weekend free-for-all – September 12-13, 2015

Eve and LucyThis comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school. If you have a work question, you can email it to me or post it in the work-related open thread on Fridays.)

Book Recommendation of the Week: The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri. This is from the author of Interpreter of Maldies, which won a Pulitzer, but I will boldly assert that this one is better. (Also, that was short stories and this is a novel, and in a literary street fight, the novel will always win.)

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

{ 819 comments… read them below }

  1. Christina*

    What would you make with 30 pounds of plums (damson, green gage, Italian prune) ? So far I’ve got the following planned: plum gin with the damsons, plum pie, pickled plums, plum chutney, and grilled plum and pork sandwiches. Anything interesting I haven’t thought of?

    1. Nashira*

      Roast off a batch, puree it, and add it to your favorite vanilla ice cream base. If you can make it 2 parts plums:1 part figs, it’s even better.

          1. Natalie*

            Oo, that reminds me of a dessert my friend makes with plums – halve and pit them, grill like a kebab, and top with whip cream or sweetened sour cream.

    2. Lore*

      I like plums in salad with arugula and goat cheese and walnuts. My mom also makes a delicious plum cake–a basic coffee cake batter topped with sliced plums.

    3. Artemesia*

      I love to make compote — throw in fresh peaches and either a can or a pound or two of fresh cherries. Tasty stuff.

      I once tried to make natural jelly from a tree of plums in the backyard of an apartment building. I faithfully followed the recipe for making jam/jelly without added pectin and ended up with a gallon of plum syrup. It was actually tasty and so we used it on French toast, pancakes, ice cream etc until we had finished it.

    4. Steve G*

      Boiling them (putting) with cut up rhubarb in not too much water until its mushy, bulk it up with panko (unseasoned) bread crumbs. Yummy plain or with iced cream or on a cake

    5. the gold digger*

      We have a pear tree that is producing abundantly this year. I have been making pie, strudel, compote, and cobbler. This pie (in next post) is amazing, which I guess is not surprising considering it has 3/4 lb of butter and lard in it.

    6. mdv*

      I use italian prune plums to make plum butter a la my german grandmother… As one of my friends says, “worth killing for!” :)

      1. azvlr*

        Can you really make umeboshi with end-of-season plums?! I thought you had to use a particular type of apricots, and the season for that was in May. I would love to hear this is possible!

        1. matcha123*

          I can’t really say because I’ve never made it. From my friends it sounds like they keep it for a year before drinking it. You might want to check cookpad or another similar site:
          cookpad.com/us/recipes/155683-our-familys-umeshu

          To be honest, I never ate plums when I was in the US, so I can’t say if there’s any difference between American and Japanese ones. My impression is that if you have strong enough liquor and enough sugar it doesn’t matter :x

    1. pony tailed wonder*

      That was a great movie. As soon as it ended, I drove straight to the bookstore to get the book it came from. The book was even better.

    1. Gem*

      Agreed on both book and movie.
      “In a literary street fight, the novel will always win.”
      I just love this line.

    2. Jessica (tc)*

      I agree that Lahiri’s novel is better than her collection of short stories, but I think it’s because she works better in the long form. Am I the only one that thinks that about writers sometimes? (I mean, Bradbury was a good novelist and F451 is one of my faves, but he was the master of the short story.)

      The movie was also wonderful, so I agree with everyone here. If you haven’t picked it up, you should check it out.

      1. Nashira*

        Bradbury’s short stories have always struck me as being far better than his long work. I mean, his long work was great, but some of those stories were just so perfectly written, you know?

        1. Jessica (tc)*

          I completely agree! There was just something about his short stories that were stunningly perfect. I think some people work better in the short form (Bradbury) and vice versa (Lahiri). “The Fog Horn” is achingly sad in an unusual way; “The Veldt” stunned three entire classes of sophomores I once taught (“Wait, did that just happen?”); and “The Sound of Thunder” always makes me think about how what I do, big or small, can mean something in weird ways that I may not count on.

          1. Nashira*

            Have you heard deadmau5’s song The Veldt? It’s based off the short story and it reinterprets the haunting feeling pretty successfully imho.

    3. David*

      I love The Namesake! I haven’t seen the movie yet. Her latest novel, The Lowland, is very good, too. Has anyone here read it?

      1. Valley*

        I did, and I was really looking forward to it because I loved all her other books. But I was disappointed in The Lowland. I just couldn’t get into it.

        1. Aam Admi*

          I read The Lowland last week . The ending was not as I expected. But I liked the story and setting – I lived near Colcutta for a while, learned to speak the language and appreciate the culture. In fact, when I need comforting music, I listen to Bengali songs and not songs in my own mother tongue.
          I devour everything Lahiri writes.

    4. Amanda*

      I loved this book, and the movie was pretty great too which was a nice surprise. I didn’t care as much for her short stories, but I’m not a huge short story fan to begin with. I was very frustrated with one of hers in particular because I REALLY wanted to see more of the characters and their story.

      1. Jessica (tc)*

        This, exactly! When I read her short stories, there were a few that felt unfinished or waiting for more to happen, which frustrated me.

  2. SandrineSmiles (France)*

    I’m in a weird funk.

    The week was good Youtube-wise, but otherwise… Meh. For some reason, I’m just not feeling well at all. I have so many dreams, so many things I want to do… but then I look at everything and it goes blank. For example, who the hell gets semi-depressed about not being able to afford the Sims 4 to improve her gaming stuff ? (No, seriously, I don’t get it… I’ve been able to resist though.)

    There are potentially good things happening, though. I’m just crossing fingers for those. Ayyyyyyyyye.

    1. StillHealing*

      I’m so sorry you are feeling in a funk. I’ve sorta been in one all summer. It’s both physical and mental for me. Does it feel that way for you too?

      Could it be there is just TOO much for you to fathom and your mind is overloaded? The blanking out is just the brain/minds way to cope? I’m curious because I think that’s what might be happening with me. I’m not having any problems focusing at work though. I’m thinking it’s time to structure my life outside of “work hours” as if it’s just as important. Breaking down my tasks to smaller, easier to accomplish within a set timeframe tasks. A weekly schedule of when, where and how to do what I need to do. Makes me tired just thinking about doing that though…..

      Sounds like you have a lot of positives in your life as well as goals, dreams and ideas. Could there be something physical medically you might check in with a doctor about? The ” feeling semi-depressed ” is definitely something to pay attention too. It’s alarming to you for a reason. No judgment from anyone here I’m sure.

      My life is full of positive and negative, possibilities and dead ends, work to do on all areas, full of opportunities as well. I have set up “rewards” for myself as a way of getting through some of the difficult tasks but then I’m back in a slump/funk once I complete a round. I find myself today again not even knowing where to begin again. I got to this weekend and I just need to rest. I don’t have energy to spare.

