weekend free-for-all – March 28-29, 2015

cats play gameThis 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 Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. I adore this book. It’s magical and engrossing, and you’ll feel like you’re living in a completely different world.

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

{ 848 comments… read them below }

    1. Persephone Mulberry*

      Very cool!

      I love, love, love, love this book. I received it for my birthday last year after I put it on my Amazon Wish List – I think because of an AAM open thread discussion about it, actually.

      1. Cruciatus*

        Oh, I disliked The Night Circus so much. So freakin’ much. The writer is very descriptive and paints a picture for sure but I hated the story. After every book I read I write out my thoughts and rating on an index card (is this weird? My friends say it is). I just ran upstairs to see what I wrote for this one. I read it back in 2011 and my rating was “Meh.” and I wrote, “I never understood any of the characters’ motivations. So many people loved this book but both mom and I came away from it with a “meh. The magic battle started by their guardians NEVER GOES ANYWHERE. No sense of urgency and everyone was kind of annoying. WHY DO PEOPLE LOVE THIS BOOK!?”

        OK, so I’m not an elegant writer…but it’s coming back to me why I disliked the book so much! Though I think it’s weird that I never seem to like things other people do and wondering what that says about me! I’ve only been swayed by a few things like Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Harry Potter, the earlier years of the Sookie Stackhouse series, and a few others.

        1. TL -*

          Haha, that’s actually a common reaction to the book – I was working in a bookstore when it came out and people either loved or hated it for the very reasons you’re describing. (That’s how I met the author…)

        2. Persephone Mulberry*

          Funny, the drawn-out pacing is one of the things I really loved about it. I enjoy those sort of generational storylines that just kind of glide along from start to finish without a HUGE DRAMATIC climax.

          (I like the HUGE DRAMATIC climaxes, chase scenes, etc, too. I like a lot of different kinds of books.)

        3. JB*

          That just shows how personal book liking is. I liked the first three Harry Potter books but intensely disliked the other books you mentioned. My best friend and I are very alike personality-wise and values-wise, and we generally like all the same stuff, but she’s recommended a few books over the years that I loathed. It’s just one of those things like music where you like what you like, and generally speaking I don’t think there’s any reason to question it or defend it. Sure, I like a lot of music that has a lot of merit from an artistic standpoint, but I also like to listen to some kinds of pop music while I’m cleaning or working that is catchy but really doesn’t have any originality or artistry about it. I’m not going to argue that it’s anything special or deserving of accolades, but I like it. Same with books. If you like it, you like it, and usually whatever it is, that’s ok!

        4. Merely*

          I also disliked The Night Circus. The author created a fascinating world, but just couldn’t give me a reason to care about the characters.

          1. Vicki*

            I was fascinated by the beginning, wondering where the story was going and then… it didn’t seem to be going anywhere and I didn’t care anymore. I put it down.

      2. TL -*

        She was really cool – very calm and chill.

        (The only place I can name drop my famous people list is AAM – they’re all authors…. so I take that opportunity whenever it arises.)

    2. jhhj*

      I loved the book. But I loved it not because it’s a good novel; it’s really not. The absolute most well-rounded characters barely hit one dimension, the locations that aren’t the circus are Ye Olde Time And Place That Precedes Cell Phones, the plot makes no sense at the best of time and some of the “ALAS BUT HAD THEY DONE SOMETHING ELSE” were thrown in at what must have been random because it is entirely unclear what they could have done instead to change the events.

      But I absolutely adore short vignettes about locations — setting is just something I love so much — and this book was essentially a really awesome location where some plot and character were hastily added to be able to call it a novel and not some kind of experimental book describing a fictional circus.

      I don’t recommend the book to people because you need to have a very specific kind of interest to find it a successful book, but I enjoyed it greatly.

  1. J.B.*

    Aspergers questions – a couple of people mentioned having it. What did it feel like as a kid and what were your best ways to cope in school? Any resources appreciated especially geared towards girls.

    1. Alder*

      There’s a blog called A Diary of a Mom that is a great resource and also links to many, many others. (I’m on a phone so I can’t link, but Google it!)

    2. Clever Name*

      I don’t have Aspergers, but I’m a different person. It’s taken me over 30 years to realize that I think very differently than the vast majority of people. Reading the book “Be Different” was helpful and enlightening. It’s written by an aspie.

      What ways are you looking to cope? Sensory stuff? Social things?

    3. Knits and Giggles*

      Aspie here. This was before there really was a name for this, and I felt like I was “weird” and “beyond repair” (since that was what I was told). No one wanted to be my friend in high school, except for a despicable holy roller who told me every day that I was going to hell. But I put up with that crap, because I literally didn’t have anyone else. I pretty much focused on my studies and hobbies, despite yearning for some semblance of a “normal” social life. But because I was so tormented, it showed in my grades, and I couldn’t get into elite schools.

      I went to high school and college in the 1990s, and the custom was for everyone – from my peers to my teachers – to dismiss me as a weirdo beyond help. I was initially blamed for throwing a snowball that caused a seizure in my high school’s queen bee – for the sole reason that I had no friends (and that I blamed this girl for a heinous and elaborate bullying incident – which was true, but no one ever fathomed she was capable of such evil).

      I was diagnosed as I was wrapping up my senior year in college – 2000 (“atypical Aspergers” as my diagnosis said, but perhaps it was more so because I was a girl/woman with Aspergers, and the condition manifests itself slightly differently in females). It was a total “wrong place/wrong time” situation.

    4. INTP*

      I don’t have it but I know that it’s thought to be underdiagnosed in girls because it doesn’t tend to present as clearly as in boys. Girls’ obsessive interests may be more peer-appropriate than boys’ (i.e. One Direction) and not seem unusual. They might also have more social awareness than boys with ASD or their body language will be more expressive and appropriate (possibly because they learn to mimic others). If you google “Aspbergers in girls” a lot of information and lists of girl-specific symptoms comes up.

    5. Liz*

      House Rules by Jodi Picoult is a fabulous book about a kid with Asperger’s. It manifests differently in everyone (so, whereas the MC is an obsessive rule-follower, others aren’t), but the author interviewed something like 50 people on the autism spectrum in order to get his voice and character right. Plus, it’s more of a fun read than most everything else you’ll find on the subject.

    6. J.B.*

      Thanks. I think my daughter may be headed towards that diagnosis. In therapy which is helping but coping in school is a challenge especially when her teacher thinks she’s being bad or immature.

      1. AnonAcademic*

        I am not diagnosed with Asperger’s but suspect I might have qualified for diagnosis as a child. Regardless, I am pretty socially well adjusted these days (even above average at people skills according to my bosses!) but it took a LOT of work. What I realized is that I developed social “tools” by watching others, and I keep those in my “tool kit” to compensate for my complete lack of social instinct. The tools are like scripts I follow. So I have a script that represents “compassionate response to someone enduring a tragedy.” It’s always expressing negative emotion where I can be read as flat because I don’t actually *feel* anything about negative events until a day or so later. Anyhow the point is, nearly all of socialization can be learned through observation and imitation. Most people do this to some extent. I just try to find the most “socially successful” people in my circle and take notes on how they operate.

  2. Anon Fort Knox*

    Wondering people’s opinion on this. My wife and I were given a late wedding present last weekend by my uncle. It’s a solid gold trinket worth around $4k-$4.5k and just a little bit bigger than a flash drive (and if you’re wondering, no we did not register for one despite all of the practical uses). We’re having trouble deciding what to do with it so I wanted to see what others thought.

    The options we nailed it down to are keep it as an investment, sell it and put it into savings, sell it and put it in a Roth. The information to consider:
    -We’re petrified of losing it or it getting stolen, if we keep it we would get a safe deposit box but it’s just so small and worth so much.
    -The “gold is the currency of last resort” thing plus if our investments sink it will likely go up in value although who knows for sure.
    -We have an ok amount in cash savings, about 6 months of an emergency fund plus a fair amount we could pull out of a Roth if we needed to (the amount we’ve already put in brings us to about 10 months of an emergency fund)
    -I have a good amount in retirement but my wife doesn’t as she is finishing grad school. I’d hate to miss out putting money in during our early years (we’re both late 20’s).

    Let me know if you want any other information.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Gold can have really high and low streaks that can last a while. Since you seem to know about investing and saving, I’d liken gold to more like an individual stock, so if it were me I’d probably sell it, as the price is good now, and while it could jump, it could also sink and stay low.

      After that, what would you have done with a check for $4k if your uncle had given you that instead? Visualize that, and you have your answer as to what to do with the proceeds.

      1. fposte*

        I like this answer. If you wouldn’t have bought gold with that money, don’t keep the gold. (There also doesn’t seem to be any reliable inverse correlation between gold and stocks, despite their being a bit of a belief that there is–IOW, it’s perfectly possible for gold to tank along with the market.)

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Absolutely. Instead of gold, a better cushion or counter for stocks would be bonds. I find bond funds are particularly useful for shorter term holdings, like money that you know you will probably need in a year or five, so you don’t want to invest it, but you want more than $0.25 a year in interest, like an emergency fund. When stocks go down bonds tend to do a little better, as people panic and pay more to ensure their principle and even a small return.

      2. Anon Fort Knox*

        This is great advice. If we were better off we might tolerate it as an investment but for now I think sell and Roth is the way to go.

    2. Noah*

      Personally, I would sell it now and use the money however you wish. Personally I think retirement is wise, and a Roth makes sense because you can pull it out if there ever is an emergent need.

    3. Revanche*

      Agreed with Cosmic Avenger, this gift can represent one point in your investment portfolio, albeit an unwieldy one. I would have the same reservation as you about safe storage or theft, so I’d personally be in favor of selling it now and reinvesting or saving that cash. It could certainly go into an IRA toward your retirement and you’ve even got a couple weeks to make a contribution in your wife’s name to a traditional IRA for 2014. Depending on your income, this could also net you a deduction on your 2014 tax return.

    4. Vancouver Reader*

      We received gold jewellery from my family when we got married (it’s an Asian thing) and so some of it we traded in for cash, and we’ve kept some for when I want to play dress up. I don’t think the price of gold is that high at the moment, IMO, so I’d say if you don’t need the money, or don’t know or want to invest at the moment, wait til the prices go higher before selling and check for a reputable company that buys and sells. There are lots of places here that say they buy gold but I doubt many of them would give you close to what the market says the gold is worth.

      1. LisaS*

        Gold is about $1200/oz; keep in mind that jewelry gold will usually be 60%-75% gold. The rest is alloy metals that get burned off when the item is refined. Thus, if a piece weighs 1/2oz, it’s not $600 worth of gold but rather $300 or so. If you sell gold jewelry for scrap that’s the calculation; if you can, it’s usually better to sell items for their collectible or antique value (as pieces, in other words, not as scrap metal).

        1. Elder Dog*

          +1 !
          There are a lot of people who will be happy to buy your gold for the value of the gold, and sell it for the value of the piece.

    5. Artemesia*

      How is it worth that much? Surely that small amount of gold wouldn’t be just as gold. Is it a work of art or something? Can you actually liquidate it for that much or it like diamonds that cost a lot but don’t bring much at sale. I would sure want the money and to invest it. I have a few solid gold coins and some jewelry from the middle east — it’s gold but there it is doing nothing.

      1. Anon Fort Knox*

        It’s a middle eastern gold currency/coin of some sort which I can’t remember the name. About 4 oz. of almost pure gold (>99%). I’m not sure what I could actually get for it or where I could sell it.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          You might want to investigate its value as currency vs just a piece of gold. Go carefully here and only talk with well trusted people. Is it old? I would start with coin dealers try to find out who in your area has been in business a looong time.
          Remember you can go to a couple places. You do not have to sell it to the first place you go to.

        2. Dynamic Beige*

          If it’s actual currency, look it up on a site that lists coin values. Or, there might be somewhere that trades in coins that you could sell it to/get information from. As an example, a $50 Canadian 1 oz 99.99% pure gold coin is selling for $1656.84, way above its face value. It might be worth it to just put it in a safety deposit box for a year and take the time to get some good solid information on it so you know you’re making a rational decision, one year isn’t going to lose you a massive amount of interest on an investment, even six months should be enough to really mull it over. Uncle GoldFinger might just come at you with a “so where’s that coin?” gotcha at some point, it is a pretty random thing to give, there must be a story or reason behind it.

          1. Anon Fort Knox*

            I have info now! It’s a credit suisse ten tola 999 gold piece which translates to 3.75 oz.

            Also Uncle GoldFinger is fine with me selling it. He asked what I was going to do but suggested I keep it. He’s very wealthy so he can diversify his money more and not worry if his 3.75 oz of gold appreciates. I have to be more strategic.

    6. blessings of the state, blessings of the masses*

      One of my earliest memories is of an episode of The Twilight Zone where these crooks stole a bunch of gold and then sealed themselves up in suspended animation in a mountain for 100 years to be forgotten and to let the gold increase in value. When they wake up, they don’t have any transport and they’re walking through the desert to try to find civilization and killing each other off Sierra Madre-style, until the last one makes it to a road and flags down a car, and dies begging for water in exchange for a bar of gold.

      And of course it’s The Twilight Zone, so there’s an ironic twist at the end:

      Future Woman: “What is it?”

      Future Man: “It’s gold. We can manufacture it, now.”

      I take all of my investment advice from early’60 B&W TV shows, so I’d advise keeping the gold in a safe-deposit box somewhere but keep an eye on the science news in case bulk transmutation of heavy elements starts looking economically viable.

    7. Natalie*

      TBH, the only people I’ve ever heard say gold is a good investment are people trying to sell gold or gold futures. So no matter what you do with it, don’t save it thinking it’s your apocalypse savings.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known _as_Anon-2*

        Oh yeah – I remember back in 1999 – hucksters were on bartered radio programs selling gold futures.

        The big alarm – everything is going to fail at 00:01 at 01/01/2000! Ahggghh! Boil some water! Hide under the bed! Put up 10 years of food! Euthanize your pets! Put in a fuel tank and buy six generators!

        It has to be true! I heard it on the radio! I read it on the Internet!

        There are probably some people still eating canned peaches and tasty freeze-dried Y2K meals today.

        Sad to say – one person I know made major investments in a precious metals company, based on the recommendation of a radio talk-show host. I really feel badly for him. He had a string of bad luck and this compounded it royally.

        1. fluffy*

          For Y2k, I bought 3 boxes of kitchen matches, a dozen discounted (and ugly) candles , and a bottle of lamp oil. I used up the matches last year, and have half a candle left. Now if I could only remember where I put the lamp oil . . .

  3. The Cosmic Avenger*

    Well, we survived six teen/tween girls having a sleepover last night. Luckily for us, they’re all good kids, but geez, the volume level was painful sometimes. I didn’t want to ask them to keep it down because I tried to stay out of their way and let them enjoy themselves without having to be self-conscious or anything. :)

    1. nep*

      How nice of you to let them have their space and enjoy themselves. Man I’ll bet you’re glad that’s over.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Oh so glad. I think I’ll be going to sleep a couple of hours early tonight.

        It just defies the laws of physics how having five guests can be twenty times louder than one or two. :D

        1. Mimmy*

          Ha! Try being in a house of 19, 9 of which are ages 17 and under! Especially in my sister’s house, which has insane acoustics!

    2. Revanche*

      Hallelujah you made it :) it’s true, there’s an exponential increase in noise with each additional guest. Good of you to host.

    3. Leslie Knope's Waffle*

      I teach a group of 25 high schools once once a week. I had no idea how loud they could be and it took me a few weeks to get used to it. I don’t have have any kids myself either.

      I was a pretty quiet kid growing up so that maybe part of it too.

  4. CollegeAdmin*

    I’m a fairly picky eater and am now entering a relationship. How do people do this? Do you and your partner have really different opinions about food, and how do you navigate that?

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I’m an extremely picky eater (in my whole life, I’ve met about three people pickier than I am). My spouse, on the other hand, eats pretty much anything. People always ask us how we manage, and it’s actually quite simple. First of all, when we go out to eat, we order different things, and we never have to fight over a dish. Then, when we’re at home, we just cook separate stuff.

      Are you the kind of picky that you can’t find anything to eat at most restaurants?

      I survive okay, because unless it’s a strictly seafood restaurant or a steakhouse with no vegetarian options, I can usually find at least something to eat.

      1. CollegeAdmin*

        I should have been more specific in my question! I do just fine at restaurants, but I feel like if/when we’re cooking together it’ll be tough.

        1. the gold digger*

          My husband has so many food rules: nothing that ends in “erry,” nothing with “that orange flavor,” no beans but black beans, banana bread OK but banana pancakes no.

          (But he does like tripe, which is very much on my no way list.)

          I cook what I like to take to work for lunch and to eat when he’s not home. I cook stuff he likes (except tripe) when we are both eating of it.

          It is kind of a pain in the neck and is not made any easier by his desire to give me his opinion on food he does not like when I am making it for myself.

    2. Noah*

      I don’t think I’m that picky of an eater, but others would disagree. I don’t eat seafood, I hate the texture of most and find the smell revolting. Vegetables are hit or miss, usually ok if raw or if I prepare them but hate anything too mushy. I really dislike vinegar and mustard. The list goes on and on. :)

      Most restaurants are reasonably accommodating. I can almost always find something I will eat, even if it is off the kids menu. Maybe one night we hit up a seafood place I despise and I order chicken strips. The next one we go for Mexican food, which I love, and they pick something they will eat but not love. Sometimes you have to compromise a bit.

    3. BRR*

      I’m not sure how picky you are or how pick your partner is. I would say something to watch out for is just saying no to everything. So if your partner is not picky and keeps suggesting places or dishes and you say no to everything it’s going to be frustrating. I would try to be the one who suggests what to eat then. Saying no without alternatives is annoying.

      If you are both picky you might need to just make a list of restaurants that works for both of you and earthier cook your own meals or make a list of dishes you both like.

      1. Ms Kyle*

        Yes, this! My boyfriend is picky and celiac (a winning combo, to be sure) and I just get so tired of getting shot down. We’ve been together about a year and a half now, and we have some go-to dishes that I know he will eat, which makes it easier, but it drove me so crazy at the beginning of our relationship, and really does still bother me.

    4. danr*

      My wife and I were picky eaters when we met. We had some common ground in what we ate and didn’t. We did make a point to try new foods. If it was family, we mentioned that the food was new and we would try some. We still look back and marvel at what we eat now.
      It’s different if you have a sensitivity to a food or an allergy. Then you are upfront about avoiding those foods and why.

      1. JB*

        Isn’t it funny how that happens? My sister was super picky when she was younger, and now she’ll eat just about anything. She just decided one day in her 20s that she was going to have to go to a lot of catered work lunches over the years, and so she’d have to suffer a lot if she didn’t have more foods that she liked. She followed her friend’s advice to always try every new food 5 times (maybe prepared different ways) because sometimes you don’t like something at first because it’s too different or you aren’t used to the texture. And she made an effort to stop deciding that she just didn’t like something and instead told herself that she didn’t like it *yet*. Stuff that made her gag when she was younger is now some of her favorite stuff. And it helps that taste buds change over time.

        Obviously this doesn’t work for everyone, but for some people changing your mindset about it helps a lot.

        1. Shay*

          Interesting, I kind of went the other way. When I was younger, I would eat a variety of food “just to try it”, and I’d try it again even if I got sick. As a result, there are now very few foods I like, BUT a lot of foods that I tolerate. I don’t like them, would rather not eat them, but I don’t hate them either. But there are only a handful of foods I actually enjoy.

    5. TCO*

      I’m a vegetarian; my partner is a devoted carnivore. We also have pretty different tastes in general–I can be rather picky. It’s not a big deal at home. Sometimes we cook/eat the same thing and sometimes different things. There’s enough common ground that we have plenty of options when we want to share the same meal.

      Restaurants can be a little harder; there are some places I really can’t find anything to eat. My husband sometimes finds it a little annoying but there are always plenty of places we can both go. It becomes more challenging when we’re traveling and don’t know what the local options are.

      When my partner or I really like a place the other one doesn’t like, no big deal. We’ll go there with other friends and family instead of each other. If your new significant other is even halfway patient and flexible, this is an easy difference to overcome. Good luck!

    6. Hummingbird*

      I have only found one person in my life who is worse than I am when it comes to eating (and drinking for that matter – I refuse to drink alcohol).

      A boyfriend from a long time ago was okay with it for a little while, but every once in a while he’d make a snarky comment. His comment was about us not going on cruises because I wouldn’t like the food and I don’t drink. His father even chimed in a couple of times. If they’re willing to accommodate (meaning that we’ll find a restaurant where I can find one thing I like and make sure it isn’t seafood), then everything is all right. But if my boyfriend – or anyone else for that matter – starts to bully me for my habit, then I remove them from my life. It’s a vice I have to live with, but I don’t need any noise from the peanut gallery.

      I’m usually pretty easy going with traditional stuff – spaghetti, hamburgers, steak, chicken, etc. Veggies I’ll mostly eat; fruits not so much. Like others have said, it is a compromise, but if they start making fun of me, it’s over.

    7. Revanche*

      I’m the pickier eater and we compromise. We try to pick things we both like to share (we won’t cook separate meals as a general rule) and I will both try to learn to like one new food every couple of years as well as cook the stuff my husband likes just for him occasionally. And he eats all the beans I won’t touch.

    8. Tris Prior*

      My partner is fairly picky – though, he used to be a LOT worse before we got together. I am vegetarian but otherwise am fairly adventurous and like to try new things.

      It can be frustrating sometimes, I will admit. My best advice is that if you are picky, then YOU make the suggestion about, say, where to go out to eat. Rather than just saying no to everything that is suggested. The worst is when we’re trying to make dinner plans and it goes like:

      me: “How about ____?”
      him: {pained look}
      me: “OK, what about ____?”
      him: “Let’s look up their menu online” {looks} “mehhhhh…”
      me: “OK, well, what are YOU in the mood for?”
      him: “I dunno….”

      It’d be a lot easier if he told me what he would like to eat rather than focusing on what he does not want. And, like I said, this has gotten a lot better over the years.

      And to be fair, there have been plenty of occasions where we’ve been traveling somewhere less liberal than our hometown, where I am the one who’s making things hard because we can’t find vegetarian options.

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        I feel your pain, hubby’s the pickier eater but he always wants me to choose where we’ll eat. I tell him I’ll eat anything (which I do) so if we go somewhere he’s not into, he won’t complain, but he just picks at his food which I find just as annoying.

      2. BRR*

        I have had that conversation so many times. My husband isn’t even picky, just more indecisive. My first step is asking what he wants. Similarly that doesn’t work. I can usually tell what he won’t want and what’s just neutral and so I just say I’m getting dinner at X I will pick you up something if you want or you can get your own dinner. Either he agrees or says he’s more in the mood for Y.

      3. fposte*

        Oh, no, that breaks the basic rule–if you veto, it’s on you to make the next suggestion. It’s not fair for one person always to be responsible for offering stuff and the other to have the right of approval or no.

    9. Andrea*

      Chime in from the outside. My BFF is the picky eater and it can make everyone’s life a pain. It becomes about the picky eater and not about celebrating or going out. So, a group is reduced to what she finds acceptable. Every time. I’m a vegetarian and I make it a point not to be driving the group’s food choices. I can eat sides or a salad at a steak house. I do my share of compromising to not make it about me. Pickiness that drives everything is a downer. Compromise and don’t make it the gun at everyone else’s head.

    10. Lore*

      My SO will try anything I cook but his preferences are a little pickier than mine. Generally he’ll make a simple entree and a side and if I want an additional or more complicated side I’ll bring it. He also stocks condiments that I like for me. I can usually tell when he really likes something I’ve tried because he’ll ask for the recipe. If he doesn’t I might not make that for him again. The only hard part is that he doesn’t like seafood (he will eat fish but not shrimp or other shellfish) and I do. So I have a coy

    11. Elder Dog*

      Are you a “picky eater” or a super-taster? There often isn’t a difference.
      The big thing is don’t call yourself names and don’t let your partner call you names.
      …And of course, don’t call your partner names.

    12. jamlady*

      My husband is the pickiest! And I love all food (seriously, anything and everything). It was annoying at first, but we figured it out. He hates most Asian cuisine, so I end up getting it with friends/family/coworkers. The restaurants we both love are fine because he orders everything SO special and I order as-is so the waitstaff/chefs aren’t too annoyed with us haha. For cooking at home, we usually make 2 versions (i.e. he will only do meat sauce for spaghetti so I make a big batch of noodles, some meat sauce, and then separate the sauce into two pans and add all of my millions of vegetables in mine).

      It seriously annoyed me at first, but I’ve watched him try EVERYTHING (two or more times) and he just can’t do 95% of what he tries. I don’t care anymore (more curry for me, y’all) but you just have to find your way around it.

    13. OhNo*

      I have a lot of friends that have dietary restrictions — vegetarian, vegan, lactose-intolerant, can’t eat pork, etc. My suggestion would be to be open about exactly what you like to eat, what you will eat, and what you can eat (those categories may or may not have some overlap, and some will be longer lists than others).

      Then, just be prepared to find stuff you don’t like or won’t eat in your partner’s fridge, be ready to do the cooking sometimes (but not all the time — that’s not fair). If you can, teach your SO how to cook some dishes that you really like, or how to make modifications to dishes they already know how to cook (like subbing oil for butter, or using gluten-free pasta instead of regular). And definitely keep take-out or delivery menus around for any restaurants you can/will eat at for nights when no one feels like cooking but you still have to eat!

    14. Natalie*

      I’m a somewhat picky eater and my man will try basically anything once. It works for us because I do most of the cooking (he’s an all right cook, but I’m better and I enjoy it more). But, there are things he doesn’t like that I love. We both take the other completely at their word when they say they don’t like something. I figure we’re in our 30s and we know by now that we really hate mushrooms or fish or whatever.

    15. Victoria, Please*

      Chuckle. I’m not particularly proud of this, but a picky eater would be a deal-breaker for me almost as serious as a smoker. My husband will eat anything, but it has to be well-made; he won’t tolerate bad food — which is annoying because damn, you can’t always have Michelin stars in the kitchen — but at least he’ll try the strangest weird stuff. I would be the Bitch Mom from Hell if I had picky eater kids.

      1. ptrish*

        This is me, too. Also not proud of it, but trying new foods, both out and at home, is really important to me. My SAH dad did not permit picky eating–we ate together as a family every night and if we didn’t like the meal, too bad. I spent a lot of time staring at nearly-full plates.

      2. Lia*

        I broke up with someone in large part due to their eating habits. We all have our hills to die on. I like all kinds of food and the inflexibility former partner showed wound up being too much to overcome, particularly since other parts of the relationship were not good enough to outweigh it.

      3. Liz in a Library*

        I think some of it depends on where the pickiness comes from. My husband used to be much pickier than he is now (though he still has his moments), and it was largely driven by an unwillingness to try anything unfamiliar. That drove me nuts, because his familiar was pretty much limited to unseasoned baked chicken, hamburgers, and pizza (thanks to his mom’s very limited cooking while he was growing up). I insisted he at least try things I made…and he discovered a whole world of foods he loves! (He also discovered a food allergy he was never aware of!) His current pickiness is truly related to things he doesn’t like the taste/texture of, which is way more reasonable to me than “It wasn’t a hamburger.”

    16. JPixel*

      I’m a somewhat picky eater. I can pretty much always find something I like on a restaurant menu, but I am sometimes apprehensive about going to someone’s house for dinner. I was pretty up front about it with my husband, who will eat anything, and it hasn’t been much of an issue. I do most of the cooking, but we also dine out or get takeout frequently. I figure when we eat out, it’s his opportunity to eat the things I normally wouldn’t cook. Occasionally, we’ll make separate meals or I’ll make him something that I know I’m not going to eat. My mom used to tease me that one day I was going to meet someone and have to go to his parents’ house for dinner and what would happen when I didn’t like anything on the table. As luck (?) would have it, my husband’s parents live on the other side of the country, and if we ever visit them we go out to eat, so I guess I dodged that bullet! Ha!

    17. INTP*

      This is kind of a sensitive topic for me, because I grew up with a stepdad who is extremely picky and didn’t get to go to non-chain restaurants or anything very often. And my mom can hardly cook because he won’t eat anything and will get really freaked out if it even smells like someone has browned garlic and onions in the past few hours. I like food and I’m just not going to sign up for that for life – if someone is that level of a picky eater we just aren’t compatible. And I also am pescetarian (with limit on the seafood I’ll eat, so for practical purposes, vegetarian) who may need to be gluten free long term so I have my own limits on restaurants that mean I often can’t find anywhere mutually agreeable with someone who is meat-and-potatoes picky.

      Anyways, if we can find mutually agreeable restaurants for the dating stage and we can eat kind of the same things, it’ not a big deal. I dated a guy who ate meat and didn’t like my favorite vegetables, I would cook eggplant and he would cook a piece of meat and we would share a salad and a dessert. It was no big deal. I don’t know if I even like the idea of feeling like I need to eat the same meal as someone else most nights in a marriage situation, haha – I am long-term single and deciding on exactly what I feel like is something I enjoy. But if we won’t eat even the same side dishes or go to the same restaurants I don’t know if that would work.

    18. Leslie Knope's Waffle*

      My boyfriend is admittedly a pretty picky eater – he grew up in the South and likes traditional southern fare. I grew up trying a lot of different types of food and will pretty much give anything a try at least once. I love trying new restaurants and he isn’t always open about particular places. He will make a “face” and I will know that I will have to go that restaurant with friends who are more open-minded.

      That being said, I’ve recently realized that I’ve been giving him a really hard time about not being open-minded about trying new foods. I will joke around with him but honestly – I think it’s more hurtful to him. So I’ve been trying to be more aware of this and watch what I say. Has anyone else experienced this?

      1. Treena Kravm*

        I haven’t experienced it, but I could see myself doing it if an intimate partner didn’t want to try foods “just because.” It’s one thing if you can’t eat it for ethical, religious, or dietary reasons, or even if you’ve tried it and know you dislike it. But something new that you’re just afraid of trying? Yea, I’m going to silently judge you. And if we’re close, it may not be so silent. It sounds like you’re more worried about preserving the relationship, so you’re aiming to not hurt his feelings. But for me, that would be a deal-breaker, so that wouldn’t be my goal.

        Something similar that I deal with: my husband hates driving. So for going out to eat, there are 35+ restaurants in walking distance, but sometimes I want to go to a place that requires a short drive and he’ll make that face. I just know ahead of time whether or not I want to use my “capital” to force him to drive and that factors into whether or not I even ask. He knows reasonably that we can’t stick to only walking-distance restaurants, but I have to balance that by not over-doing it. But the key is that he sometimes goes to the place I want to and he doesn’t complain about it. Now, he even plans a date as a surprise and proudly announces that we’re going to drive there. If that wasn’t the case, then I wouldn’t tolerate it. It’s the back and forth that make random quirks ok.

        1. C Average*

          How come you don’t drive? Just curious.

          I’m not a very confident city driver because I grew up out in the sticks, so my husband does most of the around-town driving. I’m extremely at home driving the back roads, though, so when we go see my parents in Idaho or go on backpacking trips, I tend to do all the driving, because that kind of driving makes my Boston-bred husband road-ragey.

          1. Treena Kravm*

            To reduce emissions. He’s an environmental nut. We do drive, taking quite a few road trips, but it still makes him cranky. I do most of the driving then, unless I’m too tired. Sometimes I will force him to do some driving so he can keep his skills fresh.

    19. GOG11*

      My boyfriend is an extremely picky eater and the problem is compounded by food allergies (so, many things he doesn’t like, and many other things he simply can’t have). We either cook our own food, or we cook enough of foods we both like and share and then supplement those with other foods. For example, we both like pasta, but he just wants plain marinara. I like to eat it with shrimp with lemon, a homemade veggie ragout, or with some other topping he won’t eat, so we make and share the pasta and make our own toppings. He and I like mac and cheese, so he’ll make it and I’ll mix a generous portion of broccoli in mine.

      He’s honestly so lovely I don’t mind at all. He and I both acknowledge that we compromise or that one of us has exactly what we want one time only to have it reciprocated later. It’s easy to give up a meal here or there (i.e., at a restaurant I like but which doesn’t have much for him to eat) when I know he will gladly do the same for me at another time.

      TL;DR, we share what we hold in common, supplement that with what each of us individually likes, and sometimes we suck it up for the other because both of us are happy and willing to reciprocate later on.

      1. GOG11*

        Oh, and another thing that helps us is that I respect his limitations and view them as legitimate (instead of just saying well he shouldn’t be so picky). I have gotten to know what he doesn’t like about certain foods, whether it’s taste, texture or something else, and I introduce new foods that he may like based on his preferences. Because I use his tastes/preferences as guidelines, I’ve been able to find foods that he really does like that he never would have tried before. He now trusts my judgement because he knows I will respect his wishes. He’s found a few new foods that I really enjoy because of that trust and his willingness to try things that I give him.

        1. C Average*

          On behalf of all picky eaters, thank you for being understanding about this. My texture-related pickiness is honestly not an affectation designed to make me a pain in the ass to my loved ones. When I try to eat foods with certain textures, it’s like my throat closes up and I can feel my gag reflex kicking in. I really just can’t. I wish I could. Every few years I force myself to retry yogurt, oatmeal, hummus, salad dressing, ketchup, etc., and I just really, really can’t. It’d make my life so much simpler if I could learn to tolerate condiments and other slimy-textured foods.

