weekend free-for-all – August 15-16, 2015

adorable EveThis 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, please email it to me or post it in the work-related open thread on Fridays.)

Book Recommendation of the Week: Kitchens of the Great Midwest: A Novel, by J. Ryan Stradal. The culinary tastes of the midwest are practically a character in this funny and moving novel, which tells the story of food prodigy Eva Thorvald, born with a “once-in-a-generation palate.” I liked this description from Book Forum: “Fundamentally, it’s about what happens when opposing personalities coexist: those who bake with real butter versus those who don’t, those who obsess over heirloom tomatoes alongside those who don’t even know what they are.”

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

{ 908 comments… read them below }

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Do you remember how originally she was the one who wouldn’t let us come near her and I was stressing over how to get her to even come out from under the bed, and then it took three weeks before she’d let us even touch her? Amazingly, she has turned into the sweetest, most loving, affectionate kitten! She adores being petted, curls up next to us, and sleeps with us. It’s a complete 180 from her early weeks (and feels all the more gratifying because of it).

        1. Seal*

          A couple of years ago I took in a kitten my idiot neighbors neighbors abandoned. Poor little guy was about 5 months old and had been living outside for a couple of months by the time I finally coaxed him to come in. He was obviously thrilled to be inside where it was safe and warm – I have never seen a cat so completely sacked out as he was the first few days I had him. The picture of Eve – who’s absolutely adorable – very much reminds me of him from those first few days.

          Now that he’s fully grown, he’s a bit skittish but headbutts me and the other cats when he’s happy and purrs like a lawnmower.

      1. Today's anon*

        I once adopted a street cat that had probably been abandoned for a while and maybe abused. He was so, so scared at the beginning, he would only come out of hiding to eat and drink after I was in bed for the night for 30 min or more. It was kind of heartbreaking. Eventually he would sleep at the foot of the bed or sit at the other side of the couch and I felt so honored by his trust.

      2. Liane*

        Aww, that reminds of how my late father tamed a litter, yes an entire litter (!) of kittens born to a feral cat who hung around his place. They, like Mom, didn’t want anyone touching them for weeks. When they were about half-grown, he got a cockapoo puppy and then had to make a No Hissing/Slapping at the Pup policy. Since Dad, a retired business owner, knew how to manage, his cats, all males, quickly realized that the smartest thing to do was make Puppy not just an Honorary Kitten, but elect her leader of the pride.

      1. StillHealing*

        Yes, I didn’t have my readers on and blinked a couple times. LOL. But, both versions, Kitten or Kitchens- I would read!

        (Eve is so sweet looking and sounding….she knows where HOME is and that’s why she’s so comfortable, I’m sure)

        The Kitchens version – Being originally from the midwest, I can fully appreciate the description from the Book Forum. I’m really going to have to read this book! I’m sure I can name people in both of those camps! Me, butter for sure and I’ve grown heirlooms on my patio here in Seattle. The thing with midwesterners, once they get a bee in their bonnet they hunker down for the long haul and aren’t easily persuaded.

    2. Trixie*

      When I first got my cat as a kitten, I started handling his paws so I could easily trim his nails without him freaking out. Now I can pick up his back legs and pretty much we play wheel barrel. Also, as a kitten I took him out in the car so that didn’t freak him out as he got older.

      1. fposte*

        Having dealt with a cat who is a no-go on liquid medication, I’d say it’s worth trying some desensitization on that too.

      2. Dynamic Beige*

        I think that’s a good idea. My previous cat had problems with tooth abscesses and he *hated* the vet. Bizarrely, he was OK in the car, but the vet? It was on like Donkey Kong — “If that guy comes near me I’m going to take a chunk out of him” non-stop low growl. He couldn’t be examined because the vet couldn’t hear his heart beat/lungs over the growling. Also, the one time he did bite the vet good. So I had to start giving Cat a mild sedative a few hours before I took him to the vet so he could be handled. Fun.

        After another operation to remove an abscessed molar (poor kitty!) the vet looked at me and said with a completely straight face, “You should be brushing his teeth every night.” And then proceeded to show me the meat flavoured special cat toothpaste (They love it! he said) and the finger glove/brush to work it in and around the cat’s mouth — it was essentially like a thick rubber condom for your index finger with a rectangle of “bristles” made of the same white silicon/rubber as the rest of it. I was speechless. Vet had zero idea of how hard it was to get Cat to do anything, including the fight for the sedative to take him to the vet!

        So if I ever have a wee kitten again who can be desensitised to paws being touched/claws being cut, the toothbrushing could also be attempted. But a 10 year old fully adult cat? Hell, no. Both the ones I have now were too old when I found them to be trained like this but so far, no tooth problems and they are very good about not scratching me up with their very long claws.

  1. Former question asker*

    I asked AAM a few weeks ago about applying for a local internship while I’m living abroad (and planning to move back to the area), and I’m happy to say I landed an interview!

    Alison, your advice is so invaluable that, for not knowing you personally, you are the #1 stranger I would trust with my life decisions. :D

    1. Cristina in England*

      Glad you’re enjoying it! :-) The film festival is usually pretty interesting, and there is tons of live music whether you are into indie rock bands, alt-country, or symphonies.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        Lazy B: like today! Kinda. Am living in a hotel for a week before I can move into my rental place. Which takes my cat, yey!

        1. TheLazyB (UK)*

          Ooooooh yay! I didn’t want to ask about your cat in case you had had to leave ?him/her? and it was a sore point. So glad to hear that! Enjoy the hotel while you’re there too :)

  2. Amber Rose*

    We were going to have a demo at a festival for our sword fighting class but it’s pouring rain. Like, POURING. I’m about to build an arc and collect 2 of every animal. We’ve been planning this for 3 months so it’s kinda disappointing. Do an anti-rain dance for us!

    In other news, I want to plan and throw a huge party and invite a bunch of people who would’ve known my mom. But it’s been over 4 years and I’m not sure how to reach out to her old coworkers. She worked for the airport, should I try phoning or emailing someone there? She was really well known so I’m hoping someone there still remembers.

    1. Jean*

      Yes, do reach out to your mom’s coworkers. Other places to look for names might be
      – a guest book from your mom’s funeral/memorial service?
      – your mom’s old telephone/address book?
      Hopefully each person you find can suggest other people and how to get in touch with them.

      1. Amber Rose*

        There was no funeral or memorial. And she kept all her info in her work phone which was taken back after.

    2. OhNo*

      If you happen to know who her supervisor was, try reaching out to them first. Otherwise, maybe place a call to HR or whatever variation they have to issue a general invitation?

      Also, ugh, I hate poorly planned events like that. What a pain in the butt. :/

  3. The Other Dawn*

    I need help identifying my cherry tree. Anyone know cherry varieties? Click on my name to see my blog post with pics. I’m dying to make cherry pies, but have no idea what kind of cherries I have.

    Eve is such a sweetie!! I just want to bury my face in her belly!

    1. danr*

      Those are sour cherries. They make wonderful pies, jam, you name it. If the yield seems a bit sparse, get a sweet cherry tree so the cherries can cross pollinate. Then get bird netting that you can put over the sweet cherry tree so you can have some for yourself.

        1. danr*

          Get a step ladder and just climb into the tree. Or, if you have neighbor with a tractor that has a front scoop, bribe him with a promise of a pie. You sit in the scoop with a big pot and he lifts you up to the cherries. I grew up on a farm and we did this type of picking all the time. It was also the only we we could get up to the wild black cherries. They make the best jelly. It’s a pain to make, but the jelly is worth it.

        2. Kat*

          Climb the tree or use a ladder. My grandparents had bing and rainier cherry trees. They’d send me and my brother up with 5 gallon buckets.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Can you put a blanket on the ground and shake the limbs? I don’t know how tightly cherries hang on to their branches. Mulberries let go very willingly, though.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        They’re hanging on pretty tightly so I need to pluck them off the branches. Good idea, though!

        Guess I now need to getting one of those tools tools pit the cherries. Ah, life in the country. :)

        1. Natalie*

          You don’t need to buy a pitter, actually. There are a lot of alternative methods – IIRC a straw and a wine bottle is the easiest.

    3. Ilf*

      I really don’t think those are cherries. They look like wild apples to me. And the season for cherries is late May through early July.

  4. Stargazer*

    Sorry if this is too Carolyn Hax for this forum, but all of you are such a great sounding board. Here’s my non-work-related question:

    How do I tell my MIL that my husband and I are not going to be able to bail out her and her husband when they retire? She frequently “jokes” that when my husband and I buy a house, “all four of us should live there together!” I’m greatly concerned my very nice but slovenly, chainsmoking, and very financially irresponsible in-laws are under the assumption that their son and I are going to take care of them when they inevitably retire in a few years with no money saved. I need something polite to say to shut this idea down the next time she suggests that all four of us live together when my husband and I buy a house. (My husband agrees with me.)

    1. Elkay*

      You don’t, your husband does. You’re asking for trouble if you start speaking for both of you to your in laws, you run the risk of being viewed as “that awful woman our son married”.

      1. OfficePrincess*

        Oh yeah. His mother, his conversation. This is a minefield you don’t want to step in.

      2. Anonymous Educator*

        +1

        If you object, you’ll appear to be the cruel daughter-in-law (son-in-law?). It’s really your husband’s job to tell his mom “Nope.”

      3. Jader*

        +1 You’d be playing with fire.

        My mother and father are very financially irresponsible and continue to make poor decisions. Currently they are working on moving and starting a home business, which will be great for them if it works, but bankrupt them if it doesn’t. My parents are in their late 40s\early 50s and I’ve already started laying the ground work that I won’t be taking care of them.
        In response to your MIL joking about living with you I personally would just react like, “Hahahaha! No.” But the real conversation should come from your husband.

        1. Window specialist*

          I have a significant other that had her mother move in for what was supposed to be 6 months, and I was ok with 6 months. Now that it has been almost 12 years I am so over wanting her to move out it is very difficult to tolerate her. She did exactly what Stargazer’s parents did, she squandered her retirement on trips to Europe and then was spending her working years babysitting for her niece as her form of employment. I have no sympathy for someone that squanders the years that they should be productive doing nothing and expecting their children to then put a roof over their head because they were irresponsible and immature instead of doing what is needed to plan for the future.
          How does one tell their significant other that mom needs to find somewhere else to live and keep peace on the homefront?

          1. Window Specialist's S.O.*

            We are not “put[ting] a roof over” my mother’s head. She pays rent. She buys her own groceries. She buys consumables (toilet paper, paper towels, etc) when it’s her turn. She worked a “real” job for the first few years she lived with us. She is 70 now and living on her retirement and social security. She costs us nothing, she pays her own way. She — not Window Specialist — took care of me after two major surgeries. She keeps to herself and stays in her bedroom most of the time (which is actually kinda sad, but I stay in my own bedroom most of the time, too).

            Window Specialist has his own set of problems, one of which is being a judgmental ass. For which, yes, we are seeing a marriage counselor.

      4. BRR*

        And I’m another one for your this is your husband’s job. Your job is to make sure he shuts it down sooner rather than later and makes it clear to them.

      5. Ann Furthermore*

        Yeah, your husband needs to have this conversation with them, or at the very least, have the conversation with you there holding his hand. He agrees with you that this is never going to happen, so it’s not like you’re the only one who feels this way.

        My mother-in-law lives with us, but we kind of insisted that she move in with us after my husband’s father died. They were living in a lovely cabin out in the middle of nowhere, and she couldn’t live there by herself. If you have to call 911, it takes about 45 minutes for anyone to get there because it’s so remote. We’d been planning for both of them to move in with us, actually, but then he got ill. The only reason this works is because we have a house with a finished walk-out basement that has a full bath, bedroom, and kitchenette, which is where she lives. So we all have our own space and privacy when we want it. She pays a nominal amount of rent, which we don’t truly need, but she doesn’t want to feel like she’s sponging off us, which I understand. I love having her here, and people always make it sound like I’m some sort of saint for “letting” my mother-in-law live with us, but honestly, she just makes me look good because she’s the sweetest woman you’d ever want to meet.

    2. Artemesia*

      Your husband needs to take them to lunch and have a serious discussion with them in which he makes clear that they need to see a financial advisor for advice about how to retire on social security and whatever retirement they have put aside. He needs to note that they keep joking about moving in and that this is simply not going to happen. They will need to live within their means and it may mean if they have a home, downsizing or if they don’t have a home to look for a more modest rent. This is not something to deal with on the fly or jokingly. He needs to be crystal clear. If you think he can’t do this without your moral support then the two of you take them to lunch but he does the talking; you just squeeze his hand.

      If they have a few years and get some advice, they may be able to at least have a plan for how to live with the means they have.

      I empathize. We have some relatives like this — luckily not our parents so not our problem. My father’s final illness for 15 years took much of my parents wealth and so we were prepared to provide for my mother if it had become necessary; her potential need was not about being irresponsible but about how expensive it is to decline and die in this country even when you have saved up and are insured. They even bought long term care insurance which didn’t pay a dime towards my father’s final 4 years of nursing home care. It turned out she was able to maintain herself and leave a bit to us.

      This is something to bit the bullet on now with a serious conversation. You might even identify a financial counselor who specializes in poorly prepared older people who can help them make sensible plans.

      You are absolutely right that those jokes indicate you are their retirement plan.

      1. Anonymosity*

        Bingo. My mum has been making jokes about being with me, and I can. not. do. that. I already had a talk with my brother about it. She lives closer to him, but we agreed that our sister will probably need to step up because she hasn’t really done jack, she has the biggest house, and she makes more money than we do. Both my parents live alone in separate places (though they are still married) and eventually Dad will probably go live with Mum. She’ll most likely banish him to the basement, he said, but I told him, hey, you have the giant TV down there! (It’s a really nice basement, like an apartment.)

        But because of some serious helicopter shit with her when I was a kid, there is no way I am doing it. I need my own life, even if it sucks, that she has no say over.

      2. the gold digger*

        My husband’s dad said, in response to Primo’s question about their retirement plans, that he expected Primo to visit a few times a year to help.

        The best present Primo has ever given me was on our wedding night, as we tried to sleep on the pullout bed in the basement, his parents in our room because they cannot take stairs, his mom having gotten sobbing drunk at our wedding dinner and his dad being his usual jerk self. Primo said, “They will never live with us. Never.”

      3. Not So NewReader*

        You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. Why did the insurance company not pay for your father’s nursing home? I mean what good is long term care insurance if they don’t pay?

        1. asteramella*

          Many people outlive their long term care policies. Additionally Medicare doesn’t cover custodial care and has very limited coverage of skilled nursing facility care. It’s extremely easy to think you’re well-prepared but end up broke when you are elderly.

        2. fposte*

          I looked into long term care insurance last year or so, through a local broker with access to many companies’ policies. Most of the policies have limited benefit periods–I think most of the ones I saw covered three years, which is more than the average nursing-home stay. The broker didn’t overtly recommend against the purchase, but he really didn’t encourage me to do it, either.

          These days, the problem is that it’s an incredibly volatile industry, with companies getting out of the business right and left and premiums being raised because their payout cost a lot more than they planned for. In other words, if you sign up to pay $100 a year for your policy that will kick in in twenty years, they can’t say “You, NSNR, will have to be $200 now if you want to keep it,” but they can say “Everybody’s premiums are being doubled if you want to keep your insurance.” They do have to get state approval, but generally they’ve been successful in that.

          1. the gold digger*

            Also, the requirements are really strict. (My husband and I also looked into it a few years ago.) I don’t remember all the details, but for the policy to pay, you have to not be able to toilet yourself, among other things. Even my frail 97-year-old grandmother, whose teeth didn’t fit any more because she had lost so much weight, and who didn’t recognize her family, could go to the bathroom by herself. It’s hard to meet all the conditions required for the policy to pay.

            (Which stinks – when I worked for Prudential and sold group life policies to companies, our internal slogan was, “You die. We pay.”)

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Verrry interesting, thanks all for responding.
              We looked at long term care insurance for my MIL. This was probably about 20 years ago. We decided not to get it. It was just under $1,000 per month (our cost) and it shut off when she turned 92.

              It was one of many useless benefits my husband’s employer had available.But it looks good on paper to say employees can get long term coverage for their parents.

              And right insurance is a bet or a gamble, they are betting that they will take in more than they pay out. Unfortunately, if everyone quit paying their premiums all that the same time, it could get really dicey. My husband was an insurance adjuster. He was told to resist claims, period. Just resist claims. He did not do well with this, as he would report back to the office- “We OWE. PAY this person.” Not a popular guy.

        3. Artemesia*

          I answered this but it seems to have disappeared. Basically their policy was filled with loopholes and the policy as written (in tiny print and confusing language) was not the policy the salesperson touted to my parents. My mother asked the right questions and he just lied. Basically they would not cover custodial type care that a demented person needs but only intensive medical care which is already covered under medicare for 100 days — and few people need more than a 100 days of that sort of care. They paid through the nose for years and then when they needed were told ‘oh that doesn’t qualify, so my mother paid for 4 year s of nursing home care after 11 years of caring for him at home.

      4. TootsNYC*

        They even bought long term care insurance which didn’t pay a dime towards my father’s final 4 years of nursing home care.

        This is a bit alarming–I’m about to meet with someone to talk about buying long-term care insurance. I sure don’t want to take on that premium for nothing!

    3. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      Yuck! I would probably find some ridiculous joke back about how if they can find a mansion with x number of bedrooms, at least two full kitchens and THEY can pay the mortgage, that you’d consider it… Wording might go something like “Oh, well if we’re going to do that, we’ll need at least 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and 2 full kitchens. You’re paying the mortgage, right MIL?” Obviously none of that is going to happen, so you’re in the clear…

    4. Natalie*

      As others have said, this is probably conversation for your husband to have with them. But I want to add that if the jokes don’t stop, you can always just ignore them. If husband and you are both determined that they will not live with you, and communicate that to them, it’s their problem if they don’t really believe you and continue persisting in this delusion.

    5. TootsNYC*

      I think you should both just quietly say, every time they “joke” about this, “We are not going to let you live with us when you retire, not even if you are sick; you need to be making other plans.”

      Pick some phrase like that, and both of you say it, word for word, every single time, no matter how joking your ILs’ tone of voice.

      They’re floating the trial balloon–they’re testing the waters. Give them feedback. You don’t have to have a huge sit-down in order to respond. Just pop that trial balloon EVERY time you see it.

  5. Academic Librarian*

    dog dog dog….
    Adopted a 9 lb. 3 year old Bichon. Has she got issues-
    Separation anxiety
    Submissive peeing…
    Is not food motivated at all (walks away from treats)

    Good news- if you get her out the door fast enough…she doesn’t do her business in the house. She walks fine on a leash.
    Likes other dogs and cats (kinda feeling like she would benefit having her own support/therapy dog)

    Doesn’t like people but is not aggressive. just sits and quivers hoping they will go away.

    She slipped out and ran away for three days- we caught her at 10 at night in a downpour in have-a-heart trap baited with dog food.
    Planning on humane society classes.

    We have named her Jane.

    1. Monodon monoceros*

      Aww, poor pooch. Hopefully her issues will start to get better after some time in a stable, loving house. I know crate training is not necessarily for everyone, but I am a big fan of that for the separation anxiety. My dog is 9.5 years old and still needs to be crated because he is afraid of certain sounds (gunshots, thunder, the washing machine on spin cycle, people in the yard such as workmen, etc. etc.) and he’ll destroy things. The last time I trusted him out of the house some electricians came to look at the pole in my yard, and he shredded my laundry basket and ate a window sill and a door… If he’s crated, he doesn’t destroy things, and I think he feels more safe. But if she’s not used to a crate, that may take some time to get her used to it as well.

      Hopefully the humane society classes will also help.

      1. Honeybee*

        Yes, my dog feels more safe in her crate, too. Normally she loves everybody, but she’s afraid of maintenance workers for some reason (yes…just maintenance workers.) I put her in there when maintenance workers come over, and that saves us both some anxiety – she won’t snap, but they often try to call her over and pet her when she’s loose and she’s not having it. When she’s in the crate she can avoid all that mess and when she’s laying down shaking from fear, they think she’s just grumpy about being the crate rather than afraid of them (which hurts people’s feelings, for some reason).

    2. not alex*

      Aww congrats! My dog had terrible separation anxiety for 1 year and then got over it; I did not crate-train but just kept coming home when I left, and he got the message.

      If she’s not treat-motivated, you are probably not using the right treat. All dogs will go for food; it’s instinctual for them. I use 100% chicken breast jerky, just as a suggestion. If she doesn’t like that, try steak jerky, etc.. Dogs go for hearty meats, not oats/sugars/etc..

      She’s gonna take time to get used to people and other animals and may never do so. But she can grow to love you! Jane is really cute as a name! And, for goodness’s sake, do NOT let her run away; she’s going to get killed, seriously. You’ve taken her on, so do the right thing and keep her in. Use a secure harness + a leash.

      1. Monodon monoceros*

        It is probably a good idea for Academic Librarian to try some higher value treats, but I will say that I have definitely seen dogs who are completely not treat motivated. My dog is one of them. If he does not want to listen, nothing will help. When I first rescued him I tried all the most yummy dog treats, and when he didn’t respond to those, I tried hot dogs, steak, ham, chicken, bacon….he just really doesn’t care about food. He definitely has his own mind, and sometimes just doesn’t give a crap about what I want :)

        1. TL -*

          Our dog doesn’t care about food – he eats, but he’s just as happy with dog food as with steak and he is not food motivated at all.
          He’s luckily very praise motivated and loves having jobs, so easy to train, but you could put a full steak dinner on our kitchen floor and he wouldn’t even look at it sideways unless you told him it was his. No training on leaving food alone; he just doesn’t care and never has.

        1. Honeybee*

          My dog loves Trader Joe’s beef sticks too! But she also loves Milk Bones. And anything you give her, really.

    3. Loose Seal*

      I’ve seen vests made for dogs that are anxious and have heard from the people at the doggy day care we use that they do work for some dogs. I’ve heard about similar things for small children who are anxious; the vest comforts them while it’s on.

      And I am also a big fan of crate training. It was hard training our dog as a puppy but now he loves being in there. We leave the door open when he’s not in there and every so often, I’ll go by and see he’s taking a nap in the crate. Some dogs like a cover over the crate to make it even more den-like.

      I know you said she is not food motivated but how many treats have you tried? The best thing about going to dog training classes at PetSmart was that the trainer would open up any bag of treats they had to see which ones your dog preferred. Our trainer told us to have the dog try all of them and rank them. We should use the “meh” treats for behaviors that were learned already and just needed an occasional treat to reinforce the idea and the “super, wonderful, gimme-it-now!” treats when were were teaching a new thing or had him in a stressful area. For instance, we had to train him to go down the basements steps (which he hated and seemed to fear) because we live in tornado-ville and he’s way to heavy to force to move. We used cut up hotdogs for that training because no other food was interesting enough to him to overcome his fear.

      1. BRR*

        I have a friend who has reported success with the vest and another who hasn’t, I think it’s worth a try.

        For crating you can try with or without a sheet on top. Some dogs like to see out and some like to feel more enclosed.

        My dog loves hotdogs too, microwaving them after cutting them up helps get rid of some grease.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Congratulations to you and Jane!

      I’ve met dogs who are affection-motivated. Is it possible that’s the case for Jane? You may not be able to see that yet, since I’m assuming she just came home recently.

      Regardless, those are issues you and she can absolutely overcome with some training and patience, especially the separation anxiety. We’ve been very, very lucky with our buddy– his initial separation anxiety abated after about a month or two (no more whining when we left) once he realized our home was his place too, but he’s had terrible issues being dropped off somewhere. We worked through them with a doggy behaviorist and some time.

      I agree with everyone else that crate-training is a good idea. Sounds like she might benefit from having a place that’s hers and makes her feel safe and secure.

    5. AnotherFed*

      Another vote for the crate-training here. It’s easier on you, because it helps contain the mess, and it’s safer for Jane if she’s a stress chewer – even if she isn’t eating whatever she chews up, she can still hurt herself on splinters or break teeth on harder things. I had one dog that chewed electrical cords (fortunately plugged into an outlet on a timer when the timer was off).

      The good news on separation anxiety is that many rescue dogs settle into the new home, learn the routine, and lose the worst of the anxiety. Lots of them have been given good reasons to be anxious, but if you’re patient and consistent, they come around.

      Good luck and congrats!

      1. Academic Librarian*

        Sooo…. she slipped out of the house like lightening . Was roaming the neighborhood for two days then trapped in a raccoon trap. She is always on a leash now in and out of the house. We need to put up a fence in the yard.
        yes, she has a crate- spent her first few days here voluntarily in it with the door open. We have not left at home over 3 hours. She also has a crate in my office. She is very quiet unless she is in the crate when someone is home.

        Will go to trader joes for beef sticks – thanks.
        so far she is not interested in bacon, hot dogs, wet dog food, soft liver, freeze dried- salmon, liver, beef or chicken, fresh roasted chicken, hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, even lamb lung- my old dog Katie loved that the best. Janie just walks away.

        She does eat her kibble.

          1. Academic Librarian*

            mookitty,

            she won’t take the kibble by hand. I can sit on the kitchen floor and scatter it nearby. she will eat about 3 tablespoons out of the bowl about 3 feet away from me but won’t eat if I am nearby.
            she trusts me enough now to jump up on the couch and curl up for a nap next to me. She cringes if approached standing.

            Thanks again for all of your comments.

            1. AvonLady Barksdale*

              We have something called a Busy Buddy– we fill it with kibble, screw it shut and give it to the buddy. He has to “work” for his kibble. It keeps him occupied and fed, and she can take it somewhere away from you to eat it (if you’re ok with that). Maybe give it a shot?

        1. LCL*

          I keep reading that cheese is a treat that appeals to all dogs. Apparently my pointer didn’t get that memo. If you go to trader Joe’s, try their freeze-dried liver, its extra stinky and my dog likes it better than all other liver treats.
          If you can, walk your girl twice a day through the neighborhood so she knows where her house is.

        2. AnotherFed*

          Some dogs just aren’t treat motivated. It sounds like yours is too anxious to tell if that’s consistently true, but for now anxious is winning over the lure. There’s other reasons possible – it’s not that uncommon, especially in some breeds. I’ll post a link to an article about it in the following comment.

          Since it is so hard to train dogs that aren’t treat motivated, it’s worth calling around to your local PetSmarts and Petcos to find a training session that’s likely to be at a quieter, less-busy time for the store. I’m not a fan of the hand signal training lots of those places teach, but the real value in the classes is socializing your dog in a controlled environment and getting 1 on 1 time with a trainer to work out issues. If this is your first dog, there’s as much training of the owner as the dog!

        3. Mallory Janis Ian*

          My friend recently moved from a house in a quiet subdivision to a tiny downtown apartment. Her little dog, who has anxiety and separation issues, tore the leash out of her hand when the elevator opened on the ground floor and then ran out the open front door and down the street before my friend could catch her. My friend’s partner, who was parked around the corner in the moving van (and doesn’t have health issues that prevent her from running, like my friend does) took off after the dog and caught her. But just from that short sprint, the dogs paw pads were so torn up that the vet had to clip off parts that were hanging, and they have to dress the paws with bandages twice a day for a long time. The dogs paws with the dressings on look like two turkey drumsticks.

        4. TL -*

          Time. Time, patience, and routine. Let her learn to trust that you’ll always feed her at 6 pm, that you’ll never yell or raise a hand, that she’ll always have enough to eat.
          Be as steady and regular as possible; never deviate from your routine unless absolutely necessary, and be gentle with her – be present, be calm, and don’t push.

        5. WriterInProgress*

          Mild cheese? Sour cream? Finger full of cottage cheese? (Can you tell one of my dogkids is a dairy-aholic?!) Also have one that will come running/do anything for lettuce (iceberg!!) and fresh tomatoes… ;~)

    6. Kristen*

      Adopted\rescued pets usually have issues. I adopted a lab that was 1.5 years old and she is now almost 14. With a lot of patience, and some adjusting my expectations, she has come a long long way and is totally bonded to me. Start out with very secure boundaries and routines for her. Crate her, give her that space to feel safe and secure. Find out what rewards she responds the most to and go overboard with it when she does even the littlest of things right to build her confidence and don’t make a huge deal out of mistakes. It may take a year, or even 2, but you will start to see her behaviors and personality change for the positive. Good Luck!

    7. HR Recruiter*

      Aw rescue dogs are the best! They just need a lot of love and patience at first. We got our dog a year ago when he was three as well, and he’s night and day compared to how he was then. What really helped me was the book “The Good Behavior Book for Dogs.”

  6. Avocado*

    I need dress pants as part of overhauling my general look. My problem: mid-rise and high-rise pants are in now, but I find them extremely uncomfortable due to my body proportions. Does anyone know a place that sells low-rise skinny dress pants? They’re surprisingly hard to find.

    1. fposte*

      Have you searched via shopstyle dot com? That’s a good place to start, since you can search multiple stores at once.

    2. Aknownymous*

      I have gotten several from H&M that look great, fit well, and last long. They also weren’t that expensive, maybe 30-35 dollars or so, and every now and then they are on sale for an even better deal.

        1. em2mb*

          Can second Express dress pants. They’ll hold up well to wash and wear (they don’t need to be dry cleaned) and come in a variety of lengths, which eliminates the need for tailoring. The Editor pant is for ladies with a bit more of a butt – they have a slimmer leg version, as well as a wide leg version, plus ankle pants – and then there’s the Columnist for ladies with less butt.

    3. Thinking out loud*

      I like the Worthington brand “modern fit” from JC Penney and the editor pants from Express that someone mentioned below.

    4. GOG11*

      I have a super short torso and I tried on some New York & Company pants that hit me just below my belly button. I can’t remember what they were called, but the “7th Avenue Pant – Legging Fit” on their website sits low on the waist. That one seems to fit the bill for what you’re looking for.

    5. Sparrow*

      I have bought and/or tried on dress pants from these places Express, Limited, Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic. You may also want to try stores like Old Navy or Target. Finding pants that fit can be a challenge. I’m petite so I shop online and buy various sizes and send back what doesn’t work. It’s a pain, but when I find something I like I’ll buy multiples of it. Maybe also check out Macys. I was looking for a specific type of ponte knit pant online and they had a pretty good selection. Zappos and 6PM also have clothes.

      Also, this is kind of random, but years ago I had bought dress pants from Victoria’s Secret. I had never thought to buy clothes from there, but they were some of the best fitting pants. You never know where you might find something that works. Good luck!

  7. Anonyby*

    As an observation: There’s nothing like hearing about unsavory behavior to kill a crush. :) I don’t mind. Guy is cute, but we work together and have no shared interests, so it wasn’t going anywhere fast. In this case I overheard him telling a drunk party story to someone else, and the behavior in the story is a major turn-off for me.

    Also, my day had a bad start (someone clipped my car while driving this morning. Luckily we just swapped paint, but it made me late for work. boo). Any little anecdotes to cheer up? I got a busy day ahead with friend stuff after work.

    1. Stephanie*

      Oh man. I had a work crush. And then I actually talked to him. On top of being an airhead…he was kind of an asshole (not to me, there were just a lot of unsavory remarks). That definitely ended anything that lingered.

      1. Anonyby*

        I tend to get a lot of these “cute guy” crushes. I just sit back and occasionally indulge in eye candy while waiting for them to fade. The cute guys I get crushes on rarely have anything in common with me, so there’s no reason to act on them. This was just a bit more jarring end. lol

    2. GOG11*

      I don’t have an anecdote, per se, but I can’t not laugh out loud when I listen to and watch the video for the “Tight Pants / Body Rolls” song on youtube. It always cheers me up (and gets stuck in my head). Link to follow.

      1. GOG11*

        Oh, I forgot the story part. My cousin and I both love random stuff like this and we’ll like song-bomb each other with lyrics from the song over text or messenger and get it stuck in the other person’s head. She’s out in the field doing biology stuff and it’s hilarious (at least to us. Maybe we’re just weird).

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          My daughter likes to make new lyrics to songs according to the current situation. So I got the “golden sneaker” icon on my phone from hitting 10,000 steps on my pedometer app, and she made me a celebratory song from the L’il Mama “My Lip Gloss” song: “My [award] is cool, my [award] be poppin. I [got that golden shoe] and all the boys keep stoppin.”

    3. TheLazyB (UK)*

      I have a tiny anecdote. Dunno where you are but in the UK McDonalds are using adverts at bus stops with emojis, this was the first one we saw: https://twitter.com/anthony_casey/status/616156396317503488
      My 4 year old LOVES these ads. I encourage him to tell me the stories (although usually he needs me to go through it first) and he always finishes with “and s/he had a happy Old McDonald meal”.

      I somehow raised a child to four years old with no brand awareness of Maccy D’s, completely by mistake. This cracks me up.

      Hope your day improves!

    4. TootsNYC*

      Isn’t it funny what can kill a crush?

      I had a huge crush on this guy mostly because he was so smart, but he was also very boyishly cute, with this cute “Leave It to Beaver” haircut.

      Then he got a really, really short buzz cut, and it made his eyes look bugged out and emphasizes the roundness of his face. Crush over.

      I still thought he was a great guy, admired his smarts and personality. But the zing was totally gone.