      One suggestion that’s been given to me by my Acupuncturist, it’s to get outside in the Natural World more and away from the digital electronic world. Seeing the sunshine and feeling the warm breeze today convinces me – she’s on to something. So, I’m going to start…outside.

      1. SandrineSmiles (France)*

        Well, there are quite a few things to think about and, indeed, quite a few ideas and projects. I’m focusing on my “off time” life between resume revisions and stuff.

        As for the Natural World… The problem is that many opportunities reside in the digital world xD . And there are other, err, health reasons that make me hesitate to go outside for too long (but I’m slowly working on those) .

        And here I am, feeling blah but being able to list all those nice things happening. Huuuuuh xD …

  3. Stephanie*

    (Alison, feel free to delete if too work related!)

    So I’m taking an engineering class at the local university (employer gives some tuition assistance, so I figured why not). And man…it has almost excessive levels of homework. Now admittedly, I am rusty and haven’t done a lot of the stuff in almost a decade, but even factoring that in, the assignments still seem crazy long, especially for an upper level undergrad course! And I got a pretty rigorous degree from a pretty rigorous school. Once you break the problems down, they’re not that deep conceptually (figure out which part of the formulas apply, solve, plug and chug…no theory or derivations), but there are just a lot of steps to get to that (for example. every problem has to be converted to SI units).

    So I went to office hours to talk to the professor to see if this was normal. And he said that yeah, the assignments take a while. He said the last one took him 5 hours (and he has a PhD and teaches this stuff).

    Anyway, more just a vent than anything. I’ve learned the hard way just to get started on these assignments ASAP.

    1. Dear liza dear liza*

      The rule of thumb is that students should spend 3 hours preparing for every 1 hour of classroom time, so a 3-credit class should have 9 hours/week of homework. But that’s a heck of a lot to take on, on top of a full time job!

      1. Stephanie*

        I wish the homework only took 9 hours! Professor said he figured it’d take students double what it took him. That was what I budgeted time wise and it took longer than that. Some of it is that there are concepts I’m just fuzzy on and have to go review. I at least now know how to pace myself on assignments. The first assignment was just a giant “WTF?!”

        (I’m also only at ~30 hours/week. My company hires a lot of people at my level just shy of full time. =\ )

        1. Dear liza dear liza*

          Sounds challenging! Maybe the professor will lessen the homework a little as the semester progresses. I know I do. :)

          1. Stephanie*

            Yeah, that was my mistake in undergrad–I didn’t reach out to professors soon enough in the semester for help. (I guess I was intimidated by them!) I met with the professor and he did say the first six weeks was pretty work-intensive and then it lightened up.

        2. Hellanon*

          Can you track down any YouTube tutorials for those concepts? In my experience, whatever it is you’re trying to do, somebody there wants to teach it to you, and a lot of the big universities have entire channels…

          1. Stephanie*

            Hmm, good idea! I ordered some Schaum’s outlines based on the prof’s recommendation and discovered one has errors. =/ (Although maybe it could be viewed as a good sign I can spot the errors?)

          2. A Teacher*

            On that same vein, what about khan academy? They have some graduate level stuff on there as well. (Free online) I’ve used it for my 100 level courses I teach at a college.

        1. Dear liza dear liza*

          True. I was thinking engineering wouldn’t have much reading, but I could be wrong.

          I also remember talking to a physics prof a few years back who said it was nearly impossible to estimate how long homework would take because so much depended on the student’s background. Someone very comfortable with the formulas might take a fraction of the time as someone with weaker math skills. (Not to say the OP has weaker skills, of course!)

      2. Honeybee*

        You know I have often heard that that’s the rule of thumb, but have rarely experienced it. I don’t think there were any classes I took in college that approached requiring 9 hours a week of preparation (reading + homework), and I took classes like linear algebra, calculus and biology in addition to some reading/writing intensive classes like philosophy and sociology. For a 15-credit load that would be 45 hours a week of preparation.

        In fact, I always joked that I had way more homework and studying in high school compared to college, lol.

        1. undergrad_was_hard*

          (more anon for this than usual, because I think my undergrad institution might be identifiable based on this)

          Yeah, this is hugely institution specific. I’ve been told as an instructor to never assign work that I think will go over this rule of thumb, which of course means I need to assign less because there are always some students who take much longer than others. So 80% students spend much less than that rule of thumb, and maybe 20% are there.

          Whereas my undergrad institution, the rule of thumb was about that for the intro classes, then suddenly the upper division classes (in multiple disciplines), I was told 5-7 hours of prep/homework for 1 hour of classtime was likely. I had never worked as hard before, nor will I ever work that hard again. It was miserable. I learned A LOT, but 80+ hour weeks do not make me happy. They did not make my classmates happy. Lots of people had breakdowns. But now lots of people I went to college are super high powered people.

    2. RG*

      I generally have the impression that we went to the same school, but yeah, my problem sets were that long. Maybe you’ve blocked out those late nights doing homework.

      1. Stephanie*

        Hoot?

        I wouldn’t doubt that I’ve blocked out the long nights or just otherwise forgotten how they actually were. :)

        1. RG*

          Hoot! You know, I remember how it seemed like college was a lifetime ago just after a couple of months of working. Now it almost seems like something that happened to someone else.

    3. Natalie*

      I’ve never taken engineering, but I am back in school as a working adult. That does sound like a ton of homework, especially for college. That sucks. :(

    4. Anx*

      I’m wondering if maybe engineering has been hyped so much much in the past decade as being in demand (which makes me roll my eyes, because while it IS a pretty wise choice, nothing guarantees a job), that perhaps the programs are having to adjust for the influx?

    1. Mimmy*

      BEST: Things are finally starting to pick up after a rather boring summer.

      WORST: My state council apparently can’t make up its mind on our special meeting this coming week. First it was to be over 2 days, then 1 day, then 2 days, now BACK to 1 day!! Gahhh!!! Lucky for me it wouldn’t have mattered one way or the other, but a lot of the participants are professionals with full plates.

      Note: I didn’t put this in yesterday’s “Best & Worst” because my work is all volunteer–nothing paid. Alison, please feel free to delete if you disagree :)

    2. Ruffingit*

      BEST: Getting things done at home.

      WORST: Feeling blah about my weight. I really need to do something about it, it’s out of control.

      1. the gold digger*

        :)

        I decided just to buy a new dress for my college reunion rather than try to lose the weight to fit into what I already own. My classmates are joining me in that strategy.

      2. Saucy Minx*

        BEST: I baked chocolate chip cookies AND extra-spicy ginger cookies.

        WORST: I gained three pounds.

        SUMMARY: The consequences are painful, but the cause was sweet.

    3. Samantha*

      BEST: Have a trip planned for next week to go visit a close friend who recently moved across the state.

      WORST: Trying to kick a nasty sinus infection before I leave!