          1. Stephanie*

            Yeah, I’m sort of with you on the slimy foods. (I can eat semi-slimy foods like hummus or Greek yogurt as long as there is some grit or heft.)

            I realized later on (as in like five years ago), that that was unidentified lactose intolerance and I wasn’t connecting that the nausea/gas/bloating was due to the alfredo sauce (or whatever).

            I felt horrible once at my friend’s house when her mom gave me some fettuccine alfredo and I just could not eat it. I didn’t know how to explain my pickiness.

    20. C Average*

      I’m picky in just a couple of extremely narrow ways, but they do limit me at times.

      When I began dating my now-husband, I was really honest about my quirk. I don’t like condiments. Any condiments. When I order a sandwich or burger, I’m very particular about having it plain and dry. So I sometimes sound like the Meg Ryan character in “When Harry Met Sally” when I’m placing an order. (In fact, that’s how I described my issue when I told him about it.) I try to be good-natured about being teased about it, and I always discreetly bring a granola bar to family gatherings so that if there’s nothing that works for my tastes, I can eat around the edges and push my food around on the plate and then eat something I do like.

      Other than this quirk, I’m not too awfully picky. I absolutely won’t eat things past their use-by date, but most people are OK with that.

      I refer to my husband as Dog Boy, because he will eat anything–seriously, absolutely anything, including things of very questionable provenance and age. It boggles my mind.

  5. Sarahnova*

    So an update on my post from ages ago about struggling on maternity leave: I did end up being treated for postnatal depression but I’m now doing much better and getting involved in a lot of activities, spending time with mum friends etc. My son is now much easier to manage as well at age 17 weeks and I’m really enjoying spending time with him. It really does get a lot better after 12 weeks! :) hang in there, new mummies.

    1. jamlady*

      Wonderful to hear! My sister just had her second child about 7 weeks ago and she’s going through the really rough period right now, but she said it’s better than it was with her first child, mostly because she remembers all of the things she did the first time (like your outings with your friends and activity involvement) and the reminders are very helpful and motivate her to do them again this post-pregnancy. All the best to you and your little boo :)

      1. Sarahnova*

        I swear exercise is so important too. I was working out 4 times a week right up until I gave birth and I think not exercising for weeks afterwards contributed heavily to a serotonin crash. I’m now going to Buggyfit and pre/postnatal training again. I’d advise any new mum to get out walking as soon as she can.

        1. jamlady*

          My sister is just now getting into exercising a bit, but it’s a slow go. Her new baby is the total opposite of her first and wants to be held constantly and she only wants mama haha. It’s been easier also this time around because she’s breastfeeding better – she absolutely tortured herself over it with her first when he just wasn’t taking. It helps also to try and remember what works for you is what works for you – outside pressure is the woooorst.

          1. Sarahnova*

            Good luck to her! A fabric sling is GREAT for the clingy newborn. I got a ton of use out of mine.

  6. Noah*

    Does anyone else love helping people but then feel taken advantage of? I let my sister borrow a car in December after their’s was totaled. I have two, and it seemed like a reasonable thing while they figured out exactly what to do. Their plan was to use their tax return to buy a car. Now they want to buy my car and make payments, I said no. Apparently their tax return was less than they were expecting and they say they cannot find a good quality car within their budget.

    I have a Jeep and a smaller daily commuter, they’ve been borrowing the Jeep. I put a lot of money into it and now that it is spring and the weather is warm I want to use it. For the moment we are going to swap, so they have the smaller car and I have the Jeep, but my plan is to tell her she has 3 months to figure something out. Part of me feels like that is mean, but another part feels like it is mine and I want to use it since I paid for it.

    Doesn’t help that my mom is pushing me to sell my sister one of the cars. I wouldn’t mind it so much if they had the money and could buy it outright, but I really don’t want to get into the position of demanding money from them monthly while they make payments. Both cars are relatively new (the Jeep is a 2012, the Mazda a 2014) and for them to make monthly payments would take years.

    Not really asking for advice as much as venting. I think 3 additional months, which makes it a total of 6+ months is more than reasonable for them to figure something out.

    1. BRR*

      I agree with everything. 3 more months is enough time to make a plan (it may not be an ideal plan but to at least get a plan). Having a payment plan is a terrible idea waiting to happen. It might lead to tension now but far better than if they missed payments.

      1. Shay*

        Yeah, I would really caution against the payment plan. I feel like Mom is hoping you (Noah) will eventually stop demanding the payments you’re rightfully owed, and just hand over the car with whatever balance still remains. I think you’ve been more than fair, and done a favor, and now they want to take advantage of your generosity.

    2. fposte*

      I think the way to keep finding it enjoyable to help people is to have clear limits on that help, so I totally agree with the notion that the free loan of a car is not a forever thing.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I think your instincts are right. Your sister asked for something specific, and then instead of thanking you and finding a way out, once she was done with it she asked you for more than you had agreed. This would bother me especially if she put me on the spot about changing the terms. A decent person would be appropriately contrite about asking for more when you had just done so much to help her out.

      In general, never loan more than you can afford to do without permanently, or you’re asking for grief. It sounds like you could get by with one vehicle, so just ask yourself if you’d be OK (upset, but basically OK) if she also totaled one of your vehicles. If not, just tell her you can’t help any longer, and you don’t want to discuss it any more.

    4. Revanche*

      I have a long history of this with my family and it’s been a lot of years of frustration. From having been burned (even on the specific scenario of paying for a car and taking payments from my unreliable sibling), setting clear limits and sticking to it is a really good idea.

      Three months is perfectly fine for someone who is gainfully employed to figure out a solution that doesn’t rely on using your resources as their own just because they’re there. And honestly, it should also be motivation for her to keep working and be responsible for herself. After all, what would she do if you weren’t in the picture? “Borrowing from sibling” should not be anyone’s lifelong backup plan as it turned into my sibling’s.

    5. Puddin*

      Never sell something or lend money to a relative that you cannot afford (mentally or financially) to give away for free.

      You are being totally reasonable. They need to learn to operate within their budget.

      1. the gold digger*

        Never sell something or lend money to a relative that you cannot afford (mentally or financially) to give away for free.

        I lent a few thousand dollars to my brother (who was working and had the money to do fun things) many years ago. He was supposed to deposit the monthly payments, plus interest, directly into my bank account. (I was living outside the US at the time and got the statements late.) I discovered he skipped a few months. I was really ticked – he ended up paying the whole thing, but he didn’t honor the deal.

        A few years ago, he had been out of work for a while and was having some medical problems. This time, I decided I was just going to give him $2,000. A gift. Not a loan. A loan would have ticked me off too much.

      2. ExceptionToTheRule*

        Yes to all of what Puddin said.

        My brother was going through a divorce and needed a new (to him) vehicle but did not qualify for a loan. Our parent paid for a decent late model used vehicle with the understanding that he would make regular payments of an amount they determined together that he could afford.

        He made three payments in six months and then stopped. That was four years ago.

    6. Is This Legal*

      I’ve always kept 2 cars and someone always has the need to borrow. It’s not so much about lending the car but it’s about them returning my car. Next time you give someone state the return date so it doesn’t get awkward when you demand it.

    7. Elder Dog*

      If you get pushed into letting your sister buy your car, insist she go get a loan from a bank or credit union, pay you Market Value for the car (have it appraised!) and she can make payments to the bank.

      Don’t let your sister make payments to you. She’ll have the car as collateral on the loan so should have little problem getting the loan.

      If she can’t get a loan from a bank, let your mother co-sign if she thinks it’s still some kind of family obligation.

      1. Elder Dog*

        Oh, and it’s not mean to expect your sister to pay her own way. It sounds like she’s married (you said ‘they’) so there’s two incomes (or could be) there. Why are they asking you to pick up their slack?

      2. Shay*

        Yes, this. I knew someone who sold his house to his son and daughter-in-law (son’s wife), and they had the loan drawn up through a bank with a small interest rate. Do not just do it on the fly, without paperwork. Small banks and credit unions will usually work with you on this, if you decide to go that route — the scenario you describe is not that unusual.

        As for the family obligation, I’ve known so many people who felt obligated to be extremely generous and do enormous favors for relatives/family. Especially if the relatives are married and have children, while the person is single and/or has no children. I do not believe there is any such obligation, you (Noah) have gone well above and beyond the call of duty here.

      3. Noah*

        My sister is married, with two kids. Both her and her husband work. They only had one car before the accident, so they are still sharing one with the one I loaned them. I haven’t asked, and no one has told me, but I assume they are having trouble getting a loan without a large enough down payment that the tax return was supposed to provide. I like the idea below a gifting a few thousand dollars towards a down payment.

        No one is going to push me into letting her buy my car. The Jeep is not being sold and the Mazda is readily available for them to go out and buy at a dealership if they so chose.

        1. Jen S. 2.0*

          It sounds like they aren’t distinguishing wants from needs. Their tax refund plus any lump sum from their totaled car likely can provide the car they need…just not the car they want.

    8. fposte*

      Additionally, I’m casting a side-eye at your mom for getting involved in this. If mom’s so keen that sister has a car, mom can give sister a car. This has the faint odor of enabling attached.

      1. BRR*

        I wonder if this is similar to a parent thinking their children need to share with each other.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Agreed. This is none of mom’s business. You guys are all adults. And there is no reason why you should play a parental role (finance a car) for your sibling.

      3. Noah*

        Talked to my dad earlier today, apparently he already vetoed the idea of my parents buying her a car. He said he doesn’t mind helping but my sister and her husband need to find the car they want and ask for help, not just expect it to drop into their lap.

    9. blessings of the state, blessings of the masses*

      Tough call, with it being family. It’s not obvious how much your sister’s family relies on having a vehicle. Will they spiral into unemployment and homelessness without it?

      I wouldn’t “play bank” and let them make payments. This is just me, but – if this is one of those times when family reaches out and helps family – I’d just give my sister two or three thousand dollars towards a car, and be done with it. I’d think of it as “cashing out” of the game. Because this sure sounds like some kind of game / drama that I’d want no part of.

      1. Noah*

        They need a car. The city we live in has minimal public transit and my sister works nights when nothing is available. I like the idea of gifting them a few thousand and plan to go that route when I tell her she has three months. I just looked on Craigslist and you can buy a reasonable car for $3k.

        1. Buu*

          What strikes me here is the phrase:
          “and they say they cannot find a good quality car within their budget.”
          Of course they can have a better car if they just get yours, either cheap or via loan or via you gifting them the money. Ask them what their budget is an then link them to some cars in that budget ( they would have to have one if they actually intended to pay you back). But yeah I would put the foot down and this and be firm with the deadline, it sounds mean but if they are living somewhere where you need a car and can’t afford one there is something wrong with their budget.

          1. C Average*

            +1 more

            Dave Ramsey and I occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum, but I have huge respect for the kind, intelligent, common-sense financial advice he dishes out on his radio show. I followed his plan to debt freedom and recommend him enthusiastically to others.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        If OP does get bamboozled into holding the note on the car, OP can then say, this is the first and last time this will ever happen. And optionally add, that she will not be loaning her cars out, either.

        I would not drop the hammer like that, but it sounds like sis has already proven she can’t keep her word on making payments.

    10. Dynamic Beige*

      “I put a lot of money into it (the Jeep)”

      Aside from what everyone else has said about not going along with this plan your sister proposes and getting Mom to co-sign if she feels family should help out here — did you do this work yourself? I mean, are you handy with cars? If you are, you could offer that you will go with them to a used lot and check it out. A friend of mine had a family member who had a garage so they were always buying great used cars, they had someone who knew what to look for. If you’re careful, there are a lot of new-to-you/turned in after the lease was over cars that aren’t bad (or so I’ve been told, but I have no clue). If you didn’t do this work yourself but have a mechanic you trust, can you speak to them on your sister’s behalf? While a new car might be ideal, it sounds like she can’t afford it and you want your loaner back, so they need something. With the right guidance, they can get what they need and it might happen a lot quicker than 3 months (but that’s still a good deadline to enforce).

    11. catsAreCool*

      If your sister is reliable about paying monthly payments, that’s one thing. It sounds like she might not be.

    12. Lucy Eleanor Moderatz*

      I’m confused as to why their budget isn’t big enough. Presumably, if their car was totaled, they received a lump sum, right? Plus even a tiny refund would be more than enough for at least a $3k car, or a deposit for a more expensive one. Is the problem that they can’t qualify for a loan? Or are they just wanting a more expensive car and are hoping you’ll foot the bill?

      1. Lamb*

        In the US, there are states where you don’t have to have car insurance at all (New Hampshire comes to mind). Even in a state where you do have to have insurance, the sister could have been in the situation I was in when I moved with my old clunker; the insurance agent pointed out that it wasn’t worth much more than the deductible, so if it was enough damage to claim, then the car would probably be totaled anyway. He set me up with a policy with no collision, higher coverage for something else, and still saved me some money.

        1. JB*

          Yes, it could be something like this. My sister has a car that’s 15 years old and looks it. It has very very little value from the perspective of insurance. What she’d get from insurance if it was totaled wouldn’t be enough for even a decent deposit on a new car. And yet it still runs great. If she had to rely on insurance, there’s no telling what she’d get in return, and it’s certainly no guarantee she’d be able to find another car with a similar monetary value but that runs so well.

    13. Lamb*

      If your sister had gotten a rental car when hers was totaled, an insurance claim would have probably covered the rental for two weeks, maybe a few days more if the assessor was delayed in declaring the car totaled, but it would be unusual for them to cover 1 month and practically unheard of to cover the three months that you have already freely provided your car. I say this to back you up that you are not being mean by wanting your car back.
      (If you want more back up, or want evidence for your sister or your mom of how much help you’ve already been, find out what car insurance company your sister has and call up a local rental car place. Say “I’m insured through X company, I haven’t filed a claim yet, but I might be getting some bodywork done next month and I was wondering what X company’s daily rate would be for something the size of [sister’s totaled car]?” If you want you can even follow up with asking how much a Jeep-sized SUV would be, because that would definitely cost more than a regular four-door sedan. You need to specify you need the rate through an insurance company X claim because 1- insurance co.s have fixed rates, where as rates for a personal rental change by supply and demand and 2- different insurance companies get different rates from the same rental car company)

  7. T*

    I’m not sure if this is REALLY work related, so if not just let me know and I’ll save it for next Friday.

    How do you send an email to an old instructor basically asking them out for coffee/lunch to catch up (don’t worry there is NOTHING romantic going on here at all)? I finished my program almost a year ago and I’m currently working in my first job in the field. I’d really like to meet with my instructor again to kind of pick her brain about where to go from here in the future, because ideally I’d like to find a way to get into another area of the field. We went out for lunch in October at her suggestion, because I think she noticed I was getting a bit depressed and she wanted to give me a bit of a “pep talk.” I don’t know how to word an email like this, I’d really like to ask her more about the field, talk to her about my job, ask her how her year has been this year, how she’s doing with her PhD, etc. Is there a way to ask this without sounding like a freak?

    1. Lizzie*

      I totally think there is! Send her an email with a brief update on how your job is going at the moment and say you’d love to get together for lunch/coffee and (exactly as you put it) pick her brain about your next steps. I still keep in touch with my former university internship supervisor for precisely the same reasons.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      You won’t sound like a freak! I’ve had lunch or coffee with former colleagues and teachers many times. I recently had an hour-long catch-up with a professor from grad school during which he said, “Why haven’t you called me? You were one of my good ones!” I regret not getting in touch sooner. Totally email her and say you’d love to get coffee and catch up. You’ve had lunch before, so the door is already wide open.

  8. CA Admin*

    We had another blow up with the family who lives above us. The kids had been stomping/jumping up and down/throwing things last night, so we knocked on the ceiling to get them to stop. The dad came down and starting screaming at my husband and then started kicking and hitting our door when he wouldn’t open it and engage. It took threatening to call the cops to get him to stop.

    I’m not sure what to do. We’ve been keeping a log of all the disturbances and we don’t go up there to ask them to stop anymore. We try and communicate exclusively through our building manager. They’re just impossible. It’s been really nice, weather-wise, but they don’t take their kids out to play. They seem to think we’re trying to get them kicked out of the building, which we’re not. We just want the jumping/running/screaming to stop.

    Every time there’s a blowup, they accuse us of being loud, terrible neighbors, but we’ve had exactly one complaint in the 3 years we’ve been here (21 Jump Street has lots of explosions and the bass was too much–we fixed it). Apparently our knocking on the ceiling to get them to stop with the 3-ring circus up there is more disruptive than 2 hours of continuous pan-banging by 3 small kids?

    Background: our neighbors upstairs have two 3 year olds and a 5 year old and don’t appreciate being asked to parent. They never take them out to play, they think making tons of noise at all hours is ok. They call it discrimination any time we ask their kids not to run up and down on the stairs past our windows, causing so much noise that the glassware and windows shake. She’s a lawyer and he’s a bully. Neither of them think that they can ask their kids not to run/jump/scream inside or on the stairs next to our window because “she’s 5, what can we do?”. I dunno, set boundaries and try to parent?

    1. Noah*

      Continue complaining to the building manager, and realize the only way to actually fix it might be to move. Based on what you’ve written here it sounds like you have cause to break the lease because the issue is continuing despite complaints.

      1. CA Admin*

        No lease, we’re month-to-month. Unfortunately, moving to a comparable place in the neighborhood would mean paying an extra $800 per month minimum on rent, since we’re in a rent controlled unit. We live in the Bay Area and prices have just exploded. We’re putting that extra money toward saving for a down payment on a house, so this won’t go on forever, but if we want the house, then we can’t really afford to move until it’s time to buy.

        1. BRR*

          Are they renting as well? There has got to be some clause in your leases. If you leave does apt go to market rate?

          1. CA Admin*

            Yes, they’re also renting, but the entire building is month-to-month, so no real leases. Even if there were, we’re in Oakland, so eviction is almost impossible. I love the renter protection laws here, but it makes it hard to get rid of bad seeds like the people upstairs. And yes, if you leave, the unit goes up to market price, which is why they make eviction so tough–so that unscrupulous landlords don’t kick out long-time tenants to cash in on higher prices.

            1. BRR*

              My thought was there’s no interest in improving your situation. In a way your upstairs neighbors are doing the landlord a favor.

            2. Boogles*

              What about asking to have sound proofing applied to your ceiling or beneath their floor?

        2. Noah*

          Well that certainly complicates things. Unfortunately, without the leverage of saying you’ll move out there is not much incentive for your landlord to do anything. In fact, he might be hopeful that you’ll move so the rent can increase.

        3. Kethryvis*

          i live in the Bay Area myself, and in a rent controlled apartment, so i really do know your pain!! We had a somewhat similar situation in my building recently. We had a young couple in one of our apartments who left all of their windows open all the time, the girl had one volume which was incredibly loud, and also didn’t seem to comprehend that a completely concrete courtyard + open windows + very loud voices = all of us knowing all of their business. The loudness was bad enough. The loud amorous activities during the evening were worse. When the domestic violence started, that’s where i threw in the towel. I lodged a complaint with the property manager, and then started calling the cops. It took one call to the cops and they moved out a week later. i wasn’t alone either; at least one other apartment in my building called, and i think another did as well. We were all also in touch with each other (it’s a small building) and with the property manager.

          Even though you don’t have a lease, you signed something when you moved in, see what it says about noise. Our building has kind of “quiet hours” that start at like 10 or 11 on weeknights and midnight on weekends; so no continuous super loud noises after those times. See if your paperwork has something similar, and hold your building manager to it.

          Good luck!

    2. nep*

      Oh yikes. That is a huge drag. Indeed — it’s grating to hear a parent give that kind of response (‘what can we do?’).

      1. CA Admin*

        Seriously–that’s probably what I hate most. Most parents I know would be mortified to give that response to a neighbor because they actually like their kids and want them to grow into responsible/considerate adults.

    3. fposte*

      Oh, that’s so frustrating, I’m sorry.

      Honestly, though, I wouldn’t knock on a ceiling or wall–that’s what in psychology is known as a “harsh startup,” and if it’s with somebody you’re already at odds with, it’s only going to rile them up. It might feel satisfying in the moment, but the only thing it’s likely to do is make things worse. Stick to the building manager. And in the meantime, save, save, save.

          1. JB*

            Edited to add that you discovered that knocking doesn’t get you what you want but does escalate matters, so there’s really no point unless you want to have them kicking on your door.

    4. BRR*

      I’m not sure if you lease or own. Have you asked your building manger point blank, this isn’t tolerable what can be done? I would also have something set to record if they come down again. Also have you googled how to deal with terrible upstairs neighbors?

      Overall though I came to a conclusion a long time ago, you can’t win against an upstairs neighbor.

      1. CA Admin*

        We rent, but we’re saving to buy in the neighborhood. That’s still about 5 years away though, with housing prices and our current salaries, unfortunately.

        We’ve talked to the building manager, but unfortunately he’s still pretty new and not doing a good job of setting boundaries. We’ve lived here for 3 years and it’s always been a little tense with the family upstairs, but it got really bad just after the new manager started. We never complained about the babies crying (they’re babies, you can’t do anything), but now they’re kids who understand words and they’re still not trying.

        1. BRR*

          As you said above the “what can we do” is really aggravating. We live above others and the two times we’ve had people with kids over we try and keep them from making too much noise and their parents help. I feel bad because it was a losing battle but they’re not innocent. There’s a certain cost of doing business. It sounds like you need to press your building manager. He might be more scared of your neighbors than he is of you.

        2. HarryV*

          You can’t just talk to the building manager. Send a certified letter to the building manager the logs you put down. Include time of the disturbance and the length for which it goes on. Indication any physical / mental anguish you experience including loss of sleep, stress, or issues as work as a result. I do have to speak for the family though, I have a 6 year old and 4 year old and they are a bundle of energy. Likelihood is that they are trying but kids will be kids. Seems like both of you are benefiting from rent control hence no one wants to leave. However, you may be able to get enough evidence for the building manager to resolve the issue bu formally warning the family above.

    5. Andrea*

      1. Live with it.
      2. Ask them to do something actionable like get carpet with padding.
      3. Reprimand the kids–I find a very scary scowl is worth gold to the under 10 set–when they are in your space doing bad things.. Censoring kids is what community is supposed to do. Their actions may be curbed by getting bad feedback.
      4. Tape what it sounds like and share with the manager.
      5. Call in a noise complaint. We had domestic abuse above us and called 311 a few times when the shouting matches got too bad.

    6. Elder Dog*

      Don’t threaten to call the cops. Call them. After they deal with him, tell the cops everything, show them your documentation, and ask for help. Tell them your concerns about their care of their children.
      These people are pushing you out of your home. This is what police do.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        I agree with this, you’ve given them ample warnings and tried to be nice about it. And set something up to record the noise. An iPad/cameraphone/tape recorder anything. No one is going to understand without an example (or several) how bad it gets and how long it goes on for. If you call the cops, they show up and all of a sudden it’s quiet as churchmice upstairs… what are you going to do? Yeah, it’s going to take an already strained relationship and make it more strained but there are limits to how much people can endure of anything.

      2. Buu*

        yes call them, I had a problem with a neighborhood kid swearing and following me down the road after I told him off for smoking at a public bus stop ( smoke was going into my face, and the kid smoking was about 12!). I got worried he’d seen me going to my parents house and would start on my Dad ( who isn’t well). I called the station and made an appointment to see a police officer. He was actually really understanding and told me if the kid ever started again I was to call the emergency number!

      3. Lucy Eleanor Moderatz*

        I do agree that you should call, but I think a lot of people suggesting this are expecting cops to actually show up. And yea, they won’t. This is not what Oakland police do.

    7. Steve G*

      What city are you in? I’m going through the same thing now in NYC except the people aren’t rude, they are just very loud, and they are OK with it (if one of them is playing music in one room, the other one can be sleeping in the other, it just doesn’t seem to bother them).

      I don’t have much advice, fortunately mine are soon to be evicted, (after landlord rescinding the last eviction notice) when I gave notice to leave because I can afford to leave any day, and I do the garbage, mop the halls, do repairs, let in Con Ed to check the meter, do the garden, etc., and he knows I am a more valuable tenant….

      But I am sleeping in the dining room on the floor (because my bed is too big to move) now because that is the only room there aren’t runway shows going on at 630AM. Why the hell do you need to wear heels as soon as you get out of bed?? They make noise until midnight, then noise again from 6:30. It has seriously impacted my ability to function.

      Also, I have the same questions about their children. I slept from 9-7 when I was small, they have their kids up at all weird hours. I couldn’t sleep last Saturday because they were playing blocks on a hardwood floor over my head way past midnight. They are 2 and 5. WTF. Don’t keep your kids up until 1AM 2 nights per week so you can stay up late. And like you said, why don’t these people take their kids out to play – on day trips, to the park, to the playground, anything.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Kids without bedtimes has been one of the most puzzling things I’ve seen from others while raising my own kids. As in, I think I’m the only person in my while family who gave my kids a regular, enforced bedtime. All my siblings allowed their children to stay up until they were ready to go to bed, even on school nights. And then, on occasions when they actually wanted to make the kids go to bed at a reasonable hour, they couldn’t pull it off, because the kids would throw a fit, having never before been made to do anything against their own will. It still baffles me to think of it. Making my kids take regular naps and have regular bedtimes was the only thing that preserved my sanity as a parent; I needed the downtime to charge my batteries.

    8. pinky*

      Go full on Dave Ramsey (google it), except don’t use the money to pay down debt, save like you are college kids, eat ramen and peanut butter, and save like crazy, and then buy the cheapest thing you can find.

      1. Onymouse*

        I know this comment was written in a good spirit, but I couldn’t help but shudder at the combination of “cheapest thing you can find” and “Oakland”.

    9. Grey*

      How many bedrooms do your upstairs neighbors have? If it’s fewer than 3, they might be violating occupancy standards.

    10. Lore*

      This may be a nutty or impractical solution…but if the apartments are the same size, would it be possible for you to switch without messing up your rent control status? Yeah, the kids would still be noisy from below but perhaps not quite as maddening and wouldn’t ever have to go past your apartment. Plus the parents might be grateful to have one less flight to traverse with three kids.

    11. EG*

      Check on your local noise ordinances or what the landlord is required to address. Filing formal complaints while remaining as polite as possible seems to be the only option unless you can find another place to live.

  9. Carrie in Scotland*

    Alison, I just tried to reply to a comment and suddenly my screen was taken over by an advert for ‘visit Ireland’. I use Chrome.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m sorry that ad problems are still popping up occasionally; it’s proved really hard to eliminate them 100%.

      I’m going to ask people to try to live with the occasional issue (the ads, while occasionally misbehaving, are paying for the constantly increasing costs of running the site), and if it becomes a real problem (meaning more than occasional) to email me about it rather posting here — it’s a lot easier for me to troubleshoot that way.

  10. Persephone Mulberry*

    Who here has bought CSA shares? Advice, tips?

    We really, really need to eat more veggies in my house, but I never know what to buy or what to do with it, and the variety, reviews and price seemed good, so I figured why not take at least part of the guesswork out of the equation. We went with the weekly half bushel box, and once a month they also add in goodies from a local butcher and a bakery that they’ve partnered with.

    We’re in the Midwest, so they won’t start delivering until June.

    1. fposte*

      I did for a year or two. I liked it, but the sticking point is the “what to do with it”–you need the time and energy to do it, even if your CSA does have suggested recipes (which I think is pretty common now). If you’re game for that challenge, it can be a nice way to broaden your produce horizons, and there’s something to be said about increasing the seasonality awareness–that you’re not going to get apples in June or strawberries in October.

    2. Tris Prior*

      I haven’t done CSAs because I’ve heard from others that it can be tough to deal with all of the vegetables before they go bad, especially if it’s stuff you’re not familiar with. You’ve got to really commit to taking the time to cook/chop/whatever, pretty much immediately. Some days after work I can barely motivate myself to fix a sandwich so I know I am not a good candidate!

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        This is what I’m afraid of and why I don’t belong to a CSA. I love to cook and I love to experiment with new veggies, but some weeks I just cannot bring myself to do it. We have an excellent, huge, year-round farmers’ market here that I am so thankful for, yet I already kick myself when I let some of that stuff go to waste.

      2. Noelle*

        That’s definitely been my experience. It’s hard having to deal with a huge box of vegetables that could all go bad within a week. My fiance and I managed it when he worked at home and I had a job with more reliable hours, but earlier this year we both got better (more demanding) jobs. The first month of my new job we hardly cooked at all and ended up with tons of rotten vegetables. Now I’m just buying the vegetables I know I will use at the grocery store.

    3. CA Admin*

      We do a veggie CSA that’s fantastic. We pick it up every 2 weeks and it forces us to learn new recipes and try new things. The produce is also super fresh and very tasty.

    4. Andrea*

      i did a split share and found it overwhelming and I’m a vegetarian. Too many greens that I would have to rush home, clean and cook. Now, I just take $20 each week to a farmer’s market and get what I want. I felt beholden to the pick up and variety.

    5. Trixie*

      As someone mentioned, ideally they’ll include recipe cards or online specific to what’s in season. If not, its easy enough to google “kale + summer squash + barley” to see what recipes pull up. I would usually plan a few dishes each week with the share in mind, minimizing the waste. If nothing, I’m a huge fan of salads, soups, roasting, and smoothies so there was always a failsafe. Biggest challenge I found was if certain item(s) repeated too often simply because they were in season. Again, this is where proactively planning on my part helped me tremendously so I wasn’t making the same thing week after week. Some CSAs show what’s typically in season during the year to help you plan accordingly.

    6. Puddin*

      We loooooove our CSA! Its like Christmas every week during growing season. They vary a lot from farm to farm but I have never known anyone to not like theirs. We have a great variety from week to week and throughout the year. At times there are an over-abundance of one thing and that depends on the hrvest that year. One year we more tomatoes, the next year it was squash. So we got into making sauces and vacuum sealing them for freezing. You can also can the extras, but we just have not done that yet – probably will at some point.

      The CSA definitely got us eating more veg. We served 2-3 kinds with every dinner, had them for snacks, smoothies, and lunch salads. And the most unexpected pleasure was that we felt so emotionally good about ourselves being healthier and contributing to a local farmer as an investor. One thing I was sort of surprised by was that there was no fruit. But that was resolved with a trip to the farmer’s market as needed.

      Does your CSA come with a weekly newsletter? ours did complete with recipes that helped us use up the goodies. Google CSA recipes and you will find a lot of results for those infrequently eaten veg like kohlrabi (at least we did not buy all that much prior). Localharvest . org is also a great resource.

      Oh I hope you have tons of fun with your veggies!

      1. fposte*

        The feeling good about ourselves thing reminds me–did anybody else see that behavioral study about the fact that people using reusable grocery bags bought more junk food? It wasn’t even tied to the individuals but the shopping trips–apparently there’s something about the virtue of bringing a reusable bag that gives us permission to treat ourselves (at least in the area studied, anyway). I thought it was pretty funny.

        1. L McD*

          I’ve heard the same thing about picking a hand-basket instead of a cart, since it’s more effort and feels more virtuous I guess.

    7. The Cosmic Avenger*

      We loved it, but at the same time we felt like we 1) didn’t have enough choice, and 2) wasted too much produce when we didn’t like or know how to use some of our share.

      We now go to our farmer’s market every weekend, so we can pick out what we want and how much we want of each item.

      Now, if that’s not an option for you, a CSA is a good alternative, but if you’re close enough to farms to have a CSA, maybe you can find out if that farm sells their produce directly to the consumer somewhere else if not a farmer’s market.

    8. Mints*

      I tried it for awhile, but ended up cancelling pretty quickly. It was too much work for stuff I’m not used to. I’d rather buy one avocado and one tomato, sure to use them, than buckets of radishes and beets and then being pressured to cook them all quickly.
      Sorry to be a downer! I think the best strategy is to plan to make those kind of “kitchen sink” recipes where you can throw in whatever (like veggie soup or stir fry). Or, make it really plain, like grilled and seasoned with meats. I never pulled it off consistently, but good luck to you! The novelty is fun

    9. skyline*

      I had one for a couple years. It definitely made me broaden my horizons and try different things. However, I found the volume a bit overwhelming. I live alone, and even getting the small box every-other-week left me with too much to eat. I’ve found that going to the store with a list works best for me.

      1. Kerry (Like the County In Ireland)*

        I second everything people here said. I just got finished with one (in the Southwest, your growing season is winter!) and I got some interesting cruciferous vegetables and beautiful lettuce, but I did not have time to really get into cooking during the week. And a half share made me wish I had a roommate because it was just so much.

    10. C Average*

      We did one for quite a while, but eventually weird-root-vegetable fatigue set in and we had to discontinue the relationship.

      To ensure we get a decent share of veggies, I started subscribing to Real Simple magazine’s weekly menu planner. It’s $10 a year, gets delivered weekly, and comes with a shopping list. Most of the stuff is pretty good, and there’s enough variety that if there’s a dud or two on the menu, I just double up one of the other recipes and we have leftovers instead.

    11. Polaris*

      If your CSA offers a separate winter share, do it. They’re usually delivered in the late fall and contain squashes and storage vegetables.

  11. TCO*

    Um, how come we aren’t talking about that amazing cat picture? We tried the iPad thing with my cat and he just isn’t into it. It looks like all three of your kitties are quite engrossed.

    1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      I’ve tried and tried to get my cats interested in the iPad and they’re not having any of it, and they look at me like I’ve lost my damn mind.

