weekend free-for-all – July 18-19, 2015

We failed at fostering again. Meet our new kitten, Eve.

We spectacularly failed at fostering again. Meet our new kitten, Eve.

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.) Eve!

Book Recommendation of the Week: Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides. It’s about a girl who grows into a man, but it’s also an epic and engrossing story of Greek-American immigration, the 60s, a family, and love.

{ 878 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager Post author

    So, I don’t know if anyone noticed there was no cat photo last weekend. We’d taken the three foster kittens back to the shelter the night before to be put up for adoption and I was too heartbroken for a cat photo. We spent the whole weekend worrying about them and wanting them back, and on Monday I called the shelter to let them know that if any of them weren’t adopted for any reason, we would take them.

    On Tuesday, the shelter called me and said that they were worried that the grey kitten (the shy one who wouldn’t let us touch her until her fourth and final week with us) would be tough to adopt because she was so shy and scared — she’d been hiding for three days in the back of the cage she shared with her brothers and wouldn’t interact with anyone — and she was ours if we wanted her. We did. (I also hinted to the shelter that we’d be happy to take all three of them, and they politely hinted back that they thought six cats might be a lot.)

    So now she is ours. And amazingly, as soon as we got her home, she did a total 180: After spending weeks not letting us touch her, she wants to be petted all the time. She aggressively demands petting, meows loudly if we stop, and head-butts us for more constantly. She’s next to me purring right now.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      And it has not escaped us that obviously we suck at fostering and can’t do it anymore or we’ll end up with 19 cats. Although we’ve noted that both Eve and Olive — the two we ended up keeping out of six fosters total over time — were the two who most needed us, which is hard to resist. (Olive was close to death when we first fostered her and we spent a week nursing her back to health, which made us bond fast.)

      1. Hellanon

        The new kitten is adorable, and was clearly meant to be yours! Her coloring is a lot like one of my older cats; the agency I got her from called her a “dilute tortoiseshell” and she’s gray & apricot with vivid green eyes. My third cat was a yard kitten and, like yours, close to death when I found him. He’s seven now and 13lbs of muscle and startle reflex.

        There will be no more kittens. Really. No more. I’m going to keep telling myself that…

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Yes! They are also called cream tortoiseshells, which makes sense since it looks like she started out as a regular tortoiseshell and then got cream splashed all over her.

          1. Formerly The Office Admin, Now Full Time Job Huntress

            I rescued a green eyed cream tortie kitten from behind my work when I lived in California. Of course my husband is allergic, but my parents have a ranch and my mom loves cats so…. ;)
            Anyway her name is Miranda she’s now 5 years old, she’s beautiful(and a tad plump….) and she can do many tricks, like jumping into your shoulder, roll over, she can find things if you hide them, she’s super fun and smart!

          2. Jessica (tc)

            We adopted a dilute/muted tortie last year, and she was very much the same. She was an older cat (8.5 yrs), but she was very shy and nervous around us at first. Now she demands pets and actually meows at us when she wants some attention. (We didn’t even hear her voice unless she was in the car, which she hates, for the first six months! She just kind of “mehs,” almost like she’s just grunting, most of the time, so we are always happy when she “talks” to us instead.) She had a lot of anxiety issues when we got her, but now she’s the demanding kitty we knew she could be. :-D

            I’ve never heard the term “cream tortie,” but I love the image! And it just makes me love this site more that you’ve “failed” at adopting the perfect kitties for your home twice now, because you are definitely my kind of people.

          3. TootsNYC

            The bakery around the corner from me once had 3 little striped kittens (two gray, one orange), and they looked liked they’d been dusted with flour. I got to pet them, so I know that they weren’t; they just had that faded coloring.

            It was probably a health-code violation, but they were awfully cute.

      2. Expendable Redshirt

        Oh dear! Another foster failure! Lol

        I’m looking into being a foster home. Our shelter has a rule that a home cannot adopt any of their first three fosters. :)

        1. Aloe Vera

          We recently lost our cat, and I’ve been trying to convince my finance that we should foster. He is convinced I’d be a failed foster, and he’s probably right. I love fur babies!

        2. Nervous Driver

          Just curious, if I’m reading correctly–it’s not a good idea to adopt the kittens you’ve been fostering? How come?

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            Shelters often don’t encourage you to (especially at the start) because they want you to keep fostering! The worry is that you’ll end up like me, adopt all your fosters, and then conclude you can’t foster anymore because you’ll keep adopting them. (I think that’s the reasoning — if there’s anyone on the shelter side of this who knows better, please correct me.)

            On the foster home side of things, it can theoretically be not a good idea because it’s how you end up at a number of animals that you didn’t actually intend. I didn’t want three cats, but then I fell in love with Olive — I wanted Olive specifically, but not a third cat. Same with Eve, as number four. So the idea behind a “foster fail” is that you end up with more animals than might be your ideal because you end up falling in love with specific animals, and then your love for them overrides your desire to say no to more.

            Whether or not that’s a problem is debatable :)

            1. Alicia

              We are a blended cat family… I had two boys and my fiance had two as well. What else is there to do when you move in together? That said I’d never actively search out to have 4 cats. My number is 2, with a hard limit of 3. But we already loved them, so we’re a crazy cat family now,… for the time being.

              1. MsChanandlerBong

                My hard limit was 4, too, until Chewbacca showed up at our doorstep last summer. We actively tried not to take him in, but every no-kill shelter I called was full and wouldn’t take him. Finally, my husband and I agreed that if it was us or the gas chamber, we’d have to exceed our limit.

                He was 9.5 pounds when we found him, and he’s now 14.5. He’s not at all overweight; he has a big frame, and he was just terribly underweight when we found him.

            2. CrazyCatLady

              Shelters have some concerns about people who foster but treat it like an extended adoption audition process, which might be why some shelters don’t allow adoption from the first few fosters.

          2. CrazyCatLady

            As Allison said, they don’t want the foster family to adopt immediately and then stop fostering. It’s sort of inevitable that foster families eventually adopt one or more, but once a shelter finds a reliable foster home, they want to maintain that relationship as long as possible to help as many animals as possible.

      3. Heather

        Awwww I think she was meant to be yours! She clearly needs you and who can say no to that? I think she was shy when she was at the shelter because she was heartbroken to be away from your family! :) So it all works out. There’s nothing like bonding with a cat that needs you. :)

        Congrats on the new kitten.

      4. littlemoose

        Congrats on the new kitten – I’m glad it worked out for you. We’re sucky fosters too. My boyfriend found a kitten by the side of the highway last year, scooped her up and brought her home. We already had a dog and a grumpy cat, and didn’t plan to keep the kitten. We had even asked a couple of friends about taking her. But she quickly won over my boyfriend’s heart (even though he “doesn’t like cats”), and is a permanent addition to our home. She’s a big cuddler too, and drools when she’s happy.

      5. danr

        This was just a plot by Eve to come back to her real home. And of course you feel for it.

      6. Ruffingit

        I totally feel you on this. I fostered three dogs. Wasn’t able to keep any of them and am still heartbroken over it. No more fostering for me.

      7. Artemesia

        My nephew’s wife does dog rescue — they have 4 dogs and counting — they can’t let them go if they don’t get adopted.

      8. AnotherAnon

        You never know – now that the Duggar show has been canceled, networks might be in the market for a 19 Cats and Counting show…

        Congratulations on your new addition! She’s adorable!

    2. The Other Dawn

      I think Eve realized what she had almost lost – a loving home with attentive humans – and doesn’t want to lose it for good.

      That aside, torties can be very affectionate when they want to be. I call mine “attention whores”. Louise comes up for a pet and Thelma is always right behind her sister, pushing her way to the front for some love.

      Wonder what the shelter would say about my house, since I have 10 cats.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        I feel like if you have the time, space, money, and love, why not? We’re not planning to have kids, so a big house full of cats sounds awesome to me.

        1. Jessica (tc)

          Ditto! I wish our apartment management would let us have more kitties, because we’re non-parents by choice who love our kitty-faces and would love to be able to rescue every one we see. (It kind of scares my husband that I’m always drawn toward the cats who seem to hate people, but I think they just hate their circumstances, because every one I’ve ever brought home has ended up being a cuddler after a few weeks or months.)

          I’ve worked at two animal shelters in my life, and I ended up adopting from both of them, so I don’t think I can work in animal shelters anymore or I might as well just start my own shelter. One was a literal rescue, because it wasn’t a no-kill shelter at the time, and he hated pretty much everyone in the world. They told me that they needed to “make room” for the 4th of July that year and he wouldn’t let anyone else touch him but me. (I didn’t know that about him when I first started socializing him in the visit room, so I wasn’t scared of him trying to claw my eyes out. My boss came in and almost flipped when he saw the little guy sitting on my shoulders, head-bumping me and purring his head off. Of course, as soon as he saw my boss, he hissed and ran to hide under the little bed-thing the had in the visit room.) What else could I do? I bundled him up and took him home with me, and he (luckily) bonded with my dad as well. That little guy absolutely adored my dad and would follow him to the ends of the earth.

        2. Sparrow

          Same here! We don’t have kids and didn’t even plan on having cats, but then ended up with three over the course of three years! They were all strays that crossed our path. There was a fourth that my husband found in the boiler room at his work. We rescued and fostered him for a few months and then he went to live with my sister-in-law and her husband and kids. We were so excited to have the little guy still part of the family. Unfortunately, a year ago they got divorced and the cat got out of the house and has been missing ever since. That was really tough.

          I would love to add more cats to the family, but two out of the three are sensitive to changes in the environment. My older girl got stressed when we added the third cat. It resulted in cystitis and peeing outside of the box. Luckily, it cleared up on it’s own after a few months, but it was rough for a while.

          Then my big tabby boy got upset with the foster and there was more peeing around the house. That was partly our fault, because we didn’t do the introductions properly.

          Luckily, our third and youngest cat hasn’t had any issues like this. I would love to foster, but I’m concerned about how it would affect the other two. We have a spare bedroom that could be used, but I want to keep the well being of the resident cats in mind.

          Anyway, so happy that Eve has a forever home. She sounds like a sweetheart!

        3. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          I would happily have 10 (okay maybe 5) rescue dogs. If my sons don’t produce grandchildren fast enough, this may happen.

          * however I would also like to stay married and our current 2 borderline nutso rescues are probably the husband’s limit

          YAY grey kitten who found a home coming back to you!

      2. CrazyCatLady

        I think there might be a few raised eyebrows, but if you have the space, knowledge, and finances to manage their vet care, I don’t think they’d care.

    3. Kali

      This is precisely why my husband shoots down any suggestion to foster puppies. I want a dog (and he’d enjoy having a dog), but our travel schedule wouldn’t work out well with pets. So sometimes, I’ll suggest fostering. To which he replies, “You know you’d want to keep them.” And I begrudgingly agree. Then I try to befriend the rabbits in our yard.

      1. Melissa

        I think maybe if you had your own dog, you wouldn’t want to as much? Im finally moving somewhere permanently where my travel schedule will settle down, and I’m planning to foster dogs there which I have wanted to do for FOREVER. I have my own snugglebutt, though, and I love her so much that I think I could foster some animals without wanting to keep them forever. My own doggie was in foster before I adopted her, and her foster mom cried when I took her home, but we’re Facebook friends now so she gets to see pictures of my dog!

        But I also see what good foster did for her – the dog was already crate-trained, house trained, and super friendly when I adopted her. She also asked permission before she jumped on my couches (giving me a questioning puppy look). That doesn’t happen as easily in a kennel. I’d love to do that for another dog and family so they can spend more time bonding and less time training and being exasperated with each other, lol.

        1. AnotherFed

          That’s a huge plus for fostering. We’ve got three dogs, and the youngest came to us from a foster home that had tons of other dogs, cats, gerbils/hamsters/rodents of some sort, kids, and lizards. She’s the friendliest, sweetest dog we’ve ever had, and other than a couple of things that are clearly triggers for her, nothing phases her – not storms, not travel, not surprise hugs from strange kids. The foster home clearly helped with that, and while she wasn’t perfectly trained, she was good about crates and taking her meds.

      2. Artemesia

        We are at the stage where we travel a lot and it was really tough on our cat when we did. If we left her with our daughter, her cat made her life miserable and she began to act out (litter box) and if we left her in our place with people coming by to play, clean and feed, she just got to lonely and we had to confine her to a room with plastic down because she showed her age or her anger at being left alone.

        When she died we decided not to get another animal until we are too old to travel. We sure do miss having a kitty thought. Ours was such a great companion.

    4. Elkay

      She sounds (and looks) just like our female cat, ours loves attention and is the only cat I’ve ever had that will let us properly rub her belly. How have the other three adapted to the new arrival.

    5. LF

      Awwww. Congratulations on the wonderful new cat! She obviously missed you guys once she went back to the shelter. :)

    6. littlemoose

      My mom’s dilute tortie is an aggressive attention-seeker too. Maybe it’s a trait.

    7. Jean

      Warm fuzzies to all of you furparents! I’m so glad that the world has people who are willing and able to foster and/or adopt homeless kitties. Me, I’m allergic to cats and not a suitable dog parent (never had one, DS would love one, but life in an apartment isn’t the best for a doggie and we tend to drop pills, pins, and small batteries). So I donate soft-fabric worn-out items to the local animal shelter and enjoy visiting my friends who have three dogs.

    8. Melissa

      they politely hinted back that they thought six cats might be a lot.

      LOL! And this is awesomely cute, but also sad that you can’t really foster anymore because then you’ll have 100 cats. But it’s great that she made such a turnaround! I am not a super cat person but I do love cats that are super affectionate and love to be petted.

    9. Mimmy

      I’m not hugely into pets, but….aww!! I’m glad you’re able to give her a good home!

      By the way, I love the little cubby holes you have for the cats.

    10. TheLazyB

      Awwwww. I am not much one for cat pictures or stories (I love cats that i can actually stroke though!!) but that makes me so happy.

      Once you took Eve back she knew she was yours for keeps, no? And that she could love you truly.

      Dammit i want a cat now! And my DH is not a cat person :(

    11. afiendishthingy

      I have two cats, one of whom, Fran, really loves me when she’s cold or hungry and could take me or leave me the rest of the time, and Nelson, who is totally obsessed with me and shouts and headbutts me in the face constantly to make sure I haven’t forgotten about our great love. Nelson was born in a shelter and adopted and returned TWICE because he was so freaked out by living in a house that he just hid all the time. Then he was fostered for a bit by a shelter volunteer and bonded pretty closely to her, although he was still in the shelter some of the time so potential adopters could meet him. He hid for the first couple days that I had him, then came out and decided I was his new mom/girlfriend/deity. He adores Fran too. I guess they’re trying to make up for lost time when they were too afraid to be affectionate?

      1. Sparrow

        Aww, that’s so sad that Nelson was adopted and returned twice! But it sounds like he as a great home now. I think it’s important to give cats time to adjust to their new environment. It sounds like the other families were not willing to be patient.

        My little black cat does not like new places. When we moved into our new house she spent a good bit of time under the bed. It just took some time for her to get adjusted and now she charges around the place without fear.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian

          Our cat Jessamina hid for much of the time when we first brought her home from the shelter, too. It takes time for them to feel secure and comfortable in a new place; it’s sad that two separate families weren’t willing to give Nelson that time to adapt.

          Even after Jessamina felt mostly comfortable with us, she would still hide under the bed or a table if we thwarted her doing anything (like jumping on the counters or scratching the couch). It took her a long time to feel secure even in the face of behavior corrections. Now she’s as bold as can be and only hides when new people come over.

          1. Afiendishingy

            Aw, glad Jessamina adapted well. As for Nelson’s previous adopters, it is sad they weren’t patient enough to wait for him to adjust, but it has worked out well in the long run for me and him. He is my special buddy and he and Fran get along great. I’m n

          2. Afiendishingy

            Oops fat fingers. It helps that I live alone- I could see the adjustment process taking much longer with more people in the house, and I don’t know if either family had kids, but I think he would be very stressed in a home with young children. So yeah, he’s found a good place!

      2. Anna

        My husband and I have become the adopters of kitties that need places to go. Our last three cats have been well-loved pets that needed to find new homes for assorted reasons. Lady Grey was found by friends in the woods when they were hiking. She followed them to the parking lot, so they took her home and fostered her for a while. She now LOOOOOOOVES my husband. Like, follows him around the house, when she hears his computer chair squeak she jumps up from whatever she was doing and runs to the office. It’s hilarious.

      3. Ezri

        We recently adopted our third cat, a four year old who has been in the shelter for about two years. He was adopted and returned twice, and we just don’t get it – he’s been friendly since we met him and is well behaved.

    12. Sunday

      Yay! Eve is lovely, and it sounds as if you are now truly hers. :) Hope Lucy, Sam, and Olive are all happy to have her too.

    13. skyline

      Aw, congrats on new kitten! She looks adorable.

      I adopted my two cats from the local Humane Society, but was able to pick them up directly from their foster mom. They are the best cats ever–sweet, and friendly, and sassy–and I credit their foster mom a lot for giving them such a great start. In fact, I am typing this with one of them draped across my stomach, because apparently it’s not too hot to snuggle until it hits 90 degrees F.

    14. catsAreCool

      That is so great how friendly she is now! She’s probably decided that you are her humans now.

      I dn’t think I could foster kitties without trying to keep them.

    15. abby

      Congratulations on the new kitten and the foster fail! My husband and I were also spectacular failures at fostering and at one point had eight cats. We’re down to two now, which is a nice number. I would love to foster, but I am sure we would fail and one of our cats is a special-needs cat who needs a lot of care, so it’s not a good time.

    16. Not So NewReader

      I know I can’t foster, so I won’t try. ;) But kudos to you and everyone who does foster. May your kindness come back to you many times over.
      Eve is adorable and very smart. She knew how to “tell” the humans around her to bring back her former humans (you and your hubby). And it worked, she got you back. Wishing many happy years to all of you.

    17. Windchime

      I love that you foster kittens, and that you have adopted several of your foster daughters. My cat was also fostered (by the young woman who would later become my daughter-in-law). It’s a lot of work, especially when the kittens are tiny. But it’s so rewarding!

      Eve is very pretty. I love her little face and her big ears. It’s funny how she was so shy and now she looks like a little extravert!

    18. Friendly Neighborhood QA Tech

      I’m adopting a dilute tortie next week, who has been in the adoption agency for too long. Word has gotten out to all the volunteers, and when I go in to visit her (and smuggle her in cat treats) they all ambush me and are very excited.

      Apparently she doesn’t like most people, and some people thought she was ugly?! How can a cat be ugly?

    19. JMegan

      Yay for new kitties! We got two at the end of June. The plan was to only get one, but the woman at the shelter told us that the kitten was bonded with one of the adult cats there, so we allowed our arms to be (very gently!) twisted to get both.

      So now we have a black female kitten and a white male adult. And they are ridiculous and silly and fun, and I can’t imagine life without them!

    20. Ginger

      Came out of lurkdom to comment on this because the exact same thing happened to my husband and I when we attempted to foster kittens. Five years ago I adopted a beautiful black kitten from a local rescue group. A few months later I saw on Facebook that they were looking for a foster for a family of three kittens. I saw the pictures of your other two fosters, and they looked exactly like this litter (no tortie though). Once they got their surgeries and were old enough, they went to their first adoption event. I was backing out of the driveway and my big manly husband was standing there watching me go with tears in his eyes. I knew then that we were not cut out for fostering.

      Two of the kittens were very friendly and were both adopted quickly. The third kitten was extremely shy and scared and wanted nothing to do with anyone, so we offered to adopt him. Once we formally adopted him, he turned into the sweetest thing ever. Then the other male got returned to the rescue group so we took him back too. Sadly, our shy guy passed away last year from FIP (horrible, horrible disease), but we still have the brother. After that, I had no intention of getting another cat because we already had three, but fate saw differently and brought another rescue kitten our way this past November. Of course I initially planned to find him another home too, but fell in love with him after two days so we’re back to four now.

    21. zora

      not to criticize at all, I love how much you all love your foster-babies ;o) but just as a counter-point: I have fostered a lot over the years and I have always loved it and not regretted it at all. It is sometimes hard to give them back, and some kitties are harder than others because we just click better, but it helps to remember that there are always more kittens coming into the system that also need a safe foster home. The first few times were definitely harder, but it has gotten easier as time goes on and I have met more and more awesome kitties and gotten to hear the stories of them finding forever homes. So, if anyone is considering it but a little worried that it would be hard, please give it a try! It is so rewarding, and you might get addicted to new fosters like I am ;o)

      1. Ginger

        I actually would like to try it again, but I’m going to wait until my oldest cat has gone to kitty heaven. She hates other cats with a passion (even though she has never been an only cat!), and she is now having health issues so I don’t want to stress her out any more than necessary. I’ll just have to have a serious talk with my husband about not getting too attached!

  2. wedding woes

    My friends are getting married today and I wasn’t invited. We aren’t as close as we used to be but I helped pick the engagement ring and always assumed I would be invited when this finally happened. (They’ve been together for 10 years and I’ve known the groom for almost 20) In my head I know that it’s their day but my feelings are really hurt by this. All the other people in the group solicited for opinions are bridesmaids and while I never expected that I also never expected that I’d be left out completely.
    Other than continuing to repeat that it’s their day to celebrate with whomever they want until it sticks is there something I can do to push these feelings of hurt and rejection out of me?

    1. Susan

      I guess just understanding that they don’t value you as much as you deserve and you should focus on other people more worthy of your care. :(

      1. Audiophile

        I have to agree with Susan. I could see if you’d lost touch and only communicated via social networking or email, but you helped pick out the engagement ring.
        I’m sorry you’re going through this.
        I’ve realized in the last few years, that I value a few people’s friendship more than they value mine. And with that realization, I decided it wasn’t worth the energy in continuing to invest the time in that relationship.

        1. Not So NewReader

          “I’ve realized in the last few years, that I value a few people’s friendship more than they value mine.”

          This is really important stuff here because it happens more often than we want to think about.

          Try, try, try, to remember, OP, that you have done nothing wrong here. I know it can feel like we did something wrong, but in reality we have not. Sometimes we befriend people and they continue on without us. There’s many reasons for that but the punchline to hang on to is that nothing in life is ever wasted. Nothing.

          Two things to think about:
          Just because you are in someone’s wedding or attend someone’s wedding does not mean the relationship is set in concrete. I had a small wedding and most of the people there have either passed away or moved on with their lives. It took 3 decades for that to play out but that is where things landed.

          Try to find comfort in knowing that you tried to be a good friend. We really can’t control other people’s choices and sometimes we can end up so disappointed. Doing a self-check and realizing that we did our best to be a good friend can help stabilize some of our emotions that are flying around. It still sucks, I get that. Acknowledge your own grief. Tell yourself little things like, “Yeah, I am sad that this played out this way.” This is a very simple and effective way to pull emotions out into the open and deal with them.

          Under the heading of what to do going forward: Look around. Is there a really cool person around you who is trying to be your friend and you have not noticed? Look with fresh eyes. You might be surprised.

      2. blackcat

        There’s also a more neutral way to look at it: your friendship had faded and this is just the natural course.

        I was on the exact other side of this. In college, there was younger woman who sort of latched on to me–we did a couple of the same activities, and she was going through a tough time in her life. Having been there, I was happy to play the big sister/mentor role. From my perspective we weren’t and never were close friends. Apparently from her perspective, we were (largely because she told me so much about her life…).

        My husband and I had a tiny wedding (we each invited 8 friends + spouses and had a separated family picnic afterwards because I come from a GIANT family and excluding some but not all of them wasn’t an option.

        This friend sent me an instant message when she heard about the engagement (we spoke over IM every so often in addition to being passive friends on facebook). She was super excited about the wedding! To which I said, “Thanks. It’s going to be a very small wedding with just a couple of our closest friends.” And she did not get the hint! Eventually I said, “We’re only inviting a couple of people each, and my invites are going to my childhood friends and my former roommates.” It was awkward. So awkward. And I had nothing against her–we just weren’t that close!

        1. Anna

          Yeah, but you didn’t ask her to participate in wedding stuff like soliciting an opinion on an engagement ring and then leave her out of the invitation list. Your story makes more sense. Asking someone for their opinion and then leaving them out is a bit weird and thoughtless. It reminds me of a friend who was invited to the bridal shower but not the wedding. It’s kinda tacky.

      1. Expendable Redshirt

        Think like an introvert… “Oh thank goodness I can avoid a crowded party where I’m trapped with people I don’t know and have to make small talk. While wearing uncomfortable shoes and scratchy clothes I’ll never use again.”

        I am sorry you’ve been hurt. :(

    2. wedding woes

      Thanks- I think the point about valuing the friendships differently is a good one. They are the last two people from growing up I actively keep in touch with and maybe it’s time to let that slip into the same passive relationship I have with everyone else from there.

      1. Jazzy Red

        When my cousin Annabel was getting married, she didn’t have a car, so I drove her everywhere she wanted to go including to a couple of neighboring cities, helped her with all her wedding plans, and then was told that she asked our mutual cousin Elvira to be her maid of honor. Yeah. It’s been a long time, but sometimes I still get annoyed at that spoiled, self-centered, clueless brat. (Most of the time I don’t think about her at all.)

        It always hurts to be left out/overlooked/snubbed by people we think are friends. Don’t let this stay bigger than any of the good things that will happen to you during your life. Let it grow smaller from neglect until you almost don’t remember it.

    3. Dynamic Beige

      When one of my friends got married, I wasn’t invited and yeah, that hurt. I like to needle them about it now, though. They were getting married in an unusual place that didn’t allow for a lot of people there, so I kind of understood but at the same time, it sucks. At least I didn’t have to drive all that way and pay for a hotel room/fancy outfit/gift/etc.! Try looking at it that way, it sucks that they didn’t invite you but they’ve done you a favour and saved you a ton of money!

      1. the gold digger

        I would be hurt not to be invited to the wedding, but I never ever want to be a bridesmaid again! Too much money for an ugly dress – sorry, my dear friends in whose weddings I served, but I look putrid in lavender and nobody wears a dress with a big ruffle around the neck for anything but a wedding – that I have never gotten to wear ever again!

        1. Anna

          I was fortunate in that my dress for my BF’s wedding was very cute and if I had to go to a summer wedding, it would be appropriate for that, but the money I spent. Whoa. No thank you.

    4. Aloe Vera

      Oh dear. Did they discuss it at all with you? Is it a small or large wedding?

      I’m on the other side of this, and it was so very hard to decide who to invite and who not. We’ve having a very small wedding (inviting only 50 people, expecting about 35 to come), and I decided not to invite any of my college friends. We are not as close as we used to be, but I knew that if I invited one or two I would have to invite all 10 of them – and we just didn’t have the space. I did reach out to them and explain the situation, and they were understanding. But it sounds like that didn’t happen with you? :(

      1. Melissa

        Yeah, sometimes I see pictures of my college friends getting married (three of them got married just this year) and feel sort of sad, because we were very close my first couple years of college. But we drifted apart. I didn’t invite them to my wedding, either. It’s not the wedding in and of itself that makes me said – I completely understand! – more nostalgia and the fact that we drifted.

    5. Heather

      Maybe you need to allow yourself to feel hurt and left out. In my experience it doesn’t do much good to tell myself that I shouldn’t feel something when I do feel it. So let yourself feel it and that you should be able to make peace with it once you’ve gotten over the hurt.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Bingo. Nothing like pushing our own feelings to one side or under a carpet to make those feelings grow LARGE. Don’t keep the dragons in the closet, drag them out into the light of day and face them. It took me years to realize I would not explode nor implode if I did that.
        We are much stronger than we realize.

      2. StudentA

        I’ve got to agree with Heather. I think you should address your feelings and not bury them.

    6. Stephanie

      Yeah, I got a wedding snub recently. It kind of hurt and I wasn’t even as close as it sounds like you were. Another friend was like “Did you get a save the date for Apollo and Persephone’s wedding?”

      So I would let yourself acknowledge the hurt. Eventually, it’ll work itself out.

      1. Not So NewReader

        “Eventually, it’ll work itself out.”

        This is so true. Years ago, I would have rolled my eyes at this statement, but it’s exactly correct. Time can be a real leveler.

      2. Persephone Mulberry

        I got wedding snubbed by my own sister – with whom I am reasonably close. She asked a friend to be her MOH/only bridesmaid, and when I jokingly made a sad face that she didn’t pick me (I honestly didn’t expect to be picked anyway – we weren’t THAT close) – she said the only reason she didn’t pick me is because she didn’t think I’d want to travel to her destination wedding. Um, WHAT. You’re my only sister – of course I’ll be there!

        Then she ended up moving the wedding back home and added two more bridesmaids (myself and my daughter) anyway.

    7. daily reader

      Move on and they can all suck eggs. Sounds like you’re not a good match, so why drag out drama of conflict/reconciliation? Just let it go and let them all go.
      That’s what I’d do. Easier said than done, I know.

    8. TheLazyB (UK)

      I know it’s not the same, but i cried last weekend because some of my friends had a picnic with their kids, and left me and my kid out. I don’t know which hurt more, that they left me out or that they left DS out.

      So, i totally understand.

      All i can say is accept that it hurts, it’s not fair, and treat yourself gently. I played tetris online to stop myself crying. May sound crazy but i read that it can prevent PTSD by interfering with laying down traumatic memories. Dunno about that but it stopped me crying.

    9. Elizabeth West

      I didn’t get invited to one friend’s wedding, but I wasn’t too upset because I am so over going to weddings right now. I’m looking at a wedding invitation right this second (yes, for another YOUNGER friend–again!) that I have to respond to. I suppose I should go–she’s a really nice person. I don’t have to stay long at the reception.

    10. Beezus

      I second (third? fourth?) the idea to get out of the house and do something fun, and give yourself permission to stay away from social media for a day or two until the Facebook photos die down.

      1. Chocolate Teapot

        I would comfort myself with the fact that the money I saved on a toaster I could spend on something more interesting!

    11. determined

      This happened to me earlier this year. All of my friends in one of my friend circles was invited to my friend Toby’s wedding. One of my other friends asked me to carpool with her to the wedding (a couple of hours away) and I had to awkwardly tell her me and my SO hadn’t been invited.

      Though I will say that situation wasn’t nearly as bad as my cousin (who I was very close to growing up and for years agter) asked me to be in her wedding party less than a week beforehand and via text. Actually, she had her mom ask me via text. Yeah.

    12. Felicia

      Similar thing happened to me with a friend i saw once a week, helped her through some difficult times and was the first she told about the engagement (and about the unplanned pregnancy that followed). I was at the engagement party, and she verbally said i’d be at the wedding. Well a few weeks before i ask how the planning’s going and express excitement to be there. She proceeds to tell me actually i’m not invited anymore and gives some bullshit excuse. I got over those feelings eventually , so in time it will likely get better for you. But I also realized it was part of a bigger pattern for her, and i couldn’t be her friend anymore.

    13. Observer

      Do you know that you were not invited or did you just not get an invitation? If they were mailing paper invitations, it really might not have shown up. It does happen.

    14. wedding woes

      Thank you all for the kind words! A friend called shortly after I posted so I ended up going to her place to help with computer trouble and going to dinner- coupled with a full day out today and I feel better.
      It was a fairly big wedding and a huge contingent of friends from where we grew up were there but alas this is how life shakes out sometimes I suppose.
      Acknowledging my feelings instead of pushing them aside is probably a good thing to do- I am embarrassed that I’m upset by this which I think is feeding a lousy circle.
      I really love this community- everyone is wonderfully supportive and kind!

    15. Kimberlee, Esq.

      I think a lot of people are giving good advice, but it can be helpful to think… there might be a good reason? Like, maybe there is another non-optional wedding guest who actually hates you but you never knew it and the bride and groom are just caught in the middle? If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that weddings are highly political affairs between two families (sometimes warring factions) and there could be a million reasons you weren’t invited that have nothing to do with you or your relationship with the bride or groom (or could be directly related, but in a strange way). Giving the benefit of the doubt might make you feel better about something that you probably cannot change.

      That being said, in a few months, when the hurt isn’t as raw, you might consider asking the groom if you’ve been friends for so long!

      1. the gold digger

        RE Caught in the middle. My husband’s older stepdaughter had asked him to walk her down the aisle as soon as she was engaged.

        Two months before the wedding, he still had not gotten an invitation. He called her – he needed to make plane and hotel reservations – and she, very, very uncomfortable, said that her mom, my husband’s ex-wife, had pulled the cancer card (it took her another six years before she died, which was still way too soon and I didn’t want her dead, I just wanted her not to cause drama) and told the stepdaughter it was my husband or her.

        Poor stepdaughter was caught in the middle. My husband was gracious and told her of course she needed to think about her mother first, but man, that put the ex-wife on my enemy list forever – that she would do that to her daughter. My husband raised his stepdaughters, put them through college, and wanted to be at their weddings. That was so mean.

  3. NicoleK

    We’re going to Philadelphia for a much needed vacation. It will be our first time in Philly. Got any tips or recommendations?

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      My whole family is from Philly, and I grew up going to see all of the big historical sites once a year. Then I went back as an adult, and it was so much better. :) Definitely do the “typical tourist” stuff like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell– they’re right next to each other and near Constitution Hall, which is really, really cool (I’m a history buff and I love it). My favorite museum there is the Museum of American Jewish History– it opened a few years ago near Constitution Hall, and honestly, it’s one of the best-designed museums I’ve been in. It really tells the story of the growth of the US through the eyes of the Jewish communities who came here, and while I’m Jewish and therefore particularly interested in the subject, all of my non-Jewish friends who have gone have loved it too.

      Spend some time at Reading Terminal Market. Rittenhouse Square has some nice shopping and people-watching. If you like coffee, La Colombe can’t be beat.

      If you like music, the Kimmel Center is GORGEOUS. I think the orchestra is on summer hiatus, but there might be other stuff going on there.

      I wish I had more info! My trips to the Philly area tend to be spent in the ‘burbs with my grandparents, going to delis and watching TCM.

    2. Editrix

      Definitely the usual American history stuff: Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin Museum.
      I also like Elfreth’s Alley, Bartram’s Garden and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (where you can do the “Rocky” pose on the steps). And, take a walk along the Schuykill River and look at Boathouse Row.
      If you like baseball, go to a Phillies game, and if you liked the movie “Silver Linings Playbook,” check out the Llanerch Diner in nearby Upper Darby – you can sit at the same table where Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence sat.
      Pizza Brain is a quirky restaurant-slash-pizza-memorabilia museum that’s worth checking out too.
      Have fun!

    3. Academic Librarian

      ohh if you like historic stuff.

      There is nothing like old city. Walk through the site of Ben Franklin’s house. His coorespondence with his wife Sarah is etched into the slate on the ground. Go to his printing house. and yes- Avon Lady Barksdale has it right.
      Don’t miss reading terminal. You can get a day pass for the busses and get anywhere you want.
      The art museum is fabulous and if you are bringing along kids- Please Touch Museum, Franklin Institute and the the Museum of Art (special site for kids)

    4. Philly

      Check out 2nd/3rd and Market-ish (Old City) for art galleries. There are others around, but those are easiest to spot for an out-of-towner. It won’t be as hopping as the Fall-Spring season, but still a nice area near historic attractions. There’s a Celtic bar around there that I’ve been to a couple of times & liked, but can’t remember the name of. You’ll know it when you see it-hard to miss. There are cute little indy coffeeshops around there too.

