any animal flesh at all. Since the only sustainable fish I can afford to eat as a staple is trader joes
            canned skipjack tuna and I don’t want mercury poisoning, I’d have to eliminate fish too. I’m not sure if that’s to discourage people from doing the veg version unless necessary or there’s an actual rationale for it.

            1. TL -*

              Yes! Eggs get weirdly disgusting – especially fried eggs!
              Poached eggs I have an unending love for but any other type of preparation is for limited consumption only.

    3. soitgoes*

      I know someone who did it. She lost a lot of weight at the time, but I don’t think she managed to retool her habits the way she planned to. Her lifestyle just doesn’t support that kind of thing.

      that’s not to say that it’s impossible, just that, from my own observations, a lot of people have trouble accepting that snacking is very much its own lifestyle. If you look at people who keep a lot of snacks around at all times, compared to people who enjoy eating meals but aren’t really invested in food (if that makes sense), there’s a huge difference in how they go about the normal day-to-day stuff in their lives. It’s something I’ve seen people take offense to, actually, the idea that it’s not entirely healthy to be thinking about food all the time – instagram and food blogging is murky territory when it comes to that. Anyway, it seems like this is something you’re aware of so good luck!

      1. fposte*

        Somebody here mentioned Brian Wansink’s books, Mindless Eating and Slim by Design, and I find them really game-changing; he’s talking exactly about the kind of thing you’re saying and offering some pretty simple ways, with some reasonable research behind them, to change externals in ways that will lead you where you want rather than relying on will power. I had already shifted over to teeny bowls and plates for Crohn’s reasons, so I’m ahead of the game there, but I’m definitely putting a few other of his suggestions into action.

        Plus he’s an amusing writer. His wry breakdown of shopping behaviors observed in one study: “Mothers shopping with children wanted more food-free lines. Fathers shopping with children didn’t exist.”

          1. Lore*

            Oh, yeah. That one study where he told the MBA (I think it was MBA) students that people ate more from a bigger bowl, and then it still played out exactly that way–that was genius. And the magic refilling soup.

      2. Come On Eileen*

        Thank you! I’m going into this realizing it’s going to be hard, and that I won’t change up a lifetime of snacking and bad eating in 30 days. Still, I want to see how much progress I an make toward a healthier relationship with food. I’m a HUGE sugar addict, so that’s going to be tough, but hell, it’s only 30 days. I gave up alchohol a year ago after realizing I drank too much, and that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, yet I’m SO GLAD I did and I’m a better person for it today because I faced it and worked through it. (And continue to work through it, every single day.)

        1. nep*

          Bravo, you, for giving up alcohol and keeping up that fight.
          Speaking from experience — food cravings do subside when you nourish your body with pure, whole food. Your body and brain will thank you.
          I reckon that if you do this for 30 days you won’t want to go back to what you were eating before.
          All the best.

          1. TL -*

            They get better but, at least for me, I still miss a lot of things I used to be able to eat, even though my diet is, by necessity, disgustingly healthy. Grocery shopping still gets depressing if I find myself in the center of the store for some reason.

            But it does get a lot easier over time.

              1. TL -*

                Disgustingly is just a superlative I use, sorry!

                I have lots of food allergies that make my diet fairly restrictive and people are always telling me how healthy my diet must be, which gets really annoying really fast. Mostly because my diet was reasonably healthy before getting diagnosed and except for no longer being in constant pain – which is really nice – I don’t really feel any major improvements in my health. I would give a lot to be able to grab a Big Mac and a Coke every once in a while without immediate negative consequences.

                But the no-more-constant-pain thing is nice enough to keep me away from allergens. So there’s that :)

        2. Snoskred*

          I used to be a sugar addict too but trying out paleo forced me to seek out better options.

          I don’t eat paleo anymore but I kept the better, low GI sugars. EG coconut sugar which has a lovely caramel flavour, maple syrup or agave in place of sugar in my coffee.

          I also kept coconut oil, milk and cream. :)

    4. nep*

      Interesting. I look forward to hearing how this goes for you.
      One’s relationship with food CAN be transformed — it’s pretty amazing.
      I’ve not done Whole30 but the changes I experienced when I stopped eating processed food and dairy (already off meat for a long time) — wow. Can’t even convey. Bottom line — I never imagined I could feel this good.
      Good luck to you and keep us posted.

    5. Melpo*

      Yes. It is hard! For exactly the reason you are doing it– you can’t fall back on routines and easy options. I found the emotional strain of that part of it way more challenging than I expected. It did force me to think more about when/why I was eating. The whole Am I hungry enough to eat salmon and broccoli? test that they give you was really key for me. It helped me separate emotional eating from hunger. Doesn’t mean I didn’t snack sometimes but at least I was aware of it.

      I may have been a sucker, but I paid for the daily email from the people at whole30 and I found it super helpful in keeping on track and knowing what to expect.

      After it was over, I reintroduced everything and it was suddenly obvious that gluten and I do not get along. So I still don’t do gluten and generally avoid grains and that part hasn’t been hard. But I think I would need to do like a whole365 before I really stopped struggling with sugar. I never totally got past that one, although now my sugar comes from less refined sources, as per paleo suggests. But it is still sugar.

      Good luck with it!!!

    6. Sparrow*

      Good luck! I tried doing a Whole 30, but the hardest part for me was all the cooking and meal planning involved. I don’t enjoy cooking much to begin with and I found it challenging to come up with breakfast, lunch and dinner for two people. It’s kind of embarrassing, but I only lasted about a week.

      However, I try to incorporate parts of it in my diet – more proteins and veggies and less grains. I may try it again sometime, but I find making small changes work better for me than jumping right into a big change.

    7. comfort eater*

      Haven’t read all the replies yet. I did a Whole30 a few years ago. It was really hard because, as you know, you are cutting out almost everything that you would ever “comfort eat”. I fell off about mid-way through, it was just too strict for me. And this was after I had been successful with primal/paleo-style eating for several months.

      You will need to cook for yourself, probably every single meal. It is almost impossible to eat out and stick to the Whole30. If you’ve been eating a lot of carbs, and I suspect you are as you describe yourself as comfort eater, be prepared for flu-like symptoms as your body adapts to a much lower level of carbs. Be ready to be hungry, really hungry, and be prepared to eat more calories than you think need. Again, a response to your body adapting to a much lower level of carbs.

      Don’t plan any social events that involve food during the 30 days. Not unless you have super willpower. As a comfort eater myself, it is very hard for me to say “no” to food. I purposefully did my Whole30 when there were no birthdays, family dinners, meal outing with friends. I knew I had to stay away from restaurants and other people’s cooking. Even so, I failed.

      Once I got over the sick feeling due to the drastic drop in carbs, I did feel better. I don’t think the Whole30 helped me with my relationship with food, though, as I still struggle. What helped me was to dig into why I comfort eat and work on that. As I address that, I am slowly and organically changing my relationship with food.

      This is just my experience. I hope you have success with your Whole30. If nothing else, it will cause you to be more mindful of what you eat and how certain foods make you feel. This is very important as you work to transform your relationship with food.

    8. EG*

      Best recipe ever I’ve seen and tried is Monkey Salad: banana, almond butter, and coconut flakes.

  15. Trixie*

    Attention pilates fans! What are your favorite exercises, and least favorite? I find I need to practice at least twice a week otherwise I feel like I’m starting from scratch each class. We’re usually on our back or sides, but never on hands/knees for leg kicks/lifts. I’m also thinking of those I can add light weights to.

    1. Monodon monoceros*

      I started yogalates. I like it because it is a workout, but the instructor gives lots of ways to adjust if the yoga positions are a bit too difficult. And we do lots of leg exercises. The instructor I have changes the focus of different classes, where one we work a lot on arms & abs, then then next class we’ll do lots of leg stuff. Usually she asks if anyone is having any problems that week so she can tailor the class (like when I broke my toe we did lots of lying on the floor and doing stuff where we didn’t bend our toes). I’ve taken yoga classes before, but never just pilates, so I guess I don’t actually know what a pilates only class is like, but maybe look into yogalates!

      1. fposte*

        Oh, I know! I could tell how weak mine had become in the presurgery/post-surgery phase when I didn’t have the musculature to fold a load of laundry–I just couldn’t sustain the forward lean long enough.

    2. Elder Dog*

      I like rollups, don’t enjoy the hundreds and find cris-cross the hardest.

      Have you checked out pilates on youtube? Most of the old tapes have been put up there, including the Mari Winsor tapes from the infomercials that got so many more people interested in pilates.

      Not sure why you want to be on your hands and knees, but I’m sure you can find something there. You can add weights to anything pilates by getting ankle and wrist weights that wrap around your ankles and wrists. But you could also try resistance bands.

      1. Trixie*

        I’m looking at teaching a class here shortly and thinking of what folks find challenging. Small weights can add some difficulty as an option, and on hands/knees some variety while resting the neck. I found the best classes have some variety each time, minimal talking, and decent breathing cues.

  16. Monodon monoceros*

    This really isn’t a question, just thoughts into the ether…My dog has a suspicious lump. When the vet saw it she right away said “hmmm, I think that needs to be sent in to the pathologist.” I won’t know until later next week whether it is cancer. He is 9 years old and has been my nearly constant companion through quite a bit. I know I shouldn’t be freaking out, but I can’t help worrying. I am so not ready for him to be old and I’ve told him so many times that he is never allowed to get sick…he never has been good at listening.

    1. Stephanie*

      Aw! We had the same thing happen recently with our 11-yo dog. He had a lump and it did turn out to be malignant. But luckily, it was localized and the vet was able to remove it completely. Older dogs do sometimes get fatty deposits on their skin, so it could be that as well (those are usually benign).

      1. Monodon monoceros*

        He has other fatty lumps, which I think is weird because he is perfect weight otherwise (unlike me, he is not food motivated at all), so it’s like he concentrates his fat in just lumps. He had a huge one removed last summer because it was growing so fast and was starting to interfere with him laying down. But this new one is totally different looking. Hopefully it can come off easily even if it is cancer.

        I took him to the beach and he ran around and get totally disgustingly muddy today. And I let him eat some chicken off my plate. I will have to stop myself from totally spoiling him while I wait for the diagnosis.

    2. fposte*

      Aw, it’s so hard to train them the way you want! Fingers crossed for a good outcome and better compliance on his part in the future.

    3. LizH*

      Keeping fingers crossed for a good report on you buddy. Worrying is the worst.
      Is it possible he had a reaction to a shot? Keep us updated.

    4. Oh anon*

      I have a 9.5-10 year old pit bull that had a squamous cell carcinoma tumor removed serveral years ago. It was scary and his healing process was a pain & took over a month, but it was worth it & he’s doing everything well 3+ years later. One thing I swear helped is turmeric. When the initial lump popped up, I started giving it to him and when the vet removed the mass, she said it was all necrotic. She wasn’t able to get clean margins because of the tumor’s location, so I’ve kept him on it. *knocks on wood* We kicked cancer’s ass! The research on turmeric says that it causes cancer cells to commit suicide…you may want to look into it for your pup.

      1. Monodon monoceros*

        Was it turmeric pills? He is super picky with food so I don’t think he would eat his food if I sprinkled turmeric on it, but he takes pills OK (he won’t eat them in anything but lets me put them on the back of his tongue. My hand always gets slimy but whatever).

    5. Traveler*

      I had a dog that got a lot of fatty deposits when he was older. The vet had us check them occasionally if they were worried about a suspicious one, but they were just old doggie lumps and bumps. Good vibes that its the same with your guy!

    6. Intrepid Intern*

      Our family dog (an English Setter) had fatty lumps for at least 3 years before she died, starting when she was about 9 years old. They always worried me, and we had them biopsied a few times, but they were also always benign. So he might still be obeying, the good dog!

    7. Labyrinthine*

      I feel for you. I’ve been through this many (many, many, many) times with my faithful companion. He is prone to “suspicious” lumps that “need to be sent to the pathologist.” Luckily, they have all turned out to be fatty tumors or sebaceous cysts.

