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.

          2. fposte*

            The problem is, the message to the person you’re sitting with is “You’re not sufficient entertainment for me. I’m going to go find something better.” Obviously if they’ve pulled out their phones first they’re not seeing it like that, so I think you’re good to go there, though I wonder if it’s just going to make it a harder habit to break. But if you can’t focus on somebody else for 90 minutes, the solution is to meet them for shorter times, not to bring along something else to entertain yourself with when you’ve had enough of them. Turning to your phone because you’re finding people boring is pretty cold.

            You say “I suggested taking a break and meeting again for the movie later, no go.” It’s tough to do that in the middle of an evening that’s been planned differently–you can pull it off once or so by saying “I’m feeling a little under the weather and I need to take a walk. I’m still looking forward to the movie, but please forgive me for a half an hour and I’ll meet you in the lobby.” But mostly I think you should consider looking to shorter events, or just meeting somebody at the movie rather than having dinner first.

            1. Laurel Gray*

              The thing is…when a phone and its contents are around a “break” like this it makes the importance of the phone appear to be so much larger than it is for the owner. I have known people who stopped seeing a person over phone habits and I totally understood. It just seems like something that would get worse than better especially if it was all happening on day one. When someone is constantly in their phone or feels like there is some sort of punishment since they can’t check it, doesn’t this create annoyances and even insecurities for those all around? Or with this phone thing was everyone talking strictly about platonic friends?

            2. matcha123*

              In the example I gave, it started as “Let’s meet.” We met at 3:30 and walked around talking, and she said there was a movie she wanted to see. I checked the times and we were too far away to make the 5:30 time, but the next showing was at 10pm. I suggested going another day or breaking and meeting up closer to the movie time, but she said, “I’m fine, we can eat and talk some more.”
              From there, more talking walking and a bit of eating. We go to see the movie, which finished past midnight, and she turns to me and says, “So, what do we do next?”

              Not really a planned event. But, again, I am defending an action I don’t really take myself. As I said, I watch what others do and copy them. If they pull out their phones, I’ll pull out mine. If theirs are tucked away, mine are, too. I usually have my ring-tones on silent anyways.

              However, I think this is an instance of knowing your audience. If you’re with people who find checking email or news rude, then, refrain. If you are with people that don’t mind, go ahead. Maybe it’s my personality or the people I am with, but we all generally feel when we’ve said what we want to say and are using phones as a mental break (or computer or the TV). I am somewhat strange because talking with people for too long causes me to stop speaking. I just can find words to express myself. That usually happens with the girl I was talking about. I need to be alone or focus on something else to bring myself back.

              1. fposte*

                But you don’t have to just “suggest” another day, you can say “That’s too late for me, I’m afraid; I can go Friday if you’d like to go together, and if you decide you’d rather go on your own today, I won’t be offended. If she says “What do we do next?” you’re free to say “I’m going to head home now–it’s been fun.” The upside to the “let’s hang out for no particular duration or purpose” is that it’s free form, so you get to end it when you choose.

                And if you’re not comfortable with people for more than an hour, structure things! Don’t wait for them–especially this person–to create the structure you want. This is kind of like the salary negotiation issue–you were waiting for her to give you an opening, but you need to make the opening yourself. Instead of “let’s hang out,” go for the “hey, let’s meet to wander the Whatever district and then get coffee.” Then at the time, if you feel up for something more, you can say “I might be up for a movie if we can get into one that ends early enough. What do you think?”

                But you still don’t get to take out your phone because you’re bored with your companion. The odds are good that you’re hurting their feelings, and the odds are good that they’re not going to say so so you might be assuming that it’s okay to break the rules here. Is there so much gain from fifteen minutes of Candy Crush that it’s worth the risk of hurting their feelings?

                1. matcha123*

                  I should make it clear that I don’t do anything with my cell phone unless the person or people I’m with start doing things with their phones first. No Candy Crush when I’m meeting people, that game is strictly for at home :) Moreover, I’m probably the worst person to text to because I really don’t like the urgency of texting.

                  The person I mentioned is someone who can’t speak Japanese and needs someone to do things for her. She is also going through family stuff and doesn’t have many friends here in Japan, so I meet her when I can. She says she spends most days at home, in her room playing computer games and watching streaming videos. That day was one of the longest I spent with her and since I’m typically pretty busy, the movie would have finished its run by the time I was free again.

                  However, like I said, I think use of technology depends on the group. I have friends who like to have the TV on when we meet up at their or my place, computer is on to bring up videos and interesting news, and phones are checked. I’m not offended by their actions because I’m happy to check out the music video they’re interested in or the preview to a show they’ve told me about.

                  If you have a friend that is not cool with you checking your phone a lot, don’t check it. If you have a friend that is cool with it, go for it because that person is probably checking their phone, too.

                2. fposte*

                  @matcha–that’s fine, but I’m responding to your previous statement of “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.” That’s a big nope, and it’s a nope if people are doing it to you, too.

                  And if you’re dealing with this person mostly out of guilt and pity, that’s all the more reason to keep your socializing structured so you don’t resent her so much, and also to treat her well while you’re with her–which means not pulling out your phone “if the conversation comes to a stall.”

            3. Connie-Lynne*

              I think the only person I do this with is my husband, because, you know, we spend a lot of time being humans together without electronics.

              But every now and then we’ll be out to dinner and I’ll just say “hey, hon, do you mind if I spend the time between ordering and receiving our food looking at my phone? I just need a break from human interaction right now.” Before phones we’d both sometimes bring books out and read together during dinner.

              That’s a special case, though, IMO.

              1. TL -*

                My roommie and I do this on the train or in the car – transit time is decompressing time if needed; it’s fine to apologize and pull your phone out then. Also, we have friends staying with us currently and after a day or two of constantly together, everyone decompressing together on their phone is no big deal. (But not during meals. Not okay during meals.)

        2. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I completely agree with this. I’ve checked messages or Facebook while waiting for a friend or while that friend is in the bathroom or something, but if I am sitting across from or next to someone, having a drink or a meal, and the conversation gets quiet for a minute, then it is my job to rectify that. Conversations can get quiet, sure, even tedious, but my dinner companion deserves my full attention.

          1. Laurel Gray*

            One of my favorite songs is Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” sometimes I hum it jokingly when I want silence or a place is very silent. I think silence is a part of going out and that it is okay at certain times and in certain lengths. Like you said, it is your job to rectify it. I agree, silence sometimes is a great segue into an entirely different topic.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            Yeah, it’s up to both people to keep the conversation alive. If someone can’t hold up their end of the conversation, I am done. Conversation is work sometimes, but it takes both people working at it for it to pan out okay.

      2. Artemesia*

        I simply don’t comprehend the need to ‘check up on facebook’ ahead of people I am socializing with — and I use the computer and facebook all the time. It strikes me as bizarre and totally rude to do this when with someone else. Why would you need to ‘take a break’ from a conversation you are having to check up on the news or the facebook feed.

        I understand that doctors are on call, that parents want their phone available in case the babysitter tries to reach them, or that people with relatives at risk want the phone to be available. But answering an emergency call is entirely different than conducting text conversations with people not there or needing to ‘check facebook’ to see the trivia of everyone else’s life instead of actually living your own — especially when you are socializing with others.

        I would not tolerate a friend doing this – they stop or I stop hanging with them.

        1. Windchime*

          Yeah, the “checking Facebook” thing is weird to me. Facebook, to me, is a wasteland of inane nothingness. 90% of what I see there is people reposting stupid memes or political rants. Once in awhile, there is a cute picture of someone’s baby or pet, but that’s hardly something that needs to be checked/commented on *immediately*.

          Give it a rest. Seriously. Nothing bad will happen if you don’t check Facebook for 90 minutes while we are having dinner. Same thing with the text from your neighbor saying, “What’s up?” .

          At work, several of us will take a morning break to walk 5 minutes to the coffee shop to get a coffee to go. There is a person in our group who checks her work email on her phone (she literally JUST left her computer 2 minutes ago!) as we are walking. So she stops talking, walks slower, logs into her work email, and makes sure nothing is there. Because it’s been 2 or 3 minutes since she checked.

          1. fposte*

            I think that’s dismissing the psychology, though. I mean, one could reasonably say that coffee’s a nutritional wasteland, but it’s part of your day, right? There’s a huge neurological reward from checking a phone and getting a text or an update. It’s a tough thing to control. I guess I’ve kind of taken the “Mindless Eating” design approach to it by avoiding having a smart phone in the first place–I can text, but it’s not zippy to do–but it really is like having an everfilling pocket of your favorite food.

    5. Nicole*

      I hate that too. I feel guilty when I’m out with my friend and my husband texts me because I always check in case it’s important. But I make it super quick and always apologize because I don’t want her to think I’d rather be elsewhere. I only check my texts from my husband, though. Everyone else is ignored until later.

    6. Laurel Gray*

      It is a lack of manners. I hate the excuses that people make beyond a checking on child/spouse/family member – and an “excuse me” is still necessary. In the moment, I’ve told people about how rude it is and even gave them a list of other places I could have been instead of in there presence dealing with their rude behavior. I’ve cut people off for this and it is amazing how they’ve blown my text messages up completely mind boggled about their actions. It’s amazing how people can’t go a whole meal without being in their phone but even worse they can’t handle being ignored from someone on the other end of a similar device!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        To me, it looks like their life is out of control. They are tied to their phones like a ball and chain.

        1. Steve G*

          I agree w/ you and Fposte. I go out about once every 2 weeks to dinner/drinks, and we can keep a conversation going for HOURS, every once in a while someone will go on the phone and say “let me check my train schedule” or “ugh my daughter wants me to drive her somewhere tomorrow” but no one ever starts just reading their phone.

          Maybe its because I hang out with analytical people who love discussing “the way things are,” some people don’t know how to have a conversation so awkwardly grab their phones, I tend not to hang out with such people!

          1. fposte*

            Randomly, do you ever put your username in lower case, or have I only just realized that we have both a Steve G and a steve g, who are two different people?

            1. Not So NewReader*

              I noticed that, too. I was wondering if it was two people or one person with temporary “shift key avoidance” going on.

              1. fposte*

                They’ve both posted here today–or he’s posted here both ways today :-). But he/they aren’t telling.

        2. Windchime*

          To me, it looks like they think they are so important that this constant stream of messages must be answered immediately…..it’s much, much more important to be present for the person on the other end of the phone than it is to be present for the person they are actually with.

