weekend free-for-all – May 23-24, 2015

Olive!This 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 no work and no school. If you have a work question, you can email it to me or post it in the work-related open thread on Fridays.)

Book Recommendation of the Week: The Best of Youth: A Novel, by Michael Dahlie, in which a rich, hapless 20-something trying to become a writer is regularly humiliated, often a bit tipsy, and frequently very funny, particularly after he agrees to ghost-write a novel for a dreadful B-list actor. I was delighted and amused the whole way through. (This review gives a better plot description than I do.)

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

{ 727 comments… read them below }

    1. The IT Manager*

      NCAA softball super regionals. Go SEC!

      Also SEC baseball tournament, but I find softball Moe entertaining than baseball because there’s more hits and balls in play.

      1. Mike C.*

        No, the Monaco Grand Prix is this weekend, and there’s nothing better than an F1 race where the track starts wet and then dries out as the race goes on.

    2. JMW*

      Yep! Though even the cold temps are making cars slippery, so there could be some surprises. And Nico is having a repeated trouble in that one corner. And Lewis did get a bad start last time out. Maybe there’s hope for something other than a processional….

  1. katamia*

    Does anyone have any recommendations for good resources (or resources to avoid) for evaluating credit cards? I need one that’s good for international travel (no currency fees, etc.) because of my move, but all the websites I’m finding look really sketchy (emphasis on “look”–for all I know, they’re perfectly fine and I’m just a website snob). It’s been more than 10 years since I’ve applied for a credit card (and that was a special partnership between the bank and the college I was attending, so I didn’t do a ton of research beforehand), and I’m just at a loss. I’m looking for both accurate comparison sites that’ll help me see the differences between different cards easily and for sites that have reviews of each card.

    1. Liz in a Library*

      Bankrate.com is one that I have used before. I think, but am not positive, that it’s the one Suze Orman sometimes suggested on her show.

    2. Alicia*

      Try Nerd Wallet if you’re in the U.S. In Canada, try Rate Supermarket. Most of these do get affiliate referral income for it, so still be cautious.

      1. Thinking out loud*

        Yeah, I assumed they did, but as long as they’re honest, I don’t totally mind them getting a referral fee.

    3. INTP*

      CreditKarma has ratings for some, with reviews. They will also evaluate your chances of getting the card, though that isn’t a 100%.

      1. StillHealing*

        I give a thumbs up to CreditKarma too. I’ve found some of the advice on there site very helpful also.

    4. Dan*

      Just ask and I’ll tell you. I have 17 open ones at the moment… Don’t worry, I’m only using one actively.

    5. Sarah G*

      I have a Capital One “no hassle rewards” visa card that I originally got specifically because it has no international currency conversion fees, which is an unusual feature. It’s also got no annual fee, and 1% cash back on all purchases. I’ve never had any problems with them and it is my everyday credit card.

      1. Artemesia*

        I use them too because we travel a lot. The rewards system is great. When we have enough points we simply book a flight and submit the receipt to them on line and they reimburse us. We have paid for a couple of trips to Europe with points from this system.

      2. Connie-Lynne*

        I use the Capital One travel rewards variant, it’s great, all my personal air and train fare for the last two years has been on points!

        It’s also got a chip in it which makes European travel simpler.

    6. thisit*

      i have a capital one venture card. no conversion fees, and you earn 2 points for every dollar. its big thing is using the purchase eraser for travel – for other expenses, it takes twice as many points.

      otherwise, i think chase might do one without conversion fees too, and i think they have a United miles card.

      the other thing to look for is a card with a chip (& pin, preferably, not signature), if you are traveling overseas. not everyone is offering one yet.

      i’ve used bankrate for comparison, but honestly, i mostly just asked around my friends.

    7. FD*

      Well, in my experience, there’s only a few things that really matter:

      1) Where will it be accepted? For international, Visa seems to be the best, IIRC from my friends who travel more.

      2) What’s the interest rate? Higher = bad, lower = good IF you plan to carry a balance. If you’re good about keeping out of credit card debt, though, this doesn’t matter. And if at all possible, try to avoid credit card debt.

      3) What rewards are there? This is mostly going to matter for your primary credit card. For example, I have a Discover with great perks that I use as my primary card, and the other two I carry are just for places that don’t take Discover. They have lousy perks, but since I only float $1-2k through them per year, it doesn’t mater. I’m personally a fan of cashback rewards because I don’t travel enough for miles, but I know others who prefer miles.

      If perks are important, look for cards that offer a decent level. 1% is lousy, look for cards that offer 5% or an equivalent on at least some things that you plan to use regularly. For example, my Discover offers 5% on certain categories throughout the year. The first quarter is usually gasoline, which I get anyway. The second is eating out and restaurants. I forget the other two, but most of them are things I normally do, so I can get rewards on it. (And my Discover lets you use the cashback on Amazon directly, which is really nice.)

    8. oldfashionedlovesong*

      Others have given good advice on resources for evaluating cards, so I thought I’d recommend a specific card– the BarclayCard Arrival+ Mastercard, which I got last year, have traveled with quite a bit since, and have only good things to say about. It has no foreign transaction fees and is chip+pin capable, which is key in Europe. Rewards are pretty simple– there’s a good signup bonus, then up to 2.2% back on all spending (you get the full 2.2% by redeeming for statement credits on travel; unusual things like Airbnb, trains, etc are included in “travel” which is not true of some other travel cards.) Customer service has been great too. Despite taking great care with my purse, I was pickpocketed in Barcelona last month, which was kind of terrifying, but it took like ten minutes to cancel the card and order a new one by calling collect to their international customer service line. It also has other perks like rental coverage and free FICO scores.

      I realize I sound like I’m selling something, but I just really like this card. Others also recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred– I don’t have this but I’m thinking about getting it. I’m sure that the review sites others recommended have reviewed both of these cards, so you could search those sites for their reviews and see which one, if any, meets your needs and spending patterns.

  2. Kimmy Gibbler*

    One week from today, I will be in Exuma (Bahamas) with my family swimming with wild pigs! (Adding links seems to wonk things up here, but I dare you to Google “Exuma swimming pigs” — you won’t be disappointed!)

  3. Zillah*

    I am so psyched that Valencia CF are back in the Champions League, and that Spain might have five teams in the CL next season (if Sevilla win the Europa final).

    Anybody else follow European football?

    1. Cath in Canada*

      Yes, but I’m a Newcastle United fan, so I don’t enjoy it.

      I’m a fourth generation fan on both sides of my family. My parents have apologized for passing this terrible genetic affliction on to me.

        1. Cath in Canada*

          Lucky you! I miss the place. I was born in Ashington, but we moved away when I was 5. I went back to Newcastle for my undergrad and had such a great time!

  4. Jesus Built My Hotrod*

    An old, close friend of mine recently bought some retirement property. He and I and another friend have been brainstorming about the kinds of things one might want in a house on 5 acres in the woods.

    What would you want in your “dream home”?

    (I once toured a rich fellow’s house here in Austin and was largely unimpressed. I thought the best feature was having a pro chef on staff).

    1. Kimmy Gibbler*

      A wonderful built-in backyard grill/outside kitchen would be my number one splurge — barbecue and enjoy the great outdoors!

    2. Kyrielle*

      Five acres and I’d be very tempted to put in an orchard somewhere.

      A greenhouse.

      I’m…not super exciting otherwise. Most of all I’d want a place that was comfortable, rather than a massive fancy house. Though I must admit a good soaking tub is a lovely thing.

      1. Marcela*

        I’ve always wanted a library inside a tower, with small ladders, a secret passageway, big windows and a pointy roof (and millions of books).

      2. Rene UK*

        This. Absolutely….and one of those rolling stair things to get to the top shelves.
        And a tower. I don’t know what I’d do with a tower, but I want one.

        1. Rene UK*

          oh…and an inglenook fireplace, with a hook for swinging a kettle or something over it.

      3. Connie-Lynne*


        Sorry to shout, it was just so amazing and was one of the main reasons I was all “THIS ONE LETS RENT THIS ONE HERE!” It is wonderful, has big built-in shelves except for one wall that is floor to ceiling windows.

        Other than the library, if I were building my house I would definitely put in a weird little solarium cupola, like in the Melendy Family books. We have a small, strange room right now, which I filled with beanbags, pillows, and stuffed animals. I call it “the Hello Kitty cave” and it’s super-relaxing. I definitely want one of those in my next home, too.

    3. katamia*

      Lots of windows and natural light, as well as just well-placed lighting. My current home is horrible about this.

      Few entrances and exits, though. I watch too many horror movies to want a lot of easy entrance points. (And yet I also want multiple secret passages, at least some of which I don’t know about so I can really explore the house and have fun with it. It’s no fun if I already know all the secrets.)

      A pro chef on staff sounds great, though, too.

    4. danr*

      1. a fireplace
      2. a good kitchen… double convection ovens, 6 burner range, 2 refrigerator/freezers and one standalone freezer, but not a chest freezer. Dishwasher, plenty of shelves, A pantry. room for a dinner table with enough room for 4.
      3. not counting the house, about 2 acres of cleared land with room for a garden. The lawn can be a meadow.
      4. A dining room for big dinners.
      5. a basement, unfinished. As long as you’re not in a high water table area, the furnace with ac air exchange and hot water tank go there. That leaves room for the second refrigerator/freezer and the standalone freezer. And plenty of space for storage and a workshop.
      6. A deck
      7. a large shed for the lawn mower, snowblower (if you live in a snowy area) and miscellaneous stuff.

    5. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      That’s enough land (barely) for a horse, so I’d fence in a pasture, put up a pole barn with an indoor arena, and call it a day. But I’m assuming that that’s not what you’re going for. So instead:

      – A screened-in gazebo, so I could sit in my yard even when it’s buggy.
      – A big porch, so I could sit there when it isn’t too buggy.
      – An in-ground pool, if it makes sense for the climate.
      – Tons of windows, oriented toward whatever the best views you can manage are.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        – An in-ground pool, if it makes sense for the climate.

        If I ever hit it big with the lottery… I want an in-ground indoor pool with skylights and solar heating and a change room and one of those pools that just push water at you that you have to swim against/in one place and a hot tub. With an area large enough to exercise in or entertain in/lounge around on (maybe with some sort of outdoor kitchen, not sold on that). Connected to the house, but not attached. Because hey, it snows and gets cold up here and I would loooove to just walk into a hot tub on a cold January day.

        I would also look into passive heating/cooling building techniques to reduce the amount spent on utilities.

        1. TootsNYC*

          I want a pool w/ a water slide, and lots of space for 8yos, and a floating crocodile / lily pad obstacle course…

        2. Connie-Lynne*

          I want a pool with fancy tile everywhere and weird little grottoes in it, like William Hearst’s indoor pool.

    6. Graciosa*

      Ideally, some sort of undefined space with no specific assigned use –

      This will allow you to try out sculpting – or writing – or tap dancing – or model train sets – or quilting – or painting miniatures – or tai chi – or anything else that comes to mind in retirement. Retirement should be a chance to explore.

      I think of this as Dream Space, and the only requirement for mine is good light.

      1. Kali*

        I love this idea and am going to steal it umpteen years from now when I can retire!

    7. Stephanie*

      Sometimes some of those ritzy houses look like the owner told the developer “build me something that looks expensive.”

    8. TalleySueNYC*

      I’d want a secure place to lock stuff for when I wasn’t there. My ILs’ vacation home got broken into a lot.

      I like the screened-in porch (not necessarily a gazebo; I’d want to be able to go easily to/from the fridge, bathroom, etc.

      A porch swing.

      I would think the bedrooms could be sort of smaller, since people hopefully won’t spend a lot of time in them. Esp. if you end up with decent little nooks around the living area.

      And so: several little nooks in living room, hall, sitting room, etc.–different places people can go to have different moods (solitude; somewhere to play cards; somewhere for just a couple of people to chat quietly).

      A way to have a big group of people for dinner–either connected living & dining rooms so you can have a couple of big tables, or something like tha.t

    9. fposte*

      I saw this British house on television where the lower level (much too glam to be called a basement) had a wave/lap pool thing–and the floor above it was glass, so that natural daylight (well, as much as you get in the UK) streamed down into the pool.

      I’m really liking the look of those infinity bathtubs, but I’ve never tried one, so I don’t know if I’d really want one.

      And agreed that windowseats are a must. The house I grew up on had windowseats alongside the fireplace with burgundy velvet (probably really velveteen or even velour, but I was small) cushions. I spent so much time on those!

    10. anonymous daisy*

      I would want a tub long enough to stretch out in. I see real estate photos of tubs where you would have to sit cross legged in them and I just do not understand who thought those were a winning idea.

      I would also want an extra bay in the garage for stuff that people put in sheds, room for a potting bench, room for bicycles. I would want that garage attached to the home.

      Also, I saw in an old Southern Living magazine where the guest bedroom had an area just outside of the bathroom where there was a tiny sink, counter, minifridge, and coffee maker – loved that! There was a cabinet above with room for the bare minimum of plates, mugs, coffee stuff, popcorn, and breakfasty stuff so your guests could have their coffee while they are getting ready for the day. My parents have an extra large closet for suitcases and holiday decorations which they love.

    11. the gold digger*

      Heated toilet seats and heated floors. Just – heat. And windows that never get dirty. And a way to have brownies delivered to me in bed when I think, “Brownies! Come to me!”

      1. DeadQuoteOlympics*

        Pneumatic tube brownie delivery system? also, heated floors are wonderful. My cousin’s house when we were growing up had heated stone floors throughout the house and it was fabulous because we could play with our trains/jacks/pull toys and still be warm.

    12. DeadQuoteOlympics*

      Scandinavian style sauna.

      Some kind of tower or eyrie — depending on the height of the trees, either among the branches or even above the treetops, with a telescope. I love to look out and down over landscapes. Bonus points for two towers connected by a hanging bridge.

      Or a tiny observatory with a dome that partially retracts.

      Depending on the climate, I love the kinds of soaking tub bathrooms that have an element of “outside” to them — the ones in Bali I’ve liked have a walled garden open to the sky directly off the bathroom, so you can pretend you are soaking in some secluded tropical glen. Some are glassed off from the house, some are incorporated in the room. Geckos optional.

      brick or stone outside fire pit.

      Agree with others about a library, with hidden compartments; secret passage; screen porch; love the “undefined room” idea.

    13. ThatGirl*

      My dream home would be a tiny home. Just enough room for me and my wardrobe, with convertible living space as needed (dining room/home office/living room, etc).

      I would like it in the forest with a pond and a lovely garden, though.

      1. DeadQuoteOlympics*

        Combining this idea with anonymous daisy’s above, I’d like a standalone guest tiny house with two or four tiny little self-contained guest spaces like sleeper cars on trains. Bed folds down, toilet under the seat, fold-up kitchenette with enough tiny appliances to make coffee/tea/heat up something in a tiny little microwave. Pop-out screen porch like in tents. Everybody visiting can have their own getaway space.

    14. Clever Name*

      Lets see. It has to be a log cabin. Fireplace or stove. I would say gas, but wooded property makes for lots of deadfall and wood for fires. Outdoor fire pit. Archery range outdoors. Lots of bedrooms for friends and family. Outdoor hot tub. Steam room. Modern kitchen with all the necessities. Lots of shelves for field guides and collected stuff. Outdoor grill.

    15. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I have always wanted a conservatory, a place where I can lie down, surrounded by plants, shielded from the elements. It would have to come with a caretaker, though, because I have a black thumb.

      I would need an excellent kitchen with very good appliances. And a bar.

      Oh, and a fenced-in backyard for my buddy. That’s a must. We have a huge backyard now, and it is his magic place.

    16. Lamb*

      I knew a couple who built their dream house when they were young and fit and healthy (I’d guess they were about 40?), but made sure that all the doorways were wide enough for a wheelchair in case either of them ever needed one so they could stay there forever. (They also put in an elevator, but you could also just make sure you had a full bath and at least one bedroom on the ground floor along with the kitchen etc.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep, this. I’d have my eye on the future. At least one bedroom downstairs so I could live on the main floor would be a must. But I would also want to look at supplemental heat sources and electrical power sources. And have the yard laid out in such a manner that it is low maintenance.

    17. StillHealing*

      An easy in and easy out soaking tub.

      A sound proof music room with recording studio room. Big enough for a baby grand and a drum set.

      a sauna would be nice.

      A pond or outdoor water fall/ fountain… Meditation sanctuary area.

    18. LD*

      A large screened in porch, with a ceiling fan and the ability to put in wind or sunscreens, so you can enjoy the out of doors more often, even in rain.

    19. Mephyle*

      I would start by re-reading A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander. It would make me think of the essential things I wanted that I hadn’t thought of consciously.

      I would want these practical things: a kitchen that although small, prioritizes counter space and storage. Adequate storage in general. Future livability (as mentioned above, the possibility to use the space even with mobility limitations). Sustainable energy source and water/sewage system.

      I would want these comfy things: Reading nooks. A loft. A veranda (screened if mosquitoes are in the picture). Probably most of the space dedicated to a single open concept, multi-use room, but also a few private spaces. (A) bathroom(s) with the right ambiance for a forest hideaway (but easy to keep clean).

    20. Jesus Built My Hotrod*

      Thank you to everyone who responded. I’m going to compile it all into a list and send it to my friend. I don’t know if any of the ideas will resonate with him, but I know that he hasn’t thought of many things that were suggested.

      1. Connie-Lynne*

        BTW, I <3 your username. Reminds me of my days working in Industrial Clubs.

  5. Random Reader*

    Tomorrow I’ll be attempting my first half marathon- fingers and toes crossed it goes well! I’ve only done 5Ks before and have been training up to this point.

    1. Elkay*

      Good luck! Half marathons are way out of my league so you have my sincere admiration.

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        I don’t know your body or story, but I ran a half-marathon at over 300 pounds (along with my father, who was 67 at the time and similarly out of shape). It’s no so long that it strains credulity – just long enough to require diligent preparation.

        1. Elkay*

          10K is my limit, and that was a stretch to enjoy it. I’d need a really enthusiastic running partner to get me running half marathon distance.

    2. Stephanie*

      Good luck! My friend and I are thinking of doing a half in the fall. I may just need to bite the bullet and register.

    3. cardiganed librarian*

      Good luck! I signed up for one on an optimistic whim last summer, and then due to school, work and minor health problems, never ran more than 10km in training. I finished just a few minutes slower than 6 years previous, when I followed a training program to the letter. I think that overtraining can be a real problem and if you’ve been doing any runs longer than 5km for a while, you’ll be absolutely fine.

    4. skyline*

      Good luck! Have a great time!

      (I have a race in three weeks and am down and out with hip pain (probably IT band syndrome or bursitis, sigh). Doctor is a former runner and gave me the good painkillers as well as a plan to figure out if I can safely run the race. But no running this week at all. I am already feeling bummed about not getting to do my Sunday long run.)

    5. Today's anon*

      Good luck! My first half-marathon experience was amazing and I hope you have a similarly great experience.

  6. Carrie in Scotland*

    I need motivation words as I’m currently finding about 585624* things to do other than my last assignment for my current course. After this I don’t have any more until October. I’m just super procrastinate-y anyway but combined with the fact that no matter how well I do I can’t change my grade I’m verging on the ridiculous.

    I have 2335 words to do before this time next Saturday.

    * may be an inflated figure

    1. Trixie*

      And now I’m feeling silly for struggling with 400-800-1000 words. We can do this!

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        haha, you don’t know the topic! :)

        It’s analysis of 2 text I’ve chosen, one of which must be “everyday” (newspaper letter to the editor) and one literary (a letter within Little Women) and then talk about the creativity and literariness you find within them, using the million theorists I’ve studied.

        I am liking talking about Little Women though.

        1. Elkay*

          Off topic but have you read The Little Women Letters? It’s a kind of sequel to Little Women set in modern day London. It’s not the same quality as Little Women but if you love Little Women you’ll probably enjoy it.

          1. Carrie in Scotland*

            I haven’t! I’ve seen it recommended before and forgotten about it so I’ll put it on my wishlist. Thanks :)

        2. Jill of All Trades*

          Ok, my trick with something like this is to place all of my citations/quotes first, then fill in around them with the critiqueiness/analysis/comparing/contrasting. Read it over and check for flow, and when that’s done write the introduction and conclusion. You’ll be amazed at how much of the word count is absorbed by the quotes, and it’s helpful to see words already on the page. You’ll zip through the rest. Then have someone else read it.

          Sincerely, the liberal arts major who wrote huge papers at lunch at the full time job:/

          1. TootsNYC*

            When I wrote feature articles, this is what I did as well. It was a really fast way of writing an outline–introduction; background; current day; emotional impact; future–whatever subtopic, I could group the quotes and see the article begin to take shape.

            I could of course move them around, but it got me started.

            And it’s not a bad idea to get all the citations organized at this time as well, because then at the end, it’s already done, and the tough chore is easier. I personally find that this sort of “mindless bookkeeping” is a nice way to get revved up.

      1. Sara*

        This is how I got through many papers in graduate school, but especially the very last one.

    2. TootsNYC*

      I find that I get more motivated if I stop saying “I should write my paper” and instead say:

      “I want to write my paper.”
      Bcs then, I realize, that’s a lie. So I say, “what -do- I want, then?”
      And the answer is: I want a degree. I want a good grade. I want to feel comfortable about finishing. I want to -not- feel stressed.

      So yes, actually, because of those things, which are genuine wants w/ positive emotions behind it, then I do want to write my paper. (or whatever that is)

      Good luck!

    3. Today's anon*

      Sometimes I just start writing “i don’t want to write this paper, why do I have to write this paper” etc. and then I find I am writing the paper. And I respond usually well to the timer – 15 minutes at a time.

    4. Mephyle*

      You can see I’m an expert on this, since I’m here answering your request on AAM instead of doing my work.
      The secret to getting it done when motivation is lacking is to do it without motivation. Write down the words reluctantly, unwillingly, with gritted teeth, perhaps thinking “I would rather be doing anything else than this”, but write them. Start with the sentence that is already half-formed in your mind, it doesn’t matter if it is the last sentence, or in the middle of the assignment, or the second paragraph of the introduction. Just write it and then add the next one that comes before or after it. Write reluctantly at first, and at some point you will perhaps forget that you would rather be doing something else.

  7. M.*

    More frustrations with doctors and the ER. Went to urgent care to see if the fact that my abdomen is swollen enough that I’m being asked if I’m pregnant (and I look as big as my coworker who’s due in August) needed emergency attention. That doctor sent me right over to the ER to get an ultra sound done of my abdomen. After a three hour wait, the ER doctor looks at blood work and an ultra sound of my liver and kidneys that was taken over a week and a half ago when the swelling wasn’t that bad, and just sends me home. Every time I have this doctor in the ER he just acts like I’m there for attention or something and sends me home. One time I was having a miscarriage and refused to examine me, diagnosed me with anxiety and sent me home. I’ve filed complaints about this guy and the hospital just tells me that he’s “following procedure”. Seriously, if I get really sick because of this guy turning me away…

    So now I’m debating if I need to go to another ER today… I called up the urgent care to see how urgent getting this looked at was, and their response was “That doctor isn’t in today and his notes are out being transcribed, why are you even calling us? Call the ER from yesterday and ask about your blood work.” Sigh. The blood work is coming back normal but nothing is explaining the swelling. So far they’ve told me I’m most likely probably not pregnant, and that its not water retention.