      One is so dumb that she spent last weekend freaking out about a scrap of plastic caught in the wood on the deck and trying valiantly to attack it through the window. But is she interested in an actual, dedicated game for cats? No, of course not. This must be the same impulse that means the toys I buy them get dusty in the corners, but my hair ties and bobby pins and headphone cords are THE BEST TOYS EVER.

      1. fposte*

        I bought my godcat a felted cat cave. She dislikes it. It’s too flimsy and grabs her sides when she goes in (the entrance has been enlarged but she holds a grudge), so she won’t touch it.

        But when a paper bag does the same thing, that’s fun, fun, fun!

        1. Puddin*

          I had to look up felted cat acve. Now I have to have one. Who knows if the kittehs will like it, but I know I will :)

      2. Trixie*

        Cats also love those little “ob” brand tampons. Just enough weight to them that they FLY across the floor without much effort.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      All three of them love it, Lucy and Olive especially. Lucy now thinks the iPad is only to entertain her and gets very excited when she sees it and then thinks whatever I’m doing on it is a game for her, some more boring than others.

      You have to find the right games though. Their favorites are:
      Game for Cats
      Cat Game (these are really the official names)
      Cat Toys 3D
      Wa Kingyo (Lucy thinks this is a real pond and licks her paw after touching it, as if her paw is now wet)

      1. Camster*

        My two cats love Game for Cats and Cat Game! However, now when I want to use the iPad, I have two little furry faces and paws in the way, haha!

      2. jamlady*

        I wonder about the personalities of your cats? I have two submissives that are generally terrified or bored with anything other than a feather on a string. But MAN do those boys love that feather on a string lol

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Ha, ours are fairly strong personalities. Well, Lucy and Olive are; they live to play. Sam, being a boy cat and an enormous one, is chilled out and relaxed. (Before Olive came along, I always suspected that Lucy needed a more active playmate; now that she has finally adjusted to Olive, that has turned out to be right.)

          The three of them together are now like a pack; it’s really funny to watch how they’ll move as a group through the house. (They also seem to coordinate their preference for things. Like they’ll all decide at the same time that they no longer like a particular type of food. How does that happen?)

          1. jamlady*

            haha I wonder if the stronger personalities mean anything – I just can’t see my guys with an iPad (I just disassembled one of their cat trees an hour ago and they’re still both in hiding). Mine sleep together, but are very separate when moving about – I think they’re afraid of each other haha. I love the food thing! I wish ours were that way! I honestly think they purposely like the opposite foods just to annoy us. They go through cycles where one is much fatter than the other and, when we try to remedy it, the other one gets fat while the first loses weight. Goodness! haha

          2. jhhj*

            I also have an enormous boycat named Sam. (Well, I HAD one. He hates where I live — no idea why — so I traded him to my parents for a different cat. I also have a Lucy.) He likes the ipad okay but isn’t obsessed with it.

      3. littlemoose*

        Question: do the cat claws scratch the iPad at all? Do you have a screen protector on it that protects against this? I have a kitten who I think would really like the iPad games, but I’m worried about claw scratches on the iPad, which is currently sans screen protector.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          They don’t! And they definitely have claws, so I’m not sure why it doesn’t get scratched. I think their claws are softer than the screen.

          1. littlemoose*

            Good to know, thanks! I may just have to download a game or two for her, though I suspect she’ll probably think it’s always playtime whenever the iPad comes out of I do so. :)

            1. Camster*

              I got a screen protector just in case for my iPad – only because Wylie really gets into trying to catch the mouse (one of the games)! He scratches, tries to bite the screen and spits on it when he finally gets mad that the mouse is so elusive! At this point, I start tossing his toy mice around so that he can actually nab one. Funny to watch!

      4. Cath in Canada*

        I downloaded the first three and will try them out on my cats as soon as they wake up. I’d shown them a koi pond thing before and they were unimpressed! They love “TV for cats” on YouTube though; it’s super cute when they go behind the laptop screen looking for the birds.

        I just bought a couple of mouse toys where you pull the tail and it buzzes around in a circle for a few seconds. Both cats seem quite terrified…

    3. Vicki*

      Two of our LOVE their iPad. (I say “their” iPad because they are convinced it is theirs. If I get it out, they appear. can’t use the thing in the house.)

  12. Tris Prior*

    Healthy main-dish recipe ideas that don’t involve meat or legumes? And that aren’t super carb-y?

    I’m vegetarian, Boyfriend will not do any sort of beans/lentils/tofu. Fake meat is OK with both of us but I try to limit that since it’s expensive and probably not great for you. (and some of it is SO salty! bleah!)

    We would like to start cooking more meals together that we both will eat. At present, most nights we cook two separate meals which makes it tough to actually eat together – kitchen is too tiny for us to both be in there at once so our dinners are never ready at the same time. We’ve been relying mostly on stir-fries, which we’re bored with, and carb-y cheesy things that we both overeat.

    1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      Soups? Tomato, vegetable, potato-leek, potato-spinach? I like a nice crusty hunk of baguette along with soup (or, for tomato, grilled cheese!) so maybe that’s still too carb-y, but at least it gets more vegetables in the mix than the mac-and-cheese kind of thing.

        1. Tris Prior*

          Breakfast for dinner is the best thing ever! Throwing veggies in eggs is a good idea. We just have to resist the temptation to load the thing down with cheese. Seriously – we go through SO much cheese. We may have a problem.

        2. Cath in Canada*

          Any time my husband’s out for the evening, I have an omelette for dinner. Usually asparagus, mushroom, and cheese. With a baked potato on the side, and a salad if I’m feeling motivated enough. He doesn’t get it, but I love it!

          How about veggie lasagne, stuffed peppers with rice and mushroom, veggie curry (eggplant works really well)? I also do a veggie stack thingy that does include beans, but you could sub something else. I roast disks of yam and eggplant, plus some portabello mushrooms, then cook up a mix of finely sliced red onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes cut in half, cilantro if you like it, a dash of white wine, and lemon juice. (I add black eyed beans or a can of mixed beans, too). Stack a mushroom cap on top of an eggplant disk on top of a yam disk, fill with the tomato mix, grate cheese on top, and bake.

      1. Vicki*

        Non-carby high-veggie soup recipe a friend gave us. It freezes well too.

        2 or 3 large cans Tomato juice,
        house brand is good for this

        fresh chopped or canned veggies as desired:
        broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts
        celery, string beans, wax beans, caulflower,
        spinach, canned tomatoes, carrots

        If desired: mushrooms, bean sprouts

        Higher calories but more fiber: peas, beans

        Place vegetables in soup pot and cover with tomato juice.
        Adjust quantities to size of pot.
        Bring to a boil
        Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are tender.

        Refrigerate over night. Heat and serve.

    2. Trixie*

      Mushrooms often add a substantive, meaty-like texture. I also like israeli couscous, bulgar, etc. I think BF needs to make friends with beans/lentils/tofu, and just find the right recipes that works for him.

      1. Tris Prior*

        It’s BF’s digestive tract that needs to make peace with legumes. The aftereffects have been… pungent. So I can’t say I blame him. I know that there’s that Beano stuff that is supposed to help, but he fails to see the point in taking Beano so that he can eat foods that he’s not particularly into in the first place.

        1. Trixie*

          Are sprouted beans/lentils supposed to be easier to digest, that might be something to look into.

        2. Steve G*

          On a related-but-side note, have you/he looked at the newish FODMAP diet? Look it up. It’s supposed to help with a bunch of health issues, this one as well. Basically, any food that converts to sugar in your intestine = bad…

          1. fposte*

            It’s the most tedious thing ever. My GI’s put me on it for Crohn’s stuff. On the bright side, I’m losing the weight I gained during recuperation from surgery, because I’m at no risk of binge eating unflavored rice cakes. (I like rice. So why are rice crackers and rice cakes so stupefyingly dull?)

            I’ll actually be doing some food reintroduction soon, but I’m not there yet. Fortunately, there is still cheese.

            1. JB*

              It is tedious! I’m already used to a pretty limited diet because of food allergies and to measuring everything I eat for other reasons, so it wasn’t as hard for me as it probably would be for some people. But I really missed dried fruit. I just came off of it for about a week and half, and I’m about to start again with a modified version because it definitely helped me (I suspect I have SIBO but my gastro is very meh about helping me with anything but GERD). I found Kate Scarlata’s website and the Monash Uni’s website and app to be very helpful for figuring out what to eat and how much.

              1. fposte*

                Yeah, those and the Stanford list are the ones I’ve been using. But unfortunately they’ve proven to be optimistic about some things for me, which has been frustrating. I played by the rules! You said honeydew melon would be okay! Bah.

                And I hear you on the dried fruit. I have a shelf foot filled with dried mangoes and apricots, and I’m just considering it a big black hole in the kitchen.

        3. Clever Name*

          I’m the gassy one, and what has really helped me is taking probiotics. Different brands have different critters, so he may have to experiment. Now I can eat beans and broccoli without him threatening divorce. ;)

        4. thisisit*

          indian cooking with lentils/beans calls for asoefetida (sp?), which cuts the gassiness. also soaking beans/lentils and cooking with kombu helps too.

          1. JB*

            Both suggestions are good–but I feel like hing/asoefetida needs to come with a warning that in its uncooked form it stinks very much bad.

            1. thisisit*

              haha, we always stored it airtight and it was always ok. :)
              also it’s used sparingly!

              1. fposte*

                You’re not wrong–it’s actually derived from the same origin as “fetid.” For a reason.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I make great curries with sweet potatoes– not a ton of protein, but coconut milk helps a little. Thai or Indian, depending on your spices, with or without tomatoes. I usually start with onions, ginger and garlic, add chilis and spices, add sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and any kind of greens (mustard greens are really good with Indian spices, kale and chard work well with Thai). Served over brown rice.

        1. Rene UK*

          Oh, yeah, Indian food is great for vegetarian cooking. One cookbook mentions that in most curries hard boiled eggs can be substituted for meat. Also, I’ve found that the spices in Indian lentil dishes make them much less gassy.

      1. Natalie*

        Regular potatoes have a surprising amount of protein – might be something to add to boost that.

      2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Oooh, and Thai curry is so easy. Thai curry paste plus coconut milk, plus veggies and whatever protein. I make it all the time, and I don’t really like cooking.

    4. danr*

      Here’s one that we like: cut up grilled veggies, tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, parmasan and bread crumbs. Put it together in layers and bake until done. Depending on the size of your roasting pan, there are three or four meals there.

    5. Chriama*

      Why not easily veggie-modifiable meals? E.g. spaghetti sauce where you split half the recipe and include meat? Or he has grilled chicken and you have grilled tofu and share the rice and veggies?

      1. Mephyle*

        Yes, I second this. The possibilities are infinite. Pretty much any vegetable-and-bean/tofu recipe or any vegetable-and-meat combination can be treated this way. Make the common vegetable elements, and then add meat to his and beans to yours.
        You could quickly grill a piece of meat, but you can streamline it even more by preparing meat ahead of time and cutting it into portions and freezing them. Likewise, you can cook a pot of beans and have them on hand to take out a serving at a time, or freeze servings of beans.

    6. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Now I’m on a roll. My boyfriend is a vegetarian and I don’t eat meat at home. He hates fake meat and isn’t a huge fan of tofu, so I get creative.

      I make a lot of tarts. I use a lot of recipes from Martha Rose Shulman– she writes the Eat Well blog for the New York Times. When I say I use her recipes, I really mean that I use them as guidelines and inspiration, because I do not know the last time I followed a recipe to the letter. But anyway. I make and bake a pat-in-the-pan tart dough, saute onions, garlic and veggies (greens, usually, sometimes mushrooms), add veggies to a mixture of eggs, Gruyere cheese, salt and pepper, pour into the tart shell and bake for about 30 minutes. Serve with a salad or roasted potatoes and it’s delicious– and versatile.

      Another idea I got from her is a kind of faux moussaka– sauteed greens layered in a pan with homemade tomato sauce and cooked bulgur, topped with a mixture of yogurt, cheese, and egg. On the blog it’s called Kale and Bulgur Casserole or something. She also makes a version with eggplant, which makes it much closer to moussaka. :)

      I also make stuffed collard greens, kind of a riff on the stuffed cabbage I loved growing up. I blanch collards and stuff them with a mixture of cooked bulgur, eggs, and mushrooms (sometimes I add parmesan). Place seam side down on a layer of homemade tomato sauce, cover with sauce, bake at 375 for about 25 minutes or so (I’m really bad with timing).

      Don’t discount whole wheat pastas– sure, it’s carb-y, but sometimes you need something easy. Last night I tossed pasta with artichoke hearts, caramelized onions, spinach and lemon. Super yummy.

    7. Steve G*

      Did you ever eat polenta (a round…thing made from cornmeal and water)? It is awesome if you slice and fry it and pour sautéed mushrooms over it. I had it once in a fancy NYC restaurant and fell in love and make it a lot. I think they put meat broth in the mushrooms, but it would taste good with any sort of sauce……..

      Carbs = average. I just checked in the fridge. Not to much carbs but not carb-free either.

    8. Emme*

      I’m vegetarian too, and here are a few of my favorites-
      Roasted vegetable stack with goat cheese- great with runny pesto or a roasted red pepper/ tomato sauce drizzled on top. Baked sweet potatoes with whatever toppings you want? ( I like sautéed peppers, onions and greens). Greek sides as a whole meal- I’m thinking Greek salad, roasted veggies with garlic, thyme and oregano, rice pilaf, hummus and pita? Whole grain salads( quinoa, bulgar, etc) with arugula or spinach and whatever veggies you have? Roasted veggie enchiladas (peppers, onion, squash, mushrooms, tomato), smothered in either green or red sauce ( or both!) topped with cheese? Home made ramen in vegetable broth with veggies & herbs?

      Mmmmm now I’m hungry!

    9. MsM*

      Do you two like cauliflower? I have this huge list of recipes I keep meaning to get through, since it seems to be the “in” thing right now. Roasted cauliflower dishes, curries, soups, seared…lots of options.

      1. Sandrine (France)*

        Oh my goodness YES.

        Barry from Myvirginkitchen recently made a “cauliflower steack” video… It just made me want to drop everything and run to get some to make them.

    10. Natalie*

      Have you ever had tempeh? It’s a compressed grain patty. Not squishy like tofu and has no beans.

    11. Sunflower*

      Try subbing cauliflower into recipes for carbs. I’ve seen some interesting things people have made with cauliflower- pizza, ‘breadsticks’, grilled cheese

    12. Blue_eyes*

      That’s tough. We eat mostly vegetarian in our house, but pretty much all of our usual meals include either carbs or legumes. You could try making pasta dishes but with zucchini “noodles”. You thinly slice zucchini and use it as the pasta in lasagna. There was also a zucchini noodles recipe on the blog The Pioneer Woman recently, and there are tons on Pinterest, etc.

      Other ideas: vegetable fritters, vegetable soup, big salads (you could put some beans on yours, he could put some meat on his).

      1. Lamb*

        And there’s always spaghetti squash for the veggie pasta option- we really like it in the cheesy pasta dishes, but also I have this very sweet tomato sauce recipe with cider vinegar and soy sauce in it, and the spaghetti squash goes well with that too.

    13. Calikhar*

      Do you like Indian? An Indian or East Asian curry with eggplant could be a nice start. We also like to cook potato in queema spice mix (it’s for spicing ground meat and somehow brings out a tasty meatiness in veg) and mashing that up with spinach and a bit of butter.

    14. Noelle*

      My fiance doesn’t eat gluten so we’ve gotten pretty creative. One of our favorite dishes is zucchini lasagna, where you slice the zucchini really thin and use it in place of noodles (zucchini is really watery though so you have to either let them dry on the counter or roast them first). We’ve also made portobellos with tomato sauce and cheese, which were like mini pizzas. We make a lot of soup (minestrone could be good if you subbed in other vegetables for beans) and tons of Thai food. Pretty much any vegetable is delicious with panang or green curry. Our favorites are eggplant, cauliflower, and peppers.

      Also, if you’re a vegetarian and looking for good, simple recipes, the Tassajara Cookbook by Edward Espe Brown is amazing. I use it constantly even though I do eat meat, the way he writes makes food sound so exciting.

  13. Sandrine (France)*

    Two weeks ago I spoke about a streaming event we did with a team I’m in.

    My computer lagged, lagged and lagged, but the few viewers I had welcomed me with open arms, it was just amazing. Since we’re all sharing one channel, I took the 4-6 pm slot tomorrow, and once I get a better computer I’ll be streaming in French on that channel and in English on my personal Twitch.

    Ah, life is so good! When you do that kind of video streaming you can get tips, and it’s funny because we use the “tip” word instead of the French one we have for the same thing, I kept thinking of my US friends… and when the “boss” told us what we were going to get after our marathon (shared pool of tips) I was like “O_O wow that’s alot, happyyyyyy” .

    Yeah. I’m rambling. But I’m SO excited. Tell you what, here’s the best bit yet, the one that made me cry in all this :

    Last night, I get a text from Mom. She works in a high school and they renew their equipment every 6 months or so. She told me she was trying to get her hands on a computer for me.

    My own mom.

    Encouraging me in that new endeavour (she specifically said so).

    And she’s been yelling at me for 15/16 years about being such a computer obsessed geek.

    T_T I don’t know what to think. Such a drastic move by my mom, she thought I was going crazy when she first heard I was getting into video game streaming, and all of a sudden, BOOM, she supports me. I’m still shaking a little bit…

    1. Puddin*

      Isn’t that wonderful when you get validation from someone – especially your mom – who, in the past, has told you that what you do is not all that great? So happy for you!

      1. Sandrine (France)*

        It’s so great but so weird at the same time. I do in fact need a new computer because mine is just… not good for video game streaming, but I didn’t think she’d go that far :D

    2. QualityControlFreak*

      From everything you’ve said about your relationship here, it sounds like you have a really great mom who loves you very much. I’m very glad for you Sandrine.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Don’t feel bad; I’m 49 and my parents are just NOW starting to leave me alone about stuff. Although I suspect if I get my fondest wish, they’ll start squawking about it again.

  14. The Other Dawn*

    Heres my update one the tenant situation for anyone who didn’t see it.

    We had court. 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. fposte*

      It’d be more fun if she’d been struck down with a thunderbolt, but I agree that this is the best option.

      I think a lot of people find it a bit of a letdown that the legal system really doesn’t want to hear their story. Even Judge Judy allows more of the personal side than most courts. But, as you say, you got the outcome, and I think you were right to take this rather than going before a judge; heck, even getting waiting to get on the docket might take you beyond April 28th.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Actually the “trial” would have been the same day. But the mediator said its risky and I didn’t want to take the chance that she would get even longer.

        I mailed all the small claims papers to them today. In four days I can then file the case. I know I won’t see a penny but at least it will be on their credit and be public record. Plus I can apply to attach the husbands wages.

      2. Vancouver Reader*

        “It’d be more fun if she’d been struck down with a thunderbolt”

        But only if it happened right in the court room.

        Hopefully karma will give her her just rewards, or as an old saying goes, “May the fleas of a thousand camels invade your armpits.”

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Lmao that’s a good one!

          For the longest time I’ve been wishing karma on them. But you know what? They’re living their karma everyday. I know them personally so I know luck is not their friend. And now I know why. Didn’t know that until all this happened. They go on about doing right by others, doing good, being honest, etc. Meanwhile they’re the biggest hypocrites I’ve ever met.

          1. danr*

            They will “do right by others” as long as they can do it for free or have someone else pay. I know folks like this.

          2. Nina*

            Good on you for taking the high road, because I would be cursing their names as we speak. I know it’s not an ideal situation, but at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you know when they’re out. I hope this ends swiftly so you can move on from it, and get these toxic people out of your life.

      3. Mallory Janis Ian*

        From following this story these past several weeks, I almost can’t believe that a thunderbolt *didn’t* strike them down in front of the whole entire; they certainly have it coming!

    2. BRR*

      I think you made the right choice. It sucks but at least the end is in sight. If not just burn the place down :). Hopefully they can garnish their wages or something so you can get something.

    3. Steve G*

      I thought of you this week due to my tenant S*** and the loss of sleep it is causing me because there is always noise. There is another tenant-BS thread above.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      It sounds like the option you chose will be the quickest way out of the messiness. I wish our laws were more modern. This type of story is going on everywhere.

    5. Labyrinthine*

      I’ve only seen this week and the last one’s posts about this (and if there is a backstory somewhere I would LOVE to read that) but these people sound horrible. I hope you get them out soon.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        If you check the open threads for the last month or so and search by my name you’ll find them. We started the process in late December, but I don’t remember if I posted about it. Glad it’s almost over.

        1. Windchime*

          I thought of you this week, Dawn. My coworker has a tenant that moved in on a month-to-month and is now now paying, and is refusing to pay the utilities as well. He is having to start eviction proceedings against them. The situations seem so similar; his tenants have decent jobs. They are just deadbeats.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            UGH that’s awful. Hopefully he gets them out withing 3 to 4 months.

            I just hate the whole idea of being a landlord, but it’s a necessary evil at the moment. Someone once told me that, essentially, I’m working to support the tenants, that I’m supporting two families. And it sucks big time!

    6. The Other Dawn*

      I’m pretty sure I won’t get my money and I think I’m going to hear a sob story about it. Tenant posted on FB that she was at the emergency room having a reaction to something. But she’s fine, she says. So I’m sure I’ll hear how they had to pay for that; therefore, there will be no money for me. Well, it’s a court judgement so off I will go to get the execution. :) I don’t care if it’s Easter.

      You know what’s hilarious (sarcasm here)? She told us and the mediator at the hearing that there would be a full tank of oil in the house when they left. Um…you couldn’t pay for the original oil delivery, couldn’t pay me rent, doubled my water bill and wouldn’t pay the difference, BUT you can suddenly buy 250 gallons of oil?? Yeah. Right.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        If I don’t see a picture showing a gauge that registers “full” then in my mind there is no oil in the tank. (A receipt would work, too, if there was no working gauge on the tank.)

        You’re right, though. She’s got an endless list of sob stories. It may bail her butt out of her immediate “problem” but at some point she will have to deal with the fact that her life has been nothing but one crisis after another and why is that happening. She’s on a bad road that can get worse, and she has failed to factor that in.

    7. Blue_eyes*

      Glad that she’ll be out soon. (Crossing my fingers that she doesn’t pay on time and you can get her kicked out sooner). Hopefully small claims will be able to garnish their wages or something.

  15. Ali*

    So I’m still not in a relationship, but not agonizing as much about it anymore. Had a couple of fun weeks of talking to a single guy on an online dating site (he did kind of just stop engaging, but he was long distance from where I live anyway) and have two single guy friends that I have a good rapport with. Single #1 seems to be pretty cultured and have diverse interests, but he is about eight years younger than me, so not sure how that would go if we ever did date. Single #2 is a good friend and we get along, but he doesn’t really have time for a girlfriend. I do still have my online dating profile, but 99% of the messages I get are not worth responding to (guy can’t write properly, lives too far away or otherwise thinks telling me how hot I am is appropriate for a first message), so there hasn’t been a lot of action there since the last guy stopped talking.

    That said, even though I’m content right now, I found myself a little envious of a friend who is getting married today. I am happy for her because she had a broken engagement before she met her now-husband and deserves this day. I know I want the companionship too, but I also feel some envy around all the fun stuff that happens around the wedding: the joy of picking your dress, everyone treating you like gold, the bridal showers and so forth. I’m not really overly into the spotlight, but I do get a lot of satisfaction from being acknowledged (I enjoy receiving gifts on birthdays and Christmas, I get happy when I’m praised at work and so forth), and I can’t help but hope I can get married at some point so friends and family are there with me to celebrate and pay me some extra love. Does it sound like I’m into it for the wrong reasons? I’ve seen enough wedding shows to know that some brides take it way too far, and I’m not what you’d consider a diva, but I’ve known enough people who have had weddings now that I can’t wait to meet Future Husband and have “my day” (ugh, I know, but it’s the only term I can think of), so to speak.

    1. Amber Rose*

      Nah, as long as you don’t marry just to have a wedding you’re fine.

      Planning my wedding was extremely fun. Even the part where the groomsmen trashed our hotel room was good for a laugh. I just remember pulling the towels out of the fridge like, “obviously they’re here” and then my husband and I collapsing in giggles.

      I think it’s normal to be jealous of fun or happy things. I was half green when my coworker announced her pregnancy and brought the newborn in to say hi. She was all glowy and happy after all. The feeling of thinking “I want that too!” is pretty typical.

    2. Audiophile*

      I rarely want a relationship, unless it’s a holiday or I’m with another couple and feel like the third wheel. Other than that I’m pretty content.

      I’ve had an on and off thing with an ex for a few years now, prior to that I really, really wanted a boyfriend. But, as they say, the grass isn’t always greener. And trust me it wasn’t. This guy and I weren’t very compatible and he was a little clingy and had an ex that he couldn’t stop talking about. I quickly realized he wanted to be in a relationship and it didn’t really matter who it was with. I ended it but decided we could remain friends, which has been nice.

      I’ve tried out a few dating sites without much luck, but I’ve only been passively looking. I’ve always found when you’re not really looking, you find what you need/want.

      1. Sunflower*

        Yeah i feel the same way around holidays. That’s the only time that I ever really find myself wanting that special someone. The only other times are when I see couples do sweet little gestures for each other- sometimes that makes me really want someone who would do that for me too

        1. Audiophile*

          I feel no real pressure to meet that “special someone”. And I’m definitely in no real rush to get married. Though when my good friend/ex (different ex than the one mentioned above) got engaged, I did feel a tiny pang.

          But really, I enjoy doing things by myself. I like to go to dinner by myself and the movies. No debates about where/what to eat or what to see.

    3. Emily*

      Your feelings sound fine and normal to me! I think that you’re okay as long as you don’t actually put a wedding before actual important things like compatibility and genuinely liking the person you’re marrying.

    4. thisisit*

      i got married last year (twice, in two countries). it was a huge pain. i know many people love the planning, but i thought it was a huge hoopla for no good reason. we were living together already, and i moved countries to be with him, so for me, *that* was the bigger commitment made already.
      in fact, i told my partner that i now have 2 big regrets in life – buying property and not just eloping. :)

      that being said, it was so lovely to see friends and family that i hadn’t seen in a while. a wedding will bring people together for a bit, and i think that’s really nice.

      in any case, everyone will tell you that wanting to be in a relationship for the sake of the relationship is a bad idea, and to some extent that’s true – sometimes you end up in a bad relationship because of that yearning. but companionship is a really nice thing. it’s great to have a partner in crime. and it’s hard to not have that.

      fwiw, 5 years ago i took the advice to focus on myself and not on the partnering up, and went traveling for a few months. i met my partner when i was most enjoying my singledom (and he was doing something similar). so something to be said for that, i guess.

    5. C Average*

      I had a small, family-only wedding in my in-laws’ living room. My father-in-law officiated, and I wore a dress I made myself. So it definitely wasn’t a big spectacle, but it was absolutely the happiest day of my life. It was just as you described: I felt so loved and valued, and I felt so blessed by the energy of all the hopes and wishes and prayers of those who attended and those who wished me well from far away. I think most brides feel lifted up by all that energy on their special day, regardless of the size of the actual event, and it’s for sure a wonderful part of the whole getting-married experience.

      It was a long time coming for me. I was 37 when I got married, and I’d spent a lot of years alone or with people I knew weren’t The One before I did meet my husband.

      I know couplehood isn’t for everyone, and I don’t want to sound like a smug married. And the first couple years of being married were hard! But once I found my equilibrium, I found I’m a lot happier paired off with the right guy than I was on my own.

      I hope you’ll find what you’re looking for, too. And there’s no shame at all in being clear that a relationship IS what you’re looking for. There’s a lot of pressure on women to not want a relationship TOO much, to never appear desperate or needy. I wish it wasn’t like that. Wanting to share your life with someone you love is a very human, very understandable desire.

  16. No Judgement*

    Married folks –

    1) Have any of you ever been tempted by a coworker to stray?

    2) If so, did you resist? If yes, how? If no, how did it end?

    3) Why do you think otherwise happy couples cheat? I’m not talking about bitter, abused, neglected spouses. I mean, people who love their spouses, and are loved and appreciated. What leads them to stray?

    1. jamlady*

      I’ve never been tempted to stray. But we both said if we ever were, that we’d talk about it and head to therapy straight away. Cheating is a deal-breaker for both of us and we’re really not the type to seek physical-only relationships so it would be an emotional problem (and therefore needing of therapy to work on). I think people seek out affairs for a lot of different reasons – but just the thought that you may be looking outside of your marriage for something means there is something you both need to work on. Therapy is amazingly helpful for many things and being proactive and suggesting it before anyone does anything unforgivable is key.

      I personally don’t believe you would cheat on a spouse if you loved and respected them (assuming said spouse would broken over such an act, as I would be). Love and respect go hand-in-hand in a marriage – this is supposed to be your partner and someone you trust more than anything. Cheating breaks that bond and I would never believe my spouse truly loved me if he ever did something like that to me. But this is a really intense issue for us – we’re a military couple and see it everywhere. We’re both really intense on this subject. I know couples who have made it work, but it’s horrendous to me.

      1. Is This Legal*

        I have to disagree, I think you can love someone and cheat on them. This happened way back in high school. I really loved the girlfriend but I broke her trust. It was just a thing on the side. And like you said she also said I never loved her but I did and regretted her. One thing though, my love before and after never changed.

        1. jamlady*

          I think there’s a huge different between high school love and vowed-to-spend-the-rest-of-our-lives-together kind of love. At least there is to me.

        2. Chriama*

          I think people have different ideas of love and they need to be compatible. You might say you loved her, but the kind of love that would make cheating possible isn’t the kind of love she wants, so I don’t think you loved her the way she needed? Does that sort of make sense?

    2. Is This Legal*

      I think my manager really likes me. I used to think these things were clear cut dry until it happened to me and I’m now interpreting things. I could be wrong though but she can’t sit still when she talks to me, she will start playing with her hair and she just act different when she talks to me. Again I could be wrong. I will try to resist but part of me wants to see how this will play out.

      There is something intriguing and stimulating about forbidden stuff. I’ve never cheated on my spouse but sometimes it just feels different than the usual stuff.

    3. Sandrine (France)*

      Not married, but I can tell you. Disclaimer: I am not here to glorify cheating or straying, but it happened to me and I wanted to share, as personal as it may be.

      You’re happily in that relationship. It’s long term. You love each other very, very much.

      One day, you just get curious. You realize that your body can, in fact, be detached from your brain in certain ways. You go for the experience, and it is confirmed. You still love that person very, very much. But the stray taught you a lot about yourself.

      I wouldn’t say “go for it” to anyone, for obvious reasons. But for me, it was, in fact, the best thing to ever happen to me in a way. Some people go camping. Some people go to the movies. Some people play video games (wait, I do that too).

      And some just use other stuff to have fun. I’m prettttty sure I could deal with an open relationship rather well, at this point. I never in a million years ever imagined this would happen, but yeah.

    4. Amber Rose*

      No. Which isn’t to say I don’t get weird crushes on other guys or enjoy being hit on. Positive attention feels good. I would imagine that some people enjoy the rush of a new source of that positive attention and take it too far. Like having a slice of cake, then eating the rest of the cake right after.

    5. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I’ve had lusts and infatuations, but I resisted mostly because I don’t put myself in a position where I could get away with it. If I am interested in a coworker, I might talk with them, even have lunch somewhere near the office like I might with other coworkers, but I wouldn’t do anything more risky. I actually would mention them more to my spouse because I don’t want to feel like I’m hiding my friendship, and not hiding it makes me more careful when I’m socializing with them. And I hope that if I found it hard to do all this, I would ask for a trial separation so I could work out my own feelings before jumping into another relationship.

      1. No Judgement*

        How did you get over your “lusts and infatuations”? Did they fade in time? What if they reciprocated?

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          I ignore them more than get over them. One of my infatuations has become something of a friend, but I don’t know if they would reciprocate because I never gave us the chance.

          It’s a lot like overeating or over-imbibing: the source of the temptation will always be available, but sometimes the more you go about your life as if it isn’t there, the easier it gets. If it doesn’t get easier, remove yourself from the temptation and remind yourself of the damage it would do if you gave in.

          I guess I’ve always been really good at not following my first impulses, so what works for me may not work for you.

          1. No Judgement*

            Interesting. Unfortunately, it’s harder to remove oneself from temptation if one works with that person very closely, on an almost daily basis.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              Not married, but I’ve read advice that what you’re seeing/feeling is based on the ideal. You’re not picturing that other person clipping their toenails or with the stomach flu. You’re not thinking about how you would argue with them over who did the dishes/what to watch on TV/what restaurant to pick/what they put on the credit card last month that you really can’t afford and don’t need. You’re looking at them and you think they might be attracted to you and it feels *great* to know that someone finds you attractive (or at least fantasize that they do) — that’s perfectly normal. It’s also normal to let the mind wander and wonder when you’re in that feel-good-hormone state about just how great and perfect it would be because you’re only looking at the upside here. But next time, try picturing whoever it is at their absolute worst or screaming obscenities at you over a dish you didn’t put in the dishwasher — all the mundane things you do with your spouse/that your spouse does that drives you insane.

