weekend free-for-all – May 2-3, 2015

pile of catsThis 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: Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, by Ben Mezrich, about a group of M.I.T. students who spent two years gaming Vegas and making millions of dollars. It’s weirdly engrossing and will make you want to learn to count cards and become filthy rich.

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

{ 839 comments… read them below }

  1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

    Oddly, the movie that became of that book, despite starring Kevin Spacey, was like super sucky!

    1. fposte*

      Wasn’t that the one that made the kids pretty much all white, even though they hadn’t been? That’s not a good sign, if so.

      1. Alma*

        I took a course in college where half the class read the book first, then watched the movie – and the other half watched the movie, then read the book. Our discussions were a-maaaa-zing! The class was so helpful in written and spoken word communication, in drawing pictures with words. A lot more helpful than Calculus, and Calculus for Non-Majors (which I took after nose-diving in Calculus).

        The book is my measure of the movie. And yes, I almost always read the book first. It is not just how I imagine the characters and scenes, but what the screenplay leaves in, and leaves out.

        1. Wren*

          I like that approach for driving a class discussion!

          I saw the movie on a whim, without knowing anything about the background in advance I liked it.

          As far as movie adaptations of novels, The Silence of the Lambs is one of the best, in my opinion. I watched it within a week of reading the book, so even with it very fresh in my mind, I felt they covered pretty much everything I thought was important to include. A lot of book details were worked into the movie in a relatively subtle manner, almost such that they might not be noticed by people who hadn’t read the book.

  2. Jill of All Trades*

    I’ve gotten back into watching HGTV and DIYNetwork and I’m starting to itch to invest in real estate. But I’m also a risk averse personality, so I think I’ll need to channel it all into my own house.

    Has anyone here ever applied what they saw on a DIY show into their own home?

    1. Mason*

      Remember everything on TV is there for entertainment and isn’t realistically going to give you a good idea of what the numbers are or how you’re even supposed to get those numbers. There are tons of books available on the subject, but start with something free, like biggerpockets.com which has great forums for questions and answers.

    2. Revanche*

      No, but agree with Mason that lots in those shows don’t tell you the whole story. They edit a lot of important stuff out and it’s worth being leery of any shortcuts they may be taking that you don’t realize are shortcuts. I’d recommend you follow up with some YouTube and blog reading for the practical stuff, there is some great information out there!

      I started real estate investing this time last year and it’s a bit nerve wracking for a risk averse personality :) I only took the plunge because my good friend has experience with it and walked me through.

      1. Cripes!Jinkies!*

        Love It Or List It is pretty realistic.

        “We can’t give you the master suite of your dreams, because our entire budget went into re-wiring your house, fixing the foundation, and then we discovered that your entire second floor is resting on non-load bearing walls and could have caved in, so we had to fix that, too.”

          1. Stephanie*

            Yeah, there’s always a major setback (that ends up getting resolved anyway) that shows up about minute 9 of 22 of the episode.

    3. ExceptionToTheRule*

      Huge Nicole Curtis fan here & I’ve learned a lot by watching her and some of the other shows on those networks. I find DIY network more helpful and when I was helping a buddy remodel his bathroom and we needed to remove the toilet, I actually knew how. I think it gives me more confidence to try things.

    4. Be the Change*

      There’s a really wonderful blog (now closed but all the archives are there): www[dot]younghouselove[dot]com. Lots of step by step tutorials for all sorts of things. Plus crazy cute chihuahua and kid pics, the family is adorable.

      1. Anon369*

        Double check their advice too – they posted a lot of tutorials but several times they posted downright dangerous directions and didn’t really acknowledge it well. One was hiding a junction box behind the ceiling if I remember correctly.

      1. hermit crab*

        Me too! Someone I know had a relative on House Hunters International (and got to appear in one scene herself) and I basically cornered her and pumped her for all the details.

    5. Anna*

      I have never built anything, but I have been inspired and have done some of the decorating things from HGTV. I’ve made wall art from cool fabric, and painted bedside tables in an ombré pattern. I have been inspired by the more build-intensive projects. Thinking of taking one or two of them on this summer.

  3. TheLazyB*

    So the royal baby has been born and will soon get a name.

    I am entirely underwhelmed by this news, although (as someone who has massive anxiety round pregnancy and birth) massively relived that all is well. But there is so much excitement. Please can someone explain it to me?

    (I used to get excited when I was a kid, but… not for a long time. I am entirely neutral on the existence of the royal family. Weirdly so. I usually have Opinions on EVERYTHING!!)

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I don’t care about the royal family in particular, but I do care deeply about the Kardashian-West family, so I imagine it’s a similar sort of thing. :)

    2. Jillociraptor*

      I’m interested to hear the answers to this! I learned about the new royal baby from the Tumblr blog “Suri’s Burn Book,” so that might tell you a little bit about my level of investment. This happens to not particularly interest me, but I think for lots of things like this (when your local team is playing in a big game, election day for political junkies, big concerts, whatever), there’s something really fun and neat about the community and connection that comes from all caring about something together. That sense of communitas.

      I’m equally curious and baffled by the people who get just really angry that anyone would be interested (not you TheLazyB!) — those folks who comment, usually repeatedly, on news articles with “OMG WHO CARES.” It’s a weird level of commitment to not caring. I’m interested to hear from people who had that reaction too.

      1. TheLazyB*

        Haha I appreciate the disclaimer :) I don’t get it but I want to understand :)

    3. the gold digger*

      I am fascinated by the whole thing, first, because I cannot imagine living a life in the public eye like that, and second, because I cannot believe that we still have hereditary forms of government in the 21st century.

      1. Alma*

        There was a study a few years ago (in Great Britain, I think… I wish I could cite the source) that asked young people what they wanted to be when they grew up. Almost all of them said “famous.” Not “a movie star” or “the best hockey player” or “an award winning writer” – just “famous.”

        1. Blurgle*

          The royals are an enormous – and I mean *enormous* – tourist draw. I read once that the ROI for the entire Royal Family was something like 200 to 1 – for every pound spent on them the economy gains 200 pounds, mainly in tourist revenue. Imagine how much of that returns to the government as taxes.

          Also, when one of the Georges (III?) deeded all the then royal lands to the government, he stipulated that the deed would last only as long as one of his successors were on the throne. The annual income on that land is more than the UK spends on the royals. If the UK went republican, all that land would under the terms of the deed revert to whomever was sovereign at the time.

          The royal family is by massively far the best bargain the British government ever made.

          1. TalleySueNYC*

            I had the impression that, for as much as people -think- the country spends on the Royal Family, very little is spent -directly- on them; they actually pay almost all their own bills. The country’s expense comes from things like security for the crowds that come to see them, etc. Which, it could be argued, is a cost that the citizenry is responsible for creating.

      2. Cath in Canada*

        “I cannot believe that we still have hereditary forms of government in the 21st century.”

        So, looking forward to the Bush-Clinton election? ;-p

      3. Spring Subshine*

        The UK has a democratically elected government, not a hereditary one. There is a General Election in the UK this week.

        A number of countries in Europe have constitutional monarchies but that is different. They still have elected governments to run the country. Not sure where the idea comes from that the UK has inherited government. It hasn’t been that way for hundreds of years.

        1. fposte*

          The US doesn’t differentiate state and government, so the way many other countries divide them up is hard for us to get our brains around.

        2. Felicia*

          Canada works similarly in that we have the prime minister and various levels of elected government, but the queen is still technically our head of state. There are many Canadians who don’t even know that.

          1. Cath in Canada*

            As a dual citizen of the UK and Canada, I somehow manage to hold two contradictory opinions on the monarchy. As a Brit, I can see the pros in terms of tourism, tradition etc, as well as the cons, and end up on the pro side of ambivalence. As a Canadian, I’m strongly opposed. I don’t think the Queen should be the Canadian head of state, and I have full sympathy with the republicanism movements here and around the Commonwealth. I think the Commonwealth is a wonderful thing, and that those links should be preserved, but that it’s time to modernize the systems of individual members.

            Dual citizenship gets complicated sometimes. See also: last year’s women’s rugby world cup final. I ended up cheering for England against Canada, but I felt bad about it…

            1. Anna*

              I think I can understand this. Whether people like it or not, Canada is part of North America and has more similarities culturally to the US than folk are comfortable admitting. Canada functions as an independent country, so it’s possible the thinking goes why not make it official?

    4. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

      I think they’re an attractive young couple and they seem to truly care for each other; they try to do some good in the world despite their bizarre public lives; everyone wants Diana’s legacy to be a happy one; and have you read the news lately? It’s pretty awful. I’m not obsessed or even fascinated, but I enjoy seeing the cute baby and her parents, who seem pretty good-natured about the intense scrutiny. Also, I think that Kate does a pretty good job of being publicly pregnant without the celebrity “baby bump” exploitation.

      1. Al Lo*

        All of this, plus, for me: Prince William and I are the same age, so I grew up kind of seeing him as, like, a classmate — someone I knew peripherally (even though I don’t), and always kind of liked, and thought was cute, and just generally wanted to see good things happen to. As an adult, those feelings have carried forward — I have a strange sense of goodwill toward him, more than just about any other celebrity. I just want life to treat him kindly and for him to be happy and have a great family and be content and fulfilled in his personal life. It’s not even a celebrity crush; just the feeling of an old friend. If that makes any sense.

        1. TheLazyB*

          That I can relate to too. I was so heartbroken for him and Harry when their mum died. I do want them to be happy :)

        2. Artemesia*

          I knew Blythe Danner briefly as a teenager and I have the exact feeling you describe about her life. I knew her as a kid of 17 who wanted to be a Broadway star and was working on it — and so I have always smiled to see her successes. It just gives me a warm feeling when she is nominated for a Tony or has a hit role. The feeling even extended to Gwyneth who is about the age of my eldest child — but I will admit she has managed to sour some of that general good will. (not that this impacts HER life at all, LOL) It is actually a lovely feeling to wish someone like this well in the world.

          1. fposte*

            Oh, she’s been one of my favorite actresses for a long time. I’m afraid to me Gwyneth is just Blythe’s daughter.

        3. Ann Furthermore*

          I saw an interview with him and Kate Middleton once, perhaps right before the wedding. The interviewer asked him about the rumors that he’d just been stringing her along for years, that he couldn’t commit, etc since they’d been together for so long. He said he intentionally waited that long so she could really understand what it would be like to be his wife, to have every move documented by the press, and to be constantly scrutinized. He said he didn’t really have a choice, but she did, and he wanted her to make up her own mind and be sure she knew what she’d be in for if they got married.

          I really thought that showed how much he cares for her. He wanted to be with her, but would have understood if she couldn’t handle being in the public eye. I never had an opinion about him one way or the other, but after that I thought he seemed like a good guy.

        4. kd*

          Agree also. And that is my attachment also – it’s fun, not depressing. I am /was Diana’s age. I watched with awe when she married at age 18, amazed with someone my age living that life. I was never a groupie, but watched over the years as things played out. And I cried the night she died.
          It is very good to see these two in such a better place.

    5. EvilQueenRegina*

      People expect me to be excited about news about them since W and K were the year below me at university. The overkill around them at the time is exactly what leaves me underwhelmed to this day.

      1. Artemesia*

        Imagine trying to date and find a life partner under that kind of scrutiny. I am not particularly interested in them, but have a lot of empathy for their situation.

    6. Carrie in Scotland*

      I don’t really care either – a forum I’m on had a thread about guesses for boy/girl and possible names…I’m just not that into it but I’m glad that all is well.
      I do like Kate’s outfits, though. She (or whoever decides these things) has fairly good taste for dresses.

    7. Student*

      Well, the kid may one day rule the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, so I suppose that’s why the locals care a great deal, and anyone who is very interested in the English might care. With Queen Elizabeth getting to be quite old, I think a lot of people who follow that area are very conscious that change is coming soon, and the kid is a symbol of that change.

      The Commonwealth itself covers 53 countries in various ways. The Queen is still the sovereign head of Australia and Canada, for example, not just the UK. That’s a lot of power. Sure, the royal family is mostly symbolic right now. Will it always be thus?

      1. TheLazyB*

        I am British! Heh. Having said that, I am very unlikely to see further than King William. He’s a decade younger than me :)

    8. Andraste*

      I’m not super invested in it, but I’m happy for them and glad the new baby is healthy. It’s nice to have a news story that we can celebrate rather than be sad about. Also I thought it was so wonderful that they had the news of the baby’s birth read out by a crier! Delightful how some traditions are still being carried forward after all these years. Who cares if it’s not all that practical anymore–sometimes a little pageantry is fun. :)

      1. Artemesia*

        I think the ‘Crier’ guy is actually just some local weirdo that likes to play dressup and play ‘town crier’ — he is not officially dispatched by the crown. This came out when US TV was all aflutter about him when George was born and it turned out he was just ‘some guy who likes to make a spectacle of himself.’

    9. Still-secret pregnant lady (i.e. anon for this)*

      When I saw that some Royal Navy officers spelled out “SISTER” in formation on an aircraft carrier I started weeping. I’m 6 weeks pregnant with my second, and I was pregnant with my first at the same time as Kate was with George. I am elated for them. I can’t explain the general excitement about Royals, but I can’t explain celebrity culture in the US either, at least not in words. They seem like the most normal Royals in awhile, which is I think why people are rooting for them.

    10. Short and Stout*

      When Prince George was born, Private Eye magazine had one of their best ever coverlines: “Woman Has Baby”. Classic.

    11. Cristina in England*

      I never cared much about them as a kid in the US, even though I’m around their same age. Since I moved to the UK, though, I’ve developed the kind of affection only an outsider can have. I don’t see them as rulers, just a curiosity from another time. I’m super excited that they seem to be trying really hard to be normal, hands-on, caring parents, because who wouldn’t want to see that?

    12. Stephanie*

      It’s a nonstarter for me as well. I find the people complaining like “Didn’t we fight a revolution to get away from these people?!” just as annoying as the people gushing over the baby.

      My understanding is that they’re the British’s version of the Kardashians: just an entertaining tabloid family. (Although I do wish the Kardashians would go away or at least acquire some sort of talents.)

        1. fposte*

          I’m not sure about that. Have a look for Prince Philip gaffes, for instance.

        2. SnowWhite*

          And contribute a lot more for the economy/country than the Kardashians too … ;)

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        There isn’t any substance to the Kardashians though.

        This is a Royal Family we’re talking about – in totally different category.

        ‘Our’ Kardashian family would be more Jordan aka Katie Price, a ‘glamour model’ who has had several children and quite a few husbands and who is never far from a tabloid paper/trashy magazine.

      2. Ann Furthermore*

        The Kardashians wish they were the US’s version of the royal family. I would say that the Kennedys are the closest equivalent to a royal family that we have in the US.

        I despise the Kardashians. Loathe them with the fire of a thousand suns. They are famous only because Kim made a sex tape and then released it. Classy. Ugh. They’re all disgusting.

        Related to my hatred of the Kardashians is my distaste for the while Bruce Jenner interview. The only reason Diane Sawyer interviewed him is because of his connection to the world’s most repugnant family. I have no problem with his decision to transition. It’s clearly something he’s been wanting to do for many years, and I wish him the best and I hope everything goes well. But it just feels like the whole thing was orchestrated so they could all sit around on a future episode of their show, congratulating themselves for being so loving, accepting, and supportive. It’s gross.

    13. Clever Name*

      I kept seeing photos of her pregnant. And photos of her with a baby. And then she’s pregnant again. And I was confused, because I was thinking, “didn’t they just have a baby?” Obviously I haven’t tracked the time span between the pregnancies. I acmually thought she had the baby a few weeks ago when I’d see photos of her with a baby, not realizing it was of her first.

      I’m mildly interested in the royal family, but I really don’t care about celebrities. Or sports. Or prime time TV. I’m a great conversationalist.

    14. anonymous daisy*

      I’m mildly interested. I like the occasional photo and short paragraph of happy news events to balance out the bad. Kate seems nice and I like her outfits. I don’t need to know what she eats or anything but I did love the photo of daddy, mummy, and princess. I hope to see a new one every so often now, perhaps two or three a year.

    15. Elizabeth West*

      I’m not a royal watcher, but I have to say that Prince George is one of the cutest babies I think I’ve seen in a long time. Those little cheeks! I have a fantasy where I get to hold him and kiss his little cheek. Now I shall have to extend it. :)

      I’m kind of glad the baby was born while I’m still here (though I was beginning to wonder). This morning, the news sites said Kate had gone into hospital; however, I spent most of the day outside in Portobello Market and didn’t find out about the princess until I was at Fortnum and Mason replenishing my Earl Grey. The candy counter clerks told me. They were rather excited, about it, but the two teenage girls I overheard on the tube could not have cared less.

      I used to imagine that I could have tea with Princess Diana. She always impressed me, faults and all, mostly because of her charity work and because she tried to give her children some perspective on life outside their celebrity status. It makes me a bit sad that she’s not here to enjoy this day.

    16. Cass*

      I know sometimes people are quick to say “why do we even care? (In the US.)” but I say any news cycle that is dominated by a healthy baby being born is one I’m grateful for. I like it!

    17. Marmoset*

      I care! I’m Canadian but I lived in the US growing up. I like the idea of having a princess! It just make me happy. Princess!

      Also she’s Princess Diana’s granddaughter. I wonder whether she will get some space from the paparazzi because of that legacy, and whether that might help change the tide about super-invasive celebrity stalking in general.

      I also like hearing about Will and Kate because they just seem really normal and chill. Nice to hear about celebrities just being everyday people rather than like… Uberdramatic sex gods or whatever.

      Those are my thoughts anyway!

      1. UK HR bod*

        I was disappointed that the first was male. Simply because the law had been changed to make the order of inheritance based on birth rather than gender, so a female first would have been a future queen. As it is, the girl won’t be bumped (as Anne was) by any younger brothers, but I still would have liked to see a queen inheriting in her own right, not because there weren’t any boys.

    18. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      So much American celebrity is trashy and self absorbed. I admired Diana, and her works, so much and I’d like to see her children do well.

      I didn’t watch the latest royal wedding, but was part of the planet that stopped to watch Diana and Charles. She was so compelling and turned into such a wonderful woman.

    19. Cupcake*

      I’m American, and a bit of an anglophile, though I prefer British history to royal-watching. The current royal family still represents what is good about England to me… tradition, history, culture and a wicked sense of humor (looking at you, Harry.) They tether us to our roots and are, I believe, a big part of what makes England special. So, yes, I do enjoy a bit of news here and there about what the Royal Family is doing, especially when they break the mold and engage in positive but characteristically un-royal pursuits, such as Harry’s recent trip to Antarctica w/ wounded soldiers. Besides, that little guy (Prince George) has to be one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen, and has cheeks that are just begging to be “raspberried”!

  4. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I mentioned this a while ago, but we’re now at the point where we really want to make plans. Anyone familiar with the Bay of Fundy… here’s what we’re thinking of doing: fly into Halifax, stay there for about two days, drive to Digby and stay there for a few days. We would take the ferry to Saint John one day and explore Digby and the bay on the other days (maybe some whale watching, but I don’t know how much of that we could do in August), then drive back to Halifax and leave from there. Does that sound reasonable/do-able? Any recommendations for either city?

    1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      It sounds very doable! The only thing is that I don’t know how much there is to do in Digby–not much, I’m venturing–and the ferry is a little on the expensive side. But it’s a beautiful trip across the bay, and Saint John is a nice little town probably worth a couple of days to explore. If you’ll be driving at all, there are some really gorgeous nature areas in both the south of NS and NB alike (if you rent a car, you can drive down from Saint John to St Andrew, a really pretty resort town, visit Campobello Island, FDR’s private retreat, and some of the other islands) and in NS you’ll be close enough to visit Kejumkujik,

      You can absolutely do whale watching in August, too! Actually in St Andrew’s you can do whale watching off tall ships, as well, which is very cool.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Thank you! That’s something to keep in mind too, exploring NB. We will have a car (I finally conceded that we’d need one if we want to leave Halifax), and the bf is a big history buff– I completely forgot that Campobello is in New Brunswick! So maybe we’ll stay in Digby one night and Saint John the next…

        I nearly screamed when I saw the price of the ferry, but then I remembered that I haven’t had a real vacation in a very long time and I love boats, so it’s probably worth it. :)

    2. Alicia*

      That does sound reasonable, but I admit I also don’t know how much you’d have to do in Digby… Perhaps it’s changed since I’ve last been there. I’ve gone whale watching both out of Halifax, and Brier Island (past Digby on a little strip of land). I feel like I saw more whales in Halifax, oddly enough.

      On the drive down to Digby, you’ll go through The Valley (Annapolis), which has beautiful scenery, a couple decent vineyards, and also Annapolis Royal. I believe I remember you or your partner being veggie or vegan. If he did seafood, I’d totally recommend Halls Harbour. Great lobster and seafood place right on the Bay of Fundy (a bit in the sticks – basically get to Kentville and veer right until you hit the Bay of Fundy), and you can watch the tide change if you time it right.

      I have loads of recs for Halifax, and a few for the drive down, if you’re interested.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Good memory! My bf is the vegetarian, but he is perfectly willing to watch me eat giant plates of meat and seafood.

        I figured we would base ourselves in Digby and venture out from there; we’ll rent a car when we get to Halifax. Thank you for the info about things on the drive– that’s exactly what I’m hoping for, a lovely drive with places to stop.

        1. Alicia*

          If you’re interested in wineries, I prefer Benjamin Bridge. They have an amazing brut, and Nova 7 is one of thos super popular local wines that quickly sells out around here.

          Alternatively, Luckett’s is very popular. The guy who started it is a local business man in Halifax from the UK, and there is a red telephone booth in the middle of the vineyard where you can call anyone in the world for free. It’s a title cheesy, but popular with tourists.

          Fort Anne in Annapolis would be great for the historian buff – one of the most fought over forts, changing hands between English and French many times. Great place to walk around too.

          When you’re in Halifax, check out The Wooden Monkey for dinner. There is one downtown, and one across the harbor (just) in Dartmouth. Great locally sourced food that is veggie, gluten free, dairy free, etc. it might be fun to take the ferry across for dinner just to be out on the water. And since it is public transportation it’s the cheapest way to get out on the Harbour :) I’ve also heard great things about enVie (vegan), but I haven’t personally been there.

          The Halifax Citadel is great to walk around. Very interesting layout. I actually almost had my wedding reception in one if the rooms there, but it was too small so it was nixed :)

          I’m sure I’ll think of more. My parents take “stay-cations” in the Valley every year so I’m sure I can pick their brain for a few more gems.

    3. Cath in Canada*

      We did a Halifax-Peggy’s Cove-Yarmouth-Digby-Wolfville-Halifax loop a few years ago. It was great – we loved it, and we had lobster for dinner five times in six days!

      TBH, Digby was my least favourite stop, although part of that was due to the horrible weather. Peggy’s Cove was my favourite – it looks like the whole village was purpose-built just to sell postcards.

      We went kayaking from a place between Yarmouth and Digby, and it was amazing. The rental place insisted that we hire a guide, despite our experience kayaking the BC coast, because the tides can be so crazy. However, it turned out to be a beautiful calm day, and the ocean was as flat as a mill-pond. The guide said “it’s never like this! Ever!”, and refunded half his fee! We saw a school of porpoises just a few metres away. It was amazing.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        LOBSTER. YES. I grew up in Maryland and really miss fresh seafood; we’re landlocked here. My boyfriend will be eating a lot of potatoes on this trip…

    4. Treena Kravm*

      That sounds great! My husband and I are going to eastern Canada in August as well! You really have to book accommodations right now (at least I’ve read that so many times) but it’s tough unless you’ve decided what you want to do. The initial plan of the days/nights in each place that I had in my head before researching what we wanted to do were drastically different than what we ended up with. So if you’re not sure, I would get a better idea of what you want to do in each place. It sounds like all the ideas you’re getting here should help!

      We decided on doing 2 days/3 nights in Saint John, 2 days/2 nights in Prince Edward Island, and 2.5 days/2 nights in Halifax (one of those days we’ll probably do wine tasting out of the city) and then flying out of Halifax.

    5. Marmoset*

      Frederictonian here – if you end up not loving Saint John, Saint Andrews is a gorgeous coastal town to visit, and close by. The Kingsbrae Gardens alone are worth the trip. Personally I’d pick Saint Andrews over Saint John any day, but I guess it depends what you’re looking for! (Skip the aquarium, though.)

      1. Marmoset*

        BTW I saw you mentioned history earlier – if you should end up in Fredericton for any reason, the second floor of the city hall has an exhibit of tapestries detailing the history of the city/province, and guides to tell you about them. It’s neat!

  5. Elkay*

    I picked up last week’s book recommendation as it was only 99p on Kindle yesterday, I told my husband and his response was “How did you have time to buy a book, I only went for a shower!”, the wonders of Amazon :) I almost missed an appointment this week because I was killing time in a bookshop, despite not having actually finished a book this year :( I’ve changed jobs and lost my lunchtime reading spot.

    1. Sparkly Librarian*

      Since I began tracking my reading in 2012, I’ve realized how much external circumstances affect how much I’m able to read. The summer after I graduated was full of light and fluffy genre fiction! In the two weeks since I began my new library job, though, I’ve found lots of titles I WANT to read… and no time in which to read them. Right now I’m racing out a Kindle borrowing period to finish up And the Mountains Echoed. After that, I have a list in order of how much time I have left before they need to be returned.

  6. salad fingers*

    Recovering from the appendectomy really quickly and without any hiccups. Thanks for the well wishes a couple of weeks ago.

    Does anyone want to share weird anesthesiology stories? This was the second time I went under, and the second time I woke up sobbing. This time, when the anesthesiology nurse asked why I was crying, I quite apparently sobbed one step louder and said, “g-g-gentrification” (?). Then I tried to get up to hug the nurse (not allowed after abdominal surgery), demanded that I be able to keep, or at least see my appendix, continued to cry when I was told that wasn’t possible and explained that I had planned to hang it on the wall (?). I also asked whether they took any fat out while they down there, at this point mostly recovered from the crying and starting to get a grip.

    Anyone? Anesthesia is super weird.

    1. Elkay*

      Anaesthesia and I do not get along. I’ve only gone under once but when I came around I just kept telling the nurse it hurt and she asked if I thought it wouldn’t hurt and I said no (because people swore blind that morphine was great and I’d feel all floaty), I also remember wanting to tell her that I really liked her top because it had teddy bears on it but I didn’t, also never saw her face! Then I threw up a lot when I got back to the ward.

      Local anaesthetic for dental stuff just makes me feel like crap so I went without last time.

      1. salad fingers*

        You know, there is not enough warning about the effects of anesthesia, I think. The crying, the nausea, the disruption to your digestive system. I really liked the nurses and doctors at the hospital I was at but they weren’t very informative about those things.

    2. TheLazyB*

      I am sure I’ve read a long, fascinating comment thread on here about people responding like that to anaesthesia. You are not alone.

      1. salad fingers*

        Oooh, cool. If anyone remembers where it is, I’d love to read through it.

    3. Artemesia*

      I have rarely had anesthesia but remember vividly when I was 4 years old, almost 5, and had my tonsils out and had ether — I remember the swirling black and white vortex that pulled me down.

      1. Mimmy*

        I think I remember having that when I got laughing gas for dental surgery as a child. So. Trippy.

      2. Elder Dog*

        I had the same vortex when I had my tonsils out. I was older though – 10, maybe?

    4. TheLazyB*

      Also? I just read the rest of your post and am cracking up about your being devastated that you couldn’t keep your appendix. I am imagining it painted gold in a display case, labeled.

    5. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      Oh my gosh, not me, but my husband went totally under to have his wisdom teeth out and it was a trip. While I was sitting with him in recovery he kept challenging me to an arm wrestle, assured me he was totally OK to drive home (while nodding off mid-sentence), had a case of the hiccups and after every hiccup looked to me in fear and asked “Why can’t I stop hiccuping?”, on the way out we bumped into a guy in the elevator and my husband asked “He probably couldn’t tell anything was wrong with me, right?” (sure, honey, your face is swollen twice its size and you have bloody gauze in your mouth), and then he became extremely concerned that I would get lost when I ran into the store to get him a drink.

      He was fine after a couple hours but it was incredibly strange.

      1. salad fingers*

        I can’t really pick my favorite part of this but I’m 91% sure it’s the hiccups bit. Whole thing is amazing though, and I’m sure the fact that anything he said was muffled by grogginess and gauze made the whole thing unbearably funny.

      2. ThursdaysGeek*

        When I had my wisdom teeth out, after we got home I pulled down a calculus book and wanted to do calculus problems, to prove that I was all right, I would have been fine to drive, that I wasn’t loopy.

    6. fposte*

      The gentrification thing is hilarious. As far as I know, I’m uneventful waking up from anesthesia, but next time I want to be in the same room as you.

      1. salad fingers*

        The gentrification thing was definitely my favorite, because what? even?

        You are SO more than welcome to come hang out with me in the unlikely event that we both need surgery at the same place and time. Tickets not required, gurney-room only.

    7. the gold digger*

      I also asked whether they took any fat out

      I would totally ask that before surgery. “Hey, as long as you’re going to be there, would you take out the muffin top? And maybe just transfer it to the bosoms? If you have time, a little lift to the booty?”

      1. salad fingers*

        Still shaking my head I didn’t request an appendectotuck before we went in.

        Instead, because my sister is in the health care industry and was sitting with be pre-surgery, she said, “this is a pretty low impact procedure, so make sure it’s not a resident performing it when the doctor comes in.” So of course, seasoned 60 year old man in surgery scrubs comes in right after the morphine and pre-anesthesia sedatives set in to explain the procedure and I cut him off mid sentence and say, “I’m sorry, also, are you a real surgeon? My sister said to ask.”

        Much laughter ensued there. He’s a super well respected abdomen specialist, of course. Derp.

    8. Aunt Vixen*

      I had my sinuses fixed a couple of weeks ago, and I had an anesthesiologist who the nurses spent a lot of air assuring me was extremely proactive w/r/t nausea and other things to do with patients’ comfort levels. And sure enough, I barely had any queasiness at all. When I woke up I was very confused and quite biddable (Nurse: “Ms. Vixen, can you sit up?” Me, feeling quite dizzy and not wanting to sit up at all: “Okay.”), but not upset or crying. But I had read the earlier thread about everyone’s reactions and prepared Uncle Vixen for the possibility that I would be a mysteriously sobbing wreck. I think he was pleased that all he had to deal with was that I was just sort of agreeably stoned.

    9. Afiendishthingy*

      I can’t stop laughing about gentrification. Do you spend a lot of time think about it when not drugged?

      1. salad fingers*

        Actually, I kind of do! My sister, who was waiting for me when I came out, thought it was hilarious and surprising but not in a socks shocked off sort of way. I’ve lived in gentrifying neighborhoods for the 7 years that I’ve lived outside of my parents house, so I think about it consciously and subconsciously a lot of the time. Still, hadn’t been at the forefront of my mind during the last 24 hours of horrible appendicitis, lol.

    10. Cath in Canada*

      Oh, I feel bad for laughing, but that is hysterical!

      I’ve never had a general anaesthetic as an adult, but I had a few surgeries on a very badly broken arm when I was seven. I mostly remember feeling miserable, vomiting a couple of times, and being the thirstiest I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve heard that things have improved considerably since then!

      1. Alma*

        A friend’s husband came out of anesthesia claiming to be Michael Jackson – probably because of the propyphol thing. The recovery room staff got a real kick out of his questioning.

        1. salad fingers*

          This is amazing — was he a big fan? Did he know enough trivia to pass?

          I also got the sense anesthesia nurse Phil was enjoying talking me through the sobbing — they must have soooooo many fun stories.

          1. Alma*

            Nooooo. He is the most plain vanilla accountant looking type of guy – not sure he even liked the Jackson Five when we were younger. I just think his mind made a real fine-tuned association = Michael Jackson and the drug propyphol. He’ll never live it down.