    7. kas*

      My best friend does this and it’s annoying. She’ll even take phone calls and I sit there and listen to a conversation that could’ve waited until after dinner. She apologizes but continues to do it. I rarely ever touch my phone when I’m out with people. I think it’s rude and makes the other person feel awkward having to sit there in silence while the other person texts, checks social media etc.

    8. Felicia*

      I hate that too! I have a friend who once did it all the time, though once i pointed out how rude it was she mostly stopped to the point where it’s quick/occasional enough that it doesn’t bother me. But when people do that, the only message it sends is “I don’t want to be hanging out with you right now and would rather be elsewhere” and there’s no way doing that is not rude.

    9. the gold digger*

      I have had dinner guests do this – sitting at my table in my house with the food my husband and I have cooked – and they need to be texting with their adult daughter. I still have not figured out how to handle the situation.

      1. TL -*

        …I have told my friends “okay, put your phones up!” before.

        Also, I’ll take out my phone and start loudly talking about how “Look! I’m texting too! We’re all on our phones!”

        I am not the most mature of people but usually my friends take it for the mostly-joking manner it’s meant in.

    10. Windchime*

      I frequently go out with someone like this. It’s like an addiction; she is compelled to keep looking at her phone. Even in the car, I will be driving and we are talking and then all the sudden she loses her train of thought, because she has started scrolling on her phone and looking at stuff. Super annoying.

    11. kirsten*

      I find this to be incredibly rude too. My husband and I recently drove 2 hours to go to a friends house to visit her and her husband, another friend came too (so 5 of us total) and the 3 of them spent all night in a group text that me and my husband weren’t a part of. It felt like they were talking about us to each other and the other people in the group text. I didn’t say anything but I think if it happens again I think I would make a comment. We’re all 30, I find this type of thing to be super immature.

    12. Tara*

      Meh, ‘constant’ bothers me. Checking it during a lull in conversation doesn’t. But I spend 50 hours+ a week with my friends, so I guess we’re over the need to be constantly entertaining each other.

  35. Kay*

    Home improvement connoisseurs, how do I get rid of the smell of new rug? It has a horrible chemical-y scent, which I suspect is from the glue. I’ve sprinkled a box of baking soda all over the rug to (hopefully) absorb the scent. And my window has been open 24 hours/day since the rug arrived. Is there anything else I can do to hasten the scent away?

    1. BeckyDaTechie*

      Got an air cleaner/filter? Carpeting is frequently made with formaldehyde, which outgasses pretty badly for a while after it’s installed. Running a HEPA-type air filter in the room for a couple of days will help pull those particles out of the air.

    2. Monodon monoceros*

      How expensive is the rug and how much do you like it? I got rid of a rug that smelled bad, because I just kept thinking, if it smells that bad, what kind of nasty chemicals will it continue to put off for the life of the rug?

    3. fposte*

      I had a problem with one rug like this, but it did settle down (and it was a really cheap rug, so I figured I got what I paid for). However, I’m seeing some people encounter this as a more long-lasting problem sometimes, so you might want to Google the retailer and “rug smell” to see if your source is one whose rugs tend to have longer problems. If so, taking it back can be an option, even though it’s not what you want, I’m sure.

    4. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I would try hanging it over a railing, so the backing and the top surface are both exposed to air, and if the weather cooperates, do that outside for at least a day or two. If you’re concerned about dew, you could hang it outside during the day and hang it inside at night, or even roll it up at night, but that might take longer. But I’m betting the smell is coming from a binder that was applied to the underside of the rug, so I hope that this might really speed things up for you.

    5. Steve G*

      Never used one for this purpose, but Home Depot rents carpet shampoo machines for less than $100….they are maybe 2X the weight as a regular vacuum, so not impossible to carry yourself…you just probably need a SUV sized care to bring home in b/c they are 2 feet wide so may not fit in the doors of small cars…..maybe you can “shampoo” it without using too much or any of the actual shampoo at all?

      If you’ve never done it before, there is a water-bin that you change every X# of feet and the water gets brown as you move along. I’m wondering what it will dig up with a new carpet……..

    6. Not telling*

      It could be a lot of things–cheap dying methods, the type of yarn fiber, the backing material, the adhesives. It could also be that there was a treatment added to it that is causing the smell (i.e., static dissipation, stain resistance, etc).

      Do you have any information about the materials in the rug? That will determine what should/could be done with the rug. Without that, you can try powdered carpet deodorizer, which can be sprinkled on, left for a few minutes, and then vacuumed up.

      Be careful with shampooing carpet. Carpet manufacturers almost universally do NOT recommend shampoo. Steam and water? Yes. Shampoo? No. The reason is that most shampooers lay down too much shampoo and it doesn’t get sucked back out. That just means shampoo residue remains on the carpet and attracts dirt and soiling. This is why so many people clean their carpets for the first time after many years and then suddenly find that after only a few months it needs to be cleaned again. Use spot cleaner for specific stains, and steam and water for general cleaning. Even if the problem is odor, steam can help eliminate the problem, because it will extract the contaminate source of the odor.

  36. Newton Philips*

    I saw Exodus: Gods and Kings. Imagine Bugs Bunny has popped up on your screen, he’s munching a carrot, and he says “Wow, wotta stinker!”

    On the plus side, while looking up some background I stumbled onto mention of a 1975 film entitled Sodom and Gomorrah: The Last Seven Days which I tracked down, and it is a science-fiction / pr0n ‘epic’ based on the biblical story of Lot and one of the most amazingly weird things I have ever seen.

  37. Calla*

    Wedding question! For a few reasons, my fiancee and I are downsizing and moving the wedding sooner (June instead of August). As a result of that, we are switching from an all-in-one venue to doing a simple ceremony in one place and the reception at a restaurant. So my question is: how far between sites is too far?

    There’s a nearly-free ceremony site we’re in love with about an hour outside the city (Boston). Problem is, there aren’t too many good restaurants around it. Is it better to pick something 20-30 minutes away from the reception site, or maybe pick something back in Boston, so an hour drive, but people are already “home” kinda?

    1. BeckyDaTechie*

      An hour seems like a little much. Is there something within a 20-30 minute drive? Or, can you do simple food on the site? One of the least expensive reception types, that’s actually more “traditional” in some places than a full sit-down dinner, is “punch and cake to follow”. It might be easier in addition to less expensive to serve light hors d’oeuvres and cake at the same site and set up an optional ‘reservation’ at one of those restaurants in the city the next day or later that evening.

      1. Calla*

        Just double-checked and it’d be more like 40 min rather than an hour. There are okay options within 20-30 minutes but nothing we’re really taken with.

        The ceremony site is a park and doing the reception there (rather than a restaurant) would involve renting a ton of stuff that would cost just as much as our current venue that we’re looking to switch from.

        1. TL -*

          Is that including the possibility of traffic?

          If it was on a road where the traffic often gets back or is stop and go, that would be too bad of a drive for me.

          1. Calla*

            According to google maps, yes :) and to the best of my knowledge, those weren’t areas that would have a lot of traffic on a weekend during the day.

            But moot now, because this thread prompted me to think some more and now we’re doing a little picnic at the ceremony site. It’s a small wedding (20 people including ourselves) so it’ll be nice.

    2. Laurel Gray*

      A relative of mine was recently in a wedding where the church nuptials were on the North Shore and the actual reception was in the South Shore. The traffic to get from A to B was a madhouse and this was on a weekend so I would not recommend it. You don’t have to specify what town your free ceremony is but have you tried looking up reviews for restaurants near by on Trip Advisor and Yelp, creating a list of questions/requirements for your special day and then calling each restaurant and doing a consultation? Also, is it possible to rent a hall and cater food at that location or would that make the downsizing you’ve already done moot? Either way, good luck!

      1. Calla*

        OMG–I would never submit people to that drive!

        The ceremony site is in Easton, which I just double-checked and it’s actually 45 minutes south of Boston, not an hour. 90% of our guests will be coming from the Boston area. I’ve done a ton of searching on every possible site and the closest decent options are in Stoughton or Foxboro, etc, which is a minimum 20 minutes from the ceremony site, and none of those are super great.

        So I’m wondering what if we went for a place in Newton, Waltham, that area, which is about 40 minutes and back towards home (or hotel) for everyone (and meant that anyone who carpooled to the ceremony site didn’t need a ride from the reception site to home, since we’d be back in bus/T area), but not *through* Boston.

        The ceremony site is a park, with no shelters, so we’d have to rent a tent, tables, chairs, etc. in addition to the food so that definitely would make the downsize/change moot.

        1. Calla*

          However, y’all have got me thinking now, and I’m wondering if doing a “picnic” right at the ceremony site would work… something to look into!

          1. fposte*

            That gets my vote! It lets people celebrate while they’re still in high spirits from the ceremony.

            1. Calla*

              Yes! I really WANTED to have the ceremony and reception in the same place but was only thinking of a tented, full table set up which was out of our budget. I checked with the venue and we are allowed to do a picnic. That might just do it, and I think the idea is so cute.

        2. Alter_ego*

          You may have already looked into it, but since it’s pretty new, I’ll just mention that there’s an Italian place in Stoughton called Amelias that opened recently, is pretty big with tons of parking, and is really really nice.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I wouldn’t do an hour. That’s asking a lot of your guests– drive an hour, enjoy the ceremony, drive another hour. That’s exhausting and would probably result in a lot of people leaving the reception very early. You’re better off staying closer to the ceremony site if not at the site itself.

    4. Blue_eyes*

      Could you provide a shuttle to get guests to/from the ceremony site? Your guests could park at the restaurant and then board a bus to the ceremony site, attend the ceremony, and then ride the bus back to the restaurant. Not having to drive out to the ceremony location, and getting to socialize with other guests on the bus might make it more palatable. And no one would get lost on the road. You could possible provide light refreshments (lemonade and cookies?) on the bus ride back to make it festive. School bus rentals (if it’s not a school day) can be cost-effective.

  38. Newton Philips*

    Fourteen words to make someone fall in love with you forever, seven words to make them go without pain, how to say goodbye to a friend who is dying, how to be poor, how to be rich, how to rediscover dreams when the world has stolen them from you.

    What would be your fourteen words? Or seven words? Or however many words you need to use?

  39. The Other Dawn*

    I am so freaking excited: my favorite band, def Leppard, just announced a cruise! I have no idea how I’ll swing it, but I’m going come hell or high water! I so need something to look forward to. I’m hoping they structure the price like th e monsters of rock cruise. We paid in 4 installments I believe. Woo hoo! Trapped on a boat with my boys!