      I know it is hard, but try to put it out of your mind. Worrying won’t speed up the results. Give him lots of extra snuggles and when the vet calls with the all clear, tell him again he isn’t allowed to worry you like that.

    8. Trixie*

      My older kitty had something similar on a front paw, and it was serious enough I opted to proceed with having it removed. He was much older but otherwise in very good shape and excellent quality of life so I felt it was the right move. He came through with flying colors. You’ll have more information from the tests before long, and then go from there as far as next steps. Good luck, and big doggie bone to your boy :)

  17. StillHealing*

    Awww, that photo makes me want to get down on the floor and play with the kitties. So sweet. In my next life, I want to come back as a cat.

      1. StillHealing*

        Wouldn’t it be wonderful ? Imagine laying on the back of a couch or on the carpet in the sunshine streaming in the window all afternoon? Get pet and brushed and fed well….ahhh, would certainly be The Good Life

  18. Treena Kravm*

    So, I park my car on the street and last week, someone sideswiped it. He was nice enough to knock on my door and let me know, but I’m not 100% sure he’s insured, and 99% sure that it’s totaled. Either way, I only need a car for 10 weeks until I move (I was planning on selling it then). So I really, really don’t want to buy a car just to sell it again, and I’ve been looking at long-term rentals (about $28/day, yeesh). I only drive a few days/week to work, and can sometimes rely on a co-worker if we’re going together, so I’m thinking about forgoing a car altogether, and renting (~$45/day) on the days I really need it, which will certainly be cheaper, but also a lot of hassle.

    Any other ideas I can look into?

    1. ace*

      is zipcar or something similar in your city? My car-free parents use one when they have to run errands and rent a car for trips longer than a few hours.

    2. Noah*

      If your city has ZipCar (or something similar) that might be an option. It is nice because you don’t have to plan too far ahead and it gives you the flexibility.

    3. A.K.*

      Does your area have Zipcar or something similar? I think that can be a cheaper way of renting when you just need it for a quick trip.

    4. Alicia*

      Does your area have any car share options? If you only need the car here and there for errands, it can be cheaper for a couple hours rather than the daily rental fee.

    5. Not telling*

      Look into ‘lease assigning’. It’s like subletting for a car. Someone has a lease and they don’t want the car any more so they are trying to get someone to take over the remainder of the lease. The remainder may be anywhere from two years to two months. I looked into it once and never found the payments to be cheaper than buying or leasing a new car. But in your situation it may work out well–you get a pretty nice and new car only for the time you need.

      1. Treena Kravm*

        I’ve heard of this, but I thought it was pretty rare to get a 2-3 month contract. Don’t people usually just ride out their contract at that point?

      2. Treena Kravm*

        Are there any other sites besides Lease Trader? I looked and the best I could find is a 5 month lease 2 states away.

    6. OriginalEmma*

      Does your insurance cover rentals while your car is in the shop? And totalled via side swipe?! Must have been quite the impact. Sounds more like T-boning.

      1. Treena Kravm*

        I don’t have collision because it’s only worth $2k max. He slammed into the back wheel and it was off-kilter. So while it’s not “officially” totaled yet, I’d be shocked if it could be fixed for less than what it’s worth. My insurance doesn’t cover the rental, but his should (if he has insurance, which still isn’t clear).

    7. OriginalEmma*

      During a 3-mile walk with a buddy of mine, we were discussing women, work and management. She pointed me to this interesting article from the Harvard Business Review called “Women and the Labyrinth.” I’m sure this is old hat with AAMers but it’s new to me – and fascinating!

      This paragraph sums it up best:

      Taking the measure of the labyrinth that confronts women leaders, we see that it begins with prejudices that benefit men and penalize women, continues with particular resistance to women’s leadership, includes questions of leadership style and authenticity, and—most dramatically for many women—features the challenge of balancing work and family responsibilities. It becomes clear that a woman’s situation as she reaches her peak career years is the result of many turns at many challenging junctures. Only a few individual women have made the right combination of moves to land at the center of power—but as for the rest, there is usually no single turning point where their progress was diverted and the prize was lost.

    8. the gold digger*

      I want more details! Did he not give you his insurance information? (You said you are not sure he’s insured.) My insurance (I love USAA) covers a rental car if my car is hurt. Not sure if it covers rental for someone else, but I would expect so if I am the person who causes the damage. And you should get a check from his insurance that you can spend however you want – you do not have to buy a new car.

      1. Treena Kravm*

        He gave me all the information, but when I was copying down his insurance, I noticed it expired last year. When I pointed it out, he said “oh don’t worry, I just didn’t put the updated insurance paperwork in the car yet, but it’s good.” I figured since he knocked on my door, he must be telling the truth (he could have easily just driven off, his vehicle was fine and at first glance, mine looked fine too). When his insurance said the policy number was no good, I had him contact my agent to give him the updated one. Haven’t heard yet if that’s good or not.

        I’ve decided that in his head, the thinks he has insurance. Because otherwise he wouldn’t have stopped. But he could have assumed a parent paid for it, or thought it was on auto-pay etc. My agent said there are lots of reasons why even if he “had” insurance, they can find a reason to deny the claim. He was insured, but the vehicle he was driving wasn’t, vice versa, etc.

      2. Treena Kravm*

        I know I’m getting money either way. I have up to $3,500 uninsured motorist, and if he is insured, they’ll pay for the value of the vehicle. The problem is that the value is less than $2k, and a rental for 10 weeks costs $2k without collision insurance, which I would need to get. So I’m looking at getting a check for $2k, and expenses around $3k (rental + insurance). I’m going to be out of pocket by $1k when I was planning on getting $1.5k cash in a couple of months. It’s doable, and it’s not going to kill my finances or mess up the move or anything, it just really sucks =/

    9. SevenSixOne*

      Check with your insurance company! When my car was totaled, I learned that my policy covered me for up to 14 days rental with no out of pocket, and would reimburse 75% my rental expenses for up to 60 more days. It took a while to get reimbursed, so that may not be an option if you can’t afford to have that much money tied up for 3+ months, but it’s worth asking about anyway.

      1. Treena Kravm*

        My policy doesn’t cover a rental car, but his should (assuming he has it!). I haven’t rented a car because I didn’t/won’t *really* need one for at least 10 days post-accident. And if it ends up he’s not insured, I’m stuck paying for it when I didn’t really need it. Which isn’t the end of the world financially, but I’m trying to minimize how much money I’m going to be losing on this.

    10. Treena Kravm*

      Follow-up question. Assuming he’s not insured, my insurance is going to scrap the car and give me a check for the value of the car. Do I get the proceeds from selling the parts as well, or do they keep those funds and just give me the value? I know it may vary, and I’m going to ask on Monday, but if anyone happens to know one way or the other that would be nice.

      1. fposte*

        If it’s totaled, you get the check, they get the title and the car, the end. No profits beyond that. I bet they made out like bandits on my previous Honda–Blue Book value was *way* below its condition and parts value.

        1. Treena Kravm*

          That’s what I figured…I’m guessing they’re going to make out like bandits on mine as well…sigh.

        2. Treena Kravm*

          Ok, update! And a really weird one. He’s officially uninsured. But! Apparently, my vehicle is work $5,800?? (It’s really not, Kelley Blue Book says $2,300 in perfect condition, which it’s not.)

          So I still only get $3,500 from my company, and the salvage value is $400. But because it’s not the full value of the car, they’ll give me the car (and tow it!) for free. So bizarre.

  19. louise*

    You guys. My sister just gave my 72 year old mom an iPhone. I got a frantic phone call from her less than an hour into ownership saying the light won’t turn off, what do I do?! I think I got her walked though the swipe up from the bottoms idea, but who knows.

    Out of curiosity, I asked if it’s a 4 or a 5…she said “I’m not sure, but it has an apple on the back.”

    I’m afraid (or maybe hoping??) she may revert to her non-smart phone!

    1. soitgoes*

      Oh god, moms and technology. About once a month my mom and her mom friends get drunk on pink moscato and call me up on their OMG IPHONE SPEAKERPHONES to ask me who Jon Snow’s real parents are. And the day my sister put emojis on Mom’s phone…..that was a dark day. Now I get daily photo updates of the cute guy from Outlander with helpful kissy-face emoticons.

      In conclusion, mom phones LOL

      1. the gold digger*

        My brother in law gave my mom an iPhone. I wanted her to have a cellphone. I did not want her to learn to text using the voice function. I will leave the rest to your imagination.

    2. Phlox*

      Mothers and phones – its delightful comedy sometimes. When my mom got a cellphone for the first time (9 years ago?), I distinctly remember her having trouble with the power button. And now she primarily communicates via Snapchat – there’s hope!

    3. fposte*

      My dad, in his late eighties, kept discussing the possibility of getting a cellphone. We would never in a million years have permitted him to get a smartphone, but even the really simple AARP-recommended ones were likely going to be more trouble than they were worth. And ultimately I don’t think he had any particular reason to want one–he just felt that if everybody in the world was getting them, he probably should.

      Though I think it worked out pretty well as an interesting discussion topic that was revisited–oh, probably dozens of times, with additional research and local polling, without ever needing any definitive action to be taken. And you know, that’s a pretty useful thing sometimes.

    4. S*

      My mom knows how to use stickers (Facebook-style stickers on the chat app that we use) and let me tell you, I spend a lot of time staring off into the distance like I’m Jim from The Office.

    5. Rebecca*

      LOL I have to tell on my Mom!! She’s 79, and has a Tracfone flip phone. Every time she calls me, she yells into it and says “Rebecca! I’m on the cell phone! I’m at [insert name of store] with your Dad. Do you want apples?” or whatever she things I might want. And every time I tell her she doesn’t have to yell. The best part is when she gets my voice mail, or I’m in the bathroom and miss the call, so I call her back within 30 seconds, and her phone is off. My mother is convinced if she leaves her phone on more than a minute the battery will die. I have told her a hundred times if she calls and doesn’t reach me, to please leave the phone on for a few minutes to give me a chance to call back. Nope. No go.

      I entered all the names and phone numbers from her handwritten sheet she keeps in her wallet into the phone. She still gets the handwritten sheet out and hand dials.

      I’ve just gotten used to it. She’s not going to change at this point.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        Ha! My dad turns his cellphone off, too, to save battery life. He’s got a car charger, and I’ve never known him to be in the store or post office or wherever for more than 45 minutes. Honestly, Pops, you’re phone isn’t going to die on you in that short of time. He also doesn’t seem to understand the concept of a cellphone being a two-way communication device. As in, yes, he can [turn it on and] use it to call people, but it was also designed to be left on so that others can call you! What a crazy concept! His belief is that anyone who wants to talk to him can leave a message on his [old-fashioned, cassette tape] recorder at home, and he’ll call them when he gets back to the house. . . where, ya know, the land line is.

        That’s not how this works! That’s not how any of this works, Dad!

    6. catsAreCool*

      My mom’s in her mid 60’s, and she taught me some things about smart phones. And I spend my days working with c# code.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Not a mom story. But the guy who repairs my computer is 81 years old. He knows more about it than I do. (hangs head downward…)

    7. Connie-Lynne*

      As a result of reading this conversation out loud, my entire family is now mocking me first for not knowing how to do emoji on my phone, and then later for having a phone so old you can’t do emoji on it (it’s an iPhone 4. There are pieces missing from the glass. It’s really in a sorry state.).

      And, yes, I am a (computer) systems engineer by trade. The cobbler’s children indeed go shoeless in my home.

      1. Anonsie*

        I had a 3GS that was missing some plastic here and there until just a month ago. It still worked so why bother buying a new one, KWIM?

        1. Connie-Lynne*

          I actually have had a new one issued to me since November. I’ve just been too busy to do the brain transplant (and a little afraid of screwing it up. Consumer electronics are scary!).

          As you say, sure, it looks ugly, but it still works!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I broke the screen somehow on my new Galaxy S4 that I’m not finished paying for. >_< I just put tape over the bottom and it still works, so whatevs. If it quits on me, I have Britphone for backup–he's got Skype so I can still call people.