    1. danr*

      Can you find a regular doctor to go to? Someone who will listen to you and will know what is different and what is normal?
      You are locked into a loop, and unless you have someone fighting for you, it’s going to be hard to escape. And “normal” blood work doesn’t mean much unless you know which tests were done and which tests were not.
      You should also start keeping a written journal of everything that is going on. Use a small notebook that you can carry with you. Doctors pay more attention when you’re writing things down, and ask them to either go slower or repeat since you want to get the notes correct.

      1. M.*

        My current GP will only discuss my diabetes care it seems. That is all her focus is, I’ll go in for flu symptoms and she’ll say its the diabetes and act like its a follow up for that. Plus the clinic has mandatory blood sugar testing for all diabetics, which costs an additional $80-100. I don’t have insurance, so its a $120-150 for the visit alone PLUS the additional $80 for glucose tests that I don’t get a say about. I’m so tired of paying over $200 and not getting my concerns addressed. I am hoping there is a doctors office that will take new patients that don’t have insurance. I really need to be seen.

        1. fposte*

          That’s really frustrating; I’m sorry. I’m with Elizabeth in asking for another doctor and danr in trying to break the loop.

          I think you’re also hitting one of the problems of American medicine–in general the ER doesn’t really do chronic stuff. If it’s not going to kill you in the next twenty-four hours or if it can’t be fixed by sewing or splinting, they really don’t have much to do with it unless it takes their fancy. Unfortunately, your regular GP isn’t offering the coverage she should. Is a specialist in your budget if she refers you? Could you ask her to do that?

          1. M.*

            Around here, the specialist will probably cost me about $300-$400 for the initial visit. I’m lucky if I make that in a week.

            And the whole ER thing is frustrating because I don’t want to go, but every time I go to urgent care or even my GP I end up being sent to the ER. Even my psychiatrist (when I had one, agency has me on a wait list since last September) would just send me to the ER instead of trying to treat me. I don’t know if it’s just this low income doctors (clinics run by agencies) or what but I’m frustrated and spending tons of money I don’t have not getting treatment. I’m definitely going to see if I can find a doctor around here not run by one of these agencies that takes patients without insurance.

            1. fposte*

              Sorry–it really sucks. It sounds like you’re the buck and you’re getting passed.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      This is bullshit. If you end up at the ER again and that guy is there, put your foot down and ask for another doctor. Make them call one in if they have to. Tell them you aren’t leaving until you see someone and it better not be him.

      I went to the ER one Friday night, and the doctor, talking to me as if I was a child, told me the excruciating abdominal pain I had gone in for was a gas bubble. “Little girls have them sometimes,” he said. (The pain had gone by the time they took an X-ray.) My GP looked at the X-ray on Monday and found a kidney stone! He said, “It was right there, big as life!” I told him the doctor’s name and said that’s the guy who missed it. I hope he got in major trouble–or at least, my awesome doc ripped him a new bodily orifice. I wish I had said “Get another doctor in here.”

      I’d second looking for another GP.

      1. kimberly*

        Ugh. Don’t really recommend this.

        First, there may only be one physician available. Even if there is more than one provider, most ERs don’t let you decide who you are going to see. Telling them you aren’t leaving until you are seen by someone else will often get you escorted out by security. I totally understand the frustration of being seen and either not being treated well or not getting the answers you are looking for, but ERs (especially busy ones) deal with so much drama on a daily basis that this approach isn’t likely to get you what you want.

        I spent about 15 years of my nursing career working in the ER. I’ve been in other areas of nursing for the past 4+ and I don’t miss the ER at all.

        As fposte wrote above, the role of the ER isn’t to diagnosis what is wrong with you. It is to look for an emergency medical condition that needs to be treated. Abdominal pain is pretty tricky and one of the most common education sheets I used to send someone home with was “abdominal pain, uncertain cause.”

        Many, many people need follow up with either primary care or a GI doc to find out what is causing abdominal pain (and even the specialists have trouble sometimes). Basically, the ER is going to look for things like appendicitis, gallbladder problems, GI bleeding, pancreatitis and kidney stones. They will often find things UTIs and ovarian cysts along the way. If they don’t find any of that (and sometimes even if they do in the case of kidney stones and some GB problems) they are going to send you home and tell you to follow-up if VS are all stable and blood work looks decent. Abdominal pain patients will often get fluid and pain/nausea meds while waiting for tests results to come back.

        Of course there are crap doctors out there (like missing your kidney stone — which though it won’t kill you it sure will make you feel like you are about to die), but many people have unrealistic expectations of the ER. I have seen patients come in with really complex problems that are being worked up by a specialist because they are tired of waiting for a diagnosis and think the ER will be faster. All I could think in those situations was “really? You’re specialist can’t figure out what is wrong after $$$$$ worth of testing and you think our ER doc is going to figure it out?” To be fair, sometimes the ER doc does figure it out. The instance of that is not very high, though.

        M. — it sounds like you need a new PCP. Is that possible with your insurance situation and in your area? If there is a teaching hospital around you, I would suggest a teaching practice clinic — either family practice or internal medicine to start. Then, if you do need a GI (or other) specialist they can sometimes get you into their sister clinic at a reduced rate. Diabetes gets blamed for a lot … but in reality it isn’t the root of all evils.

        If there isn’t a teaching practice available, then see if you can get recommendations from friends/relatives. When you don’t have insurance, it is really important that your PCP works with you on testing to keep it affordable. There should be *no such thing* as a lab test that you don’t have any say in. They get to set those rules in their clinic, of course, and you have every right to decline and find another doctor if they won’t work with you. Have you mentioned your financial concerns to your PCP? It is possible that she isn’t even thinking about that when she orders the tests that she routinely orders for other diabetics. If you hgbA1C is in a good range, she should be willing to hold off on the frequent lab tests for a while.

        If you do need to go back to the ER, I would suggest picking a different one, if a different one is available.

        Good luck. Access to healthcare can be really frustrating.

        1. Mimmy*

          Primary care physicians never seem to tell you what tests they’re running. My husband and I get labs done every 3 months and I’ve now figured out generally what gets tested based on the results she reads off each follow-up visit. I do wish they’d be more upfront, especially in the beginning, because one time, my Rheumatoid Factor came back slightly elevated, but I think it was a random check because I don’t think she ever tested it again.

          I was irked back in December, though, because I was scheduled for a routine echocardiogram, which I was absolutely fine with because of a minor issue I’ve had for a few years. Then, on testing day, I find out I was ALSO having my carotids checked! The tech asked me why my pcp was testing them, and I was like, “I have no idea” since this was not discussed before. I relented and let them be checked, but it made me pretty angry.

        2. M.*

          Hi! Thank you for your reply…

          My PCP is aware of my financial situation. I used to be completely covered by their assistance program, then ACA came and I was covered 50% and then was denied coverage. Since I was then put on SSDI I received Medicaid, but the SSDI wasn’t enough to cover all my expenses so I had to get a job. Which then kicked me off of Medicaid. Which left me uninsured. My PCP keeps telling me that I can just get financial assistance through them to pay for this stuff (including like $500 medications) even though I’ve informed her multiple times that I have been denied since I “make too much”. My A1Cs are about 7/6 but she wants it to be a 5, and my fasting glucose levels are about 185. Still high but really really good for my particular case. She wants them to be below 120. So she keeps pressing aggressive treatments.

          The nearest teaching college is about an hour and a half away. I really can’t manage that sort of travel unless its absolutely necessary. There is another hospital nearby, which I prefer to go to, the Urgent Care doctor just sent me to this one because they already had my ultra sound from two-ish weeks ago on file and he wanted a new one done for comparison. There was supposed to be communication between the urgent care and the ER (the urgent care doctor said he had spoken to the ER at this hospital), so I was confused when the ER Doc acted like I had just decided to show up on my own for something that obviously wasn’t emergency related. Not that the doctor treated me well before, but I think it just added to it.

      1. fposte*

        I’m likely dealing with SIBO right now (and maybe you are too). Heaven knows people experience things different ways, but gastric bloating is usually pretty different from the kind of swelling M. is talking about. She could always consider it, of course, and see if she wants to change her diet to test it.

    3. J*

      Okay so… are you not eligible for assistance with insurance? If you are unemployed or under employed most states have a medicare program because of the ACA. If you are low income, there are options available too. You are supposed to be carrying medical coverage in the states now or you will be penalized at tax time, so if income is the problem there should be an avail program for you. I’m not well versed, but are you aware of your options?

      Also, yeah, ER docs, especially in busy areas are often not that interested. I’m lucky in that I live in an area with a a really good school and teaching hospital and the other option is a catholic hospital. Both have never turned me away for anything even in the past when I was younger and uninsured. They made sure to rule out things and even (back then) set me up in programs through the financial services offices for assistance with my bill.

      That said, you either need to go to another ER or you need to be very specific with your primary care doctor about what is bothering you and what you want her to check. If she gets off-topic, be firm and steer her back.

      If you are not in the states, I am sorry I do not know how things work elsewhere. If you are in the states, and since you aren’t currently under any insurance plan, its up to you if you wish to try another place. You just have to be your own advocate insured or not. Sometimes you have to make them do what you need them to do, even if it means getting a bit firm or being “difficult.”

      Good luck!

      1. M.*

        So. I work full time but I’m a temp. During open enrollment with my agency, my contract was set to expire, and I really couldn’t afford what insurance was going to cost me through them (my pay is really low). So I declined, because I as due to be let go that month and I needed to still be able to afford rent and food. I’m pretty much working without a contract at this point for my agency and can be let go for any reason at any time — including calling out sick or management deciding they don’t like me for whatever reason.

        I am disabled but because I’m working I do not qualify for medicaid. I also don’t make enough to receive a tax credit for health insurance. I’m pretty much in a loop of not enough for tax credits/can’t afford it on my own and making too much for medicaid. I keep getting kicked back through the loop over and over. I’ve had advocates work on my behalf for over half a year. They are as frustrated about this as I am. A lot of people are not aware that this gap exists. I’m sure in a few years it will be fixed but for now there are little to no options.

        I used to get a lot of my health care covered by charity care and such but ACA restructured how and who they can help and I was cut off from this aid. The hospitals keep making fill out their financial aid packets and I keep getting denied because I “make too much” (I make about $1200/month with overtime — my rent alone is $1100 which is common for this area — even with a roommate its hard to get by).

    4. Marcela*

      I’m truly sorry. I had to fight the same lack of empathy and complete disinterest before I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I also ended in ER, my blood was taken and a full battery of tests performed. The young doctor even touched and pressed my tummy trying to find the place where I told him I felt pain. Nothing, “you are fine, there is nothing wrong”, he said. Second time, he wasn’t as nice. So by then, I lied to my family doctor and told her sex was painful. I was immediately sent to the gyn, who found a 8 cm cyst. !!!! And the ER doctor could not find it?! Of course he couldn’t, and this is a pet peeve of mine, because he was not an expert in “women’s health”. He didn’t think of making an ultrasound, which is something fast, easy to do and in my case, it showed what I had.

      I’m so sorry, hugs for you.

  8. Amber Rose*

    I may not survive today. -_-

    I love my best friend, but his wedding will probably kill me. The wedding I had to wait outside of because non-Mormons may not enter temple.

    The wedding he dragged his feet on and started late, so I baked in the searing sun for three straight hours instead of the 45 minutes he said it would take. With no water.

    I am so sunburned and sun sick I don’t know how I’m gonna make it through the day, let alone to the reception.

    This is bullshit.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          And drinking lots of water, I hope. And take an aspirin or ibuprofen for pain and inflammation.

          That’s crap. Why did he ask you to come to the ceremony if he knew you couldn’t go in????

          1. Amber Rose*

            Because pictures and lunch happened immediately after for the wedding party (my husband who can’t drive is a groomsman so I am his ride everywhere even though I’m not wedding party myself). We all stood around outside waiting.

            It was only supposed to take 45 minutes. :/

    1. Revanche*

      Oh NO! That’s terrible! I’m so sorry you got terribly burnt :( I hate to suggest it but if you’re too sick, maybe it would be best for you to stay home with soothing aloe on your burns?

      (We attended a similar Mormon wedding but our friends were incredibly cognizant of those of us waiting outside and didn’t rush but definitely didn’t drag their feet.)

      1. Amber Rose*

        I’m in my hotel room for now anyway.

        It’s mostly my face and the top of my head. I am a sickly sort of person so I tend to have this problem early in the summer before I build some tolerance.

    2. TalleySueNYC*

      If you can’t go inside, why even go to the building? See them at the reception.

        1. Elkay*

          Seems kind of rude to ask someone to be in the wedding party when they aren’t permitted to attend the ceremony.

            1. Elkay*

              Wasn’t bashing a culture’s practice I was bashing the behaviour of the person who put their friend in a position where they were left in the baking sun for three hours. I have no issue with people not being allowed in for the ceremony, that actually seems totally reasonable to me.

              1. CreationEdge*

                It wasn’t only your comment I meant to address, but the next couple replies as well. I understand the sun time issue, but that was *not* brought up in the previous few comments. I wouldn’t have said anything if it was just about the sun oversight, since that would feel like typically wedding snafu stuff to me.

                1. Anna*

                  Nobody said anything about it specifically being a Mormon wedding, all the comments were about the thoughtlessness of the person having the wedding. If your religion dictates that only specific people can attend the ceremony, don’t include people who can’t attend in the wedding party. Having to stand out in the sun waiting for the wedding ceremony to end INSIDE while you stand OUTSIDE because you’re not allowed in is certainly not typical wedding snafu stuff; it’s incredibly thoughtless and circles back around to not having people in your wedding party who have to stand outside where the ceremony takes place.

    3. Nina*

      That’s awful. I love the summer, but I certainly would have balked at standing outside for hours in the scorching heat.
      Were there other people waiting outside? At the very least, someone should have brought out some water for you, or they could have told you that you could wait somewhere else that was cool. Especially since the ceremony went on much longer than anticipated.

      I’m glad you’re inside with the AC. Be sure to stay hydrated.

    4. pinky*

      the wedding hosts should have set up a tent and drinks for you folks who could not go in, know they invited non-mormans who cannot go in the temple. Bad hosts. really unthoughtful of their guests!

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Or they should have had a bridesmaid, groomsman, or usher send out a group text or tweet or something when the couple was finishing up the ceremony, so people could head over to the church.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I have no idea how you lasted so long. I would have been vomiting in the heat/light like that. I hope you are done with this mess and get to go home soon.

  9. Jubilance*

    My husband and I are going on our honeymoon to St Lucia this weekend! I’m so excited to have this week away and to enjoy some beautiful weather. Any tips for St Lucia? We are staying at one of the Sandals properties.

  10. Revanche*

    I’m excited for the holiday weekend, mostly about having husband home an extra day. It’s so nice to spend family time together. We might even get around to watching Big Hero 6!

    Contemplating an encounter with a Twitter troll yesterday. Was recounting the incident to Husband (random dude popped up when I RTed someone mentioning catcalling, trying to intimidate me into explaining what catcalling was so he could demean me/women for having the nerve to dislike harrassment), but I really don’t understand these people. This guy had been lurking in my follower list for ages, since my account is private, so that was weird. And has nobody ever taught these people civility?

    Anyway, while these encounters are rare for me, and the online spaces I frequent are refreshingly free of that sort of nastiness, it’s sad that this is so normal for some people. I’m going to hate having to explain this stuff to our kid when ze gets older, it seems a lot worse and more prevalent than a few decades ago. :/ I will still hope that things will get better, though.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Ugh, I pissed off a birther on Twitter (apparently she also has the hots for Ted Cruz, whom I had made fun of). Took time to extricate myself. Just a pot-stirrer, in my opinion. I blocked her.

      1. anonymous daisy*

        Ugh, the birthers. I work at the reference desk at the library and we would get a lot of phone calls asking about the whole presidency/born in America thing. I didn’t immediately clue in when I was asked the first few times that they wanted something on Obama, I honestly thought that they were asking about McCain because McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone and I would say that they didn’t need to worry about how McCain wasn’t born in America and would go into a brief rundown of the PCZ at that time. They would get upset with me and tell me that I needed to find documentation on how Obama was running illegally and get that to them stat so they could ‘save America”. One of them even wanted me to research how Hawaii wasn’t really a part of America because they have a palace there.

        1. Melissa*

          That’s the thing that was so ironic about it to me – you’d think more people would be concerned about McCain’s birth because it was in the Panama Canal Zone and most people are not familiar with that being an American territory at the time, but I’ve never heard a single person seriously question McCain’s eligibility to be president whereas Obama’s birth in an actual state brought up controversy. People are weird.

          1. Windchime*

            I think people would be similarly concerned about McCain’s birthplace were he also black, like Mr. Obama. In my opinion, that whole controversy was about race and not birthplace.

        2. Marcela*

          What’s truly amazing for me, as a foreigner, is that how can they believe nobody checks if the candidates have a right to actually asume the position? I mean, if it is that easy to bypass the requirement of being born in America and be president, don’t they think one of us (foreigners) would have try it a long, long, long time ago?

          1. Elizabeth West*

            As I understand it, if one or both of your parents is American, you are considered a US citizen through acquisition no matter where you’re born. Your children will also have citizenship.

  11. Carrie in Scotland*

    Ok, so I have something fun for The Hive.

    I found an article, which I’ll link to but it was about Google Maps and where it thinks you are.

    So, go to Google Maps and type in your name and it will “locate” you. I’ve done it with fictional characters which has thrown up some amusing results.

    My name locates me at work (sadly) but for my longer name I’m somewhere in Dallas. My officemate’s partner was located in prison and receptionist at work in an American Cemetery. My friend has been located in several locations all at once.

    So: where are you?

    1. Elkay*

      It thinks I’m at the Italian restaurant down the road, well I was wondering what to do for dinner…

        1. Elkay*

          Just ordered Mexican. Afternoon at a beer festival in the sun means I’m not in the mood to cook.

    2. katamia*

      Doesn’t work for me–my last name shows up on lots of maps, so I think they couldn’t get a read on me. Didn’t find my parents, either, who have the same last name, but it found some friends and old classmates I tested.

    3. Thinking out loud*

      With my current legal name, I’m a club within about 20 or 30 miles of my home. With my nickname and legal last name, I’m in Paris. :-D

    4. Jill of All Trades*

      I got a real estate office in Saginaw, MI. Real answer is a hair salon in Smyrna, GA.

    5. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      Wait, is the idea that it draws on your data to put you somewhere (like Google knows that I spend most of my time at work), or does it just take your name and find something with that name? Or does that just happen for me because of my name situation? (I’m, like, ungoogleable because my full name is the name of a very widely distributed product.)

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        I have no idea, Victoria. I just found the article on it quite fascinating. Most of the people I know at work were found at work but not all.

        I’ve linked it but it’ll be in moderation for a while.

        1. fposte*

          Though I think it bases it on your history, too–I looked for Jo March and it sent me to a little Scottish art gallery I bought stuff from last year.

      2. The IT Manager*

        It couldn’t find me (I did put quotes around my name), and found someone with a similar name (did you mean X?) at a high school in Texas. So I think it uses an address associated with your name. Most people are more likely to have their name associated with a work address so it’s mostly like to find them at work or another business associated with their name.

      3. Treena Kravm*

        I think it looks for any associated addresses in regular google results. It placed me at a non-profit that I sit on the board of, and my name is on their website.

    6. Stephanie*

      It thinks I’m at a church in an eastern suburb of Atlanta. (In actuality, I’m in the passenger seat of a car in Southern Arizona.)

    7. Anonyby*

      Okay, first it tried to “correct” my name (which pulled up a casino), and after I forced it back to my real spelling… It put me at the mortuary where we held services for my grandmother and mother.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      Hahahaa, okay, I’m going to try several versions of my name.

      –Liz Lastname: La Porte High School in La Porte, TX. I’ve never heard of it!
      –Elizabeth Lastname: a newspaper office in Kingston Jamaica. :)
      –First initial, middle initial, Lastname: the county courthouse in Greenville, Pennsylvania. Whoops, looks like I’m in trouble! :D
      –Firstname Lastname: whoa, my mum’s house came up. 0_0 (My first name is her middle name.)
      –Firstname, middle initial, Lastname: The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, Syracuse NY
      –Pen name Elizabeth West: I’m a former suburb of Adelaide, Australia.


    9. TalleySueNYC*

      I was surprised it didn’t pop up my home; I’m in the phone book. It did pop up my church.

      And NYU (who knows why? I have no affiliation) and a random doctor on the East Side.

      It’s a little scary; if you had a stalker, you’d be in real trouble.

    10. Liz in a Library*

      It placed me at my alma mater with my current name, and a place I’ve never been in Bluffton, SC with my (more common) maiden. Interesting!

      1. LAMM*

        I am also at a funeral home but in Troy, OH.

        I was concerned for a minute that Google knew something I didn’t!

      2. Uyulala*

        I’m at a funeral home too — in PA!

        First Google decided I spelled my name wrong and sent me to one funeral home. Then, I said to use my correct spelling and got directed to another.

        I’m actually in Central Texas. And not in a funeral home.

      3. DeadQuoteOlympics*

        I’m in the Tippecanoe Memory Gardens Cemetery. I’m also apparently in the Coast Guard and the Naval Academy Primary School when I’m not being dead.

    11. afiendishthingy*

      Legal name – at my church. Shortened first name, at a dance studio in a suburb of Minneapolis. Interesting.

    12. CAA*

      I am a hotel in France. There are several towns there with my last name as all or part of their name (as in “myname-pres-Bordeaux”), so this is not too surprising. No idea why it picked that specific town or why the hotel was the chosen place within it.

    13. QualityControlFreak*

      Apparently I’m at the Footscray Community Arts Center on the Maribyrnong River in Melbourne.

    14. INTP*

      Apparently I am in a pediatrician’s office in Texas.

      I also searched Wakeen Fenix just for fun – he is at Sir Veza’s Taco Garage at a mall in the middle of nowhere in Arizona.

    15. Soupspoon McGee*

      I get the medical practice of one of my name doppelgangers, Soupsoon D. McGee. There are five of use with online presence in the US (same first name, middle initial, and last name). So nice to see that we have a wide variety of professions and hobbies (goat farming, ministry, writing, fundraising, medicine).

    16. Dynamic Beige*

      Texas is popular among people here… I am apparently an auctioneer at an antiques store outside of Dallas… or my doppelganger is. Hmm… At least it wasn’t the person with my name who is a christian rock musician.

    17. hermit crab*

      My actual name is at Georgetown University (where I’ve never been in my life), but “hermit crab” comes up as being at the zoo!

      1. I live to serve*

        I’m at work at my University. And yes I was there until 45 minutes ago. Good news. a trip to NYC for week. See old friends. Visit old job. Going to BookExpoAmerica. Any other AAMs going to be there?

    18. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I’m apparently at work; impressed that it knows that I work there (?).

    19. RL*

      Says I’m in Jasper National Park. I’m honestly baffled. Maybe someone with my name works there.