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Thanks! I belong to the fan club so we get first crack at booking. :) I just hope we have paying tenants by then so I don’t have to miss out on it. I’ve been waiting a long time for something like this!

        1. Laurel Gray*

          I totally hope you do! SigOther and I are going to see The Who in a few months and (hopefully) AC/DC in the summer. I am so glad he likes live music and I love going with him because the immediate assumption is that he dragged me along and it isn’t my type of music until I start screaming all the lyrics!!

    1. Mimmy*

      Ooooh I loved Def Leppard in the 80s and early 90s and saw them about 10 years ago. Good luck getting tickets…that sounds like it’d be a blast!

    2. just a girl*

      That is super exciting! I’d love to go on a concert cruise of a band I love! I used to love Def Leppard, and wouldn’t mind going to a concert of theirs!

  40. saro*

    This has been a horrific week in Kabul. A young woman was murdered in the middle of the city by a mob. It’s really shocked most of us here. Most of our fears are due to suicide attacks by the Taliban, not by our fellow citizens. Heartbreaking. I can’t even think straight about it. Thankfully, most Afghans are horrified and speaking out (and shunning the dimwits who praised the attack initially) but it’s been really tough to comprehend.

    1. fposte*

      I can’t imagine what it’s like being so close to that. I’m sorry for how hard that must be. I hope at least the response continues to hearten you.

    2. Vancouver Reader*

      I can’t begin to imagine a good reason to murder anyone, especially when that person did nothing to provoke it. I hope there will be justice for that poor woman and things will get better for your country.

      1. saro*

        Me either. It seems like she challenged a cleric, who incited the mob. Some people tried to help her but they couldn’t. It’s just horrific.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I cannot imagine what this is like.
      Please know that you and those around you are in our hearts and prayers.

  41. Not My Regular Name*

    It’s long past time that I filed for divorce. I’ve asked my husband for a divorce, told him I want a divorce, and he won’t budge. He says he doesn’t have to agree, or move out, and I am not trying hard enough. I’ve been done with this for years. We have no relationship past I work full time, he works when he feels like it, and I do all the work and pay all the bills, and he’s costing me hundreds of dollars a month in extra health insurance costs through my employer (which he also refuses to sign off of). There will never be a relationship between us again due to many factors. He just won’t see it.

    I’ve done a bit of research. Turns out, due to the rules in my state, even if there is cause for the divorce, I may have to pay him spousal support of 40% of the difference between my wages and his wages! So, if he decides not to work, I have to pay him so much money I couldn’t afford to live on my own. How exactly is this fair? I’ve worked my ass off for 30 years, while Mr. Grasshopper sat around and watched TV and did zero things to better himself. His latest job is a paper boy. Yep. He has a newspaper route, like a teenager. As a real kicker, I’ve managed to put aside an 8 month emergency fund, and now I’m worried about how I’m going to get all that cash out of the bank so I don’t have to hand part of that over, too. We’ve had separate bank accounts for years because I got tired of working and paying off debt, only for him to run it up again because he felt that he deserved things we clearly couldn’t afford.

    What I really need is a list of documents to put together. I’ve gone on websites, but they’re all different, and I don’t want to miss work multiple times going to an attorneys office and paying for what is basically preliminary work and for him or her to tell me “bank statements for X years, tax returns for X years, etc.”

    I just want out from under this financial slavery I’m trapped in, and to live my life! I’m getting involved with things in my community, reaching out and making friends, and I just want this millstone gone from around my neck. Children are grown and out of the house, small little house is paid for, vehicles are paid for, and thankfully, no debt to speak of past monthly expenses.

    Have any of you had experience with this? All comments would be appreciated. Thanks for listening.

    1. Nicole*

      I don’t have any advice but I hope you get it resolved to your satisfaction. It sounds like a bad situation to be in, and I commend you for doing something about it. Good luck!

    2. Dan*


      My divorce just got finized last month, and for as much as our situations are different, there’s some similarities too.

      First things first, it’s much, much more difficult to get a divore from someone who doesn’t want one. Possible? Yes, and it will happen. Just much more difficult.

      The thing is, the spouse with less has nothing to gain by going away quietly. Fairness has nothing to do with it. Right now, your biggest concern is how to end this as quickly and efficeintly as possible — which comes with a price tag. This isn’t about love and fairness, this is simply a business transaction.

      As far as the income disparaty goes, one thing that one can try and do in my state is “impute income” which means that although the other person isn’t working, they’re capable and qualified, so that shouldn’t be held against you.

      As far as the paper work goes, I never had to do all of the stuff you’re asking about. Even though my ex-spouse didn’t want a divorce either (why give up the free food, roof over their head, and brand new car that I’m contractually obligated to make payments on) I gave her enough of an incentive to get out without having to fight it out in court. All I had to do was a property settlement agreement and my lawyer took care of the rest. No tax forms, banks statements, nothing.

      Good luck. This process isn’t fair, and TBH, I don’t think there’s a way to make it so. To do that, you’d first have to figure out how to define fair. Most states treat assets and income earned during the marriage to be joint assets, and I don’t think that’s terribly unreasonable. The extension, however, is that when you’re getting a divorce, there’s no such thing as “your money” vs his.

      1. the gold digger*

        It took my husband years to divorce his first wife. Things I wish he had done differently:

        1. Gotten a lawyer. They had a mediated divorced in California. Mediation works only if both parties want the divorce. She did not. Get a lawyer. A really mean one.
        2. Had a clause in the alimony agreement that he got to see her tax returns every year to see if he got to offset any of the alimony with her income. There was a clause in the decree that anything she earned would be offset $2 to$1 of the alimony, but there was no enforcement mechanism.
        3. Make sure SS disability counts as income.
        4. Had a clause that scaled the life insurance back by $50,000 a year. He had to get a $250,000 life insurance policy with her as a beneficiary in case he died before the five years of alimony was up. I just knew that if he died before the five years, it would be one day before the last alimony payment, so she would get five years of alimony plus $250,000 in life insurance.
        5. Check what the statutory alimony payment is. The lawyers at the mediation center did not advise Primo and he had no idea that California had a statute about it. He ended up giving her twice what California law required.

    3. Observer*

      While you are dealing with the other stuff, find out if you can just take your husband off of your insurance without his consent.

        1. Dan*

          I’m missing something. Outside of a life changing event, you can’t make any changes to your coverage outside of open enrollment anyway, right?

          I was planning on dropping my spouse during open enrollment if we didn’t agree to terms, but never got far enough to figure out if she needed to sign papers.

          I got out of it by getting laid off, and just signed up for single coverage at my next job.

    4. Vancouver Reader*

      Gah, how frustrating! I don’t understand the laws, if someone is physically and mentally capable of working, why do you have to support them financially? Sorry you have to go through this.

      1. fposte*

        Mostly the laws are set up for broad generalities; as Dan suggests, it’s likely not possible to make it completely fair. But a lot of marriages involve one spouse staying at home doing unpaid work to take care of house and kids, and it’s unrealistic to expect that person to be able to snag a job off the bat after decades of that, and the other spouse has benefited from their not working as well. Spousal support is generally considered rehabilitative these days, in that it’s to be paid for x number of years and then the spouse is presumed to have gotten back on his/her feet; however, the longer the marriage, the longer that period is, and I’m afraid that a 30-year marriage makes longer likelier. However, some states have outright limits on time for spousal support regardless of the marriage’s duration, and imputing an income is absolutely the way to go. So argue to impute, argue that it’s deliberate underemployment, argue for making spousal support finite.

        But honestly, I think you need to lawyer up; you’ve got a lot at stake here. Ask around to people who’ve used divorce lawyers, ask any lawyers you’ve worked with on anything for recommendations, and call the names to see if they’ll have a preliminary conversation with you without billing you (that’s pretty common around here, though I know it’s not everywhere).

        I have a friend in a similar situation who hasn’t managed to make the final decision yet, so I’m really cheering you on.

        1. Not My Regular Name*

          And that brings up a different issue. He has done nothing over the years to help. I bet if you asked him, he wouldn’t even realize what day the garbage man comes. For years, I worked full time, came home to no supper started, and he’d say “what are we having for supper?” It was a beautiful day, but the lawn wasn’t mowed. Did he even move off the couch and make an effort? No. No help with housework either. When he did work, it was his money, and he can’t even keep up on his stupid cell phone bill let alone contribute to anything else. I think I’d feel much better about things if he hadn’t been so much of a total slug.

          1. fposte*

            I hear that. My friend’s husband has had some jobs, but mysteriously he always worked for assholes who didn’t appreciate him so he quit. And even that hasn’t been for years.

            They had kids, so that complicates the situation. But it sounds like you’re understandably in the grip of some long-simmering anger and resentment, and if you can swing it I’d suggest a therapist in addition to a lawyer. But seriously, lawyer lawyer lawyer. That’s going to make a big difference to how you walk away here.

            (And I hope you’ve stopped paying the cellphone bill and making him dinner.)

          2. Artemesia*

            You need to find the most aggressive divorce attorney you can who has a reputation of dealing with this kind of situation — not just any old lawyer.

          3. LisaS*

            Oh yes, lawyer. I had an easier time extricating myself from the deadbeat ex, but a friend recently had a real fight on her hands. She had worked 60+ hours a week for most of their relationship while he worked on his dope-smoking & video game skills, and the judge basically just laughed at him when he asked for alimony. I think she had to cough up a few bucks in the end. And fortunately, her house was in her name alone & had been purchased with documentable help from her family, so not community property, but… yeah, the lawyer was worth every dime, even so.

            1. Windchime*

              I agree, get a good lawyer. And do NOT agree to let one lawyer represent both of you; if he wants a lawyer, he gets his own. He doesn’t get to share yours. Get recommendations from friends and acquaintances, and when your lawyer makes a recommendation on how to proceed, don’t back down because you feel like you’re being “mean”. He hasn’t worried about being “mean” to you while you’re carrying the entire financial burden for years.

              1. fposte*

                Seriously. Any lawyer willing to represent both is one I would walk away from fast–this would be a *huge* conflict of interest.

          4. Dan*

            It will help you a lot to focus on the future and not the past. Unless you have documentation to prove anything, most of it will be he said/she said anyway.

            BTW, if your spouse stayed home with the kids, you probably aren’t going to get out of alimony, as no law or marital covenant requires the stay at home parent to return to the work force after the kids are gone. If the gender roles were reversed, alimony would most likely be a slam dunk, and those principles shouldn’t change because the gender roles did.