    8. Buu*

      Book her an appointment at the local Apple Store and ask them to teach her how to use it? Apple are super set up to help people and it might help your Mom relax a bit. The whole point of paying the premium for Apple products is the costumer service!

      1. Model 8*

        My parents got smart phones about a year ago. For the first while, every text message looked like this..

        “Hello Model 8. There is a flock of flying turtles outside. Love Mom and Dad.”

        I explained that their name was already at the top of the phone screen. I knew it was them texting me. Now Mom is a Candy Crush champion!

      2. Cath in Canada*

        My mother-in-law went to an “iPad for seniors” class at the local library, and it really helped. She still sometimes takes 37 accidental selfies while trying to video her grandkids, and I still sometimes spend 20 minutes on the phone with her trying to explain a hard reboot, but at least Skype calls work more often than not now!

    9. Elkay*

      My response is always “I don’t know,you’ll need to ask Sibling-who-got-you-the-gadget”

      1. Lead, Follow or Get Outta the Way!*

        This…so much this! I curse every time my younger sister buys my mother a new cell phone because it’s the “latest and greatest”. Mom never knows how to make things work (except the games)…and it’s an not an Apple (our household is Apple-heavy) so I have to google things for her like how to add dates to a calendar, etc. Argh….

    10. Mimmy*

      LOL I think we share the same mother! My mom is so clueless with computers and mobile devices…my poor husband just wants to tear his hair out every time she calls in a panic (he’s the de facto IT helpdesk in my family, lol).

  20. Sandrine (France)*

    I’m a little nervous xD !

    I recently joined a video game streaming team (because why not LOL) and while my computer will not allow me to play the games I wanted, I can still do a few things.

    We’re having a marathon this weekend (48 hours of nonstop playing haha) and my slot is tomorrow 2-4 PM, Paris time. It will be my first with the team, I know there will be at least 40 people watching, and I’m nervous xD .

    Should any of you have the time (it’s probably morning in the US in NYC (9 am – 11 am if I count well on the world clock I found) any encouragement would be welcome xD . It’s all in French though, but I’ll just do some English sessions on my personal Twitch account later, just because.

    *wish me luck xD *

    1. Sandrine (France)*

      Thank you all!

      My team just raised enough to add 24 more hours of streaming, and since we had to decide real quick who took what slots, I volunteered for the 6 / 8 am slot… but after that I’ll be in BED xD .

  21. Intrepid Intern*

    It’s been a long week.

    I’ve been job-searching, either for something full-time or an internship, pretty much constantly since early 2012, when I was finishing up my BA. Now I have a Masters and I’m interning in DC full-time while looking for both a full-time gig or another internship– I’m not from here, and I need to keep working somehow or I won’t be able to make rent.

    I’m getting scared and exhausted. I know I should pick up another job, but the thought of two jobs searches and two full-time gigs and networking feels is completely overwhelming. I’m burnt out, and it’s tough to just get through the week.

    I applied for a FT role at the place I intern. They conducted all interviews after I left for the day, and hope to make an offer this week– which I only know because I happened to overhear it. I wasn’t really expecting a courtesy interview if I didn’t end up being a serious contender– the team is small and super busy– but I wish someone would’ve told me when I wasn’t being considered anymore. What, was I going to learn I’d been rejected when someone else started?

    So yeah, a long week.

    1. PSD*

      I put in an application for a full-time position while I was interning (on the team I was interning with). Didn’t hear anything from them until 2 people came in one day to start. That was kind of awkward.

    2. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

      Hang in there. I’m much older than you but also feel overwhelmed this week. My new job is a terrible fit for me, and I also have to find another place to live by May 1 in the craziest housing market in the country right now, and I’m afraid to sign an expensive lease for a job that is making me more depressed, unhappy, and exhausted than I’ve been in a very long time. The places that allow me to keep some semblance of familiarity also mean maintaining a commute between 2 and 3 hours a day. I’m not succeeding at work and I’m lonely and exhausted all the time. With what little life energy I have, I don’t know if I should be looking for a place to live or a new job or a new life altogether. It’s got to get better! I hope we both find some breakthroughs this week.

  22. Tara*

    I’ve had an amazing week! I spent 8 days in Belize, which was fabulous– I got to do all sorts of things I’ve never done before, from snorkelling to hiking up Mayan ruins to driving a golf cart! I can’t make myself regret all the money I spent on it, even with university tuition drawing dangerously closer.

    I turned 18 while I was there. Not much I can do at 18 in my province, but still exciting. I get to vote in our next election, at least. And I got to sign my own snorkelling form.

    My dad is checking into detox tomorrow, which is… well, bad, because it means he’s been lying about being clean for the last few weeks, but good because he’s trying to get better and because he’ll have somewhere to stay for a week.

    1. Colleen*

      I am glad you splurged on yourself. It is important to keep a focus on you, especially when your dad is going through things that you cannot control.

      Be well.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      That sounds like a great trip! I hope you took pictures. Happy Belated birthday!
      I’m sorry about your dad lying (mostly he lied to himself though, right?) and I am glad that he is getting some help. I tend to think of drinking as a symptom, there is usually an underlying issue. I hope he finds the driving issue and makes peace somehow.

    3. Anon Accountant*

      Happy birthday! Sounds like an amazing trip and a lot of fun. Hiking up the Mayan ruins must have been so much fun.

      Your dad is seeking help so hopefully he will make progress and be doing better and not lie about it.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      You’re the third person I know who has been to Belize recently. It sounds like you had a great time (and happy birthday!). I should put it on my list. :)

  23. S*

    Who else has a tendency to overpack? Even for 1-day trips? I’ve got an overnight trip coming up and it’s taking all my willpower to not pack an entire extra emergency outfit!

    1. Shell*

      Me! I generally pack a lot of layers because my body’s internal thermostat is absolute crap. But I also always pack a very well-packed emergency kit filled with OTC medicines (gas, antihistamine, nasal spray, antacids, ibuprofen, bandaids, antibacterial ointment, benadryl ointment, diarrhea medicine, hydrocortisone ointment, and more…these are just the ones I can think of at the moment). I know the chances are good we can swing into a pharmacy somewhere to pick this up, but I’ve also ran into times where something happens in the middle of the night at o’dark thirty, or we’re in the middle of nowhere on a highway or something, and people are so happy I have all this on hand.

      1. S*

        I always bring the OTC medicines and some of my anti-itch cream that I can’t buy in American pharmacies, but for me, the problem is always the clothing. Between pajamas, a traveling outfit, a nighttime outfit, and then the next day, I can’t help but feel like that’s already too much.

      2. Not telling*

        Ok I get the thermal control issue. I’m always cold. But I never have a problem packing because usually I’m wearing the layers en route. I always need a sweater and a pashmina on planes. I used to travel frequently for work so I have a pretty well-stocked makeup bag. It’s got cold medicine, allergy medicine, eye drops…all the things I’ve picked up over the years on various trips, as I needed them. No sense in unpacking them, it all just gets tossed in the suitcase.

        But I still manage to keep my luggage down to less than what I’m allowed to carry or less than I have room for in the car. Perhaps it comes from a nomadic childhood and a penchant for solo traveling–if you have to carry everything yourself, suddenly the definition of ‘need’ shrinks a lot.

        I once travelled for a month with two pairs of pants, three shirts and five pairs of underwear and socks. And a bar of soap that served as body wash, shampoo, and laundry detergent. I don’t always like to travel like that but I do love being carefree when I travel and bulky luggage is the opposite of carefree.

      1. S*

        There is when you’re driving 3 other people as well! But YES, having a car now has made my traveling so much easier, it’s ridiculous.

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        SO TRUE. When I lived in NYC, I would shove as much as I could into a bag, or lament that I could only bring one extra pair of shoes. Now that I occasionally travel by car, I just throw boots in the back with the doggy. It is so nice.

    2. ZSD*

      I usually overpack, except for on my most recent trip, when I somehow forgot to pack any underwear. Good thing it was just a one-night trip.

    3. nep*

      Ooh — yeah. There’s always that little voice: ‘But you might wish you brought it…But you might end up needing this…’

    4. blue_eyes*

      *raises hand* My husband has definitely had to talk me off the ledge about bringing 3 pairs of shoes for 1 night. The short trips are the worst because it *feels* like you shouldn’t need so much stuff.

      1. Mephyle*

        But there’s a certain overhead involved that doesn’t depend on the length of the trip. If you’re going to be in three different shoe situations, or there are three different potential shoe situations and you don’t know which one will happen, you “need” those three pairs whether it’s one night or one week!

        1. Blue_eyes*

          Exactly! I bring 3 pairs of shoes when I’m going for two weeks. I just also bring 3 pairs for two days.

    5. Stephanie*

      I’m bad about it, but I’m getting better.

      You know what I can’t pack? That damn quart bag for toiletries. I don’t even have a particularly fussy toiletry routine (I don’t even wear makeup most days), but my bag is always bursting at the seams.

    6. kas*

      ME! It’s embarrassing when you go somewhere with other people and have the biggest bag/suitcase. People always tell me to prepare outfits beforehand and only pack those with 1 or 2 extra things but I can’t do that. What if I don’t feel like wearing the outfit I planned? What if I don’t feel like wearing the shirt I packed for one of the pants? I need options so I end up just tossing in pieces of clothing I think I might feel like wearing and end up with way too many things. I usually pack 3 or 4 outfits for 1 day/overnight trips.

      I’ll get it together one of these days …

      1. Elizabeth West*

        One of the hints I keep seeing is to pack way more tops than bottoms–I’m trying to practice this by wearing one pair of black jeans for the work week instead of a new pair every day. I’m getting better at it, and if I hang them up at night, they air out and they’re fine the next day. Provided I haven’t spilled anything on them, that is.

        1. skyline*

          Yes to more tops than bottoms. I attend 6-day, 5-night work conferences at couple times a year, and I can get all my stuff (including workout clothes and sneakers) into an international size carry-on using this principle. Most of the time I will wear bottoms at least twice during a work trip. I also tend to only bring a couple toppers (jackets, blazers, cardis) and rewear them as necessary.

          One thing that’s really helped me get packing down to a science has been developing a packing list that I update for each new work trip. It helps me remember all those little things I’ve forgotten in the past – enough pairs of socks, my stupid business cards, charging cables for all my devices, floss, etc.

    7. Connie-Lynne*

      Me! This last time around was super-overpacked because I was flying from SFO – SEA, then SEA – ORD, then ORD – LGB, then taking the train home LAX – SJC.

      Only, the Chicago leg was canceled, so not only did I overpack for that trip to start, but THEN I was really ridiculously overpacked for what turned out not to be two weeks on the road in three different climates, but a short three day jaunt to one place.

      And I forgot to bring my rain hat (I don’t generally use umbrellas) with me to Seattle.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      *raises hand guiltily*

      I SO overpacked for the autumn UK trip. Gah. I do it for short trips, too. This time, I’m forcing myself to do it right. I’ve been obsessively reading packing tips online. The “what if I need this” thing is what gets me. Now that I’ve lost some weight, more of my clothes fit me and I can mix and match a little better.

  24. Ama*

    I got a kitten! He’s 5-6 months old and was found lost/abandoned in downtown Chicago by a coworker.

    I never realized how high maintenance kittens are compared to adult cats. But he’s happy and healthy and cute, and has a permanent home now. :)

    1. fposte*

      Kittens have all the neediness of infants with the destructive possibilities of toddlers. Fortunately, they are indecently cute. Enjoy!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I crated one of my kittens when I went to work. (Of course, the crate had food/water/bed/small litter box.) My family member thought I was cruel until she turned around and notice the kitten had her head stuck in the back of a dining chair. That same kitten fell into the dog’s water dish. The dog got her out- it’s really funny to see a kitten draped across the nose of a dog. The front legs were on one side and the back legs were on the other side. I am not sure who was more confused by this- the dog or the kitten.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, it was a camera moment for sure. I decided to wait to see how the dog figured out what to do with a kitten on her nose. Very clever dog. She laid down (big dog, too far off the ground for the kitten). She tipped her head down and the kitten slid off the dog’s nose then slid several inches down along the dog’s chest to the floor. The dog then started to lick her dry. Not sure how that works.