    20. skyline*

      It thinks I’m a dentist two towns away. (My last name is quite common, and my first name is not that unusual, so there are plenty of other people with my name out there. Including some in the same county!)

    21. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

      I’m at our wedding venue, and my husband is at Princeton University.

    22. Clever Name*

      I’m at my office. But I’m not surprised. I write a ton of reports with my name and company on them for government agencies that end up online as part of the public record.

    23. Al Lo*

      My (uncommon) first name is the name of a small town in Saskatchewan, so unsurprisingly, that’s what I get.

      My full name (of which I’m the only one on the internet, last time I checked) actually puts me at my parents’ church, which I’ve attended for most of my life. Pretty darn accurate, I think. At the very least, somewhere I have very close ties.

      My maiden name (first and last) puts me, for some reason at American University in Washington, DC. Ah — Google tells me that a faculty member there has the same name as my maiden name.

    24. SevenSixOne*

      It put me at my favorite amusement park–I went there 50+ times last year, so guess it’s not wrong.

    25. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

      too funny. Me and my names.

      I go by [first name] [legal last name/birth], [first name] [husband’s last name] and [first name] [legal last name] [husband’s last name].

      It took the magic final combo for it to locate me at work. The other combos were OR and CA.

    26. Melissa*

      Searching my name shows me at my graduate school, which is fair. I was there for the last 6 years.

    27. Cruciatus*

      I’m at Kansas State University. I live in PA. With just my last name it does find my dad’s business. It found where my sister works.

    28. Jazzy Red*

      I’m in jail! In a city I’ve never visited, so they must have dragged me kicking and screaming from my home on a false arrest.

      Someone send me a cake with a file in it!

    29. Merry and Bright*

      It says I am in a restaurant in Boston.
      (I am actually sitting in my parents’ kitchen in Kent in the UK).

      1. Windchime*

        (I am actually sitting in my living room just north of Seattle, drinking a diet Coke).

    30. De Minimis*

      Law office in Knoxville, TN. One of the partners has my last name and apparently someone else there has my first name.

    31. Lindsay J*

      I’m an MD in Santa Clara apparently. Sounds like a good life to me. I’ll go for that lol.

  12. Loose Seal*

    I have a religious question and I would like to get information about it. My sister and her family became Messianic Jews a few years ago. For reference, my husband and I are atheists and the rest of my family (and his, as well) are Christian. This generally means that, since we are in the Bible Belt, my husband and I don’t flaunt our atheism while trying to stay out of conversations concerning religion.

    Needless to say, my husband and I don’t attend religious services as a rule. We do go to weddings and funerals that might have a religious component but we quietly decline from personally participating in prayers and overt religious things, like Communion (which the Methodist church allows anyone to take) and revivals (which are week-long events the purpose of which I’ve never understood).

    The issue now is that my 13-year-old niece who is part of the Messianic Jew family is having her Bat Mitzvah this summer. My sister has told me that my niece is more or less in charge of running the service that evening. Ordinarily, we would attend any event our nieces and nephews are a part of (plays, sports, graduations, etc.) but since this event is religious, we don’t feel as though we should attend. I do not think my niece knows we are atheists because we have never mentioned it and she has grown up rather sheltered (home schooled for religious reasons); it has probably never occurred to her that some people don’t believe in God.

    So my questions are: what to do? Are we correct in thinking that a Bat Mitzvah service is more religious than the average wedding or funeral and our attendance there would be essentially indicating that we are supporting her religion and her religious choices? If we decide to attend, would my husband have to wear a yarmulke (he and I are both against wearing garments or jewelry that have a religious connotation) or could he abstain? Would I have to dress any particular way or cover any tattoos? Are the gifts supposed to be religious-themed or could I get her a birthday-type gift?

    In a perfect world, what I would like to do is sit down with my niece and tell her I am an atheist and describe what that is. I’d be open for her to ask any questions so that she could understand where I’m coming from. However, I’m 100% certain her mother — my sister — will not allow that conversation to occur. So, if we don’t attend her Bat Mitzvah, she won’t know why. I feel bad knowing that my niece might think that I’m not attending because I don’t love her and it’s making me wonder if I should just attend without saying anything.

    1. katamia*

      I’m not really familiar with Messianic Judaism so I’m not sure about the yarmulke and specific clothing, but when my friends had Bar/Bat Mitzvahs growing up (I’m Jewish too, but more cultural than religious so I didn’t have one), they invited our non-Jewish friends and a lot of them went. It is, in my experience, less religious than Communion and more about the honoree becoming an adult than confirming them in the faith. Is there a reason why you can’t ask your sister about the attire?

      1. katamia*

        Also, there’s a lot of studying and hard work that typically goes into a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, so while I think that conversation is one that, in general, should be had, just before her Bat Mitzvah may not be the best time for it.

      2. BRR*

        I replied below but I forgot that it’s common (or it was for me as a reform jew) for non-jewish friends to attend.

    2. Anonyby*

      No advice for you, but *HUGS*.

      I’m not fully closeted, but I try to stay under the radar myself, and it is hard.

    3. BRR*

      I’m not sure about messianic jews but being raised as a reform jew a bar/bat mitzvah is more religious than a wedding or funeral but it’s pretty important for the person. I don’t it’s necessarily supporting her religion or her religious choices as much as supporting her.

      I’m an atheist as well (a little more out about it than it sounds you can be though) and my cousin’s kid is having a bat mitzvah in the fall. I’m going. It’s kind of a suck it up and go thing for me. It’s sort of like it’s a religious recital for the person. I won’t go to holiday services and can’t always stop my eye rolls when I’ve been to my husband’s family’s funerals and the service moves from the person to Jesus or when my sister in-law is revolving her wedding around when her church is open but I would go to this to be there.

      Not sure with messianic jews about rules. It’s not rude to ask about attire or a yarmelke? I was raised as a reform jew and not wearing a yarmelke would be fine. Tattoos might be glared at as its against jewish law but eff the people who care.

      Cash is the best gift for a bar/bat mitzvah. Jews usually give in multiples of 18 as its good luck but it’s totally fine not to. Gift cards are also liked because your parents can’t put it in the bank so you can spend it (my class was greedy haha).

      1. Trixie*

        Fascinated by the multiples of 18 connection, is there a story or hidden meaning behind it?

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Each Hebrew letter corresponds to a number, and the word “life” adds up to 18.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        when my sister in-law is revolving her wedding around when her church is open

        I would think that would have more to do with actual use of the venue, wouldn’t it? Don’t you have to pre-book a wedding with a church? (I don’t know; I’ve never planned a wedding.)

        1. BRR*

          What I meant was that she “needs” to have it in her mom’s church. Except that she can only book it at an odd time and it leaves 150 people with 2 hours between the ceremony and the reception in a small town with nothing to do. So it’s like everybody will go back to their hotel room for a hot second then need to leave again. Also the groom’s brother is a minister and the church through a big stink about letting him be the officiant. In my mind I just kept thinking she should have it somewhere else.

          1. BRR*

            By open I meant the time of day the church was open. Sorry, I’m the worst at communicating all the details :(. Why isn’t everybody inside my head?

          2. doreen*

            Religious people aren’t likely to want to get married in a church they aren’t affiliated with. Most people who want a religious ceremony have to work around the hours their church is available in exactly the same way they have to work around the hours the reception venue is available . In my experience, there’s almost always at least a two-hour gap unless the ceremony is at the reception site ( which is not acceptable to all religions). There are ways to work around it – arrange for the reception venue to open an hour early, or invite people back to a relative’s house during the gap – but the gap itself is very common.

      3. Thinking out loud*

        I was raised as a Reform Jew, and I agree with all of this. It is religious, but I had non-Jews attend and we were all okay with that. It is perfectly fine in a Reform Temple to bit cover your head (although I would probably confirm with your sister that that’s true for Messianic Jews since they might be different and it sounds like that would be a deal-breaker for you guys), and tattoos are officially against the rules but I don’t anyone will actually care. And yes, a check is probably best unless you know the kid really well – $18 or $36 is perfectly acceptable.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Your attendance at your niece’s Bat Mitzvah indicates that you are supporting her as a family member. You are not obligated to pray, convert, or believe. These ceremonies are about attaining adulthood.

      I don’t know about the yarmulke; you’d have to ask your sister or her husband. I don’t know if you would have to wear it if you’re not Jewish–you could decline on those grounds if it’s optional, without saying anything about your atheism.

      These things are rituals, that’s all. It’s no different than singing Happy Birthday to someone. You politely sing along and clap when the person blows out the candles. They have meaning to the people who perform them, but not to everyone. Plenty of people attended the church service I went to in St. Paul’s Cathedral on St. George’s Day; they welcomed everyone. I actually took Communion (I’m Catholic, not Anglican, but they said all were welcome to participate, or not.) I’ll bet a bunch of them were just there to hear the choir. :)

      1. Sara*

        I don’t remember non-Jewish guests having to wear yarmulkes or any other type of religious attire at any of the bar/bat mitzvahs I attended as a youth (I had a handful of Jewish friends in school), but none of my friends/their families are Messianic Jews, so it may differ depending on the denomination. (And also, obviously, my memory isn’t perfect.)

    5. Graciosa*

      Yes, a Bat Mitzvah is a religious service. Why don’t you contact the synagogue and ask what would be expected of non-believers in attendance? Asking will get you accurate information about the expectations at this event rather than worrying about what you imagine will be required.

      You might also ask your sister if there will be a party to follow at a private location. If the expectations placed on non-believers would preclude your attendance at the Bat Mitzvah, you might be able to join the family after its conclusion.

      If you are not able to do either, you can also send a gift with a nice, personal letter telling your niece how much you care for her and how sorry you were that you were not able to join her on such a special day (without specifying a reason).

      Whether or not you attend, I urge you not to cast a shadow on your niece’s celebration with the conversation you would like to have “in a perfect world.” Your niece has spent literally years preparing for this moment, and sitting her down to challenge both her beliefs and her accomplishments is not a caring thing to do – no matter how much you wish she and her parents had made different choices that aligned with your beliefs rather than theirs. This is not the time to proselytize.

      1. Loose Seal*

        I appreciate your reply but I’m almost offended by the notion that being open with my atheism casts a shadow. I don’t wish her parents had made different religious choices and I don’t have any idea where you got that from my post. I’m guessing that you have experiences with atheists that you are bringing to your response that have nothing to do with me and the way I live my life. I do not expect anyone to align their beliefs to mine and it’s weird to me that you think I do. If anything I bend over backwards not to force my ideas about religion on the people in my family. I merely wanted to be able to explain to my niece that, if I decided not to attend, it had nothing to do with her, as a beloved niece, but the fact that I don’t attend religious services and why.

        1. Graciosa*

          I don’t think being open about atheism casts a shadow – I think that the issue is the timing. I’m sorry if I misunderstood your intentions; I drew the conclusion from your describing wanting to sit down with your niece (who is about to do something contrary to your beliefs) and explain yours (which are diametrically opposed) and invite her to discuss them (which is going to put her on the defensive).

          There’s a big difference between being open all along about – for example, not liking a child’s choice of romantic partner – and never mentioning it until the eve of the wedding. It’s going to come out of the blue, and seem very much like a last ditch effort to change the person’s mind or prevent them from making what you perceive as a mistake.

          If you had been open about your atheism, you wouldn’t (I hope) feel any need to raise it at this particular moment when it could very easily be perceived as an unexpected attack on something very important to her.

          I’m certainly in favor of being open about it in the future – if there’s an appropriate opportunity *after* the Bat Mitzvah has passed, or if you can tell her you hold beliefs fundamentally opposed to hers without sounding like you’re challenging them or questioning her choice (I’m not sure the last is possible, but I hope so if you decide to try).

          And just to be clear, I would feel the same way about a close family member concealing religious beliefs and announcing them on the eve of a marriage to be performed by a judge or JP, explaining that their previously undisclosed beliefs prevented their attendance at a ceremony they believed invalid due to the lack of a religious officiant. The problem is not the nature of the belief, it is choosing to disclose your never-before-mentioned opposition to another’s belief on the eve of a significant ceremonial occasion.

          Atheism is irrelevant to me – I strongly believe that this is not the time to hurt a close family member in the name of “openness.”

          1. Loose Seal*

            OK, I understand your POV regarding openness and I do see how it might be taken the wrong way to spring this on my niece immediately prior to this event.

            1. Graciosa*

              That’s very gracious of you – thank you.

              I am sorry if I was too focused on my message to share my empathy for what you’re going through. This must be very difficult all around – living in this environment and staying silent when you want to speak, both in the community and with family members.

              It is clear that you care deeply about your niece, and I really feel for your struggles. Balancing fundamental issues of integrity and caring is not as easy as I was making it sound.

              I am very sorry if I contributed to making this more painful for you rather than easier.

        2. Lady*

          Just because you seem to be wondering Loose Seal, for me it was the part in your original post you asked:

          “Are we correct in thinking that a Bat Mitzvah service is more religious than the average wedding or funeral and our attendance there would be essentially indicating that we are supporting her religion and her religious choices?”

          That was what struck me as sour, as if you feared your attendence would confer that you held a similar belief or could support hers and it was important to you that that not be the case.

          Fortunately you’ve clarified, so it was mostly the wording which now doesn’t seem like what you intended.

          1. Marcela*

            Why is it sour? (Honest question). I would never attend to services in a specific church my mother attends, because I feel that even going there can be understood as supporting the priest there, who “managed” in a horrific way some allegations of abuse (dismissing them, essentially, until they reached the press). For me it is very important to show that I do not support the behaviour and beliefs of the hierarchy of the catholic church in my country: so much that I submitted an official apostasy form.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              I grew up Catholic, also. We were taught that by merely walking into another church of a different denomination, we were “traitors” or we were in extreme danger of losing our faith. I never understood this. My husband use to say, “if my faith is so fragile I would lose it by walking into another church, then I did not have strong faith to begin with.”

              This type of teaching creates a lot of unnecessary mistrust/doubt/confusion. I do not believe that walking into a Protestant church makes me a Protestant, any more than walking into City Hall makes me the mayor. I think that these types of thoughts skip over huge parts that involve study/introspection/thinking on the part of the participants. In short, it’s a huge leap in logic.

              Marcela, in the example you give, I would not walk into that church either, because of the specifics as you have noted here. I think that your response to your example is not sour at all, I think it is practical. Other churches I have been in, I have chosen not to put money in the collection basket. Then there are lovely churches that I been in and happily through some cash in the basket. I think there can be degrees of how we respond in these situations. Added wrinkle, we can change our usual responses over time. There is lots of room here for a variety of responses from the OP with her question, too.

    6. Ask a Manager* Post author

      A bat mitzvah is indeed a religious service, but attending doesn’t indicate you agree with or endorse the religious views; it indicates only that you are there because you love/care about the person being bat mitvahed. Jews regularly invite non-Jews to attend (friends, etc.) for that reason, and it’s very normal for non-Jews to attend. It’s a major life event. I’m not religious but I can’t imagine not attending my nieces’ bat mitzvahs; it would be like not going to their weddings.

      Your husband will have to wear a yarmulke during the service because it would be disrespectful not to (and I don’t think not wearing one will be allowed; there will be a box of them available to use when you enter). I would think of this as the same thing as covering yourself if you were visiting the Vatican or a mosque; it doesn’t indicate anything about your own religious beliefs, only respect for the place you’re visiting and the people there to whom it does have meaning.

      1. Ella*

        Exactly. Will you skip her wedding when she’s older because it’s a Jewish service? Just go. This is not a way to make a stand on religion.

        1. SandrineSmiles (France)*

          Truth be told, despite having gone to Church wedding in the past (Catholic family) , I am now more inclined to say that yes, if I was in that situation myself, I would not go.

          Thankfully, I am so open about my atheism (though one of my friends says I actually am quite spiritual, given a common “hobby” we share – I just disagree because he likens it to a religion, which irritates me :p ) that this hasn’t been questioned yet.

          So yeah.

      1. Expendable Redshirt*

        Go to support your family, and view the ceremony as an interesting experience of another culture.

    7. nep*

      Seems to me attending this just to be present for your niece’s sake in no way suggests that you endorse the religious aspects of the occasion.
      I’ve attended countless funeral ceremonies (various religions), and it’s always solely out of respect for the deceased and his/her family.
      I’m not sure I get why you’d have to explain something if you do attend (‘…it’s making me wonder if I should just attend without saying anything.’). What would you have to say?

    8. jhhj*

      I know what a bat mitzvah is in Judaism, but Messianic Jews (aka “Jews for Jesus”[1] aka “not actually Jews”) have changed up a lot of things and you can’t trust what Jews say a bat mitzvah is (something which started in the 1900s — bar mitzvahs as such don’t go back to the time of Jesus either) to have any relationship with what you are going to attend.

      [1] They aren’t exactly the same but the concept is close enough.

      1. afiendishthingy*

        ohhhh I had no idea Messianic Jews were Jews for Jesus, although that makes sense when I look at the name. Interesting.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            Heh– that’s why I didn’t chime in. I have a lot of good (I think) “tips and tricks” about Bat Mitzvahs, but I’m not going down the Messianic road. :)

          2. Graciosa*

            I suggested asking because I *know* that I am not going to get matters of other religions right without help. Even when you think you know the official precepts of X religion, you find that some subgroups / regions / whatever interpret them differently from others.

            And you never know what difference that you consider minor (transubstantiation versus consubstantiation?) is going to big enough to cause a schism in the eyes of believers on both sides –

            So I just ask.

            Tell me where to go, how to dress, and what to do and bring. Barring any actual crimes, I can follow along for a few hours.

        1. jhhj*

          Messianic Jews who do bnai mitzvot are reasonably explicit that they do this in order to convert Jews.

      2. jhhj*

        That said, I’d call a bat mitzvah in (actual) Judaism sort of like a religious graduation ceremony. I think it’s a weird thing to separate out religious weddings and funerals as being not really religious — you can have a non-religious wedding or funeral, after all.

        You don’t need to go into great detail about your beliefs, you can sit down and listen to your niece’s hard work and not do the things you feel are too religious and just put her off with “that isn’t what I believe” if it comes up.

    9. afiendishthingy*

      “Are we correct in thinking that a Bat Mitzvah service is more religious than the average wedding or funeral and our attendance there would be essentially indicating that we are supporting her religion and her religious choices?”

      I feel you may be overthinking this. I think you would be supporting your niece, not pledging allegiance to her beliefs. You want her to learn about others’ beliefs or non-beliefs, and realize there are other ways of thinking about the universe than what her faith teaches. That’s totally valid, although I do think you need to respect her parents’ wishes on this one for the time being. Also, it needs to be a two-way street – go to the Bat Mitzvah and show you can respect that others have different beliefs. You don’t have to pray with them, just stand or sit quietly and think about how you love your niece, or your grocery list or whatever. Your husband probably does need to wear a yarmulke, but it won’t mean he subscribes to their religion, only that he respects them.

      TLDR: Go. It’s not about sharing others’ beliefs, it’s about respecting them, and supporting your niece.

    10. fposte*

      I’m an atheist raised by atheist parents, and I went to at least two dozen bar and bat mitzvahs growing up, as did many of my non-Jewish classmates. I go to church services for weddings and funerals, too, and helped a friend run a lay service (she knew I could do the readings but wasn’t sure if the actual parishioners could). I don’t think attendance correlates with or indicates belief. It’s a really surprising notion to me, in fact.

      Maybe this feels like more of an issue to you because of being in the Bible belt–if you see a lot of people who show up big time at religious events out of conviction (if we have revivals around here, I’ve fortunately missed them) it might feel false to you to attend without the conviction. But I don’t go for the conviction, I go for friends and family, and since the God part is extraneous to me I don’t really worry about it.

    11. Grand Canyon Jen*

      “Messianic Jews” are actually Christians. So I would’t assume it will be anything like a Jewish bat mitzvah. They will talk about Jesus being the Messiah, for example, which they would never do at a Jewish bat mitzvah. As a Jew, I would not have any idea what to expect. In Judaism, a bat mitzvah is part of a regular Shabbat service – an addition, not a separate event – so it is unavoidably religious in nature. That being said, lots of non-Jews attend Jewish services for b’nai mitzvot and are not expected to participate. However, I would imagine a Messianic bat mitzvah would be more evangelistic in nature.

    12. Colette*

      I guess my question is why aren’t you supporting her religious choices? You don’t have to agree with them, but supporting her as she makes choices is part of being her aunt, isn’t it?

      I vote for going in the same way you’d go to her wedding – you’re there for her, not the religion.

      1. Loose Seal*

        That’s the thing, though. I do support. I bite my tongue over and over. I have to hide this thing from the children in my family because their parents wish me to. So yeah, I’m a little bitter in private that their beliefs get celebrated and mine get hidden.

        Also (and this may take this conversation down a different path), I don’t think that children make their own religious beliefs, for the most part. I think they merely mimic their parents. I know that this particular niece has done so because she hasn’t been allowed to know any other way exists. If she had spent the last year learning about other religions and visiting mosques and covens, etc. and still choose to enter her adulthood this way, I’d be more inclined to support her belief.

        1. Colette*

          I agree that her choice is probably highly influenced by her family- that’s pretty normal at that age. She may make different choices at 25 or 45 or 85. And I don’t think you should have to hide your beliefs, either – you shouldn’t deliver a lecture about them any more than they should lecture you, but it’s fine to say “this isn’t what I believe” if she asks.

          1. Today's anon*

            Yes, ideally she would know you have different beliefs but are supportive and she would know that if she is ever questioning her childhood beliefs she could come to you because you are the open minded aunt who will listen.

            1. Nashira*

              But unfortunately, a lot of religious people act like atheism is poison (no matter how quiet one is about it), so it’s not that surprising that one could have relatives where being in their lives involves being forced to hide your lack of belief. It’s incredibly, incredibly frustrating.

        2. Colette*

          I think it might help, too to realize that the pre-teen and teen years are about experimenting with what you believe. Religion is one of those areas, but so is becoming vegetarian or environmental activism or any number of other topics. The thing is, if you boycott one of those decisions (by serving only meat dishes or using disposable plates or whatever), it doesn’t change their mind – it just means they stop trusting you with who they are.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Yes, children do mimic their parents. We tell children learning the alphabet is important, they figure out later if reading is important to them or not. I know many people who have not read a book since high school forty years ago. Reading is not that important to them.

          Interesting idea about sending children out to pick out their own religion. I have only heard of this happening once. My grandmother was allowed to pick her own religion. This was back in the early 1900s. She was instructed to go to church with friends and pick a church. (Radical idea back then.) She chose to be Methodist because most of her friends were Methodist.(She was 18 at that point. It was probably around 1915 or so.) So in reality she still decided to copy the people around her. It’s human nature.

          Other than that, I have never heard of a parent sending a child around to various places to learn about religions and select one. But I have heard plenty of Protestant* parents say that they hoped to give the child enough of a foundation so the child can thoughtfully pick his/her own path. (*I am surrounded by Protestant parents, so that narrows my pool of types of faiths around me.) I am not a parent, but I cannot picture myself sending my child alone to various churches in light of the news headlines we have now. I think it is too much for a kid.