              Also, I would suggest that if you are finding this person so completely distracting and appealing, ask yourself why. The root of that is what you’re missing from your spouse, or it’s reminding you of what you’re missing from your life in general (i.e. youth). If you work with this person and you are their mentor/trainer, you may be enjoying the feeling of being appreciated for your wisdom and experience, looked up to, perhaps thanked for your time and effort.

              1. The Cosmic Avenger*

                Thanks Dynamic Beige, for putting it so well. I have worked daily with people I’ve been infatuated with, and been assigned projects with them alone, but I was more interested in keeping my life from blowing up than I was in having an affair. I was trying to say as you did that it’s more about managing your own feelings, but I know that not everyone can do that.

        2. Natalie*

          I’m sort of a fan of Dan Savage’s tactic of letting your crush be a little fantasy for a while. IME, fighting it or surprising it makes things worse, while just letting yourself have a daydream for a while will actually let the crush die out eventually.

          1. Aussie Teacher*

            I have to disagree with this. Yes, the crush MAY die a natural death… Or, by indulging those feelings, you may create an emotional attachment that grows the more you feed it, and you could become ripe for an affair. Why risk it?!

            1. Labyrinthine*

              I’m not sure there is one single article. He writes a column called Savage Love. I follow his advice on this which is essentially: be honest, be human, be accepting and don’t be a cheating bastard unless your partner is a neglectful partner.

        3. Aussie Teacher*

          You don’t give them the option to reciprocate! I am very careful about guarding our marriage. If I find a guy hot, the first thing I do is tell my husband. That takes all of the mystery/forbidden excitement out of it. I make sure our interactions are purely professional. No lingering eye contact. No casual touching (hand on arm etc). No personal discussions about emotions or personal issues. Don’t confide in this person. Keep it strictly business if they are a work colleague and limit your interactions with them.
          If the person you found attractive let you know that they were also attracted, I would avoid them like the plague. Again, tell your partner straight away so you have accountability. Affairs start with emotional and physical attraction and end up in bed and broken marriages. Don’t waste any mental space wondering “What if.” You’ve made a lifetime commitment to one person, so honour it!

        4. Lucy Eleanor Moderatz*

          While it’s a slightly different situation for me, my husband and I tell each other about our crushes all the time. Like Aussie Teacher says, it takes a lot of the excitement out of it. We discuss whenever it comes up (15-20x in 5 years) that my husband has a crush on my best friend from high school and thinks my sister is attractive. He doesn’t want to be with them in any way, but I could see him keeping that a secret and 10 years from now it bubbles up in an unfun way.

          I’ve told my husband about crushes I’ve had. Just yesterday, I went to a training and told my husband all about how one of the panelists was my type in college and how I would have been all over him 6 years ago. We had a ~20 minute conversation about this that was full of laughter and only solidified how much we love each other.

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            Yeah, I’ve watched married couples I know (who have remained married) do this, I think you’re right that it’s a way to avoid going down that rabbit hole too far and admitting to yourself and your partner that you’re human and these things happen. The few couples I know who do this are completely open and honest about admitting their crushes but… only because they feel safe to do so. Admitting you think the lead guy from the Insurgent movies is so damn hawt to your BF/husband may be fun if he is secure within himself and the relationship in general, but I think for a lot of people that just leads into a “Oh yeah, well if you think he’s better than I am, why don’t you just go and… [jealous, insecure and abusive stuff here]” and it just gets worse the closer the relationship/physical distance is and the actual possibility for cheating is greater.

    6. AnonYmous*

      I think it’s human and natural to be attracted to people, even when married. It’s a question of how you deal with that. In a work context, I acknowledge it and be very real to myself about it. He is cute, we get along, I am developing a crush, I am am married, we are coworkers.

      There will always be someone to crush on. But, I have chosen a life of commitment and stability. It would not be honest to let this attraction go beyond that. Not for my marriage and not in a work context (I also have a commitment to be a professional at my job). I see people go from one crush to another, chasing that first time high. A marriage provides different things and I want those things more than the high of an indulged crush. I also think of how I would feel is my husband did what I contemplate. I would be crushed and hurt. Seeing that impact helps me cut through the crush endorphins.

      1. catsAreCool*

        I’m single, but there have been times when I’ve thought “that guy is cute!” when that guy is also married (it doesn’t help when guys don’t wear wedding rings). When it happens, when I’m around the guy, I just think “He’s married!” Eventually it goes away.

    7. No judgement reply*

      I’m in a weird place with this right now. I feel like there’s flirting going on between myself and a coworker. But it’s overall weird since we’re both married. I’m gay and he’s married to a woman but I think he’s not 100% straight. I feel like he flirts with me and then catches himself and feels guilty. I’m resisting because it’s really not going anywhere and it would only be a fling, I know if we were in a relationship he would drive me nuts.

      I don’t know what leads them to stray but I’m in a great marriage and I think the flirting feels good. Also he’s a lot like my husband so I’m at least consistent with who I am attracted to.

      1. jamlady*

        Ok, with this added info I understand a little more from his end. I’m bisexual and it wasn’t anything I ever explored before I married my husband (I’m female). I’ve had men in my family (gay and bisexual) say this could be an issue in the future but the women (gay and bisexual) say it isn’t. I think on his end, he might be curious. Doesn’t mean it’s right (you are both, I assume, happily married to, I assume, great partners who deserve the best from both of you), but I understand why it might be there for him. My uncle is technically bisexual but identifies as gay because he always had difficulty committing to women whereas he was faithful to his 25+ years male partner with ease.

      2. blessings of the state, blessings of the masses*

        Interesting. I think about people a lot, about what drives them and motivates them. One thing I have concluded is that people are better at coping with situations that they have experience with.

        So: people who have prior experience with negotiating the perils of a workplace crush are likely to handle it better the 2nd or 3rd or nth time it happens.

        Having said that: is it possible that your co-worker has some homosexual feelings that he’s never explored (possibly because he’s never encountered anyone he was interested in ‘exploring’ with), and then he meets you and for the first time he’s met another man that he’s attracted to?

        I could be way wrong. But somehow I can envision this guy, finding himself in a place where he doesn’t know what to do. (Sure, it’s easy for me on the outside to say ‘just stay with your wife’ but from his perspective, that may be far from obvious).

        *I* don’t claim to be any expert at this myself, and I don’t see that you have any obligation to do this, but maybe if you sat him down at a coffee shop and tried to talk to him about it?

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          The co-worker doesn’t even have to be bi or gay to be flattered by the subtle flirting vibes he might be getting from No Judgement Reply. You could be right, but even if he has absolutely no interest in physical contact with NJR, the verbal/emotional attention could still be appreciated.

    8. pinky*

      no need to resist, grass seems greener, but I’m not willing to ruin a really good home life that I have now, ever
      b/c they are not truly happy

    9. danr*

      Nope, never. However, we both had to get over some jealousy towards friends at work. I was in a female dominated profession and my wife was in a male dominated one. We couldn’t react badly towards coworkers of each other.

    10. blessings of the state, blessings of the masses*

      1. Yeah.
      2a. No. 2b. n/a. 2c. Divorce.

      This was long ago and far away, so I’ve had a lot of time to think about it and analyze it. It’s definitely not one of my finer moments. But my marriage had some ‘issues’, and I was too young and dumb to recognize them. Which was more or less the case for The Other Woman, too. People have told me that this was all the result of my subconscious mind working to get me out of my Problem Marriage, and some of that is probably true. But I’m not going to use that as some kind of excuse to avoid responsibility. I think there are many reasons why a person can fall into this kind of situation. And the truly insidious part is that by the time you notice it’s happening to you, it’s often too late.

      All in all, it was a highly educational and extremely painful situation. One “lesson” that came from it is that people tend to have idealized and unrealistic expectations of how they will act in a situation like this. Someone might think “if my spouse felt attracted to someone at work, they could come to me and tell me and I’d forgive them and we’d go to therapy and work it out.” Then one day it happens … and it proves to be a LOT more difficult to deal with.

      But why does it happen? In my case: we were young and inexperienced. We’d fallen into something of a ‘rut’ where life was good but also not exciting. And neither of us had much experience with being found attractive by another person.

    11. Calla*

      Not married yet, but in a long-term relationship and will be married in a few months.

      The answer is no and I feel like the key for us is trust, openness, and not being jealous. We have both had crushes or friendly flirting and talked about them with each other. There was one point where we even talked about potentially having an open relationship because I got a little curious–but that would not have been cheating because it would have been something we both knew about–but I got over that and it never happened.

      And honestly, I’m a pretty firm believer in once a cheater, always a cheater. Barring extreme circumstances (like abuse) there is zero reason to not try alternatives first, whether it’s therapy, opening the relationship, trial separation, etc.

        1. Calla*

          Fantastic, thank you! I had a “problem spot” (it’s common for the area where all the incisions meet to heal more slowly) but it’s just about closed up now. I’ve got my 2-month follow up appointment early next month and I’m hoping they clear me to start wearing regular bras and using scar cream — overall, feeling great!

    12. Labyrinthine*

      You may have “no judgement” but I have tons. I see three options when you are in a relationship:

      1. Stay monogamous, emotionally and sexually
      2. Have a consensual open relationship with your partner
      3. End the relationship to pursue others

      Staying in a relationship that your partner believes to be monogamous, while pursuing others is cruel and shows a great lack of care for the partner. If you are unhappy either make the necessary changes to be happy or end the relationship.

      1. jamlady*

        I absolutely agree. Having multiple partners is wrong when you’re in agreement to be monogamous. I would be furious if someone lied, went behind my back, and broke an important agreement in my workplace – in my marriage? A million times worse.

        That being said, I know a few people who had to make all of the wrong decisions and hurt a lot of people before they realized they weren’t built for monogamy. I think our culture pushes it a little too much – it’s important to know who you are and what will make you happy. And more importantly, go into the lifestyle being completely honest with people who get involved in it.

    13. Lucy Eleanor Moderatz*

      I think you’re asking your questions to monogamous married folks, but us non-monogamous married people can cheat as well! (Any behavior/relationship/scenario that either wasn’t agreed upon or specifically banned is cheating).

      I think the source of all cheating is basically a lack of communication. It can start out a bunch of ways, and it ends up in a bunch of different scenarios, but essentially, the core is a communication breakdown.

      For instance, my husband and I have agreed that a specific sex act is off-limits for outside partners. Sometimes I think about what it would be like to experience that act with my partner of 2+ years. So I guess you could say I think about it, but I wouldn’t consider it a temptation because I have the capacity to communicate about it anytime I want. If I say to my husband, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about doing X with Tyrion, can we talk about that?” it’s not going to be a Big. Deal.

      In answer to your third question, part of the answer is that some people just really have no business pretending they’re monogamous, and cheating is the natural result of that. But IMO (and lots of people disagree) that’s not an acceptable reason to cheat.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        Ot but “while you were sleeping” is one of my go to films when I am feeling rubbish.

    14. so it goes*

      I’ve had crushes, but I’ve been very open with myself about those crushes existing, so there is no opportunity for them to fester in some secret place. I also take the opportunity to look at my partner with appreciative eyes, because there are obviously those times when he drives me nuts. So I’ve never strayed or felt the urge too, but I do enjoy looking. :P

      Why do happy couples cheat? Good question. I think we shouldn’t rule out biochemistry and impulse, even as adults. Emotions are complicated enough and then you mix in hormones and circumstance. I think we fool ourselves in thinking that all decisions occur in our prefrontal cortex and absent any prior conditioning or circumstance.

      I’ve twice been approached by married men to be The Other Woman. The first time I was in my 20s, he was a coworker, 10 years older, and we had a great rapport. Our workplace had some issues around people being too friendly (so much sexual harassment constantly occurring, it drove me nuts, and yet there was never any training on it, but I digress). This guy and I would have email exchanges that were harmless enough (with a bit of flirting) and then one day just took a turn and he propositioned me.
      He was happily married and he and his wife had been through a lot together. At one point I think they had had an open relationship too. She had cheated on him (more than once I think), and he said he had never strayed, so I would have been the first (true? not true? I don’t know, but I suspect true). I declined, and the friendship fizzled a bit after that, but we we always still polite enough.

      The second time was at a conference, after several glasses of wine and some great intellectual conversation. Also declined that time, but I’ll be honest and admit some regret (and yes, I realize how horrible it is). He’s going to win a Nobel Prize some day.

    15. C Average*

      I haven’t ever been tempted by a colleague, I’m happy to report.

      I’ve thought a lot about this topic. My mother cheated on my father when I was around ten. They were separated for a while and then reconciled. I didn’t know the whole story and didn’t understand all the nuances at that point, but I comprehended the basics. It’s definitely shaped my feelings about marriage and fidelity. It showed me that even people who love each other very much are capable of infidelity. And it showed me that if people are committed to repairing even the most damaged relationship, they can, if they work hard enough and are sufficiently committed. They’re closing in on fifty years of marriage and they have a really beautiful life together.

      I have never had overlapping relationships of any kind ever. I once broke up with a boyfriend in order to begin dating someone else, but I kept the lines really, really bright, and I look back and feel like I handled the situation with as much integrity as I could.

      I think a lot of these things start with kind of below-the-radar flirting, and I just plain call that stuff when I see it. I’ve had male friends say things to me that fall in that could-be-flirting-could-be-harmless grey area, and I trust my instincts in these areas and say something. I’ve said to male friends in situations like this, “Hey, it feels like you’re flirting with me. Please don’t. I’m happily married, and comments like that make me uncomfortable.” I haven’t lost any friends over this.

      I’ve also broken ties with some old friends with whom I’d always had unacknowledged chemistry. I’ve straight-up acknowledged it: I’ve said, “You know, if I’m honest, a major component of our relationship has always been the spark. You know it and I know it. I don’t really want friendships like this anymore. They feel inappropriate to me, now that I’m married. I’d like to wish you well in the broad, cosmic sense, but I don’t think I want to stay in contact anymore.” It felt really good to set such clear boundaries, honestly.

      None of this is in any way related to my spouse. He absolutely trusts me and would have no problem with me having any opposite-sex relationships I want. I just choose to only have opposite-sex relationships that are completely free of chemistry.

  17. jamlady*

    I grabbed up my dream job (yay!), but the offer was so last minute that I had no time to get a moving company to move an apartment’s worth of furniture from my house. My husband will be on contract elsewhere until the summer so there’s no way to get anything moved from our home until then, but he’s going to be in that house for a few more months after he’s back and then everything gets moved for free so we don’t see the point in moving anything earlier. So I’m basically heading to an apartment with clothes and a cat tree haha. Any advice on things that are cheap/worth paying for and re-selling later? We have gorgeous oak and leather furniture that we have no plans to replace, but I’m not sure I want to spend 6-9 months in an empty place by myself (and my 2 kitties).

    1. Audiophile*

      Maybe check out an Ikea, if there’s one in the area. I know when I was looking for inexpensive stuff, that’s what someone suggested to me. I don’t know where you’re moving to but, also Target sometimes has some nice items (tables, kitchen items, etc).

      1. jamlady*

        I have access to all the regular stores, but i’ts been years, so I’ve pretty much forgotten about everything haha

        I was wondering if a treadmill is worth purchasing used or if I’m better off getting a new one. That is something we don’t have and would like to have, but I’m also going to be on a second floor apartment so I don’t want to bug everyone with a big monster machine that I’ll be jumping on haha

        1. Audiophile*

          That may not be worth it. But if you can find one that can be delivered, that’s the only way I’d do it.

          I’ve never desired to have a treadmill, as I know I wouldn’t really use it.
          I got into a routine of taking the stairs at my job, the emergency stairs when I really wanted a workout. And it definitely helped. I made some small changes to my diet and saw some results. But I had a bit of a goal in mind, I was going to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding.

          Lately, my goal has been to lose some additional weight and getting into a smaller size pair of jeans. I’m getting there slowly but surely.

          1. jamlady*

            I think small goals are super helpful. My family is doing a “get in shape by summer” thing and I keep going “well summer is far away so whatever” – obviously a) it’s not that far away and b) who cares? I should be healthy at all times haha

            1. Audiophile*

              Yeah summer is not that far away. I’ve never found summer to be a helpful goal for me, because well, I’m not much of a beach person. I don’t even think I have a bathing suit anymore.

              But fitting into old clothes is a motivating factor for me. And of course, wanting to be healthier.

        2. DeadQuoteOlympics*

          I got my treadmill new, and it’s an entry level precor, and it’s the best purchase I ever made. I did a lot of reasearch, and bought new and fairly expensive (compared to Dick’s, etc.) after reading a lot of reviews and runner’s forums. New ones are under warranty; and less robust home exercise equipment either breaks, or subtly undermines exercising because it feels insubstantial, wobbly, shakes under high speeds, etc. so people are less likely to use them. I finish up my 12,000 steps per day by walking and watching streaming tv instead of sitting on the couch, and use it really consistently.

          I mostly walk on mine, with some running intervals, and I’d be worried about the pounding on the second floor if you are running on it. Big monster machines may actually transmit less noise and pounding than smaller less robust ones that rock or wobble. I dislike ellipticals because there is no flexibility for stride length, but that may not bother you and the pounding would be less (apparently the same trade off between price, weight, stability and likelihood of use applies.)

          They are HEAVY. So moving them requires two strong people who know what they are doing, especially if it involves stairs. On the other hand, as I recall, research indicates that they are the pieces of home exercise equipment most likely to get used, so it’s a better investment.

          Good luck!

    2. the gold digger*

      You could also look at Goodwill and on Craigslist and at estate sales. There is a story in the Washington Post today about how boomer parents can’t give their furniture away to their kids because the kids don’t want it. I am not sure how valid the conclusions of the reporter are, but a lot of people in the comments were saying that yep, nobody wants to buy their furniture.

      1. GH in SoCAl*

        Yeah, I had to furnish a second apartment in another city while working remotely, and I got lots of great things at Goodwill and other thrift stores. Some are just “this will do till I get my real stuff here” and some I will keep forever. My bed and mattress are from Ikea but everything else is “finds.” I get a smile every time I use my *perfect* end tables that cost $15/each.

        1. jamlady*

          haha actually all of the beautiful oak and leather furniture used to belong to my parents (but both of my older siblings refused the free and long-lasting furniture so that writer may have a point).

          I’ve been debating on getting another mattress (we have 2 queens in our house) vs. sleeping on a blow-up mattress (which is fine enough, but I work half of my days hiking so meh lol). And I’ve thought about foregoing a couch and just getting a chair or maybe a futon. My issue is we had a couch once from Goodwill that ended up being FULL of ants, so we replaced it with a futon from Target that was utterly horrible haha I seem to have bad luck with temporary/cheap stuff for the bigger items so I’m trying to figure out what might be worth it.

          Also, we have matching bedside tables that match our furniture and they were $20 for both at a yardsale – super lucky on that one!

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            Maybe you don’t need all the furniture but would it be possible between now and then to do a run with a small amount, like one set of mattresses? Stuff you want to keep but don’t use very often that would be cluttering up the house? Like small kitchen appliances, extra sheets and towels, knick-knacks, family photos/framed pictures that they advise you not have up anyway when you’re trying to sell?

        2. Lindsay J*

          Yes, Goodwill.

          Also my area has a bunch of “high end” thrift/consignment stores where the society ladies get rid of all their stuff at. It’s worth checking those out as well.

          I’ve also had better luck at the Salvation Army thrift stores than I have at Goodwill.

          I really like searching through all the stuff to find things that I really like.

          1. jamlady*

            I’m moving halfway across the country in a Honda Civic, so no big items, but I’m definitely taking a George Foreman and my espresso machine! I think I’m going to take the whole matching set from our guest bathroom, but I’ve sadly made my pictures/knick-knacks “only if there’s room” items (though I’m regretting that decision). I think I’ll have to thrift it for furniture if I decide on any, but I feel like I’m going to go crazy in an empty place haha

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              If you can afford it, look into what kind of extra storage thingys you can get put on your car. I had a Civic hatchback and once moved a friend’s place almost in one go, but man the undercarriage was almost dragging on the road (and as a student, he didn’t have much). Fortunately, it was only a short distance.

              But, there may be something like a Thule roof box you can get for the top. I’d also ask around and see if there’s anyone you know who would be interested in going with you or knows someone who is moving to the same area. If they’re renting a U-Haul, you might be able to drive together and put some of your stuff in with theirs, if you can find the right person/family that is. Sometimes, you can hire someone to drive a car across country, I’ve never done it so I don’t know how it works. That might work, too, if it’s not too expensive, you get the U-Haul and someone else drives your car.

            2. Sunday*

              Can you carefully pack up some of your pictures and ship them to yourself (or to your mom’s, if you’ll be visiting there anyway)? That way they don’t have to fit into the car and you don’t have to be without them the whole time.

              If you will be gone for 6 months before the formal move you’ll be through at least one season change. If you pack up a couple boxes of clothes and bedding, you could wrap & pack pictures in those, and ship them.

              And that’s long enough that I’d get a bed. An airbed can be good for a while, but they’re colder in cool weather and hotter in warm weather. And they’re more vulnerable to feline games.

              Congratulations on the new job, and good luck with the move.

              1. jamlady*

                I think I’m actually going to do that. There are things things that I don’t necessarily need (like my Kumeyaay nation beaded gourd or my hand-made High Sierra relief bowl) that I want to take with me, but just aren’t worth the room. Pictures, trinkets, etc. are just things I’d prefer to have while I’m alone – I can do no furniture, but something has to be there to keep me sane while I’m bored lol

          2. jamlady*

            My mom said they have some high-end places near her place so I’m hoping to have time to shop out there before I start work and get to busy for the trip down south! I remember getting a pair of brand new Abercrombie jeans from a mansion for a quarter because they were apparently out of style – those things last yeeeeears

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Good point about the boomers having trouble getting rid of stuff. The antique market is not doing so well- some furniture, maybe toys are doing okay. But other stuff has either stagnated or dropped. This means consignment shops and thrift stores are booming. You can find some nice pieces at very reasonable prices. There is a used furniture store near me and pieces are going for 80-100 bucks. Some of these things are in mint condition.

    3. Elder Dog*

      Having lived with a blow up bed, lawn furniture and a cat for 6 months, it’s not that bad. The blow up bed is nice now when we have more guests than usual, and I got good lawn furniture, which is happily in use on the deck.

      The outdoor fabrics are really nice now. And the prices will go down after Memorial day if you’re in the US.

      1. jamlady*

        Oh that’s a great point! We never bought any patio furniture simply because we have such a tiny patio, but we’re moving long-term to place with larger outdoor spaces and monster patios! Is it weird to live with iron chairs and a glass table? Whatever. I actually love that idea haha

      1. jamlady*

        I’m not a huge fan of Craigslist, but I would normally have been fine trying it. However, there was a big story a few months ago about someone heading over to check something out from a Craigslist ad and they ended up in the trunk of someone’s car… right near the town where I’m moving. Ahh!

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          Yeah, a few years ago around here, someone was selling a truck on Craigslist and… ran into a serial killer (I think the trial is coming up). But, like online dating, there are things you can do to mitigate the risk (tell someone who you’re meeting, make sure your cell is fully charged before you go, meet in a public place rather than at their house if you can avoid it which might not be possible with a large piece of furniture, bring a buddy [but not on a date!]).

          Also, of the billions of transactions that take place on there, statistically speaking how many wind up in the evening news? A very small amount because it’s fantastic and plays into our deepest fears. If every automobile accident that happened in a day had to be on the evening news, they wouldn’t have time for anything else and no one would ever drive again once they saw how many there were. The kind of accidents that make the news are of the “severe fog causes 100 car pile up” variety.

          1. jamlady*

            I’m pretty much always nervous about everything I can’t control haha I’m working on it.

    4. this isit*

      i move every few years, often to different countries. if they are sending the contents of your house on later for you, you can absolutely get by with minimal furnishings until then. you’ll definitely have to decide what is really essential for you (ie, a comfortable mattress), and possibly splurge on that.

      everything else you can get on CL, though i don’t recommend getting couches or mattresses that way (as you realize – bugs!), or linens, to be honest.

      when i moved back to the US several years ago, i moved back into my condo and it was empty. i bought beds for the bedrooms, and a dresser for clothes, and of course lots of hangars. cheap utensils/delph/glassware from ikea. and then waited on everything else until i found the “perfect” piece i wanted. i was surprised at what i just didn’t need. in 3 years, i never bought a couch (though i did have two chairs from ikea).

      1. jamlady*

        Oh jeese. I completely forgot about hangars!! What a menace those things are to move and we have SO many haha I think I may buy some more and we may just have to expand our wardrobes.

        I think I’m in agreement on the couch. I’m okay without one I think – I haven’t decided on chairs though. I’m thinking I might splurge and get a comfy leather recliner because my husband’s been wanting one for awhile and it will go well with the furniture that will eventually makes it way to me. I think they’re pretty pricey though. Maybe in a month or so haha

    5. Christy*

      If you are looking to spend some money on a good, comfy futon that you can sleep on in the meantime and keep after your furniture arrives, I suggest the Hudson futon from Sears. It’s available for $399 and costs $50 to be delivered. I have this futon and have slept on it and sat on it, and it’s pretty great. A friend got this futon as a free handmedown from her neighbor and used it for about five years herself (which is when I slept on it and decided I needed one) so it definitely lasts.

      1. jamlady*

        Oh that sounds like a good deal. I really didn’t like the one we had (which was still almost $300) and it felt pointless to have a couch/bed that no one could comfortably sleep on.

    6. it happens*

      Try freecycle – as the article said, nobody wants the boomer furniture. Put out a request on freecycle for a bed (I’d buy a new mattress…) and you’ll probably get a lot of responses. Don’t know how old the mattresses in your current house are, but getting a new mattress and box spring and using them on the floor isn’t bad. Also love the idea of using patio furniture indoors -potential freecycle or consignment store items.
      Good luck!

  18. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

    We’re heading over to the USA in October, to stay with family about an hour’s drive northeast of Los Angeles. We have the big things planned for the weekends (Disneyland because I am a grownup, La Brea tar pits, Hollywood) but need to think of things for hubby and I to rent a car and see/do during the week when family are at work/school. What would you lovely folks recommend?

    1. Sunflower*

      Check out some cliffs/hiking trails. I have driven along the Pacific Coast Highway a couple times(south from LA) and it’s amazing. I love Huntington Beach and Laguna.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        PCH up north to San Francisco is a beautiful drive and highly recommended, but about 4 hours to get all the way there without stopping off in places like Monterey or to see Hearst Castle or Santa Barbara.

        A lot depends on whether or not you are planning, or promising, to do day trips only to spend time with family at night or if they will be OK with you taking 4 days and going somewhere else and how long you are going to be there. Death Valley, Sonoma wine country (on the other side of San Francisco), it’s an 8 hour drive to the Grand Canyon in Arizona (or a short flight, another rental car and about a 2 hour drive from Phoenix). Vegas if you’re into that sort of thing. There’s no shortage of things to do in that area of the country.

        1. Stephanie*

          Just a heads up…Grand Canyon is probably closer to 3-4 hours from Phoenix, depending on where she’s coming from and how long the wait at the entrance is. She could also fly into Vegas and drive (also about 4 hours).

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            Hrm… it has been a few years so you’re probably right. Maybe I’m thinking that to Flagstaff (where we stayed as it was central) was 2 hours.

    2. jamlady*

      Northeast as in the desert? Because there are a ton of things to do out in the desert/high desert east of the Sierra Nevadas (but it’s all recreational and outdoorsy, which you may not be into). Even driving through that area is amazing and there’s a bunch of little things along the way like Manzanar and such (also nice if you’re not in the mood for the city for a day).

      Magic Mountain is out in Santa Clarita (another theme park, but more adult – also keep in mind that Disneyland is in Anaheim, which is further south than LA, and is going to be a couple of hours away for your drive).

      Sometimes there will be little plays on Sunset in small theaters that are UBER cheap and worthwhile. A friend of mine found tickets for a very small play written and directed by Tom from the show The Blacklist that was really great and it had about 10 people watching it, so that was fun. There are a ton of shows in LA – I would look up what’s playing at the time at different venues because there’s so much to choose from. They also do screenings for different TV shows that you can try to get tickets for (they were free the last time I was there – you just had to apply early).

      There are a bunch of places like the Getty Museum and Griffith Observatory that you can head to as well. Also, if you’re down for a drive, I recommend a day in San Diego – there’s a lot to do down there and it’s beautiful.

      What kind of things are you guys into?

    3. CA Admin*

      The Huntington Library in Pasadena. It’s an old estate that’s now an amazing museum. The gardens are amazing, but so’s the art and science exhibits. Totally worth a trip!

      Griffith Observatory is also a really great place to visit. It’s run by the city and therefore free to visitors. The guides are really good and so are the exhibits. It’s an actual working solar observatory also.

      The Getty is another great museum. It’s set on a hill above Westwood and has some of the most breathtaking views of the ocean and city. The art collection and traveling exhibits are also top notch.

      If you like sushi, there’s a great restaurant called Sugarfish that’s got a few locations in the LA area. They do reasonably priced set menus with some a la cart options too. It’s not all fancy rolls, but rather great quality fish, set with flavors that go well together.

      Disney is fun, but go during midweek if you can–weekends in spring get kind of hectic. La Brea Tar Pits was one of my favorite things to do as a kid–that and the Natural History Museum are really great. Be careful about parking in that area, though–they share with USC and get pushed out when USC has big events.

      1. BRR*

        I was going to say the Getty too. Such a beautiful place. Also if you’re northeast I wonder if you can cut around LA and go to Santa Barbara?

        Just try to time things to avoid rush hour (easier said than done).

          1. Stephanie*

            [obligatory LA traffic rant]

            Traffic might be unavoidable there if she’s trying to go to different parts of the city. I was in Orange County for a conference end of last week and met some friends in LA. And even on Saturday morning, it took me over an hour to drive 30 mi into LA. I learned the hard way why people tend not to leave their neighborhoods there. Friend who grew up there says locals stay in their neighborhood/take surface roads as much as possible.

            And again, driving back to Phoenix yesterday, I hit a decent amount of traffic getting out of town. I was way into San Bernadino County by the time I could go full speed on the freeway.

            [end obligatory LA traffic rant]

            1. jamlady*

              Ugh traffic is always unavoidable in southern California (unless you do what I always did during my college days and only drive at 2 am for trips out of LA). I grew up there and it always made me hate California, but then I got a few contracts out in the forest and I’ve worked in the desert a ton and I made a compromise with my family that we’d settle near them as long as we could settle out there. I don’t mind long drives – it’s the traffic that kills me.

      2. Al Lo*

        Seconding all of these.

        Also, I lived in L.A., and one week we bought the City Pass, which gives you admission to a whole bunch of attractions for a single price. It was great for combating that “we live here and have never found the time to do these things” feeling, and it was a great staycation. We went to maybe 6 of the available places and felt like we got our money’s worth, so if you have more time, you could really find some cool, lesser-known places to visit.

    4. HarryV*

      Please try to check out the schedules for shows, sporting events, concerts, musicals! This is the mecca of all sorts of entertainment! There is always something for everyone no matter what age or interest! Enjoy! I would also recommend a day or two day trip down to SD or Santa Barbara.

      1. Al Lo*

        You can sign up for Goldstar, which lists 50% off tickets for a variety of shows and events. It’s worth it to sign up for an account even if you’ll only be in the area for a few days. I always find something interesting to go to, and I’m more likely to be adventurous when I’m getting a deal.

    5. Emme*

      The beach. Go to Malibu or Pacific palisades, or whatever one is closest/ most convenient to you. The last few Octobers have been plenty warm enough for a beach day. Santa Monica is fun too, you can do some shopping at third street, hit the boardwalk and walk/ rent bikes and ride down to Venice beach and back.

      1. Rene UK*

        I third(fourth?) the La Brea tarpits; the museum is great, and the grounds are fun too. The Sequoias are really worth a visit,too–they are just mind-bogglingly big and the area is beautiful, and they might not be too far away depending on where you are.

        1. jamlady*

          I vote the Inyo over Sequoias (lived in both places for awhile) mostly because the Inyo is a better run forest and has a prettier drove from LA. That being said, I adore the Sequoias, and you wouldn’t regret heading up there.

      1. INTP*

        I find the tar pits really upsetting but my family thinks I’m crazy and overly sensitive. I hate the sculptures with the mommy mammoth sinking into the tar and the baby and daddy mammoths looking on tragically.

    6. thisisit*

      seconding everyone else, but will also throw in wine country (napa, sonoma, etc, depending on how far you want to drive). you can make it overnights too.
      also, joshua tree.

    7. Katie NYC*

      I second the Getty villa.

      Last time I was out in LA, my friend and I went on a day trip to one of the Channel Islands. The boat ride was great – we saw seals on the way there, and the hiking on the island was great. Not a ton of facilities on the islands, so you’ll want to pack lunch.

    8. Revanche*

      I’d vote for you coming up here to SF (selfishly, just so I could virtually wave to you) but it’s really more than a day trip type drive. Even the train wouldn’t be as convenient as I think it should. But the drive up PCH is gorgeous, it’d be worth going as far as Santa Barbara.
      In LA (if you were inclined to be in the cityish) I’d suggest a variety of delicious foods perhaps: lunch at Campanile’s, potato balls and empanadas at Porto’s. There are some good burger places but the ones I like are more southeast of LA. I hear good things about Umami Burger, though, if you like a gourmet sort of thing. Great Mexican food can be found on Olvera Street and Korea town also has some fantastic eats.
      Traffic does really suck though, almost at any time of day & night, so I apologize in advance on behalf of CA :/

    9. chewbecca*

      I’m really late to this, so you may not see it, but my fiance and I went to LA last year and we loved it. He lived there for 6 years, so I got to experience it from his perspective.