          Sometimes they do a better job taking care of each other than we could do.

      1. blackcat*

        When my parents got their cat, it was hugely useful that it was summer and my brother and I were still teens living at home. He was ~6 weeks (he was found on the side of the street), and I don’t think we left him alone for the first three or four weeks. After that, he got shoved into a bathroom if no one would be home for another few weeks. I think we had him for ~2 months before he could be unsupervised in a room with movable objects.

        He was a big fan of finding the most dangerous objects in a room… or deciding to attack that bird outside, jumping straight into the window… he couldn’t have the run of the house for his own safety.

        When he was 5 months, he escaped the house, climbing about 20 feet up in a tree. He fell, landing on his side and collapsing a lung. An emergency vet trip later, and he was fine (he is now in his late teens, still healthy, so there were no long term effects).

        Kittens can hurt themselves! They’re like toddlers who can climb trees.

        1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

          Oh God, yes. One of our kittens was about four months old when she got too vigorous playing and pulled a heavy lamp down on herself and banged up her hip pretty badly. (Of course it was on a holiday, because like children, pets can sense the most expensive time to injure themselves.) She had to be on cage rest for two weeks, which was absolute misery for us and her and her sister alike–but now she’s closing in on two without a hint of an issue. And from the way she tears around the house and up and down the stairs, there’s nothing bothering her.

          Our vet told us that kittens are designed to heal, and that basically even if they break a bone, as long as the two halves of the bone are in the same room, things will knit up just fine. Apparently we weren’t the first people to come in with a “rambunctious kitten injures self” story.

          1. Alder*

            Me too! My cat broke his pelvis by knocking a piece of wood over onto himself when he was 3 or 4 months old, and our vet told us the bones would heal as long as they’re in the same room. Of course, that was only AFTER the emergency vet told us he needed $4000 surgery ASAP to sever the joints in his hipbones… glad we went for a second opinion on that one! He was on cage rest for 6 weeks, and now he’s almost 2 and is doing just fine- backflips and all.

      2. Elizabeth West*


        My cat fell into her water dish one time. She popped up on her hind legs to yell at me to hurry up with her dinner, and when she went back down, splash! Right into the dish. I tried not to laugh but was unable. :)

    3. catsAreCool*

      They are insane at that age. I remember once when I had just adopted a kitten, people kept saying “I wish they would stay kittens forever!” I kept thinking (not saying) that they must have forgotten what kittens are like. They’re great and adorable and constantly getting into trouble!

    4. Not telling*

      I volunteer at adoption events for my local shelter and I’m always trying to steer would-be adopters to older cats because most have NO idea how crazy kittens can be.

      Of course they usually ignore me. At today’s event only the three babies got adopted. No one would even look at the 6-month old kittens who were still adorable and not nearly as likely to be trouble. Sigh.

      1. nona*

        Adult cats are great. Old cats are the best! They’re cuddly, they don’t run around all crazy at 2 a.m., and they’re already trained.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          My cat is five years old, and she still runs around all crazy several times a day! Her pupils become enormous and she rips through the house at top speed, stopping occasionally to claw the bejesus out of something before resuming her run. When she’s feeling really crazy, she’ll jump up the door facings and cling there, looking at us all wild-eyed, for several moments. We call her Cornholio (from beavis and butthead) when she’s like that. I don’t know when that cat will ever settle down.

      2. S*

        I don’t have the financial stability for a pet yet, but when I can adopt a cat, you bet I’ll be looking for an older cat (1 year or older).

        1. Al Lo*

          We’ve always adopted 1-year-olds. Still enough kitteny energy to be adorable, but old enough to be trained and to be a little calmer. Also, I like petite adult cats, so at that age, their full-grown size is more evident.

      3. catsAreCool*

        I know of an adult cat (maybe 5 years old) who was adopted. She fit into the house just about instantly. She went exploring and then settled down. She was a sweet, friendly cat.

        When you adopt an adult cat, you’re more likely to know what you’re getting into.

    5. GOG11*

      I just discovered cat nip bubbles. My one and a half year old cat was running all over the place chasing the bubbles and I barely had to do anything, yet he was entertained and had significantly less energy by the time he was done. I wish I’d found this stuff sooner. Might be just the stuff for a rambunctious kitty.

    6. Sheep*

      I was in touch with a local shelter about adopting a three-month, three-legged kitten. Aaaand then my landlord tells me that I can’t have him. He was so cute. Sad.

  25. Jubilance*

    Thanks to everyone who wished me well last week! Our Pi Day wedding was AWESOME! The weather wound up being 65 and sunny, so we took lots of pics outside. The entire day went really smoothly, and our small hiccups were handled by our fantastic coordinator. After months of planning, we enjoyed the day so much, celebrating with our friends and family. Afterwards we went to New Orleans for a short mini-moon which was fantastic! I’m so excited to be married to my best friend, and so far, married life is awesome :-)

    1. fposte*

      Yay! I really wanted to ask about this on the Friday thread and nobly kept quiet, so I’m glad you reported here. It sounds truly wonderful, and I’m really happy for you.

    2. Rene in UK*

      Congrats, and woohoo on the awesome date! My DH insisted on getting married on Leap Day (quite a while ago, lol). He likes to see people’s expressions when he says it’s his third anniversary and they try to work it out.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Yippee. Glad everything went well. May you both have many happy years together!

    4. Carrie in Scotland*

      Glad your day was perfect for you and all the best for your continued married life being awesome :)

    5. Mimmy*

      So glad everything went well! Wishing you and your new husband many years of wonderful memories!

  26. Ruth (UK)*

    Does anyone watch The 100? It’s an American show and I literally can’t find ANYONE else here who watches it! I’ve been watching online but I am only as far as the ones that have aired in the UK (which so far is series 2, ep 11).

    I won’t give any spoilers in case anyone is still watching. It’s actually the only TV I currently watch so it’s kinda sad that I can’t find anyone else into it. Also, I have a massive crush on Lexa.

    1. Myrin*

      Man, I wish I were into that kind of setting/story and weren’t so massively triggered by violence because I’d have started The 100 weeks ago otherwise. I follow a few people on tumblr who watch it and regularly post about it so I feel like I know it pretty well for someone who doesn’t watch it but man, the number of female protagonists alone makes me sad I won’t see it.

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        Yeah, it’s actually a little bit more-horror-ish than I would normally enjoy. But the horror aspect got stronger later on and especially in the 2nd season, when I was already invested in the plot etc. If the first episode had been as gruesome as some of the later ones were, I probably would never have watched.

        Overall, I would rate it very very highly though. I love how unassumingly they are able to have characters in political and leadership roles regardless of gender, and with no other character questioning it with regards to gender. I love how casually one central female character brings up a previous love interest (who also happened to be a woman) without it being a thing that she seemed to think anyone would react to (with regards to her sexuality).

        I love how so many of the characters are ambiguous as to whether they’re ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and how we have people who seem to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ guys from all groups (the ark, the grounders and the mountain men all have good and bad characters). And how some characters initially presented as a ‘good’ guy can reverse later on and vice versa. It makes them more like real people dealing with real issues and not just a selection of ‘good guys’ fighting the ‘baddies’. And how the whole thing can be so tense and engaging as you watch… aah!

    2. hermit crab*

      I’ve watched it on and off! I’m in the US, but I’ve missed a bunch of episodes and need to catch up — you’re a little further along than I am.

    3. Cath in Canada*

      I just watched the first couple of episodes last week, after a colleague recommended it. I think I would have liked it better if he hadn’t oversold it quite so much to be honest, but I’ll give it a few more episodes! I’ll have to watch it without my husband, though – he really doesn’t like YA stuff.

      Speaking of which, there’s a hilarious twitter account (@DystopianYA) that spoofs the genre really well. It’s funny, but the story’s also actually becoming surprisingly compelling!

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        I wouldn’t say it’s been oversold in the UK… I’m struggling to find anyone who’s heard of the show. So I guess I’m not getting skewed with expectations from massive advertising/promo-ing/bigging-up etc.

        1. Ruth (UK)*

          Oh wait, ignore my last comment. I see now it was your colleague who oversold it. I misread ‘they’ somehow and assumed it to be a general they of advertising etc.

          1. Cath in Canada*

            He told me it was as good as Game of Thrones! Which it is not, IMO, although I do like the premise. I think he was borrowing some enthusiasm from his teenaged son, who knows a couple of the actors in the show (it’s filmed in Vancouver).

    1. Gizmo*

      Oh my gosh, you quilled that? It’s gorgeous! How big is it? I’ve only tried small projects, like ornaments. The larger stuff is too hard for me.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        Thanks! It’s 8″x8″. This is my first project of any size – I did it as part of a “quill-along” group on Facebook (search “Little Circles Quill Along” if you’re interested). The organizer of the group posted tutorial videos along the way that were very helpful. But truly, the biggest skill is patience and fortitude – if you can spin a basic coil, you can do this! It also really helped to have others working on the same project when my motivation lagged – I had a huge inspiration block when it came time to choose colors for the sky.

        One of the women in the group bought one of those collage frames and designed her project around that – it looks so cool, and it lets you work in much smaller chunks! I might try something like that next.

        1. Gizmo*

          Color me VERY impressed. I will check out that quilling group, thanks for the info! One more question, if you happen to check this thread again – what size paper did you use?

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Awesome job. I still can’t get over the bark on the tree. I see work of this quality at a show and I am motivated to buy. Of course, my wallet says no but my head says otherwise.

  27. ACA*

    So I feel the need to vent/rant, sorry. We had major work done on our home this year, and the contractor was a pain to deal with the whole time – and it was a long time, too; we contacted them in July, deposit cashed in August, work didn’t start till after Labor Day and literally didn’t end until December 30th (this was supposed to be a two-month project). But we hung in there.

    Then in January, a room they insulated suddenly has frozen pipes. Our heater exhaust backs up and kills the furnace because of the way they installed some siding to block the exhaust vent. “Not our problem,” they say. Two weeks ago, we get massive water damage in a room where we specifically hired them to repair damage and fix leaks. At this point, we’ve had it; we post the lengthy Angie’s List screed we’ve been holding back for months, every bit of which can be backed up by emails with them, and email them about the new damage. They ignore the review, take forever to respond to our email, and finally send someone out to review the water damage.

    After that, we email them to see when they’re actually going to come fix it. No response, so we follow up. “It wasn’t one of the original leaks,” they say. “But we’re happy to give you a quote if you want to hire us to fix it.”

    We very politely told them to go play in traffic.

    Coincidentally, yesterday, after weeks of ignoring the Angie’s List review, they finally respond to it, and blame all the myriad problems on me. “She was never satisfied,” they say. “It was impossible to please her. She made irrational demands.” Never mind that my husband was more dissatisfied than I was, or that every email was written and signed by both of us, or that there were legitimate problems with the work that the owner himself admitted. Nope. The problem was some crazy shrew who couldn’t just let the menfolk do their jobs.


      1. ACA*

        Would that do any good? Right now we’re trying to post a rebuttal in the Angie’s List review (we’re having some technical difficulties there, so we won’t be able to proceed until Monday). Assuming that doesn’t work, we were going to email them directly with a rebuttal; possibly report them to the BBB; and start looking for a lawyer (not that we really know where to start).

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I have had good luck with it. You can try. You would have to pull documents together and pics anyway, so why not? If the AG does help you, that is better than paying for a lawyer. One tip: Make sure your explanations are effortless to follow along. I am not saying your writing is bad- no, no, no. You are clear here. Make extra sure your explanations are very clear. That is what got me the help I needed. Long story very short- I ended up contacting the USAG regarding an interstate matter. He said, “You wrote so clearly, I could instantly see where the problem was.” I think my clarity motivated him to help.
          Start by going into the AG page on your state’s website. Look around and see if this makes sense to proceed.