          I think that simple explanations are, the best given her age, if you chose to explain why you are not going. If you gave a full explanation to a teenaged version of me, I would have just assumed that I did something wrong and I offended you. It would have lead to years of awkwardness because I simply would not have understood the conversation. BUT. I think once she reaches adulthood and is picking her own path in life it would fine to explain. And let her explain her choices, too. It would be a good way to meet on an adult level.

        4. Afiendishthingy*

          It sounds to me like your beef is with your sister and her husband, for sheltering their children and not allowing you to be open about your atheism. That is absolutely a crappy place to be in, feeling like you have to hide part of yourself, and I agree they aren’t doing the kids any favors. But it isn’t your niece’s fault, and I don’t think her bat mitzvah is the time to tackle the problems between the adults.

    13. Melissa*

      I think this is a really personal decision.

      But personally, I am atheist, not religious and I still choose – from time to time – to attend cultural events in friends’ lives that are also religious. Most of them do not require me to believe in the religion; instead, they are markers of important events in other people’s lives that I’m simply there to celebrate with them. Religion is an important cultural thing for people; just because it isn’t for me doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with my friends and share in their cultural thing. But for me, atheism is simply the absence of belief in a God, not a belief system in and of itself – so I personally don’t have any moral qualms about wearing religious stuff or appearing to support any religious belief system (other than extremist ones, obviously). So I would go and have a good time and support my niece, because it’s important to her.

      But as for you, I would say that the bat mitzvahs I know about are usually split in two: the religious ceremony part, where the young woman reads a passage from a religious text (sometimes the Torah, sometimes not, depending on how conservative the family is), perhaps gives a talk/oration, and prays with others. Then there’s the reception, which is usually less religious and more like a party. I don’t know if all Jewish people do it that way or whether Messianic Jews have different customs. Whether or not you’d have to cover your tattoos, wear a yarmulke, and/or buy her a religious gift depends on the individual Jewish denomination and synagogue, I’d suspect.

    14. Elder Dog*

      Why don’t you ask your sister if your husband has to wear a yarmulke? It’s likely she’d know. If he is, he can likely put a handkerchief over his head instead of the supplied beanie and not violate his religious views while still showing the requisite respect for the building.

      If you wouldn’t normally announce your religious views at a wedding, you needn’t do it at any occasion where non-members of the religion would normally be invited. Weddings and Bat Mitzvahs and christenings are such occasions. You aren’t being asked to participate, just to see your niece’s accomplishment honored.

      I think you’re over thinking this. It’s about your niece. Concentrate on what you’re getting her as a gift. Something other than a cross or star pendant, I bet. How about a nice Black Hills Gold rose pendant. That would be suitable for a 13 year old girl, while being something she can wear when she’s an adult too.

    15. Artemesia*

      I have attended a couple of bar Mitzvahs for friend’s children and have attended Christenings of babies. I consider these like weddings to be religious ceremonies that are about celebrating a family event rather than personally worshipping. I am a freethinker and so also don’t believe in God but I don’t feel celebrating an important milestone of a relative or friend means I endorse their religious beliefs even if it is a religious ceremony. YMMV.

    16. Kat*

      It’s not about you. It’s about your niece. It’s not even your place to inform her about your atheism.

      Go, dont participate in the religious aspects. Dont make a big deal of it either.


    17. Lady Bug*

      I am an atheist also, and I have no problem attending any religious ceremonies of my friend’s or family members and don’t feel like their beliefs effect mine at all or that attending their ceremony makes it appear that I support them. I have tons of respect for what my religious friends believe, they have the same for mine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I do live in the Northeast, so maybe we are just more liberal, but I honestly think it helps take away the undeserved stigma atheists have, based on the radical members of our group (just like every other group), when we show respect for others’ beliefs.

      I recently attended a bat mitzvah and participated in the readings, except for the parts re: affirming my faith. It was a lovely ceremony and meant alot to the young girl. I think as long as everyone had respect for each others beliefs is not a problem. It doesn’t appear that your family is trying to push their beliefs on you, so I would attend to support your niece and show her that just because people believe something different doesn’t mean they can’t respect and love each other.

  13. Job-Hunt Newbie*

    I would rather get a root canal without novacane than shop for a bridesmaid dress right now. Why is it so hard to find one in the color pallate you’ve been given for a dress?! You’d think having the freedom to pick whatever you want as long as it’s in the range of colors you’ve been sent would be easy….

      1. Job-Hunt Newbie*

        Trying, but already had horrible luck with dress #1 which was ordered online. :( Quality of it was horrible, so I’m returning it today. The one I really loved on another site is now out of stock in my size.

        1. BSharp*

          No personal experience with them, but I recommend Azazie.com for wide range of bridesmaid dresses made to custom sizes. They have some lovely colors.

          BHLDN should have some lovely things too. Modcloth may be perfect for the dressy-but-not-formal/satin thing.

          Rent the Runway may have something, though it could be too formal.

    1. Trixie*

      I asked the AAM hive about shopping consultants a couple weeks ago. Sounds like Nordstrom’s is the overall favorite, with Macy’s following. If you live within driving distance of either, you could share the color range you have to select from, your size/preferred style, etc. and see what they come up with.

    2. Stephanie*

      Is the color palette plant-based (e.g., clover, lilac, daffodil) or drink-based (e.g., sangria, merlot, cappuccino)?

        1. Stephanie*

          Ha. I tagged along with my friend when she had to get a bridesmaid’s dress at David’s Bridal. I thought of that like “How many different ways can they describe green, purple, brown, or yellow?”

          1. Job-Hunt Newbie*

            We’ve already cracked a “blood orange” joke, while trying to figure out how to describe the colors she was looking for.

            Oh, Project Runway. You make dress shopping slightly funny.

      1. Job-Hunt Newbie*

        Yep! We’re going with a mismatched look, so I can pick anything from mauve (pinkish purple), lilac, or plum. :)

        1. Dr. Doll*

          Whew, better you than me! Anything in that color range makes me look like I’ve been dead for three days. Good luck.

        2. Turanga Leela*

          Not sure of exactly your size, style, or price range, but I’ve seen good bridesmaid dress candidates at J.Crew, BHLDN, ModCloth, and Ann Taylor.

    3. Cristina in England*

      I have twice now had some luck by going on the Dessy site, since they have a lot of styles and a huge color palette and you can click to see the styles in any color. If you can find a local shop to try on the styles you like, you can then look on Ebay to see if you can find then cheaper.

    4. Job-Hunt Newbie*

      I’ll also add this is a really low key wedding, and the bride only had a few preferences for what we picked. So anything shiny or satin-y/strapless/one-strapped is out of the running. Which is a-ok with me, since the styles she’s suggested are ones I can definitely re-wear at a job/interview/ect!

      ….If I can find a dress, that is, haha.

      1. Alston*

        I looooove online window shopping, if you show us the color/tell me your size I will totally find you a bunch of options!

        1. Job-Hunt Newbie*

          Anything lilac, mauve, or plum is on the table! And I wear around a 4 in dresses! Tea length or knee length is what I’d prefer. :)

          1. Alston*

            Ok, on it! and if you’ve got a link to the dress that is out of stock in your size I can use that as a starting point for your style!

            1. Alston*

              Alright, so I tried to stick with stuff you could conceivably wear to work and that avoided the one shoulder, strapless, super shiny, super sexy. If none of these are quite your style I am perfectly happy to go looking for more dresses, so let me know!

              These two are from Banana Republic, both slightly above the knee, but seem bridesmaid and work appropriate.



              Next we have a sheath that has an illusion neckline and a knit body-interesting combo, not sure how it’d look in person.


              Pretty dress with fluttery sleeves (miss matched bridesmaids always make me think of whimsical sleeves like this), might be a smidge too pink for your color palette though.


              Love this–Also Asos does free shipping and retunrs above $40.

              Another Asos dress, alas only available up to a 2, but Asos sometimes runs a bit big, so might be worth a shot.


              One more Asos, might be a smidge too close to white, but I love the cut of this


              Davids Bridal–not sure I’d wear this to an interview–but it is there in all the colors. I have nearly this dress in Wisteria and it’s super pretty.


              From Modcloth, the majority of their dresses tend to run short, this meets your knee length criteria, but it has a weird flower. Not sure how I feel about this.


              These two from Macy’s are both a bit above the knee, but both are quite cute, and I finally found a lilac dress, so they’re included!


                1. Job-Hunt Newbie*

                  Oh my goodness; this list is wonderful! I’m going to go through it tonight. Thank you so much for doing this!!

            2. Alston*

              So I just posted a bunch of dresses, post disapeared, so I assume it’s awaiting moderation because it has a million links.

    5. anonymous daisy*

      Have you looked at the online bridesmaid dress rental sites? I was reading a woman’s magazine and they had a two page profile of one. They are specifically designed to have adjustments with ties, belts, etc. to be able to have less fit problems than other typical bridesmaid dresses. I wish I would remember which magazine had the article but I read it a a sandwich shop that has a magazine array for diners to choose from. It was a current one though.

      The business model made sense to me. I’ve had to buy a lot of bridesmaids dresses over the years and have never reworn a single one. Once I even stopped at the nearest dumpster on my way home from the wedding and took off the dress, threw it in, and drove home in my underthings. That dress cost more than my rent at the time and was AWFUL. Texas afternoon wedding in AUGUST – outdoors. Floor length, heavy silk, slip, panty hose, half sleeves with ‘diamond’ buttons. There was no way that the sweat would have ever been able to removed. I even dripped sweat onto the shoes.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Oh, the dumpster story is so sad. What a waste of your money. It’s a shame.

        I had a dress get caught in the hatch of my wagon. I did not cry over that. The dress was the absolute worst color for my skin tone. I will not even mention the styling. I tried to salvage the fabric from the skirt to make a couple small things for my home. The material was so crappy that it just did not hold up that well. The industry sure knows how to separate us from our money.

    6. Jader*

      I’m not sure what your style is or what kind of style you’re going for but have you considered modcloth? It has a pretty good range of styles and people usually leave reviews with their size, a picture of themselves in the outfit and/or measurements so you can get a pretty good picture of the size you’d need. I have ordered a lot from them previously and only had to return one thing.

      1. Job-Hunt Newbie*

        I have! The dress I loved was on there, and now they only have it in stock wayyyy out of my size range. Hoping they restock soon on it.

    7. Soupspoon McGee*

      Have you looked at Etsy? Most of the dressmakers can customize and use whatever fabric you choose so if you see a lovely dress in black satin, you can ask for it to be made in orchid chiffon, for example.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Don’t forget bridal consignment shops. There are some online and they post their latest offerings. You can shop from home and drive there if you find something on their site. You might be able save money, too.

    9. oldfashionedlovesong*

      I recommend eShakti! They have some really gorgeous dresses, make a huge range of sizes (up to 32 I believe), or you can provide custom measurements, and you can customize any dress on their website to add/remove sleeves, pockets, etc. They have good coupons too.

  14. kdizzle*

    Anyone out there who is in the midst of raising young children and really loves it? I’m a first time mom with a seven week old, and some of the mothers I talk to with kids who are 1-5 years old feel like shells of their former selves and are generally bitter with troubled marriages, etc. The moms with older kids have assured me that it gets better. Is it really so bad that it has to get better? Is it just great for anyone from the get-go?

    1. TootsNYC*

      (sorry–this got posted on its own thread, so I’m moving it here for you.)

      It was for me! Of course, my kids are big now–college and high school. In my opinion, this is when it’s really rough, and there’s very little payoff or reward. It’s not all fighting, but the stakes are really high, and there’s way more ignoring, and a lot less affection and attention from them.

      When they were really little–babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and even older–it was a ton of fun. They were cute, they did funny or adorable things, they learned new and amazing skills (like walking, or blowing their nose!), they learned about the world around them.
      I found that I ended up looking at the world around -me- differently. I realized that being able to carry a glass of water without spilling it really -was- an accomplishment!

      It was so very rewarding.
      The hard part wasn’t even really all that hard. Mostly just “heavy lifting,” or grunt work.

      1. kdizzle*

        Thank you for this! I’ve never been a kid person, but I’m in total awe of my womb fruit and can’t wait to see the person she becomes.

        1. TootsNYC*

          They are absolutely amazing.

          When my daughter was about 10 months old, she’d crossed some developmental threshold and I was sad! Because she wasn’t The Younger Version anymore, and it would never, ever come back, and I had loved it so. I asked my mom, “Do you ever get over the grief that they grow up?”
          She said, “No, actually–but it’s tempered with the enjoyment of the new version of themselves.”

          That’s what’s hard right now–there isn’t that much enjoyment of the new version–they’re leaving. Or they’ve left, mentally.

          1. fposte*

            There’s a beautiful song from the musical Big called “Stop, Time” that’s about this exact thing. There’s a YouTube video of a very talented teenager performing it–I’ll post the link below.

    2. Job-Hunt Newbie*

      I’m not a parent myself, but my parents enjoyed (and still enjoy) parenthood. I was a planned baby, and there was plenty of family close by to help, or take me for a weekend every now and then.

      I think that’s one of the most important things; taking time and having tons of support, especially with a first kid. It’s really easy to get stretched so thin after a baby, especially on top of the lack of sleep and having to do your regular routine. Once the kids are older and able to do more on their own, I can see it being a lot less stressful and “better”.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Honestly, I didn’t need that much help.

        My kids were in a great daycare, and I was working, so I didn’t have the grind that others struggle with. But even if I’d been home, I think it would have been much more positive than negative.

        As you say, all the stuff you have to do isn’t that hard. It gets boring really fast, of course, like any routine job, but it’s also not forever.

        Also–some people just think they’re -supposed- to complain.

        (I didn’t even mind being pregnant, not even in the last month! I was eager to get to the next stage, but it just wasn’t that horrible.)

    3. kdizzle*

      I should probably mention that even though it has only been 7 weeks, I don’t find the whole mothering thing to be particularly difficult (feed, change, hug, repeat), but I do find it to be a lot of fun! She sleeps well, smiles, and generally melts my heart.

      Based on my conversations with others, I’m just patiently waiting for when she steals my identity and wrecks my marriage.

      1. danr*

        Keep the hugs in what you do, and you’ll surprise everyone with a wonderful kid who will grow up confident and well adjusted.

      2. VintageLydia USA*

        I’m a SAHP which seems to be category number 1 of people who feel like their identity is being stolen and replaced with “Mommy of Child.” What helps me are hobbies (especially hobbies I can do that don’t require a TON of concentration. I have several friends who knit or crochet, others that write or draw) and a partner who carries his load willingly and happily. Not just in childcare, but housework, too. I LIVE for nights I can go out with my girlfriends or by myself. Even just going to the grocery store and back and knowing I won’t have to simultaneously manage a 2 year old feels like a mini vacation. At this point we’re looking at daycare a couple days a week, most for him to socialize with more kids his age, but mostly so I can get a break, even if I spend that “break” scrubbing the house down blasting my music. I’m looking forward to it!

    4. katamia*

      I don’t have kids, but I was apparently a horrible baby/toddler/young child (cried constantly, stopped napping very young, etc.) who got much easier once I got to be about school age. So it can happen. I also have friends who have had relatively laid-back babies as well as friends who have had babies like me (constant criers), so I think it really just depends. I think people in general probably are more temperamentally suited for certain child development stages–if you’re good with certain kinds of tasks (can’t be too specific because I’ve never spent much time with babies), then the baby stage might be less of a slog for you, while if you’ve always struggled with certain kinds of tasks that need to be done often in the baby stage, it probably seems worse for you. (General you.)

      1. TootsNYC*

        This is true–both of my kids were really easy on us as babies–good communicators, good eaters, generally pleasant disposition.

    5. Cristina in England*

      You sound like a pretty easygoing and adaptable person, so that’s a great start! Mine is 2.5, and I really enjoy looking after her full time. It’s been no threat to my identity, and for the most part, I would say my marriage is better because we literally do not have time for pointless arguments. She was not an easy baby: terrible sleeping, not-colic but it kind of felt like it, etc.

      However, every stage is different and has different challenges and do not beat yourself up if you find a later stage really hard. Right now I find it hard to have a conversation with my husband, ever, when she is awake, because she is talking ALL THE TIME and wants Daddy’s attention ALL THE TIME when he comes home from work. And when we do talk, it’s in 30 second chunks and with no privacy. It’s that kind of longer-term lack of time to connect that can erode a marriage.

      1. TootsNYC*

        “However, every stage is different and has different challenges and do not beat yourself up if you find a later stage really hard.”

        This is such an important point!

        Some later stage may be hard because of the kid, or because of you. Nothing is static. (And believe me, nothing teaches you that quite as thoroughly as parenting does.)

        But your basic attitude that you’re going into it with will probably help you cope through all the stages.

    6. Revanche*

      I suspect that outcome has more to do with the parents than the kids based on my observations of some friends, those who worked on their marriages and had good partners who were in it for the long haul might have been stressed in those age years but they were still individuals and their marriages were pleasant. The friends whose partnerships weren’t strong or where at least one, if not both, partners were set in their ways and wouldn’t work together ended up bitter and inseparable from their parent identities.
      We’re a few months into raising our first kid so we’ll see if this theory bears out for us :) so far so good, though. We’re pretty good at being a team when we’re being cognizant of each other’s needs.
      Best of luck with your wee one!

    7. LibbyG*

      I have two kids: a 4 year-old and a 1 year-old and I’m happy and humming along. I have moments, sure, where I feel put-upon and overburdened, but most times I’m pretty in-the-moment and content. I’m looking forward to coming years when the baby gates can come down and when they’re both taking care of their own toileting needs (oh, god! I can’t wait!) But I’m soaking up the joys of these early years as best I can. Congrats kdizzle on this wonderful adventure you’re on!

    8. TheLazyB*

      My small boy is nearly 4. He is such hard work at times and is testing boundaries daily – BUT he is awesome and good and cracks me up every day and is so, so affectionate and loving. His smile makes me smile even when he gets me up for the day at 5am.

      Parenting – extremely hard, but sooooo worth it.

      FWIW I’ve worked part time since he was born but am going back full time in june and i will miss him dreadfully.

      The beginning is really hard, and many other bits are reallyreally hard, but if it was unrelenting misery no one would have second kids :)

      1. TootsNYC*

        “He is such hard work at times and is testing boundaries daily –”

        One thing about this–if you can keep from taking the “testing of boundaries” *personally*, it’ll help you hugely. Little kids (yes, even babies) are really responsible for raising themselves; you just provide positive or negative reinforcement. They’ll figure it out pretty soon as long as you’re patiently consistent with that.

        But when you start expecting instant compliance, or aren’t patient enough for the message to get through, then you get angry or impatient, and then it’s hard. Because you keep thinking you should be able to “fix it” now. By yourself.

        But you can’t. You just provide the guidance and guidelines and motivation that lets them fix it themselves.

        1. TheLazyB*

          God this bit is SOOO HARD. One of those things i know but find really hard to remember in the moment. I’m doing better but this is a useful reminder!

    9. Sophia in the DMV*

      I’m happy and amazed at my daughter but I also think it – especially the newborn stage – was really hard. The lack of sleep, constant feeding – my frustration had nothing to do with my love for her. I can complain or think that it’s difficult and still think my child is a delight, hug her all the time etc.

      1. Revanche*

        my frustration had nothing to do with my love for her.

        Yes! So true. I always wonder why (other) people get defensive about expressing frustration about a thing that can vary so much between really hard and really easy, when it has nothing to do with how much we love them.

      2. Revanche*

        my frustration had nothing to do with my love for her.

        Yes! So true. I always wonder why (other) people get defensive about expressing frustration about a thing that can vary so much between really hard and really easy, when it has nothing to do with how much we love the kids.

    10. saro*

      I have a 17 month old and I definitely had a stage with him (around 11 months, I think), where it was challenging. He was pushing boundaries but couldn’t really communicate what he wanted. Now, he’s much more vocal and pretty interesting to be around. I think it depends on the kid and the situation. I have a friend whose newborn baby had colic and she kept telling me it gets better but my newborn goofball was a little sleeping blob (He was a preemie). I had way more trouble later when things were supposed to be easy.

      I’m kind of tired and stressed right now but I’ve got an uptick of work these days which is lending to my angst. Regarding marriage, my husband and I are better than ever (knock wood). It’s fun to see my son interact with his father and vice versa.

    11. Colette*

      I remember sitting at a restaurant listening to two different parents of five year olds talk. One talked about children’s festivals and kid-friendly museums and the other talked about travelling and hiking with their kids.

      I suspect the second parent will struggle less while time goes on, because she will still have interests separate from being a parent. There’s nothing wrong with doing kid-focused activities, but there is a problem when you give up everything that you love and only do kid stuff.

    12. Mephyle*

      I totally get where you are – I was feeling good for about the first two years. When people told me I should take some time for myself, it just didn’t resonate with me. Why would I want time away from my beloved, I wondered.

      I won’t tell you either, that it will get worse, just that for me I arrived at a point after the first few years where I did crave time to myself. But there were wonderful new things about each age that helped mitigate the other not-so-wonderful things.

  15. Ali*

    So I don’t read a whole lot, but when I do I try to make it good. I was waiting for this thread today to talk about a book I read last month, “The 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.” I found it when I was in therapy for depression/stress issues (I saw it in a bookstore; my counselor didn’t recommend it or anything), and it went a long way toward me deciding to get a different outlook on life. I still have some old habits to break, especially with trying to keep up with others and not compare myself, but I’ve found some great new ways of thinking and the book basically covered everything I’ve ever struggled with. Total life changer.

    In other news, I guess it’s now obvious I’m that oddball who sometimes enjoys self-help books…

    1. Graciosa*

      You can’t be *that* much of an oddball considering how many self-help books are successfully published. ;-)

    2. Sail On, Sailor*

      I don’t normally read self-help books, but this one sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing it!

    3. Cristina in England*

      Thanks for the rec., I just Googled it. I totally give away my power (#2) all the time! You’re far from alone in your self-helpiness.

    4. Persephone Mulberry*

      Sometimes self help books are amazing! I sincerely believe that The Five Love Languages (suggested by our marriage counselor) saved my marriage, and I still use what I learned from it to keep things strong.

  16. Stephanie*

    This is more a vent of exasperation than anything.

    One of my dearest friends is visiting next week. Unfortunately, he’s a kind of an oblivious houseguest (I’ve pointed this out before). So he’s planning to head to Flagstaff to do the whole meet-the-boyfriend’s-family things and is like “Hey, why don’t I stop through Phoenix first during the week?” Which oof.

    It’s not that I don’t want to see him, the timing is just awkward, especially since I’m working in the evenings. (I didn’t have a really good argument against, so I said “ok” begrudgingly). Plus, the whole living with family thing.

    I asked for one evening off so we don something during the day and evening. The other evenings while I’m at work, uhhhh? I warned him he might be stranded until 10:30-11 if he didn’t want to sit at home with my parents. Trying to figure out things to do during the day that are budget-friendly and inside.

    Just blah. I wish he had planned this on a weekend like a normal person.

      1. Stephanie*

        I mean, I’m at like 25-30 hours a week, so I’m not *that* busy, the timing is just terrible.

    1. fposte*

      Yeah, that’s an eye-roll; I don’t have parents in my house, but I do have a train-wreck appearance that I’d like to change before guests come.

      But often oblivious guests are also pretty low-maintenance–if he’s fortunately one of them, I wouldn’t worry. He’ll surf the net or watch videos with your parents or hit a coffee shop and surf there.