        2. louise*

          Yes!! I came out of a really brief test I had to be out for and the first thing I said was, is this the same stuff they gave Michael Jackson? Because I feel GREAT! And the nurse said yes, but he was pretty sure they gave MJ a lot more of it. I left that procedure feeling perky and ravenous–ate two breakfasts at a restaurant after!

          When I then had the surgery a few weeks later, I was hoping I’d feel that good but alas, being under for longer left me miserable. So, so thirsty and felt like I weighed five times as much as I do. Two days later I couldn’t stop vomiting. But the feeling I had coming out of that short test–I’ve never woken up so energetic in my life!

          1. louise*

            Oh, and I wish I’d been delirious enough to claim to be MJ because that’s hilarious.

          2. Alma*

            Anesthesiologists don’t seem to advertise this, but a nurse told me long ago during pre-op that the Dr could put anti-nausea stuff into the anesthesia. I have always asked for it, and only once have I been nauseous. I think that was because I was NPO all day until 7:45 PM!! and no caffeine – and I shouldn’t have eaten.

      2. anonymous daisy*

        I had surgery at around 7 too. The doctor was trying to cheer me up by telling me that I was going to get a puppy when it was over. At that age, I was TERRIFIED of dogs. I started vomiting at once and tried to say no while woozy and heaving. I now have a terrible fear of surgery now but I have gotten over the dog fear (except for the small yippy ones with whom I am not comfortable with).

    11. StillHealing*

      I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been under. I’ve had so many needed surgeries and procedures and mixed issues with anesthesia. …the worst was waking up during two different surgeries. I was crying during one of them. Most other surgeries, I would shiver uncontrollably in the recovery room. Depression would hit me within a day or two of surgery and it would take me up to a year to feel like myself again. The funniest was the first, back in 1978 when I got my wisdom teeth out. I woke up singing. ..or trying to sing with my mouth stuffed full of cotton/gauze. My most recent surgery last year, I had no problems with the anesthesia. No problems with my last two colonoscopies/endoscopies. I think over time, anesthesia and those administering it to me have improved. I’ll be needing a Hysterectomy either sooner or later depending on the outcome of my biopsy this month. Really tired of having health issues, surgeries…..

    12. Mimmy*

      This thread has me laughing!! Not sure I understand the gentrification thing (yes, I looked it up).

      Can’t say I’ve had too many weird anesthesia experiences. My worst was when I was 17, I had somewhat extensive nose surgery, and the effects were awful. Uncontrolled shivering, anxiety that kept spiking my heart rate and, later, a LOT of vomiting. I was absolutely miserable for about a week afterwards.

      The other couple of times were uneventful, except being super-loopy after one surgery in 2004.

    13. Seal*

      When I had my wisdom teeth pulled in college some 25 years ago, I woke up sobbing. Once I got home I spent then next few days projectile vomiting from the anesthetic and pain pill. To this day codeine makes me nauseous.

      More recently, I had a few minor medical procedures that required twilight anesthesia, where you are mostly out of it but can still respond to questions and instruction. When I told the anesthesiologist about my wisdom teeth experience, he told me they don’t use that type of anesthetic anymore because of the very side effects I described. The twilight anesthesia was wonderful; no nausea or vomiting whatsoever, although I was a bit groggy for the rest of the day.

      On the other hand, I had a local anesthetic to have a cavity filled a few weeks ago. Not only was the injection site sore for days, I felt decidedly ill by the time I got back to work. Fortunately I’ve only had a few cavities in my entire life. Can’t imagine going through that again.

    14. Clever Name*

      Let’s see, I felt like throwing up when I woke up from my spinal fusion surgery. Barely remembered my time in ICU due to the morpheine.

      Woke up hours later in my parents bed after having my wisdom teeth removed. I dimly recall my mother bucking me into the car and then her shouting at me, “right foot! Right foot!” As she half carried me upstairs to bed. They probably shouldn’t have let me leave the office in that state..

    15. Elizabeth West*

      It does weird things to me as well. Usually, I’m told I talk in gibberish when coming out of it–I never remember this part at all.

      Speaking of which, I need to go to bed because it’s nearly 1 a.m. and family downstairs will soon begin yelling at the Pacquiao fight and I want to let my Unisom work before then! I’ll catch up on weekend free-for-all in the morning.

      I’ve missed you guys and I am so behind on AAM; argh!

      1. fposte*

        I’d forgotten about the shivering until people mentioned it here. I had it after the laparoscopy but I don’t remember getting it any other times.

    16. SaraV*

      I guess I’m slightly surprised of the number of people that went in to get their wisdom teeth removed were under general anesthesia. Mine was done under local, and it really didn’t hurt, even with two impacted ones. Granted, the shot they gave to me where my hard palate and soft palate meet just about put me through the roof.

      Now, here’s a strange effect. A former co-worker went in for shoulder surgery, and she came out of it with a severe nut allergy. Not like she had one, and it intensified. She had nothing, and then afterwards needed to carry an epi pen everywhere, couldn’t use public computers (cross contamination), and a lot of other things. Very strange.

      1. Jen RO*

        I know a lot of dentist-phobic people who wish they were in the States to get general or twilight anesthesia for tooth stuff. It’s never done here!

      2. Tau*

        I got mine done locally as well – I think general was an option, but an uncommon one and one my dentist warned me against. Not sure I would recommend… for me it was an extremely unpleasant procedure (not painful per se but the feeling of pressure as someone tried to lever my teeth out of my head was almost worse than pain) and I turned out to be so resistant to the local anaesthetic that they could only do one tooth at a time.

        Of course, the worst part came after: apparently my mouth contains some sort of standard-antibiotic-resistant superbacteria because I had infections which did not go away properly EVERY TIME. Except for the fourth, where I basically just stared the dentist in the eye and went “I am not doing this unless you give me the good antibiotics right now.”

      3. Samantha*

        I wish I had! I was given the option when I had all four removed but thought I’d be fine with “conscious sedation.” It was awful. In addition to the sedative, I was told to take a pain pill before, which apparently didn’t sit well with my stomach – I have a vague memory of vomiting shortly into the procedure. With some of the sedative out of my system, I was very much awake and aware for a good part of the procedure, which ended up lasting 3 hours – much longer than the dentist had originally thought. Toward the end I remember hearing all those awful tooth crunching sounds and just sobbing. Awful experience!

      4. Glor*

        I totally got my wisdom teeth out under general… the surgeon offered me the option of either. Being barely 14, I jumped at the chance to not see or feel anything. I woke up and he was like “yeah it’s really a good thing you were under… we had to cut through your jaw bone and then there was blood and infection in the way.”

        Gee, doc, thanks, I really wanted to hear that. *urp*

      5. fposte*

        They found this out while she was in recovery? Or was it just that she had her first reaction after going home?

        1. SaraV*

          Not quite sure. She had the surgery during the little over a year I was gone. (Worked there 3 years, gone for just over 1, back for another 3) She couldn’t eat anything made with an oil that wasn’t vegetable oil, either. Sunflower seed oil, which is used in microwave popcorn, would set her off. Hence the inability to use public keyboards/computers. If someone eating popcorn had used that keyboard…itchiness and swelling for her.

          She also developed an extreme sensitivity to smells. (Perfumes, lotion, etc)

          1. fposte*

            Wow. The public keyboard thing is interesting, because none of the super-allergic people I know seem to avoid those, and I’m not sure they’d be more allergen-rich than doorknobs. Sounds like she got really extreme, like that woman who had to drop out of college in California because classrooms really couldn’t be made safe for her.

    17. Ann Furthermore*

      I had a c-section when I had my daughter. After they delivered her and they were getting ready to close me back up, I asked if they could do some liposuction, as long as they were poking around down there anyway.

      When I had my wisdom teeth out, the oral surgeon told me to think about my “happy place” and put me under. I came to about halfway through the procedure, and the surgeon didn’t quite have his knee on my chest while yanking my teeth out, but just about. I remember thinking that it should have really hurt, and it didn’t, which was really cool. Then the surgeon looked up at me, saw that I’d woken up, and said, “Oh, hi there! Let’s send you back to your happy place for just a little while longer, OK?”

      I had gallstones in my 20’s, which resulted in having my gall bladder removed. I had to go see a gastrointestinal specialist, who was going to see if I have gallstones. He put me under, and then ran some kind of scope with a little camera through my nose and down my throat. Anyway, he was explaining how it worked, and he said I wouldn’t be completely out, but just in a “highly suggestive” state, because they would need me to roll over about halfway through the procedure. So I was wondering if that meant if they told me to bark like a dog, if I would do it. Then when I had my gallbladder out, the surgeon explained that they would be inflating my abdomen with carbon dioxide so they could have room to maneuver the laparoscope. Nice visual!

      1. Alston*

        Your dentist is hillarious.

        When I had my tonsils out/sinsus surgery I woke up feeling really nauseous and I had to pee. They wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom at first, and my mom was talking to me, and gleefully asked if I wanted to see my tonsils, and then tried to hold the jar with them in it in front of my face. I tried to hide because I knew if I saw them I’d throw up.

  7. Ruffingit*

    I’m taking the weekend off from life. It was a very rough week and I’ve been feeling so exhausted and overwhelmed for so long that I decided I need a couple of days to heal so to speak. My husband is wonderful, doing everything he can to make this a restful time for me.

    1. salad fingers*

      Good for you. Nothing worse than running on E for weeks and weeks without a break, full stop. Hope things are easier as a result.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Thank you! I’m already feeling better. I like your description of running on E for weeks and weeks. That sums it up very nicely. So ready to just lay around and recharge.

    2. Graciosa*

      I kind of guessed that it was a tough one from your comment at the end of Friday’s open thread – take care of yourself, and let him take care of you, and remember that you deserve the break.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Thanks so much. I really needed this break. It was so nice today to just relax, nap off and on, and veg out. The stress has become too much and a little self-care was definitely in order.

        1. TheLazyB*

          After reading this I went back to bed for a while this afternoon. Slept while my DS and his friend ran rampage, my DH was in charge.

          It was awesome. I really needed it and I never would have done it if you hadn’t posted here about it. So, thank you! :)

          Glad you’re feeling a bit better.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Good for you!! I’m glad I could be a part in your getting some rest. It helped me enormously to be able to just relax and veg out as needed this weekend.

    3. Carrie in Scotland*

      Sounds like a fabulous idea – I hope it recharges your batteries, so to speak.

    4. QualityControlFreak*

      Having a partner who cares for you like that is awesome. I have one like that too. Life can be overwhelming at times and sometimes we really need to do what feeds us (in an emotional or spiritual way) to be able to recharge, cope with our stressors and continue to put one foot in front of the other.

      1. Ruffingit*

        There is no substitute for partners like that! I am amazed every day that someone like my husband even exists. He’s just such a good man, I couldn’t ask for anything more or better.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Thank you so much! I am feeling better. On tap tonight is a hot bubble bath and a good book. So that will help too.

  8. Ruffingit*

    My sweet puppy decided to chew several pages out of the library book I recently checked out. I guess she was interested in the book too :) Anyway, I went to the library and asked what to do about it. They said I could purchase the book myself if I wished as long as it had the same ISBN number. It’s a hardcover so I figured I was going to be out a good $25 or so. I got on half.com, purchased the book BRAND NEW for $1.09 and with shipping, paid only $5 and some change for it. WOO!!!

    1. Liane*

      Great news! I wish our library system* offered that option. I lost a paperback that wasn’t bound special, only that stick-on coating like clear contact paper. I had to pay almost $20. Fortunately I found the book a month or 2 later & they had me a check in a week or 2.

      *they are wonderful, for the record.

      1. Ruffingit*

        We’ve had her since October. She’s a pit bull and just the sweetest, most precious thing. We actually found her wandering around our apartment complex. She was 5 pounds, had torn up fur and someone tried to dock her tail so it was broken. She had a pus pocket on her belly and was just in bad shape. My husband found her while walking our other dog, I was at work. I came home and just knew we had to keep her. That was a Sunday, we got her into the vet on Tuesday, she had fecal worms and the vet doesn’t think she would have made it much longer out in the world on her own.

        She’s now 9 months old, a solid 45 pounds, happy and healthy as can be :) And apparently has a love of literature :)

        1. Revanche*

          I’m so glad she found you! Stray puppy stories like this always make me tear up imagining how scared they must be. Pit bull bebes are my favorites, they are just the cutest and sweetest when rescued.

          1. Ruffingit*

            She was very scared, bless her little pittie heart! When my husband first saw her, she ran away from him into the laundry room of the apartment and she just cowered when he came near. He picked her up, took her home, gave her a bath, and some food and water. He said she drank water like she hadn’t ever had it. She just drank and drank and drank. After she ate, she took a long nap on the bed. She was just so tired poor baby.

            Now, she’s comfortable and happy with us, but she does get scared of strangers sometimes. She also will not, under any circumstances, go into the apartment laundry room. She will be happily walking on her leash, wagging her little tail, happy as can be, and if you try to take her into the laundry room, she pulls back like you’re trying to feed her to a lion. It just scares her so much.

            We believe she was truly meant to be ours. Our other dog gets along well with her and she is just so happy and sweet and playful with us. We adore her! She’s our little blessing :)

            1. Not So NewReader*

              This is so cool, I love stories like this.

              I bet she won’t go to the laundry room, she thinks you are going to put her back where you found her and she will have none of that! She knows which side her bread is buttered on. Precious, really special.

    2. DeadQuoteOlympics*

      Many high-quality books are bound with rabbit skin glue — and dogs can smell it. Chewed library books are more common than you would think! After years spent as an Access Services librarian, I will say that dog owners almost always came in, very apologetic and horrified, and offered to pay right away. Those who damage their their library books by dropping them in the bathtub/puddles, however, throw them in the book drop and then deny that they were responsible for the damage.

      1. Ruffingit*

        I was definitely very apologetic and did indeed offer to pay right away or do whatever was best for the library. Libraries have been like friends to me ever since I learned to read and I have a great respect for them. Shame that not everyone does.

    3. E*

      Glad your library is so nice. I once had a kids’ book go missing and bought a brand new copy to replace it. My library told me that that wasn’t done, that I had to pay twice as much so they could order the replacement through their “discount” sources. I pushed back and they finally accepted the replacement. Of course we found the lost book a few weeks later, after having already torn the house apart multiple times. I just stuck it in the drop box and went on my way.

  9. BRR*

    Is there a way of fixing a cracked mirror?

    This week I ended up dropping something heavy that was on the top shelf of the coat closet. Said closet has mirrored accordion doors and in the process of everything falling, one part cracked. It’s relatively small but noticeable. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It seems like some people recommend the same tool used for car windshield cracks. I might just end up trying that and if not replace the mirror (which I have no idea where to find someone to do that).

    1. Artemesia*

      Google is your friend. If you search for mirror repair and don’t find half a dozen videos showing you just how, it can’t be done. I sideswiped my car and remember thinking ‘There goes $800’ and was able to get instructions on line that allowed me with a $15 claybar kit and a couple of hours of muscle to have the car looking like new.

      1. BRR*

        There are some terrible solutions (I wish we could post pictures easily). The only one that I think will work is getting a glass repair kit. I figure the mirror is already broken, what could happen?

  10. Creighton*

    Any other Ylvis fans here? I mean beyond the “Fox” song. Someone recently introduced me to their other stuff on YouTube, and I think they are so clever and funny! Their talk show in Norway is just brilliant (lot of subtitled clips online), and their other music videos like Stonehenge and Intolerant are amazing. They used to have a show where every episode they would visit and interview an interesting person in Norway- these are so funny to watch. Such talented (and cute) guys!

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I really WANT to love them, but every video I’ve watched other than the Fox one had weird, aggressively homophobic stuff in it. Like, I was totally grooving, and then they say something that not only causes me to sort of jump, I have to turn the video off. It’s weird and unfortunate. :(

      1. Creighton*

        Really? I’ve never noticed that. In fact, they once interviewed a man who sold gay porn. When asked which of the 2 brothers he’d rather have sex with, he said Vegard. Vegard said he appreciated that and that he took it as a compliment.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          Eh, it’s not like malicious, it seems, it’s just tone-deaf. There might be some cross-culture issues too. “Massachusetts” is a good example, where the use of homoerotic stuff reads really “gay panic” to me (and some others, though I get that that might not be their intent, but that’s the reality). There was another video, I think, that has something similar.

  11. BRR*

    Second question. I know this is somewhat controversial but I’m wondering what experiences people have had with chiropractors? I’m considering going for a tune up mostly but also sciatica (I’ve done PT, do stretches, and trigger point therapy already for it) and an always achy upper back.

    1. Christy*

      I love my chiropractor. I’ve had bad or neutral chiropractors, who aren’t worth the copay, but good chiropractors are amazing.

    2. fposte*

      On the one hand, I think the theory of chiropractic is bogus, and that they should stay the hell away from moving people’s necks around.

      On the other, I think that really good body people turn up in various disciplines, and that the discipline tends to be a starting point of their studies and then they think for themselves. One of The Gait Guys, a fabulous Tumblr about movement, is an orthopedic chiropractor, and I went to him; he was absolutely brilliant and almost strengthened me enough to avoid surgery.

      If I have a third hand, I’d say you should see if you can find a McKenzie physical therapist for the sciatica. It’s different than regular physical therapy; it’s focused specifically on sciatica.

        1. ExceptionToTheRule*

          McKenzie therapy really works and it’s pretty easy to do. I’d never heard of it until last year. I’ve had more success with McKenzie and massage therapy for my sciatica than with a chiropractor, but when I damaged my back at a young age, the orthopedic surgeon sent me to a chiropractor because they “don’t operate on people your age.” So that & massage eventually fixed me up.

          1. fposte*

            I went to a McKenzie PT pre-surgery and things were just too far along to be helped; I’m going now, and while I’m doing a lot of regular-type PT the McKenzie slant is extremely helpful for adaptations. Stuff that caused real trouble to do with a regular PT is doable with the McKenzie modifications.

      1. Anna*

        The only chiropractor I’ve ever seen has never talked to me about anything like how it might help with diabetes or anything like that. I didn’t even really know it as considered woo until recently. I have a friend who doesn’t think there’s anything valuable about it. I’m undecided. I know it’s helped me feel less jacked up. My friend has posted about “doctors” doing adjustments on infants to treat things like colic and that horrifies me. All I can think is that the baby’s bones are not done fusing together and there’s no way anyone should be doing “adjustments” to infants.

    3. acmx*

      I go to one who does applied kinesiology. That’s actually all he does for me. Oh and he pushes on my butt while I’m on the breakaway table to straighten my hips.

      Have you tried foam rolling?

    4. Dynamic Beige*

      I saw one for about a year and he really straightened out my spine. I hadn’t known it was as bad as it was, he had this system where he takes a photo and the computer analyses your posture, shows how it’s off. He then had this weird system of reweighting the body but it worked.

      I knew someone who got sciatica from running and they said the only thing that worked for them was acupuncture. Essentially because it’s about the nerves (or this was their theory) chiropractic didn’t help them being about bones. I can see how if you have posture or gait problems, that might make sciatica worse, though, and acupuncture wouldn’t help that.

      Another thing you might want to try is Bowen Therapy. I slipped on the ice a few years ago and landed really hard on my back and I was all locked up. A friend suggested it to me and I was desperate enough to try anything — I couldn’t get a massage or chiropractic appointment for a few days. It was weird, I really can’t describe it, but by the next day it was like the accident had never happened. I’ve had some other unrelated issues and I’ve gone back to a couple of different people and it works for me.

    5. Meadowsweet*

      Love my chiropractor. I had a very bad fall a few years ago that left nothing broken but me not really walking and I credit her with a lot of my recovery.
      I would absolutely say get recommendations if you can and nope your way on out of any office you aren’t comfortable in for any reason. Whoever you pick has to be willing to treat _your_ body and issue, not a generic body, and leave off-limits the areas you don’t want dealt with. You should never leave sorer than you came in.

    6. LPBB*

      I was completely skeptical of chiropractors and still am skeptical of the spinal manipulation form of chiropracty. A friend talked me into going to see her guy, who practices Directional Non-Force Technique chiropracty and I am now a convert to that specific type. They make corrections with a series of gentle thumb impulses and taps. I don’t know how, but it works!

      I went there after throwing my back out and spending a miserable week on muscle relaxers and pain pills. When I went in, I couldn’t stand up straight and could barely move without pain; when I got off the table I was without pain and felt like I was standing up straight for the first time. The best part is that usually only takes one or two sessions, rather than the drawn out process other chiropractors make it. I highly recommend that form of chiropracty!

    7. Grey*

      I went a chiropractor for the same reason. He took an X-ray of my spine then used it to show my how it was misaligned. I couldn’t see what he meant.

      He also had me stand with each foot on two different scales. He tried to convince me that the small weight difference was due to the misalignment. I still wasn’t convinced.

      He then gave me a stack of literature on Subluxation (spine misalignment) that explained how it can cause everything from depression to cancer. He could cure this with spinal adjustments at $25 a week. I didn’t let him touch me and never went back.

    8. Cruciatus*

      I like my chiropractor, but what about seeing a D.O.? It’s what they are trained to do and they have the medical license to back it up, if that makes you feel better. Probably more expensive, but maybe you have great insurance. The D.O. I go to specializes in family and neuromusculoskeletal medicine. He’s awesome. He’s always able to fix me up. (But as I said, I have positive chiropractor experiences as well. But I work at a med school so it’s actually easier for me to see the D.O. down the hall on days they teach OMM to the students).

    9. Sandra Dee*

      i love my chiropractor. She specializes in sports injuries. Started seeing her while training for a half marathon, and was having crippling hip pain. She was able to get me through that half marathon. I have continued to see her, and as I up my training, I usually add additional appointments. Usually see her ever 6 weeks, but during training, I got every 3-4 weeks. It has improved my running form and has kept me running.

      1. AdjunctGal*

        I love my chiropractor. I enjoy the bone cracking, honestly, and I don’t know how I’d survive without it (probably in a lot of pain).

    10. Not So NewReader*

      I love my chiro, too. But be picky. There are a some out there that should not be practicing. Really, it’s no different than a medical doctor in that regard. I find that the best chiros have more than one thing going on. They work with supplements/homeopathic remedies or they do some acupuncture or other things. They know which modality will be the best for your setting. To pick out my latest chiro, I asked friends for recommendations and I ask them to explain why they liked the doctor. Just as I had hoped, one person’s explanation stood out from the other explanations and that was the doctor I chose.

      Last year my dog threw something out of alignment, poor guy, he could barely get from one room to the next room. He was five years old. A veterinary chiro came and worked miracles. Inside of an hour he was back to bouncing around. I had to tell him to be calm.

      Just my opinion but I think a good chiro should give you some relief on your first visit. And they should spend time talking to you about your past health and your current life activities. They should also explain to you what is wrong and how they will treat it before they start working on you.

    11. Gene*

      When coworker who died first started having symptoms in his leg, he went to his chiropractor. Saw him multiple times about them over about a month. Finally, he went to an actual doctor. He was in surgery two days later.

      Not saying he would have survived, but the chiro delayed actual treatment for at least a month.

      So long as you consider it expensive massage that’s covered by some insurance, you’ll be fine. If you go in and see brochures like “Chiropractic and Diabetes”, run. The “Dr.” is a quack.

  12. AnonToday*

    Let’s talk fanfic! Do any of you read or write? What fandom(s)? I’m usually just a reader BUT I am in the process of writing my first one, and it’s been really fun so far.

    1. Robyn*

      I read and write. This is me over at AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Tee2072

      Warning: Adult themes.

      I write Avengers: Mostly Clint/Phil

      I also have some Stargate SG-1 Jack/Daniel

      I read: Clint/Phil, Danny/Steve (H5-0), Dean/Castiel (SPN), Duke/Nathan (Haven) and Derek/Spencer (Criminal Minds)

      What are you writing?

    2. Hellanon*

      Fifteen years now (well, 40 if you count a # Musketeers fic co-written in 8th grade) and getting involved on the writing side is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s a blast, plus getting involved in the communities around fic writing (especially learning to beta read) has taught me amazing amounts about writing in general & in fact led to several jobs…. Are you on AO3?

    3. Ailsa Abu Dhabi*

      Alright, I’m not a reader or a writer or a fandom person at all really, but a couple of years back I wrote an alternative Harry Potter epilogue and stuck it up on my blog, and it ended up blowing up a bit, got like 7000 pageviews and Publishers Weekly wrote a blog post about it. I’m equal parts proud and embarrassed of this brush with internet fame.

      Here it is! https://theseabirdmonastery.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/twenty-three-years-later-i-try-and-write-a-better-harry-potter-epilogue/

    4. Liane*

      I don’t write fanfics, but I did beta-read & proofread a good friend’s Star Wars fanfics, centering around the adventures of a very gallant Jedi Knight.
      My friend hasn’t written any fanfics for several years. However, he does write official and “homebrew” (unofficial) game materials for RPGs including Star Wars. In fact he’s one of the contributing writers to the Gamer Nation blog where I copy edit & do some writing of my own.

    5. Shell*

      Oh yeah. Started in my teens, stopped during college, started again in 2012. I’ve written mostly MCU and a couple of really small fandoms that I’m not going to out here for fear of exposing myself (yes, they are that small) :)

    6. Tara*

      I… am not going to link to my account. But I’ve been reading since I was ten (I know, my parents should have defended me from the internet better!) starting with Inkheart, Tamora Pierce, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson… and leading into my current “read whichever fandom even if you’re not familiar with the source material” stance. I write whatever I’m into at the time, which is currently Dragon Age stuff. However, last night I started in on MCU after getting back from Age of Ultron.

    7. Gene*

      I read fanfic for a while, finally cut way back because SO MUCH of it is just poorly written gay porn. Very little actually extends on the themes and stories of what they are based on.

    8. Al Lo*

      I haven’t written anything in years, but about 8 years ago, I was writing a decent number of Gilmore Girls fics. I hadn’t revisited them for a long time, but a few months ago, I was rewatching the series, and went back to my old stories, which was a lot of fun.

      I really enjoyed the process of taking existing characters and teasing out their motivations and reactions to things. It drew on a lot of my acting training, actually, and I found that it was a fantastic way to keep my character study muscles in use.

      1. Al Lo*

        (The GG-specific sites I used to post on, which actually monitored for quality a bit, have gone away, and I’ve never moved my stuff off ff[dot]net, so that’s where it’s all archived now. I’m just glad that it still exists somewhere…)

    9. Elizabeth West*

      I don’t read it, but the bank robber book I wrote started out as a Batman fanfic. :) I just rewrote it. Though it was a great writing exercise to get me back into the novel form, I probably won’t ever do it again.

    10. Not my usual name!*

      Not connecting aliases here but yes! I’m mostly in Harry Potter, and I’m pretty popular in my ship, Draco/Hermione. Lots of kink, lots of adult situations. XD Some dark fics, please heed warnings and/or tags. This is me – http://archiveofourown.org/works?utf8=%E2%9C%93&commit=Sort+and+Filter&work_search%5Bsort_column%5D=hits&work_search%5Bother_tag_names%5D=&work_search%5Bquery%5D=&work_search%5Blanguage_id%5D=&work_search%5Bcomplete%5D=0&user_id=Musyc

      (Oh wow, that’s a long URL but yeah…. I prefer to link to my Greatest Hits.)

      The camaraderie and community of fandom is such a great thing for me. I’ve made some wonderful friends over the years, and the writing practice lets me explore so many things.

    11. Meadowsweet*

      Both :)
      I’ve written Supernatural & Sherlock and I read mostly Supernatural, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Marvel Universe…pretty much anything a couple of my friends write, and anything that grabs me otherwise. Prefer Gen, but willing to try anything if the story is good!
      I’m still really proud of my first fanfic – it wasn’t the best ever, but it was the first thing I’d written in a long, long time and it felt really good :)

  13. Ruth (UK)*

    Happy Mayday weekend!! My morris group danced the sun up at dawn yesterday for Mayday and we’re celebrating the bank holiday weekend in the proper fashion (dancing, tea, cake, beer and pub lunches). I don’t know if it’s a big thing in the USA but I have seen some online postings of a few non-English morris or other folk groups based in places like the US and also Australia. In the UK, we get a long weekend and places with regular office hours will be closed on Monday (and retail stores will often have reduced or Sunday hours) so woo for that!

    Anyone else celebrating in Britain or elsewhere?

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      Just enjoying having a long weekend off work!

      That’s quite cool about the morris dancing, how did you get into that?

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        I’m not sure, it just kind of happened to me when I was a teenager. I’ve been morris dancing and playing folk music for about 10 years now. I’m in 2 groups and dance several styles. I had played fiddle most my life and got into some more music playing as I got older. I think the main draw was that I love the music and the music makes we want to dance. I know a lot of great Scottish tunes btw!

        I love how we end up in such random situations and all the crazy traditions. Like dancing on a hill at 5am with no audience (except for other morris groups). We say if we don’t, the sun will not rise. Dancing in rain, snow, or lightning storms. I’ve danced in front of hundreds of people at festivals, and performed for one man and his dog. Once we danced in the rain for just a field of cows. They all faced us watching, and some moved closer.

        And I’m a little bit high on excitement this weekend… I also have the tune “Portsmouth” SO stuck in my head. The last time this happened it was “The Keel Row” and “Scotland The Brave” and I was humming them for months…

        1. Ruth (UK)*

          Ps. here is a guy on youtube playing the tune ‘Portsmouth’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MObzEwluNA

          Not that I’m overly emotional about this kind of stuff, but when one of the other groups danced to this tune as the sun started rising, a tear might have escaped. Could have been my hay-fever though…

    2. Ailsa Abu Dhabi*

      Nothing this year, but last year I was in Oxford and we did the full Oxon-specific May Day tradition – stay up all night, see the dawn choir sing from the tower at Magdalen College at 5(?)am, get breakfast and watch the folk dances and what have you through the town. It was one of the most surreal and unbelievably beautiful experiences of my life.

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        Staying up all night is a bit too hardcore for me. One year I actually did (not through choice) but I was working night shifts at the time in a fast food chain. I finished my shift, changed into my morris gear, danced the sun up, ate breakfast and went back to work that afternoon! For some really stupid reason I felt it sensible to THEN attend a dance practice (another group I was in). I sat down during practice and fell asleep! Luckily, one of the women there took me home.

        That year (2011) started my personal tradition of booking Mayday off using one of my annual leave days if it falls on a day where I would be working. Since I know when it is, I can do this months in advance.

        Oxford have a lot of interesting and specific traditions, including morris-related ones. I imagine it would be an awesome place to be for mayday.

        1. Short and Stout*

          Jack in the green! I miss being in Oxford on May morning.

          I’ve been listening to my favourite Maying songs: Ce Mois de Mai and Now is the Month of Maying.

    3. Jen RO*

      I don’t know if you’re familiar with the works of Robert Holdstock, but he was a British writer who included a lot of tradition/myth in his fantasy works… and your comments make me feel like I’m in one of his books. They are among my favorites, so thank you! So far I’ve only visited London, but maybe one day I’ll get to see other sides of Britain as well.

    4. Natalie*

      We have an annual Mayday parade here in Minneapolis, with Morris dancers actually. Also Mehica (Axtec) dance and drum corps and lots of hippy lefty stuff. It was great, sunny and warm. And now we’re waiting out a rainstorm in a brewpub.

      1. OriginalEmma*

        I wonder if that’s what I overheard this weekend? Too bad I missed it. :(

  14. Be the Change*

    Something so weird happened to me this week. I had been feeling just a little off, like about 98% capacity, and then on Wednesday I began to lose focus and get dizzy, turn hot and cold, feel wewk, breathless, very thirsty. I lay down and it continued and got much worse, to the point that my husband called 911. They took me to the ER where they did ekg, gave me fluids, etc. When I could walk theyet me go bome. I was not dehydrated, no low blood sugar, no heart, whatever…so they said nothing seriuos, see your primary care doc. Thursday I was okay but dead tired. Friday I went to work, managed about 80%, and today I am resting more. Anybody have a similar experience and care to do some armchair diagnosis? ;-)

    1. Ruffingit*

      Not sure, but this may be of some help: http://symptoms.webmd.com/

      I’ve had some of the same symptoms when I’ve been under stress for a long period of time. Extra sleep and lowering the stress as much as possible has helped. Just tossing that out there.