        2. Not telling*

          Did you sign a contract with them? If so it may have some language offering you guidance on where to start. For example many construction contracts stipulate that you must go through mediation or arbitration before attempting to sue. Also many contracts state that you must file an affidavit of merit–meaning that you have to find another contractor who agrees that you have a legitimate claim–before you can file the claim. Some states also require this, even if your contract doesn’t.

          Also, contracts are pretty finite. They aren’t like at-will employment with ‘and other duties’ clauses. Unfortunately many clients don’t read the fine print and miss some important limits to the contractor’s scope of work. For example a request that a contractor repair roof leaks doesn’t mean that they will investigate and repair ALL sources of leaks that may come from windows or pipes or drains. Also most times if the client is providing specific materials or specifications, the contractor is not responsible for how well they function. No amount of email trail negates contract terms. It would be worth re-reading your contract before contacting an attorney or AG, just to make sure your case isn’t voided.

          There is also often a limit on how long you can wait to file a claim (because as time goes by, it becomes more and more difficult to prove causation between the problem and the contractor). Good luck to you.

        3. steve g*

          The last time I was in the People’s Court audience in 2012 there was a similar case and the people got part of their money back…and I’ve seen other similar cases on other court shows. Maybe it’s a similar small claims court case, no lawyer needed?

    1. LizH*

      Not only complain to attorney general, but state contractor licensing board. I would also suggest you contact the state corporation commission , and file a complaint with them. And, if you haven’t already, maybe consider contacting your local tv station consumer affairs reporter. Also, if you had to file an insurance claim because of the damage caused by their negligence, maybe your insurance agent can go after them.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I like multi-prong approaches, it seems to convey the idea of seriousness quite well.

    2. Carrie in Scotland*

      ACA I feel your pain. I got the runaround with roofing contractors that ended up in a complete nightmare – first it was one thing and then another and then a third – it just so happened we had an incredibly wet winter and water was coming into my flat. I had to physically go to their office one time in order for them to talk to me. Couldn’t change roofers as nobody else would touch it.

      It did get sorted eventually and no problems since then – although they did try and say “but you should get x, y and z” fixed too.

  28. Rene in UK*

    Some time ago, my husband took a job in the UK and we all moved over here from California. It’s been great! The kids are doing well, we enjoy living here and recently got permanent residency. We’d like to get away from renting and buy a house–but to do that we need to sell our house in CA. Currently it’s being rented and earns a bit of money, but not a whole lot; just enough to bank for repairs etc. If we could refinance, we’d net a bit more but we only have the rental income in the ‘States and don’t qualify. My quandary is, how can we sell our house (which has a healthy equity) and get the money over here without giving all of the profits to either Uncle Sam, the State of California, Her Majesty or all of the above? Does anyone know what kind of professional I’d need to talk to? I have talked to a few accountants but their expertise has been pretty much localized to CA or the UK. You all seem to have a wide range of experience, so I’m hoping someone can point me in the right direction!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I believe there is a capital gains exemption on the sale of one house for people in the US. I am not sure if you would be eligible- it may require residency and I can’t remember if a person has to be a certain age.

      1. Short and Stout*

        This is true for sale of a main residence in the UK too, so my guess is that you wouldn’t pay capital gains tax in either jurisdiction.

      2. John R*

        In the U.S. the exemption is $250,000 for a single person and $500,000 for a married couple. That means if you bought your house for $200,000 and you’re married, you can sell it for $700,000 without paying capital gains. Even more if you made substantial repairs and kept the receipts.

        1. Rene in UK*

          From what I understand, you have to have lived in the property 3 of the last 5 years to qualify for that. Sadly, we have passed that time limit; we tried to sell, but the market was still completely tanked and we only got two ridiculously low (and slightly suspicious–who pays cash for a house?) offers on it.

          1. ab*

            “who pays cash for a house?”

            You would be surprised. Especially depending on the house, its location, and the kind of buyers it attracts. Many, many buyers in California are cash buyers.

    2. Treena Kravm*

      I can’t recommend a specific service, but there are agencies that handle expat issues. Taxes, housing, moving etc. I would probably focus on a tax professional, since that’s the largest concern. There are people that specialize in your specific issue (US/UK taxes). Sorry I can’t be of more help in finding a specific one, most of my research has been with other countries + the US.

    3. Monodon monoceros*

      I don’t have a UK specific suggestion, but when I moved to Norway, I found a US tax attorney who had moved to Norway and now specialises in tax issues of Americans who live in Norway. Apparently there are enough of us to fill her business. Perhaps you could look for someone similar in the UK. I found mine on the Facebook group for Americans living in Norway.

    4. JM*

      There’s an accountancy firm called Grant Thornton, who can provide U.S. and UK tax advice, they got offices all over the U.S. and UK.

  29. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I finally took the plunge and hired a cleaning service. I haven’t paid someone to clean my home in over 4 years– I don’t mind cleaning and it always feels like I should put my money elsewhere. My house is really easy to clean, but work has become so insane that the idea of having to take the time to do it? Ugh. So I emailed a service on Saturday, they sent me a quote on Sunday, I arranged for them to come Friday for an initial deep clean before starting a biweekly maintenance package.

    OMG YOU GUYZ. It is amazing. Three women arrived right on time on Friday morning. They were nice to my doggy and gave him treats. They scrubbed the hell out of my shower and shower door, they dusted everything until it shone, they made my floors so beautiful. They even cleaned the inside of my oven. My house wasn’t super dirty, but now it feels SUPER clean. Bonus: my best friend is here for the weekend and arrived on Friday, and I didn’t have to rush around to clean up before she got here.

    With all of the madness going on in my job and in my life in general (I have a lot of friends who are going through some rough stuff right now, I haven’t been all that well myself, and it’s taking a lot of mental and emotional energy), being able to take this one mundane thing off my list just feels so awesome. I had to share.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      A friend had a family member that would give her the gift of cleaning service once in a while. Someone would come and scrub everything for my friend and the family member paid for it. I thought- what an awesome gift.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      Cleaning people are fabulous. I had a cleaning lady when my husband and I were dating, and then we kept her after we got married. Then we got into a bit of a cash crunch and had to cut all unnecessary spending, so that was the first thing to go. Then a few years later, I wanted to hire someone again, and my husband didn’t want to spend the money. Finally, one day he muttered something about “living in squalor” and told me to look around and hire a cleaning service. I really, really hate housework. And I really, really suck at it.

      After doing an internal happy dance, I told him that I had a cleaning lady when we met, so he knew what he was getting into from the start. Then I told him that in the IT community, we refer to this as a “known defect,” and the way we deal with it is to design a “mitigation plan,” which is what I was doing.

    3. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I really want to hire a cleaning service one of these days. I was at my bosses’ house to meet a refrigerator repairman who decided to show up just as they both needed to be in a new-client meeting, and while I was sitting there chilling out with a book, this five-person cleaning crew showed up (three women and two men). They fanned out over the house like some cleaning ninjas, and I was super jealous!

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        It was my boss, too, who convinced me to do it. I had to drive him home for something (long story) and while I waited for him, I watched his cleaning people in action. They were lovely, too. I asked him how much he paid (I swear the question was more polite than that) and when he told me, I nearly fainted– for his 3-story, 3-bedroom, 2-living room house with kids, he only paid double what I paid in NYC for my 500 square foot studio. I decided then and there that I would do it. Only took me two months to make the arrangements…

    4. Elkay*

      I’d love a cleaner but I can’t quite justify it, I’ve settled for an auto-vacuum going round the living room twice a week.

    5. Noah*

      I hired a cleaning service for the first time about two years ago. I had finally paid off my student loans and was making a decent salary. I don’t mind cleaning, but I was also not that fond of it so would let stuff like scrubbing the shower go longer and then have to spend a Saturday afternoon cleaning everything from top to bottom to get it back in order.

      I would drop it if I lost my job or money got tight, but for the moment it is an amazingly affordable luxury to come home from work to a clean house. The first few times I made sure I was at home, but now feel comfortable enough to just let the crew come in and do their thing. They will even change the bedsheets and throw the dirty ones in the washer, which means they’re ready for the dryer when I get home.

      The service I use is owned by a single mom, she works during the day while her kids are at school and can be home by 4pm most days. I found the service on Craigslist and is was about 30% less than the big chains like Merry Maids, but it it bonded.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        I just popped on to Craigslist to see what’s available and asked for a quote, and it’s quite a bit more affordable than I expected. Now I’m pondering what I can give up to come up with an extra $100/mo…

    6. CinCanada*

      I lived in Shanghai for a few years and had a lovely cleaner who would come twice a week and do my laundry, cleaning, and even some cooking. He was so wonderful and we actually became quite good friends – he introduced me to his kids and even cried on his last visit to my flat before I moved home.

      I missed having someone clean my place so much that when I returned home my roommate and I decided to pay $60 for a cleaning lady to come every three weeks for four hours and do a really deep clean of the house. We keep things quite tidy day to day, but having someone mop all the floors, sanitize the kitchen and bathrooms, and clean anything else we’ve overlooked is really helpful. It’s also great when I go to work in the morning forgetting that she’s coming that night, and then come home to a spotless house and bedroom! I can’t recommend it enough if it’s within your budget!

  30. Can I have a do-over*

    Help me AAM community, you’re my only hope.

    Not going with my usual name for this one, just in case. Here’s my situation: the husband and I are planning to do our wills and as always, it boils down to money. We pool our money together currently, so we decided that when one of us goes, everything of course goes to the other person. If we both pass at the same time, we should divide up our monies and belongings equally, half to his side of the family, half to my side.

    Here’s the sticky part. I stand to inherit way more money from my parents than he will from his. Partly because he’s got more siblings, but also because my parents scrimped and saved their entire lives whereas his spent theirs. Now, if I happen to pass before he does, should I stipulate that whatever money is remaining from my side of the family goes back to my side? My reasoning for this is that I don’t think it’s right to hand money to those who aren’t directly related (that’s a minor point really, if they were hardworking, I’d have no problems with them getting a share) and who have spent their entire lives not trying to make their own ways in life, but relying on handouts instead.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      My husband and I agreed that when the last person passed, that person would put things back where they came from in their will. Our wills would show my family heirlooms went back into my family, likewise with his to his family.

      I think it just makes sense. And in my mind, you don’t even need the part of the explanation about the handouts. If both families have been hardworking families their legacies should go back into the family it came out of. Hardworking or not, has no bearing I think.

      You could set up a trust fund when you receive the money. Have your husband as main beneficiary and then at his passing it goes to your peeps. If you think your husband might be upset about this, then let it go for the moment and wait until you have the money in hand. You might decide to distribute the funds right then. I have seen people do that- they get in a substantial inheritance and immediately pass parts forward to other family members.
      OTH, preemptively, you can also talk to your folks about setting up a trust fund and then the whole matter might be taken care of that way.

      In short, yes, families tend to take care of their own.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        “you can also talk to your folks about setting up a trust fund”

        I think that’s a good way to do it. If your parents don’t care, then they won’t do it. If they would rather the money went to other family members should you die with no heirs, there’s probably a way to structure it for that outcome. Perhaps it’s a trust that gives you X amount of money per year until it runs out, distributed by a trustee of their choice.

        However, I would caution against putting the cart before the horse. Unless your parents have accumulated a freakish amount of wealth, they could both require care due to illness or injury that could wipe out all or most of that money. One parent developing Alzheimers that requires specialised nursing home care can be very expensive over a long period of time.

        1. Can I have a do-over*

          I don’t think my parents would really care what we do with their money once they’re gone, but you raised a very good point about them possibly needing the money for their own issues. Thanks Dynamic Beige.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Trusts can be set up so that their expenses are paid for as long as they are alive. The money does not quite leave their hands. But, when they pass, the money has a definite pre-planned route it will take.

            1. Can I have a do-over*

              That sounds good, I’ll have to look into it further and see if they are amenable to that.

      2. Can I have a do-over*

        Thank you NSNR! This makes a lot of sense. I didn’t want to burden readers here with a lot of extraneous information, but I wanted you to understand why I feel the way I do.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I get it. I hope I am encouraging you that even if you did not feel that way, your point still stands on its own quite well.