      Art-wise, I also like PAFA’s museum, which is much smaller than the Philadelphia Art Museum. If you do the actual Art Museum, keep in mind it is huge, and don’t forget to visit the Perlman Building for Contemporary Art. You can rent kayaks this time of year somewhere near the Art Museum. Ask at concierge if you’re staying at a hotel. Most people in indy stores/coffeeshops are pretty cool & happy to offer suggestions. History-wise, I like the National Constitution Center. South Street is pretty gentrified these days- imo, not really worth it anymore, but South Philly has the Italian Market, which I like. If you’re up for a drive, Manayunk has lots of cool little shops.

      1. Elizabeth West

        I was just going to say this!! And a giant pretzel!

        I went to the zoo there once–it was really great. That was years ago, though; it still might be worth a visit.

      2. Melissa

        Seconded. The two big touristy places are Geno’s and Pat’s, which are right down the street from each other. But there are tons of places in the Philly area you can get a tasty cheesesteak, and the lines for Geno’s and Pat’s can be really long during the summer at meal times.

      3. Ann Furthermore

        Jim’s Steaks! Been there forever. I went to boarding school outside of Philly, and any time we went into the city for the day we would go there for lunch. Soooo good!

    5. Lady Bug

      Eastern state penitentiary was really cool and interesting, but not creepy at all during the day.

      1. ashleyH

        Yes! I’m a transplant to the area (I actually live in the coast in Jersey, not Philly proper), but Eastern State Penitentiary is one of my favorite things in Philly!

        If you have a car, I also really like Valley Forge.
        In Philly proper, Reading terminal market and just wandering around are some favorite things. There are a lot of great bars with a ton of character in Philadelphia and my husband and I love discovering them.

    6. Trying this again...

      Tried submitting this earlier, but it didn’t go through…

      Check out 2nd/3rd and Market-ish (Old City) for art galleries. There are others around, but those are easiest to spot for an out-of-towner. It won’t be as hopping as the Fall-Spring season, but still a nice area near historic attractions. There’s a Celtic bar around there that I’ve been to a couple of times & liked, but can’t remember the name of. You’ll know it when you see it-hard to miss. There are cute little indy coffeeshops around there too.

      Art-wise, I also like PAFA’s museum, which is much smaller than the Philadelphia Art Museum. If you do the actual Art Museum, keep in mind it is huge, and don’t forget to visit the Perlman Building for Contemporary Art. You can rent kayaks this time of year somewhere near the Art Museum. Ask at concierge if you’re staying at a hotel. Most people in indy stores/coffeeshops are pretty cool & happy to offer suggestions. History-wise, I like the National Constitution Center. South Street is pretty gentrified these days- imo, not really worth it anymore, but South Philly has the Italian Market, which I like. If you’re up for a drive, Manayunk has lots of cool little shops.

    7. NicoleK

      Thanks for your suggestions! I started doing some research and it seems that most attractions close at 5 p.m.? Hubby and I really aren’t into the bar and club scene, are there other attractions that are open later?

      1. Philly

        I have a link in moderation, but just thought of a few more ideas. I’d check out what’s on offer from The Pennsylvania Ballet and The Philadelphia Orchestra. I’d also see if there are any plays on that you want to see: The Arden, The Walnut Street Theatre, The Prince are a few that come to mind. The Franklin Institute shows films sometimes- worth seeing if anything good is on. The Victor Cafe has Italian food and singing waiters. There’s also a nice Italian restaurant catty-corner from the Academy of Music- it’s the one with the faux fresco ceiling (people will know which one you mean, you can always ask at the ticket booth). I also liked Positano Coast restaurant in Old City- there’s a Ritz Movie Theater near there. The Summer Concert Series at Penn’s Landing might be worth a look. Check out Visit Philly’s website for more ideas.

      2. Sunflower

        They have nighttime walking tours of old city and society hill which could be cool to check out. South Street is usually open later than the rest of the city as well. If you’re looking for a cool spot to hang that’s very chill and not clubby, Morgan’s Pier is a really nice beer garden that is right on the water. There are a lot of smaller music venues like the TLA, World Cafe live, the troc, the mann. Check out uwishunu dot com. Literally anything and everything that is happening in philly is on that website. Foobooz is also the go-to website for restaurant recommendations

    8. Sunflower

      Definitely take time to walk around society hill and old city. I’ve never done one but there are lots of segway/scooter tours for those neighborhoods. One of my fav. things about Philly is that outside of the big places like the Liberty Bell and Ind. Hall, there are tiny bits of history everywhere(like past president’s houses) They would be really tough to find on their own so doing a tour would be great. South Street is also a really cool area- definitely a bohemian, alternative crowd. Philly Magic Garden’s is there. There are little spots of mosaic art all over South Street. The art museum area also has a lot- you can run up the rocky steps. The Schuylkill River Trail is very nice as well.

      Philly has amazing food. Reading Terminal Market is great and so is the Italian Market(Sabrina’s for brunch is amazing). Get a cheesesteak- you don’t have to go to Pat’s or Geno’s. Jim’s is a popular one and is right on South Street.

  4. more anonymous than usual

    Happy Saturday, folks! I posted here two months ago (May 23 open thread, same username) mentioning how I’d asked out my former co-worker Mitka and I just wanted to give an update!

    We hung out as friends a couple times and then I finally managed to schedule dinner so Mitka and my husband could meet (I am poly) and they got along REALLY WELL. Honestly better than I was expecting.

    So yesterday we went on a first date, a long walk all over [California beach town], and got a chance to talk about our expectations. We’re going to take it really slow, which I think is a good plan, since neither of us have been in a poly relationship before (I started dating my now-husband at 18 (ten years ago holy crap) and he and I agreed that poly was an option several years later, but I haven’t actually pursued it until now.)

    And I guess I’m just…super super happy about this. I’ve wanted to be actively poly for literally years, but when I was first approaching Mitka I started to get very nervous about whether it would, in fact, work in real life and how everyone involved would actually feel in practice.

    And my husband was so happy for me and excited to hear about it when I got home…and it just feels so right.

    [NB: if you’re reading this and think “it doesn’t feel right to me”, that’s probably because poly is not something that would work for you personally! I would never, ever recommend it universally.]

    1. Aloe Vera

      Thank you for sharing! Is your husband seeing anyone, or is it only you at this point?

      1. more anonymous than usual

        He’s not seeing anyone right now and he’s told me pretty clearly that that’s not likely to happen ever. (Which I’m happy about either way; to each their own!)

  5. SystemsLady

    Well, nothing has changed since last week on the house end.

    Some good, some bad, and some questionable situations right now:
    * Got some (normally) bad news at work that the contractors putting together the prerequisites for us moving into site are over a month behind. The ones who are putting together the prerequisities for the next thing we will do are likely even farther behind. This means that, while we are still on track to finish our part on time (yay!), we’ll have a lot of dead time we were not expecting. However, this takes some of the pressure off and moves the date I want to move by several weeks forward. It also allows me to take a week of vacation and relax (was planning to do that anyway, but would have been somewhat “on call”), but that’s separate :).
    * We have heard absolutely nothing from the real estate agent, who said she would tell us her estimated sell price, since last week. This may mean that the owner is waffling on whether or not to sell, which unfortunately isn’t clearly good or bad. I’m leaning towards good and crossing my fingers.
    * Owners around here have an obnoxious habit of listing their house as “pet friendly with approval” then ignoring your “yes, we have a cat” application until they get one that doesn’t have pets before the rental date. And I am not just assuming – the property manager we are working with confirmed that is what we are running into. So we might just have to settle for an apartment eventually, which is easier to find and more commonly pet friendly. Oh well…

    We do not have children and do not plan to while in this area, and I usually work at home, so I wish they’d take that into account when they get our application first :/. I’m going to poke my husband to accent that a little more in future applications.

    1. SystemsLady

      And yes, we are starting to talk to property managers, as it is so clearly a pattern with this one. It is almost like they don’t offer to the owners to charge higher rent for pet owners. They manage the house we live in right now, and only charged a slightly higher deposit for the cat.

    2. Carrie in Scotland

      I’m also running into the cat thing…I’m upfront about it and say I will pay for cleaning at the end of my tenancy for a cleaning company to remove traces of cat. But yeah, it’s a small circle.

      1. SystemsLady

        I definitely would prefer these types of owners just say they’re not pet friendly and change the listing two weeks before the listing date :(. Or at the very least be very clear about what pets they won’t accept. The constant bait and switch hurts. Wishing you luck as well.

  6. KJR

    Anyone read Go Set a Watchman yet? I just finished it & loved it. Would love to hear some opinions!

    1. Elizabeth West

      Not yet–I can’t buy it until next week’s payday. But I’m looking forward to it (despite the fact that the internet already spoiled some of it).

    2. MJ6

      Just finished it, and it has given me a lot to think about. The book was written 50+ years ago, before Civil Rights legislation, around the time of Brown v the Board of Education decision and the raising of the Confederate flag in South Carolina and other places. The South has been in transition since the Civil War, and the book was written during and about a point in history on that path. It is a timely release, given the recent removal of those flags.

      The book seems to conclude that we all are ignorant to varying degrees, and our own ignorance is the one thing we can never see. It instructs us to work with what is, to aid in transition, and to love instead of judge – valuable lessons for dealing with any change we want to see.

      It’s been 2 generations since the book was written. I wish we could say we had made greater strides in that time. I think it frustrates me that this book, so widely hyped and being so widely read at this time, is viewing racial issues from a white perspective at a time when the black perspective is only finally being heard in the aftermath of so many tragedies. While a case can be made that both voices may advance the cause, it just seems that perhaps the time has come for us to just listen for a change. I am uncomfortable with the timing. It usurps the conversation. Others may disagree.

  7. Ask a Manager Post author

    Hi mobile users! Some of you mentioned in last week’s open thread that when you’re on your phone it’s a pain to scroll down the home page to find the next post, so I’m experimenting with just having post excerpts on the home page in mobile. (Everything remains the same in the non-mobile version.) Do you like this? Not like this? I’d love your feedback.

    1. JC

      I don’t like it. If I am reading on my phone, it is because I am commuting on the subway, where I only have service between stations and clicks are precious. If I had to click to read each individual post, I wouldn’t read the mobile page at all. But I never found it to be a pain to scroll.

    2. wedding woes

      I just went to check it out and I’m a big fan. It’s much easier to scroll though

    3. Marcela

      I don’t like it. Comments are as important to me as the post content, so I read the post first and then decide if I want to read the discussion. Many times that means I can skip posts: now I have to open all of them just to see if I’m interested. I never had a problem with scrolling, though.

      1. LikeOhMyGod

        What she said. Exactly what she said. Also, usually when sites have inconvenient ‘mobile-friendly’ features I ‘request desktop site’ from Chrome so it’s just an annoying second step but it’s nice to not have to do that.

        1. Marcela

          Yes, I do that too. But it’s very annoying that Chrome can’t be configured per site to use the desktop version…

    4. Claire (Scotland)

      I don’t like it. I’ve never found scrolling to be a problem, but this is annoying. I don’t want to have to click through to each post separately. If this setting remains, I don’t think I’ll be reading on mobile in future.

    5. Carrie in Scotland

      Sorry Alison, I don’t like it either – mainly because it jumps straight to the comments, so you have to scroll up to read the post.

      My main annoyance with posting comments via mobile is that it’s hard to write in the comment box, after a while the box is full and then if I want to edit a typo, for example, my cursor doesn’t come back at the end. I hope that makes sense!?

    6. SystemsLady

      I would prefer having all the posts load but then have them be instantly collpsible or expandable. I think that would be a good compromise.

    7. Kardashev Type Three

      I like it on both my iPad and iPhone.

      I’d sorta like to see the comments come up Collapsed by default, too.

      Meta: It’s kind of a “thing” in the computer biz that if you introduce a new feature, you’ll have users who like it and users who don’t like it. And what eventually happens is that it gets argued around for awhile and eventually someone in mgmt mandates that it should be a Preference, ie, a feature that each individual user can turn on or off as they desire. The good news is that this is relatively simple do with cookies on a web page.

    8. Aknownymous

      I also prefer having the full post as opposed to the excerpt. I have to scroll anyway, so it doesn’t bother me if it’s a few swipes more on occasion. Sometimes I have a slow connection though, so like JC mentioned, clicks can be at a premium.

    9. littlemoose

      I’m very happy with the mobile site the way it is. The collapsible comments made a big difference for readability on mobile, though. I’m on an iPhone 6 FWIW.

    10. bkanon

      Another no vote. I like to read the whole post before deciding to click through. I unsubscribe from email blogs when they don’t send the whole post. It feels like — in general, let me say — that whatever is hidden beneath the cut must not be worth reading, otherwise it would all be there right up front. Very similar to those sites that make you click twenty times to read ten paragraphs. I would far rather scroll than open new tabs.

    11. Grey

      I’d vote “no” to that. On my phone or tablet, it’s not a problem for me to read posts on the main page. The problem for me is the comments section. The comments are expanded by default and I often can’t load all of them. It would be better if they were collapsed by default. Then I could just expand the threads I want to read.

      Yes, I know you can “collapse all” with the link at the top. But it won’t work unless the page is fully loaded first. This is why I don’t stray from the main page while on a mobile device. If you separate the posts to their own page, I’ll probably just use the desktop version on my mobile.

    12. éscargot agile

      Another nay. The previous setup allowed me to read all the new posts without loading each one separately, now I need to tap and wait for each one. It consumes more time and waiting for a new page to load is annoying with a struggling internet connection.

    13. Sue Donem

      Another no vote from me, for all the reasons everyone else mentioned. I read this site almost exclusively on my phone, and if the new format stays, I will just end up loading the desktop version anyway. Like others said, the extra click (and waiting) is annoying with a spotty connection. Thanks for asking for our input!

  8. The Other Dawn

    Party #1 is done, and now I’m preparing for #2. It’s actually not had having two within two weeks. Most of the hard work is done; it’s just maintenance now.

    So the 5oth anniversary party went well enough. I didn’t have any surprise guests, which was good, and the turnout was good. The one downside is that it was a surprise party and, just as I knew would happen, my FIL decided to be a cranky pants and say he’s not coming (MIL and FIL thought it was the family picnic). So, my husband, his uncle, and my SIL spent all morning trying to get him to come without saying the party was for them. To no avail, unfortunately. My husband finally said, “The party is for your 50th anniversary and you’re coming whether you like it or not!” (FIL pulls this crap just about every time there’s an event and it’s so immature. Everyone then has to walk on eggshells.) FIL tells him that he figured it out, he’s not stupid and wasn’t born yesterday. Yeah, OK. They showed up…an hour and a half late. People got there at 2 pm and it was almost 4 pm by the time they got here. People kept asking where they were. It was a little embarrassing, but most people said, “Yup, that’s Joe for ya.” Once they got there FIL came around and was OK for the rest of the day. Although we did have to hear about how we invited a cousin he doesn’t like, why did we do that, and he’s an ass, etc. How were we to know?? So don’t talk to the guy!! Jeez.

    Next party is mostly my family so we won’t have these issues. FIL can stay home this time if he wants to.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger

      What a prince. I can’t believe he still gets invited to any parties with the stuff he pulls. Next time you can have one just for your MIL if you like her.

    2. Jazzy Red

      When my parents 50th came around, all of us kids planned a really nice reception for them. My mother decided she didn’t want to go, and my dad said he’d go without her because he was tired of missing out on family get-togethers because she never wanted to go. She finally agreed. They had Mass first (which was lovely), and on the way out of the church, my mom missed her footing on the steps and fell. She fractured her pelvis, had to have surgery, and a week or so later went home from the hospital. We went ahead with the reception and dinner without her (everything was already paid for, and people came from out of town), and it was really bittersweet. Later all I could think was “Mom found a way to get out of going to the party” even though I know it was an accident.

      1. The Other Dawn

        So your mom knew about it ahead of time and still didn’t want to go?? Yikes, that’s rough. At least with my FIL he was bitching about the “picnic” since he didn’t know it was a party for them.

        Sorry you had to deal with that. It’s awful when people act like that.

  9. Dynamic Beige

    Middlesex, I read that over a decade ago and then gave my copy to a friend who had married someone of Greek background (heh). It was quite the book, very memorable, easy to read and hard to put down.

    In other book-ish related news, 18 people signed up for the writing Meetup I started a couple of weeks ago. I’ve had 2 events so far and met 3 group members and one guest. It seems to be going well and all the people who showed up today agreed that Saturday mornings are probably the best time in general, so I’ll probably make that a repeating thing at different venues. So far everyone has been pretty cool and have interesting things they do or are working on. And even better (cough) I’m getting some traction on my projects, too. Yay!

    1. Elkay

      I enjoyed Middlesex (and The Virgin Suicides), passed it to my mum who told her boss about it who got her book club to read it. It’s definitely a read it and pass it on type book because it’s quite different I think.

    2. littlemoose

      Middlesex was an excellent book, and I gave a few copies as gifts after I read it. The recipients loved the book too.

    3. Elizabeth West

      I think there is a writing group around here, but it meets on certain Saturdays in the morning. I have skating lessons then and can’t usually make it. :P

    4. MJ6

      It’s like 4 books in one. I really loved the first 3 books, the fourth on a little less. It’s been too long ago to remember why! It is definitely a book I recommend.

    5. Windchime

      I also really liked Middlesex. It reminds me that I actually own this book, but I must have loaned it out because I haven’t seen my copy for a really long time. Hmmmmm. I wonder who has it!?

  10. Random CPA

    Last week I posted that I was two days past my due date and had tried castor oil to induce labor, which didn’t end up working. Well, I finally had him yesterday (8 days late)!

    He’s my third baby but was my first home birth. I ended up doing a water birth, and the baby seemed to do much better that way. It was a really great experience despite the pain. Now I’m in my own home resting with all my family close by instead of an uncomfortable hospital where they constantly poke and prod with needless and come in throughout the night waking me up. This may be my last baby, so I’m glad I was able to have a home birth experience!

    1. Claire (Scotland)

      Congratulations on the new baby, and I’m glad you had a good birth experience.

    2. Aloe Vera

      Congratulations! What made you decide to go the water birth/home route? Did you have a doula or midwife?

      1. Random CPA

        With my second I had a midwife, but delivered in a hospital, and I thought she did a much better job coaching me through the labor. My epidural didn’t work, so I knew what natural birth felt like and I wasn’t so scared about being able to make it through the birth without meds. Plus with having other kids now, I didn’t want to have to spend days away from them in the hospital post-birth.

        I had a midwife who specializes in home births. It was really convenient during my pregnancy too because she did home visits around my schedule. My husband and I both thought everything about the home birth was great. The midwife did the newborn exam, checked his vitals, weighed him, etc. They even cleaned everything up before they left.

        My sister -in-law watched my other kids during the birth, but then brought them over to see the new baby when he was less than an hour old. I thought having them around for the birth might be a little too much for them (and me!). Then she took them for another few hours and brought them back after we had a chance to rest.

        I had been eating really healthy during the pregnancy to make sure I was giving the baby the best nutrition, so I’m temporarily eating some junk food I didn’t eat while pregnant. Caramellos and Coke…yum!

        1. Melissa

          OMG I’ve never considered the possibility of an epidural not working. O.0

          Congratulations! I learned about alternatives to hospital births in a class in college (Biology of Women, a really interesting biology-for-non-majors, fulfill-your-science-requirement type class) and have been interested in it ever since!

          1. Artemesia

            I had both mine Lamaze with no anesthetic. One was a very very long (36) labor but the actual pain of delivery is not really that big a deal. They attempted an epidural with the first after such a long labor and failed to get it in. The pain of the birth was much less than the ‘transition phase’ of the labor. With the second, same except it was an easier quicker birth and I didn’t do the epidural by choice.

            I didn’t have the courage to attempt it at home and think it is great that the OP could do so so gracefully. Congratulations.

            1. Random CPA

              36 hours! You’re a trooper! I agree that the actual pain of delivery isn’t as bad as the transition phase (though prior to having kids I always thought it would be). I have been lucky with all mine that labor has been under 12 hours. If I had long labors with either of my first two I probably wouldn’t have tried a home birth.

    3. Carrie in Scotland

      Aw, yey! Glad it was a positive experience and that he wasn’t any later than 8 days! (which is still long enough!)

    4. fposte

      Congratulations! And may your single dose of castor oil be the worst thing this child ever brings you :-).

    5. Not So NewReader

      Congratulations! I loved your post here, you sound so happy/content with how your plan worked out. Wishing your new little one all the best!

    6. TJoie

      Congratulations!

      I’ve been curious about natural births and home births. (The clock sure is ticking lol.) But I definitely did not know that the epidural could not work! Congrats once again!

      1. Random CPA

        Thank you! Yes, at the hospital chain in my area, when you get an epidural they make you sign a bunch of paperwork and one thing they have you sign is something saying basically that they don’t always work and that you’ll pay for it even if it doesn’t. I think in my case it didn’t work because the line wasn’t set properly. An aenestestist nurse was being trained by the aenestesiologist and he kept saying things like, “No, not there. There.” When the pain didn’t go away, he was supposed to come back and reset it, but by the time he came back, it was time for me to push.

        With my first one, the epidural was awesome. Labor started at 11 PM so I didn’t get any sleep until I got the epidural.

        No matter what route you go, labor is difficult though. We’re so lucky to live in a time where we have options to customize our birth experiences.

    7. Jane

      Yay! Congrats! I thought about you today and wondered if you’d had your baby yet. (I was the one who went way overdue also.) I’m glad you had such a great birth experience! I loved my baby’s natural water birth, and loved recovering at home after (we did a birth center). I hope you have a speedy recovery and are able to get some rest!

    8. Gareth Keenan Investigates

      Congratulations! And thank you for sharing this! I’m expecting my first in September and I have to admit, I’m a bit terrified!

    9. JMegan

      Yay for new babies and positive birth experiences! I wanted a home birth for my second but couldn’t have one, so I’m always delighted to hear about other people’s home births going well. Congratulations!

  11. Awkward

    Where are my mixed race people at? My parents are from opposite ends of the world (mom from Argentina, dad from Iraq). I’ve always felt closer to my mom’s side of the family because I see them more often and I speak Spanish. I don’t feel close to my dad’s side of the family AT ALL. I don’t see them often, and when I do, I’m the only one in the room that doesn’t speak Arabic (besides my mother). I get so nervous when I have to see them because I feel so left out and awkward. Has this happened to anyone before? How do you deal with it and/or forge relationships with people you feel like you have nothing in common with?

    1. Anonyby

      I’m mixed, though more lopsided (3/4 white, 1/4 mexican). I’m closest to the mexican side… but I don’t look or act at all like it. It’s a bit of a disconnect, for sure. :)

    2. QualityControlFreak

      Well … do you want to forge relationships? With the differences in language and culture you’re facing some formidable barriers, so you need to decide how important that is to you. I’m mixed; American Indian with a hodgepodge of Anglo/Celt/German thrown in. I identify with my native culture, but my son, who is also mixed, does not. I’m sad that he can’t share my experience, but he’s not me. In your case, it sounds like you don’t see that side of the family frequently anyway, so maybe get clear, at least in your own mind, how much building a relationship with them matters to you. I would also consider that you are the child here, and the responsibility for forging a bond should not fall disproportionately on you. As long as you’re polite and try to be open to gestures of politeness from others I’d say you’re doing your part.

    3. Sparrow

      I’m not mixed race, but I was born in India and moved to the US when I was three. All my aunts, uncles and cousins are back in India. Since I grew up in the US, I feel more American than I do Indian, if that makes sense. I don’t see my family back in India very often, so it’s awkward for me too trying to interact with them. They all speak English so there is no language barrier, but they sort of feel like strangers and we end up making small talk.

      In my situation, I haven’t really made the effort to forge a relationship. And I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. You don’t have to be close with every member of your family. It doesn’t help that I’m quite introverted and reaching out to initiate a relationship is challenging for me.

      However if you aren’t able to see them in person, can you communicate via email? Or if you’re comfortable with it – talking on the phone or Skype?

    4. katamia

      I’m not mixed race, but I’m mixed culture/ethnicity, with parents of different religions, although I was raised more in my father’s religion/culture. I’m not close to my mother’s side of the family other than being FB friends with some cousins my age. At this point, though, we have very little in common because our upbringings were so different and despite our similar ages, we’re just not really at the same life stages and don’t have similar hobbies or interests. We don’t have a language barrier, but there are so many weird little cultural differences and things I know that they don’t (and vice versa) that it kind of doesn’t feel like we’re related sometimes.

      I don’t know how much effort I’m willing to put into nurturing these relationships, though, honestly. I don’t mean that in a mean way, but I think it probably says something significant that despite years of uneven work history (thanks, recession) that would have left me with lots of time to visit them, it honestly never occurred to me until I was writing this comment that I could have gone to visit them in all my spare time. Also, one of them has been living near me for at least a year and I haven’t seen her once (she has a relatively young child and a pretty intense job, so her time is not completely her own, but still, a year when neither one of us has even FB messaged each other suggesting a meetup is pretty bad).

      You could ask a couple of your more accessible relatives to be conversation partners with you via Skype or a similar service as you try to learn Arabic. You could also set up Google Alerts for wherever they live in Iraq to try to keep up with what’s local for them.

    5. Chocolate and Vanilla Swirl

      I’m mixed (1/2 white, 1/2 black). I am much closer with the black side, but that’s mostly because the white side consists of racists who couldn’t fathom a white person marrying a black person. So, I don’t feel that I’ve missed much from the lack of relationship with my white side. They just aren’t people I’d care to know. My great-grandmother was the one exception on the white side–she was a lovely, inspiring person and I wish I had written more often.

      I am much closer to the black side, though I wouldn’t consider myself actually close to them. They are all fully black, and I’ve always felt like the black sheep (or is it white sheep??) of the family. I don’t have the afro hair. My knees don’t get that ashy, and I’m much thinner than the ideal for a black female. I’m not into hip hop or rap or sports or shopping. I never wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer or a sports star and those are the ONLY acceptable occupations for someone bearing our last name, according to my relatives. (Not trying to stereotype black culture or black people, these are just the things my family is predominantly interested in or pressured me towards.)

      Attempting to forge relationships with my black relatives essentially meant changing myself to please their definition of who I should be, so I chose not to put effort into it and moved across the country for college. Every few years I get dragged to a family function or two when I visit my parents, and it is awkward and miserable and boring. But I grin and bear it and go because it makes my father happy. He loves his relatives and loves the numerous family events. If I tried not to go I suspect he’d just pick me up and dump me in the backseat of the car anyway.

    6. matcha123

      Hello fellow mixed person! If you use reddit, you might want to check out r/mixedrace.
      Are there any universities in your area? When I was in high school, I joined my future university’s Mixed Club. It was a great chance for me to talk to other mixed people.

      Honestly, I’m kind of an island to myself. I have only slightly more contact with one person on my mom’s side and no contact with any of my father’s side. I really have no community (aside from friends in general) and I’m just kind of here.
      Why not try studying some Arabic? Take a class and set up times to talk with your dad in Arabic. With language and culture kind of things, you kind of have to force yourself into situations that make you use it. I’m sure that your dad would be happy to share his native language with you, too. If you hate the idea, that’s fine. But, I know I have some friends, mixed and not, who regret not being able to speak their parent’s language.

      And speaking a language or learning about a culture doesn’t mean that you are denying any part of yourself. In your case, it’s one tool to use to increase communication with one side of your family.

    7. looloo

      My partner is in a similar situation! His father is from Iran and his mother is from Spain, and he speaks Spanish but not Farsi and is very very close with his Spanish family but has barely met his Iranian side. Part of this is obviously due to how hard it can be for his relatives to come to the US and vice versa.

      In fact, he just met his uncle from Iran that he was named after for the first time ever last year, and he is almost 30. Its hard and awkward for him but oftentimes it helps to just be earnest and make an effort – you can actually communicate quite a bit with limited english and body language. He’s also got quite a bit of experience dealing with language barriers because i’m of Asian descent and all my relatives with the exception of my parents live back in the old country, so I’m sure that helps.

  12. Trixie

    Listed to a classic rock station recently and immediately recognized a song that came. I know the rhythm and most of the lyrics but couldn’t remember who the band was. Using the lyrics I was able to find the song title/band, All Right Now by Free. I never knew the name of the song or the band before I looked it up. What I imagine a senior moment is like until you realize you never knew “it” to begin with. Goes to show how powerful music and deeply embedded is becomes in our memory.

    1. Kardashev Type Three

      On a related note, here’s an interesting paper that goes into the very basics of how Shazam works:

      https://www.ee.columbia.edu/~dpwe/papers/Wang03-shazam.pdf

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Music companies are only recently beginning to see how they can use movies and television to promote ‘music discovery’ by the masses. It won’t be terribly long before you’ll hear a song on a television or a radio or whatever, and you’ll be able to ask the device what the song is, and the device will tell you and ask you if you’d like to buy it. And if you say yes it will be automatically charged to your account and added to your online music collection (“to the cloud!”).

      The future is going to kick ass (as long as you’ve got a good job).

      1. SherryD

        Yes, if you ever listen to a terrestrial radio station’s online live stream, many of them are starting to add the ‘buy it now’ button.

      2. LBK

        This already exists to an extent with iOS! Shazam is integrated into Siri now, so you can ask her what song is playing and then the Shazam app has a link to buy the song on iTunes.

        1. Kardashev Type Three

          It was said that before Steve Jobs died, he had some major plans for AppleTV – but they were set aside at his death. I’ll probably never know for sure, but I think his plans were pretty much exactly this kind of thing.

    2. Cruciatus

      If you have a smart phone, may I recommend the app Shazam? It’s great for “I love this song! Who the hell is it?” It’s amazing to me when I hear a song I haven’t heard in “forever” and can still remember all the words/music. You’re right–it just stays with you.

      1. Trixie

        My initial reaction was momentary panic because clearly I knew the song but couldn’t’ for the life of me remember the details. Not a great feeling.

    3. Nancie

      Shazam is ok, but recently it’s gotten a bit slow and unreliable. I’ve switched to SoundHound, and so far I’m really pleased with it.

      1. LBK

        Agreed, I also find SoundHound a bit more reliable and (although I’ve never tested it) it takes singing/humming/whistling as input, whereas Shazam needs the actual song.

  13. Anonyby

    So I mentioned a few months back that I broke my tooth… FINALLY got it out this week. (Seriously, it took awhile to find a place that would take me, and they were booked up months out.)

    The pain from the actual removal was over pretty much by the next afternoon. However, the teeth around it are all wanting to move (especially since I wore braces as a teen and this is giving them space to shift back), and that’s being really painful, and the socket echos the pain. I’m just taking OTC painkillers, but I have to stay on top of the dosage times. :/

    Plus having to only eat soft foods is making me really grumpy. It’s screwed up my morning schedule, and I have no idea what I’m going to do Tuesday and Wednesday when I’m at an office that’s not close to food places that really sell soft foods. Bringing lunch with me is not an idea I enjoy, because most of the people that work there are commission-based contractors and thus don’t seem to understand the concept that lunch break = no work.

    1. SystemsLady

      I’ve had adult teeth removed albeit due to small mouth reasons :(. It sucked more than the wisdoms (for which they even had to put me under) for the exact same reason! I hope you get better soon!

      Are there cafes around there with outdoor seating/is it not ridiculously hot? Especially if you eat outside, those kinds of places might not mind you bringing and eating your own food, as long as you buy a drink (a smoothie might be a nice refreshment if you can get one!). Definitely ask first, of course, but they might be understanding of your situation.

      You could even just go to a park if it isn’t super hot. I have done that before when in a town that isn’t very restaurant heavy, where gas stations are actually a good place to pick up lunch (but not always a place to eat it). Then again, that relies on there being a park around and there not being a heat wave :(.

      1. Anonyby

        I was put under for my wisdom teeth too. It’s long enough ago that I don’t remember a lot from the recovery, other than I was on vicodin for the first 24 hours, and had smoothies for the same amount of time.

        It’s supposed to be decently-warm, but no heat wave. It’s hot enough to make most people crazy, though I handle it better than most. :)

    2. Elizabeth West

      Ugh, people used to bother me on my lunch break at Exjob, when I was 1) away from my desk, 2) obviously eating, and 3) writing on my laptop with headphones on. And then they would get mad when I said email me and I’ll take care of it when I get back!

      I hope your mouth heals up soon. Let ’em get pissy if they’re going to. Just give them a “See ya in a few!” and go back to your lunch.

      1. Ann Furthermore

        I usually eat at my desk, and I’ve learned to set my IM to “appear away” so I don’t get pinged with people asking me questions.

        1. Elizabeth West

          I eat at my desk now, but I don’t take a lunch break per se unless I go to lunch with a coworker. I have a work friend who went to London in May with a friend of hers and we go out every once in a while and talk about travel, etc.

    3. Melissa

      I find it interesting that you broke your tooth and they removed it. Are you going to get an implant? I broke two of my teeth as a child; they bonded them until I grew up, and then I ended up getting them crowned as an adult. I did have a baby tooth pulled (there was no adult tooth behind it) and now have a bridge with a false tooth attached to two crowns to fill the area.

      I hate dental work. I’ve had people doing crazy things to my teeth from ages 8 to around 24 because I broke my teeth so many times and also had braces. I was so glad when I finally had the money to get the Big Dental Work done when I was about 24 and now they can all leave me alone.

      1. The IT Manager

        I had a baby tooth removed in my mid-30s and replaced by an implant. I spent several months with a gap, but there were no issues.

      2. Anonyby

        There just wasn’t enough good tooth left to save. When I first broke it, about half of it came off, and the rest was riddled with decayed spots. Between then and extraction, it had broken twice more, leaving just a tiny rim of tooth sticking out of the gum. I went to a dental school for the removal, and there was so little left that they had the supervising/teaching doc do the actual pulling.

        I wish I could get an implant. Sadly, my insurance only covers pulling. I’d have to pay for an implant out-of-pocket, and I don’t have that money. Also part of the reason I’m hesitating on getting a tooth checked out that may need a root canal–it’s not hurting me, and while insurance will pay for the root canal itself, it won’t pay for the crown afterwards and I don’t have that money.

  14. Trill

    Any Canadians around who are familiar with the various available prepaid phone plans?

    I am moving to Canada next week, and want to start with a prepaid cellphone before committing to plan. Or I might just stick with prepaid permanently.

    I don’t use a lot of voice time. Need texting though. Bonus if texting to USA is cheap. Data not really necessary but if it were available it might be nice for emergencies.

    1. Colette

      I don’t know about prepaid plans, but I do recommend Koodo (koodomobile.com) – you aren’t locked into a contract. You pay off a certain amount of the phone price each month, and if you haven’t paid it off yet and want to leave, you just have to pay the balance (or you can buy the phone outright to start). They’re part of Telus, which has good coverage throughout most of the country (not the really rural areas where no one has coverage), and unlike other companies, they don’t charge a system access fee, so you pay the price of your plan + tax.

    2. schnapps

      I’m on WIND mobile – if you bring your own phone it’s month to month, or you can buy a phone from them (on contract or outright). I’m in BC and the plan I’m on is $40/month, unlimited voice, unlimited international texting, voicemail (up to 50 messages, I think – some obscenely high number), unlimited data (throttled after 5 gb – that’s now been reduced to 3gb before throttle, but unless you’re streaming a lot of video, it shouldn’t impact).

      There are “zones” which means in in non-metropolitan areas you might end up roaming, but if you bring your own phone they give you up to $15/month for that.

      Where are you moving to? the plans differ by region.

    3. Meadowsweet

      it’s a confusing mess :/ It definitely partly depends on where you’re moving to – coverage is much better in the big cities, so if you’re going somewhere more rural you may be limited to the carrier who covers that area.

      It also partly depends on if you want to be able to use your phone in the US – many (most?) prepaid don’t allow the phone to work in the US. (I’m currently with Fido specifically because you can buy a temporary ‘works in the US’ thing.)