        2. Dan*

          In Virginia, rehabilutative spousal maintenance is paid for one half the length of the marriage. If you’ve been married for more that twenty years though, it’s likely that spousal support is permanent, meaning it is paid until one slide does our remarries.

          1. the gold digger*

            it is paid until one slide does our remarries.

            In California, it is paid (apparently) until one side either remarries or cohabitates. I don’t know if this is law or if my friend’s ex-husband, who is a divorce lawyer, somehow got it into the decree, but he stopped paying her alimony when her boyfriend moved in with her. (She met the boyfriend long after the marriage broke up.)(I don’t know why it’s so important to me that you know that my friend did not cheat during her marriage! It was actually her husband who fooled around!)

    5. Not telling*

      Have you looked into legal separation (there are different terms in some states)? There are a lot of financial advantages: Typically, once you become legally separated, all financial assets and debts incurred after the date of separation are owned by the incurring party. This would at least prevent him from claiming rights to any of your income going forward, and prevent him from running up debts as revenge for you filing (or simply out of selfishness). Also he likely couldn’t remain on your insurance and it may be easier to kick him out of the house (assuming his name is not on the deed).

      But perhaps more importantly, in many states–even in those that don’t recognize legal separation–proof that you have been living apart for a year allows you to file for no-fault divorce.

      Probably this is going to cost you. If he won’t move out, then you do so. Yes that might mean you live in a crappy tiny apartment for a while. But you can’t be separated if you live under the same roof. Attorney’s fees are going to cost you. Sorry, but there’s no way around that. The question is, how much is it worth to you to be free of this man?

      1. Dan*

        I paid for my freedom. That’s how I explain it to people.

        People who know my situation well think I shouldn’t have had to pay my ex at all (no kids, she worked 5 months of a 3.5 year marriage, 95% sure she cheated on me)

        If I was penny wise and pound foolish, I could have moved out, paid rent on two apartments for six months, paid a lawyer, paid a vocational specialist to impute income, paid a PI to prove she was cheating, let the process drag on forever, and *still* have some non-zero chance of being stuck with alimony.

        Or I could give her what she wants to move out of the apartment tomorrow and have a final divorce in 9 months.

        I chose to move in with my life sooner, and it was a little easier on my conscience if she has something to use to start her life over with.

        1. the gold digger*

          I paid for my freedom.

          My husband had filed for divorce a few years before I met him, but his ex didn’t want the divorce. He kept thinking that she would someday be “ready.” She never was. He met me. Wanted to remarry. Started the divorce process again. Two years into it, she was diagnosed with cancer. She had been on his health insurance the whole time – he had put her through college and had put her two daughters through college, but she had worked only two years of their marriage – and now she really didn’t want to get divorced.

          He ended up giving her $1,000 a month extra in alimony for the first year just to get her to sign the papers.

      2. Dan*

        I wish the op would say which state she lives in, it would cut down on speculative advice we could offer that wouldn’t apply to her.

        For instance, Virginia doesn’t recognize legal separation as a marital status, and allows you to serve out your waiting period under the same roof if you live in separate bedrooms, and oh, hanky panky resets the clock.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I have no experience or advice, but I wanted to give you a hug *hug* and say I hope you can work this out quickly. And *straps on ass-kickin’ skates, because clearly someone needs a good ass-kickin’* >:(

    7. BeckyDaTechie*

      Document, document, document. Money spent, work he does, tasks he doesn’t do after conversations about helping with X, all of it. You’ll have better footing to stand on for the divorce if you can prove “spousal neglect”. This might mean taking pictures of the house before you leave and when you get home for 6 mo. plus, but the best chance you have at not getting completely hosed on alimony, etc. is to prove he’s a slug.

      Does he play video games? Can your satellite company and/or internet provider track use of services to prove he’s on his duff watching TV and farting around online all day? Can you access enough of his computer records to see if he’s also browsing porn or dating sites? Not that I want to see anyone go through the pain of finding a spouse cheating on top of being neglectful and mean, but if you can prove cheating, it’s easier to prove alimony’s not justified.

  42. Today's anon*

    I’ve used a legal aid kind of place that had volunteer lawyers for some legal advice and I’ve found them helpful in getting myself started when I was not sure how to go about some legal procedure. They provided me with a list of documents (sometimes even the specific forms I would have to fill out), an explanation of the process and even referrals.

    1. Blue_eyes*

      Best: My husband’s birthday was this week and I managed to get him two presents that he really liked (that he hadn’t asked for).

      Worst: The kids I babysit for had a dog staying with them this week. When we went to the playground, we came back to find that the dog had eaten an entire large Toblerone bar (“She’s never eaten anything on the counter…It’s fine” said the mom before she left). So I got to go to the vet with a dog whose owners I don’t even know. Fortunately the vet and other staff were very kind about it. Also, had the chance to mentally calculate how much to tip for “my dog threw up in your cab” on the way to the vet (hint: it would have been a very large tip).

    2. CollegeAdmin*

      WORST: My father had to have surgery. It went well and he’s recovering nicely, but still not good.

      BEST: (I have 2)
      1. The job that was pitched to me at work has posted! I’m drafting my cover letter today.
      2. I started talking to a guy online and we really hit it off; we went on a first date yesterday. It was amazing – we spent seven hours talking over dinner and rock climbing. I can’t stop smiling.

    3. Amber Rose*

      Best: I bought my car! I have been wanting this car for four years. It’s so awesome.

      Worst: I’m sick. Ugh.

    4. Mimmy*

      Best: Saw Avenue Q last night in NYC. A little dated, but really funny.

      Worst: A comedy of errors with a group trip to see a professional ice hockey game on Tuesday (a fundraiser for a nonprofit I volunteer with). First, we weren’t all seated together as promised. Second, on the way back. one woman in our group took a bad fall when she tripped on the sidewalk. She’s okay, but it upset the rest of us.

    5. Persephone Mulberry*

      Best: new dedicated crafting corner!! I had gotten addicted to leaving my projects in progress out, when I was borrowing hubby’s desk (his computer was out of commission so he wasn’t using it), and it was a serious crimp in my productivity for a few weeks after he reclaimed his space.

      Worst: we’re supposed to get 3-6″ of snow today. Boooooo.

    6. Xan*

      Best: We have a potential lead on a new, way nicer apartment that’s significantly closer to my job. Moving day won’t be for a couple months regardless of whether this pans out, but it’s exciting to think about trimming my 90-minute commute to something closer to 20-30 minutes, even if it will still be on public transit. Especially since…

      Worst: On Monday, my train (first leg of said 90-minute commute) broke down, and then when I finally made it to the bus (fourth/final leg of commute), it first got stuck on the wrong side of a drawbridge and then broke down almost immediately upon reaching the right side of the drawbridge, forcing me to choose between waiting for the next bus (delayed due to drawbridge) or attempting to walk almost two miles to work on icy sidewalks – neither of which was going to get me there on time. (I walked two blocks to the next bus stop before deciding that this was madness and electing to wait for the next bus.)

    7. Elkay*

      Best: Nice lunch and semi-successful shopping trip today

      Worst: Doctor wants to send me for more blood tests but I have no idea what he’s looking for, one of my levels has been low the last two tests so he’s testing for some other stuff. I’m no good with blind following I want to know what he thinks it might be but I didn’t actually get to see him I just got sent the forms for blood work in the post with a note.

    8. Trixie*

      Best: House/pet-sitting this week and it was a lovely time away for a bit.
      Worst: Splurging on too many salty foods and when added to caffeinated beverages, I looked exhausted all week. Horrible combination for me.

    9. Windchime*

      Best: I’m having a wonderfully lazy Sunday. It’s only 1:30 and I’ve already had a nap!

      Worst: I’m on call at work, which means waking up at 6 AM every day for a week. Ugh.

    10. Shell*

      Best: finally got back on my exercise routine! I made a pretty good effort at the pool yesterday and I did manage to get myself back to bouldering (I even bought a yearly membership–that was on sale–to motivate myself). Current plan is swimming on Thursdays and bouldering on Saturdays or Sundays.

      Worst: I took a month off bouldering, and I only had learned said sport for about a month before that, so oh man, I suck. I’m not quite as bad as I was on my first day, but my technique is completely off and I’m getting scared of the heights all over again. Due to how far away I live from the gym, I can probably only go once a week at best. Sigh.

      Also, second worst: I don’t know where my brain flew off to on Friday, but I made some really silly errors in my emails that’s…inconsequential, really, but still makes me feel really dumb. And I was actually late for work by about 2 minutes (I’m usually 10 minutes early) due to some mysterious traffic jam en route to work. So it wasn’t a great Friday. I know neither of them are big deals in the long run, but I’m too new to be given that kind of slack!

    11. jamlady*

      Best: my husband is just so wonderful – and he never tries to remind me of that when I’m being a butthead. He’s wonderfully kind and he makes me want to be better.

      Worst: I have constant busy work reminders of the fact we’re going to be apart for at least 3 months in about a week. Sigh.

  43. fposte*

    Aha, now I realize why people were asking about posts with links disappearing–I posted a link and didn’t get the usual moderation note or any indication, so I guess that’s now an invisible process.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I was having posts disappear a few weeks ago. I think one of them had a link. I thought it was a fluke.

      1. fposte*

        My link did get posted after a bit, so I think it is just that there are no longer notifications when something goes to moderation. ‘Twill teach me patience!

  44. Blue_eyes*

    Best kitchen garbage cans? We need a new one, preferably with a foot pedal. Right now I’m looking at getting the simplehuman slim plastic one. I know the metal simplehuman ones are great, but I can’t justify spending $100+ on a trashcan right now. Any one else have one that they like?

    1. John R*

      We bought a double one at Bed Bath and Beyond. One side is a regular trash can and the other side is for recycling. Very handy.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I have a Simple Human plastic one (the slim) and it’s fine– I think I paid $30-something for it at Bed Bath and Beyond? Don’t remember– it was one of our post-move purchases and all I know was I spent a damn fortune on everything. Anyway, it’s just fine and works out well, and I use regular kitchen bags, not the special Simple Human ones. Those we have to use in the metal one we have at work.

      1. Calla*

        We have the slim black plastic simplehuman one too and it works great. It’s not as fancy as some other trash cans but the pedal/lid hasn’t broken (as we’ve had happen with previous cheap plastic pedal/pop top ones), we use regular trash bags, etc.

    3. Amber Rose*

      I bought a battery powered one at Home Depot haha. It has a sensor that opens and closes the lid. Very handy when your hands are full. And it’s steel. Was only like $50.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Just a peeve of mine. Why don’t they make garbage bags that fit the cans or cans that will work with the garbage bags? It’s such a simple concept. The last kitchen can I bought was the only one I could find that would hold a 13 gallon bag correctly. I searched for a while to find it.