      1. Stephanie*

        Ha, I had that happen once recently too (at work again). My workplace is overwhemingly male–there are many guys who looked like they walked straight out a Cormac McCarthy novel or movie, but there are some attractive men there (although work dating is a huge no-no IMO). Anyway, there was one guy from afar who was pretty handsome…and then he got this horrible haircut where like the bottom was buzzed and the top was long? It wasn’t great. Attraction disappeared.

      2. Windchime*

        Mine wasn’t a work crush, but a crush on a guy that my friend and I used to see when we went out to a certain bar. Finally one night he says,”Hey, let’s meet for breakfast tomorrow at [restaurant].” I go at the appointed time, and he rolls up. Puts down his truck window and the whole thing reeks of alcohol. And instead of breakfast, he wants me to get in his truck and go home with him. Crush over.

  8. Cath in Canada*

    I just finished Go Set A Watchman, and I wish I’d heeded the pre-publication warnings. I mean, it was not without its merits, but overall, let’s just say that I now 100% understand why the publisher it was originally sent to basically said “you can write, and there’s some good stuff here, but I’m more interested in the back story you alluded to – maybe that would make a better novel”. It just felt messy, with very uneven pacing. Meh.

    I’m now getting stuck into Longbourn by Jo Baker, which tells the story of Pride and Prejudice from the POV of the Bennet family’s servants, warts (or rather pig shit and chapped hands from laundry day) and all. I’m loving it so far – light and fluffy, but done well. The main gist of the narrative so far is the arrival of a mysterious new manservant, but you see glimpses of the original story, such as the general excitement about the arrival of Mr Bingley. And yes, if Miss Elizabeth had to wash her own petticoats, there’d be less tromping about the muddy countryside!

    1. Heather*

      That’s why I refuse to read GSAW. It just reeks of money grab and I knew it wouldn’t be edited. Plus I admit I don’t my memory of Mockingbird To be stained.

      There’s a really good podcast about GSAW on Slate Audio Book Club

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I’m still interested in reading Go Set a Watchman, mostly from a writerly point of view–seeing the progression of one into the other and the evolution of craft could be very good for me. It won’t spoil Mockingbird.

    3. Heather*

      And I’m not convinced that Lee actually knew it was being published. She didn’t publish it all these years before why now? She doesn’t need the money; TKAM still brings in good royalties (or so I’ve read). And if she had wanted it to be published why wouldn’t it be published after it was edited properly?

      1. not alex*

        Ditto. It was shady, the whole thing. The book sucked, and she didn’t want it published. I’m a bit ashamed to have bought and read it.

        1. Florida*

          Agree. I haven’t read or bought it yet. I’m on the waiting list at the library. But I think the whole thing is shady. I suspect that Harper Lee doesn’t even know it was published. Even if Harper Lee doesn’t need the money, it’s about money for the estate – mostly the attorney (I can’t remember her name).

      2. Kat*

        She did NOT want it published. She was very vocal about not doing another book. They took advantage of her. She isnt fully…functional mentally anymore.

        It really makes me angry to see people critique it and/or talk about how OMG happy they are it was published. It wasnt supposed to be published. Period. Everyone that buys it is rewarding unethical thieves and tarnishing Harper Lee’s true legacy.

    4. Elkay*

      I read it this week too. To be honest I love To Kill A Mockingbird so much that I really enjoyed the parts where I learnt more about the characters. I also thought that large parts of it needed editing but obviously it was never going to go through the edit/rewrite stage so I was fairly forgiving of those parts.

    5. not alex*

      Man, _Go Set a Watchman_ was baaaaad. I’m an English professor and just…. the editing sucked, the writing sucked. I was very disappointed.

      1. Aknownymous*

        Somewhat off-topic, but I’d like to go on the record and say that The Onion is my favorite newspaper in the world, and they are eerily spot-on with their satire most of the time. I always wonder how their writers come up with the stuff they do. Some of it is obviously riffing off current events, but some of their random, mundane, absurd articles almost always manage to capture things that strike a chord with people.

        1. Florida*

          I agree. I love The Onion. I also wonder how they come up with some of the stuff because it’s just so perfect.

        2. TheLazyB (UK)*

          My DH’s horoscope on there once said something like ‘inbetween days is the most perfect Cure song ever’ and he was like ‘…………….. yeah how did it know?’.

        3. TootsNYC*

          Me too!

          Every time people post it an Onion article on their Facebook feed, I simply comment, “God, I love the Onion!”

          So brilliant.

    6. Phyllis*

      I thought that if she had approached this story the way she did Mockingbird, telling it from her viewpoint of 10-20 years after the events, it may have worked. It definitely was not edited, and barely copy-edited. The foundation of a good book is there, but it definitely needed work.

      1. Tomato Frog*

        It needed work, and it got work! That’s how it became To Kill a Mockingbird.

        The fact that they’re marketing a first draft as a sequel is beyond skeezy. The backstory of the manuscript makes it very clear what it is. It’s not a half-baked sequel, it’s a story that evolved into a different book. Anyone who’s written fiction has versions of that fiction that have been overwritten by newer versions and sometimes those versions are drastically different. And you usually abandon the earlier versions with good reason!

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          I’m avoiding it because it seems like if it was going to be published at all, it should have been done posthumously and in a scholarly edition for those interested in Harper Lee’s development as a writer — NOT as “the undiscovered novel from Harper Lee.”

          Nothing in this thread makes me question that decision! I enjoyed Mockingbird very much (although I have some totally idiosyncratic reasons for having a love-hate relationship with it), but I’m not enough of a devotee to want to study how Lee got there. And it sounds like I wouldn’t enjoy it as a novel based on the comments here.

          1. GH in SoCAl*

            Like the way “Stephen Hero,” which evolved into “A Portrait if the Artist as a Young Man,” is available, and interesting to read if you’re a James Joyce aficionado, but is not a blockbuster.

            1. Charlotte Collins*

              I myself am awaiting when someone releases the first draft of “Catch-22” for publication. If I remember correctly, it was 2-3 times as long as the final version. I like a satirical novel that could physically hurt someone if you dropped it on their foot…

              I think releasing early drafts has a place, but only in terms of literary scholarship or seeing how a work is crafted. They shouldn’t be released as fully realized novels, because they aren’t.

  9. Mimmy*

    Does anyone else find going through old stuff to be almost therapeutic?

    Due to ever-increasing costs of having a storage unit, we have finally bitten the bullet and have begun the process of clearing it out. On Thursday, we rented a U-Haul and were able to get about 80% of our stuff out (we’re paid up to the end of the month, so we’ll get the rest of it over the next couple of weeks). Holy CRAP we’ve amassed a lot of stuff!! We’ve been going through everything, and it’s amazing how many things you forget about having. It’s also a reminder of how many useless wedding gifts we got, LOL!! But I tell you, it feels really, really good to go through and get rid of excess junk. That to me is therapeutic.

    But….

    One weird thing was seeing stuff I wrote during college, mainly reactions papers and things I wrote for a creative writing class, including some rather dark poems. It’s really interesting to see where your head was at during a given period. That whole senior year was difficult :(

    There was so much more that I found, evoking a lot of memories and strong feelings. In seeing all of my writings, pictures and school reports, I find myself reflecting on a lot of things about my life, both good and not-so-good. I could probably write a book on it, so I won’t get into the gory details here. Let’s just say that I was not always an easy person to be around, both as a child and an adult.

    I’ve been trying to make sense of a lot of things about my life, so what I think I’d like to do is just look at my old junk and write my feelings down. My hope is that it’ll help me get some clarity on things and to accept myself as I am. It’s a tall order, but I’m ready to move myself forward. Yeah, it seems contradictory to hope that looking at my past will help me move forward, but if I do it in a healthy way, I don’t think it can hurt.

    1. not helpful*

      I don’t think it’s contradictory. Your past is what formed your present and you can’t make your future what you want if you don’t remember the past mistakes.

    2. Ruffingit*

      Actually, looking at your past is a great way to move forward. It can help you understand why you do things they way you do now and why you have certain relationships, etc. It can help you see how much you’ve grown and what work you have left to do.

    3. TheLazyB (UK)*

      This is kind of not the same but kind of it: I’ve just gone back to Facebook 2.5 years after deactivating my account in a fit of reverse-FOMO (ie I have dreadful FOMO but discovered I was being left out anyway). And it’s so weird. There are great memories held there but very painful ones too. I’m working through deleting loads of old stuff and it kind of hurts but in a good way IYKWIM? I’ve just finished 6months of therapy and feel like I am a very different person to the one who was there previously. I was a terrible drama llama, but hated it and didn’t want to be. I still have a bit of that tendency but I am SO MUCH BETTER.

      I think what you’re talking about sounds like a great plan. History helps us not repeat the mistakes of the past. This is that, exactly.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Am smiling. I got rid of some stuff and it felt sooooo good. Other stuff broke or could not be repaired- ugh- not so good there.
      I think every decade or so we reframe our memories. Some decades x is important, then it fades away and y becomes important in the following decade.
      I am having fun now, because of fixing parts of my house, I now have a better idea of what I will need and what I won’t need. I am happily tossing stuff out or donating it. This is kind of different for me because previously sorting was a bit of a chore.

      My cousin and I had a discussion on the Ugly Chair that has been in the family for generations. She hates it, it’s ugly. But we keep stuff because it’s been in the family for generations. why-why-why. Trade it, sell it, pitch it. Get something you actually want. Ugly Chair has negative memories attached to it- that does not help. We should keep the stuff that has a happy memory and ditch the rest. I actually do feel better getting rid of the stuff that feels negative and feels like I have an obligation to keep it. It surprised me.

    5. StillHealing*

      Personally I think it’s healthy to take a look at stuff you are holding on to both physically and mentally. I think the two are connected. You are correct – it won’t hurt anything. What you are doing is very healthy. I think you will find a lot of value in the process and you will be grateful you did it.

      I’m getting rid of stuff and have been all year. That book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” has been helpful as well as, “Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life”. My husband left behind so much stuff and my son took what he wants of it. Some stuff, I just can’t donate to Goodwill yet because I keep thinking he’d want me to send it to him. But, since I know he’s never coming back and hasn’t asked for it, I should just, “Let it Go””and take it to Goodwill. If I had energy, I’d sell it because I need the money and soon to be ex hasn’t been paying what he’s agreed to be paying. So, for me I think I’m holding on to some of his stuff because I’m both holding on to resentment and hope. All of it keeps me in somewhat of a funk. It keeps me from doing anything. Wears on me and sucks my energy. As soon as I get rid of a load by trash, recycling or donation, my energy bounces back for a bit. I feel angry though too. That he made the mess and I am stuck literally paying for it to be cleaned up. Its one thing to sort through stuff that’s yours, another when is stuff that belongs or belonged to both people of a couple and a whole ‘nother thing when a cheating spouse leaves behind a bunch of is belongings.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)*

        Oh my goodness there is so much going on for you! I don’t honestly know what to say other than I hope people are supporting you (and that you’re looking after yourself as best you can).

        1. StillHealing*

          Thank you. Yes, I do have great friends, therapist and other supportive medical providers. My self care has been suffering lately. It takes more energy than I have now that I’m working again, trying to provide for my son, handle all of the divorce legwork, take care of the apartment and take care of myself.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        You will make it. You’re doing all the right things and looking at things pretty clearly. Yeah, this stuff is super hard.
        When my husband passed (not the same as your situation, but bear with me) I unloaded a bunch of stuff. (Car, bikes, hobby stuff, clothes, company stuff, his magazine collection, some books and a few other things.) Then one day, I woke up and said, “I can’t do any more of this. I have to take a break.” So far the break has been years! That is how hard it is to do this stuff. It’s a huge drain. I feel good about how much I did do. And I am gradually sorting the last of it. It’s not as bad as it was before. My point is that you can be doing every right, handling it the best way possible and it is still fn tough. It’s gotten a little better since I can see myself going toward something as opposed to going away from something (in regard to all the sorting). I am sorry you are going through this.

        1. StillHealing*

          Thank you for sharing this! And thank you for mentioning just how hard this really is. I think perhaps I’m trying to do too many things all at once. I tend to become paralyzed when I get really overwhelmed. I might need to enlist some additional help to get more cleared out and cleaned up. I’m starting to feel stuck in a rut, spinning in the same circle, and that’s not a good place for me to get.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Yes. Definitely ask for help. And if people offer help, find ways of saying YES, when it looks like No is the initial answer. Such as:
            “Gee, Tuesday is bad for me but I would really like to do X with you. How is Wednesday or Friday, looking?

            “I would love to have dinner with you and Sue. But I have an appointment on Thursday, can we pick another day?”

    6. Ann Furthermore*

      Oh, it feels soooo good to get rid of stuff and thin your piles. I unloaded a ton of stuff when we moved 3 years ago, and then at the beginning of the year I went through my closet, got rid of a bunch of stuff, and got everything organized. Amazingly enough, it has stayed organized even 6 months later.

    7. TootsNYC*

      I think, actually, that people should keep stuff like that in a box, and then every 3 years go through the box.

      I think it’s great to get a chance to link to the younger you, and find ways you’ve grown, or just thinking about what you used to feel, and seeing whether or where there is continuity.

      That’s something I need right now, for my psyche.

  10. Sparkly Librarian*

    Decided to host a Harry Potter movie marathon Labor Day weekend. (Movies scheduled over Saturday and Sunday ’cause we can’t stay up until 4AM anymore… well, I never could.) Anyone done one of these (any fandom) at home? I am NOT about to get all Pinteresty with themed decorations and snacks, but there might be logistical considerations I’m overlooking.

    1. Anonyby*

      When I was still in college, one summer during break a group of us from a fansite got together to marathon the show. We had people from all over the country (including the person hosting the fansite, who lived in England at that time but was originally from South Africa–she came the furthest). We decided on a spot in California since the largest group of people attending were in CA, and we picked a midway spot and just used mine and my BFF’s motel room to watch. There were no decorations, but we did have a bit of a surprising not-really-drinking drinking game. The things we remembered as iconic repeat jokes didn’t actually happen as often as we thought they had!

        1. Anonyby*

          I didn’t, but that’s because we were getting together to marathon a show that didn’t have books. Some scattered comics, but none of us were really into comics. The things we tried to turn into drinking games were just jokes that being memetic, and plus the way the lines were delivered the second time they came up gave the impression of them happening all the time even when they hadn’t on-screen.

    2. KJR*

      WHY oh WHY do I not know people who do things like this?! Everyone around me are sports nuts, and sadly, I am not. A Harry Potter marathon though? I’m in!!

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        I just assume that everyone I know (bookish folk of a certain age bracket) is into HP! For Merlin’s sake, my sister’s a champion player of Muggles’ Quidditch! I carefully adjusted my expectations when sending FB invites. You would be welcome if you were in the Bay Area – that’s an open invitation, actually, for anyone reading the thread. We relocated to Oakland at the beginning of the year, and could use a few more friendly nerds in our local social circle.

    3. Lizzie*

      Yes! My college friends and I do this on the regular whenever we can. When we can’t get together in person, we usually do a Google Hangout kind of thing called Rabbit where we can all watch together long-distance over the internet.

    4. Cordelia Longfellow*

      Sounds fun! I’ve done HP and Lord of the Rings (extended edition) marathons with my friends, and it’s a blast! Beyond snacks and drinks, I can’t think of anything else that’s necessary.

      Have fun!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I feel the need for an LOTR marathon. I haven’t done that in a while (extended editions, of course). I just don’t want to do it by myself and everyone is busy.

        1. Sparrow*

          We usually do a LOTR marathon in the winter when we don’t feel like getting out of the house.

  11. Mimmy*

    I think someone asked about this before, but just now I spent like 20 minutes typing up a post–I hit “submit”, and it just took me to the top of the page. Did my post go into moderation? I didn’t have any links or words that could be flagged (at least I hope not!)

    1. fposte*

      That’s what happens when it goes to moderation now–no notices that it’s gone. Sometimes it’s pretty random what goes, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Just a PSA about this: For some reason, if your comment went to moderation and you entered an email address into the email field, you will see a message telling you about the moderation. But if you didn’t enter an email address, it won’t get any message, and it will look like your comment just disappeared, and you will probably be confused. I’m sorry about this — it seems to be a bug with the latest edition of WordPress, and hopefully they’ll fix it.

      Meanwhile, though, if you want to avoid it, you can enter any old email address into that field (like no@no.com or whatever). (Although 99% of comments never go to moderation anyway, so it’ll rarely be an issue.)

    3. danr*

      It also happens when the page refreshes. Look all the way at the bottom before deciding that it’s gone into the aether.

      1. Outlook Power User*

        I copy the date and time stamp of the comment I last read – then search for it after it refreshes

  12. Stephanie*

    What do you guys think of the HBO-Sesame Street deal? On the one hand, it sounds like Sesame Workshop needed the funding (and I don’t think your average child will care if the episodes are delayed). On the other hand, given that Sesame Street was created with low-income kids in mind, this is kind of squicky.

    1. Mimmy*

      I grew up on Sesame Street, even watching it probably when I was beyond the appropriate age *blush*. I never knew that low-income children was the target audience until I read about the HBO deal the other day. Is that common knowledge? My family has always been well off, so I thought every kid watched SS.

      I’m not terribly bothered by it except from a purely historical standpoint. I’m not clear if HBO is just providing additional funding to Sesame Workshop, or if the show is actually going to HBO, but not having it on PBS is definitely going to feel different.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          That’s too long, in my opinion. I bet they’re only doing that so they can sell it on DVD. Grrr.

          And yes, it was aimed at low-income children–PBS has always been free over-the-air.

          1. Blue_eyes*

            It’s not ideal, but it’s not like kids are sitting around waiting for the next new episode of Sesame Street. They show Sesame Street reruns all the time and I don’t think kids really notice, they just like watching the show.

            1. Stephanie*

              Kid with HBO: “Tuesday’s letter was S.”
              Kid without HBO: “DAMN IT, no spoilers!”

              Yeah, probably not happening.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I was in the target demographic for Sesame Street as a child (single mother, housing project, Head Start) and I loved it. I credit SS with so much of my early learning. And I also watched it past the age that I was “supposed to”. I was actually in a secret SS club with a boy in my third-grade class: we both secretly still liked Sesame Street and secretly talked about it when the other kids weren’t listening. Come to think of it, he was from one of the most prominent, affluent local families, and we became fast friends, even through the college years, partly because we bonded over Sesame Street as kids.

        1. Windchime*

          When my kids were little, I watched Sesame Street along with them. I was absorbed in the story of Maria and Luis and watched their wedding . :) I don’t know if we were the target demographic or not; but I had two preschoolers and they loved it. We didn’t have HBO, so we wouldn’t have been able to watch it at all if it wasn’t on PBS.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I had heard from numerous sources that SS was for lower income kids. I was not allowed to watch it. But that is not noteworthy- there was a lot that I was not allowed to watch. I had to chuckle about the kids will watch anything over and over. I did! There was not a lot of choices in what I could view so that meant I had to learn to like reruns. Looking back on it- I was probably just watching stuff to fill up my time.

        1. StudentA*

          Just curious, but why were you not allowed to watch Sesame Street? It seems so harmless. Were you just not allowed to watch tv in general?

          1. Not So NewReader*

            My parents thought it was mind-dulling. But they thought that about a lot of tv shows. They grew up in an era with no tv (for them)- the 20’s and 30’s. Their reference points were a bit outdated.

      3. Honeybee*

        Low-income children were the original target audience. I’m not sure if that’s the case today – Sesame Street is just wildly popular with all kinds of children nowadays, and they’ve changed some settings and added some segments so it’s a bit different.

    2. Lore*

      I want to be supportive of whatever it takes to keep them doing the work. But the message this sends about our country’s values is indeed depressing. I also feel like someone must have done some really poorly thought out licensing deals back in the day, because you would think the revenues from Elmo merchandise alone should keep them funded! But that’s pure speculation.

        1. Lore*

          Yes, exactly! And there’s still a singing Elmo that *all* my friends’ kids have been obsessed with at the age of three.

    3. Aknownymous*

      I agree with the squick feeling, because like you said, the whole idea around Sesame Street has always been to provide an educational program that all kids can access regardless of their SES, which is naturally of particular benefit to kids in low-income households. I understand the reasoning behind this deal, because the media landscape has changed drastically the past couple of years, but I feel like this is moving too far away from the very essence and core philosophy of the show.

      Yes, there will be reruns still showing on PBS, but the new content will only be available the first 9 months to kids whose parents can afford premium cable, which leaves out the kids the program was created for. I feel like Sesame Street is so loved, as is PBS in general, that they would have been able to raise the money needed to keep it on public access.

      I love HBO, but it is far from accessible to everyone, and therefore not the right place to carry on the legacy of one of the greatest educational programs that have ever been broadcast on US television. It was created to level the playing field, and this move is the exact opposite of that.

      1. Honeybee*

        But they weren’t able to raise the money to keep it on public access, which is why they had to make the decision they did. Children’s Television Workshop AND public access television have been facing cutbacks since the early 1980s. From what I hear, SS was relying primarily on DVD sales for revenue, but with more children consuming their TV through streaming online and YouTube videos (you can watch many SS segments for free on YouTube), this probably made the most financial sense for them.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I’m sad that it had to happen, but I’m very happy it’s happening. Note that Sesame Street is not disappearing from PBS– PBS will show reruns at first and will get the newer episodes later. From what I remember about being a kid and what I know about kids, they certainly won’t care– kids will watch the same thing over and over and over again, right? So it’s not like they need to avoid spoilers.

      A network like HBO, that isn’t ad-supported and therefore doesn’t have to kowtow to its advertisers, is a good place for a deal like this. It has the funds to save and support the show without corrupting it. Netflix might have been a good place too, but when I think about HBO’s commitment to creativity and its past relationship with the Henson Company (Fraggle Rock), it makes sense.

      We are one of the few countries that does not provide extensive funding to the arts, and it’s a damn shame. If the alternative for Sesame Street–and Sesame Workshop– was to fold completely, then I am grateful to HBO for stepping in.

      1. Honeybee*

        This comment basically sums up how I feel about it. I wish it didn’t have to happen, but the way I see it the deal with HBO is the best possible realistic solution at this point. CTW and PBS were running out of money and the other alternative was for the show to go off the air completely. At least this way low-income children who don’t get HBO will still be able to watch the show. And HBO is also planning to put it on HBO Go and HBO Now; you can get HBO Now without a television subscription and it’s relatively inexpensive.

    5. it happens*

      Sesame Street was developed with educators to make sure that any kid with a television could receive some educational stimulus in the home to prepare for school. Not every child has parents who read to him/her every day or have books readily available for self-exploration. Kids don’t know if an episode on PBS is one day old or nine months old – many children watch the show on a daily basis, and they have never produced 365 episodes in a year…
      The advent of streaming and on-demand cable watching has meant that the producers (CTW/SW) have lost almost all of their DVD revenue, which was substantial. They couldn’t exactly charge PBS more to make up for it. HBO was willing to pay more in order to get nine months exclusivity. HBO is also going to fund development of a few new shows. If HBO is willing to pay, because it adds value to their monthly subscription fee for parents, then that’s OK with me. Now, if there came a time when the show would no longer be available for free, over-the-air broadcast, then I would have a problem.
      (Also, have always loved your avatar, Stephanie)

    6. AdAgencyChick*

      This is not going to be a popular opinion, but I have no problem with the deal.

      Is it THAT important that kids be able to watch the latest episode of Sesame? I don’t think so. And I don’t think it’s HBO’s duty to give its content away.

        1. Lore*

          Only on HBO Go, though, I believe. The thing is–I think you’re right that the kids won’t care or notice. But I also think it sends a message to the parents who can’t afford HBO that it’s their lot in life to receive hand-me-downs from wealthier people; that the only way something good can come to their children is if someone privately pays for it and graciously allows them to use it after. It feels a little like an object lesson in trickle-down economics, or the model that charity solves poverty, and that bothers me. No, that’s not HBO’s problem and it’s not CTW’s fault that that’s the only way to keep the show going. But I don’t have to be happy about it.

          1. Honeybee*

            The agreement includes the rights to put it on both HBO Go and HBO Now, although I haven’t read anything saying specifically which service(s) they were planning to put it on.

  13. Victoria, Please*

    Oh, I’m early! Fun! Does anyone have something that they are super stubborn about that other people think is amusing, ridiculous, or just plain nuts?

    For example, I live in SoCal and I *physically cannot stand* wasting water by letting the laundry water drain away. So I laboriously bucket it up and carry it to the fruit trees in the yard (do you know how much 35 gallons of water weighs, 4 gallons at a time? Yeah.). I also cannot stand using the clothes dryer, we have so much sunlight! I am very, very stubborn about all this, to the point of aaaarghhh!

    My husband is torn between amusement and appreciation, and annoyance. (I don’t insist that he does all this when he does the laundry, but I pretty much do the laundry.)

    1. Today's Satan*

      The paper towels have to be loaded onto the holder facing a specific direction. I don’t make anyone in the house follow my rule, I just fix it after they’ve changed out the roll.

      1. GOG11*

        We don’t have such debates in my household. My boyfriend and I both learned the correct way to put the toilet paper on the roll is to put it on the back of the toilet, unless you want the toilet paper shredded. If you ask the cat, though, he doesn’t care – it all shreds into teeny tinny pieces regardless.

    2. not helpful*

      Not me but my husband always lined everything up on his desk at work from small to large. Occasionally someone would rearrange them.
      We collect the water condenses from the air conditioner and will use it to water plants. Very helpful when it hasn’t rained for a while. But we started this for reasons other than conservation.

    3. INTP*

      My sleeping routine is very, very rigid. But I am pretty sure I have delayed sleep phase syndrome, and by being super rigid about it, I’m able to keep semi-normal hours for the first time in my life without being miserable. Basically, I try to get in bed by 8:30 in hopes of being asleep by 9:30 so I can wake naturally at 6:30, every night because otherwise it doesn’t really work and I can’t sleep and wake early when I need to. This means skipping 90% of social outings because they keep me up past my bedtime (it’s super annoying that my company’s happy hours and such *start* at 7pm – I generally skip them). Then I take a melatonin, wear blue light blocking-goggles while I watch an episode or two of something mindless on netflix, and play some mindless Candy Crush type games on my phone. When I am ready to drift off, I change the blue light goggles to a black sleep mask and leave the mindless sitcoms playing. I cannot do without the blue light goggles, sleep mask, or background TV noise. I travel with the whole kit. Even when I want to sleep for a few hours on a plane, I turn on a show on my tablet, listen to that through headphones, and use my sleep mask to block out the light. I’m sure my seat neighbors think I’m insane, but whatever.

      1. GH in SoCAl*

        I was so thrilled to get a TV (a Vizio from Costco) that allows you to turn off the screen and keep the audio playing. That way I can “watch” my latenight shows as I fall asleep without getting bathed in blue light.

        1. hermit crab*

          Oh, that sounds great! I didn’t know that was a thing, but it makes so much sense. I only watch TV on the internet, so sometimes I put a pillow over the laptop screen when I want to fall asleep to something. Your method sounds way more effective!

        2. louise*

          I listen to the America’s Test Kitchen radio podcast to fall asleep. Their voices soothe me, it’s about an hour long, and there’s no light!

          1. Windchime*

            I listen to podcasts to fall asleep, too. Usually something on NPR, either Fresh Air or On Point. I usually only hear the first 5 or 10 minutes of them so then I get to listen to them again the next day. Unless they are super interesting, and then it actually keeps me awake instead of helping me to fall asleep.

    4. nep*

      I don’t know about stubborn, but I’m more rigid than the average person about my sleeping and eating. I want to be at the top of my game every day and proper eating and sleeping (and — well — ‘eliminating’, which is affected by the other two) are what make me the strongest, most competent, and clear-minded I can be. Family and friends generally don’t get it. And that’s fine.

      1. StillHealing*

        Personally, I think more people should be as “rigid” as you are. You are aware of what works for you and what doesn’t. It’s actually a sign of health, in my opinion.

        1. nep*

          Absolutely.
          I think it comes across as ‘rigid’ because not a lot of people (in my experience) value the importance and impact of the fundamentals like proper nutrition and sleep — especially nutrition. We live in a pill-popping society where many people take it as the norm to have chronic aches, pains, disease….and they seek pharmaceutical fixes rather than give the body what it needs to feel great and thrive naturally. Not to disparage medical remedies — granted they are needed and save lives and livelihoods in a lot of cases. It just seems to me a lot of people are OK with trashing the body with crap food and regarding it as the unfortunate norm to feel sluggish and not 100 percent.

          1. nep*

            And I’ll add — trashing the body with crap food and lack of moving (when there’s no medical/physical limitation, just a lack of commitment to regularly moving the body). It all ties together. I often wish I could convey to some people close to me how much better they could feel if they consumed less crap and took an occasional brisk walk.

      2. class factotum*

        When my husband and I met the priest for a pre-marital counseling session, politics (and religion) came up. Fr Tim asked if that’s what we fought about the most.

        “Nope,” I answered. “Our biggest fights are about bedtime.”

        My husband is a night owl who needs a lot less sleep than I do. I hate staying up late and can get a headache if I don’t get enough sleep. Doesn’t help that my husband has been working from home for a west coast company (we live in the midwest) for the past 12 years while I have been working midwest hours for The Man in The Man’s Cubicle.

        After ten years together, we still argue about what time to go to bed.

        1. Victoria, Please*

          Whew, actually, we do to. Although we’ve managed to stop fighting after 15 years. My husband finally figured out that if I do NOT GET TO GO TO BED, his life is harder. Good luck.

        2. Windchime*

          Silly question, but can’t you just each go to bed when you want? Do you have to go to bed at the same time?

    5. Student*

      By doing this, you probably “waste” more water to evaporation on your lawn than you would if you let the water go back through the sewage system.

      Water in the sewage system isn’t wasted in most places; it’s treated and recycled into the local water system. When water leaks out of pipes in the sewage system, at least it’s mostly staying in the same water basin. Water on a lawn evaporates and is more likely to head out of your water basin through atmospheric transport.

      1. fposte*

        She’s presumably using it to water trees that would otherwise still need watering, though, so that’s that much less greywater needing processing in the system. Evaporation will depend on time of day, mulch, etc.

      2. AnotherAlison*

        Wastewater is usually treated and returned to the water system in the sense that it is returned to local streams. It’s not returned to the muni water supply (potable water). I know now that water conservation is at the forefront, cities are doing more of that. Some of the power plants we design get their cooling water from treated city wastewater. If she can reuse the water that would otherwise go into the wastewater stream, and avoid using city water for plant water, that is the best.

      3. hermit crab*

        Well, your treated wastewater is generally going downstream — so if you’re in an inland area, it’s going toward the next town down the river and if you’re near the coast, it’s going into the ocean.

        Another thing to consider is how much energy water treatment/distribution requires (and how much water electricity production requires, too). Anytime you can skip a water treatment step, you’re generally being both water and energy efficient.

      4. Victoria, Please*

        I don’t know where the sewage water goes, that is a good question. Knowing SoCal, we’ve found a way to waste it.

        I don’t understand your logic. If I am watering plants which would need to be watered anyway and therefore will have some evaporation, how am I losing MORE water to evaporation by using water for one purpose and then a second purpose than I would be by using new water for the plants?

        Also, my dear, I don’t have a lawn. I consider them to be practically sinful in this area.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, I think I missed something there, also. There is a huge difference between sprinklers and soaker hoses, I get that part. Most of the water from a sprinkler evaporates. But if you are pouring it directly on the ground it soaks in pretty well. Maybe the reference is to time of day- watering at night means less waste than watering at noon.

    6. Father Ribs*

      I have a lot of “OC” tendencies. All the bills in my wallet have to be oriented the same way. It’s said that if someone puts a dollar upside down in my wallet after I die, I will come back and haunt them.

      I work in a clean room…with the white ninja suit, rubber gloves, etc. There are lots of plastic boxes that hold the product we work with that I have to make sure are oriented perfectly in relation to each other (not a job requirement, just “me”. If I see one slightly out of alignment, I MUST fix it. I seriously can’t let it go (think of that episode of Monk where he’s stuck on a storage rack in a warehouse with a bunch of attack dogs, and he still nearly kills himself to straighten out some boxes). I can’t prove it, but I think some of my co-workers deliberately move boxes so they are just off enough that it triggers my compulsions. Ha ha…you guys. :S

    7. TootsNYC*

      If your washer is using 35 gallons, you should consider a front-loader; they use about 15. It would sure shorten those trips!

      If I lived in California, I’d probably be lugging buckets too!

    8. NacSacJack*

      How do you collect the water as the washer is draining? Be there when the washer goes into rinse and spin cycles and turn it off when the bucket is full? My other question is how good is water with laundry detergent in it? Doesn’t laundry detergent has phosphates in it? Isnt that harmful to the environment and runoff water supply?

      1. Victoria, Please*

        Re catching water: Ayup, just like you describe — labor-intensive! At least I get a good functional weights workout on laundry day.

        I use a laundry soap especially for gray water systems, Oasis by BioPac. No phosphates, softeners, whiteners, sodium, or borax. And it does get the clothes clean.

  14. New GoT fan*

    I just started reading Game of Thrones. According to my Kindle I’m on Chapter 11, Dany has just been married off. I found the first few chapters quite confusing but have caught on to who’s who. I like it so far and am excited that I’ll get the GoT references made here regularly! Would like to watch the series someday as well to compare. Anyone else read the books?