      I was looking a year or so ago and found a site that had comparisons that were fairly current at the time – I didn’t save it then, but looking for ‘prepaid phones canada comparison’ brought up a couple of options that look familiar :)

      1. Trill

        So part of the problem is I don’t totally know where I’m moving to, and for the first 5 months I will be in and out of Canada a lot (but I don’t plan to use the phone outside of Canada), and I won’t be in Canada at all the month of November, so I was hoping to find a phone where you pay per call or per minute rather than $30 a month. Does anything decent like that exist?

        Also, for the first 5-6 months I will be mostly based out of rural south western ontario, but the coverage there is pretty decent I think.

        I have done a little bit of googling but its hard to know has good service and is worth it.

        1. CoffeeLover

          Most carriers (if not all) have pay as you go. Just go to a phone place when you move to Canada and ask for their recommendation. They’ll know better than us what’s available to you and what will work in your area. I would personally recommend Virgin. They have better service than Wind, but aren’t as expensive as the other guys.

          1. Felicia

            I’ve been with Virgin for years, and I love them. I was prepaid at first, but not anymore.

        2. Colette

          There are two major networks: Bell (including Telus and Koodo) and Rogers (including Fido) – not sure where Wind falls. The Bell network typically has better rural coverage. If you’re mostly in populated areas, they’ll both be good. Typically, non-traditional carriers (Wind, Koodo, Fido) are cheaper.

  15. Aloe Vera

    A few days ago, I found out that I had a cousin I never knew about.

    30 years ago, my uncle and his long-term girlfriend became pregnant. He decided he didn’t want anything to do with the child, so he bailed and never talked to the girlfriend again. And the girlfriend never talked to my uncle or our family again.

    My mother and aunts know the child’s name and have been following her throughout the years in the local newspaper. Now they’ve located her profile on Facebook. My mother told me about this for the first time a few days ago, and I checked out her Facebook page. It was shocking to see her – she looks just like us, and especially like my mother when she was her age.

    Part of me really wants to reach out to her. I don’t have any other female cousins close in age to me (I’m 32), and I now feel like I have this emptiness I didn’t know was there before. But another part thinks of me thinks this wouldn’t be wise. To the best of my knowledge, our family has never had contact with her. Would she even care to know us? What would it do with my relationship with my uncle?

    1. Kat

      My sperm donor wanted nothing to do with me and walked out before I was born.
      I have grown up hearing that, and as a result, I have zero desire for communication from that side of the family. I hold no ill will towards them, but if I was important to them, they would have made efforts to contact me before adulthood.

      I imagine she may feel the same. At this point, you’d be invading her life, which was perfectly fine without you guys. Why now? Just to fill some “hole” you didnt know you had?

      I would let it go and move on. The following her through the newspapers as she grew up is creepy to me. I know the other family did that to me and it feels like you have a stalker. When they saw me in public, they would follow me at a distance for periods of time.

      In short, put yourself in her shoes. This isnt about you or your feelings.

      1. Florida

        I’ve never been in any situation even remotely like this, so keep that in mind.

        She may have zero desire to contact your family because she thinks that your family has zero to contact her. In other words, both families may be sitting around waiting for the other person to make the first move, and thinking, “If they cared, they would make the first move.”

        I think it is OK to contact her once. If she responds, that’s great. If he doesn’t, drop it.

        1. acmx

          I agree with Florida. Also, maybe your mother and aunts did have contact with her since they knew her name.

      2. daily reader

        Ditto above– Sorry but most likely, she doesn’t want to hear from you. It’s not about you this case. She will reach out to you if she wants. I say this compassionately: fill your emptiness in other ways.

      3. Melissa

        I think it depends entirely on the person. I met some cousins as an adult who I didn’t know because their parent was a jerk and/or estranged themselves from the family, and we formed friendships and hung out. I also have some cousins who my family shuns because they got in trouble with the law a couple of times but we’re friends and speak on the phone a couple times a year. Personally, my dad shuns me but if I found out I had some more cousins through him that I didn’t know, I would welcome the contact despite my dad’s tomfoolery. It’s not their fault we don’t know each other.

        It really depends on how the cousin feels. I think it couldn’t hurt for Aloe Vera to reach out to her and then see where it goes. The cousin is an adult, so if she really doesn’t want to be bothered she can just say so and AV can let it go.

      4. Steve G

        I don’t agree with the “invading her life, which was perfectly fine without you guys” and the “if I was important to them, they would have made efforts” parts.

        I have a 16yo 1/2 brother my dad had during an affair the year after I finished HS and moved out and I guess my dad thought he’d go pretend he was 25 again, and well, made a big mistake. His mom has very bad relationships with her “baby daddies,” which makes it very hard to visit (she has treated my dad like crap despite his giving her loads of money, but those are other stories, and why he had an affair with someone who was like this is beyond me, bit I digress)…so the kid has no father figure, and from what we see on facebook, he is posting pictures as obscene and vulgar and sexist and nasty as they can get while she’s always been posting pics of her at bars (which were considered irrelevant during my parents’ recent visitation court case).

        His life is not fine the way it is, he needs a role model who works (she is on welfare and foodstamps and lived off her of kids’ alimony checks as well) and did good in school so they can help with homework etc., and someone who is home on the weekends to be there for him. I am sure he feels something is missing so when he is 18 or so and I reach out to him, I’m not sure its gonna be an “invasion.”

        (and yes this is the regular poster Steve G, I’m not making this stuff up!)

    2. Mallory Janis Ian

      My brother and his high school girlfriend had a child and went their separate ways. The mother raised her to believe that the man she later married was her father and never told her about my brother until she was 18. She did send occasional pictures back from California, where she’d moved prior to the birth, to Arkansas, where we all are. So we followed her development as she grew up and felt like she was a missing family member. She contacted me when she came out to visit an aunt on her mom’s side, and we became close. She spent the summer at her other aunt’s house, but she’d come to my house and hang out for a day or to spend the night or the weekend. She got along great with all of us. Her reunion with my brother was tougher. I’m not sure all the details, but my brother’s wife scolded me for having the girl in my life, as she felt threatened by her husband’s previous relationship. She seemed like she expected some sort of apology from me for making her feel insecure. I told her that the girl had every right to contact us, and I continue to keep in touch with her.

      1. Florida

        Good for you for treating this woman like a family member (which she was). That’s great that y’all have a good relationship. Too bad your brother’s current wife doesn’t feel the same way.

    3. fposte

      Background: I’m an adoptee, as is my brother; he’s enjoyed making connections with his birth family and I haven’t done it at all.

      I think you’re both adults, you had nothing to do with the way your parents treated her (and yes, it’s likely they’ll have some blame to bear), and it’s fine to reach out to her. But do it privately, and do it without worrying about your need or “emptiness”–she’s the one who got screwed (presumably “nothing to do with her” means her father never contributed anything to his child’s upkeep), not you. A “I think we’re related, and I’ve only just heard some weird family stories–do you have any interest in talking more?” PM, email, or even letter is what I’d recommend. Then wipe it from your mind, because she may never answer, and you have to let it go if so; she might be really interested, she might hate it. She might be lovely and she might be a PITA–it’s all possible.

      If you have a relationship with her, yes, it could well screw up your relationship with your uncle. From my viewpoint, he’s behaved pretty abominably here, so I can’t mourn that, but maybe he’s become a better person in the intervening decades and that’s your call. It might also be an issue for your mother, since she was apparently on board with her brother’s approach to his child; that’s another thing to consider.

      I don’t really have enough information to offer a vote here (like I get one anyway). I think this is a family can o’ worms that’s long overdue for opening, but negotiating a big wormy mess understandably doesn’t sound like what you’re looking to do, and that may not be worth it.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Good inputs right here, OP. I have several cousins who are adopted. And each cousin has had their own unique reaction to their biological families. Added layer of complexity: each bio-family had it’s own unique thing going on, which in some ways contributed to the type of reaction my cousins had. Predicting the stock market reactions is easier than predicting people’s reactions in these instances.

        After watching all of this, I tend to lean in favor of letting her find you. At least then you will know for a fact that she is interested in building a relationship. If she has not come forward now, it’s not because she can’t find you. The technology and connections are in place. She has not come forward because it is not time yet. Thank you, fposte, for saying she is the one who got screwed, this is important to keep in mind. By allowing her to have the choice in getting acquainted you are allowing her to have control over a situation that she has never had any control or say in before. Remember she had no control over how her childhood played out. Sometimes the most loving gesture is to step back and wait.

        My heart goes out to my cousins, this chapter of their lives still impacts them even though they are 50 plus years old. It defines whole parts of their personality, their dreams, and their priorities. It’s at the very core of their being.

        1. fposte

          It’s hugely individual, too-I was always the one interested in details about my birth parents as a kid, but my brother wasn’t; it wasn’t until he was well into middle age that he decided he was after all and wanted contact, while I still like information but don’t want contact.

    4. Student

      Your family (even if it was “only” your uncle) did something pretty terrible to this woman. If you reach out to her, you are the representative of that family, because that’s the only connection you two have in common yet.

      Is that something you’re ready for? Are you going into this with a desire to provide something to her? Or are you going into this with a desire to get something out of it for yourself?

      1. Melissa

        I think that’s a good question to ask. If you want to reach out to her because you want to have a relationship of some sort, that’s one thing. But I don’t think it’s a good idea if you just want to satisfy your curiosity or find out the whole story.

    5. OfficePrincess

      Do you know if she knows about your uncle? If you reach out, it could be a total shock or it could stir up lots of feelings. It might lead to a relationship, but be prepared to not hear back or for her to say she doesn’t want a relationship. If you do decide to reach out, keep it simple and make sure your motives are clear.

      This isn’t quite the same thing, but my father disowned me as an adult. He started cutting off contact when I was 18 and I haven’t heard from him since I was 21. I haven’t really heard from that side of the family either. It took a while to process it and get to a good place, so when an aunt reached out a few months ago, it brought a lot back to the surface. I didn’t respond, and I’m not sure when I’m going to feel comfortable having contact with that family.

    6. Baffled Waffle

      I used to be that kid.

      My father wasn’t more than a sperm donor and walked away before knowing about the pregnancy. My alcoholic abusive and violent mother never said a word about him, not even his name, she only referred to him as the progenitor of The Biggest Living Mistake (aka me). To keep that part short, I became an emancipated minor when I was 13 and created some place safe and peaceful for myself.

      Five years later, a total stranger approached me at the fruit market. With a big smile on her face she told me I looked exactly like our grandmother. I thought she had mistaken me for another person and told her so. Oh boy was I wrong. She laughed and told me she knew everything about me because she was my sister!
      Turned out the progenitor had a wife, three kids much older than me and a whole bunch of relatives who all knew about me without me knowing about them. They knew my name, my DOB, all the places I’ve lived, all the schools I’ve attended, … They’ve been “watching and loving me from a distance”, she said, and when I turned 18 she (33 yo at that time) decided I was a “big enough girl” to learn the truth and to become the lil’sista she always wanted me to be. She thought she could just drop the Big Bomb and jump into my life with both feet. And that I would be delighted about that.
      I was shocked. Still am. And angry. Still am (and that annoys me a little bit, I thought I had passed that phase ugh). I was in no way prepared for that and it didn’t went well at all.

      Bref. TMI.

      Does The Cousin know who her father is? His name and enough information to find him (and possibly you) if she wants to?
      If she doesn’t, do not make a single move. I agree with Student, your family did something pretty terrible to this woman, they all knew and chose to look the other way. And yes stalking her was and still is creepy! So let her be. She doesn’t need you and the drama in her life, she’s doing fine without you and deserve much better than you making it about filling an emptiness in your life. Not that I dismiss your feelings, I don’t, and you seem like a kind person with good intentions and interrogations, I just think you have no right to bring that into her life.

      If she does know, well… my very personal and biased opinion would be the same: don’t do anything. She can do her research and reach out if she wants to. Let it be her decision, accept any choice she makes and wish her well whatever the outcome may be.

      If I’ve learnt anything from all that family mess is that blood is not the only vehicle for love and affection, neither is it the only source of fulfilment. Take care of yourself, surround yourself with people who make you feel special and loved, and let life surprise you. :)

    7. matcha123

      My dad left my mom when she was pregnant. If I were the cousin, I wouldn’t mind hearing from you. Honestly, it was tough financially without another earner in the house, but my mom made the decision not to speak ill of my dad. If her mom hated her dad and cursed your family, then maybe she might not respond well. But, if you’re close to the same age and she’s a reasonably educated person, she would know that you played no roll in anything.

      So, why not reach out?

    8. 22dncr

      Being an amateur genealogist I can speak to this (; I’ve found tons of lost cousins. Plus I’ve found my 2 lost half-brothers. My father was married 5 times, 3 with children. I grew up knowing my oldest half-brother but no one knew where the other 2 were. To top it off they’d taken their step-father’s name. In a VERY convoluted way I was able to find the oldest (I am a Google master (; ). I contacted him and he has been great – had just lost his half-sister and didn’t even know he had another one. He’d also made a New Year’s resolution to finally find his father’s family so was floored when I contacted him. His brother though wants nothing to do with the family – feels like they abandoned him when it was his mother’s choice. I just send a letter/email with my contact info (email and phone) so it’s totally up to them. That way you know you tried.

    9. TootsNYC

      I have a cousin sort of like that–our difference is that she’d been given up for adoption, which doesn’t have quite the same “you abandoned me” storyline (It does, I’m sure, but you can add on the “you selflessly gave me to someone better able to care for me, a sacrifice done out of love” narrative.)

      And she reached out to her birth mom (only after my aunt sent some “hereditary on the female side” medical info to the adoption agency and asked that it be forwarded; the agency brokered the return contact from my cousin).

      It is weird–she and I look SO much alike, and she looks so much like her brothers (who are, actually, her full brothers, genetically; because my aunt married her boyfriend; he just felt they weren’t in a position to raise child right at that point, and my aunt lied to her family, telling them the baby had died at birth). We really enjoy, all of us, suddenly having a extra family member. It’s totally not weird at all. We sometimes say, “Wow, this should be weird!” but it isn’t, not in actuality.

      I don’t know that this helps you at all, though.

      I would think that Kat’s reaction would be more common.
      Or, if someone was going to make contact, I’d say they should respectfully make contact through her mom.

      But I think all those question you have are things none of us can answer–just, you’d need to think of those things.

      And yes, frame it as “the friendliness I can offer,” not “the emptiness and hole I now feel.”

  16. SandrineSmiles (France)

    I finally “broke up” with my friend Nancy. I may have made mistakes over the years, but the recents “attacks” were the last straw.

    She did not take this well, and wondered why I had to get to the point of “deleting her from Facebook” and from my life.

    I tried to be as diplomatic as possible (I did not block her just in case she had questions) but made it clear that while I still think she has potential, she has to find her way without me.

    Apparently she thinks I’m doing this “too easily” and I “don’t care about her” .

    Ha, I still sorta do. But I also need to live my life with people who can take it of they give it (you can throw anything you want at me as long as you can take it too if I need to speak up) .

    So yeah. Gotta admit part of me actually feels a lot better now.

    1. Colette

      A couple of years ago, I cut a friend out of my life. (Well, actually she decreed that our friendship was over, and I was totally ok with it.) I’ve never regretted that we are no longer friends. Sometimes its good to let go of friendships that are no longer healthy.

      1. Elizabeth West

        Yes, your last sentence. I just got unfriended by a high-school friend on Facebook (I posted the soldier’s response to the Caitlyn Jenner negativity article). She said “enough already, this person isn’t brave,” etc. I said, If you don’t like what I post, you’re free to unfollow me. She said “OK,” and I said, “Bye!” She has now unfriended me. I won’t block her either, but I doubt she’ll be back.

        It’s a little sad, but she has not grown and will never change. We are not even in the same mindset anymore, and I guess the friendship is over. Like you, Sandrine, I don’t feel particularly bad about it either, because I’ve decided I’m better off with more tolerant people in my life.

        I unfollowed a relative (not unfriended, but I will if I have to) for basically the same reason. But she is very young, and I hope that when she goes to college and/or leaves home, she will begin to learn more about people other than those in her relatively narrow world. (Ironically, her sister seems to be the exact opposite and way more open-minded. From a psychological standpoint, it’s kind of interesting.)

        1. Steve G

          I have to disagree with you EW for the first time – I would never disconnect from someone because of the Kardashian clan. Many of us are so sick of them. There were like 10 articles on them yesterday alone. One was just on the fact that Courtney has a gray hair, another was how one of the younger ones wore something too sheer (um, ok, then tell her to cover up or don’t post it online if it is a problem? How is this news?). We would like for them to go away. We want real news and we are tired of the family that stays famous for doing nothing.

          I looked up what article you meant and it says “a soldier is tired of all the hatred.” What hatred? All I am seeing is people saying they are tired of hearing about it, and people are entitled to say that. Why does Jenner need to be in the news 7 days per week?

          1. Elizabeth West

            You can disagree all you like, but this is not the first time she’s made remarks on marriage equality posts, posted Duck Dynasty shit, etc. Many of them I’ve tolerated or ignored, but too many times I’ve been reminded that we’re poles apart now in more ways than one.

            Anyway, I didn’t disconnect–she did. And unfollowing means that a person’s posts don’t appear in your feed–it isn’t the same as unfriending, which is an actual disconnect. It’s my feed and I have a right to control what I want to see there, same as she does.

            1. Kardashev Type Three

              Painful as it can be, I think that choosing one’s friends – and sometimes cutting them completely out of one’s life because they believe things that are inimical to you – is a healthy part of becoming a mature individual.

          2. SandrineSmiles (France)

            Steve G, the thing is, there is a difference between the Kardashian clan and Caitlyn Jenner. I don’t care for the Kardashians, but I will admit that I do care a whole lot more about what Caitlyn Jenner has to say and the journey she’s on right now.

          3. Lindsay J

            I don’t care about the Kardashians either.

            You know how I deal with it? I don’t read about the Kardashians. I skip the articles about them that pop up on my MSN homepage (which wouldn’t generally be my homepage, but it’s work so I leave the presets alone). I skip the articles about them on Facebook. I don’t watch E! or whatever.

            Nobody has ever forced me to read or know anything about the Kardashians. And nobody has ever taken away my real news sources (they’re still out there if you look) to report on the Kardashians.

            I do have a problem with people hating on someone for being trans. And I’ve seen more anti-Caitlyn Jenner articles and anti-trans articles than I have articles actually about Caitlyn. (And I don’t know for sure, but I’m willing to bet that a lot of the people I’ve seen posting anti-Caitlyn articles are the ones that are also into following every detail of Chloe life or whatever.)

            There’s this circlejerk going on about bravery online which is pitting one person (or side) I guess, against another. People are acting like that by acknowledging that Caitlyn is doing something brave by making her transition and doing it very publicly (and thereby opening herself up for criticism on her very personal choices, her appearance, and just generally who she is as a person) that we are denying that other people can be brave. Caitlyn can be brave, and a soldier can be brave, and a little kid fighting cancer, and a firefighter, and whoever else can all be brave. It’s not a competition, and that people are treating it like it is is what people are getting upset about I think.

          4. LBK

            There is an unbelievably massive difference between random details of the lives of the other Kardashians and the groundbreaking strides Caitlyn is making in utilizing her platform to spread trans awareness and create visibility for the trans community. I’m actually pretty gobsmacked that you can’t differentiate between the two – surely you can see how one is really important and is helping thousands, if not millions of people who need support?

      2. K.

        I had a situation like that in college. We were friends in high school (I use that term loosely; she wasn’t a good friend to me) and went to different colleges. We had a falling out about something stupid – I can’t even remember what now. It’s the sort of thing that, had she been a real friend, we would have made up and laughed about later. But she isn’t, so I let that be the end. I have no regrets about the end of the friendship and no interest in reconciling.

    2. Nashira

      I broke up with a close friend a couple weeks ago, and omgggg do I hear you on “part of me feels a lot better”. In my case, talking to him involved cutting off large portions of myself or else being subjected to tantrums. (Most memorably when I would point out him being sexist or refused to let him mansplain feminism to me, while he was being sexist.)

      I think the thing that helped the most was going no-contact, including asking a mutual friend if we please simply not discuss him. If it’s broken enough that you needed to end the relationship, I would end it fully. Otherwise it just drags it out.

    3. Revanche

      I started wondering if this was the friend you posted about in one of the past weekend posts who kept going back to the bad BF and wanted you to keep listening to the griping.

      I’ve had to sever a couple friendships recently and like you, was a bit relieved at the time. While I still have contact with one of them occasionally (not by choice) I do find myself wishing that their personalities hadn’t evolved to a particularly elevated level of selfishness. I don’t have so many friends that I can take or leave any but then again, I have much less energy!

      1. SandrineSmiles (France)

        Yuh huh, same person. At some point in the break up convo I even said I was getting “yelled at” (through Viber) worse than the guy she kept going back to.

        Oddly enough, she did not react to that part at all!

    4. Ann Furthermore

      I was talking with my stepdaughter tonight about this same sort of thing. She recently cut a friend out of her life who was too high-maintenance and would get upset when she spent time with other friends.

      I told her about a friend from high school who did kind of the same thing. We were boarding school roommates. She was new to the school, and my best friend was a girl who lived in town instead of on campus. The 3 of us were good friends for awhile, and then she started getting all weird about the 2 of us hanging out together. Years later I found out that over the summer she (roommate) wrote my other friend this insane letter about how she (roommate) was a better friend to me than my other friend was.

      Roommate friend moved to my city after high school, and we shared an apartment for awhile. Then we each got our own places in the same area, but still hung out together all the time. I was in school, trying to finish college. My parents were helping me out with tuition, but I was working and paying all my living expenses, so I was dead broke all the time. My friend called me one night and said that Peter Gabriel was coming to town, and that we should go. I told her I’d love to, but there was no way I could afford it. She got pissed, hung up, and we’ve never spoken again since. It was such a relief, because she was very high maintenance.

      About a year later, I ran into a mutual acquaintance of ours, and he asked me what had happened between my friend and me. He said he’d seen her a few weeks earlier, and she was ranting about how we’d had this huge fight and weren’t talking. Then he asked me if she and I had been romantically involved, and I laughed, said no, and wondered why he asked that. He said that she was acting like it was a break-up instead of an argument between friends. It was so weird.

    5. Windchime

      I’ve had to break up with a friend, too. It was hard and sometimes I still miss her, but we didn’t really have anything in common and she was actually pretty shallow when it comes right down to it. She wanted to still do things like go clubbing and buy clothes that teenagers wear when we were both pushing 50 (it sounds so funny when I write it out). The final straw was when she sent me a long diatribe via text about my sister and then she unfriended me on Facebook. I didn’t go chasing after her. She apologized later and tried to strike the friendship back up but I was done by then.

    6. EvilQueenRegina

      I broke up with one friend who I really shouldn’t have taken back in the first place – I broke up with her entire clique in my third year at university, but then a few months on from that, she had a trivial argument with them about something stupid about UK airports apparently (?) and it escalated to the point where the clique dropped her, at which point she decided I was the better option after all.

      It eventually got to the point where she stopped making any effort and didn’t respond when I tried to get in contact with her. It then got to the point where I asked her whether I’d done anything wrong, or whether she wanted to end the friendship, to which she said no, she was just a lazy friend. I still tried for a bit longer, nothing really got any better. So I stopped contacting her; I doubt she has noticed. Over time, I realised that it wasn’t really about the lack of contact. It was about her not being there when I needed her, about the “We don’t want to hear how you feel about your ex and his new girl. He’s our friend. Get used to it. Chat to her, he’d really appreciate it.” It was the dropping me with no explanation and only coming back when no one else would speak to her. It was the oversharing about aforementioned ex (did I really need to know how he proposed to the other girl?) without considering how I might feel. It was the telling me the Queen Bee of our group had chosen me for being physically there (I didn’t realise how much that one stung until something similar on TV triggered a flashback). It was the silent treatment over me daring to socialise with people not in the clique. The lack of contact wasn’t the issue. So I’m now done with her, and I feel relieved.

  17. Fleur

    Are there any Monitor/Photo editing enthusiasts around? I just bought a new ASUS PB278Q monitor from Amazon’s prime day sale, and implemented the recommended settings + ICC Profile from a monitors forum. And I’m kind of not sure if I like it? I am especially a little bit unsure about how low they have the brightness turned (30, default setting was 80).

    I turn on/off the ICC profile and the colors just look *different* but I couldn’t say with certainty if it’s better or more accurate. How do you get a good feel for when a monitor’s colors are good or not? Maybe I’m just not discerning enough to properly enjoy a high-end monitor!

    1. Aknownymous

      I’ve been in graphic design for almost 10 years, and it’s only with time and experience that I’ve been able to learn how to distinguish between great and not-so-great monitor colors. It’s also usually by sight only (eg. too much yellow, too little contrast etc). Many monitors will have a function that lets you calibrate the colors yourself through a series of, essentially, eye tests, but if you don’t have that option, I think you’d be safe going with a recommended ICC profile from a reputable forum if it’s for your specific monitor.

      Brightness, though, is definitely something that you could adjust to fit your comfort levels. I have mine set pretty low when I’m designing because my eyes are sensitive, then I crank it up to finalize so I don’t mess up the colors. I think for the purposes of just viewing, it’s a matter of preference.

      1. Fleur

        Thank you for your reply! I went from a 1080p 21″ TN panel to a 1440p 27″ IPS panel, so it’s honestly hard for me to get a grasp for what’s good or not considering how long I’ve been using a low-quality monitor.

        I’ve been using the tests at Lagom dot nl, which I think is the calibration tests you’re talking about? I’m getting stuck on the Sharpness & Gamma page, because I have no way of making the image look uniformly gray, even when I step back as far as my room wall, and for the Gamma lines, they’re supposed to blend at the bottom, but they blend at the top for me. It’s a head-scratcher, but this is supposed to be a pretty great monitor, so I’m pretty tempted to just stop worrying. XD

        1. Aknownymous

          I know what you mean – sometimes it’s hard to see when you’re going up in quality, but when you get used to the new quality you’ll definitely notice when you go down in quality!

          I meant internal calibration tests, but that page works too! A tip is to squint your eyes so the picture is a bit blurry, the borders tend to blend better that way. Also to look straight at the monitor (if it’s angled it might distort the test). But overall, just do your best to match, even if it’s imperfect, then stop worrying and enjoy your fantastic new monitor :)

  18. Shell

    I broke up with my ex late last year (I think I mentioned it here). It was a good relationship, 5.5 years, and we parted on very good terms–no arguing, no fighting, we just knew for a long time that our life goes didn’t match up and were dating until it felt bad. I broke up with him, but I think I was more torn up about it. We only needed a few months of space and then went back to occasional texts, phone calls, etc., and while I can’t promise on his end, from my end, I have no desire to get back together and no residual feelings–we knew it wouldn’t work from the second year on, and we were/are both “the friends with exes” type.

    But now, it’s bothering me a little that he doesn’t even return my calls/texts anymore. I’m not saying I have to be a great priority in his life or anything, but he had made peace with the fact that we wouldn’t be together long term way before I did, and he was less upset about the relationship ending. He was the one who promised that I’d always be welcome at his place, stop by to hang out/borrow some games, etc. etc. The last time we talked was in March (he called, we talked for nearly an hour just catching up). He has always been flaky with texts even while we dated, but…I dunno, I guess I just don’t think a “hey, how goes things?” text takes much effort to respond to. I haven’t talked to him since that call in March, haven’t seen him since last November (new job for me, my life has been super hectic and I haven’t socialized with anyone much), and I got a brief text response back early June and nothing since.

    I know I can’t do anything about it, but I’m just a little sad. He’s like a very familiar stranger now.

    1. Elizabeth West

      *hug*
      It’s okay to feel that way–he was a big part of your life for quite a while, and now he’s not. This is a good thing, though; it frees you up so when someone who does match those goals comes along, then you will be ready to go.

    2. fposte

      I know; It’s weird when somebody who was an intimate part of your life just isn’t in it at all. I think sometimes people find that however much they want to stay friends in the moment, it just doesn’t work for them. I think it’s another dimension of mourning, even in a mutual breakup, when it turns out the friendship isn’t happening either, and I’m sorry.

    3. Dan

      I have some, but not a lot of experience in this area. I feel like women are the ones who suggest/want to be friends more than the guy does. Both genders may both say it, but I do feel like women want it/mean it a lot more.

      As a guy, friends with ex’s on a long term basis is hard. It’s easy to do in the short term, because that person’s absence now creates a void in your life, and being friends with them at least fills the void in the short term to some extent.

      One thing to keep in mind is that if you are always the one initiating contact, you have to be mindful that he
      But here’s the thing: As a guy, there’s limits to how much emotional support that I want to or even can give without getting some physical intimacy back. It’s actually draining for me, particularly so if that person and I used to be intimate together. That said, I do have female friends that have always been just that, and nothing more.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are always the one initiating the communication, that may be an indicator that he values the relationship differently than you do, and ignoring your texts is a passive way of saying “I don’t want to talk to you right now. Just because you initiate conversation doesn’t mean I’m obligated to respond and actually tell you that.”

      1. Shell

        Point well taken about how he values the relationship. I don’t actually rely on him for any emotional support post-breakup; the texts were something like “man, I really don’t know anything about cars!” or “hey, have you heard about the latest news on X?” (where X is a common interest) rather than venting about work/life/anything. Texts were maybe once a month, if that.

        Whether intentionally or not, his lack of timely response does indicate that our friendship is rather low on his priority list right now, and I can accept that. But…yeah, I guess I do feel a little sad about it, since we both said we were “friends with exes” type of people.

        1. Dan

          OK, since you’re talking specifics, those kinds of texts are the worst, at least for me.

          The situations a little different for me, but I recently went out with a girl a couple of times, and decided that I should stop pursuing her. IMHO, it was best if she reached out to me. I got the feeling she wanted space, so I was going to give it to her.

          So once a week or so, I’d get a message like the ones you wrote above… they are frustrating as hell for me. Certainly she wasn’t saying those things at face value, but what did she really want? In your examples, the first isn’t much of a conversation starter, and the second can be awkward, particularly if he didn’t care about the topic.

          While you both may have said you are friends with exes types, that’s really only meaningful if 1) You both actually want a friendship, and 2) you have something to sustain it with. Are you really friends if you have nothing in common?

          When a woman says, “let’s just be friends” how many guys on the spot are actually going to say “no, don’t ever contact me again?”

          1. Shell

            Ouch, I had thought low-key texts about common interests (we do have a lot) or lighthearted things was a good way to keep a light friendship going. (If memory serves he brought up the stay-friends thing before I did; I needed more space at first but I certainly agreed with it.) I guess it could be taken as not-face-value, though I certainly meant it that way.

            But regardless, while he has initiated contact previously I’m pretty much the one doing it now, so whatever his reasons I guess I’ll just have to let this one drift.

            This still sucks.

            1. Dan

              I like light hearted things for more established friendships. For “light friendships” or friendships that are getting established, I like more substantive things. With more established friendships, you’re likely to pick light stuff that the person will want to respond to.

              For ones that are dwindling on the vine, you risk picking the wrong subject, or making it difficult to respond to. Us guys tend to be literal, (and I’m worse than most) so if you ask me a question about reading X in the newspaper, and I haven’t, the answer is going to be “no.” My one-word answer is also indicative of the fact that I don’t care about subject X, either. So that puts you in a tough spot.

      2. Not So NewReader

        Well put. I have a male friend that says, “What is up with you women? How come exes have to get together and “talk about things”?” He is a friends with exes type person, also. But I think he means it in a context of if he runs into them in public or if there is a specific problem going on. For example, if her car broke down near his home then he would expect her to call him and not just sit there alone and stranded.

      3. Kardashev Type Three

        As a guy, there’s limits to how much emotional support that I want to or even can give without getting some physical intimacy back. It’s actually draining for me, particularly so if that person and I used to be intimate together

        It’s late, but the twin 9000s never actually sleep in any sense that we would understand, so I asked them for their take on this:

        9000-1: “He says if you want to talk to your ex-boyfriend, make it a booty-call.”

        9000-2: “For best results, it shouldn’t be a booty-call every time. It’s very well established that a random intermittent reinforcement schedule provides the maximum resistance to behavior extinction.”

        9000-1: “In this case, the ‘talking’ is the behavior and the ‘booty’ is the reinforcement. It’s pretty simple. Okay – so did you talk to her?”

        9000-2: “The French girl with the blue hair? We like her a lot.”

        9000-1: “Yeah, she’s got style. Ask her if she wants to be Queen of France, we’ll set it up.”

        *sigh* they saw a brochure on Google Fiber and for some reason they think I’m going to get it for them. Poor kids.

    4. Sunflower

      Echo what Dan said but also realize that some people aren’t good at showing their emotions. You say he got over the breakup easier but maybe he is dealing with a lot more and hiding it. People sometimes brush their feelings and emotions aside because they are too painful to deal with at the time. Eventually, they have to face what’s going on and it’s possible that’s whats happening here.

      If I was you, I would stop contacting him. If he wants to talk to you, he will. And don’t take it personally. There are many guys I have no ill will towards but would not be able to keep in touch with. It would only keep me hoping for something more and I’d never fully be able to move on. I would give him some space and let him contact you.

  19. Mrs. Featherbottom

    Any tips for cooling down after a workout? I’ve been going to the gym before work. I take a cool shower, get ready, then slowly walk about 1/4 mile to work. Once I sit down at my desk, which is about 45-60 minutes after my workout ends, I start sweating for 5-10 minutes.

      1. TJoie

        That explains a lot why sometimes I’m cool and relaxed after a workout and other times I remained hot and bothered for quite some time! I just realized sometimes I drink water right away (right from the fridge) and other times I… forget.

        *scribbling down reminder to drink cold water after a workout*

    1. Aknownymous

      I used to have that, too! It has helped me a lot to drink a large glass of ice cold water after my shower, to cool my body down from the inside. And I mean large, at least 20 ounces or more. I put it in the freezer before my workout so it’s really cold. It’s not the most comfortable feeling going down, but I’ll take that over the sweating any day :)

    2. Elizabeth West

      I have a small fan under my desk that I blow on myself after stair climbs. It both cools me off and dries me off. Also, I change my shirt before I do them and use a baby wipe to freshen up before I sit back down in front of the fan. Baby wipes are way cheaper than the fancy-pants cleansing wipes you buy in the cosmetic section.

    3. Cruciatus

      Other people have good suggestions. Are you drying your hair? I know I stay uncomfortably warm until I get it dry. At work I take a 5-10 minute walk in the morning and I’m fine…until I stop. I have a small USB fan at my desk that helps. Drinking water. And putting a cool, damp paper towel on my neck helps. Or if I can’t leave it there, just dabbing my neck with damp paper towel (sometimes my face at the hair line) and hitting it with that fan. If I can get my neck to chill out I tend to feel better.

      At home I turn a fan on me while I get ready and put my clothes on last. And I’m even in air conditioning! But I just stay warm a long time after working out. I hate stepping out of the shower because I immediately feel warm again after I start drying off.

  20. Melissa

    I tried to read Middlesex some time ago, and I couldn’t get into it. Maybe I have to pick it back up and try again…

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I actually tried it when it first came out and couldn’t get into it so only read a chapter or two. Then I tried again recently and was totally into it. It’s weird how that happens.

      1. Charlotte Collins

        I was never able to get past the first section (set in the 1920s). Then I decided that it worked as a complete novel and I didn’t have to read the second half. (It didn’t help that I wasn’t especially fond of the narrator when s/he first talks in the intro.)