      1. fposte*

        Um. I meant the *house* on the train-wreck appearance. It’s not like I need to go retrieve my best head from the storage pod.

        1. Jean*

          “…retrieve my best head from the storage pod.”
          This is a very funny image! I think there are some children’s books that play with the notion of people swapping out different heads for different occasions. In Little Women, the chapter in which most of the characters go on a picnic includes the episode of everyone taking turns to tell a story. Ned Davis contributes the idea that a bunch of people who (literally) lose their heads receive cabbages as replacements. He tells this partly to be silly and partly to impress Meg, but Meg doesn’t pay much attention to him.
          FWIW, at present I also have a train-wreck-resembling home. Am hoping to remedy this by the end of Monday evening.

          1. Liz in a Library*

            Mombi in Ozma of Oz does that, I believe? That creeped me out a fair deal as a kid.

            1. Sarah in DC*

              So my mom says “put my face” on in reference to putting on makeup and every time it makes me think of this scene and her collection of faces in jars.

          2. Mallory Janis Ian*

            In Beverly Cleary’s book, “Socks’, the titular character, a cat, discovers that the visiting Nana keeps her “best hair” in a suitcase in the guest room. The hair she is seen in everyday is her “second-best” hair.

      2. Stephanie*

        He’s sort of low-maintenance. I had to yell at him once to not iron on my bed.

  17. Elizabeth West*

    I shouldn’t be sitting here; I should be sewing and finishing my skating dress for next week’s Skating into Summer club show. I could have sworn I cut two pieces from the velvet for the skirt, but I totally can’t find one of them! I don’t know if I only thought I did, if I lost it, if my house ate it (it’s eaten a hoodie, a pair of leggings, several books, and a brand new Harry Potter shirt I never wore–grr), or what. There’s not enough of the velvet left to make another piece, so today I bought some flowy stuff like georgette to make a black skirt and some ruffles round the cuffs of the 3/4 sleeves. I’ve never put those on stretch velvet, so that should be fun. :P Never mind; I’ll figure it out. :) The velvet has a pattern of big flowers on it, and I was going to put a crystal in the center of each one all over the bodice and sleeves (not the butt, ha ha).

    I’m skating to “The Last Goodbye” from The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. This will conclude my Hobbit/LOTR series of programs (every song from every film!). So time to find a new series, or go back to Harry Potter. My program isn’t up to snuff since I was off the ice for a month (injury and travel). But I got through it today, so eh. I have tomorrow and some practice next week also before the show on Saturday afternoon.

    It’s a three-day weekend, so I don’t know why I keep thinking I have all this time to do stuff. Three days isn’t very long!

    1. QualityControlFreak*

      Do you have video of any of these performances? Because it sounds awesome!

    2. Melissa*

      You just reminded me of my interest in taking ice-skating lessons – they’re pretty cheap in my university town.

    3. Rene UK*

      Ugh, the disappearing piece. When we moved, I lost a piece to the shorts that I had finished putting umpteen pockets with double topstitching on. I keep finding the pieces with the pockets, it was so much hard work I don’t want to throw them out but without the other piece they are useless…..Good idea about the georgette! And good luck, stretch velvet can be a bear to sew.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I know–I figure I’ll probably find them if I move. :P

        I’ve made so many of my own skating dresses now I’m pretty used to it. I’m too tall for ready-to-wear stuff. It fits me sideways but not longways. My dresses are not professional quality by a long shot, but that’s okay; they only have to look decent and not fall off for two minutes anyway.

        This is the one I made for the “I See Fire” program: http://i.imgur.com/rYxAoAR.jpg

        1. Rene UK*

          Ooh, pretty! Accepting that they only need to work for a brief time is very liberating…it removes so much of the pressure(I tend to perfectionism.) Once I learned about the ‘6 foot rule’ of stage costuming–as in, if it looks good at 6 feet it’s fine–it really helped when making costumes for my kid’s plays.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            That’s basically what it is for me, a stage costume. It just has to hold up while I fling myself around like a crazy person, LOL.

            I’m not on the telly like Gracie Gold is, so I don’t need exquisitely perfect dresses like she wears. Hers get SUPER close-ups, plus she’s competing on a world-class level, so they have to be good. I remember when Gracie and her sister Carly were just starting, their mum made (or at least decorated) their dresses. All the mums would sit around beading and trimming at the rink while we skated.

  18. YourOwnPersonalCheeses*

    Does anyone here know of any good websites that are like this one, but for housing? For advice about things like dealing with bad neighbours, landlords, or how to buy a home? I’m in Canada, so any Canadian-focused ones would be great, but I’d like to know about any others, too. Thanks!

      1. YourOwnPersonalCheeses*

        Heehee, thanks! It’s a pretty good misheard lyric, no? (Plus, I just love Depeche Mode) :D

  19. thisit*

    am an American living in Ireland, and the party this weekend is intense! Supposed to be packing but can’t stop watching all the happiness on TV!

    1. fposte*

      Oh, I forgot to check to see whether the outcome was as predicted, so you were breaking the news to me. Wonderful!

      1. Notes across the pond*

        I am so happy and proud to be Irish!!! Dublin was electric last night! It’s an incredible day!

        1. Sherm*

          I got a chuckle realizing that my homophobic cousin is traveling in Ireland right now. Congrats to Ireland!

  20. INTP*

    I graduated!

    This is the first weekend I’ve had to really relax in over a month. Definitely enjoyed a lazy Saturday and looking forward to a lazy Sunday. Last weekend was my graduation ceremony and my mom was in town so we did a lot of touristy things, the one before that was my comprehensive exams (which was 50 straight hours of testing, with short breaks for sleep), and before that I was frantically trying to prepare for the comps and finish up all of my final assignments. My landlord has also been showing the place and demanded that I either clean (down to an empty sink, scrubbed kitchen and bathroom, mopping, etc) or pay for a professional cleaning service, despite my pleas to wait just a few more weeks, so I had to do a lot of cleaning in the midst of that.

    Anyways, now I have to move out of my apartment. My move date is either June 15 or June 30 depending on whether my landlord finds a new tenant. (They have stopped doing showings so I don’t know if they have a tenant now or if my tendency to have dirty dishes in the sink and be at home in sweatpants typing away during their showings during the possibly busiest 3 weeks of my life made them decide to stop showing my place in retaliation.) Any tips for a long drawn out move? Normally I’ve done this over a few sleepless nights but I want to make it as unstressful as possible since I have 3-5 weeks. I’ll be throwing out most of my furniture, shipping a few items, and actually moving with just what I can fit in my car.

    1. Emily*


      I’ve never done a leisurely move-out, but I imagine that I would try to start straightening up a week or two beforehand and maybe start boxing things that I knew I wouldn’t need before moving.

    2. danr*

      Congratulations… I’ve never done a fast move except for leaving school… but then I never had furniture to worry about.

    3. LAMM*


      Start going through things now… figuring out what you need to move, would like to move, can get rid of, donate, etc. I recommend trying to do a little bit each day. Anything that you can get rid of or pack up early, do so. But also still plan on spending a day or two for any last minute packing.

      Also see if you can donate your furniture vs throwing it out. Some places you can arrange for a pick up (around here you just have to get it out to the porch and they’ll take it from there as long as it’s labelled) and they’ll come get it.

      1. Short and Stout*

        I second this. Last time I had very advance notice of moving it gave me chance to sell some of my stuff — I put the money toward moving! — before donating or recycling the rest of what I didn’t want to take with me.

        Hope it goes well :)

        1. INTP*

          I have tried selling things on Craigslist but it was such a huge PITA I swore I’d never do it again unless I had something really valuable.

          I’ll contact friends to see if anyone needs furniture (it’s in pretty crappy shape though – it was wal mart dorm style furniture) but I don’t think I can leave it anywhere for salvation army etc. I live in an apartment without a porch or open lobby or anything so I’d have to leave it on a public sidewalk.

    4. thisit*

      congrats! and second the advice to start now! get all your documents/photos/etc scanned in electronic form, ditch all the things you haven’t used in a year (and know you won’t use in another year), etc. clothes and other things in good condition to Goodwill and the like. everytime I’ve moved, I’ve invited my friends over to take clothes, unopened food items, half empty bottles of liquor, etc. just less to throw away and you know someone else can get good use out of it.
      since you know you can only take what’ll fit in your car, you have a good sense already of what you have to get rid of. so just need to start!

    5. Artemesia*

      We moved a couple of years ago from a huge house with 25 years of accumulated stuff — and because we had so much storage space we never had to reign in our stuff. The first thing we did is throw out junk; anything not good enough to donate. Once the trash was out (saved plastic containers, old magazines, broken things — all the junk) we then identified what we wanted to keep and move. I think this is key — not what you want to get rid of, but what do you know you want to keep: sentimental stuff, functional stuff you will use, clothes you know you will wear. Then we looked carefully at everything else and donated or sold most of it. We had very little time between selling and moving but I still sold about $4000 of furniture on Craigs list. What didn’t sell of we didn’t try to sell went to a refugee resettlement program in our city. We gave them about 20 shelving units ranging from nice book cases to garage shelving racks; they had a shortage of dressers and used shelving units for storage in refugee apartments. We gave them several couches, two really good dressers, and almost everything from our kitchen. The nice thing is that they came and carted the stuff away which made our life easier.

      We ended up moving enough stuff to fill a 10 by 30 storage unit until we bought a new place in the new town. We were so glad we were brutal about only bringing things we wanted and got rid of the rest before moving.

      Then when you have identified the treasures that must move, box up everything you aren’t using right now e.g. keep out minimal kitchen stuff and box the rest; keep out clothes for the short term and box the rest (might even put clothes in those flat plastic storage boxes that fit under beds and then when you move you don’t even have to mess with the winter clothes until next year.

      Look on moving as the perfect time to get your stuff under control. It sure made our lives easier to do this before the move instead of moving junk and having to deal with it later.

    6. StillHealing*


      Can you have a party/rummage sale where you invite friends over ? That way someone is available to make the sales as needed. And friends can purchase or haul away items they may want or need. Quite often in college towns/cities, you can find someone who will gladly buy or take away many of the items.

      Personally, I usually take on one room at a time. I’ll pare down to the basic necessities. I’ll donate or try to sell things that won’t fit the new place and box up everything else.

      For short moves within the same city, I usually slowly move kitchen and bathroom items as well as things in closets ahead of the main move where we hired a mover for the big furniture items. That way, kitchen and bathrooms are functional before we make/made the big move.

  21. LAMM*

    Road trip tips!

    My boyfriend and I are driving to Florida in July. It’s about 18 hours (with minimal stops) I think. We are planning on renting a car so we don’t have to put my Civic through the stress and driving straight through. I’ve begun gathering ideas for what food to pack, things I need to buy (like a car charger that can handle multiple devices), etc. I like to be prepare though and start getting stuff together now… so I’m not running around like a crazy person the day before we leave.

    Any advice or tips would be appreciated!

    1. Graciosa*

      There are now apps that tell you what restaurants, hotels, gas stations etc are available at each exit. Find one you like before you leave – it’s hugely helpful when deciding where to stop, as the road signs may only tell you what is available at the next exit without telling you there’s a choice you’ll like better three miles down the road.

      1. LAMM*

        That’s super helpful… I didn’t know apps like this exist. I’ll have to look into them. Thank you!

    2. veggiewhatnow*

      I have a blog post coming up on Wednesday that’s all about road trips- not just the food. Just click on my name then if you’re interested & it should take you there. I didn’t really get into devices, but we usually bring this converter thing that you plug into the cigarette lighter that has a regular outlet on the end. Also, of course, travel phone chargers & cameras w/chargers.

    3. INTP*

      Download one of those freeway exit apps (I forget what mine was called, it had ninja in the name). It will show you what food, gas, amenities, etc are coming up in how many miles so you don’t pass the last exit for 30 miles or go eat something disgusting when a better exit was coming up in 5.

      Stop and walk around where you can. My stepdad has this thing about only stopping the car when it needs gas so I’ve driven cross country without so much as a fast food run and my feet were like balloons by the end. That can’t be healthy. And bring some healthy food, it’s fun to eat junk because you’re on a road trip for a meal or two but you’ll get sick of it.

      1. LAMM*

        I think that’s what we’re probably going to do… only stop for gas and the occasional cup of coffee. We’re meeting my family down there (they’ll be there the prior week) so the bf (who will probably do most of the driving) will want to get down there asap.

    4. Jubilance*

      Pack snacks! We got a small cooler from CVS that we filled with some ice, cold cuts, fruit, water, etc.

      Also if you’ve got an mp3 player, load up on podcasts you can listen to in the car.

      1. LAMM*

        Yes! Thank you! I forgot about Podcasts. Last trip we went on, I forgot to pre-download some and we ended up streaming it on my phone (yay unlimited data!) but we went through some spotty coverage zones in Minnesota and Wisconsin. I can imagine driving through the mountains on our way down will be the same kind of deal. He loves podcasts (I, um, don’t)… especially comedy…so I know he’ll appreciate this.

      2. Stephanie*

        Pack healthy ones if you can. I love salty junk food, but constant consumption of that for a long road trip will leave you feeling bloated and tired. (Speaking from experience.)

    5. manomanon*

      Get the car a day early if you can. Having the time to pack the backseat and organize the front seat with time to take it all out and change the plan is really helpful. Otherwise you’re an hour or 2 in and realize nothing is reachable. Bring bags for trash that collects over the course of the trip too.

      For food, things you can prepackage (grapes, nuts, crackers etc) are really helpful. One of the staples on my roadtrips as a kid was buying one of the 24 packs of bottled water less environmentally friendly but much simpler to travel with.

      1. LAMM*

        I took an extra day off before we leave so I have time to load up the car and get everything ready. I hate running around at the last minute hoping I remembered everything.

        And the water bottles are a great idea. Last time we drove somewhere we stopped a few times to buy water. I didn’t think about it, but it’ll be much easier to buy it before we leave.

    6. periwinkle*

      Road trips! I love driving long distances, which is good because I had to drive from DC to Seattle twice during the relocation process (drove one-way, my husband drove our 2nd car across a few months later, then I flew back and got the 3rd car).
      1. Do some Googling to get a sense of what services are available on the route. You’ll come to love the gas station/big convenience store combinations that are common in less densely populated areas but can be found all over. You didn’t include your starting point so I don’t know which chains you’ll encounter – on the East Coast you’ll find Sheetz and Wawa (oh, how I miss Wawa for quick & tasty subs). There are truck stops that also cater to the regular drivers – I preferred Pilot but disliked Love’s due to surly service and less-than-pristine restrooms. Pilot had excellent coffee.
      2. I didn’t make reservations on either cross-country trip because I was never quite sure how far I’d feel like driving. Instead, I had an Orbitz account and phone app… around 3pm I’d figure out how much further I’d go that day, and then look for suitable hotels. Orbitz is handy because they have Orbitz Bucks, little cash-back discounts that you could immediately apply to the next booking.
      3. Pack supplies for in-room dining such as paper plates and rolls of paper towels. After checking into my hotel I’d head out to a supermarket to get prepared food, cold beverages, and more drive-time snacks. Usually on the first night I’d pick up bread and peanut butter or other non-perishable breakfast supplies.
      4. For driving snacks, pick stuff that’s not too junky and not too messy. Goldfish crackers are excellent. If you’re bringing a small cooler, pre-cut chunks of fruit or cheese are great. Don’t get chocolate or other melty snacks! Even in cooler weather they can turn into goo rapidly. Okay, I’ll admit that I often get Combos for road trips, too. Pizzeria Pretzel is my favorite flavor.
      5. Stop often and walk around for at least a few minutes. Your legs and hindquarters will thank you.
      6. If you’re going to Florida with the intent to stay for a while – and the luggage volume to match – bring a smaller bag that you can take in and out of the hotel. This assumes you can leave everything else safely in the vehicle which may or may not be the case.
      7. Sunscreen. And long sleeves (thin, but still covering your skin). And a hat with a visor. And more sunscreen. You might be surprised at how sunburnt you can get through car windows. Even with sunscreen slathered on you’ll still feel the heat frying your arms and cheeks.

      1. LAMM*

        Thanks! This helps. I’ll have to remember to pack paper plates/forks/cups/etc. The plan as of now is to drive straight through as we are meeting my family down there (they get there the week prior) and want to maximize our time spent with them. We are going to rent a condo/villa for the week so the eating supplies will come in handy regardless.

        We are in Michigan so we are pretty much taking I-75 all the way. It’s the most direct way and the less complicated the driving directions the better (we are REALLY good at getting lost). I’m familiar with the Pilot truck stops… it’s often where we’d stop when we drove down when I was a kid. The large well lit truck stops always seemed safer than the smaller gas stations in the random towns.

      2. Rene UK*

        We did a driving holiday with our kids, and one of the things that helped(to a surprising degree) was bringing a big reusable shopping bag(like an Ikea or Costco bag) for dirty clothes. That way, you don’t get your dirty and clean clothes mixed up.

      1. LAMM*

        Haha if I was going by myself I would be flying. My boyfriend wants to go and see my family (he hasn’t seen them in 5+ years) and unfortunately he doesn’t fly.

    7. Artemesia*

      We never leave valuables in a car on a road trip so we have a couple of messenger bags that will hold the computers, cameras, prescription meds or other valuables. Then when we stop for lunch or whatever we don’t have to worry that we have managed to choose the place where an active gang of car thieves is operating. We had a friend years ago who stopped at a beach on a road trip for a couple of hours and returned to find all their suitcases etc gone from their trunk.

      1. LAMM*

        I didn’t even think about this. I tend to carry a fairly large purse so I’ll have to remember to keep that in the front seat so we can slip electronics and other items into it when we stop. Thanks!

  22. The Other Dawn*

    Got some more mystery plants. Anyone want to take a guess?

    I got the judgement in my favor for the Small Claims suit against the former tenants. The wife didn’t bother answering, though, which means I have to file a military affidavit before I can get a judgement against her. But I got it on the husband, Best part? I got another money order from him. :)

    On the down side, one of my kitties, Prince, didn’t come in last night. We live inland now and we know there are coyotes around, so we make sure the cats come in every night. Last night Prince and Felix didn’t come in. Our patio light blew yesterday so it was very dark outside. After calling them a few times I gave up and went to bed. I knew that they would come in when my husband got home from work (he worked until 11 pm last night). Husband said this morning that Prince didn’t come in last night or this morning. I’m hoping nothing happened to him. He’s a very friendly cat, so with it being cold last night it’s possible he went into someone’s house if they called to him thinking he’s a stray or something.

      1. hermit crab*

        Congratulations! Also, those poppies are gorgeous! I actually love the wild look of your garden.

      2. hermit crab*

        Oh and I just scrolled down farther — you have a barn and a pond and a stone wall and baby geese, AND savory corn muffins?! Can I come visit? :)

        1. The Other Dawn*


          I haven’t seen the babies in a few days. I think they may have moved on. Or maybe they’re just buried in all the reeds that are starting to grow taller. They’re adorable!

            1. The Other Dawn*

              It crosses the little brook over to the neighbor’s yard. My house belonged to his mom so I’m guessing he built it so they could access each other’s yard easily. It’s leaning quite a bit, though, so we may need to do something about it soon.

    1. Dynamic Beige*

      5&6 — that looks like milkweed. It’s the favourite food of Monarch butterfly caterpillars.
      Not sure what that next one is, too indistinguishable for me from the background green stuff.
      The last little one makes me think it might be Lamb’s Ear, but I’m not 100% on that.

      1. Student*

        Very much looks like milkweed. To find out, crack off a small part of a leaf or a branch. It’ll “bleed” a milky white goo. Technically a weed. It puts up a small purple flower. If you don’t mind it, leave it – the monarchs are dying out and really need food sources available.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I don’t mind it…but I read they can grow to 6 feet tall! Not sure I want a plant as tall as I am. Maybe I will let them grow for a bit and then pull them up. Something about a plant as tall as me is a bit scary…

          1. fposte*

            There are also commercial cultivars of milkweed, so it’s not necessarily a weed just because it’s milkweed.

            BTW, if you want a wildflower-type thing, you’re quite likely to end up with some pretty tall plants in late summer. Maybe the milkweed (which would be great in a wildflower meadow) can be your training plant :-).

          2. Dynamic Beige*

            I’ve never seen a milkweed higher than about hip/waist high (3′ or under). Unless there’s some other variation out there that does grow really high, or it does when the conditions are right for that, the ones up here aren’t very big at all. And the purple flowers are kind of pretty. When they make the pod with the seeds, the fluffy things fly out on the wind, which is also kind of pretty to watch.

            The other day I learned about Giant Hogsweed and that has freaked me right the hell out. I think I will have a full-on panic attack if I find one of those on my property somewhere.

              1. Dynamic Beige*

                It’s totally a “Feed Me, Seymour!” plant, but with horrible sap that causes painful scarring boils complete nightmare, isn’t it? And to think I was worried about poison ivy before. Pfft!

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Don’t let Hogweed freak you out too much. It was deliberately planted years ago. the seeds do not go more than 30 feet from the plant. The reason people had problems with it was because they handled it carelessly. If you find it, call in professionals and have it removed. It’s not much different than finding poison ivy or poison oak. But it gets a lot more media hype.

          3. Not So NewReader*

            Something about a plant as tall as me is a bit scary…

            It does not have arms and legs. It just grows fast that is all. Trees are taller than us and under normal circumstances (barring a storm) trees are okay.

            1. The Other Dawn*

              Trees being taller than me is normal. A plant? Eh. To me, plants are small. Certain things just freak me out. Like the picture of an ice burg that shows the top…and then that huge bottom below the surface. Everyone tells me it’s a fake, but it still gives me a physical reaction.

    2. fposte*

      I was going to guess milkweed, too. The middle plant is too generic green for me, but I think the last one might be rose campion. It has lambs-ear-like velvety gray leaves but then has a flowering stalk with very pretty magenta flowers; it self-seeds, but not awfully. My colony seems to have disappeared so I might need to get some more.

      Oh, and the rule is–if you pull it out easily, it was a valuable plant :-). More seriously, if you think about something like dandelions, you’ll realize some weeds survive by being tenacious.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Am wondering if #7 is a phlox. If it is, it should bloom soon.

      Number 9 has to be lamb’s ears. They can get big before they fade out. It’s a nice contrast foliage, though. I think if you keep dividing them, you will not lose them. You can put it next green plants and the blue green foliage they will off-set each other nicely.

      Is number 8 woody or herbaceous? Does it have thorns?

      The poppies are happy campers, eh? wow. That is cool.

      I hope your cat comes back soon.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I have lots of phlox, but none of it looks like that. Unless it’s a different variety.

        #8: No thorns. I think herbaceous. But that’s a new term to me. I’d have to check more closely.

        Yes, I hope he comes back soon. I miss the little guy.

  23. INTP*

    A second post from me – any tips about reintroduction after an elimination diet?

    I didn’t follow a strict protocol. Doctor suggested cutting gluten for 30 days to see if it helped, my results were not instant but a few weeks in I felt I was seeing some solid patterns so I extended it, and then got too busy to afford to feel crappy, so I was GF for about 3 months. Last weekend I tried some gluteny things and I did have worse allergies and brain fog than usual, but I was also out of my routine and staying in a hotel room with my mom who also had allergies to it. I had some digestive ick, but nothing explosive. I did feel a lot better when I got home.