    1. Sophia in the DM*

      Yes! And can’t wait for the latest, Winds of Winter, to be out before the next season starts. Some of the characters are different (Ceresi, Tyrion) bc of white washing their story. But both the books and the show are so good

    2. Colleen*

      Read the books twice. Watched the series twice. Still get events in the two of them mixed up when I am talking with people about GoT.

    3. Mephyle*

      Yes, I read the books. I don’t think I’ll watch the series, but I’ve caught glimpses of it while others in my household watched it.

    4. AnnieNonymous*

      The show has more sheer entertainment value, but obviously the books have more to offer overall. In fact, as you get further into the books, you’ll see that the show might be on the wrong track as far as the overall themes go.

    5. Cath in Canada*

      Love love love the books. When the next one comes out we’re probably going to buy two copies, to prevent a divorce. I love the series too, but I’m increasingly thinking of them as two separate entities.

    6. Father Ribs*

      Admitting this is just asking for friends to nod knowingly and make reference to certain occurrences which when you read will make you think GRRM is a much more evil man than his harmless looking demeanor would indicate.

      Do yourself a favor…DON’T look at the internet, don’t talk to friends, make sure anyone you talk to about the books has high moral principles when it comes to not giving away information you don’t have yet.

      Oh, and good for you. They were lots of fun.

    7. Ani*

      I’ve tried to get into the books a few times and just can’t with the writing. But I love GoT, the TV series.

      1. Margali*

        I’ve read the books and watched the series, and I actually prefer the series. It feels like the books have gotten away from the author — too many storylines, too many characters, spread out over too many locations. I’ll still read the new books when they come out, but I get more enjoyment from the HBO series.

  15. Realistic*

    Okay AAM Advisers — a few things I need general direction/advice on. My husband passed away recently, and I have been going through his clothes and sorting/packing them up for donations. He was such a specialty size that I don’t feel great about just taking all the stuff to a general thrift store. His shoes are sizes 14-15, his shirts range 3XL-5XLT, with most of them being 4XLT. I counted 27 4XLT polo shirts in great condition! Pants XLT-3XLT. Suits, coats, dress shirts. Boxes and boxes of them. I really wish I could find a place to donate them to which would give them for free to individuals in need, especially teenagers. Closest I’ve found in the DC area is Martha’s Outfitters (part of Martha’s Table), but they seem to be a pretty small thrift shop. Also they won’t help unload the car and I’m not physically up to the task of moving all these boxes. None of these are deal breakers but mostly I just wish I could find someone to actually WEAR these clothes. I’m even willing to pay to ship the boxes somewhere if the organization is a right fit. I just can’t give clothes to Salvation Army, Goodwill, or the for-profit thrift stores knowing too much about them politically and organizationally. Ideas? Google has not been my friend on this.

    And, I have no idea what to do with the life insurance money. I have no head for finance, no experience trying to get the most out of a lump sum of money (3.5 years’ salary), nor do I want to walk into some place and have them try to convince me to buy their products and get free stock trades, etc. Do I want to go to an independent financial adviser? No one I’ve asked around me has any idea how to find a good one, and no one I know is managing a larger sum of money like this, either. I want to keep the 1/2 year’s salary to supplement my income while I readjust my sails, and then leave the 3 years’ salary alone as much as possible. But then again, I want it to earn the best return I can without making myself crazy, too. I’m 53 and self-employed with my own retirement funds set aside, if that makes a difference (although I’ll probably need those funds in retirement, to be honest).

    Help!!

    1. Rebecca*

      Hi, I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t know if you have a Facebook account, but in my rural area, we have “sell and swap” groups, and people are always posting things for sale or give away, they list clothing with sizes, etc. If you’re not comfortable posting it, maybe a friend could put some photos with sizes and items for give away for you. You may have a great opportunity to help someone who is really struggling with finding clothes that fit due to the size and cost. In my case, I belong to a group for our county, so posts get quite a bit of exposure.

      As far as the money goes, I’m at a loss, as I’m really on the lower end of the income spectrum, so I’ve never had to get advice like that. I’m wondering if a certified public accountant could help with the tax issues, if any, and perhaps give a recommendation of who to talk to regarding investments? I totally hear you when you say you don’t want to endure the hard sell on products and services.

    2. not helpful*

      Regarding money – Try Vanguard for investments.
      As far as clothes – how about the Salvation Army? When my mom passed away my sister gave everything we didn’t want to them.

      1. not helpful*

        Didn’t see you post about Salvation Army. Is politics more important than getting the clothes to those who could use them?

        1. Today's Satan*

          I’m not the OP, but I live in metro area that is large enough to support hundreds of clothing charities. I would (and do) gladly not give to Goodwill and the Salvation Army in favor of local groups more aligned with my beliefs. It sounds like the OP is in the DC area, which should also have hundreds of charities to choose from outside of the ones the OP doesn’t want to support. The clothes would still get to those who need them without the mental angst of donating to an organization you don’t want to.

        2. Realistic*

          a legit question, but I simply cannot support an organization which is anti-LGBTQ (Salvation Army) or which operates ways in which Goodwill does (I used to work there). Luckily, there are more options in my area. I just thought someone here (since there are a fair number of DC_area folks) might know of a specific group in need. I spent 23 years in social services in another city, I may just ship them back “home,” to be honest.

        3. Tara*

          Those who could use them… as long as they’re not gay, trans, or otherwise objectionable. If it’s “politics” not to want to support that, then I guess I’m political.

    3. F.*

      You don’t say whether you are in a city, but try donating to a men’s homeless shelter. There are organizations that take women’s gently used work clothing for disadvantaged women trying to enter the workforce, perhaps there is something similar for men. A veteran’s center social worker might know of a program that would want them. I shop at thrift stores, and good quality large men’s clothes are very hard to find.

    4. fposte*

      My condolences for your loss.

      I’m focusing on the money: first, I’ll post a link below about managing a windfall. It’s from the Bogleheads group, which is fantastic for logical, low-expense ways of handling money, and you may want to post to the forum there as well after reading the windfall page.

      Most of all, don’t rush into anything, and it sounds like your instincts are good on what you need to consider. You don’t need to go to a financial adviser, certainly not right now while you’re uncertain. I think leaving the half-year in cash and stashing the rest seems like a sound plan; you also need to think about when you plan to retire and to take Social Security. Also, what you’d do with this money isn’t a decision independent of the rest of your money, so I don’t want to give any recommendation for it on its own.

      That being said, I think your main possibilities are: look at Vanguard, Fidelity, etc. for a low-cost target date index fund that works with your overall portfolio and risk tolerance, or consider, especially if you think you might retire before you’re 60, collecting longer-term CDs, which will give you a fixed rate of return, albeit a low one, and avoid the possible volatility of a fund that includes stocks.

      Also make sure you’re taking advantage of any tax-advantaged space you can; it’s more complicated if you’re self-employed, and I’m not au fait with the ins and outs of it, but there will be Bogleheads wiki pages about solo 401ks and SEP IRAs and so on. If you’re not filling the tax-advantaged space you have, you might want to draw on this money to fill that space up for a bit, too.

      1. could be*

        Agree with what fposte says. Additionally if you are eligible look into opening a Roth IRA. This will give you more flexibility in retirement.

        1. Realistic*

          thank you to everyone who had suggestions and ideas. I’m finding it too much to respond to each person (my depression and introversion have taken quite the hit in these last few months). I very much appreciate the folks who have given specific advice, the condolences (it helps!), the thoughts and ideas. There were some new links to me, and some basic info for me to consider. Most importantly, I am glad reassurance that it’s okay for me to just set some stuff aside to deal with later!! So many family members are pressuring me with “what are you going to do now? where are you going to go? have you invested? what about his clothes?” and I’m like “Well, today, I hope to shower. And perhaps make a sandwich.” I have them well trained to no longer ask “how can I help?” because every time they ask that, I whip out my list!

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Keep telling them that you are going to shower and maybe make a sandwich. That’s the exact answer to that question!

    5. acmx*

      Not in DC but I found this through searching: st vincent dot org/dannyscloset. It’s based in IN or career gear dot org
      Maybe contact a vocational rehab place might know of a charity that accepts clothes.

    6. it happens*

      Sorry for your loss.
      Agree with the Bogleheads link – Vanguard is a great company, essentially owned by its customers, so it’s low-cost, low-pressure.
      On the clothing, two suggestions, google your closest freecycle and join their list (it usually takes a few emails, you have to be confirmed as an area resident.) You can list the whole lot of clothes, or break it into a few groups (work, casual, winter, summer, etc.) someone who needs that size would respond and then come pick it up. Alternately, you might call your local high school guidance office and describe your desire to help a kid who might really need the clothes.
      Good luck, it’s crazy how much work it is to deal with someone’s belongings. It starts out sad and sometimes a little fun, and then you just want it to be done with.

      1. Realistic*

        ” it’s crazy how much work it is to deal with someone’s belongings. It starts out sad and sometimes a little fun, and then you just want it to be done with.”
        ^^^^^^^^^^
        this, times 1000. Squared. Plus one.

    7. Dan*

      Hi, I live in DC and can recommend a fee based guy that I work with.

      I find having someone who knows my finances well to be worth paying to bounce ideas, thoughts, and concerns off of.

      If you’re interested, drop me a line here and we’ll figure out some way to make contact.

    8. Student*

      Salvation Army and Goodwill are very different from each other in politics and organization. I’m not saying either is perfect. I have a lot of personal objections to Salvation Army so I don’t donate there, but I’ve never heard anything about Goodwill that turned me off of donating to them. I’d be interested to hear about your concerns about them, though.

    9. BRR*

      I’m sorry for your loss. For the clothes, you could try calling charities and see if they want them.

      For the money here are some possibilities:
      -Don’t rush into anything, don’t do anything you don’t understand, and don’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with
      -Pay off any credit card debt (unless you really need cash you will save a fortune)
      -Consider paying off any student loan debt
      -Considering paying off a car loan or if you need a new car buy one in cash
      -Consider paying off your mortgage
      -If you don’t have a large enough emergency fund saved up, put a portion of the total in a savings account and don’t touch it. It sucks to have it just sitting there instead of working for you but an emergency fund is crucial.
      -I also love Vanguard.

      If you go see an advisor do the following:
      -They should ask about your life and what you need, not just how much money you have.
      -Always ask yourself, “What do they get out of it?” Many want their commission and won’t look after your well being.
      -Never let them pressure you into anything you’re not comfortable with or don’t understand. If they do, walk away.

    10. Artemesia*

      Sorry about your husband. Tough times. I would think the clothes would be a godsend for poor people needing to be outfitted for employment; I know for groups that outfit women large sizes are much in demand. Hope you can find something.

      It is super important that you not do anything with the lump sum that you don’t understand and are not comfortable with. I would do something like invest half in an index mutual fund (i.e. the average of the market) and put the rest in CDs. The market is riskier but also gives some protection with inflation; the CDs are not getting any interest these days, but the principle is safe (although eroded by inflation). Once time has passed and you have your life under control again, you can then make more creative decisions with the money if you want to do so. But in the short run this is a conservative way to go. I would avoid like the plague any confusing investment products like annuities or also single stock investments. If it is not crystal clear to you, don’t invest in it.

    11. Florida*

      If you are a member of a church or other religious place, ask the pastor. Sometimes they know of specific families who have specific needs. So they might know someone who can use those sizes.

      Also, if you are looking for a teenager, you could call the high schools in town. I know a few high schools in my area have clothes closet for kids who need to come in and get clothes.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      I have no advice except don’t rush into any financial decisions right now. Everyone else had really good suggestions. I just want to give you this:

      *HUG*

      I am so sorry and I will be thinking of you and hoping you are okay.

    13. Jenniy*

      A charity group I work with has a chapter up there, and could probably help you with finding a good place to donate the clothing.
      My usual contact is Jason, and their email is Chiversdc@gmail.com
      (The charity is Chive Charities, check out the website to see some of the things awesome things that have been accomplished nationally)

    14. anonymous daisy*

      This may or may not be what you want to do with the clothes but if you want them worn, you can sell them on ebay and donate the proceeds to a charity that your husband supported.

      I would also suggest going to your local library and checking out some books on personal finance and learning some terms and systems before you speak to someone so you can keep up with the conversation a bit more easily.

      I am sorry for your loss.

    15. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      So sorry about your husband. I lost my uncle last November and he was a pretty large man. My mom was in charge of doing a lot of the cleaning out of his house because he was unmarried and had no children. She gave away a lot of his clothes on Freecycle. You can post what you have and then people in need of those sorts of sizes can respond to you. There’s no tax write-off for Freecycle, but hopefully you’ll be able to connect with an actual person that can wear them.

    16. Judy*

      If you are wanting to help teens, our city pta has a clothing bank where the school nurses can send kids. You might want to check that out. We just took clothes there yesterday that don’t fit the kids any more.

    17. Natalie*

      For the clothes, there’s an organization called Career Gear which is like Dress for Success but for men – they provide a week’s worth of professional clothes to men moving out of the prison system or homeless shelter or other bad circumstance. IIRC they often need larger sizes, so your late husband’s clothes would be particularly appreciated.

    18. KAZ2Y5*

      I’m so very sorry about your husband! From personal experience, the best thing I could recommend is not make any major decisions for the first year. You do want to eventually get your money invested, but it doesn’t have to been done today! I had a family friend who is a financial adviser, so just went with him. My only advise would be if you could get recommendations from someone you know.
      As for the clothes, my husband was about the same size as your husband and had lots of business suits. I delayed for a while but finally found a charity through Men’s Wearhouse (the men’s clothing store). They used to take up donations every year about this time for groups that would provide men with professional attire for job interviews. I’m not sure if they still do that, but I would imagine there are quite a few different groups that do that.

      1. NacSacJack*

        +1 Do not do anything for a year. I’ve seen that recommendation several times now. Do not change your life significantly for the first year while your emotions settle out and you learn to live as a single person again. I wish I could advise on money, but I cant. I hestitate to invest on my own because I dont want to end up paying a broker more money than I made on the stock trade. Social Security – Check with the SSA. It may benefit you to hold off collecting your own social security until 70 and start collecting his at 62. The sooner you start, the more money you get from SSA but at a lessor benefit. Still, 8 extra years of collecting SS is good if you have health issues that may make it harder for you to reach 80 (I think 83 is the age at which the average person outruns their SS deposits). My dad passed away after only 3 years retirement. My mom went in to tell the SSA and to get her own SS started. Found out that if she lived off Dads and waited until 70 for hers, she would actually have a higher benefit than his. amazing considering he always made more money than her and….I’ll leave that attitude back in the 50s, thank you very much.

  16. Nervous Accountant*

    This happened to me a few days ago, and I wanted to post it somewhere…just not on my social media..

    I was on the subway a few days ago…it wasn’t empty but it wasn’t crowded either. A guy kept brushing up against me everytime the train jerked to a stop. After the 2nd time I snapped and said “the trains not crowded you could stand somewhere else!” I don’t remember exact words but I tuned him out until another guy who was sitting across from me looked at Him and said oh yeah she’s annoying don’t worry man she’s annoying she’s a fat bitch fat ugly bitch , circus freak erc. the original offender was laughing and agreeing with him…I screamed at him to mind his own business. The guy standing I forgot what he said or did buy this guy kept repeating fat bitch/fat ugly bitch erc.

    I sat there shaking; I had to get off at my stop and was afraid I’d fall down the stairs.

    I’ve been riding the subway for 12-13 years and nothing like this has ever happened at least not to this magnitude. I don’t know how to describe it.

    It wasn’t even the original offender….it was this random guy…I wanted to punch him or throw something at him but he wasn’t physically close to me…. Just verbal harassment. People were there but no one even looked up..all I kept thinking was if I lashed out I’d get arrested and lose my job second biggest fear was ending up on Facebook or YouTube and hearing worse comments about how I look or my weight. God knows if there’s not something already floating around.

    I feel so…violated? Disgusted and tbh a little scared now of being harassed/assaulted (physically or verbally)..I think what’s at the core is that I’ve always had a hard time standing up for myself and now that I did once, I was faced w abuse.

    1. JB (not in Houston)*

      Ugh, I am so, so sorry. That should not have happened to you. Both those guys were bottom-dwellers, and you are right to feel everything you are feeling. Your experience and the feelings you have now are exactly why women so often do not stand up for themselves . . . and then get blamed for not standing up for themselves. Just know that you did exactly the right thing. Both standing up for yourself and removing yourself are what you felt like you needed to do at those moments, and you were not wrong about either one.

    2. nep*

      Oh that is awful. I’m sorry you experienced that. I reckon you were able to exit OK and proceed…Did the two of them stay in the car?
      My heart pounded just reading your post. I can understand how isolated and violated you must of felt.
      I’ll be interested to hear from other commenters about what they’ve done or would do in a similar situation.
      All the best to you. Thanks for sharing.

    3. Dan*

      Some “fights” you can’t win, and it helps to recognize that. When that happens, extract yourself asap.

      I’m not sure “snapping” at people is what is meant by standing up for yourself. A polite, calm, “hey, could you step back a bit please?” Is what is likely meant by the suggestion.

      You sort of describe a situation where you went from 0-60 in about two seconds.

      Snapping and yelling at people generally doesn’t generally lead to a peaceful, low confrintation outcome.

      1. Christy*

        The guy who kept brushing against you knew exactly what he was doing. You were totally justified in snapping at him.

        It is totally the worst though when you are responding to aggression with aggression and you are made to feel like the bad guy. Because it’s true–snapping doesn’t lead to a peaceful outcome. But that’s the guys fault in this scenario, not yours.

      2. Blue_eyes*

        Ok, she acknowledges that she snapped a bit. But someone who was not involved jumped in calling her a fat bitch. That dude is way more out of line. This feels a lot like tone policing. She asked someone not to touch her and ended up being verbally harassed. Just because she didn’t say it in the nicest possible way does not mean she deserved or was asking for the response she got (I know that’s not exactly what you said Dan, and probably isn’t quite what you meant, but your last line seemed to be heading in that direction).

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Your first sentence is spot on, Dan, but please do not try to make her feel as though she handled it wrong. I probably would have done the same thing. Maybe that’s not how you meant it, but that’s how it seems to read.

        1. Nervous Accountant*

          And this is why i appreciate this communiuty so much. I was figuring out how to respond to this and you all articulated it perfectly.

          I’ve had more than a lifetime of never being in the “right” because I chose to stand up for myself using less than ideal tone or words.

          I didn’t deserve this.

          1. Elkay*

            You’ve just made me realise that I suffer from the same issue. I wish tone didn’t matter so much. Well done for speaking out, no matter how you did it.

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Yeah, how is it that a man can physically invade a woman’s space (with brushing-against, groping, or whatever), and the woman can end up being the one in the wrong due to any imperfection in her response to the situation?

              1. Windchime*

                Because she is a woman, that’s why. In this case, NA had the guts to call a man out on his inappropriate touching (brushing up against her on a non-crowded train). So Toucher and the other guy, Jerkface, didn’t like NA standing up to a man and calling him out, publicly, on his BS. That’s why they started with the insults and the harassment….because she had the nerve to call a man out on his behavior.

                Good for you, NA. I know the backlash must have felt terrible, but standing up for yourself in that situation was not the wrong thing to do. And I disagree that you are required to call someone out in a polite and respectful manner. What he was doing to you was not polite or respectful, nor was it accidental.

      4. Nervous Accountant*

        I’m not sur what your experiences are but i’VE been taking public transport for over a decade…..enough times experiencing this and i know whats an accident and deserves a polite suggstion vs a creep doing this on purpose.

        1. Dan*

          I live in DC, I take the metro 2-3 times a week.

          Let’s call that behavior for what it is from both guys – bullying. And bully’s can be hard to deal with, sometimes they pick on you because they think you won’t fight back, and other times, they’re trying to provoke you.

          And it sucks, because if they’re trying to provoke you, too strong of a response lands you in jail, as you’ve noted, and a weaker one will just find you at the receiving end of more provocation. This is true no matter what the gender of the victim is.

          When a bully is trying to bait you, a calm, measured response gives him nothing to work with, but still let’s him know that you’re not just going to ignore that behavior. And if he tries it again, look him straight in the eye and tell him that if he tries it one more time, he’ll wish he hadn’t. Most guys will take you seriously if you imply that you will knee them in the balls. I’m not joking about that, its about the most effective threat you can make to a guy.

      5. Steve G*

        Well it may not lead to a peaceful outcome but when you are dealing with criminals, lowlifes, etc. preying on people, you might be getting hurt either way, so I am glad in this situation she called them out!

    4. Artemesia*

      Know that you did the right thing in standing up for yourself and do it again when you get groped. Too bad you didn’t say ‘yeah, fat and ugly but obviously your turn on since you were certainly going for the grope.’ Being cold and mean beats being flustered and yelling back — but what else is one likely to do when slapped in the face with a dead fish.

      There are so many men like this and the current climate of accepting expressions of vileness and hostility culturally and politically has empowered them to spill this garbage at the slightest opportunity. I think any woman would feel heartsick at this; it is like being tipped in slime. But we need to recognize that it is truly about them and not us — heck Megan Kelley got told she was on the rag for asking a pretty ordinary question of Donald Trump. Women who participate in the gaming community get this all the time. It has nothing to do with you, your attractiveness or charm — it is all about truly deeply defective and pathetic men and their pettiness and a society that encourages this expression.

      1. Anon today*

        Artemesia (or anyone) do you know of any studies done about men attacking women disproportionately and/or cruelly for rejecting them? I remember reading something recently about this. Asking because I [nicely] rejected a coworker recently and he has been very harsh in response — I would like to understand this a bit better.

        Nervous Accountant, sorry this happened to you.

        1. fposte*

          Can you talk a little more about what you remember seeing or what you’d like to find, research-wise? I’m not finding much, which may indicate an interesting area to try to study! But in general, it’s tough to study this kind of thing in the wild–you can’t just send women out to reject men and then wire the men up to test them–so it’s also possible that some work is based on self-reported experience, which isn’t necessarily reliable.

        2. LCL*

          ‘We hunted the mammoth’ is a great place to start for an explanation of this crap. But it can be very triggering, and is not safe for work.

        3. Lindsay J*

          I don’t know about any studies, but anecdotally I have seen this happen quite a lot. If you look at the Reddit subreddit creepyPMs you will see it quite often – a guy comes onto a girl (sometimes nicely, sometimes inappropriately) then she tells him she is not interested and he lashes out and calls her gross or goes “haha like I’d be interested in you anyway” (though he clearly was given that he was, ya know, hitting on her online) or curses her off, etc.

          I think most women who have done online dating have had the same experience as well.

          I think it’s an instinct to either preserve their ego (you can’t reject me because I’m rejecting you!) or similar.

          I would be interested to see studies on this, though.

      2. fposte*

        I’m with you in the general suckiness, but you make it sound like this didn’t happen before the “current climate.” I’ve been hearing shit like this for decades.

        1. Steve G*

          Yeah, I don’t think this is a “climate,” it is just trashy people on the subway. I have a litany of psychos-on-the-subways stories and two of the most physical aggressors were female, but I don’t think it would be a productive discussion to divvy out how many were men or women because it’s not about gender, it’s about either mental illness, lack of boundaries, or anger issues.

        2. TootsNYC*

          Actually, the “current climate” is that more people are talking about it and objecting to it. It’s being drawn out into the open. That makes it SEEM like it’s happening more. But men have been attacking (verbally, physically, socially) the women who reject them since forever.

      3. Steve G*

        I don’t think anything Trump does points to a trend! I hate when he says stupid things because then we have to listen to them get repeated ad naseum in the media for weeks. In my obsessive watching of presidential-related stories this week, I saw a few of the candidates get snippy when asked “what do you think about Trump,” and refuse to answer!

        On a side note about Megyn Kelly’s “pretty ordinary” question**….and keep in mind that I LOVE her and the way she grills people….I did roll my eyes a bit when she asked that question and loved his response “I was only talking about Rosie O’Donnell” (and I like her too, but it was a quick smart response and the room burst out in laughter). We all know Donald Trump says stupid things. There were 10 candidates in that debate. There was very limited time to discuss a huge amount of work that needs to get done in this country. Why focus on stupid comments he has made? What good does that do?

        If there is a “current climate” I think it is that we keep trying to force celebrities to issue public apologies for things. From Ariana Grande to Paula Dean, all of these apologies seem canned an insincere. Does hearing them make anyone feel better? I would guess not. I think the best approach is just to ignore Trump when he says stupid stuff or call him out when it happens.

        **and this is not an endorsement of stupid things he says, just my opinion on the questions Megyn asked him. I do think his twitter thing put was a blotch on an otherwise very professional and exciting debate.

      4. Omne*

        Men aren’t the only ones who react badly to rejection. I’ve seen vileness and hostility displayed by women too.

    5. Vitriolic Vixen*

      Nervous Accountant, this may or may not stay with you for awhile.

      I flashed back to when I was 13, and got into it with a bunch of teenagers at a water park because they were saying nasty stuff about a little boy, and noticed that I was giving them a nasty look to match their words. The ring leader called me out and said: “What are you looking at! You are a fat bitch too,” and I told him:

      “I would rather be a fat bitch, than a skinny little stick like you!”

      If I saw him on the street today… 23 years later, it is a guilty (and dangerous) pleasure to think that I would still pop him in the jaw if he was mouthing off (though I wouldn’t because of the consequences to me), so don’t feel bad, since this is fresh and you are still reeling from this.

      As for riding the train again, you may have to remind yourself again and again how many times you have ridden the train and nothing happened.

      That is what I have to do riding the bus around here, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to ride it. People here have to pay for school bus service out of pocket, and it is cheaper just to get a public bus pass, so there are certain times of the day that I won’t ride the bus just because of the shocking sh-tuff that I see and hear… stuff that if my parents ever caught me doing I would have been skinned alive. And you can’t do much because they are minors (though thinking about it now, I could probably call the high school…)

      Soon you will look back, and this incident will be weeks ago, then months… eventually it will be who gives a f?!k about some a$$hole on the stupid train. If not, then please talk to us again, and I am sure AAM crowd will help you find help.

    6. catsAreCool*

      That’s awful. Those 2 guys were total jerks. Everyone else in the car was probably afraid to do anything.

      1. fposte*

        When I got yelled at by a frustrated creeper asshole in the airport gate seating a couple of years ago, nobody else said anything (which is fine with me, actually, as I was dealing fine), but afterwards they they all suddenly wanted to chat to me about the wait or the time or the snack food they had. It was kind of interesting.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Am shaking my head. People offer support or reassurance in the ways that they can. Not saying that is it is right, just that it is. This has been something that I have been watching for a few years now. It never ceases to amaze me the people who back away when the going gets tough.

    7. Steve G*

      I had a guy get nasty with me about 2 yrs ago. He sat right next to me and turned to me and asked for money. He looked like a normal middle class guy, it was the end of rush hour, train was pretty full, I was like WTF I’m not an ATM, why are you asking me of all people for money, likes its a normal thing to sit on top of someone and ask them for money (as opposed to begging in the expected places)! And then he released some verbal diahhrea.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        I’d blocked this out but 5-6 years ago I was on an empty train….this guy sits down next to me and tries to talk to me. I ignore him and read my paper…he leans over, extremely in my personal space. Yes I yelled at him…I really couldn’t get up bc I was in the corner seat and He was right next to me…I was basically cornered. Still that wasn’t as bad as this latest episode.

        1. Today's Satan*

          Years ago when I lived in San Francisco, a guy sat next to me on the train and his coat kind of draped over my leg. I was in the inner seat, leaned up against the window trying to sleep, so I was like, “Whatever, it’s just fabric.” A few minutes later I felt his hand slide under his coat as he was reaching for a grope. Without even opening my eyes or lifting my head I deepened my voice and yelled, “GET YOUR GODDAMNED HAND OFF MY LEG — NOW!!” Everyone in the train turned to see what the noise was about and he jumped up and bolted. Several people congratulated me on how I handled the situation. OK, thanks, but I just really, *really* wanted to sleep.

    8. Emily*

      I’m so sorry that you had to deal with either of those guys, and so glad that they didn’t escalate the situation to physical harassment. Just reiterating what other people have said: You didn’t do anything wrong, and those guys are both horrible assholes.

    9. Ani*

      Hi Nervous,

      I have been spending the past 24 hours running through my mind something that happened yesterday, I went to a musical and the crowd was heading toward the entrance. The top of my boob lightly touched a woman in front of me, and she threw a very public fit over it. I was so incredibly embarrassed — it doesn’t help that I have gained a considerable amount of weight and already felt self-conscious, but I honestly believe part of it was that she took a look at me and wanted to fat-shame me publicly. I left the crowd and went outside for air instead of engaging, it was mortifying.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      A wise person, who I really respect said something that I hold on to. He said that when you respond to a nasty situation and you get a huge reaction (like you did) that means you hit the bull’s eye. Some people when called out on their behavior know the wrongness of it and they escalate because they know you are correct. I guess there are lots of reasons why that is, but I never realized that it was something that happened with any predictability. I just assumed they were bullies or idiots.
      I know this is not the work thread but I found this a handy tool for work, also. When I called out Major Safety Issue, I got backlash. Because of talking to my wise friend, I kept following up on the safety issue and it was eventually fixed. This is not helpful for a subway setting, but I found it helpful for life in general. I am also a person that is not good at standing up for me. I was dismayed to read that parents who do not stand up for themselves effectively often have children that don’t, either. But it made sense out of my life experience, so that was my starting point for thinking about stuff.

      I have also worked with eliminating fear thoughts in tough situations. I have no idea why it has seemed helpful for me. But I have replaced the fear thoughts with “don’t f with me!”, even if all I can muster is some half-hearted fierceness it seems to change my situation a little bit, sometimes.

      FWIW, I would have been scared crapless in your situation. I think you are very gutsy. I am sorry this happened to you.

  17. Persephone Mulberry*

    So, I’ve just started watching The Good Wife. I’m 15 episodes into season 1. I’m trying to decide if the aspects of it that I’m really enjoying outweigh the nitpicky stuff that bugs me.
    The law bits of it are pretty good. I was concerned when she started out as a little bit of a doormat in the first few episodes, but they seem to have turned that around and given her some spine.
    It makes me slightly crazy that everyone in her professional surroundings calls her MRS. Whatever, rather than Ms.
    How anyone who was a stay at home parent for almost 15 years can be that disconnected from what her kids are up to boggles my mind.
    Christine Baranski is a gem.

    1. Sophia in the DM*

      Loved the good wife until the most recent season and stopped watching after it (sorry for being vague, don’t want to spoil you)

    2. BRR*

      It’s one of my favorite shows. I only recently started watching it and can’t believe I didn’t watch it for so many years.

      1. Camster*

        Watched all the episodes of TGW last year when I was home recovering from surgery – love that show! Season 5 was the best and Season 6 (at least for me) was the weakest. I am probably in the minority here but Kalinda started to really annoy me as the episodes went on (those boots all the time? Even in summer?). Love Christne Baranski, though!

        1. class factotum*

          It’s not the boots in the summer that annoy me as much as the pretty coats and expensive high heels in the winter. Have any of the writers ever been to Chicago in the winter? Or are they imagining a world where Alicia never actually goes outside, but is somehow whisked from her office to court to home without ever having to navigate an icy sidewalk while the cold wind whips through the wind tunnels of Chicago streets?

      2. Windchime*

        I tried to watch it because people rave so much about it, but it just seemed like another lawyer show to me and I gave up after a couple of episodes. What am I missing? Did I not give it enough time?

    3. AnnieNonymous*

      I find it very similar to Mad Men in that it’s watchable despite being a bit uninteresting. The adults are characterized in a way that isn’t all that common on television anymore, which I enjoy.

    4. Carrie in Scotland*

      I always feel like I should watch TGW but then after 5/6 episodes I just forget to watch it and lose track of what’s going on.

  18. EvilQueenRegina*

    Is there ever a time when it’s acceptable to not give someone an explanation when breaking off contact? Yeah I know, I can’t believe I’m asking that and I’m not talking about who people might think.

    Okay, so in my university days I had this best friend called Abigail. I met her through a friendship clique that my ex Daniel was part of. After my messy split from Daniel I stayed in the group for a while but then they started freezing me out and I never knew why. Possibly because Daniel’s girlfriend was about to move to our uni town, possibly because I was trying to make friends outside the clique (most of whom were the year above me and I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of a group consisting of me, Daniel and the girlfriend).

    Fast forward a few months, and Abigail wanted to make up. The clique had dropped her over something stupid and she had no other friends. We stayed friends for a while but things went downhill. It got to the point where she made no effort to contact me or reply when I contacted her. After three years of this I asked her about it and she said it was just because she was a lazy friend, not anything I did. The pattern just started again but because I had personal problems at that time I didn’t push it.

    I now no longer want to try again. The period of no contact made me reevaluate the friendship and I realised it wasn’t about that. It was the way she dropped me so abruptly and later said she just did it because the others did, and then came back to me for a bit of sympathy. It was the way she’d tell me to shut up about my problems with Daniel but I was expected to listen to everyone else’s. I only realised last year after something on a TV show triggered a flashback that her comment about how I was “chosen by the clique just because I was physically there” had stayed with me. There is a lot to it but she had me questioning at one point if I had any good qualities at all.