  21. Mimmy

    Just want to thank everyone who replied to my post in last week’s open thread about my niece. I am happy to report that, as of a couple days ago, she’s doing better…the antibiotics did the trick!! My family never really gets into the gory details with me, but I’m sure it was very worrisome for all because my dad says her abscess was the size of a cherry tomato, and it was on her chest.

      1. Mimmy

        It was at first, at least the way I was interpreting my family’s reaction. I don’t think her life was in any immediate danger, but you never know.

  22. Amber Rose

    So I don’t have tendonitis in my foot. I have a giant cyst growing on one tendon that hurts whenever I bump it. So now I need an MRI and I’m scared about it. :(

    In better, super exciting news, we just put down a deposit on a tour of Japan for next year! We’re going to be in Kyoto for our 5th wedding anniversary, practicing meditation in a rock garden at a temple. How cool is that? I’m so stoked.

    1. Stephanie

      The MRI itself will be more dull than anything. It might be a bit rough if you’re claustrophobic. Hope the cyst isn’t anything too bad!

      1. Dynamic Beige

        I dunno, won’t they just stick her foot in? I’m not claustrophobic and had an MRI of my head (yay sinuses!) a few years ago. I just closed my eyes and tried to think pleasant things while remaining as still as possible. But I would think if it was a foot/leg, they would stick you in that way first?

        1. fposte

          That’s an interesting question. In my experience, you go in head-first, period; the headrest stuff is all at one end. But I don’t know why they’d *have* to do it that way; it seems like an annoying enough process that it would be worth it to both tech and patient to being able to slide in the other way.

          1. Aknownymous

            I had an MRI of my ankle a few years ago, and only my legs were in the tunnel. I actually wanted to have my whole body in there just to see how it looks like on the inside, but that request was turned down because it was not necessary.

            1. fposte

              Oh, that’s interesting. Wonder why that wasn’t an option for my back stuff–it would have been a lot easier on me, since I’m a bit claustrophobic.

              1. Aknownymous

                It might depend on the reason for the MRI. They want to make sure that they look at everything that could potentially be involved or affected, and with the back that could possibly include the entire spine. So I would speculate that it may have been a precautionary measure for comprehensive diagnostic purposes.

                1. fposte

                  I don’t think so, because I asked the doctor about getting pictures of a couple of different areas in advance, and they said they can only do the single requested slice. (“Could” meaning policy, not technology.) So maybe they just stick with the way they always did it just because. Which is annoying.

                2. Aknownymous

                  Oh really? Well, then I totally understand your annoyance, because it doesn’t make any sense to put the whole body in if you’re only focused on a specific area. I get policies and established protocol, but sometimes they just get in the way of common sense. My doctor wouldn’t let me put my whole body in because he felt it was unnecessary exposure to radiation.

                3. fposte

                  Was that maybe a CT scan and not an MRI? CT scans use radiation, but I don’t think MRIs do. Though maybe your doc didn’t want you exposed to magnetic fields?

            2. Dynamic Beige

              That makes the most sense to me. One would think that surely the scanning technology has the capability to rotate the image 180 degrees? Doesn’t make sense to put someone all the way in just to get pictures of the ankle.

              I don’t know if it’s still done but there was an Oprah show at least 10 years ago where she went to some private lab or something and got a full body scan. A friend of mine did it later, but it was only available in the States. I forget what the price was, I think around $1000. If you do some Googling, you could probably find out. So for the low, low price of $1K you could have all the images you wanted of your innards.

              In other healthcare scanning stuff, a former client of mine, his mother went for a checkup and they needed more scans as they thought she might have breast cancer (this is about 10 years ago, too). But, the waiting lists were really crazy long, I think she couldn’t get an appointment for 6 months. So he bunged his mother up in the car, drove to Buffalo, walked into a private for-profit scanning facility and was back in the doctor’s office with the scans by Monday morning. Truly ridiculous.

              1. fposte

                I’m in the US, and it took me 13 months to get a colonoscopy. So we get the joys of paying US prices *and* waiting.

              2. Aknownymous

                I’m still very curious, but I don’t know that I’m 1,000 dollars worth of curious! But interesting to know that the option exists if I ever decided to splurge on an intestinal photo shoot ;)

                1. Dynamic Beige

                  I saw The Truth About Exercise (BBC) last year and the presenter gets one at some point. It was actually very interesting, all the tests and things he did to assess his health and the fat in his blood. https://vimeo.com/51836895

                  Some Googling revealed that some place in Michigan was doing them for $500, but just about every other website was saying the radiation risk/future cancer risk of a full body CT scan is not worth satisfying your curiosity. So there’s that.

              3. Aknownymous

                Oooh, interesting, I’ll have to watch this later today! And live vicariously through him so I don’t put myself in harm’s way just to satiate my curiosity. I guess I’ll just have to make do with my unremarkable leg scan for now.

                1. fposte

                  Yeah, I’d love to see inside it all! Maybe do a Fantastic Voyage selfie.

                  The other risk, though, is that seeing irregularities makes interventions likelier, which means making risky and questionably necessary interventions likelier. I’m allopathic medicine all the way, but contemporary American medicine really isn’t good at differentiating between stuff it sees and stuff it has to do something about.

                2. Aknownymous

                  You’re right, very good point! Why is cold, harsh reality always interfering with my dreams? ;)

                3. Mimmy

                  Don’t some people get full-body scans when diagnosed with cancer, especially when it’s in a later stage? And people wonder why cancer recurs in many cases? (Or am I off-base?)

            1. fposte

              Dammit. That makes me really ticked off that they insist on shoving me in headfirst for stuff that’s even lower on the body.

              1. Dynamic Beige

                I’m sure you’ve asked if you can go in feet first (it’s the only way!) Which makes me wonder what they do for people who are seriously claustrophobic… suggest tranquilizers? You would think it would be faster to send someone in up to the knee starting at the foot, rather than the other way around.

                I actually had an MRI and a CAT scan and several X-rays of my head (because apparently if you have bits of metal in your head, the magnet is so strong they can be pulled out). Honestly, it was all so spread out, I can’t remember what was done when any more.

        2. Stephanie

          Ah. When I had a knee injury, I had to go all the way in. But the injury ended up being around the lower part of my femur.

    2. Elizabeth West

      Owww, is it a ganglion cyst or something like it? Those are no fun–my old coach had one. Don’t be scared–they can knock you out for the MRI if they have to. My dad is claustrophobic and has to be sedated for his. I’m sure the cyst is no big deal, but my fingers are crossed for you. :)

      1. Amber Rose

        Yep, that’s what it is. The MRI is just to figure out the best treatment option.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger

          I know you’re worried about what they’ll say will have to happen, but look at it this way: no matter what, you’re going to be worried about it until it happens, so you might as well get it over with as quickly as possible, otherwise you’re just prolonging it! Remember, postponing it won’t make it easier, it will just give you more to worry about.*

          *May be influenced by the fact that my dad has been in the hospital or rehab for THREE MONTHS now, and is finally scheduled to undergo an esophageal resection on Tuesday. I’ve been waiting for the surgery so we can finally start thinking about and dealing with what comes next; it’s felt like my life has been on hold for a while now, waiting for the surgery.

          1. Amber Rose

            I don’t get to choose though, they’ll call me and tell me when. It took 3 and a half weeks just for the ultrasound so I’m a little worried about that too. Maybe it’ll be months.

            Canadian healthcare may be free but it’s slooooow.

            1. The Cosmic Avenger

              Yes, but all you can do is to take care of whatever you can as soon as you can. We’re in the US, so you can see that surgery that you’d think would take place ASAP can be delayed months.

              And I didn’t mean to say not to worry or be concerned, just that I hope you don’t let that worry keep you from taking care of yourself or delaying that care.

    3. Shell

      For extremities, you can get an external MRI–basically a much smaller machine that you just stick you arm/leg into rather than roll your whole body into a full-sized MRI on a stretcher. I had an external MRI done on my right knee.

      I think the only hard part was staying still for so long!

      1. Not So NewReader

        We have a place here that advertises and open MRI. OP, check around and see what is available in your area, hopefully you can find something that both you and your doc are happy with.

        1. PriorityZero

          Open MRI is better than the tube, but Extremity MRI is truely just for arms & legs. The one I go too, looks like a big plastic donut and I stick my ankle inside while sitting in a lounge chair. It is only partially covered by my insurance, but TOTALLY WORTH IT!

        2. Amber Rose

          Sadly I don’t get to choose. It’s the trade off for not having to pay. I have to go to one of the hospitals and my doctor chooses which one.

          If it’s gonna take months to get in I may look into a private clinic but it’s about $800 and that’s really way more money than I have.

      2. Noah

        The ortho I was seeing for my knee had one of these in the office. It was the coolest thing and greatly sped up the process because his office didn’t have to schedule an appointment at an outside MRI center or hospital.

      3. ptrish

        Wait, what?!? I had to go all the way in, in a very uncomfortable position, for a wrist MRI. It was at a big teaching hospital–I wonder why they couldn’t do the external one.

    4. schnapps

      Don’t be worried about the MRI. They are dull. I had one on my knee (but I had to go in to the full body thing) and actually fell asleep despite all the thumping. Bring earplugs.

      1. Charlotte Collins

        I had an MRI in high school. It was boring, and everyone was worried about claustrophobia – which I don’t have. However, no one warned me that halfway through, they’d pull me out and give me a shot! (I’m terrified of needles.) It would have been nice to know.

        I remember thinking that it would be so much better if there were a screen to read right above my face (this was the 80s) – apparently the MRI made me think up an e-reader, but as a 14YO with very little programming knowledge, I did not patent my idea. :(

    5. anonymous daisy

      I had an MRI years ago and I had a hard time staying still. As I was rolling in, I had the sudden thought of “Oh, this must be what it feels like to be the penis!”

      And then the battle of trying not to giggle or laugh began. I wish my sense of humor wasn’t still stuck in junior high

    1. Stephanie

      Best: Pants! I found pants!

      Worst: HQ of my current employer called me about a FT role that I had applied to a month or so ago (when I was still a contractor). Since then, I’ve been converted to employee status, albeit still PT and not that well paid. The recruiter was like “Oh, you’re an employee now? We’re not doing any internal recruiting for this role, so I can’t continue with your application. I wished we had gotten a hold of you sooner before you were converted!”

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        Yay! Where did you find said pant?

        And… WTF? That sounds kind of ridiculous. I’m sure there are some rules there that I know nothing about, but honestly, that’s just nuts.

        1. Stephanie

          Gap, during its “Please come buy things, so our shareholders can stop being sad” sale. There were some deep discounts I’m guessing to get people in the door. I find their pants are friendly to the hippy.

          1. Melissa

            YES yes yes. Gap jeans are my favorite. I am also hippy, and I find that they fit really well around my hips without being ridiculously big in the waist. If you are nearby a factory outlet, you can find them for super cheap – usually around $30, and one time I went in there and bought two pairs for $11 a piece. They are still my two favorite pairs of jeans.

            Also lol @ “please come buy things so our shareholders can stop being sad” sale. Gap really isn’t doing too well right now.

            1. Sunshine Brite

              Maybe if their shirts were as nice quality as the pants. I went through the outlet by me awhile back and would’ve had to layer up at least 3 stand-alone shirts to not be advertising my bra everywhere.

          2. Liane

            Another Yay pants!/Boo job-rules!

            I will have to check out Gap for pants. Thanks for the tip.(How’d I miss the memo about their pants?)

        1. Stephanie

          (Alison, delete if too work related!) So not sure, but I’m guessing it was her botched way of saying that either they were looking for externals only or the period for recruiting internal candidates had passed. (OldJob usually posted a job internally for a couple of weeks first before it was posted externally.) But it seemed a little too “Must follow all the rules! All the rules!”, especially considering I technically didn’t finish my contractor assignment before I was hired on.

          Oh well. It was an interview, not an offer and things would have gotten awkward since I would have needed buy-in from from my manager for the job I just started Monday.

          1. Audiophile

            That is super confusing. Where are you working that your new manager would have a say in an internal position?

            1. Stephanie

              A big ol’ stodgy company. I’m unsure if you need official buy-in, but managers usually find out if you make it to the later stages.

              1. Audiophile

                Buy -in?

                I can understand having to notify your manager, but manager saying “Stephanie can’t be moved from my dept, no matter how much you want her.” Just seems insane.

      2. Trixie

        And they can’t make some kind of allowance for the fact you were a contractor when you applied? Or within in a certain time period? Seriously, I’m sorry to hear that.

    2. Mimmy

      Best: My niece is doing much better!

      Worst: Nothing really. The week has actually been a bit dull.

    3. Anonymosity

      Best: On Tuesday, I heard my work crush was moving to a different area on campus–no more random running into each other. :( So I worked up the courage to ask him via IM if he wanted to get coffee and talk outside work sometime. He said yes! I gave him my number and he said he’d text me and we’d figure something out. :D

      Worst: He hasn’t texted me yet and I am dying. D:

      Then I saw this and cried laughing. Seriously, God, don’t do this LOL.
      http://www.buzzfeed.com/benhenry/keep-your-hands-to-yourself-doris#.jqPlk5WJy

        1. Anonymosity

          Oh God me too. >_<
          Just once, I'd like something I want to happen the way I want it to.

    4. Elkay

      Best: 4 day week!

      Worst: The hotel I’m due to stay at on our holiday (which I’ve been planning for the last 12+ months on and off) is going through refurbishment when we’re there. I’m waiting to hear what compensation they’ll offer.

    5. Melissa

      Best: I told my postdoc advisor that I was leaving the postdoc – and academia – for a new job. I thought she’d flip out and/or be disappointed, but she was super supportive and happy for me. She’s already talking about the times she plans to be in Seattle and how we can meet up for drinks when she comes into the city :) Yay!

      Worst: My husband and I live 4 hours apart right now, and every now and then a week gets hard for no particular reason. This week was just one of those weeks – I missed him a lot, and he was really busy at work so we didn’t get to chat during the day as much as we normally do (instant messaging).

    6. Ruffingit

      Best: Donated blood and they were able to get the vein on the first try. That does not happen often. Also, having dinner with mom tonight, girls night out thing.

      Worst: Tired. Tired of stupid BS at work, tired of friends dealing with BS in their lives. Just tired.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Is fatigue in the air or what?! I went in to take a short nap and woke up HOURS later. I called my friend and he said he did the same thing AND another friend did the same thing. A fatigue epidemic. Sometimes we gotta call a “time out” on everything especially when the BS gets too heavy and too deep. I hope something cool happens for you this week.

        1. StillHealing

          Oh gawd. Me too. It was one of my worst weeks fatigue -wise. Left work one day after just three hours and went home to sleep. Fell asleep at a red light on the way home. I slept until 7pm then got up, ate dinner then back to bed again.

        2. Ruffingit

          I’m calling a time out today. My plan is to lay in bed most of the day napping off and on while I get some things done I need to do, but can be done via computer. The fatigue thing is definitely in the air, so many people have just been get home, drop in the bed, sleep until dawn tired this last week. I’ve gone off sodas the last couple of weeks and will be improving my nutrition this week so I’m hoping to feel less tired physically. As for the emotional BS, well, it is what it is and I’m trying to focus on other things that make me happy so as to combat that.

          1. StillHealing

            Great plan!

            After I got up, ate breakfast and read your posts and others that showed up over night- I went back to bed and slept for a couple more hours. I seriously could have slept all day….

      2. TJoie

        Oh man the last time I had blood taken the technicians messed up so badly (poked me in 5 different places, wiggled the needle around, and jabbing when hitting “something hard is here” <- I kid you not about this!) that I now have scar tissues. :_( I don't even know if those spots are usable anymore.

        My doctor used to be able to get blood on the first try… Now I'm hoping for that again. I got so jealous when I read your post lol so I had to comment.

        1. Nina

          As someone who will be doing phlebotomy work eventually, that makes me cringe. You’re never supposed to poke around blindly like that; it causes bruising, not to mention it’s painful for the patient. Sorry you had to go through that.

        2. Ruffingit

          UGH, so sorry you had to go through that, I know how painful that is. I had a phlebotemist do the digging thing a couple of times too so now I say “If you can’t get the vein, please do not dig.” And most of the time, they’re good with that, they don’t give me attitude about it. Don’t get too jealous, getting blood on the first try is a rarity for me. :) My veins don’t like to come out and party. They are introverts.

          1. Aknownymous

            No one can draw blood out of my right arm because veins won’t cooperate, but everyone always insisted on trying because it’s my dominant arm. One day I finally had enough, and I refused to give them my right arm, and they got concerned that I was hiding injection marks (!!) I’m no expert on heroin use, but I feel like one would use their dominant arm to inject, and thus the marks would be on my left arm if it were the case. Anyway, I sympathize – my right arm has suffered a lot of abuse over the years.

      3. Elizabeth West

        Ouch!
        I gave blood a couple of weeks ago and they had to stick me twice (try the other arm). The guy figured the needle got plugged. That happens sometimes–it used to happen when I had blood taken when I was on warfarin.

        Hey, I got three Little Debbies oatmeal cream pies out of the deal, though. :D

    7. zora

      Best: Had two dates (first real dates in a Loooonnggg time and first ever from Tinder) and I was kind of freaking out, but they were both pretty fun! And one was totally awesome (and might or might not have stayed over).

      Worst: Another week of failure where I was unable to force myself to do a single job application, so I’m pretty mad at myself and stressed about needing a job.

    8. Mallory Janis Ian

      Best: dinner and drinks with friends from my old job on campus. I’m really glad that I’m still on their radar for invitations to lunches and dinners and exercise walks around campus. I thought we might have been work friends only while I was in the same job, so it’s nice to know that our friendship extends beyond the office. I didn’t want to lose them when I switched jobs.

      Worst: I opened a new credit card to transfer the balance of the one I’d cut up and was no longer using. They were offering zero interest on transfers for eight months, which would help me pay off my debt of $1200. But when I got the new card, I shopped out of weakness and added another $1200 to my debt. Because I’m a money-management idiot. :-(

      1. danr

        Well, the new way this works is that the card company has to apply your payments to the higher interest charges first and the zero interest transfer second. NOW… put that card away until the new stuff is paid off.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian

          That’s good to know, danr! I’m going to cut the new card and quit doing any more credit card spending.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian

          Good idea! I am having buyer’s remorse, and dome of the stuff hasn’t even been delivered yet. I could send it right back without trying it on and I’d feel better and stronger.

    9. The IT Manager

      I can’t think of a worst, “yay.”

      BESTS: I ordered a new bike for cruising around my neighborhood which will be delivered this week. I discovered that my old bike rack which I though only fit hatchbacks (my old car) actually is very versatile and will fit my sedan w/ trunk and I discovered this before I sold it on Craig’s List.

    10. danr

      BEST: we’re getting our deck replaced and we probably don’t need a new roof. A roofer will look later and say for sure. And we’re getting another shed, so we can move the mower and chipper out of the garage and use it for a car (weird, I know).
      WORST: family stuff, but it’s an ongoing saga.

    11. NicoleK

      BEST: I’ve booked a vacation
      WORST: Work stress is morphing into anxiety. I hate having to work with new coworker.

    12. Ann Furthermore

      Best: Went to Pittsburgh this week for work. I was dreading it, but it was actually very productive. I did some one-on-one training with a guy who I had not been able to spend much time with during the big testing events on this project we just took live. Really nice guy, tried really hard, but needed some extra hand-holding. And for him it was very helpful to be trained in his own work space.

      As an added bonus, I was born in Pittsburgh and lived there until I was about 7. We finished up work early, and I had time to drive through the old neighborhood and grab pictures of the houses we lived in, and put them on Facebook for my mom and sister. It was a neat surprise for them.

      And as another added bonus, having to travel this week got me out of having to go camping this weekend. LOL.

      Worst: Work stuff — we haven’t been able to run this program that is the foundation of this huge implementation we just did, and I’m sick of worrying about it.

    13. anonymous daisy

      Best – I have hoarding tendencies and I was able to get rid of several items from my apartment and felt great about doing it. Usually, I am more angst filled. Progress!

      Worst – I had more junk food than I wanted to this week. I just need to rein that tendency more.

    14. StillHealing

      BEST: Husband (soon to be ex) finally got his vacation payout from job he quit six weeks ago. He gave me my half….well, almost half. As close to half as he’ll ever give me and he moved it into our one remaining joint account for me yesterday. (My Lawyer is going to be pretty unhappy when I update her and will probably tell me it was rightfully mine and to make sure the Court knows, etc.)

      WORST: Husband lied about it not having been Direct Deposited. He said his Direct Deposit was mysteriously “canceled “. He didn’t know where the check was. I knew better and tracked down the check number in the system (we worked for the same employer) and it clearly showed it was a Direct Deposit.

      I wish the divorce was over and that I didn’t need Spousal Maintenance or to contact him ever again.

      1. Elkay

        Urgh at least you know he’s a big fat liar now (if you didn’t already) and you can be on the alert for any other mystery missing money.

        1. StillHealing

          Yep. He has taken the Lying, Lying by Omission, and Gaslighting up to whopping levels. Ugh.

    15. Friendly Neighborhood QA Tech

      Best: Moving out, and ALMOST DONE LOADING THE TRAILER. Lease starts… TOMORROW! And my roomate is my best friend of half my life, and it means I can adopt a cat, who I already found.

      Worst: Mother is in utter bitch mode about me moving out. THE REST OF TODAY LEFT UNTIL I CAN ESCAPE.

    16. Liane

      Worst: No job yet. And it’s a “Can’t afford to be picky about job” situation.

      Best: a freelance writer for 1 of my favorite roleplaying game lines was kind enough to help me tailor my “base” resume for that field, plus gave me a lesson in Cover Letter Writing and said he’d look over mine when I wrote it!

    17. AvonLady Barksdale

      Best: one of my closest friends texted me on Monday and asked to talk, and we were on the phone for over 2 hours. I miss her a lot, and it was so good to have that time. She’s had a really hard time over the last couple of months, and because of the way she copes, my being far away means that we just haven’t connected.

      Worst: it is SO HOT here. I don’t want to do anything, which makes me feel lazy, but… SO HOT.

    18. OfficePrincess

      Best: I took an excellent and much-needed nap yesterday.
      Worst: Lots of work stuff. It seems like everyone wants to dump drama on my plate.

    19. My best/worst

      Worst: Kind of a toss-up between several things… but I guess the root of why things feel blah right now is PMS in a big way.

      Best: Also hard to choose, but I guess listening to Kate Mulgrew’s book on audio “tape” was a highlight.

    20. Kardashev Type Three

      Worst: Somehow I managed to hork up my sleep cycle. Friday and Saturday were spent sleeping, and not particularly well.

      Good: I had a couple of really good interviews this week! I hope they both accept.

      Better: both kids home again for the weekend!

      Best: reading here that Anonymosity asked her Work Crush if they’d like to get coffee and talk outside of work sometime! These things are always a crap-shoot, but I’m really rootin’ for her!

    21. Nashira

      Best: I made it through the week without having to leave work early due to happy fun triggered PTSD, and there’s only 2.5 days til I see the psychiatrist. Since the shrink is what’s triggering me… That’s a good thing.

      Worst: I would give my left arm for emotional support beyond just my (fantastic) partner and my therapist, but there is no one in my life who can give it.

  23. S

    Southern California readers, how do you feel about the weather today?

    I hate humidity so this is my worst nightmare, but I know we need the rain and the moisture so I’m glad it’s happening… I just wish the rain and thunder hadn’t woken me up at 8 am when I have late-night plans tonight!

    1. Stephanie

      We’re having similar weather in Phoenix (same storm system, I believe). I actually don’t mind the humidity too much! No nosebleeds and I can use a lot less skin and hair moisturizer. And we need the rain, too.

    2. Melissa

      We had similar weather last night in central PA. Normally my dog isn’t afraid of thunder, but it was bad enough last night that she practically tried to climb on top of me. I didn’t sleep too well last night (combination of thunder + dog).

      1. abby

        We don’t get thunder often, so both cats spent much of the afternoon under the bed. ;)

    3. abby

      I also dislike the heat and humidity, but I really like summer rain. I really hate when the tropical storm systems are close enough that we can see the clouds behind the mountains and we get the intense heat and humidity, but no rain. So I really enjoyed today. Opened all the windows to listen to and smell the rain, hear the thunder. Now it’s nice and cool. Still humid, but at least it’s not hot.

    4. pinky

      in MA we have had the most awesome weather this summer, and I keep saying people in CA who have this awesome summer weather all year must be the happiest people on earth! Summer all year, and no snow! You folks are so lucky in CA!!!!!

    5. Lulubell

      I’m enjoying it simply because I had nothing major planned today. If I’d had a party, or date, or tennis match, or something else planned, I’d be super annoyed. Instead, I’ve been happily catching up on AAM all day!

    6. danr

      Well, we were woken up by thunder rumbles at 7 this morning… but we’re on the East Coast. Heat and humidity is standard summer fare here and it means rain every few days. It’s what California needs.

    7. Revanche

      Hate humidity + touching people. Which means carrying my kiddo around this weekend feels gross :) but we need the rain so I try not to complain.

  24. Anoninlaw

    I need a place to rant as I can’t really vent elsewhere. My in laws have always been difficult but this week they upped their game. We’re being turned into the black sheep of the family because we aren’t able to attend a birthday party that they planned without us. They all live within an hour’s drive of each other and we live six hours away. The reason we can’t attend is because my other half is taking their final professional exams, the ones they’ve been working towards for the past three years. These exams can’t be rescheduled, we have no say in the scheduling but we’re awful people because we won’t be at the party.

    1. littlemoose

      That is patently ridiculous. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. Hopefully their jerkiness about the party will pass (although I realize people who would behave that way in the first place may be the grudge-carrying type, which is doubly crappy).

    2. AvonLady Barksdale

      Ugh, that sucks. We’re in a similar situation– my bf’s family planned a family beach vacation for the week my bf had his preliminary exams for his PhD (last week, actually), and then they gave him crap for not being there. Mind you, they scheduled it AFTER he told them which dates would not work for him. I have no advice, just sympathetic sighs for you.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger

      You know what’s REALLY awful? Trying to guilt grown-ups for making responsible choices instead of encouraging the codependence of their dysfunctional family.

    4. Ruffingit

      Good lord, you may be better off being the black sheep of this family because blending in with this craziness is ridiculous. I skipped a lot of stuff when I was studying for and taking the Bar Exam. Everyone around me was super understanding. Ridiculous that his family isn’t.

    5. Melissa

      Ugh, my in-laws are like that too sometimes – really, actually, just my mom-in-law. My husband is the only one who doesn’t live nearby – their other two daughters live in-town (one’s in college 3 hours away but she’s home many weekends). They opened their new church earlier this year and gave us like a week’s notice to ask if we could fly down from New York to Atlanta to come. Um…no? We don’t have money or time like that! His mom got all huffy and upset, saying “everyone else will be there.” Yes, because they all live in a 20-minute radius of you, sorry. They were also like that about a trip to Aruba that she let us know about a month in advance…I don’t even have a passport (I lost mine some time ago and never replaced it, because I haven’t had the need or money). When I mentioned that, she told me that I could always get it expedited! …which costs more money.

      It’s just from a place of selfishness…your in-laws are thinking about themselves and their own needs/wants, not your other half’s. It’s also, at least in my MIL’s case, about control. My husband has pointed out to them before that if they included us in the planning and/or let us know farther in advance, we could’ve come to an agreement about a time we could come down. This leads to silent huffiness. She doesn’t want to plan things with you; she wants to plan things herself down to the last detail and just expects you to show up.

      Sorry about it, but know you’re definitely not alone with that. Good luck to your other half on the exams.

      1. Ruffingit

        Oh holy moly, getting a passport expedited is a horrendous amount of money and only should be done if you need to skip the country after a murder. Geeze.

        Sounds like your MIL is incredibly selfish.

      2. Anoninlaw

        We can’t use money as an excuse because they’d just pay and be like “problem solved”. It is selfish because I know there will be not a jot of interest in how the exams go.

      3. Marcela

        She doesn’t want to plan things with you; she wants to plan things herself down to the last detail and just expects you to show up.

        I think I just had a revelation. The light is so bright! :D That is precisely what happens with my FIL, who can’t be bothered to tell us his plans for his visit in August, although he knows my husband has to ask permission before taking days off. I used to think it was simply lack of respect, that nobody matters but him and what he wants, but no, this is about control: “I am Father and I decide the destiny of these persons”. Blegh…

    6. Not So NewReader

      Being six hours away would be reason enough for me. Six hours of travel takes planning and if finances are tight then that means start planning even earlier.
      “Gee, if you really wanted us to be there you would have asked much earlier so we could plan for it. We can’t just beam ourselves down to you.”
      “Going forward, please remember that we need X months/weeks advance notice so that we can plan our trip.”

      If they hadn’t gotten pissy over this, then it would have been some other “major transgression”. Well, no matter how pissy they get you guys still are not going to be able to show up. They can’t get angry enough to make you materialize. That won’t work out for them. Frankly, why, oh, why would anyone want to drive 6 hours to see angry people???

      1. Ruffingit

        Yeah, that’s what I don’t get either. People get so angry, huffy, whatever, which doesn’t make me want to come, it has the opposite effect in fact. I guess this kind of thing does work for some people, but I still don’t get it because what they get is people who were forced into it in a way. I guess they don’t care if the people around them are happy, they only care that they got their way.

      2. Anoninlaw

        We’re already pretty set on not going there for a while after our last visit when we’d got up at 5am to get on a flight then found ourselves sitting alone as they all went off to do other things (it was gradual creep they didn’t all stand up together). If we’re going to sit alone it will be on our own couch!

    7. danr

      Well, they set you up to fail, so don’t give in. 1st… Are you the first professionals in the family? If so, they’re all jealous. 2nd, if the profession is one that folks look for free advice, don’t ever give any. If they insist as “family”, tell them you’re giving them a break and quote a number that is at least double or triple the going rate. And finally, if your family is more reasonable, see them as much as you can.

    8. Revanche

      Ugh I’m sorry. It’s so selfish and arrogant to think they can dictate everyone else’s lives. My family are being the same about some vacation thing they dreamed up. Never mind budgets, let’s vacation whenever we want!

      1. Ruffingit

        I’d love to be able to vacation whenever, wherever no matter the cost. But I think that is how the 1% lives and I certainly am not in that category. So many people just fail to remember that others have lives and responsibilities that don’t usually go well with “drop everything and GO!”

        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          I cannot tell you how many conversations with my mother include, “Mother, I have a job with limited vacation time, so NO.”

    9. anonymous daisy

      Meh. Let them be upset. They gave up the right to have a sympathetic response when they crossed into the crazy. Just be matter of fact about it and send a card from the dollar store.

      I had a friend like that who wanted me to skip a marathon that I had trained six months for with Team in Training and had spent every Sunday for three months fundraising for so I could go to her birthday party. Just a blunt no from me after she tried guilt tripping me and I would just change the subject when she would want to talk about my ‘betrayal’.

      1. Anoninlaw

        Gift and card already set to arrive on the day because that’s a big thing for me (not so for them but I live by my values). Thankfully, they don’t talk to me so I don’t have to hold my tongue.

    10. anonymous daisy

      Also, it might help to remember that they have to live with the effects of their quirks and weirdness 24/7. You only get to see that on occasion. It’s difficult to deal with people with this and I am sure that they don’t save this part of themselves just for you. They probably dish it out to everyone they meet.

    11. Catherine in Canada

      My mother pulled this one when I said I couldn’t come to her second husband’s birthday party. The day after my four-year old son was seriously burned (2nd and 3rd degree burns, 11% of his body – this is close to life-threatening).
      I asked if they and my sisters could come to my house instead, an hours drive away. “No, and couldn’t I leave him for a few hours?”
      That was 20 years ago and I still hear about it. I stopped expecting much from her ’round about then…
      And son is fine, he healed well with no infections and very little scarring. He’ll never have chest hair but frankly neither of us care.

  25. The IT Manager

    This is for SandrineSmiles or anyone else with hair of an unusual/unnatural color. How hard is it to keep your hair up?

    I’ve been thinking of dying my hair an unnatural color for a while now; although, my discovery that I will need to bleach my dark brunette hair first is a disincentive. I was thinking that a dark color like purple or blue would be able to cover without bleach but consensus on the internet is that my thinking was wrong.

    I didn’t start coloring my hair until about 6 years ago and even then it was only natural color or highlights. I was scared of it going bad and looking silly and being out of military regs. Now I work from home so people at work won’t even know unless I suddenly have to travel which doesn’t seem that likely.

    Now I am ready to go unnatural but my major concerns are (1) The roots are going to start to show fast. How to you deal with that? Do you just let it come in or do you bleach and dye just the roots every month/few weeks? (2) What do you you do when you’re ready to go back to your natural color? (ie when I am tired of fighting roots) Can you just cover the dye job with something close to your natural color? Now knowing that there will be leaching involved, what do I have to worry about with that?

    I have very short hair now, so if things get messed up it won’t take too long to grow out. If I get enough sun I get a bit of a reddish tinge to the brown (blonde is not natural on me at all so I have never been terribly fond of highlights). And I am starting to get a good number of gray hairs in the mix, but I am still definitely a brunette.

    1. fposte

      When I was looking in to this, my stylist had colors that she swore you didn’t need to bleach for, and she had a gallery of what each color would look like on each color hair. It was really cool, and also very helpful in thinking about the results. Maybe you can look for that?

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        Ooooooooooh I am following this to – if anyone has a link I would be eternally grateful!

    2. Claire (Scotland)

      My natural hair colour is a dirty dark blonde/light brown and I have been dyeing it a dark purple with lighter brighter purple slices in the longer section on one side for the last few months. My salon uses Aveda Full Spectrum Hair Colour to dye it, customising the colour as needed. I get it recoloured every seven weeks or so. When I’m tired of it, I’ll get the salon to dye it a different colour. As it’s short, it’ll grow out fast so i like to experiment with it. I’m hoping to move to a more blue colour next time.

      I don’t find the roots get too noticeable in the seven weeks or so between colouring, I mostly get it redone that often because purple (like blue) fades quite a lot and after six or seven weeks the colour doesn’t have the same impact.

    3. Cristina in England

      I used to do this, and I found the following:
      -shorter hair made it so much easier to deal with damaged ends
      -Yes, bleach, even for purple, but if you’re DIYing, you can get facial bleach (for lady mustaches) that is a little easier to deal with than BLEACH bleach. I was going for the crayola kind of color, FWIW
      -I thought I would be crazy about maintaining roots but I found I liked how it looked with 1-3 weeks of dark roots. I re-bleached them every month, once they got to be about an inch long.
      -Since I was a student and wanted to experiment with ALL THE COLORS, I used temporary dye. It was a nightmare because it got on everything (phone, towels, pillowcases).
      -I went back to brown (just redyed it brown out of a box) when I got tired with the maintenance, the staining of everything I owned, and when I ran out of colors to try.

    4. SandrineSmiles (France)

      I will admit that when my hair was this blue, I had my naturally dark hair bleached, dyed blue and then I just used the appropriate shampoo. Just tough to maintain for longer than two months.. A touch up every 4 weeks doesnt seem too bad of an idea :p (in the end I got lazy and looked like a giant mop for a while)

    5. LisaLee

      Before I got my job, I had a whole rainbow of different hair colors.

      It sounds like if you want a really intense color and not just a shine over your regular color, you’ll have to bleach your hair. It really isn’t as scary as it sounds.

      The way I did it first, which I think is pretty easy for beginners, was with a Splat hair color kit and then the my color of choice (I like Adore Creative Image Hair Color, which can be had on Amazon for like $5 and is amazingly colorfast). Do not use the actual color from Splat, it sucks. I just like the kits because it’s easy to start with something that has clear directions and is premeasured, rather than trying to do the mixing yourself.