      1. fposte*

        My Simple Human trash (definitely wasn’t one of the triple digit ones) works okay with bags–I can just tuck the top behind the removable plastic liner and it works pretty well. But yes, you’d think this would have become a conscious part of the design at some point.

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Simplehuman does this so you’ll buy their (ridiculously expensive) bags. As I often say, “It’s all a racket, man.”

    5. Short and Stout*

      My parents bought a simple human 30 litre bin here in the UK on discount at a major box store for £40 … so I’d hazard a guess that you could find one in the US for less than usual retail price.

  45. Worried Dog Owner*

    This is mostly just a vent, because I’m not sure what else to do on my end.

    A few days ago, I told an increasingly-creepy man in my neighborhood that my dogs couldn’t hang out with him anymore (softening the blow at the time, I didn’t want to escalate things with a weirdo while I was alone). Essentially, he’d hurt my dogs twice, used sexual language to talk about them, and let HIS dog chase us down, unleashed, even after I told him how dangerous that was, especially because I’m disabled and use a cane and can’t afford to slip.

    Well, he told his equally creepy dog-walker friend about the situation. Dog-walker is a cantankerous old man, who I think day-drinks heavily. I’d never seen this guy before in my LIFE until two days ago, when he passed me on the street, waited for me to move my dogs out of the way (they’re not fond of the pair he was walking), and then whipped around and called me a piece of shit, a motherf*cker, an ugly b*tch, and said that my DOGS were scumbags. WTF? I saw him later on, sans dogs, and calmly went up to ask what was going on, because who goes off on a stranger like that? The guy kept cursing, told me I was working with a dog-trainer he doesn’t like (can’t figure out why that is, the only thing the guy has to say about trainer is that he’s a prick and a f*ggot, again WTF?) and that he’s been “watching me for a long time.” He said some other stuff about how my dogs only bark at him, out of everyone in the area, and that somehow means I’M a b*tch and my dogs are the problem here.

    I cried for a little while after that but got myself together and was all set to ignore him, writing him off as just some weird old man, but yesterday, he saw me on a walk with our trainer and flew off the handle. He called me an ugly d*ke, said he was going to “teach me a lesson” and that he’d kill my dogs the next time he saw us. I called 911 immediately and the cops came, took all my info and the guy’s description, filed a harassment report, etc. Thing is, I actually know most of the people who’ve hired this man for dog-walking and I don’t think they’d be happy to know he goes off on random women and threatens their dogs (I asked around my friend circle, looking for his name to add to the report, and talked to a few women who have had run-ins with this guy before — none of them knew him at the time, either). I’m not scared for my safety or anything, but I AM worried about my dogs. I’m switching up walk times/routes just in case but has anyone dealt with anything like this before?

    1. Laurel Gray*

      So sorry this is happening to you! I wish I had some advice. If I was one of the dog owners that was using this wacko to walk my dogs, I would IMMEDIATELY want to know. I take women’s safety VERY seriously. I hope this all is resolved very soon!

    2. fposte*

      Good for you for calling the cops, and boy, I’d immediately tell any of my friends who used him. And no, crazy dog-walker is a new thing to my experience–I’m sorry you had to be an innovator here. Are your dogs ever out unsupervised? I’d keep them supervised for a while just for my own peace of mind, and I’d make double sure my phone was on me when I was out with them.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I’d go to the police station and talk this over with them. If they can’t do anything, tell them you want it on record that you put in a complaint, so if things escalate or someone else comes in they have knowledge of the situation.
      Maybe they can increase patrols in your area. I have asked for that and gotten a good response.
      Know your police force. Here it is best to call/visit the state police.

    4. Not telling*

      It sounds like it could be a mental issue? Drinking could exacerbate the problem but a lot of people with mental illness self-medicate.

      If your friends have had run-ins with him, encourage them to file a police report. Even if it has been a long time. The more data they can get on this guy, the more the police can do about it.

    5. Pennalynn Lott*

      Keep your phone on you at all times. Have a recording app queued up and ready to go. The minute you get near him, discreetly pull out your phone and hit record. Video or audio, both are appropriate. Then have that added to your police report, and also show it to the people who hire him.

      1. Newton Philips*

        Honestly, I think recording matters less than always having your phone with you so you can call 911 immediately if you need to.

        Pragmatically speaking: avoid this guy whenever possible. When you go out, see if you can have a friend or neighbor accompany you. And it pains me, but you may indeed want to consider some pepper spray, or possibly a stun-gun (if they’re legal where you live)(amazon sells a number of them, some of them are quite cheap. There are at least a couple that are built into canes). I’m not saying you should attack this guy. But I’m concerned about, say, what if he gets physical? Or one or more of his dogs go after you or your dogs?

  46. MoneyIssues*

    How do two income couples (no kids) deal with issues where one person makes more money than the other one? Things were pretty even between us when we met, but now I make six times more money than my spouse and it’s starting to cause some friction on both sides. I think there’s some resentment because my career went really well and theirs didn’t. They went through several layoffs, downsizing, etc. while I kind of just went up up up even though we’re both smart, ambitious people. I don’t really care how much money we make–IMO if you have food on the table and someone to share it with you’re successful, but it does seem to be becoming a sore spot. When I try to be supportive there are comments like “you wouldn’t understand because things went well for you” or even “I feel like such a loser”. UGH.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Sometimes there isn’t much you can do. I would start by not invalidating what your partner is feeling. So if your partner says “I feel like such a loser” or “you wouldn’t understand,” resist the urge, which may be strong, to say “but you’re not a loser” or “I understand” or “I can relate,” which sound like consoling words (and I don’t know if you’ve tried them or not) but can really be even more salt in the wounds and make your partner feel even worse for complaining in the first place. Maybe you can just listen and give a reassuring look or a hug?

      On a more practical note, do you have a joint bank account?

      It took me and my spouse a while to figure out our money issues (and we’ve never made the same salary), but once we combined our funds into a joint account, things got a lot simpler. For example, when going out to dinner there isn’t one person treating the other—all the money comes out from one account. And we don’t divvy up how much comes out of each person’s paycheck to pay rent—all that money comes out from one account.

      I wish I could say there is a magic solution, but even with my suggestions, which you may have already tried, or others, your partner may still be resentful. Any logical person who’s experienced layoffs and has a partner making six times the salary would rightfully be resentful. It can be tough for you, but those are valid feelings, even if you want them to go away or make your partner feel better.

      1. MoneyIssues*

        Yes, we do have a joint account so that’s helped somewhat. I do the Quicken just because I’m better at it so I just pay the bills and try not to mention them too much (not sure if this is a good strategy or not). Thanks for the advice–especially about not invalidating their feelings, which I was doing but it’s hard to do when someone you love says negative things about themselves!

        1. fposte*

          Would it be worth it, in a calmer moment, to ask if there’s any way he thinks it might be good for you to approach it as a couple that you’re not doing? Maybe it’d be cool if you guys got to do something he’s wanted to do for a while, for instance. I’m thinking of friends where the income is disparate, and her income means he gets to have a pretty expensive hobby (I forget which one he’s doing now–Go-Karts, maybe?), so it’s reason to celebrate. I guess what I’m thinking is seeing if there’s a way for him to feel less “I’m not valuable because of my income” and more “Hey, look what we can do together with what we have!”

          1. Artemesia*

            Something like this. I think it is outrageous that you both are primary support of the partnership AND have to put up with whininess, resentment and self pity on his part. I know many people where one partner makes a lot more and it doesn’t cause problems. When it does it is a double whammy for the more financially successful person. His career is his responsibility; his responsibility in the marriage is to not be a jerk about it. I’d be pretty insistent that he needs to get therapy about his issues and not scapegoat you and that you as a couple need some couples counseling about how you manage your relationship.

            FWIW both my husband and I have been the breadwinner at some point having lost jobs and have been supportive of each other. One of the advantages of marriage is you have two legs to stand on in a difficult economy. Failing and then being nasty to the partner because you aren’t doing well sort of wipes out that advantage. I would encourage you to not be too understanding if it means this self pitying whininess continues long term but be firm about him dealing with it rather than poisoning the relationship.

    2. danr*

      No friction here, since one of us always made a lot more. We just threw it all in the same pot. The only separate items were our retirement accounts. Our talk of finances is always ‘we’ and ‘our’. There were certainly rough spots, but having the common accounts pulled us through them.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Why not ask what he would like to do to fix it?
      I read about a concept that goes like this: We save money for emergencies. When the chips are down, that is the time to spend money to get ourselves out of the hole we fell into. Maybe he would like counseling, or more education, or maybe he would like Alison to review his resume the next time she offers that. Not all fixes require spending money- but you can encourage him to invest in himself in some manner so that he can move forward.

    4. Connie-Lynne*

      We put it all into a joint account, and then we try not to worry about it (easier said than done, it takes a lot of effort and talking).

      We’ve both made more and less than the other at various times in our relationship. In general these days I make more money than he does. We’ve usually structured our lives in such a way, however, that one of us can be not-working at any given time and we’ll still be able to get by. This is great because it allows us both to take guilt-free breaks from working.

      Or, it should. We both have emo angst about long breaks — him, because he feels like he should be always doing something, and me because I feel like I’m fulfilling a stereotype if I let my husband support me. It is healthy and helpful to our relationship, though, if one of us isn’t working. Turns out it’s cool for the one who’s working to have someone running home base!

      Anyway, we deal with it by combining our finances and then by talking through our feelings.

    5. Blue_eyes*

      Is the issue here really the money? It seems like the heart of the issue is that your spouse is unhappy with their career, and resentful of you because of your successful career.

      If it really is about the money – how do you manage money for fun “extras”? The partner who is making less may feel like they shouldn’t spend as much money on themselves because they aren’t bringing as much. I know a lot of couples who pool money for necessities (rent, utilities, groceries, etc.) and then give each person a certain amount of “fun” money each month. Both people get the same amount of fun money and they can each spend it on whatever they want, no questions asked. For me and my husband it looks like this – he spends his fun money on comic books, action figures, video games, and buying lunch at work on occasion – I spend my fun money on lunch, new clothes, and Starbucks.

      1. Sunflower*

        I’m also thinking this is much more about unhappiness with a career than unhappiness with salary. I’m not sure what the solution would be. Sometimes it’s easy to offend people when you’re only trying to help. Without knowing anything about your husband’s life or career, ask yourself what you think would make him happier. Is it really money or just more success? Maybe encourage him to find a hobby or activity he would enjoy and could excel at. Is finding a new job a possibility for him? He might be much happier if he’s in a different work environment even if the big salary doesn’t follow.