      The Grove is cool, it’s a two-part shopping center that’s part farmer’s market, part traditional outdoor shopping center. The farmer’s market is huge and the shopping center has a lot of options for shopping and food.

      We were there for 5 days and spent time in Santa Monica every day. The 3rd street Promenade is awesome and the Santa Monica pier is close and is worth a visit.

      I may be partial, because we got engaged while we were out there, but I really loved the time we spent in LA. I hope you do, too!

  19. Is This Legal*

    Is this a seller’s market or buyer’s market in housing SE region? I want to get a townhouse or condo at a minimum.

    1. Clever Name*

      have you talked to a real estate agent? Reading the real estate section of local newspapers will give you an idea of the market. I’ve found the prices on Zillow aren’t terribly accurate.

  20. Audiophile*

    Woo, free-for-all!

    I seem to be having a good end to my week: I found a lotto ticket and won $10. Got an email about scheduling a phone interview. Got invited to do another class show at Comic Strip Live, by the teacher of my class. And I may have a date tomorrow.

    1. Clever Name*

      Yes! I love it when good things come in bunches. It feels like things are falling into place. :)

  21. Amber Rose*

    I bought a new car and I love it. My previous car was a Jetta and it was completely awful.

    I’m hoping to get my class 5 advanced next month but I’m a coward about tests. D:

    1. Audiophile*

      What car did you buy?

      I hear VW, as a manufacturer, can be hit or miss. My mom had a bug and I thought it was a horrible car, but she loved it. It was always breaking down (her alternator died on her multiple times and other weird problems, that I felt I never saw with other cars).

      1. Stephanie*

        I have a Golf. You’re right about the hit or miss aspect. I got a Jetta as a loaner car from the dealer and hated it (it felt really underpowered and I live in an area that requires tons of highway driving).

        I’ve been mostly happy with the Golf. Compared to other compact cars, it definitely gets crappier mileage (like 31 mpg instead of 35+ mpg), but I like the way it handles.

      2. DeadQuoteOlympics*

        Ha, my husband just put $2000 in his 2002 Passat station wagon and our mechanic swears we’ll get another 150,000 miles out of it. It never has anything go wrong with it- just the usual replacements like brakes, etc. Everyone we know who has a Jetta, on the other hand, had endless weird problems.

    2. Samantha*

      My friend had also had a Jetta that was just awful – its engine actually caught fire randomly. Hope you have better luck with your new car!

    3. BRR*

      Ugh we had a jetta as a rental car once. It was awful. From what I read the lowest engine class was too weak and I think that’s what we had. You would press on the gas and it took about 3 seconds for the car to go.

    4. Clever Name*

      What did you get? I’ve had my Prius for 10 years, and plan to get another one when its time to get a new car.

      1. Lindsay J*

        Love my Prius.

        I’ve only had it for about 5 years, but it is 10 years old. Got both batteries replaced right before the warranty went on it, and it’s going strong. *knock on wood*.

        I can’t imagine driving anything else at this point.

  22. Carrie in Scotland*

    I’m not sure what the worldwide media has been saying but in the UK, since the horrible tragedy of the Germanwings flight earlier on in the week there has been much made of the fact that the co-pilot had previously been treated for depression and now asking if people with depression should be “allowed” to do certain jobs?

    Such a viewpoint has been condemned by mental health charities but I guess there is a long way to go about talking about mental health issues in a positive way (speaking as someone who does suffer from depression herself).

    1. StillHealing*

      I’ve been avoiding news stories and keeping myself very busy while I’m grieving the loss of my marriage so I just read today, the New York Times Friday addition that covered this story. These was some emphasis on his depression but I didn’t read anywhere that questioned whether people with depression being allowed to work certain types of jobs. There were several articles and I didn’t read every word, so I may have missed that part. I too have been treated for Major Depression. Was hospitalized for both Severe PTSD and Major Depression. What I finding concerning is lumping suicidal people in the same category as homicidal people. The thought of taking another person’s life has never ever entered my thought process EVEN when I was horribly depressed and significantly suicidal. Everyone is different though. We do have a long way to go to educate people and discuss openly what something common like depression is and isn’t.

    2. Nina*

      It’s just such an tragic situation all around, and I have heard rumblings here in the US about people suffering with depression who shouldn’t be performing certain jobs/duties. IMHO, that’s just going to make things worse. People suffering from mental illness are already judged by the public, and they’re less likely to seek help if it means losing their jobs. It’s like a witch hunt, and only serves as a band-aid for the real problem. Depression or otherwise, people have to be able to earn a living.

      It doesn’t help that there’s still a lot we don’t know about this story; but the media is capitalizing on the depression aspect as if there’s nothing else to consider. I have read that while the pilot was suffering from depression, that wasn’t the reason he was in the hospital just before he went on the flight. It worries me that people are associating depression with homicidal tendencies, because that’s rarely the case.

      I don’t know what the “right” answer is, frankly. Maybe more psychological evaluations for pilots and other similar professionals? I can’t even begin to imagine what the families of those passengers and the head pilot are going through, it’s just devastating.

      1. fposte*

        I think unfortunately that’s par for the course after a tragedy that comes from human volition. I know people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have had the same problems when some killer turns out to have had the same illness. We humans like a single-point failure narrative.

        1. Mimmy*

          People with Aspergers had something similar happen right after the Newton school shooting in December, 2012. There was a lot of scrambling to remind people that people with Aspergers DO NOT typically become violent.

          1. Mimmy*

            Argh what is it with me and incomplete thoughts this weekend??! It was thought that the Newton school shooter had Aspergers, and I think that led to misconceptions about people with the condition.

      2. The German chick*

        Please let’s abstain from blaming all people with depression to be potential mass murderers. There is so much we do not know yet about this horrible story. Most major German media do a shameful job on reporting by speculating and blowing any little detail of this story out of proportion. Murdering 150 people by crashing a plane is certainly not a sign of depression.

        1. Nina*

          Please let’s abstain from blaming all people with depression to be potential mass murderers.

          That’s not what I was saying at all.

          1. fposte*

            Yes, I read you both as making pretty much the same point.

            For the record, I’m not seeing much that suggests people with depression are all potential mass murderers; I’m mostly seeing this kind of comment encouraging people *not* to think that way.

          2. The German chick*

            I completely agree. I failed to reply to Carrie’s original thread and clicked the reply button under your comment instead.

        2. Mephyle*

          That blaming is certainly rampant in some sectors of the media but I don’t think we’ve seen a whiff of it here.

      3. Lindsay J*

        *This* for pretty much all of your points.

        I know that people with a history of depression are already forbidden from certain things like joining the Airforce I believe. And I believe this does more harm than good. You want people to be able to disclose their issues, to reach out to their boss and ask for help or use the company EAP etc. If you say “No, depression is a deal breaker,” people won’t do that. They may not even go to the doctor and get treatment because they are afraid it will get back to their place of business.

        And no matter how much you pre-screen and try to prevent it, you would still have people with depression flying planes because depression can strike anyone at any age with no prior history.

        It also bothers me that the depression is what everyone is jumping to, when he was treated for it in 2009 and cleared for duty, and from everything I’ve read the most recent issue he was treated for was specifically said to not be depression, and that it was physical not mental in nature.

        I think the better way to go with this is examining the procedures and failure points. Requiring two people to be in the cockpit at one time makes sense to me. I mean, if the co-pilot suffered from a heart attack or something while the pilot had stepped out things still would most likely have not ended well.

        I can’t imagine what the pilot was going through in the final minutes – knowing that the plane was descending, knowing you were locked out of the cockpit, and knowing you could right the plane and fix things if you were just able to get in somehow…

        1. jamlady*

          US military is ridiculous with mental health. My husband came back from a year long deployment in the Middle East and his psych evaluation was a bored officer asking “you suicidal?” and of course my husband answered “no.” – he struggled with episodes of severe depression the entire year following. He’s only just now coming to terms with it being apart of the rest of his life thanks to the commonality of mental health issues in my family. The military has done nothing but instill a culture where you cover it up or you’re “less of a man”. So many of them were recently diagnosed with PTSD after they’ve been home for 2 years and ended up getting divorced (and some, involved in domestic violence disputes and attempted suicides). It’s so sad. :(

    3. thisisit*

      as someone who flies a lot and is completely terrified of flying, reports of plane crashes just completely undo me. i actually have been flying germanwings/lufthansa extensively the past year or so too. but is it weird of me to feel less freaked out by a deliberate action of a pilot vs mech failure/weather?

      1. manomanon*

        No it isn’t. This was tragic but not something that was a systemic failure. The plane worked and did the things it was designed to do, which may have compounded the problem since the pilot couldn’t get back into the cockpit but it’s not as if the wings flew off the plane or the navigation system failed.

        1. fposte*

          And the thing is, the pilot’s getting back into the cockpit might not have averted the tragedy, either.

      2. Anonyby*

        I can kinda understand it because deliberate action of a pilot is not a random failure, and it typically has fewer failure points. Most plane crashes & incidents are a compounding of many failures, including human error, company culture, existing practices that made a particular situation worse, and usually one or more failures of the airplane, and that can be very scary.

        On the other hand, have you recently looked at the statistics involved with the safety of flying? We’re in a golden age of safety. I’m not sure if you have or if it would help your fears (since sometimes fear can be irrational and go against all known facts).

        1. thisisit*

          weirdly, i used to love flying. had a few issues in the last year (lightening storms, cabin depressurized/emer landing, missed landings, etc) and now i’m contemplating therapy/valium.

          in terms of pilot action though, i think maybe it’s from my injury prevention work that human action scares me less. not that we necessarily have all the answers/strategies for prevention, but that we can identify intervention points.

    4. INTP*

      I think some people feel that they can control random tragedies by controlling mental illness. When there is a shooting in the US, people always speculate on what mental illness the person must have had, how increased access to mental healthcare would have prevented the problem (access is a concern sometimes, but it’s not like everyone who want to commit murder will report it and request to be locked up), and how people with mental illness shouldn’t be able to purchase guns. (Not that *no one* should be able to purchase guns, but that people with mental illness should be specifically excluded). It pisses me off because there are other things that are far more strongly correlated with potential for violent crime that everyone recognizes are not fair attributes to limit a person’s rights to purchase guns, hold high risk jobs, etc, based on, like race, gender, alcohol use, and socioeconomic background. I’m not sure why mental illness, which is equally something a person can’t control, is fair game to so many people – except that as I mentioned, they feel like they can control bad things from happening by controlling the mentally ill.

  23. Sunflower*

    How do you tell someone that they’re a great person sober but they can become a terrible person when they drink? My friend, Summer, is a really great friend to a lot of people- a very caring person. I never noticed it before but she becomes really rude and selfish when she drinks. It has never affected me until a couple weeks ago at my sister’s bachelorette party. Summer is in my sister’s wedding along with me and part of the party was a bar crawl. During the bar crawl, I told her multiple times my sister really wanted to go to this one bar. Of course, she ends up getting hammered and tells me she’ll meet us at the bar. Later on she was trying to convince us to come to her, refused to come meet us, claiming she never told me she was going to meet us. Just being so rude. My sister was clearly upset but she’s not the type to say something about it so even though I was livid and wanted to say something, I decided to let it go. I just realized things like this happen a lot. She will be at a bar with you and all of a sudden will literally pretend like you don’t exist. Like ignore you when you speak to her.

    I don’t want to just write her off since she’s a great person sober but I also think she has a tendency to blame it on the booze and not take responsibility for her actions. How do I talk to her about this? Is this fixable?

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Honestly, probably not. I drink most days, and I can drink pretty heavily, but I’ve never done something I didn’t remember or that was really out of character for me, or I’d quit forever. To me, that’s a really troubling sign. What did she have to say about her behavior when she was sober? Can you express it as concern for the radical change in her personality, and that you know that normally she would be appalled by behaving that way?

      1. Sunflower*

        If you bring it up to her, she laughs it off. Like it’s ridiculous for me to be upset with her because she was drunk so why would i think that she intended to hurt me? or something like that. I know my one friend has tried to talk to her about it and the most Summer has said is ‘yeah I’ve been trying to stay in more’ but the problem isn’t that she drinks too many times a week, it’s how much she drinks when she goes out. i like what you said about expressing it as concern and mentioning that she would be appalled by her actions. Summer is very non-confrontational so having a deep talk with her would be difficult as i feel like she would just try to alleviate the situation to get out of it as soon as possible. i think maybe I haven’t been stern enough. Maybe not letting her off the hook when I talk to her about it will help.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          I think I’d be more concerned by the fact that she laughs off your hurts than the hurts themselves. She doesn’t care that she hurts you, so she’s not only not a good friend, she’s really not a friend at all. Friends care if they hurt you. And they’d try to protect you from hurt, too…for example, if you’re asthmatic or allergic to cigarette smoke, they’d at the very least make sure not to smoke around you. Since this friend hurts you every time she drinks she should, at a minimum, make sure not to drink around you, but she doesn’t seem to care if she hurts you.

          Since she doesn’t seem interested in sparing your feelings or addressing her drinking problem, I would probably just stop making plans with them and let the friendship die a natural death.

          1. the gold digger*

            My limited experience with drunks is that you cannot do anything to fix it. The drunk has to want to fix it. And if she won’t even acknowledge the problem, then there is no way for her to fix it.

            (Caveat: the drunks I have experience with are my husband’s parents and they are jerks when they are sober, too. My husband has talked to them many times about their drinking, imploring them to stop, but they pay no attention. If a son cannot get his parents to pay attention, a friend is not going to get a friend to pay attention.)

    2. TheLazyB*

      Honestly, I would stop spending time with her in bars and only see her at times when she’s not drinking :-/

      1. Steve G*

        I concur. I was friends with someone who always mulled over all of the failed relationships, jobs, etc. when she was drunk. The problem was, that she was apparently only free to meet late or on weekend nights, i.e. times when it is convenient to meet in a bar. After a while of trying to help, I cut her out recently, unfortunately. I still think she has potential, sober, but she isn’t interested in doing active non-drinking things during the day or changing the problems she moans about when drunk so we can meet and drink without her complaining about SOS/causing the same drama every time.

      2. INTP*

        Agree. And I’m one of those people who gets out-of-character when I’m drunk in a social setting (weirdly, if I get drunk alone at home I have no issues). I’m not sure if there’s anything that anyone could have said to change me until I accepted that I can’t get drunk in social situations. I would have tried to limit myself (which wouldn’t work because either I didn’t notice my limit or someone would put shots in front of me and pressure me hard to drink them and I’d cave after trying to say no a few times) or tried to control myself from being obnoxious (which wouldn’t have worked because the alcohol made me that way). But the only thing that worked was not getting drunk socially anymore and I resisted that for a long time, and I still find that people aren’t really respectful of it – everyone seems to think it would be fine if I got just a little drunk for their entertainment.

    3. Revanche*

      I have friends who have had to quit drinking entirely because they were just like your friend and the alcohol clouded their ability to see that the alcohol was actually a crutch and a problem, not a useful social lubricant. It was a hard realization but I don’t know if that’s something you can get someone to see if they’re not ready to.

      A lot of people don’t like to think they aren’t in charge when they’re drinking, or at least that their actions aren’t all excusable. Personally I’d try to have one conversation about it but if she’s not receptive, I’d stop having her for any alcohol related events.
      I’ve had to have that conversation after a friend got way too drunk and caused a ruckus at another friend’s party. In that case I let her know that her behavior at that time was a lot worse and more disruptive than she was aware and that while I very much looked forward to having her at a family gathering with an open bar, I expected her to drink responsibly or not at all depending on what it took for her to enjoy the event and not have to point at the alcohol as an excuse for poor behavior later. FWIW, it worked with that friend for that one event.

    4. BRR*

      I would probably just call it out. Any time a situation arises I would say “I don’t want to go because I don’t like how you act when you drink.”

      If this didn’t happen that long ago I would say that you aren’t happy she acted that way when it was a celebration for your sister. Phrasing it as you looking out for your sister but nothing that could be thought of as talking behind one’s back. You might be able to then shift it towards a general conversation about how she acts.

      1. TL -*

        Yup. My suggestion would be to not hang around here when she’s likely to be drinking – make her a sober friend.

    5. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I think the problem isn’t that she drinks, it’s that she’s sometimes a mean, selfish person (and that happens to be when she’s drinking). In that lens, it doesn’t really matter what caused it; if she’s repeatedly treating you like shit when you’ve repeatedly informed her that she’s doing it, it means she doesn’t care about the fact that she’s doing that to people. That’s a decision that she makes when she’s sober, if she’s been told multiple times that she’s a jerk when she’s drunk.

      When she laughs it off, says it was just the booze and that she didn’t mean to hurt anyone, the response to go with, I think, should be “It doesn’t matter whether you were drunk a lot. You did a mean, selfish thing. The fact that you didn’t mean to doesn’t make it go away.” And since there’s a pattern, it’s worth pointing out as a “You regularly do mean, selfish things to me and other people. If you really cared about us, you’d care when you’re hurting us.” And unfortunately, if it’s really a negative thing in your life, you have to stop hanging out with her not only when she’s likely to be a jerk, but also when she’s laughing off your pain.

      If you want her behavior toward you to change, you have to change your behavior toward her. Telling her hasn’t worked. The only other alternative is deciding you want to live with it.

      1. fposte*

        I like this a lot. If she were sober and doing the same thing, would you tolerate it? Why tolerate it if she’s not?

    6. AnonAcademic*

      She is not a “great person sober” and a “terrible person when she drinks.” She is just a person who is both great, and terrible. The drinking strips away the layers that hide the terrible normally. But it’s still there when she’s sober, she just has the self control to suppress it.

  24. K*

    This is more of a rant but if you have advice that would be great. This is regarding dental cleaning in cats.

    Years ago I picked up a stray with really bad teeth. Growing up, my family didn’t even think about cleaning our cats’ teeth so I thought nothing of it. The vet at my current geography brings up a dental cleaning every time I bring her in, to the point where I feel pressured, and then gives me an estimate of $600+. Yesterday I brought her in to check that she was healing okay after a tooth fell out on Monday (gross, yes) and asked if there was room for negotiation on the price. They would not budge. Even when I presented results of my Internet research that suggested prices more in the lines of $200-400 (which I still think is ridiculous). When I mentioned $200 for a standard cleaning, they admitted yes, their standard cleaning is cheaper (my cat needs extra work done) but “cheaper” was still $400. They even went so far as to say that I could try somewhere else that may be cheaper, but “there’s no guarantee they’re going to do it right.”

    Is it just me that thinks this is bad business? Not willing to cut a deal to retain a customer? Then bashing other vets to intimidate the customer into thinking you’re their only option?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m having one of my cats’ teeth cleaned next month and they quoted me a price around $400, I think — so if she needs special work, $600 doesn’t seem out of line. They put them out for it, so a lot of the price is related to the anesthesia, I think.

      Anyway, their price is their price. I don’t think they’re obligated to lower it or that they should have to cut a deal, even for a good customer. This is what they charge, and it sounds like they were pretty reasonably telling you that you could try somewhere else if you’re not happy with their price. (I agree that the “there’s no guarantee they’re going to do it right” comment was a bit much, but who knows, maybe they’ve seen it done badly for cheaper prices.)

      1. Treena Kravm*

        I honestly don’t think the “there’s no guarantee they’re going to do it right” comment was out of line at all. Tone is important, but they’re probably just being honest that their prices are that way for a reason. They probably have seen it done badly on the cheap.

        I grew up with great dental insurance and just went to my employer’s cheap dental HMO provider for the first time. The polish took less than 2 minutes (usually at least 5), the dentist poked at my teeth for a few seconds, and I was done. Yea, they’re cheaper. But they’re definitely doing a crappier job of cleaning my teeth. I can pay more, or less, but the difference in quality is obvious.

    2. Wildkitten*

      You should shop around for another vet. They have to put the kitten under to clean teeth – so it is ridiculously expensive – but you shouldn’t be bullied into spending more than you can afford.

        1. Wildkitten*

          Saying another vet might not do it right would feel like emotional manipulation if they were talking about my pets – and it made the OP uncomfortable, so I see no reason to not go somewhere else.

          1. fposte*

            I figured the point was more that selecting any health provider simply based on price is a risk.

          2. The Cosmic Avenger*

            I agree, it sounds like they’re pressuring K rather than explaining and giving them the information they need to decide for themselves. Our vet makes sure we’re comfortable with whatever we decide, and they always give us a no-pressure, no-judgement, just-the-facts take on treatment options.

          3. Not So NewReader*

            I agree. I see it as part of their sales pitch. “Tell the customer that other people may not do it right, this will help retain the customer’s business.”
            But I see this technique used a lot in the medical arena. It works, it casts a doubt in people’s minds. The way to deal with that is to get more and more information.
            I would ask for a small reduction if I was able to pay in cash not credit card. I can’t think of another way, that I would be able to negotiate that one.
            Talk with people around you and see who they are using for a vet and how the costs are there.
            It could be that the next vet would have a different idea on how to handle things. At least get a second opinion/estimate.

            I agree with you that people who use fear and doubt to promote their products and services raise a red flag with me. If their service is so good, they should be able to explain why and not have to resort to fear and doubt to motivate you to give them your business.

          4. TL -*

            One of my friends works for a large vet clinic with lots of specialists and many of their emergency cases are someone cheaper not doing it right – and also a lot of cases where the owner avoided the problem until it became an emergency.
            I think this is less a case of emotional manipulation and more a case of the vet being pretty frustrated as well as most likely knowing the quality of the other vet services offered.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I would too. My vet doesn’t charge near this and Psycho Kitty gets her teeth cleaned once a year now, after she had to have one removed (even that wasn’t $400). But it also might be that I’m not in a larger city.

    3. Buggy Crispino*

      I just had my dogs’ teeth cleaned earlier this month. For both of them it was around $800, and between them they had to have a total of 7 teeth pulled (a few cracked and broken teeth among them). They do put them under, but also part of the cost of their cleaning was preliminary blood work and a follow up check after 10 days. I certainly didn’t want to spend that amount, but in my research I found that was a typical range. Yes there were some cheaper, but also some more expensive. My vet worked with me a little bit on the price, but I think it was more because I asked about payment terms, expressing that I wasn’t sure I could afford to do both dogs at the same time, and the fact that February was “dental health month” at their clinic and they were willing to extend the discounts they had offered in February.

      Sometimes a vet will work with you if you present it as needing assistance rather than presenting it as that their work isn’t worth the prices they set. (Not intending to insult you K, it does sound like you made a reasonable attempt to negotiate, but maybe your tone was a little insulting and that’s why they went with the “there’s no guarantee they’re going to do it right.”)

      1. K*

        They actually brought up assistance all on their own but their “assistance” options were a) payment plan or b) “we do accept credit cards.”

        1. Call Me Maybe*

          Uh, what did you think they were going to offer as assistance? You only seem to care about getting a discount.

          It sounds like they’ve tried to help as much as could reasonably be expected.

    4. Shay*

      My rescue had bad teeth too. When I first brought her in for her checkup a week after we adopted her, the vet said she had bad teeth and needed a cleaning. They quoted me $200. A few weeks later we took her in for a cleaning, and it really was $200. But, she didn’t need any other work done. That was one of their concerns; they said they would only know if she needed further work after they’d done the initial cleaning. But everything was OK. Yes, they have to put kitty out for the cleaning so that is a large part of the cost.

      It’s very suspect that they are indicating they’re your only option. They’re very likely not, depending on your area. Maybe try another vet?

    5. Calla*

      Did they give you a breakdown of the work it would include? If it’s a cleaning and some teeth removed type of thing, $600 is not outrageous. Our kitty needed some dental work last year and they quoted us between $400-700 depending on how much they needed to do once they actually got in there (it ended up being on the lower end of that quote, fortunately).

    6. KarenT*

      You could always meet with one of the cheaper vets and ask them to explain their diagnosis and process to you. If it seems reasonable, go for it.

      For what it’s worth I feel your pain. I recently spent $750 on my cat’s teeth (he had to have some extractions done on top of the cleaning). I phoned a few local vets to see if I was getting a decent price and the prices only went $50 in either direction.

      Also, for what it’s worth, my cat had a spring in his step after his cleaning. His dental issues were making him uncomfortable and he was noticeably happier after getting the bad teeth removed.

      I have to agree with Alison regarding price. They get to set their price and they get to decide whether or not to lower it for a customer. In turn, you get to decide whether or not you want to pay it.

    7. BRR*

      I paid $600 for my dog and for reference I live in a high COL area. Are you just mad that it’s not something that was done in past generations and it’s pretty expensive? I’m not familiar with vets negotiating costs either, mostly just installments if you need it. As for bashing I know one clinic nearby that is far cheaper than the others in town but their quality of care is very poor. It’s basically where you go if your pet desperately needs care and you can’t afford anywhere else or where people go trying to save a dollar and don’t really care about getting their pet good treatment. So it might have been bashing but I’ve known some shady vets to exist.

      1. K*

        I’ve been to some shady vets and they were just as expensive as the okay vet (have yet to find a great one).

        Every financial advice column I read says everything is negotiable. If they don’t want to negotiate, fine, but they should just admit it and not make it out to be like I’m crazy for asking because $600 is what it costs, period. That is not what it costs. That’s what they set the price to be.

        For reference I live in a pretty low COL area.

        1. fposte*

          But that’s how everything is–nobody’s selling you an item or a service at cost. That doesn’t mean they’re going to negotiate. This is true of human medical stuff too–prices vary tremendously, but the high-priced blood lab isn’t going to cut its fees because you’ve asked them to compete with another price you’ve found on the internet, and I wouldn’t be inclined to call that bad business either. I think the “everything is negotiable” idea just means those financial columns are like those job-hunting columns that tell you to do freaky stuff with your resume–they’re saying clickbaity stuff that doesn’t actually work.

          But it sounds to me like you’re pretty soured on this vet generally, so I think that’s a good reason right there to go elsewhere.

          1. BRR*

            I think the “everything is negotiable” idea just means those financial columns are like those job-hunting columns that tell you to do freaky stuff with your resume–they’re saying clickbaity stuff that doesn’t actually work.

            So now we’re breaking from the original comment but is that allowed in open threads? Anythings this just adds to why I always find your comments spot on. I’ve always hated that advice. Everything is negotiable because you can ask but there are so many situations where nothing is going to happen. Of course the financial columnist is going to say it, it’s what people want to hear.

            1. fposte*

              I mean I think it’s probably true that more things are negotiable than we realize, but I can’t imagine the time you’d spend in a coffee-shop line if every customer tried to negotiate. Maybe they’d send emergency caffeine out to the end of the line :-).

        2. BRR*

          For me it’s just the vet with a reputation in the area. Obviously things aren’t universal. Also I don’t know the difference in price in cat vs. dog treatment.

          It doesn’t hurt to call around. I tired to but after calling two they wouldn’t give me a quote without examining the dog and therefore required appointments.

        3. TL -*

          I volunteered at my local vet’s office when I was little. It was family owned and they had a lot of wiggle room on prices and charging and payment plans. And they would often negotiate or do things at cost for the “right” owner. And I have the friend I mentioned above – he has less wiggle room but they’ll try to make things happen when necessary.
          But…from your vet’s point of view, she’s been telling you for a very long time that this procedure needs to be done, you are only now looking at it after your cat had a tooth fall out, and you’re trying to negotiate what she probably feels is a very necessary procedure. My guess is she’s not happy with you and even if she could adjust the price some, she has no desire to.

          I agree with fposte that you should find a new vet if you’re not happy with her. It sounds like it’s not the best vet client relationship on either side.

    8. Dynamic Beige*

      They even went so far as to say that I could try somewhere else that may be cheaper, but “there’s no guarantee they’re going to do it right.”

      –> Uh, yeah. And what guarantee do they have that they will do it “right”, based on your wisdom and experience in the matter — Professional Cat Dentist that you are? They are preying on your PetMom feelings because you don’t want to be a Bad PetMom who goes and gets cut-rate back-alley dentistry for their cat, right?

      A few years ago, The Fifth Estate did a program on the price of dentistry in Canada. They had a woman go the Canadian College of Dentistry and get checked by one of the senior educators there. This woman then visited a couple dozen dentists and asked for an opinion/estimate on the work they thought she needed. The bills went as high as $10K of suggested work “you need crowns, and veneers and…” type thing when the educator said a cleaning and something else minor was enough. The whole message of the program was caveat emptor and get a second opinion if you want to. If that’s what they suggest for human teeth, I think it also applies to pet teeth. Unless there’s only one vet in your town, there’s got to be some more choice. Ask for a referral at the place you buy the food, or from your friends or family. If that’s the price they set, then it is. If they’re not willing to lower it, then you either pay it or go elsewhere. If the shoe was on the other foot, would you want your boss to say that they were going to lower your wages on Mondays because that’s the day the least amount of sales got made?

    9. Sabrina*

      I think that’s just what they cost. Mostly because they have to put them under to do it. You could shop around though.

    10. KAZ2Y5*

      When I lived in OKC (low COL) teeth cleaning for my cat would start at $280 – he was an older kitty and needed a different (and more expensive) anesthesia. I am continually shocked at how much things cost in high COL areas so if you are in a high COL area I could see them charging that much.

      I know it’s expensive (even my cost would shock me at times) but a lot of the charge is for the anesthesia. If you think about it as out-patient surgery the prices seem more reasonable. I would suggest you call some other vets in your area and see what their basic price is for teeth cleaning.

    11. Episkey*

      I have 2 cats and we routinely get our cats’ teeth cleaned once a year or once every other year, depending on how the vet feels their teeth are looking.

      I usually book the appointment in February, which is Animal Dental Health Awareness month, so my vet clinic gives 20% off the normal price. I don’t feel my clinic is in any way cheap, and the standard cleaning with anesthetic etc is around $300, then I get 20% off of that. But that doesn’t include if a tooth needs to be extracted, etc.

      I could see if there is some extra work it could definitely be higher, they might need to do extractions, give antibiotics, etc.

      I strongly feel that dental health is just part of being a responsible pet owner, like spaying/neutering. If you do not like their price, why don’t you simply call around to several other vets in your area to see what they would quote you?

    12. Revanche*

      Vets, especially smaller practices, typically can’t afford to cut a deal on big picture items as a customer retention policy. There’s a lot more overhead than you might expect and not a lot of profit margin across the board. Larger practices might be able to if they have some sort of fund to draw from to pay for the expenses of the anesthesia and such. Costs are also influenced by region. Our large dog’s dental in the Bay Area would cost well over $1000. :/
      Though, I don’t condone commenting on other’s practices as it looks unprofessional even if it’s true (since you have no real way corroborate without actually having an experience there).

    13. Windchime*

      I have a lot of experience with this. My previous cat was very, very old (he died when he was 19). When he was 17, I took him to a new vet because of constant sneezing. It was discovered that his teeth were in terrible shape. I knew he had awful breath, but his old vet wasn’t concerned (bad sign). OldKitty had to have 8 or 9 teeth removed, because he had never had his teeth cleaned. He eventually died of kidney failure, due in part to the infected teeth.

      Now I have NewKitty, who isn’t even three years old. He developed gingivitis and just had his teeth cleaned this week to the tune of $630. Yes, it’s terribly expensive, but it’s better than having him suffer due to rotten, painful teeth. It’s was expensive because they had to put him completely under, take full dental X-rays, do the intensive cleaning, and then monitor them while they are in recovery. My cat also had to have a shot of antibiotics because his gums bled so badly.

      I know it’s expensive. $600 is a lot. But pets are expensive, and poor dental health can lead to all kinds of systemic failures, including kidneys, liver and heart. Not to mention the constant pain of living with infected teeth.

  25. Labyrinthine*

    That is , by far, my favorite book. I’ve never read anything that could paint such a vivid picture in my mind.

  26. Emily*

    My boyfriend recently put his Android app on the store! I feel a little weird plugging it, but hopefully people can just ignore this post if they’re not interested (unless you’re looking for an algebra app that lets you drag and drop pieces of an equation around to solve it, in which case you should check it out on the play store here.)

    Other good things:
    I’ve been on spring break from my graduate program this week! It’s been great – I hiked around a lovely state park and saw some waterfalls, had friends over at my house for the first time ever (we ate cranberry pie and played board games), and finally watched Jupiter Ascending (I legitimately liked it and was expecting it to be a lot less coherent than it was, based on internet reviews).

    1. C Average*

      That’s awesome! I am not in the target demographic for the app, but I’ll keep it in mind as a suggestion for others who are.

      1. Emily*

        Thank you! I’m obviously biased, but I think that it’s a pretty good product, for what it does (no systems of equations or anything extremely complex yet, but it does help people solve equations without just giving them the answer).

  27. Elkay*

    I almost got knocked down by a forklift hitting some concrete which hit the fence I was running by this morning, which made for an adrenaline kick at the start of my run. Anyone else had an eventful weekend?

    1. TL -*

      I had a fed ex truck make a turn into a too narrow lane and nearly hit me, even as I was frantically backing up. It never even slowed down!

        1. TL -*

          I would have but I didn’t catch the plates – the angle was bad and I was making sure my passenger wasn’t too freaked out ( she wasn’t but it was scary!)