    I don’t want to try again. But I haven’t told her this. I wasn’t going to (I wrote a letter I won’t send). But I wonder now if maybe I should. Recently I got annoyed at Robin my online guy over him thinking I was going to disappear when he did that himself, which I now know stems from some girl in his past who did just that. But have I really behaved any better towards Abigail? Should I contact her and explain why I’m ending the friendship?

    1. fposte*

      I don’t see the need. This isn’t like an engagement where it needs to be official whether you’ve broken up or not. Consider the Abigail days past and move on–it sounds like she may actually have already done that with the Regina days, after all.

      Sorry, I know it’s complicated when these friendships change.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Agreed. There is no point in contacting her just to tell her you won’t be doing so anymore. Let it go. Some relationships are owed an explanation and/or African Violet (thanks Captain Awkward). Others, not so much. This one sounds like one that just needs to end quietly with no fanfare. And, if she contacts you again, feel free to ignore it. Sounds like it’s long past time for you two to part ways.

        1. EvilQueenRegina*

          Just thinking, didn’t Chandler call a date on Friends to tell her he wasn’t planning to call her, and it not end well?

          I doubt that she will contact me again to be honest. But I will ignore it if she does, she ignored me enough times. Thanks.

          By the way, what was the African Violet story?

          1. TL -*

            African violets are impossible to keep alive, so when you gift one to someone, it’s not really a gift – kind of like the white elephant gift.

            I think. Someone else might have a better explanation.

            1. Stephanie*

              Heh, I know it’s a metaphor, but related experience. Friend gifted me an orchid. I’m convinced you need a degree in botany to keep those things alive and flowering. Mine is just a sad stick in a pot.

      2. EvilQueenRegina*

        You’ve right, thanks. That had been my original plan anyway and I don’t think Abigail even noticed that I’m not trying any more.

    2. Could be anyone*

      I don’t really see any reason to say anything to Abigail. It doesn’t seem like you disappeared on Abigail and she’s not asking for an explanation. And reacting to person B’s actions because of past with person A (Robin) is not the same as making a decision about person C based on person C’s actions (Abigail).

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        Thanks for that. I’m not going to waste my time on her now. From the little I know of what happened with Robin that one came more out of the blue, they’d been in regular contact and suddenly nothing. It annoyed me at the time that he thought I’d disappear based on that but I think I understand better now. So I shouldn’t compare the two really. Abigail wasn’t a good friend even before that.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      And there’s no reason why you should try again. She’s made it pretty clear that you’ll do when she’s got no other option and that means she sucks. But there is no need to tell her that you’re not interested in being her friend any more or ever again, just let it be.

      FWIW, I had a friend who meant a lot to me. But whenever I called her (and it was always me calling her, which was not all. the. time.) I would hear this impatience in her voice and then one day I just said to myself, “fine then, let’s see how long it takes her to miss me, if at all” Turns out it took 10 months and by that time, I was over it. I received an e-mail about how much she missed “her friend” and never replied back. Now some of you may be thinking “that’s not on, that was a shite test” and yeah, it was. But people make time for the things they care about. When you hang out with a friend and they are always manipulating the situation to work out to their advantage somehow and never call you except when they want something… sometimes you need to walk away and break yourself of the habit of making yourself available to them.

      1. Seal*

        I did the same thing with a friend ages ago, although after a few months I broke down and called him. He denied up and down that it had been that long since we had spoken, then tried to tell me that he had been busy. That was enough for me. I gradually withdrew and finally broke off all contact – he never noticed until well after the fact. Over the past 15 years or so he’s tried to initiate contact a couple of times and I’ve ignored him. When I’m done, I’m DONE.

        1. EvilQueenRegina*

          I deleted Abigail’s details last year, unfortunately my memory is good enough that I remember them and I had a few moments where I nearly contacted her. I don’t think she has noticed yet that I’m no longer trying. I’m the same, once I’m done, I’m done.

      2. EvilQueenRegina*

        You know what? That was pretty similar to what I did when Abigail first went weird on me at university. When I backed off, non-clique friends still reached out, Abigail and the clique didn’t. In hindsight I have wondered whether that was the wrong decision though. It took Abigail five months but I know that was because the others had ditched her. I won’t contact her, I will let it lie.

    4. Lizzie*

      I wouldn’t say anything unless she reached out to me, to be honest. It sounds to me like she only wants you around when something bad or less-than-stellar happens to her, or that you’re just there for when nobody else wants her. You don’t deserve that.

      I’d actually tell her that if she reached out. “You know, I’ve done some thinking since we last spoke and not to put too fine a point on it, but you seem to only come to me when no one else wants to hang out or when something isn’t going your way. Friendships go two ways, and I’ve realized this really isn’t one. I wish you the best, but I don’t see myself continuing a friendship with someone who treats me like their backup plan.”

      I’m pretty blunt, though.

      1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        Yeah, I don’t think there’s any need to proactively reach out and say “I don’t want to be friends any more” but if she does reach out and you feel safe doing so, I think it would be kind to tell her that you’ve reevaluated and just don’t feel close to her or whatever it is that you want to say. I had a friendship all the way from 6th grade past college and when we were about 24-25, she fell off the face of the earth, stopped returning my calls, texts, nothing… I’ve moved on, but would have appreciated some closure since I did continue to reach out to her intermittently for about 2-3 yrs with no response. But on the other side if she’s not reaching out to you… then just let it be.

      2. EvilQueenRegina*

        I doubt she will reach out to me now to be honest. I wrote her a letter I’m not sending which detailed why I was angry with her and while it wasn’t quite Ross and Rachel’s 18 pages front and back, it wasn’t far off. And it helped me realise I can’t have her back. I won’t reach out. Thanks.

    5. AnotherAlison*

      I have decided to “break it off” with someone who probably won’t notice for another year. I don’t feel I owe her an explanation and you shouldn’t either.

      My friend was my best friend in 1st-2nd grade, stayed in touch when I moved in third grade, besties again in 7th-8th, but she would drop me on and off for boyfriends thru high school. We weren’t in touch for 10 yr after HS, but she ran into my sister, and we reconnected and were really close for 3-4 years, but she has been a jerk, will invite me to do things and then pretend we didn’t have plans. I recently realized I wouldn’t want to hang out with her anyway at this point. I don’t think much of her. I think she’s a bit of a climber who uses people to get ahead, and is someone who wasn’t really popular who still wants to be. Anyway. It’s empowering to take control of the situation! Enjoy it!

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        Well, I kind of broke it off a year ago and she hasn’t noticed yet so I don’t think she will now or will care. Thanks, I will let it lie and not contact her.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Nope. Lazy friend can’t bother to contact you? Radio silence. I had some friends who have done this and pffft. I don’t have any use for someone who makes me do all the work. Nor should I have to do any work to let them go.

      I’m doing the same thing with the crush who blew me off.

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        Offer of a curse throwing in crush’s direction still stands!

        Truth is that it was about so much more than the lack of contact. No one ever gets to make me question whether I have any redeeming qualities ever again. I’m better than that. Yeah, she gets silence. From now on I’m not even gonna waste the OUAT pseudonym on her (in fact not sure why I bothered for Daniel either since I haven’t had anything to do with him in 12 years!)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I will gladly take you up on your offer! Muwahaha! And I offer to smite those who hath messed with you!

          I know it shouldn’t have, but being blown off hurt my feelings.

          1. EvilQueenRegina*

            Dark Curse or Shattered Sight? Or any other that my namesake would be familiar with? Yes, I will send them crush’s way. And I will take you up on the offer for Abigail, Daniel and the rest of that stupid clique, will keep you posted on Robin, not needed at the moment but you never know, next disappearance will be his last!

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Hmm….well, since we’re riding this meme, let me take it into the Enchanted Forest, LOL. Let me think…..

              OH I KNOW. THIS IS PERFECT.

              A love spell so I meet my true love*, and we fall madly for each other like Snow and Charming, and THEN Crush can come back and whine, “I want to go out with youuuuuu!” And then I can say, “Sorry, too late!”** >:)

              *Hook, please. :D
              **This has actually happened to me, though the person I was with did NOT turn out to be my true love. Arrrgh!

              1. EvilQueenRegina*

                Change of plan. Please send curse Robin’s way. Just found out someone else in background. Long story.

    7. asteramella*

      I would say that there are many situations where giving an explanation would only be exhausting and detrimental to you and unhelpful to the other person. You don’t necessarily owe anyone an explanation. I think in this situation you don’t need to explain.

    8. TootsNYC*

      I agree–I don’t see the need.

      She faded out on you without explanation–so presumably that thing doesn’t matter to her. (Of course, lots of people get offended with other people treat them the same way–forgetting birthdays, etc., so she might care.)

      but you know what? who cares? You don’t really want to spend energy on her, so don’t.

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        I do remember her once complaining about someone she went to school with who used to disappear on her for ages and then come back with some mass email! So I don’t know if she would care or not, but it isn’t my problem any more.

  19. JB (not in Houston)*

    Nah, some friendships just drift away naturally. Plus she disappears for awhile herself. You could do a slow drop, spending time with her if she initiates it but never doing it yourself, until your engagement with her has long gaps in it, and then eventually not respond. You could wait and see if she asks, and then say that you think your friendship has run its course. This kind of thing, to me, depends entirely on individual circumstances of the relationship at issue, and in this case, I say it’s perfectly fine to drop it. Given what you’ve said about her, if it were me I’d drop her immediately, but if that makes you feel bad, do the slow fade.

    1. EvilQueenRegina*

      Trust me, dropping her immediately is my preferred option. I had already kind of dropped her and not told her why. It was just seeing the way it still bothers Robin that this other person disappeared off the face of the earth ages ago and he still doesn’t know why, to the extent that he also worried that I would, that made me wonder whether I should have explained to Abigail. Honest answer is I doubt she even noticed I’m not talking to her and it’s been a year.

  20. Gene*

    I’m going pretty much silent for a week. Headed to Spokane for Sasquan, this year’s World Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. Much as I love you all, I’ll have other things going on. ;-)

    1. acmx*

      Enjoy! Is it like comic-con or dragon-con and people dress up? Maybe *con = dress up essentially? :)

      1. Gene*

        Sort of the grandfather of the others. This is the 73rd, first was in 1939. And for a lot of people, con = dressing up. I go more for the panels and to see people I only see every few years when I attend one.

  21. Ghost Pepper*

    Do you ever talk about work with your stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) friends?

    My high school friend hasn’t worked in over 15 years, although I think she blogs and writes on the side. She has been slightly evasive when I (out of genuine curiosity) ask her how she decided to be a SAHM, given that she graduated with honors in finance and has an MBA in finance. The reasons are, to be with her son (who is now in school full-time) and get away from the workplace drama.

    Sometimes, she asks me how work is going. I’ll admit that, with my working friends, I’ll get into my AAM issues in depth (interesting projects, dealing with project management, difficult coworkers, etc.). But with her, I say, “It’s fine!” because part of the reason she left the workforce was to get away from the drama, so why delve into it?

    Just wondering if other folks talk shop with their SAHM friends.

    1. Ruffingit*

      I do because my SAHM friends are secure in their decisions. We’ve talked openly about how they made their decision to stay home and what is going on in my work life, etc.

      I wonder if it might help to have a very honest conversation with your friend in which you ask her “Does it bother you if I talk about work?” And also to ask, if she’s a close enough friend, “You seem to hedge when I ask how you made the decision to be a SAHM? Why is that?” Something along those lines. You might have a deeper conversation than you’ve had in a long time if you open the door.

    2. AnotherFed*

      I don’t have many SAHM friends, but I don’t talk work those I’m still in touch with. Part of it is that few of them have STEM backgrounds, so it’s hard for me to cut enough geek speak out, even when it isn’t important to a story, to make it approachable. The rest is that, unless a story is hilarious or you’re seeking advice, we don’t tend to talk about people the other person doesn’t know – that quickly gets into the realm of Grandma’s story about the cousin’s ex-wife of that boy two years behind you in school, you know, the one who got a football stuck on the roof with your sister’s first boyfriend?

    3. Clever Name*

      Um, I’m sure I talk about it sometimes, but we mostly talk about our kids and gossip about (elementary) school stuff. I do know why she’s a SAHM, but I never explicitly asked why. I stayed home for a couple of years too.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        My daughter just started 1st grade, but since she did 2 years of preschool plus kindergarten at the same school, she’s actually in her 4th year. My daycare lady has 2 kids at the school too, and is on the PTO board, so through her, I have gotten pretty involved with the things that they do.

        All that is to say that I had NO idea that there was so much political drama and intrigue in elementary school. OMG.

        1. Clever Name*

          Seriously. And I’m the one my friends confide in, so I know a ton of stuff. I even have an inside track through a friend who is a substitute teacher and another friend who is a pta officer.

    4. TootsNYC*

      I do–because they’re interesting people, and they have interesting perspectives.

      and because we want to understand one another, and my work is a big part of me and how I spend my time and energy.

      As with every conversation, I tailor what I talk about–I don’t get into minutiae with some people; with others, I do. Or I talk more about being a manager with one person, or about processes with another. Based on their personalities and our dynamic.

      I also expect them to talk to me about their day and their “work” (potty training, cooking, interacting w/ husband, volunteering, etc.)

  22. INTP*

    This is a total world’s-smallest-violin problem, but I’m hoping to start looking to purchase a condo about a year from now, and I’m not even sure where I want to live. I work remotely, basically my entire industry is remote (at least, the side of it I want to work on), so I can technically live anywhere, but I also won’t have a salary that varies by location to make places like San Francisco affordable. So, any recommendations on cities? Here are a few of my key points.
    – I have asthma so I absolutely cannot be around cigarette smoke. I’d prefer to live somewhere that it’s essentially banned in public areas outdoors and in most shared housing, if not by law then like social norms, like it is in California. I’m not even talking about indoor smoking bans here, I assume 99% of the country has those now, but I want to be able to sit on a bar/restaurant patio, or walk along a waterfront, sit and read at a park without moving every 5 minutes to get away from a smoker, or walk down a city sidewalk without a scarf over my mouth and nose, all things I couldn’t do in WI. I also need a smoke-free building.
    -I can do most weather, but not long winters. San Diego is my ideal climate, not too much heat/cold/humidity and plenty of sun, but I get that compromises are pretty inevitable and the only thing I have dealt with that really made me miserable was winter. It can have some colder months where I need a coat sometimes but I want minimal snow and a short winter. I’m certainly no fan of bugs or humidity, but I lived in the tropics and wasn’t globally miserable like in WI winters, so I could probably deal again.
    -General activity likes and dislikes: I don’t care about a great nightlife scene, I’m fine with a wine bar. I’m not outdoorsy except for beach/ocean sports, and I absolutely hate spectator sports, so I’d prefer an area where social life won’t revolve around those things. I like beaches (ideally with water warm enough to swim in), snorkeling, surfing, etc. I really want an area with somewhat of an arts scene – it doesn’t have to be world class but I’d love access to museums, galleries, a symphony, etc. A vegetarian-gluten-free-friendly type food scene with year round farmer’s markets would be a huge plus too.
    -Walkable. The whole city doesn’t have to be walkable but there should be some nice, residential areas that are walkable to basic necessities (and safe enough for me to want to walk around – not “it’s safe but just don’t walk around alone after dark,” but actually safe, because sometimes I might need to get groceries after 5pm in winter).
    -Culturally, either a very cosmopolitan city with some of everything or a smaller city with a trendy-upscale-cultured or cool, liberal, artsy or granola vibe. (Doesn’t have to be genuine hippie granola. I am probably most comfortable with liberal-leaning yuppies who won’t make a lot of noises or weird smells, lol.)
    -I’d like to be able to find a 1br condo (doesn’t have to be totally updated or anything) in one of the cool, walkable neighborhoods for less than $250k. It seems like this includes most cities outside California or the larger east coast cities.
    -Here’s the kicker…my mom is moving to Alabama, and in an ideal world, I’d be within driving distance to help with my special needs brother from time to time. But I grew up in the south and felt like a total alien in the culture and just don’t like it at all. I don’t know if I’m willing to invest in a city I don’t fit into well to be close to them.

    I am leaning toward Portland or Seattle and need to make a trip up there. I hate that it’s completely opposite the country from my family, but it seems closest to the culture I’m looking for in my price range (everyone says the COL is insanely high there, but when I check Zillow there are loads of condos selling below $250k even in the most desirable areas). I’m in San Diego now, and while I like it, it seems like for affordability you need to be in a more boring neighborhood. My mom has suggested Sarasota (I think I’d have to live downtown, which might be doable) or South Florida (seems like the nice areas all have $$$ real estate there too). My dad has suggested Charlotte, NC, which I’d be open to visiting, but have a feeling it would be too southern culturally. Any suggestions?

    1. Lore*

      Sarasota actually sounds like it might be worth checking out–also possibly St. Petersburg or Tampa (which I know less about). Sarasota has a great arts scene for a small city–good ballet, two or three regional theaters, a film festival, tons of interesting lectures through the college, and the Ringling Art College is growing by leaps and bounds. Downtown is very walkable, and from there it’s maybe a fifteen minute drive to beaches (and if you want to be by the water but don’t need to swim, there are some beautiful trails and parks downtown). My family is on siesta key so I don’t know about real estate downtown so much–but might be worth looking into. (My family is on siesta key–siesta village is very walkable for basic necessities–groceries, though not a huge supermarket, drugstore, restaurants–and very safe, but all the culture is on the mainland. Also I’m guessing real estate is more expensive by the beach…)

      I’ve also heard great things about Asheville, NC, but have zero personal experience.

      1. AnotherFed*

        The Florida cities mentioned are not very walkable (except for very small areas in downtown) and have terrible public transportation. Condos are selling pretty fast, but they are building tons more in the St. Pete area, especially by the water, and I think nice, convenient stores and markets are going to follow, so even if they aren’t that walkable now, they may get lots better in the next 5 years. St. Pete has so many transplanted northerners that it doesn’t feel like a southern city at all.

        I would flat out not recommend Tampa – there are good neighborhoods, but a lot of it is still pretty sketchy. It says something that the only miltary base in the area is for Special Ops guys. Charlotte is a strange mix right now – it’s become a sprawling metropolis, and overall public transportation and walkable-ness is crappy, but it’s so huge and non-uniform that there’s probably areas like that.

        You might want to try the Research Triangle Park area of NC – both Chapel Hill and Durham have very nice, walkable downtowns, and are pretty safe (there are some sketchy areas of Durham, but downtown has gentrified). There are three major universities in the area, so there’s plenty of interesting arts and culture events done by students or sponsored/brought in by the universities, and the overall culture is fairly artsy and liberal in the Triangle.

        1. fposte*

          What’s the smoking culture like there? I would think NC and the other tobacco states wouldn’t be in the forefront on the smoking bans.

          1. I NC You There*

            Don’t forget Raleigh– it doesn’t have the “cool” cachet of Durham or Chapel Hill, but it’s a great little city that’s growing nicely. Terrific restaurants, housing options downtown and nearby (though you would still need a car, as public transportation sucks). A pretty good symphony, nice green spaces, and something going on every weekend (which makes driving downtown a pain in the ass, but whatever).

            Fewer people smoke here than you would think. There’s no smoking in bars and restaurants (some allow it outside, but I haven’t experienced any) and you’re not bombarded by cigarettes on a regular basis. At least, I haven’t been. In fact, I was waiting outside the Durham Bulls stadium the other night and there was a woman whose sole job was making smokers cross the street and get away from the ballpark.

          2. Cranky Archivist*

            I was just in Raleigh for a conference and I really liked it! I didn’t notice smoking downtown at all. There are lots of good vegetarian/vegan food options downtown, too.

        2. E*

          Tampa resident here – not sure what you mean when you say the area’s sketchy. If anything, it’s endless suburbia. Lived here for 10 years and have never felt unsafe. Not sure I would recommend it to the OP, since it’s neither walkable nor crunchy, but safety is not an issue.

        3. TL -*

          I don’t think the military base is actually a reflection on the safety of the city – they choose locations for their physical attributes (I bet they use nearby swampland, ect… for training) not for the crime rates.

          And that’s not what I’ve heard about Tampa at all- can I ask what part of the county you’re comparing it to?

        4. Lore*

          I’m not saying you could get away without a car at all in Sarasota. But there is a downtown neighborhood where you could walk to a whole foods, restaurants, some art galleries, the movies at burns court, etc.

      2. North Carolina*

        I love Asheville, but there are very few jobs there.

        It’s one of the most liberal cities in the state, if politics make a difference to you.

        1. Natalie*

          Since INTP’s entire industry is apparently remote, that shouldn’t matter much. Might be advantageous, actually – lower COL.

        2. StudentAffairsProfessional*

          Yeah, I was just going to suggest Asheville! My partner and I love vacationing there. It is very liberal/hippie, tons of vegetarian/vegan options, very eco-concious. I haven’t lived there, but it’s a wonderful place to visit. They have a great craft beer scene, tons of arts/culture offerings and a big farmer’s market. We didn’t notice many people smoking when we visited. Google maps says it’s about 5.5 hours from the beach (Wilmington NC). I had a friend who lived in Wilmington as well and loved it. Lots of great restaurants and a very laid back townie culture.

    2. Lizzie*

      If you’re looking in South Florida (particularly Southwest Florida), Estero is right near Naples in Florida, and is less expensive real-estate wise but very close to Naples (and between Naples and Fort Myers, which both have some great stuff going on without being all hustle and bustle). It’s also near Sanibel/Captiva, which is great if you like a quiet day in nature.

      1. INTP*

        Unfortunately, I really like the hustle and bustle, which makes every region more expensive. (Not total craziness, but shops and restaurants and lights and people about and general city energy.) If budget weren’t an issue, I would move to San Francisco or Paris. Smaller cities are on the list if I can afford to really live in the thick of them, in the urban-yet-safe neighborhoods, but I don’t know if the outskirts or suburbs or smaller bordering cities of a small city will ever be my thing.

    3. GlamNonprofitSquirrel*

      This is one of my most favorite questions because it’s where my mad Google-fu skills come into play. So, I did a query on WalkScore.com to find the top “walkable” communities in the country, pulled the list of cities with the most stringent smoking bans, cross-tabbed it with mild climates, top cultural communities and reasonable housing prices (with a decent condo inventory) and subtracted cool points for obnoxious sports culture and cold weather. So here’s my list of top place to consider/visit as you’re making your housing choice:

      St. Louis, Missouri – The City and County have smoking bans and they have some of the best air quality in the country (I know, right?). You’ll want to consider the Central West End – it’s totally walkable, lots of great shops and fun stuff to do. The opera and symphony are awesome plus they have a great ballet. Housing is affordable (2BR condo, brick, newly remodeled, $150K) and with Wash U, you get the benefit of have STPD and WUPD keeping you safe. (My BFFs Dad is a surgeon at the hospital there and walks to/from work every day.) Climate is warm to hot with a few cold days.

      Santa Fe, New Mexico – With the best air quality in the country and a comprehensive smoking ban, Santa Fe might work. Housing prices are probably the cheapest ($110K – $160K for 2BR with classic adobe style). Cheap out the historic East Side or South Capitol neighborhoods for walkability. Oh, and while it gets cool at night, it doesn’t get over 80 degrees EVER (hallelujah!) and it’s beautiful.

      Redding, California – You seem to be leaning toward California so Redding showed up on my search as having the full smoking ban (+1), great weather (+1), somewhat walkable (-1), with a decent arts/culture scene (0) and (here’s the downside) almost no inventory of condos but what’s there is in your price range.

      Richmond, Virginia – Richmond has a bunch of walkable neighborhoods and a nice, moderate climate. They have a lot of condo options in fairly walkable neighborhoods but my snooping around tells me that the smoking bans are not very good so you’ll want to ask a Realtor or someone local about the “real deal”.

      Charleston, South Carolina – While there isn’t a smoking ban in place, it’s very much restricted. Great climate, and the community of Mount Pleasant has an 85/100 walk score. Great culture, arts and music. Good air quality. Lots of condos in your price range although seriously look at buying a house – holy cheapness. (Lots of folks buy condos for holiday places. You might find a better deal on a house.)

      Baltimore, Maryland – Major smoking ban! Good air quality! Inner Harbor and Federal Hill have some great condos in the $175K – $225K range, it’s super walkable, the weather is temperate (lows in the 40s in the winter, hot in the summer, humid all year round), it’s one of the top 10 walkable communities in the U.S. and you are super close to great amenities. Oh, and it’s a zippy Amtrak ride to NYC, DC or wherever you want/need to go.

      N.B. I work in the nonprofit affordable housing industry, am a contributor to WalkScore.com and I’ve visited all 50 states. All cities on the list have been visited by me in the last 10 years. (I’m a giant nerd.)

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Re St Louis: Missouri is butt-ass cold in January and February especially. Almost two months worth of winter, with snow, ice, and cold wind. It’s not uncommon to have serious wind chills and highs in the teens/twenties. If you don’t like winter, forget it.

        1. INTP*

          I think I could handle two months of winter, though being so far from a coast would feel weird. Wisconsin has more like 6 months of winter, at least I was in my long johns October through April. By the end of that, I was miserable. And so little sunshine due to the latitude, plus you don’t wear short sleeves for like 8 months straight so you don’t absorb what little is there.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Wisconsin definitely has more winter than we do. But we also have tornadoes, so there’s that. :P

            You can drive to the Gulf coast from here, though it will take you a couple of days. We used to do that in summer when my grandparents lived in Corpus Christi, TX. We always stayed overnight at a motel in OK and then went from there.

            Funny story about that–one trip, we were trying to get off at the exit to McAlester, OK to go to the motel, and my brother and sister and I were making so much noise in the back seat that my dad missed the exit three times. He had to keep turning round in the U-turn thingy where cops sometimes sit. There WAS a trooper watching us from a nearby vantage point, but he didn’t do anything. When we were older, we figured he must have had kids. He had to have seen the three little heads bobbing up and down in the back seat and taken pity on my dad! XD

      2. AnotherFed*

        Richmond isn’t great on smoking – no smoking in restaurants, but you often have a cluster of smokers right outside the door. It’s got some great walkable neighborhoods, tons of interesting stuff to do, and is an easy drive from amusement parks and state fairgrounds for even more things to do. Neighborhood matters a lot though – it’s not too hard to find a safe, walkable one, but it’s probably not connected to all of the stuff to do in the city.

      3. Treena*

        +1 for Central West End! Winters really aren’t that bad compared to most of the US. Although I would vote against Redding. It has an adorable downtown but no one lives within walking distance of that adorable downtown. It’s also scarily conservative if you’re used to SoCal, but is the third most liberal city in northern CA (Eureka/Chico being 1/2)

    4. Colette*

      My only advice is to rent for a while before you buy – it would be really expensive to buy and decide after six months that it’s not the city for you.

      1. Anonymissez*

        Check out Philadelphia. No smoking, walkable..enormous cultural activities..decent real estate prices.

        1. Lore*

          Though not great on the winter score. Not as brutal as WI to be sure but gray and damp and chilly for a long time…

    5. asteramella*

      Austin, TX sounds like a good fit, but the cost of housing here is grossly inflated right now since everyone wants to live here. Closer to AL than the PNW, though.

      1. TL -*

        But definitely a car culture, unless you never want to leave downtown. Though the music and food scene is great there – lots of gluten free, vegan/vegetarian options.

        Houston is much better on the culture scene ( ballets, symphonies, theater, opera) but again – car culture galore.

        1. Stephanie*

          Yeah, Houston has a much more extensive cultural scene (as does Dallas). The Houston Grand Opera is fantastic (or was when I was there a few years ago).

          1. TL -*

            Houston has a lot going on – it just doesn’t seem to give a rat’s behind whether the rest of the world knows or not.
            But the weather is a special beast – I love heat and humidity, so I always forget to mention it as a downside.

            1. Stephanie*

              Shhhhh, don’t let the secret get out that it’s not a Texas backwater. (The weather is awful, though.) My friend went on a trip to Houston–she is very Boston Old Money and went to fancy prep school, Ivy League undergrad and business school, and considered DC (where we met) as the South. She comes back like “Whoa! There’s a lot of cool stuff there!” I’m like “Duh! It’s the fourth largest city in the US.”

        2. Ruffingit*

          I live in Houston. Don’t move here if you have asthma, pollution is horrid. Culture is good, COL is amazing, but a car is an absolute necessity and the humidity is horrid. I’m seriously considering moving myself at some point when I can do so.

    6. Ann Furthermore*

      You might like Colorado, specifically, Boulder. Housing prices here are pretty high right now, which could be a drawback for you depending on what your budget is. Colorado in general full of pretty athletic and health-conscious people, and Boulder is even more like this. I think there may even be a smoking ban in public, outdoor places there, but I’m not sure. Of course, now that weed is legal here, I’m not sure how that plays into the smoking ban. Lots of farmer’s markets, vegetarian/vegan options, and gluten-free alternatives in restaurants.

      Now when you hear “Colorado” you probably think of long harsh winters, but for the most part they’re not bad. The mountains create unusual weather patterns, so you can literally experience all 4 seasons over the course of a couple of days. Even if a storm dumps a bunch of snow, it usually warms up in the next few days and most of the snow melts very quickly. One of the reasons I don’t mind winters here is because there are always what I call “spring teaser” days where it might get up all the way into the 60’s, which feels heavenly after a few weeks of colder (30’s to 40’s) temperatures. It’s very dry here, so there is virtually no humidity and as an extra bonus, not too many creepy-crawlies. We did have a spell last winter where it was really cold (single digits to teens) for a couple weeks, which hasn’t happened in many years.

      1. Clever Name*

        I live in the Denver area and I adore it. I will say that if you absolutely cannot handle any snow at all, it’s probably not for you. The snow does melt quickly, and I’ve gone biking in shorts in January, but if you think you’ll hate life when it’s still snowing in May, again, you may want to reconsider. Also, the weather is extremely unpredictable and variable. Every place I’ve lived (four states) has the saying, “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”, but it’s not unusual for the temperature to drop 30 or 40 degrees in less than an hour if a front comes through or for it to be 50 and sunny one day and then blizzard the next.

        All that said, Colorado is an amazing place with an outdoorsy laid back culture. And smoking is banned in most places.

      2. Rose of Cimarron*

        I live in Boulder and have for many years – rents and housing prices are skyrocketing in Boulder and Denver with very little available in her range (under $250K; she’d get something tiny and plain, and compete with 200 other people for it); there is no culture in Boulder (unless you consider pot and hiking a form of culture) and she doesn’t like outdoorsy stuff, and that’s what reigns supreme here. You could get along without a car if you lived in downtown Boulder, but that’s where it’s most expensive. Denver is a driving city, and the transition away from that is slow. And Boulder has zero diversity, so consider that too. Google has just broken ground for a headquarters here and the cost of housing is only going to go up, along with the narrow demographic. (Can you tell I’m looking for somewhere else to go too? And yeah, I’d love a beach town with culture that’s walkable and affordable!)

        And it most certainly does get above 80 degrees in Santa Fe.

    7. LCL*

      Seattle ain’t so hot if you have allergy issues. Because of the temperate climate, pollen season starts the end of January some years (trees) and keeps on until October. Visit April/May to see peak pollen. Mold and mildew can also be an issue for sensitive people.

    8. NacSacJack*

      Minneapolis-St Paul. Smoking is allowed outdoors here, but if you go to some of the more liberal establishments, most people who go to them dont smoke anymore. An organization in Minneapolis won the case against the tobacco company and got so much money that they run quit-smoking campaigns to help people quit smoking. Even pay for the nicotine withdrawl patches/gum for intakes.

  23. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I have finally read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and have KonMari’d all my clothes drawers and now I cannot stop opening them and admiring them.

    (I sent photos of my perfect drawers to my sister, who told me the book “is a plot by the patriarchy to distract from the revolution.”)

    1. it happens*

      Congratulations on loving the space you live in!
      I haven’t actually read the book but essentially understand the one rule to be – if it makes you happy, keep it. So, did you do the whole process and get rid of a lot of stuff?
      And, I think I like your sister;)

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’ve barely gotten rid of anything because I am a terrible pupil, but it’s revolutionized the way I fold. Everything I own is now folded into tiny squares or rectangles so they stand up on their own. But yes, she is big on only keeping things that bring you joy.

        1. Ruffingit*

          I’ve been doing the rectangle folding thing for awhile. It really does make a big difference.

          1. fposte*

            I am a slob, but I learned this amazing underwear-folding technique that outdoes KonMari from an ASMR video and have gotten a kick out of it ever since. I’ll post the YouTube link set to the key moment (hopefully) in a following comment. (There are some other nice folding tricks, but the underwear one is my favorite.)

          2. AvonLady Barksdale*

            I miss sending my clothes out to a laundry service and getting my socks and underwear back in little packets. When I found a little underwear packet 8 months after our move, I shrieked with joy. Sigh. I should invest some time into learning how they did that.

            1. fposte*

              I wonder if that’s the same thing as the underwear thing in the video I linked to–if so, even I could learn it within one pair’s folding time, so I’m sure you could too. All tucked into a package behind the band?

        2. GOG11*

          I’ve started folding my boyfriend’s stuff that way. In the past, he used clothes baskets instead of the dresser drawers because he has to dig to find stuff. With the shirts (and pants and undies and whatnot) upright, he can find what he wants without driving me nuts with his clothes baskets everywhere.

          Aside from achieving clothes-storage-harmony in our house, I got rid of SO. MUCH. STUFF. after discovering the KonMari method. I think folding the clothes that way also makes me more mindful of what I have. It takes longer to fold the clothes (so I spend more time with/on each item), and the prospect of refolding stuff makes me think about what I want to wear in advance (rather than trying on a ton of things).