      Purple or blue is a good choice for your first time. Things in the red family like pink require a lot of upkeep because they fade fast and go ugly-orange. When I did blue, it faded to a nice mint color and I didn’t feel the need to constantly redo it.

      I think it’d be pretty easy to dye over the unnatural color, especially if you’re using a dark brunette color. I’ve successfully dyed over unnatural colors with both light auburn and light brown hair dye, so a darker color would certainly work. I wouldn’t be concerned about doing this on bleached hair as long as you’re not dyeing over it after only a few days. The only time I’ve felt like I damaged my hair was when I dyed it twice in 24 hours, which was a dumb thing to do anyway.

    6. The IT Manager

      Thanks, everyone who replied. Your answers are giving me confidence (especially that it can be colored over if necessary). I’m definitely going to stew over it for a few more weeks because that’s how I roll but I am leaning toward giving it a try. I plan have it done at my salon because I am nervous and willing pay to not mess it up or make a mess of things at my place (<- lazy about cleanup).

  26. acmx

    Anyone have resources for window blinds/shades? I have an odd size window – 51″ It’s also short at around 37″.

    1. fposte

      Depends on your budget. Most of the big names–Hunter-Douglas, Bali–do it via custom measurement anyway. If a roller blind is your kind of thing, you can probably make your own (a lot of tutorials turn up when I Google) or cut down something existing.

    2. Cristina in England

      I don’t know where you live, but here you can get cut-to-order/made-to/measure/custom/bespoke blinds very easily online, and you can usually get free swatches first. I tried to include all the terms I could think of, but start by searching with those! :-) Good luck.

      1. Cristina in England

        sorry that list should have been:
        -cut to order
        -made to measure
        -custom
        -bespoke

    3. Sparrow

      We used a company called Budget Blinds to do all the windows in our new house. I think they are national. One thing we liked about the company was that they had a 5-year no questions asked replacement policy. There were also a lot of options to choose from. The owner of the company came out to take measurements and gave us estimates based on the styles we chose. We are not DIY people, so it was nice to have someone else take care of the installation.

    4. The Cosmic Avenger

      We’ve had good luck with Next Day Blinds (US). They made every one custom for us, and it was pretty cheap to boot. They’re still working pretty well over 15 years later.

    5. skyline

      I was able to get mine easily cut to size at my local Lowe’s. Took the measurement twice, went in, found one that had sufficient width, and then had the staff member make the cuts to the sizes I needed. For blinds, you can usually remove the extra slats from the bottom to make them the correct length for your window.

      (I’ve had to replace blinds in both of my living room windows thanks to the cats. I am not taking any bets on how long the current ones will last.)

    6. Lily in NYC

      JC Penney has great window treatments at a wide variety of prices. I liked the shades I got there better than expensive one I bought from pottery barn.

  27. TheLazyB

    Does anyone else get a physical, visceral reaction to music?

    Interested in both yes and no answers. My husband and I both love music, and have similar but not totally overlapping tastes. But I get very physical reactions to some music – there’s a chord progression in Carmen somewhere with cellos which honestly gives me shivers no matter how many times I hear it, and certain lines give me chills (both musically and lyrically – often it’s the combo of the two). It’s not sexual but related.

    DH does not have this reaction, and I think he thinks I’m weird for it. I personally think he’s missing out. So I’m just really interested to know how common both our experiences are.

    In case you’re wondering, as a child I played piano to grade 5 and viola to grade 7 (grade 8 was just beyond me, sigh) and was in a youth orchestra (hated rehearsals but LOOOOOOVED the concerts enough to make it worthwhile). I did music theory to grade 8. He had no formal music tuition but taught himself done guitar and was in a band.

    You?

    1. TheLazyB (UK)

      Oh god, listening to the last NIN album right now and a line in ‘While I’m still here’ just sent shivers down my spine.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        I do not. I first heard of that when I was 18 and have been jealous of synaesthetes ever since :)

    2. Carrie in Scotland

      I think we’re totally going to have to meet one day.

      My answer is yes: at the moment there is this bit between the chorus and the 2nd verse starting of a song by my favourite band that hardly anyone ever has heard of (BRMC) and I dunno, there’s just something about it. And there are other ones too, but this one is the one I’m thinking of right now. There’s another song by that band which is a b-side on a single and there’s something about the harmonica in it that…I dunno. It gives me the feels.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        Hehe I think it’s Glasgow you’re moving to? totally do-able on the train from Newcaslte (or vice versa!)

        Glad someone else gets it!

    3. Cruciatus

      It doesn’t happen to me too often, but one I can think of (and am almost embarrassed about) is in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when Joseph’s family finally realizes it’s him after all those years thinking he was dead, and they go “Joseph, Joseph, is it really true? Joseph, Joseph is it really you?” Goose bumps, every time. I don’t know why. Everything I know about Joseph I know from this musical so it’s not a story I grew up with and hold close to my heart or anything. It just hits me.

      There are others but I just can’t think of them at the moment. But I was listening to Joseph more recently so it came to mind quicker.

        1. TheLazyB (UK)

          Ah I don’t get it from that music but I can totally get why others would, both musically and lyrically.

      1. OriginalEmma

        I was thinking the same thing. The ending guitar bit of “Comfortably Numb” hits me on a physical level.

    4. Eva G.

      What you’re describing is a personality trait called Aesthetic Appreciation, a facet of the factor Openness to Experience which is one of the Big Five personality traits that academic psychologists use to describe individual differences. I’m fairly low on it (though I’m high on other facets of Openness) but I have a lot of people in my life who are high on it and when I note how much enjoyment they get out of stuff I totally feel like I’m missing out! :) I like music, but it’s pretty rare that I react strongly to it, and visual arts, theater and poetry all leave me indifferent. I wish I were more reactive because it doesn’t really seem to come with any downsides, just more zest in life. Alas, my brain is not wired that way. I have actually seriously considered trying psychedelic drugs on the (anecdotal and poorly-researched) hypothesis that it might permanently alter my brain chemistry to make me higher on AA.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        I’ve started to realise that listening to the music I love is really, really important to my mental health. Strange how different we all are…

      2. TheLazyB (UK)

        I also meant to say that I am really glad and excited to find out It Is a Thing and even has a name! Thank you!

      3. Mallory Janis Ian

        I’m really envious of people who feel music deeply like this. I don’t have the same depth of feeling. I like and appreciate music and I can be emotionally moved by it, especially when it is paired with an emotional moment in a play or a movie, but I can tell that some other people are more affected than I am. I don’t know if more emotional openness is something that can be developed. I scored pretty low for this on the big five assessment, to my sadness.

    5. fposte

      With the physical component, this also sounds a little bit like how some people describe ASMR. For me music enjoyment is usually pretty different from ASMR, in that it’s usually much more conceptual, especially music with lyrics, and cognitive (often associated with a particular time or place), but that’s just me.

      Though now that I think about it some of my mostly keenly felt musical moments are instrumental. Huh.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        Oooh that’s interesting, I find ASMR really interesting to read about but always thought it was entirely irrelevant to me. I may have to explore this further.

    6. Mimmy

      I get goosebumps very easily when listening to certain songs, and it’s often just the same particular part of a given song. It might be a particular note (often by rock/hard rock singers) or certain instruments….it’s really hard to explain. I’ve had that reaction even with certain song lyrics (one case in particular is because I follow a particular artist to the point of being familiar with her personal story, and one of her new songs reflects a “happy ending” of sorts to her story).

      My husband gets chills too, but not nearly as randomly as I do.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        Yep yep this is really close to my experience. So glad to know it’s not just me!

      2. TJoie

        Ditto this!

        But for me, over time, when my emotional connection to the artists wanes (think years), I lose that sensation.

    7. Aknownymous

      I get physical reactions sometimes, but they’re not always the same, and not always in response to the same things. I listen to and enjoy most genres of music, so I can have a reaction to anything from a pounding beat in rap, to a rapid-fire banjo in bluegrass, to a searing crescendo in a movie score, to the tone of the artist’s voice on a particular note. I can get chills, or feel really excited, or start crying. It’s very strange. The common thread though is that I feel almost an addictive obsession when I experience this, and I’ll play the track (or part of it) over and over again. I’ve never shared this with anyone because I thought it might make me appear a bit unhinged, but I’m glad I’m not the only one with this, ehm, affinity ;)

      1. Mallory Janis Ian

        If I could experience a reaction like that, I would repeat it over and over again, too. I’d consider it a gift to be wired to experience music in that way.

        1. Aknownymous

          That’s such a nice thing to say! Up until I read this thread, I thought I was weird, but all the affirmative comments here have really changed my perspective :)

    8. nep

      Can’t really even put into words what certain music does to me. It’s a magnificent, beautiful force and I’d never want to live without it.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        YES. It’s like magic.

        I was listening to a CD the other day and suddenly was overwhelmed by singing. Storytelling in musical form. It blew my mind, man, and I am 39 :)

    9. Sunday

      Yep. Especially voices. Differing responses to differing voices, though my preference is for full bodied, rounded voices; Cher sings that way, Mariah Carey, Bobby McFerrin; but mostly I chose to listen to classically trained voices in opera and art song. Movie/theatre music composers would be happy to know how well I respond to their work, too. Music training may or may not be relevant. Heard a young woman sing the mad scene from Lucia in an opera open house setting and the toddlers and little kids were transfixed. She was amazing, and the kids knew it. Like the story of Joshua Bell playing his violin at a metro station in DC – it was kids more than grownups who were taken with his music.

      1. nep

        Do you like Whitney Houston’s voice? Her rendition of the the national anthem at the ’91 Superbowl gives me goosebumps every time.

      2. Jean

        How about Linda Ronstadt? Almost 40 years ago I agreed with a then-coworker that she could sing the phone book and we’d listen happily. Her singing years are over now but she seems at peace with this, so I can’t complain myself.

        1. nep

          There was a period years back when I was absolutely hooked on a Ronstadt album. Played it over and over and over.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        OH MY GOD YES IT IS.

        2m 58. But the whole thing right up to there also gave me chills because I knew what was coming. (Also because it’s fab music clearly :) )

        1. Stephanie

          Yeah, we played in back in HS. Fun piece to play. The Toreador March is an ear worm, though.

    10. nep

      This is all reminding me of a time I cried myself inside out listening to Bach/Gounod version of Ave Maria. (Not a ‘religious’ thing in any way — just the beauty of that song.) Either version of Ave Maria will have me choked up in any case…But on that one occasion, I was in a sort of transition phase and a lot was going on. That night the Bach/Goudon rendition engendered such an explosion — I emptied out a lot of gunk. It was — well, no words really.

      1. Not So NewReader

        I believe that music is supposed to stir our hearts. Amazing Grace can help with purging the negatives inside us. The Hallelujah Chorus is another example of music written to reach through to our cores. Another example is Beethoven’s Song of Joy. Not moving to everyone but the intent was to touch/resonate in people’s hearts and minds. There are secular pieces that can move me to tears, also.

        But, oddly, I am totally disconnected from other arts- such as paintings. I can look at a painting, “oh, that is nice” and move on without being impacted. The same with poetry- it does not resonate with me. I guess this is why we have so many art forms because people relate through different mediums.

        Some people get moved to tears by the beauty of a particular musical instrument- it’s not the song, it’s the clarity and purity of the sounds.
        One friend looked at me oddly, when I explained I like to know the words of a song and know what a song is about. I also like to know some of the story about how a song came into being. That is how I take in music. My friend takes in music from more of a technical side and is fond of talking about all the math there is in music.

        1. TheLazyB (UK)

          It’s funny you say Ode To Joy, because while I obviously react very strongly to lots of music, IMO Ode to Joy is the most boring piece of music ever. It doesn’t change! It doesn’t progress!! And the viola part is incredibly dull to play. (Although not as dull as Blue Danube.)

          But clearly it’s not that simple, as I do love Bolero, which is literally justonebig crescendo with nothing else going on musically. Hey ho.

          1. Stephanie

            Oh, but the real version from Beethoven’s 9th is incredible imo. It’s just the bastardized version that beginning string players learn that’s awful.

            1. TheLazyB (UK)

              Now that’s interesting…. when I’ve heard what I presumed was the full version I had the same falling-asleep reaction. I wonder if I just presumed it was the same and didn’t listen properly!

          2. Hellanon

            I just saw the LA Philharmonic do Bolero at the Hollywood Bowl – amazing. It just builds and builds and builds, and the drums keep splashing out the beat. The cool thing about seeing it live (for a non-technical music fan) is that each instrument gets a solo, so you really get this narrative sense of what the music is doing – something I’d always missed just listening to it because my ears just aren’t that good.

        2. Lindsay J

          Paintings I don’t connect well with. Nor old poetry. I’ve found a few modern poems (like posted on Tumblr modern) that do it for me, though.

    11. Emily

      Yes, I do! Your experience sounds pretty similar to mine, actually – some sections of some music will give me goosebumps or shivers up my spine. I know that it happens near the end of Defying Gravity (and at other emotional moments in musicals), but I’ve also experienced chills while listening to instrumental music.

      I don’t play much music currently, but I grew up playing handbells, piano (through part of middle school), and viola (all the way to the end of high school and then some in college).

      My boyfriend doesn’t experience musical chills and has very little musical background/training, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a correlation between musical training and musical chills.

      You might want to look into musical “frisson” – when I was reading up on this stuff a few years ago, that was the term that I found to best describe my experiences. There was a buzzfeed article on it that I quite enjoyed.

        1. TheLazyB (UK)

          That’s amazing! Everyone should read it who’s interested in this :) And Born Slippy Nuxx by Underworld – yep totally get it from that :)

    12. QualityControlFreak

      Yes. There are (usually classical) pieces that cause my throat to swell and bring tears to my eyes. And I find some other artists bring great energy. I love to listen to Tower of Power while working. It keeps my pace and energy up.

    13. abby

      Yes. There are some songs that make me want to cry every time I hear them. Others give me shivers much like you describe.

    14. nep

      An altogether different genre — another song I’ve binged on on occasion: Bobby Darin / Mack the Knife.
      (Back to Ave Maria — Darin’s is quite something.)

      1. fposte

        Interesting–I’m a big fan of Brecht/Weill and Brecht/Eisler stuff. Bobby Darin interests me as a figure but I haven’t fallen love with his voice yet–I’ll have to hunt down his Ave Maria.

        And I know what you mean on the bingeing. I just won’t be able to get enough of a song for a while and then it settles back into regular rotation.

          1. fposte

            I first learned about Anna Moffo from a horse magazine–she owned Standardbreds. It took me years to realize most people’s response to her name was not “Oh, the harness racer?”

    15. nep

      Years back, before I ever traveled abroad, I would be touched really deeply by certain music from West Africa — often to the point of tears. That was a period when I started feeling absolutely compelled to go there. When I eventually did go, I felt ‘home’ from the get-go. The night I actually got to dance on Nigerian soil to live Nigerian music — amazing.

      1. Not So NewReader

        I am not sure what they call it – memory cells? The theory is that we carry the memories of our ancestors in us. This stuff fascinates me. What if we don’t have past lives but we do recall our ancestors’ lives? wow.

    16. Elizabeth West

      Yes, it’s called frisson and I get it from certain bits of music (mostly soundtracks) that I listen to regularly. One of them will come on my online station and I’ll literally get goose bumps.

    17. danr

      Oh yes… mostly classical and folk. And yes, I played piano to grade 8, horn through college and dropped it when I realized that I never felt the music flow when I was playing… But, I’m a very good audience.

    18. Melissa

      I do. I played flute from grade 4 through 12, so maybe that has something to do with it.

      There are definitely movements in songs (in many genres) that give me chills, shivers, or other physical reactions. Music also has a profound emotional-physical affect on me – by which I mean, it affects the way I feel, beyond just surface emotions. It can make me feel more energized. I HAVE to listen to music while I’m running, for example, and it has to be the RIGHT music. But when the perfect song comes on when I’m flagging, I can get a surge of energy that sort of flows through my legs.

      And don’t let me listen to a jazz flautist. I’m super into it. My technical training means I recognize phrasing, tone, vibrato, and the difficulty level of certain songs and sections…I realized a few months ago that Najee played flute (he’s best known for soprano sax, in case you’re unfamiliar) and actually recorded some covers of songs from Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life for flute and I wandered around in a daze for like two weeks just listening to it. His tone is incredible.

      My husband feels the same way about music – he’s played French horn since he was a kid (that’s kind of how we met; he sat behind me in high school band) and is currently the drum major of his marching band – in fact, he’s worse than me. He does air conducting – you know how some people do air guitar? No, he does air conducting.

    19. Ann Furthermore

      There are certain songs that I love to listen to at a very loud volume, just because I love them so much. Last night driving home from the airport, I heard one of them….Dirty Laundry by Don Henley. It’s a song that begs you to turn up the volume….plus I love it because Don Henley so accurately predicted the future when he wrote that song back in the early 80’s.

      Breathe Me by Sia is another one. It was the song that played during the last few minutes of the Six Feet Under series finale, which was one of the most moving things I’ve ever seen on TV.

      And for some reason, the song Daylight by Maroon 5 does that to me too.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        Oh Breathe Me was awesome in that scene. And I didn’t even watch Six Feet Under, but my DH loved the scene so much he wanted me to watch it, and I agree, it was awesome. I listened to the song for days after.

    20. Al Lo

      Absolutely. “Vale Decem” from the Doctor Who soundtrack will make me tear up Every. Single. Time. No matter what. I can’t sing O Canada without choking up a little bit. Same with Silent Night (in a non-performance setting — if I’m performing either, it’s a different experience than if I’m singing in a crowd. I’ll choke up during the second, but there’s a different professional distance in the first).

      Right now, the artistic planning group for my organization is choosing our repertoire and writing our scripts for next season, and we put a lot of stock in chills during our brainstorming sessions. There’s a lot of analytical work that goes into choosing music, like repertoire diversity, appropriateness for the age group, similarity to other songs, similarity to past repertoire, the “must-sings” in a choral education, what will advance the storyline, etc; but for all of that, there’s also a gut feeling to it, and the goosebumps never lie.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Silent Night. Oh my. And when they do it at church with the electric lights off and just candles. I live for that. (The candles end up brighter than the electric lights.)

    21. nep

      Thanks, by the way, for this interesting inquiry.
      (Listening to Mozart here this morning.)

    22. 22dncr

      Being a retired Ballet dancer I do (; I was taught to “sing the music” while I’m dancing and I almost never count the beats (hilarious when one of the un-dancer people I now take class with asks me “so on what count do we tendue?” and I’m “I have no idea – I don’t count.”) . Had one teacher later tell me “It should look like you are creating the music”. This way it looks like you are a part of the piece – not just going through the motions. It’s part of being a successful Dancer instead of a robot going through the moves. The music goes into me and resonates till I am one with the beat. You really have to know every beat and get it into you because if something happens on stage you need to be able improvise and this will help. This is why I have a VERY hard time going to the symphony – I cannot sit still!!! When I was still dancing (this was much worse back then – too close) I had people get upset with me when they’d try to give me their tics for some musical thing “But you’ll like it” and I’d turn them down. I cry, I laugh, I can actually SEE the Blue Danube or the Season (Vivaldi).

      1. Not So NewReader

        If someone had taught me this I might have learned to dance. I can remember every beat or pause in a song and get it right each time. But I can’t count dance steps with a darn. Thanks for sharing this, it’s pretty cool.

    23. Lady Bug

      I love music and definitely get chills sometimes, Stone Sour’s Conflagration gets me every time when the chorus comes in. Mostly for me its connecting to the emotion of the song, regardless of what emotion it is. Whenever I’m down or angry I find the music to match and get through the feeling along with the music.

    24. Kardashev Type Three

      Sometimes :) It’s an odd phenomenon – speaking purely for myself, it can be triggered by a number of different things. And I’m pretty sure that the same song won’t necessarily trigger it for everyone.

      But I think that loud live music with a really solid bass can do it fairly reliably for a group of people. When I saw Alessandro Cortini a few weekends again, there was a fair amount of that: he’d touch an occasional bass note that seemed to make the entire building resonate, and that tended to do it for me and, I think, for everyone else.

      I’ve noticed there tends to be a ‘tease’ element to this. Like, the musician(s) know when they’re hitting those ‘magic notes’. But they don’t play them all the time. I think there is something in common with uhh other pleasurable experiences in that doing it well involves tension / release / resolution and there are refractory periods and so forth.

      For recorded music – offhand I’ll mention that The Knife’s song “Silent Shout” will tend to do this to me. I believe she is riding a lowpass filter on the arpeggiator, and it’s playing (I think) 16 measure phrases, and about halfway through each phrase she starts to open the filter (and maybe crank the volume) and the overall effect is that it goes from “soft and understated” to “intense and in your face”. Same album, the song “We Share Our Mother’s Health” uses a different technique that can also result in “frisson” (with me, anyway): it starts off with ‘silly’ rhythmic sounds fading in, and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to ‘work’ (and I think that the rhythms are initially intentionally off-beat) and you’re hearing the audio equivalent of, like, lots of rubber balls bouncing off the walls at random … and you don’t expect it but suddenly they all sync up and it’s turned into a surprisingly infectious groove.

      Hmmm … after she stopped being The Knife, she went on to be Fever Ray, and if you’ve ever heard the song “If I Had A Heart” – it’s just fuckin’ spooky.

    25. MsChanandlerBong

      Absolutely. I played the Gandalf movement of the LOTR Suite back in high school, and I still get the chills and tear up whenever I hear the big brass entrance at one part of the piece. I cry every time I hear the slow part of the Jurassic Park theme. There’s a part of March of the Belgian Paratroopers that makes me cry every time I hear it. I guess I cry a lot, lol

  28. Aussie Teacher

    Yup, music is amazing! I’m a high school music teacher with a string musical background and music definitely evokes an emotional response in me. There was a meme going around for a while with the final triumphant presentation scene of Star Wars, Episode IV, with no music, and it’s hilarious! Music makes or breaks films, dancing etc for me.

  29. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

    Next week hubby and I have our first meeting with CYF (NZ’s version of CPS) to get an overview of the adoption process. Ack, I am so nervous. Imposter syndrome setting in, in an epic way.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger

      Yay! The “good” news is that most people feel this way, including most of the awesome parents you know. Parenting is a huge change, and one that it’s almost impossible to be completely prepared for. Sure, you can know how to change a diaper, or do infant CPR, or whatever, but the actual responsibility of having to be responsible for a little person every day for years on end is nothing that you can really be ready for until you’ve actually done it.

    2. Jean

      Can you find others who have had this experience? I know that support groups are not for everyone, but there can be a benefit in hearing from others who have already made the same journey.

      Good wishes in staying calm.

  30. MLT

    Anyone had your gallbladder out? What kind of dietary changes did you need to make, if any?

    1. fposte

      I had a colleague get hers out. I don’t think she made any dietary changes. Most people won’t have to, I don’t think; you get the same amount of bile you did before, but you just don’t have the parking garage for extra storage.

    2. OfficePrincess

      I had mine out back in 2008. I’m essentially back to normal now, but there were a couple rough years in there. I spent a little over year taking calafate before meals (which tastes blech, but is tolerable) and had a stretch where I couldn’t eat anything greasy/fried/spicy or raw vegetables. I also have IBS, so I can’t be sure which restrictions were for which reason. Now I can eat a basically normal diet, I just strongly limit processed foods and drink lots of water.

    3. littlemoose

      I had to do the low-fat diet after I developed gallbladder-related pancreatitis, but after I recovered from that and had the cholecystectomy, no dietary changes were advised. That was seven years ago and I’m fine ever since (unrelated crappy health problems notwithstanding). If they do it laparoscopically, the recovery isn’t bad at all.

      1. fposte

        Argh. Pancreatitis is probably the body thing I’m most afraid of. I’m so glad you got better!

        1. Natalie

          My dad has had it twice, idiopathic both times. Crazy pain, long periods in the hospital, a liquid diet that apparently means they bring you a bowl of just gravy? Blech. I’m definitely concerned that it might be some unidentified genetic thing that I’ll have, too.

          1. fposte

            There’s a surgeon axiom: eat when you can; sleep when you can; don’t fuck with the pancreas. May your genes honor that last part. My Crohn’s gives me upper abdominal pain, and my main reaction is to be relieved that it’s not the pancreas.

    4. A Dispatcher

      My friend/coworker had hers out and for a while she had tons of trouble with high fat/greasy foods, especially bacon. She’s pretty much back to normal now though.

      1. ExceptionToTheRule

        This was my problem. Fast food like burgers & fries would quite literally run right through me.

    5. Elizabeth West

      I have–not too many, except I really have to watch out for certain greasy foods now. I tried to eat some Sonic food last year and it KILLED me. (Not like I should be eating that anyway!)

      Some people have to change what they eat and some don’t.

    6. Ann Furthermore

      I had mine out many years ago, and after a couple days of recovery, I was back to normal. The worst part was the recovery. The surgery was done laparoscopically, and they had to inflate my abdomen with carbon dioxide to create room to work with the surgical instruments. Quite a lovely visual of me lying there all splayed out with my stomach inflated like a freaking balloon. After the surgery, the carbon dioxide dissipates, and it moves up through your shoulder. That hurt way worse than even than the incisions did.

      1. MsChanandlerBong

        That was absolutely the worst part. I woke up from my surgery crying because of the gas in my belly. They had to give me a shot of Dilaudid to dull the pain enough for me to calm down. Otherwise, the surgery is no big deal. I had it on Monday at 3:00 p.m., and I was out to dinner with friends on Friday. I had robotic surgery because my surgeon couldn’t do it with the traditional laparoscope (I’ve had a lot of abdominal surgery, so I have a ton of scar tissue; it took an extra 30 minutes for him to do the surgery because he had to remove adhesions from my small bowel, diaphragm, gallbladder, and liver first).

    7. Soupspoon McGee

      I had mine out a few years ago. Your gallbladder helps digest fat, so when you go to the bathroom, you will notice undigested fat if you eat too much.

    8. MsChanandlerBong

      I just had mine out in March. Best thing I ever did! I haven’t really had to make any dietary changes, but the doctor told me that the stuff that bothered me before the surgery would still bother me after the surgery. Therefore, I don’t eat fried food, and I eat peanut butter in very small amounts.

  31. Angela Vickers

    I was just checking my email and a question occurred to me. I’m 27 and I *still* use the email I had while in college. Is this immature? AFAIK the school I went to lets you use the account as long as it is active, they do have a proper alumni one but I haven’t thought to sign up for it. Should I just go and get a proper gmail account (although, this one is run through gmail). Does anyone care? Is this a thing to worry about?

    1. Angela Vickers

      Oops, I meant to say, the email is the account the school gave me. It’s not an .edu because we don’t have that in Canada.

    2. Colette

      The main issue I see with using it is that they may change their policy and deactivate it without warning.

      Having said that, I don’t know anyone who’s been out of school for a while who uses a university email account (but email wasn’t nearly as common when I was in school).

    3. Dynamic Beige

      So your college assigned you an e-mail account through Gmail? Is it something that you are OK with? Or is it something that’s easily identifiable as being from the school, with your student ID number or something? If the college set up that account for you (which is kind of weird) it should belong to Gmail, not the college, unless there was some sort of deal. I would wonder if the school has access in some way if they were the ones who set it up. I mean, when I took some continuing education courses, I was provided with a link to get the course materials but I provided my own e-mail and could change the password I was given.

      IMO, you should get a new gmail account that is along the way of your name for business/more professional reasons. Angela_Vickers@gmail, AVickers. I got a gmail account using my nickname and I’m kind of embarrassed when I have to give it to someone — which has happened a few times that my ISP’s mail server was down and a client needed to get me something ASAP. If you want to migrate over all your old contacts, that’s up to you. It could also be a way to dump all the stuff you’ve subscribed to over the years :P

      1. zora

        It’s probably with the university domain name, but it’s through Google Apps, so you use the gmail web interface to access it. I have had this at some workplaces.

        I wouldn’t worry about not having a ‘gmail.com’ but I would worry like some said above, about them changing their policy or support. If I were you I would switch it to the official alumni address just because that will probably be more stable in the long run. I know a few people who sitll use their alumni email as their main one, although they did postgrad, but they are no longer in academia. I don’t think it’s inherently weird, if you like it, keep it!

    4. JC

      I am 33, and I have a friend my age who still uses a college email address that he was allowed to keep. I do find it weird, but just for-a-passing-second-and-then-I-forget-about-it weird. If you want to keep the email address, then keep it. It’s not like keeping a college-issued one, where the address is presumably your name, is unprofessional. OTOH, I thankfully did not hang onto the AOL address I had in early college that I had made up in high school. Decidedly not professional.

    5. Sunflower

      I’m 95% sure Allison did a post about this actually- but it mostly about whether it was appropriate in a job search setting.

      I’m 26 and I think my junior/senior year of college I ended up forwarding all my school emails to my gmail acct because it was just easier to mange and there were more options. It was also really useful for group projects. I’d only think it’s weird in the sense of I think anyone who doesn’t use gmail is weird. I also use GChat a lot and am hella annoyed when people don’t have it.

      That being said, I echo Colette in concerns about changes of policy or deactivation without warning.

  32. TheLazyB (UK)

    Facebook-scab-picking.

    So, who does it?

    I’ve spent a very unhealthy couple of hours tonight reactivating my two deactivated accounts and looking at things I shouldn’t. Estranged family members (my son has a cousin we didn’t know about, we’ll never meet the child, it’s so sad) and friends. De friended a fair few people.

    Both accounts now deactivated again. I should delete both. I miss the good bits of fb but too often it was just a way for me to find out about things I wasn’t invited to.

    I bet others do it too albeit in different ways.

    So- techniques to stop? I put a buzzer on so I could stop after 15 minutes. Completely ignored it. It was like I was looking for something that wasn’t there.

    1. nep

      Nice expressions — ‘FB scab-picking’ and ‘looking for something that wasn’t there’.
      How are you, generally, and how does this habit fit in to how things are going?

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        Ha. Yeah. Mental health is much better than it has been and in some ways I am mentally healthy…. but there are other areas in which I am Not Good.

        I think it’s a good sign that I’ve held out a week from when I initially wanted to investigate :-/ I realised that a couple of friends of mine are making plans, like, all.the.time and not including me…. which would be no big deal, but they are also neither initiating plans with me nor responding positively to plans I initiate. And yet one of them, she gives me a lift to work twice a week and this week she picked my DS one day and my DH picked up her daughter another day. So….. it just feels like… what? We are fine for practical help either way but not good enough for socialising?

        It hurts :(

        I HATE obsessing like this. My DH doesn’t even begin to get it. I wish I could just not give a shit. Would make life so much easier.

    2. Not So NewReader

      Am chuckling. I think we all have a part of us that has to stop and gawk at a train derailment in progress. We can’t believe the horror, we are grateful not to be in the thick of the horror and we get the gratification of deciding that we know best how this should have been handled.

      The horror-gratification cycle. It’s a pit. Don’t fall in to it. Insist on real relationships with real meaning. Insist on not being a dump for other people’s problems. If someone has a problem encourage them to work toward a solution of some type. I know there are days… where I could just sit and read about other people’s lives and use that to console myself that my life is pretty cushy comparatively. Ugh. When I start to feel that way, I know it is time to up my game because I am in a lull.

      If this line of thinking does not work then consider your health. There is only so much negative we can absorb and then it starts to impact our health.

      I think it’s all in what we tell ourselves. If we con ourselves into believing, “oh I want to relax a bit and read any old thing on the net” then we are vulnerable to watching these train wrecks in progress.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        Your penultimate paragraph – I think that is the answer. Being kind enough to say to myself ‘this is doing me no good; I need to stop now’.
        I might get my DH to help me delete them later. Emotionally help, not practically. I can figure out the how :)

        The last paragraph – I knew exactly what I was doing :(

    3. The Other Dawn

      I have to admit, I was doing this constantly for awhile. For me, it was my former tenant-from-hell. I’m sure some of you know the story: we were friends, she rented my old house, many lies and non-payment of rent ensued, had to evict her, etc. For a long time I didn’t unfriend her because I wanted to snoop and see what she’s doing. Finally she unfriended me, but then I would creep on her daughter’s FB page (it wasn’t locked down), kept checking to see if the former tenant was still on FB, did she create a new profile (yes!), is her husband still on there, etc. I’ve finally stopped. It does me no good and just causes me to keep thinking about the shittiest year of my life.

      You just have to stop and realize it’s making you relive things you don’t need to relive.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        “You just have to stop and realize it’s making you relive things you don’t need to relive.”
        And that is exactly what 11pm-1am yesterday were. Thank you for getting it.

    4. Come On Eileen

      I do this a LOT, more than I’m proud to admit. It inevitably makes me feel bad about myself, yet I keep doing it. (I’ve even gone so far as to unblock people I strongly dislike so that I can snoop around their lives for a bit, then quickly re lock them because I’m reminded why they get my hackles up in the first place.) So I don’t have a lot of advice, but I can sympathize. I’ve taken a few unofficial facebook breaks and I always enjoy them, and have been thinking I need another one soon.

    5. catsAreCool

      If I feel bad or really irritated a lot when I read someone’s FB posts, I tend to unfollow them. It makes life easier.

  33. Tara

    I am feeling awful for my coworker right now. She needs dental surgery to the tune of $2500 and just found out that she’s no longer covered under her dad’s insurance since she turned 18 a few months ago. She’ll be covered again when she starts college in a few months, but I don’t think the surgery can wait that long. :(

    1. nep

      That is really rough. As one who cannot afford some much-needed dental work, I feel for her.

    2. Mimmy

      I thought the ACA changed it so that you can be covered until age 26. Or does that not apply to dental insurance? Still, that’s unfortunately timing :(

      1. Tara

        Canada, she would be covered up until 25 as long as she’s planning on attending school if her dad lived in our province… thus why she was completely blindsided. I think she’s able to cover it, but it’s definitely going to delay or put an end to her trip to Europe that she’s been planning for the last year. Just the rush into the dentist and the consultation with a specialist has put her out $300 so far, with no work done at all!

    3. Jean

      Any chance there are social service agencies who can help her, or a dentist who would work out a payment plan?

    4. Stephanie

      Is she near a dental school? In exchange for being student’s guinea pigs, she could get cheaper work. I found them to be more thorough than professionals, just slower (especially with the Novocain shot, blah).

      1. Natalie

        Sometimes they can be an advantage, in fact, since they have the latest equipment and training. Doesn’t really matter for a cleaning, but it might for surgery.

    5. Artemesia

      That is tough. When I was in grad school (and no insurance) I needed lots of dental work — then it was gold inlays to save the teeth — it would be crowns today — it cost me half of my entire income that year — I thought I’d starve. But at least it was good work, the things are still okay 45 years later. But I thought I’d starve.

      If her insurance kicks in for college, she can probably put it off if it isn’t abssesses.

    6. catsAreCool

      Sometimes a dentist will give you a break if you have no insurance and will pay regularly in cash. Some insurance companies are such a pain about paying bills, having someone pay bit by bit isn’t so bad.

  34. Musicals!

    I’m going to London in a few months and would love to go to a show or two in the West End. (I love live theatre but the city I live in really doesn’t have much choice).

    Anyone here have recommendations (all genres welcome) about the shows playing there at the moment?

    1. Claire (Scotland)

      I think Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are fantastic. The Lion King and Miss Saigon are always spectacular. Wicked is great. Les Miserables, if you haven’t seen it before, is definitely worth seeing.