    2. jcsgo*

      My only thought is that your perspective may go over better if you express who you would prefer to give an inheritance TO, rather than who you would rather NOT receive something–for whatever reason.
      (Otherwise, this is for you and your husband to decide how to allocate.)

      1. Can I have a do-over*

        That’s true jcsgo, it makes more sense to put it in the positive rather than the negative. I guess I just need to figure out how to phrase my rationale.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Ahh- that one is easy. Here in NY there is a prescribed way that estates are distributed if there is no will. Parents, siblings, off-spring and so on get a predetermined percentage. All you need to do to build a persuasive argument is find out in your state how estates are distributed if there is no will. NY has a little tri-fold flyer that gives the Reader’s Digest version. Anyone can quickly ascertain if this is how they want their estate to go.

          1. Can I have a do-over*

            I’ll need to check my area if we have something similar. This is why we’ve put off will writing for forever.

    3. Newton Philips*

      So you and your husband have no children? If you have children, this kind of question is a no-brainer: the parents hold on to money and eventually it all funnels down to the kids / grandchildren.

      My reasoning for this is that I don’t think it’s right to hand money to those who aren’t directly related (that’s a minor point really, if they were hardworking, I’d have no problems with them getting a share) and who have spent their entire lives not trying to make their own ways in life, but relying on handouts instead.

      Honestly, I find your attitude completely alien, and it sounds like you’re … I dunno, unhappy that your husband or your husband’s family aren’t hard-workers? Are you saying that your husband isn’t hardworking enough to deserve whatever money you might inherit?

      What if your husband’s parents won $100 million in Lotto – if they die and leave your husband $20 million, and then he dies – are you okay with returning that $20 million to his family?

      We have a saying here in Texas: “Blood is thicker than water. But cum is thicker than blood.” This homey aphorism is intended to convey that loyalty to family comes before non-family, but the husband-wife bond comes before the family bond. You don’t have to agree. But my wife and I have a far from perfect marriage, and I wouldn’t even think of putting a screwy clause like this in our will. Even if we didn’t have kids.

      1. Can I have a do-over*

        No, we don’t have children, otherwise, as you said, it’d be an easy decision (unless we didn’t like our kids, joking)

        My husband is hard working, and does deserve the money, but if/when we’re both dead, does his family deserve it? No.

        If his parents had lottery winnings, then yes, they can stipulate all the money goes back to that side of the family if they so please. In fact, we’d probably get the least from his side because we’re the only couple on his side who’ve worked all our lives and actually do have some money, so we would be seen as not needing any extra money.

        What would you do if you didn’t have kids to pass along your inheritance to? I’m genuinely curious. And thank you for another perspective.

        1. Newton Philips*

          I’m a bit confused. Your ‘letter’ (at March 21, 2015 at 8:53 pm) implies the following sequence of events A:

          A1. You inherit money from your parents.
          A2. You die.
          A3. The money you inherited goes to your family (your siblings, I assume). Your husband gets whatever is left over.
          A4. Your husband dies. Whatever is left goes to his family (or wherever).

          I stand by my response (at March 21, 2015 at 11:00 pm): It seems odd and unkind to cut your husband off because you don’t like his family. Especially given that this might happen when he is older and has more need of expensive medical care.

          However, your response (at March 22, 2015 at 2:17 am) implies the following different sequence of events B:

          B1. You inherit money from your parents.
          B2. You die.
          B3. Your husband inherits all of your money.
          B4. Your husband dies. The money you inherited is somehow returned to your family. Whatever is left goes to his family (or wherever).

          I’m not a lawyer. I do not know if sequence B is even possible within the boundaries of estate law in whatever country or domain you inhabit. This seems less strange to me, as you’re not cutting your husband off. However

          a) It still seems oddly spiteful to go to this kind of trouble. You’ll be remembered as an unpleasant person for a long time after you die.

          b) Have you considered that your husband might re-marry? What if he has children with this new wife? Strictly speaking you don’t owe them anything. But you’re cutting the new wife off – quite possibly when she’s older and not in great financial shape after paying your husband’s medical bills. Again, you’re going to a lot of trouble to be remembered as an unpleasant person. And what if the kids are hard-working people?

          And really, sequence A or B, the unsettling thing to me is that, at the bottom of it all, you’re basically making a statement that you don’t trust your husband to do the right thing with the money. If I were your husband, I’d be insulted. Sorry.

          What would you do if you didn’t have kids to pass along your inheritance to? I’m genuinely curious.

          My wife and I have actually discussed this in the distant past. Not, admittedly, with the thought that she or I might inherit some large sum, etc. But despite some rather jaw-droppingly amazing differences of opinion on certain issues, this is a topic where we share a certain pragmatism: if I die, she gets it all. If she dies, I get it all. It’s a tontine built for two. And as for final disposition? It’s basically up to the survivor to spend the money however they see fit to make the world a better place. This could be a charity, or a family member or a friend with a serious medical condition, it could be dividing up the money amongst our families for college funds, whatever. I’m not certain how to put this – if there is a Final Judgement or Eschaton and our lives are measured – or even if there is not – we’d like to be counted amongst those who made the world a better place.

          1. Can I have a do-over*

            Sorry, I wasn’t clear. Statistically speaking, I will outlast my husband, so series of events would be:
            1) parents die, my siblings and I get their money
            2) husband dies, I take over his estate
            3) I die, how should our estate be split? 50/50 between our 2 families, or percentage wise based on what we each brought into the equation.

            Or the other scenario is I die before husband, but after my parents pass. He can spend whatever he wants of the money I leave behind, but of the remaining money when he passes, should a larger percentage go to my side since it was my family’s money?

            1. fposte*

              Okay, but there are other possibilities than straight “somebody dies, somebody gets their stuff.” You need to see an estate planner. You could set up an AB trust, for instance, so your husband gets to use the assets and then when he dies they go to subsequent named beneficiaries. (I am not a lawyer or an estate planner, so I could be way wrong on the details there!) In general, the kind of thing you’re talking about seems like classic trust territory.

              1. Can I have a do-over*

                I’m not necessarily asking you fposte, just thinking out loud about what I need to google. Is an estate planner different from a lawyer, or can they be one and the same?

                1. fposte*

                  You know, I typed the two things and then had basically the same question myself–I think I’d heard the “estate planner” phrase and did have much more. I can see that there is an association of estate planners, so it’s possible it’s separate, but I bet some of its members are lawyers specializing in estates anyway. I would go to an attorney specializing in estates. (And that’s usually pretty easy to tell from their website.)

          2. Not So NewReader*

            These are all good points and definitely should be considered.

            There are two angles here. What is ethical and what the law allows.

            As far as ethics, when the money comes to you, it’s yours. I think you are choosing to share with your hubby, which is a good choice!;) The two of you can put it in trust for whomever you choose. Conversely, you can write wills that say who it goes to, again, anyone of your choice.
            Trusts come with different features. You can choose a trust that will support you and/or your husband as long as either of you live.
            Some trusts are built to go down through generations of people. One trust I know of left money to the descendant’s siblings. The taxes were taken out upfront. This cut the money in half, basically. But it was still a good chunk of change. The trust then went to to spell out that the money should go to the siblings’ children. The children would receive their inheritance tax free and the relationship with the trust fund would end. (Taxes were paid up front, earlier.)

            I think you are getting the idea of how complex these things are.

            Start by talking to your hubby and finding out who he would like to see benefit from an inheritance from the two of you.

            About six years ago, I read an article in Forbes magazine. It was short, I almost missed it. The article said that family fortunes are lost most of the time. And that loss occurs for one of two reasons: 1) apathy or 2) carelessness. Check it out- “Most family fortunes are lost”, that hit me right between the eyes.

            Ethics.You can use your money to reinforce good behavior. You can use your money to take care of those who actually need help and would not get any otherwise. Or you can just distribute the money in whatever random way that appeals to you. This is called goal setting. You and your hubby set the goals together. THEN, you go to a lawyer and financial person to figure out how best to accomplish these goals. Yes, I can see some anger in your words. But I think that once you sit down and really apply yourselves to this question you will get some clarity on this matter. That is because you will have to think about who will put your money to wise use and who will actually have a leg up in life because of your legacy to them.

            I have a modest estate here. Nothing big to write about. The next generation of family around me has more in trust funds than I have in cash/assets. (Hey the massive medical bills are paid!) I want to leave my estate to someone who will appreciate and someone who will have a better quality of life because of the income. So I am sitting here pondering that question. It might be awhile! ha!

            Whatever anger you have is really the tip of the iceberg to much deeper questions. Once you start working on this, I believe that your anger will drift off to the side. There is lots of stuff to think about here. Deciding what you do not want to do is only a small part of the decision making process. I hope this helps.

            1. Can I have a do-over*

              This is such great advice. You’re right, it’s my anger and prejudice against my in-laws that doesn’t allow me to make logical decisions, perhaps what I need first is a therapist and then go see a lawyer.

              I do like the idea of putting the money towards people or organizations who could use my help, that would be my preference over handing money over to either side, but again, as you say, I need to make that decision in consultation with hubby.

    4. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      IDK, I’m a “what’s mine is ours” kind of person.

      If we are talking about a lot of money, your parents can handle the direction of their funds in their inheritance procedures. A trust should fix that up, yes?

      If it’s not enough money to warrant the expense of setting up and maintaining a trust, it seems like borrowing trouble to make an issue of what happens if 1) you are left money by your parents and then 2) you die and then 3) he dies so 4) money goes to his family.

      Since it is your parents’ money and not yours the direction should come from their will, yes? If they aren’t concerned enough to make it part of their will, should you be?

      1. Can I have a do-over*

        I’m definitely a what’s mine is ours person too Wakeen, much as I seem petty right now. My parents have it in their will that their money will go to my siblings and me, so I’m only trying to figure out what happens past that point. If I decide I want to leave all my money to a charity, I know my husband would respect that, but is my share exactly half of our combined estate or should we allocate percentages based on what we bring to the table?

        1. Not So NewReader*

          “but is my share exactly half of our combined estate or should we allocate percentages based on what we bring to the table”.
          Oh okay.
          It is whatever the two of you decide.
          I strongly recommend that you take care of each other first and foremost. So, although you can leave a % of your estate to charity, that would be cutting your husband off from those funds.

          Very seldom do spouses die at the same time. Although I do know of a couple that did. It’s extremely rare. If they do, I believe there are laws that dictate how the wills of the two estates should be handled. There is a hierarchy.

          Most people build a plan that involves one spouse outliving the other spouse. A good lawyer will encourage you to include instructions as to what to do if both of you pass at the same time.

          Don’t forget: You can put beneficiaries on just about anything- life insurance, investments and so on. On paper, my husband had very little money when he passed because everything had beneficiaries on it and I skipped probate court because of that. And most of these beneficiary forms now allow for a primary beneficiary and a secondary beneficiary. For example: On my husband’s life insurance, I was the primary beneficiary. He felt that if something happened to me and because of my own passing I would not receive the money, he wanted the money to go to his mother’s care. So his secondary beneficiary was his mother*. If he had not put a secondary beneficiary on the form, the money would have gone into his estate. I really recommend putting two beneficiaries on everything.
          (*I was agreeable with this for many reasons, not the least of which is both my parents had passed by that point.)

    5. Elkay*

      We did our wills a while back and had similar conversations (same when my parents re-did their wills) and, like you, have no kids.

      Honestly I’d deal with this when you have to, at the moment for the “worst” to happen you, your parents and your husband would all have to die in the same accident (in the order: your parents, you, your husband) for your parents money to go to your husband because you wouldn’t have time to re-do your wills.

      Once your parents die you can look at how much you’ve inherited and how you’d like that money to be split and ask your husband to account for that in his will (for example his will states that 20% of his estate goes to your cousin) but as I said to my husband, “Whichever one of us is left surviving is entitled to re-do their will as they see fit”.