          1. Artemesia*

            My husband’s clothes and my clothes look the same. We both wear a lot of black t shirts and turtlenecks — so in our house we fold his stuff and roll mine. I find it keeps them from being wrinkled and I then don’t mix them up when sorting clothes.

            We got rid of most of our clothes when we moved and I am slowly getting to that place where only stuff I really like and actually wear is at hand. A long slow process not helped by the fact that often something I haven’t worn in years turns out to be suddenly just the thing.

            1. GOG11*

              This is such a good idea! I handle the laundry, and (most of the time) I remember to check tags, but sometimes he ends up with my small shirts or I end up with his large shirts. We have volunteered together for various events and have a few of the exact same shirts, save for the size. He’s pretty slim, but very tall, so they just come out like fitted belly shirts on him. XD

            1. BRR*

              It looks more organized than my pile of poorly hand folded t shirts. I love that my clothes look like stacked legos.

            2. Ruffingit*

              Maybe because it’s a small pocket of organization and peace in an otherwise chaotic world? That’s my theory anyway.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Yepper. It’s something we can control. I checked the video and sooo many people were saying they use the video to relax. Many people feel that they do not have control or they are not able to relax. There is a huge market out there for ideas and products that help in those areas.

            3. Artemesia*

              There is something about a place for everything and everything in its place that is just so reinforcing. I am a slob and it delights me that my tiny galley kitchen (which I feared would be to small) is so efficient and easy to use. And I now love emptying the dishwasher because my cabinets have only new stuff, and the right stuff, and all the stuff has its place. Sounds insane, but just looking at those rows of new glasses in 3 sizes and all alike an nice and in the right place, fills me with pleasure.

              When we moved we donated most of our household furniture and kitchen items to refugee resettlement and started over in our new tiny condo. Very liberating.

              1. StillHealing*

                That’s awesome. So neat and tidy! Sounds easy to keep clean also. One of the unexpected positive side effects of reading the book and getting through the clothes portion for me, is that I actually look forward to folding my laundry! So odd!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I need one of those. My t-shirts are very crammed and squished. Of course, I need to cull them. I think I will make a blanket out of my old ones that still have a decent picture on them.

            1. Ann Furthermore*

              OMG that is amazing! My chore tomorrow is to organize my daughter’s clothes, and I’m going to try this. She’s got all kinds of cute clothes that she never wears because if they’re in the bottom of the drawer, she forgets about them.

    2. Margot, Terror of the Schoolbus*

      Do you know if your sister has a long-lost twin somehow, Alison? I think I have sent that exact text message.

    3. Shell*

      I just googled KonMarie thanks to your comment, and am now experimenting with a mountain of laundry that should’ve been folded a week ago.

      This site teaches me so many things!

    4. LCL*

      I loved that book, and I also love your sister for what she said, and now the cognitive dissonance is making my head ‘splode!

      1. TheLazyB (UK)*

        I choose to believe that if we spend a coup,e of weekends KonMari-ing we’ll be SO MUCH MORE ABLE TO HOLD THAT REVOLUTION. Mwahaha.

    5. StillHealing*

      Oh, I know what you mean! Love being able to easily find what I need ! Every time I open my drawers, I can’t help but smile automatically because everything is so pleasantly arranged. The only problem I had afterwards was black socks…..not being able to find certain pairs easily. So, I alternated lighter colored socks on one side of my sock drawer so I could find the specific thickness of black sock needed for the type of footwear.

      After getting rid of all my husbands clothes and stuff he left behind in our bedroom closet, I removed the hideous doors and pulled EVERYTHING out. Like she suggests, I arranged what I kept from large to small and loved that look. I have since been playing a bit with how it arranged. Not sure it’s exactly how I want it yet but getting there. Not going to put the doors back on either!

    6. Rose of Cimarron*

      I liked and used the book, and also seriously love your sister’s remark… I think she’s probably right!

    1. Persephone Mulberry*

      Best: I got an out-of-the-blue art commission this morning. I’m not actually going to be able to start it for 2-3 weeks, but it’s going to be so fun to work on.

      Worst: Work is a drag. But I had a phone screen earlier this week, so hopefully work won’t be a drag for too much longer.

    2. Hellanon*

      Best: just about done with a major apartment project, namely, reorganizing my laundry room (getting the dryer and its gas line/exhaust vent moved, for starters). So. much. better.

      Worst: dear FSM, the weather. We had a lovely spell of mid-80s and now it’s 100s again, and the whole state is on fire, so the air quality is abysmal. At least it’s a dry heat this time, I guess?

    3. EA*

      Best: Only 50 days until vacation (no plans yet … hoping prices on cruises drop a bit more than they currently are)

      Worst: Did something (most likely slept on it funny) to my shoulder Thursday night, and it’s hurt for 2 days. (Possibly a pinched nerve, although it seems to be responding well to intervals with a heating pad)

    4. Mimmy*

      BEST: Finally started the process of cleaning out our storage unit (see above thread) after years of hemming and hawing. Plus, we’ve made a lot of progress in going through everything.

      WORST (upcoming): Lugging all of it into our attic, probably starting tomorrow. The sucky part? The only access is pull-down stairs. Oh this will be fun. NOT!!

    5. schnapps*

      BEST: Listening to podcasts on my drive in and drive home instead of the news (an hour each way). I arrive in a much better mood. And if I get stuck in traffic? Oh well, just throw on another entertaining podcast. Also, there are some seriously awesome podcasts out there.

      WORST: Nothing really sticks out this week. I guess it was a good week!

      1. schnapps*

        Oh, I guess the worst was when I stopped at Staples after work on Friday, finished up school supply shopping for the kidlet, got home, wrote her name on everything, then realized that of the five notebooks I had bought, two of them were the wrong kind. So today I had to go back and get the right ones.

        There is nothing so frightening as Staples during back to school season. They would make good money by opening up a wine bar/beer garden and a child care area. And runners that you can give the list to and they go grab the stuff.

        Now THAT is a money making proposition.

    6. Maxwell Edison*

      Best: The kid’s first week at his new school went well, and I’ve gotten in a bunch of new freelance work.
      Worst: it is disgusting hot here and I am sick of grilling.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      BEST: Fun meetup today, with food and Cards Against Humanity. :D Also, I skated for the first time in over a month (no ice when I was off work). I really did need a break from it, actually. Also the pasty truck got Hula Hoops because I requested them, and when I went by to ask about them, they said they had been saving a bunch of them for a special customer. Me! :D

      WORST: No smoking hot single dudes think I’m special. Dammit!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I know! I love them!! These are the little ones. I bought ten packets to put in my lunches.
          My coworker brought me back some of the big ones from London recently. Of course I put them on my fingers! :D

    8. a sinister midget with a bucket and a mop*

      Best: I spent the week at corporate HQ and – I know this is odd to say about a business trip – ended up having a really good time. For whatever reason, the place was full of people I’ve worked with and known for many years, and it was like I couldn’t walk 50 linear feet without running into someone else I hadn’t seen for years and we have a fine time catching up with each other.

      Also good: My son’s 20th birthday. On the way back I saw Fred Armisen at JFK and said hi. The departing summer interns gave me a card that they all signed. New episodes of Rick and Morty! And the pilot for Lucifer is (so far) lots of fun. And my book of Paul Laffoley prints arrived unscathed.

      Worst: Had a lot of trouble maintaining my energy during the week. Didn’t have a single good meal the entire time I was there, and didn’t sleep well, either.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Hahhaa, your best happens to me every time I go to the Walmart in my hometown. I ALWAYS run into a bunch of people there I haven’t seen in years and it takes me forever to get out of there!

    9. GOG11*

      Best: I did not get laid off in this round of layoffs at work, so I can keep my job and continue to pay my bills.
      Worst: some really great people got laid off. And there may be another round coming.
      (I know that has to do with work, but it’s had a huge impact ob me this weeek, more than anything else)

    10. Trixie*

      This week, worst first: I had training Friday afternoon/early evening, separate class all day today, and an all-staff meeting tomorrow to meet some new company exec. Ugh.

      Best: Today’s training was inadvertently a basic review for next month’s certification which will be much more in depth.

    11. SaraV*

      Good: My sister got engaged today. Yay! He’s a good guy, he likes my niece, my niece likes him. I’m happy for her. Not sure of the date yet, but I hope they figure it out soon. My husband’s work schedule is not your typical 8-5, M-F.

      Bad: This week was just the prelude to the busy season starting at my job. Not looking forward to it.

    12. Jader*

      Best: So many! Signed my new employment contract for my promotion and started Clomid this week. Also got to book and get the approval for an upcoming HSG I have to go out of town for. So hopefully soon my best of the week will be finding out I’m pregnant.

      Worst: Side effects. I’m so, so tired!

      1. Samantha*

        Good luck! I did three rounds of Clomid and while I don’t think it made me any more tired than normal, it made me extremely emotional.

        1. Jader*

          Thanks!
          I haven’t had any other side effects, but I was prepared for mood swings. I was on progesterone to kick start my cycle and that made me super emotional. Any time my poor husband did anything slightly annoying I was in insta-rage.

    13. Ruffingit*

      Best: A lazy weekend and a fun date night last night with my husband.

      Worst: Tired of the drama at work. I’m over it.

    14. Ann Furthermore*

      Best: Had a very productive week at work and ended up figuring out how to fix about 4 different but related issues. Also went through the car wash with my 6 year old today and we pretended that we were being attacked by a sea monster.

      Worst: My husband was at my mother-in-law’s cabin yesterday fixing some things, and stayed the night. So that same 6 year old woke me up at the crack of dawn this morning and shamed me into getting up and fixing her some chocolate Cinnamon Toast Crunch (the sugar-laden cereals are a weekend-only treat for her that she looks forward to all week).

      1. Artemesia*

        IN exchange for letting you sleep in suggest she fix her own cereal. You can leave the bowl with cereal out so she only needs to add milk. Cheerios gave me an extra half hour in the morning on weekends all those years ago.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Ha. I remember being a kid and getting up earlier than my parents for the specific purpose of making my own bowl of cereal with no one monitoring the amount of sugar I used. I think I must have put a cup of sugar on each bowl of cereal.

    15. Rebecca*

      Best: I got good news on a breast biopsy that I had done the previous week; it was just a benign calcification. I have to follow up in 6 months, but what a load off my mind. That’s the second time I’ve had a biopsy in that breast and I have to say I was worried.

      Worst: I managed to fall off my bike while standing still, so I guess I fell with my bike. I got my left foot tangled in the pedal and fell over on my right side when trying to get off the silly thing. My right elbow is scraped up and bruised. The official version is “oh, just a little scratch, I’m fine” but inside I feel like “Mommy I haz a boo boo!”. And of course, when I did this, two other bikers had just appeared on the trail and saw it all. So embarrassing. :P

    16. Liane*

      Best: Daughter & I making goodies to send to Very Good Friend for his birthday. He’s the one who sent us presents last week because he knows we’re going through a rough spot with the underemployment sitch. (I think I mentioned it in last weekend’s thread)

      Worst: It’s very cold (temps, not people) at New Job. Have to work bundled up (tee, long-sleeve top, hoodie) with knit gloves (Sometimes 2 pair) under my product handling nitrile gloves. NewJob makes frozen waffles & pancakes, hence the temperatures. (Yup, another work-related Worst, today.)

    17. Lady Bug*

      Best: pretty good week. Got my kidney stone blasted and feel so much better, had a beautiful day at the beach, and saw my favorite band – though I had to sit for the last 5 songs since it was the day after the kidney stone blast.

      worst: it’s dark by 730. I’m not ready to give up summer yet.

  24. Today's anon*

    Do you guys have any favorite BBC type mystery video series you love? I’ve seen all the Poirot, Misdomer Murders, Vera, Inspector Morse, the Lewis ones, Inspector Gently…what else is out there? help! :)

    1. fposte*

      Have you seen Foyle’s War? You’ve got several seasons of that and they have a similar appeal to several you’ve mentioned.

      1. Artemesia*

        Add the Bletchly Circle and Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. Rosemary Thyme is sort of stupid but the settings in which the murders take place are lovely — estate gardens basically since the leads are gardeners.

        1. Charlotte Collins*

          Miss Fisher has the best wardrobe ever! Also, Dot and Hugh are wonderful characters.

    2. AnotherFed*

      Heat of the Sun, Waking the Dead, and Wire in the Blood. Heat of the Sun is set in the 1930s, the other two are modern, and all are smart, plotty, British mystery TV shows.

    3. Hellanon*

      The Lynley Mysteries (from Elizabeth George’s books), Blue Murder, the UK versions of Life on Mars, and seconding fposte’s suggestion of Foyle’s War. London Hospital, if you like medical dramas.

      1. Onnellinen*

        *love* New Tricks! My current favourite, although I also like the new sidekick on Midsomer Murders, so it’s renewed my love for that one, too.

    4. Delyssia*

      Would you be open to Australian instead of British? I love, love, love Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Series 1 & 2 are available on Netflix (in the US), and series 3 has broadcast in Australia, but I don’t know when it’s coming to the US.

      For actual BBC mysteries, Jonathan Creek is fun.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        Seconding Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries! A plucky lady detective, period clothing, and Australian accents – what’s not to love?

    5. YWD*

      Scott & Bailey and Grantchester are two that I like. Grantchester has only been on one season, Scott & Bailey either 3 or 4.

    6. SouthernGal*

      ENDEAVOR *the prequel to Morse
      SHETLAND (the other series based on Cleeves)

      Look at Acorn TV – its all British and Australian TV series – so many its too many to list . very reasonable (50 a year?) and available on ROKU and your ipad, pc, etc.

      1. Trixie*

        Loved Endeavor, so happy to see it on Amazon Prime. I think I still have third season to look forward to.

      1. hermit crab*

        I found Luther (the show as a whole) to be too dark/disturbing/scary for me but I watched it all anyway because absolutely adore Alice. And the opportunity to gaze upon/listen to Idris Elba. But mostly Alice.

        Also, did you hear that the show is coming back for a short miniseries???

        1. Vancouver Reader*

          Is it? I’m so excited!!! We’ve only just started season 2, and I certainly can’t binge watch it because of the violence, but yeah, eye candy/sexy voice and a psychopath; what more can you ask for in a show?

        2. LBK*

          If you like Alice’s actress (Ruth Wilson), check out The Affair on Showtime! She’s one of the main characters and she is phenomenal.

      1. schnapps*

        Just an fyi – if you’re used to fast-paced US mystery dramas, The Fall is the opposite of that. It’s all about the characters, not moving the plot along as fast as possible.

    7. katamia*

      Not sure if these meet the criteria because I’m not a huge fan of mystery series, but I know people who really love Wallander and Broadchurch. Also Sherlock, which is the only mystery show that holds my attention (which may or may not bode well for your enjoyment of the show, since you’re a fan of the genre).

      If you’re open to non-BBC stuff, my mother is slightly obsessed with Maigret. There have been a number of movie and TV adaptations of his stories, but the ones she likes star Bruno Cremer.

    8. Today's anon*

      Oh thank you so much! Lots of new titles to watch! And some old ones to revisit (some of these are like old friends LOL).

      Another one I like that has not been mentioned is Canadian: the Murdoch Mysteries about Murdoch, a detective, at the turn of the century who likes science. This is before modern forensic science so they are just discovering things like fingerprints and he sees how these things can help catch the killers.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Partners in Crime is currently showing on BBC1, so I expect that will be broadcast to a wider audience shortly. It’s a reworking of Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence characters.

        I am a massive fan of David Suchet as Poirot and the original BBC adaptations of the Miss Marple books (but then again, if Agatha Christie herself thought that Joan Hickson was the best Marple, I don’t really see that I am in a position to disagree!)

        1. fposte*

          David Walliams as Tommy? Oh, I really don’t like David Walliams. It might be hard for me to get past that.

            1. fposte*

              It’s also really hard to follow in the footsteps of Francesca Annis. (Not that Walliams is being Tuppence, but that she was the best thing about the last version of Tommy and Tuppence.)

    9. Carrie in Scotland*

      Have you seen Law & Order UK?

      Also recommend (Swedish, subtitled) Crimes of Passion which is all 1940/50’s and pastel coloured outfits to die for.

      I’ve watched a fair bit of “Nordic Noir” (European crime) but it tends to be Luther-ish rather than Marple/Vera etc.

    10. Charlotte Collins*

      I’ve enjoyed the “Father Brown” series, but characters keep disappearing with no explanation, which is frustrating. There’s also the “Mrs. Bradley Mysteries” with Diana Rigg, a one-season series from the 90s.

  25. silvertech*

    I’m throwing this out to you folks, since I read here and there in the comments to different posts that some of you read and love Captain Awkward. I do too! But I also have a problem with a lot of the comments there: most of the time, reading them is so exhausting, but I haven’t figured out why yet. It is a shame, because a lot of the readers there are smart and insightful, but I consistenly have this issue!
    Anyone feels the same way?

    1. BRR*

      I do. I can’t describe it but I know it’s a thing. Example, when the LW’s boss brought in a machete and Alison’s response in the comment section was that he wasn’t really threatening to kill someone with it. That wasn’t well received to say the least.

      I think they’re waiting to be upset about things at times and want a long and serious discussion about the topic including tangents. Something that was discussed on the open thread Friday here about if somebody suggests you bring in a sandwich and two others jump on them saying that not everybody is able to eat sandwiches and that’s inconsiderate. It’s occasional here but I feel it’s frequent there.

      1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

        That’s the thing that strikes me the most there, and I feel like most of the comments there tend to be more, ah, illustrative, rather than constructive? It’s more people sharing their own tangentially-related experiences, rather than concrete advice (as it is here, for example) and it’s precisely because of what I call the “Yeah but” issue–someone suggests something, and there’s 50 comments saying “Yeah but not everyone can do that! Some people have X or Y or Z and can’t!” and instead it becomes about sharing experiences, rather than giving advice. I think there’s spaces for both, but I personally can’t stand the comments there and thus never read them. I also find that they’re really eager to shoot down unpopular comments, even ones that may have valid points, rather than reading with an eye for openness.

    2. fposte*

      I sometimes see the same thing BRR does. But I also think this is related to what Jillociraptor and I were talking about in the Friday open thread about safe spaces and support groups and what’s useful in what venue. While Captain Awkward explicitly isn’t a safe space (which I didn’t realize, and I found interesting), it’s very geared to support, and it supports a lot of people who haven’t gotten a lot of support in their own lives, so it’s really committed to that and does a huge service there. As a result I think it really favors a collectively reinforced shields-up-against-the-enemy approach that’s really valuable as a support approach but sometimes leaves me saying “But are we sure there are Klingons?” [classic Trek version] It has helped me a lot to remember that there aren’t, globally speaking, that many people posting there, and that this is a disproportionate home for people who have undergone brutal experiences and yearned for this kind of support.

      But when I mentioned the possibility of people not changing gears from other blogs when they post in AAM, that was definitely one I thought of; I read the machete thing as it went down and thought that was pretty illustrative of some differences between the two that might not be immediately visible to the naked eye.

      1. BRR*

        When you mentioned changing gears that’s the one I thought you meant.

        Katie the Fed had mentioned a lot of that readership has been through some pretty traumatic stuff and I think it has led to a discussion style that is really good for some people but isn’t as interesting to others.

        1. fposte*

          Yes, and it makes sense that people who’ve lived an existence where the bad or abusive thing is the norm assume it’s the usual standard.

          1. BRR*

            Exactly. I haven’t been through half the stuff a lot of those readers have and it’s great there’s a place for them. I imagine it’s difficult to try and find that large of a community in person and be able to feel like you can speak freely.

            1. Anonymous for CA*

              Yeah, that aspect of the site’s been really helpful to me. I don’t feel like my background or whatever’s too out of the norm to talk about there. OTOH it doesn’t always do much for LWs.

              1. Natalie*

                This makes a lot of sense to me. I discovered that site when I was in a bad relationship, and at the time I loved the comment section. So many people were able to put things into words that I had always kind of felt, but not figured out how to say. And it was incredibly validating in a lot of ways.

                Some years, a breakup, some therapy, etc later, I don’t generally find the comments as interesting to read. But I get why they are the way they are, and I’m happy they’re there for others.

    3. Claire (Scotland)*

      I sort of feel the same way, but in reverse. I find CA to be a comfortable and rewarding read, even when it’s about difficult topics, while AAM is often draining and exhausting to me even when it’s about uninteresting questions. I can only read here in short bursts, and I don’t read all comments on the all posts.

      I guess it all depends what sort of thing you’re looking for.

      1. fposte*

        Agreed; I think you’re probably among many who have a preference going the other way, because the differences are important ones, even if they’re not ones that jump right out at you.

        1. Tinker*

          Yeah, I was thinking about this and I guess I’d sum it up as —

          Here, I tend to get frustrated when pragmatic messaging that talks about how to deal with someone who is being plainly unreasonable undersells (to my mind) the notion that declining to accommodate that is also a legitimate choice. While I get that sometimes ya gotta do what you gotta do, I think when that starts to be the first and only solution it can end up leaving people (and, particularly, people who occupy lower status positions on axes such as gender, class, race, LGBT status, disability, etc) stuck unnecessarily bearing the burden of indecency.

          Over there, on the other hand, I think they’re sometimes too quick to say that a given thing must be done in the optimally sensitive fashion regardless of any other considerations. To the point, sometimes, of ending up advocating for paralyzed stasis for a lack of universally complete advice on a point, or leaving practical considerations entirely unchecked to the point of creating an unfair (indeed, unworkable) situation.

          Man who sit in middle of road get hit from both sides. Which I think saying that would get me tore up on CA, potentially. Hence why I comment here and not there. But I do read both, and find things useful in both.

    4. Anonymous for CA*

      I do feel the same way. I feel that there’s almost a race to share a deeply personal story, to relate/project it onto the LW’s situation. I don’t think it’s helpful. Sometimes it’s pretty inappropriate.

      I’ve seen some very black-and-white thinking there.

      I’ve seen people rush to fit a story into an abuser/victim dynamic or privilege/oppression dynamic. While as someone who’s been abused and who’s in a few “oppressed” groups I understand how verbalizing these things is useful, I’m also still not sure that this is always relevant or helpful to the LW specifically.

      I also think that comments there are oriented more towards discussion than advice than I really prefer. The comments derail from helping the LWs pretty quickly. I don’t really get where that’s coming from, because the Captain’s advice is usually so pragmatic.

      And I’m still spooked by that anxiety disorder guy post. I know, it was like two years ago. Still bugs me.

      1. silvertech*

        Oh my, that was awful, I remember that. The Captain did a great job in apologizing and learning from the mistake, but I think some of the commenters never came back (or are just reading and not commenting anymore).

        1. Tinker*

          Ugh. The anxiety thread. There was a chunk of time (actually up until maybe… late last year or so) that I actively avoided reading CA because of stuff like that and related concepts like a lot of discussion of the Geek Social Fallacies. I’m in a situation somewhat similar, although fortunately a lot less extreme (but unfortunately, not limited to addressing people of only one particular gender), to the OP of that thread; I’ve got some social anxiety issues that relate to the possibility of inadvertently offending other people and coming across as a terrible person and a pathetic loser when I make social overtures towards them.

          There’s a bit of a line in certain progressive communities — and I am exaggerating a bit here for effect — where the stock solution for that is “Well, you are in fact a terrible person and a pathetic loser, and you should not make social overtures to anyone anymore if you can’t tell whether you’re going to offend them or not.” And, the thing is, there kind of are reasons for this — people breaking out some mental-quirk claim to explain why they can’t possibly manage to remember that cornering someone and making insistent advances to them is not on, for instance. Those people probably really should stay away from other people, or at least readjust their attitudes.

          But that’s not the case all the time; what I found empirically was that if I did not listen to that particular jerkbrain messaging quite so much, and also refrained from reading progressive commentary on social relationships that touched on this point, I ended up having interactions with people that were much more pleasant on both ends. Hence, the “treating CA as unto a trigger” phase of my life.

          I think, for all that there’s a lot of (interesting!) discussion of the concept of intersectionality these days, the mode of discussion that sometimes comes out on CA isn’t real great at dealing with intersecting needs. I’m thinking particularly of the recent discussion with the person who was a construction worker living in a house she was renovating who was visited by her father whose access needs were not being met. The answer and a lot of the comments went along the lines of the principle of not treating access needs as a Big Freaky Weird Demanding Thing (I’m in favor) by means of basically tearing the OP a new one for having the balls to own the house she did and to have not made a lot of very expensive modifications to it and yet not be willing to carry her father physically up and down the stairs (which, as a person whose father is well over twice their weight and who would probably be instantly injured by attempting to carry him in any way, I found that suggestion utterly shocking). I thought, frankly, that the whole thing was terrible and that the OP deserved an apology that as far as I can see she never got.

          In both that case and the one of the anxiety thread, I think, there was a situation where all the people involved in the situation had legitimate and reasonable needs and/or were acting in a fairly reasonable manner (possibly less so the accept-invitation-and-complain move by the houseguest father, but still), but in a way where right-acting people could not entirely eliminate the possibility of conflict or hurt feelings. In that case, I think the pitfall that the CA commenters fall into a lot is latching onto the side of the party whose issue is more accessible to them (so, women who have to deal with a lot of insistent dudes in public spaces, very sympathetic; a guy having issues with accessibility that many commenters share in some regard, very sympathetic) and dumping unrestrainedly on the other party.

          In a sense, I do think sometimes there’s merit in holding out for what is right — that a place where humans are meant to live should be made with a thought to frailties that commonly occur in humans, that people should attend to treating people respectfully in public spaces even when it is difficult, et cetera. I do think, even, that sometimes people put up their hands and go “gotta deal with the real world man” a bit to soon — that being, probably, the pet peeve I get with this place sometimes. But I don’t necessarily think that giving advice to other people that requires them to singlehandedly remake the world is a good idea.

    5. Elkay*

      I find Captain Awkward difficult to read. I like the concept of scripts but reading the responses makes me feel like a bad person because I wouldn’t have thought about all the -isms that they are referring to. For such an “aware” community I think they can be incredibly inconsiderate to other people’s feelings.

      1. silvertech*

        I agree on the feeling bad because you realize you could be hurting somebody, by not being aware, but I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “inconsiderate” (I’m not judging or being snark, but genuinely curious :) ).
        Can you elaborate on that, if you feel up to it?

        1. Elkay*

          They don’t make me feel bad because I don’t realise I could be hurting someone else, they make me feel like a bad person. That were I to meet with any of them I would be viewed as a lesser person because I do not believe I encounter prejudice/discrimination on a daily basis.

        2. TL -*

          Yeah… Recently there was a post on food and accommodating food restrictions and it was all “it’s not difficult to prep vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free/allergen-free food for every gathering”… And I’m actually in a friend group that has to do that and it’s actually quite exhausting or expensive + people often don’t do it right. (And I would rather bring my own food than have a half an hour or hour long discussion about my food allergies with you for one potluck. They take up too much of my time already.)
          But the comments had a lot of people going, “I always do this and it’s so easy and my X friends are so grateful they cry!” Which feels very pat-on-the-back, look-at-me. And, now that I think about it, relatively few people with medical restrictions on their diet commenting.
          So sometimes it’s great but sometimes it’s people going, “I do everything right, why can’t you?”

      2. Clever Name*

        Yeah. That’s why I only visit occasionally and never read the comments. I think they detract from the advice, frankly.

  26. Lizzie*

    From left field, I’m gonna go ahead and drop a blanket recommendation for USA’s Mr. Robot for those of you who watch TV, because I’ve consumed all of it this weekend and it is *so good,* I can not shut up about it. I’m driving my significant other totally up the wall because he “doesn’t like television” and I keep trying to goad him into watching it.

    Seriously. So good.

    1. a sinister midget with a bucket and a mop*

      Finally!

      (I’ve dropped at least a couple of recommendations for Mr. Robot here in AAM over the past weeks and no-one had a thing to say. I’m glad to see that someone else is watching it, though. I’ve got E08 queued up and ready to go. As much as I like Eliot, Tyrell is growing into a fascinating character on his own).

    2. Trixie*

      Everything about this show is strong. The writing, acting, production. It’s basically a really good movie every week.

    3. Cath in Canada*

      Someone mentioned it a few weeks ago and I’ve been looking for it, but it looks like I don’t get that channel. Hopefully it’ll show up on Canadian Netflix eventually!

  27. Shell*

    My kitchen had a small flood last night due to a leak, and I got indirectly flamed online (scathing posts made about me due to a meme-answer post I had made). I’m going to need a weekend after this weekend at this rate.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      Sorry…both of those suck. Hopefully the damage from both isn’t too bad.

      I had something similar happen with a FB comment I made on my own page, and then my uncle basically ripped me up and down why I was wrong. I didn’t feel like responding, and it actually got me thinking how FB has been bringing more negative than positive lately. I ended up unfollowing all but a few people/groups Monday and it has been GREAT. There’s not much new when I go to FB so I’m checking it less and I am liking people more. AAM is pretty much the only place I go online and comment now. You would think your own friends and family on FB could be civil but nope. Good luck. Hope you don’t have to get to that extreme, but it can be a weight lifted if you do.

      1. danr*

        Then I’m on the right track… I’ve just started posting to FB and I don’t have connections to any family. Everyone is related to work, my profession and some side interests. For some of us,we agree to disagree and mostly avoid screaming online.

      2. Clever Name*

        Yeah, I’ve unfollowed many people simply because I found their posts annoying. I’ve I friended people over political stuff too.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            Yes, me too. I had ignored most of one guy’s ignorant comments for years, because we were really good friends in HS (20+ yrs ago), but he pushed me over the edge with his gay marriage comments. It wasn’t even that he was opposed, but the language of his argument was what you would expect from an 8th grader. Disgusting and childish. Done!

      3. Shell*

        Flood wasn’t too bad. The online drama seems to have turned into a mob. I’m kind of done with this weekend; I’m looking forward to work tomorrow…

  28. Try Defying Gravity*

    Hi everyone! I’ve been a lurker but I had a question for everyone…

    I just moved to the Greater Cincinnati area for work straight out of college. It’s been two months and I’m settling in nicely and I’ve met friends through work. But how do you meet people outside of work? I know this sounds silly, but I moved here by myself without knowing anyone, all my friends are scattered across the US, my family is overseas… and I want to make friends outside the company I work for. I’m not huge into nightlife and I’m really looking for some quality friendship. Any advice would be appreciated!

    1. Dan*

      I went to grad school in Cincinnati, and albeit it was a few years ago at this point, two meetup groups that I could have recommended at the time were a dining out group (forget the name) and a cinci/nky poker group.

      I’ve had good luck with meetups…

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      First, this is NOT SILLY. Making friends as a post-college adult is really hard! And it takes a loooong time to meet real friends, not just people you hang out with because they’re there. The older you get, the tougher it is, but that just means you have to strategic and steel yourself and take the plunge. You will get there! I speak from newly revived experience– I moved to NYC knowing one person, and it took a good two years to make actual friends. 10 years later, I moved to a new city a year ago, and while I have my boyfriend– and he’s in a PhD program so he made friends quickly– I still have very few friends of my own.

      Do you have a hobby that people might get together to do? For instance, I meet people and have made my best friends because I sing in a chorus. It’s an activity that draws a particular group– my friends are diverse in many, many ways, but we’re all intellectually-driven and very into the arts. Some people I know join running clubs. Around here, there’s a movie club that I keep wanting to join but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. If you knit, there are knitting circles. Things like that. It especially helps if you join something that has weekly meetings– designated time to DO THIS and talk to people.

      Try a class that’s a series, not just drop-ins– cooking rather than yoga, for example. Also, if you belong to any kind of religion, don’t discount activities through your house of worship. I just made a “meet-the-baby” date with a girlfriend I met at a synagogue Sisterhood event.

      Again, this is not at all easy, but the rewards are absolutely worth the work. Don’t be afraid to text or call or email someone and say, “Hey, I enjoyed meeting you yesterday– do you have time for a drink this week? Would love to hang out again.” Yes, it’s just like dating.

      I will also say that you are bound to find people who are in your exact situation. If you go somewhere and talk to someone who also recently moved to town, extend that invitation! A few months ago I conducted a focus group in Cincinnati and talked to some REALLY cool people, so I wish you lots of luck. You can do it!!!

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I wanted to add– in my first paragraph (paragraphs! Someone’s loquacious), I said I have very few friends of my own. I meant HERE, in my new city– I have a bunch in NYC (miss them terribly), and my point was that if you find the right niche, you’ll find plenty of friends. :)

        1. Try Defying Gravity*

          Thanks for the advice! I feel like I have a game plan now, haha. I have a small amount of social anxiety so I’ve got to really put in an effort to put myself out there, but I’ve at least got to try!

    3. katamia*

      I just moved to a new city, too. (New country, actually–I have 3 acquaintances and a cousin in the whole continent now, and none of them are in my new country, lol.) I very much sympathize.

      One thing you could try is Google variations on “new to Cincinnati” and see if there are events specifically for people who haven’t been there long.