      If you are at all interested in comedy, a non-musical recommendation is The Play That Goes Wrong (at The Duchess theatre). I saw it on my last trip to London and it was hilarious and brilliant.

      I also highly recommend getting cheap tickets from the TKTS booth in Leicester Square – it’s my first stop when I’m in London. They have a website where you can check out what they currently have tickets for.

    2. Anonannah

      I live in Londom and try to go to the theatre as much as possible. If you would prefer one of the big West End shows, Billy Elliot is fantastic, I also really enjoyed War Horse and Wicked. Also I recently saw the ENO production of Pirates of Penzance and if that’s still on when you’re here I would DEFINITELY recommend.
      For plays, anything at the Young Vic or the Old Vic is usually a good bet.
      If you don’t mind queuing and want to get a good deal, a lot of the theatres will do day tickets but I hear you have to get there pretty early. I have never done this as I am really not a morning person. The theatre monkey website has a pretty comprehensive list of all the shows that offer day tickets and what you need to do to get them. And if a show you really want to see is sold out it is always worth queuing for returns. Get there a few hours before the show and you should get in, but if you’re budget conscious be aware that the tickets are sold at face value and you pretty much take what you get, whether it’s restricted view or the most expensive seats in the house.

      Sorry for the rambling answer! I just love theatre!

    3. Elkay

      War Horse, Matilda, Book of Mormon are all good. Check out Love Theatre for deals if you’re booking in advance, and as others have said the ticket booth in Leicester Square.

    4. Carrie in Scotland

      You could always go and see the long running Mousetrap which is an Agatha Christie based play.

    5. Thinking out loud

      Recommended: Lion King (awesome sets and costumes – music is a little different from the movie but not annoyingly so), Billy Elliot (awesome music, although there is no big ballad), Jersey Boys (a great all-around show), and Les Miserables and Wicked, which are two of my favorite shows.

      Recommended with reservations: Book of Mormon was great, but only if you have watched South Park and enjoyed it. It is pretty offensive to some people.

      Others I’ve wanted to see but never have: Matilda, Miss Saigon, Memphis.

      And special mention goes to another favorite, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It’s not a blockbuster like the others, but it’s a great old favorite.

  35. Sarah in DC

    How do I get guests to leave my house? We invited a group over for a BBQ to see a friend visiting from out of town and explicitly said from 4-8. I don’t expect people to walk out the door exactly at 8, but its after 9 now. I’ve cleaned up all the food and wiped down the kitchen, yawned and talked about I’m looking forward to an early night and I don’t know how to send any other signals that people need to get out know.

    1. nep

      Oh, man. People are still hanging around after all that? Yikes. What an absolute drag.
      Sounds like you might have to get crazy direct on them; they don’t seem to be receptive to some pretty explicit signs. I feel for you.

    2. BRR

      “I hate to be a part pooper guys but we have an early commitment tomorrow/not feeling well/didn’t sleep well last night and want to get to bed early. I’m afraid I have to stop the party now but we’ll have to do it again soon!”

    3. zora

      I just turn it into a joke. “Hey folks, Casa Zora is officially closing for sleepytime, you dont’ have to go home but you can’t stay here, Love You!!!!” With a huge smile. You still love them even though you’re asking them to go, just do it. You are probably way more worried about it then they would be hurt.

      1. Sarah in DC

        Yep, that’s exactly it, I feel so mean telling people I need them to leave, even though I know that’s exactly what I need to do. I’m normally a pretty direct person but I think there is some cultural stuff around being a hostess that makes this harder. I put on my grown up pants and did it though and everyone left by 9:45. Thanks for the push to be direct guys.

        1. zora

          Yay, I’m glad you did it and it worked out. It’s way late for this, but I just wanted to say, it’s actually a good sign that they are staying later rather than leaving early. It means that you are a successful party host, they had a great time and they like you! I often lose track of time when I am having a good time at a friend’s house, and I am glad if they tell me it’s time for me to go, I don’t mind the reminder at all!

    4. danr

      Stop being polite and just say… Party’s over folks. Hope you can find your cars. They tow after 8pm. :)=

    5. Num Lock

      “I’m going to have to kick you out now.” And smile. And usher them towards the door/gate/nearest portal to hell.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          So do I. No qualms! “Peoples, it is 10pm. I’m turning into a pumpkin. Everybody out.”

          I often find that people stay longer than they want to in the name of politeness, so giving them a push is often welcome. I’ve also been known to stand up and say it’s late, I have to go to bed, thank you so much– and everyone else leaves. Someone’s gotta lead the way!

      1. Anonymous Educator

        Yeah, I think just getting over trying to be diplomatic. These are your friends, after all—you don’t have to be extra polite. Just say “It’s been totally awesome having you all here. I’m going to start cleaning up now, and I’ll have to kick you out.”

    6. Melissa

      Hopefully they’ve left by now! But I’ve seen two tactics work when this doesn’t:

      -Be direct and tell people they need to get the hell out. “I love you all very much, but I need to get up early tomorrow and I really need to go to bed, so I’d appreciate it if you all left! Till next time!” You can even add that cliche joke: “You don’t have to go home, but you gotta get the hell out of here” (with a chuckle).

      -If these are people who you are comfortable/close with and you trust them in your house, you can tell them that you’re going to bed because you’re tired. And then actually go to bed. Usually people get out soon after that because it’s awkward to stay after the host has gone to bed.

    7. The Other Dawn

      UGH! My FIL does this. My MIL is great; she picks up on subtle signals. Plus, I think after so many years of this she knows that people don’t want FIL hanging around for hours and hours talking about nothing. But FIL? I’d have to be brutally direct to get him to go. I’m so happy we don’t like 10 minutes away anymore, which means he can’t stop by unexpectedly and park himself for hours on end.

      I always wonder what people are thinking when they overstay. hey obviously don’t realize they’re doing it. Or maybe they do, but they’re lonely. I don’t know.

      1. Num Lock

        My dad is the chronic overstayer. Nevermind if the host is in their pjs and you’ve been there for 8 hours, what’s next?! Sometimes my mom and I have to just put on our coats and shoes and stand next to him until he takes the hint. I have no idea what it is, but I feel you!

  36. A Dispatcher

    Online dating advice needed!

    Okay, so I’ve gone out on one date with a guy I met online (10 years ago when I was an 18 year old idiot who turned down what was probably a great guy for being “too nice”). Other than that, I’ve never been on any other blind dates or dates with people I haven’t yet met. I put up recent pictures and tried my best to describe myself accurately, but I have always had issues with insecurity and I’m dreading meeting someone in person, lest they think I’m less attractive in person. Has anyone gone through this, any strategies on how to get over it or at least stop psyching myself out?

    Also, any good exit strategies for awkward/bad dates?

    1. Former Diet Coke Addict

      There’s always the classic of arranging with a friend to make a phone call 20 minutes or so into the date–if it’s going well, don’t answer, but if it’s going poorly/the guy won’t stop talking about his collection of Sansabelt pants/he looks like a cave troll with a personality to match, answer the phone with “I’m so sorry–this is my [important person]” and formulate an emergency.

      When I was dating a lot of different guys, I got to be fairly good and diplomatic at finding a natural break int he conversation and “You know, this has been very pleasant, but I have some things I need to get done today. Thank you so much for meeting with me–have a great day/afternoon/whatever!” Practice saying it until it sounds totally sincere, and it’s a nicely neutral way of getting out without hurting anyone’s feelings. Pick some other words if it’s it an evening date.

      But try not to worry too much beforehand! I worried a lot before blind dates or Internet dates, but I found that by and large people were pretty well as their photos described them–and probably even more now because there’s photos of people everywhere on the internet. Inevitably you won’t click with some people, but most people are fairly normal and willing to have a nice time!

    2. Stephanie

      For exit strategies, look for things with defined end and start times. For example, attending a museum exhibit–the end of the exhibit provides a natural out if things aren’t going well.

      1. Steve G

        This is what I was gonna say, or just be honest about the meeting being very non-committal…..I consider the having-someone-call-during-the-date thing rude, and transparent.

        That being said, I did once walk past and standup someone who I met online, before pictures were common to share (early 2000s). If you’re gonna totally lie about how you look, I don’t deserve to give you the time of day. Saying “I’m into fitness” for me isn’t just about looks (though that is important) but its a lifestyle thing – I want you to be exciting about and able to do long bike or hiking trips, for example. Anyways, this guy made it sound like he was always working out, blah blah, blah, and was tall, and I was feeling insecure going there because I thought he would be a Greek God. Oh, he was the complete opposite. I was so mad at being lied at, that there was just no point going into it. He knew he was lying, it would have been the elephant in the room if I had continued towards him and said hi, so I just kept walking. Fortunately it was dark and on a crowded street in Prague so I blended into the crowd and kept moving.

        1. Dan

          You can’t always tell by looking at somebody whether or not their body type indicates their level of activity. I’ve been out on a few dates with a girl who certainly has a few extra pounds, but also is active enough to not be a couch potato. I’m the same way — I’m not skinny, but that doesn’t stop me from doing a variety of active things.

          It’s one thing to show misleading pictures, or overtly lie about your body type, but I’d be pretty pissed if somebody blew me off because they took one look at me and “assumed” I couldn’t be exciting and do active things.

          1. Ruffingit

            I agree, but with Steve’s situation, it sounds like this guy outright lied about basic things such as being tall. You either are or you’re not. Also, when someone says they’re into working out all the time, they tend not to have much extra weight on them. I think when someone says they work out a lot, it means they are pretty well fit and look it so I’m guessing Steve was thinking that was the case here.

            1. Short

              That’s true, but I am always tell people I am very short (5′ male) because I know some people are not into that, but … it seems to often come as a surprise, as if people can’t fathom someone might be that short or they don’t really realize how short that might be.

          2. Steve G

            I totally agree. I may not look perfect, but I can do one armed pushups and burpees until the “it” guys collapse holding their stomachs (like literally, in the classes I go to at my gym). The time I’m talking about, it was pretty obvious the person exaggerated about their level of fitness activity. I can’t remember exactly what he looked like, but I would have totally dated someone “average” looking or with a little pudge, but this was beyond that.

            My point “A Dispatcher” was that it is OK to be honest/curt/or just walk away if someone blatantly lies about themselves.

    3. NicoleK

      I haven’t been on a date in years (been married for a number of years). My strategies for dating, at the time, was to stick with meeting up for coffee/tea/shake/smoothie. If there’s no connection, you’re not out alot of time and money. If the date is really bad….I’d use any combination of, “I can see that we don’t have a connection/I have to leave now/it’s not going to work but it was nice to meet you.” I prefer that over pretending to use the bathroom while sneaking out or having a friend call you during the date technique.

      1. Steve G

        Coffee can be awkward though, because most coffee houses are quiet enough that people around you can hear, so it turns into a self-censored conversation or saying only things that people in ear shot aren’t gonna realize its a first date and start eavesdropping…so I would do coffee then walk (if in a town/city) or a loudish bar/restaurant.

        1. Dynamic Beige

          And if it’s a really bad date, someone might decide to live tweet it to the masses
          http://www.blogto.com/city/2015/07/bad_first_date_in_toronto_gets_live_tweeted/

          If you know of a good bakery, that might work to reduce the amount of people around. The thing with coffee is it’s fast. Person shows up and they are not as advertised, easy to finish that cup and say “It was nice to meet you, but I’ve got to be going now” and get out. No matter where you go or what you do, the odds are someone is going to clue in that you’re on a first date. Whether they eavesdrop or not depends on how bad the date is/how completely batshit awful the conversation is. Regular “normal” people might find it funny or sad, but they will also be sympathetic as pretty much everyone has been there at least once. I’d rather have a coffee date of less than 30 minutes than be stuck with someone for a full dinner of awful and a side order of how the hell do I get out of here?

        2. Artemesia

          My now middle aged kids still joke about the worst date ever we sat next to in an Ethiopian restaurant in DC many many years ago when they were both working in that area. It was the narcissist and the excruciatingly bored but trying to polite young woman who seemed to develop more and more extreme rejecting body language as he blathered on. So yeah — quiet places do make you a spectacle if the thing is the Titanic.

          But then I also remember a first date on a camping trip in the tent next to ours in which they hit it off but it was also a spectacle. There was a lot of earnest talking late into the night on a darkened camp ground — a lot of ‘oh, you like brocoli, WOW, I love brocoli’ level of discourage topped at about 2 am by very loud sex.

          I am so glad that after 40+ years of marriage I don’t have to do that anymore — the dating part, I mean and if I am ever single, I am staying that way.

    4. katamia

      I think it’s important to tell yourself (and this is a reeeeeeeeeeally hard one to internalize, but it’s helped me a lot) that if something doesn’t work out and someone’s not interested, there could be 100000 reasons why. It could be he got busy or an ex he always wanted to get back with showed up on his doorstep looking for another chance or he just didn’t think you two clicked or he suddenly got a great job overseas or he’s having health problems or he met someone he just had more in common with or so many other things that have nothing to do with how you look. (Another way in which dating and job hunting are similar–sometimes the problem isn’t you or there isn’t even a problem, just you didn’t quite suit them or what they needed/wanted in a partner changed.)

    5. A Dispatcher

      … aaaaand a guy I had planned on meeting for coffee just hinted at (I think) spanking me for my texting typos. Someone please kill me now. Haven’t even gone out yet and I need an exit strategy!

      1. fposte

        Hey, you know this could be fun, right? You’re sounding more doom-laden than the people talking about dentistry. He could be awful, or he could be a nervous guy falling into a dork gulch. You’re not the only nervous one involved, I promise you.

        Your “exit strategy” is “Well, it was nice to meet you” and standing up/going to your car/leaving. You don’t need a plan to allow yourself to go home–just do it. He doesn’t have a force field :-).

        1. A Dispatcher

          Thanks for the perspective :) My job doesn’t help I think, for a couple of reasons. I’m so used to being exposed to the bad in people, the domestics, the criminal history, the sex offenses, etc. And (and I’m not trying to paint all cops with a bad brush here!) also used to cops hitting on me from just a voice and thinking saying that kind of stuff to me is okay. It’s not awkwardness on that end, trust me.

      2. Dan

        He’s flirting with you :)

        Actually, my rule is that the girl has to flirt first. Keeps me out of creeper zone. But if you haven’t flirted with me, kissed me, or held my hand by the end of the second date, there will be no third one.

        1. A Dispatcher

          Well yeah, I definitely knew it was flirting, maybe I’m just conservative. I don’t think one should really hint at that kind of activity until we’ve at least met face to face!

          1. Christy

            If you’re not into it, you’re not into it. He might have the best flirty intentions, but if that’s not what you like or are into, then you don’t have to do the work of getting over the weirdness or discomfort to meet him. Unless you think he’s worth meeting despite that.

          2. Dynamic Beige

            The thing is that online dating isn’t for everyone. I tried it and… it just wasn’t for me. I’m not the sort of person who just takes to someone immediately, I really need time to get to know someone before I like them to any degree and in my experience, online dating does not work that way — in person at least. You can spend days or hours or months messaging someone and building them up into Perfect in your mind, but meeting them may be a rude awakening. So meet someone as soon as you can, to avoid building castles in the air.

            IMO, online dating shouldn’t be your only way you try to meet new people. If you can join a club with a coed interest, that would be a way to expand your social circle.

            1. Dan

              I totally get where you’re coming from. I spend as little time as possible on the “online” part of it — just enough to establish some common interests and a decent grasp of the English language. Then we’re on to a first date.

              I’m also like you in not taking to most people immediately. Half the time, I’m not even sure if I’m attracted to them. It’s one thing to have a good conversation, it’s another to decide that a person *excites* you.

              But that’s why you date around a bit, to get a feel for different people, what’s out there, and what your “type” really is.

              You’re right, online dating is just a tool in the toolbox. I belong to several meetups that span a range from work related stuff to social events to foodie/drinky kinds of things. At the end of the day, the goal is to “meet people” and not be a couch potato.

    6. Dan

      Rescue calls and all of that are overrated. fposte is right, say “nice to meet you” and stand up and leave is all you need to do to get out of a bad date.

      I recently got back into the dating game, and I don’t dread it at all. I’ve got a handful of things that make me interesting, and am seeking out in a partner, so it’s pretty easy for me to suss out enough through a few messages to figure out whether or not we could get through a first date without getting bored to tears.

      I have yet to go on a bad first date. Not all of them pan out to something more, but none of them have been a waste of time.

      One way I get through things without psyching myself out is that it doesn’t matter to me if any given date ultimately turns into “girlfriend” status. Because the goal isn’t to find someone to attach the “girlfriend” label to, but find a long term partner that meets my needs. The fact that any given date doesn’t pan out is just no big deal. That perspective really keeps the stress and pressure off, and just makes things so much easier.

      1. katamia

        Wow. I’ve been on many bad dates, although none of them were even bad enough to make good stories. Which kind of makes them worse than the ones that do lead to good stories.

        Actually, I can’t think of a single good first date I’ve been on. They’ve all been with guys where it’s like pulling teeth to keep a conversation going. I also seem to wind up with a lot of guys who are really unadventurous when it comes to food, so if we’re doing dinner we’re stuck going to chain restaurants. *shudder* Although suddenly I’m realizing exactly why I haven’t been able to convince myself to go on any first dates recently, lol.

        I do agree with you about focusing on finding someone who meets your needs rather than finding someone just to have someone, though. I think that’s a really great attitude.

        1. Dan

          So… One very serious question I have for you is that if adventurous foodie guys are important to you, why even bother going on a single date with someone who thinks Applebee’s is upscale?

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m in the same boat you are, I’m an adventurous eater, too. I can’t imagine going out with a vegetarian or strictly American chain restaurants person. Food is such a central part of your life and existence, that not being in the same page is setting the relationship up to fail. (I’m not saying you have to do the same thing all the time together with your so, but if one person is a restrictive eater for any reason, the less restrictive partner must be OK with that.)

          1. katamia

            That is an excellent question, actually. When I first started online dating specifically, I didn’t want to limit myself or cut out people for ridiculous reasons, and I didn’t realize how important the food thing was until I went out with a guy who got two side orders of fries because none of the other side orders were things he would eat–no veg, not even mashed potatoes instead of one of the orders of fries (can’t remember what the meal was, but it came with two sides). I silently judged the heck out of him, and the fry thing may have killed the entire date. I still struggle a lot with what really is a dealbreaker for me vs what should be a dealbreaker vs things I think are dealbreakers that actually aren’t, but I’m trying to screen better for food choices/preferences now.

            As far as conversations go, I think part of the issue is I’m much more reserved online/when typing than I am in person, while a lot of people seem to say that they’re the opposite–they’re more quiet in person but more open online. If this is true for the men I’ve dated (can’t say 100% this is the case because I never asked, but it wouldn’t surprise me), then our conversation energy levels may have matched up well when talking online (I don’t give my phone number to people I haven’t met in person, so before a real date all contact is through the website–no texting or phone calls). Then we meet in person, and suddenly they’re stuck on a date with someone who’s much more talkative than expected, while I’m stuck with someone who’s much quieter than I expected. For all I know, they might not have even minded the (awkward IMO) silences, but I’m still working on how to screen for this without a whole lot of success.

            So really what I’ve learned by writing this comment is that I need to start trying to meet more people via other methods, when I seem to have better luck, in addition to online dating. Oof.

            1. Dan

              You bring up an interesting point about screening people out for “ridiculous” reasons, because I feel the same way. I also know that if you don’t screen well enough, then you end up in a shtty marriage that is expensive to get out of, and a waste of a good part of your life. BTDT, got the t-shirt.

              I have a 9-5 job (more or less) with weekends off. My schedule is predictable, I never get stuck at work late at the last minute. I don’t travel. I dated one girl a few times who was always “so busy” and never wanted to make plans more than a day or two in advance. Drove me nuts. I learned from that one that it’s not ridiculous to want somebody who actually has time to date you.

              There’s a couple of girls I went out with who work in retail sales. You know what that means? Weekends I’m on my own a lot. I’m sympathetic — I worked shift work for just shy of a decade — but I also went to grad school and piled on the student loan debt so that I could have a normal schedule. Do I really want to be with someone who makes me give that all up?

              One reason you date around is to calibrate your expectations. If every girl out there works retail, then I either have to readjust my expectations or be ok with being alone. If no girl wants to plan something more than a few days in advance, then I either learn to be more flexible, or, ahem, be ok with being alone. By dating around, I get to get a feel for the different “types” that are out there, so I can figure out if “my type” is out there without having to be too accommodating.

              It’s super ok to date around and figure out how to adjust your deal breaking expectations. In fact, I think that’s the main purpose of it.

              I was talking to my shrink about conversation levels the other day, and she said I could be missing out with the more “quieter types” online, you never know what they’re like in person. I said to her, “you know what you said about this being a numbers game? It’s like job hunting if you suck at phone screens. Sure, the employer might be missing out on a great candidate, but they also have enough where they’re not worried. Same here. I’m not hurting for dates, so why do I need to adjust my screening methods?”

              Nobody talks on the phone anymore, don’t worry about that. I only do the phone number exchange right before meeting up, mainly if one of us is running late we can inform the other.

              1. QualityControlFreak

                This is a very sane and logical approach. After a failed first attempt at marriage I did something similar, although for me it was a mental exercise. I figured out what was important to me. This was more in the form of a “never again, unless all these conditions are met” kind of mental list of must haves and deal breakers used to assess potential partners. I’m not really a dater, never was. So it may have been more a method of avoidance than anything else.

                But you know, someone showed up who met every condition on the list, and I couldn’t think of a logical reason to reject him. Three decades later he’s still here. I’m so grateful I don’t have to go through all that again! I’m with Artemesia; if I’m ever single again I’m staying that way.

                1. Not So NewReader

                  Likewise with me, I was not a big dater type person. I had been married for a while and I realized if I could date I probably wouldn’t. And sure enough, I don’t!
                  I think that this is one of those things where each individual has a different answer based on how they know themselves. I am comfy where I am at. People seem to respect the “No, I do not want to meet your BIL’s neighbor’s nephews’ father.” So, it’s good. Not saying that couldn’t change, but for now I am content.

        2. Dan

          Oh, one thing I forgot to mention is that when I message somebody online, the first message is about two paragraphs long. If the message I get back is less than half the length, and they ask me no questions about myself, the conversation dies there and no date is requested.

          Really, I’m trying to establish common interests and the ability to hold a conversation. If we can do that, then you get asked out. Seems to work out well so far, everybody I’ve gone out with can hold a good conversation, even if there is no chemistry.

    7. A Dispatcher

      Update if anyone was looking for one – had the coffee date. It went just okay – I’m thinking he probably felt the same since I haven’t gotten a “nice to meet” you text or anything and it’s been a few hours. Or maybe I’ve just been spoiled with getting those after most dates and they’re not normal? Who knows…

      I’m glad I had kind of a practice run with meeting someone who I was iffy about as opposed to having the first online date be with someone I would have been even more nervous over. There is one guy who seems pretty good (hard to tell before you meet in person) but he lives a decent amount away and we’re both in jobs where you can’t really just move. I know it’s early to think about that type of thing, but it brought up one of the pitfalls of online dating – you have a huge pool of people you probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, but sometimes it’s because of important factors like location.

      Anyway, I wanted to say thanks for all the awesome advise and everyone sharing their stories. If I have anything good to share next week I’ll be sure to do so.

      1. Dan

        Glad you made it out alive. Don’t worry about the texts, I never send them. If I like you enough to set up another date, I will make it clear before we part ways for they evening, and then a couple of days later arrange the next one.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      I usually love reading deposition and court transcripts (I’m weird), but I just can’t with this one. I’m so disgusted by the whole thing. This one was a BIG disappointment to so, so many people and a horror for all of his victims. I got into a massive fight with my grandparents about the women coming forward about 6 months ago (“All they want is money!”) and this whole case just disgusts me on so many levels, for reasons I know I don’t have to elaborate.

    2. Mimmy

      Haven’t read the deposition (and don’t care to) but I’m having a tough time reconciling with all of this given how much of an icon he was in the ’80s. I enjoyed his comedy and watched The Cosby Show on occasion.

      Today, I watched a really good commentary on CBS Sunday Morning; the commentator distinguished between “reputation” and “character”, saying that Cosby’s public reputation was excellent whereas his character was deeply flawed. I don’t remember the exact conclusion of the piece, but I agreed with it – I think it basically said that how he handles this thing going forward is important. I really hope he speaks out about this because he has upset a LOT of his fans :(

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        I watched that too– the commentator was Joseph C. Phillips, who was on The Cosby Show for several seasons (he played Denise’s husband Martin). I thought Phillips did an outstanding job of outlining how different groups have reacted, and he’s right– what Cosby does moving forward will be very, very important. I’m particularly glad, though, that while Phillips wasn’t a “Cosby kid”, that somebody from the show had the balls to speak up the way he did.

        1. Nina

          I didn’t see the segment on CBS, but Phillips has said some some questionable things. He really didn’t think Cosby’s infidelity over the years was a big deal, responding “Does any man have the fortitude to turn down so much nookie every time?” and also admitted that he thought some of the women who accused Cosby were lying.

          Phillips has stepped up when it comes to the scandal, but I don’t think he’s the squeaky-clean prince the media says he is.

      2. Not So NewReader

        Public reputation is marketing. No different that presenting a product to the public. Somebody somewhere really scrambled to keep this one under wraps.

        I am so sad about this on so many levels.

    3. Liane

      I haven’t read all of it, I cannot stand to. I think I had been watching him most of my life. The original Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids show through his comedy albums to a live show sponsored by my university as part of Homecoming, just before Cosby Show took off. (I think I Spy was before my time.) Even his comments/critiques, although not directed at my race, had many points for me.

      So terrible when anyone stoops this low, especially when they were so respected.

    4. catsAreCool

      Just read it. Yuck. I used to think of him as such a cool guy. I didn’t believe the accusations at first, but after a certain number of accusations… And now he reveals himself as someone who has done some really scummy stuff to women. I used to think of him as kind of a hero, breaking ground for blacks on TV and in movies. keeping his act clean. When I think of Cosby now, I just feel sick.

      1. Not So NewReader

        To make it worse, he does not seem to realize this is wrong. His wife is quiet. I have not seen anything about her- maybe the media is leaving her alone deliberately. I hope so.

    5. Jean

      Yes, the entire thing is depressing:
      – so many women claiming* variations of being seduced (w/ help from drugs) & discarded, or threatened or bribed into silence
      – radio silence from Mr. Cosby, until this blast from the past emerges
      – seeing a man’s positive reputation, derived from a lifetime of hard work, crumble in the face of all these accusations + apparent corroboration from other two items above

      Did I say Depressing? I should add Disgusting. Stephanie got it right in far fewer words: Just ugh, ugh, ugh.

      * Am using tentative language here in order to honor the U.S. legal system’s presumption of people being innocent until proven guilty. Not really feeling this ideal in connection w/ Mr. Cosby, but the law is the law.

  37. Trixie

    Instant coffee drinkers, how do you keep the crystals from clumping up? I was thinking I could keep something in the jar container to absorb excess moisture; similar to what I think is done with brown sugar.

    1. Nina

      I don’t use a special container for coffee crystals, just the one it comes in. The only time they clump up is if I dip a wet spoon in the container and some of the water or cream gets left in the container. Could that be the case?

      A slice of bread does work with brown sugar, but I don’t know if it would work with coffee, since the bread works to keep the sugar soft and moist.

  38. I'm not a dentist but

    I take excellent care of my teeth but can’t afford cleanings as often as the tartar builds up. I’m considering purchasing a stainless steel hygiene set to at least take care of front teeth which are most visible. Anyone else had any luck with this?

    1. at-home teeth cleaner

      I don’t get much tartar build-up, but I purchased one of those sets to scrape away coffee and tea stains between cleanings. I’ve had very good success with that. I would imagine you will have to scrape a lot harder to get rid of tartar. Just be careful- those things hurt if you accidentally poke your gums.

    2. nep

      I’ve heard / read that people who do regular oil-pulling with coconut oil (perhaps other oils as well) end up with less tartar build-up on their teeth. Not sure whether it’s the case but might be worth looking into.

    3. Not So NewReader

      I was told not to use these implements. I bought a scraper and a little mirror. No, I do not use them that much. I did realize after a bit that the scraper thing might give me more leverage than I was used to than say a toothpick would do. Maybe it is true, don’t use these because you could hurt yourself. Make sure you know what you are scraping or yanking on if you have something between your teeth.

  39. Soleus

    Seeking suggestions for women’s sandals. Casual slide-ons with excellent arch support (I wear them into the ground), and ideally some kind of design around the front that disguises bunions. I’ve tried Merrell’s which were very pretty in purple but would never last like that. Didn’t’ feel as sturdy as Born.

    1. Revanche

      I don’t know if you’d call the arch support excellent or adequate (I have a weird relationship with my arches) but we bought a pair of the standard Sanuks with yoga mat material and it’s super comfortable. If you try them, go for the thick-soled ones first.

    2. Delyssia

      I love, love, love my Orthaheels. (I think they’re now called Vionic with Orthaheel technology or somesuch.) Really good arch support, and they have styles from super casual up to fairly dressy.

      1. OfficePrincess

        I have a pair of them as well. LOVE. They took some time to adjust to since I have flat feet and was going from supportless shoes, but once I got used to them, they’re fantastic. And they look like normal sandals.

        1. Soleus

          Good suggestions. I also saw some Fitflops at Marshall’s that looked interesting. Decent reviews online.

    3. Cristina in England

      I have Dansko sandals that are really supportive and adjustable and broke in after one day. Right now it seems like 6pm.com has by far the widest collection of Dansko sandals, and they do have the Jameson, the model I have. Jameson, Iris, and the Irene models might all disguise a bunion. If you find a style you like, buy more than one pair as Dansko have an irritating habit of discontinuing styles frequently.

  40. Jessen

    Anyone know how to keep a cat from chewing on cords? I tried rubbing them with lemon juice and apparently she likes that. I’ve also tried blowing in her face when she does and it doesn’t have much effect.

      1. Windchime

        Yes, there is a bitter apple spray. Also, I’ve heard that cats don’t like citrus but that only deterred my then-kitten for a short while. I’ve never had to deal with a cat chewing on cords so I don’t have any helpful hints. If it’s a particular cord, you could try wrapping it in double-sided sticky tape. My cats have always hated touching anything that is sticky.

      2. catsAreCool

        There is a bitter apple spray, and it can work. I think most pet food stores have them.

    1. Former Diet Coke Addict

      We used Bitter Apple spray when my cats were chewing cords as kittens. If that doesn’t work, you can try a cayenne-pepper rub, or you can buy cord covers at Container Store and the like. What we actually found most useful was to make the cords inaccessible–taped them underneath stuff and the like.

      1. Jessen

        Unfortunately that only really works if the cords are staying in the same place. My biggest trouble is headphones, and you can’t exactly tape those under something.

        I’ll have to try the spray.

        1. Former Diet Coke Addict

          Oh, my cats LOVE headphones. The only thing we can do is keep them inside cabinets, drawers, or in the car or at work. Nothing else works. They’ve eaten so many headphones I couldn’t tell you. They actually rifle through my purse looking for them.

          So yeah. For headphones I just had to remember to keep them closed away.

          1. Jessen

            Unfortunately the eating headphones includes when the headphones are in use around here. I can be using them and she’ll come right up and bite at them.

    2. 22dncr

      I had a friend that had a cat that did this. She put all her cords in PVC pipe (you split it and slide it over the cord). I wonder if you could use that foam tube insulation for water pipes?

      1. Jessen

        Will that work on cords like headphones and laptop cords while they’re in use and being moved around?

  41. Blinded by the Light

    Are window coverings for living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, etc no longer used? I am mildly annoyed by neighbors on one side and behind with their uncovered windows and lights shining into my house, even through my window coverings. I should explain that I live in a pretty typical Southern California neighborhood where lots are small and houses are too close together.

    Especially the house behind. Large windows and a sliding door along the entire back of the house (except where the bedrooms are). No window covers. Previous occupants kept strange hours. Even when they were asleep, the dining room light was on all.night.long. The problem for me? It shone right out that big uncovered window and into my mostly-covered window. New people started moving in last night. The large window/door is still uncovered. Covering windows is one of the first things I do in a new place when it gets dark.

    Also, while I am on the topic of lights, what is the deal with exterior flood lights that extend beyond the property owner’s/occupant’s property? Do people not realize that their neighbors might not be thrilled about that light shining on their house and in their windows all night long?

    I like dark at night. Can you tell?

    1. Clever Name

      I don’t draw drapes at night, but we do turn off the lights at night. Maybe get blackout shades and an eyemask? I feel like asking neighbors to cover their windows might be an odd request.

      1. Blinded by the Light

        Oh, I would never ask neighbors to cover their windows! Their house, their windows, their choice. I posted this only because this seems to be a recent thing, at least in my neighborhood, where people are not covering windows. If lights are not on all night, I don’t care.

        Now if I had a house with interesting architectural features and/or fantastic windows and some privacy around my house (either distance or trees/shrubs), I would totally not cover the windows. But that is not the case here. The houses are pretty dull Southern California stucco tract homes with boring aluminum-frame (one house) and vinyl-frame (other house) windows. And, as mentioned, the lots are small and the houses close together.

        Just wondering if uncovered windows is a thing that is moving from higher end homes to basic home.

        1. Clever Name

          If they just bought a house, buying curtains might not be in the budget for now. But I do think that buying drapes for houses as soon as you can just isn’t a thing like it used to be. In my house we have several very high windows above other windows that just aren’t practical to cover.

        2. fposte

          I see it in house stuff–windows too beautiful to cover, that kind of thing. I also think that a lot of people–very much including me–don’t change their blind setting from day to night. I generally only close my big window blinds for weather protection, either to keep out serious cold or serious heat, rather than just closing them at night.

    2. Windchime

      One of the first things I did when I bought this house was to call the window-covering people and order blinds. So I am on the same page as you! There is a McMansion behind/above me that has several uncovered doors and windows and I can see straight into their house at night. They turn every light on in the house in the evening, so the entire thing is ablaze; fortunately, they do turn off the lights at bedtime.

      I guess I just like my privacy. After dark, I close the blinds so I don’t feel like I’m on display to the neighborhood.

      1. Blinded by the Light

        That is totally me! I like my privacy and sure as heck don’t want all the neighbors seeing what I am doing inside my house at night.

    3. Cristina in England

      Where I live you do have a right to not have those external flood lights blazing up your house, so check local ordinances (it’s under “light pollution” here). My bedroom window is underneath a street light so I put up 2 different blackout shades every damn night. In public rooms it doesn’t bother me, only when I’m sleeping.

      1. Blinded by the Light

        Some communities here have light pollution ordinances. From what I have read, most are not enforced. And my community is not one of them. Sigh.

        We put up a blackout curtain on our side bedroom window some time ago. The neighbor’s bathroom window (uncovered) is opposite and only a few feet away. The light going on at night woke us, and the blackout curtain solved that problems. Our bedroom window that faces the rear is the problem, as we keep the window open at night for air. New neighbors so far are not keeping interior lights on all night, so it is still nice and dark back there.

      2. Pipette

        Have you complained to your local council about the street light shining into your bedroom? In my neighbourhood they mount screens directly on street lights that are really close to people’s windows.

    4. Trill

      I have to admit, until I was an adult I thought window coverings were more meant to keep unwanted sunlight out out during the day rather than to be closed at night for privacy/to keep light from shining out.

      I grew up on a farm. We couldn’t see any neighbours. We only closed our blinds if there was a glare from the sun, we never closed them at night. Thankfully I had roommates after I moved out who knew to close the blinds/curtains at night and i figured it out from there.