      1. Can I have a do-over*

        We’re trying to do our wills based on after parental units pass, but in the event of both of us dying at the same time. But you’re right Elkay, it would make more sense to see how much money I inherit before making a decision.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Even putting the inheritance aside, you guys should have wills, power of attorney, health care proxy and… I am missing one, will think of it later.

          However, here is something that you can consider. When both of you are healthy, getting a power of attorney is cheap- about $100 or so. If one of you is incapacitated to the point of not being competent under the law that same power of attorney can cost $2000. And that bill comes at time when there is huge medical debt going on also.

          Anyway, my main point is- get the foundation in place. Then if you do get an inheritance, it is much easier to work it into an existing plan.

          My husband and I had the four documents done up and it came to $500 for all 8 documents (4 for each of us). This is very cheap for the amount of money it saved us. I am sure prices are a little higher now- but the savings will still be as substantial.

    6. Artemesia*

      I think this is perfectly reasonable especially if you have nieces and nephews who would benefit. I would not pose it to your husband as ‘my side worked harder’ but as preserving opportunity for your nieces and nephews for education and such. An inheritance is a different thing than the money you earned together while married. It technically doesn’t belong to him at all and you could just will it forward so long as it is kept separate fro your mixed funds.

      I worry about the same thing with my kids. If my husband remarries after my death I want to be sure that my inheritance from my parents goes to them and not his new wife — and would also like my own accumulation of retirement funds to go to them and not her. Of course I want him to be well provided for first. I have seen huge estates go to a second wife and her children and the children of a marriage get no benefit from what their parents earned over 60 years.

      You can arrange your estate so that the inheritance is separate and that he has benefits from it while living but that on his death it goes to your family. Just be positive and negative about how you frame it to him.

      1. Myrin*

        That’s exactly what my grandmother did a few years ago. The house she lives in with my grandfather is her childhood home that her father built and it has always belonged solely to her. She made it so that in case she dies before my grandfather, he’ll be able to still live in the house, but its ownership will go to my mum and my uncle. My uncle, who somehow doesn’t fully get why she’s always so adamant about this, but she’s just like “Yeah, sorry, what if your dumb father gets it in his head that after I die he wants to remarry and this person gets my house then? Nope!”.

        1. Artemesia*

          I watched this happen twice. Long married couple. She dies. He remarries and every cent she earned over a lifetime goes to second wife when he dies and then on to her children at her death. The children of the marriage where the wealth was accumulated got nothing — not even the heirlooms of their family.

          1. Myrin*

            It’s so heartbreaking to think about this! It happened in a much smaller degree to the abovementioned grandmother. Luckily, the house had already been transferred to her when her father remarried, so there wasn’t anything to lose there (although all my family members from that side have these memories of how their father/father-in-law/grandfather, who then only lived down the street from them, would come trudging along with his little suitcase and take up residence in the one room of the house that still belonged to him as per right of residence whenever he had a fight with second wife; he seems to have been a ridiculous little man). But there were still money and heirlooms lost; twenty years later, my grandma is still bitter that the first thing her father’s second wife did after his death was closing down the accounts he’d set up for her and her sister that had money transferred to them from his savings.

    7. CAA*

      You need to discuss this with a lawyer who practices estate law in your state. In general, inheritances are separate property unless you co-mingle them with marital property to the point where ownership can no longer be determined. So you can keep whatever you receive from your parents in a separate account with its own named beneficiaries. You can spend it to your heart’s content during your own lifetime, but when you die, whatever’s left belongs to the people named on the account instead of to your husband.

    8. Can I have a do-over*

      Thank you everyone for your sage advice and first hand experience. You’ve given me a lot of food for thought. Special thanks to NotSo NewReader for taking the time to answer all my points, but thank you to everyone for listening to me be a whiny, complaining witch. I promise, if you ever met me in person, I’m actually quite nice. :)

  31. en pointe*

    Anyone ever hated their parent’s SO? My mum has just started dating this guy who is now practically living with us (spent six out of the last eight nights here). I’m sorry this post is going to be a whinge, but I honestly can’t stand him. He’s rude, he smokes in doors so the air is foul, blasts music/tv really loudly and when several of our neighbours asked him to turn it down he was really rude to them, including calling one of them a c*nt. He’s just an all around jerk. And he keeps going off on these weird power trips where he tries to “parent” me. He tried to stop me going out last night because I went out Friday night, and I was just like ‘yeah, you don’t really get a say in it mate’.

    He just is massively getting under my skin right now but there’s probably pretty much nothing I can do about it. Anyways, just really needed to vent, so thanks for reading if you did. And any advice on how to deal would be much appreciated!

    1. Not telling*

      Best advice I can give is stay out of his way and let your mom figure out he is a jerk on her own. Trying to point it out is only going to make her cling to him more.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Beyond the not pointing it out — have you ever dated someone you knew your mother hated/did not like or approve of? What did she do, how did you react to it? What might have worked for you? As much as it sucks, she is an adult and gets to make her own choices. Unless this guy is laying hands on you, the pets or someone else under that roof and she is not around to witness it, obnoxious as he is you don’t get a say in whether or not he stays.

        IMO, your mother is probably lonely, which is understandable. Her kid(s) are grown/leaving the house and who has she got? If she hasn’t dated anyone for a while, her BS detector is going to take some time to get recalibrated. If there is something you and whatever siblings you have can do to do things with her or by getting her friends involved so that it’s stuff Himself wouldn’t be interested in, it might at least get her away from him a bit and give her some time to think. Right now she’s all twitterpated and full of the sparkly “he lurves me!” stuff. It will wear off eventually. It will nauseate you, but it will wear off eventually.

        I would also suggest that you tell your mother she owes your neighbours an apology because of what Himself said to them. Otherwise, she might not understand why they are giving her side eye or the cold shoulder if they had a previously reasonable relationship.

        1. en pointe*

          Thanks for your perspective. He is the first man she’s dated since we lost my dad almost five years ago, so I’m hoping you’re right that her bullshit detector will get better. As far as loneliness goes, I don’t know. She hasn’t really done any parenting since before my dad died, and I admittedly probably would’t have listened to her anyway, so we stay out of each other’s way pretty much all of the time. But I have a brother who left for the mines and I think she does miss him.

          I would like for her to have someone to lean on, as she’s quite an isolated person, but I just wish she wouldn’t choose such a rude asshole. And don’t worry; I apologised profusely to the neighbours. So totally mortified.

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            OK, I have to admit I was thinking about your situation last night because there is someone else here who has recently posted about how much she hates her sister’s BF. It got me to thinking that the situations are kind of the same/similar (minus the immigration issue IIRC). Now that you’ve added some more details, I have some more questions/suggestions.

            Has your mother been to see a counselor/therapist/group therapy for grief? I’m going to guess “no” is the answer. It’s not too late for her to start or try it. Only you know what your parents’ relationship was like when your father was alive — was it a good one? Or did it leave something to be desired? If your mother has isolated herself due to grief, low self esteem, then it also makes a lot of sense she’s latched on to the first guy who has looked at her twice. The thing that’s troubling is that he has also stuck himself like a limpet to her. If your parents’ relationship wasn’t exactly the healthiest, she may be repeating a pattern in her choices… or she may merely be desperate. If she had a son, then there was a “man around the house” and she may not have needed one — there are some women who simply do not feel they can manage without a man. Now he’s gone and she’s filling that void. Not in a good healthy way, but she may not be able to see that now. The problem becomes when it’s too late. She may twig on in 6 months, or 6 weeks or only after they’ve been married 2 years and she finds out about his gambling or other addiction.

            I once followed a link to a really good list of signs to watch out for that the guy you’re with could be an abuser. I couldn’t find it, but there is this one http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pamela-jacobs/early-warning-signs-of-an_b_6009076.html #2 is the point that stands out for me.

            Just like the other person who can’t stand their sister’s BF, your mom’s BF has moved in fast. Why? Most adults have things in their life that need taking care of, their own place, their pet(s), milk in the fridge they don’t want to spoil. How is it he’s been able to drop/leave everything and just move in? It’s shady. I bet there hasn’t been a discussion between the two of them about splitting the rent/bills and frankly if you live there, too, it wasn’t fair of her to just do this without talking it over with you first. You’re not 5 years old and just have to “take it” (even 5 year olds shouldn’t have a strange adult sprung on them, but they have less/no say in the matter). It’s also troubling that he has attempted to exert control/influence over you and the environment by turning up the volume and cussing out the neighbours. It’s the equivalent of a dog peeing on their territory. I would advise that you keep your boundaries with him but do not lose your temper. Leave, go to friends’ — queue some up so they know you may have no choice but short notice you’re coming. I have a feeling the instant you do lose your temper and say what you want to, it will be you against them and he will whine and complain like a toddler that you’re a horrible spoilt brat who doesn’t respect their elders or whatever. And depending on what kind of woman your mother is, she may pick him.

            If she hasn’t any or many friends, you may have to be her cruise director for a while. Suggest doing things together that Himself won’t be interested in, like going to see Cinderella at the movies, getting a manicure, going clothes shopping (or just window shopping). Some of these things you may have to pay for yourself, like the movies or maybe getting a nice pastry at a cafe. You could also suggest she call up her friend and invite her — “Mom, why don’t we go shopping this Saturday, just us girls. You could bring along that friend of yours, what’s her name again?” “Mom, they’re having bridge/game night/high tea/something she would enjoy down at the pub/community centre/church this M/T/W/T/F/S/S. Let’s go and check it out, what do you say? Could be fun.” If your mother is isolated and depressed, you will have to be persistent in your offers, but if she turns you down “OK, next time then!” go and do it then tell her how much fun it was. Get her interested and involved in things and if Himself is a true abuser, he won’t like it because isolating her from other people is one of the things he needs to do to exert control and not feel insecure. http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/ <– she has a lot of posts about self esteem and developing a good relationship with yourself

            Finally, I don't know if this could work or not, it's going to depend a lot on what kind of family you have and it sounds like after your father died, your mom checked out. If you can get her alone and somewhere private you won't be interrupted, sit down across from her and tell her that you love her. That you want her to be happy, that she deserves to be happy. That she's been through a lot and it hasn't been fair — you all have. That the reason you're telling her this now is because you're genuinely concerned for her because of Himself. That while you don't know him as well as she does, there have been some things that have happened that have made you worry that he is not the great guy she deserves to have. The neighbours, the telling you you can't go out, the moving in quickly (why the rush?), whatever else. Yes, she will probably deflect and may get mad or try to turn it around on you that you're jealous/can't stand that she's replaced your father but of course you want her to be happy and find love again and your father would have wanted her to be happy and move on. This has nothing to do with her dating again — you can handle that — it has everything to do with this guy who has not been respectful towards you, or your home through his words and actions which means he is also not respectful to her. And your father wouldn't want that. Your brother wouldn't want that, you don't want that for her. She may not want to hear it or believe it and may push you away, but the seed will have been planted and then all you have to do is the next time Himself does something like cuss out the neighbours, look at her and ask if she's OK with that with your eyes and walk away. Like I said, it may not work. It may take longer than you want it to if it does. She may never have learned that she deserves boundaries and how to enforce them so that people respect them. She may be a lost cause and if that's the case, at some point you're going to have to give up and get out. I'm sorry and I seriously hope that she snaps out of this soon. I agree with you, she deserves better than this. But, she's going to have to be the one who believes that.

    2. Kai*

      Yup. My dad is dating a woman 20 years younger than him (and 6 years older than me, which makes me feel sooooo icky). I really thought they’d have broken up by now, but no. She’s immature and irresponsible, frankly not very bright, and my dad is a great guy who could do so much better. It is so frustrating to see him be with this woman.

      That said, I live pretty far away so I don’t have to see them together more than a few times a year, so that’s not as bad as what it sounds like you have to deal with. Your mom’s SO sounds like a real wang!