    4. Realistic*

      Cincinnati has a very active volunteer-young-professionals group. They used to be called the Up-Downtowners, but now it’s all done through givebackcincinnati(dot)org, I think. There are actually several groups who volunteer at Oktoberfest (coming up very soon!), Taste of Cincinnati, etc. Signing up for the same shifts at each festival (like, for example, Saturday mornings) often gets you placed with the same group. If you’re interested in social change, I can recommend St. Johns Unitarian Church in Clifton (not a church as much as a very diverse gathering social event each week) and their many committees. A lot of activities depend on what part of town you live in, too. Are you in NKY? Eastside? Westside? Good luck. Cincinnati can be a difficult place to make friends in without having a targeted group to interact with. I found in Cincinnati that when someone asks where you went to school, they meant high school! So many people stay there for college, or return after going to OU, OSU, etc. that they return to their same groups of friends. But it’s a friendly city full of young professionals who are active in the community, too.

    5. Artemesia*

      Another vote for meetups. I moved at retirement to a city where I knew no one except my adult child and her family. In two years we have created a lovely circle of friends including two couples with hang with several times a month and another dozen whom we socialize with occasionally. I did this systematically. I went to a meetup neighborhood walks group and basically identified people who looked like possibles e.g. couples of about our age and then would strike up a conversation and then if they seemed interesting, get a phone number on my phone and follow up with a lunch date with the woman or a couples dinner date. This led to social occasions where we would meet more people. Our closest friends now are a couple we met at a bbq given by someone we met through a meetup. I went to an open bookstore book discussion group and met a couple of people we have started to socialize with. etc etc.

      The key is to be intentional. When you meet someone in an activity that you find interesting, ask if they would be interested in doing X Y or Z with you and get their number and follow up. I usually did a museum visit where I have a membership and lunch. Not everything works out — some people prove to be boring and others not interested in us — but it is surprisingly easy to meet people this way.

      Meetups are made up of people looking to meet new people so it is fairly easy to suggest follow up. We have also met people at random events and had some success with that, but it is easiest at events that are designed for ‘meeting up.’

      I am an introvert and never been terribly social; the result of our efforts here is that we have the liveliest social life we have ever had. We do something with friends at least once a week and often several times. Going to dinner with friends on their roof deck tonight and with others to a music event tomorrow; went to one of my book clubs Friday and a concert Sat night with other friends.

  29. Adelaide*

    Only slightly work-related in that it’s about shopping for work-wearable clothes: I am having the WORST time finding plus-sized business casual clothes that don’t make me look like a 50-year-old woman (not that there’s anything wrong with 50-year-old women in general, but at 23, I’m not really going for that, you know? I think I still have a few years of fashionable-professional left in me). It appears that at a certain point they just expect you to wear older-lady-in-church clothes or a muumuu.

    My city is the capital of my state but it has no stores that cater specifically to plus-sized women and few with a dedicated section besides the normal department stores (we don’t have Lane Bryant or Dress Barn — places where I’ve had luck in the past — and we don’t have Nordstrom, which appears to be a go-to for many people. The nearest of any of these is 50 miles away in a different state!). I can’t really buy things without trying them on and refuse to spend money on anything I think looks bad or might not fit, so online shopping is just not going to happen. I’m wearing the same three or four articles of clothing all week long and I feel like it’s not reflecting very well on me. (Cue frustrated growling noises.)

    1. BRR*

      Nordstroms is expensive but has free shipping and free returns. Zappos also has free shipping and free returns but it more reasonably priced.

      You might need to settle for bigger shopping trips that are less frequent which if you’re like me isn’t that appealing.

    2. fposte*

      Online is, as we hepcats say, where it’s at. Brick and mortar outside of big conurbations is mostly geared to straight-sized teenagers and college students or low-end casual clothing; it’s basically the window while online is the actual store. The other thing about online shopping is you can’t think of it as buying without trying stuff on; it’s auditioning stuff in your home. Clothing is bought when I decide I’m keeping it and put it into the closet, not when I order it.

      If you can’t keep stuff on your credit card for the turnaround time, it’s tougher to make that viable. But if you can, I would encourage you to let go of your resistance and explore the wonderful world of online clothing possibilities.

    3. Sparrow*

      You may want to check out the blog Wardrobe Oxygen or maybe You Look Fab for suggestions. I know online shopping is a pain, but a lot of places have free shipping and return policies that help reduce costs. Although I know it is still a pain to have to package stuff up and return it.

      I like Land’s End for business casual and some Sears stores have LE merchandise in their stores. My local one doesn’t have a hug selection, but maybe it would allow you to try on some items and then possibly order more online.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Online– and try eShakti! I have a few pieces from there and they’re all cute. They do custom sizing for not too much more money, and you can do custom sleeve lengths, necklines, etc. Worth a shot!

    5. Blue_eyes*

      Can you order multiples of things you like from the internet? Like buy a few more of your favorite top, but in different colors? You also may just need to make a day to head to wherever the better shopping is and commit to a full day spree.

    6. Jean*

      I just noticed a reference to Fullbeauty (dot) com, an online store for sizes 12 and up. Haven’t yet checked it out but glad to pass along this information.
      (Source: Kelly, C., “Zaftig with Zest! The model adding curvaceous to high fashion, The Washington Post Magazine, August 16, 2015, page 20. If you’re reading online it’s about five paragraphs from the end of the story.)

      1. Jean*

        Oh, wait, I just remembered that Lands’ End (dot) com carries plus sizes. Not sure about LLBean (dot) com. Both of these are closer to the business casual end of the workplace style spectrum.
        What about shopping the online stores of Talbot’s or JCPenney? I’ve heard that JCPenney’s workplace clothing is less expensive than, say, Talbot’s or Brooks Brothers (!). I also suspect that Lord & Taylor (which has great sales) might carry plus sizes.

        By the way, Candice Huffine, the model featured in The Washington Post Magazine, makes the point that in a perfect world all manufacturers would serve all sizes and the term “plus” would be dropped because it implies that being larger is different in a bad way.

    7. QualityControlFreak*

      See, I have the opposite problem. I am a 54 year old woman who wears misses/juniors sizes. Can’t wear petites, arms and legs are too long. Finding appropriate clothing that fits me is challenging. As others have suggested, Amazon is your friend. I went into stores and tried on enough stuff to figure out my sizes in a few favorite brands. After that I shopped online.

    8. GlamNonprofitSquirrel*

      I’m a 43 year old plus size nonprofit exec and I hate looking frumpitty dumpitty. Here are some great online options:

      * eShakti (someone else mentioned this – I 2nd the nomination – take your own measurements honestly and use them to customize a few key dresses/skirts for your perfectly perfect shape)

      * Marisota – I’ve had great luck with them for wide calf boots that last through tough Michigan winters.

      * H & M – I know, I know. But they have some super cute basics including cashmere sweaters for $50! Cute skirt + nice cashmere sweater + great boots = curvy girl win. (Is it winter yet?)

      * ASOS – This site is my favorite. Click on ASOS Curve and make sure to size down. Great dresses. (If it says “body con”, they mean “only wear with an audience that will appreciate ALL of the curves”. I tend to avoid them.

      * Igigi – Great dresses and tops. I wear a lot of the blouse-y type with a fitted long skirt.

      * Talbots – This requires serious searching but you can find that one great jacket/suit at Talbot’s. Mine is charcoal gray and I have the pants, the jacket and the skirt. Have I ever worn it as a suit? Once, for a funeral. Well made and I had it tailored to my body.

      * Old Navy – Don’t roll your eyes too much. I buy their camisoles/tanks by the dozen to go under all of the things because I prefer my fashionable look to not include copious amounts of cleavage. Plus, they have super cute summer dresses that with a stylish cardigan, belt and great shoes, are totally professional.

      * Lands End – I know. I know. But if you need a few basics, go forth and buy the cotton modal sleeveless wrap dress because I wear them at least three times a week and it’s my “I can’t find anything to wear, OMG I’m fat and hideous” fall back.

      Two more things … get yourself a great local tailor. S/he will take adequate stuff and make it amazing. And get yourself some seriously awesome undergarments. I pay a fortune for my bras and they are worth every, single penny. My clothes look so much better, I don’t have shoulder pain and I FEEL better.

      /soapbox

      1. GOG11*

        Your post is so thorough and helpful! Would you mind sharing where you get bras from? My breaststroke have recently gotten bigger and I’m spilling out of my go-to stuff. A reduction in shoulder/back/neck pain would also be swell.

        1. GOG11*

          Sigh. Darn phone. *breasts (second autocorrect option was “beasts,” which turns the post into something you’d expect from the oatmeal. LOL)

          1. GlamNonprofitSquirrel*

            *snort*

            I have this great, local lingerie shop where I got sized for the correct bra (I had NO idea bras went up that far in letters). I’m either a 42 G or a 44 E/F. I’ve been very happy with the bras from Lane Bryant and I just got a new batch from Marisota. Sports bras? I hunt Amazon.com for them.

            Fun fact: When you buy anything from eShakti.com, they send you a tape measure for future orders. I use mine for EVERYTHING including bra measurements.

            1. GOG11*

              I checked out both sites. Lane Bryant doesn’t go small enough (I need a 32 DDD/E), but the stuff on Marisota looks promising. Thank you for sharing!!

              1. NicoleK*

                onehanesplace affiliated with Hanes has lingerie in extended size typically not sold in regular department stores. I normally wait for sales and purchase several at a time.

              2. GlamNonprofitSquirrel*

                Wacoal might be the brand for you. Expect to pay $60/bra but you can often find them on sale. I also decided that if I wear a bra 1x – 2x a week for a year and then I have to replace it, I’m STILL getting a deal – that’s <$1/wearing which is my personal guide for clothes acquisition.

                I also second the Hanes suggestion – order a few sizes/styles online and try them on at home and then get a bunch of what you like/fits well.

              3. LAMM*

                I’m a 30FF/32F (depending on the day) and I get mine from Nordstrom. I tend to favor the Freya bras, which the Nordstrom’s by me almost always have in my size.

        2. littlemoose*

          For bras in larger sizes, I love the websites Bare Necessities and Fig Leaves. My attempts at sizing myself were very Goldilocksian – first too small, then way too big – but I found a great local lingerie shop that sized me and bought a few Freya bras there, and have bought my just-right size from the aforementioned websites since. (On the off chance you’re in the St. Louis area, I can recommend the shop, and a tailor.)

        3. hermit crab*

          Hahahaha! I read that about four times trying to imagine how adjusting your swimming stroke would make you need bigger bras. (Hey, it’s possible!) Thanks for the laugh.

        4. Blue_eyes*

          I get all my bras from barenecessities dot com. It’s great because you can search by size. When I started I would just buy a bunch of different styles and plan on returning most of them. Now I know which brands/styles generally fit me and I usually just order more of those. Whenever I order more of my favorites, I’ll buy a few others to “test drive”. I wear a 34DDD/F and I really like Lunaire (yay under $40 and fit well!) and I also have some Wacoal bras.

    9. mookitty*

      Woman within.com is an affordable website for plus size women’s clothing. They have a size chart that goes by body measurements too. If you don’t have good stores I’d go there.

    10. Delyssia*

      One different tack that you might find useful is Gwynnie Bee. It’s basically like Netflix for clothes, and they’re focused on plus sizes. You pay a monthly fee, which lets you have a certain number of items at home at a time. BUT, if you find something that you love and don’t want to part with, you can buy the item at a discount and just keep it. They pay for shipping both ways (they provide postage paid envelopes to return stuff).

      I’ve been using Gwynnie Bee for a while now. I’ve had a few items I didn’t wear at all, a lot of items I’ve worn a time or two, and a decent number that I’ve bought.

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        YES. I was coming here to say this. I’ve been using Gwynnie Bee for three years (almost since the beginning!) and it’s awesome. I’ve never been a stylish person, but somehow I’m now known as the woman at work with the great dresses.

        Although I will say, it’s much better for dresses than anything else. They have a very small selection of skirts and pants, and a somewhat larger selection of tops. It also depends what your sizes are – they are best for sizes 16 – 22.

    11. Ann Furthermore*

      Try Target for basics like sleeveless tops to go under jackets or cardigans. There are also some other pretty cute things there too. They’re selling a new line called something like Ava Viv, and I’ve bought quite a few things from it that I’ve liked.

      Is there a Kohl’s in your area? They have a nice selection of plus-sized clothing. I buy quite a few things there. Also, I buy stuff from Old Navy online too. Again — basics to mix and match. Reasonably priced, and a good selection.

    12. StudentAffairsProfessional*

      The struggle is real! All great resources mentioned here already – I’m going to add a resounding +1 to the Kohl’s suggestion as well as Target and Old Navy. Those places are hit or miss, but I have some lovely work dresses I’ve bought at both Target and Old Navy that have held up really well over the years, and dress up instantly with the addition of a blazer and heels. Talbots has really nice quality plus sized items but I find them to be a bit pricey, even things on sale. My advice would be to invest in a nice quality black or navy blue blazer and pair of slacks, then fill in your wardrobe with trendy-cheap tops and dresses. A nice black blazer and a necklace can really make a $10 Target dress look good.

      Loft and Ann Taylor online stores carry up to an XXL and 18, and I find they size rather generously to begin with. The best part is that you can return items to the store for free, so you don’t have to worry about shipping them back. Same goes for Banana Republic, who carries up to a 16. I have found a lot of their knit tops and cardigans to be cut generously, I have no problem fitting into an XL there and I usually wear a 16W or an 18 other places. You can also combine BR with any items from Gap or Old Navy in your online shopping cart to get the free shipping.

      Boden is an online-only store that I’ve had great luck with. They carry up to an 18 (though I think their things run big, I always size down there) and I find their items to be cut well, they really understand a curvy-girl’s body. Everything I’ve bought there has been flattering on me and has been high quality fabrics. Almost all their dresses have pockets (even the fancy ones!) which rocks. It’s pricey, but they often have good sales and plenty of things on clearance. You do have to pay return shipping, but it’s a flat $7, so I often just buy a TON of stuff knowing that I’ll be sending most of it back and will have to pay the fee anyway.

      I know you are reluctant to shopping online, and I was too at first – what made it easier for me was finding places with free return shipping, or where I can return items to a brick-and-mortar store for free. And figuring out what looks good on my body type – after buying and trying a number of things from certain stores, you figure out what cut of pants works well for your body, what style of dress is flattering, etc. That just takes a bit of trial and error, and unfortunately probably spending some money on shipping/return shipping, but once you figure it out, you’ll have an easier time picking out things that will most likely look good on you.

      OH and ebay!!! Once you know your size in a certain store, try searching for “size 16 ann taylor loft” (or whatever) – you can find some good deals. You usually can’t return things so I only recommend once you know you like a certain store and how their things fit.

  30. Come On Eileen*

    What movies are you planning to see this weekend? I just saw The Gift (psychological thriller with Jason Bateman) and tomorrow I want to see Straight Outa Compton. It’s hot as heck in Northern California this weekend, and smokey from all the fires we’ve got going, so an air-conditioned theatre sounds perfect.

    1. Anonyby*

      Well, it was my “weekend” for this week, but Thursday I saw Fantastic Four.

      My expectations going in were that I’d be entertained, and I was. It also wasn’t a great movie. Story writing and pacing was off, special effects were nothing special. I liked the way the main five characters interacted, just little character-building moments between them. I know there’s been a lot of hoopla over the racial lift of Dr. and Johnny Storm, but honestly I don’t think it detracted from the film at all.

      Am I glad I saw it? Yes. Do I want to see it again? Nope.

      We’re probably not going to get another Fantastic Four movie for a while though, not after how poorly these past three have done. And I agree with those who feel that Fox should have let Marvel buy them back. Marvel seems to have figured out how to get superhero movies done well. Fox is doing okay with X-Men, but it just didn’t translate for F4.

    2. Sparrow*

      Nothing this weekend, but last Sunday we saw the new Mission Impossible. We were going to see Terminator Genisys, but it wasn’t showing at the theater we wanted to go to.

      Speaking of theaters the one we go to has been around for more than 20 years. I remember going there back in high school. A few years ago, they completely remodeled and put in these awesome reclining seats. It worked because it’s the only theater where I want to see movies now. Also, everything is assigned seating so you don’t have to worry about trying to stand around and find empty seats in a dark theater.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Not in cinemas, but I have a Netflix DVD on my coffee table that has been there for AGES. Thank God they don’t do late fees. Ouch. It’s a horror film I found in an article about underrated films, but I forgot what it was!

      Maybe I’ll watch it tomorrow night since Poldark has wrapped for the season (sob!).

      1. Dan*

        They don’t do late fees, but if you think about it, having that disk sit on your mantle for a year will cost you $96. I’ve got one that has, and geese that’s hella expensive when I think about it.

        Should say that blockbuster would have just charged me $30 after a month and told me to keep it. I think that’s what red box does, too.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          It hasn’t been a year–more like a couple of months. But yeah, if I’m paying for discs, I’m wasting money by not watching them! Since I don’t have cable right now, I’m not mindlessly wasting time playing SpongeBob in the background, so I can actually watch stuff.

      2. Come On Eileen*

        I’ve come back to Netflix after years away, but only because they have so many great streaming options. It’s weird to remember that I could still check out a disk if I wanted to!

        I love a good horror movie too!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          They don’t have all their library on streaming, and some of the most obscure stuff is what I want to watch. I checked and it’s REC 2. I liked the first one, so we’ll see if this one is any good. The third one is on streaming and I can’t watch it until I watch this one.

          The other one was Israel’s first horror film; it’s called Rabies and it was very good, though a bit gory. These people get stuck in a wooded area, but it absolutely doesn’t go the way you think it would.

      1. Come On Eileen*

        It was good — not great, not terrible. I love Jason Bateman and I really love thrillers that keep me guessing and make my heart pound. It had some good moments, but it starts a little slow and then ends a bit too abruptly. I’d recommend seeing it at matinee prices :)

    4. Natalie*

      I saw The Man From UNCLE with some friends. Pleasantly surprised! (I don’t know what they’re doing marketing wise, as I didn’t even know they had made the movie.) It ain’t deep but it’s funny, tightly edited for a 2 hour film, and the 60s fashion and tech is wonderful to look at.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Yes… my spouse and I were looking for a movie to see, and Man from U.N.C.L.E. was randomly playing at our favorite local independent movie theater. We just saw it on a lark, and it was a fun movie (apart from being yet another major Bechdel test fail, all about white people, and especially white het-presenting males). The fashion and cinematography were amazing!

  31. salad fingers*

    Wrapping up a great vacation! 3 days in Montreal -> 5 days on Mount Desert Island, ME -> 1 day in Portland, ME -> 1 day in Boston, MA. If you live in any of these places, I am super jealous of you! Only real bummer was breaking my toe mountain climbing, but that was outweighed by reading, beer, sailing, hiking, tons of lobster and a Sox game at Fenway park.

    I have no idea how I’m going to drag myself to work on Monday :-(. This vacation has really reminded me how much I want to move somewhere where more reasonable leave is the norm. I’m also seriously reconsidering living in relatively fast faced, uptight Chicago after being reminded that there is an alternative to it.

    Oh, to end on a positive note: I DROVE! A CAR! I won’t say my fear of driving has been conquered, but it was a big accomplishment. An hour of driving in the mountains on MDI with zero panic attacks and no human or moose fatalities. Trip mates were super patient with me for which I am super grateful. If you have driving anxiety and can wrangle up sympathetic friends to be in the car with you while you drive, I highly recommend doing it!

  32. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    So today, my parents and I met for a quick lunch. When they drove me back to my apt, they discussed various topics and suddenly they seized on one–having a credit card. I separated my finances 100% from them, but they said, oh, you’re not totally financially ok until you have a credit card.

    Me, I hate the idea of credit cards because of the lack of impulse control it potentially yields. I have a savings and debit account, no credit. So they kept going on and on how I should establish a line of credit–any credit–that if I didn’t get a credit card this instant, I wouldn’t ever be able to buy a house, buy essential/emergency things etc.

    Then I showed my mom the dress I planned on wearing to this week’s family reunion, a bridesmaids dress from my best friend’s wedding that is dark maroon and absolutely beautiful. My mom flipped then said there’s no way I’m wearing that to the place and wouldn’t even let me put it in her car. (Dress: halter, but dress is flowy and goes to the calf length, no shorter, and is sleeveless). My dad felt sorry for me I think, because he even said he could get a dress for me there–lots of dresses even. lol. My mom wants me to wear my barbie doll-pink prom dress from when I was 17 but it’s 10+ years later and I know I won’t fit into it, and my mom will tell me I’m fat.

    Tl;dr: Unrelenting parents think I’m doomed to hades if I don’t get a credit card (despite having a superb credit score and debit/savings account 100% independent of them). Domineering mother said I looked like a sl*t in my best friend’s wedding’s bridesmaid gown I wanted to take to the family gathering.

    Also Tl;dr: I’m convinced my mom still thinks I’m in high school or even kindergarten and forever will be a minor. Despite being in late 20s. Being slowly driven insane.

    Help?!

    1. fposte*

      Oogh. But, tip #1: don’t show your parents stuff for approval and you don’t have to face them disapproving. You know your parents are–your mother is–like this, so this response was one that could be predicted.

      Tip #2. Conquering by yielding. “Okay. Maybe I’ll get a credit card.” Smile and think of something else as they ramble on about how somebody died in a tornado because they didn’t have a credit card to shield them from the debris.

      You’ve been doing great work–keep the momentum going!

      1. Carmen Sandiego JD*

        Lol. Thanks. I told them as much re: the credit card. Then my mom started screaming how indecisive I was and how I thus reminded her of Mister Fister her (in her words annoying) coworker from Teapot Agency who was so indecisive he could never buy a house/etc. Then she asked why I don’t trust her and my dad’s long years on which their financial advice is based on.

        I was in the back seat of the car trying really hard not to laugh.

        1. fposte*

          Trying not to laugh is a great response :-). Also, running through things that would be unhelpful but entertaining to say: “That’s why–you’re too old!” “I’m hoping the aggravation will kill you off and I can inherit.” “I’m trying to see if I can make your face redder than my dress.”

          1. A*

            Actually, getting a credit card is probably not a bad idea-one of the things that goes into your credit score when you do want to buy a house is length of credit history. USING it, however, is another story-people with credit cards tend to spend 10%+ more, and there was a study about how, 10 minutes after they bought something, the people who used cash and a debit card were much, much more likely to remember what the bill was than people who paid with a credit card.

            Get a credit card, use it once or twice, pay it off immediately, and then put it in your sock drawer. Or cut it up.

            1. Charlotte Collins*

              Actually, you might want to use it regularly, so that adds to your credit rating (and won’t get cancelled). The best thing is to choose one regular expense (e.g., haircuts) that you will use on your card and pay the expense off every time it shows up. This way a credit report will show that you can keep up on payments regularly. And it will be very easy to keep track of your monthly statement if you only have one expense every once in a while.

    2. Vancouver Reader*

      Okay, this may be a silly question, but would getting a line of credit at the bank give you the same credibility as having a credit card? If I recall, establishing a credit rating is a good thing for when you do have to apply for things like mortgages and whatnot, I’m not sure if that’s changed over the years or not. You could also get a credit card and then stick it in the back of the freezer or your bank safe deposit box where you won’t have to see it.

      As for your mom, she’s not the one having to wear the dress and live with the consequences of wearing it. Can you get to the reunion some other way so she can’t forbid you to wear that dress? Have other family members lined up at the reunion to tell you how wonderful you look in that dress so mom can’t say otherwise?

      Good luck with your mom. I’d say limit your interactions with her and try and only have relations with people who are positive to your life.

      1. Carmen Sandiego JD*

        Thanks. The interactions are unavoidable, as it is a family reunion for 2 weeks. Luckily, I have my own room (mostly thanks to my cousin) who realized we’d all go insane if cooped up in one general vicinity.

        I wore that dress to another wedding, and I texted my boyfriend what my mom said. He said he really would like to see me in that dress very very soon :P Which is likely tomorrow night, before I fly out to the family reunion.

        I also bought a dress on sale of similar coloring, with more delicate material, and at a discount too because an edge was frayed. So I repaired it with my sewing kit and I’m sneaking it aboard. (Along with the bridesmaid dress if I can swing it).

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            I’m sneaking it aboard

            Two weeks? Aboard? All y’all are going to be on some sort of cruise? I may have nightmares tonight. I don’t know if there’s enough alcohol in the world… I would be begging a doctor for a prescription for Xanax, Valium. Horse tranquillizers. Something, anything. There is no escape on a boat.

          2. Vancouver Reader*

            We visited my aunt-in-law for a weekend and my husband and I finished off a bottle of wine before we left her house. We should’ve thought to get something harder instead.

          3. Carmen Sandiego JD*

            Yup, aboard as in on a ship. 2 weeks. Luckily, I’m close to cousin and met up with her sibling months ago who I introduced my bf to. They know my mom threatened to break us up if she found out he came from a broken (in her words) family, and threatened to break us up if he didn’t go to law school (he’s currently in a top 10 masters program for something else.

            How do you satisfy a “highly irrational at times” someone who has no concept of reality? My bf’s parents are divorced, and he’s got an excellent job/is in a masters program. Years down the line, I told my bf I’d consider hypothetically eloping but he said he’d want a ceremony (to start things off on the right footing). But I made it clear I/we are paying 100% for a wedding ceremony, taking 100% control.

            And yes, there will be a night of copious alcohol, amongst cousins. Near the ocean. I’m sure I’ll need it.

            I’m kind of worried about the potential apocalyptic WWIII situation that I know will arise a couple years from now if/when we get engaged and my mom finds out he doesn’t want to go to law school/his parents are divorced. Although I noticed my mom tends to put on a happy “public face” and if I were to publicly announce my engagement it would make it more difficult for her to voice vehement opposition in public without looking like a horrible human being.

            1. Colette*

              The answer to how to satisfy someone irrational is to understand that that’s not your job. Your job is to live a life you’re happy with.

              1. Natalie*

                It’s also not actually possible. Period. End of story. You might as well attempt to learn to fly with your arms.

          4. Honeybee*

            I don’t know if there’s enough vodka in the world – or really, any kind of hard liquor – to make me want to deal with my extended family for two weeks straight. ON A BOAT. And I actually LIKE most of my family.

      2. Dynamic Beige*

        I agree with VR. I have a credit card I never use, it’s just for emergencies. They’re your impulses, so it’s up to you to control them ;) Your parents are right, to a certain extent, about establishing a credit rating/history. Also, I’ve been in places where I couldn’t use my bank card but could use my credit card (i.e. in Europe and my bank was hacked so the whole thing was shut down for 5 days, I couldn’t withdraw money from my account and had no choice but to get a cash advance on my credit card because this was at a time when this place only took cash).

        1. Steve G*

          Everyone else addressed the parent relationship thing but I did want to second the fact that you should get a credit card. My bank just closed my ATM card yesterday, saying the account has been compromised. I called them and they said they do it even if there wasn’t a specific transaction that looked fraudulent. So now it is the weekend and the banks are closed for a day and 1/2 and I am waiting for a new card in the mail. This could have been a recipe for disaster if I didn’t always keep wads of small bills around my place.

          Also, in 2004 I put my ATM card into an ATM abroad (Czech Rep if it matters) and the machine “ate” the card. It didn’t come out and didn’t give me a chance to do a transaction. So I had to borrow $ from a very new friend (awkward but thankfully they gave me $$) and wait 2 weeks for my mom to send me the replacement card from the states – and in the meantime, I used a CC.

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            Oh geez, the same thing happened to me in Italy, bank ATM ate my card. I had forgotten about that. Also, a week ago Thursday I got a call at 10pm from the bank where I have a card I use for business expenses that there had been suspicious activity, please call this number ASAP. I did and someone did have my card number but hadn’t been able to use it. So they cancelled it, which blew. I was given a choice, in the mail within 10 business days or I could have it shipped to a branch in 2 days (which I went for). I’ve never been given that as an option before.

            1. Steve G*

              The CSR at the bank said they would cancel cards if there was a general suspicion that integrity had been compromised. He cited Home Depot CC data leak as an example So it doesn’t have to be a specific case of fraud or theft, which I didn’t know! All the more reason to have a backup CC!

          2. Treena*

            Second actually needing a credit card. My husband used to be just like you, hated the idea of credit cards. He had one with a balance he was paying off, but wasn’t putting anything else on it. We went to get one of those interest free loans at the furniture store after moving (to have a little bit more liquidity during the move–we had the full amount in cash, but were going to pay it off within 3 months). Well whatever credit report they pulled up said he didn’t have a credit card. Despite having great (not excellent) credit, the woman said that without a line of unsecured credit, they couldn’t approve him. It wasn’t a disaster, but we ended up paying cash for it and didn’t have the option of the loan if we really wanted/needed it.

            My opinion is that you should just keep it out of your wallet to avoid temptation, but you can also cut it up! But then you wouldn’t be able to use it if you were in Steve’s situation. I keep a bunch of credit cards that I literally never put anything on. I keep one card in a pocket in my purse (outside of my wallet) and one day when I had already ordered lunch and realized I forgot my wallet at home, it was super helpful.

            My parents have chilled out a LOT in the past 10 years, but a therapist gave me the best line ever for unsolicited advice. “Oh that sounds like a good idea, I’ll look into it!” And then for follow up “Did you do it yet??” “Oh that’s right, I’ve been meaning to look into it!” Said with a huge smile and a lot of sincerity, it makes a lot of things go away because they just want to be heard. You can also just lie! “Oh yes, I applied for a card and I think it should be coming soon.”

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              I keep a bunch of credit cards that I literally never put anything on.

              Sometimes Home Despot will run a “pay no interest until X months from now!” kind of promotion. I signed up for one of their cards because the catch is you can only do it on their card. I bought the thing, paid it off before the due date (very important because if you don’t, they back date the interest to the day you originally purchased) and didn’t use it again. I prefer to have all that stuff on one card, easier to keep track of spending. A few years go by and they were running a similar promotion, there was something I needed so I had the CSR in the store look up my information and… they had cancelled it due to inactivity! I had no idea that was even possible.

      3. Dan*

        Dumb question, but what exactly is a line of credit at a bank, and how do you access it? I’ve heard of personal loans, but that’s cash given to you up front, and generally at an unfavorable apr for someone with good credit (those rates were about 15% last I looked. On net, you’re doing 4-5% on balance transfers fees for credit cards with 0% apr offers.) Without playing the BT game, I’ve got one card that has a rate of 8%.

        1. Colette*

          A line of credit is basically an agreement that the bank will lend you up to $X whenever you want. Mine shows up in online banking as an account. You see the balance, as well as the available credit – just like a credit card. If I want to use mine, I can transfer the money between accounts. The interest rate and the amount you need to pay back each month are determined when you apply.

          You can have secured lines of credit (e.g. Attached to your house or other major asset) or unsecured lines.

          1. fposte*

            In the US, they’re not as common; even the home equity line of credit is just what they used to call a second mortgage in the old days.

          2. YWD*

            This is what I have from Bank Of America – I’ve had this account for 15+ years through a few bank acquisitions. It’s a combo checking / savings / line of credit account. The line of credit portion used to be called overdraft protection. Haven’t needed to use it but it doesn’t cost me anything to have it as part of my available credit.

            1. Dan*

              What does it cost to actually use it? Does it report as a revolving credit line on your credit report?

              1. schnapps*

                Depends what your interest rate is, which is determined when you apply. Your bank may have other fees associated with it. When I had mine, it was prime+3% (Canadian bank). You can pull money out of it up to your limit and you’re only charged interest on the amount you use.

        2. Noah*

          The credit union I bank with offers this and I have one up. I think I have used it once when I was moving and between jobs and had to wait a few extra weeks for a paycheck. I can see it in online banking and if I need the money I can easily transfer it to my checking account. The interest rate on mine is slightly less than a credit card. The minimum payment is automatically pulled out of my checking account on the due date if I don’t transfer money back from checking to line of credit before then. It does show up on my credit report as a revolving loan with a credit limit, very similar to how a credit card looks. It also works as overdraft protection without the crazy $35 per transaction fee that normal overdraft stuff has.

    3. Jean*

      Do you have an elegant/dressy-looking outer layer (sweater, shawl, shrug, jacket) that you could wear over the dress?

      Good luck staying sane on this trip. Your cousin deserves all kinds of credit for managing to get you your own bedroom! Take breaks to breathe–even if it’s just to go to the bathroom or “go to sleep” early. Text your boyfriend for moral support.

    4. CoffeeLover*

      I have very, VERY similar parents so I feel you on this (are you me?). I do a couple of things to deal with it with varying success depending on my level of patience. 1) Do not engage (it never ends well) by ignoring, agreeing, or lying. 2) Do not volunteer personal details. 3) Put your foot down when needed.

      Mom: “Why don’t you get a credit card. Blah blah blah”
      You: “You’re right, I will get a credit card.” Proceed to do exactly what you want. <- Agreeing
      Mom: "Did you get that card yet?"
      You: "Yes." < – Lying
      Mom: "Isn't your life infinitely better? Aren't I always right?"
      You: "Yes." < – Lie Agreeing

      With the dress I would probably take the "foot down" approach. Say: "I'm wearing this dress. Period. If you don't approve, I can skip going to the reunion and explain to the family why I couldn't make it." So maybe I'm encouraging you to blackmail your mom, but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

      1. Carmen Sandiego JD*

        Lol. Yeah, I used this approach when my mom wouldn’t stop pestering me to buy stock from a certain type of company. I kept watching the reports online that indicated it was too volatile, and I didn’t buy anything. Meanwhile, my mom kept pestering me, bought a bit of the stock for herself, and it plummeted.