      1. Blinded by the Light

        I think if I had a nice view and/or no neighbors, I wouldn’t close window coverings, either. Except to keep out sun when it’s hot and for added insulation when it’s cold. ;)

  42. Natalie

    Oof, I moved in on Thursday. Or rather, paid a company to send me some young college men to move my stuff. They could carry armchairs on their back, which was pretty impressive. Worth every penny and then some.

    The unpacking is going okay. My kitchen is basically functional, thank god. The bedroom is a disaster: I didn’t separate out of season clothes as well as I should, so there are all of these sweaters lying around. And I’m still struggling with getting rid of stuff I like but doesn’t fit either my life or my spare tire. And I feel like I’m hemorrhaging money, even though I set aside cash for move in expenses and things I didn’t have (trash cans, organizing stuff, paint, blah blah blah). Even knowing I have the money it seems ridiculous to spend a bunch at Home Depot on towel bars or whatever. But I want a place to put my towel! Argh.

    This was a lot easier when it was a Sims house.

    1. Saro

      Ooof, I feel ya. Moving is stressful! Good luck!

      If you’re like me, you’ll be irritated every day if you don’t have somewhere to put your towels – so that’s worth it!

    2. NDQ

      Moving is in my future too. I am trying to eliminate a lot of stuff before I have to pack and move. But I hear you on the expense. There’s always those things you didn’t budget for and the list can seem long. Ugh.

      If you are renting, you could ask the owner to cover the costs. If you are the owner, start lists of projects and improvements — there will always be something.

      Sounds like you’ll be settled and happy soon!

      NDQ

      1. Natalie

        I bought, so it’s all on me. The house was pretty move in ready and the prior owners did all the big stuff (roof, plumbing, HVAC) so I’m just dying by a thousand cuts. I just had to let a bird out of my garage that got in by a small break in the window and couldn’t figure out how to get out the same way.

        I guess a list on Excel would be good, so I can reprioritize as needed.

    3. The IT Manager

      Yes! Paying people (strong young men) to move your stuff is awesome.

      But, yes, moving is super expensive. I just moved and spent a lot of money in the first two months on trash cans, towel hooks, bathmats, shelves, etc, etc, etc. What you have from your old place doesn’t quite fit.

      I ended up using over the door towel racks for my towels (I still have a 20 year old one from college) but the door isn’t next to the shower so then added those 3m removable hooks right near the shower so the towel is right there when I am done. I’m renting; if I owned this place I would have spent the time and money to put real towel racks in the most logical place for them. This rental is full of quirky oddities that I don’t think an owner would put up with but which renters will i.e. most of the light switches are hidden behind doors.

    4. Ista

      Ugh, I’m moving next month and am dreading the entire thing (even though this was my idea!). But I think finding a company to send strong young men is going to be key here as well—the actual moving company estimates were ridiculous and at least if I UHaul, the cat can travel with easily (I don’t have a car and this is an interstate move).

      Good luck!

      1. Natalie

        You can probably find unloaders at your destination, either through a moving company or craigslist. Some friends of mine just moved to Chicago and they packed and drove themselves, but paid for labor in Chicago since it was a 3 story walk up. Totally worth it! I was actually able to function the next day (and the rest of the weekend) rather than laying down in a dark room to rest my back.

    5. fposte

      I think you also just do buy more stuff for the first owned house. It’s like getting a big needy pet–it’s fun to buy for, but it’s expensive.

      And buy the towel bars. Something you will use every day is not the place to do without. Otherwise five years on you’re going to be leaving your towel on the floor or cursing that the plastic stick-on hook is getting unstuck *again*. Part of my vaguely KonMari house cleaning is finally getting to repairs and installations that I meant to do for years, so that I can enjoy them after years of plastic stick-on hooks and their ilk.

      1. Natalie

        I did buy them and put them up, and it is worth it. The bathroom is now functional enough for me to get ready for work on Monday, which was the goal. So, goal achieved!

        1. Natalie

          Also, I was really impressed that Delta (maker of the towel bars) includes a template for the drill holes. Tape it to the door, drill through the template, and all the holes are perfect. It’s amazing!

  43. Speaking of blinds...

    I just moved into a rental and would like to put up black-out blinds on a roller. I can find black-out film. I can find black-out curtains. I can’t find black-out blinds on a tension roller that I could just put up. Any suggestions?

    1. fposte

      A cheap roller blind that you then affix black-out material to? I’m seeing a few tutorials when I look.

    2. Not So NewReader

      JC Penney has room darkening shades which would not show a silhouette, if that is what you are interested in.

  44. Not in the US

    I’m in a country where ride sharing platform Uber is new. I’m interested in hearing about any experiences readers have had, either as a rider or driver. Also what sort of opposition has there been from local authorities and taxi companies? Thanks.

    1. Apollo Warbucks

      London taxi drivers have been really upset by the launch of uber. They say that they are the only people who should be picking up paying passengers in the city.

      1. katamia

        A lot of taxi drivers have been saying that in the US, too. I don’t know about other countries, but here in order to drive a taxi you have to pay for a special license or permit, too, while Uber drivers don’t have to (yet, although I wouldn’t be surprised if some cities tried that at some point), which lets Uber charge less while still making a profit. (Well, the company makes a profit–not sure about the drivers. It seems like how much Uber drivers make varies a LOT by location.)

        1. fposte

          I think taxi regs are municipality based. So New York is hugely restrictive (though probably not as much as London), but they’re a lot looser in some other locations.

          The problem I’m hearing as a possibility is Uber as the Walmart, driving taxis out of business with competitive rates, but then raising their rates. Then of course there’s the whole gig economy problem–I know Uber has had lawsuits contending they’ve incorrectly categorized employees as independent contractors.

        2. Apollo Warbucks

          In London you have to pass the “knowledge” to drive a black cab and be able to pick up passengers on the street. Passing means having an encyclopaedic understanding of the city’s streets and being tested at interview on routes before being given your medal and license. (Interestingly taking the knowledge causes structural changes in the brain and changes to memory of drivers) mini cabs are another option they can only be booked in advance not hailed on the street.

          I can see why the drivers are pissed to me the uber drivers are more like mini cabs which already operate in London but they pay tax, insurance, licensing and have to get their vehicles inspected every six months if uber want to join the party they should have to play by the same rules.

          1. fposte

            I was thinking about the brain changes with the Knowledge! There was a really nice article on it somewhere about a year ago. I love maps and navigation and London wish there was some “Learning the Knowledge” app or something.

    2. Come On Eileen

      I’ve been an Uber passenger a handful of times over the past month and I love it. It’s convenient, affordable, and seems very safe. Heck, I’ve even considered becoming a driver in my spare time, but haven’t taken that leap yet. I’m in California and it’s really taken off here.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale

      When Uber first launched and was getting hot, I lived in NYC. I never took it, and in fact, I’m pretty against it in New York– many of my neighbors were taxi drivers, Uber always, always had surge pricing (uh, you want me to pay you HOW much?), and there were several well-established and regulated car services available that I felt safe and comfortable using.

      Then I moved to a place where Uber is IT. There are taxis, but they’re a fortune and they’re often not very clean. You have to call and wait for ages to get one. I “call” an Uber and it’s there within a few minutes, the cars are always clean, and I haven’t had any bad experiences. One guy has even picked me up twice, and when I saw his name for the second ride I was all, “Ahmed! The retired New Yorker! He’s so cool!” The local taxis don’t like them, but if the local taxis kept up their cars and didn’t take 45 minutes to dispatch, they’d get a lot more business. (My neighbor drives for one of the local companies. His car is a piece of crap and I would never get in it. He’s also a smoker and a stoner– while I don’t think he would ever drive high, I’m not a fan of the smell of cigarette smoke lingering on my driver.)

      Uber here has the biggest problem with the airport. There’s a special airport taxi contractor and Uber has been undercutting them in a big way, to the point where taking an Uber to the airport now comes with its own set of rules: sit up front, get your own bag, pretend you’re friends. I think it’s nuts that the airport wants to crack down on Uber going TO the airport (I should be able to take whatever ride I want to the airport), but them’s the breaks.

    4. Not in the US

      Thank you all for your replies. It sounds like the introduction of Uber in my country is similar to others. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  45. Saro

    Has anyone gotten into the KonMari method? I’m in a tumultuous time in my life, accumulated stuff, there’s a mess throughout my parent’s home, and moved back home suddenly – so this book came at a great time. I must admit, looking at my tidy dresser drawers makes me really happy!

    1. CoffeeLover

      I haven’t yet, but I plan to! Every year or two I do a closet clean out, but I always find myself keeping things I “might” wear some time in the distant future. My cloths and shoes have spread into two closets and many, many drawers. I actually love getting rid of stuff, so I’m pretty exciting to cut that down to a reasonable amount.

        1. VintageLydia USA

          It helps to remember it was written with a Japanese, mostly Shinto, audience in mind. It put me off a bit too, at first, but it was easier once I discerned the practical aspects of it all.

          1. fposte

            I also really want her to write an autobiography. I was just fascinated by her and loved the bits about her childhood negotiation with this organizing impulse.

          2. Saro

            That’s a good point. I fell in the flow with her after a bit. I do thank the clothes but slightly tweaked to my own belief system. It has made my closet more pleasant, where I had some angst before.

      1. fposte

        Yeah, I had pretty much expanded into what my house will hold, and I had a little chat with myself about the folly of that. Part of my cleanout result was sterner limits on where clothes are allowed to be.

    2. NDQ

      I’m still waiting to get the book from my library, but I read reviews that explained her method and like it. I’m getting rid of lots of stuff each week.

      NDQ

    3. nep

      Ooh — hadn’t heard of it. Just looked it up. Duly interested and inspired. Definitely going to check this out.

    4. Christy

      omg I was really skeptical of KonMari–I love reading about organizational systems and hers seemed really woo-woo to me. But I read the book and I started using the system. I’ve gone through all of my clothes and gotten rid of about half–all the ones I didn’t actually like. I also got rid of 1/4 of my books (though they still need to be uncatalogued in goodreads and sold). It’s awesome. It has also really helped with get rid of gifts. I thank the gift for serving its purpose and then I trash it. It’s so freeing.

      I think her advice of doing all of a certain type of thing (like all clothes) at once is really perfect.

      1. Saro

        Yes, I’m in the clothes stage and loooove it. My brother keeps saying it’s a cult and I tell him it’s a productive and clean cult!

      2. Christy

        I just uncatalogued all of my unwanted books! Now to donate/sell! Thanks for the inspiration.

    5. Briar

      yes and I love it! I did my drawers months ago… I still love it every time I open them. we keep getting rid of things… so satisfying.

    6. fposte

      A friend is really going whole hog with it; I read it and am finding it useful to spur a cleanout but I’m not fully committing to the “method.”

      I do like seeing all my clothes not in piles, though.

    7. Liz in a Library

      I am slowly working through it! I did my clothes, and it made a huge difference! I did my books on Friday, which was so freeing. I kept maybe 1/3 and suspect that next time I can weed further.

      Still need to take the books to be donated or to the used book store and get them out of this house!

    8. Carrie in Scotland

      I have a quote on my pinterest by William Morris. It says Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful which is quite a good way of looking at things and assessing them and how they fit into your life.

      1. Not So NewReader

        This is so helpful. Years ago, I decided to get rid of anything that had a negative vibe to it. But the problem was that I felt like I should keep it because it had been in the family. I sold what I could of it and used the proceeds to repair something I knew I would keep. It helped me to feel better about getting rid of something I was “supposed” to keep as I rolled the money from the sale of the item over into something I knew I was going to keep. I also got some spendy repairs done that way, too. Bonus. (Ex. I paid several hundred dollars to have an antique clock repaired, there is no other way I would have shelled out that kind of money on a clock.)

    9. INTP

      It helped me with throwing out half my makeup, and as weird as this sounds, with throwing out spoiled food without a lot of anxiety over it. (I hate wasting.) It didn’t work that well for clothes. I guess I’m just not in touch enough with my inner spark-of-joy-ometer? I would feel the “spark of joy” with clothes that I had no business keeping due to my memories of wearing them (things that I wore years ago that are no longer in style and no longer fit). I felt nothing with most of my basics that I definitely need to keep. I thought that dumping all your clothes on the floor at once was a good idea, though, because I was more okay with, say, getting rid of a dress I kind of liked when I saw that I had four dresses for the same weather and level of formality that I liked better.

      Thanking an item for serving its purpose in your life also helped me. Basically, if you are trying to hang onto something that you haven’t worn because getting rid of it feels like a waste, you acknowledge that maybe its purpose was something else – giving you the thrill of buying the item, the red lipstick that you never wanted to wear that helped you figure out that you are more of a nude lip person, the fancy yoga pants that were supposed to motivate you to do more yoga, etc. This is the one that helped me with food. Normally I feel compelled to eat all of a recipe I hated or find something to do with spoiling produce. I acknowledged that the food’s purpose was to allow me to test a new recipe, or to make sure my fridge was fully stocked with healthy items during a busy time even if I risked overbuying, and threw the food away.

      Basically, I took away some good lessons from it, but doing it by-the-book didn’t work that well for me.

    10. Laurs

      As someone who hadn’t heard of it until up thread, has now Googled and am about to order the book to help with clearing for a rapidly approaching relocation thank you!

      I’m attempting to stop living like a cluttered student so here’s hoping it helps

    11. StillHealing

      I just finished reading the book “The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo, this past Saturday.

      I got off to a good start a couple weeks ago when I started the book. I have a long way to go though and glad she says that the act of discarding can take up to six months…because I think that’s about how long it’s going to take me!

      I did immediately do some things with my clothes that she mentioned and found it to be breath of fresh air to have things organized and easy to store and find.

  46. E

    A friend of mine is having a birthday party at Rasika, an Indian restaurant in DC. It’s pretty expensive, and I don’t particularly like Indian food (though to be fair I haven’t eaten it that much). What inexpensive, not-too-adventurous thing would you recommend I get? The website/menu is here if you’d like to see: rasikarestaurant.com.

    1. Today's anon

      Tandoori meat or vegetable is grilled with some yogurt sauce (so chicken usually looks redish) but it’s pretty mild. Biryani is kind of a mixed rice and meat or vegetable. Have fun!

    2. Jean

      Because I have an non-adventurous digestive tract, I almost always order palak paneer, which is a mildly spiced (or at least my body percieves it as such) dish of cheese cubes and spinach. Unfortunately the closest item on the
      West End location dinner menu seems to be “Mattar Pudina Tikki — Green peas / mint / mozzarella.” It looks like an appetizer–it’s listed in the first section of the menu–but maybe you could order a meal-sized portion.

      On the New Hampshire Ave. location dinner menu, I found Vegetable Biryani, which another commenter recommended. This was listed under Vegetarian.

      You could call the restaurant as long as you pick a non-busy time and ask detailed questions if there are specific ingredients you want to eat or avoid.

      1. Natalie

        There’s a very similar dish I love called matter paneer (peas and Indian cheese cubes) that would be fine for a less adventurous palate. Generally the sauce can be made very mild.

    3. E

      Thanks all! I’m actually looking forward to it now – when I was looking at the menu before I had no idea where to begin. That Washington Post review definitely made me more excited about the outing, too!

    4. emily

      The black cod is seriously life-changingly good, and I’m not a huge fish fan and would never otherwise order any variation of cod. Everyone I have recommended it to has felt the same way.

    5. Cobalt-60

      Share the Palak Chaat as a starter; it is amazing! You really can’t go wrong at Rasika.

      1. Jillociraptor

        Yes. I would eat the palak chaat every day if I could figure out how to make it. Rasika is amazing, one of my absolute favorite restaurants anywhere.

  47. Ann Furthermore

    I love chicken tikka masala. Mild but very flavorful. Also similar to that is butter chicken. Both are made with a tomato based sauce.

    1. MLT

      Ditto this! Butter chicken or chicken tikka masala. They were my intro to Indian food and are still my favorite.

    2. Mimmy

      I love chicken tikka masala too – we usually eat it over basmati rice and with naan bread. I think we had butter chicken too at an Indian restaurant in Philly around Christmastime.

      I also recommend this one drink – I can’t remember the name of it, but I think it was mango-based. Reminded me a little of those orange creamsicles.

  48. Anon1234

    Go for one of the vegetarian side dishes and some naan. You can ask the waiter to point you to one of the milder-spiced options.

  49. Treena

    Any RSS recommendations? I’ve never used one before and I think it’s officially time..

    1. Blue_eyes

      I’ve been using Feedly since google reader shut down and it gets the job done. I like it much better on my tablet and phone than on my computer, so it might depend where you like to read.

  50. Chicago

    Please help settle an argument. Is Chicago (not adapted at all) too raunchy for a high school production?

    My coworker’s son’s school is doing it. I say if schools can do Spring Awakening, they can do this. She says it’s hideously inappropriate. Who’s right?

    1. Elkay

      No, it’s only raunchy because traditionally the women wear very little. I’m struggling to think of inappropriate content. I love Chicago “He ran into my knife…he ran into my knife ten times”.

    2. Cruciatus

      There are a few things that would make me go “hmmm…ick” while watching a high school do it. Like “when you’re stroking mama, mama’s stroking you” and other lyrics like that. And the husband and sister are killed doing “doing number 17: the spread eagle” and not to mention sort of glamorizing murder. I do think sometimes we baby kids in this country but the more I think of it….yeah, I do think it’s a little weird. I’ve never seen Spring Awakening so I can’t compare at all. However, is this a school that puts on big productions and actually sells lots of tickets? The more adult theme is probably going to be a draw for some people.

      1. fposte

        Though some of it is just what you’re accustomed to, isn’t it? The King and I glamorizes ownership of women and usually involves some truly offensive makeup; Guys and Dolls is a love letter to underworld gambling; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is pretty self-evident but has been performed in quite a few high schools.

      2. Stephanie

        My high school was in a fairly conservative town in the Bible Belt. We did Into the Woods one year and just cut out the more suggestive lines and numbers (“I Know Things Now” for example.”).

        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          I was just about to say– I think Into the Woods is way, WAY inappropriate for schools, yet no one thinks twice. “It’s about fairy tales! Just like Disney!” Uh, nope, it ain’t. Without cuts, that is.

          1. Stephanie

            HA. I was in it again in college (played in the pit orchestra) and it was an entirely different play. Uh, disturbingly enough, a local middle school did it. I have no clue what version that was…

    3. Liane

      My Teens have been doing plays since their freshman years and every play has been adapted with scenes or songs taken out, often because of time constraints (preparation or length of performances) but also because there are performances for the nearby middle and high schools.
      So I am surprised this is not being done to the play.

  51. Jader

    Middlesex is one of my favorite books of all time.

    I’m having a really tough time this week. My Mom had her thyroid removed because it had a large fast growing tumor we assume is cancer but won’t know until her follow up in 6 weeks. I took a bunch of time off work to be with her and have been with her every second I was allowed to be/that she wanted me to be. She is the oldest of 6 and the “glue” of her family, she regularly drops everything to help them, whether it’s helping them move, loaning money, letting them live with us when we were younger, helping two of them escape abusive relationships or just lending a sympathetic ear. When her Dad died a few years ago she spent the entire year he was dying with her Mom, taking him to appointments, paying for stuff as needed, providing a place for them to stay in the city while he was in treatment. She lived with my Grandma for a few weeks after his death so she wouldn’t be alone (as she hasn’t ever been alone in 40 years). Keep in mind my Mom still has two kids of her own at home during this time.
    My Mom’s family couldn’t care less about her. One brother text to check in on her. Otherwise no calls, no Facebook message, no visits. One sister is actually angry with her because my Mom will be recovering from surgery for awhile and unable to watch her 4 boys (which she’s been doing for free every second week for 5 days, for free). She posted a passive aggressive status about being abandoned on Facebook and sent Mom 30 bucks as payment for the last two months and will no longer speak to her. My Grandma came down to watch my aunt’s kids for a few days and wouldn’t come visit my Mom. I thought maybe she couldn’t be in hospitals since my Grandpa’s death, but she ended up staying long enough that she had two days to come see her at home.
    I’ve already realized the toxic nature of my Mom’s family and cut most of them off, but I’m still so angry and sad on my Mom’s behalf. I just needed to vent, I apologize if this is super long and impossible to read!

    1. Elkay

      There’s something similar happening in my family right now and it sucks. I hope your mom isn’t too upset by their about face and sees now that she doesn’t owe them anything.

    2. Marcela

      No need to apologize. It’s horrible when family behaves like this, in the most difficult times. Sadly, all I can say is that you need to accept they are like this.

      Something similar happened to my grandfather when he had TB. He was the center of our family, we loved him so much. But when he got sick, “mysteriously” people started to disappear. The ones that stayed -us- got furious and it took years to recover from the fights we had. Because we could have understood if they just stopped going to the hospital. After all, it was TB, and even considering in our country everybody is vaccinated against it, and we all were in good health (my grandfather was healthy but in high risk because of a previous stomachal cancer), TB is a dangerous illness. But they also stopped visiting my grandmother, at their home, which was so cruel. The moment she needed us the most, and they just plainly refused to be there, even after being told there was almost no risk for them, all less than 50-something, while my abuelita was 80+ and visited my grandfather every single day in the hospital.

      Grr. You can see I’m still angry when I remember that, and it’s been more than 20 years since that time. But I know to let it go. It’s just the way it is. Many hugs for you. I truly hope the tumor won’t be cancer.

      1. Jader

        That sounds about right for my family as well. At the end my Mom and Grandma spent every day from 10am to 8pm at the hospital. They mentioned what kind of assistance would be helpful (other visitors so they would feel like they could leave if only for lunch, homemade meals, someone to help shuffle my siblings around) but no one did anything. It isn’t as raw for me as it is for my Mom, but I’ve had a lot of therapy.

    3. MLT

      People can be really weird around illness. Sometimes it’s ignorance (they don’t realize that you need help), sometimes it’s denial (they can’t deal with your illness so they ignore it), and sometimes they are so fearful, they invent things to be angry about because it helps them justify staying away. Of course, other times they are simply uncaring. Your mom is lucky she has you. And I can tell you that sometimes those thyroid tumors are benign – mine was – so keep positive. Big hug!

    4. fposte

      I’m sorry, Jake. It sounds like a frustrating and deeply disappointing experience on top of your concern for your mom.

      As you probably already know, thyroid cancer is the one to have if you have to have cancer. The majority of them are very well-behaved, removal or ablation of the thyroid is the end of the matter, and taking Synthroid is no big deal. Fingers crossed that that’s the case for your mom.

    5. Jader

      Thanks all. I’m definitely a researcher so I know if it is cancer the survival rate is really high, and they were pretty sure the tumor was benign except in the last month it’s growth was exponential. This would be her third cancer though, and her health has generally been poor (giving too much to other people who don’t deserve it, in my opinion) so while I haven’t said it, and my sister and I have only spoken very vaguely about it, we are pretty scared. I’m only 24, my sister is 18 and we are not ready to really think about the possibilities.

      My Mom is pretty upset with her sister, but she is who she is and I know when my Mom feels better she’ll be right back to helping her as much as she can. It annoys me but I’ve been working on my new personal mantra “not my circus, not my monkeys”.

      It definitely doesn’t help that when it rains for us it pours. I’ve been trying to get pregnant for a almost two years and had a miscarriage 2 months ago. I finally got into a specialist but had to take an appointment 3 hours away and of course it’s this week. My emotions and hormones are all over the place. I just want to yell at everyone :) But we are trying to be positive. Us girls are spending the weekend cooking for the week and dancing to excellent 90s pop music, and annoying my Dad with our boisterousness.

  52. Come On Eileen

    Cat owners: how long do you have to be out of town before you hire someone to feed and check on your pets? I’m going out of town Friday – Sunday next weekend and am debating between pulling out my automated dry food feeders and asking a friend or hiring a service to check on them. (My standard MO over past years was to ask my boyfriend to check on them, but we’ve split up so that option is no longer on the table.)

    Is 2.5 days alone with an automated feeder okay in your book? I think if it were any longer I’d go with a service, but for one weekend I’m leaning toward no one checking on them. If it makes a difference, I have two cats.

    1. Cruciatus

      I mostly think this is fine, but I think it’d be nice for them (assuming they aren’t total scaredy cats) if someone came to play with them (and refresh food, water, litter box, etc.) for a little while at least one of the days–assuming it isn’t a big hassle for you or them. But if not, I’d probably at least set up an extra litter box and bowl of water. And test those feeders first to make sure they work!

    2. Mimmy

      I’m probably going to sound cruel (sorry Alison!), but we’ve left our cats alone for a week without a problem. We used to have one of my friends look in on them but I forget why we stopped using them.

      2.5 days alone should be fine if you leave them with enough food and water and keep the house temperature comfortable. I think we lucked out on the longer periods because, for a period, everything was automated – feeder, water bowl and even the litter box. However, everything either broke or we just got rid of it, so when we go to the shore for a week every summer, we come home about halfway through to replenish food & water and clean the litter box (and to do laundry!). For the future, I might try to convince DH to go back to having a friend check in on them. Though our one remaining cat (the other one died a couple of years ago) is getting old, so I have no idea how much longer she’ll last.

    3. Ask a Manager Post author

      I think two nights is fine, as long as you leave plenty of food and (most important) water. (Lucy likes to leave toys in the water bowl, which then absorb all the water, leaving none for anyone to drink, so I really go overboard on leaving bowls of water out for them.) If you can have someone check on them, do, but cats are generally fine for two nights. I wouldn’t leave them for longer than that without having someone come in to feed them and give them fresh water. There are services you can hire to do that.

      I would not leave a kitten for two nights though; I assume we’re talking about grown cats.

      That said, I did once go away for two nights and came back to find one cat had gotten very sick and needed to be rushed to the emergency vet in the middle of the night, and it would have been better if I had been there to catch it earlier. That’s rare though; cats rarely get sick and I wouldn’t expect that to happen.

      1. catsAreCool

        I always leave out several extra water bowls for the kitties if I’m gone for a day or so, even if I have someone come in to take care of them.

    4. Dynamic Beige

      I prefer that my cats have wet food instead of kibble, so if I’m away one night I’ll use my auto feeder, but more than that, I’ll get someone in to feed them. But, I have kind of the ideal situation in that my neighbours and I are cats-in-law* so I don’t pay a lot for that. Just make sure you change your batteries before you go. I don’t have the power adapter for mine and last time I went away, the battery light was flashing when I got back so I’m not sure if they got all their meals. One of them is really good at sticking his paw in there to make it let the kibble down, so they probably were fed more than they should have been.

      * Someone dumped a bunch of cats in my neighbourhood 3 years ago — at least 3 that we know of and one of them was pregnant. I found my girl when I accidentally trapped her in my garage for erm… an indeterminate amount of time. I didn’t know she was sleeping in there and horrible guilt ensued. I tried to find who owned her, no one apparently did, I fed her and well… she’s curled up on my bed sleeping. The next night, my boy showed up. The night after that, another cat showed up, this was the pregnant one and she has the same colouring as my girl, they could be sisters. All the cats had apparently been going to my neighbour’s house for food, the pregnant one had her kittens in the garage (both of them are coloured like my boy, who was about 6 months when I found him). So, when I decided to keep two, it was a funny story all around because my neighbours couldn’t keep all of them, and were wondering what they could do (they had been away on vacation during the time all the cats showed up in my life). Now they get to see the cats when I go away. Yeah, I kind of stole cats from children. But I didn’t know! I swear!

    5. Carrie in Scotland

      I think your cat would get lonely but would survive being left.

      I’m the type of person who panics when leaving her cat for one night but I’m usually gone say Sat morning and come back Sun afternoon and tend to put down treats, dry food and one or two pouches of wet food (sometimes I double up with the same flavour in 1 bowl or I have a thing with 2 bowls and put a different pouch in each). I have a cup on the windowsill that she likes to drink out of so always have that filled up.

      My cat is always super happy when I come back.

    6. Not So NewReader

      If it was some of my old cats they would barely notice I was gone. No, that’s not true. They would not notice I was gone, period. And I worried like heck over leaving them, too. I would be very comfortable leaving them for several days. I put out extra litter boxes, extra water and lots of dry food.

      I used to board them. When I came home and got them I found they were scared, upset, etc. Leaving them alone in the house brought out the exact opposite reaction. They were happy, content and they acted like their usual selves. I never told many people I did this because it seemed cruel, but for them they actually preferred to be left home alone than boarded.
      They would hide if someone new came into the house so there was little point in having someone come check on them. My neighbors watched the house itself. I felt I did the best I could given all these things.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        I read somewhere (maybe from someone here) that cats bond with places the same way they do with people, and I think it’s really true. They do so much better at home with someone checking on them than they do being boarded, even with round-the-clock attention.

        1. Not So NewReader

          This meshes with what I have seen. I adopted two adult rescues and it was a big deal getting them used to the house as well as us. The first rescue took one full year to decide to brave all the rooms in the house. Uh…. I don’t have a big house. It took her months to get from the bedroom she first hid in to the center room in the house. These two rooms are only separated by a small hallway. It was a journey for her.

    7. Come On Eileen

      Thanks everyone! Sounds like I should be okay with the automatic feeder – that said, I might ask a girlfriend to stop by once on Saturday just to check on them. I have two grown cats who keep each other company, so I don’t get too worried about either one getting bored. I’m intrigued by the idea of an automatic feeder for wet food, though (my cats are only on wet these days but I keep a bag of dry food for situations like these). I’ve heard they exist but haven’t had much luck finding one.

  53. Jumbo Dill

    Anon for this one. I hate to bring it down here, but I kind of feel like I have to put it out there in case something happens.

    I’m in a pretty dangerous living situation and I have little to no way to get out anytime soon. I’m living with a violent sociopath. Others in my house understand he’s crazy and unstable and pretty easily heated, but since I have dealt with so many psychopaths/sociopaths/narcissists, I have a feeling someone or something is going to get seriously, seriously hurt before he leaves, if not outright killed. I keep having nightmares of him pulling a gun on someone, he’s threatened to start packing (not to us, but because of gang activity he’s dragging into our house) but he has previous weapons charges so he knows and fully admits if he gets a weapon he’s committing a serious felony.

    He’s supposed to move on the first but rumor is, is that the landlord is letting him stay. I’m sleeping with a knife. He likes my dog but I still fear for his safety when I’m not home. It would not at all surprise me for this roommate (we’ll call him Nick) to poison my dog or simply let him loose when I’m not home. It’s terrifying.

    I can’t leave. I’m unemployed and working cash gigs to keep any sort of money flowing while I look for work. But it’s not a lot, for example my phone crapped out on Friday – I have no problem paying the deductible to get it replaced (it would cost the same to get it repaired, and more to replace the phone) but I’m also still trying to come up with money for the bill, which I have to pay to activate the new device. Not to mention I have a storage unit that I cannot afford to lose that is also overdue and it’s all just money I simply don’t have. But I can’t survive without my phone. I have about $10 right now, a small deposit on the way, and more money coming soon but it won’t be enough, much less worrying about rent anytime soon.

    I don’t have a car. I can drive, I have a license, but I don’t have a car. I have a large dog (who I can’t and won’t surrender, if something goes wrong at home he’s my main protection) so simply leaving for the night isn’t an option. My friends can’t take us in for a few days either.

    I can’t call the cops – my landlord hates them and since I have no way to get out, if I do that I’m almost positive Nick would absolutely attack me. Plus I don’t have any solid evidence of his behavior/threats except some cell phone video footage (Which I can’t access because said phone is fried and for some reason I have been having a really hard time logging into my cloud service) and the footage doesn’t do anything illegal, just shows that he’s angry and extremely manipulative and passive-aggressive.

    I have told my friends that I don’t feel safe, and they agree that I need to get out and I’m desperate to. I don’t qualify for assistance for several reasons that I don’t feel like going into now.

    I can’t ask friends/family for money because I had a huge event last year that they very generously helped out with and while a lot of it was a gift, some of it was not – my friends know I am working towards repaying them but I have made little headway.

    One thing I do have though is a 72-hour notice period, between one of my close friends, my closest family member to me (in a whole other state, but all the same), and another good friend I’ve made here that lives closest to me, they know my information, and to alert each other if they go three days without hearing from me, and also a plan to handle Dog Issues if I were hurt or killed. But what went from a slightly uneasy situation, just setting it up as a just-in-case has turned into something that I’m quite afraid is a very real threat.

    Other things that don’t apply: tenant laws, we pay cash for rent and there’s a lot of illegal stuff going on here anyway, plus it again involves authorities and I would absolutely be kicked out with nowhere to go if I got them involved.

    My saving grace is that Nick works a LOT, like sixty hours a week, and he talks so much crap, so loudly, and so passive-aggressively to the whole house, he makes sure everyone knows he’s working overtime and making money (minimum wage restaurant job). But things are getting so tense that I barely slept at all last night because Nick was home and trying to start shit with roommate NG (we have taken a vow of silence, along with two other roomies unless directly hit or in my case, if my dog is somehow involved – if you have nothing nice to say, you know. And we don’t want to give him any more attention because that’s what he thrives on).

    I don’t know what to do.

    And I’m really sorry for putting this crap on here. Being anonymous helps.

    1. fposte

      Good God, JD, that sounds horrible, and I’m sorry.

      Do you think a roommate situation elsewhere would be possible if you had transition money? Harder to find with a big dog but not impossible in most places. If you can identify one, that’s something you can and absolutely should ask friends and family to help fund. I reemphasise–you *should* ask for this money. People being irritated with you is a much smaller problem than this. Nobody’s going to say “Hey, JD may have gotten killed by her roommate, but at least she didn’t keep asking for money, right?”

      I also think it might be worth a call to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Your situation may not be textbook for them, but you’re in danger by someone you live with, and they might have some strategies or local resources you don’t know about.

      I will be hoping to hear good news from you soon. Stay safe.

      1. Jumbo Dill

        I supposedly have a place in another neighborhood, but I was supposed to move in June anyway. Renovations delayed the move from two weeks to indefinite.

        Thank you for the tip about the hotline, I will try to give them a call. Kind of hard without a phone, but there’s obviously skype/google voice.

        Part of the problem is that I moved cross-country with little notice; and it’s not that I’m not close with my family but they know that I’m out here doing my thing, so I’m really only in touch with my one sister, and haven’t talked to most of my family since within the first month I moved. Me calling out of the blue would raise a huge red flag and they wouldn’t likely believe me, even with my sister’s support.

        1. fposte

          I apologize for missing the phone crapping out thing. There is also an online chat at the hotline (push those words together) dot org slash help.

          Please don’t dismiss calling the family. A red flag is what should be raised here.

      2. Grey

        You didn’t indicate gender and I don’t want to assume anything. So, here’s general advice for women in this situation:

        My line of work has put me in contact with countless women in this situation and the agencies that help them. You would be amazed by the level of support they’re able to offer. You don’t need to be physically abused and it’s not the type of assistance you need to “qualify” for. Call a local agency and at least speak to someone.

        1. catsAreCool

          “When you’re making plans about what should happen if you’re killed, it’s time to ask for help.” This! Please get help. Can you imagine how your family would feel if you got killed or badly hurt because you were in a situation they could have helped you get out of ?

          Can you move back to be near family for a while? Even if you and your dog just left most of the stuff at the place you live in and just left, or put more of your stuff in storage, getting out alive is a priority.

    2. MLT

      Figure out where your nearest shelter is, in case you have to leave in a hurry (maybe they can even help you now). Alternatively, you might stop in at a local church and ask for assistance. Wish I had more to offer.

      1. Cobalt-60

        Seconding the church option. Churches often have funds for exactly this sort of situation, with no requirement for you to be a member.

        1. Not So NewReader

          I was just thinking churches,too. JD, you are in my prayers. Please come back and tell us how you are doing.