    So this weekend, I’m trying again to confirm if it will make me feel crappy in my normal environment and routine. From what I read, you should eat a LOT, and that’s one reason I’ve struggled – I am surprisingly not finding gluten very appetizing! (Even before the experiment, I’d eat it only at 1, occasionally 2 meals per day). The most common method I’m finding is a slice of whole wheat bread with every meal but I am not a bread person. If these are my last days of gluten I want gluten that tastes good. Doing pizza tonight, going to try pancakes in the morning, which are weekend traditions for me. Beyond that, idk. Maybe pasta? Maybe get some really good bread I will be inclined to eat? I don’t want to buy all new gluten groceries.

    1. hermit crab*

      My vote is for pasta in really fun shapes, like dinosaurs or pirate ships! Definitely do not let your last days of gluten revolve around sliced whole-wheat bread, ugh.

    2. Cristina in England*

      Totally agree w hermit crab. I would think of cake, pie, cookies, spaghetti and meatballs, fried chicken and biscuits, etc. If that’s a bit too rich, then Saltines? Luckily gluteny stuff is cheap so even a package or two of something will be just a few dollars.

      1. INTP*

        I had the pizza and some blondies last night and woke up not remotely wanting anything carby or sugary. Wound up buying some (nice, from a local bakery) bread to go with eggs because I couldn’t stomach the thought of pancakes.

        My asthma cough was awful this morning and now I have itchy eyes and am choking on mucus so I might not have to keep it up for too many days to confirm that my intolerance is real. (But my allergies, postnasal drip, etc vary a lot so I wanted to really make sure before committing to buying $$$$ GF products for a long time.)

        1. AdjunctGal*

          I eliminated dairy on top of gluten, as it’s the two together that make a difference for me. I totally hear you on the expense, though. GF is $$$.

  24. steve g*

    Where is the kvetching about tenants thread:-). Our are perplexing me again. So I found out they owe thousands to the utility (which explains the constant letters), but they’ve had the hvac going for over a week. Anyone else in the northeast? It was like 50 at night this week. It’s barely seventy and no humidity today. This is the time to spare the luxury and catch up on bills. I can’t help but question if they really need the (expense of) two cars living in an area a stone’s throw from manhattan where many families don’t have one. They are always home. It’s not like they’re going on weekend trips all of the time. Rent is always late and they apparently have issues with other bills (I keep seeing the same notices in the mail, which they leave in the mail area for days, so it’s not like you can miss them). I was woken up early again by noise and their young kids have been making noise all day running and throwing and dropping stuff. Sorry, few nyc apartments are big enough for soccer. It’s sos every weekend. I feel bad for the kids, they never get taken to play outside or to a park, so I’m guessing items like the zoo or museum are out of the question – they’re always home. I also find it odd that they draw the blinds tight and turn on the lights everyday instead of taking advantage of the (free) natural light from dawn to dusk, one of the lucky buildings in nyc with bay windows and unobstructed light. I just don’t get some people.

    1. Pennalynn Lott*

      Vampires? They need the constant A/C to keep the stench of their rotting flesh from getting too bad.

      1. danr*

        No, they keep the shades drawn because they’re vampires. Rotting flesh would be zombies.

        1. Steve G*

          Could be:-). It has sounded like a dance is going on up there, and bodies are falling on the floor every few minutes. It is 11pm. My landlord came to deal with it. How stupid are these people that we have to keep doing this same song and dance before they realize it is not OK to have a bunch of people over dancing in high heels for hours straight. I never thought people like this existed.

    2. Rebecca*

      I live in PA, and it went from being 92 for a high to upper 50’s in just a few days. Yesterday AM it was 32 degrees when I woke up. I’m sitting here now with a Duraflame electric heater running, as I don’t want to use the furnace and whatever oil is left. And I don’t have air conditioning; when it gets hot, I open windows and use a fan & just deal with it.

      I think some people are just not responsible with their money, or don’t try to conserve – like your tenants appear to be doing. They may have not been taught by their parents. My parents would say “turn off that light, what do you think, we have stock in the electric company?” or “shut that door, we’re not paying to heat the outside”. They used natural light whenever possible, or the smallest possible wattage bulb when it was dark outside. They still do.

      I hope if they skip you don’t get stuck with their utility bills!

      1. Steve G*

        Well at least the utility bill gets transferred to them, it’s tied to their name. I wasn’t 100% sure it worked that way, but they started with a carried-over balance from their last place + paying a deposit when they moved in, which I never heard of for apartments, but apparently it happens………

  25. more anonymous than usual because I am shy, heh*

    So last Friday was my last day at my old job, after which I promptly asked out “Mitka”, the cute co-worker I’ve had my eye on for a while … and he seems interested!!! Unfortunately our schedules aren’t synching up, and won’t for at least another week (he is on a trip right now, and then he is moving house right after he gets back) and so we haven’t even planned an actual date yet. And I canNOT get my mind off of him and I want to text him approximately every five minutes but I recognize that that would not be appropriate.

    And the reason that I’m venting to internet strangers and not my actual friends is that I’m actually Married and Polyamorous but this is our very first attempt at putting that into action and I don’t want to, I guess, make a big deal about it until I see if it actually gets off the ground.

    So anyhow … we’ll see!!!!

      1. more anonymous than usual*

        He does know!
        That’s an additional part of the scheduling fail: we want to meet up all three of us together first, which is effectively impossible (without a long drive at inconvenient times on SOMEONE’s part) until he mves.

    1. Student*

      Well, it is a big deal. People date for lots of different reasons. Your reason is just as valid as anyone else’s, as far as I care! But I think you’re going to get better results if you are honest and upfront about your motivations, as much as is reasonable. A fairly large subset of people who are dating are looking specifically for a monogamous relationship. You want to screen those people out early rather than lead them on – you’re really best off screening them out before date #1 in my opinion. If you’re not upfront about what you actually want and who you are, many people would feel mislead and angry, and you’re just going to have lots of encounters with folks who either storm off or try to change you once you are honest with them.

      1. nona*

        +1 People interested in open or polyamorous relationships would like to know, too.

        And anyone would want to know about your SO! I’m mentioning this because it’s happened: I liked one person, wasn’t that interested in the other.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I am curious to know what the best practices are in this regard for people who are poly or in open relationships. I once went on a date with a guy who mentioned toward the end of dinner that he was in an open relationship and his live-in girlfriend knew he was out with me and was totally cool with it. I was annoyed — I wasn’t interested in dating someone who was involved with someone else, and I wouldn’t have bothered with the date had I known that in advance. On the other hand, I can see why it would feel weird if he announced it up front before the date — although that would still be my strong preference so I could have said no thanks earlier on.

        Anyway, all of this is to say: Among those who have thought about this and tried out multiple ways of doing it, what is the recommended way for people to broach the topic?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          (And I am totally not implying here that the OP for this thread is doing anything similarly annoying, because for all I know the guy she asked out is indeed clear on the situation! I’m just musing about what’s recommended.)

          1. vvondervvoman*

            Yes! Thank you! For the OP’s situation, this guy is a former co-worker, it would be really weird if he didn’t know she was married. Let’s just assume he knows until we’re informed otherwise =)

            1. more anonymous than usual*

              Thanks for your thoughts! And yeah, Mitka knew I was married (actually met my hubs very briefly in passing several months ago), but I’m not open about poly at work so he didn’t know THAT until it, uh, became relevant. The “big deal” I referred to was mentioning this my friends, most of whom are not poly; it was not about nondisclosure to HIM. Heehee.

              @Alison —
              The ‘gentleman’ you dated was ABSOLUTELY NOT following best practices.
              I would say (and more experienced polys feel free to correct) that the accepted standard skews more in the other direction–the parody version would be “Before we go on a date you’ll need to fill out this preferences form, attach your STD test results, send me your calendar for the next 2 months, and arrange a half-hour meeting (either in-person or Skype) with both of my current partners, either of whom can veto.”

              A good fraction of this tendency is probably defensiveness against the view that poly people are the same as cheaters.

              1. brightstar*

                I have friends who are poly and in general, this is how it works for them. There’s a lot of talk up front about how poly works for them, the partner is on the “I want to go out with this person” and so on. Communication, communication, and more communication is their motto.

        2. vvondervvoman*

          For me personally, I only date people I meet on OkCupid, so it’s all right there in the open. But I’m weird, and I have an aversion to “meeting” (getting hit on in a bar, bookstore, etc.) people in real life. Just last night I sat down while my husband was getting me a drink and a guy said he wanted to buy me a drink and I totally pulled the married card and managed to get the word “husband” into 2 sentences hah.
          So I just go the online route and am super upfront but that’s just because I don’t have patience/time.

          From what I’ve seen there are two types of people who aren’t always super duper upfront. The first are guys in relationships and they started out upfront, and everyone accused them of trying to cheat. And no amount of “but you can talk to my partner!” helps. So now, they think that if they just got to know them a bit and realized they’re not a skeezy, cheating guy, it’ll be better. It never is and I try to explain that to them, but alas. The second group are people who are SUPER poly. The type who love falling in love (and will do so within weeks/months), out to everyone they know, don’t have a partner that takes up a lot of time, maybe a long-distance partner. They just don’t see dates as a ‘big deal’ in that they see it more as a hang out/get to know you. They go on lots that don’t turn into something else. They like meeting new people and learning about them, so aren’t bothered by “wasted” dates and they value it for whatever it was. I also find these people obnoxious because they’re giving poly people a bad rap. But they usually do what they do for a reason and aren’t seeking advice, so I don’t get the chance to tell them.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Oooh, that’s so interesting and makes perfect sense. I think the guy in my situation was probably in the first group, but I also think I know a guy who’s in the second group and this describes him perfectly.

  26. Alston*

    So this is super random but do you guys know the soup and salad place Prete A Manger? I ALWAYS read it as “Pet A Manager”

    And then it makes me think of Ask A Manager.

    Side note–grabbed a sandwhich the other day and it was amazing. Now I must figure out how to make it at home because I don’t really want to pay $8 for a sandwich again unless it is some sort of sandwich emergency.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I miss Pret. So many sandwiches I miss. And the yogurt with the granola and fruit.

        1. Pret*

          Same. I haven’t had Pret in yearrssss and I am still thinking about their Caprese sandwich!

      2. Merry and Bright*

        They are. I just miss their awesome beef and horseradish they stopped making.

  27. Alston*

    Also, anyone ever had residual soreness a couple years after a bad break?

    I broke both wrists a year and a half ago. The can get sore if I lift something really heavy, but normally they’re fine. The other issue is when the weather changes–if there’s a significant temperature change or a big rain storm is coming in the wrist I broke the worst starts aching.

    Anyone have something similar? Does it stop eventually? I’m not loving being a human barometer.

    1. Stephanie*

      Yup. I broke my wrist when I was 8 (I’m 29 now) and it hurt for a while (through high school at least). Doesn’t really bother me anymore unless there’s a really, really bad storm. Unfortunately, I think I’m starting to develop some arthritis in my knees and I definitely feel the weather with that.

    2. Persephone Mulberry*

      I broke my ankle 5 years ago and it still gives me issues (sorry to be the bearer of bad news). That said, it was dislocated as well as broken in three places, and I think it’s the damaged ligaments that cause the most problems.

      1. Alston*

        I have therapy putty so I use that when I think of it, and for 3 months after I broke them I had pretty intense PT. Not sure how much ligament damage I had–but the wrist that’s still being lame was broken worse–5 break points instead of 3 on the other wrist. Hopefully lame wrist catches up to less lame wrist eventually.

    3. ptrish*

      I had a mild wrist strain about 8 years ago and it still hurts pretty frequently. (I have to ‘click’ it back to normal, if that makes sense.) Unfortunately, wrists seems to be hard to diagnose properly and treat–I had an MRI and everything and at the end of it my doc basically said “well, the scans seem fine, but we get a lot of false negatives on these. The next step is exploratory surgery.” So then I decided to live with it unless it gets WAY worse.

      One trick that helps is keeping it wrapped overnight–it hurts less the next day. I just have a wide ace bandage that I wrap pretty loosely.

    4. Elkay*

      I broke my wrist 7 years ago and it still gets achy in the damp or if I do too much data entry. I don’t think mine was a bad break, I broke the two bones either side of my hand. At some point my clicky thumb (a side effect of the break) disappeared within the last couple of years so I live in hope that given time it might stop.

    5. blackcat*

      My experience has been that it depends on the type of break. When I was 11, I broke my wrist but it was a thin fracture. Within a year, I had no pain. I did lose my double jointed-ness in that wrist (still have it in the other), but it basically went back to normal. I was done growing (found that out with that x-ray), so this was not “bones are still growing” healing (which does tend to be complete and thorough. I managed to just miss that window as a kid!).

      A year later, all 5 toes on one foot were broke in one go. The big toe and its neighbor had fractures, and those don’t bother me at all anymore (did for 4-5 years, but fine after that). The other three were basically shattered, and continue to give me trouble, particularly in the cold. I also severely bruised a kneecap, and that also still bothers me.

      So my anecdata to add is: mild fracture -> problem goes away within a year; more severe fracture -> 4-5 years. Shattering or severe bruising-> ?, but greater than 15 years. I’ve managed to not break things since I was 13, so I probably did get off easy overall due to some youthful resilience.

    6. Wait for the change*

      Yes. No… Let’s up some but starts in again when you get old(er.) don’t knock the barometer thing… And OTC anti inflammatories.

    7. Artemesia*

      I broke my wrist when I was 40. The doctor at the time said ‘when you are old, you will have arthritis in that wrist’. Now decades later, I am old and I have arthritis in that wrist. It is pretty normal to have life long changes related to injuries like this particularly joints where breaks lead to arthritis.

  28. TheLazyB*

    My grandparents have been married SEVENTY YEARS today (Sunday) :) yes they got married in1945. They are in their 90s and awesome and i am in awe. It’s extremely unlikely we’ll hit 70 years (my husband was 30 when we married and we’re not likely to live to 100, although i can hope!) so this is just amazing to me. I love my nanna and grandad :)

    1. hermit crab*

      Congratulations to them! My grandparents were married 60 years before my grandma died (and they got married relatively late — she was 93 and my grandpa is 95 now!). I’m getting married later this year and I’m hoping we make it that far!

    2. Samantha*

      I love that. My grandparents were married for 62 years when my grandpa died and it was obvious they were still very much in love.

    3. StudentA*

      Oh my goodness. How special. I hope you all do something lovely today for their anniversary.

      1. TheLazyB*

        Haha forgot to say!! Yeah we went out for a meal for them and it was lovely :) they are so loved. Thank you everyone, it’s nice to hear of other grandparents who were married a looong time too!

    4. Artemesia*

      This is why it is so important to marry someone you actually LIKE as opposed to ‘are hot for’ — preferably both — and someone who is kind. We married relatively late and are now in our 43rd year of marriage and I am grateful every day that I married a man whom I find interesting, and who is considerate and tolerant and kind as well as loving. He has his flaws but kind goes a long way.

  29. Pennalynn Lott*

    Went to a friend’s house today to try and get her brand-new printer to talk to her ancient XP desktop. The printer drivers needed at least v3.0 or 3.5 of .NET framework to function, which we couldn’t download because she can’t afford internet access. I tried installing a USB wifi antenna so that I could connect her computer via my smartphone’s hotspot capability, but the antenna isn’t backwards compatible all the way down to XP. Grrr.

    So I went home, thinking I would find a place to download an executable of 3.5 .NET to a thumb drive, then go back to her house and load it on her computer. I searched all over the MS forums and never found anything that would work.

    So then I looked into upgrading her 224 MB (!) of RAM so that maybe I could install my old copy of Vista or Win 7 on her machine. But her graphics card and other stuff nixed that idea.

    So — eff it — I drove to Fry’s Electronics and bought her a new Win 8.1 desktop with built-in wifi. Problem solved.

    I’ll also go pick up an installation kit and modem from TWC on Monday afternoon so that she will finally have internet access, billed to my account. Sadly, it will be very slow internet access (2 Mbps), but that’s 100% faster than what she had before. ;-)

    1. danr*

      I’ve found that it’s easier (up to a point) of getting older equipment to work with newer Win systems than the other way around. I was using an HP IIIp with my upgrade from win xp to win 7. We finally broke down and bought a new printer when we couldn’t find toner cartridges for the IIIp. My router was designed for xp and Vista and it’s starting get a bit wonky. I have the new one, but haven’t installed it yet.
      Going from xp to 8.1 will be quite an adventure.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        That was a large part of it, Sandrine. My friend is obese to the point of essentially being disabled. So she sits at home alone all day, reading books. I’m hoping that she’ll enjoy discovering the various online communities out there, and can therefore feel more connected to the world.

  30. Emily*

    Mad Max: Fury Road! I’m sure that it’s not for everyone, but I saw it today and enjoyed it.

    Apparently all of the cars were real, as was the flamethrowing guitar (which made me giggle every time it appeared).

    1. Hattie McDoogal*

      I loved it! I’m probably going to go see it a second time next week with my dad — he’s normally got pretty high-brow taste in movies but says Mad Max is his guilty pleasure and none of his normal snooty movie-going friends want to see it with him.

      Flame-throwing guitar guy is credited as The Doof Warrior. :)

    2. Delyssia*

      I was vaguely aware that a Mad Max movie was out, but I generally wasn’t paying that much attention until I read a reaction to it posted on Tumblr. Well, more importantly, a reaction to Furiosa and how her character is presented in the movie. I’ll post the link in a follow-up comment, to avoid the moderation trap for at least this initial comment.

      Seriously, you should go read the whole thing, but basically the author is a woman who was born without part of her right arm, and she talks about how profound it was to see a character with the same disability and the disability isn’t made into a Big Thing and, oh, the character is also more than just a two-dimensional Strong Woman.

      So, yeah, I now want to see Mad Max: Fury Road.

        1. Emily*

          Wow, that’s powerful.

          For me, Mad Max wasn’t on my radar at all until I heard people on the internet (whose opinions I trust) talking about how good it was. Furiosa was pretty cool, and the movie was arguably as much about her as it was about Max.

    3. Artemesia*

      HOw does it compare with the original? I thought the original was pretty great — and back then I could stand to watch Mel Gibson on the screen. I think he is about the only actor I have actually stopped watching because of his politics. I generally separate the performance from the actor’s political and personal life but Gibson finally ended that policy for himself with me.

      1. Emily*

        Having never seen the original, I can’t tell you how they compare. Maybe someone else will weigh in?

      2. Jader*

        As a fan of the originals I was really impressed, it was so so fantastic. Personally I felt the original Mad Max was kind of boring, Beyond Thunderdome being my favorite, followed closely by The Road Warrior. I would say this one is kind of similar in style to Mad Max 2. One of the beautiful things about this new version though is that it is not about Max at all. He’s there the whole time but has maybe 20 lines. I thought it perfectly balanced playing homage to the original while really adding depth to and expanding the world it takes place in.
        Also- bleh, Mel Gibson. I re-watched Braveheart the other day and I am so mad that I can’t enjoy it anymore.

  31. Megan*

    Im spending 3 1/2 days in Auckland NZ next month! Anyone have recommendations for (free/cheap) things to do? I’m interested in seeing the Haka and something similar to Milford Sound. I also like museums.

    1. JMW*

      So much to do there! Start at the waterfront downtown. Great cafes and a maritime museum at the Viaduct Basin, which is where the America’s Cup yachts live. The big cruise ships all pull in there. You can walk up Queen Street (major shopping in the central business district) to Victoria Street and east a few blocks to the art museum and Albert Park. The central library and university are within a short walk.

      The Domain is a bit further east. It has an amazing War Memorial museum high up on a hill and botanical gardens. They have Maori cultural performances – including a haka – check for a schedule. It is near Parnell which is a lovely shopping district with more cafes. (I highly recommend Verve Cafe – great food, great coffee, and great prices).

      From anywhere along the waterfront you can catch a bus. Head east along the waterfront (Tamaki Drive) for Kelly Tarlton’s (really cool aquarium where you are under the water seeing sharks and stingrays swim over head and all around you). They also have a penguin exhibit. After Kelly Tarlton’s catch the bus east again a few minutes to visit Mission Bay (great restaurants on the water, a bit of beach, nice fish’n’chip shop). Or skip Mission Bay and continue a few minutes further to St. Heliers to experience a true New Zealand village. Lovely cafes again, but also NZ-style bakeries where you buy a sandwich and a little cake that you can take down to the water to eat. Lots of little shops, an old library, and a taste of the every day. Distance from downtown to St Heliers is a few miles.

      From the central waterfront you can also catch a ferry (look for the distinctive gold Ferry Building) to Rangitoto. It is a dormant volcano in the middle of the harbor. Ferry ride is about an hour. You can climb to the top (or ride a little tram up) to see 360 views of the harbor.

      On another day, head for the west coast. Auckland is at the narrowest part of the North Island, so it has harbors on both the east and the west. The drive to Piha Beach is very winding and a good example of NZ bush and terrain – takes about an hour – black sand beach (volcanic), with great rock formations to climb.

      You won’t find a Milford Sound equivalent in Auckland. Those deep fjords were created by glacial activity, and the glaciers are all in the South Island.

      Have fun!!!

    2. NZ Muse*

      Hey Megan,

      It’s winter here so the weather may not be the greatest next month!

      Adding to JMW’s awesome post:

      I don’t think there are any international rugby games on so your best bet to see the haka is probably the cultural performance at Auckland Museum (which will cost).

      The Maritime Museum might interest you too, or the Auckland Art Gallery.

      Head up Mt Eden to see the volcanic crater there and get cool panoramic city views.

      At the waterfront be sure to head west along to Wynyard Quarter and Silo Park as well.

      I’m a big fan of Matakana/Tawharanui etc north of Auckland for a day trip but that might be more of a summer thing.

  32. BigSister*

    Man do I have a doozie this week. I’m a (pretty) regular poster, but I’m super anon for this. I think this is more of a rant/vent, but who knows.

    My sister and I are in our last years of our twenties. Our dad had us young, when he was 23/25. He was a mess when we were really young, but got his act together in his late 20’s, started his own business that turned out to be surprisingly successful, and has lived a pretty good life since then.

    But ever since my dad divorced my stepmom, he’s had a string of terrible girlfriends. I generally think he has a terrible taste in women, as he always likes people who are needy or he needs to fix, etc. His latest girlfriend, who he’s been dating just over a year, is also pretty terrible. My biggest gripe is that she is an alcoholic, drinking to the point of passing out each night. I also think she’s a gold digger, only after my dad’s money.

    My dad’s business is very successful, and she’s taking advantage of it. They met when she rented a condo from him, and a month or two after they started dating, she stopped paying her rent. A few months after that, he’s put her on his health insurance because she didn’t have any of her own. She claims to be a “bartender” and a “personal trainer”, but in the 15 months she’s been with my dad, she hasn’t worked ONE HOUR. This has been observed by both my sister and I, and confirmed by my dad. When I went to visit for Christmas, he acted like he was kind of getting tired of her, so I got the sense that the relationship wouldn’t be lasting much longer.