    2. Jillociraptor*

      That sounds a little bit like panic attacks I’ve had. Might it be that? I do have more typical panic attacks too, where I feel actual anxiety, but actually most of the time when I have them, it’s more like this–a kind of dissociation/loss of focus, and everything else seems to just stop working well, like breathing and temperature regulation.

      1. AdjunctGal*

        I get horrible anxiety attacks, with some sort of physical pain resulting. I hope you are feeling better now!

    3. really*

      Haven’t had anything like what you described but stress and/or anxiety can do weird things. I ended up at the hospital with heart attack symptoms. All due to extra stress I’d been under.

      1. Windchime*

        This happened to my mother. She thought she was having a heart attack and her symptoms were so severe that the EMT’s who came to the house thought the same thing. It wasn’t until she was in the hospital that they determined that extreme stress and anxiety were the cause of her symptoms.

    4. Be the Change*

      Hm, all sounds familiar. The weird thing is I don’t *think* I’ve been under stress. We just got back from vacation, fhs, and it’s not like I came back to anything extra busy or crazy.

    5. cali7*

      Veso Vegal syncope? Basically blood pressure or pulse drops and episodes can be rare and harmless and usually for me involves nausea and passing out or fearing it (learned to get down low the first two times I passed out so haven’t done that since) but maybe it would be something to ask your doctor about?

  15. Computer Guy Eli*

    Any gamers here? I’m seemingly at a loss for games I want to get. I’m really wanting to play some kind of building defense game, but I want it to be deep. I’ve been loving Orcs must die 2, Mount and Blade: Warband has pulled my attention back to it with the Native Expansion mod, and the only other game I’ve really been playing is Planetside 2. I’m at a loss for a really brain-crushingly strategic defense game.

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Well, Dungeon Defenders (and/or its sequel) were quite fun, but might not be deep enough for you. My boyfriend says that if you really want to crush your brain, the Paradox titles (Crusaders Kings 2) might be a good choice.

      Do you have any other examples of games you like? Geoff (the boyfriend) is baffled my the combination you’ve put on here, but he might have more ideas with more examples?

      1. Computer Guy Eli*

        Hahaha. I can understand the confusion! Basically I like strategy games that reward being a defensive player. Company of Heroes, for example had a great cover mechanic that allowed people like me to turtle. Supreme Commander 2, I love. Stronghold 2 let you build a giant, well, stronghold. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize that there’s very few games like I’m describing.

        I actually own Crusader Kings, and I should get back into it now that you mention it…

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          Geoff also recommends Defense Grid also! But that’s the only thing that comes to mind.

    2. Meadowsweet*

      well…not sure if it’s quite what you’re describing, but Dungeon Keeper is one of my perennial favourites (available on Good Old Games). You’re the dungeon keeper defending your dungeon from those awful heroes who keep trying to ‘save’ the ‘world’. It’s not one continuous game though – once one dungeon is properly saved you move to the next one.

      1. Student*

        I was thinking of exactly the same game. That was lots of fun. You basically prep your dungeon up for onslaughts of attackers.

        Minecraft can also be played as a defensive game. Especially if you play on the hard mode, or if you play with other (hostile) people. Normal mode probably won’t satisfy you after you’ve gotten the hang of it, but hard mode can be quite difficult.

    3. Student*

      There’s also a PVE zone in Guild Wars 2 that’s purely a “build up defenses” type of zone. It’s not super deep, but it requires teamwork to do well.

      The world-vs-world play is deep and highly rewarding for good defensive players. Build up siege and building defenses, defend your keep against real groups of players. The two opposing opposing groups cycle once per week, so you’ll run into different strategies over time from different player bases. It’s really satisfying to turn back 20 players single-handed will well-stocked siege and defenses you’ve carefully build up over the last hour, or delay 40 players while your team rallies to your defense. Make sure you pick a reasonable server, though, if you go this route- at the top of the ladder there are long queues, and at the bottom of the ladder there are long periods of no action.

  16. Ruffingit*

    BEST AND WORST! What was the best part of your week and what was the worst part?

    1. acmx*

      Best: weekend trip to Prague
      Worst: everyone had the same idea (it’s a 3day weekend, May Day, a marathon, and ice hockey championship). It’s so crowded.

    2. BRR*

      Best: I have a few: My husband found out he has an interview Monday. It’s his first in person interview for a full-time job with awesome pay and benefits. I’m also doing ok with my pre-PIP. I lost some weight and my blood pressure went from borderline high to normal.

      Low: This pre-PIP is so taxing. I need to hold off on my favorite things too. Don’t want to spend money on a massage or shopping. Can’t take time off.

    3. Blue_eyes*

      Best: Got to see Janelle Monáe perform and I ended up right front and center touching the stage. It was incredible to be so close to her, and of course her performance was ah-mazing.

      Worst: Unexpectedly lost two of my students (and therefore part of my income) because the family’s financial situation changed.

      1. Stephanie*

        Jealous! I’ve wanted to see her live. Tickets sold out quickly the last time she came to my area.

        1. Blue_eyes*

          It was free (for us) and totally unexpected. She was playing at a benefit and a family I babysit for gave us the tickets because they couldn’t go. I would have considered attending the benefit anyway just for the open bar and free food, but when I saw that Janelle Monáe was playing I HAD to go.

    4. Carrie in Scotland*

      Best – payday happened! I wandered into the south side of my city to be and loved the chilled out feeling of it.

      Worst – work was boring, as usual and am procrastinating over studying (tsk!) studying on a Saturday night…and I feel like I have no time to go and do stuff with friends until next week.

    5. Elkay*

      This is a combo best/worst. I went clothes shopping today and while I’ve dropped a couple of sizes there are NO clothes that I like. I just want some nice dresses to wear to work and/or sundresses. I’ve got three sundresses I love but having lost weight I have to wear a vest under them. Is it possible to shrink jersey?

      1. Beezus*

        No, but a good tailor might be able to add some darts or tailor it a bit to fit better!

      2. Beezus*

        I’m waffling now – if it’s cotton jersey, you might be able to. If it’s polyester or acrylic, no. Old Navy has some cute sundresses this year, and they’re pretty inexpensive!

        Congrats on the weight loss!

        1. Elkay*

          I think it is cotton jersey, annoyingly the other dress I have from that store which has sleeves shrank without me doing anything and now it’s really tight around my arms. I didn’t lose a huge amount of weight, just enough that my shoulders slimmed down so the straps are a loose and the v-neck of the dresses are too deep.

    6. Colleen*

      Best: Kind friends.
      Worst: My dad starts chemotherapy again in about a week. His cancer is back.

      1. Jean*

        Ouch. I’m sorry. I hope things go as smoothly as possible–no medical hubbubs, no administrative tangles, no family commotions.

    7. Mimmy*

      Best: Just met a couple of my classmates in person for the first time.

      Worst: Got a jury summons!! Though I’ve actually always wanted to serve, so maybe it’s not a worst. Yet.

      1. fposte*

        Jinx! I start my jury term on Monday. It’s really poorly timed but I’ve had several extensions already so I need to go. The courtroom forbids all electronic devices, so it’s going to be a banner day for pen and paper.

        1. Mimmy*

          Ergh, really? I guess every court is different, but I’m hoping I’ll be allowed to have my iPhone in the waiting area as long as it’s on silent. (I know you can’t have it on alt all in the actual courtroom, which I totally get).

      2. Stephanie*

        Actually, I want to serve, too! Especially now, since I have the time on my hands being underemployed (and would gladly take the pay, heh).

        I’m in a big metro area and big city, so I think my chances are somewhat low. DC, you were pretty much guaranteed to get called every two years on the dot.

      3. Natalie*

        Hopefully it won’t be too bad. I had jury duty last summer and I was empaneled twice, both cases were continued, and then I was done.

    8. Alma*

      Best: I went for a little ride, and picked up Dr Pepper at the corner. He’s so easy!! and cheap. What does one call a man who is a slut??

      Worst: The Dr Pepper thing – and the @$$ I’ve been working with on a project has been phoning, texting, emailing, having others text and email and phone ALL DAY, and I’ve had enough. Next weekend will be so much better because I’m quitting Monday morning!!

    9. Liane*

      Worst: Work today. Granted, customer service is not easy/sweet/fun/delightful most of the time. But people–customers & coworkers alike were just so extra-touchy this afternoon! Including me. My one colleague–after a supervisor yelled into the phone & then slammed it down in front of customers–looked at me & said, “Gee, what is going on?! Everyone is soo on edge!” And all I could say was “Yeah, I’ve been wondering that too, because I’ve been on edge myself, for which I apologize.”

      Best: Several, in no real order.
      Son is coming home for the summer Monday after his last final as a freshman.
      Daughter’s junior prom is in 2 weeks.
      Husband just got his first paycheck at NewJob. It’s not a fulltime position yet, but is permanent; the pay is pretty decent; it’s a sit-down job, so easier on his back & shoulder; & he likes it fairly well.
      My first writing piece on the blog goes up Monday, along with a related piece by my friend, both including artwork by me.

    10. Anonymous for This One*

      Best: Went to a double feature of the Avengers movies (previous followed by first showing of the new one – both in 3D). It was a lot of fun, with the theater staff in costume and trivia contests in the intermission.

      I think I was the only one there in a twin set and pearls, but I would do it again in a heart beat.

      Worst: Working on Friday with limited sleep as a result. ;-)

    11. anonymous daisy*

      Best – time off with my sweetheart.

      Worst – having to stay at work when all I wanted to do was throw up due to something I ate. The cafeteria puts a lot of pepper on all of their vegetables and I am mildly allergic to it. On day, it was just too much but I don’t have a lot of choices there. I don’t know why one cook does that. People who like pepper can put some on after the food is cooked but those who have a hard time with pepper cannot take it off. Just one more sign that I need to stop forgetting my lunch at home.

    12. Revanche*

      Weirdly nothing stands out in either direction. Just superficial stuff….
      I had great bread pudding (and I’ve never liked it).
      Watching West Wing again and got super sad again realizing John Spencer is no longer with us. This is not news but it makes me sad anyway.

      Oh and I got cracking on a writing project that has been a tough nut for years and have hit 3000 words! So that was neat.

    13. Jen RO*

      * Short holiday in Turkey! We got back on Monday night.
      * May Day is a national holiday, so this meant a 3-day week.
      * Slept 6 – 10 pm and then midnight to 8 am this morning. I hadn’t realized how tired I was, and I never ever sleep this much, but it feels so good!
      * I’m continuing investigations into my high blood pressure, but everything was fine at the last 2 doctors I saw, so maybe it’s just genetics…

      * Those three days at work were tiring. I ended up helping my former team for a day and a half because they were panicking, but that meant I didn’t finish my stuff and I had to send some emails on Saturday morning. I hope they learned a lesson in planning…

    14. Elizabeth West*

      BEST: seeing Titanic with a live orchestra playing the score at Royal Albert Hall on 27 April and hanging out with my chat friends beforehand. We went to the British Museum (I had been there before but it was years ago and I didn’t remember a lot of it). It was fun. And one of my friends from Poland showed up for the concert–I didn’t know he was coming. It was good to see everybody and meet one person I talk to for the first time. :D

      The concert was fantastic. I forgot at times that I was listening to an orchestra–that movie sucks me in, and of course I needed tissue. James Horner, the composer of Titanic‘s music, was supposed to conduct, but he had an injury and couldn’t. Ludwig Wicki filled in for him brilliantly. But Horner was there. And guess who else was there and came onstage after the movie?

      JAMES CAMERON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Also, working from here went very smoothly, though it made for some long days since I had to log in at night to be on at the same time as my coworkers.

      WORST: I didn’t meet anyone special *sigh*. And I have to go home tomorrow. Ugh, flying. I wish we could teleport. But I watched the first episode of Fargo on the plane over, and I’m planning to binge the rest of it on the way home, since I won’t be asleep going back. I really liked the show. Martin Freeman with a Minnesota accent!

    15. Windchime*

      Best: I attended a bachelorette party for the young lady who will marry my nephew in a few weeks. All the moms and aunts were invited to drinks and dinner before the young ladies were going to hit the pubs, and we had a blast. Such a lovely group of women!

      Worst: The creepy know-it-all at work who bugs the hell out of me is going to be my partner on a work project. I hope I don’t punch him in the nose, but I can make no guarantees.

      1. nep*

        You can take it as an opportunity to really improve your patience and interpersonal skills — and just your ability to rise above. Good luck.

    16. Ann Furthermore*

      Best: FINALLY figured out an interface problem at work that had confounded me for almost a month.

      Worst: Terrible cold that finally caught up with me on Friday. I’m hoping if I take it easy again today, I’ll be just about back to normal tomorrow. I need to kick this. I have 10 days of work travel starting right after Mother’s Day, to do software testing with the neediest, whiniest, most clueless bunch of users I’ve ever encountered. Dealing with them sick would send me over the edge.

    17. danr*

      Best: Today. it’s warm. I’ve restarted my walking and grilling season has started.
      Worst: This week. It’s still heavy tree pollen season. I haven’t found a modern 24 hour antihistamine that doesn’t give me awful nightmares. Benedryl does that too, but I don’t take it at night.

    18. Natalie*

      Best: got back from France and got
      To spend some quality time with my man.

      Worst: got back from France and had to go back to work.

    19. Not So NewReader*

      Best and worst: Still fixing my house. This is epic. Got the lot draining, no point to doing repairs if the lot keeps flooding. Moved on to the foundation. I always thought it was a good idea to put concrete in between the stones of a foundation, but I guess not everyone feels that way. Similarly, it’s okay to take a rock and put another rock on top of it and set a main support post on top of that. Skip the concrete- why waste money? It’ll be alright. (NOT)

      Lesson learned: 1) If you buy an old school house make sure you reeeally love it. 2) When people tell you they think it’s a hundred years old but no one knows, not even the 100 plus year old neighbor, be wary. It’s probably closer to 200 years old and it will challenge your engineering skills. Okay, it’s a little mind-bending.

    20. ThursdaysGeek*

      Best was I just finished my 24th Bloomsday run/walk in Spokane, Wa. Worst is the same, because I’m sore and tired and grubby.

  17. Anon Regular*

    I actually DID learn to count cards after reading that book (it’s not hard), and joined an investment circle. There were about six of us who worked together. We did all right but didn’t have a big enough bank to go crazy.

  18. Mints*

    Okay, here’s a question for the “Please tell me if I’m secretly annoying everybody”

    I’m a little bit of a germaphobe. It’s not crazy, but I have to HAVE TO wash my hands or use hand sanitizer before eating. Is using hand sanitizer at a restaurant with friends weird? Should I try to be sly about it? Would it be better if I announce “Okay germaphobe time – who wants some sanitizer?” Should I duck out to the bathroom every time?

    I’ve done all of these things, and I think bathroom is the most secret, but I’m curious if the other two would be noticed as weird.

    1. Blue_eyes*

      I think using hand sanitizer at the table is fine. It’s quick, people will understand why you’re doing it, and it doesn’t really affect anyone else. Do whatever you prefer. Washing hands before eating doesn’t require an explanation.

    2. BRR*

      I think it’s fine. As long as you don’t insist everybody else do it, it’s not even on my radar. Just do it at the table and ask if anybody else would like some.

      Wouldn’t it also not be effective if you do it in the bathroom because you have to then grab the door knob? I’m trying to be obnoxious, just trying to understand.

      1. salad fingers*

        Agree with the part about it being totally fine and unremarkable unless it’s a sanitizing crusade.

      2. Mints*

        I use a paper towel on the door knob (:

        Generally, thanks for being reassuring, everyone. It seems mostly okay

    3. Elkay*

      In a restaurant I’d probably wonder why you didn’t just go to the bathroom and wash your hands. Fast food place/food court, sanitize away no funny looks from me.

    4. StillHealing*

      No, that is not weird at all. I always go to the Ladies room and wash my hands after I place my order at a restaurant. I’ve been with friends at restaurants where it seems there is always at least one person who will pop a bottle of hand sanitizer out of their purse and send it around the table. Now a days, I see it as common sense and not germaphobic.

    5. Meadowsweet*

      I always wash my hands before eating! For food courts/etc I carry individually-packaged hand wipes and use one of those after we’ve sat but before eating.

    6. Grey*

      No need to be sly. I doubt you’re annoying anybody but I’d skip the announcement the way you phrased it. That seems odd. A subtle “anyone else?” offer is polite, but nothing more than that.

    7. Florida*

      I would find the hand sanitizer annoying, particularly if you made the announcement. I hate hand sanitizer. I think it’s feels gross. I would rather have germy hands than use it. I carry around plain rubbing alcohol to use in lieu of hand sanitizer when I can’t wash my hands. So if you pulled out hand sanitizer at the table and asked if I wanted any, I’d feel like I had to use it or I would be judged as being a germy person. And when the bottle gets passed around, it reminds me of kindergarten when the whole class had to line up to wash their hands before lunch or snack. Also, after I used your hand sanitizer, I would get up and wash my hands because I hate that stuff so much. It makes my hands feel gross.

      Often, at a restaurant, as soon as we get there, I’ll say, “Be right back” and go to the restroom to wash my hands. That way, I’m doing it in the privacy of the restroom so my hands are clean, but no one else feels like they have to wash their hands.

      So, it would annoy me but I don’t know if I’m representative of the general population, or if it’s just because I hate hand sanitizer so much. But if you went to the restroom, I wouldn’t think that was weird. I would just assume you needed to use the restroom.

      1. Graciosa*

        My concerns would be the timing and the smell. I want to enjoy my food when it arrives, which I won’t if the aroma is drowned out by the scent of hand sanitizer – it is designed to evaporate into the air, and it does that very well with a lovely alcoholic reminds-me-of-a-hospital odor.

        My preference would be for you to handle this privately in the bathroom, but if you’re going to do it at the table, I’m hoping it will be far enough in advance to let most of the scent dissipate before the food arrives. So much of taste is related to smell –

    8. nep*

      I think wanting one’s hands to be germ-free for eating is smart and practical, period.

    9. Jen RO*

      I think using hand sanitizer instead of just going to the bathroom to wash your hands is weird, and the smell is kinda bleh, but I think I would just class that under “Mints – quirk #1948” and move on with my life.

      1. Treena Kravm*

        Yea, hand sanitizer is for when there is no sink/soap, not for all-the-time use. I wouldn’t say I’m compulsive hand-washer, but when I need to wash my hands, it’s the only thing I can think about. I almost never use hand sanitizer because that stuff never gets your hands actually clean, it just kills the germs. I also agree with Graciosa above, that I would get nauseated if everyone around me were using hand sanitizer, and annoyed if they all had the option of just washing their hands.

        Normally, when arriving at a restaurant, I have to go to the bathroom anyways. If not, and my hands feel grimy, I’ll just pop up after being seated and say that I need to wash my hands.

        1. Artemesia*

          I normally ride public transport when going to dinner with friends and so I either use the sanitizer quickly at the start or go wash my hands in the restroom. My hands are not ‘dirty’ — they are germy and the sanitizer has really cut down on our colds and such. I was using a shared computer at a photo lab for awhile and before editing pictures, I always used the gel on a tissue to wipe down the keyboard and mouse since there is evidence that demonstrates that computer key boards are particularly good vectors of disease — heck I see people sneeze on them all the time in computer labs.

          1. Treena Kravm*

            Yea, for me, being on public transport makes my hands feel dirty, like there’s sticky stuff even though nothing’s visibly there.

    10. Windchime*

      My friend carries a little bottle of hand sanitizer with her and she pulls it out as soon as we sit at the table. I don’t think it’s weird; in fact, it’s a pretty good idea because just think of all the things we’ve touched on our way into the restaurant!

      Not weird, in my opinion. I always use her sanitizer when she gets it out to use.

    11. vox de causa*

      I know someone who very pleasantly takes out her hand sanitizer and uses it before eating, and offers it to everyone else at the table. I’ve never seen anyone give her the side-eye about it.

    1. nep*

      (Each time I’ve gotten on line today I’ve clicked on that link to check them out. Too freaking cute.)

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I have basically been checking on this every hour since you posted this yesterday, and have also sent it to everyone I know. I’m now obsessed.

      1. BEST. THING. EVER.*

        I was hoping it was like that video from The Ring – once you pass it on, you’re safe. But nope, here I am, still checking it every chance I get…. :)

      1. Cath in Canada*

        I’m just watching the birth video now. I love how with the first kitten, momma’s like “WHAT IS HAPPENING”. Imagine going through that with no idea of what’s going on or what the heck this tiny wriggly squeaky thing is that just came out of you!

        1. Today's anon*

          Yes, I’ve been watching her cats give birth for a few years and feel like a surrogate “cat midwife” even though I have never seen a live birth (feline or otherwise).

  19. The Other Dawn*

    The tenants are out!!! Left Tuesday. My SIL did the walk through for us since we’re 45 minutes away and were still at work. No damage and clean, but the spray paint is still there. Left a bunch of big stuff they didn’t want. Couch, tube TV, all their appliances (which is awesome for me – I don’t have to buy them for the next renter). They took my patio chairs…and left me the table and umbrella. I texted her to ask where the chairs were. Tells me I told her she could have them so she took them, but she didn’t have room for the table and umbrella so she left them. behind. I never said she could keep them! Told her that I had said she could USE them while she was there, not keep them. They weren’t a gift. Asked when she’s bringing them back and no answer. Then I see my expensive ceiling-hung pot rack is gone. She says it’s in the basement. No it’s not. Asked her why she would remove it from the ceiling and put it in the basement. She says they were cleaning and “oh look we cleaned the stove and fridge for you.” Exact words! Then follows up saying they took the stray cat with them (we used to feed the cat). Because that makes sense when asked a question about missing household items…..

    Got a notice from small claims court about the case (suing for rent and damages). Only the husband answered. He agreed that they owe the money but need to make payments. Agreed to 35.00 a week and wants his pay attached for it. (which I will have to pay for to have it served on the employer). Might never see a dime, but they’re not fighting it and I have it in writing they agree they owe the money. AND i have their new addres and phone number since it was on the answer notice. :) The wife didn’t answer, which means I need to fill out a military affidavit in order to get the judgment against her also.

    So, I’m feeling good and already have another renter lined up. A good one! (hopefully)

    Tried out my cast iron skillet today. I was nervous since I know they can be finicky. Here’s the results.

    Oh, and thanks to everyone who recommended a vacuum. I ended up getting the Shark Lift Away. It’s awesome!! Powerful suction, though. I thought it was going to take off without me!

    1. BRR*

      Congratulations on getting them out. What a nightmare. I have to admit it was interesting to read though. When it comes time to renew my lease next month I am going to push slightly harder depending what my landlord wants to raise my rent to.

      Good find with the cast iron. I forget why but the old ones are supposed to be better.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I think that the iron is thicker than in today’s pans. I think I remember reading that somewhere.

        Yes I would’ve liked to have used the skillet on them!

    2. fposte*

      Hurray on getting the tenants out! And getting the guy’s payment attached to wages is probably the best way to get it, so I think it’s worth the cost of service.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Yes, I can win a judgment against them, but it’s basically up to me to do all the work and collect.

          If I want to attach their wages it’s up to me to find out where they work and file an application, which costs 100.00. Finding out where the husband works (wife doesn’t work) isn’t hard in this case: he has to work within walking distance of where he lives since neither of them drives and don’t own a car. And it would be very hard for him to leave current place of employment since it’s in Manufacturing and there isn’t any of that industry in the city other than where he works now.

          If I want to attach their bank accounts, same thing. But it’s pretty hard to find out where someone banks. Although, I do know in this case.

          1. Treena Kravm*

            That explains why every rental application I’ve filled out asks for bank account information–including account numbers! I always pushed back and ask, “Do you really need to know this?” and they always said no. But in cases like these, I’m sure it’s invaluable!

    3. Carrie in Scotland*

      Glad they are finally gone! You can get your life back somewhat now :)

    4. Elkay*

      Hooray for tenants being out, sounds like they didn’t pull anything too crazy. Bet you wish you could have used that cast iron skillet on them!

    5. salad fingers*

      Congrats! Haven’t commented on the saga as it has unfolded, but I’ve been reading along and they sounded like a migraine. Here’s to more respectful tenants in the future!

      1. Jean*

        Also compliiments on holding up well during this horrible experience! May all your future tenants be the polar opposite of these off-the-charts-annoying and thankfully-finally-outta-there former friends.

    6. Apollo Warbucks*

      That’s good news. I can’t believe they took stuff that belongs to you.

      Good luck with the new tenant I hope they are better.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I texted the husband this morning since I now have his phone number. I was very nice about it. I explained that the patio set wasn’t meant to be a gift but only to use while they were living there. Told him that I asked his wife to bring the chairs back but she didn’t answer me. Asked if he would please return the chairs. I also said that I noticed the pot rack is missing also but I’m only looking for the chairs. He said he would bring them back. I’m hopeful I’ll get them.

        1. Apollo Warbucks*

          It just blows my mind that they think it’s ok to treat you like that. I hope they give your stuff back and you get at least some of the money you’re owed.

    7. danr*

      That’s an interesting concept… Use = own. Wonder if the wife also takes the cutlery from restaurants… after all she used it.
      Congratulations on getting them out and surviving the process.

    8. Steve G*

      I’m jealous, looks like the owner of my building is chickening out of evicting them because his cautious-a** lawyer said it’s a bad idea (even though this is technically a 2 family house so isn’t under the same rules that real apt buildings are under)….so my ones are here 5 more months.

      Three times this week it sounded like Ginger Rogers was doing a tap routine over my head from 6:45-7:30AM. How freakin’ hard is it to put down a carpet or not put on shoes the second you wake up!?! They are still putting garbage out in clear bags which isn’t allowed here, so for about the 30th time (2X week X approx. 15 weeks I’ve been here), I’ve had to rebag their garbage. And they are still coming home at all hours dragging their kids around (1AM last night!), making oodles of noise in the process. They work during the day, so I don’t get why they come out at 10pm or later every night, but it must be very hard on the young kids that they then wake up at 6:30. By the time they fall asleep, they aren’t even getting 8 hours of sleep.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I’m sorry you’re still going through this. There’s a three-family across the street from my old house. When I lived there I had to listen to the people across the street arguing and screaming All. The. Time. It was so annoying.

        Why do you re-bag their garbage? Is there no way to separate yours from theirs and let them get in trouble? Just curious.

        1. steve g*

          Well the garbage people in my area of nyc are kind of nitwits too, you can tell it’s garbage, who cares if the bag isn’t black…..they either don’t take it, or give you a ticket. the landlord is a close friend giving me very low (triple digit) rent for an apartment that should be going for 1600 in exchange for me doing a lot of the upgrades/renovations/turning the empty back into a year-round garden etc. Sounds unconventional but it is the perfect thing to be doing now that I’m unemployed! But I left a place with iron sound proof walls for this crap!

    9. Buu*

      What weirdos, if they owe money why didn’t they sell the appliances? Hope you’re not left too out of pocket

      1. The Other Dawn*


        They said they have nowhere to put the appliances so I guess the new place already has them. I’m glad they didn’t sell them because even though I’d have that money, I’d have to buy appliances for the next renter.

    10. Meadowsweet*

      yay! for tenants out!

      <3 cast iron frying pans, nothing else seems to cook quite right!

  20. Blue_eyes*

    Weird things you do with your non-dominant hand:

    So I’m left-handed, but there are some things that I can do equally well with both hands, and some things that I like to do with my right hand. For instance, I prefer to use my right hand to open combination locks and turn keys, I can use both hands to apply nail polish/makeup, and I can write with both hands (but my right hand looks like a kindergartener wrote it).

    Does anyone else have weird things that they use their non-dominant hand for?

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      I’m a lefty too! :)
      I can’t think of very much I do with my right hand, I used to think that if it got chopped off it wouldn’t be that big a deal (I was young…) but I know I use it for stuff, I just can’t think what.

    2. Delyssia*

      I’m right handed. The only minor things I’ve noticed that I do with my left hand are hold/operate my smart phone (though for more involved stuff–entering more than a word or two of text or playing a game or whatever–I hold with my left hand and operate with my right) and I pick up/carry purses and the like with my left hand.

      These are definitely minor, but I’ve randomly discovered at different times that most people use their dominant hands for these things.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        I forgot about bags. Even though I’m left handed I wear my bag on my right side and reach into it with my right hand.

    3. Ruth (UK)*

      I think left-handed people are often better with their non-dominant hand than right-handed people are. I think this happens because so many things are designed for right-handed people that lefties are often forced to use their non-dominant hand more often than righties are, and get used to it more.

      Funny story… I spent several years working in a popular fast food chain. The place was pretty good at having things such as double-handled fry scoops so they’d work for left or right handed people. Anyway, this girl trained me on a lot of different stations. I did not know this girl was left-handed and copied EXACTLY everything she showed me.

      A few weeks later someone said ‘oh, I didn’t know you were left handed?’. I said I was not. Turns out I copied too exactly and was now doing everything left handed. Taking burgers off the grill with the spatula in my left hand, scooping fries left handed… Even wearing the drivethrough headset over my left ear (the buttons are on the side over the ear as well, which means I need to operate it with my left hand too).

      I am a juggler and am not completely ambidextrous, but I do not have such a large difference between my dom and non-dom hand as many people seem to…

      1. Blue_eyes*

        That’s interesting because for me things like stirring, flipping, etc. are really hard for me to do with my non-dominant hand.

    4. Noah*

      I’m right handed but prefer to use a computer mouse with my left hand. Also if I’m typing on my phone with one hand I usually use my left hand, but I think that is a result of texting and driving with a manual transmission.

      1. Seal*

        Same here with the computer mouse. I started doing so after a shoulder injury a few years ago made it too painful to use my right hand and arm.

      2. Blue_eyes*

        I’m left handed but use the computer mouse with my right hand. I just got used to it using the computers at school growing up, so now even with a track pad I usually use my right hand.

    5. Carrie in Scotland*

      I just thought of something – I use the computer mouse with my right hand and never really noticed until a manager asked me if I’d prefer having a left handed one? To me it, it makes sense because if I’m on the phone/writing I can still use the computer.

    6. Jean*

      In my beginner’s fencing class I decided to fence with my left hand (non-dominant) because my right wrist gets occasional carpal tunnel flareups from the computer mouse at work. (Yes, I should replace it. Not sure how easy it will be to find comfortable equipment that’s also compatible with our antiquated hardware.) Since I was a total beginner it didn’t seem to make much difference using my my non-dominant hand!

    7. Stephanie*

      I use both hands to apply nail polish and makeup. I’ve never had an issue with my non-dominant hand doing that for some reason.

    8. K*

      I’m right-handed but that one time I played Guitar Hero I found it more comfortable to hold it like a left-handed person would.

      A while ago someone told me that people usually use their dominant hand to put in contacts. I found that surprising because all my contact-life I’ve put the left contact in with my left hand and the right one in with my right hand. Doesn’t it make more sense to do it that way?? :P

      1. TheLazyB*

        I can do either. But put a plaster on my index finger and I am screwed, because I can’t pull down my lower eyelid with any other finger :/

        1. TheLazyB*

          Oh oh oh! I wear my watchon the wrong wrist. Blew my mind when I found out at about twelve.

        2. fposte*

          For a moment I thought you were trying to stick the plaster in your eye. This worried me.

    9. Grey*

      I grew up being the only right-handed person in the house. Now that I’m on my own, I still do the things I learned growing up that way. I still iron my shirts on the square end of the ironing board. The dish rack, toothbrush holder, and soap dispenser still go on the left side of the sink.

    10. Cruciatus*

      I’m a righty, but I open jars with my left hand (which mildly irritates my mom whenever I do it!) and apparently I play pool like a lefty. I only found out I was doing it “wrong” when someone was like “oh, so you’re left-handed?” What, no. I think it’s because my left eye is stronger so I just automatically compensated by using that side. But I can’t write well (legible but awful and so slow…). When I put makeup on I think I do tend to use only my right hand. So I guess just those 2 weird things!