    3. kas*

      Yes, I have. I feel bad but I’m so happy they’re no longer together. I couldn’t stand my moms ex for many reasons. He was nice to me but I just found him extremely annoying. He’s a know-it-all – he was always right and had all the (wrong) answers. He listened to music/the tv loud and I hated when he would come over and watch sports because he was even louder. He always wanted to do things around the house but made such a mess doing so. For example, when we were painting the house, he would come by and take over everything. He got paint all on the trims, ceiling, cupboards etc even with painter’s tape! The worst was that he would tell people he was my dad and I didn’t know until they would say things like “give this to your dad.” My dad is in my life and has always been in my life (parents are divorced) so I didn’t appreciate him having people think he was my father.

      I sucked it up and dealt with it but my mom knew how I felt. Like ‘Not telling’ mentioned above, hopefully she’ll figure out he’s a jerk and move on.

    4. Vancouver Reader*

      Was your mom there whe he was rude to the neighbours? That sort of behaviour should have him tossed out immediately. Are there any friends of your mom’s who might be able to nudge her onto the side of common sense a little sooner?

      1. en pointe*

        She was there for some of the rudeness but not all. (He displayed his charming personality to multiple neighbours unfortunately). She didn’t do anything about it though. I don’t think she particularly cares because she doesn’t talk to the neighbours anyway. There’s one friend in this city I’m aware of, but I wouldn’t even know how to contact her, short of hacking my mum’s phone.

    5. Sunday*

      Be sure that you’re taking good care of yourself. Exercise, eat well, and be sure to get good social time with friends. All that will maintain and increase your resilience.

      If I remember rightly, at one point you were asking about a boyfriend who wasn’t what you wanted any more. If that memory’s correct (and I apologize if it’s not), what kinds of things that friends said and did proved helpful to you and maintained your relationship with that friend? You likely won’t get far saying such things to your mum, but having an attitude that wants to be helpful to her – without criticizing – will show.

      Every chance you get to be clear should be done in a way that’s kind. Not “caving-in” or smarmy kind, but recognizing him as a person your mum cares for kind.

      I’d also be sure to keep in touch with your brother, and keep him up to date on things at home.

      You’re at a time in your life when things often go a bit wonky between parents and children-turning-into-adults. I’d look for links to keep you connected to you mum and your brother that you can build on in the future without expecting them to turn things around to your satisfaction now.

      You’ve shown here that you’ve got a good head on your shoulders; your own good sense will generally take you in good directions. And remember, you have to learn from other peoples’ mistakes, you won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

  32. Hermoine Granger*

    Has anyone been watching the HBO documentary on Robert Durst called “The Jinx”? I started watching it earlier this week after hearing about it during the news stories about Durst being arrested. I finished it tonight and it was actually really good. I’m just curious to know how other people felt about it.

    I was barely in my teens the last time this was a big news story so I don’t remember any of the coverage. Based on the documentary, I thought he was weird from the beginning (he seems to have facial ticks) and that he was involved with his wife’s disappearance. I definitely think he’s a murderer but I still kind of felt sorry for him until about the last episode because his life sucked (granted a lot of it was due to his own actions). I’m really curious about his mother’s mental health and what life was really like growing up in his family.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      OMG yes, I power watched it over a few nights last week. What a bizarre, crazy, convoluted story. And he is such a weirdo. I think his family is just as creepy and disturbing as he is though…it was pretty clear to me that they know exactly what happened to his wife Kathleen, and probably helped him cover up her murder.

      1. Hermoine Granger*

        It’s not nice to prejudge anyone but the moment I saw him and noticed his tics, weirdness, and those cold dead looking eyes…I was kind of like “yeah, he did it”. It also didn’t help that he made questionable remarks at a few points and had an awkward way of phrasing the things he said. I don’t think the family was involved in the murder of Kathleen and I’m not sure of the point at which they became aware but I do believe that they have some idea of what happened and helped Durst avoid prosecution.

    2. Anonsie*

      I have no compelling counter-narrative, but the fact that this was made by the Catfish guy makes me so endlessly suspicious. Shortly after people were sad that Serial didn’t end on a bombshell, dude whose whole career is fake documentaries comes in going hey guys look at us we have a true crime documentary too only we have A BIG BOMBSHELL!!

    3. Mimmy*

      I didn’t but my husband did. Very strange. I’ve been a bit suspicious of the bombshell ending and his subsequent arrest. It’s almost too coincidental.

      1. Hermoine Granger*

        I haven’t read about it being confirmed but I’m willing to bet that new evidence connected to the documentary was passed along to the LAPD and led to his arrest. That being said, it would be so crazy if he manages to get off again. It doesn’t seem like anything is going on with the Westchester (NY) case so if they fail to get a conviction in LA…

    4. Artemesia*

      The thing about the Durst story that has always been the most amazing to me is that in Texas you can shoot your neighbor, chop him into pieces, put him in your pickup truck and dump him and then be exonerated at a trial for ‘self defense.’ I guess it is a badge of honor to shoot someone in Texas and no one (well no white guy) who shoots someone should ever be held accountable. If shooting someone and chopping them up and disposing of them does not create a presumption of guilt then anyone can murder anyone as long as there is no video or eye witness and be ‘innocent.’

      1. Hermoine Granger*

        The story presented by Durst / the defense leading up to the altercation with Morris Black sounded like nonsense. I don’t get how the jurors bought that story about the eviction notice setting everything off. That being said, given that the charge was murder and just murder, the jury couldn’t take the dismemberment into account so it was like it didn’t even happen. The prosecution failed Morris Black by not filing all of the appropriate charges. It sucks.

    5. Sunflower*

      I was hoping someone would post about this! I agree that I did feel kind of sorry for the guy. The facial ticks were super strange, I felt like that gave him away a lot. I didn’t think the ‘confession’ at the end was as big of a bombshell as other people. I didn’t see it as a confession. From earlier interviews, it’s pretty clear the guy clearly talks to himself, sounded more to me like he was just saying thoughts that would go through people’s heads about this information. I just wasn’t really super shocked. LAPD said nothing about the show had anything to do with the arrest, all the evidence was collected by them so I’m hoping they have something better than the letter and ‘confession’ if they want to convict him.

      I’m much more interested in how this documentary plays in with his arrest. The LAPD is claiming they had no deal or anything set up with HBO. I’m really curious when Jarecki decided to disclose the letter. I have some mixed feelings about this. In one way, he’s right in saying that there are certain rules that police have to follow that filmmakers do not. On the other hand, this was taped 2 years ago. Durst had to know the cops were gonna reopen the case and he had time to flee. I just don’t believe at all that the arrest and finale was a coincidence.

      My favorite films are ones that make you really think about your own feelings. I thought he was totally creepy and cold-blooded but I also felt bad for him at the same time. I liked how Jarecki explored his feelings about that towards the end. I heard he is canceling most of his interviews/appearances in case he is called as a witness. I’d like to hear more about his journey and feelings throughout this.

  33. AvonLady Barksdale*

    A question for all you peoples! My bf bought a “mystery 6-pack” of beer today (in a large brown paper bag, it was very exciting), and it included a can of strawberry ale. He’s not into it but willing to try, and I said that if he hates it, I’ll make something with it. Any suggestions? I thought maybe a beer-based dessert sauce for bread pudding or something. He thinks maybe barbecue sauce for tofu (we have a vegetarian house). Please help! All ideas welcome. :)

    1. MsM*

      I’d taste it first to see how sweet it is and how much strawberry you can actually taste, but if it’s mostly beer-flavored, you could also try marinating the tofu in it. Little oil, some salt and pepper, bit of basil and rosemary, maybe some lemon…probably some other options I’m not thinking of, too.

  34. Anon Accountant*

    A brief gripe about people and a lack of manners. I just got home from being out to eat with a friend and am frustrated with her cell phone manners. We were eating at a sports bar and the entire time she kept searching Facebook and texting other people. It was annoying.

    1. Vancouver Reader*

      But you were too polite to tell her she was rude or just walk out on her. ;) Kinda makes me wonder why people bother getting together with you if they’re just going to communicate with someone else the entire time.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        Exactly! It makes you wonder why didn’t they just stay home if they were just going to play on their phone all night.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I have a friend who does this and it annoys the crap out of me I’ve called her on the behavior a few times. Yes, she’s by best friend of 30+ years, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to be treated like I’m invisible.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        I’m glad to hear that others call out people on their behavior when they do this. I does feel like you are holding them back from somewhere they’d rather be.

      2. Not telling*

        I couldn’t really be friends with someone who made this behavior a habit. It’s rude and dismissive of the value of my time. If it happened once, I’d probably say something like, “Is there a family emergency or something you’re trying to keep tabs on? Maybe we should reschedule for a better time.” But if it happened during another dinner, I’d avoid scheduling future dinners with them.

        I think people who do this don’t get how it feels to be on the other side of the table–they are completely engrossed in their phone, so they don’t realize how dismissive it is to you, how boring it is, how awkward it is. They probably don’t even realize how long they’ve been ignoring you. So they aren’t likely to understand or agree with your request to put the phone away. They probably wouldn’t even realize if you got up and walked away and left them there alone.

        1. Vancouver Reader*

          At dim sum, there’s usually at least one old couple who sit across from each other reading the paper and ignoring each other. This generation has just taken that to the electronic level. ;)

    3. Elkay*

      I have a friend who does this, it drives me crazy. It’s a shame because I like her when I get her full attention but more and more frequently I feel like I’m just distracting her from somewhere she’d rather be.

    4. matcha123*

      I’m torn on this because checking my phone is a good way for me to take a mental break from talking. I like spending time with people, to an extent, but I also like staying caught up on online stuff.
      When I was in elementary school, I got called out by my mom for reading books everywhere; in the car, at restaurants, etc.

      Looking at the phone while talking to someone, or just straight up ignoring them is rude. Checking facebook or some news in between lulls in the conversation is OK for me.

      1. Laurel Gray*

        “but I also like staying caught up on online stuff” I mean this with no offense but if I were telling someone about this kind of behavior and this was part of their explanation, I would probably need an indefinite break from them – friend or family, and block them for good if it was a date. What is dinner – 60 to 90 minutes? When someone is telling you that they can’t browse the net or social media sites while out with you, how are you supposed to feel? Especially when there was a time when people did not have smart phones.

        FWIW, I don’t know what a “lull” in conversation is. I admit I don’t use FB and I take someone who can’t not check their Facebook during an outing or dinner to have an obsession with it.

        1. matcha123*

          I tend not to use my phone when I’m with people, but will do it if they do. I’m also not the type of person that goes out to eat with people that often. These past few years it’s closer to hardly ever. And during those times, people will glance at their phones.

          Personally, I really don’t care. Again, I will check my phone if that seems like something other people are doing. But to be honest, 60 – 90 minutes talking with someone is a huge drain. Even if I like that person. My current record for not looking at my phone for any other reason aside from checking movie times is about 6 to 8 hours. The conversation at that time was mind numbing. I wanted to leave but the person I was with gets out less than I do. I suggested taking a break and meeting again for the movie later, no go.

          Are you really able to talk with someone for an hour, hour and a half with no mental breaks? Like I said, when I was a kid, it was reading books. My mom wouldn’t buy me a GameBoy, but if I had one, I’d play that. There’s only so much petty conversation and chit-chat I can take from people…even if they are friends. (Not saying this is you!)

          1. matcha123*

            I should add, that if someone’s invited me out or we’ve made plans to go out and they spend the whole time texting, playing candy crush or generally ignoring me, then yes, that would be rude.
            If their phone keeps beeping when they could/should have turned off the ringer, that is rude (unless it’s work calling).

            But, friend goes to the restroom and email is checked that that time? Fine by me.
            After 15 or 20 or however long of conversation, things die down and the conversation comes to a stall? Feel free to check your email or facebook.

            1. fposte*

              Yes on the first, no on the second. People before technology, or else cut the people loose.

              1. Laurel Gray*

                This is my attitude. I have held these same opinions even when I was single and dating and single and not dating. As I was replying to matcha123, I had some guilt like maybe the fact that since I go out out 1-3 evenings a week with someone I really like, care about and is interesting, maybe the fact that we both have our phones away is some sort of privilege these days.