        Moral: Think carefully, act deliberately I guess? My mom wants things *now*, this instant, and I like to think carefully (like my dad) but it’s like she demands action/answers *now.* (Come to think of it, my parents are such polar opposites I’m surprised they’re still together, but hey).

          1. Carmen Sandiego JD*

            The thing is, he doesn’t. He basically is really quiet unless screaming occurs. When my mom has people over, he’s kind of quiet so he retreats upstairs until they leave.

    5. Colette*

      As usual, I agree with fposte – one of the best ways to avoid this is to stop sharing things that your parents can meaningfully disapprove of, or else shut them down when they do. If you want to shut them down, though, you have to be independent (for example, if you’re going to the same event, you have to have your own transportation and accommodations) – if that’s not the case, you can’t be as blunt. I’m thinking of saying things like “you don’t get a vote, mom”, or “I like this dress and it’s what I’m wearing” or even the incredibly useful “wow”.

      You might also try directing their help to areas you want their opinion – I.e. “I can’t remember how to make X” or “this dripping tap is driving me nuts”.

      And credit cards are a good idea, if you have the discipline to pay them off in full every single month. If you could have one and not use it in stores, you could direct your cell phone (or other bill) to the card and set up a monthly autopayment. That would build your credit with less risk. (If you think you’d start spending money you don’t have, don’t try this.)

    6. Dan*

      Hi,

      How do you get a superb credit rating without having a revolving credit line, such as a credit card? “Mix of credit types” is part of your credit score, albeit not a huge piece of it.

      I do think your parents are right about the credit card — but if you’re uncomfortable with the idea, I’d get a no annual fee card and bury it at the bottom of your sock drawer and forget about it.

      I’m actually uncomfortable with having a debit card as my primary piece of plastic, because if someone fraudulently wipes out my account, I’m kinda stuck until the bank sorts it out.

      BTW, if you can discipline yourself with cash/debit, you can discipline yourself with credit, and make those cards work for you. I’ve received thousands of dollars in free travel over the years because of the credit card racket.

      1. CoffeeLover*

        I’ll be honest that I’m curious about this too. You mention being worried about lack of impulse control. I think a credit card with a low limit is a good way to teach yourself this skill. Debt is part of life, and you’ll have to deal with it at some point. Might as well learn paying off a $1000 credit card vs a $200000 mortgage.

      2. BRR*

        There’s a whole group of people who take advantage of credit card points. My coworker has a binder full of cards.

        I find it funny because I have a ton of student loan debt (and two long time credit cards with on time payments) and my FICO score is great and my husband has 0 debt but only have a car loan from 2005-2007 and his score is a lot lower. Of course if we ever apply for a loan my debt will hurt me and his low FICO score will hurt him. Sigh.

        1. Dan*

          When you say loan, do you mean mortgage or car loan? I asked because those are the two very common true loan products in the US. There are other loans, but they are really rare compared to the first two.

          Your husband’s credit will hurt your interest rate, costing you more, your debt will only impact how much you can borrow.

          Why don’t you with with your husband to get a credit card to help his scores? If he’s scared, just stick the cable or phone bill on auto pay, and set the credit card bill on auto pay as well. Then forget it exists.

          Between travel rewards and the cost of living in DC, a partner with good credit who is not afraid of credit cards is pretty much a deal maker/breaker.

          Two things are going to happen otherwise: when we decide to buy a house, the interest rate is going to increase. Second, when we travel, I’ll be in business class on a ticket I paid $100 for, and the SO will be in back on a $1000 paid economy ticket. Why should I part with the miles I’ve earned, because my spouse is afraid of credit cards?

          1. BRR*

            I do mean car or mortgage and by hurt I do mean a higher interest rate or a debt-to-income ratio measurement. We live in a very high COL area and there aren’t really starter homes.

            He’s going to get one now, he just go his first professional job. He’s also an authorized user on mine which helps his FICO score but not as much as having one in his name (from what I’ve read at least, I could be wrong).

    7. anonymous daisy*

      Dave Ramsey is rabidly anti-credit card. You can grab some of his stuff off the net or send her one of his books if you want a big name to throw at her.

    8. BRR*

      Depending on how confrontational you are I would go with “I’m not talking about this any more” or “I’m wearing that dress to the event, I wasn’t asking a question/ I wasn’t looking for advice.” Last time my mom was in town it felt great to go “That was a negative statement and I don’t appreciate it.”

      I hate to do this but seriously you should have a credit card at least for emergencies. If one card is compromised it’s good to have another. Plus you can at least a small amount of points. I pay it off as I go to keep track so I’ll have like 12 payments a month on it.

    9. could be*

      Have to agree with getting a credit card. You can tell them the limit you want if it’d lower than what they offer. But you do need to use it once in awhile or it could be closed by the company. So either use it to auto pay a set bill like the cell phone or use it once every 6 months or so for a one time purchase.

    10. Revanche*

      Id agree that not giving them answers or giving them totally obviously flip answers (if you can keep that up) to things you don’t want to works well. I have a very interfering relative who was harassing me for the longest time through my pregnancy about how I was going to deal post-birth so I started just giving more and more outrageous answers until she was reduced to sputters of disbelief. Because it was clearly all BS, the people around me were just entertained and she couldn’t call me out for being disrespectful to an elder since I was acting jokey about it.

      Credit cards: Know thyself. Your credit report is built of multiple components and while it helps to have the kind of credit history that a credit card shows, the main point here is that you’re trying to show that you are responsible, on a regular (generally, monthly) basis, that you pay in full and on time. A credit card is one way to do that but it’s just one of many tools.
      Also, don’t let anyone trick you into thinking you should ever pay a fee, interest or otherwise, for the privilege of building your credit. My credit is excellent, in the 800s, and I’ve never paid a fee that I wasn’t ok with. I pay on time, so no late fees (though you can always ask for it to be waived if you’re late once in a long time). I don’t carry a balance, ever, so no interest fees. I only pay annual fees on cards that gets me rewards that are three times the value of the annual fee. Etc. You have the option of making very responsible choices with your credit cards if you choose to have them. I financed a car with very little credit history when I was young and paying that off early (on time every month for three years instead of five) established a fine chunk of my credit history. But again, that was the sensible life choice for me at that time, not for the privilege of building the credit score. I’ve made back what I’ve paid in interest and annual fees from the credit card rewards that I’ve used for years so it’s a net profit for me; it paid for a lot of incidentals that I couldn’t have afforded otherwise.

      It’s very much NOT the end of the world if you choose not to use them.

    11. it happens*

      No real advice – I think it’s been pretty well covered above. SO happy that you’ve separated your finances (really, congrats!) And SO looking forward to the free-for-all report on the cruise when you get back.
      Just remember to breathe.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      You have the patience of a saint. I would have “strangled” my mother many times by now.

      I understand why you do not want a credit card. I married a financially very conservative person. Neither one of us like carrying any debt, but he was much more adamant that me. We did end up each having our own credit card. The way we handled our charges is by saying “is there money in my checking to pay this bill?” If no, then it was a no go. What finally got us to cave in and use these cards was on the road emergencies. I refuse to carry large sums of cash and I leave my checkbook at home. This meant if I broke down some where I had nothing to pay for the repair unless I called my husband, who could be as far as 100 or so miles away from our home and my repair shop. (NOT a plan, in other words.) So I got a card that I could use to bail myself out of a tight situation. It’s been 20 something years and I have never over-used the card, I guess my terror of running up CC debt is still with me. And this may or may not fit into your thinking/situation.

      Not to be scary, but do have a plan of how you will handle emergencies while you are away from home, even if you are just making a trip to the grocery store. It could be that you have a debit card you carry. Or it could be that your SO is more local during his work day than mine was. And frankly, if a person is going to run up debt, they can find ways to do that and never have a credit card. My suggestion to you is at some point in the future look at the big picture. Do you ordinarily spend wildly? Do you have debt here and there and everywhere? Do you pay your bills on time? Are you always shopping? There’s many things to consider here.

      Meanwhile, I agree with the others who said to just tell your parents YES and then do as you wish. My husband did that to his parents for years. I understood why. Although his setting was not as serious as yours, he, too, stopped telling his parents his plans/hopes/dreams. They just could not handle that information. He got a new job at Terrific Company. The first thing his mother said was “you will be low man in the ranks, what if you get laid off.” The look on my husband’s face was like someone just drove over his dog. He was crushed. His parents were not capable of giving support, nor were they capable of offering approval. That was just who they were. All I could do was point out the supportive people in our lives and steer him in the direction of those people.

  33. Sparky*

    Hey, All,

    The letter from the person worried that their parents would sabotage their job offer had a few posts about people coming home to find that their families and moved and not informed them, or given them the new address. A few posters expressed interest in hearing the details. Would we like to discuss/expand on that here?

    I don’t have any stories like that myself, or I would share here.

    1. anonymous daisy*

      I don’t have a story like that but when my parents moved years ago, they didn’t want to give me a key. I told them that I was happy that they just want my brother to take care of them and the house in an emergency. They gave me a key the next day.

    2. AnotherFed*

      I joke that when I went to college, my parents changed the locks and never gave me a key. It’s true, but there are reasonable circumstances – they changed the locks as part of a big home renovation project that they started after I’d moved out (1 less person and 1 less person’s stuff made a big difference), and then I wasn’t living there anymore even in the summers because I did non-local internships, and I never moved back within a few hundred miles. It’s certainly not like I could stop in and water the plants for them!

  34. Malory Archer*

    Finally having my ACL/meniscus repair surgery this week! The timing happened to work out such that my post-op follow up (two weeks after) is the day before I go back to school. I’m emotionally prepared to be stuck at home for those two weeks of initial recovery and I don’t really expect to leave my apartment except for PT, which is fortunately just a couple of blocks away. Anyone have any tips for surviving those initial days? Anything I should stock up on in advance? I’ll have people visiting, but I live alone so I’m nervous about going stir crazy!

    Definitely looking forward to getting fixed up and actually starting the rehab process though. I was walking around normally the past few weeks and then a couple days ago I tripped on an uneven sidewalk of all things and my knee locked up, so it’s back to crutches until surgery day :(

    1. schnapps*

      Ooooh, best of luck! ACLs are tricky things when they get damaged.

      Lots of books! Does your library have a delivery and pick up service for people who can’t leave the house? Books of crossword puzzles or sudoku if you’re into that sort of thing (or apps for your tablet or phone). Make sure your Netflix bill is paid :)

      Lots of ice because you’ll want to be icing. If you have the chemical cold packs you can throw them in the freezer after the initial usage. Make sure you have food – pre-prepared meals so that you just have to warm them up. Or make it a rule that anytime someone comes to visit, they have to bring you food. And for fresh veggies/fruits, do you have store nearby that will deliver?

      You’ll probably have at-home exercises to do too after PT starts.

    2. katamia*

      A water bottle so you can sit and have a lot of a beverage without getting up every 5 minutes. Food that doesn’t require a lot of dishes so you won’t have to do them (which requires standing, I assume). Also figure out in advance what your most comfortable sitting/lying down positions are and set up your chairs/sofas/beds that way so you won’t have to do it postsurgery. And get lots and lots of books/movies, way more than you think you’ll need. If you’ll have trouble with stairs, make sure everything you Really Need is all on one floor.

      Good luck! I had a patellar realignment a few years ago and a followup surgery to get the screws taken out earlier this year, so I know just how much knees can suck.

    3. Lizabeth (call me hop along)*

      Books, DVDs and bags of frozen peas to ice the knee down with a towel to wrap them in. I also elevated the knee on a pillow (big blue we call it – a bath towel sewn up with two bed pillows stuffed in it) Expect to be sleepy from the pain meds. Keep a bottle of water by the bed or couch plus good snacks that aren’t messy.
      I blew out my ACL and tore up the meniscus in June. Did surgery to clean up the meniscus right after it happened but am doing a wait and see on repairing the ACL. Meanwhile it’s PT twice a week and homework exercises, pool workouts and now bike riding on my own. It will take time to heal.
      Good luck!

      1. Academic Librarian*

        Don’t forget to to time your pain medication. Don’t wait until you are in great pain to take it. Watch the clock and/set an alarm. Love love love gel packs- stock the freezer. And warning TMI- prune juice or stewed prunes for side effects from the pain meds. Do the PT.

    4. Emily*

      No advice, but I’m getting my knee looked at on Tuesday because I hurt it recently in an ultimate frisbee game. I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time (there wasn’t much pain, and I was walking almost immediately) – but now I’m not so sure. If I end up needing ACL reconstruction, I’ll be interested in hearing about how your surgery goes.

      Anyway, best of luck!

    5. edj3*

      My mom used uncooked rice in a zip lock bag–toss it in the freezer. When you use it, it won’t drip like peas or corn and will shape to whatever you’re cooling. And it’s reusable.

  35. Shell*

    Comic fans! How do I read DC comics online?

    I keep thinking DC would have something set up like Marvel Unlimited, in which I’d pay a monthly fee or whatever and then scroll through the enormous backlog of all things Batman.

    I found ReadDCEntertainment, which looks promising (and legit? And free?), but then I have to figure out how to sort it to read some of the more interesting Batman storylines.

    Help?

    1. Revanche*

      Alas, I don’t think DC proper has gotten off its duff to do anything like that. Your best bet might be Comixology. It’s got a wide variety.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        Yes to this. My husband loves comics and he uses Comixology to read on his KindleFire. I’m so glad he’s been able to get so many titles digitally, it’s really reduced the number of comics coming in to our house. He also shares the account with a friend to reduce the costs.

    2. LisaLee*

      To my knowledge, DC doesn’t have a subscription service like that. Some of the newer titles are available in digital, and their digital-first titles are really popular.

      For back issues, your best cheap bet is your local library. In my experience most decent libraries have the major Batman storylines (Year One, Killing Joke, Knightfall, etc) and inter library loan can get you pretty much anything. The New 52 stuff might be a bit harder to find if you’re looking for that, but I think enough time has passed that the first volumes should be in libraries.

      If you see the 90’s JLA series by (mostly) Grant Morrison and Mark Waid, that series has one of my favorite interpretations of Batman and it’s worth checking out.

    3. Today's anon*

      Your public library might have some titles available in e-format. I did a quick check at my public library and they had some titles available for download.

  36. Al Lo*

    Where’s your favorite place to buy hard-to-find or foreign-language books online? My travel go-to collectible is a Harry Potter book in whatever local language I’m visiting. However, I’ve started collecting them in the years since I did some of my travel, and I’d like to grab the books online for the countries that I’ve already visited (I debated whether it was “cheating” to go back and buy the books online rather than waiting until I’m in said countries again, but I landed on deciding that it’s still valid, since I visited those countries physically, and I’ll pick up the second book when I’m there again — I like the idea of adding to the series on subsequent visits).

    I’m having a hard time finding Sorcerer’s Stone in Swedish and Danish for a reasonable price — Amazon has come through for some of the other languages, but those two are proving difficult. I haven’t had any luck with Book Depository or Abebooks, which are usually my go-to.

      1. Al Lo*

        It’s such a great conversation starter! They’re inexpensive, easy to pack, easy to find, and totally relevant to my interests. The only thing about them is that unlike, say, a Starbucks mug collection (I know a lot of people who collect mugs), there aren’t specific ones for different cities or regions, but still — it’s been translated into 70 languages, so I’ve got a long way to go before I’m even close to complete!

    1. Elizabeth West*

      What a great idea!
      I found a copy of the British edition, Philosopher’s Stone, at Word on the Water in London. I already have the book (American version–Sorcerer’s Stone), but of course I could not resist!

    2. Lore*

      You’ve probably already tried eBay? Also maybe Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de would have more European stuff?

    3. Mephyle*

      Check if the country of interest has some national online bookstores. For example, for Danish, which I know nothing of, I used Google translate to translate “buy books online” into Danish. Then I put that phrase into a search along with the restriction ‘site:dk’. The results look promising, but I didn’t go as far as to look whether the prices are reasonable – you could take it from there.

  37. StillHealing*

    I’m in the process of purging all the crap my husband left behind when he moved to the other coast to be with his tru wuv. <~ think that's a Chump Lady term. He left me with our Family Laptop where he was the Administrator and he has different things, passwords etc. set up on it. How do I remove him as the Administrator so that I can change settings and dump all things related to him off of it?

    Today, I noticed by the date somethings were changed and updated, it took place when he stayed here for a week (when I went to visit a sick friend) back in April. He had things set up for individual users but after he stayed here it only always logs on to him, as him. It looks like he has a path to his personal laptop also but I don't have it turned on much. What he doesn't know is that it saved his passwords and I accidentally logged on to a few things. Well, accidentally at first… found out alot of information including he went out on a few dates with another woman (who he dumped a couple days before his Maine Squeeze flew into town to drive back east with him.) So that means he cheated on the woman he's currently living with who he cheated on me with. That has nothing to do with my question though…How do I re-set everything so he has no access to the computer and so I can set things up as I want/need? I don't mean to be completely computer illiterate – soon to be ex always set up any new system we had in the decades we were together. Its a PC has windows 10 I think.

    1. BRR*

      If you need to the first thing I would do is disconnect it from the internet (because that’s how it would path to his laptop) and copy anything you might need later.

      I believe you’ll have to use his adim account to make your account an admin then go to your account and delete his.

      1. schnapps*

        What BRR said – if you have access to his account. If it’s Windows 10 go to Start – Settings – Account – Family and Other Users. Set up an account for yourself as an admin. Restart and login with your account, then delete his account.

        1. GOG11*

          My boyfriend (who works in IT; I’m computer illiterate, too) said:
          “The above steps work to get you a new user account setup, but if you’re worried that there’s been something hidden on the machine that allows remote access and/or if you want to basically start over to have a “new” computer, you can reset Windows 10. This process would erase everything on your computer including documents, pictures and programs, so you’ll want to be sure to backup any files that you want to keep and have the discs to re-install any software that you may have purchased. This process cannot be undone so make sure that this is the right course of action for your situation. This could be overkill but it is an option if you need it. Also, Windows 10 may differ from earlier versions of Windows in that it could be linked to the account that set it up initially, so it is important to follow the steps outlined by BRR and schnapps to set yourself as the administrator before you perform the reset (not totally sure on whether that is the case or not, but it would be the safer way to go). Link to follow that shows how to do the reset.”

          Also, fist bump to you for continuing to work through this. I’ve followed your posts in the open threads and what you post about your ex aligns closely with what my ex husband did and I can say firsthand that it’s really difficult stuff.

          1. StillHealing*

            Thanks for all of the above. I’m going to see what I can do tomorrow after spending quite awhile on it earlier today. Seems to be some layers and I might need to just take the laptop to an expert.

            Thanks for following my situation. It should be easier at this point in time, over seven months since D day and nearly nine since my first post where I asked if I should be concerned. But he’s being such an uncooperative asshole which makes no sense. It’s just going to cost him more money by putting me in the position of needing to go to court and have him ordered to pay and/or his wages garnished. I’ve spoken to him a couple times since he moved and he’s absolutely miserable in his job and with the weather back there. Plus his affair partner has him doing yard work which he absolutely hates to do. (We haven’t had a yard since we sold our house ten years ago. He said he never wanted to deal with yard work again) I think HE thinks he’s punishing me because he blames me for his current stress and unhappiness, etc. But all of his current situation is a direct result of his own actions and decisions. Natural Consequences that have nothing to do with me. All I’m trying to do is get the divorce over with. What he doesn’t realize is that every email he ignores where I request needed information to get the divorce settlement finalized is a strike against him. Not paying what he agreed to and constantly falling further behind puts my son and I in financial jeopardy. And builds a stronger and stronger case for me. Things are going to get worse for him fairly soon but he’s seems to be oblivious to what his actions are doing TO HIMSELF. The entitlement is strong with that jerk.

        2. StillHealing*

          Thank you. There seems to be a couple different layers to what he did. It may take an expert but I’m going to try the different suggestions first.

      2. StillHealing*

        Thank you. Yep, been keeping it off line a lot…or so I thought. Started to think about buying myself a new laptop but can’t spare the $$ right now.

        1. BRR*

          Ooh also be careful what you do on it. If he’s connected to it he might be able to track what you’re typing/sending/doing.

    2. Lizabeth (call me hop along)*

      Dump the things you want to save onto an external hard drive* and take it to a computer place and had them do a “nuke and pave” (doing a clean install of the operating system that takes it back to factory settings). And/or find a computer literate friend to walk you through it and write down what they show you. That way the ex will not be able to access it in any way shape or form remotely.
      *you might want to keep the stuff he left on it for your lawyer to evaluate.

      1. a sinister midget with a bucket and a mop*

        +2^32 this.

        Was he at all computer-literate enough to install any nastiness like key-logger software or a backdoor on the system? If so:

        You can get a 1T portable drive for less than $100 (check out Western Digital My Passport drives) and then simply copy everything from the computer to the drive. Copy complete, then format and reinstall your OS. *Dont* just copy stuff over from the drive. Any executables / programs, you’ll need to re-install from scratch. In general, you want that 1T disk drive to be read-only AND never execute code that resides on that disk. Unless the guy was seriously hard-core, you are probably okay with looking at emails and documents and PDFs.

        1. StillHealing*

          I’ve wondered about it. He made a lot of changes the week he stayed here with our son. He has his own laptop so he really had no need to even use the family laptop. Why make a series of changes to a computer he’s never going to use again and not say a word to me about it?

      2. StillHealing*

        Thank you. I might just do this. I have been successful in making some changes this past weekend but as I wrote up thread, there seem to be layers of things for me to change.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      to be with his tru wuv. <~ think that's a Chump Lady term.

      If it is, she probably stole it from The Princess Bride.

      Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam. And wove, twue wove, wiww fowwow you fowevah and evah… So tweasuwe youw wove link below

  38. Steve G*

    Most of my relatives are on my nerves today! My grandma has been annoying me because she is in denial that she is ancient and needs help. I went there the past 2 weekends but I can’t keep doing this especially once I get a job. When I go there she just obsesses over things, stuff, I am not a very materialistic person, so it is very stressful listening to someone ramble about what I consider crap. She finally wanted to start getting rid of stuff, so I took it, and I found out that a lot of the stuff (old cups, mugs, etc.) were stuff she picked up off the curb and bought upstairs. I was like, WTF, why are you collecting more stuff if you want to get rid of stuff? Some of it went out on the curb when I got home because we just don’t need it. My uncle bought her a smart phone and she was grilling me on how to use it over the phone, I am like, why did someone buy her this? She does not need it! Stop “being nice” and giving her stuff because then she is bugging me about it!

    I went to my parents today and the place was a disaster, and there is no excuse for it, my dad in retired, and my adult sister lives there. The lawn is almost dead in parts, flowers are drooping, the weeds in the garden are bigger than the plants, the pool is dirty, there were a few loads of dishes waiting, and the floors were filthy. My mom is ½ disabled so I spent the whole time there cleaning, watering, weeding, etc. My sister doesn’t do anything for the house, and my dad is always complaining he is so busy and does so much, but it looks like nothing gets done. I flipped out when I went looking for the new bike tire pump I bought to replace the other one that was lost that I bought to replace the one before that they lost (and I am the only one with a bike!), and the new pump was lost. The garage looks like a dumpster threw up in it. Everyone there is blaming eachother for the mess. I can’t even wrap my head around the amount of trash in there, but I was just so pissed after doing work there all day that the one thing I needed could not be found. My skateboard hasn’t moved more than 5 feet in there since 1997, but these pumps keep magically evaporating. And because I had to do so much work, I ignored my niece, who was being ignored by her mother who is too busy “packing” for the extravagant trip she can’t afford, and now I feel bad. Couple this motley crew with my aunt who disowned the family and the other people who don’t talk to me because they are mad at my mom for selling the “family” houses years ago and they think we got rich on them, when there really wasn’t much money left after the debts were settled (taxes, nursing homes, etc.) and I can’t think of one relative right now that I would find it enjoyable to talk to right now. That is pretty stressful and sad because I used to be and still would like to be a family person, but I need them to be on better behavior and take care of their own lives.

    1. misspiggy*

      Agh. Sorry you’re having to deal with all that. Hope it helps to reflect that you’re doing something constructive and helpful, even if it’s for flawed people.

    2. Vancouver Reader*

      Maybe you just need a break from family. I honestly think absence does make the heart grow fonder, or at least allows you to put up b.s. longer after you haven’t seen them in a while. If you don’t live with your parents, then can you not clean up after them? I think once or twice is fine, but if they’re not going to do it themselves and they have to live in those conditions, then leave it. Maybe next time just have a short visit with your parents and sister and take your niece out for a walk in the park or something. You can’t change how others behave, so you just have to either accept them for who they are or walk away.

    3. Rebecca*

      I’m sorry about all of this. Unfortunately, you can’t make them do anything. I had in-laws like this. Their property and home looked like one of those hoarding shows on TV, but if you tried to help or throw anything away, they’d toss a serious fit and scream about it.

      Ideally, your Dad and your sister would take the bull by the horns and get things done, but I suspect they’re both probably just overwhelmed at this point. And your Mom can’t do the bulk of the work.

      Do you think if you talked to your Dad and sister about a plan to organize/clean, etc. they would be on board? Maybe you could help for a day or so hear and there until things are in better shape? It’s worth a shot, at least for your Mom’s and niece’s sake.

      1. Steve G*

        They all blame the mess and crap on eachother. My dad is pretty useless since retiring and doesn’t do much expect metal detect. He thinks he is going to find a Captain Kidd treasure or something.

      2. Steve G*

        A thing that annoys me is letting living things die. I can resist dealing with the inside stuff (which probably isn’t as bad as it sounds when I’m complaining about it, its just a lot worse than when I lived at home), but to let the lawn die? To have flowers drooping? WTF. Besides the hundreds of dollars spent on all of them, how do some people not see plants as living things and feel bad letting the die? It bugs me to no end.

        1. fposte*

          I’m a gardener, and yet I don’t really care about that. Either they’re annuals and they were going to die soon anyway, or they’re perennials that aren’t suited to live where they’re planted. (Currently hoping a crop of weed asters kicks the bucket.

    4. fposte*

      Seconding Colette on stop keeping your stuff there–if the bicycle is only yours, retrieve it, and don’t store it and add a pump into the mix at their place when they can’t keep on top of their own stuff and you live elsewhere. It’s not fair, and it’s just going to frustrate you.

      1. Steve G*

        Argh…I want a different family right now. The one from Seventh Heaven or from Family Ties seem ideal:-)

    5. AnotherFed*

      There is a magic invisibility field surrounding family members’ stuff/mess in their own homes. There’s really nothing you can do to force them to turn that field off for themselves and deal with the mess. It’s incredibly frustrating to watch, especially for people who tend more toward tidy and organized, but the magic defies all logic or pushes to change.

      I think ultimately, you have to decide whether you can handle visiting family and ignoring the mess like they do or you will end up driving yourself crazy over it. If you can’t, minimize your time in the house – suggest outings that are easy enough for your mom and the whole family, or pick up your niece and take her out to do something.

  39. asteramella*

    For various reasons (including my dad’s late-in-life diagnosis), I’m beginning to think I may have ADHD. I’m not so interested in formal diagnosis right now because I’m interested in trying methods to manage symptoms that do not involve medication (and then perhaps trying medication later if needed). Does anyone have resources for adults with ADHD?

    1. Jean*

      CHADD* has a website, local/regional chapters, many publications including a monthly magazine called ADDitude (if I recall correctly).

      I find it helpful to keep to-do lists and be meticulous about where I put keys, phone, etc. at home and on the go (e.g. always in the same place in my purse, tote bag, or car.)
      * Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

    2. ADHD*

      There are so many developmental conditions that share symptoms and what helps one condition could be harmful to another. I’m cautious about giving advice without a diagnosis, because I could be doing some damage.

      Diagnosis doesn’t automatically lead to medication. In fact it can be a first step towards talking to a therapist who knows how you can manage your symptoms that way.

      At any rate, what works for me is a combination of careful planning, to-do lists, calendars, following routines, and trying to work with my short attention span and perseveration issues rather than against them.

      1. BRR*

        @ your first sentence, I had an anti-depressant that nullified my ADD meds. That was fun.

        I live by reminders on my cell phone. I make them as practical as possible such as going off when I know I will be sitting on my computer. I don’t trust myself to remember to check so I often set reminders far enough in advance that it’s not “oh shit I need to go somewhere.”

      2. asteramella*

        That totally makes sense–I hadn’t thought about it that way. I’ll see about consulting a therapist. Thank you!

    3. Luisa in Dallas*

      Your dad (and you) might like this book: Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD by Susan C. Pinsky. It has helpful solutions to common organizing problems, nicely presented. I see that there’s a 2nd edition now. My Significant Other has ADD, and we found this book very helpful for making practical suggestions that he could relate to.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      This may or may not apply to your experiences- but if you have had any situations that have left you in grief, you may want to read up on grieving and the process of grieving. One of the symptoms of grief is a flighty mind that cannot stay on track.

      Now, I am not saying this is a magic bullet- I am saying that this may aspirate things for some people. Perhaps there is something from 20 years ago that is still kicking around in your mind’s eye, which makes this is kind of a needle in a haystack answer. But since you are looking for non-medication things to do/consider, I thought I would throw that out there.

      1. asteramella*

        Thanks for your thoughts. I have had some experiences with grief/trauma that definitely made me more disorganized, anxious, and prone to forgetting/not starting/not finishing things. But it was also a pattern in my childhood before I had those experiences. I do have depression/anxiety issues and it’s difficult to know whether I have ADD that is comorbid with those or whether those are just producing ADD-like symptoms.

  40. Elkay*

    Are there any photographers here? We have a DSLR and I’d like to improve my technique but I’m not very artistic. Are there any good books or blogs that would help me learn? I’m thinking along the lines of challenges/homework. I’m not able to commit to an evening class otherwise I’d have done that.

    1. Sinjin*

      I thought I’d commented earlier, but my post didn’t stick for some reason. Anyway, I love Scott Kelby’s books. He’s written several, and you can buy them individually or as a set. He’s a very funny and engaging writer, and his philosophy is to give you instruction, advice, challenges and homework vs. explaining what an ISO is — because you can get that from any other books. He provides a mix of practical and creative lessons for different situations and throws in advice on supplemental equipment (e.g., tripods, lenses or reflectors) at budget, better and best price points. I cannot recommend his books enough!

        1. Sinjin*

          Yay!!! Here’s another tip. If you don’t have a 50mm 1.8 lens yet, it’s an inexpensive (compared to other lenses) way to have a lot of fun. The lens doesn’t need a lot of light and can give you a beautiful shallow depth of field. Like any hobby, photography can be expensive with all the goodies you can buy. That’s why I like this lens because it’s small, fast, inexpensive and fun to play with. Either way, though, Kelby’s books give you plenty to do with just your kit lens and natural light. Enjoy!!!

          1. Elkay*

            I have two lenses that came with the camera. In a few weeks (once I’ve read some books) I’m going to try and go out every day to put my book-learning to practical use.

            1. nep*

              Great.
              Generally when I shoot, I’m (more or less) satisfied with about 1 shot in 200+. Just shoot like crazy — you can play with lighting, angle, depth 0f field. As you’re learning and experimenting, don’t worry about every shot being ‘good’; that tends to be too confining.
              Have fun.

          2. TL -*

            Seconding that lens! Plus, getting away from a zoom lens makes you really think about composition.

            You can definitely read books, ect., for technique and I recommend it, but the best way to get better is to study photos you like and figure out exactly why you like them. Then, study your photos with the same eye – what do you like? What do you hate? Go through each shoot and sort through them – the more brutal you are, the more you’ll improve, but even just picking out a few you love will help (and keeps it more fun then being, hmm… I hate that. Why? That’s hard on the ego.)

            Edit your better photos if possible, especially cropping. It helps to see what takes your photos from good to great to excellent. (Sometimes you can do that post-processing and sometimes you can’t.)

            A class will probably be most helpful – people pointing out aspects of your photos, good and bad, improve your eye dramatically.

    2. nep*

      I know you said you’re not able to commit to an evening class. Just to note, a good camera store near me offers clinics — free or for a small fee — on various photography techniques. You might want to check out whether any stores near you offer similar.

      1. TL -*

        Yup! And there are meetups in done cities for photography – once a week or once a month.
        Those could also be better about encouraging beginners, too; some instructors can be really harsh, especially if they’re used to teaching people who want to make a living at it, whereas a hobby group should be really focused on keeping it a fun experience.

  41. anon nana*

    I need to go visit a friend who had foot surgery and is home-bound. She used to be in a primary relationship with someone I was in a relationship with. It was all very friendly and open and we are friends too. But our mutual person died about 2 years ago. She almost immediately (almost within the month) redid their whole apartment. I’ve been to the apartment a few times since his death, mostly close after his death. I am finding I can’t stomach the thought of going to visit her. She is married now to someone else (she was already dating this person then) and has literally a bazillion friends (ok, that’s exaggerated but she really has a ton of friends, and is incredibly gregarious), but I did want to keep the friendship alive but I find myself making all sorts of excuses not to go. Grief is a funny thing sometimes; I feel I am mostly ok now that it’s been a while but there is this; there is one restaurant I used to go often with my friend that just walking past makes me want to throw up. I feel I should just “do it” but mostly it makes me miss my friend all over again.