    11. nep*

      Right-handed. Play pool left-handed. And — from lifting / working out, the muscles in my left arm are slightly more defined than right.

    12. Rebecca*

      Very timely comment for me! I’m right handed, but my Mother is left handed. And we learn from watching our parents. This past Monday, I sliced a chunk out of my left thumb with a ceramic knife, and it’s been sore and grumpy all week. I never realized how many things I really do with my non dominant hand before. I open bottles and jars, pick things up, eat snacks, that type of thing. I hold my silverware with my right hand, and write with my right hand, and when I’m cutting things with a knife, I use my right hand, but the pain ever time I grabbed something reminded me how much I really use my left hand as well.

    13. Just Ducky*

      I’m extremely right-handed. Playing guitar right-handed just doesn’t work! Left-handed makes sense.

    14. Revanche*

      I am left sided for carrying a baby, I’ve never been able to settle one on my right side comfortably. Also left handed with dog walking/training.

    15. Persephone Mulberry*

      I’m ambidextrous in two specific areas: applying nail polish and typing with one hand if the other is occupied. I can write neatly with my left hand but the letters tend to come out backwards.

    16. Glor*

      Yup! I’m a lefty too and I use my right hand for things like scissors and certain arty things… I find it more comfortable to use my die-cutting stuff with my right hand, or some of the cutting tools like the paper cutter.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        Hmm. I cut with my left hand, but using right handed scissors. Occasionally people have tried to give me left-handed scissors and I just can’t use them because I’ve developed my own way of cutting with my left hand with right-handed scissors. So I don’t cut the “right” way, but it works and I don’t think I’d be able to cut precisely with my right hand.

    17. Anonymousaur*

      I am right handed but when I tried surfing I found out I surf “goofy-footed” – ie with my right foot in front… Apparently most right-handed people surf with their left foot in front? This makes no sense to me.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, I’m right handed but definitely left footed, so that makes perfect sense to me. When I was a hurdler, left leg definitely went first.

    18. Alston*

      I was ambidexterous as a child, until my preschool teacher saw me drawing with both hands at the same time and said it was “a mark of evil” and made me pick a side. So I write with my right, but do a lot of physical things with my left. In baseball I bat left handed, I kick harder and more accurately with my left in taekwondo, and I can fence with both hands.

      Other than sports I put my belt on left handed and I keep my bag/purse on my left side so I can get stuff out of it with my left hand.

      1. Mints*

        This strikes such a super nerve for me. When people (especially younger people) tell me about their teachers forcing them to stop using their left-dominant hand, it makes me want to back in time and smack the teacher.

        I think lefties are much better at being ambidextrous. I’m possibly the world’s least ambidextrous person. I can’t do anything with my left. Like at all. It’s inconvenient but as long as both hands are working it’s fine

    19. OriginalEmma*

      I’m left-handed. I use a mouse in my right hand. I play guitar the traditional way – which makes way more sense to me because wouldn’t you want your more dextrous hand fretting?

  21. Cath in Canada*

    The hubster is starting what’s likely to be a long spell of working 6-day weeks. I usually try to indulge my writing hobby on Saturdays when he’s at work, but the combination of not being a morning person and being easily distracted by the internet means that I’m often just really getting some momentum built up when he comes home at around 4 pm.

    In an attempt to boost my progress, I recently joined a Meetup group called “Just Write” who meet at 9:30 am (GAAH!) in a nearby coffee shop that has no Wi-Fi (GAAAAAAH!), spend about 20 minutes just chatting, then all put their heads down and “Just Write” for a couple of hours. I went to my first meeting today, and I loved it! Having a reason to set an alarm and get out of the house early, plus the fresh air and exercise I got while cycling there and back*, made this the most productive Saturday morning for a long time. (And it was nice not to have two cats trying to climb onto my keyboard). I don’t know if I’ll go every week, but I’ll definitely be back.

    *Just 6 km total, but there are big hills.

    1. TeapotCounsel*

      What a great idea for a Meetup group. I’ll see if there’s one local to me.

  22. The Other Dawn*

    So I did something today I said I would never do: I put one of my cats on a leash and took him for a walk. Yes, I did that.

    A friend was staying with me last month and accidentally let one of the indoor cats out. Ever since then he’s been a royal pain in the ass, constantly at the door trying to open it. (He knows that the knob turns and tries to turn it.)

    So I bought a harness and leash and took him out in the yard. He did great! He didn’t freeze like some cats do.

    I must say, though, it’s definitely not as physically demanding as walking a dog. It’s pretty slow going. Lots of stopping to roll around in the grass. Or eat the grass.

    I’ll probably try to take him out maybe once a week for now.

    1. Cath in Canada*

      We tried that with our cats when we first adopted them at about 8 months old. We followed the instructions we found online – letting them sniff the harness for as long as they wanted, draping it over them a few times before attempting to put it on them, not fastening it all the way up the first couple of times, etc. The first time we put the harness properly onto the smarter cat* and attached the leash, she totally freaked out and threw herself off our balcony. Only one storey up so she was absolutely fine, but it took a while to recapture her and get the damn thing off. We didn’t even try the other cat after that. We thought 8 months was young enough to learn a new trick, but apparently not!

      *it’s all relative. The other one falls off sofas and sometimes forgets how to lie down.

      1. Apollo Warbucks*

        I’m laughing so hard at the thought of your cat not knowing how to lie down.

        1. Cath in Canada*

          It’s the weirdest thing! She usually does the stand-sit-lie-roll thing, but everyone once in a while she’ll spend a few weeks trying to go from standing to lying on her back all in one go. She’ll twist her neck and lower it onto the floor then just kind of stop there, head down and bum up, trying to figure out the next move. She’ll stand back up, twist the other way and try again, stand back up, and eventually just kind of squawk and fling herself over.

          She has one eye quite a bit bigger than the other, and the small-eye side of her whole head is kinda squished-looking too, so I think she legitimately came to us with some kind of brain damage. BUT! She is the nicest cat ever. Very snuggly. “Cats don’t NEED to be smart”, I’ll tell her as she pushes her head into my lap and purrs after losing another stand-off with a sock.

          1. Revanche*

            Hah our dog does a similar thing but he knows what he’s doing. He’ll go from standing to tucking the shoulder and rolling entirely on his back in one go. It’s fascinating how he doesn’t get stuck.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        So glad the kitty is ok.

        Haha. I know what you mean about the “smarter” cat. Lol. I had one that was prone to tripping on the stairs. He would usually miss a stair or would bump into the cabinets. He was my special little snowflake.

        My cat did great. I was going to put the harness on and let him get used to it, but then just went for it and hooked up the leash. I brought him outside and he kind of stayed close to the ground but he was moving.

    2. the gold digger*

      One of our cats loves to go outside. We put a harness on her and attach the leash to the clothesline. She cannot climb up the tree – had a scary episode where the line was longer and she climbed the tree and jumped down – only cats don’t pay attention to the lines attaching them to other things and all of a sudden she was dangling from the branch by the leash. My husband and I both ran outside, terrified our cat was going to die from hanging. Now she is on a (literally) short leash.

      But she loves it. She still hunts catches wee little cute mice that she never bothers to kill – she is into catch and release – and she hangs out in the vegetable garden and eats grass and just loves it. Winter makes her miserable.

    3. catsAreCool*

      I used to have a kitty who was indoor only except for going out on a leash. I did that for the same reason you did – the kitty really wanted to go out. She was pretty good about it.

    4. Jen RO*

      This is one of my cats on a leash: https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/t31.0-8/904137_10200691637640586_418322334_o.jpg
      He’s very brave when it comes to escaping out the front door or to the balcony… but he gets terrified if we’re outside and he heard a noise. I’m always afraid he will get spooked, rip the leash out of my hand, and run off, so I don’t take him out a lot. (Also, he hates the putting-leash-on process and he bites/scratches; once it’s on, he doesn’t care anymore.)

    5. Dynamic Beige*

      Ever since then he’s been a royal pain in the ass, constantly at the door trying to open it.

      The cat I had previously, we used to take out on a leash. It was fun, but I found it made him more aggressive about going outside. He would make a huge PITA scene when he wanted to go outside, being around the door, growling and just… ugh. When I found my two “new” cats, they had been dumped and running around outside for I don’t know how long (no more than 2 months I think), but I decided no leashes no walkies and bizarrely enough, they are fine. I thought there would be some huge battle about wanting to go out after having enjoyed the life outdoors, but nope. They love it when the windows get opened, but they seem happy to stay inside. I also found taking my OldCat out on walkies was that he picked up fleas, and that was a pain. He had some sort of flea allergy and would lick all the fur off his belly. Not to mention the damn things got everywhere and I had to spray, vacuum, spray, carpet clean to try and kill them all. Another reason why I’m happy that New Cats are happy inside.

      The funniest thing about OldCat was he didn’t get the idea of “seasons” so to him, outside was always Fun! Bugs! Grass! and when he was in the mood would make a big production of wanting to go out. One winter, I got fed up of it, so I took him outside in the snow. There had been a bit of freezing rain or something, so the top was somewhat hard, but he wasn’t thin and delicate and he could walk a bit and then poompf! one of his feet would punch through the top and he’d be up to his chin in cold. The look on his face. Eventually, he got to the Do Not Want! point and just stopped. He got all his feet under him, curled his tail around and just scrunched into a not-so-little ball of aggression. He was having a kitty psychotic break, and it was pretty obvious it was a “This is not what I want, make it be the way I want NOW!” temper tantrum. So I picked him up and he growled louder and started shaking and I brought him back inside. Didn’t cure him of it, though. Cats.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        I had a Bengal who enjoyed being outside on a leash. But, like your kitty, it only made her more insistent about going outside. My back door is scratched all to hell from where she would jump up and hang on the wood (lower half) to look out the windows (upper half), and scratched from her pawing at the door knob. And then, of course, I’d have to be on guard every time I opened the door because she’d want to dash outside.

        I’ve got five shelter / found cats now, and no one goes outside (on purpose). Two will occasionally make a run for the door, but the other three couldn’t be bothered. And if one of the bolder two does get outside, they meow like mad at the back door for days afterward, and also do the “hang-on-the-back-door” thing that the Bengal did. Very annoying.

      2. Alston*

        My parents always would let the cats out to explore when they wanted. Worked well, one of the cats they even took camping a bunch of times (once he got mad and tried to walk home, the wrong direction, but usually he was fine) Same cat was trained to ring a bell when it wanted to go outside. Worked pretty well. And then one day the cat rang the bell, my Dad went to the door to let it out, and instead the cat went over to its food dish, looked pointedly at the empty dish, and then at my Dad, and then back at the dish. Cat was unceremoniously tossed outside so it’d learn my parents were not the servants.

    6. Windchime*

      I really want to try this! My cat is indoors only, but he did get out once last summer by accident. Luckily, I found him before he decided to venture too far from the house because my yard is surrounded by yards containing dogs. I’ve thought about the harness thing but I worry that he’ll be constantly begging at the door.

    7. Alice*

      I’m curious what people’s thoughts are with letting cats go outside (no leash). My parent’s current cat looooves going outside (DMV suburbs), and the one who just recently passed away didn’t. My mom has been looking at possibly getting a rescue as a companion to Loki. The one rescue org we’ve been searching has a clause in the adoption papers that you are -not- allowed to let them outside.
      Now, my parent’s are smart cat owners, so we definitely wouldn’t let any new kitties out right away (6 months or so?). But they don’t want to restrict a cat entirely if that’s what the cat wants. So… can they ‘forget’ this down the line, if the cat is comfortable outside?

      It’s also interesting that the kind of recommended opinion here in the US is ‘don’t let your cats out! It’s dangerous!’ But in germany it’s the opposite, ‘don’t keep your cat indoor only! It’s inhumane!’

      1. fposte*

        This may be seriously the single most contentious subject on the internet; indoor/outdoor cat battles are even worse than parenting and breastfeeding wars.

        My thought with cats being outside is that it affects more than just the cat, so I don’t think the decision should be made based on what the cat wants (and hey, spaying and neutering probably aren’t what the cats want either). But I also don’t think it’s a fight worthy of wasting the cannons on.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        I won’t get into a debate about whether or not a cat should go outside. What I’ll say is that a few of my cats go outside while the rest are indoor cats. It works for me.

        I had always had outdoor cats my whole life. When I moved out on my own with my boyfriend I got a cat who stayed indoors until we got married and moved to a house. He then became an outdoor cat. All subsequent cats became outdoor cats; that’s what I’d always known. Same for my husband. Then one day I found my one year old cat dead on the side of the road. He had been hit by a car. Ever since then, anytime I get a new cat, it stays indoors. I still have four that are holdovers from the days when I let all my cats out. The four that still go out have been outdoor cats all their lives; I don’t see the point in keeping them in. They tend to stick to the yard and patio and don’t wander. I make them all come in at night though since I now live in an area where coyotes are very close by.

      3. CrazyCatLady*

        I never used to let my cat go outside but we recently moved to the suburbs with a pretty small fenced in yard. (My cat isn’t much of a jumper, either.) I now let her out, only while completely supervised. It just makes her so happy and she gets more exercise. She’s also not obnoxious about wanting to go out all the time and she is very obedient so if I tell her not to do something, she stops. If I call her name, she comes.

  23. M.*

    So. There’s this guy that I see about every 4-6 weeks. He’s a good friend, and we’re kind of just doing the friends with benefits thing, although he seems to always be thinking more into it and then freaks out thinking I’m expecting more (I’m starting to think this is a him problem). When we’re face to face things are fine. When we text, well, it gets awkward fast. We both have mental illnesses, PTSD and he’s Autistic (I may be as well, no formal diagnosis just a lot of “well that would make sense”). It’s almost to the point where texting makes me have severe anxiety because I end up just looking at his replies and thinking, “How’m I supposed to respond to that?!” and I know that he is having the same problem with my responses. If he’s having a bad day, texting isn’t good because he over thinks and I just end up getting yelled at by text, but the same thing face to face wouldn’t get that much of a reaction (And my response to the texts are usually “go take care of yourself, I’ll talk to you later”). We’ve been friends for a while and I went to school with him my whole life, so I knew how he is, and we’re working on the whole not letting the mental health stuff get in the way. I’m trying to figure out a good way to communicate through text messages. I know that he’s trying as well (I’m not receiving texts in various code anymore). It’s just messy.

    I just needed to vent a little. I really have no one to talk to about these things.

    1. Jean*

      Sounds like you’re both working to find a good way to communicate by methods other than face-to-face.

      Thanks for sharing. In a roundabout way I find it reassuring to read about people on the spectrum having friendships and relationships (including being FWB). This is because although my child with Asperger’s doesn’t plan on getting married, I worry about said child being All. Alone. in the World. It’s my firm belief that people need human connections–not necessarily in a Big Man on Campus/Ms. Popularity way, but definitely a few folks with whom to share mutual respect and affection.

      1. M.*

        We both realized that we need people. And affection. Just not all the time. I’ve told him time and again “I love you, not in love with you, I just love you.” And I kept showing up. He’s still adjusting because he never thought he could have someone in his life that is just… well okay with things. It’s hard work but I think its so worth it.

    2. nep*

      Thanks for sharing this, M. And thanks, Jean, for your comments. Interesting. Important.

      1. Sunflower*

        Yup I think this is where your problems are coming from. FWB is great until one person starts to become more interested than the other. Take away all the other issues you guys are dealing with here and you’d probably still be having the similar issues.

    3. AnonAcademic*

      Why do you need to use text? Why not email, a chat messenger, or video chat? Sometimes the format of communication doesn’t match the tone, intention, or pace of conversation you’re trying to have.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Or… actually talk on the phone. I know, it’s a shocking concept to use a phone for the purpose it was originally intended ;)

        M, you might also consider having a talk with him about limiting the amount of time you spend texting so that it doesn’t happen all day. Or that you would rather meet up with him and get all his news then in person, which would give him time to process and decompress instead of dumping it on you. If you’re his only friend, then that’s hard because he won’t have another person to talk to when he needs it but it’s also not fair to you to be his sole source for everything — good and bad. Setting boundaries is not a rejection, but he may see it that way, especially if he’s more into you and wanting more than just FWB.

  24. Noah*

    Found awesome artwork at the thrift store today. Three pieces, about 2′ x 3′ each. They’re like travel posters for Gotham City, Metropolis, and Starling City. So a bit geeky but I thought they were fun and at only $5 each filled up some blank wall space in my apartment. They’re stretched canvas too, so no need for frames.

    1. Trixie*

      I have some fantastically random pieces from thrift stores, makes a great collage.

  25. neversawthatb4*

    I may have an opportunity to go on a week long trip to Cuba (legal for U.S. citizens as it is in the educational travel program). Has anyone ever been? Any thoughts?

    1. Cath in Canada*

      Do it!

      We went a few years ago (legal for Canadians) and spent a week in an all-inclusive in Varadero, then a week traveling around by ourselves. If I did it again I’d do it in reverse order, as the second week wasn’t super relaxing – they don’t have much tourist infrastructure. We used the Greyhound-style buses to get around in the second week. There are two bus systems, one with decrepit old buses used mostly by locals (cheap, go everywhere), and another with more modern Chinese buses,s mostly for tourists (more expensive, more limited routes). Everywhere we wanted to go was on the latter, touristy, route, so we only used those buses and they were better than Greyhound.

      We went to Cienfuegos as a base for the El Nicho national park (highly recommended), then Trinidad on the South coast, which is a world heritage site and for good reason. It’s jammed with tourists during the day, but not so much at night – busloads come in from the resorts for day trips. We stayed in Casa Particulares, which are government-approved B&B places in people’s private homes. You can find black-market accommodation and restaurants outside the official system, but it’s risky – you’d get fined if caught, and your hosts could get into a lot more trouble than that.

      Pros: beautiful scenery (mountains, waterfalls, forests, and – of course – beaches); incredible music literally everywhere you go (when I came back home I walked into my favourite local sandwich place and thought “where’s the band?!”), lovely old towns and cars; super nice people.
      Cons: lack of travel infrastructure outside the resorts; difficulty finding places that accept credit cards; in the busier places, harassment from people wanting to sell black market trinkets, cigars etc; the food is not great.

      We took advice from friends and took a lot of small gifts to give to hosts, staff at the resorts, etc. Things they can’t get there. We gave away a ton of pens, coloured pencils, and paper to kids, and things like water purification tablets, tylenol, imodium etc. to adults. We also took a bunch of old New Scientist magazines, which was a bit naughty as Western media is mostly banned; we gave half to one of our B&B hosts, who was a retired physics professor, and the other half to a school. The best thing we took though was a few sets of acoustic guitar strings, which are really hard to find there. We traded sets for CDs of all the best bands we saw. If I went back, I’d also take a few sets of double bass strings. Did I mention that the music is AMAZING?

      Overall I loved it and want to go back. My husband has traveled all over the Caribbean and Southeast Asia, and he said Cuba was one of the more challenging trips he’s been on in terms of transport and accommodation, but definitely worth it.

    2. patty*

      Oh, yes, go! I’ve been many times with and without a license.
      I agree with much of what Cath in Canada said, although I don’t feel the need to bring gifts except to family- cash is always best if you want to tip.
      Lonely Planet has a Thorn Tree forum for questions, or just read the FAQ’s.
      Things are changing, but I still would not trust the credit cards from a U.S. bank would work. You will need cash.
      The music, the people, the pace of life – all pros about Cuba, although sometimes in the touristy parts you will be approached more often than you want – a simple no, gracias will suffice. If you are going with a tour, you will probably be with local Cubans anyway.
      If you are going for a week, you probably won’t get very far out of Havana, but hopefully you can spend some time in the country side. Report back please – it will encourage other folks from the U.S. to go!

    3. Jen RO*

      Is it not legal for all Americans to go to Cuba?

      I’m from a former communist country, so while I heard that Cuba is beautiful, it’s not on my list of things to visit. All I can think about is stories of how Scandinavian tourists visited the Romanian seaside and a bag of Swedish candy could be the highlight of a kid’s entire childhood. It just feels wrong to give money to a government doing that to its people.

      1. the gold digger*

        Yeah, me too, Jen. I’m not from a communist country, but I have a friend whose father spent four years in a labor camp in Cuba before they escaped to the US. I also lived in Miami for two years and met a lot of Cuban exiles there and heard their stories. Not a fan of dictatorships and don’t want to support them.

        1. Stephanie*

          Yeah, my Vietnamese immigrant friend (his grandma was a boat person) doesn’t get people traveling to Vietnam for similar reasons.

      2. fposte*

        It’s complicated–the US has had an embargo against Cuba since 1960, and USAns aren’t supposed to spend money there. You can go with a specially licensed tour provider (I think there’s some sort of cultural exchange loophole) and I think there may have been a bit of a travel-via-Canada loophole as well.

        There was this bizarre trend for a while, especially in the late 1960s, of airplane hijackers redirecting the plane to Cuba, where the hijacker apparently thought he’d have a blissful asylum (it helped that Cuba is really close to the US). But that wasn’t how it worked out, and Cuba really didn’t want this influx of hijackers (I believe they even had a dorm for them, since there were so many at one point).

        1. Jen RO*

          Thanks for explaining! On a less downer note, OP, a family I know visited Cuba a few years back and they were delighted. One of the highlights was swimming with dolphins.

            1. Natalie*

              Nope, the embargo still lives. 2 things have changed, though, and have been in the news. 1) it’s easier to do a “cultural exchange” tour, something that used to require a lot of work with the State Department. Because of the embargo, only cultural or educational visits are allowed, no pure tourism. 2) Cuba was recently removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, so one can use bank- or credit cards there rather than just cash.

  26. TheLazyB*

    Anyone else watching the snooker? I find it so comforting and relaxing. I’m a bit gutted Ronnie is out (I know he’s an idiot but I love him!) but it’ll be a good final whatever :)

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      I don’t really watch it but I’m quite fond of John Higgins and Neil Robertson.
      And I guess Ronnie always keeps it interesting! :)

  27. I Am Now A Llama*

    So I’ve ventured into online dating! Have been chatting with a few people, met a couple of them.

    My questions: How do you know if I should move forward? How should I judge if it’s going well?

    I’m trying to be open and not go for the typical guy I would be attracted to since I hear people meet others they don’t expect to have liked. Any tips or should I go with my gut?

    1. BRR*

      To judge if it’s going well, go with your gut.

      I think there’s no harm in meeting for coffee. I always went with the mindset of jus trying it out and whatever happens happens.

    2. checkerboard*

      I would say once you’ve chatted a little online and you’re comfortable, go on a safe in-person date. You can always be a different person online. Don’t leave it too long or you’ll start getting emotionally invested, without knowing if the person is the same “in person” as he is on the internet.

      Make sure the date is safe, my default is out to a coffee near a shopping centre. Get the person’s name and phone number (for “oh if I’m late I can tell you” purposes) and leave it with a trusted friend. I’ve met some weird people through online dating!

      Try and go in with an open mind, enjoy yourself, make conversation, and give the person a chance. If you’re enjoying yourself, coffee can always turn into a movie/lunch/dinner. If you’re not, my get-out phrase is “oh i need to do some shopping”

    3. Delyssia*

      In general, I am in favor of opting to meet people sooner than later. Because my experience with extended message exchanges is that I’d end up feeling like I really knew the guy already, which is so not the case. I think I read somewhere that the clock really resets when you first meet in person, which I find to be true.

      Given that, in the first few messages, I’m basically looking for a guy to seem interesting and not raise any red flags. So that’s basically all it takes for me to move forward to meeting in person.

      That said, absolutely go with your gut! If you prefer to exchange messages for an extended time first, then absolutely do that. If you don’t want to meet any given guy, you don’t owe anyone, even yourself, an explanation or a justification.

      1. Lindsay J*

        This pretty much.

        My boyfriend and I were discussing this the other day (we met on OkCupid).

        It came up because we were talking about sales people who just don’t take the hint. And I mentioned that I had read somewhere (I believe) that 99% of all sales are closed by the seventh contact.

        We extrapolated that to different areas of life. And we both agreed that in online dating, if after seven exchanges (14 messages total) a set meeting wasn’t established that you had an email buddy and not a date.

        I was very capricious about my online dating.

        I would go several days to weeks without logging in or responding to messages, and often when I came back on I would completely empty out my inbox and start fresh.

        I pretty much responded or didn’t respond to people on a whim.

        Basically all I was looking for was someone able to hold a conversation. If they messaged me with “hey what’s up” and nothing else. (Or something like, “Pretty girl.”) I generally wouldn’t respond. If weren’t able to maintain an interesting conversation I stopped responding.

        If I saw any evidence of homophobia or misogyny in their profile or messages I wouldn’t respond.

        My current guy’s first message to me was something like, “Hey, I saw you’re also a How I Met Your Mother” fan. How did you feel about the finale? I didn’t like it.” I checked out his profile, saw it said he was a librarian and that he otherwise generally seemed intelligent, and figured that he would either appreciate my rant about pacing and story structure and etc, or it would send him running away from the crazy lady lol. It didn’t send him running and we were able to have an interesting conversation from there.

        As long as they could send an interesting first message and hold a conversation that didn’t revolve around wanting to sex me up for a couple turns, I wanted to meet them in person. I preferred casual, quick meetings first. Usually either coffee or a drink at a bar. I would always send whatever info I had about them to one of my friends before the meeting – “I’m meeting Mark from SE Houston @ Starbucks on 61st at 2. He goes by Chocokeen on OkCupid. If you don’t hear from me by this evening, please check up on me.”

        Meeting people was super awkward at first, but as I met more people I got more comfortable with it. And I found that pictures and writing style had very little to do with how well I got along with someone/how attracted to them I was in real life.

    4. Kate R. Pillar*

      My experience (now married to the eighth guy I met face-to-face through online dating): It was going well when I wanted another date for myself, and not to please the other person – and when I did not feel I was putting on an act when talking to them, but felt like I could be my awkward, inexperienced, nervous self.

      And I totally agree about the clicking with unexpected people: I fell hard for one where neither the photos nor the e-mails had been very fascinating (did not work out). With my now-husband e-mails were great, phone conversations uber-awkward and it took a few dates until I knew I really was attracted to him.
      I also found that liking or not liking photos had little bearing on real-world attraction.
      All in all, I was amazed at how well I was able to judge compatibility/red flags. I credit much of that to immersion into the Carolyn Hax archives…

      Good luck! Exciting times!

      1. I Am Now A Llama*

        Thank you! Congratulations on finding your (now) husband!

        What made you go on multiple dates when you weren’t sure?

        1. Kate R. Pillar*

          Hmmm, don’t know that I can put my finger on it…
          Firstly probably that I never have an easy time deciding anything – so was totally expecting a time of wavering.
          Secondly, (now talking about hubby specifically) : in person, conversation was easy, he had already scored major points over e-mail, too, and the part that I was unsure about was mostly “Do I like him, or do I LIKE him?”
          Does that make sense?

        2. TeapotCounsel*

          Article from the Onion – Man Appalled At Date Who Lied Slightly More Than Him On Online Dating Profile

    5. Ann Furthermore*

      I met my husband on Yahoo Personals 12 years ago. Wow that’s a long time!

      I put my ad up and got quite a few replies, many of them super smarmy, so I just skipped those. Some guys I chatted with online, and they seemed nice until they asked me what I was wearing or if I wanted to meet up for a drink that evening. Um, no…I just started talking to you 10 minutes ago.

      Then I got a message from a guy who seemed really nice. We chatted online a few times and really hit it off. He didn’t push meeting up in person until I was ready. He told me he knew it was “the politically correct 21st century” and he was not supposed to ask a woman he met on the internet for her phone number, but asked if he could give me his so I could call him. I liked that he understood that women need to proceed with a bit of caution when doing online dating, and that he respected my need to take things slowly.

      I called him, we had some great conversations, had our first date about 3 weeks later, and we’ll celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this month.

      So…my advice is to run from any guy who tries to pressure you to meet up before you’re ready, or won’t respect your boundaries. Although maybe this is old fashioned online dating advice. It has been 12 years after all!

    6. Natalie*

      Others have probably said this, but I’ll confirm: meet in person as soon as you think you can tolerate a coffee or cocktail with a person. Your relationship is going to happen IRL. I like to think of it as online introduction service, rather than online dating.

      Standard safety stuff: have your own transportation. Tell someone where you’re going. Bounce the minute anything seems hinky.

  28. Anonymosaurus*

    When does a neighbor’s noise cross the line?

    Our bedroom, at the back of our house, faces our neighbors’ backyard. These neighbors during the summer regularly have loud parties where people are in their yard past 1 am with loud music playing. In our bedroom with the windows closed we can hear it easily. Is this something you should just put up with for the sake of neighborly relations or is it worth complaining about?

    How about during the day? Often during the day they play loud music outside and we can hear it inside with all our doors and windows shut. I don’t enjoy listening to someone else’s music all day long and it’s even more irritating not to be able to open the windows because that will make it louder.

    This a nice, generally quiet neighborhood, not one where lots of people are doing this type of thing. I can’t decide if they’re being rude or if I’m being uptight.

    1. BRR*

      Personally I hate anything my neighbors do that affects any of my senses. But being realistic, I think you have three options:

      1) Go over and see if you can set a time when the party needs to move inside.I’d probably let the day stuff go.

      2) See if your city has any ordinances. Where I used to live it was a X feet away you shouldn’t be able to hear noise. You can then file a complaint. This is drastic and if it’s obvious that it’s you this probably isn’t a good idea. The reason I go straight here is I don’t think people change their entire way of living (option 1 is a compromise).

      3) Do nothing.

      1. K*

        Second the ordinances.

        If it’s 1 am and so loud you can’t sleep, I wouldn’t hesitate to call the police.

        1. Treena Kravm*

          Please, please don’t call the police just to ask your neighbors to turn down the noise. If you go over and ask them to keep it down after X time (determined by city ordinance), and they still don’t keep it down, then you call. Don’t waste public resources because you’re too chicken to talk to people who live a stone’s throw away. (Not applicable if you’ve gotten very negative/violent responses in the past with this neighbor)

    2. AmyNYC*

      The noise during the day you might have to live with, but I would say something about late parties. There’s a bunch of questions like this on Apartment Therapy, but from what I can remember… Go talk to them during the day – don’t go during the party when you’re mad and they might be less than sober. If you have a reason for the request – we have young kids who go to bed at 10, I work and early shift and have to be in bed by 11 – I think that would be more understandable than “it’s loud and annoying”

      1. AmyNYC*

        I just reread your notes about the day noise, that should like more than just loud, that’s verging on rude! Yes, say something! But like before, go over when it’s NOT a problem rather than during

      2. Dynamic Beige*

        And if they give you push back, pull out the ordinances. It should be easy to call someone at your City and ask what they are if they aren’t online and ask them what your options for noise are — call the cops? File a grievance?

        “I’m not against anyone having a good time, but I’ve got to get to sleep as I have an early morning/kids/there are elderly people in the neighbourhood” — “wear earplugs.” — “Well, I just thought you should know that the city ordinances say you can’t have loud noise after 11pm. I may not be the one to call the police, but someone else in the neighbourhood might if it bothers them.”

        And then you might want to let some of the other neighbours know that you checked with the city what the noise ordinances were, that they suggested you do X next time it happens and you’ve had a talk with Noisy Partiers about the possibility that next time there might be consequences if they’re hootin’ and hollerin’ at midnight. If it’s bothering you, I’m sure it’s bothering others, unless you are the only person who is not being invited to the party on the whole block.

      3. Windchime*

        In my town, at least, you absolutely don’t have to live with excessive noise during the day. Extremely loud music and barking dogs are unacceptable at all times, according to my city’s noise ordinance.

        Neighbor guy playing music while cleaning his car during the day, kids playing loudly in the back yard, motorcycles going up and down the street — these are the kinds of daytime noises that are expected and perfectly fine, in my opinion. But super loud, thumping music and constantly barking dogs will get you a visit from the cops around here. And it’s not a waste of public resources; I pay taxes and enforcing local codes are part of what the cops are paid to do.