    6. abby*

      I used to make more than twice what my spouse makes. We have always had joint accounts, which really helps a lot as it minimize the “mine” versus “yours” language that I hear about with married friends and family members who maintain separate accounts. It sounds like you’re already doing that, so that is good.

      Things changed for me, however, and for a while my spouse made more. That was hard for me. Right now, we are making about the same, which you would think would resolve all of our problems. But it’s not. I am struggling with my own self-worth because I am now making about half of what I used to. In a society that measures worth and success by money, it is hard to be in this situation. I suspect your spouse is struggling with this more than the fact that you make six times what your spouse makes (though that might make it worse).

      I wish I could tell you that I have come to terms with this. I have not. However, because I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from my work now, it’s not as bad as it was when things first changed for me (layoff due to my previous field being completely eliminated, so had to start a new career in my mid-late 40s). But I sometimes feel like a loser in terms of what I earn and the lifestyle changes we have had to make because of that. I would suggest being careful with what you say, as your spouse already tends to see you as not understanding. Maybe just listen, and don’t comment unless your spouse wants you to. Or, if the timing seems right, point out where your spouse is successful. I often do this for myself: I am making much less money now, but I think my work positively impacts more people and I now have time to be a better family member and friend. So I am more successful in other ways and that is what I focus on.

      Good luck to you and your spouse. It’s a tough spot to be in.

      1. the gold digger*

        I am struggling with my own self-worth because I am now making about half of what I used to.

        I hear ya, my sister. I am in the same situation – not only making less money, but doing work at a higher level of responsibility. AND crammed into the tiniest workspace – no door – that I have ever had.

    7. Not telling*

      Pretending that this massive discrepancy in your incomes doesn’t exist probably doesn’t help. It’s a major issue to him and you pretending otherwise is dismissive of his feelings. And there are no right or wrong feelings, so it is not right to say he is being whiney or petty by feeling the way he does. Have you tried just acknowledging that you’ve been incredibly lucky in your career and that your good luck could end at any moment? Perhaps he just needs that validation and acknowledgement, rather than the pretense.

      Have the two of you tried counseling? It sounds like he has a lot of resentment about his work experiences–which I totally understand. I’ve been laid off a few times too and it scars you permanently. It isn’t just something you can put in the past once you start working again. I know it probably seems like being married you totally understand what he went through because you were right beside him, but he may not feel the same way. Counseling may give him a chance to truly air his grievances, and you may find that there are other things eating at him too.

      1. Dan*

        I would stay away from discussing the luck factor, I think that’s dismissive as well, because luck changes absolutely nothing.

        I do think counseling is in order though.

        1. Vancouver Reader*

          Although according to Daniel Kahneman, luck does have a lot to do with it. ;)

          Does your spouse enjoy his work at least? Does that give him any sense of fulfillment? Maybe he can focus more on making his non-work time more enjoyable rather than focusing on what he hasn’t accomplished?

    8. Newton Philips*

      A few years ago I would have opined that this is a gender-related issue: the norm in our society is that men are the ‘breadwinners’, so it’s socially unacceptable to be unemployed or make less than one’s wife.

      But in recent years, I’m not so sure. My wife got a job and she’s rather sensitive about how she makes less money than I do. This was a big surprise to me – to my mind, all misc factors considered (big SAHM gap, etc), she got a really good job with a really good salary. But I’ve learned to never talk about it. Ie “You got a raise! That’s great, you’re making some good money!” “Oh – but not as much as *you* make, right?!” and there is no joy in Muddville that night.

  47. Cher Horowitz*

    i am just wondering what people think about GOMI? Necessary evil or just mean spirited?

    1. fposte*

      Interesting questino. Mostly the latter, but I still read it sometimes–mostly the blog rather than the forum–veering between hate-reading it myself and cackling. I think like most hate-reading blogs it turns itself into an echo chamber that amplifies, so bitch-eating-crackers becomes not just a tendency but a goal. And the fact that it’s so relentlessly focused on criticizing women, and women dealing with food and their bodies and their kids, makes me squirm–I don’t think that’s something we need more of.

      It reminds me a bit of the Television without Pity days, when there was a Television without Pity without Pity hate forum, which got kind of crazy; more entertaining still, there was a Television without Pity without Pity without Pity forum which criticized the hate-reading forum. I think I just overall have reservations about the whole hate-reading/exposing forum thing; I’ve only seen one that stayed mostly pretty rational* (the Warrior Eli Hoax blog, which is defunct now), but I think it depends too much on parts of ourselves that really shouldn’t be encouraged for its success.

      *I’m exempting blogs like Go Fug Yourself that focus on a specific thing that gets a lot of critical attention generally, but it’s possible that the comments section on those could make me feel the same way.

      1. Al Lo*

        GFY’s comment section rivals this one for witty, funny, insightful, civil commentary. Totally different subject matter, of course, but it’s a fun place to internet.

  48. Today's anon*

    Passover is coming – any favorite recipes? I am going to a friend’s house, and usually bring my own version of charosset but I have been exploring cooking for myself for the last few months (and who knew it could taste so much better than frozen or take-out!) and would like to bring something additional. My friend, who knows I am not generally a cook, said “whatever you want” so the field is wide open!

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      If you’re just learning to cook, start with something relatively simple, like tzimmes or potato kugel. Tori Avey has some great recipes. I made her mushroom chopped liver last year (SO GOOD) and I use her tzimmes recipe. Tzimmes has the advantage of being easy and requiring little beyond chopping, stirring, and letting the pot go.

    2. Blue_eyes*

      Last year I discovered matzoh brittle (aka matzoh crack). Google to find a recipe. Basically you melt butter and sugar, pour it over matzohs in a pan and bake it until it caramelizes, then put chocolate on top. When the chocolate melts, spread it around. Let it cool and break into pieces. We used up all our left over matzoh last year by making this.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        OH YES. So, so easy. The hardest part for me is finding K for P chocolate (I’m pretty strict), but I often manage with something high-end and super delicious. I use brown sugar, makes it more toffee-like, and after I spread the chocolate I sprinkle sea salt.

        My “trick” with it is to cool in the freezer.

        1. Blue_eyes*

          Yes, I need to find some K for P chocolate! Last year I discovered this recipe right after Passover, so we used regular chocolate. Pet peeve – seeing “Passover” recipes on Pinterest, etc. that use non K for P ingredients (like Toll House chocolate chips for matzoh brittle…um, nope). Or ones that need a ton of kitchen gear – I live in Manhattan, no I do not have a separate food processor for Passover.

          We’re pretty strict as well. We keep kosher year round (only kosher meat, no meat and dairy together, separate pots and dishes, although we do buy non-hechshered products as long as they don’t have any treif ingredients). During Passover we keep kosher especially strictly and will only buy marked K for P products.

      2. Today's anon*

        LOL, this sounds like a make and take to share with others or you will eat the whole thing yourself kind of thing. Thanks for your suggestions!

  49. FD*

    I’m thinking of going to a homemade raw diet for our cats. I’ve been doing a lot of research, and it seems like if you’re careful, it can be as safe or safer as pre-prepared food, and it’s better for them.

    Has anyone else done this and have any tips? The biggest barrier is the need for a meat grinder–$150 isn’t cheap.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I have done home cooked for cats. It did not go well and I gave up. Part of the problem was my two were fussy. And another problem was I did not think their bowels were working that well.

      I do home cooked for my dogs and that goes well.

      1. abby*

        I briefly tried home-cooked for my cats. The supplement I used to balance the food upset their stomachs to the point they refused the food. I will still feed them plain, cooked turkey breast on occasion as a treat.

        I would like to try home-made raw for the cats because we are spending so much on commercial raw. But we’ll see, maybe in the near future I will give it a try.

        Glad it’s working for your dogs!

    2. abby*

      I am currently doing partial commercial raw for my cats. I am very happy with this choice so far. I am considering dabbling with home-made raw in the future, because commercial raw is pretty expensive, but I need more freezer space and want to discuss recipes with our holistic veterinarian first.

      My male cat had so many health problems. He had frequent hairballs, had serious constipation episodes that required vet visits, and he vomited and had diarrhea fairly often. Switching from kibble to canned resolved the constipation, as he was chronically dehydrated. But due to additives in many canned brands, he developed asthma and urinary crystals, and the hairballs and other intestinal problems got worse.

      Now that his diet is about 85% raw, with the rest canned and a tiny bit of kibble tossed in for snacks, he is so healthy. His tummy still seems sensitive, but we are able to manage that with diet. But all the other problems listed above are gone. He has lost weight, is more energetic, is clean and smells good, and has the silkiest and softest fur. Our female is not as thrilled about raw, so only eats about 25%, but I put both cats on better-quality canned with fewer additives, and she is doing better, too.

      If you’ve not fed your cats raw, you might want to try commercial, first, just to see if they will take to it. Many cats do not recognize raw as food, at first. Raw food does not smell. Also, you should transition slowly. I started by mixing raw with canned in .25 ounce increments. But my cat was still pretty sick when I transitioned him, so you might be able to do a quicker transition. Depending on how quick you transition, be prepared for some minor tummy upset as they adjust to a very different form of food, depending on what you currently feed.

      Even with commercial raw, it is definitely more work. My male cat’s favorite is Rad Cat, and I break that down into single servings on a weekly basis. I also break down chubs of smallbatch (I also feed Primal Pronto, which is really easy to just scoop, thaw, and serve). I have had to get over the “ick” factor of handling raw meat and organs, but seeing the dramatic changes in my male cat (not to mention eliminating prescription drugs and frequent vet visits) has been worth it.

    3. CA Admin*

      It’s really hard to get the nutritional balance right with home-made pet food, especially for cats. I’d recommend a pre-mixed vitamin mix to make sure that you’re not missing anything essential. Best thing to do is find a really good quality commercial raw diet–it won’t be as cheap, but it will be easier and less risky.

  50. Dr. Doll*

    Dear AAM community, I am about to make a confession, the most embarrassing, wrongest thing I’ve ever done as a college professor: haven’t graded some papers for weeks and weeks and weeks. This means that the kiddoes have gone without feedback on their work. I hide my head in shame!