        1. Samantha*

          Thanks! I started using my Neti pot yesterday, which I had somehow forgotten about until then, and it seems to be helping a lot.

    4. Amber Rose*

      BEST: I’m going to a Weird Al concert tonight! I have literally never been to a concert before, unless you count seeing orchestras, which I don’t.

      WORST: I got salmonella from those tainted cucumbers that were recalled. I’m only just feeling better today, I’ve been violently ill all week.

      1. Nicole*

        I’ve never seen Weird Al in concert before but really like his work. Please come back with an update how it was – I’m curious!

        Sorry to hear you were sick.

        1. Amber Rose*

          Update 1: We’re a half hour before the show and there’s so many people with tinfoil hats I feel left out for not having one. xD

      2. Cruciatus*

        I saw him in early July–it was so fun! I heard the extended version of Yoda for the first time and still look it up on youtube every couple of days just to hear it again.

        1. the gold digger*

          I loved that song! I saw him here in July and he was fabulous! I had no idea – my husband was the one who wanted to go.

          At work the next day, my (immigrant) boss said, “I was at the Crazy Al concert last night.”

          My boss cracks me up.

      3. StillHealing*

        Sorry to hear you got salmonella!!! That sounds awful. Congratulations on your concert. Please do come back and post about it. Weird Al is awesome. I’d love to go see him in concert. He is so clever and intelligent.

      4. Amber Rose*

        Oh man. No words. Should’ve brought a poet. /weeps

        No seriously though it was so amazing. SO AMAZING. He opened with Tacky from outside the building. Some random bystanders in the background were following him like wtf haha.

        He sang like, all his songs I swear. And he had a different costume for all of them. He did Perform This Way in a purple octopus costume with furry pink leg warmers and an ice cream cone hat. While he changed, the big screen played random clips of TV stuff he’s done. And he did White and Nerdy on a Segway!

        At one point he did a song of terrible pickup lines and went through the crowd giving lap dances to random ladies. He did a little striptease at the end!

        He ended with The Saga Begins and Yoda, with like a full backup of dancing stormtroopers. It was glorious.

        Best. Night. Ever.

        1. Mimmy*

          Now I’M officially jealous!! He might’ve already passed my area, but oh man, that’s a show I’d see! Not my normal taste, but I loved him when I was younger. So glad to see he still has it.

    5. danr*

      Best: new shed is delivered (finally) and now we can move the mowers and chipper out of the second garage bay, clean it out and maybe actually park a car there.
      Worst: still waiting for the big dumpster and new deck boards to arrive. Not so much ‘worst’ in the big scheme, but still annoying.

    6. VintageLydia USA*

      BEST: A new (and the final) Dragon Age DLC came out this week and it was amazing. The emotions and stakes were high for my Inquisitor and the ending was a satisfying which should hold me over for a bit until the next installment of the franchise (most people estimate that to be 2018ish, though I’m sure there will be comics and books released in the meantime.)

      WORST: The rest of this week was really blah. Unproductive, just exhausted all week. It started in the upper 90’s and was super humid and now it’s barely 70 and been raining all day. Not a single day was one pleasant to go outside.

      1. Turtle Candle*

        Aaaah another Dragon Age fan! I was so delighted with Trespasser. I was afraid it would let me down but I was so very not let down–it felt like a fitting stopping point for my Inquisitor. (And as a Josephine romancer, her scenes utterly delighted me.)

          1. Nashira*

            Josie is amazing in general. I wonder how many players write her off, not realizing that without her diplomacy, the Inquisition would have failed utterly?

    7. Nashira*

      Best: My depression/PTSD crud has started to lighten up, so I’m finally able to get back to programming as a hobby! I’m chowing my way through exercism.io and Codecademy and it’s so much fun. I missed this. Right now, I’m partway through coding Battleship in Python, and it’s so satisfying I want to use many exclamation points to describe it. I’m kinda thinking of trying to start a Women Who Code-type meetup in my town.

      Worst: Had to stop using a combined birth control pill because stupid estrogen hates me, so I’m having my first period in five years. With horrific cramps that began at work yesterday. I so. cannot. wait. to get an Implanon placed next month and have these things suppressed again.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        OMG, I have sympathy cramps for you. I know I will have to deal with that one day, and I dread it. I send ice cream, a hot water bottle, and lots of Aleve.

      2. Calla*

        Ugh I feel you on the worst! I am “technically” supposed to have 4 periods a year but tend to just.. keep taking the active pills… except earlier this week I forgot to refill on time so I’m having like only my second one this year and I’m so crampy!

      3. Elizabeth West*

        I can’t take any pills anymore–a couple of doctors ago, they found out I had a DVT fifteen years ago and wouldn’t renew my prescription. Even though I had no probs since and it was a rogue pill switch. So I’m back to having periods again. They’re shorter, so the cramp days are only a couple instead of a week. Last one, I had to take four ibuprofens and put my head on my desk until they kicked in. I feel your pain!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Like what you give kids? Ooh, I might try that. I guess it works faster, huh?
            A couple of months ago, I had one that was so bad it felt like tiny labor! I told my uterus, “Hey, there are no male gametes around here right now; stop practicing.”

        1. Nashira*

          Oh no, I’m so sorry. My periods have always been so unpleasant (cramps so bad I pass out, whee fun) that I would be delighted to never have them again. Being stuck depending on pain meds alone sounds really awful.

    8. schnapps*

      BEST: I took my 6yo and two of her friends to a movie and lunch today and we all made it back alive. The screeching in the car was excellent practice for the AC/DC concert :)

      WORST: work-related.

    9. Carrie in Scotland*

      Best: I saw one of my good friends from my hometown and it was amazing! Although, our cake wasn’t all that :(

      Worst: Just about everything else (work, life, lack of time, lack of partner, lack of sleep, etc etc).

    10. Liane*

      Best: Son – who seldom gets sick – has finally recovered, after like 3 weeks from this horrible virus with the worst cough you have ever heard. (Nothing works on it – not prescription cough syrup with Codeine, not the old-fashioned tea/lemon/honey/whiskey home remedy!) I haven’t caught it, amazingly.

      Worst: Daughter got it last weekend, plus fever, and has been out of school all week. And Husband got it about the same time as she did. They have been even sicker than Son was, I think.
      And a friend is quite ill with cellulitis and might need surgery.

      1. fposte*

        I had that cough last year. It was *horrible*, and it was what led me to research coughs at 3 a.m. in medical journals and discover that it wasn’t just me (and your son)–codeine really doesn’t do much for coughs. Unfortunately, neither does anything else, really. Dextromethorphan (Vicks 66) sometimes helps a little bit in studies, but not much. Ultimately researchers were pretty much on board with the honey thing as about as good as it gets.

          1. fposte*

            No, they prescribe it because they wrongly believe it to be a cough suppressant. Codeine isn’t a particularly effective sleeping pill either–if they wanted people to sleep they’d prescribe something designed for that.