    3. Dynamic Beige

      Get some paper and a pen and write it all down. As this guy is not your husband/boyfriend you should be able to hide it in your room where he can’t easily find it or even knows you’re doing it. I say this because if you can’t get out (and the other suggestions are very good for finding help) then you need a record if something does go down. And I would rather you get out so it’s not on you that the stuff goes down. You need to put a chair under the handle of the door to your room to function as a lock.

      Maybe if you can find a shelter that’s close by they’ll let you stay there nights for a while… but what you really need is a job if you don’t have one. If your other roommates can help you out there by giving you a referral, or you can find something through an employment agency (sometimes women’s shelters help with this) then even if you have to take 3 buses, it’s worth it, because the sad truth is that money gives you options.

      I’m crossing my fingers for you that you will find something (imagine taking a job at night, then you’ll never have to cross paths with that guy again) — and soon. You can do it!

    4. NDQ

      This really sucks. I am sorry that you are dealing with this. I am a planner. For me, it helps to write out a plan and see that there are always options even though you can’t see them right now. I will make a list here and you can take what you want and forget the rest. Don’t be insulted by any of the suggestions, I just hope you can start seeing that there are ALWAYS options.

      1. Phone. Buy a burner phone that comes with minutes once you get $20. Contact your provider now and tell them that you will pay but that you’re in the middle of an emergency situation now.
      2. Find a no-kill shelter or animal rescue group who will take on your dog for a few months. If you explain the dire situation that you are worried for your life, people will understand.
      3. Talk to your storage unit owner/manager and explain that you are in a dire situation and ask permission to have a sale at the unit. Advertise on Craigslist and SELL everything you own. Pay the bill and take the remaining cash.
      4. Sell your blood/plasma. It will be something extra.
      5. Walk away from this living situation. Find a gig on Craigslist for a house-sitter or sleep on a bus/train all night. It has to be better than this. Your life and safety are more important. If you make yourself look like a student, you can “rest” lots of place on a campus.
      6. Google your roommate to see if there is an open warrant for his arrest or check with your local police. While your landlord may hate the cops, you have to look out for yourself. Getting kicked out of this house would actually be a good thing for you. You could even call the housing authority and report the place.
      7. I’m not sure what you do for a living, but you are under-employed. Find a temp agency that works with on-call day labor and some will pay weekly. If you have office skills, sign up with a regular temp service or any state agency that helps people get work.
      8. If you live near a university with a law school, visit the clinic and get some advice for protecting yourself from the people you owe money to and protecting yourself from harm. There may also be a legal aid clinic in your area.
      9. Pare down your belongings to a duffel bag that goes everywhere with you.
      10. Take a “vacation” and go back to your home state and visit family and friends. Get a reality check. Couch surf as long as you have to.

      None of this will solve the long term issues, but right now you have to think about being safe and getting out of this situation. Let us know how you are doing, please!

      NDQ

      1. Liane

        “Find a no-kill shelter or animal rescue group who will take on your dog for a few months. If you explain the dire situation that you are worried for your life, people will understand.”
        It is not common, but there are a few that help people with pets that need to go to a domestic violence shelter, because there have been tragedies where someone won’t leave because they cannot bring their pets.

        But please, get out soon!

      2. Natalie

        Yes, a rescue group is a great idea! They probably have foster homes on tap that could take the dog temporarily. Pay it forward when you get safe.

      3. Jumbo Dill

        The storage unit is in another state cross-country. It has items in it that I have to keep or I would have liquidated it long ago. I have been trying to arrange a quick weekend home to get everything out and to me in my new place but with this going on that’s obviously impossible, requires flying and freight, etc.

    5. NicoleK

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. Please try to reach out to your family members again. Sure, you may owe them some money but chances are they’d rather have you safe than dead. If my sister was in this dangerous of a situation, I’d get in my car and drive cross country to keep her safe.

    6. kirsten

      Could you take out a small personal loan that would pay for you to get out of there and into a new apt? Do you have friends in any other areas that could take you and your dog in for a few weeks while you job search/get your own place? I would honestly just walk out on that lease if you feel unsafe, if the apt is illegal then your landlord can’t go after you for rent if you leave.

      1. Jean

        Some religious communities offer no-interest emergency loans. You might be able to tap into these by asking around for referrals to sympathetic (read: non-judgemental, non-blabbing, willing to help another human being even if he/she isn’t officially Part of the Congregation) clergy. I that some parts of the Jewish community offers these. I also know, unfortunately, that not all rabbis are equally welcoming to non-Jewish people, but people can be surprising, and there’s always the random miracle. I say this in hope, not in sarcasm. I hope you can get to safety as soon as possible. Once you have done so, please let us know how you are doing.
        I also hope it helps you to know that there are caring people on this blog. We may be anonymous, but we care about the well-being of each other. This includes YOU! As I used to tell my son (in an entirely different context) “You are worth fighting for.”

      2. Jumbo Dill

        My credit is beyond awful (worse than ‘bad credit’ scams will touch) because of underemployment after graduation and general inability to keep up. Apts won’t take anyone without stellar credit. Most private rooms won’t either.

        1. Jean

          I wasn’t recommending a traditional banking situation. I’m thinking about what is basically a loan to people in really difficult circumstances.

          As for the storage facility, maybe your friends can help you with the monthly fees for a short time?
          (I’m curious as to why physical possessions have such a hold on you in the midst of everything else. If the stuff is important to other people, they need to step up or say goodbye. Stuff isn’t worth dying for.)

          +1 to Kirsten if you can safely walk out on your lease.

          Can you find anyone not involved–so not going to flip out (family) or get dangerous (the unstable roommate) or be put in danger (other roommates) to talk to about all this? Maybe the DV people can be helpful, or the folks who staff a crisis line–either locally or long-distance. (Go to a friend’s and borrow their phone if necessary. If they can’t let you stay with them, they can loan you their phone and a few minutes on their phone plan.) I feel like you’re so stressed it’s hard for you to find options. Hope I don’t sound harsh. I understand plenty about being stressed & overwhelmed.

        2. fposte

          I really hope you’ll call or online chat with the Domestic Violence folks, Jumbo Dill. I think they may know some good levers to help pry your situation open a little, and I think also stress impairs our mammal brains and make some stuff look impossible when it’s not, and they might be able to talk you through to some options that don’t feel like options.

    7. Natalie

      Your friends can’t take you in but agree you need to leave? What’s behind that “can’t”? It would certainly be shitty for all involved but I would make up a bed in my damn basement if a friend was in this situation. Hell, I’d share my bed if needed.

      If the issue is your dog, perhaps as others have suggested a rescue or no-kill shelter would take him temporarily and then you could room with a friend or relative.

    8. Not So NewReader

      “I can’t ask friends/family for money because I had a huge event last year that they very generously helped out with and while a lot of it was a gift, some of it was not – my friends know I am working towards repaying them but I have made little headway.”

      Please rethink this. Maybe not all of them would be able to bail you out, but I bet at least one or two might. Put the shoe on the other foot, if your family member needed this type of help and did not ask, how would you feel? I would be shaken to the core to know that a friend or family member did not feel they could ask me for help given your givens.

      1. Jumbo Dill

        , if your family member needed this type of help and did not ask, how would you feel?

        That is exactly why I’m finally starting to reach out to people – one of my close friends died because of a situation like that. I’m just usually known as the super-independent one in the family, and I always scamper off and do my own thing for months or years at a time. Some of my friends here are getting some resources together – I can’t foster the dog out (honestly, anxiety on both our parts – we were separated for a few weeks during my big move, and since then he’s been more of a mama’s boy than he used to be – during vacas and stuff before he’d be fine with a sitter or family but now he just gets too scared) but one of my friends may be able to take him for a few days instead, which is something I can handle if I had to.

    9. Jumbo Dill

      I really want to thank all of you for your input and help. I was really worried about putting this on here, because even though it’s a free-for-all, there are just some things that go far beyond that. Strangers are great because it’s a third party thing – we don’t know each other in the end, and it’s much easier to see things objectively.

      I’ve only had about six hours of sleep all weekend, and I just came back from finishing a marketing project and so I have to wrap that up for the night. If my responses to anyone seemed argumentative or terse; I apologize, as I was honestly in a rush and just exhausted. For all the stress I deal with, I’ve only been able to count anxiety or panic attacks I’ve had in my life on one hand, and today was one of them.

      While I was out working, a couple of my friends were able to start resourcing a few things for me to get the ball rolling locally. I’ve been trying to get out of this place for awhile, but it was never because of physical safety. My biggest concern is of course for my dog’s safety – this roommate, N, has pissed off everyone in the house except for one, so not only would my dog get between us if I was attacked, but so would they, and some of them are pretty hardcore softies at heart who have been waiting to get their hands on N if the need arose. I’m one of only two women in the house; while I hate following gender roles, this N character is so unpredictable I’m not sure how I could defend myself against him. His favorite thing is to punch people, but I know he’s suspicious of me being suspicious of him and it wouldn’t surprise me if he pulled another move instead.

      My friend JK, who lives closest, cleared with her landlord that an extra dog may show up at her place temporarily. My closest sisters are going to touch base with me tomorrow and see what they can do. One of them knew things were getting crazy, but things escalated so quickly and so crazily that she wasn’t aware of most of the updates. I’m not scared easily, so fortunately they believe me and understand – they are the ones who will reach out to the rest of my family in the meantime to buffer. Going back to my home state isn’t an option right now because of the distance and logistics of moving the dog (he’s too big to fly), and emotionally would make things worse for me anyway.

      I really do appreciate all the help and I will follow up soon. I’m safe for the night and the rest of the housemates know about the most recent updates so they are also on the lookout.

        1. dawbs

          I’m glad people here helped some. And I hpe you’re getting good help.
          One more thing to toss out there is that this is the reason to keep ‘dead’ cell phones around too. Any cell phone that has EVER been a working cell phone, once service is cancelled, can (assuming it’s turned on, regardless of not having service) still dial 911.
          That’s not perfect–it’s not even close to perfect–but it’s something. DV shelters collect these old phones for that reason–yet another reason to possibly reach out in that direction.

      1. Not So NewReader

        This is sounding a bit better. I am glad your family is jumping in here.

        I would like to share this with you: When my husband first passed, my aunt said to me, “I know you are stubborn/independent/all that. Sometimes things happen in life where it is just too BIG to go it alone. We have to accept help from others, it’s the only way to get to a better place.”

        Think of the helping hands as a loan. And some day you will have an opportunity to pay it forward.

        You and your dog are in my thoughts.

  54. GOG11

    Yesterday, I went to Saks Fifth Avenue for the first time. I expected it to be on par with Dillards or Kaufmann’s and I asked where the juniors’ section was (saying that I was looking for dress pants/suits). I was directed to a section with Theory in it, which I’d heard of, but never actually seen or tried on.

    By the end of it, I bought a stupidly, absurdly expensive skirt (not business clothing, not Theory), but I absolutely adore it. It’s twice as much as I’ve spent on any other piece of clothing I’ve owned, but if I were a superhero or in a cartoon and wore the same thing every day, it’d be this skirt. The colors are gorgeous, the cut is classic, the fabric is…I don’t know how to describe it, and it fits my body and my personality perfectly.

    It’s dry clean only and I’m used to just wearing grey and black, hoping for the best, and being able to wash them if I soil them. Any tips for keeping dry-clean only items clean between dry cleanings? I put a napkin in my lap already when I eat and I plan to look at surfaces before sitting down (the scene in Maid in Manhattan where the main character nearly sits on something on a park bench while wearing a borrowed while suit comes to mind). I tried Googling, but I’m just not getting the right results. I realize this should be common sense, but I’ve always just avoided light colors, especially in bottoms (the background of the skirt is varying shades of light blue), so I’ve never had to think about it before.

    1. NDQ

      Carry something washable, such as a wrap, that you can sit on. Hang up when you’re not wearing it or fold to keep its shape. Wear undergarments like shape wear to keep sweat off fabric.

      Enjoy! It’s great fun to wear something you love.

      NDQ

      1. GOG11

        A wrap is a great idea, thank you. Regarding the shape wear, is it the fabric that keeps sweat from transferring to the outer garment or the additional coverage or both? Other than tights/leggings, I don’t have anything that would be considered shape wear (if those even count), so I’m not sure what to look for.

      1. GOG11

        I heard of it after I purchased the skirt and, while the skirt was worth it, I think I’m going to go there before I’ll go back to the regular Saks because it’s way, way, way out of my budget. The service was impeccable and the clothes were gorgeous, so I’m glad I’ve gotten to experience it at least once in my life, but the steep discounts from the outlet store just can’t be beat and I definitely plan to go there from now on. Are there any particular brands you’ve found there that you’re fond of? I tried Theory stuff, but everything is dry clean only (something I can only do sparingly) and the skirt is by a brand called Alice + Olivia.

    2. Not So NewReader

      You can spot clean using those dry cleaner sheets.

      With any stain the quicker you work on it the more likely you are to have good results.

      It sounds like it has a print to it? Prints are a little more forgiving than say solid white. So you may have an advantage here.

      1. GOG11

        Thank you for the dry cleaner sheet recommendation. I’ve looked into them and apparently they make unscented ones, which is a must for me – and they’re super affordable to boot.

        It does kind of have a pattern. The majority of the fabric is shades of light blue, so hopefully if I spill anything, it won’t be on that area.

          1. Not So NewReader

            That skirt has a nice cut to it- the fabric has flounce or a sort of life to it. I can see why you wanted it.

            I think you will be okay as long as you look before you sit down. I know I have some stuff here that I think about where I am going before I decide to wear it.
            I am sure this skirt will last quite a while for you.

    3. EduNerd

      Search for Dryel – it’s great at keeping dry clean only items fresh between cleanings.
      If wrinkles are an issue, hanging the skirt upside down to air out before putting it back in your closet can help (and regardless, airing it out is a good idea).

      Congrats on finding something so perfect for you!

  55. fposte

    Really interesting article in The Atlantic about the physical toll of self-control and beating the cultural odds:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/07/the-health-cost-of-upward-mobility/398486/

    It’s looking at, among other things, indications that disadvantaged kids who are screwups–performing poorly in school, having brushes with the law–tend to be systemically healthier than the kids who “rise above” the situation, study their butts off, and make it through college; the theory is that it takes so much bandwidth to be an outlier that it has a genuine physical toll.

    1. INTP

      Thank you for posting this. Very interesting, and another argument against the bootstrapping philosophy.

      I wonder if similar effects would be seen in other situations of someone having to behave differently than they are inclined, culturally? When I worked in environments where I had to be seen as much more extroverted and energetic, empathetic, or whatever other traits than I actually am – essentially using a 95% fake personality at work – I found that it absolutely took a toll on me. Health-wise, and mental health-wise. (Not trying to turn this into an introvert victim thing – I’d imagine that if the effect is there, it would apply for someone who has to pretend to be structured and organized when they are not, or vice versa, or for any other polar personality trait.)

      1. fposte

        Interesting thought–could be. Or that there’s a correlation between duration and recharge–that it’s like athletics in that if you have enough reboot time you’re okay, but if you push beyond limits you’re not.

  56. Relosa

    Selfish loud roommates hogging the bathroooom and I need to get ready and do a lot of work on food today and it’s 95 degreeeeeessssss and gahhhhh and the dog is shedding like craaaaaaaazzzzyyy but I don’t have time to vacuum today because I HAVE to get this work done TODAY.

    1. Relosa

      Uhhh…sooo, feel free to delete/ignore that, lol. I loaded the comment page at the same time was messing with fb and looked away – Chrome’s sneaky resting cursor trick got me again D: sorry!!

  57. Elkay

    Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half) has a new book coming out called Solutions and Other Problems, I’m guessing this is why she hasn’t been updating her site.

    1. Cath in Canada

      I love her blog SO MUCH, but I was disappointed by the first book. All the best stuff in it was taken straight from the blog, so I’d read it before (because obviously I read the entire archives on the first day I found the site), and the new bits weren’t as good, IMO. I hope the second one’s more consistent!

  58. INTP

    I have kind of an awkward situation with my parents and $$. I’ve already been told I should be punched in the face after asking about it on another forum, so feel free to tell me I’m wrong, but be nice :)

    I just moved in with my parents rent-free after grad school for a temporary period. They have been gone for several weeks, and in that time they have arranged many home reno projects that I wasn’t told about before they left town. I am happy to do it but it does get very time-consuming – these people are all very flaky so you basically have to be at their beckon call if you want them to show up. They never actually arrive at the scheduled time. The closest to on time anyone has been was 15 minutes late (the same people were 30-90 minutes late every other time they came). I’m also taking care of my 18yo brother who is not very independent – I have taught him to grocery shop and do laundry, cooked because he can’t cook, cleaned up all the dishes, etc. (I have my issues with this, but I can’t redo her parenting in a few months. I wasn’t taught this stuff either, I figured it out when I moved out via google and food network.) When my parents get back, and especially when my 18yo brother leaves for college, I will help with my 22yo low-functioning autistic brother. This is all while working my normal job remotely.

    What I am trying to say is that this is a symbiotic dynamic rather than a parasitic one, as tends to be the stereotype of a late-20s person living at home. Without them, I’d have to pay rent and utilities. Without me, they’d miss the window to get the house on the market before school starts and have to pay for professional sitters for my brother. (Empathetic, experienced sitters who are willing to babysit a 22yo who pinches when he is anxious are not that easy to find.)

    Anyways, due to feeding my brother (who is very active, and eats like Michael Phelps) and a 3 day reno project in which we had no kitchen access (which was arranged after my parents left, without any consultation about my schedule, and I was only informed of it the day before it started), I have spent a LOT of extra money on food that I wasn’t necessarily planning for. Just lunches while we couldn’t access the kitchen were over $50. I’ve been buying chicken and meat for my brother, too, on top of things that we both eat but he eats far more of (i.e. I got 1 egg out of the dozen pastured eggs I bought). This was all stuff I didn’t anticipate spending. I didn’t know about the reno project, and I had kind of assumed that my mom was going to leave some cash or tell my brother to put lunches at least on his CC because before they left she kept telling me all of these places I should take him to eat or buy our lunch, knowing that I generally don’t budget for takeout at all (a takeout lunch averages $10 here) and that I was nearly out of money by the end of the semester.

    Anyways, would it be totally out of line for me to gently ask my mom if some of the extra I spent over what I would have if I weren’t taking care of my brother and the reno stuff could be compensated? I’d estimate that it’s probably about $100 over 1.5 weeks. I can afford it without starving or being homeless, obviously, but my cash is quite low at the moment because I barely worked during the final weeks of grad school or my moving process, and I have a desperate need to buy some basic items. (One of my two pairs of jeans is very worn, my running shoes are too worn to try to run in, I do not even have an underwire bra that fits right now and the calculator I just used said I need a 34F so getting a cheap Target bra might be out.) Basically, it’s a significant amount of money right now – less than I’d have spent on rent, but it’s also less than they’d have spent on my brother’s food and lost in not getting the house on the market for another month if I weren’t here to cook and let the reno people in. I’m thinking I’ll start the conversation gently and giving an out, like “You can tell me if this is a completely spoiled question to ask, but…”

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I’m so interested to read other people’s replies to this, but my thought is that you probably need to cover your own food expenses yourself but that you can ask for something to be done about what you spent for your brother. I’d say this: “I ended up spending about $X of my own money on food for Bob during the kitchen renovation, which I can’t really afford to cover myself. How should we handle that?”

      1. INTP

        Yes, I definitely wouldn’t just ask them to cover everything. It’s specifically about the money I spent on my brother (who is not a vegetarian and eats like 6000 calories a day), and somewhat about what I spent on takeout (due to not being informed about the 3-day reno and lack of kitchen access until the night before when it was too late to prepare some budget-friendly options I could keep at room temp or in a cooler).

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          See, that last part I don’t think you can reasonably ask for. I totally agree they should have told you before they left, but even if they’d told you, would you have ended up spending less money? I’d put this in the category of part of the deal when you live rent-free at someone’s house; you might have inconveniences that also cost money. Your brother’s expenses, no. But yours, yes.

          And I do hear you that you’re helping them out a lot by being there. I just still think you can’t ask them to cover your food unless they’d already agreed to.

          1. INTP

            Thanks for your input. I would likely have ended up spending less money if I had known, because I would have had time to prepare some things that could be kept at room temp or in a cooler during the day. For ex, at that time I only had bread that stays in the freezer and needs to be toasted to not be soggy. I was right next to a store that sells unfrozen gluten-free bread two days before, and would have picked some up had I known I would need it, and then I could easily have made peanut butter sandwiches for one meal a day. Or prepared a big salad for the first day that I could keep in a cooler – stuff like that. But I also see your point. Just being reimbursed for what I spent on my brother would be a big help.

            1. Steve G

              I tend to subscribe to Judge Judy’s attitude about $. When you are living with someone and in a relationship, she very rarely entertains these small expenses. It’s part of the relationship. You can’t put a price tag on many of the intangibles you are receiving (heat, A/C, shelter, electric) because it is hard to divvy out which part actually went towards you, so your parents aren’t charging you for these, so why should you charge them for the small expenses you rack up for them? I’m not saying that to be self-righteous, but I saw it in my own relationship with my parents, and I moved back home from 27-28 when I came back to NY with no $. I lived for free but redid the driveway, moved the lawn, did the gardening, bought a new weed wacker, bought and planted a few new bushes to replace one that fell over in a storm, etc. Overall though, I was able to still save thousands and thousands of dollars, and keep a good relationship with my parents and kept them off my back. It’s much better to volunteer to do some of this stuff than be pushed into it.

              $100 doesn’t sound like a lot at all, and since your temporary $ gap is caused by not having enough hours the past few weeks….that is a situation that should correct itself, and I’d put your personal needs on a credit card and pay them off when your hours at work go up.

              The bigger issue to me is that your mom didn’t tell you about the reno stuff, that is a conversation to have. She is lucky you work from home (as per the contractor $, I would mention it and passing and if she volunteers to pay, great, but I wouldn’t push it). As per the people being “flaky,” I’d chalk it up to tolerance-building experience. Contractors IME don’t come on time because they can’t always plan how long their other jobs are going to take. I am literally going through that today with our ongoing repairs, someone was supposed to come stuff in the kitchen and cancelled at like noon. He has to make an unexpected trip to the supply wholesaler for his other job on Monday, blah blah blah….the cancellation was part of the game I guess.

              And screw people on the internet and their nasty comments like “you deserve a punch.” I hate the nasty crap people write on the net!!! You sound very conscientious and like a good person to be able to handle an autistic sibling.

              1. fposte

                Yeah, I agree on the contractors/workers thing–they don’t operate on office workers’ idea of time. Either they arrive at 6 and scare the crap out of you or they turn up just when you’ve decided to go to the store.

                INTP, another thing that occurs to me here–their departure and their leaving you with your brother wasn’t a surprise, and paying for your brother was going to be tough even without the reno, but you still never brought up the money thing before they left. In some ways that’s classic new roommate stuff, where you assumed your roommates would know that you needed the money without being told. So this is also a cue to up your roommate game–if you need something from your roommates, say it openly. They’re just not going to have your needs on their radar the way you are. It’s tougher to be so direct with parents, because it can feel like a proof of their love and care that you shouldn’t have to ask for, but 1) it’s probably not and 2) treating it like that doesn’t get you any money.

                1. Steve G

                  Don’t remind me about the 1st paragraph. Quite a few times during out nuclear winter I was knocked out of bed when it was barely light out by workers of the contractor who got hear early because the budgeted too much time for the commute. Yes, nice to get here early to “work,” but not on one of the 3 days per year when “work” is my dining room!

    2. fposte

      Well, I definitely don’t think you should be punched in the face! So there’s that out of the way.

      I think your parents were thoughtless–it’s one thing to say “Hey, if you’re staying, we’re going to get the renovations done while we’re out of town, which means you handling the contractors.” It’s another thing for it to be a surprise when Mr. Kitchen-Ripper-Outer turns up at 8 am. I also wonder if this “INTP will handle it” approach is a regular thing with them, and if it’s going to feature in your future living with them.

      But I’m with Alison in that I wouldn’t ask for money. Part of the deal of living rent-free with somebody, anybody, is that you’re agreeing to a different kind of economy; they’ve agreed to get a different kind of value from your presence. I don’t think you can turn around and unilaterally try to go back to a money economy for what you’re out unless you’re going to go whole hog and pay rent and board yourself. That’s why some adult children *do* choose to pay rent, of course; it means that it’s harder for those demands about your value in the household to become so elastic. But if you otherwise think this is a good arrangement for you, I’d let it go.

      1. fposte

        P.S. I do think you can ask about the feeding-your-brother costs, because those aren’t your responsibility.

        1. Dynamic Beige

          Also, when your brother has special dietary requirements and your parents decide you can’t have a kitchen for 3 days without telling you… surely they know that you’re skint? If you were running around spending all kinds of money on clothes and things, that might be different but when you’re clearly in distress, it’s just not on to expect you to pay for food for other people when you can barely manage it for yourself.

          Couldn’t the contractors just move the refrigerator into another room or run an extension cord out to another area? When I had a new kitchen floor put in, the appliances got moved into the dining room area and I just plugged the fridge in there until they were done, then I think they helped me move it back so the floor wouldn’t get destroyed.

      2. INTP

        You’re right – generally being selfish and expecting other people to accommodate him in much bigger ways than this are part of my stepdad’s history with my mom and brother as well as with me. In just a few weeks and with them only here for a few days of it, I’m already second-guessing this decision. (That started on my second day when I brought home a basil plant and he flipped out.) It also wouldn’t be out of character if he and my mom disagreed, and she had suggested all this eating out planning to pay but he decided she shouldn’t so she just dropped the topic. I moved back in because I’ve been very nomadic since college, and kind of wanted to save up until I could move into somewhere I actually want to stay long-term (whether an apartment or condo) instead of spending most of my savings on another move where I just have to live in the cheapest place I could find and would want to move yet again as soon as I could afford better living conditions. And a place I could work-from-home in is out of my budget in this city, but I’m looking at my options for moving and timelines I could do it on without it being a big financial risk. Basically, you’re definitely right about it being a pattern and about this maybe not being the best situation for me.

        I do see your point, though, about it just being financially different and having to eat the costs of some things. Thank you for your input.

    3. BRR

      I apologize if you already said the answer to this in your post, but I think a lot depends on what you think your parents’ reaction will be and your relationship with them. I think it’s reasonable to ask for the money you spent on your brother. You have to make concessions living rent free and I think anything beyond that might be too much but the extra food for your brother is ok.

    4. Apollo Warbucks

      There’s not many other forums I bother with the comments because of stupidity like people saying you should get punched in the face for asking a question, it’s just so dumb.

      I’d let it slide, I can’t see a good way of bringing this up without you looking ungrateful for staying rent free, you’ve still made a saving on what in would have cost you to pay rent somewhere else and you’re not talking about big money. Maybe your parents could feed you for a few days in exchange?

    5. Elkay

      Are you sure she didn’t expect your brother to put lunch on his credit card (I assume they pay that for him)?

      1. INTP

        They do pay off his card. Maybe she did? I picked it up one day because I was out already and my brother was trapped at home (had a major work project the morning that a reno started and I had to go to starbucks), and wound up pre-paying online on other days because I’m more comfortable with the whole online order interface than he is (he did pick it up with my written-down order once and some things got lost in translation – he ordered tomatoes and basil where I wrote down sundried tomatoes and basil pesto finishing sauce because he didn’t know they were different things). I should have just asked him for the card to do that, I just felt weird asking my little brother to pay even if it wasn’t with his own money. (And I think he’s a little clueless about tight financial situations and some people not being able to afford healthy-ish takeout on a near-daily basis.)

    6. TheLazyB (UK)

      Wasn’t the MrMoneyMustache forum, was it?! If so, I think you can discount it! :)

    7. Carrie in Scotland

      no advice but nobody should be saying it’s a dumb question and/or saying you should get a punch in the face. I mean, what even is that!? :(

      1. Tris Prior

        If it’s the forum that I think it is, “face-punching” is part of their vernacular. You get a face punch if you own a smartphone, if you eat out, if you don’t earn 6 figures, if you’re saving less than 75% of your income, etc. There’s some good money advice there but I can’t take the verbal abuse over there either; I post rarely but not much about my financial details because they’d have an effing field day with me.

    8. Christy

      I think you can ask about the money you spent feeding your brother, as a “I’ve been covering this but I was hoping you could pay me back.” I think you have to suck up the take out.

      And fwiw, I only have one pair of jeans and it hasn’t been a problem in over a year, even when I wear them all the time. I’d definitely get a bra–I got my 48F for around $60 at Nordstrom and I wear it daily and the cost per wear is really low now. Sneakers after the bra. (Also I get $30 jeans at Old Navy. I’m weirdly cheap on some things. They might work for you.)

    9. Jean

      I’ve been buying my jeans for the past 10+ years at thrift stores! No, they don’t last forever, but depending on sales / inflation / shops deciding to shift to a more up-market niche I’ve paid from $2 to $8 to maybe $12. Far less than $30 on sale new and far, far less than the crazy stratospheric non-sale retail prices of $40 and up (and up).

      Bras aren’t so easy to find at thrift stores but last month I bought two (bras, not thrift stores!) on sale from barenecessities (dot) com. The total, including shipping, was $44.98.

      1. Blue_eyes

        Seconding barenecessities! I wear a 34F as well, which can be tricky to find at retail stores. I like the brand Lunaire and their bras are all under $40, plus barenecessities almost always has some kind of a sale going on, so you can get it for even less.

    10. Stephanie

      Oh, did I write this? In a similar situation (living at home with parents and autistic sibling).

      First, does your brother receive SSDI? (Are you in the U.S.?) That should help offset the food costs.

      Second, try Nordstrom Rack for cheaper bras for extended sizes. The bra more than likely will be purple or some other non-nude color, but that store is usually a clearinghouse for its discounted merchandise.

    11. Kardashev Type Three

      I find it very difficult to tell what exactly is even going on.

      Where did your parents go? And how much longer are they going to be gone?

      Overall, it strikes me as extremely poor planning on your parents’ part to skip town and leave you in charge of supervising a house renovation. No offense, but it sounds like you have basically zero experience working with contractors. I’d say that the odds of your parents coming home and being pleased with the renovation work are rather low.

      That aside: do you need the $100 immediately? If so, maybe you could get a cash advance from your brother’s CC card? Where is the money coming from, anyway? Like – I assume the contractors are being paid somehow. Are your parents paying them? Are you writing them checks from your parents checking account? For that matter: are you in contact with your parents? Or have they been incommunicado in Bora Bora for the past month?

      One thing: I don’t know how you interact with your parents normally, but if you’re going to ask them for $100, don’t tell them a long complicated confusing story like the one you wrote above. Just say: “Dad, can I have $100 to cover the lunches I had to buy for Kevin?”

      Last: I hate to bring this up, but it is possible that your parents left you some cash before they left, and for whatever reason, that cash did not make it to you? Ie, they left you a note and $500 on the kitchen table, but you slept in and your brother or a contractor got to it first?

    12. Not So NewReader

      Okay, I will be the odd sheep here. OP, I totally agree with you and I feel what your parents did was over the top. If it were me, I would be saying “I am not your dumping ground.” There is way too much going on here for one person to handle. There are two of them and just one of you. I bet they run their tails off handling all this and to expect you to do it alone is nuts.

      So you are working remotely, handling contractors, helping an autistic brother and helping your other brother? When do you sleep? I bet you are exhausted. I am exhausted just reading this. Adding to this, I know when I went through a spell where I was eating 4000 calories a day- to do that I got up in the morning put my head in the fridge and ate until bedtime. (An exaggeration, but it felt like I was constantly eating or constantly preparing food. My jaw ached from chewing.)I cannot imagine what 6000 calories of food looks like.

      Then to top it all off they did not coordinate with you regarding the contractors. No-no-no-no.
      So let’s say you settle on what everyone is saying here- it’s the price you pay for free rent. My next step in logic is move out ASAP. There is a difference between helping out at home and being an indentured servant. Their price for rent is awfully steep. You would do less work if you held down two full time jobs.
      I had an aunt like this. She was going to loan me money for car repairs. Her interest rate was I would have to show up every Saturday morning and clean her place from ceiling to floor. Skip the fact that her place was immaculately clean to begin with. Plus I would have to do whatever other work she randomly decided on. Just NO. I went without the car repairs and limped along as best I could.

      You know your parents. I am just some chick out in internet land. But if your parents have a history of doing this you need to get out and get on with your own life, because in all likelihood they are going to keep doing this. Frankly, I might suck down the monetary loss here, just so I could take all my energy to focus on how to get out of this situation. Only you know how many battles you can take on before you have to say “uncle”.

      We had a family member here who had an endless list of demands. The problem actually was that she could not handle her living situation. (Very large house that she could not maintain and she could not do any yard work at all, PLUS she did not understand how to use a check book and pay bills.) Rather than face that it became a list of demands on us. We could never do enough for her. It is not up to you to compensate for your parents taking on too much at once. For them not to tell you about the contractor is the straw that broke the camel’s back. I guess that is why I am not talking about the money so much. I am more concerned about them thoughtlessly adding on things for you to do and never consulting you. What will they expect of you next??? Totally unacceptable, in my mind.

      And he pinches. So in your spare time you can ward off physical attacks. I am shaking my head. I have worked with pinchers and I know what this is first hand. This is waaay too much for one person to handle.
      I am sure people disagree with me and that is okay. I am just throwing this out there as another perspective. OP, if you read this and it does not resonate with you then just disregard my post.

  59. Steve G

    Did anyone every try the fruit black Sapote? Its supposed to taste like chocolate pudding. I did the rounds in NYC and of course no one has it (don’t believe that you can find anything in NYC:-)), so I am gonna have to order it, but want to make sure its really that good before I waste $ on shipping, etc.

    I saw Ariel non-alcoholic wines had great ratings and bought 2 bottles (they are $20 a shot) and waited 3 days to get them…and they tasted like crap, barely resembled wine…the wino that I am/was…I dumped them. So I don’t feel like getting my hopes up about another product that is potentially all hype…

    1. fposte

      If you find black sapote, please tell me what you think–I’ve been dying to try it!

      The big supermarket down here got white sapote a few times years ago and hasn’t since then, and it was absolutely delectable. The key is ripeness (as with most fruits, really); you have to give it time to sweeten and soften up. Where would you be ordering it from? I might try that too.

    2. Mephyle

      We have sapote negro in Mexico – it sounds like the black sapote you’re asking about. It looks like chocolate pudding but I wouldn’t say it tastes anything like it. To me it has a generic light fruity taste, not particularly tasting of anything, just sweet fruit.
      The way to really make it tasty is to mash it with some fresh orange juice and a bit of tequila. But I don’t think it’s so special as to make it worth spending a lot of money on.
      I would be doubtful that it could be shipped successfully – when it’s ready to eat, it’s extremely soft; if you’re not used to it, it looks like a fruit that’s already starting to rot.

      1. fposte

        I think that was why they stopped getting the white sapote here–it just wasn’t profitably shippable.

        It reminds me that you can’t find American persimmons in the grocery stores around here, and I believe it’s for a similar reason: they’re either Puckerfest 3000 or squishy ambrosial near-liquid. The Japanese ones stay firm when ripe.

  60. Cool Beans

    Feeling pretty bummed because I think I lost a friend :(

    Backstory: I’ve been good friends with a guy for 4 years now and we would talk pretty frequently. It didn’t really go anywhere but I sensed feelings from both sides. I recently started seeing someone and felt weird about telling the friend unless it was actually a thing. So…I was less than truthful when he would ask who