    3. Rin*

      Definitely try to go when the party is not happening, but maybe the next day. You’ll be calmer; they’ll be calmer. We had to do that once when my small child learned a so super awesome gay slur from the guy next door (or one of his friends who was there). His wife was not happy to hear about it, and all I kept thinking was, “If my kid can hear it, yours probably can, too.”

  29. Jubilance*

    My husband and I have been talking about getting a dog for a while, and now that the wedding has happened, we’re ready to do it. But we’re at odds – he wants to get a puppy and I want to adopt a dog that’s at least 2 years old. Can folks weigh in on the pros & cons of puppy vs older dog? I’m pro-older dog because the puppy energy will be lessened, and they will be already housetrained. I think he wants a puppy so we can get a purebred (which I also don’t want) and he thinks that any dog that isn’t a puppy is “old”.

    1. Alma*

      Look on line at a breed-specific rescue site. They will rescue dogs of the breed for various reasons: a couple is too frail to care for an older dog, or a family got a puppy and had no idea how active they would be, etc. They’ll foster the dog until it is appropriately socialized for their next home. They do very good work.

    2. fposte*

      He knows he’s going to end up with an “old” dog even if you get a puppy, right?

      Puppies are adorable, but they’re an insane amount of work and they’re hardly the only way to get a purebred. I’m with you (though I think really 9 months and up is probably fine).

    3. BRR*

      Puppy: They’re cute. It’s more adaptable to things such as if you have cats, children, or hunters who need to make sure they’re accustomed to loud noise.
      Cons: House training. Small bladder (who is going to be on the midnight potty run and how is the dog going to be let out during the day), energy, destructiveness. Require lots more time

      Dog: Can hold it in longer. I don’t want to say less energy because it depends on the dog but more controlled energy. Mine is 6.5 and needs a fair amount.

      If he only wants a puppy, is he going to be ok when the dog gets older? And I know it’s none of my business but a purebred is more likely to have medical issues. Keep in mind you could have high vet costs and who’s going to watch the dog while you’re out of town. Kennels can add up.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yeah, we had a purebred (a Dalmatian) and she had a lot of health issues when she was older. Also, she was sweet, but dumb as a rock. I think the branches on her family tree were few in number.

        The mutt (pit-lab is our best guess) that followed her is still in great health and sharp as a tack.

    4. Stephanie*

      Yeah, our 11-year-old pit-lab mix still has plenty of energy. He likes to have me watch him run laps in the backyard with his toys.

      I’m pro adopting an older dog, just because I know those guys get adopted less frequently.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I love that, the running around the backyard. Mine doesn’t need me to join in, he just wants to show me his zoomies. “Mama mama mama you’re home lemme show you how I RUN!”

    5. Samantha*

      My husband & I adopted our dog from the Humane Society 6 months ago. He’s around 3. We wanted an adult dog for the reasons you mentioned. Having a puppy is so much work! And there are so many older dogs that need a home. Ours was already house trained and adjusted very quickly to his new home.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      At 2 y/o, they are into adulthood but still have plenty of energy. Just because a dog is 2 does not mean he is housebroken annnd if he is housebroken, he may not be house broken in your house. Dogs can get nervous in new environments and he may have to get use to your work schedule. I have adopted cats that were a few years old, and I could tell the schedules the former owners kept by the cat’s behavior.

      I prefer pups. It might be a control freaky thing with me. I have certain things I like to teach them and it’s harder when they are older. And it’s my bias, I think pups are so cute, I wish they would stay pups…. okay, house broken pups.

    7. Hummingbird*

      All but one of my dogs in my life I’ve had since puppyhood. One of my dogs now I’ve had since he was a month old. The one dog I had as a kid that was already an adult dog was a rescued greyhound. He had a nasty streak in him and he bit me once. He got nastier as old age set in. He was a racer and had a good track record, but we wonder if maybe he had been shot up with steroids or something and probably became riddled with cancer. I never wanted a greyhound again, but my dad found a way to get a puppy who’ll never race. She’s almost 10 now and her temperament is much better than the other.

      So really I only had one experience. While I believe in older dogs needing homes too, you need to remember that the animal already has its personality in place. Find one that’s right for you two. If not, then raise a puppy (and of course not all puppies have good personalities either).

    8. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I adopted from a rescue and I’m extremely pro-rescue, so I’m biased, but I’m totally on your side. Puppyhood is HARD. Up at all hours, housebreaking, dealing with crazy puppy energy? No thank you. We adopted our buddy when he was 2 1/2, and the first couple of weeks were puppy-ish– testing boundaries, wanting to explore, lots of energy– without the housebreaking. He still has a ton of energy at 4 1/2, but he’s a very calm, chill boy in general. My co-worker adopted a puppy who simply cannot calm down, and it’s driving her whole household crazy. We were very, very lucky, but our dog came to us very housebroken (not one accident in the house, EVER, not even when he was sick, and I knock wood as I type that), crate-trained, and used to living in an apartment.

      A lot of people want puppies so they “know what they’re getting”. I argue that a good, reputable rescue, especially one that uses fosters, can give you an excellent idea of your dog’s temperament, likes/dislikes, and issues. We also have the support of other adopters from our rescue– when we’re having an issue with our dog, we have a great group of people to reach out to.

      Also: mutts generally have fewer health problems. Not that this means one should never adopt a purebred, it’s just an argument in favor of the mixed-up puppers. I’ve met some of the most interesting looking mutts– I have one myself. He’s a handsome conversation piece!

      1. catsAreCool*

        I don’t know if you really know what you’re getting with a puppy – they aren’t mature yet. I think you’re more likely to know what you’re getting with a dog because at that point, the dog has matured into his/her own character.

        1. Artemesia*

          You also know their size when you adopt an adult. My SIL wanted a dog for her youngest son and adopted a puppy from the pound that she thought would grow up to be about the size of a lab or German Shepherd — it looked kind of like a shepherd mix — a little like a fox — The thing ended up looking like a miniature. It was cute and a nice dog but tiny.

    9. Lindsay J*

      I got an adult dog because I work too much to have a puppy. I don’t have time to housebreak and I would be gone too long to be fair to their poor little puppy bladder. I wouldn’t have enough time to dedicate to training or just playing and walking in general and I would wind up with a poorly socialized, destructive little brat. It would be terrible for me and the dog.

      I wound up getting a drastically different dog than I planned to get. I went in intending to get a big dog – a big boxer or big german shepherd, somewhere between like 3 and 5 years old. None of the ones there suited me. There I would up completely falling in love with an 8 or 9 year old rottie/black lab mix. She was just so darn sweet – didn’t bark or jump up at all when I walked by, just got up, wagged her little stump of a tail, and came and licked my hand. And I knew that she would have a hard time getting adopted otherwise because she’s old, big, black, and part rottie.

      She’s perfect for me, though. I’ve never heard her bark. She is ridiculously well housebroken. She doesn’t chew things. She likes taking naps with me. She also equally enjoys long walks. And I don’t feel like I’m neglecting her because she’s more self-sufficient than a puppy.

    10. Revanche*

      On my fifth dog now and I may never have another puppy again. Well… Not on purpose. Two of mine were raised from puppyhood and I adored them but it was a ton of work and I don’t have that energy anymore now that we have a family and work.

      We adopted our latter two as older senior dogs and while it’s always a little bit of an adjustment it has been really good. I highly recommend working with a reputable rescue that does fostering if you can, if you have a specific wish list. Our “pup” from our local rescue was the perfect fit for us because he’d been with his foster mom for a year and she knew exactly what he was like and that he fit our profile exactly: mellow, good with kids and all other animals, and at age nine, able to wait twelve hours for pee breaks on days when my pain was keeping me bedridden. He was about as close to perfect as we could have hoped. Our current pup is clever as anything and is super flexible and mellow. He’s adapted to having a newborn human sibling as if he were experienced with children and is very attentive to hir, not at all resentful of losing his place or attention. He’s perfectly happy getting to hang out with us and the baby and has even started inviting hir to come on walks by tapping the stroller with his paw to signal “come with me”. If we were 6 months into a puppy, rather than a senior dog, I am almost certain we wouldn’t be singing the same tune.

      Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE puppies. But the senior dogs get a bad rap because they’re not cute puppies, so many of them can’t get a home and spend the rest of their lives in overcrowded shelters or foster homes. And that just breaks my heart because they can be wonderful.

      So obviously I have a particular bias for at least considering rescuing through a shelter or rescue.

    11. the gold digger*

      We have cats, not dogs, but the issues remain: baby animals need a lot of attention and are way more destructive than adults. We got our cats when they were about five months old (we think – the records that came with them, which said they had been spayed, turned out not to be for our cats – have you ever heard a Siamese cat in heat? You will never forget it) and even that age was a little high maintenance. But now, at six years old, they are relatively mellow and mostly sleep and whine to be fed and to go out, with only the occasional vomit. Of course, by now we have learned about all the things we cannot leave out – tomatoes, peaches, (any fruit, really – but onions are safe) rubber bands, nice clothes, little cute breakable thingies that some people like to put in the big garden window, jewelry in a bowl on top of a dresser, etc – that would attract cat attention and maybe appetites.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        A friend sent me a link on FB for how make an indoor hanging garden (using sheets of moss to hold garden soil), and I was like, “OMG, I could finally have flowers inside my house again!!” I have five cats. Cats and plants of any kind just Do. Not. Mix. Even if the plant isn’t poisonous, the kitties will dig out the soil, knock over vases, or eat the petals and leaves and then puke them up on the carpet. The hanging living vases would allow me to put them up where the cats couldn’t reach them, like dead center in the living room with nothing under them except the floor, 8 feet down.

        As for window knick-knacks, have you tried Museum Gel and Museum Putty? Holds those suckers in place unless you apply a bit of a twisting force to them. At one point in my life I collected blown glass thingies, so I’ve got all those breakable pieces gelled and puttied down. Keeps the cats from playing “Master of Gravity” with them.

  30. checkerboard*

    I moved house this weekend. I have a mountain of boxes in my living room :(

    Tossing stuff so I don’t have to unpack it seems like a viable strategy at this point :)

    1. Kate R. Pillar*

      That’s because it IS a viable strategy – never too late to declutter ;-)
      Take it easy! One box at a time will get you there.

    2. Noah*

      Every time I move I consider just leaving almost everything behind and buying new stuff. I hate when you have unpacked the essentials and then live with boxes hanging around for a few weeks until you get around to unpacking the other stuff and finding a place for it.

    3. Turanga Leela*

      Several moves ago, I threw out all my socks. It was very late at night and I had to be out of the apartment at 6 am. The socks were in a dirty, mismatched pile, and I just couldn’t deal with washing them or packing them, so I threw them away. Not my proudest moment.

      1. the gold digger*

        It took me over a year and a half to find a job after I got out of the Peace Corps. One of my goals was to be able to buy new socks. All I wanted was athletic socks that were not (literally) threadbare. When I got my new job, one of the first things I did was buy socks.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Ha, I feel that way when I move. I like unpacking far more than packing, so my throwing out usually happens before the move. Then I get there and think, “Why did I pitch that? I needed it!” :P

    5. Artemesia*

      we were fairly ruthless about it on our last move — so glad we were. We have missed one or two things we got ride of but mostly not. Less stuff makes life so much more pleasant.

    6. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

      I’m doing the same. So tired of moving into ever-smaller and ever-more-expensive boxes. I wish I were in a different city – there’s no feeling of a fresh start and I just feel trapped into a lease that I need to stay at my unrelenting job to pay for. I have a great new landlord and the place was spotless… except for curtains with cat hair on them, and that is making me quite ill. Ordered new curtains but they’ll take a few days.

  31. Alma*

    I’m wondering if there are any of you who have had bariatric surgery – and how you’ve dealt with buying clothes that accommodate ummmmm, the hanging stomach thing. I’m at the half-way point, having been slowed in my progress considerably by long-term underemployment.

    Summer is a really difficult time to try to dress comfortably and appropriately – at play as well as professionally. (I’m going away to a beachfront with a pool for a week soon, and I haven’t had a bathing suit for years! Flappy white arm syndrome!!) I find “body shapers” don’t put the stuff back where it should be, or spread it out to look equally distributed. I’ve got a few pairs of pants that fit in the largest area below my waist (I now have a waist!!), but have to be taken in to fit in the waist. Just can’t afford to get that done right now.

    I had the stomach banding, and am having good experience with flexitarianism. My inability to dump my boyfriend, Dr Pepper, does slow me down. I only let him over when I’m really really frustrated.

    1. Turanga Leela*

      I haven’t had bariatric surgery, so this might be way off, but have you tried maternity pants? The big stretchy waistband-thing (not sure of the technical term) might be a good way to accommodate extra skin. I don’t know if they would stay up, but it would be worth trying them on—I know there are women who find maternity pants so comfortable that they wear them when they’re not pregnant.

      Dresses might also be a better fit than pants for a while, especially if you’re still losing weight. Pants are really, really tough when your weight is in flux.

    2. Rebecca*

      I haven’t had the surgery, but I’ve lost quite a bit of weight on my own. I find that stretchy pants work better than regular pants, like elastic waist jean type pants rather than jeans with a fixed waist and zipper. I also like the wide band tops on my Fila Sport capris and leggings for walking. Hope this helps!

  32. Carrie in Scotland*

    Law & Order fans!

    I know there are some of you out there….

    I’m finding it strange watching Stabler repeats now Amaro is in it. I like Amaro’s character and I really like the actor, since I saw him in Cold Case. I loved that series, I wish it could be released on DVD :(

    I also really like the UK version. When it first started I avoided it because I thought it could never be as good as the American ones – man, I was wrong there.

    1. really*

      Completely understand the law and order thing. Had that with other shows I’ve watched in reruns that have been on for years.
      I saw a couple of episodes of the UK law and order. I liked them but didn’t watch enough to get over the I’ve seen this before but it seems not quite right feeling. Like watching Gracepoint after watching Broadchurch only no where near as bad.

    2. Dynamic Beige*

      Funny thing about the L&O UK — they’re pretty much all recycled scripts from original L&O just Britished up (and sometimes futured up) a bit. They did a good job with them, but every time I watched an episode I would get this déja-vu thing and then it would be “Oh, this is just like that episode where…” and sure enough, the points of law might be different but the plot points weren’t.

      When the box set went on sale a couple of years ago, I bought it. I sometimes work unconventional hours and so I have a few series on DVD, it makes nice background noise and you don’t have to deal with commercials or infomercials at 3am. It’s pretty amazing to see how many people who are now famous did a bit part on original L&O. It was also kind of a trip that the first season, they’re always looking for pay phones — no one had mobiles. Or typing on typewriters — no computers.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        I can’t bring myself to watch the first part of L & O, before Briscoe. But yes, payphones!

        I’ve recognised one or 2 plots from L & O over to the UK one but I don’t have the boxset or regular access to repeats, it just depends on what the channel is repeating at the time – for ages it just seemed to be 1 particular season of it, the one where Briscoe leaves but it never went any further! At the moment, SVU seems to be popular.

    3. Trixie*

      It didn’t last as long but I’m watching Miami Vice from the beginning. Some cheesiness factors aside, I forgot how well done the show is. Jump ahead 30 years and then to see Burn Notice film there is fun too.

  33. Trixie*

    I’m researching cell phones to be used primarily for calls/texting within the Tracphone calling plan. I was looking at LG 305C or 306G which look like basic, solid, cheap phones. I read that the 306G has file manager which apparently gives it some access to apps. I guess I’m wondering if apps are still handy on non-smart phones. I have no idea how important java apps are or what they can do for me.

    1. Rebecca*

      I have the model LGL39C and I really like it. It has wifi, so I can download apps and do updates on my home network. I just turn off the data until I need it when I’m out and about, so if I want to text a picture or hop on Facebook, I just turn on the data, do whatever, and then turn it off again. My phone came with triple minutes for life. It has an android OS, no idea which one at the moment :). It does have a file manager. All in all, it meets my needs and is very cost effective for my budget.

  34. Cruciatus*

    What are the money rules for buying a house? I still live with my parents at 33 (almost 34), and when I thought of moving out to an apartment I was like “ugh!” but then I changed it to a house and my brain was less disgusted by that. I think an apartment implies the potential to move in/out more frequently than with a house (not necessarily and in all cases, but for me anyway). And also I would have the freedom to paint, decorate, have a cat, etc. I have a lot of money in the bank right now (say, $100,000), and some savings/bonds in other accounts my dad tells me about every so often (money put there by an uncle when I was a baby). I am also putting money into my 403(b) and maxing my Roth IRA every year. So obviously I’ve been able to save because I live with my parents but I only make $10.45 an hour (I am of course working on this, but jobs aren’t plentiful where I am, at least the good ones (and I don’t really want to move)). Realistically, my next job will probably be between $25,000-30,000 a year). Am I crazy for thinking I could buy a house (probably something in the $90,000-120,000 region according to online calculat0rs)?

    1. BRR*

      It’s possible. I’m not sure what houses go for in your area. First, don’t stop putting money into your retirement accounts and don’t take money out of your retirement accounts to buy a house. Also don’t spend too much out of your savings, you’ll need money as other costs arise.

    2. fposte*

      I’ll give my favorite advice for this question. Find what monthly payments, including mortgage insurance, insurance, and property taxes would be in your area for the kind of house you’re looking at. Then put that aside every month out of your current paycheck. (In your case, I’d add in a monthly food budget, since you’re probably eating with your parents now and will need to buy your own in a house.) How does that feel? Do you feel like you’ve got nothing left and couldn’t live like this, or is it okay? It’s crude, because it doesn’t include utilities, etc., but it’s a good place to start, and if you experiment like this for 6-12 months you’ll then have money put away for closing costs.

      I’m with BRR in being against taking money out of savings/retirement for this. Maybe you can take closing costs out of the $100k in taxable, but you should only buy a house that you can support on your current income without dipping into your savings.

      (Are there any condos in your area? They might be even cheaper and they’d have less upkeep requirements.)

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        Wait, isn’t that 100k on top of her retirement? Then why not use most of it as a down payment? That’s what it’s there for, right?

        1. fposte*

          Hmm. I wouldn’t use most of it, but I misread and didn’t realize that it was in savings rather than invested, which changes things.

          Here’s what I’m thinking: use 20% for a down payment that gets you out of PMI; then, if there are decent options in the 403b and it has reasonable rollover opportunities if you leave the job, up your contributions to the max you can get out of your paycheck and pull the equivalent out of savings. You can probably do that for a couple of years and still be left with a solid emergency fund.

      2. Cruciatus*

        I only mentioned the retirement accounts to point out that amount that I have left after putting some away into retirement. I would never take from those accounts. But how much am I allowed to take from savings for a down payment? What is too much? I would of course live on what I’m making now (if it’s possible). I will look into your method to see what the numbers bring. I only did a brief look into mortgage payments, but often they are cheaper than renting (minus the down payment, of course). Where I live has a cheaper cost of living than other nearby cities, and the mortgages on the houses I was looking at was $300-400 (assuming the online calculators on realtor.com are anywhere near accurate) whereas rent on a decent apartment in a non-shady neighborhood is about $600 and up.

        1. BRR*

          As long as you have at least a 6 month emergency fund after you take the money out, you can decide what size down payment to do.

        2. Samantha*

          Don’t forget that it’s not just the mortgage payment – there’s also escrow, property taxes,and possibly mortgage insurance. Once you add those up, you are going to be paying quite a bit more than just the $300-$400 mortgage payment that’s being quoted. Just something to consider.

          1. the gold digger*

            And, within seven years of moving in,

            1. A new roof ($12,000)
            2. A new driveway ($5,000)
            3. Madjacking the garage ($700 – and it has to be done again)
            4. Trying to cure the fire blight from the two-storeys tall pear tree ($200 a year, plus $200 a year for pruning)
            5. A new furnace because the previous owner did NO maintenance at all on it ($3,000)
            6. Microwave and stove are not working well and probably need to be replaced – $2,000? (including re-installing the gas line the previous owner cut and re-directing it to the kitchen so you can have a gas stove and not the hell that is known as a glass-top electric stove)
            7. Painting the garage and the window trim, which again, if previous owner had not painted when it was only 40 degrees, would not be necessary (either a week-long project for you or $5,000)

            These are all old-house problems. If you buy a new house, they won’t (or shouldn’t) be issues, but you will have other issues, like crummy construction. :(

            1. the gold digger*

              I forgot the basement flooding almost every year. Make sure to buy the sewer back-up rider on your homeowner’s insurance so the new carpet and doorjambs are covered!

            2. ExceptionToTheRule*

              Listen to the gold digger, she speaks the truth. In five years:

              1) new HVAC ($12,000)
              2) new privacy fence ($6,000) (because I draw the line at my new neighbors line drying their unmentionables on our joint chain link fence)
              3) new deck ($12,000) (because a support joist broke)
              4) new driveway ($12,000)
              5) annual landscaping issues $600/year
              6) tree maintenance (more than I care to think about)
              7) sewer line maintenance (’cause tree roots!)

              1. Liz in a Library*

                Seriously. Not to scare you away from buying; just be aware that ownership comes with maintenance costs far higher than you might think (I didn’t!).

                -$30k structural rebuild after finding a bad slow leak. For a house in the price range you are looking at…

        3. fposte*

          Remember that a mortgage payment of $300-400 is likely a monthly payment of $600-$800 when you factor in property taxes and home insurance. And if you’re doing a down payment of below 20%, there’ll be mortgage insurance on top of that.

          On the other hand, check around the state website, municipal website, local lenders to see whether there are any first-time home buyer’s programs that would give you some advantages.

          1. Cruciatus*

            You are both of course right about other expenses making it more than $400 a month. Like I said I was just doing brief searches and thinking maybe for the same amount as renting I could actually own the whole damn thing! I just didn’t know if it was an insane idea or not with my low pay. But I do have to move out eventually one way or the other. (I’m also hopeful I will earn more money eventually but it’s taking forever to get there). I did look at some condos briefly but the problem there is that most are beachfront properties (out of my league) or run down looking. But now that I’m even considering owning, I’m paying more attention to new listings. Who knows what might pop up?

            1. the gold digger*

              It’s a great goal and certainly worth considering. I don’t think anyone is trying to tell you not to think about this – it’s that we want you to have the benefit of our experience about the true costs. I had no idea I would be spending so much money on maintenance.

            2. fposte*

              I don’t think it’s necessarily crazy–my area is another one where buying a house is probably cheaper than renting a place on your own.

              You might also have a look at a interest rates for your area–homes.com seems to have one that actually includes local lenders and not just advertisers–and consider talking to a loan officer at one of the more promising places.

              1. fposte*

                Another thought–if you’re set on a house, are there house rentals in your area? You can rent some pretty serviceable houses around here. That’s a way to avoid the property tax and upkeep issues.

    3. Colette*

      How much of the maintenance do you currently do? Hat about lawn mowing, snow shovelling, cooking, or cleaning? Are you ready to do all of it yourself?

      Maintenance can be expensive, too. It’s easy to say “I can paint”, but the last time I painted a room, it cost about $200. The roof was thousands, as was the foundation problem. Will you be able to afford upkeep? (Think 3% of the purchase price each year – you might not spend it every year, but there may be years that are more.)

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Okay, just my opinion, but no, do not do this. 30K a year is not enough to support a 90k+ mortgage. I was totally shocked when I moved into this house here. We were approved for a 90k mortgage (high for this area). In those days we were taking home maybe 40-45k per year. We picked out a modest home for 2/3 of that. The first six months was incredible. We could not even buy a coffee on the way to work. We put our credit cards away because there was no way we were going to pay any credit card bills. Eventually our annual raises rolled around and we exhaled.

      Use the mortgage calculator backwards. Put in what you are willing to pay per month. Figure that taxes and insurance will be additional. Pick an interest rate that is a little on the high side. Chose a 30 year mortgage. Solve for loan amount.

      If we had taken out a 90k mortgage we would have ended up in bankruptcy.

      More currently, after my husband passed, I was able to get a refi. This cut my mortgage in half. And it also caused my focus to shift as my heat bill is now larger than my mortgage. I don’t know where you live, but plan on heating/cooling costs to go up. I am paying four times what we used to pay 20 years ago. The only thing that has gone up faster is my health insurance costs.

      1. Bea W*

        I guess it depends on how much other expenses you have. When I bought my place, my gross income was $53k, and I had been approved for a $200K mortgage, which was barely enough to buy a small place in my area, so I did end up taking out a mortgage for close to that amount. I didn’t struggle to pay for things at all, though I couldn’t go crazy on extras like going away on vacations. I did not have a car payment or school loans or consumer debt on top of everything else. Interest rates, PMI, and taxes make a huge difference. I got a loan at a really low rate and had no PMI. My only obligations were mortgage/taxes, insurance, the condo fee, and utilities. If I had to pay the interest rates my parents had in the 80s, forget it! I think they were paying something like 11%!!

    5. Ann Furthermore*

      Have you considered buying a townhome? It feels more like a house, but your HOA fees each month take care of the outside maintenance and repairs. That’s what I did with the first place I bought and it was less overwhelming.

      I was responsible for the inside of my unit (the paint on the walls on in) and my HOA fees covered the rest. There was a problem with the front porches settling and coming away from the structure of the houses, and I did not have to pay anything to get that fixed, and I’m sure it was at least a couple thousand dollars.

  35. Anon For This One*

    This is going to be a bit of a vent, so apologies in advance. Background: I had my third child about 7 weeks ago, and he is healthy and happy and I’m so glad he’s here. However, I had a scary complication and ended up in the hospital when he was less than a week old. While the initial diagnosis was potentially life-threatening, additional tests showed that I had the mildest form. I’m still on medication, but as my specialist says, this should be just a “bump in the road” and I should be back up to full health soon.
    My in-laws are currently visiting and I am so stressed. They are here for almost two weeks, since they live in another country. For lots of reasons which aren’t there fault, they aren’t physically able to be very helpful, and while I’m not mad at them for not being healthy, I am not coping well with the extra strain. My husband is great and is doing his best, but when (for example) he’s cooking dinner, he can’t help me with a crying infant or a toddler with a tantrum. And if we didn’t have guests, we would be having take-out, super simple meals, or some of the food that I prepped and froze before the baby was born. But most of those aren’t good options with my in-laws, due to their dietary needs and our own finances. I’m overwhelmed and am counting down the days when they leave, but then I feel horribly guilty for feeling like that!
    The lack of privacy is also getting to me. Sometimes I just want to breastfeed in the living room without a cover, but I’m self conscious in front of my FIL. I often end up in our bedroom, but there isn’t a TV here and I get bored during hour-long nursing sessions.
    I know part of this is just due to lack of sleep, and my own emotional resources are probably lower than normal due to my own health scare. Even though my prognosis is excellent, we had a few very scary weeks and I was really ill.
    Sorry this is probably incoherent, and I don’t even really have a question.

    1. AdjunctGal*

      What a challenge! I’m glad you’re on the mend, though. No advice, but good vibes that the visit passes by quickly and you recover completely.

    2. fposte*

      Anon, it seems to me that having a new baby and two more children, at least one small, would be a pretty challenging time even if you were in perfect health, and you’re not. Additionally, I think having visiting in-laws with dietary restrictions would also be a pretty challenging time even if you were in perfect health–and you’re not. Put the both of them together, and I’m a little surprised you’ve found time to post. I think getting sleep would be great if you can, but you have three people in the household who don’t yet fit into the routine, one of them can’t talk, and all of them have limited diets; it’s daunting because it’s daunting, not because you’re somehow not up to it.

      1. Be the Change*

        Amen! Don’t you wish fposte could come visit and fix everything? :-)

        1. QualityControlFreak*

          I’m glad to have found the place she does visit, and her logic and wisdom helps people fix things on their own, which is even better.

          Thanks, fposte.

    3. the gold digger*

      This sounds so hard. I can see why you would be super stressed. Hang in there. I can understand why you would want the in-laws gone! Not about them, but just wanting your life to be less hard.

    4. Anon for this*

      I should add that the visit was planned and plane tickets purchased before the baby was born and when they were healthy. The intention was that they would be able to help, and they are trying really hard to provide the help that they can.

    5. Turanga Leela*

      No guilt for feeling this way! I can’t imagine how difficult this must be. Hang in there. In the meantime, if there’s no TV in the bedroom, can you watch streaming shows on your computer or phone? Or just announce to your FIL that your nipples are going to be out, and tell him he can leave the room or not.

      Other thoughts for when you’re bored while nursing: Audiobooks (or paper books if you can manage it). Guilty pleasure blogs. Candy Crush.

    6. Revanche*

      Absolutely no guilt for feeling that way! It took me three months to start feeling human again, which I didn’t anticipate, but it was very hard for me to appreciate the visit from family who ended up sitting in the living room pulling my husband into some game or another because they were bored and wanted entertaining while I was nursing and feeling terrible physically. I’d posted here a while back about having such a hard time with recovery and this visit happened during that time. I was intellectually glad that they wanted to visit but I couldn’t help being relieved to have my home to myself since they simply weren’t as much help as they could have been but rather were a distraction.

      I wish you all the best in recovering!

      1. the gold digger*

        Yeah, it’s one thing if they can’t help – in which case, they should not plan a visit when there is a new baby. I know that with Anon for this, that was not exactly the circumstance) but when you visit someone with a new baby, it should be with the intention of taking over every single household chore you can think of so the new parents can focus on the baby and rest when the baby is asleep. That means the visitors do all the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, and the yardwork, and if the baby is sleeping and mom and dad have a minute to themselves, they say, “We’re going for a walk and a coffee. We’ll be gone for two hours.”

        1. Artemesia*

          This. When my grandchild was born my husband stayed the first week with the new family (I saw the baby and then had to fly back home to work while he was retired) He cooked for them so they could cocoon with the baby. He is also very non intrusive. It was clearly much appreciated by them. Anyone who is going to be around should be genuinely helpful and in most cases, staying in the home is a terrible idea unless they very clearly welcome it as helpful.

        2. Revanche*

          Precisely. That wasn’t what 1 visitor did and I’m so glad that it was only the one or I would have had to send someone home!

    7. Jen RO*

      I’m not very fond of people visiting for extended periods of time and I am horrible when I don’t get enough sleep – you are handling this better than I would have. Don’t feel guilty for counting the days – it’s not their fault they can’t help and have all the restrictions, but it’s also not fair to you either. Can’t you find some middle ground? Is there *some* takeout they could eat? Can the husband cook less time consuming meals? Can you move the TV to the bedroom? Can you borrow an extra TV from someone until they leave?

      1. Anon for this*

        I wish we could move the TVs! They are both wall-mounted and not going anywhere. But I think I will move my computer up to the bedroom so I can watch Netflix!

      2. Artemesia*

        I am not understanding why the in laws can’t be cooking especially with their limited diets. Wouldn’t they be doing that for themselves at home?

        1. Anon for this*

          Fil isn’t mobile enough to cook and mil hasn’t really been offering. Last night after I posted, my husband asked her to cook and she did.

    8. Carrie in Scotland*


      As said above, I think any one of these is challenging but put them all together. You are doing great. Be kind to yourself and I hope everything starts to get better soon.

    9. TheLazyB*

      Is there any way you could pay for them to stay somewhere else for a night or two? Maybe not from what you say?

      I found it weird when my parents started staying elsewhere and not with me….. but I really appreciate it now :-/

      I feel you, I really do. So glad your health scare was minor.

      1. TheLazyB*

        Are they well enough to take one/both of your older kids for a walk round the block/to the park?

        If not – any friends you could call on to ‘help’ them do that?

        In fact – calling on your social network is what I’d do. Call your friends to come round and support you with the kids and practicalities. I am presuming you have ‘parent friends’, or friends who are basically competent with children :)

        You don’t happen to be in North East England? If so I could help out :)

        Oh and ymmv but I would just leave off the cover, unless there’s something specific preventing that (culture, issues with in laws…. Can’t think of anything else but sure there are lots of other reasons!). Right after my son was born I swiftly realised I would have no shame left within a week and I think that’s stood me in good stead.