    Fast forward to last week- I went home for another visit, and my dad and I spent the day together, and at the end of it he tells me that his girlfriend is 5.5 months pregnant!!! Because of their advanced age (Dad’s early fifties, the girlfriend is past 40) and past miscarriages, the doctor estimated that they only have a 60% chance of the pregnancy going to term. That was also my dad’s excuse for not telling me for so long. My sister still doesn’t know.

    I’m obviously trying to process my emotions, but its a bit crazy. I’m sad for my dad, because he was hoping to retire in the next five years, but I’m also mad that he’s been so irresponsible (a third bastard child? At 50+? Really?). I’m severely angry at the girlfriend, who I didn’t like before, but now think is DEFINITELY a gold digger (‘accidentally’ pregnant when the gravy train is running out is the oldest trick in the book). Also, I’ll be nearly 30 years older than my baby sister, and won’t get to know her since I live across the country. This child will also be raised by irresponsible idiots (my opinion of both of them, at the moment). The whole situation is nuts, and the sad truth is that there’s nothing I can do, because its not my relationship and you can’t go back in time. Urrrgghhhh. Advice?

    1. Dan*

      I know you’re looking for empathy here, but I gotta tell you about this “accidentally pregnant” thing: he stuck it in her without any protection. It takes two to tango.

      1. the gold digger*

        “Oh, no! It’s OK, really. I’m on the pill, so I can’t get pregnant. Even if I weren’t, my gosh! I am over 40! Women my age spend tens of thousands of dollars to get pregnant with IVF. It really doesn’t happen naturally that much.”

        1. Hot Stuff*


          If he’s gullible enough to believe that, assuming she actually said anything like that which is dubious, then he’s STILL equally responsible.

          1. TheLazyB*

            A guy in his 50s may genuinely not know enough to realise how much bullshit that is.

      2. BigSister*

        Thanks- I get what you’re saying. Im not absolving my dad from the blame, its just a lot easier to direct your anger at someone you already don’t like and have only known a year rather than place all blame on my dad and sort through 30+ years of familial relationships.

        1. Dan*

          Yeah I know. My ex’s brother has two kids in a somewhat similar circumstance. My ex could never stand the baby mama for “tricking” him. One day I looked her straight in the eye and said, “I’ll give your brother a pass for the first one, we’re all young and naive at some point and have to learn things the hard way. But what’s his excuse the second time? He already has proof that she’s not fully honest.”

          My ex came from a long line of dysfunction, and absolutely refused to call a spade a spade. It was really frustrating for me, because she also didn’t set healthy boundaries.

          By blaming your dad’s spouse, you actually make it difficult to have a functional relationship with your father. Essentially by blaming her for *his* faults, there’s nothing she can fix, and if he doesn’t recognize what’s going on, he’s not going to change either.

    2. Student*

      Make some room in your heart for your upcoming baby sibling. Baby has nothing to do with the parent’s poor choices. By your account, baby could use occasional contact with a more stable older sister – even if a lot of contact is via Skype or occasional visits.

      Your father made his own set of problems. Don’t lay all the blame on his girlfriend. It’s mostly misplaced anger; you’re trying to excuse your father’s mutual decisions with this woman by painting her as the villain.

      If I were you, I’d try talking to my father about a paternity test. Most places don’t allow you to put someone on your health insurance plan unless you’re married – might want to ask about whether they are legally married.

      You can’t run your father’s life. Time to stop getting so emotionally invested in him. Best to not be financially invested in him, either, judging by this. I don’t want this to come off as scolding, but your whole letter kind of has a whiff of “this new girlfriend and baby is sucking my inheritance dry” because you focus so much on the monetary aspects. If that is genuinely how you feel, it might bear some further examination. Inheritance is becoming less and less common as people live longer and medical bills skyrocket, anyway, so it’s best to plan for your future as if you won’t get anything from your parents. Let any inheritance be a happy accident later, and focus on making your own fortune – it makes for better familial relationships.

      1. SandrineSmiles (France)*

        For some reason, I don’t feel it’s about the inheritance at all. It really does feel like the latest girlfriend / soon mother-to-be is a horrible person.

        I would mention the money too while talking about it, to be honest. Because with the details given, for some reason I imagine the girlfriend wouldn’t still be around if the Dad wasn’t comfortable with money.

        1. acmx*

          I didn’t get the impression she was worried about an inheritance, either. The opposite since she sad she was sad for him since he was going to retire in 5 years.
          She also doesn’t excuse her dad from his responsibility, “but I’m also mad that he’s been so irresponsible (a third bastard child? At 50+? Really?).

        2. JMW*

          Agree. You hate to see your dad get fleeced. Plus, if the girlfriend runs through all of dad’s dough, you could end up supporting him!

        3. BigSister*

          Thanks- its not about inheritance, its about him being taken advantage of. I’m the only person in his life that doesn’t depend on him for money, which I think is wrong on so many levels. I don’t thin the girlfriend would be with him if he didn’t have money.

          1. scarydogmother*

            And he wouldn’t be with her if not for [insert whatever it is he gets out of the relationship]. He’s not being taken advantage of. The common denominator in all his failed or dysfunctional romantic relationships is him.

      2. BigSister*

        Thanks. I do have to make room in my heart for the baby. Its weird.

        I have to disagree with you on something though- aren’t you supposed to be emotionally invested in your family? Isn’t that the point of family? This isn’t some long lost cousin that I’ve met twice in my life, its my dad, who I would like to remain close to.

        1. Carrie in Scotland*

          Emotionally invested – yes, but for me there is a line. My personal line is if it’s going to be bad for myself and my mental health/send me into a depression spiral/something else negative here then I need to trust myself and not do it. It just ends up a bit gnarly otherwise.

        2. The Cosmic Avenger*

          I mean, you probably can’t help wanting better for them, but you shouldn’t feel like you HAVE to fix the mistakes of another adult, no matter how close you are to them. You can try to help them, but you can’t make their decisions for them, so you shouldn’t feel responsible for fixing it for them, even if you want to do so, even if you eventually do fix it for them.

        3. Dan*

          Hell if I know what the point of family is. What it’s not is an excuse for someone to walk all over you, expecting you to take it, “because we’re family.” It’s also not an excuse for someone to interject their opinions on how you run your life, if you’re not asking for advice or money.

        4. Not So NewReader*

          “aren’t you supposed to be emotionally invested in your family?”

          There is a difference between loving them and being held hostage by their antics.

          Try to think about it this way: This has no impact on you. Your life goes on. It sounds like you have a decent paying job and you are self-supporting. Refused to be chained to their drama. Love realizes that we have to let people have their own learning experiences.

          It was mentioned upthread about how we cannot protect young children from their poor decisions. Likewise we cannot protect grown adults from their poor decisions. Additionally, we are not responsible for explaining our parents’ behavior to anyone.

          So what does this look like?
          Dad: My GF is going to have a baby.
          You: That is nice, Dad.
          Dad: I am not so sure about this.
          You: Well, just like everything else, you have to develop a plan to take care of that child. And you will come up with something. (Notice how this starts to detach you from the conversation. It’s his concern, not yours.)

          I think you can maintain some type of closeness but remember he is not going to fill a specific definition of what a dad “should be”. He can’t and he has spent his life saying that through his actions. In order to maintain closeness, you will have to see him as he truly is. This will require a lot of flexibility on your part, I am not sure if I could do it if this were me.

          It could be that you decide to distance yourself from the whole situation. It could be that you decide to hang in there in case this little unborn child needs you. It could be that you go through spells where you stay back then later hang in closer.

          I will say, I saw a family go through something very similar to what you say here. Several siblings decided to have nothing to do with their father. One sib decided to hang in there for the little girl. And yes, that sib did make a difference in the little girl’s life. She would take the child over night and they would do interesting things together. This took a lot of doing because dad was impossible.

          What I hate about these situations is that it serves as a constant remind that I am a separate being from the family member in trouble. I like to think about family and closeness and having the same background, etc. So these types of things rattle the nice pictures in my head. It helps to remember people are who they are.

          Only you know what is the best response to your setting. But I would like to encourage you to keep building your life and not let the emotional angles here pull you down. Decide where your boundaries are, what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do. And stick to your boundaries.

          (Longer read, than I thought. Sorry.)

          1. BigSister*

            Thanks for this thoughtful answer. I’ve been thinking about the being involved vs. being detached, which is also a hard decision since both sides have their pros and cons. I guess I don’t have to decide and just see how it goes when the time comes.

    3. Minerva*

      Ugh, I just want to say I really really sympathise, and I understand the reflex to be angry at the girlfriend. But I have to agree with Dan – your dad is just as much to blame, and it doesn’t really make sense to draw conclusions from this “accident” about the girlfriend’s character any more than about his.
      But this is a really tough situation to be in, and sadly I really don’t have any advice :/

    4. Carrie in Scotland*

      That is so, so hard. I agree that it isn’t this baby’s fault though but maybe, if you could you should find a counsellor/therapist to talk to, to process all of this. There’s a lot going on there – the divorce between your dad and step mum, this girlfriend, the baby, since you’re the older sister, there’s that there too.

      After my mum died, my dad got together with one of her closest friends. It was incredibly difficult (it was within 6 months) and she moved up here to be with my dad. It was difficult for many reasons and wasn’t always helped by my dad’s actions (often to ignore the whole thing) and I spent a good part of last year not talking to my dad and his now wife. When they got married, my brother & I decided not to go etc. I think it hurt my dad but it would’ve hurt me more. She drinks alot too, partly because she is almost at retirement age and hasn’t really gotten a job, so she doesn’t do much to fill her days – she can be quite mean when drunk.

      We get on better now but it’s something that I (& I’d suspect her) have to actively work at, and my dad runs interference sometimes to keep things balanced.

      So…*hugs* I don’t have advice, as such but again, talking to someone outwith the family dynamic might help you/your sister. After all, he is your dad at the end of the day – and that’s important. But looking after yourself is too.

      1. BigSister*

        Thanks Carrie. I thought about seeing someone.

        Sorry you had to go through that with your dad. It sounds heart wrenching, and I’m glad its gotten at least a touch better.

    5. GoneAnon*

      A few things from a fellow sufferer of a dysfunctional family.
      1. I am so sorry. This sucks, yes it certainly does. My 17 year old cousin announced she’s pregnant and her Mom cheered, my aunt cried happy tears. Adding babies to dysfunction is terrible and I am sorry you’re dealing with that.
      2. I have had my share of therapy and I think you may benefit from the same, it has changed my life. But what it has really taught me with my family is… not your circus, not your monkeys. It’s not your money she may or may not be leeching. It’s not your business if she tricked him (but you saying he has 3 bastard kids tells me this ain’t his first rodeo and I firmly believe birth control is a two way street). It’s not your business if she works, if he pays her rent, if he was getting tired of her, if they stay together forever and lead miserable lives, not your circus, not your monkeys. It is SO hard. I know. But seriously this will save you so much brain power, time and heartache.

  33. Audiophile*

    Has anyone ever run background checks on dates/SOs?
    I’m just curious more than anything else. Are any of the usual sites like intellius or peoplefinders accurate? I don’t expect to get completely accurate info, since they’re charging such low fees, but I want to know if it’s worth paying for at all.

    1. Alston*

      Nope, but I google the hell out of all my internet dates/crushes. Are you looking specifically for criminal history/credit info? Because you can certainly find out a LOT of info for free without having to shell out for one of these sites.

      1. Audiophile*

        I’ve googled, didn’t know full name until first date. Found social media profiles, nothing out of the ordinary.

      2. Lindsay J*

        Seconding the googling.

        I find out a lot of stuff that way. I don’t usually search for criminal records (though if they have a unique name that stuff certainly comes up). But I generally do find some online profiles, etc. and a lot of people reveal a lot about themselves online. Plus, seeing just generally where they spend their time online and how they choose to present themselves is telling.

    2. Megan*

      I wonder why you need to… If he’s given you a reason ie said something dodgy or what not, then why a second date? If you’re just checking everyone who crosses your path, I think that’s a bit weird. Maybe stick to finding dates through mutual friends?

      1. the gold digger*

        I would do it. A friend dated a guy she thought was completely trustworthy – he was a cop or something like that. After a few months, she somehow became suspicious and did some research and discovered, among other things (I wish I could remember the details! She was showing me the court records online so I wouldn’t think she was a raving lunatic, not that I would):

        1. He was married to a healthy wife. He was not a widower whose wife had died of cancer.
        2. He had been convicted of stalking, I think.

        But I agree with Megan – better to date someone whom your friends have already checked out. It knocked six months of dating time off for my husband and me that his best friend 0f 25 years, who is also a friend of mine, introduced us. Pete was able to tell me that Primo was not an ax murderer.

        1. Artemesia*

          After I left my first husband I dated a guy I had known from several university classes (I was doing a masters evenings and summers while I worked. I later discovered that he was a. married, b. had another woman knocked up and c. had lied about his employment. I thought I ‘knew’ him because I had been in so many classes with him, had had drinks with him and other classmates etc etc — but I so very much didn’t know him.

          Yeah for the internet.

          1. Audiophile*

            Wow. I’m sorry.

            I’m not really concerned about marriage. I was able to find out about other potential dates, that they were engaged or in relationships. And that was just a quick Google search and Facebook profiles.

            1. Artemesia*

              I was lucky someone clued me in before the relationship developed; I really found I wasn’t particularly attracted to him anyway — but I can see how people end up getting in deeper than they should with people who turn out not to be who they seem to be.

      2. Audiophile*

        Nothing super dodgy. Was really just curious. We’ve already crossed the second date threshold, so too late to turn back now.
        I’ve tried finding dates through friends, they can never think of anyone to set me up with or all their friends are coupled already. I don’t mind online dating, I’ve met some decent guys.

        1. the gold digger*

          Yeah, I have to take back dating through friends. I mean, if you can do that, it’s great. But I have several friends and my sister who have met their spouses online. (And the spouses are not ax murderers. So far.)

    3. Rebecca*

      I live in PA, and we have the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System, so if you have first and last name, you can see if that person has been involved with criminal, traffic, non traffic, civil, or landlord/tenant issues.

    4. Steve G*

      Well I need to say I was not impressed with the website Checkmate, which is supposed to be one of the best. I ran myself this week, coincidentally (and was going to mention this on the Friday thread but forgot, I was wondering if my DUI even though it was many years ago is holding me back, if employers are running checks on me before inviting me for interviews)………..anyway, so I found it strange that the report didn’t pull up my DUI. So I paid $19.99 extra for a deluxe report on myself, and it pulls up almost no extra information, except property ownership information.

      I checked some people I know, and unfortunately, there are 2 people in my extended families/friends/neighbors (not getting specific here!) who have definitely been arrested, and the site for all of them said they had no criminal record, and just gave basic information like birthdays and possible past addresses and relatives, and email. All stuff you could find for free yourself. I wasn’t impressed and didn’t learn anything deep or interesting about myself or anyone.

      1. Audiophile*

        Thanks for the info. I saw that one popup in my search. And interesting that this didn’t pull up your DUI.
        This person admits they were arrested, not a DUI to my knowledge. I have no issues with arrests, depending on the circumstances. They did recently admit they had been married and have been divorced now for a number of years. That’s more what I was curious about, though I don’t doubt that they’re being honest and truthful.

  34. Elkay*

    Gilmore Girls fans – what do you think to the possibility of a comeback? I listened to the Gilmore Guys podcast with Scott Patterson (Luke) who said there were talks going on. I can’t help but think given the amount of time that’s passed they won’t be able to get key members of the cast, obviously Edward Herrman, but a lot of the cast seem to be in other series (not to mention Melissa McCarthy), there would have to be a huge amount of nostalgia from them to find the time to do something. Also, if it ends up like Arrested Development I want them to leave it alone. Has there ever been a satisfactory come back/sequel of any popular shows?

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      I’d only be on board with a Gilmore Girls reunion if the Pallidino’s (sp?) wrote it. The last season, while it had some very good episodes (one of my favourite’s is Santa’s Secret Stuff/Lorelai’s letter about Luke’s character ones) just wasn’t the same as the rest. It would be great if they could do something with the cast, I’d like to think that the actors (like Dean, Logan, Jess, Sookie etc) would come back if it was a perfect thing to do.

    2. Sara*

      I loved the show up until things started getting absurd midway through season 5, and sunk cost fallacy was pretty much the only thing that kept me going through the end of the series. If they do some sort of comeback, I’d probably watch it out of curiosity, but I’m not really pulling for it to happen. For one thing, I worry about it being as disappointing as the re-launch of Arrested Development, and for another, I’m not overly interested in seeing these characters’ stories pick up 10 years after the end of the original. So much of the plot was driven by situations that the characters were in because of where they were in life (i.e. Rory as a college student, Lorelai as a single/non-single woman trying to figure it all out), and I don’t know that I would find Lorelai and Luke’s married life or Rory’s job at Buzzfeed (or whatever) to be all that interesting.

    3. Trixie*

      Scott Patterson could no doubt use the exposure of such a project, I think at most they might get a few of them together for a panel appearance.

      1. Elkay*

        They’re already signed up for the ATX TV Festival for a panel. From what I’ve seen it’s Amy Sherman-Palladino, Lauren Graham (Lorelei), Alexis Bledel (Rory), Kelly Bishop (Emily), Scott Patterson (Luke), Liza Weil (Paris), Keiko Agena (Lane), Danny Strong (Doyle), Jared Padalecki (Dean), Matt Czuchry (Logan), Jackson Douglas (Jackson), Sean Gunn (Kirk), Todd Lowe (Zach), Liz Torres (Miss Patty), Yanic Truesdale (Michel), John Cabrera (Brian).

        1. Trixie*

          I remember Todd Lowe had a bit part on NCIS and while it wasn’t much of a stretch from the adult Zach, I still enjoyed it. And I think I’ve seen Keiko Agena recently on a phone commercial.

          1. Elkay*

            He was in True Blood for five of the six seasons. Rory’s boyfriends seem to have done the best out of all of them (bar Lauren Graham and Melissa McCarthy).

  35. The Other Dawn*

    Anyone watching AMC’s new show, Turn? I didn’t think I would like a show like that, but I’m getting into it. I think partly because my house was built in 1735. I started out wanting to watch so I could see what their houses looked like. But it’s pretty interesting.

    1. Windchime*

      I love it. I stumbled across the first season on Netflix and am now all caught up on the current season. I feel like there is a lot I didn’t know about the Revolution before; like, it didn’t occur to me that there were all these spies and different military factions. It also didn’t occur to me that families might form friendships with the members of the occupying army that they were forced to take in as lodgers.

    2. Trixie*

      Love, love, LOVE this show. I’m hoping to read the book its based on, Washington’s Spies: The Story of American’s First Spy Ring. The cast, history, direction/writing, cinematography, all stellar. The only thing I find mildly distracting is Ian Kahn’s portrayal of Washington. Mostly I see him in character, but his speaking affect could also be mistaken for a vampire. Seriously, think about this next time you watch.

  36. anonymous today*

    What do you guys talk with your mother/parent? I have a mother alive and while I think I love her, I don’t really like her and we are very different. It is very hard for me to have a conversation with her, she is so inquisitive/nosy/has no boundaries that I have over the years learned to share less and less. I am better with my boundaries now but I don’t want to go into a million details about everything forever. I just don’t know what to talk to her about. I ask a lot of questions about her life (she works and is married) and she does want to tell me all the details about her life – but it is often about how victimized she is by events or people and I have stopped trying to fix things. I’ve tried talking about current events but after a sentence it’s back to the personal. I don’t want to tell her about my crazy boss or how frustrating it is to try to date because her view is that the world is against me and poor me and that is not true or helpful (but it is how she sees the world) but those are the things she wants me to share about, the really personal things. It’s also hard because she will tell me how unhappy she is with various things, and it seems to me that she is setting herself up that way mostly because she can’t/won’t set boundaries, so it’s hard for me to go on and on commiserating about all the mean people in her life. I think that’s how we bonded a lot when I was growing up, by talking about all the mean people in our lives but that is not my perspective any longer (much hard work in therapy to get to this place), but I don’t know what else to talk about.

    1. Elkay*

      I’m lucky because I have a good relationship with my parents and we share tastes in tv, books and movies so we can always fall back on that stuff. Your mother sounds like my auntie, it’s really difficult to hold a conversation with her because you get dragged into conversations about perceived wrongs or things from the past. Do you have siblings/nieces/nephews you can talk about?

    2. JMW*

      You are probably in safest territory sticking with talking about her and asking her questions. One thing I am learning to do is to question why people think the way they do. So when someone says something victim-y (not really a victim), I go with something along the line of, “What makes you think that?” Often with a little digging, what emerges is that one event has been extrapolated into “always” or “never.” I don’t try to “fix” any more – it’s too exhausting and rarely rewarding.

      You might also look for an interest to bring with you to share – a few photos and some scrapbooking supplies, a travel book of a place you’d like to go, a Fannie Flagg book for reading aloud, a ball of yarn and two knitting needles and a how-to manual, some ingredients of something you want to cook…

    3. Emily*

      Maybe you can try to find a few “safe” topics to discuss with her, like television shows or hobbies that you might have in common.

      Captain Awkward fields a lot of questions about how to deal with boundary-violating or otherwise less-than-stellar parents, so you might find some of her advice helpful (under the “Parents” or “Families” tags).

    4. skyline*

      My mother always wants to tell me about the latest gory crimes where she lives. I cannot for the life of me figure out why! But I figure listening is better than arguing with her about something we disagree on, so I try to listen and think of it as my filial good deed. There are things in my life she doesn’t really understand (like what I actually do in my job!) so they are hard to talk about with her. I know in the end she really just wants me to be happy, so I talk to her about things that will make her know that I am happy: fun things I’ve done lately (concerts, new restaurants, activities), friends I’ve seen, books I’ve read. I also send gift books to her Kindle, so we talk about those, too.

    5. Dynamic Beige*

      My family was… not a bundle of fun. My mother was kind of like yours in the sense that she would talk to me about her work day and it was all about how ThisPerson was an idiot and what he/she did and how she scored one off on him/her and put them in their place. Misery loves company and if your mother has learned that she gets attention and sympathy by detailing out all her woes and grievances, it’s unlikely she’s going to stop.

      The one thing I kind of regret is that I never really asked any of them what things were like when they were young. I never really asked because they were also the kind of people who did the whole “the past is in the past and what’s the point of bringing it all up again” thing and weren’t prone to nostalgia, maybe because there was nothing or not much to be nostalgic about. But now I think it would have been very interesting to hear from my grandmother stories about what she was like as a girl, what it was like for her going to school, the place she grew up in, her parents. I don’t think she would have talked about the war even if being pulled apart by wild horses or through the use of enhanced interrogation techniques but just to hear what it must have been like as an immigrant who spoke no English, the culture shock. She endured a lot, much of it very traumatic and she never spoke of it. Granted, she died when I was 10 and there was a lot of stuff you just don’t speak of to young children (or shouldn’t anyway). But no one lives forever and unless they’ve got an extensive collection of journals, once they’re gone, so are all their memories and family history that they know. Oddly enough, after my grandfather died, I found their journal of household expenses. I can tell you how much their electric bill was in 1965, but I couldn’t tell you who the first boy my grandmother had a crush on was, or how many years of school she did, or how she managed to become a bookkeeper (which surprised me when I had the letter translated) or how she ended up in Germany at the end of the war.