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Hopefully, you will never need this info, but I doubt that you have to have the plates. Most of these vehicles have GPS or a timed route or something. So you should be able to just call an 800 number report the time and location and they should be able to take it from there.
            I called on a truck for another company. I was on the highway doing about 70 and I had never seen such dangerous driving in my life. I got the mileage marker and the time. That was enough. The driver was fired. He had a long history of doing stupid things and had been warned to stop several times.
            Although bad driving is a pet peeve of mine, I have never reported anyone before this. And it might be a while before I do it again. But I found a situation that was above and beyond any reasonable explanation and was unmatched by any other experience I’ve had. I knew that I was dealing with a really bad driver. Scary stuff. I’d like to encourage you that if you have a situation in the future (hopefully NOT) to go ahead and call a company even though you do not have a plate number. Time and place should be enough.
            Again, scary stuff. Am glad you are okay.

  28. Natalie*

    B and I are camping tonight, even though it’s a little chilly. I just had a wild hare to drink a cup of coffee outside in the chill, and he’s always up to camp. It’s pretty nice. I’ve never camped this time of year (we’re in MN) but I could get into this.

            1. Natalie*

              They make great kindling, if you have a fireplace or bonfire pit. Keep the shells and make firestarters with them.

      1. Tinker*

        I had a moment of excitement as I’ll be tent camping at a LARP event in a couple weeks, and we get to have a fire! Except it’s at a Girl Scout camp and they’re very anti-nut. Alas. At least there are no nuts in marshmallows.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      My husband goes camping at this time every year with his brother. We are in Colorado and he heads up to the mountains to the same place he’s been camping since he was a kid. I think he’s completely insane for going at this time of year. It’s nice during the day, but as soon as the sun disappears behind the mountains, it gets COLD. Their answer for this is of course an enormous campfire — the entire bed of his F250 was full of firewood when he took off on Thursday.

      The older I get the less I enjoy camping and see it more as just getting dirty and sleeping on an air mattress. I think I’d enjoy it more if we went with friends who have kids the same age as our daughter. Usually it’s my husband’s brother, who is really nice, and his wife, who is a bit of a harpy and I think a little bit racist. Oy.

  29. Natalie*

    (Not camping related.) I’ve been house-shopping and I just went to 2 places with interesting deal breakers I wouldn’t have anticipated. One was lovely, until we went into the backyard and saw the neighbors were basically the Ewells from To Kill A Mockingbird. Junk everywhere, including 2 rusted out appliances of some sort.

    The other was beautifully restored, like a tiny cottage in the city… except the only stairs went through the only bathroom to the only bedroom. And there was no door for the staircase.

    What is the oddest thing you saw house or apartment shopping?

    1. Rene UK*

      The major shake my head thing I say when househunting was a suburban newer house that had been ‘upgraded’ with the *entire* ground floor tiled with polished white marble. We’re talking mirror shine; it had to have been mopped multiple times a day-they had obviously mopped it just before the showing and there were already spots and smears. Not to mention that wearing socks, or any water spill, would lead to firsthand experience of gravity.
      The other one had me lifting eyebrows was the bathtub in a nook in the upstairs hallway. Not a bathroom; no doors– just a wide spot in the hall with a bathtub.
      Then there was the ‘three’ bedroom house that had a room big enough for a double bed, a single (child size room), and…..a room that would almost fit a single mattress. (To be fair, this isn’t unheard of in the UK; there don’t seem to be any guidelines as to how big a room has to be to be called a ‘bedroom’.)

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      When I was looking for my first home to buy, I wanted a townhome. I looked all over town. There was one place that was absolutely perfect. Great kitchen, good location, and an awesome master bathroom. It was right in line with my budget too.

      The units all had garages, and from the outside, it looked like they were attached. But we looked around inside, and there was no door leading to the garage. It ended up that the garage for the unit I was looking was located in another building. It was crazy. We saw a couple walking through the complex, and we asked them what the deal was. It turned out that originally only outdoor parking was planned, but then the owner/builder decided to add garage units later. But for some reason they couldn’t just add onto the back of each unit. So instead, they decided that the fairest way to do it was to make each garage an equal distance from the unit, and in some cases that meant your garage was in your same building, but in others it meant it was located in another. It was ridiculous. And of course I kept looking.

    3. INTP*

      I believe this is pretty common in Europe, but I viewed an apartment where the shower was on the opposite side of the apartment from the toilet. As someone who needs to pee the second I get into the bath, that was a dealbreaker. The toilet was in with the bedroom/closet and the shower was separated from everything which is the opposite of how I would arrange it if they HAD to be split up.

    4. Clever Name*

      These are great! Let’s see, there was one house that was a cool older house, but the “bedrooms” in the attic had to be accessed by bending down to go through a 4 ft tall “doorway”. Clearly a DIY job. Another house had an updated kitchen, but it was done in the brightest possible colors. The original cabinets were painted orange with blue trim. A very expensive solid surface countertop had been installed, but it was bright blue. The backsplash was a broken tile mosaic in rainbow colors. I deeply apologize if this is your dream kitchen; it’s not our taste and would have been costly and time consuming to change. Let’s see, then another house backed onto a high school football field. As in you could watch a game from the deck, and I’m sure early morning band rehearsal would have been another feature. Oh, then there was a house that was completely trashed and reeked of cat urine. We didn’t even go inside. (We’re on our 3rd house, so we’ve looked at a lot of houses)

    5. Windchime*

      Haha, I actually ended up buying this house. It was a beautiful old home built in 1929. Thick archways, crystal doorknobs, built-ins in the dining room. The kitchen had been updated in the 1960’s. It was solid and had untouched hardwood under the ugly carpet.

      But the bathroom was crazy. It looked like the only bathroom had originally been on the second floor but at some point, a bathroom had been installed on the main floor. The ceiling over the tub/shower was slanted sharply, so the entire fiberglass tub/shower was sunken down into the floor. You stepped *down* into the tub to take your shower. The top of the tub was just a couple of inches above floor level. I’ll see if I can find a picture. It was very weird.

    6. Cath in Canada*

      We saw one place that the seller had designed and built himself. There was a curved staircase going down from the front door to street level, and he’d built this weird spiral storage space underneath it. It was like the inside of a snail shell or something – it got narrower and lower as it went round and ended in a point! There were lots of other strangely proportioned rooms and storage spaces, too.

      The place we bought has some quirks too, such as a toilet installed at what my sister calls “a jaunty angle” because the bathroom’s so small.

    7. SaraV*

      Something I like to do when I’m bored is look at the “luxury” homes online that are listed in the area. (Luxury in this area = >$500K)

      Let’s see…
      – The Victorian home that looked traditional on the outside, including the hanging ferns on the porch. But, the front room/parlor was painted and decorated in neon colors, the tile in the kitchen was awful, not to mention the cabinetry looked cheap.
      -The master bath that had a stained glass window that depicted a Native American woman sitting near a pond or river.
      -The entryway that had the depiction of a longhorn head inlaid into the tile. Looked like the U of Texas emblem, and we’re about an 9 hour drive from Texas.

      It’s stuff like that where I say to myself “Self, if you had the money to buy that, might as well pass and just build new.”

    8. Bangs not Fringe*

      The shower in my last apartment was located in the kitchen.

      The building was built in Soviet times and at one point the apartments had shared bathrooms (on each floor). Once the apartments were renovated, they apparently had to get a little creative with the space.

      We got very comfortable with the arrangement. Didn’t make it a great place for guests though!

  30. lz*

    Related to the conversation about straying — What are your experiences in having close friends same gender as your spouse? Do you ever spend time with these friends one on one? What’s OK and not OK in your book?

    1. Calla*

      I feel like this question is never relevant to same-sex couples, lol. Am I only supposed to have male friends? No thanks. Unless one of us starts coming back with lovebites, it’s a non-issue, as it should be.

      1. lz*

        In any case, I reckon if there’s a question of whether something’s OK, it’s probably not OK.
        And, if the spouse knows everything about the friendship and whatever activity, all good.

      2. LisaLee*

        Haha, I agree! I actually met two of my best friends on OkCupid–we went on first dates and somehow became friends instead. What am I going to do, not be friends with them since we once dated? There’s only so many lesbians in the world!

        The only reason to worry about a friendship is if you feel a boundary is being crossed. Gender isn’t a factor.

        1. Felicia*

          I met one of my best friends on OKCupid the same way too :) But most of my friends are straight girls, so not going to happen there either, even if i wanted it to.

      3. Felicia*

        It’s even less relevant to bisexual people – are they never supposed to have any friends ever? I’m not bi but my ex girlfriend is and she hated this scenario so much . Though really regardless of sexual orientation, the answer to this question is no one is attracted to every single person of the gender they are attracted to and even if they are, not everyone is going to act on it and cheat. If you don’t trust your SO that’s it’s own problem, but worrying about friends of the gender your SO is attracted to is ridiculous. I would have had to tell my last SO to not be friends with anyone if i did this. But it is true no one ever considers same sex couples when talking about this. One of my guy friend’s girlfriend was super worried about him having female friends , which he has lots of, but he would never cheat and never has, and it made him upset with her for acting like that. She even didn’t want him to be friends with me, and i’m super duper gay, so there was no possibility there.

        1. Calla*

          Yeah, I just don’t get worrying about it. I suppose for gay couples, “only friends with the opposite sex and straight members of the same sex” could be a rule imposed here, but I’m sure we all know some people aren’t as straight as they claim to be, so that’s not worth it either :)

        1. lz*

          Not saying one ‘cannot hang out with’ — I was asking how people saw this and the responses have been insightful and interesting.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I have close friends of the same gender as my spouse, and I spend time one-on-one with them. Unless someone has addictive tendencies or impulse control issues, it’s usually pointless to remove oneself from temptation. The key is deciding what is OK and what is not OK ahead of time, and knowing you’ll stick to it. I’m not at all attracted to my closest friend of the same gender as my spouse, but your question presumes that there could be some potential there, so that’s how I’m addressing it. Besides, I do have friends who I fantasize about, and I do spend time with them one-on-one without anything happening, because that is the understanding between my spouse and myself.

      Not talking about you here lz, just in general: If you don’t trust your spouse, you need to fix that. You can’t fix it by controlling their actions. You have to either understand that your mistrust is misplaced, or if it’s not, you need to not be in a relationship with someone who would do that to you. As others have said elsewhere in this open thread, it’s possible to cheat and to still love your primary partner, and it’s possible to recover from that, but the questions of “should my significant other have friends with whom they might cheat” usually means that it wouldn’t be a fluke or a huge mistake, but rather a pattern.

      Of course, we’re talking about more traditional closed monogamous relationships, which are more common, but aren’t the only possibilities.

      1. lz*

        Interesting — thanks for your input on this. I like your take.
        (For the record — heterosexual woman, not married/not in a relationship. Most of my close friends through the years have been male — some married.)

    3. MsM*

      If I came home from an outing with a guy friend and my SO asked, “So what did you do?”, is there anything I’d feel the need to leave out? Then I’m not going to do that thing. And if the guy friend tries to do something that would fall into that category, I’m not hanging out with him any more. Fortunately, none of my guy friends ever have, so it’s never been an issue.

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      I think the biggest problem we face is other people being just overly cautious for fear of how things might appear. My spouse and I (different genders) both have different-gendered friends. I have no problem with spouse spending time alone with folks. Spouse has no problem with me doing the same. It’s more that friends tend to be more worried about societal expectations about it being weird spending a lot of alone time with a married person of a different gender, even if it’s strictly platonic and there’s no funny business (not even feelings).

      Sometimes it happens. But nothing on the regular. When it does happen, no issues whatsoever. Friend isn’t squicked out. Spouse doesn’t mind. I don’t mind.

      1. jamlady*

        Same here. I can’t think of any situation where one of is was uncomfortable. But we spend half of our time physically apart so I guess our trust is just pretty solid. Honestly, we’re both too introverted and too lazy for any funny business haha. Our idea of a good time is eating burritos, watching movies, and sleeping. Extra-marital anything takes effort haha

    5. StillHealing*

      I am female and my soon to be ex is a male. I have had close gay male friends come to visit me during our marriage and that never was an issue for my stbx. Other than that and old male music buddies who are married, I never formed new friendships with males while married.

      STBX though had no good male friends when I met him, only female friends who were married. I thought it was a bit weird but seems nothing sexual ever happened that I am aware of.

    6. Ann Furthermore*

      I have plenty of guy work friends. I am also still friends with the guy I dated right before I met my husband. I haven’t seen him in a really long time, but we are Facebook friends and we play Words With Friends. We’ve been trying to set up a time to have lunch and catch up, but we’re both really busy with jobs and families. I’ve told my husband we’re in touch, and if the time comes that we ever do get around to having lunch, I’ll tell my husband about that too.

      He really doesn’t care. He doesn’t really get being friends with an ex, but he doesn’t care that I am. He is friends with a woman he went to high school with, and they go to lunch once in awhile since they work in the same area. Doesn’t bother me a bit. We trust each other.

    7. Cath in Canada*

      I’ve always had a lot of male friends, although it’s been a while since I had a male “bestie” who I’d spend time with one-on-one – I usually see my guy friends in a group! When I did have a male bestie, we had mutual interests that my husband didn’t share, so we’d go off to geeky science talks or board game nights or to watch rugby together and my husband would happily go and do his own thing with other people. He has female friends that he sees without me and it just isn’t a problem. We trust each other.

    8. Revanche*

      Half my best friends are male and predate my husband by years. I’d no sooner abandon those friendships than I would ask him to stop being friends with the female friends he’s had or made and that includes eliminating one on one time. But here’s the thing: he’s not a jealous person and while I might have had traces of it, I handled it on my own. He’s never given me reason to be jealous or doubt him and I respect him enough to trust that.

      We never discussed boundaries because I think we were always pretty much on the same page as to what is OK and what isn’t. If we weren’t, you can bet we’d have had a conversation about that.

      The only weird situation we’ve ever had is when I didn’t like a few of his friends for different reasons. One male and one female, two very different reasons. I never asked him to stop spending time with either, just to leave me out of it when he did. In those cases, I encouraged him to spend time with them without me! :)

    9. CrazyCatLady*

      One of my best friends is the same gender as my spouse and it’s fine. And he has a couple friends that are the same gender as me, and it’s also fine. We both spend time with these friends one-on-one and it’s not a problem. I think if the time significantly increased or something felt off, I’d bring it up, though. I’m not sure how I’d feel if he made NEW friends the same gender as me…. I think I’d be okay with it but it would take getting used to, and I don’t know how I’d feel about one-on-one time until I met the person. I am overcoming a lot of trust issues though…

    10. saro*

      I think having friends of the same gender you are attracted to is fine as long as no emotional/physical lines are crossed. I’m pretty strict about it myself, if I feel a whiff of impropriety (or the temptation), I cool it or back off. Otherwise, I think it’s great to have friends of all sorts of backgrounds, it’s certainly helped me broaden my mind.

  31. JPixel*

    Heading to London and Paris in June – any suggestions for fashionable yet comfortable footwear? I’m definitely going to be doing a lot of walking and will be packing light. I’m searching for something that works equally well with jeans, cropped pants, and/or a casual skirt. The warmer weather presents a challenge – I don’t want any flimsy sandals but I want something I can wear without socks.

    1. Victoria, Please*

      Borns, Borns, and Borns! Fantastic shoes. Not cheap, but not outrageous, beautiful, and very comfortable.

      1. C Average*

        Yes–they’re wonderful! I’m a fan of Eccos, too. They’re similar in fit, feel, and construction.

    2. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

      Agree with Borns; I’ve had great luck with Clarks, too. They’re a little pricey but they hold up and you can do a lot of walking, and they’re more stylish than they used to be.

      There are a lot of cute flats out there too, with no heel or just a half-inch or inch. .

      I just ordered a pair of suede oxfords with a sneaker-ish sole from Cole Haan today. A splurge. They look so comfortable and more chic than sneakers. I’ll let you know how they are!

        1. JPixel*

          Maybe I need to give Clarks another chance. I have the Desert Boot, which I so want to love, but whenever I put them on, they just don’t fit right.

          1. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

            hmmm – I have high arches and slightly narrow feet, and they’ve been good for me, but I think I’ve always bought sandals.

            On a related note – I bought a Baggallini cross-body bag to take to Paris, and it drove me crazy. I’m sure it was secure, and I didn’t get robbed, but there are so many deep pockets – I could never remember where I put anything and I had to fish forever every time I needed something. And all those metal zippers make for a heavy bag. I did make a little silk bag just big enough for credit card and passport that I could pin inside my clothes.

            1. Artemesia*

              LOL I have a baggallini travel bag with 3 main section s and dozen or so zipped pockets — I can guarantee that anything I need will be in the 15th place I look. I tried to zone so I always used one side for this and that pocket for that — but then both sides look more or less alike and so that was foiled.

              What I do now is have scottevest.com clothing like their lightweight trench with 18 hidden pockets and I often go without a purse. Around town where I live now, I usually go without a purse. I have a jacket with a secure pocket for my card wallet and tuck my phone in a jeans pocket, meds in the watch pocket, tissues in the front pockets along with a lip gloss and small money in the hip pockets. I rarely have to take a purse anywhere.

              I used that old baggallini purse the other day to pack a picnic lunch for the opera (Wagner with long intermission in the 5 hour performance)

      1. thisisit*

        actually, if you’re going to be walking a lot, flats are terrible support for your feet. almost as bad as big heels.

    3. Blue_eyes*

      Taos, Chaco, and Birkenstock all make good walking sandals that also look nice. You could also look at stores like REI (or just check their website to find brands you like).

      1. Artemesia*

        I swear by Merrells. I basically wear one style of their shoe — the mesh top clogs about 90 percent of the time. In winter I have a well insulated slip on that is super comfortable and warm and if it is snowy and slushy and gross, I have some water resistant leather Merrell boots. They also have fairly decent looking sandals with athletic cushioned soles that I wear with summer skirts or even under pants in very hot weather. They are not fashionable but they are not athletic shoe looking either.

        I think the key is to find a brand that really works for your foot and is well cushioned for pavement. I get plantar fascitis if I wear shoes that are not well enough cushioned as I do a lot of walking on hard surfaces. And when traveling to places like Paris, it is even worse. My most comfortable hand made German walking shoes kill me after a time due to inadequate cushioning so I end up putting those blue gel inserts in them (which by the way the TSA will confiscate if you are wearing them at the airport thus making the shoes for me unwearable for long stretches — I have learned to put them in checked bags as I was not able to find anything like the blue gels in Paris)

        1. Blue_eyes*

          “I think the key is to find a brand that really works for your foot”
          +100. Every brand has a different shape, amount of arch support, location of the arch support, size of toe box, etc. Find a shoe that works for you and other shoes from that brand are likely to be good for you as well.

    4. Christy*

      Toms in the Ash color. Take off the back tag if it’s too glaringly obvious for you. The ash Toms match literally everything and they’re super comfy.

      1. JPixel*

        I have Toms and was thinking of bringing them, but I worry that they are not substantial enough. But, they are so small and easy to pack that it might be worth bringing them along for a change of pace if I’m having an easy travel day.

        1. Sunday*

          Remember to take more than one pair of walking shoes. Your feet will be happier with some variety. One pair on the airplane, another in your luggage. Have a great trip!

    5. Elkay*

      Check out walking sandals, I got some Merrells for a trip to New York last year and they were super comfy but just looked like regular sandals.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        Yes, Merrells are quite nice. So are Mephistos, but they’re a bit more of an investment.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Because beauty is pain, sweetie-darlings!

        I was in Pisa not long after they had reopened the Tower after stabilising it. They only allow small groups to go up at a time now. One of the other people in the group was this little Asian woman in her early 20’s, she was wearing stiletto heels. It was rainy and cold, the marble was wet and a bit slippery. At the top, there aren’t exactly a lot of railings and the pitch is really noticeable. It’s funny how climbing up it didn’t seem so bad but coming down was worse somehow. Anyway, I still remember that woman, carefully hobbling along on those really inappropriate heels trying to climb up angled slippery stairs. Seriously, one time it would not have killed her to wear some running shoes. The Fashion Gods were not going to smite her for daring to appear in anything less than whatever brand name she had on.

        1. jhhj*

          I once was hiking in Hawaii and saw all these Asian women in heels and really nice skirts and thought they were idiots. Actually they were all very fast — much faster than I was in my sensible hiking clothing — and entirely stable.

    6. Dynamic Beige*

      I pretty much wear nothing but MBT’s now. I can walk all day in them (or stand) and not get blisters or shin splints or have back pain — all of which I had on trips to Europe before. Seriously, my blisters get blisters.
      They have expanded their range of styles now and if you’re in the US you will have more choice but I think one of their new styles is pretty fashionable (which is a value judgement person-to-person) http://www.mbt.com/sv-se/dam/dress/kaweria-black-prod1823 — but you couldn’t wear socks with, I have a Teva style which I probably could. They aren’t cheap but my first pair (which I still have) lasted 7 years before I decided to get something a little dressier.
      The only problem with these shoes is that with the rounded sole, it would not be fun climbing the stairs at Notre Dame to get to the gallery/belltowers. They also aren’t great on slippery/icy surfaces but that won’t be a problem when you’re there.

    7. Stephanie*

      This is going to sound crazy…Crocs. The shoes will probably be rubber, but they have some cute styles now that aren’t the dreaded clogs. Born is good, but make sure to break them in ahead of time. Ditto with Birkenstocks.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        You’re totally right about Crocs. I forget about them because I need shoes with removable insoles. A lot of the new styles have textures that don’t look like rubber. They actually have decent arch support and are so light weight they are easy to pack and wear all day. I got some of the Crocs with the rainbow color straps to wear at my wedding when I couldn’t stand my heels anymore and they were so comfy.

        1. Stephanie*

          The huaraches? I may have worn my equally colorful pair all day today. I was in heels at a conference and was in pain (I really rarely wear heels now) and the Crocs I switched into felt amazing (especially the massaging bumps on the balls of my feet).

          I will say, the sizing is all over the place on those. Definitely try them on at a store.

          1. Blue_eyes*

            Yes, the huaraches. I got them in the super-bright rainbow (website says it’s “multi/geranium) color. And of course now I saw that they come in more colors…

            I had wanted them for a while before my wedding, but was debating spending $50 on a second pair of shoes for the wedding, and then I found them on sale for $20 while I was on a business trip to Boston.

      2. Windchime*

        I second Crocs. My only complaint is that the pair I have is kind of sweaty if I wear them for a long time, but there is nothing that can beat that firm-yet-cushy rubberish sole. I wore them exclusively when I was recovering from Achilles surgery and they were a godsend.

  32. matcha123*

    My sister’s boyfriend proposed and I suppose they’ll be getting married. I’ve never really been to any weddings; I don’t know what is supposed to go down…heck, I never pictured either of us ever getting engaged, so I don’t really know what to do or feel.

    As a sister, is there something I’m supposed to be doing?
    I don’t dislike her boyfriend, he’s a nice guy. I just have no feelings of happiness or joy towards marriage announcements. Plus she said she might change her name which just doesn’t sit well with me.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      There’s nothing in the rulebooks saying you have to do anything just because you’re her sister. In some cases, the bride will ask her sister to be maid of honor, or a bridesmaid… or help out in some other way. In other cases, the sister is just a guest. It really depends on how close you are, and what role she wants you to play in the wedding.

    2. BRR*

      If you are part of the wedding party she might ask you to do something. My mom sent me some mini cupcakes which I thought was nice but you’re not obligated to do anything right now or ever. I’d say just be excited for her. Saying you’re happy for him to join the family would be a nice wish to them.

      While I don’t personally prefer name changing either I’d try and let that go. It’s her choice.

    3. matcha123*

      Thanks :)
      I don’t want her to think that I don’t want to help her, but I honestly don’t know anything about weddings and they aren’t something that I’ve ever been interested in. I told her to tell me what she wants me to do, if she wants my help with something. I’ll try, but, yeah…I’m on the other side of the world and even if I was at home I don’t know what I’d be able to do…

      Her boyfriend’s brother is getting married soon, so I guess she’ll see then?

      1. Sunflower*

        If you’re on the other side of the world, I would maybe send a card or small congrats gift(like $30 or less).

      2. Not So NewReader*

        My cousin and I grew up together. When we got married to our respective spouses, we were living several hundred miles apart. There’s really not a lot you can do. You can take an interest in what she is talking about. You can reassure her that even if the day does not go purrrfectly, they will still be officially married, which is the main goal. And you can wish them the best.

    4. jamlady*

      Yeah, just a “congrats” is in order and then you can go from there. Just keep negative feelings to yourself. My sister was really awful our entire engagement and my husband is still super uncomfortable around her 4 years later (and he’s a trooper, but if he needs to leave because of her, I pick his side every time). You don’t have to be happy about it or be involved if you don’t want to, that’s totally fine, just steer clear of opinions unless asked.

      1. matcha123*

        I don’t really have any negative feelings, but I just feel awkward.
        If I were to count my aunt and her kids along with myself and mom in my sister’s wedding, it’d only be 5 people. Add to that that no one in our family makes enough to contribute to wedding funds…
        I think traditionally the parents pay? I think the boyfriend’s family will front a lot of money, but I don’t my sister to feel resentful that we couldn’t do more. I know my mom would want to help where she could.

        That’s part of the reason why I feel weird. My sister can get kind of dramatic and even if she doesn’t explicitly state that she wants something, she’ll be angry and fume later when she doesn’t feel like people give her what she feels she deserves.

        1. thisisit*

          i figure there’s two ways you can play this – let her know that she can tell you if she needs anything from you and then don’t really ever bring it up yourself except maybe an occasional, hey how’s wedding planning going type of thing, or play the excited sibling role of omg, can i be your MOH, etc, etc. the second is harder if you are faking it, but the role is pretty straightforward – just squee about everything and constantly bring up wedding stuff, but always just let her do all the talking and nod enthusiastically.

          (disclaimer: wedding planning was one of the worst experiences of my life)

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Ugh. I have to go the tough love route here with sis. No one is going to suddenly have money just because she is getting married. She knew going into this that no one has money. So there is no need for surprise when it turns out that no one has money.

          I think weddings are training ground for “coupledom”. As a couple they will face many bills for many years. They have to work together to figure out how they will pay those bills. Paying for the wedding is the first in a life-long series of bills they will face. If they cannot discuss money now, or have other money issues, that does not bode well for the relationship if they do not work it out together.
          You can tell her that this is a part of married life- figuring out how to make a go of it all.

          Let’s face it. If I have no money to give Relative, then there is no money. She can pout, cry, yell, pace back and forth all she wants. That will not suddenly cause me to have money to give her. Can’t get blood out of a stone.

          My husband and I paid for our wedding ourselves. My gown cost $50. My invitations cost $12 and so on. I think my biggest expense was the reception and we spent “crazy” money totally $300. It can be done. And you know what? We were just as married as couples who spend tens of thousands of dollars on their wedding. Mission accomplished.

          Express your regrets, if you sincerely wish to do that, but don’t get drawn into the her upset. I don’t see you saying that she has rushed to bail you out in the past and you feel you owe her. This is life. We are each responsible for our own situation.

          1. fposte*

            Though I hope Mom takes this moment to step up in that vein. “Daughter, we’re so happy for you. As you know, we’re not wealthy people, but we’d love to help out as much as we can with the wedding. We can afford to provide $xxx.” That way Sister knows the reality and understands she has to operate within that from the get-go, rather than Mom getting anxious with every new vendor discussion and never really setting a limit.

        3. matcha123*

          This is all pretty new to us, so when I spoke with my sister the other day I told her I’d help with what I could but I needed her to give me guidance. I said the only thing I know about weddings is that they have to be somewhere secluded so the paparazzi can’t take pics, but that she could sell them to People later :p

          I asked about how many people she was thinking about inviting and she said about 100, which sounds like a lot to me. But, then again, what do I know?
          I’m very sure she won’t look to my mom for funds of any kind. My mom is great at making clothing, and she was thinking she could do something there. But, I guess we’re all just waiting. It’s the uncertainty that makes me uneasy. I don’t have any close friends that married after I met them, so I have no idea who did what. I’m just going based on what I see in the media and publications, and what I see there are huge destination parties, parents that fight over where to hold the ceremony, bridezillas, etc.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            One thing to remember is that you’ll almost never have everyone attend, unless it’s a really tiny wedding. If she invites 100 people, I’d expect about 60 to show up. More if it’s a very tight-knit, geographically close family (other than you, of course), less if family is scattered and sees each other every 3, 4, 5 years. It’s all really relative, and I don’t just mean the size. Some people base their expectations on what they see on TV or in movies or magazines, but to be honest I find that pretty ridiculous. We had a somewhat unconventional wedding, and everyone had a lot of fun. Not So New Reader put it really well that they are “just as married”, but you know what else? A very personal, intimate, individualized wedding can be a lot more memorable than a huge spectacle where everything is straight out of Modern Bride.

            Sorry to rant, but don’t let expectations drive you or your sister to do something that doesn’t make her and her fiance happy. That’s the root of a lot of the craziness you mention.

            1. jamlady*

              I don’t think 100 is necessarily a lot, depends on the family, but I totally agree that a HUGE chunk of who you invite simply won’t show up – the invite is a courtesy. We invited around 130 and ended up with 100 (seriously all family – but they’re all close together and we both have huge families). Agree also that what you’re seeing in magazines/websites/etc. is not realistic. Those weddings are super expensive. We dropped a good chunk on catering and then everything else was through the help of family/friends so we saved a lot. Even so, weddings don’t have to be extravagant. Feeding 100 people is pricey, but it doesn’t HAVE to be so big. I know you’re worried about your sister’s behavior in this whole thing, but once she gets an idea of a budget (the sooner the better), she’ll start to realize how things add up and (hopefully) come to terms with the wedding she should plan based on what is actually affordable.

              1. Windchime*

                My son and his wife had about 80-90 people attend their very simple, outdoor wedding. The food was sandwiches from Costco, supplemented by a few salads provided by helpful aunties. The drinks were a big dispenser of water with lemon and lime slices, lemonade, and a couple of cases of inexpensive wine from Trader Joe’s (they had a ton leftover). A close friend who is a bartender provided the keg and the setup. DJ’s were friends who were hired on the cheap. The bride borrowed her gown from her SIL and my son wore a very nice suit that he already owned. Instead of cake, they served wonderful pie from a local bakery. The bride’s dad strung up some white Christmas lights so there would be ambiance after dark.

                Weddings are only as expensive as you want them to be. We had a wonderful, wonderful time and people stayed to dance and laugh and drink right up till the time the venue closed.

        4. jamlady*

          Oh. Well your sister sounds like my sister. And unfortunately, I’m still navigating those waters :/ it’s a lot of tough love and keeping distance when you can.

    5. Artemesia*

      She is your sister. It is just the nice and decent thing to do to celebrate her happiness. It isn’t about how you feel; it is about how she feels. It would be nice to take her to lunch or send her a cute card or in some way celebrate her happiness.

      And the name thing is soooooo not about you. This is something you just should keep under your hat unless she asks your advice. I kept my name over 40 years ago when no one was doing it hardly and took a lot of guff in the South where I made my career about it. So I am on your side on what one ‘should do’. But when my daughter married and the two of them wanted a family name, my only advise was ‘you need to do what works for the two of you.’ They ended up coming up with a new hyphenated name for their family taking part of her hyphenated name to link to his. My son is marrying and I assume his fiance who has established her career will keep her name BUT this is just not my business. Whatever they choose to do is the right thing for them to do and concerns no one but them.

      1. matcha123*

        I asked her about the name change when I talked with her the other day, and she said “I dunno, maybe, I guess.” I gave a “Hmm…OK” and talked about something else. It’s not something I’d fight her over. If she does end up changing it, she knows me well enough to know that I’ll always call her by the name I’ve known her as. :p

        1. jhhj*

          I am hugely anti-name changes, but I just simmer in secret, because it’s totally not about me. Since I rarely actually call people by their last names — and not my sister either — it has mostly had an effect on my facebook feed which is filled with names I don’t recognise.

        1. jamlady*

          Right? I changed mine because I wanted to, but no one would have been surprised if I hadn’t. But I would have never heard the end of it from my mother-in-law. Love her to bits but she has strong opinions that she considers to be absolute facts haha and she loves to share them with us!

      2. Windchime*

        My daughter-in-law changed her name to my son’s name. I was kind of surprised, but she didn’t ask my opinion and so I didn’t offer it! I changed my name when I was married in 1980; I’ve been divorced for about 18 years but still have my old married name. I suppose I should change it back at some point.

        People should do what they want with their name. If I was to get married again, I wouldn’t take my husband’s name but that’s just me. People have all sorts of reasons and feelings for changing (or not changing) their name.

      3. C Average*

        Thank you for saying this about the name thing.

        I took my husband’s name when I married him because, honestly, it was an opportunity to upgrade to a better name. My parents gave me a first name that was alliterative with my last name to the point of cutesiness, and I always hated the way my two names sounded together. Also, my maiden name was somewhat unusual and got misspelled and mispronounced constantly. I love my husband’s last name; it has a pleasant sound and goes well with my first name. It’s so nice to introduce myself with a name I like and am happy to wear. It has nothing at all to do with my feminist bona fides. They’re perfectly intact.

        1. Stephanie*

          I’m pretty sure my friend’s sister jumped on the chance to take her husband’s name for similar upgrade reasons: their family name was often mispronounced as “shitter.”