            1. Observer*

              What my doctor told me the one time he ever prescribed this stuff for me (it’s not something he does typically) was that it was the only thing that he thought would let me get some sleep. It’s not that he doesn’t know about sleep aids – he’s prescribed for me on other occasions.

              That did turn out to be the case for me, which in retrospect I find interesting. I’ve had codeine and codeine based medications for pain since (mostly post surgery) and although some forms make me quite loopy in a very unpleasant way, none have ever made me sleepy. I think that the effect was indirect – I didn’t need something to make me sleepy but something to keep the cough from keeping me from sleeping, which this seemed to do.

        1. Connie-Lynne*

          I had the never-ending cough two years ago. After determining it wasn’t pertussis and that I was no longer sick EXCEPT for always coughing, the doc prescribed Tessalon pearls.

          MAGIC. Stopped the cough in 12 hours.

            1. Lindsay J*

              The generic name is benzonatate. I’m on it right now for bronchitis.

              It hasn’t been a miracle pill for me; I’m still coughing a lot. However, it has stopped the occasional coughing fits where I couldn’t catch my breath and then vomited, so it is doing something. I can tell when it starts wearing off.

              1. Connie-Lynne*

                I think it started life as an asthma med. According to my doc it addresses muscle spasms around the lungs; maybe that’s why it only stops the huge fits for you?

      2. Liane*

        Thanks for the sympathy. Husband just started coughing again as I was reading your replies. He said he would go in to the VA Clinic Monday but I wish he wouldn’t wait. He called the last week and they ordered him the same cough prescription our son had. Bit when he wakes up he often ends up coughing for an hour.

    11. LSP*

      BEST: seeing some beautiful public art in the park.

      WORST: having a sh!)ty workout yesterday.
      I never thought I would care about my workouts or fitness in general, but I am applying for a government position that requires a high level of fitness and this whole thing is stressing me out. Why didn’t I do track and field in HS?! (Thank you all who answered my Q last Friday about working out during work hours btw.) I am working with a personal trainer and everything. I want this so bad, but it’s as if my body cannot recover fast enough. Maybe I need more rest days/time in between? Maybe I need more sleep and better food? Can someone add 6 hours to each day? I wish I could just really focus on my fitness – not just for this job, but for me!

      1. Eva*

        Hey LSP, you probably do need more sleep and lots of really high quality food! I can’t help you with adding 6 hours to each day ;) But I would highly recommend seeing a qualified dietitian for some really good advice on how to keep your energy up while working on your fitness.

      2. Annika*

        Hey, as someone who is on again/off again with exercise, I know it takes time for the body to recover from the pain. I have found that having small amounts of magnesium – just what is normally included, in your regular multivitamin is enough to help the body recover. Have the multivitamin twice a day if you need to for about 2-3 days and you’ll feel heaps better soon. The magnesium does wonders !

    12. W.*

      BEST: Part time work (paid) on the horizon (have been looking for months) – so this feels like a little relief
      WORST: General feeling of crappiness that I’m ‘behind’ in life. So many of my peers are in better places – jobs, homes, spouses, social lives and I’m not even at the starting point of any of these things, which is confusing and upsetting because at several points in my life I was equal to my peers and things looked good.

      1. Anx*

        I can commiserate. I try to be positive, and I usually am. But sometimes I feel like tainted for life for not being able to acheive my goals in my 20s, like I’ve failed to launch completely. Professionally, I’m behind where I was at 22 at nearly 30, and that is bleeding into my personal life as well (not sure I’ll ever be able to afford kids, afraid I’ll be unable to contribute enough to a marriage to feel goo about myself, not as close to my family as I once was in part because I avoided them for years out of embarrassment about my unemployment).

        And it’s so hard especially because in my formative years, I was at least average, bordering on over achievement. I made more money as a full-time college student than I ever have since and I never wanted for a job and had a very rich personal life.

        1. W.*

          Yeah I know I shouldn’t compare myself, and there’s lots more life to live, but unfortunately people judge as do employers and weird detours (even if they were necessitated by the economy) seem to be held against you. It does feel like something I’m going have to slowly claw my way out of – which I have been doing for who knows how many years already.

          I hear you with losing family over unemployment in my case I hid from friends – due to unemployment and then the job I finally got and everything around it. I think that’s the thing I regret the most, things might not be so bad if I’d tried to keep my friends.

      2. Eva*

        Hey W. I hear you with the feeling ‘behind’ in life. I’ve definitely been there with those thoughts. It’s important to remember that A) it’s not a race, and B) while your friends might have their careers or spouses sorted out (or whatever else it is that you are comparing), you will have had different experiences that are just as valuable, and you will have learnt a lot from them. For example, I recently bumped into my neighbour that grew up next-door to me (we are the same age) and she had just finished her PhD in psychology, whereas I am only just getting through my undergrad and just at the start of my career. But in the time she’s spent doing that, I have had a lot of amazing experiences, including travelling, working in some really cool non-profits where I was able to affect lots of people’s lives, and generally enjoying my twenties. Those things are harder to measure but they are just as valuable!!

        1. W.*

          Weirdly I wouldn’t compare a PhD to a undergraduate degree, but I see how you might feel small in comparison – but really that person’s been stuck at uni for a number of years and doesn’t have a great deal of real-life experience. It’s more like you two are passing the baton on to each other – and switching :).
          I feel like I’ve missed out on more basic things and part of me is wondering how I even managed to get here – what I should have done instead (and why I couldn’t see it at the time.) But I also know it’s one step at a time – which is why I’m happy about the part-time work.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            “I feel like I’ve missed out on more basic things and part of me is wondering how I even managed to get here – what I should have done instead (and why I couldn’t see it at the time.)”

            Everyone who has ponder this one, raise your hand. [hand goes right up]

            Interesting point. My father said one day that when he was young he thought about this point: “I am going to walking from here to there. I can chose to walk on the sidewalks to get there or I can chose to cut through the neighbor’s yard. I will still get there. I will never know how much that simple choice of choosing one and not the other has changed my life.”

            I think it’s healthy thinking to realize this stuff. Of late, I have been seeing articles about successful people attribute their success to all the small things they do in a course of a day. The effect is cumulative over time- it adds up to something meaningful as the years roll by. Reflecting on our lives so far, as you mention here, can allow us to start to tweak what we are doing, so we can change the direction of our lives.
            I love Eva’s example of two friends and two different paths. We gravitate toward what we think is important. Both, you, Eva and your friend will make out well in life because of the knowledge you have gained on your different paths. Here’s were it gets interesting in watching how two people on different paths each leverage their knowledge/experience to influence how the rest of their lives play out. Something my friend could make work for her, I would never be able to make work for me. (I have specific examples of things friends have done. Thinking of me doing that same thing is very, very funny in some of the examples. It’s just not going to work out for me!) Differences in people. It’s very interesting to watch.