      So you might try that. “Mom, what do you remember most from being a little girl?” “Tell me about something you/your sibling/your mother used to do.” “Do you remember that [special occasion] when I was X that [this thing happened]?” “You know that thing you used to make when we were kids? Do you have the recipe for that? I’d like to try and make it.” And when she starts veering back to being all Debbie Downer, steer it back “I’m sorry you feel that way, but wasn’t there anything about X that you enjoyed?” If she does manage to share something that isn’t a Mouthful of Gloom, thank her sincerely and then get off the phone. Maybe you can sort of train her out of it, or at least reduce the frequency of using you as a dumping ground for all her toxic stuff.

    6. TheLazyB*

      I’ve had to stop telling my mum when things go wrong. I’m sick of her trying to fix everything :(

    7. Pennalynn Lott*

      My mom is a weird combination of a Debby Downer and a Perfect Pollyanna. She loves to bitch about her friends and her sister and how her insurance company / credit card company / cell phone provider has given her the runaround and how they’re all staffed with idiots. But if I so much as slightly hint that I’m unhappy with a situation or a person, she tries to spin it into something happy and positive, and how I really shouldn’t be complaining about it at all. So I can’t ever talk to her about any kind of problem I’m working through, because she dismisses it out of hand. And she doesn’t do snark or sarcasm (she believes there’s no such thing as positive sarcasm or teasing; it’s all just barely-disguised maliciousness). Pretty much, when she’s not complaining, what comes out of her mouth is bland stuff like, “Oh, look at the pretty flowers,” or “That’s a pretty building,” or “What a sweet-looking baby,” with nothing else in between. No politics, no current events, nothing interesting she’s read lately [she only reads 12-twelve step related self-help books about the power of being positive, which has been the only kind of books she has read for the past 35 years], no funny situations she’s seen or heard about, nothing new that she has learned.

      So I’ve given up on expecting much of anything from her. I actually find it painful to do mother/daughter outings and try to plan things like movies or plays, just so we don’t have to talk. And when we do, I just try to make sure I’m varying my use of “Ah,” “Hmmmm,” and “OK,” so I don’t sound too robotic.

    8. Christy*

      I talk to my mom every day as I walk to the bus, largely because I hate walking without someone to talk to. We talk about our plans for that day, about other family members, and her work/life/etc. I don’t really say much of anything about myself.

      The key for me is that the conversations are inherently limited in length, I can cut them off at any time with “gotta go, the bus is early”, and they’re very surface level.

  37. Treena Kravm*

    Advice on finding a storage unit!

    I need to pick a long-term storage facility for 3+ years. I’m looking for climate controlled, general security, etc. Location in my city isn’t as important because I won’t visit until I take the stuff out of storage. Anything else I should look for?

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Look carefully into your contract options. As far as I know, most places are month-to-month and you can cancel at anytime (though you would have to pay the full month if you cancelled on the 10th or something), but read your fine print!

    2. Artemesia*

      Just be aware that climate control is not all that swell. Things will get musty in storage so be sure clothing is in sealed containers and realize that upholstered items will not fare well. The other thing I did when all our earthly possessions were in a 10/30 unit for a year was that when we moved in I put a thick layer of diatomaceous earth around the edges of the storage bay we were assigned. This stuff is great for killing bugs — bedbugs, carpet beetles, whatever. It is totally non-toxic (you can eat the stuff for calcium although you want to wear a light mask when dusting it about as it can irritate the lungs if breathed — it kills bugs by cut the skins of larvae) When we moved out, we have had no problems with bugs in our stuff, but there were LOTS of dead bugs in the dust around the edge of the unit. Our unit was separated by concrete walls from the next bay — but they are open at the top and bugs are crafty about moving under doors etc etc.

    3. Mz. Puppie*

      Sparefoot dot com. Searches all the providers based on your filters, and you can even see reviews.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Ask questions about accessing your unit. One place had units that required using a ladder. Not for me, at all!
      Ask about hours that you will be allowed to access your unit.
      My father had a storage unit that was stacked containers. A fork lift had to lower the proper container down. There was a charge for this, of course.
      My father also had a moving company put everything in storage. In the comments section the company had marked everything as dented/scratched/nicked/chipped. Uh, the stuff was in perfect condition. Take pictures if you are using a moving company.
      Do you want insurance on your unit?
      Inventory your stuff. Even if the best you can do is put your last name and number the boxes/items. Keep the inventory and use it as a check list when you get the stuff out.

  38. louise*

    Rough weekend. A friend’s wife contacted us last night as she was sitting by the side of the road at a sobriety checkpoint. Her husband had been driving and they took him away. She hadn’t seen him for close to an hour and was imagining the worst.

    We had seen them earlier in the evening but we left the event a lot earlier than they did. We had hoped they’d quit drinking and sober up before hitting the road, but they obviously didn’t.

    He ended up with a DWI and since friends were available, they let them leave with us. Our friend is an educator, so the whole way home he was talking about this being the end of his career because he can’t afford a lawyer.

    We didn’t say much, just felt terrible for them. But mostly I’m glad they pulled him over…I feel bad thinking that, but he needed some sense knocked into him and I’m glad it happened this way rather than a tragic accident or something.

    My husband feels like we should have stayed later and insisted on taking his keys. I don’t think the guy would have let us.

    We’re in the U.S. Hoping there is hope for him if he gets an attorney.

    1. Liz in a Library*

      Oof…that is hard. For what it’s worth, I don’t think you are wrong for being glad they were pulled over; sometimes people really need a good wake up call, and I’m glad for your friend’s sake that neither he nor anyone else was injured.

      I had a dear friend who was abusing alcohol and kind of wrecking her life who had a DUI a few years back. It was the impetus for her completely turning her life around, and I couldn’t be prouder of her. Sometimes good can come from hard times.

      Your friend should definitely consult with a lawyer ASAP.

      1. Liz in a Library*

        And this should go without saying, but obviously you and your husband were not responsible for his choices. It’s really easy to say “I should have” after the fact, but no one can control what another adult chooses to do.

    2. Apollo Warbucks*

      Don’t feel bad, being pulled over is what he deserved, there’s no way drink driving is aceptable, and if he knows a conviction could cost him his job then it’s an even more stupid decision and like you say it’s better this way than him having hurt someone.

      I hope he can sort things out with his job, and manages to keep it as being unemployed is harsh price to pay, but the consequences are on him not anyone else there’s nothing you or your husband could have done to stop that’s not your responsibility.

    3. anon for this*

      I find it interesting that the guy is am educator. I got tired of being uneducated, so I bought a breathylizer and keep it in my glove box. I’m not joking. We make a big deal about enforcement and “correction” but make no effort to help people understand what their BAC level actually is. So I got tried of not really knowing.

      1. louise*

        Thank you for saying this. All the PSAs in the world about DDs, drunk driving, and buzzed driving = drunk driving do no good if we don’t know what level we’re at. I plan to look into getting one for us. Don’t know if they’re expensive or not, but they’ve got to be cheaper than fighting a DWI conviction.

        1. anon for this*

          Along those lines, I get really tired of the PSA’s that essentially preach abstinence. There’s a long way between stone cold sober and 0.08.

          I also don’t like the colloquial terminology we use to describe our state of sobriety. What the difference between buzzed, trashed, wasted, “feeling good”, relaxed, and drunk? So I don’t even know what “buzzed” driving is.

          I bought this one off of Amazon for $130: BACtrack S80 Select Pro Breathalyzer. You don’t want to go too cheap here.

          1. louise*

            Immediately after my reply to you earlier I read a fantastic, thorough review that recommended that one and we immediately ordered it + a pack of replacement mouthpieces. My husband hosts seasonal beer tastings and we think that will be a great thing to have available, as well as for our own peace of mind the rest of the time.

            I agree there is a whole lot between sober and over the legal limit…no more wondering where that line is! I also suspect the “I feel fine” range may well be past the limit, but how is one supposed to know what their subjective feeling would translate to on an objective device?

            Thank you for commenting earlier and being the impetus for reading reviews and making the purchase.

    4. nep*

      They’re fortunate that’s all that happened to them; they apparently made it home in one piece, and they didn’t hurt or kill anyone in their path. No mercy for people who drive intoxicated. (Some people close to me do it regularly and it’s frightening as hell. I often wish they’d get a wake-up call — and not a wake-up call that would involve maiming themselves or others.)

    5. Pennalynn Lott*

      I hope it really is a wake-up call for him. We all said the same thing the first time my brother got a DWI. And then his second. Then third. Then lost his license. Then drove drunk anyway. Went to jail for a *very* short period of time, but had a good lawyer so even got his license reinstated.

      And continues to drive drunk. He drove his truck into a ditch on the way to his daughter’s wedding last summer. Then got even drunker at the wedding. Flipped his truck into a different ditch on the way home, breaking a few bones in his back. Again, good lawyer so no real consequences.

      He is 50 years old. His first DWI was when he was 18. He has totaled at least a dozen vehicles, and even driven the wrong way on a freeway entrance ramp (and slammed into a concrete barrier so hard that the word “Ford” was imprinted backwards on his chest from the steering wheel, followed by a one-week stay in ICU).

      1. nep*

        ‘…so no real consequences’ — that’s as much a crime as the drunk driving. I imagine this is the case for many offenders. Just makes the head explode. I want my loved ones to face huge consequences if/when something goes down. Thank goodness your brother’s not injured or killed anyone along the way.
        Sorry you’re having to live with that. Ugh.

      2. louise*

        Oh, how tough. I’m sorry you’ve all been drug through that with him. Time will tell if that’s the case for our friend. I hope and pray not.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I am not so sure his career would be intact if he does get a lawyer. I think the two things are separate issues.

      Just my opinion, but our DWI laws do not have many teeth. Where I am if it’s his first offense he might get slapped with an $800-1000 fine and have to take some courses. The judge might set bail so he might sit in jail until some one bails him. The bail money is returned once he has finish all his court stuff. Depending on the charges they can take his license for a period of time. He might be able to get a conditional license to go to work or to a doctor.

      I am with you- I am glad that he is having this wake up call. It could be much worse. My sympathy is shallow though when it comes to worries about his career or the cost of a lawyer. Really, the cost of the lawyer is nothing compared to other issues here.

    7. Steve G*

      Where you live you can get a DWI without having to go to the police station to be booked? That wouldn’t happen here in downstate NY…..but how can he not afford a lawyer? I hate to admit this but I’ve mentioned it here before….I had a DUI and the lawyer was about $800 (each time) for appearances that were about 2 months apart, which gives you time to save up for the second appearance. That’s not a crazy amount to pull together in a life-or-death situation, even if you take it from a retirement account. Either way, they should definitely find room on a credit card quick to charge the lawyer’s fee

  39. AvonLady Barksdale*

    OK, trying this AGAIN…

    The house next door to us, which has been up for sale for about a month, was just purchased, apparently. I learned this because the new owner, her kid, and some “friend” of hers decided to do some survey/property line work. On Friday, as I was sitting on my sofa working from home, I saw people I don’t know come on my driveway and start hacking at some of the shrubbery with a machete (there’s a patch of shrubs and trees between the two driveways). I thought it was strange for them to come on my property without permission, but oooookaaayyy, whatever. I kept my eye on them because they were pretty close to my car with their machete. Then my dog, who was lounging on the porch (as he does) noticed them getting closer to our house, and he got up and growled at them. I heard the woman say, “You better tell that dog to–” and I leapt up and ran outside, through my OPEN door. She turned around as if I’d startled her, introduced herself and told me what she was doing there. I said hello and was kind of, “WTF, lady?” I certainly wasn’t rude, but I wasn’t exactly gracious, either.

    As far as I’m concerned, it is not normal to come on someone’s property and start hacking at things– even if those things are technically on your property– without giving a heads-up, and it sure as hell is not a good thing to object to someone’s dog doing something doggish on his own damn porch. I am not inclined to like this woman, and she hasn’t even moved in yet. Harrumph.

    1. JMW*

      You’ve had a bad start, and you are in the right here. BUT, if this is your new neighbor, you might want to take a deep breath, take a welcoming gift (brownies, a plant, a list of neighborhood conveniences with phone numbers), introduce your dog… If you don’t get this relationship on the right footing, you could be in for years of misery (and, sadly, you might be anyway if she continues to be jerk-y). There is a window of opportunity, though, for turning things around.

      1. Artemesia*

        So this. When the neighbors next door to us started pushing a cage with a very talkative parrot out of their garage and onto their driveway right under our bedroom window at 7 am every morning, I was very glad that I had taken them cookies when they moved in. They were good about delaying the parrot’s day until after 8 when I talked with them. I was glad that my first interaction was not about the damn parrot.

    2. fposte*

      Agreed with JMW. You really don’t want to get into bitch eating crackers stage with a neighbor. Yeah, I wouldn’t start out by standing on somebody’s driveway, but I can also see somebody thinking that it wouldn’t hurt anything. And I think the comment about the dog was an alert and a concern, not a statement that they were entitled to do anything about him.

      It’s not going to hurt you to let it go, and it’s only going to make things worse if you hang onto it. So I vote let it go–you can always hate them again later :-).

    3. danr*

      People don’t think… at our old house we were getting ready for Thanksgiving and there was a bulldozer clearing our back property. I went out and the guy was clearing the land for his new house… he had looked at the land that he bought from the highway and missed the big drainage ravine between the highway and our land. His land was the ditch. He had some flatter land in the trees, but didn’t like it. I showed him the boundary markers for his land. He was not pleased. He was even less pleased when we objected to his application for a variance on the setback for the house. One side of the house would have been right on our property line. He didn’t get it.

    4. Steve G*

      ……I also don’t get the inclination to start hacking at things when you first move into a place…don’t they want to keep the shrubs there for privacy between the 2 yards?

  40. Going anon for this....*

    This is going to be all over the place. It’s been a weird last couple of weeks. One major good thing happened to me at work, but on the personal front, it’s been all shit. Every single day when I come home, there’s arguing. No loud screaming or cursing or fighting, but more like sharp tones, disappointment, quiet seething, thinly veiled disgust etc. Some from me, some from my spouse. Even if the words aren’t there, the subtext is: “I dont’ care that you have a job __ is YOUR responsibility!”

    A few weeks ago he exploded at me that I never spend enough time with him ever since I started working. My busy season at work had just a few weeks prior and I had taken the weekends to do some family/personal stuff. He brought up irrelevant examples (when I went to the Dr etc) but for the most part, I tried to see it from his perespective, that he wanted to spend time with me. Which….I understand. So I stayed quiet and didn’t say much and I tried my best to keep my weekends free and clear. What happens? Complete and utter misery. Lots of arguing, scrapped plans, snide comments (all from him) and quietly disappearing into my corner of the home (me).

    I saw this girl’s pix on FB of her husband surprising her on her birthday and family dinner. And I felt like crap because 1) I thought I’d grown out of being envious of something I see on FB and yeah I know FB can be fake and bla bla bla and 2) Why does my spouse always have to ruin everything? Birthdays, anniversaries, he always ruins them. He tries to salvage it but by then it’s too late.

    1. Elkay*

      I’m sorry you’re going through a sucky time. I’m with you about being envious about FB posts, doesn’t matter how much you tell yourself that those posts don’t matter it can still sting. Is it worth looking into counselling with your spouse?

      1. JMW*

        And if your spouse won’t go, go on your own. You need someone in your court to help you negotiate a better relationship or an end to this one, if it comes to that.

    2. Dan*

      Speaking as that spouse who could ruin things from time to time…


      Fwiw, I’m no longer married, and much much happier. We never did couples counseling, because my shrink and I didn’t think my ex would really participate. When someone shoots down everything you say, there is no reason to believe that another person is going to talk sense into them.

      1. Going anon for this....*

        I’ve been hearing this for better part of a decade now, depression, low self esteem blah blah blah. Well, I’ve been depressed, I’ve been suicidal, the fact that I still beg him to not leave me shows how little self esteem and self respect I have but no one gives a shit about me so.

        1. anon for this*

          This is the part where we collectively tell you to find professional help. True happiness comes from within, and it’s certainly not something a troubled spouse can give you.

          Best thing I ever did for myself is leave my marriage. I’d rather be alone than in a shitty relationship again.

    3. danr*

      “2) Why does my spouse always have to ruin everything? Birthdays, anniversaries, he always ruins them. He tries to salvage it but by then it’s too late.”… what would happen if you let the spouse plan and bring off the celebration, even if it’s not precisely what you would do? Just go with it a couple of times.
      Or, if he’s a lousy planner who can never equal what you do…. just take over everything. Make the reminders that you need to so he appears when needed. Eventually, he’ll pick up enough hints to be able to do it himself without too many bobbles…
      Can you tell that I see myself in my early marriage years?

      1. Going anon for this....*

        That’s the thing–I leave it to him and nothing happens. He goes from promising big and exciting things to doing pretty much nothing. By then, I know he’s going to be such horrible company to be around that I just give up and do nothing as well.
        I try to plan but he hates that, he says leave it to him and don’t nag him. so I stay quiet. I’m not materialistic or shallow. I just wnat to be with someone whose company I enjoy, not someone who’s constantly irritated with me or giving me the death stare everywhere we go.

        1. anon for this*

          Sometimes you will realize that you can’t have what you want, and even that happens, its soul searching time.

        2. danr*

          Yep, I know the type. You can’t equal the planner so you boast, can’t follow through and do nothing. We got out of that cycle by doing small things. Going out for dinner one night a week. Nothing fancy, just a chance to talk about the week without worrying about cooking or cleaning up. We either split the bill or put it on a credit card. Since the credit cards were paid from a common account, it really didn’t matter.
          Hope things work out.

    4. Artemesia*

      I hope you can get some family counseling to help get things back on track. It is so important that spouses be forgiving of and tolerant of each other and work to be considerate and meet each other’s needs. Your job is what it is. Your focus on ‘let’s spend quality time together’ makes great sense, I am sorry that when you did this, you just got more toddler behavior. Sometimes it is hard to dig out of your own hole and a third party can help. Hope so.

  41. CanadianUniversityReader*

    Hi All,

    I hope I’m not too late. I’m just wondering if you guys have ever tried to reconnect with old friends. I was at my old dance teacher’s recital yesterday and I thought about an old friend of mine. We were really close when we were younger and I think I’d like to reconnect. She tried to reconnect with me two years ago, but I was having some family and work stuff and I wasn’t really able to. Does anyone have any tips for how to reconnect? We’re friends on Facebook so I was thinking of sending a Facebook message…

    1. fposte*

      I have; the results vary, but I haven’t been sorry about it. Do you know what kind of friendship you’d like to have? Is she still in the area? I have several friends who I don’t speak to for a long time and then we catch up when one of us is in town, for instance. If she’s in the area, I think it’s fine to send her a message on FB and say “Hey, I know I got buried with stuff, but I’ve been thinking a lot about you–would you like to have coffee and catch up next weekend?”

    2. Revanche*

      I just did recently. I sent a message to a friend from long ago, we’d just sort of drifted due to time and location, and we had a nice catch up over email. We’ll never be constant companion friends but it’s nice to be back in touch again.

    3. Trixie*

      I think about this all the time for an old friend, probably my first more adult friendship. it’s been 20 years but I think about her all the time. I don’t think it was a conscious decision to drift apart, but I think we both had a lot of drama in our lives then we trying to move on from. Between LinkedIn and FB, I know where she lives and what’s doing these days. As easy as it would be to reach with an email or funny postcard, what am I hoping for? And I would be crushed if I reached out to rekindle something and we never really fully reconnected, for sure this time out of choice. I’ve been leaning towards reaching out, maybe email or mailing her a picture of us from the early days.

    4. Jesus Built My Hotrod*

      Yes, I’ve done this, and it’s worked out well. Although I should perhaps warn that I’m talking about reconnecting with old friends who are also guys. The couple of times I’ve attempted to reconnect with female friends, it didn’t go too well – it started to become more than “just friends”, which led to everything falling apart quickly.

      But with guy friends … I use email to keep in touch, and to some extent you have to be willing to push yourself to write, even if you don’t really have much to say. Although these are guys I would call on to help me move a body, so there are really no limits on what I can write to them – sometimes the more outrageous and strange, the better.

      Two things, though: if you’re going to reconnect, you should be open to meeting up with them in person every so often. I don’t really have much use for people in my life who are just email pen-pals.

      Second: send gifts. I once bought several 1TB disk drives and loaded them with fun content and sent them out to various friends. Cheap green laser pointers from China make a great gift, too.

  42. BRR*

    What does everybody do at home to relax? For those who have been following I have been having a rough time at work and feel tense all of the time. I took a bath which helped somewhat. I also have tried at home beauty treatments. Applied coconut oil to my face, neck, and hair. Wow what a difference.

    Also I have trouble quieting my mind. Anything work for people? I have pretty severe ADHD so my mind is always racing.

    1. fposte*

      I didn’t see yours when I posted, but music, absolutely. Not when I first come home and am really frazzled, but after that. It’s especially a good combination with doing something undemanding but achieving–weeding the kitchen cabinets, cleaning my computer desktop, that kind of thing.

      1. catsAreCool*

        I find jazz relaxing. There’s something about how there’s so much going on and at the same time, it’s soothing.

    2. Cristina in England*

      I am not great at relaxing, but an old favorite is knitting while listening to a good podcast. I find that keeping my fingers busy lets me listen a lot more closely to anything.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        I’m the same way. I used to doodle a lot in high school because using my hands helped me listen to the teacher better, but sometimes teachers would get mad at my for “not paying attention”. If I wasn’t doodling, I was more likely to just day dream, and actually not pay attention.

        1. catsAreCool*

          I doodled a lot in college for the same reason. But I sat far enough back, that I think the teacher didn’t notice.

        2. Claire (Scotland)*

          That’s such a shame. I’m a high school teacher, and I encourage my students to have a Doodle Page at the back of their jotters so they can doodle when they need to. Maybe only a quarter of them actually use it regularly, but for those who do it can really help their focus.

    3. Today's anon*

      Cooking has become something relaxing and nurturing (both in a physical but also mental sense). I also do this breathing that I learned in yoga where you breathe in one nostril and exhale through the other one, then take a breathe in using that nostril, close it and exhale through the other one (using the fingers to close them one at a time). I don’t know exactly why but it really quiets my mind down.

      1. nep*

        Deep breathing has amazing effects. Worth a try.
        Reading often helps me relax.
        Yoga / stretching.
        Hot bath — Great.

    4. Colette*

      I find things I have to concentrate 100% on calm my mind. For me, that’s boxing training. I also tried archery once and found the same thing.

    5. Trixie*

      I like Calm dot com, and rainy day dot com for either relaxing or guided meditation.

    6. Rene UK*

      If I’m really vibrating, I like(in no particular order)
      reading, usually a favourite
      going on a walk
      swimming/bike riding/dancing(especially to very upbeat music–I like Scottish Country Dance, or just bouncing around to, like, The Bangles
      working in the garden/planting pots. Somehow having my hands in soil always helps

    7. Graciosa*

      I’ll add coloring to the list (adult coloring books and drawing pencils) if you’re looking for something to calm your mind.