    I inherited the assignment from the previous professor and IT SUCKS as a learning tool, to the point that I would rather stab myself with my own red pen than rigorously grade these papers and give a lot of feedback that the students won’t use and won’t benefit from. Next time I teach this class you can bet that the assignment will be different. But meanwhile….ah, hell. My plan is to be very lenient in grading so that no one’s grade suffers for lack of a chance to re-do, and also apologize to the kids.

    Will someone please forgive me?? Fposte…?!

    1. fposte*

      I will tell you a story that will make you feel like a saint by comparison.

      One of my grad school professors didn’t turn in grades for our class one semester–just didn’t do it. I think nagging may have eventually gotten a couple of people grades, but I wasn’t one of them. Then she got pregnant and it was a high-risk pregnancy, so she was out on leave for practically the whole pregnancy. Then she had a baby. Etc. Finally, when I had to have the grade to officially meet candidacy standards for the doctorate, I filled out a grade change form, gave myself an A (I figured that, regardless of how I’d actually performed, grade interest had accrued over the years), and brought it to her and told her to sign it. Then I handed it in.

      However: lower your comment standards–or abandon them entirely–and start reeling out the grades today. Hold your nose about the horrible assignment and just get these suckers done. They’re swelling and looming and that’s why you mentioned them. (I’m presuming you can’t just call ’em pass/fail now and evade the whole problem that way?)

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        Agreed – if you hate this assignment and the students hated this assignment and the feedback won’t be taken seriously anyway, spare yourself the effort. If you’re going to be “apologizing” for the assignment anyway, when you return the work announce that if anyone wants more rigorous feedback, ask and you’ll be glad to provide it.

        1. LisaS*

          Yes – not your assignment, not your teaching, no real idea of what they were held to initially – just create a fairly generous & generic rubric appropriate to overall level/program outcomes and grade the assignments. Anybody fails, even those generic standards, should get enough feedback to understand why. Just put lots of check marks & write “nice work!” periodically on the others… that’s most of what they want to see anyways.

    2. Connie-Lynne*

      I had several profs in college who couldn’t get assignments graded and back to us until after break, usually.

      One was so absent-minded she gave me an A for an assignment I know I didn’t turn in. I think she thought she had lost it and assumed I had done A work. I asked her about it and she didn’t really seem bothered (I was a generally good student, which may have had something to do with it).

      Anyway, in the end, I would just suggest you do that thing where you set a timer for 30 min and then grade for that time. Or an hour, or whatever. And then give yourself permission to do a less-than-thorough job on the grading for this assignment, to get it out the door.

      1. Noah*

        I had a class my junior year of college where I missed the final. My fiancé and I had just called off our engagement, it was an elective way outside of my major, and I legitimately thought the final was on a Thursday not a Tuesday. I resigned myself to dealing with a bad grade and retaking the class over the summer.

        The professor gave me an A in the class. I went to her office after the break and told her that I had missed the final and was surprised by the good grade I was given. She admitted that she thought she lost my final because it took her so long to grade them and I had an A in the class up until that point. I told her I would not fight a grade change to whatever it would be with a zero score on the final, she declined and said it was clear I knew the material.

      2. the gold digger*

        Freshman year calculus, the grader (not a prof, but a student) never got our homeworks back before the tests.

        I thought I was doing everything right – I never got any feedback that I wasn’t.

        Until the tests.

        Friends, I give you a “D” in freshman calculus and the first step on my path to changing my major to English.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Under the same idea as fposte’s: I was doing a self-paced study program to get my degree. But some of the classes were in an actual classroom. One of these classes the prof said she submitted the paper work for credit for my course. The office could not find it. The prof insisted that she sent it and it would be too much work to reconstruct it.
      The situation was more miserable than I can explain here. Lots of personality issues going on. Anyway, when she would not resubmit, I had to drop the course! Coincidentally, I had signed up to take the second half of a different course online. It was not going to my degree, it was just to satisfy myself. By the time we got done with all the arguing, the online course was finished. When I dropped that prof’s class, I just moved the credits over from the online course and was still able to graduate.
      I will never forget that experience. I paid for the course and did all the work. The last day of that course everyone in the class was arguing with each other. Then someone commented, “Why are we all arguing with each other?” I realized that I had showed up every miserable day of this course and I decided to give myself a break. I got up and walked out in the middle of the last class.
      Please breathe a sigh of relief that this is not your circumstances. Throw a letter grade on there and get through the piles. If you must comment just put comments on their most recent work.

    4. Mimmy*

      Hi, are you my online instructor from my graduate certificate program? LOL, j/k. Our instructor has a habit of going long stretches without grading discussion board posts, grading several weeks’ worth in batches instead.

    5. Newton Philips*

      I forgive you, but I have two kids in college right now, and I have to tell you: the lack of feedback my kids have experienced, both in high school and in college, really pisses me off sometimes. It’s especially a pisser when the school has all kind of online stuff for checking your scores and etc – but the grades are blank until the last week of the semester.

      1. Dr. Doll*

        Oh, and if any of the students had ever asked me about it… I would have gotten RIGHT ON IT. They didn’t seem to care either… So, I would recommend that as hard as it is and as much as it is totally not their responsibility, if your kids can visit during office hours and ask for feedback, their profs will probably respond positively.

    6. Dr. Doll*

      Holy cow! All these stories certainly don’t absolve me — SO sorry, Newton Phillips! — but they do shed light on a major problem with education! Giving grades is the most horrible thing ever.

      I did just grade ’em all pretty much good pass, pass, not pass, with minimal comments only to explain when someone didn’t pass. Frankly, most students will slightly benefit in their grades for the term because if I *had* graded and given timely feedback, it would have been a lot harder for them to get A’s on this.

      But, be it resolved, this assignment shall never again see the light of day in Dr. Doll’s section no matter what the other professors do.

  51. +1*

    Yes, at this stage, it’s really all about just getting over the hump. I’d recommend quantifying the deductions/praise for their records, and leave it at that. You can offer exposition, but you might just want to take requests as they come. The thing about using someone else’s assignment is that it might not reflect what you feel is important. It sounds like you all want to move on, so knock this out, move on to something stronger, and replace it next time you run the course.

  52. Nethwen*

    Does anyone have advice for recycling fabric scraps? I sew clothing and use as much fabric as possible, but in the end, something always goes into the trash. The pieces are too small for quilters (I’ve asked those I know) and I can’t get rid of the scraps on Freecycle. I’m not interested in doing any of the projects for fabric scraps discussed on sewing blogs. I asked our county recycling program that takes old clothes, but they only want clothing that can be worn. I want to cut my garment, put the scrap in a bag, and hand the bag off to someone who will keep the scraps out of the landfill. Thanks!

    1. fposte*

      Yeah, small stuff is tough; I’ve heard that medication bottles are generally often out of the recycling stream at the plants, for instance.

      If you Google “recycle fabric scraps” you should see some possibilities; at least one looks like it’s by mail, so it doesn’t matter if they’re near you, though I’m having trouble finding more info from their page. Also, if the scraps are all cotton, you could compost them, which is kind of nice as you’re dealing with the problem yourself and ending the cycle in a useful way.

    2. Trixie*

      I’m wondering if birds would use scraps for nest building, I’m sure I’ve ready something about it. Also maybe if there’s a local recycling/repurposing center that does crafts activities? Scraps could be used on journal covers, decoupaged on anything, etc. Aren’t school arts classes usually looking for donated materials? Or maybe summer arts camp?

      1. fposte*

        At least around here, scraps that are too small for quilters would be too small for those. But it wouldn’t hurt to check–we have a wonderful local store that benefits the school district that accepts all kinds of stuff, mostly for use in the schools but also for crafters to purchase, so it’s a great centralized way to find out about usefulness.

    3. CAA*

      Natural fibers can be used for making paper. If this is not something you want to do yourself, maybe there’s an artist in your area who could use them.

    4. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

      I’m curious, how small is too small for quilting? I’ve seen charm quilts made with squares that would be 1 1/2″ before sewing.
      I’m guessing they’re too small for rag rugs if too small for quilting. Stuffing for Moroccan-style poufs?
      I’ve seen some beautiful skirts and bags made with small fabric scraps stitched along horizontal lines so they overlap and make a sort of fringe. I have a small cosmetic bag made with multicolor silk scraps, and I’ve seen a skirt where all the stitched fringe was dark on a gray skirt – more sophisticated.

    5. Rene in UK*

      I have a hard time with this too! It just pains me to throw fabric out. In general, very tiny bits, like points or trimmings from seams etc, are put in a bag and I use them to stuff door stops or draught excluders. Selvedges I usually keep for stay tape. For the rest, I tidy the scraps. Once the points and stray strips are cut off the rest takes up a lot less room and looks more usable and I have good intentions of making a quilt, or bags, or trim for garments. Honestly, though, they mostly end up just sitting there although I’ve given a bunch to my kid’s school to make slippers, collages etc.

  53. Anonyby*

    Not really looking for advice… I just feel like I may have bit off more than I can chew!

    So I have a group of friends and we normally get together on Sundays to play tabletop games (mostly RPGs). Well, yesterday we had last-minute scheduling stuff that meant we couldn’t run any of our normal games. So I stepped up to the plate and offered to run a one-shot… Only I’ve only run a game once before, and then I got busy with other stuff and didn’t start building opponents until midnight last night. Eeep! And the whole time I’ve been encouraging my friends to build crazy-overpowered characters. Not to mention I have work…

    1. Windchime*

      I love Ted talks! I used to listen to morning TV as I was getting ready for work, but it just got too loud and frenetic for me, so I now watch/listen to Ted Talks on my iPad in the mornings. I love it; I always learn something new and interesting, and it’s much more soothing than the loud, yammering TV.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        I like to watch one on my phone when my first alarm goes off in the morning – I’d just be hitting the snooze button anyway! It’s a nice start to the day.

  54. Cath in Canada*

    Well, after 3 hours at H&R Block yesterday, I now know why last year’s tax return got messed up – someone at the Canada Revenue Agency typed my name as Caatherine instead of Catherine, so when I submitted the return there was a name discrepancy. Not that I got an error message that clearly communicated the problem or anything. Oh well, it’s all sorted out now. All that hassle for a 66 cent refund!

    1. Rene in UK*

      That happened to me once! I was renting a student hovel with my friend, and we split the utilities–I put the electricity in my name and she did water/gas. Three months went by, and then just after I mailed in the payment we got a pink letter from the electric company saying we were seriously delinquent and they were going to turn off our electricity! Calling them didn’t help, and since this was a tiny town the hours for the electric company was something like 10-2 on Tues-Thurs so I had to skip classes to go in person. Turns out, when I opened the account they had added an extra letter to my name but they caught it and fixed it–in everything but the billing cycle. So, I only got one bill but the computer thought there were two accounts, one of which wasn’t being paid. After about an hour and a half they ended up having to completely close my account and start a new one. At least they didn’t try to charge me another hook up fee!