    13. nep*

      Best – Another terrific session w a trainer. Working on the building blocks of Olympic lifting. Learning a lot. (And I’ve signed up for a (beginners!) snatch clinic — going way out of my comfort zone here, which is always good. Looking forward to it.)
      No worst

    14. Elizabeth West*

      Best: Today, I got to see my former skating / YouTuber friend and meet her fiance. And her family. I haven’t seen them for ages. She’s the one who (#jelly) met the English guy and moved to London (#arrrrghh). He seemed nice but not really very talkative at all. I kind of felt like he didn’t like me, but hey, whatever. Maybe he’s just weird around new people. But it was great to see her and her family too. We met at the park where they were having a Japanese festival. I’d been to that park (a cousin got married there–#arrrghgghhg) but I’ve never been to the festival, so that was cool.

      Worst: I’ve gained so much weight back. Ugh. I hate myself. It’s my own fault; I’ve been lazy. No more. I have two skating shows coming up. Time to get back on the walks and cut my portions in HALF.

    15. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Best: My college-freshman daughter spent Friday night and all day Saturday at home. She and her brother, who fought so much growing up, spent the whole time chatting and playing Minecraft into the wee hours of the morning. It is so gratifying to see that they are actually friends now.

      Worst: My mother in law’s two-day visit, which turned into a two-week stay, is extended again with no definite end in sight. Her attempts to evict relatives who are squatting in her mother’s house, while her mother is in the nursing home, keep requiring additional hearings that are set just far enough apart to make a return to her hone in Colorado (we’re in Arkansas) infeasible. She is a lovely, undemanding guest, but several weeks of being outside my normal habits had been wearing.

      1. Kate*

        I was the same with my brother! Our relationship was greatly improved by a little more space for most of the year.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I had almost given up that they would ever be friends. Now I’m hearing from so many people who “hated” their sibling growing up but are good friends as adults. Which is better than my situation; we were closer growing up but have drifted apart as adults. I always thought we’d be more like my grandma and her four closest siblings. They all made their careers spread out across the country, but they all planned and retired to the same area. They were always at each others’ houses, having barbeques, fish fries, and holiday gatherings. I wish I had that with my siblings, but then again, none of us are retired yet. We’re all so busy with our separate nuclear families and our own lives.

    16. lay your head down child, I won't let the boogeyman come*

      Best: #1 Daughter came home today, and brought her roommate. Unfortunately, roommate is allergic to dogs the way I’m allergic to cats, so we had to call an abort on dinner. They were happy to take a bunch of crab legs back with them, though :)

      I took most of the week off and slept late and did some cooking and puttered around. Mostly I made some good progress putting my workstation back together.

      Worst: I didn’t get to take all of the week off as originally planned – work intruded a couple of times.

      Anticipation: Author&Punisher is coming to Austin in November!

    17. pony tailed wonder*

      Best – I have been packing my lunch to take to work and my clothes have been getting looser. I was just doing it to save time and money but this is a nice benefit. I need to stop thinking that it is okay to eat junk when I come home now.

      Worst – my sleep habits are out of control. I have been having a tough time trying to stay consistent with going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time.

    18. asteramella*

      Worst: Rapidly approaching burnout at my job. I love my coworkers but do not like where the c-suite is steering the company and am becoming disillusioned with the field as a whole. I’ve decided to spend this fall sorting out personal stuff and start seriously applying elsewhere in November. Hoping I can keep doing good work in the meantime even though my enthusiasm has waned significantly :/

      Best: This is the first weekend in a long while in which I have NO plans. All I’ve done is sleep, cook, and eat. It has been glorious.

    19. Allison*

      Best: I got my leg casted after my ankle injury last week. I can finally start healing.

      Worst: I got my leg casted. Crutches (my knee is casted at an angle that I can’t use one of those scooters) and showering are a major pain.

      1. Finny*

        Could you maybe use a walker instead of crutches? That’s what the husband and I have to use in similar situations, as our severe visual issues and lack of depth perception make balancing on crutches a seriously bad idea.

        1. Allison*

          I suppose but I still couldn’t carry anything and would by just as hard on my arms. Plus, I would imagine a walker being much more difficult to use on stairs.

    20. Cath in Canada*

      BEST: saw Alt-J last night, at a gorgeous lakeside outdoor venue in perfect weather. I wasn’t sure their sound would translate well to a big outdoor show like that, but it really did – they were perfect and the acoustics were stunning. I bought the tickets for my husband for his birthday and he declared it the best present since the time I got him the first Game of Thrones book for Christmas a few years ago.

      WORST: we were just about the oldest people there! And I got a ton of bug bites. Worth it overall :)

    21. QualityControlFreak*

      Best: Tower of Power, baby! 48 years of screaming horns and Soul with a capital S, and I got to see them live! The energy in that room was insane. So much awesome.

      Worst: Ongoing work crap, with no end in sight at the moment.

    22. Connie-Lynne*

      BEST: First real shower after three weeks of working/ camping in the desert. Also getting to see the husband and cats!

      WORST: My arthritis is still really painful which makes unpacking problematic.

    23. LizB*

      Best: Tried out some new recipes and discovered my new favorite chicken salad (I’ll post a link in a reply).

      Worst: Just about cleaned out my savings account for some necessary car repairs. :( There’s still one problem they found that I didn’t have the money to fix right now, but it’s not urgent, so I’ll save up for a few months and get it done when I can afford it more easily. I knew car ownership was going to be expensive, but I definitely wasn’t emotionally prepared to shell out a full pay period’s worth of income in one fell swoop.

    24. Masters Degree JD Lady*

      Best: My boyfriend gave me anti-stress tea, a journal to write goals in, and a quirky awesome art book that showcases sculptures from around the world. And a photo frame of us. My apt looks home-y er already :)

      Also Best: my (religious, conservative, previously anti-divorce/anti-my bf) parents realized how important said boyfriend is in my life, and have agreed to not cause us grief if: 1) we go to church/have religion in our lives, 2) immerse ourselves in my culture, 3) we both pursue our career goals to the fullest extent.

      Worst: People have been leaving the company in droves, ergo I’m doing the work of 5-7 people and very seriously considering leaving. Assuming last week’s in-person interview yields positive results….

      1. PaulinaB*

        I’m guessing from the context that your parents’ new attitude is an improvement, but my hackles are up at all of their conditions. It’s your life – don’t let them dictate your spiritual/religious/cultural choices!!

    25. Hlyssande*

      Best: I bought the most amazing pair of RED boots from Son of Sandlar at fest last Monday. If taken care of, their boots and shoes can last up to 30 years. Well worth the money, and also RED AF.