    1. Colette*

      You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. If you want to support her, you can try phone calls, for example, that will let you keep in touch without having to visit.

    2. asteramella*

      Why not just send her a nice card or care package–or if you feel you must show up in person, come by just for 15 minutes on your way to something else.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Big yes to the something else- can be anything but it should be something you enjoy. Stop by her place and then go to fun thing.

        Or don’t go and just call instead.

        And spend some time crying. Seriously. Stuff like this needs a good hard cry. Make it easy by not searching though alllll the reasons and just allow yourself some cry time.

  42. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    So this is a follow-up question on a slightly different tangent. Have any of you ever gotten married to your SO when your parents were highly opposed to it/tried to act like momzilla/tried to cancel the wedding/bulldoze the wedding? What happened? Ie) did you elope/did your parents refuse to attend?

    My mom threatened to break us up if she found out he came from a broken (in her words) family, and threatened to break us up if he didn’t go to law school (he’s currently in a top 10 masters program for something else).

    I’m kind of worried about the potential apocalyptic WWIII situation that I know will arise a couple years from now if/when we get engaged. Although if I were to publicly announce my engagement it would make it more difficult for her to voice vehement opposition in public without looking like a horrible human being.

    Tl;dr: My mom threatens to split me and my bf up if she finds out his parents are divorced and despite him having a masters degree he doesn’t want to go to law school (though I have a law degree).

    1. BRR*

      I hope this doesn’t come across in a bad way but have you sought outside help? I’m wondering if you’re from a specific culture where these things are the norm and are their groups to help you? Also have you thought about seeing a therapist, possibly with your parents?

      1. Colette*

        Seconded. I think you need to reach a place where you can speak up when she says things like that – I.e. “mom, you don’t get a vote in who I date”, “if you keep saying things like that, I’m going to leave”, “I won’t listen to you disparage boyfriend”.

        If you’re lying to her now, you’re encouraging her to think she gets a vote. Counselling could help you work through how to detach.

        1. Carmen Sandiego JD*

          @BRR @Colette So today, I googled online talk/therapy (think: blahtherapy, talkspace, breakthrough etc) and found some websites and tried one. They apparently can connect you to an anonymous ‘someone else’ who you can tell/rant/speak about re: family stress, etc. Just did a 25 min session. Came out feeling quite rejuvenated/like I got something off my shoulders (dunno how long it’ll last given the fam event coming up but, it’s a start? <:)

    2. Dynamic Beige*

      Now, I’m not going to Internet Diagnose anyone but you may want to check out Raised by Narcissists on Reddit. Your problem is depressingly common and once you’ve read what some other people with similar issues with their parents did/had done to them, you won’t feel so alone.

      IMO, if your BF wants an actual ceremony in a church and everything… sure you can do that, after you elope/go to a courthouse/whatever. No one needs to know. The thing is that no matter what you do, your mother isn’t going to be happy. You can’t make everyone happy. If you pay for it yourself, she will complain about not being included. If you accept money from her, she will want to dictate everything. She may ruin a ceremony and a reception, but the actual wedding you give yourself, she can’t interfere in if she doesn’t know about.

      And the next time your mother harps about how “broken” families aren’t as good as whatever she thinks is the perfect way to have a family, you can always Dr. Phil her: I’d rather be from a broken family than live in one. Also, I’d like to know how exactly she expects to make someone completely unrelated to her bend to her will and do what she wants. Does she expect his parents will be all “Surprise! We never really got divorced, it was just a gag!” Has she got a flux capacitor so she can go back in time and stop them from making life decisions that she will personally disapprove of in the future?

      Having said that, there’s a recent Captain Awkward post #732 that was very interesting. A parent wrote in saying how CA’s advice to some other person was really great when it comes to dealing with your parent’s disapproval but… what advice would you give to parents who disapprove of their child’s choice of partner? I think you might find that a good read.

      1. Sparky*

        I predict that even if Carmen JD chose a partner who meets mom’s criteria they still would never been good enough. That is mom’s real game.

        Carmen, you might want to get some therapy to get some perspective around how much influence parents get to have on grown children, and to get some tools/scripts for setting boundaries with your mom.

        1. BRR*

          I think you’re on to something. Carmen JD may never be right.

          It sort of reminds me of when I was at a restaurant with my cousin who at the time had a stereotypical teenager. The teenager was coming from somewhere else and my cousin asked what she should order her kid. I responded with it doesn’t matter what you order, it’s going to be wrong. The kid arrived and I repeated the story and the kid goes, you’re right.

        2. Dynamic Beige*

          I completely agree with you! But knowing you’re not alone in this — that other people have families that are just as difficult (or more) — can be incredibly healing. Even if Carmen JD’s mother built the perfect man for her (based on the mother’s criteria) there would be something wrong with the situation.

          Also Carmen, if you don’t live with your parents, there are some books you might want to look into, If You Had Controlling Parents and Susan Forward has a whole bunch on toxic relationships. I wouldn’t leave them lying around on the coffee table if the ‘rents are coming over, though, unless you want to make a statement.

    3. the gold digger*

      My husband’s parents cannot stand me. They threatened to boycott our wedding (I had wanted to elope specifically because I did not want their drunk selves at my wedding) and told my husband many times not to marry me.

      He told them to f off.

      I have to say it has not gotten better since we got married, but I have disengaged from them. My husband visits them by himself. They continue to trash talk me and go to the Vault of the Bad Things GD Has Done at least once a month to haul out old complaints. (Most recent one – the last time I visited them, I ate something I was not supposed to eat. They did not tell Primo what that food was, although they complained that my sister in law ate all the pickled herring last year. The last time I was there was five years ago.) To me, they are now just material for my blog. (Which should be open sometime this week – cross your fingers. Waiting for a cache page to be updated so it does not include the outing comment, which Primo had deleted from the site.)

      What matters more than your parents is how you deal with it. You get to choose. You get to tell your parents to shut up. You get to marry who you want. It is up to you to set the standards for the relationship with your parents. If they cannot accept your partner, they don’t get to have you. This is about you, not your parents.

      1. Dan*

        I have ex in-laws that have their own special place in family drama hell.

        Hell, my mother in law almost missed the wedding because she got arrested at the airport for being drunk in public. Oh that was fun.

        My advice to Carmen is that when it comes to her parents, it’s imperative that her and the bf communicate about it and formulate a coordinated plan of attack.

        One of the many reasons my ex and I split up is that me calling her family dysfunctional was taboo, and she’d never talk to me about it. “Roll with the punches” is what she’d tell me, “it’s my *family*.”

    4. AnotherAlison*

      Ah yes. I have indeed. I got pregnan in college, so they had good reason to not like my bf (weren’t big fans before and dod forbid him from coming to see me at college), but whereas many parents would appreciate a young guy trying to take care of his responsibilties, they again forbid him from seeing me. My dad IS a narcissist as DB mentioned above, and we have a bad family dynamic that I wasn’t really aware of at that age. The degree of steps my parents took to try to end our relationship was unfathomable, but we kept doing what we wanted and they just had to kind of stand by and watch. After our son was born, they still didn’t want us to get married, but we said we were going to elope, and lo and behold they started planning a wedding. I actually would have preferred eloping but my husband wanted the wedding. They continued to try to tell us what to do, and we kept doing what we wanted. I have the grandkid leverage, which gives me more power in the relationship now. It’s been 17 years since we got married. They came around to liking my husband and things were good for a while, but we haven’t had a GOOD relationship with them for about 5 years.

      Fwiw, some of his flaws were his family–mom is 7x divorced although it was only 4x then and his dad was kind of a deadbeat dad. DH was kind of a partier and dabling in junior college at the time. I was a straight A student. I get it, but I don’t get why they think they have a say. I also don’t think it would matter who I married. The problem ultimately boiled down to being them, not us. They didn’t make it easy for us to get married and my mom would occasionally throw digs my way, but they were mostly civil during the time of our wedding. Hopefully your mom can behave and not ruin your wedding.

    5. Vancouver Reader*

      You have to live your life in a way that makes you happy and mom has to live hers. If she wants to be miserable all the time, that’s her prerogative, you just need to not get sucked into her vortex. If that means if/when you get married to your bf and she decides to never speak to you again that’s her loss. She can’t make you break up with a guy just so she can have her moment of glee.

    6. Nashira*

      We packed my stuff up, got married at the court house, then continued packing my crap in order to move me and it a thousand miles away from my mother’s house. I still have regular nightmares about the experience, since Mom was basically trying to break my husband and I up since we first started dating, right up until the day before he flew out to come marry/rescue me. Usually by screaming at me or by trying to setup reasons why we couldn’t see each other. (We were long distance before we got married.)

      Although to be fair, we got married at the courthouse because the idea of people staring at me was horrifying to me.

      Is there any way you can cut your mother out of your life a little more? You don’t have to make her happy; you have to make you happy. In fact, it sounds like trying to make you happy will only result in inappropriate, boundary-violating behavior from her. You don’t have to drop her completely if you don’t want to, but it really sounds like you could use a lot more space.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yes to the space, you need breathing room.

        I wondered what would happen if you told your mother she should go for counseling. I see others have suggested it to you for yourself. But what if you told your mother that she should get some help?
        I doubt she would go.
        But once you open that topic, it’s out in the light of day. So something like the whole credit card discussion could change. It could be more like you saying, “Mom, that is my personal business. Remember we discussed that some things are my private business? Boundaries and privacy are some things that you could talk over with your counselor when you go.”

        I do agree that you need a life-long plan for this. Yes, your mother might change but who can know when? And what if she does not change? Do you still want to be doing this 15-20 years from now?

    7. anonymous daisy*

      I am an old burnt out spinster so my advice may not be the way to go. When she starts digging on him, just say “Wow, he never says bad things about you. He even says I should listen to you more often.”

    8. Honeybee*

      I grew up in a pretty conservative religious sect in which it is anathema to marry outside it, and I – you guessed it – got married to an “outsider” 3 years ago. (I am also now an “outsider” as well.) I had been dating my now-husband for many years before we married so my parents were expecting it and had some time to accept it, but my dad refused to attend my wedding. My mom attended, but I’m pretty sure she had mixed feelings about it. We still got married, lol.

      The thing I realized is…your parents don’t have any control over your adult life. They can whine and throw a temper tantrum and you can, very calmly, ignore them. My parents realized very quickly that I was going to completely ignore them, do what I want, and exclude them if they decided to throw fits, and each took their own route in deciding how involved in my life they wanted to be. Of course, the downside of this is that you have to be prepared for cutting your parents out of your life to varying degrees – or, in the case of my father, having them cut you out of theirs and pretend you don’t exist. I’m not going to say that it doesn’t hurt, but being forced to “believe” in something I did not and live a certain way would’ve hurt worse.

    9. Student*

      Yes, I was in your shoes once. My parents had a fairly extensive list of requirements for my husband, started trying to marry me off pretty young, and threatened me should I ever pick a mate with the “wrong” characteristics. The eventual realization that my parents are essentially Nazis helped, too. They want to breed me for very specific traits, just like the Nazis once did; traits that I don’t value.

      For me, fixing this was all about realizing that my parents were pretty much screw-ups that I did not want to emulate. It was also about recognizing that they had raised me with extremely screwed-up expectations around boundaries and being treated with respect and dignity. I had to go out and learn what people consider normal for boundaries – I read advice columns (like this one) exactly for that reason.

  43. MsChanandlerBong*

    I have a cat dilemma! We took in a stray cat last summer and named him Chewbacca (Chewie for short). He’s mostly settled in, although he’s still rather skittish. One of his most interesting quirks is that he refuses to drink water out of a bowl. He only drinks if one of us turns on the tub faucet and lets it run very slowly. The problem is, we’re moving to a new house next month, and the new house doesn’t have any bathtubs. We tried to wean him off the tub (thinking if he was really thirsty, he’d give up and drink out of the bowl), but he just stopped drinking altogether. We also ordered a pet fountain, but the motor was so loud that it scared all five of the cats (and it was pretty annoying to the humans, too), so we had to send it back.

    Can anyone recommend a quiet pet fountain? If we can’t find one, I guess we’ll have to teach him to drink out of the sink.

    1. Dynamic Beige*

      From what I’ve heard, it’s really common for cats to want to drink out of some kind of faucet. Maybe he’ll switch to a bathroom sink faucet when he’s settled in and gets there’s no choice.

      I recently had to replace my Drinkwell Platinum fountain, which I had had for 3(?) years. I like it because it’s got a big water reservoir on the back (which is great for going away for a few days) and it is very quiet. If the water level gets low I will hear more of a running water sound but at the right level, it’s practically silent.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        The fountain I returned was a Drinkwell fountain. It was incredibly loud (not the running water sound; the motor itself). I had the fountain on the first floor, and I could still hear it while I was upstairs–I’m hard of hearing, so it must be extra loud to someone who can hear properly.

    2. schnapps*

      We had one and it scared the bejesus out of our cats – they are older adoptees and just weren’t used to it. It wasn’t overly loud, but the sound of running, dripping water drives me batty. The cats would just sit there and stare at it. If they were thirsty, they’d drink out of the toilet, so we switched back to bowls.

      Will he drink out of a glass? A friend of mine had a cat that would only drink out of glasses or cups so she left a couple sitting out.

      I also have this theory that cats don’t like to drink when their whiskers touch the sides of the bowl (nothing proven, just experience of always having cats). Maybe a wider, shallower bowl would help?

      1. Today's Satan*

        I had an elderly cat who developed chronic kidney disease. It was important to keep him hydrated. I bought distilled water and served it to him in martini glasses (which are wide and shallow) placed around the house. He especially liked to drink from the glasses that were in “forbidden” places like the top of the dining or coffee table.

        Oh, and the “forbidden” thing worked when I needed to get him to eat, too. But it was more like food found in places where you normally wouldn’t see it, like the bed or the TV stand, in a chair or on my desk. He ate more if he found food in random places rather than just in his normal spot.

      2. MsChanandlerBong*

        I’ve never seen him drink out of anything except the tub. If you don’t get out of bed and turn it on at what he thinks is a reasonable time, he’ll stand next to the bed and yowl until one of us wakes up (even though there’s a huge bowl of water, that we change twice/day, sitting in the kitchen at all times)!

        1. Ani*

          A friend just posted a piece on FB this week about cats generally not liking to drink water near where they eat. Something about the predator in them — the instinct is to not take water from nearby where the kill is (because the kill could contaminate the water). I know it sounds ridiculous with domestic cats, except I’ve found they really don’t want to drink out of a bowl anywhere near where they eat.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Psycho Kitty will, but the bowl is not right next to her food, just in the general vicinity. I’m going to move it further away, though, and see what happens.

            In winter, I go out at night and give her water (because hers will have frozen from the time I feed her in the evening). I sort of make her take some by repeatedly tapping the bowl and she will come over and drink if she’s thirsty.

    3. BRR*

      I’ve heard it’s common for cats to enjoy running water (hence the pet fountain market). I wonder if you could look for decorating accessories that involve running water.

    4. Carrie in Scotland*

      My cat also likes to drink from the tap sometimes but is perfectly happy with a cup/mug filled up on the windowsill near the tap/sink- maybe you could try that?

    5. abby*

      We had a DrinkWell Platinum for years. It worked well and the cats played with the running stream and drank out of it. But I thought the motor was loud and the entire fountain seemed to vibrate, which caused even more noise. After changing the cats’ diet to almost all canned and raw food, they don’t drink as much and I felt like I was wasting water every time I cleaned the fountain.

      I started looking for fountains that hold less water. We recently purchased a DrinkWell Pagoda, which uses less than half the water as the Platinum. It’s the same motor, but this one is silent. We can hear only the water. I am guessing I cannot hear this motor because the Pagoda is ceramic and really heavy, so it is likely insulated more and there is generally less vibration.

      You do not mention what you feed your cats. If your cat eats dry food, he must drink lots of water. I think you know this, but it’s super important, especially for male cats. If you switch to canned, or are able to make canned a significant percentage of his diet, he will get more moisture from his food and won’t need to drink as much. It was amazing the difference when we switched ours from dry to canned: they drank noticeably less water, but they are much better hydrated.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        That’s weird. Both you and MrsBong must have gotten lemons. Both of the ones I have had have been silent and no vibration, no special things required to keep them so, just filled with water. I’ve caught my boy drinking out of it, but not my girl, whether she does and I just haven’t seen it, I don’t know. I found out too late (eep) what she does like to do — I usually take a big glass of water to bed and try to finish it, but maybe do half of it or 2/3. One morning I woke up to see my girl dipping her paw into my glass, licking the water off her foot, putting it back in the glass, repeat. Gah! No more taking a sip of water in the middle of the night and sometimes I use a commuter cup she can’t get into instead.

        1. abby*

          I’m not sure. I had two and both were noisy. The second one more so. I could hear the motor hum and the fountain itself vibrate. Sometimes I could adjust the placement of the fountain and reduce the vibrating sound, but could never get rid of the humming motor. As I said above, the new ceramic fountain has the same motor, but maybe the ceramic muffles the sound. Not really sure why there is less vibration; maybe because the new one is ceramic instead of plastic.

      2. MsChanandlerBong*

        Yes, they all eat dry food. Our lone female has allergies (and an autoimmune disorder), so we feed them all the food that works with her allergies. The house we rent has zero doors that close/latch properly (we used to be able to close the bedroom door and put a laundry hamper in front of it, but then one of the boys figured out that he can bash his head into the door repeatedly until the hamper moves), so there’s no way we can feed her alone and then feed the boys separately.

    6. blackcat*

      I have a pet fountain (the stainless teal pioneer pet one that’s a best seller on Amazon. It’s easy to find). It’s VERY finicky about how much noise it will make. It can be very loud if it is not
      1. Sitting on something soft. We have it on a mat.
      2. Lined up exactly right. We must adjust it regularly, sometimes after the cat has poked it.
      3. Gets even the tiniest bit low on water. We fill it every evening and we have 1 cat.
      4. The filter is old or not properly aligned. I clean it once a week, replacing the filter every month or so.

      So it’s a pain. But like your cat, mine won’t drink out of still water, ever. He also absolutely will not touch any water that has ever sat in a plastic container (but will somehow drink out of the pet fountain which has plastic in the motor/filter…). The pet fountain takes care to set up/maintain such that it is nice and quiet. So the problem may not have been the fountain you bought, but how you set it up, unfortunately.

      It’s important to keep our cat hydrated since he has a history of UTIs. It is a pain, but the maintenance of the pet fountain is worth it for us.

      1. AcademicAnon*

        +1 to everything blackcat said and also it depends a lot on the design. Waterfall/slide is quieter than the spout kind, which is what most drinkwells are. It also depends on if you have hard water – the deposits will start causing issues and the pump will start making noise. I use a Pioneer Pet Big Max fountain – the slide and base are ceramic so I can put them in the dishwasher.

      2. abby*

        Good to know this. I was thinking about getting a stainless steel fountain, but am glad I got the ceramic. It’s been quiet and trouble-free.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        I think that setting on a mat is an excellent idea – it probably helps to less the sound of the motor, too.

    7. edj3*

      We have three cats and ran into the problem of how to hydrate kitties so they don’t get crystals in their urine or other bad things. What’s worked for us is the CatIt fountain (sort of like this one, only ours is 4 years old now so looks a tiny bit different):

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015Z3RYK/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3?pf_rd_p=1944687502&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0006L2LWS&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0ZX110JBQTHA9B8MMY42

      They all love it, and it’s very quiet. We put the disassembled fountain in the dishwasher to clean it (not the motor of course) and it’s been absolutely wonderful.

  44. nep*

    Any longish-haired women out there ever shave the head or get a buzz cut (by choice)?
    I’ve always had med-length to long hair and in 2008 I got a buzz cut. One of the funnest things ever. During the period I had that look, when it would start to grow even the slightest bit I’d get the clippers and shave it down to almost nothing. Loved it. Often I’m so tempted to do it again. But I find that while I’d want that look some days, wouldn’t want it every day. Might just do it again one of these days.

    1. Today's Satan*

      Way back in the mid-80’s when I was just a teenager, I buzz-cut the sides and back of my [very long] hair, and left a little on the top that I permed and colored purple. I remember leaving the salon and walking down the street afterward. A car full of guys 1-2 years older than me drove by and I steeled myself for the inevitable cat-calls. . . which never came. They glanced at me but were like, “punk freak” instead of “hot babe”. I remember thinking that I didn’t know if I should be grateful for that or not. :-)

      But I was also kind of traumatized by suddenly not having long hair and I let it grow all the way back out. I’ve never done anything like that again, so here I am at age 48 with hair that hangs below my shoulder blades.

    2. Natalie*

      Yep, had super short hair from mid-college until my late 20s. I did really like it – so low maintenance! But like you I got kind of sick of having it all the time. I’ve been growing my hair out since then and I like the option to actually style it differently.

      If I did it again, I could see myself springing for a couple of really good wigs, just for variety.

    3. GOG11*

      I had shaved hair at one point. It was part of a fundraiser. I’d never had it shorter than chin length before that (and usually it was much longer).

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Not shaved or buzz cut, but prior to my senior year, I got a very VERY short haircut after coming back from camp that summer. My hair drove me nuts so I was like, “Cut it off!” After it grew back, I left it long–I don’t look so hot with short hair.

    5. Nashira*

      Have you thought about just getting a nice wig or two, if you go for a buzz cut? Then you can have longer hair when you feel like it.

      I went from waist-length hair to a really short pixie cut over the course of a year. I’m currently letting the bangs grow out, but they’re really hard to style in a gender-neutral way, so I’m thinking of going shorter again. I prefer to present quite androgynously.

    6. a sinister midget with a bucket and a mop*

      Funny! Okay, I’m not female but yesterday I decided to try a “half Mohawk” and buzz-cut most of the left side of my head. I went DIY so the back area still needs some work, but overall I kinda like it. I’ll post some pics to my name link later. It’s certainly a lot cooler in this weather! A funny thing about it is that I can go “half-bald” or swipe my hair in the opposite direction and it looks like I have a full head of hair.

  45. Calla too*

    I noticed that there was a Calla commenting on the site and wanted to say hi. It’s not a common name where I live so I get excited when I find out I share a name with someone. Hi!

  46. scarydogmother*

    Question about how to handle an awkward/disappointing situation:

    A couple weeks ago I ran into my cousin, aunt and uncle outside at my apartment complex because my cousin moved in across the courtyard. Totally random and unexpected and kinda funny. We are both originally from a smaller city about 2 hours away. J is 22 and we have never been close (I’m 33 and our family isn’t super close-knit) but it was still exciting. He recently graduated from college here and I moved here a year ago. We chat when we see each other outside and he always greets my dog enthusiastically.

    I went on a day trip with some friends yesterday so I asked J if he’d like to make $10 by giving my dog a potty break in the afternoon. He agreed to do it. I had also been thinking of asking if he’d want to care for my pets when I’m on vacation next month, which would be so convenient (and I know he could use the money). He sent me a text yesterday afternoon to say that my dog sniffed around outside for a minute and then wanted to go back inside. When I got the message a couple hours later (I had been tubing on a river) I replied to ask whether the dog peed. J texted, “He kinda sniffed around then headed for the door.” So … NO. Then I returned home to find a big puddle of piss on the floor.

    What the hell. I am so annoyed. If he was heading for the door, J should have pulled him back into the grass and waited for him to pee! That was the whole point of this arrangement, and now he has $10 that he didn’t actually earn. Like, come on, use your brain. J also used my toilet (#1), didn’t flush, and left the seat up. !?!? It almost feels like he gave me the metaphorical finger. Or blew it on purpose so I don’t ask him again. I really didn’t think he was so thoughtless and lazy. Now I don’t know if I should reply to his last text or what to say next time I see him outside. Any recommendations?

    p.s. Needless to say the search continues for a trustworthy person to take my dog and cat when I go on vacation!

    1. Elkay*

      Does he come from a dog owning family? I’ve never taken care of a dog and I’d assume that the dog didn’t want to go when I let him out and he wanted to go straight back in. It wouldn’t occur to me to force him to stay out.

      As for using your toilet, I think that kind of behaviour is perfectly normal for lots of people (I don’t understand it personally).

    2. fposte*

      Oh, frustrating. Did he come over before the time to get walked through the procedure? If not, I think this may have been a hiring practice fail. I’d always take somebody through the whole pet care thing anyway, unless they were an experienced petsitter and there was a time issue. Sounds like J’s kind of an inexperienced guy who may also be a slacker. I also think if you allow people in your house, you allow them to use the bathroom. But they’re supposed to leave it like you couldn’t tell, and the not flushing is just moronic. But I don’t think he flipped you the bird; I think he’s just a goof.

      I’d write this one off as a bad afternoon and consider him a family member who doesn’t get money from you for anything anymore.

      1. scarydogmother*

        I did have him come over in the morning to show him what to do, but I didn’t realize I had to explicitly tell him that the goal was for the dog to potty outside to avoid an accident inside. Of course I realize it’s normal to use the bathroom in other people’s homes; I do it all the time! But I also leave things the way I found them and don’t subject people to the sight of my waste!

        1. fposte*

          I misunderstood and thought you were counting that as his first misstep, not, um, identifying the output.

          I would still let it go as something that just didn’t work, and be glad you found it out with an afternoon rather than when you were away for two weeks.

    3. BRR*

      I would let this one go and not ask him again. He either doesn’t know how to take care of a dog or as you said blew it on purpose.

    4. danr*

      Just commenting on the seat situation. Since day three of living together (and married for a long time), we always leave the toilet with the cover down by mutual agreement. That way both men and women have something to do. I’ll admit that both of us are annoyed when we have company and no one leaves the cover down, even though it starts that way. The not flushing is just a way to save water, but it shouldn’t be done outside your own home.

      1. Today's Satan*

        I have five cats, all of whom consider themselves to be Master of Gravity. Not putting the seat *with the cover* down is just begging for things to be knocked into the toilet. And in the case of one cat, Violet, for things to be purposefully dropped into the toilet because fun.

        1. Natalie*

          I don’t even have pets, and I keep the cover down so *I* don’t drop things in the toilet. Always seemed like a no-brainer to me.

    5. AnotherAlison*

      I had a similar dog care situation. My teenage neighbor was supposed to let him out 2x per day for 5 days. She did, just like J did for you, but we came back to what I believe to be several poops in one bedroom. I don’t know if she didn’t give him enough time, or if he just thought “screw them” and pooped in there for spite, but bottom line after that and one more amateur dogsitting fail, we now kennel our dogs now. I think your best bet is a professional or someone who intimately knows your pets and their habits, like a former roommate or bff who spends a ton of time at your house.

    6. Dan*

      Dogs can be temperamental when they have a substitute care giver. My friend’s dog is house broken… Except when my friend is out of town and his mom house sits, the dog will crap in the living room.

    7. Dan*

      Dogs can be temperamental when they have a substitute care giver. My friend’s dog is house broken… Except when my friend is out of town and his mom house sits, the dog will crap in the living room .

    1. the gold digger*

      Hi Elkay! Yes, it will! Primo had the outing comment removed from the site where family members might see it, but now we are waiting for the cache to catch up. The cached page was last refreshed on August 5. It should refresh soon, shouldn’t it?

      I don’t know if his family is internet savvy enough to look at a cached page, but my sister in law saw the offending comment when it was still live and said, “Hey! What’s your blog called? There is some weird comment about a ‘I am a golddigger’ blog on X page!”

      I hated lying to Stephanie, because she is the only person in that family I like and who has ever been nice to me and because I would not care if she read the GD blog, but I can’t risk anyone else finding out about it. I don’t care what that family thinks of me, but it would make life hard for Primo and he doesn’t need that.

      In the meantime, send me an email at anitamke at hotmail and I will add you to the list. Sorry for all the hassle – this has been a pain in the neck for everyone!

  47. Cruciatus*

    So a couple of months ago we had a wellness fair at my last job. The Highmark booth had these little bottles of SPF-30 sunscreen with their name on it. I really like it! It barely smells, isn’t at all sticky and because I’ve been using it often I’m about to run out. But I don’t know how to find more of it! On the side it says Brijon, and it’s distributed by Lanco Corp. in NY. Looking that up it looks like they provide custom imprinted promotional products. But someone has to be making this sunscreen for them. Although knowing it’s just random sunscreen concerns me it totally sucks, but I do love that I can put it on and I can’t even tell it’s there… I suppose I could contact Lanco Corp. and see if they’ll tell me. Anyone have any other suggestions?

    1. Ruffingit*

      Lanco owns Brijon, not sure who makes the actual product, but it’s apparently made specifically for Lanco to distribute. Someone on ebay is selling packets of Brijon sunscreen and you can also order it directly from Lanco at lancopromo dot com

      1. Cruciatus*

        Thanks. I did see that site but I can only see ones that you have to buy in bulk, often minimum orders of 100 or 500. I like the stuff, but can’t use that much before it expires! I’ll keep looking.

  48. Liane*

    I saw a couple threads on specific books/series. So as not to hijack, here’s a general What did you just read, are reading &/or plan to read next?

    Just read: 1-From a High Tower (Elemental Masters 11) by Mercedes Lackey. Fantasy set in the 19th century heyday of Wild West touring shows, Annie Oakley Meets Rapunzel. Great read and the twists in the Witch and Guy Who Climbs Hair characters are great.
    Hopcross Jilly (Mercy Thompson) by Patricia Briggs and Rik Hoskin. Graphic novel for Ms. Briggs wonderful urban fantasy series. Very good.

    Now reading: Force & Destiny Sta Wars RPG core book, one of the gifts from Very Good Friend. Partly for fun & partly research for articles for gaming blog. (I sure hope Managing Editor is mollified by all the writing I got done last night.)

    Next Read: Probably The Hero, the Sword & the Dragons (Chronicles of Dragon 1) by Craig Halloran. Kindle offered it for free the other day & I love fantasy novels, so nothing to lose. (What, no one had any idea I like fantasy?)

    1. acmx*

      I just read Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
      Currently reading Daughter of The Sword by Steve Bein (someone here mentioned it).
      Next is The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wrecker and Wind/Pinball by Haruki Murakami

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Just read: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
      Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (my favorite one!)
      Next read: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

      Followed by, as my recent blog post indicates, all the damn research stuff I haven’t read yet. >_<

    3. Ruffingit*

      Just read: A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy. So depressed still over her death.

      Reading now: Friday Mornings at Nine by Marilyn Branch.

    4. Meadowsweet*

      just read: Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce (YA fantasy set in her Circle/Emelan universe) and Fated by Benedict Jacka (urban fantasy set in London)

      current: dipping into Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire, leafing through the Vampire: the Requiem sourcebook

      up next: not sure actually! I’ve books in at the bookstore but I need to get there, otherwise a random wander through what I currently have to see what grabs :)

    5. AcademicAnon*

      Just read: Kitty Saves the World by Carrie Vaughn and Pocket Apocalypse by Seanen McGuire.

      Now reading: Robin Hood – Mark of the Black Arrow by Debbie Viguie and James R Tuck and Alien Separation by Gini Koch

      Next up: probably Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow or Dark Side of the Road by Simon Green.

      Waiting for: Cast in Honor by Michelle Sagara and Closer to the Heart by Mercedes Lackey

    6. Clever Name*

      I just started reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (I think that’s the last name).

  49. Sunflower*

    I’m wondering if my expectations from therapy are too high. I’ve been in therapy twice with 3 different therapists. The first time I was in college. I was going through a crisis and the majority of my time in therapy was spent managing that. I saw a social worker as well as a grad. student. The social worker was amazing but meeting with the grad student felt pointless and like I got nowhere. I mostly attributed that to her learning and I let that go.

    I entered therapy again 1.5 years ago. I had mixed feelings on my therapist. It often times felt more like she was giving me advice and while she was good at diagnosing my problems, I felt like there were no solutions. We spent a lot of time talking about my problems with relationships and commitment. We established that I avoid commitment so I latch onto men it will never work out with or I write them off very quickly. Her suggestion was to go on dates with more people and not write them off so quickly. I’m not sure if I needed harder rules like ‘go on a date with 2 people this week’ but some times leave feeling like I wasted an hour of my time. I’m not sure what I am expecting from therapy. I always kind of thought my therapist would send me home with ‘homework’ for the week. I anticipated therapy being difficult and uncomfortable but it wasn’t. I just felt like I was bitching about my life for an hour to a friend who would tell me ‘she understands where I’m coming from’.

    I am looking to re-enter therapy and looking for new therapists. I 1. want to go in with realistic expectations and 2. Be upfront with my therapist about my expectations. Help?

    1. Christy*

      Try telling her your past experiences and what you’re looking for. It’s no problem to have a session just to vet your new therapist.

    2. Natalie*

      I don’t think your expectations were too high at all – just sounds like your second therapist wasn’t providing what you wanted. Your approach sounds perfect, and would be a great conversation for your first session. If you don’t feel like you and therapist are on the same page, find a different one.

    3. Dan*

      Sometimes the solutions are on you. My shrink tells me she can’t do *all* of the work. And she’s right. Shrinks have expertise in specific areas, make sure you find one that is appropriate for you.

      For example, my sil and my bro live ten minutes from my mom and dad. They have been married for ten years, and dated in hs. Aka, my SIL *knows* my mom.

      My SIL is a shrink for the VA, she does PTSD for vets. My mom has some good mental health issues, and when I ask my SIL if she ever picked up on them, I get this blank look.

      Point being, you need to see the right shrink for the right problem.