        1. Anon for this*

          Part of the problem is that my fil is temporarily on crutches so isn’t really mobile at all. I’m fairly shameless when it comes to nursing in public but for some reason I can’t sit on the same couch with my fil (or my own dad) without using a cover.

          1. TheLazyB*

            Sitting on the same couch I can actually understand. Have you got room to beg/borrow a chair from a friend while they’re here?

          2. TheLazyB*

            Reading the older kids stories? How old are they – could he direct a jigsaw from a chair? Snap? Or set out cards for ‘memory pairs’ on the sofa between him and kid/s? Kid’s TV channel and ‘get child A to tell you about this, it’s his/her fave programme!’ I think if he had stuff he could do with them he might feel more useful and that might alleviate all the stress….. maybe?

    10. Buu*

      Are there any more specialist food outlets you can order from? Rather than your standard Chinese there may be smaller restaurants and cafes that see to special needs that do takeout, or just send them out for a meal ( or a film/show) or two so you can get a nap. I know the urge when visiting is to spend every waking moment together, but they might as well enjoy being abroad if they can. Perhaps this may be better coming from your husband? Something along the lines of:
      “Hey, I got you tickets for XXX show, I thought you might as well enjoy yourselves as we can’t take you out with the baby. I think Anon might also need a quiet afternoon.”

      Then if they protest give them a random errand to do as part of this trip ” blah de blah store is around the corner, it would really help us if you picked up X, Y and Z whilst you were there.”

      But yeah I also agree move the TV or rent/borrow a tablet/tv from a friend or rental company

      1. Anon for this*

        Really good idea to look into specialist food shops! I’ll check it out. I wish we could send them on errands but my fil can’t drive due to his injury and my mil doesn’t at all.

    11. Today's anon*

      Not sure if it’s viable, but could they stay at a hotel or airBnB nearby? You could sill see each other often but there would be at least some privacy, and also your husband could go and spend time with them and leave you alone to recover/nurse/sleep.

  36. AdjunctGal*

    Anyone buy a foreclosure or a short sale? We plan on house hunting, provided we can get a mortgage with our weird income, but we want to keep our mortgage as low as possible, and get no more than a $200,000 house.

    1. Bea W*

      My sister did, but wasn’t specifically looking for one. It was just luck. She and her husband’s newly blended family is 8 (2 adults and 6 kids under the age of 12), so they wanted a good size place. They wound up in a beautiful big house they would have not been able to afford at market value. They were lucky though that the previous owners had left it in good condition…probably because they had relocated and had tried to sell it when the market tanked. I’ve heard so many end up trashed.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      We explored this option when we were house hunting 3 years ago, because we kept hearing about the fabulous deals to be had on foreclosures or short sales. Our realtor steered us away from them, because we had a set timeline. We had to be into a new house by mid-summer so we could get the kids enrolled in school.

      My understanding is that foreclosures and short sales can be very shaky. The bank has to be involved, which adds another layer of bureaucracy and red tape, which takes time. In the case of a short sale, the bank has to approve the sale amount, since they’re holding the mortgage. There’s no telling how long all that can take, and no guarantee that the deal won’t collapse at the last minute, which I guess is not uncommon.

      So…if you don’t have any set deadlines, and you’re OK with maybe having to go through the entire cluster a few times before making a deal that finally sticks, then it can be a great way to find a home.

  37. Ruffingit*

    Who are your favorite authors? The people whose book you will read whenever they come out?

    1. Tara*

      I’ve loved Tamora Pierce ever since I was ten or so, and I’ve decided that her books are without an age limit.

      Actually, most of the authors I read religiously are young adult. David Levithan is a big one, and despite the fact that I find Cassandra Clare’s books semi-trashy and super ridiculous I continue to read them the moment they come out and then re-read them continuously throughout the year.

    2. Ruffingit*

      Maeve Binchy was one of my go-to authors. I took her death hard. Also love Barbara Delinsky and Jodi Picoult, although I have to be in the mood to read Picoult’s books because they are generally tragic and make my brain twist.

    3. Jen RO*

      Stephen King, Terry Pratchett :(, Scott Lynch, Jeff VanderMeer. But “whenever they come out” means “whenever they come out and have a reasonable Kindle price”, because I’m not paying 25 EUR for pixels.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (joint and separate books)
      Joe Hill
      Stephen King
      JK Rowling (I still have to read her detective things)

      I’m so behind on my reading.

      1. Alistair*

        Agree totally on Preston and Child, though I’m not terribly interested in their separate books, who knows why.

        The only other author I will buy hardback for is Kim Stanley Robinson. His latest, Shaman, was a major departure in genre, but good still. It needs a reread one of these days.

    5. Carrie in Scotland*

      I love Kate Atkinson’s books (both fiction and her crime series).
      I used to really like Paullina Simons but haven’t read her new ones but go back to her older books a fair bit.
      Quite a lot of crime, mainly Scandi-noir: Belinda Bauer, Camilla Lackberg, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Mons Kallentoft etc.

    6. Be the Change*

      Just discovered Chris Bohjalian. For mind candy, Laurie King’s Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes novels.

    7. bkanon*

      Jodi Picoult
      Tana French
      C.S. Harris
      Terry Pratchett, RIP
      Ben Aaronovitch

      Oh, man, I’m actually blanking because there are SO MANYYYYYYYY. I’ll re-read a lot of authors too. Kim Harrison, Jacqueline Carey, J.K. Rowling, Amanda Quick, David Eddings, Spider Robinson, Christopher Moore, Bill Bryson, Jean Auel, Lauren Henderson. I’ll read almost anything except horror and even that’s not a firm line. Just finished Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 last month.

    8. JMW*

      Australian author Kate Morton – gothic fiction that starts in the present but uncovers family history as the story evolves in order to explain how the present came to be and help resolve whatever the current dilemma is. Favorite book of hers: The Forgotten Garden.

    9. Soupspoon McGee*

      Neil Gaiman
      Amy Tan
      Isabelle Allende
      Jonathan Saffron Foer
      Salman Rushdie

    10. Suz*

      Not that they necessarily have new books coming out, but…
      Anne Fine
      Dianna Wynne Jones
      Gordon Korman’s funny works
      Annie Dalton…

  38. T is for Tractor*

    We are thinking of getting laminate or engineered wood flooring for our living room, dining room and kitchen. We have a 65 lb German Shepherd so real wood doesn’t seem like a good choice. Does anyone have laminate or engineered wood flooring? Do you mind sharing your experience with it?

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      We’re renting a house with laminate floors in the living room and kitchen (no dining room), and they’re great. We have a 60-lb hound mix with long-ish nails (they weren’t cut enough when he was a puppy, so his quicks are super long) and the floors haven’t suffered at all. We get more problems from his pre-dinner drooling than from his nails! These floors are on the darker side and really nice, and they look very much like hardwood. We had hardwood in our last apartment and it was lovely, but the sealant kept peeling off and the pup did a bit of damage.

      My mother got laminate in her condo back in… 2002, I want to say. It looked nice but it was REALLY slippery. Their dog could barely walk on it. Materials have improved a bit since then, but keep texture in mind– you probably don’t want something quite that smooth.

    2. Revanche*

      We have wood laminate and while we like it for cleaning, it was really hard on our older dog whose hips were starting to go out. It dents somewhat easily but the good thing is if you’re so inclined you can replace the laminate slats. If you look into it, perhaps double check that it’s not too slippery (or at all?) as it can be hard as your dog gets older.

  39. Come On Eileen*

    LASIK went really well! It’s so amazing to be able to wake up in the morning and just see. So glad that I did it. I’m still trying to figure out if my vision is settling in/continuing to improve (the astigmatism in my left eye was pretty severe, so at present I see really well in my right eye but the left is just a bit fuzzy) and still doing the daily eye drop regimen. All in all, I’m super happy with it.

    Also, I realize I never reported back after finishing the Whole30. I lost around 10 lbs and a few inches around my hips and waist. I feel like I got into a groove toward the end and was really enjoying the simplicity of that way of eating. But I didn’t conquer my sugar demon, it’s still very much present and accounted for. I think I’m having a rebound effect — after thirty days with no sweets, I’ve been going overboard with desserts for about two weeks now. But I’m cognizant of it, and overall more aware of what im putting in my body. I do hope to get to a point where I find a balance with food that works for me. As a recovering addict, I see hints of addiction with food — not nearly to the point I was with booze and pills, but still. theres something inside me that just always wants more. More of everything. The fact that I realize this is half the battle.

    1. E*

      My husband and I have been Paleo for a couple of months, and I noticed the same about being more cognizant of the food I eat. My appetite is lessened with no processed food or sugars, except when I break down under stress and have a nibble. But it’s much easier to get back on board than with any other “diet” I’ve tried.

  40. Revanche*

    I generally hang out here on my phone and it does this weird thing of adjusting the whole page to a smaller font size suddenly when I’m scrolling or writing a comment. That makes the screen jump several screens down. Does that happen to anyone else and do you have any suggestions for making it stop?

  41. Ask a Manager* Post author

    My husband is out of town this week and to entertain myself I decided to finally start The Wire. I just finished the first two episodes and now am about to start the third from bed. I might spend my Sunday doing this instead of the list of productive things I had planned.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes! The first one, I thought, “Okay, this is basically a really well-done police procedural,” but now I’m on the fourth and it’s much more than that.

        And yeah, the timing isn’t intentional but doesn’t escape me.

        1. Revanche*

          Re: timing. Yeah I’m seeing a lot on Twitter from Baltimoreans about how popular The Wire was but there’s just not enough actual support of the people actually living in Baltimore and it was a sad thought. (I haven’t seen it just have a general idea of the gist)

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I don’t think anyone is surprised that I approve of this plan.

      PS Season 4 is the best.

    2. Audiophile*

      I’ve been wanting to watch this for ages.
      It’s on Amazon Prime and I’m a Prime member and I still haven’t made time to watch it.
      Every year the complete series goes on sale and I think, “I should buy this, but will I actually watch it?”
      At this point, I’m afraid it won’t live up to the hype.

    3. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      It’s my husband’s number one show ever. I’ve seen eps but never done it straight to through to which he says, “are you nuts”?

      Hulu Plus dropped in all seasons of Law & Order: SVU.

      I’m spending my weekend with Christopher Meloni. :-) :-) :-)

    4. Mimmy*

      My husband loved that show. I might’ve watched a few episodes with him a long time ago, but lost interest. The funny part is that whenever we’re watching something else, be it a movie or another HBO show, he’ll point to an actor and say, “He was on The Wire!” All roads lead back to The Wire, lol.

          1. Stephanie*

            I saw an interview with Christopher Meloni where he talked about how differently fans of Oz versus fans of SVU acted when they met him. “Fans of SVU were like ‘I enjoyed seeing you on the show.’ Fans of Oz were like ‘Uh, I enjoyed seeing all of you on the show.'”

            I saw the Wire before Oz, so it was weird seeing some of the cops as antagonists on Oz.

            1. Audiophile*

              I remember watching him on Oz. But my favorite was Robson. I swore I saw the actor who played him in a Target I worked at in 05.

    5. Windchime*

      I watched the first episode of it and it seemed really dated to me. I was surprised to see that the show wasn’t like 15 years old. I’m not sure what it was; maybe it was because one person was typing up forms on a typewriter?

      I should give it another chance. I couldn’t get past that first episode.

  42. Ms. Anxious*

    I have a hard time communicating with my parents. Every time I am alone with them in the house I try my best not to talk so much, especially about myself or topics that could lead to questions about me.

    I am actually mostly concerned with expressing myself to my parents. I lived with them by whole life, but when I was a child and in my teens, I have a bad time in school. I was having trouble developing socially. I have trouble making friends and I always get bullied. My parents will be shocked at how I am doing socially at school, so I would always hide it from my parents. Since my parents were working most of the day and have no time to attend parent-teacher conferences, that was easy for me to do.

    Now as I get older, I am still having the same problems with my social life. I don’t have much friends and my family seems like the only resources I can go to if I need help with “life.” It gets even more difficult when I actually start to know more about my parents and found that they think differently about some issues that I do such as, ethics, privacy, workplace behavior, etc.

    I basically feel that I do not want my parents to know “what kind of person I am.” I also feel like I want to hide the fact that I don’t know something that they expected me to know. They have high hopes on me and expects nothing but success for my career so that I can support the family. There are many flaws about me that they do not know about. They seem to think that I am someone who will never have setbacks, flaws, or capabilities of making mistakes. But thinking about my parent’s expectation of who I am verse who I really am stresses me out from time to time.

    I keep having fears that I will express my flaws of character and my parents would be nagging about how dumb I am or why the “f*ck” would I not know about something.

    What are the best ways to deal with this kind of parent-child relationship?

    1. Colette*

      I’d suggest therapy for two reasons – it may help you figure out how to deal with the social relationships you’re finding hard, and it can give you ways to talk to your parents.

    2. TheLazyB*

      Are you still living with them? (Related – how old are you – not looking for a number, but are you still dependent on them?) if so I would work on changing that :( save money, look at room shares if you can’t afford anything else. And build your support system – you imply you have some friends? I have struggled with this in the past, but it can be done, I promise.

      I am also wondering if there’s any cultural stuff going on. The thing about wanting you to support the family – that’s unusual, no? My parents have never expected that of me and my sisters.

      Seconding Colette’s recommendation of therapy. I would also explore the Captain Awkward blog archives – she’s got some good stuff about setting boundaries with family which it sounds like you’re doing (at least mentally) – but I think it helps if a) you know it’s not just you and b) she might have scripts you can steal.

      It sounds hard. Good luck.

    3. Jean*

      If this is something cultural specific to your family, are there any organizations of other people from similar family circumstances and experiences? Or any memoirs or novels written by people from similar situations? It’s sometimes very helpful to connect with other people or characters who have faced the same challenges. If you’re able to connect with other people, either in person or via the Internet, you might find them helpful resources for some of your questions. I’m not being more specific because I don’t know your situation in detail (and that’s okay! no need for you to share beyond your comfort level!) and I don’t want to leap to conclusions.
      Perhaps your local public library and reference librarian could help you look for such groups and/or literature. Imperfect example: I ask the librarian for resources about Jewish families who emigrated to the American South in the years between 1840 and 1860, or about their descendants some 150 years later. (Not quite my own background, but you get the idea).

      1. Ms. Anxious*

        I am dependent on my parents because I am still do not know how to live on my own. I am in my mid-20s. I also lived in a culture where children need to have respect for their parents and be very candid with them. I did try to find some books in amazon and goodreads for books that might give me inspiration for dealing with my situation, but it can be sometimes hard to find. Maybe I’ll try family magazine articles and blogs this time. Thank you.

        1. fposte*

          Do you want to live on your own? I’m struck by the “still don’t know how to live on my own.” Most people learn that by doing it–we live on our own, we make mistakes, and then we learn from them. Do you feel like you’re gaining knowledge in that area while you’re living with your parents and will eventually feel like you do know enough to live on your own?

          Are you currently socializing with anyone other than your parents? I know you feel like socialization is a difficult thing for you, but I think having people aside from your parents is really important. Even if you don’t want to socialize with people at work, it might be good to find a low impact venue, like volunteering somewhere or a subject-focused class or meetup, that would allow you a world that isn’t always focused on your parents.

          1. fposte*

            Sorry, meant to say that I think it’s fine if you genuinely wish to continue to live with your parents–it just wasn’t clear to me from your posts whether that’s what you want or not.

            1. Ms. Anxious*

              I am not sure how long I can keep on being “silent” and “secretly keeping things to myself” while I’m living with my parents. They do work hard to put a roof over my head and I wanted them to know that I respect that and that I might be just as resourceful as a child to them when they needed my help later on in life.

              I do realized that I have personal flaws that might be preventing me from making lasting relationships with people other than my family. It has impact me in networking and finding jobs. The job that I currently have is also found through a family friend; therefore, one can see how dependent I am of my parents.

              There are a lot of life skills that I still need to learn. When there is a lot to learn, I do need to take it step-by-step. But what if I got in trouble that my parents need to fix? They will insist on fixing it because I have a reputation of not being able to do things on my own and they can’t “afford” to see my failure.

              1. TheLazyB*

                I want to repeat the suggestion of therapy. I wonder how much of this is really objectively true, and how much is because they want to keep you dependent. I might be being very unfair, but I wonder if they have gaslighted you into believing how incapable you are. I do hope I am wrong, at least partly.

                Even very socially awkward people can build great support networks and learn social skills…. At least up to a point.

                You sound unhappy :( I hope you can make some changes.

              2. fposte*

                I’m with Lazy B on the therapy, very strongly. I’ll append a post with a link to low-cost therapy in the US and Canada. You make it sound like the socializing thing is set in stone, and I really doubt that it is; I also think that it’s pretty common for parents to assume their children think exactly as they do–and to be wrong about that.

                It also sounds like you may be going through the urge for separation that a lot of people negotiate a little earlier–that’s what so much of teenage rebellion is about. The way you talk about living alone makes it sound like it’s not worth doing unless you never need help from anyone. And I bet a lot, maybe most people have moved into their own place and still gotten some help from their parents. It’s okay to do that. Does it feel like a problem to you because you can’t conceive of creating a relationship with your parents where you can let them in some but they don’t take over your life? That’s a place where therapy can really help.

          2. TheLazyB*

            Yeah – also, is that true, or just something they are telling you to keep you there?

            Also you can have respect for your parents from far far away. Respect does not have to mean living in the same house, unless you want it to of course.

  43. nep*

    Making progress on pistol squats. Anyone do these? What helped you get there? (I find it’s as much about that leg you’re holding straight out front as the standing/squatting leg.)

    1. nep*

      (Just seeing some great pistol-squat-progression tutorials on line. Good stuff.)

    2. fposte*

      They’re way beyond me, but I think they’re seriously cool; they’re the bodyweight exercise that I most like the idea of doing (for yoga it’s scorpion pose). So I hope you get there and then report back!

      1. nep*

        I’ve dabbled in it in the past — looking at a couple demo vids here and there. But — as with pull-ups — starting to really apply myself.
        However both efforts turn out, I’m loving the strength gains.

        1. fposte*

          I *love* strength gains. They’re so immediately rewarding. I was so impatient during the therapeutic part of the McKenzie stuff–yeah, yeah, pain relief, when can I build the strength back again? I’m still building strength on the basic life stuff after the pre-surgery debility, but I’d love to move even beyond where I was before once my recovery settles and I know where I need to be careful. As I said upthread, my Gait Guy–given exercises, which left me with glutes you could hammer nails with, almost allowed me to avoid surgery, they provided so much stability.

          So I love hearing about what you’re tackling–maybe I won’t get there, but maybe I will!

    3. Yoshi*

      I used to have to do these as part of the conditioning routine for my high school sports team. Even in high school, with legs of steel and four years of practice ,I could never quite do them. I could get down, but would always wobble coming back up. Good for you for even attempting those things.

      1. nep*

        We’ve got poles in the basement — one of the helpful progression videos has some good moves using a pole. I’ll be incorporating that.

    4. Stephanie*

      I had never heard of these until now. I googled them and tried them just now. I made it about halfway down until it was like “Nope!”

    5. Trixie*

      I think I would try phases and work my way up to it . Single leg squats with other knee bent/foot behind, building strength. And then maybe extended leg, assisted with band to see how it feels.

  44. Computer Guy Eli*

    So I can’t believe this just happened today. I think I wrote somewhere on one of the previous free for all threads that I was going to ask a girl out. Well, I wussed out and wasn’t able to do it. One of my friends (Who just happens to also be my manager at work, but I digress.) has been telling me to go for it for a while now but I seemingly can’t talk to women without completely turning into another person. I’m talking to her at the cash register about our shifts when she says “We should hang out some time!” And I responded with something along the lines of “Sure! I’ll hit you up on facebook!” Both of us smiled, and I walked off to work.

    Holy cow that took the weight off my shoulders. Not quite a date, but I can take it from here.

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      I remember that post – we were all wondering how it went.

      Sounds like a step in the right direction, Eli! :)

    2. Oh Anon*

      Yay! :-) We’ve all been hoping things went well. Please, keep us updated! Good luck!

  45. Audiophile*

    I bought the Nexus 6 to replace my broken LG G3, which I sold on website. I couldn’t see getting the G3 fixed, since I only paid a penny for it. So I made a little profit. Then I also sold an older Sprint phone I had lying around.
    Now I need to find a case for my new phone. Any recommendations? I usually use Otterbox, but they don’t make a case for the N6. I always liked the built in screen protector. But this phone is really big not very thin, so I’m not sure I want the extra bulk.

    In other news, I had a date last night. Went well, we went to see the new Avengers movie and then went to dinner. We made plans to meetup again.

    Got some interviews coming up this week. I’m having a pretty good week. :D :)

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      Good luck for the interviews and the next date! May your week be as good as hoped :)

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      Random question: how do you like the Nexus 6? Is it too big? I’ve heard its monstrously large, but I haven’t seen one in person.

      1. Audiophile*

        I like it. It IS big. I’m a girl, with small hands (I think). But considering the fleet of phones that I’ve had, every phone felt bigger than the last. For instance, I had a BB Curve at one point, got rid of that for the Evo, which felt big. Had an S4, which at the time felt big and I said “I won’t go bigger than this.” Then I got the LG G3.
        I did test out the N6 before, though. Prior to my leaving Sprint, I upgraded for two weeks to try it out. and I LOVED it but didn’t want to stay with Sprint. I switched to AT&T and bought the LG G3, which I broke about a month into having it. I downgraded to a goPhone and then the other night I bought the N6 full-price. It’ll be my big purchase for the year.

        If you want to see it live, go swing by an AT&T store or a Best Buy, there should be a demo version available. I love Google Phones and “pure” Android. I love that it minimizes what carriers are allowed to put on the phone. I always hated when I’d check battery life to find all the bloatware running in the background.

        1. Alma*

          I’m seriously considering a N6. The prospect of Google wireless-to-wifi service is very exciting!! I have the N7, and really like it. I’ll be switching from BB too. I think cases and other add-ons will come quickly, as the N6 is the only way to get on the Google service.

    3. Oh Anon*

      Check out Spigen for cases. The one for the LG G2 was awesome. Just curious, what was wrong with your G3? My G2 recently took a crap on me – the processor was overheating causing the phone to go into a bootloop.

      1. Audiophile*

        Oh I dropped it lol. Screen completely cracked the digitizer was busted in the drop. Since I paid so little for it, thank you Amazon wireless, I couldn’t see spending so much to get it fixed. I ended up selling it for a bit of a profit.

        I always wanted the N6, I loved my old Galaxy Nexus. I skipped the N4 and N5 because I was mid contract and had other phones that I really liked.

        Thanks for the case recommendation. I was bummed to find out Otterbox doesn’t make an N6 case. I’ve always had Otterbox cases. While I know some feel they’re too bulky, I loved having that much protection.
        Since I busted my G3 I’m terrified of doing the same with this N6, so when I’m not using it, I put it back in the box.

    4. BAS*

      Late, but I have a N5 and I got an otterbox/casemate style two piece case off Amazon I’m very happy with. It’s labeled ‘Acase’ on the back. I dropped my phone in a parking lot the other day with no damage.

      1. Audiophile*

        Thanks for the recommendation but they don’t make an N6 case.

        I love this phone but there are very few cases available. I looked at Spigen, UAG, Ballastic, Tough Maxx, I-Blason.
        Part of me wants a rugged case that includes a screen protector. And part of me wants a slimmer case with bumpers that will protect the screen for minor drops. I won’t be carrying it in my pocket since it’s so large.

  46. Today's anon*

    Does anyone have a good To Do app they love? I seem to do ok at work but when it comes to home stuff, I can’t keep a list of things to do straight and then Sunday night remember I was going to do something that I don’t have time to during the week. I also want somewhere to park ideas that are for the future really like replacing my couch which are not pressing and need research.

    1. Dr. Doll*

      For me, the problem isn’t finding the right app as much as it is having the discipline to sit down and make the darn list. But one of my friends swears by todoist.

    2. fposte*

      I use Clear, which is the simplest freaking thing ever. I keep a running longer-term work list in Word, but I just have a Clear directory for every day and use that for short term.

    3. Treena Kravm*

      My husband and I had been trying different systems to keep our mutual to-do’s straight. We finally found Wunderlist. It is AMAZING. It’s just lists. That’s it. You can share your lists with another user, each task can be assigned to someone, it can have a file attached, a due date, or a reminder alarm. You can write notes about it, create subtasks, and you can comment on it (so it’ll read like a facebook post comment if you’re discussing the item with another person). The vast majority of my items don’t use any of these features, but it’s really handy for items that do require in-depth information included. I use it primarily in the web browser, my husband uses an iOS app on his computer, and we both use the phone app.

      I also love that it archives everything you check off. Looking back I love seeing so much getting accomplished! It’s the only electronic equivalent I’ve found of physically crossing it off. I still like creating a daily to-do list separate from the app, but it allows you to “star” things and you could easily create a daily list from the starred items.

      Initially, we started using it because I needed to be able to tell my husband, “Here is your to-do list” in a format where it wouldn’t get buried (Skype, email) and in a way that I could tell him the due date, as well as easily see if he’s done it and when I should start bugging him again. (these were all things that he absolutely had to do himself). But now we have lists about EVERYTHING. Groceries, General stuff, Decisions (things that need more research), Things I have to pay for (not recurring bills), Places I want to visit, etc. It’s also been great for planning our upcoming move, and I have oodles of lists for everything in that area as well.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Can we talk more about how the giving of to-do’s to a spouse works?

        I am hyper organized, remember the details of everything, pretty much never forget a to-do item, and basically do stuff that needs to be be done right away. My husband is much more laid back (which is something I love and appreciate about him in other contexts) and often isn’t as on top of stuff that we talked about him doing. Which then makes me feel like I have to remind him, which makes me worry that I’m nagging or mommying him, which I really, really don’t want to do. (But in reality, I will choose that over having the thing not get done. I don’t know if that’s the right trade-off with everything.)

        I would love it if it were okay to just give him a written list. I suppose this is a question for me to talk over with him, but how do you (and others) make this work in a way where you don’t feel like you’re mommying him? I know this is a common gender dynamic and wonder how others handle it.

        1. Massachuset*

          Yes I also want to hear about this more! I have no good solution. I recently just hired a house cleaning service because I have no solution.

        2. Treena Kravm*

          First, thank you, because this inspired a really good relationship check-up. I just had a good conversation with my husband because I realized we’ve never really had an explicit, big-picture conversation about this, and instead built our current system as issues cropped up. And of course I needed to know if he felt I was mommying him!

          So the first thing that makes this a lot easier for me is the stuff I nag him about is truly stuff I can’t do (for his visa application, he needs a letter from his employer stating his income) or it makes no sense for me to do (schedule his dr’s/dentist appointments). In the past, I would give him a whole list (3-6 items) and he never did any of it without me nagging a LOT. After a talk, we found out he gets overwhelmed with multiple things on his plate (that’s all he does at work, and in his personal life he doesn’t want that), so I started giving him one thing at a time. Now, they all appear on his Wunderlist, but I’ve created deadlines, so he knows he doesn’t have to worry about any of them except the one due next.

          When we specifically talked about mommying, he said that if anything, it feels like he’s my assistant, in that I give him tasks to do and get annoyed if they’re not done, which occasionally makes him feel crappy. I found this *really* interesting, because I felt the same way! So I was just sort of brainstorming aloud and came up with something I think you’ll appreciate.

          Our life is the non-profit. We’re co-CEO’s, but we also take on other roles because we have a tiny org. My husband is definitely the CTO, so he’s in charge of the technology and I’m the COO. Most of the time, we’ll meet and discuss projects and then delegate whatever needs to get done. So when I remind him of those tasks, it’s simply part of my role to make sure stuff is getting done. Because if there wasn’t someone overseeing operations, a lot would get done, and things would inevitably fall through the cracks. He’s going to try to think of it like that the next time it comes up and see if it helps.

          I realize that this dynamic works best if one person is largely the one in charge of the stuff. My husband works 60+hours and earns 70% of our income, while I work ~30 hours/week and contribute the other 30%. So a big part of my contribution is overseeing bills, moving, planning vacations, organizing the house, etc. All of that stuff requires his input, but ultimately I’m the one that does the research, gathers the options, presents it to him and after a discussion and mutual decision, I carry out whatever decision we come up with. (That’s why I was thinking I was more of his assistant)

        3. Ann Furthermore*

          I don’t really have anything valuable to add here. My husband told me that if there’s stuff I want him to do, I may need to ask him a couple times because he does forget things. I think it all comes down to tone. I’ll text him when I think of things (new batteries in our daughter’s night light, something I need hung up, etc) and somehow that feels less formal/ naggy than an actual honey-do list.

          We are friends with a couple who are really nice and lots of fun. But it’s very, very clear that she is the alpha in the relationship. And there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s a pretty laid back guy, so it’s good for him to be paired up with someone more driven. And it’s good for her to have someone more easy going in her life, because she can be kind of intense. But anyway, one day he posted a pic of his honey-do list on Facebook, which made me laugh.

        4. Tomato Frog*

          I may have mentioned this before in the open threads, but I had a really good experience handling this sort of thing by explaining to my boyfriend just how high stakes an issue it was for me and why. I told him that, as a woman, I have a (very reasonable) fear that the bulk of the household chores are going to fall to me, so this is an emotional issue for me, not just a practical home-upkeep one; and I explained that having to ask him to do things is a type of work (an exhausting type of work) and makes me feel unsupported and like a sitcom wife. I gave him very specific examples of things he could do regularly, without my asking, that would allow me to feel like this was a partnership of equals. That was probably a year and a half ago and we really haven’t had a division-of-household-labor problem since. Then again, we are also both messy, lazy people, so the bar was pretty low.

        5. Alma*

          It was suggested to me that each “to do” item go on a separate card and include the time it would take to complete the project. On an app, tasks that are half-hour to complete could be highlighted in yellow, one hour tasks in blue, etc. When looking at the time available, the partner who will be completing the task gets to choose from the jobs that fit the time slot.

          Since it is me, myself, and I, the idea was filed away as being worthy, but not something I’d enforce or be thrilled about doing (the partner part is somewhat necessary).

  47. AnonAcademic*

    Anyone here moved cross-country before, specifically from the NYC area to San Francisco Bay area? My husband and I are moving in 2 months, I got a job at one of the local universities. I am mostly past freaking out and am excited – for the job opportunity, to live in a temperate climate, to be able to take advantage of the outdoors more. But I am bracing myself a bit for the culture shock – the pace of life, the difference in how direct people are especially about negative stuff. I found Boston/New England to be way different than NYC area and I imagine the difference will be similar. Anyone have any tips or experiences? Any regional etiquette I should know (i.e. the equivalent of NYC commuter etiquette)?

    1. Treena Kravm*

      Public transportation etiquette is the same, although people walk sooo slowly. General service workers are also VERY friendly. It took me about a year before I was no longer startled by the grocery cashier’s warm, happy greetings. You’re right that people are much less direct about negative stuff, and people get their feelings hurt easily. If your sarcasm-speak is anything other than glaringly obvious, you’re going to hurt some feelings.

      In NY, the idea is that the pedestrian should be looking out for themselves, so they’ll stand at the edge of the street and wait for a lull in traffic before crossing. In CA, the pedestrian is king and cars will always slam on their brakes to give you the right of way. As a pedestrian, be aware of where you’re standing on a corner. If your foot is on the crosswalk, the cars will stop because it’s an enforced state law. Sometimes, even if you’re just standing on the sidewalk looking at your phone, they’ll stop for you, and will definitely get annoyed if you’re not intending to cross (Not so much in SF, but everywhere else in CA). If you’re going to be driving, honking is a Big. Deal. and done only very sparingly for egregious behavior and cutting off/speeding/weaving isn’t normal here.

      I can’t speak to biking differences because when I left NY the Citi bikes weren’t in yet, but bikers in CA also get the right of way way more than in NY (at least when I left, maybe it’s different now).

      1. Hellanon*

        >>In CA, the pedestrian is king and cars will always slam on their brakes to give you the right of way.