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          My upgrade in taking my husband’s name is that I went from a last name at the end of the alphabet to one at the beginning. After years of lining up last, it’s such a perk to be first! My line at the voting place moves much more quickly now :-)

    6. Dynamic Beige*

      “As a sister, is there something I’m supposed to be doing?”

      Aside from being happy for her, and trying to be excited along with her, only if she asks you for something. Honestly, if you’re on the other side of the world, there’s not much more you can do other than give your opinion if she sends you photos of whatever she’s thinking of doing. Which may not be that she wants your actual real opinion but to confirm her own.
      “Which of these invitations do you like?”
      “I don’t know, they are both so… which one do you prefer?”
      “I like A, it’s soooo pretty!”
      “Yeah, I like that one too!”
      [of course in your situation, I have a feeling that A is going to cost a lot and then that will lead into complaining she can’t have it, which you’ll be expected to sympathise with… ugh]

      I would say the only thing you can really do right now is start saving up money for the plane fare as you will probably be expected to attend. And saving money for a decent outfit to wear, and the accessories that go with it. In a way, you should hope you’re not asked to be a bridesmaid because then you won’t have to deal with the overpriced ugly dress you have to pay for and will never wear again! If there is some legitimate reason why you would be unable to attend, such as it would be prohibited by the the terms of your immigration status, you may wish to gift that money you would have spent travelling there to the couple, in whole or in part depending on your finances. If money is a big issue for them, they may prefer your presents to your presence.

      1. matcha123*

        You all have some nice advice :)

        I don’t think they’re cash-strapped. They bought (?) a house and are living there together. I think they both have their school loans paid off. I just don’t know if she’s trying to go all out or if she’s trying to keep it simple. We’ve never talked about marriage, weddings or anything like that in my family, so I have no idea what her expectations are :x

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          “I don’t think they’re cash-strapped. They bought (?) a house and are living there together.”

          Hahahaha… OK. Buying a house, unless you’re independently wealthy/just won the lottery, means a mortgage. There is such a thing as being “house poor”. Unlike when you rent, there are all kinds of things you want to do to a house when you buy it, usually because it needs it and because you want to make it “yours”. New paint, new curtains, new furniture, new light fixtures, renovations, landscaping. Then there’s all the stuff you might have to pay now that can be bundled in a rental, heat, water, electricity, cable, property taxes. Not to mention the things that you’re responsible for that can happen suddenly, like the furnace dies or the roof gets a hole in it that cannot be put off for another day, unlike nasty carpet. That happened to someone I know, their furnace died right before Xmas, and it cost a few thousand to replace — they were not expecting that at all.

          So yeah, here’s hoping your sister will want a simple garden wedding that can be nice and pretty yet inexpensive — or her fiancé’s family is huge and has more money so they are willing to pay for the massive wedding they feel is appropriate. I have a very small family. When my sister got married, 95% of the attendees were from the groom’s side, and his mother did all the planning (while that may sound nice, don’t get me started). I honestly don’t think it’s fair, though, that if you are a couple in a situation like your sister’s to follow all that “the bride’s family pays” stuff. They’re grown, they have jobs, they bought a house. If they want to get married, they can figure out a way they can afford it, or graciously accept money from whoever if they feel it is in alignment with what they want their wedding to be.

  33. catsAreCool*

    I’m thinking about getting a 3rd kitty. I have a 10 year old kitty and a 2 year old kitty. They’re both in good health, but the 10 year old doesn’t want to play as much as the 10 year old. I’ve been thinking if I get a kitty who’s maybe a year or 2 old or maybe younger, the kitty will be young enough to not intimidate the other kitties too much (hopefully less fights) (they’ll be separated for a while) but young enough to play with the 2 year old. Today I was at PetCo and saw a cute tuxedo kitty. He’s 9 months old and seems pretty friendly, both with me and with another kitty who was there.

    Not sure if I should or not. 3 kitties is probably more work than 2. But then the 2 year old would have someone to play with – unless they don’t like each other. Sometimes I feel guilty because the 10 year old only occasionally plays with the 2 year old.

    Also, a few people I know hint that 3 kitties is bordering on crazy cat lady. 3 doesn’t seem like that much to me, especially if 1 cat is older and the other 2 aren’t. I don’t know.

    What do you think?

      1. Shay*

        Agreed, I have 2 currently, used to have 3, and I don’t see that as a high number of cats.

    1. jamlady*

      We have an 8 year old and 4 year old – I often think about a 3rd, but I think their ages are good. I had the older one at 6 weeks and the younger I got at 9 months – I looooved having an older cat. If we got another one, it would be at least 2. Also, I would make the same choice in your situation. Young buddy needs to play! Haha

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Just keep in mind that they’re likely not to get along in the beginning — it takes a few months (for some cats longer, for some cats never, but generally a few months). Don’t get alarmed during that period if it isn’t working; in most cases, they will eventually adjust (and often be happier on the other end).

      1. catsAreCool*

        Makes sense. Every time I’ve brought home a kitten, it has taken a while for the cat to be OK with it. It seems like they have more fun when they have similar activity levels.

    3. Sandrine (France)*

      I adopted two cats last year. Thankfully by the second week they were friendly to one another.

      Then six months later my Mom made the mistake of telling me about kittens she’d heard about. I took in little Daenerys, gray kitten, who’s completely evil, and it took maybe a week or two as well.

      Older cat Flora doesn’t care about Baby Daenerys.
      Marvin (male, fixed – thank goodness) likes her just fine, they sometimes bathe each other, things like that.

      No epic fights or anything… i really like that xD

    4. The Other Dawn*

      Three cats is not “crazy cat lady” territory; I have 12. Yes, 12.

      Some get along great, others tolerate each other, and I have a couple that tend to bully the timid one. But I almost never see an out-and-out cat fight. They’ve settled into their routines and they deal with each other just fine.

      If you get a third cat, get one close in age to the younger one. And try to find one with a similar activity level. If you get one that’s very active and the younger one isn’t, they probably won’t play together and your current kitty will likely get really annoyed with the new one.

      And give them plenty of time to get used to each other. Don’t just open the carrier and let the new one out while the other two are in the same room. That likely won’t go well and will cause a lot of tension. Keep the new one in a separate room for a few days and then introduce gradually. It will take a few weeks, or more, for everyone to get used to each other.

      1. catsAreCool*

        Thanks! The way I figure it, as long as the kitties are happy and healthy…

        It’s hard to estimate how active my younger kitty is. She sleeps a lot, but she also likes racing around for no particular reason.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I’m sure most younger cats will be similar, but I’d stay away from one that has a very low energy level. If you get your new cat from a good local rescue they should know their cats very well and be able to match you with one that suits your household.

    5. jhhj*

      I had 2 cats — they’re now 13 and 9. (Or 8.) And the younger one just ADORED the older one who hates other cats if they try to interact with her. I added a third cat last year — she’s now about 2 — and she really balanced out te personalities well, though of course she would like a cat her age to play with. Three cats isn’t really more work than 2.

      When I got her, she had just had a tail amputation, so I had her locked up in the bathroom for 10 days of recovery. After that, I just let the chips fall as they would, and it worked out fine (once the oldest cat taught new cat not to try to play with her) because new cat is very submissive and just wants to be loved, but took a lot of attention of oldest cat.

      I sort of want another cat but 4 is definitely crazy cat lady.

    6. Revanche*

      I say yes to a third if you can handle it. (Three is my magic number of dogs.) I’d say 9+ is bordering crazy cat person, if the house isn’t extremely clean.

    7. catsAreCool*

      I have my 3rd kitty! I went to a good local adoption center and told them why I was looking for a kitty and what kind of kitty I was looking for, and I met a cute male black kitty with a white splotch on his chest. He’s good with other kitties, and he likes people (shy at first). He’s sweet, and he purrs and rubs his head on me. My younger kitty really wants to go in and meet him (he’s in the master bedroom for now, so that the cats have a chance to get used to the idea of the others).

    8. BeckyDaTechie*

      3 cats = 4 litter boxes scooped daily. More brushing if the new animal is long haired. One more set of claws to trim. That’s the only difference I noticed.

      And then #4 moved in.

      Monthly expenses for 4 cats, 1 grain allergic, 1 stage one kidney failure, 2 flea allergic:
      Grain-free dry food = $30/month
      Grain-free wet food = $20/month (Amazon Prime is a blessing.)
      Water filter for fountain = $2/month
      Litter for 5 boxes scooped daily, refreshed 1/week = $18-$25 depending on brand and coupons/specials (we have a shopping club membership for 40# bags/boxes, but Prime can be a blessing here too)
      Topical flea meds = $10/month

      We space vet visits every 3 months, so Molly (kidney cat) goes in March, Tie Dye goes in June, Ishka (grain allergic) goes in September, and Phantom goes in December. That way I have time to set aside the $120/visit even when life hands us lemons. I have a CareCredit card for emergencies, and right now we qualify for low cost vaccination clinics to keep rabies shots up to date.

      I think the idea of a “Crazy Cat Lady” is on its way out. If you can handle the financial impact of another pet, it may be a behaviorally sound option, especially if the shelter/rescue you work with is willing to do a meet and greet/trial period with your own cats. Though the best way to approach that might be to foster to adopt and take a month to get everyone settled and introduced properly while still retaining the option to help that third cat find a better fit if your animals just don’t mesh with him/her. (/crazy rescue lady)

  34. Treena Kravm*

    Update on my car!
    So it turns out he didn’t have insurance, but despite my car’s kelley blue book value being max $2k, the insurance valued it at $5,300. So I get the full $3.5k uninsured motorists, and I get to keep the car and sell it for scrap metal. Super happy how it turned out, and I get to drive a brand new car for the next 3 months. I decided to do 30 day rental cars, because I figured out the insurance situation, so it’s costing me less than $2k in rentals.

    1. fposte*

      Oh, wow, that’s a comparatively great deal! I’m sorry I misled you–I guess they must be stricter around here.

      1. Treena Kravm*

        No you were right. It’s not normally done. If I had collision coverage, then that is essentially them paying me full value for the car, so they get to keep it. But because their payment wasn’t the full value, then I’m entitled to the physical vehicle. It was definitely a weird exception.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      This landed well, good for you. I had that happen, too. I totalled a car and the insurance company gave me a lot more than blue book. I was very content with that.

      1. Treena Kravm*

        Yes, apparently this is a thing? My Dad said that he paid $5,800 for the car I totaled in high school and the insurance paid him $7,000 for it. I guess you’re only screwed over if you had purchased a new car, then the depreciation guarantees you won’t get as much.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, I am not clear on this, either. My concern kicked in because my husband used to say insurance is a loan. They cover your immediate problem and then you repay with higher rates later. So maybe they use it as an opportunity to increase your rates more? Not sure.

          1. Treena Kravm*

            Oh yea, absolutely. That’s why people don’t total their cars for the insurance money, you more than make up for it. But lucky for me, I wasn’t at fault and I’m not going to carry insurance beyond June so I can just take the cash free and clear.

        2. fposte*

          They only gave me a little over Blue Book for mine; the addition was because the mileage was so low for its age (12 years, I think). I wish I’d gotten that kind of bump, as it cost a lot more than the $3500 or so to replace it.

          1. Treena Kravm*

            That’s so funny because mine was 15 years old and had really low mileage (145k) for its age too. I wonder how they calculate it–maybe it’s the location? High COL and all that?

            1. GH in SoCAl*

              My car was totalled over the summer and their initial offer was slightly over Blue Book (bonus for low miles), but I’d been advised to try to negotiate it upwards. I figured, what the heck, worth a try, maybe get another few hundred. I searched online and found a car identical to mine selling for a much higher price, and they upped their offer close to that — almost another $2K. Most money I’ve ever made in an hour! :-D

              1. fposte*

                Oh, I was told there was no room for movement. I wonder if I could have pushed it harder?

                1. Not So NewReader*

                  My husband used to be an insurance adjuster. He told me to call dealerships in the area an ask how much a similar car would sell for. Give the date, model/make and estimate the condition. I called several places and had that info lined up for when the insurance company called with their numbers. Basically you are asking for a range or an average. It’s not a solid price. Write down the dealership’s name and what they told you.
                  I did not need it because the insurance company was 50% higher than my highest number. (Yeah, the car had very little value.) But this strategy worked well with a car my husband had the the insurance company totalled out on him. They low balled and he read off the info he had collect up. The insurance company instantly increased their offer. He was satisfied.

            2. Not So NewReader*

              I believe that they do factor in resale value for a given area.

              Sadly, I had one vehicle they did not total out. It had a book of $8k and I had $6300 in damage. They opted to repair. ugggghhhh. My confidence in the vehicle was gone. I kept it for a while longer but it was nerve-wracking.

  35. Ann Furthermore*

    OMG. My laptop is having issues and neither of the USB ports are working. It encountered an issue of some sort last week, and I let it run some kind of repair/diagnostics program. It seemed to work, except now the USB ports are not working. This means I have to use the touchpad mouse, and I haaaaaaaate those things with the fire of 1000 suns. I keep somehow doing something to zoom the screen in and out. The scrolling doesn’t work that well. It’s SO annoying. I’m leaving on business next week and I’m hoping my husband can take it to get it fixed while I’m gone — it’s my personal laptop.

    1. acmx*

      Hope it gets fixed. My USB ports just went out, too. And like you, I hate the touchpad. Mine is a large area one and my hand is usually on it, causing the pointer to do things I don’t want.

      1. Beezus*

        My touch pad requires two fingers on the touchpad to scroll, but moving them in the same direction at the same speed (like you would with your index and middle fingers held parallel pressed together) is the scrolling gesture, and to zoom in/out you would use two fingers but move them toward/away from each other, respectively.

        It takes time to get used to. I mastered my touchpad by having to do several months’ worth of daily at-home overtime on my work laptop at a time when my work mouse wasn’t entirely wireless (the mouse itself was wireless, but required a USB-connected wired transmitter thingy to communicate to the laptop itself). Now that I’ve got it down, I don’t bother to bring my (truly) wireless mouse with me away from my work docking station – the risk of leaving it somewhere isn’t worth the minor convenience of avoiding the touchpad anymore.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      If, for some reason, it can’t be fixed, you can physically remove the hard drive and buy an external enclosure (anywhere between US$8 and US$50) to use it as an external hard drive in another computer.

    3. fposte*

      I only know Macs, but I’m presuming that somewhere on all laptops there’s a way to configure the trackpad input to be more like what you want. (I’ve just realized my zoom gesture is enabled but doesn’t work. Hmm.)

  36. Leslie Knope's Waffle*

    Elizabeth West – did you watch any of the Figure skating world championships this week? If so, what did you think?

  37. Rebecca*

    Today is my Gabby cat’s 16th birthday! Her sister Fritzi passed on January 23, but she had diabetes for about 5 years. They were the only 2 cats in the litter, and when I went to get a single kitten from the litter, and found out there were only 2, I adopted them both so they could stay together.

    I started reading Dr. Sleep this week, and can’t put it down. I really like the eLibrary access I have with my library in town and the Overdrive app. I download it as a Kindle book, and it pops up on my Kindle HD Fire. I just love technology!

    On a whiny note, I have a head cold. A really, really bad head cold, as in I can’t do anything but sit here and blow my nose. It’s running like a faucet, and if things don’t turn around pretty quickly, I’ll be taking a sick day tomorrow as I’m 100% convinced my office mate won’t want to hear me sneeze and blow my nose a hundred times. I have watery eyes, sneezing, and a very runny nose, so I took some antihistamines a little bit ago, as the Sudafed (that I had to sign my life away to get) didn’t work at all. This whole mess started on Wednesday night, so I really hope I’m on the mend soon.

    So, off to Netflix binge watch Bones, drink lots of liquids, and sit in my easy chair holding a cat.

    1. Jean*

      “…and sit in my easy chair holding a cat.”
      Except for the head cold, this sounds lovely! (Colds are annoying. I hope yours leaves quickly.)
      I’m wrestling with the laundry room in my building. Sunday mornings are usually high-traffic, high-tension times. Oh well; better than Sunday evening! Then off to a fencing lesson w/ teenaged child; home to take a walk outside in nice weather with DH; and out to be sociable for approx. 2 hours before dinner / bed / wake up for the work & school week.

  38. Wrench Turner*

    It’s garden day! We’re renting a small Uhaul, getting a stack of lumber, gravel and dirt and building another two beds in the front yard. That’s 176 square feet of fruits and veggies this year.

    Renting the $20 truck is easy. Keeping the squirrels out of the tomatoes is hard.

    1. BeckyDaTechie*

      My father’s trick: spray tomatoes with 1 part plant soap/Dawn, 1 part Frank’s Red Hot/Tobasco sauce, 1 part white vinegar mixed into a gallon of water. Wait until leaves are dry after it rains and douse the plants just before dark. Repeat until Nutsy decides the heartburn isn’t worth it. :)

  39. Today's anon*

    Saffron! I am looking at a recipe that calls for saffron. It is hugely expensive. Is it worth it? Does it really affect the taste? I would usually just skip it but I am trying to develop my taste buds and experimenting more with spices so I am curious.

    1. Wrench Turner*

      Yes. It’s worth it, that expensive little goes a long way. It’s been around cuisine for millennia with good reason. Bon apetite!

    2. Blue_eyes*

      Paella typically uses saffron for both the color and flavor. My dad makes a lovely creamy chicken soup with saffron.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I loooove saffron. A health food store with a small restaurant near by made saffron mash potatoes. omg. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

      It takes 60,000 crocus bulbs to make one pound of saffron. I looked into that because I wondered if I could grow saffron here, it looked like it might have good profit margins. But, alias, no not a good idea on a lot that is less than one acre.

    4. Victoria, Please*

      Make sure you handle it properly, don’t just throw it in the dish. Infuse it with some warm milk or water and put that in.

  40. Elizabeth*

    If I can make it through work tomorrow (the meetings start at 7am and go to 6pm, if the current schedule holds), I’ll be off for 2 days. On Tuesday, I’m having surgery to correct 25 years of issues with plantar fascitis in my right foot.

    I’ve been working on all of the logistical issues with being on crutches for multiple weeks, including not being allowed to drive. I don’t deal well with being helpless or even semi-helpless. I’m pretty self-sufficient. The realization that I’m going to need a lot more help for basic stuff, like getting my lunch or grabbing a can of pop out of the fridge in the evening while we’re watching TV is giving me pause.

    1. fposte*

      Oh, good luck on the surgery and recuperation–just keep remembering the mobility you’ll get on the other end. And also, as a fellow self-sufficient, I’d say remember that other people aren’t that excited about our self-sufficiency and genuinely enjoy helping.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This. When all we do is give to others and not allow them to give back, we make others feel that sense of helplessness. We accidentally “dis-empower” them. Let others pay you back. It’s empowering for them.
        This is one of those things that I have to tell myself, “It’s not all about me and how I feel, I have to look at what others might be feeling.”

    2. Apollo Warbuks*

      Good luck with the surgery I hope it all goes well and you recover quickly. Just remember not to overdo it otherwise back and be recuperating for even longer.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Good luck! It will be good when you’re all healed. :) Do you have someone to help for a few days? This is one reason I don’t want to have shoulder surgery. I have no one close by.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Get a knee scooter. If you hate crutches, you will love it. Someone here recommended one to me when I broke my foot three years ago, and it was incredibly helpful.

    5. Windchime*

      Will you be non-weight bearing? If so, I found the knee scooter to be immensely helpful, and much easier than crutches. I only used crutches for little things, like getting in and out of the shower and the bathroom.

      Good luck. It’s really hard to be unable to drive for so long. I was non-weight bearing for 6 weeks and it seemed like forever. My main living area is downstairs and my bedroom and shower are upstairs, so there was a lot of crawling up and down the stairs with a backpack.

    6. C Average*

      Pockets. Get clothing with pockets. That was my biggest piece of learning when I had arthroscopic hip surgery a few years back.

      Good luck!

  41. Grey*

    Thanks to Stephanie who convinced me to give “The Wire” a second chance after giving up on it after Season 2. I’m hooked and halfway through Season 5 right now.

        1. Stephanie*

          Yeah, agreed. And there were very few callbacks later on, so it just felt out of place. I still liked Season 2 better than Season 5.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        Personally, my goal is to try and break the hold that sugar and refined carbs have on my taste buds, brain and endocrine system. I’m not Super Woo Caveman Diet, but IMO the book that goes along with the plan does a good job of explaining how the standard American Diet is invisibly working against you.

        1. nep*

          Not so invisibly, if people would just educate themselves and become a bit more mindful about what they’re consuming.
          If the book plan puts that message across, bravo.
          Best of luck and health to you.

    1. Emily*

      I don’t know if the restrictiveness of Whole30 would work for me, personally, but I’m curious to hear about other people’s experiences on it!

    2. Come On Eileen*

      So far so good! I’m now on day 8 and it’s getting easier. I don’t think I realized just how much cooking was involved, how many trips to the grocery store I would make, and that my dishwasher would be constantly running. But now that I’ve got a week under my belt, it’s smoothed out a lot and I’m cooking more food in large batches to see me through the week.

      This first week has definitely highlighted my sugar addiction, which I kind of always knew about but mostly just thought “hey, I love snacks!” I’ve had some serious cravings for soda and donuts, but haven’t given in. I’m realizing I can just kind of sit with the craving and observe it without judgment or acting on it.

      No real impact yet to my energy level or sleep, but they say the first week is the hardest (going through carb withdrawals, bloating, sluggishness, etc) so I wasn’t expecting to feel amazeballs this early in the game.

      My sister is doing it with me as well — Her secondctime, my first.vthats been a HUGE help because we can text through the day and check in and see how the other is doing.

      One of the nice side effects is that I’m finding some new recipes that I really like. I made Kahlua Pig in the crockpot a few days ago and it was AWESOME. So all in all, it’s been entirely do-able and I’m just waiting for my injection of tiger blood that everyone promises is on its way :)

  42. Felicia*

    I’m going to Washington DC in June for the first time, what are some things I absolutely must see? I’ll have about 4 days there. I have some ideas but it’s also great to get some input from people who live around there, or who have been there . I learned we’re not allowed to tour the White House anymore (Canadian), but there are plenty of other things to see..

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Spend some time on the National Mall and go to the Smithsonian museums. They’re free, so if you get bored or tired, you can move on to the next one with no guilt. :) Air and Space is my all-time favorite, but there are some exhibits there that haven’t changed since I was a child. (Stop in the gift shop for some Astronaut Ice Cream.) American History is my second favorite.

      When I lived in DC, I loved going to the Newseum. Great way to see history through the lens of the news.

        1. Felicia*

          I only have 4 total days :) haha but i’d love to take longer. At least it’s a short flight!

      1. Felicia*

        Oooh I was a journalism major so I like the idea of the newseum! I also was interested in the Smithsonian museums, though the amount there is was a little overwhelming :)

        1. Laura Beth*

          The Newseum is AMAZING!! Well worth the additional charge. I loved Air & Space as well, but I’m a huge space nerd. I’m hoping to go back soon and catch American History and some other Smithsonian ones!

    2. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

      Depending on your preferences, the National Gallery (East Wing for modern art) and the American Art museums, the Freer & Sackler is a beautiful gem, the Native American and African art museums also jewels. Spend some time at the Lincoln Memorial and then discover the profoundly moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial and walk over to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. I don’t know if the Corcoran is open this summer, as they’re in flux, but the Textile Museum has just reopened at George Washington University and the opening exhibition looks wonderful. If you’re more into science and natural history, the Air & Space museum is fantastic. At some point head over to Dupont Circle and have a meal at the Tabard Inn, and there’s also a fantastic and fun farmers market there. Go to Teaism and get some Salty Oatmeal cookies.

      You will walk a ton, everywhere is crowded, you’ll be exhausted, plan ahead with water and food — but enjoy it — I love Washington. Great taxi drivers; they’ve seen it all and driven everybody!

      I’m a dual Canadian/American, btw.

        1. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

          I’ve mail-ordered them from Kayak Cookies a few times. It’s a splurge! And I’ve wondered about the recipes I’ve seen — not the real thing, I guess? Part of me loves that there is still something that’s regional and that you can’t get everywhere.

    3. nep*

      Lived there years ago — certainly much has changed. But night life in Adams Morgan is probably still something worth checking out if you’re into that. (DC-ers — Adams Morgan still cool?) Bukom Cafe was my place.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        A/M is on the decline – lots of people bought around there and are now married with kids. It’s fun but not what it once was. H street in NE is what A/M used to be – lots of bars and interesting restaurants and nightlife.

        1. Stephanie*

          Yes, this, but Adams Morgan still has some good stuff. I was surprised how much Navy Yard had changed when I visited back in January.

    4. Christy*

      First go to the Air and Space Museum, then the rest of the Smithsonians based on your level of interest. You can do a full day of walking from monument to monument–start at the Supreme Court, then west to the U.S. Capitol, and walk west along the Mall to the Washington Monument, then on to the WWII, Vietnam, Lincoln, Korean, MLK, (FDR if you want), and Jefferson memorials, in that order. (It’s a lot of walking.) Eastern Market is a great indoor market and area in Southeast DC. There’s a spectacular used bookstore near there called Capitol Hill Books, and there’s a great restaurant called Rose’s Luxury. You’ll find lots to do in that area.

      Don’t bother with visiting Georgetown unless you’ve never seen a rich area for shopping.

      1. Felicia*

        I’m actually staying in Georgetown – I got an extremely good hotel deal there because I know people :) But we have our own rich shopping areas here too

        Everyone seems to say Air and Space is the best of the Smithsonians! I also appreciate the order of all those things, i love that kind of plan!

        My last trip was Boston and I did a ton of walking , so I’m prepared! Anyone visiting here would have to walk too. Though i’m intending to take the subway if I must – I absolutely love public transit.

    5. Katie NYC*

      Two specific recommendations on the mall:
      1) See the first ladies gown exhibit at the Museum of American History
      2) Eat lunch at the Museum of the American Indian – the best food on the mall

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        I came here to mention #2. It’s a great museum, too, but Katie is right about the food at the Museum of the American Indian.

      2. Felicia*

        When I went to the JFK Library, Jackie’s dresses were my favourite so #1 sounds right up my alley!

    6. manomanon*

      Second Rose’s Luxury- to die for! The Newseum is great, the Museum of Women in the Arts is really cool too.I’d suggest playing that one by ear. I think the monuments are best at dawn or at night. I don’t think anyone needs to do all the Smithsonian Museums- I tend to think spending a lot of time in the ones with exhibits that interest you is better since otherwise it eats up all your time in the city. If you really like the Air and Space Museum there is a second part of it about a half hour or so outside the city which requires a car.
      Alexandria is fun, it takes a while to get there on metro but the Torpedo Factory is a whole collection of galleries selling local art in an old torpedo factory.

    7. Stephanie*

      Re the Smithsonians: I would look up specific exhibits or topics and attend those.

      Honestly…I thought the White House tour was meh (this sounds pretentious, I know). It is all self-guided and we couldn’t see any of the actual working parts because of security reasons (understandable).

      I agree the Mall is best at dawn or dusk.

      Go to the Shaw neighborhood and get Ethiopian. The Frederick Douglass house is Anacostia is pretty cool and has some great views of the city. The neighborhood isn’t the greatest, but you’ll be fine during the park’s operating hours. Also, check out the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens–water lilies will be in bloom (same deal as the Frederick Douglass house with regard to the neighborhood). If you have a car or don’t mind schlepping on the bus, check out he National Arboretum (can you tell I like parks?).

      If you’re staying in Georgetown, the Kennedy Center is a short walk and has some awesome views of the river and city (especially from the top balcony). Also, the Exorcist steps are nearby. Glover Park is a neighborhood just north of Georgetown and has a lot of bars and restaurants and is a little less crowded with tourists and college students than Georgetown.

    8. Sunday*

      A fun place can be the rooftop restaurant at the Hotel Washington. Just get a drink there, and maybe a snack – the kitchen’s in the basement and they charge extra to bring it up top – and don’t go on Fri or Sat eves without planning to buy a meal, it can be really busy. But on another evening, it’s a great place to look out over the Mall area and to watch the sun set, and the lights come up.

      The Kennedy Center has the Millenium Stage, with free performances about 6pm daily/most days in the atrium. A fun way to see something there that doesn’t cost anything but is a reason to see it. Roof top has some nice views of the river. And it’s easy to walk to from Georgetown.

      Washington National Cathedral is a nice gothic style place, and often has stuff going on that one can walk into; their gardens used to be nice, too.

      The Mall is fun; the houses of government plus the Smithsonian and Natl Gallery, with folks playing softball and frisbee and such.

      What do you like that isn’t as available in T town that you might like to know about for the DC area?

      June is a nice time to visit, usually warm but not hot. But if you’re looking at late June, check out the Festival of American Folk Life which runs for about 2 weeks to include the 4th of July.

    9. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I almost forgot– Ethiopian food! DC has the largest population of Ethiopian people outside of Ethiopia, and the restaurants are soooo good. My favorites are Meskerem in Adams Morgan and Dukem on U Street, right near Ben’s Chili Bowl (also a great spot). I’m more partial to Meskerem, my boyfriend (a DC-area native who lived in DC proper for many more years than I did) prefers Dukem. Especially good if you’re vegetarian or traveling with one. Don’t forget to try the tej (a sweet-ish honey wine).

    10. BeckyDaTechie*

      The Spy Museum. An actor friend of mine used to work there. It’s dedicated to old technology used by CIA/FBI/KGB/MI6 type government groups. He claimed he felt like Q from James Bond every shift.

  43. Perpetua*

    What are your computer backup practices?

    I would really really hate to lose my data, especially photos, so I want to “do it right” when it comes to backups. I have one backup currently, on an external hard drive, but I know they can fail as well, so I’m thinking about online backup options. Any good suggestions, from your experience?

    1. Treena Kravm*

      We’re in the process of implementing this system, so I can’t speak to whether or not I like it but I hope I will! We’re planning on moving abroad, and bringing tech equipment in checked luggage. So everything is going to be backed up onto one giant (3T) harddrive, and that is going to live with my parents. Then we’re going to make a second copy on a bigger (5T) one and keep that with us.

      Once we start creating additional files that need to be backed-up, we’re going to have one copy in the cloud (haven’t picked a provider yet) and one copy on the 5T harddrive. And then when we visit family each year, we’ll transfer files, and then remove them from the cloud.

      All this to say, we’re making sure there are 2 back-ups of data at all times. I think it would be fine to use a cloud option or a harddrive option, as long as they’re kept separate, say one in a fireproof box.

    2. BRR*

      We just use external hard drives and store them in the house. I have a colleague who uses crashplan and I trust him in terms of doing research for both quality and cost.

    3. Observer*

      I have two hard drives, and use an automated backup program to backup files each evening. I also back up most of my data files (also automated) to the cloud. I happen to use Google Drive, but there a number of good alternatives, depending on your data volume and how much you want to spend.

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      I’d recommend off-site backups for two reasons:

      1. They tend to be automated, which means you’re less likely to forget doing a backup.

      2. On the off chance that there’s natural disaster that destroys the electronics in your house or apartment, you will not lose all your photos.

      Look into Crashplan. If you’re willing to pay a little, you can back up directly to their servers. If you want it free, you can do an encrypted exchange with a friend (you back up to her computer, and she backs up to yours).

    5. Al Lo*

      My Dropbox is my documents folder (with referrals and free space, I’ve built up to around 30GB), so all of my current working docs are there and always accessible and backed up. Photos are backed up to a Flickr account, which has 1TB free storage. Everything is backed up to an external, and my whole system and hard drive are backed up to CrashPlan. I’m big on having things in at least a couple places: one easily accessible cloud storage, one single location cloud storage, and a hard drive.

    6. Blue_eyes*

      I use an external hard drive to back up using Time Machine on my Mac. For things that are really important I also email them to myself, or save them in google drive or dropbox so I will still have access to them even if my computer and hard drive are destroyed. I should probably start storing all my photos on an off-site back up as well.

    7. Olive K*

      I just finally took care of this last week!

      I have an external, cloud back up through crashplan. I also have an external but cable linked (i.e. not being sent though the internet) to a 2 tb drive. I used to have a time capsule but it crapped out 4 months ago and I’ve had nothing since then. My computer tech person recommended two different backups, so for about $250, I feel set.

    8. Emily*

      I use Dropbox for important things (my undergraduate thesis, NaNoWriMo projects, etc.) that would be hard for me to recover if I lost them. I’ve never exceeded the space limit on the free version, though, so I don’t know much about the paid version.

    9. Revanche*

      I’m all about redundancy cuz any one thing can fail and ugh that’d be awful.
      I save to a laptop that is backed up to Crashplan, and an external hard drive. I’d like one more external back up as well but I botched the formatting of our biggest external HD and it’s been too much a pain to redo. The idea is to protect against tech failure as well as physical damage or loss.

    10. BeckyDaTechie*

      1) Laptop
      2) Dropbox
      3) Flash drive
      4) Google drive

      Eventually the flash drives will become 2T+ external drives and an old copy of the important stuff will go on flash in the safe.

  44. Episkey*

    On Monday I was hiking in the Smoky Mountains and fell and broke my shoulder. Rangers had to come get me out, etc. Anyway, got back to my home state and went to a local orthopedic surgeon — my left arm has to be in a sling for 4-6 weeks and I cannot use it. Then at least 2 months of PT. Luckily, I’m right-handed. Does anyone have any easy ideas for meals? I do have my husband and he has been very helpful, but it sucks having to use only one hand for everything!

