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)