        Not so much in Los Angeles – here, they are more likely to hot you & keep on going. We’re having a real hit&run epidemic, and if I could tell visitors (and locals!) anything, it’s to be ultra-careful and not assume cars will stop…

        1. Treena Kravm*

          That makes a lot of sense since LA is the car capital of the the US, but up north, it’s a different story.

    2. Yoshi*

      Treena I’ve found the opposite to be true- in CA cars are king, where on the east coast I feel like pedestrians always have the right of way. We may have different views because I lived in southern California and recently moved to DC, but I’ve been very surprised about how much leeway and consideration pedestrians are given here.

      Also Anon Academic- don’t jay walk or cross against the red light at a crosswalk They massively ticket for that stuff in CA (well, at least in southern California, there might be regional differences).

      1. Treena Kravm*

        Well, I’m talking about northern California/Bay Area vs. NYC. Culture-wise, southern California may as well be a different planet than SF, and the same goes for NYC/DC.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      Also an East Coast transplant out here, and I’ve been here well over a decade. I think culture shock is just part of being here, and there’s not much you can do about it besides ride it out. Absolutely true they ticket for jaywalking.

      I’ve long since gotten used to Bay Area life, but these were definitely the things my spouse and I had to adjust to when we first moved out:
      – Coffee is a lot stronger out here. I don’t drink coffee, but my spouse does, and it took her a while to wean herself off Dunkin’ Donuts to appreciate Blue Bottle and other stuff around.
      – Most of the pizza isn’t as good. There are a few exceptions, of course (Arinell Pizza, Little Star Pizza), but, for the most part, if you’re used to a really good thin crust for super cheap the way it is all over New York and New Jersey, not so much here.
      – Professionally, things are a lot more laidback (and I think this is a good thing) in general. People walk more slowly on the street. If you work in a school, kids are far likelier to call their teachers by first names instead of Mr., Ms., Mrs. High-powered tech companies have super casual dress codes.
      – Drivers are unpredictable and don’t signal. I grew up in the Boston area, where drivers are notoriously bad. At the same time, I felt the drivers were predictable—if someone could cut you off, she would! Here in the Bay Area, you have no idea what you’ll encounter… someone too slow, someone too fast, someone not sure enough, someone cutting you off, someone not cutting you off, someone signaling the wrong signal direction. It’s a mess. I will say one plus of being out here is that people tend not to clog the intersections if a road is backed up at a green light.
      – Public transit isn’t that great, especially buses (BART and CalTrain aren’t as bad, or at least run on time).

      All that said, I love this place. Hiking and beautiful views are right in the city or right nearby. You have great farmers markets (try the one in San Rafael Civic Center on Sundays), food trucks, festivals. Golden Gate Park is amazing. Tahoe (once this drought ends) has much better skiing than the Northeast does. And, apart from the pizza and Korean food, the restaurants here are amazing! Some people don’t like the fog, but I think the fog in the western part of the city is the best.

      1. Treena Kravm*

        Interesting take on the driving! I never thought of it like that, but you’re kind of right. I didn’t notice it as much as a difference because I think NY is more unpredictable.

        +1 for the pizza and professional demeanor. Not sure about SF, but about 3 hours north, the students call professors by their first names, and it still freaks me out every time I hear them address faculty so casually.

        1. Pennalynn Lott*

          On calling professors by their first names: I have returned to school after three decades in the professional world where I called everyone – including the CEO’s of the prospect companies I was calling on and meeting with – by their first name. It is dang-near impossible for me to call adults who are my age (and younger) and who have less work experience than me “Professor So-and-So” or “Mr/Ms So-and-So”. I have trouble understanding the need for an honorific, other than that’s how it’s done in K-12 and most of the students are fresh out of high school. In my view, professors and faculty are the same as any other consultant or contractor I have hired to help me with something. If I am paying for your time, I’m not likely to put you on an artificial platform. (FWIW, I also bristle at calling physicians “Doctor So-and-So”. They learned a trade, I am paying them for their knowledge. If they can call me Pennalynnn, I can call them Wakeen.)

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            I was actually talking about high school teachers, but college, too, I suppose!

            1. Pennalynn Lott*

              LOL. I’ve never heard of high school teachers being referred to as “professors”. I’ve only ever heard it used for college instructors.

              1. Anonymous Educator*

                I was referring to my earlier remark (If you work in a school, kids are far likelier to call their teachers by first names instead of Mr., Ms., Mrs.) being in reference to high school teachers.

    4. Revanche*


      I moved here from SoCal so the things I notice are probably very different to what East Coast — > West Coast would notice.

      Cars: I find that drivers in the city proper are either good or terrible. Might be the difference between very accustomed to city driving vs still figuring it out. But we have our share of jerks who zoom through in their (usually fancy) cars not caring who they cut off or put in danger. So I wouldn’t trust them not to run you down.

      Cars/Bikes: I expected people to be really good about sharing the road with bicyclists and I feel that that’s not true. My husband bikes and I am worried about him on his commute to and from, often.

      Food and getting to it: There’s something about SFers and standing in line for food that I don’t quite get (in my dotage). But any food / bev trend almost inevitably results in lines wrapped around blocks. It’s weird and I tend to opt out of eating in the city most of the time because parking feels impossible, a lot of the time.

      That said, there are some really yummy food choices here.

      BART: is ok, but rather pricey. Buses are annoying 40% of the time, IME commuting by bus is hit or miss if certain drivers will show up on time or show up at all. CalTrain is best in terms of reliability but expensive.

      Climate: Lots of microclimates in this area, which is kinda nice. I was accustomed to having the beach, desert, mountains and country all within an hour or so drive in SoCal. Here, everything is closer but we can also escape heat or cold with a very short drive.

      I hadn’t noticed that people were less direct about negative stuff but maybe it’s because I don’t get out much :) I do notice that at least among the somewhat younger set, getting out and hiking or camping is a big thing. Generally, being more outdoorsy seems to be a thing in the Bay Area.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        There are definitely a lot of trendy restaurants with lines around the block, but what I’ve found is they’re usually not worth the wait and there are equally good (if not better) restaurants without as much of a wait. For example, Burma Superstar always has a huge crowd of people waiting outside. Its sister restaurant (just a couple blocks down) is just as good (slightly different menu) and takes OpenTable reservations. Cheesecake Factory in Union Square has waits of up to 90 minutes, and pretty much anything else is better for food. Brother’s has huge lines, but My Tofu House has better Korean food.

  48. Big Tom*

    Avengers Age of Ultron!
    Open spoilers-
    Who’s seen it? What did you think? Worth the hype?

    1. Jerry Vandesic*

      A hot mess. Story went all over the place with little cohesion. Not nearly as good as previous efforts.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        I’m with Jerry on this one. Still if you want a mindless action movie, it’s not horrible to sit through.

    2. Nina*

      I loved it. There were some misfires (Thor’s weird vision, the Black Widow/Hulk romance) but I would definitely see it again.

      Hated that post-credits scene, though. They really dropped the ball on that one.

  49. De Minimis*

    This is my last weekend in the house, and I still have a ton of stuff to take to storage.

    It’s mainly just small things at this point but honestly that is way worse than a bunch of bigger things. Will be glad to have this over with.

    I should cancel my cable internet, that would help a lot! I keep watching HALT AND CATCH FIRE.

  50. CarrieT*

    I need some advice on how to approach a very difficult conversation with my husband – the question of whether or not to circumcise any eventual son that we might have. I am not yet pregnant, but I need broach this topic beforehand. My husband is Jewish, (I am an atheist, raised Catholic), and even though he never goes to synagogue and isn’t particularly religious, I know that he will have strong cultural and religious ties to the practice. I’m pretty sure he’s never given it any thought before, and will say, “of course we’re circumcising,” and feel offended as if I am insulting his culture. I, however, am strongly against circumcision, and terrified that this will become a contentious matter in our otherwise wonderful marriage and maybe even a dealbreaker.

    I am 100% confident in my position on the matter, and I respect that others’ opinions differ, and so I do not want this to become a pro/anti-circumcision debate. I just need advice on how to gently open his eyes to the fact that circumcision is actually not the “default” in the world and comes with inherent risks and ethical harms. Is it possible I could convince him that circumcision is not required for being tied to your family and welcomed into the Jewish faith? Or am I just going to have to capitulate if I want to have children with him, and feel horribly guilty and resentful for the rest of my life?

    1. fposte*

      Honestly, I don’t like the way you’re laying out the options here. (And I speak as someone without a huge opinion in the circumcision issue.) You’re basically asking how you can tell your husband how wrong he is, and I think that’s a bad start to any conversation; you’re also seemingly determined that not getting your way will mean he has to suffer with you being bitter for the rest of the marriage–in other words, you’re setting it up as your way or a poisoned marriage.

      So what’s up with that? I totally agree that this is worth a discussion, but I’m not sure how viable a discussion it is if you’re not willing to explore the possibility that things won’t go your way and that you can still find joy your your relationship if they don’t. Additionally, your husband has experienced it and has the equipment, and it seems like there’s not a lot of respect here for his particular insight (or acknowledgment that he might find this kind of a personal rejection).

      So have the discussion, because your husband may not know just how important this is to you, and that deserves to be heard and considered. But this is the first of many big things that you two would have to work through together about any son you have, and I think you’re going to want to set a pattern of being able to negotiate these hills while respecting each other’s position and remaining committed to the partnership no matter the compromise.

      1. CarrieT*

        You are right. I feel highly emotional about this, and so it’s difficult for me to approach the discussion as a listener. I’ve researched circumcision extensively, but I know he hasn’t. What I want most of all is for him to give it some reasoned thought. If he reads all the literature I have, and understands the risks, and understands the ceremonial alternatives, and STILL wants to do it…well, then I’ve learned something new about the way his mind and heart operates, and I’ll have to respect that. But I am afraid he won’t even embark down the path of doing his research and really considering the situation, because the default answer is so obvious to him.

        Sigh. I know I’m probably going overboard in the amount of emotional energy I’ve dedicated to this over the past few days. We’re just ready to have kids and suddenly this issue has become a giant grain of sand in my eye.

        1. fposte*

          I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask him to consider it and not just knee-jerk it–this is important to you, and you would like him to understand why. I would start the discussion this way–that he may not have realized it, but you have really strong feelings here, and you’d like the two of you to be able to discuss the pros and the cons and both your feelings so that it feels like a decision you’ve made together.

          I wonder if this isn’t a little bit of a proxy issue for all of the possible stresses of parenthood, too–like maybe this is the first big thing you guys are on really different sides for and all of child-rearing is balanced on it. And while you don’t have to get everything right, or negotiated fruitfully, it’s an opportunity to develop a style of working together that may get you through harder stuff.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Proxy issue. That is what hit me, too.
            Does your husband ordinary stand steadfast? Is he usually unwilling to listen to new-to-him information?
            I am more curious as to why you expect major resistance here than the actual topic.

            I would say since you have such strong feelings you both should talk this out before you start a family. If he is unwilling to consider your point of view are you willing to lose your marriage over that?
            If I felt so vehement about any topic, I would have to ask myself, “What else is going on here? What’s up with me? What is it I hope to achieve?”
            I have noticed that if I read extensively on anything I can get adamant myself. Extensive reading seems to fuel attachment to a particular stance.

    2. GOG11*

      I think it might help to focus on your and your husband’s interests rather than the outcome. For example, as you mentioned, your believe that your husband will want to uphold a tradition/rite of passage that is important to him and his faith and that he will want to have his child connected to the Jewish faith/tradition/community. For you, you want to minimize the risk of harm to your child and you want to prevent any unethical actions/feelings on your part.

      If you were to have a discussion about what can be done that will accomplish both of those things, maybe there is a solution out there that isn’t just do or don’t circumcise. You know your husband far better than I could, but you never know what you might be surprised by what you come up with. And even if there isn’t a different solution, I think going about the conversation that way will be more helpful and less contentious than focusing only on the circumcision.

      1. CarrieT*

        Thank you for this reply…I know that it ultimately needs to be compromise somehow, and I like the way you have framed it. I truly do not want this to be a fight between us – I just want what’s best for our (hypothetical) son. In my heart I believe that means respecting his bodily autonomy, but I have to take into account tradition, faith, and community as well.

    3. Today's anon*

      One way perhaps to bring this conversation up is to talk more generally about ceremonies that welcome the baby into the family and community. Typically for Jewish boys it has been the circumcision (and nothing was done for girls) but more recently, there are baby naming ceremonies that happen to welcome girls into the community, also on the 7th day, and it often has a synagogue/religious component to it. I think there is great attachment to having a ceremony of this kind and it can be very moving, typically the rabbi will bless the child and family and announce their name.

      I think it would be helpful if you could come at this from a less combative position also – it feels like you don’t want to have a conversation, you want to convince him you are right and I don’t see that as a good starting position.

    4. Treena Kravm*

      I agree that being so combative won’t help matters. I do agree with you on circumcision in general, but it’s tough to put into practice with a Jewish father. The number one reason non-Jews circumcise is so the boy can look like his father, let alone the father actually being Jewish.

      I would first do some actual research about whether or not an uncircumcised boy *can* be welcomed into the Jewish faith. A naming ceremony is nice, but what about having a Bar Mitzvah? Without knowing your husband, he’ll probably want that for his child. And if it is required, I doubt you’re going to win out. And without having put any effort into researching, I’m afraid it might be. As far as I know adult men get circumcised to become Jewish. On the other hand, if you find out it’s not a requirement and your husband is under the impression that it is, that could help him change his perspective.

      But right now, I think your number 1 priority should be starting to think about how you’ll handle it if your son does end up circumcised, because it sounds pretty likely, considering you’re not religious yourself. You need to understand that he knows it’s not the default for the world, but it is the default for the Jewish world, so keep that in mind. And since this is not a private matter, you’re going to also have to convince the in-laws and his other Jewish family members. Maybe the compromise can be that he’s circumcised by a doctor instead of a rabbi? That at least handles the risks part of the issue.

      1. CarrieT*

        Good idea about doing some research on the exact role that circumcision plays in the Jewish faith. I need to understand this.

        I also agree that I need some mental coping mechanisms if we do decide to circumcise. I need to know that I haven’t ruined my son and it won’t destroy his relationship with me (because there is evidence that pain in the neonatal period affects mother-child bonding). I need to remember that it’s just one of many decisions a parent will make to affect a child’s life…albeit an irreversible surgical one…

        1. BRR*

          I’m going to be blunt with you. Are children something you want no matter what? If yes you might want to explore adopting so that you have a daughter. I know it’s not something to be taken lightly but this seems like a deal breaker for you and from what I can gather (I might be wrong) but you should not think about having children unless this is something that you and your husband are in 100% agreement on.

          Also you are using a lot of language that would turn me off if we were discussing a topic (discussing being what you would like to do, but it really doesn’t seem that way). As a circumcised male, I’m honestly feeling insulted by how you’re presenting everything. If you wish to bring up this topic with your husband, you either need to adjust your view so that you are also able to discuss it openly or admit that you believe in a position and that’s not going to change.

        2. fposte*

          I have a laugh a little bit–if your theory is correct, Jewish boys would tend to be particularly distant from their mothers. That . . . doesn’t seem to be what’s generally happened.

          1. Treena Kravm*

            Yea, that definitely made me laugh because Jewish mothers…

            Without looking at whatever study you are, I’m guessing that study was referring to frequent/consistent pain, like in an abusive, or near-abusive situation. I doubt one tiny cut is going to make him hate you forever. He’s going to get hurt more from being a little boy and knocking himself around.

        3. Observer*

          I need to know that I haven’t ruined my son

          Are you saying that your husband is “ruined”? If that’s the way you see him, then you have problems that go way beyond whether you should circumcise a theoretical son. If you know that your circumcised husband is a perfectly adequate human being, then you have all the evidence you need that circumcision won’t “ruin” your theoretical son.

          it won’t destroy his relationship with me (because there is evidence that pain in the neonatal period affects mother-child bonding).

          There is evidence that a LOT of things (having a c-section, not nursing immediately after birth, and not nursing in general at three of the ones most often touted by respective activists). Nevertherless there are countless mothers and children who have experienced these things, and they have relationships that range from adequate to absolutely excellent. On the other hand, there is plenty of empirical evidence that circumcised men are perfectly capable of having excellent relationships with their mothers.

          I’m not trying to convince you to circumcise a child. What I find concerning is your approach to the decisions of parenthood and how you relate to your husband. You are living with evidence that circumcision isn’t necessarily have to wreck a guy’s life, yet you have convinced yourself that your research proves otherwise. And your approach to your discussion with your husband implies that he is (or will be) ignorant or careless of his child’s well-being, and that his experience and presence are invalid, possibly because there is something significantly wrong with him.

          Now, if this really is limited only to the issue of circumcision, that’s one thing. Perhaps adopting a girl is a good way to deal with it, in fact. But, you need to think long and hard about the overarching issues here. If you this is a pattern that is likely to crop up with other significant decisions, you need to get a handle on this before you have children.

      2. Observer*

        Maybe the compromise can be that he’s circumcised by a doctor instead of a rabbi? That at least handles the risks part of the issue.

        Actually not true. A well trained Mohel (the name for the professional that does circumcision) can generally do a circumcision as well as, and often better, than a doctor.

        I will say that, doctor or Mohel, you absolutely want to make sure that the person you choose knows his stuff, does LOTS of circumcisions, and isn’t getting past it or anything like that. You are looking for pretty much the same thing as with a surgeon – very, very steady hands.

    5. TheLazyB*

      If you see it purely as genital mutilation and something that cannot happen, and he sees it as something that has to happen no debate because his son is Jewish, this may not be something you can survive :(

      Are children a deal breaker too?

      I am sorry. This must be hard.

      1. TheLazyB*

        “Or am I just going to have to capitulate if I want to have children with him, and feel horribly guilty and resentful for the rest of my life?”

        I didn’t read this properly. Guilt and resentment isn’t actually compulsory. I would feel like crap if it happened to my son – but I would move on.

        I also think my reply sounded colder than I meant it to – I do sympathise :(

      2. Treena Kravm*

        Yea, I guess I can’t see this becoming so contentious that it comes to this, but re-reading your original post, it just might. If having children in general is a deal breaker, what about sex-selection IFV? I can’t imagine paying that much to solve this argument, but I’m not you/your husband.

    6. AvonLady Barksdale*

      “Is it possible I could convince him that circumcision is not required for being tied to your family and welcomed into the Jewish faith?”

      It would be a very weak argument. This is not to say that uncircumcised men are not welcomed– no one goes around and checks, at least in my experience– but circumcision is the symbol of Abraham’s covenant with G-d, which essentially made him the first Jew. Circumcision is a very big deal in Judaism, not just in Jewish culture. I have a cousin who refused to circumcise his boys, and quite frankly, I was pretty dismayed. I tend to be extremely “live and let live” (hell, I eat pork and do stuff on the Sabbath), but I consider some things fundamental to being Jewish. My boyfriend is not Jewish and he is circumcised (sorry for sharing your business, honey!) and if/when he converts, he will have a ceremonial circumcision to mark his induction into the faith. So it’s not just a snip, it’s what that snip symbolizes.

      If you want to have children, you risk that those children will be boys– if you can’t work this out beforehand, it sounds like a deal-breaker to me.

    7. BRR*

      I’m getting a “we should compromise by convincing the other person I’m right” vibe. I was raised Jewish but am atheist now but from what I know, it will be very unlikely that he will change his mind. Unless he’s open to the idea of not circumcising your child, you have some decisions to make. I think if your marriage is otherwise great, a foreskin is a stupid thing to disagree over. But if you are both passionate about your positions, it might lead to a toxic situation where one of you is livid at the other.

    8. Samantha*

      I’m kind of wondering why you didn’t discuss this before you got married, since you’re going so far as to call it a potential deal breaker. There are a few issues that are extremely important to me, and I made my sure my husband & I were on the same page with them before we got married. Obviously it’s too late now, just curious if you purposefully avoided it or it just didn’t come up?

    9. JMW*

      While I do not have a suggestion for convincing your husband, I did have concerns about circumcising our sons as you do. In the end I was swayed by a number of factors that might help you accept a different outcome if you are unable to convince your husband.

      — To not circumcise meant my sons would look different than their father. This could affect their connection to their father. This was my biggest concern for not circumcising.
      — Their father had direct experience with circumcision and I had not. It was fair that his opinion on the matter should hold much weight in the decision.
      — There is evidence that circumcised males have a reduced risk of infection. A circumcised penis is definitely easier to clean (even uncircumcised is tricky!). The AAP recommends it, as I am sure you already know.
      — Circumcision rates for males in the US are still close to 80% (91% amongst whites), and boys at puberty want to look like their peers. (Citation: Circumcision rates declining in the US, study says, CBS News, April 2014)

      I am not trying to convince you to change your stance, but only to let you know that you might find it possible to live with this decision if you are unable to convince your husband. My sons, for the record, are in their twenties and rather than showing signs of trauma from circumcision, they are well bonded to both parents, and I think I can fairly say they are quite proud of their penises! They never showed any reluctance toward exposing themselves in swim changing rooms or other.

      1. the gold digger*

        they are quite proud of their penises

        I was 13 and babysitting for a family of three boys for the very first time. I was in the living room with the boys and they were all telling me about their penises. As their very-handsome father, whom I had never met before, came down the stairs into the living room, one of the boys chirped, “But our daddy has the biggest penis of all!”

        1. Today's anon*

          Oh this reminded me … when I was in grad school there was a serial murderer preying on students and local families took in students so we would not be in that area. I ended up with the family that had 3 kids, including one young boy of about 3 and he announced quite proudly and loudly during a car ride “my daddy has a penis!” There was a moment of silence, then the father said “well, I am glad that is out in the open!”, we all laughed and carried on. It was really a great way to handle it.

    10. Guy Incognito*

      I’m circumcised and it honestly hasn’t had any negative affects on any aspect of my life. If I have a boy I’m not I consider circumcision unless it was medically necessary, but I’m my personal experience it’s an absoult non issue and not something I’ve ever thought twice about.

      But for what’s it’s worth I think you need to shift your thinking from capitulating and being resentful if you don’t get the outcome you want, having this conversation is going to be tough and you have to approach it with an open mind, the importance of the ceremony and the cultural significance of the circumcision is a deeply tied to your husbands faith and his identity, so likely to be a very emotive subject. (And I say that as a VERY committed atheist)

      Maybe you could open the dialog by telling him you have some concerns about the practice and use that as an opportunity to hear him out about the importance to him that his son is circumcised.

    11. Oh Anon*

      This really helped me understand my husband: madsciencewriter (dot) blogspot (dot) in/2013/05/the-foreskin-why-is-it-such-secret-in (dot) html

    12. Not me today*

      Some things to think about: Do you think he will want to circumcise for religious reasons (and have a bris, raise his children in the Jewish faith, have bar mitzvahs, etc)? Does he belong to a movement that allows children with non-Jewish mothers to be recognized as Jewish? Are you ok with that?

      Or do you think it is more cultural and wanting to have his boys look like him (and have the circumcision done in a medical setting)? This would be a different conversation.

      Since this is likely to be a very important issue for both you and your husband, it would be useful to have some counseling sessions to help you talk it through and come to a decision that you can both live with.

      As an aside, my son was not circumcised at birth simply because we didn’t see any reason to do so. He developed very serious problems and had to be circumcised when he was 8 or risk permanent injury. It was a much more serious procedure at that age, and a bit awkward to deal with the recovery at an age when most kids are starting to value their privacy more. He recovered fine and we have no regrets either way. I still don’t believe that circumcision should be automatic, but keep in mind that on occasion the decision will be for medical reasons.

    13. Marmoset*

      I really feel where you are coming from here (planning children soon, raised atheist, feel strongly about bodily autonomy for children, had an ex-boyfriend with a botched circumcision that was a major quality of life hindrance, though could be fixed with surgery if he so chose/could afford).

      So, I feel for you. I would hate having this conversation with my fiance. Here are some thoughts.

      (First, this should go without saying, but definitely definitely DEFINITELY come to an agreement about this before getting pregnant.)

      I’m hearing that you feel like you have a pretty good idea what your husband’s take on this is going to be. For that reason I’d suggest starting with a lot of listening, so that you can verify your assumptions and maybe flesh out your understanding of his position. So sometime when you’re both available for a big conversation, you could try asking, “honey, I’ve been thinking about when we have kids, and if we had a biti whether we would circumcise him. I know that’s important in your religion, would you share with me what you think about that?” If he gives a short answer, see if you can ask for more detail, you can try things like “I’d really like to understand fully what this means to you, can you tell me more?” “I’m interested to really hear the details about this.” “What would it mean for you if you had a son who wasn’t circumsised?” “Tell me more, I’m really wanting to get a full picture of how you feel about this”. It will be hard to just listen, you might feel like he’s ‘winning’ if you’re not jumping in and arguing against his points, but really try to be in a receptive mode as best you can.

      Then I would suggest dropping the conversation, at least overnight or maybe even for a few days. You can say something like “I’d like to take the time to really digest what you’ve shared with me, can we talk about this again later?”

      Then just try to be really really nice to yourself for a while. You’re going to be having a lot of feelings, the more you can take care of yourself the better. If you’re a baths person, take a long bath, get your nails done if that’s your thing, binge-watch some Netflix… Whatever makes you feel really safe and taken care of.

      During this time something you can try is finding things that you and your husband have in common around parenting. Like ‘We both want to raise healthy, happy children’. ‘We both want to have kids who are bonded with us and love us’ ‘we both want our relationship to remain strong as we expand our family’ ‘we both fear any harm coming to the people we love, including our children’ … Those are just really basic starting points, you can build from there. The idea is to keep from falling too far into a spiral of me vs. him, and sort of internalize that you’re fundamentally a team and on the same side.

      If you can get to a point where 1) you’ve really heard in some depth where he’s coming from and 2) you’re putting some mental weight on the idea that you both ultimately share the same goal here, that’s a place from which you’ll be better equipped to have a productive conversation about this.

      Good luck, and much love.

    14. Student*

      This is a discussion you need to actually have, instead of rehearsing it over and over in your head.

      You’re going to need to decide whether this is a deal-breaker for you. Your husband is going to have to decide whether it’s a deal-breaker for him. It’s best if you both can approach this like adults and give each other the chance to make that decision, instead of you making the decision for both of you inside your head and never telling him.

      One actual compromise that you could bring up if your husband is very insistent that this is critical to the faith: why not leave him uncircumcised at birth, and then let the kid decide when he’s old enough to actually understand the issues at hand for himself and evaluate them? You could set the age of bar mitzvah as a good decision point of a time important to the Jewish faith. Or, age 18, as a time when US kids traditionally are no longer under the bodily control of their parents and he can get any surgery he wants. This is a hypothetical kid, not a pet – let him have his say in his body and faith. Let each parent have free reign to persuade, offer up books and theological discussions, etc. and let the chips fall where they may.

      I’ve always had a thing against parents deciding that a kid will be a from before conception. News flash: you can try to influence your kid’s religion, but they may just go in a completely different direction anyhow. Bet both you and your husband would feel stupid in 20 years if you have a huge explosive argument about this now, but your kid grows up to be something completely unexpected, like a Catholic or a Buddhist or a Muslim. It’s one thing to expose a kid to religious teachings, it’s another thing to dictate which religion the child must obey from birth.

      1. Observer*

        One actual compromise that you could bring up if your husband is very insistent that this is critical to the faith: why not leave him uncircumcised at birth, and then let the kid decide when he’s old enough to actually understand the issues at hand for himself and evaluate them?

        Because doing a circumcision by that point is far more difficult and painful, and more medically risky. And, yes, it is quite easy to tell when an infant is in pain, if you pay attention. I’m not going to say that infant circumcision is painless, of course, but if the circumciser knows his stuff and the baby is healthy, then the child tends to heal quickly and without much pain.

        The best that parents can do is to figure out what is important to them, what they HOPE is going to be important to their child(ren) and what they expect will actually be important to their children, and then act in ways that are the most likely to be consonant with those things. Circumcision is not a statement that a boy WILL be a practicing member of any faith.

        By the way, agreeing that the child can decide to do a circumcision at 18 is not a “compromise” on either side.

    15. Judy*

      I know I’m late to this, I hope you are still reading. My husband and I have an 11 year old boy and a 9 year old girl.

      On mothering:
      There are so many decisions to be made. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION ALL THE TIME. I ended up with something that made me throw up for 4 hours straight at 6 months pregnant. I took the medicines the doctor prescribed. That was a risk. How do I know if it was better to take the medicines or wait it out? Breast feeding is best. My son wasn’t able to latch. I pumped for 4 weeks and got a terrible mastitis. I was able to get help with my daughter, and she was able to successfully breastfeed for a year. I didn’t try latching him after the first week, did I just wimp out with son? Could I have hung in there? If I had been more aggressive with the lactation specialists? These are some of the things that I can name in the first few months of my kids lives. There are at least 4 or 5 of them per year since then. You love your kids, you make the best decisions you can at the moment. That’s one of the biggest lessons of parenthood, do the best you can and forgive yourself.

      On circumcision:
      Similar JMW above, I was concerned about the concept, but in the end I let my husband make the decision because he had gone through it. We did have a talk about it. I know at least one kid that wasn’t, and he’s self conscious about it. (He was adopted internationally at 8 months old, so the parents then decided to wait. I hear that he noticed that his dad didn’t look like him.)

    16. CarrieT*

      THANK YOU all for your extremely helpful comments, reality checks, suggestions, etc. on my question about discussing circumcision with my husband. AAM has the best commenters on the internet. I feel more comfortable about having this conversation now and more prepared to listen. Still nervous, and still staunchly in the camp of bodily autonomy, but feeling more optimistic that everything will be okay even if we decide to do it.

  51. Squeaky Cat*

    In various replies to comments on previous open threads, I have talked about how my youngest cat squeaks, but doesn’t meow or make any other sounds. This morning I was able to catch his elusive squeaking on camera. It’s adorable. He was a bit far away and his squeaking is rather quiet, so you have to turn the volume up pretty loud and it seems to work best on my phone and not so well on the computer. Link below shortly.

  52. Katie the Fed*

    Hi guys,

    Just wanted to check in! I’ve been so busy with my new job and getting ready to move. I feel completely overwhelmed – starting a new job, getting married, and moving are three of the four most stressful things you can do in life – and I seem to want to do them all in a matter of months, not to mention a major injury. (mental reminder to keep up on birth control so I don’t add the 4th most stressful thing…).

    I’m afraid I have very little to contribute today :(

    1. fposte*

      Exciting times for KTF! Congrats on the promotion and the new house. It’s a wild time, but you’re riding it.

    2. Carrie in Scotland*

      I had to smile at the 4th thing! :)

      Remember to breathe and take time for yourself, even if it is 5/10 minutes.

    3. GOG11*

      I hope all goes as smoothly as it can in the coming months. Best of luck and wishes for moments of calm among the chaos to you, Katie the Fed :)

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Good times! Enjoy it. You are creating memories that will be treasures.

    5. Revanche*

      Big things, all three! Congrats and all the best with each! (perhaps an alarm reminder to help you avoid the 4th thing for now?)

  53. TheLazyB*

    My small child is nearly 4 and cannot/will not (jury is out) use the potty/toilet (… different things here). He starts school in 4 months so he has to start pdq. On verge of screaming. He’s wet himself today more than he’s used the toilet whereas yesterday he wasn’t too bad.

    Just, aargh. Don’t really want suggestions but would love some sympathy :-/

    1. Katie the Fed*

      As someone who hates unsolicited advice, I will offer you my sympathy. That must be incredibly frustrating (and especially because you probably also get a lot of tips that you already know all about). Kids, man. They’re gross and wonderful.

      1. TheLazyB*

        Thank you. Also, YES :)

        (Also, adding ‘man’ at the end of a sentence is local dialect here, so now I’m hearing you with a North East England accent. Which is funny!)

    2. fposte*

      There are many people who were not toilet trained by four who are now upstanding citizens who hold important jobs. Their parents may have a little more grey hair than average, but other than that, it all worked out fine.