      (TW: Self injury)

      Worst: Serious depression flare. So much so that I catch myself thinking about how I could use a particular thing to hurt myself or deliberately burn my arm on the oven or something. I already have a psych appt scheduled in Oct so I’m just going to do my best to soldier through. Anxiety is worse too – I can’t stop thinking that I’m screwing up all the things, failing everywhere, and making all of my friends hate me. UGH.

  4. Kate*

    Any recommendations / suggestions for motivating yourself to do stuff? I have so much to do and am not that busy, but can never seem to actually start anything.

    1. Ruffingit*

      I make a master list of everything I need to do. Then I make a daily list with just one or two items on it. If I get more done, great. If not, it’s fine. It’s less overwhelming that way for me.

      1. StillHealing*

        I’m not the OP but want to say, for many reasons, this is my default method. I’m unable to find a state of inertia. I’m tried “rewards” of fun activities to do after completing tasks but even that doesn’t keep me moving. I’m just so dang tired all the time working full time again. So, whats the secret to your inertia?

    2. Jill of All Trades*

      Quick wins seem to work with me. Is there anything on your list that you could start and finish in about 20-30 minutes today? Have you made a list of what needs to be done, or do you have a moment of “I should really clean out this pantry/closet” and then close the door and walk away? With a written list, I can prioritize based on importance, time commitment, or money (if you need to buy stuff). And I can break them down (5 minutes to clean out 1 shelf during a phone call). Breaking them down to manageable chunks makes the list longer which can be overwhelming so that may not work for you. I like it because it’s little stuff I can do on the way to the bathroom.

      I redid my living room this week and part of the process from a few weeks ago as I was planning it was adding to the list to choose colors. An easy win that saved me the agony of trying to make choices in the moment.

      Plus, I got the little high that comes from striking an item off the list (why yes, I do add items I’ve already done just so I can strike them off. Why do you ask?).

      The most important thing for me though is deciding and committing to myself to I deserve for this thing to be done. I deserve an orderly pantry and one that doesn’t have a 7 year old box of Bisquik hiding in the back. I deserve an orderly closet to help me get ready for my day. Things like that help me get started when I’m lacking motivation or feeling overwhelmed. Good luck! And get going!

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I do the same thing! I add things to the list just so I can cross them off. It helps me feel like im getting stuff done. When I’m planning something and writing the list I don’t always think of every single thing. I just start doing and then realize something else needs to be done that wasn’t on the list.

        1. the gold digger*

          I love lists.

          And I reward myself once I have done the things I don’t want to do.

          1. Clean the bathroom
          2. Watch an episode of “A Place to Call Home.” (Thank you to whomever recommended that show – it is amazing!)

    3. Trixie*

      I’m a fan of breaking projects into steps and just getting something started. I also like to check off boxes on a list or in my calendar. For writing, I’ll just get something down so it’s started, then come back the next day to edit. Organizing, pick a spot or shelf or drawer, and go it. Or if its something like cleaning, I’ll pick-up during commercials so its a few minutes at a time plus I’m up on my feet. Bigger things I may take a whole morning or couple hours for, turning up the music and diving in. Rest assured, we all struggle with this in some form or other and often is a matter consistent practice. The more often I just get something started, the more often it becomes habit to get it done.

    4. schnapps*

      I’m all for the list making, but I’m more of an “eat the frog” type – I pick the think I least want to do, like changing the litter boxes, and do that. Then everything else is easier.

    5. fposte*

      I suspect the “so much to do” is part of the never actually seeming to start anything.

      Along with the other people here, I love lists, but if they get too long they’ll sink me. If you want to keep the to-dos together somewhere, then have a master list, but don’t pull up the whole thing every time. Pick, say, three things off the list for the weekend, and by “things” I mean very specific things–not “clean fridge” but “Wash left fridge crisper drawer”; “Wash right fridge crisper drawer”; “Wash fridge floor below crisper drawer.” Feel free to start with the low-hanging fruit (“Move boxes to car”) or the stuff that you get some perverse satisfaction out of (“Weed spice shelf”). (Can you tell today was a cleaning kind of day? Feel free to substitute “Walk around the block” for “Wash crisper drawer.”) Then celebrate what you did. Woo hoo! Meant to do that for ages and finally did it! Look at me and my done things!

      It’s a lot easier to tackle the bigger stuff when you’ve rehearsed your brain into successful achievement on the smaller. I also find that sometimes I’m avoiding bigger stuff because it’s one big amorphous challenge in my brain. Work out? What does that mean? Where is out? How does such a thing happen? So then I think about the steps. Pull the workout clothes off the hook, put them on, turn on the music, pull out the dumbbells and ball and stopwatch. Oh, I know all that–that’s not scary after all, and music is nice.

      I also find it’s really useful to start that kind of mental step-taking for the next task while I’m in transition–like driving back home in the car. “Okay, when I get in I put my bag down and open the fridge to see how much is in those crisper drawers.” It’s those bridges between one action and another where I fall into the gorge.

      1. Kate*

        How do you celebrate what you did? I always say I’ll read a chapter of a book or something as a reward, but then I have trouble just sticking to that reward. I know that when I sit down after doing the first thing, I won’t get up again for a long time, so then I only ever achieve like that first thing that I did.

        1. fposte*

          I don’t reward (my couch also has those velcro tendencies), but I say stupid stuff out loud, like “Yay me!” “Wow, look how done that is!” “Woo! Getting things done today!”

          I would be a cringeworthy reality show.

    6. Tau*

      I seriously struggle with to-do lists and have never quite managed to get them to work for me. Getting things done is a major problem, but for everyday routine kind of stuff (e.g. washing dishes) I have a set time every day where an alarm goes off on my phone and I have told myself I am to Do Something. Once I *start* doing something it’s easy to continue, it’s the actual getting started hurdle that’s the problem, so it’s easy to do a bunch of routine obvious work at that point. The less routine stuff, sorry, I got nothing.

    7. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I’ve been like this with my writing for a long time, so I’ve started doing what The Experts all seem to recommend… actually writing every single day. It doesn’t have to be good, or long, but you have to actually do it for some amount of time every single day. So far, it’s been working reasonably well for me! I haven’t even been marking days or anything, I just really try to make progress one time, even if it’s only a paragraph.

  5. Jill of All Trades*

    This week I burned a bunch of PTO that was about to expire, so I decided that instead of traveling I’d redecorate my living room (the choices I made 9 years ago didn’t stand up to the test of time :/ ). I’m so pooped. I repainted the walls, trim, windows, and doors by myself. Plus I rearranged the furniture and painted some pieces. It will look so good when it’s all done, but I am reminded again that in the future I should really consider hiring painters because they are worth it. And never own a house again.

    I really don’t want to go to work Monday. Excuse me while I go Use peanut butter to get paint out of my hair.