    1. fposte*

      Oh, wow. My easy ideas for meals in that situation involve ordering out, but I’m glad it wasn’t worse and I hope you’re recovering smoothly.

      Is this you being stubborn, by the way? Seems to me husband can probably handle meals for 4 weeks–are you finding it tough to just let him?

      1. Episkey*

        LOL re: ordering take out. Yes, it could have been worse — both the ER doctor and the attending orthopedic surgeon in TN at the hospital felt that the break required surgery involving a metal plate & pins and were seriously considering putting me into emergency surgery that day. Thankfully, they said I could go home if we left ASAP (which involved a 10-hour car drive where I basically stayed drugged on Percocet lol). The surgeon here in my home state felt that surgery was not necessary, at least right now (as long as nothing shifts in there), which was a relief.

        The issue with my husband is only that I worry because he is starting a brand new job tomorrow (which is why we were away last week, he was able to get a week off between jobs), and I’m not sure if he will need to stay late/have odd work hours at the beginning here or not. It’s a bit of a longer commute than his previous job and of course I want him to make a good impression in the beginning, so no leaving to help me, etc.

        1. fposte*

          Ah, makes sense. Then I support the microwave meals theory (and the ordering in). Also, the deli counter, which will often have non-frozen pre-made stuff (so I guess that’s still microwave meals, but you wouldn’t have thought to cook there).

          I’d at least start out by limiting myself to that. I think even the simplest stuff is going to be more exhausting than you realize one-handed, so I’d wait to attempt it until I was somewhat healed. However! I just Googled and found quite a lot of stuff, including a one-handed blog with an ongoing cooking tag, about one-handed cooking, so that might be the best way to find the tried and true from people who have been there.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        That’s exactly what I was going to post. I’d also see if your insurance would cover any kind of help for the first couple of weeks. I know that’s a long shot, but it might be worth looking into.

        Also, can you ask any friends or family if they’d help out? Maybe they can bring you something to heat up?

        1. Artemesia*

          Most medical insurance doesn’t even cover many medical procedures, can’t imagine any of them provide maid service. Heck they send people home from the hospital after ‘outpatient’ procedures like foot amputations and surgeries that involve surgical drains being left in and just assume the family can care for the person.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      Oh god. Yeah, welcome to my life. I’m so sorry this happened to you! I love hiking and I’ve been in my share of pickles.

      So my husband and I are dealing with this right now because my mobility is still very limited and he’s not much of a cook, so I’m working with him on planning out meals that last for several days. Today we’re going to make a pasta salad for lunches during the week, and a beef stew that’ll last a few days.

      Casseroles and stews and crockpot meals are great for this stuff. Pasta with meat sauce, etc. Thing big things that can last a few days.

    3. Mimmy*

      Wow! You’re in good company with my dad and brother. Both had shoulder surgery in the past couple of months. Haven’t talked to my brother much, but my dad has definitely been struggling. My mom has been awesome though. So glad you don’t need surgery, but being in a sling for 4-6 weeks is no picnic!

      Good thing you are right-handed. The shoulder my dad had operated on was his right–he’s right-handed! He ended up accelerating a carpal tunnel issue and ended up needing surgery on his left hand, THEN his right hand!

    4. Olive K*

      So sorry to hear that! I had thumb surgery last year and had a terrible time with cooking.

      I agree with everyone else’s advice (Trader Joe’s, et al) and would just recommend that if (ahem) you are a wine drinker to make sure that your hubby has opened a bottle for you if he will be out late. Not that I was left sadly looking at a much desired bottle of wine one night while my husband worked late. And neither my kids or cats could help me out…. :)

    5. Revanche*

      Ooof. I have lots of experience with limited mobility and it stinks. Remember, when one handed you will get tired faster because your one hand is doing the work of two so try to make everything as easy as possible. Don’t just stop at having things premade, but portion it out into serving sizes so you only have to remove from fridge and microwave. You don’t want to wrestle with a big container, a serving spoon or spatula, etc.

      I have a small stock of frozen stuff from Trader Joe’s for when my body quits on me: Mac and cheese and pot pie are my go-tos. Don’t get their light vsn of Mac n cheese though. It’s light because they just give you less! So disappointing :P

      If your husband can do crock pot meals on the weekend then those are nice to portion out as well. You shouldn’t be lifting the crock pot if it’s anything like ours, weighs a TON. I try to go for anything that can be eaten with just a fork: pulled pork, deboned chicken, rice and pasta.

      Baked fish fillets are nice: one fish fillet on top of veggies makes an easy meal in a foil packet and can be paired with your carb of choice.

      Chicken can be done the same way or you could do a big baking dish of chicken parts with lemon wedges, onions and potatoes. That’s got a nice light flavor and just has to be cut up, tossed together and put in the oven, very little prep time.

      And take out or delivery is always nice for a break from the kitchen :)

  45. Lamb*

    I’d mentioned going back to school- I’m doing it! Taking a couple prereq. classes this summer and applying to Architecture programs end of this year to start a program in 2016. But I’m going to need a portfolio and references for my application. Any advice (in architecture) on finding a mentor? Someone who could give me advice on my portfolio (as I work it up) and hopefully write me a letter of recommendation come application time?

  46. INTP*

    If you’re a renter and your building manager is basically an ass over showing the apartment after you’ve given notice, but in a way that complies with the law, you basically have no choice but to deal, right?

    I was going to move out almost a year ago but found a local job a few weeks later. In that time, they were doing showings or possible showings several days a week. The required notice in my state is only 12 hours and often that would be a text at 8 or 9pm that I didn’t see until the next morning. The time that they came would often be really vague – like “We might do a showing between 10 and 3 tomorrow”. The building manager especially gets snarky and asks me to clean if it isn’t super clean – I get that I need to have stuff picked up and out of the way so people can walk through and nothing gross like dirty dishes out of the sink or whatever, but sometimes I might need to sweep or scrub the kitchen/bathroom surfaces or dust or vacuum and it’s not an immediate priority. (It would be one thing if it were one open house with days of notice but when it’s any day of the week with 12 hours notice I can’t maintain that level of clean constantly when it’s also a really buy period in my life.)

    My notice period is going to cover my last 6 weeks of grad school and I’m just anticipating it being a huge PITA. People coming in whenever the manager wants while I really need the time to study. I will be too busy to do my best cleaning, and with a 12 hour text notice I really feel like the only fair expectation is what I can take care of with a 20 minute spree anyways. I am just going to have to deal with the showings and with the visible annoyance when I don’t agree to have the place spic and span right? If the law/lease says that they just have to give 12 hours notice, I can’t just tell them that a specific day is not good for a showing, right? If I need to take a shower or something I have chains to keep the doors locked so they can’t barge in but it’s kind of distracting when I’m trying to work and I don’t know if strangers are about to be in my apartment at any moment in the next 5 hours.

    1. fposte*

      If you have a tenants’ union or other organization in your area, it’s worth checking with them to be sure, but unfortunately I think you’re right–all the landlord has to do is comply with the law, and it sounds like that’s happening.

    2. BRR*

      No you can’t refuse if they’re complying with your lease and the law. I would try and make some peace by saying with more notice and a specific time you could have things be a little more picked up. That with 12 hours notice and that covering the time you’re asleep you don’t have time to clean.

    3. Apollo Warbuks*

      Well there’s the letter of the law and the spirit of the law, I wonder if your building manager realises the inconvenience they are causing, by treating the notice as a tick box excersise, you could cetainly ask for bit more notice or try to arrange set hours once or twice a week.

      1. INTP*

        They’ve shown a total disregard for our convenience in the past – i.e. the notice that they give before doing work on the place will be a note left outside the door at 8pm regardless of how many days of notice they have that they need to do it – and often it will be “Workers may be in the apartment 8-5pm any time this week.” Once they pounded on my door starting at 8:00am trying to get me out of bed to remove the chain and it turned out they didn’t need to do work for hours, just wanted everyone out of bed so they wouldn’t be slowed down. (Which would be one thing if they had specifically said that they’d be in at 8am that day, but it was one of the weeks that the reserved the right to be in at any time all week, and there are students, artists, etc in the building who don’t keep 8-5 work hours and can’t plan to be awake and out of their apartments for an entire week.) So they definitely violate the spirit of the law but I don’t know if they could be motivated to be more considerate based on my convenience.

        I think if it didn’t bother them it might be possible to get them to let me know ASAP if they think the apartment will be cleaner when they show up or whatever but if a potential tenant says “I’d like to see it at 10am tomorrow” at 9pm tonight, they aren’t going to refuse that showing because the tenant is potential $$ and I can’t do anything about it.

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      Had this happen to me once, too. Looked up the law for my state, and my landlord was legally entitled to be as obnoxious as she saw fit. She could show as many times as she wanted with very little notice until the apartment was filled. Ugh. I feel your pain!

      1. the gold digger*

        I had an evil landlady once, too. (Michelle McMichael in Austin, I am talking to you.) She would come into my place just to close the blinds – “It looks tacky with the blinds open!” and to rearrange the plants on the windowsill. Her husband called me to discuss their marital problems. She sent people to look at the place while I was in the middle of finals, even though I had asked her not to show it that one week. I should have known – she raised the posted rent after I had agreed to rent but before I signed the lease. I should have seen that big red flag. A bad landlord can make your life miserable – you have my sympathies.

        However – just because your landlord is being a jerk does not mean you have to inconvenience yourself to keep the apartment spotless. Unless you are worried about losing your deposit, I would not sweat too much about making sure the apartment is shiny clean. There is only so much you can do.

        1. INTP*

          Yeah, I know I can leave the apartment slightly messy and they can’t do anything about it. I’m just really sensitive to people judging me for that because I’m a naturally messy person and it got me in trouble a ton as a kid, and I still work really, really hard to keep things at a level most people would consider not quite clean enough. I still feel like I’m in trouble and get my feelings hurt when he makes a dramatic show of rolling his eyes and asks me to clean, even if logically I know that my obligation is just to keep things sanitary and walkable and that he’s the ass for expecting a spotless apartment at any given moment.

          1. jhhj*

            “I’m of course happy to let you in on 12 hours notice. However, if you want me to clean up more than this before a showing, we need to agree on a mutually acceptable time period for a visit.”

    5. Mints*

      I think you’re right that you probably just have to deal with an ass. But, could you maybe offer “clean days”? Like when he gives you short notice respond “Okay, but the apartment will be much cleaner Saturday morning”?
      What a pain though

    6. Katie the Fed*

      Check the terms of your lease. I don’t think you have to clean it though – that’s on her, not you. You can leave it as messy as you want and make it as dificult as possible. Not that you SHOULD do that, but I don’t think you’re under any obligation to clean it so that she can rent it more easily. If it’s that important to her, why don’t you suggest she hire a cleaning person to come in once a week until it’s rented.

    7. jhhj*

      You are absolutely not expected to keep the apartment clean on no notice. If they want it cleaner they can hire someone to clean it up.

      In some places, you can say no as long as you are reasonable about it. (“Not Wednesdays because X” or “Not naptimes” are okay, “Only Tuesday between 5-7 and Saturday 12-2” would not be.)

    8. Treena Kravm*

      I’m absolutely fascinated by this dilemma, because I’ve never heard of showing a rental while you’re still living in it! Pretty much every rental I’ve ever lived in they would never think to show it while I was still in there. I’ve also only seen 2 rentals that are still occupied while I was looking for myself. And I’m talking in 3 different markets, in 3 time zones, in everything from giant complexes, small 3-5 apartment buildings, to single family homes.

      My understanding from landlords is that there is almost no point to showing an occupied residence, because no one will sign a lease until it’s empty anyways. Better for them to take a week, clean it out and then aggressively show a beautiful, clean space.

      1. INTP*

        I had never done this before this building, but I think it’s pretty common where I live now because the rental market moves really slowly. In California I never viewed an apartment with people still in it because I guess the market moves so quickly that there’s no need – places are snatched up within days of going on the market. (I remember feeling like I’d never find a place while working a full-time job because everywhere in my budget that wasn’t a total cesspool was taken instantly.)

        For the most part that makes it better for tenants here – they can’t take applications and application fees from 15 people the first day and pick and choose the ones with the highest income and credit score, you pretty much have the place if you can afford it and your credit isn’t a total mess. But it comes with the unfortunate reality of realtors showing your apartment while you live in it and with a 60 day notice required, that means my life could be very very annoying for a long time unfortunately.

        1. Tris Prior*

          I don’t think I’ve ever seen an apartment where someone WASN’T currently living in it. And I’ve always had to deal with people randomly traipsing through my apartment after I’d given notice that I was moving. (It sucked for the cat because we always had to shut him in the bedroom with a big “Please keep this door shut and do not let the cat out” sign any time we thought there might be a showing, as he was an escape artist.)

          I’m sorry you are having to put up with the snark about your apartment’s cleanliness, though. I am not a very good housekeeper but am fortunate to never have been shamed by a landlord for the place not being spotless.

          1. INTP*

            Yeah, the snark is just irritating and it’s hard to take personally. Once I had boxed up a bunch of recycling to take out – it was all either containers that never had food (I order online a lot and go through a lot of boxes and packaging) or things that had been cleaned well. He saw it and was like “You have to promise me that you are going to take all of that out TONIGHT, you are going to attract rodents to the building.” It’s hard not to take it personally when someone sees you as so dirty that they see the recycling and assumes you have bags stacked up of rodent-enticing food waste. (It was about 6 paper grocery sacks worth, so not a crazy amount of recycling.) I get why a property manager might be paranoid but they should also have the diplomacy to, say, confirm that the waste is a risk before accusing people of attracting rodents and ordering them around about when to take it out.

        2. Treena Kravm*

          Oh that makes sense! I’ve never lived in a slow market, so that’s where my experiences must be coming from. And wow, 60 days?! That sucks =/

        3. the gold digger*

          they can’t take applications and application fees from 15 people the first day and pick and choose the ones with the highest income and credit score, you pretty much have the place if you can afford it and your credit isn’t a total mess.

          Oh I can totally see the landlord’s side on this, especially after what we have learned here about how hard it is to evict someone.

      2. Anonymous Educator*

        Spouse and I have lived in four different apartment. Three out of the four times we were shown our future apartments, someone was currently living in it. But only once out of the three times we moved was our apartment shown while we were occupying it.

    9. Clever Name*

      When we sold our house, we only required one hours notice for a showing, so that meant we kept the house immaculate and spot cleaned when we left the house. We used a ton of those all purpose wipes. Thank goodness we got an offer in 8 days. However, it really isn’t your problem how fast your soon to be former place gets rented out. I would try and keep the place as picked up as you can, but I wouldn’t go crazy cleaning it all the time. I think keeping stuff off the floor and keeping the counters reasonably clear should be enough. Especially since your land lord is being a jerk about it. And if your land lord is unable to give you a specific time for a showing, you will be unable to leave the house for hours at a time. Off you happen to be there when they show up, just gather what you’re working on and leave then. If your landlord doesn’t like it, they can give you better notice.

      1. INTP*

        Do I really need to leave at all? In the past I often haven’t, but they would have showings while, say, I was furiously typing away on a term paper due in a few hours. I didn’t see a point in packing up all of my stuff just to stand on the sidewalk for 10 minutes while they looked around (it’s a 1 bedroom apartment so viewings don’t take long), and sometimes during finals week even without procrastination I wind up in a time crunch where every minute counts or they walk in while I’m really in the zone. If I had a week’s notice I might be able to plan around that but with just a day, I don’t really feel obligated to take on the expense of studying for hours at a coffee shop or the hour round trip walk to get to the library. I also work from home on tight deadlines sometimes.

        1. Treena Kravm*

          I can’t imagine there being a law/rule saying you *have* to leave, but I would be prepared for some major awkwardness.
          This reminds me…Once when my parents were looking to buy a house, the family didn’t want to leave while the agent was showing and she told us that we would go upstairs at the end all together. I was a teenager so I took her very seriously, but my dad just started walking upstairs (apparently he hadn’t heard her) despite my insistence that we weren’t allowed. Well, turns out the teenage grandson was smoking pot in one of the rooms and they couldn’t be bothered to pause the fun for 15 minutes.

          Not to say you’ll be anything like that. But it’s just weird and won’t get people excited about living there. But that’s not your problem, so who cares?

    10. Z*

      More likely than not you have no legal grounds to object (you wouldn’t in my state, anyway), but you are certainly not obligated to clean the place specifically to help your landlord out. A close friend of mine works for a real state rental agency and says that it’s rare for a place to be spotless, even if the landlord or management company is well-liked! My landlord is great, but I won’t be going out of my way to spiff the place up when he starts showing it in July.

    11. The Cosmic Avenger*

      If I had a landlord like that, I might not only not clean too carefully, I might also say a bit loudly to the person showing the apartment (presumably the landlord or their agent) “Gee, it would be nice if you gave me a little more notice when you want to show the apartment, or tried to group the showings instead of scattering them throughout the week…it’s almost like you’re trying to inconvenience your tenants when they decide to move out….”

      1. the gold digger*

        I tried to warn prospective tenants about my crazy Austin landlady – told them how she would come by on her way home from aerobics, let herself into the place, and get a drink of water. She let herself into my upstairs neighbor’s place (it was a duplex) while the neighbor was – ahem – entertaining her boyfriend. I talked to a lawyer about her always coming into my place- it wasn’t illegal. It was her property.

        She found out I was warning people and got really angry at me. Whatever. A year later, I ran into the person who had rented the place after I moved out. She said, “I wish I had listened to you! I thought you were making stuff up but she is nuts!”

      2. Ms Kyle*

        Haha, I guess I am a jerk, but when I’ve been in this situation I’ve 100% glossed over any problems with the landlord because the sooner some other sucker signs the lease, the sooner the showings stop…

  47. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

    I’m moving into a new apartment in May – small but really nice – and the little deck (on the northwest corner) has some long wooden planter boxes. I’m in the Rocky Mountain region, so we don’t plant here until Mother’s Day. I think this deck will get some late-day sun. I’ve never done much with gardening; does anyone have good suggestions for colorful plants and flowers that will do well? Can I do miniature roses? And do I need to line the wooden planters with plastic or anything? I’m not sure about the whole drainage thing and how I water without making a mess while still getting enough drainage. Thanks good people of AAM!

    1. Clever Name*

      Is there dirt in the planters already? I think I would look for some plastic pots (round or rectangular, depending on what fits) and put those in the planters. I’d go to the garden center and look for annuals that do well in partial sun. I’m a huge fan of petunias and sweet potato vine. I live just outside Denver, so I feel your pain about it being more than a month away to plant anything. I’m currently weeding my flowerbeds and clearing away leaves and pine needles.

      1. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

        Hi, I’m outside of Denver too. I think there is dirt in the planters from last year. I love color – I’d be happy with just the usual summer planter flowers in one, in some beautiful color scheme (magenta and white?) and some herbs in the other. Because I’m moving in on May 1, Mother’s Day will be a perfect time to plant them.

        1. Windchime*

          I highly recommend Calibrachoa, also known as “Million Bells”. They come in every color you can imagine, and they are super easy to take care of. I have grown them in an area where it’s over 100 degrees in the summer, and here in Seattle where it’s usually ion the 70’s. All they need is water and a shot of fertilizer every couple of weeks.

          If you line your planters with plastic, be sure that there are some holes at the bottom. You want your soil to be able to drain; otherwise, the roots will rot in the water that will collect at the bottom. I wouldn’t line it with plastic at all, honestly. Good luck! Flowers make everything so cheerful.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      If the wooden planters do not have any gaps in them, then go ahead and put soil in there. If they have gaps you can set a slightly smaller planter in the wooden planter (acting as a liner).
      The safest thing to do is figure that water and soil will definitely leak out and plan accordingly. Maybe you can set them on a board or a plastic tray of some type.

      I’d go to a locally based nursery for the first year at any rate. Purchase your stuff there and soak up their free advice. Then, in future years you can shop for price elsewhere, if you like.
      Here, roses will not do well with late day sun- not sure what zone you are. We are zone 4 but I need to plant like they do in zone 3. (If you are not sure of your zone go to a map like the USDA zone finder on garden dot org. ) I think you are a tad warmer than we are here. We don’t plant until Memorial Day. That might make a difference on the roses, I don’t know.
      I find roses to be fussy little things that need constant pruning, spraying or something. But I have a friend that just sticks them in the ground and they grow. What’s up with that?

      Annuals are usually the best for color, but you have to replace them every year. Perennials have a little less color to them (generally) but you don’t have to replace them— UNLESS you are using planters. Anything above ground may or may not winter over. Annuals run cheaper than perennials.

      There’s all kinds of watering aids, there are little collectors you can put in the planter that will collect rain water. I was playing with capillary material that wicks water up from a tray at the bottom of the planter. But the rule of thumb I have always used is if the soil is dry one inch down below the surface it is time to water.

      Start by going to a little, locally owned nursery and asking questions. I’d avoid the big box stores until you have a good idea of what you want and how you want to handle it. I am skeptical of their products and … their advice. Local people know the climate, they know the bugs in the area, etc. Buy your stuff there and then if you have questions you can comfortably go back and ask them.

      1. fposte*

        With the roses, it hugely depends on which kind you pick if you’re seeking to avoid fussing. I’m Zone 5 but with little snow cover, and I also want roses that thrive on neglect, so I stick with the Griffith Buck roses (bred by a horticulturist at Iowa State) and proven cold-hardy others (I love Darlow’s Enigma beyond all reason). I cut them back some years, mostly just by cutting straight across, and that’s the end of it. In your climate you have fewer choices, but there’s the Canadian Parkland series, some rugosas, and a few of the Griffith Buck roses.

        Plus it’s fun to tell to rose snobs who are going on about Souvenir de Quelquechose and Madame Whoever N’importe about my Hawkeye Belle bred by Griffith Buck, complete with twang.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Zone 5. I am jealous. There’s a lot of J and P roses here. Not a fan. They are very pretty but what little fuss pots. Princesses. The old varieties do well here. The newer hybrids are iffy, it depends too much on the microclimate for their particular placement.

          Interesting topic, though. I love some of the stories behind the hybrids. The story behind the Peace rose moved me to tears.

      2. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

        Thanks all for the wonderful advice! Can’t wait until May. May 1 is my favorite day of the year, and I get to move into a better place, and I’m hoping it will ease my working-life angst.

  48. Katie the Fed*

    Hi everyone!

    I know I’ve been bad about posting much.

    Question for everyone – my husband has been wonderful taking care of me and the house while I’ve been out of comission for the last 6 weeks. It’s way more than should be levied on anyone, and he’s been just wonderful. I mean, he doesn’t do things exactly the way I would do them but that’s ok – he’s doing his best.

    Any ideas for something to say thank-you to him? I’m still mostly out of commission for another few weeks at least. But I want to do something really nice for him.

    Obviously there are some, um, things I can do that he’ll appreciate. :) But other than that – what are your thoughts?

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Get the man a massage! That is, if he likes them. It will give him a solid hour (or more) to focus on himself.

    2. BRR*

      Can we get a sense of what he likes and dislikes?

      If he enjoy his alone time to recharge can you just get out of the house? If I didn’t have the apt to myself for several weeks I would just want my husband to go out.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        He’s very much an introvert, and he likes to read. I’ve been buying him Kindle books.

        He does like golf but he’s not great at it.

        1. JB*

          Alone time! He may be getting plenty of that while you’re out of commission, but once you’re better, you could make sure you give him whatever version of alone time he needs. Also, for me, I find that just not taking someone for granted and continually letting them know that you appreciate them helps.

          When my sister helped me out after I had surgery, I realized what I was taking from her was time and energy, which are two resources she didn’t have much of to spare in the first place. So when I recovered, I tried to give that back to her. For several weeks, I did some of her laundry, ran some errands for her, made her some meals, made some small scheduling phone calls for her (like calling to schedule her pest control guy to come out), just little things I could do to reciprocate. It in no way balanced out how much she’d helped me, but I know she appreciated it.

      2. Dynamic Beige*

        Or, would he appreciate a trip away with whoever his boys are? Guys’ weekend fishing/hunting/Vegas/dirt biking whatever they like to do that you absolutely can’t stand?

    3. Not So NewReader*

      We all have things that we say “Some day I will….”. On my husband’s list was a roll top desk, stainless steel exhaust for the bike, drill press… and so on. The some day list seemed to have a long wait period.
      Why not pick something off his “some day list” and decide “some day is TODAY!” Extra points for picking something that he did not think you noticed.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I’ll have to ask – he’s so low maintenance I don’t even know what his wish list is – other than travel that we’ve already planned :)

    4. Ann Furthermore*

      You like to cook, right? Make him his favorite dinner with a decadent dessert to go along with it. I do this for my hubby when I want to show him how much I appreciate him. I’ll be doing this soon as I’m on the road 3 straight weeks in April and he’ll be on single dad duty.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I’ll definitely be spoiling him in the kitchen as soon as I can walk again! I can’t wait!

    5. danr*

      I was in your husband’s position a few years ago after my wife had very major surgery. The best present that you can give him is not to overdo things as you get better. You’ll feel great when you start, then run out of steam half way through. Let it be a gradual transition and, I think you’ll find that you’ll be sharing chores more now.
      When I took over stuff, I felt that I was doing what I should. For the “Thank you”, If you have a favorite restaurant, take him out for dinner there.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Yes, it’s been a bit transition. I’m a little (ok, very) type A and I like things done the way I like them done and it’s been so hard letting go of control for him to do stuff. I do think we’ll be sharing more, which is a good thing.

        Restaurant is a great idea. He’s really been wonderful through this all. It’s a good sign of things to come :)

        1. JB*

          Ooo, so this is really good for you! I have those tendencies, and the best thing I ever did for myself was to prioritize the things I was still going to be like that about and learn let the other things go. I am so much less tense and stressed out than I used to be. And the world did not end. :)

      2. JB*

        This is a really good point. When I was recovering from a minor surgery, I tried to start helping out as soon as I could. But all that did was stress out my sister who was taking care of me because then she had to worry about me having a set back. Plus it’s stressful to watch someone you care about struggling.

    6. Mimmy*

      Consider yourself blessed to have such a wonderful, caring husband. I hope my husband would be just as caring if I were to become ill or injured. Showing your appreciation as he is helping you is thanks enough in my book, but I like the idea of doing something nice for him. It doesn’t need to be lavish. The suggestions below are all good.

    7. C Average*

      Something I do for my husband once a year that he really likes is I plan a trip of some kind for the two of us and do all the arranging. All he has to do is arrange the time off from work and show up. I pay for everything, I drive, etc. He’s usually the Logisticus Maximus of the family, so he really likes having someone else take care of the logistics for a change.

      If there’s a role your husband normally fills like this, is there a way you can reverse the roles for a change in a way that offers him a break?

    8. Gene*

      I mean, he doesn’t do things exactly the way I would do them but that’s ok – he’s doing his best.

      Part of your “thank you” to him will be never letting this creep even a little into any conversation. One of the things I see way too much withy the Type-A “I like things done the way I do them” types is “My way is the only way, any other way is wrong“. He’s not doing “his best”, he’s doing things the way he does them. Unless it’s something like bathing the baby using the Achilles’ mother method in the toilet bowl, just because it’s different than your way doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

      Yeah, there’s still a bit of pique from when my wife was completely out of commission for a while. :-)

  49. Aloe Vera*

    We put our beloved kitty down Friday, and I am overwhelmed with grief. Does anyone have any recommendations for mourning the loss of a pet? She was very much a part of our family, and my heart feels empty without her.

    1. nep*

      So sorry. Nothing like that pain. No tips per se…I’d just say live the grief. Don’t rush it away or look to minimise it. It’s real and tough — and you’ll get past it. Time.
      Big hugs for you.

    2. fposte*

      I’m so sorry; I know the kind of empty place that leaves. Have you had any kind of ritual at all? I think that’s a really good marker if you haven’t, and it’s an occasion that allows you to express your grief.

      And I think telling people can be helpful. With a pet you want to choose people who will understand, but there are plenty of them, and telling always seems to me to be a way of making visible a loss that otherwise can feel insignificant because it’s not seen.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      *hug* I’m so sorry.

      Give yourself permission to feel exactly how you feel. Don’t let anyone tell you “oh it’s just a cat.” Walk away from that person immediately, because they suck.

      Perhaps a way of memorializing the kitty would be a good thing. A compilation of pictures, or a little headstone if you’ve buried her at home?

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Cry. Each pet is such an individual. Their unique personalities can never be exactly replaced. An animal who was so loved, definitely did not live it’s life in vain. And there is a part of her that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

      My game plan has been: step 1 sit down and cry; step 2 go out and get a new pet. Understand that you just plain love animals. Love is not a water faucet that you turn on and off, it’s just a constant flow. When you feel you can, go get yourself another one to love.

      I had a dog growing up. I got her just before my 5th birthday and she died just before my 18th birthday- so she spanned most of my childhood. It made a huge impression on me. HUGE. Every dog I have gotten since has been because of my relationship with her. So each pup becomes a celebration of sorts of the previous dogs I have had.
      Do I have a favorite? Oh yes. Dog #3 was my favorite. I have dog #5 now. They have each been different. But each of them taught me something about dogs, myself, and about life. I would not trade any of that in for all the world.
      I am sorry for the loss of your kitty.

      1. C Average*

        This. Cry it out. If you have to bury your face in her cat bed and THEN cry it out, do it.

        And if you’re of the get-another-pet-right-away persuasion, don’t feel like this is in any way disloyal. Of course, if you want to wait, you should. But if you don’t want to wait, the world is full of wonderful cats who need homes.

        Also, take heart in knowing that you gave YOUR wonderful cat a loving home for many years.

    5. littlemoose*

      I am so sorry for your loss. I have been there and I know how wrenching it is. One thing that helped me, oddly, was something the emergency vet who had to put down my kitty told me at the time. She said, “Pets find us. This kitty found you when she needed you, and another cat will too.” She was right, because a couple weeks later I wound up taking in a hungry abandoned kitten whom my previous cat would not have tolerated. Not that I think you should get another kitty right away or anything – it just helped me to think about it that way.

      Wishing you all the best. I know it is rough.

    6. Dynamic Beige*

      Ugh. I just can’t even… there are days when I look at my kitty and it takes all my power to stop myself thinking that one day (mercifully many years from now) I’ll have to take her on that last trip. I didn’t have a pet for a very long time after I had to put down my old boy. Now I’ve got two and they’re a few years apart in age, so when sweet girl goes, it won’t be the same coming home to an empty house thing that I had last time but I know he’ll miss her too and it will just be awful.

      Grief is grief. You’ve lost someone you loved, who was important to you and you can’t just patch that over or pretend it didn’t exist. It’s not something you get over, it’s something you go through. I think (if you haven’t done it already) you should have a great big ugly cry today and just be kind to yourself so when the Working Week begins tomorrow, you’ll be sad but hopefully not as raw. Tell people what happened. Most have gone through what you’re going through and will understand, only the ones who have never had a pet won’t get it. Every day will get a little better, there will be ones you pretty much forget, then others where you can’t. But one day it won’t be as bad and eventually you will be adjusted to the new normal — you’ll remember all the good times and it won’t be as painful.

    7. GOG11*

      I don’t have any tips to add unfortunately (though there are some good ones here, I think), but I wanted to say that I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine losing one of my kitties and I’m sorry that you’re going through that process right now. They are very much a part of the family.

    8. Windchime*

      I think it just takes time. There is no way to get around that it will take time to get used to being without her. I had to put my 19 year old boy down almost three years ago, and I was just so sad to be without him. The first few weeks were the worst; I kept thinking I saw him out of the corner of my eye and would expect him to come and greet me when I got home.

      Eventually, after about 3 or 4 months, a kitten came into my life. I adopted him, even though I still missed the old boy. But there was something healing about having such a bright, funny little kitten coming into my life. I still think of the old guy fondly, but now I love New Kitty also. I’ve come to accept that I’m just the kind of person who has to have a cat. They are all different and I love them in different ways.

      Take care. Time will help to soften the grief. I’m sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is.

    9. Anonymous Educator*

      So sorry! Our first cat together (whom we had for over 12 years) passed away over two years ago, and spouse and I are still mourning him, even after we’ve adopted two new cats. I can’t say there was a magic cure for our grief, but we looked at old photos and videos of him, cried over him, showed old photos and videos of him to other people (sorry, friends of ours!), and really just tried to honor his memory as much as possible.

    10. Rebecca*

      Nothing to add, but you have my condolences. Just went through this at the end of January with a cat I had for over 15 years. She was a part of my world in a big way, and all of a sudden there was no insulin shot schedule or her begging for canned food before her shot. All of our pets are gifts. We miss them, but deep down, know they’re not suffering any longer, and we do the best we can for them.

    11. Victoria, Please*

      One thought that has been comforting to me through several deaths both of pets and family members has been that… I know, this sounds rather cosmic… even stars die. And if you talk to an astrophysicist, they will tell you that we are literally all made of star-stuff, all the elements in the galaxy are because stars go super-nova and fling the elements into the galaxy and some of them became the Earth. Some stars die dramatically like that and some just fade away… so your lovely little one has simply done what all stars do. And we have a bonus here on this blue planet, in that the elements sometimes become something new. This is not the end of your friend, just the close of a chapter for her. Imagine where she might go next!