      1. fposte*

        Hah. I had a slightly surreal conversation with the water utility once, after I realized that the autopay was taking the pay from my checking account and entering it into their account as a *debit*. Since the payment was deducted okay from the bank I didn’t check the bill for a few months, and despite having paid faithfully I was apparently amassing arrears madly. Can’t ever get rid of human error.

  55. Leslie Knope's Waffle*

    I’m looking for some new spring and summer clothing. I’m busty (34dd) and short and muscular. I’m in my early 30s and have finally come to the conclusion that I can no longer shop at forever 21. :) What “adult” clothing shops/brands have you all tried and love? Budget isn’t really an issue as I’m willing to spend more if it’s well made and flatters my figure.

    1. LisaS*

      Banana Republic, the regular store, not the factory outlets. I’m tall and solidly built (size 12/14 in their suits & sportwear) & I find the cuts/fits flattering, plus it looks like their Petite section is pretty well stocked. Some of the fabrics are thin, so try everything on, but their professional wear is really nice & they’l generally do the pants in a variety of cuts/shapes/lengths so you can mix & match a bit with an overall suit look.

    2. LisaLee*

      I have a very similar figure to yours (same bra size, actually) and I really like The Limited. I’ve found button downs there that fit me and I love their jeans. Sometimes their clothes aren’t the most exciting in the world but generally it’s fairly pretty and well made. I also like Eddie Bauer tops for more casual outfits but I find their bottoms super unattractive on me.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I just got back from an extremely rare shopping trip and came home with a Michael Kors top that I LOVE. I love a lot of his clothes, and he makes them for ladies my size (36DD, size 14-16 pants). You can find his stuff in just about any Macy’s, Lord and Taylor, Belk, Dillard’s, etc.

    4. Stephanie*

      Hi fellow busty, muscular, short person!

      Gap is good for jeans (you’ll probably need to get them hemmed if you’re not short enough for their ankle length). I also like Banana Republic. I like Kut from the Kloth and some cuts of Levi’s.

      Surprisingly enough, Anthropologie’s less twee offerings are good. In particular, I like Splendid. (Their selection changes a lot, so the item you see will probably be on sale in a month.)

      I like some of Lucky’s offerings as well, if you don’t mind the semi-hippie look.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        Agree about Gap jeans and Kut from the Kloth jeans. I’m short and size 12/14 and they fit really well. I also like Vince Camuto brand for nicer clothes. Maggie London and Anne Klein for dresses. I mostly shop at Nordstrom, Lord and Taylor, Macy’s, and some budget department stores like TJ Maxx/Marshall’s and Burlington Coat Factory.

    5. Sunflower*

      Loft jeans have a lot of stretch and give in them. I’m busty and the limited always seems to give me room in the top.

      1. Leslie Knope's Waffle*

        Thanks for the recommendations everyone – I can’t wait to go shopping in a few weeks and try out these brands. :)

    6. soitgoes*

      I like ASOS a lot, especially their own label (they’re one of those sites that sells a lot of other brands too). It’s a good step up from F21 – you’ll spend $30-40 per dress as opposed to $12, but the fabrics are nicer, the cuts are more consistent, and the lengths are age appropriate.

      I also suggest looking into Old Navy’s long-line “boyfriend” cardigans. They’re a great step up from things like hoodies and iffy-fitting jackets.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yeah, seconding ASOS. If you’re on the larger end of straight sizes, I like their Curve line.

  56. No car*

    I’ve never owned a car before, but I’m thinking about getting one soon.

    I don’t really know what to look for. Pretty much my only opinion on cars is that Fiats are cute. I live in an urban area, don’t have kids, and don’t travel much. Any general advice? Any websites for first-time car buyers (that aren’t trying to sell me something)?

    1. Noah*

      Can you drive? Does your budget allow for a new car or do you need to go used?

      For new, I would say go around to local dealerships and drive every car that interests you. Personally I would go slightly larger than a Fiat 500. I would look at the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla, Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, basically the compacts. These cars will be more versatile than the smaller sub-compacts. Personally I think the Chevy and Ford options are ugly, but American cars are just as reliable as Japanese cars now and often have better warantties. Same would go for the Korean cars like Kia and Hyundai, long warranties, and a long list of standard features compared with the Japanese cars. I personally own a 2014 Mazda 3 hatchback and it is a great car, fun to drive and reasonable gas mileage even though I purchased one with the larger engine.

      For used, I would find a place like CarMax that has a huge variety to chose from. Same idea, drive the ones you are interested in and see if you like them.

      1. TL -*

        I love my subcompact! But I am short, small, and good at packing, so the smallness of it really works for me.

        I’d say if you’re average height or taller, size might be an issue for a subcompact (my 6’2″ brother is super uncomfortable driving my car) but if you’re little, a little car is great!

    2. Not telling*

      Does your urban area offer car sharing? It’s a great way to test-drive cars. You can always do car rental of course, if car sharing isn’t an option, it’s just more expensive.

      I did car-sharing for years because I didn’t need a car. Then I got a job that required a car and by then I knew what I liked and didn’t like. Scions where popular at the time but I found I hated them–the whole ‘cockpit’ area felt very unnatural to me. I didn’t understand the popularity of Honda Civics. Mini coopers drive ‘sporty’ (like a jeep but with your butt on the pavement)–an expensive car to get bounced around. The Honda Fit was surprisingly roomy for its size. I liked the Nissan Sentra, then liked the Mazda 3 which is a Sentra with attitude. For me, the dealer and their location was also an issue. Living in the city, there aren’t many dealers located in the city. The ability to get to the dealer quickly was important to me. And of course their responsiveness. The first dealer that I leased from wasn’t very good–I signed the papers and never heard from them again. When I needed body damage repair they were very unhelpful. I switched my allegiance to another dealer who sends me free oil change coupons all the time and emails with information about my car, etc.

      I don’t know about websites for first-time buyers. But I don’t think a website will tell you everything you need to know. It won’t tell you about handling or comfort or about blind spots, for example. Advice that will work for someone else won’t work for you.

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        Hey, I love our Mini! ;) Even the car salesman said it’s like driving a go cart though, but it’s great for hugging the ground and you can corner like nobody’s business. It’s a good solid vehicle, great on gas and a really fun car to drive.

    3. Cruciatus*

      I don’t know about anything for first-time buyers (I’m sure it exists) but my family always checks out Consumer Reports, though we have been sticking with Hondas and Subarus for a while now (which are highly rated in CR). You can probably check out whichever month is their new car issue from your local library (they also have an online site but you have to pay to subscribe and see most of the ratings). They show a ton of different makes/models so you can even just see what the latest cars look like in one place if nothing else.

      I would just start out asking friends and family in the area what they have and whether they’d buy it again and see if it works for the area you live in. Then depending on how much you’re willing to spend just check out what you like! Some dealers even let you borrow a car overnight so you can really see if the car will work for you. (I will say, I just checked out what CR says about Fiat and they don’t love them. Some phrases they used for the Fiat 500L are “Jerky transmission, stiff ride, uncomfortable front seats…”)

      I had a Honda Civic that I only upgraded to a CRV because I wanted All Wheel Drive (necessary in my snow belt region). But the car was great and never let me down (and I love my CRV too, though I do dislike that Honda don’t make a sedan with AWD). I don’t love the look of it now as much as my 2002 one, though it is probably still a good car (and beauty is in the eye of the beholder). My dad just bought a Subaru Impreza that has AWD and handles very well (not to mention Subaru customer service seems to blow everyone else’s away, but that’s just based on my own observation). These are smaller sedans, but roomy and comfortable enough with good crash ratings and other features. But they aren’t exciting or interesting really to look at.

      And then other things to consider–do you want a hybrid or electric car (which you usually pay more for upfront, but eventually is cheaper over time with fewer gas fill-ups needed). I would just start visiting some dealers and taking some test drives. Some are pushy, but maybe I’ve been lucky–I always get people who let me just check out the car, drive around in it and get back to them later if I am interested. Good luck!

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        Subarus are amazing vehicles! A friend of ours bought one with the eyesight package (I think that’s what it’s called) and I’m totally coveting it. Fiats are cute to look at, but I don’t think they are very durable, from what I’ve seen.

    4. LisaS*

      I just bought a Prius C – the little one- and I really like it. It’s not super-zippy – if I had to climb a lot of hills I would have gotten a bigger engine. But for driving/parking in Southern California it’s entirely awesome. Plus they do the scheduled maintenance on it for like 2 years, and it gets great gas mileage. Perfect city car.

      1. No car*

        I learned to drive in a Prius! :) They’re good cars for my city. Already on my list to check out.

    5. FD*

      Never, never, NEVER just go to a dealership and walk out the same day. You will not be happy.

      As a broad generalization, Hondas and Toyotas are generally the most reliable brands as a collective. I adored my Honda Civic and I have a great Honda Accord now. Older Fords tend to have not great gas mileage but are built like tanks. My Civic had great mileage but tended to get pushed around in a high wind.

      People say that Hondas and Toyotas have higher repair costs, because they’re foreign. I haven’t found that to be true, since there are lots of Hondas and Toyotas around. I think the foreign cars = more expensive thing tends to not kick in until you either get into the luxury line or more obscure foreign cars. I’ve heard horror stories with the Fiat, but I think it depends on the model.

      At minimum, if buying used–and I assume you will be as a first-time car buyer–get the CarFax. Any reputable dealer should provide it for free. If you buy from a private party, you may have to pay for it; I think it’s about $40 for three car reports. Look for how many times it’s been in accidents, if the routine maintenance has been done. Also look at the Kelly Blue Book values. Kelly Blue Book is a database of the values of all kinds of cars. When working with car salesmen, watch tone and body language. Most salesmen are going to want to sell, but look/feel for indicators that they’re being dishonest. If you get a bad feeling, walk away. And if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

      Finally, NEGOTIATE. Car salesmen expect you too, so they nearly always start above their bottom line. They’ll give you the usual line about it being a great price and there isn’t much room etc etc. Don’t buy it. Every dealership I know posts a price above what they’re really willing to take for it. When you go into negotiations, have your loan ready and on hand (loans at the car dealerships usually have higher interest rates than ones you can get yourself), the CarFax, and the Kelly Blue Book value. Be calm and professional, and don’t let them pres