    1. Sparkly Librarian*

      Go you! That’s a big job. We moved into our house in January and painted 3 rooms before our housewarming in March. Haven’t done any of the other since then – life got in the way. But just in the past couple of weeks I buckled down, convinced my wife to decide on colors, painted samples on the walls and selected final choices, and got her to pick up the paint from Home Depot. We’re gonna take this one room per weekend as our schedules permit — plus extra just for the ceilings, that need to be scraped down first — and hopefully with the help of a new housemate we can get it all done (7 rooms and a hallway) by the end of the year.

      1. Jill of All Trades*

        I also want to scrape the ceilings. Stupid stippling effect from the 60’s. It’s just such a pain I think I’d rather rip them down and replace the sheet rock.

        1. Lady Bug*

          Be careful if its “popcorn”. Some of the older stuff contains asbestos. It’s not a danger umtil you start scraping it off and create dust.

        2. fposte*

          Oh, maybe you’ll know! My ceilings are generally polite and plain, but I have one with a horrible swirl effect (it’s a bathroom, and my suspicion is that there was a leak from above that damaged the original ceiling). I was thinking I might be able to just get it skim-coated and make it less horrible that way rather than putting in new drywall. What do you think?

          1. Jill of All Trades*

            If it’s just a swirl that might work. If it’s stippling which creates a lot of small stalactites then you’ll probably have to sand first. I don’t know if that process is better or worse than stripping the plaster or my scorched earth policy I’m considering.

      2. Jill of All Trades*

        And good luck with it all! I took years to paint all of the rooms in my house the first time around. And the spare room where I put all of the miscellaneous stuff during my move didn’t get cleaned out until enough time went by to name it “the room of ill repute” because of my shame about it. Your timeline sounds aggressive but doable.

        1. NacSacJack*

          Thank you for speaking up. Between my first roommate and my now-ex boyfriend, I havent painted anything in my house. Oh it will smell!!! Open a window, will ya?? The paint has low Vox now. What does that mean??? It means it doesnt smell as much. It still smells???

          I had hoped to get to it this summer but caught that 3 week cold.

      1. Sparky*

        I have a tiny studio, and I repainted it in May and it was totally exhausting. I didn’t even paint the tiny converted porch bedroom. But it looks so much better!

  6. Cath in Canada*

    Cat owners! Have you ever had a cat get suddenly a lot more vocal for no apparent reason?

    My “special” cat (falls off the sofa, gets startled by her own leg, once forgot how to lie down for two weeks) has very recently started making a lot more noise. She’ll “announce herself” when she walks into the room with a loud plaintive cry/squawk, and for the last few nights I’ve heard her wandering around the house making the same noise (we have a cat-free bedroom policy). She’s done the latter before, when we’ve come back home from a long trip (the tenant in our basement looks after them while we’re away, but doesn’t spend a ton of time with them); on those occasions she just wants to be reassured that we’re still here, but we haven’t been away lately at all, so I don’t know what’s going on.

    She seems perfectly healthy: eating and drinking fine, nothing untoward in the litter tray, coat in good condition, plays and wrestles with her sister, snuggles and purrs with me as usual. I’ve inspected her as well as I can, including inside her mouth, and she seems completely fine. But it’s a lot of noise, very frequently, when she wasn’t a particularly vocal cat before.

    1. onnellinen*

      Maybe just a shift in behaviour as she ages? No other advice, but I have a cat who was very vocal when I first got him (he was about 12 when he moved in), with a lot of similar behaviours – announcing himself, wandering downstairs at night yowling. He seemed to stop for a few months and was noticeably quieter, but now I am finding that he’s back to his chatty ways!

    2. Hellanon*

      When my last cat hit about 14, she started doing that thing where you walk into a new room and suddenly forget why you’re there. I kept finding her standing in the middle of various rooms, yowling piteously, and I started just picking her up & putting her in her box, where she’d pee happily and then go on about her day. Until the next time she forgot where she was going, poor little thing. How old is your cat? If he’s got cognitive issues anyways, they may be getting a bit worse with age…

    3. Anonyby*

      My cat Cleo started getting a lot more vocal after I had to put down her adoptive brother last year. Jack was always the really vocal one, so I guess she feels either she needs to talk to me more or she needs to make up for what he was always telling me.

        1. Anonyby*

          I ended up having to move 5 months after Jack passed. Prior to that there were no changes, and she’s pretty settled in to the new place now.

    4. Trixie*

      My 12 year old tabby isn’t vocal but is a pacer. What the mood is right, he just goes from room to room making the rounds. Before long I’ll take him for some blood work, I think an overactive thyroid can cause anxiousness.

    5. Audiophile*

      Cats are just…cats. Our inside cat has taken to living in hallway recently. She’s still her regular self, will only drink out of a mug in the bathroom and not out of a dish in the kitchen. She’ll eat in the laundry room, where her litter box is, but not in the kitchen.

      Did your cat really forget how to lie down?

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Yes! It was hilarious. Rather than going from standing->back legs down->front legs and belly down->stretch out->roll over, she would try to get from standing up to lying on her back all in one go. She’d twist her head and slowly lower the back of her neck onto the floor, stop, look confused, straighten up, try again. After a while she’d get frustrated and just kind of throw herself onto her side. Then a couple of weeks later she was suddenly lying down normally again.

        When we got her at 8 months old, it was already clear that one eye – in fact one whole side of her head – is smaller than the other. It got more pronounced as she grew to full size. I wonder if she was dropped or squished as a kitten or something. But she is THE nicest cat – really snuggly. She had to stay at the vets for a few nights a couple of years ago and the vet and all his staff said she was one of their nicest patients of all time. I keep telling her “it’s OK, kitty, cats don’t need to be smart”.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            AWW!!! She’s so cute!

            I laughed at “gets startled by her own leg.” Poor special cat! She’s like Allie Brosh’s Simple Dog from Hyperbole and a Half, isn’t she?

          2. Nashira*

            Your Twitter feed is good enough that I sorta want to make an account just to follow you. I seriously spent 20 minutes just reading backwards.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          My cat does something I call “whump”. She’ll start with her head and just kind of roll her whole body onto the surface in one smooth move until she’s on her side. None of this lower your legs and roll over stuff. She doesn’t do it all the time, it seems like it’s a fast way to flop out.

          1. Nashira*

            Our cat likes to do this at the top of the stairs when we come home. The problem: We have to go up the stairs to get onto the main level of the house.

            Thankfully, she has yet to fall down the stairs when flopping, as we Missourians like to call it. (Or just my husband and I, but I like to pretend to have a big head for comedic effect.)

          2. Jessica (tc)*

            Our cat does that, too! Sometimes she’ll then flop around for a bit like a worm or something after she “whumps” (but only in very specific parts of the house, like on the edge of one rug or beside our bed). We call it roly-polying when she does it. The”whump” is just a “roly” until she “poly”s along with it. ;)

          3. QualityControlFreak*

            So funny. We have a dog who does this, and we’ve always called it “whomping down,” as in, “Dogboy just whomped down in the living room.”