      He’ll get it eventually. In the meantime, hang in there.

      1. TheLazyB*

        Which is hilarious as DH is almost entirely grey and I have basically no grey hair :)

        Thank you! We have now had 2 kinds of success (euphamisms yay!!) so feeling better :)

    3. Computer Guy Eli*

      If it helps, I didn’t know how to use the toilet until kindergarten.

      NBD, Bro.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I couldn’t properly tie my shoes or ride a bike until 5th grade.

        Hooray for late bloomers!

    4. Ann Furthermore*

      He’ll do it when he’s ready. I started early with my daughter and it went OK until she got very sick one weekend and we took a break from potty training. When we tried to start up again she had no interest at all. It was SO frustrating because I knew she knew what to do, but she is a stubborn little thing. When we came back to it later, it was much less painful. Hang in there!

      1. TheLazyB*

        Haha. If we were both less stubborn I think parenting would be an awful lot easier :) thank you!

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          I think that’s one of the biggest challenges I have too. Sometimes I wonder if I’m digging in my heels about stupid things, but then I think if I cave, then all my daughter is learning is that if she whines/nags/throws a tantrum/whatever then she’ll get her way.

    5. E*

      I don’t have kids but nannied a couple of kids from age 2 to 4 and went through the daytime potty training routine. Treats were helpful (like a couple of m&ms), as well as regular visits to the bathroom, whether or not they “needed” to go. Accidents happen, kids are afraid of new skills. Maybe his dad can show him how easy and “big boy” it is to use the potty.

    6. salad fingers*

      I can’t personally vouch for this approach, but someone I work with swears that she sealed the potty training deal with her problematic son by saying at some point, “Sorry, Joey, we’re out of diapers. Looks like we’re going to have to use the toilet now.”

      Done. Voila. No more issues. For some reason this story absolutely kills me every time I think about it.

  54. Finny*

    Just need to vent, even if no one reads this.

    The husband and I live in the upstairs of a house owned by his father. I work, the husband keeps house. The brother-in-law lives downstairs, and is on disability. Due to pension regulations here in Canada, the father-in-law has to transfer ownership of the house out of his name before July of this year or he will be penalized next year.

    We were originally told that we could choose to have the house in either the husband and brother in law’s name, or in all three of ours. Well, turns out that no, my name will not be on the house because it is only going to the biological children.

    Which I understand. But I still am feeling horrible and rejected and like I am not part of the family because of it. Totally irrational, but knowing that is not changing the feelings.

    Nothing I can do about it, but I needed to tell someone not connected to the whole situation.

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      I see why you feel hurt but I can kinda see using biology as the basis for gifting the house. Your bother in law could well be upset if you diluted his share from 50% down to 33.33% (assuming you all shared it equally) This way both children get the same share and you get to share your husbands half.

      1. Finny*

        Which I would have absolutely no problem with if the father-in-law had not told us, the day before he got the paperwork done, that we could choose if it was just the two or all three of us on the house. All three of us told him it was to be all three of us on the house (I am the only one working, the husband has no job, and the brother-in-law is on disability that he was not entirely honest about to get).

        The father-in-law agreed to it being all three of us, then went and got the paperwork done in just the two names without telling us.

        1. to*

          That sucks! Does your income pay the mortgage, if there is one, or maintenance?

          Since your husband and BIL originally wanted you on the title, and now are the owners – can’t they add you to the title now?

    2. Jerry Vandesic*

      Split the house legally into two units. Your husband would own your unit, your BIL would own his. That keeps it simple from the percentage ownership POV.

      But that doesn’t address your concern about being left off the deed. I can understand your husband’s family’s perspective — they want to keep the house in the family. But that doesn’t make you feel any better. But once your husband takes ownership, it’s his to do what he pleases. He can quit claim half to you whenever he likes.

      My suggestion is for your husband to take ownership of your unit via a trust (easy to set up when you are initially taking ownership), and then add you as a trustee and beneficiary as soon as you are both comfortable with that arrangement.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Get your wills written up. Put some type of compensating gesture to you in his will. It’s not that expensive for the peace of mind you get. I did get my husband to agree to do this when a difficult family situation came up. He was quite amenable to balancing things out- okay, he was happy about it.

    4. Artemesia*

      FWIW most people do not pass inheritances to in laws. I love my SIL but he is not in the will and when I gave my car away, it went to my daughter, although it is used by both her and her husband. If my daughter were to die before her husband, her share of our wealth would go to her child not her husband. If she had died without children, the money would go to her brother. This is bog standard.

      1. Finny*

        I understand that. And I would have no issue with only the husband and brother-in-law being named–if we had not been told, by the father-in-law, that it was up to the three of us if we all wanted to be named or not, and if we all three had not told him that yes, we wanted all three of us listed. The fact that he said yes, that would be fine, and then went to the lawyer the very next day and did things the other way, the way we had told him not to do things, is what I have a problem with. If we had known from the start that my name would not be listed, that would have been fine. But we were specifically told otherwise.

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          I wonder if the lawyer talked him out of it for some reason? Has your FIL given you any explanation of why the paperwork was drawn up that way vs. how you had all previously agreed?

  55. Anonamom*

    Husband and I are at the age (early 30s) where our friends are starting to have babies. I have been pregnant a few times (all ending in 1st trimester miscarriages). Once I realize I am pregnant, I am excited and think it’s the greatest thing in the world. But after having a few miscarriages, I have become more ambivalent towards the whole baby thing. My husband is supportive and says he would be happy either way–childless or with kids. I go back and forth between wanting to try again and giving up on babies altogether.

    So I guess I’d like to hear from people on both sides of the fence. If you have children, how did you decide it was the right thing for you? If you’re living the child free life by choice, is it as amazing as it seems?

    1. Observer*

      Well, before you make a decision, have you had yourself checked out by a really good MFM (maternal fetal specialist) or even a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) who does a lot of recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL)? Most RE’s don’t do much RPL, but some will work with RPL that’s mostly first trimester.

      Once you have a better idea of what your particular story is, you will be in a much better position to make decisions about the matter.

      1. Anonamom*

        My obgyn did some testing, but couldn’t find anything wrong. His suggestion was to “keep trying” and if the next pregnancy didn’t work, he’d refer me to a specialist.

        1. Observer*

          That’s why I suggested a specialist. The response you got is fairly typical, but besides being insensitive, it’s stupid and not medically grounded. When there is one miscarriage, that’s usually a fluke. But an uninterrupted string of losses almost certainly has a medical cause. The fact that our OB/Gyn didn’t refer you on to further testing already tells me that he really doesn’t get it. The “gold standard” for more advanced testing is three miscarriages. Unless you meant “two” when you said “a few”, you should have been referred on already.

          By the way, what were you tested for?

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      Obviously, childfree by choice isn’t for everyone (or humans would be extinct within a generation), but I’ve got to see for me and my spouse, it is as amazing as it seems. We love other people’s kids, and we celebrate our friends’ children’s cute pictures and successes in life. At the same time, we haven’t found a compelling reason to have kids of our own (and, yes, I firmly believe you should need to have a reason to have kids and not necessarily need a reason not to have kids). Ultimately, it’s up to you and your husband. I hope you find what’s best for you two.

      1. Anonamom*

        Ah, yes, I do not have a compelling reason to have kids yet, not sure d I ever will. People look at you as if you have two heads when you say that, though.

      2. Anonamom*

        Ah, yes, I do not have a compelling reason to have kids yet, not sure if I ever will. People look at you as if you have two heads when you say that, though.

      3. BRR*

        “you should need to have a reason to have kids and not necessarily need a reason not to have kids”

        I love this. I feel like people have kids sometimes just because it’s what they are supposed to do.

    3. Childfree Anon*

      I’m in the no kids from choice, I keep thinking I’ll wake up one morning to the sound of a biological clock but so far nothing. Neither of us has a desire to have children, we earn low-middle incomes and live comfortably, we could probably afford kids but I think if the desire isn’t there then you only see the negatives.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it would be worth exploring how much of this might be about ambivalence toward pregnancy again (which would be so understandable after what you’ve been through) and less about having kids themselves.

      But that said, I intentionally don’t have kids, and I find it a pretty awesome life. I really like kids, have close relationships with my nieces, and certainly see the appeal of having children. But I love the freedom and calm of my current life, and am stressed out just thinking about the complete 180 my days would have to do if I were a parent. I’m also acutely aware that some of my weaker points aren’t great when they show up in a parent (like impatience, for instance, and a high need for quiet time).

      I do worry about whether my current life will still feel like enough in, say, 10 years (by which point it will be too late — hell, it could be too late already). But I’m pretty happy.

      1. Anonamom*

        I’m sure a bit of it is ambivalence toward pregnancy. If it had been easier for us, we probably would’ve had a few kids by now. But the miscarriages led me to start thinking about the possibility of being physically unable to have kids, which led to me challenging my idea that I HAD to have kids because it’s the expected thing to do.

        The more I thought about it, the more comfortable I’ve become with the idea of continuing to have uninterrupted sleep (except for my kitty’s morning wake up routine), being able to travel for work on short notice, and just generally having all my personal time for myself. It seems great!

        1. TheLazyB*

          I lost my first baby. It died at 12 weeks…. just after my first scan. I didn’t find out until 17 weeks.

          I have now had a son. When I got pregnant, I was on the verge of giving up, because of The Fear. Pregnancy was utterly awful for me because I was waiting for him to die.

          I am soooooooooox1000000 glad I have him now. But I couldn’t do it again. I would desperately love more kids but it will never happen.

          I have no idea if that is helpful.

          1. Anonamom*

            I’m so sorry you had that experience. Spending several weeks thinking you are pregnant only to find out that you aren’t is absolutely terrible.

            Thanks for writing–this was very helpful.

      2. Artemesia*

        I am a not very fuzzy maternal sort of person and had a fairly high powered career, but the thing that has been most gratifying in my life — more than publishing a well regarded book (in my teeny pond) or having some fame in my profession — has been my relationship with my adult children. I loved being pregnant (after a couple of years of infertility and lots of tests and procedures) and it was fun mostly having kids — but having adult kids you find interesting and who love you is just an indescribable joy. I am a constant second guesser. Having the kids is the only thing I have never once regretted.

    5. Not_a_kids_person*


      I’m childless by choice – even got sterilized.

      For me, it was a pretty clear “This is the right thing to do” issue. I’m not good at relating to other people to begin with. I’m not interested in developing emotional attachments to people. My own childhood was pretty screwed up, and by observation of other sets of parents I realize that I have no idea at all how to raise a child well – to the point where I would likely cause a child harm through ignorance and screwed-up expectations.

      Example: I was at a party where small children (~4 years old) were present. The host was firing up a grill to make food in the yard. The host assigned an adult to make sure the small children didn’t get near the grill while it was on.

      My first internal thought was, “They should know that grills are hot and not to be touched by now.” My second internal thought was, “I knew grills were hot by then.” My third internal thought was, “I knew because my parents had intentionally burned me several times by then, which taught me that hot = dangerous.” Then I finally got around to, “Come to think of it, that’s probably not how you are supposed to teach children not to touch a grill. Actually, that was pretty terrible, in retrospect. I have no idea how normal people teach kids to not touch hot things. Good thing he assigned someone to supervise the kids instead of burning them on purpose.”

      1. Observer*

        Oh, wow!

        I can’t imagine the baggage from those kinds of experiences! I hope you’ve found some healing and lots of happiness.

    6. Pennalynn Lott*

      I’m child-free by choice and it works for me. I wouldn’t call it amazing, just different. I’ve done and been able to afford a lot of things my friends who are parents couldn’t, but then it’s also true that I’ve not gotten to experience all the things that come with having kids. Obviously, since this is the choice I made for me, I can see a ton of negatives in having children. Not just the sleepless nights early on, and the restrictions on where you can go and when and who with, but now that my friends and I are older (approaching 50), I get to see many of the “children” get arrested, drop out of school, be abusive to their parents, steal from their parents, etc. I get that there are actual joys to having children, and that not all children have behavioral issues (or debilitating physical or mental issues), but I’m grateful that I don’t have worry about any of that.

      FWIW, I watched many of my friends do terrible things to their children as they were growing up, and none of of it was physical abuse. Major emotional boundary violations, guilt-trips, forcing their children to be the adult’s emotional support, intolerance, rigid judgmentalism, dealing with problems by screaming at and berating their children, letting their children do whatever the hell they wanted to because the parent would rather be the child’s bestie than a parent, etc. Having had an abusive childhood of my own, there’s no way I would want to be responsible for doing that to another human being, an innocent human being who depends on me for its very life.

      1. anon in the uk*

        I have a hereditary connective tissue disorder and the risk of being the disabled parent of a disabled child is too high for me to entertain. I know people manage, but I do not want to. Particularly since statistics show that husbands of disabled women, and fathers of disabled children, leave.

        1. Stephanie*

          I’m the sibling of a (developmentally) disabled child and growing up with that definitely has given me pause about having children.

        2. EDS Anon*

          Oh, hey, me too. I’m still thinking my plans through. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Agreeing with PL on many points here.

        However, I don’t think people without children are any happier than people with children but the reasons for the happinesses change. I think it boils down to making a choice (granted, not everyone chooses to have or not to have kids) and deliberately deciding to be happy with that choice.

        I am happy to be child-free. But in order to be happy, I had to bolster my determination to fill up my life in other ways. I have done things that I would not have had a lot time for if I had kids, not all fun things. Things like parent care, etc. I was grateful I could do that, very grateful.

        People having an awesome life are doing so because they have decided to believe their life is awesome. Kids have little to no bearing in that decision.

    7. HelenaV*

      I have lots of reasons for being childfree (money, being highly introverted and career focused, needing peace and quiet, not being especially fond of kids at any stage), but I think the biggest one is that I just don’t want to- if I wanted them then I’d find a way to make it all work, but deep down I just don’t.
      It’s funny… I come from a ridiculously happy family and yet I have no desire for kids- My parents were amazing (still are!)- they struck that balance between loving and firm, we had structure and direction, they’d spend their weeknights doing bath/ healthy dinner/ homework and their weekends doing fun Family Outings, they were constantly working to do the best for us on every level, from education to health to activities… I have no idea how they kept it up so well and I wouldn’t know where to start.

      1. Revanche*

        I always think that “I don’t want to” is the best reason not to have kids. I don’t think that choosing not to has to stem from an unhappy reason. Some people are perfectly happy with their lives without kids. At 4 am wakeups, I can see why ;)

        1. Felicia*

          I always see “I don’t want to” as a great reason for almost anything! But it applies to not having kids , and even applies to the choice to have kids, very well. I use it for “why don’t you do (x job person thinks pays better or is more prestigious) instead?” and for “why don’t you date more?”

    8. AdjunctGal*

      We decided to have one child, which gets us many comments asking why we don’t have more. We have limited resources, and honestly we’re gladly out of the baby stage and never want to return to that.

      We have many childfree friends, however. It works for them, just as one kid works for us.

    9. Marmoset*

      Just to comment from the other side here for some variety – I don’t have kids yet but we are planning to start trying in a couple of months. For me it’s absolutely a drive. I was at an art opening the other week, turned around and saw someone holding a baby, felt my eyes go huge, gasped audibly and clutched my fiance’s arm. All involuntary. Seeing a baby unexpectedly just literally takes my breath away. I am scared of everything that could go wrong – infertility or miscarriage or illness, or what if they don’t grow up into good people, what will happen to my body for that matter… All of that scares me, and the fear feels huge sometimes, but the fear is intellectual whereas the desire runs deep, it’s in my gut, I couldn’t turn it off if I tried. So to your question of how I know I’m ready, I don’t. I might be ready, I might not, who knows what will happen? I’ve given up on ‘deciding’ in any intellectual way whether or when to go about this. My heart already decided that it’s time so now I’m just honoring that as best I can. I trust my deeper self and if she says it’s go time, I believe her.

      I don’t know if that helps, but that’s what being ‘ready’ looks like for me.

    10. Revanche*

      We decided to try after a decade of me not being ready and not actually being convinced that I wanted kids. I think it was reaching a point in our marriage where things had somewhat settled down, we’ve lost a lot of important people in our lives in the past several years, and I felt open to the idea rather than 100% against it. My health was a strong reason not to, and I had to be in a mental place where I could accept that my husband would have to shoulder most of the parenting burden – that was a biggie for me. Pregnancy was tough and I worried that I wouldn’t feel like it was worth it in the end.
      Now that our child has joined the family, and I feel a lot better, I am genuinely impressed by how great he is with hir and how well our family functions as a team. Thank goodness.

      Had it gone another way, I think a childfree life has quite a lot to recommend it and am fully 100% supportive of friends (because for some twisted reason people seem to think they should impose the “having kids” default on others) who choose not to or cannot have them. It’s something that takes a lot out of you and it’s just as fair a choice to embrace a life without the sacrifices that parenting requires.

      If you decide to pursue it: I wish you all the best and a better experience with pregnancy! If you choose not to, sleep in one weekend for me, would you? :)

  56. Wee*

    Has anyone bought a mattress lately? We’ve been looking for a soft/plush king sized mattress. Any suggestions or tips? Any brand to avoid? Its hard to put out this much money with no guarantee.

    1. Cruciatus*

      Consumer Reports had mattress ratings in a recent edition. What I most remember from it was that you need to spend *at least* 15 minutes on it. I’ll try to post a link in another post but it’ll probably be in moderation for a while until it appears.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      We have the W Hotel pillowtop mattress and LOVE it. We constantly brag to each other about how awesome and comfortable our bed is, have trouble getting out of it, and basically feel we are sleeping on a cloud every night. We also have a smaller size of it in our guest room, and everyone who sleeps on it there claims to love it too.

      I highly recommend it!

        1. Jean*

          My Inner Comic says, “‘Mattress Lust’ makes me smile for all the wrong reasons.”

      1. Artemesia*

        We are the worst choosers of mattresses ever. WE junked our king size expensive mattress when we moved because it was terrible; we are now sleeping on what had been our guest room king mattress — a cheapo that is still better than our previous one. But it needs replacing. Is your mattress okay for sleeping on your stomach? Pillow tops sort of smoother me usually. But I sure appreciate someone else’s experience..

    3. Apollo Warbucks*

      I got one the other week and have loved it, but my old one was horrendus so it couldn’t have been any worse. So I brought mine sight unseen off the Internet in a half price sale. The comapmy is well known so I didn’t have any worries and they did a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee.

    4. Pennalynn Lott*

      We bought TempurPedic mattresses for the three bedrooms in our house and love them. I’ve had mine for five years and it still looks and feels brand-new (i.e., no sagging). Boyfriend and my mom have each had theirs for a little over a year. We bought from a place that offers a one-year “Love Your Mattress” guarantee. So if at the end of a year I didn’t like my mattress, I could trade it (for a $75 pick up fee) for anything else of a comparable price.

      1. ExceptionToTheRule*

        I’m a TempurPedic convert as well. I’ve had mine for 5 years and I consider it comfortably broken in. They sleep warm though, so they definitely are not for everyone.

    5. Adara*

      Casper.com. Very affordable, free shipping, 100 night no-risk trial. Give it a chance, you’ll be glad you did. :-)

      1. Artemesia*

        How do you get rid of the old mattress when you buy a Caper on line? That has been the main thing holding us back in our high rise.

        1. Adara*

          We’re working on that. :-/ We’ve had the new mattress a week now and I’m looking into either recycling the old mattress or just listing it for free on Craigslist. I hate the idea of just dumping it in the landfill.

    6. Sweetheart of the Rodeo*

      I’ve been sleeping on an airbed for four months — looking at a Tuft & Needle mattress for easy delivery, easy to move, won’t need a frame/platform right away, and the price is right. They cut out the middlepeople and the ridiculous discount system in the mattress industry. Check it out.

    7. Oh Anon*

      We bought a Serta iSeries pillowtop the year before last & it’s been pretty good. We hated the tempurpedic.

  57. Stephanie*

    I have to thank a couple of you guys here for books I just finished: the audio version of the Handmaid’s Tale (read by Claire Danes) and Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. I enjoyed both immensely.

  58. Treena Kravm*

    Any travel products you had previously thought was BS and it turned out to be amazing? I’m having that revelation right now with packing cubes. I thought it was the dumbest thing ever and they exist soley to get people to spend money, but I got a few in preparation for some pretty long stretches of time that we’re going to be living out of our suitcases, and I want to buy more now!

    1. fposte*

      My best friend is obsessed with those! Her husband travels a ton and it makes prep and multi-leg journeys much easier. She got another friend involved and that friend now keeps all her crafting stuff in cubes.

      On the other hand, I’m a packing version of a gram-shaving bicyclist and I do the rollup, so I don’t want additional containers weighing down my carryon or confusing my geometry.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      Why do you like them? I travel quite a bit and I don’t really get what the fuss is all about. But there must be something to them since they sell so well.

      I recently bought a new set of plastic travel bottles — for shampoo, conditioner, etc. It also came with 3 small plastic containers, like the size of a jar of eye cream. I didn’t think I’d use them for anything, but it was all that was at the store, and I was in a hurry and needed something. Then I realized I could use them for pills, so I filled one with Tylenol, one with Melatonin, and one with Pepto-Bismol tablets. I can keep them with my travel stuff and never forget to pack them. There’s nothing worse than having a headache and not having anything to take for it. I sometimes have trouble sleeping when I’m travelling, which sucks when I need to be rested for work the next day. And travel usually involves a lot of catered lunches and dinners out, so lots of heavy, rich foods for days at a time.

      1. Artemesia*

        I love the cubes. On a short trip I organize them by complete outfit and I only have to pull out a cube at a stop — on long trips, I organize them by type of thing — I like having a container with all my turtles and ts rolled up inside and another with all the underwear etc. I have a folder for things that need to be flat like pants and skirts and shirts. It makes loading and unloading suitcases easy without having to entirely repack or live out of a suitcase.

        1. Artemesia*

          That said, my favorite travel device is my Nook reader — I load it up from the library before I travel and on very long trips — sometimes we spend 3 mos abroad, I can continue to borrow from my library at home and not have to buy expensive books in English or carry a lot of heavy books. Magic.

        2. Ann Furthermore*

          Thanks for commenting! I’ve got a 10 day trip coming up. I’ll give them a try.

        3. Treena Kravm*

          For me, packing is easy. I roll things up so nicely, put it in the suitcase. But then I need to find something, and it basically becomes a big mess within a day or two. I don’t see them being super helpful if you go someplace, unpack , stay for a week, and then go home. But I tend to travel with lots of stops. My test trip was a recent 5 days in City A, then 3 in City B. Without cubes, the City B part would have had a messy suitcase. This weekend, we did a three day, two hotel trip, and I put all my clothes in a large cube, my underwear/socks in small one, my husbands clothes in a large one, and our hiking outfits in a medium one, and our beach stuff (suits, sunglasses) in another medium one. I wasn’t sure if we were going to swim, and we ended up not swimming, so it was nice to not have to dig through the swim stuff to get to the things we were looking for each day.

          I also use a medium red one as our first aid kit, which I wasn’t sure about but now I LOVE it.

  59. Anon Tenant*

    Should I sublet my apartment, breaking my lease, and hope to not get caught?

    I live in the San Francisco bay area; rents for a 2 bedroom in the East Bay where I am are around 3500-4000; 1 bedrooms around $2400. Seriously. My apartment though is a 2BR for $1700– WAY cheaper than anything else around here. It’s close to BART, so I don’t have a need for a car.

    The thing is that my boyfriend and I are planning to move in together, and I worry (I’m a perpetual worrier) that if we break up down the line, I won’t be able to afford an apartment here anymore. He doesn’t want to move in here (very small rooms, feels like my place). I don’t want to let the worrier in me dictate relationship decisions. But am I being pragmatic or dramatic?

    FWIW, I haven’t spoken to the landlord in the 2 years since I’ve been here; he doesn’t live nearby, never checks in on me. I feel guilty even considering this option, but rents are CRAZY out here! (Also, I have family in the bay area, which is why I want to stick around.)

    1. Computer Guy Eli*

      Jesus Rollerskating Christ!

      Nevermind! I’m never going to a city EVER.

      I have nothing say that would help you, but you just helped me a bunch.

      1. hermit crab*

        Ha! I just laughed out loud at that. To be fair, though, SF is the #2 most expensive place to live in the U.S. for a reason. I live in a moderately swanky neighborhood very close to downtown DC (if my building was taller I’d have a great view of the Washington Monument) and market rate rents here are half of what Anon Tenant is describing.

      2. Christy*

        Yeah, there are a lot of options between rural(ish?) Montana and the Bay Area. Like, I think basically everywhere else is between the two in terms of cost. Apartments in cities in Montana are like $600/month, and apartments in Kansas City are like $900/month, and apartments in Denver are like $1500/month, just to give you some context.

        1. Computer Guy Eli*

          My two story dream house is only 600$ a month! I have so much room here I have no clue what to do with it. I’m never leaving now.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            If housing is literally the only factor that you care about in where you live, then sure. But if you care about other factors, that might not be the right conclusion to be drawing :)

            Other factors could be things like population size, access to beaches/mountains/other types of nature, diversity, food, culture, schools, weather, nightlife, arts, overall vibe…

            (I say this as someone seriously considering chucking all the other factors I care about just so I can live in a log house, so I totally understand the impetus. But make sure you’re really thinking all the rest though.)

    2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t know the answer do that – is it that you get caught and lose the apartment? Or is it something more serious, like if your tenant burns down the building you’re liable for those damages?

      1. Anon Tenant*

        Liability for a sub-letters damages is a good question. Even if I keep my renters insurance, maybe it becomes not valid if someone else is living there. I’ll have to look into that.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      How many more months do you have left on your lease? Any way to wait until it’s up to move in with your boyfriend?

      1. BRR*

        I don’t think that’s the issue. By breaking the lease I think the OP means they can’t sublet and want to use a sub-letter to hold the apartment in case their relationship doesn’t work out because it’s a good price.

        I’m sure if they informed their landlord they wanted to move out they could find a new tenant at a higher rent very quickly.

    4. BRR*

      I probably wouldn’t because I’m a rule follower. But I don’t see it as the world’s biggest issue. Some things to think about: Are you liable for what the sub-letter would do? Would this cause you to lose your security deposit? How would the tenant communicate if something breaks? Call you then you call the landlord? Would they have a security deposit with you? Are you going to have a lease and what about if the landlord raises your rent?

      I see his point but are you going to get a better deal than your place?

      1. Anon Tenant*

        Thanks for your reply. You were right in your previous comment about why I asked.

        As far as I can tell, the only consequence if I got caught is that he could evict me (which, I wouldn’t be living there anyway), but worse, he wouldn’t give me a good recommendation for future landlords. I’d be OK losing the security deposit even. The biggest thing would be having a hard time getting a different lease somewhere else if my most recent landlord won’t recommend me. Ugh, housing in cities is the worst!

        1. rphillips*

          But you’d have a new landlord on the apartment you’d share with your boyfriend? I guess there could be difficulty getting a good recommendation from that person too, if you were moving out unexpectedly though.

    5. LF*

      No!!! The 2BR apartment for $1700 is better than gold in San Francisco. Your boyfriend is foolish for not wanting to move in with you. That is so (comparatively) cheap! You guys should be hanging on to that apartment for dear life. That would be the pragmatic thing to do.

      1. Anon Tenant*

        Haha, THANK YOU! It’s so absurd that that amount is such a good dea. And I know if I leave, the landloard can easily charge double the rent.

      2. Christy*

        So true! Aren’t there ways you and your boyfriend can work to make it feel like a joint space? Maybe you could literally move all of your stuff out and into a PODS unit, and then move all your stuff back in together like it’s a new place. You could even paint the walls. For real, never give that up.

        And I pay right around that in a DC suburb, and *I* feel like I’m getting a bargain.

        I’m half-joking with this next question, but I’m only half-joking: Is your boyfriend unreasonable in other ways? I’m particularly asking about this because you’re at least slightly unsure that your relationship will work out.

    6. Alma*

      On this very topic, have any of you seen theofficehobo.com? He sublet his apartment, and ***lived in his office*** without being detected for 500 days. I just found the site yesterday after reading a Salon article, and I’m fascinated!!!!!!

    7. Sunflower*

      I’ve been told by my friends that I’m way overly cautious about things like this so I am obviously on the side of you totally sublet it. Do not let that apartment go!!!! You might have more luck if you can sublet it to someone you know. Since the apt is so cheap, it’s probably a good option for someone who wants to live alone but can’t afford it. There has to be some people in your circle or knows someone who is looking for a place.

      Side note: Would your boyfriend consider living there temporarily to see how it goes? Something that might be a good idea is living there, putting the money you save on rent aside in a different account and just watch it grow. If your boyfriend is still set on moving, do it but I don’t see any huge downside in staying there for a couple months.

  60. Elkay*

    I have been forced into Amazon Prime due to Amazon raising their minimum spend for free postage this week. Anyone got any recommendations of Amazon original programs to watch?

    1. Cruciatus*

      Transparent! It’s a comedy/drama that involves a family and their lives and secrets…one main one being…the dad is transgender. It stars Jeffrey Tambor as the dad and Gaby Hoffman, Judith Light and other good people I just can’t think of at the moment. I believe it’s won a few nominations here and there.

      1. Elkay*

        I’d heard about that but hadn’t looked into reviews. We’re already watching The Vikings season 2 on TV so we’ll probably jump ship to Amazon for that,

    2. Chris A*

      Bosch – it’s an Amazon original series based on Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series. Shot in LA and Connelly is very involved. I didn’t think that Titus Welliver matched my idea of Harry at first, but he just nails it…

  61. Doodlebug*

    Last year my husband and I went on a vacation to a timeshare resort. Another couple, the Smiths, wanted to go the same dates. We agreed, thinking that we would see them some of the time. The Smiths had their own rooms and were on their own membership. This timeshare has tiers of membership. Our membership includes free wine with dinner. The Smiths do not have free wine with their membership. We went for 2 weeks. The Smiths stuck to us like glue the entire time, making sure that each time dinner rolled around they were with us, to obtain the free wine. They made sure to knock back their wine quickly, before anyone else was served seemingly so that they could get as much wine as possible and if we weren’t drinking wine, they would suggest getting some. This year they want to go with us again. We do not want to be stuck with them again. They have contacted us to coordinate our schedules telling us that they would go for 2 or more weeks. We told them to make their plans because we are asking other friends to go with us as our guests, hoping that would deter them.

    Each year we go on our vacation before Christmas and stay 2 weeks. This year, the Smiths reserved one of their weeks for the week of Thanksgiving, placing their stay exactly in the middle of when we’d usually go and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. So, if we decided to go November 1-14, they could extend their trip to include our 2 weeks in their vacation. If we chose December 1-14, again, they could extend and we’d be stuck with them for those 2 weeks.

    On Facebook, the Smiths have started posting photos of last years trip and tagging me, which I take as their way of reminding me that I have not yet made the reservations. I have half a mind to just never e-mail with them again and unfriend them on Facebook. They are stressing me out.

    What would you guys do in this situation?

    1. Shell*

      Why not just say “oh, this year we’re planning to have the vacation to be just husband and I”? This way you’re not beholden to booking the vacation at the same time as them (just tell them it’s subject to your husband and your schedule, which hasn’t been finalized yet), and you can also decline dinner with them with the same excuse.

    2. Blue_eyes*

      You could also book your trip and just not tell them which dates you’ve chosen. If you already know when they will be there, don’t book those weeks. Or consider taking your trip at a different time of year at least this year to throw them off. It stinks that you have to be so stressed about your vacation because these people are moochers.

    3. Alma*

      You could also tell the staff “oh, the Smiths are not on our tab/account/reservation” firmly as you are being seated. Or arrange beforehand not to be seated with them.

      1. Doodlebug*

        One of the issues is that this resort is very small – like 60 room small and we would most certainly run into them, probably nightly!

        But I like all of your ideas. Thank you!

        1. Artemesia*

          sometimes you have to just bite the bullet:

          1. book for a different time altogether and don’t tell them — which mea