    6. catsAreCool*

      It could be a problem with her thyroid. On “My cat from hell”, a cat who was suddenly more talkative had a thyroid problem. It’s usually not hard to treat.

    7. The Other CrazyCatLady*

      Given your description of her head below, it may be neurological? That could explain any of the odd behaviors she’s exhibiting. By the same token, is it possible that the ear canal on the affected side of her head is malformed and affecting her hearing?

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Oh, this cat can hear a bag of treats being opened from about four blocks away, so I don’t think her hearing is the problem, but something neurological is definitely possible

  7. Kate*

    Also, ethical dilemma. Can I post about drugs here? If not, please feel free to delete. I have a friend, new to the city, who wants hard drugs (coke and ice). Has asked me to sort her out, which I can, easily enough, but would honestly rather not. But then I figure she’s going to get it anyway, right? And I’d rather her get it from someone I know, relatively safely, than buy online or explore dodgy parts. So maybe supplying, while normally dodgy, is actually the more moral option here? Can I do that with a clear conscience? Bit stuck at the moment. What would you do?

    1. Kate*

      Sorry if that doesn’t make much sense. I am REALLY tired right now. Trying to formulate sentences and my mind’s just like tumbleweed. So if I’m not clear, let me know!

      1. gsa*

        It made plenty of sense, at your question… Why you would consider makes no sense, non what so f-ing ever. If your friend is into that, you would be a better friend by helping them not do that.

    2. Amber Rose*

      Except those are the drugs that can kill with just one use. And a good friend would not want to put you in the position of possibly being arrested so they can maybe kill themselves.

      Bluntly, rather than exploring relative morality, shouldn’t you be seriously questioning your choice in friends?

      1. catsAreCool*

        “a good friend would not want to put you in the position of possibly being arrested so they can maybe kill themselves.” This!

      2. Kate*

        Thanks but the relative morality really is my question. To be clear, I’m not talking about serious addicts, (I would encourage/ support a friend who was an addict and had lost control to seek help), but more casual party use. Everyone who plays that game knows the stakes.

      3. Honeybee*

        Er, I know that’s the prevailing attitude about them, but truly the chances of getting killed in one use by either – particularly with someone who’s used them before – are pretty slim (unless we’re talking about overdosing). I’m not defending the use – meth and coke are, objectively, not good drugs to use (physically; I’m not talking about morals or anything). But most people aren’t going to drop dead from a single appropriately dosed hit of coke or ice.

    3. Apollo Warbucks*

      You’re takng quite a risk for your friend if you start handling and supplying drugs, the legal consequences could be very severe if you get busted on distribution charges. If you’re happy to it might be better to make some introductions and let her sort herself out directly with the dealers.

      1. Kate*

        Oh yeah, thanks, I wouldn’t risk any long term involvement. Would just make the intros or go with her a few times and then leave them to it.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          All it takes is one time. You don’t have to do this repeatedly. You do it once and get caught once then that is your life and your livelihood down the tubes. To me, a true friend would not want to cost you everything you have and your personal freedoms, just so they can party hardy.

          1. catsAreCool*

            “To me, a true friend would not want to cost you everything you have and your personal freedoms, just so they can party hardy.” This!

    4. NicoleK*

      I would not consider supplying anyone with an illegal substance. I don’t want to deal with the legal, social, and moral consequences.

    5. Treena*

      Public health professional here! From a harm reduction perspective you’re right, ensuring higher-quality drugs would help a lot in terms of your friend’s safety. But if you’re concerned enough to post here, it makes me wonder if you’ve explored other options as well. Has your friend done these drugs before (and needs the connection because of the move)? Have you done these drugs and now personally realize the reasons not to use them?
      In general, if your friend is of the I-moved-to-the-big-city-and-want-to-try-all-the-drugs type, a heart to heart may help persuade her to not try these. But if she’s already a user, definitely hook her up and let her know she can contact you if she needs help with anything (assuming that’s true).

      If you do decide to hook her up, I would listen to others’ advice and connect her to a dealer and not pass drugs directly, but I’m sure that’s what you were planning on anyways.

      1. Hellanon*

        Legally you can still be at risk here, even just making an introduction like this. I would strongly advise backing away!

      2. Kate*

        Thanks for weighing in from the public health perspective! Nah, I wouldn’t introduce anyone to hard drugs. Couldn’t forgive myself if something went wrong. The kind of use in my social circles is pretty occasional, usually just on nights of partying and she knows what she’s doing in that regard. And yeah, would definitely connect her rather than handle myself, at least in the long term.

      3. Way anon for this*

        Thanks for the perspective Treena! I was once in the situation where I felt compelled to help a loved one obtain drugs. A legitimate need for pain meds, and doctors who would not prescribe the correct dosage.

        I felt at the time I was doing the right thing as I had seen the difference in quality of life when the pain was managed, such as it was. Having zero experience with this before, I remember feeling somewhat concerned that they were taking more and more and more. In hindsight, it was because they were seriously ill and not due to addiction. (Dependence, yes. Addiction, no.)

        We knew it couldn’t continue indefinitely, but you can’t go to a pain doctor because they test for that stuff before prescribing. I didn’t know where it would all end. An emergency trip + two month stay in the hospital and my loved one almost dying from pneumonia (bed-ridden due to pain tends to cause pneomonia, wouldn’t you know) got them clean enough without us getting found out. Other family members (who didn’t know our secret) advocated to get them on proper meds. I was too scared to push doctors to give them more, because I was doubting my instincts and thinking that maybe they were just a junkie.

        Long story short, they are on correct doses of real meds and pain is managed well. They take less each month, if anything. It has been more than a year. Now, the only thing I fear is if the pharmacy decides to decide they are a junkie and not give him his legally prescribed meds. My loved one’s medical condition is such that withdrawals could be life-threatening, rather than just annoying for a few days.

        Kate, while I can’t advise what you should do, I do empathize with your situation. I would never be able to forgive myself if they had died. I also think we did the right thing with what we had to work with at the time, but that’s another rant for another time.

    6. Cath in Canada*

      Personally, I wouldn’t.

      If I had a Friend A who I knew had a lot of experience with using drugs safely, and a Friend B who was connected to a supply that seemed safer than other local supplies, I might put the two of them in contact. Maaaaaaybe. Depending on the drugs involved (I would think veeeeeery carefully about anything stronger than pot – I would never forgive myself if I was involved in making a connection that got anyone hurt), and especially on the friends. But I absolutely wouldn’t get involved in any transactions myself, in any way shape or form.

    7. Hellanon*

      No no no no no. Such a bad idea, even if you’ve got the connections… moral issues aside, this is seriously risky for you, especially if they are a new friend. “Can’t help, sorry, and please don’t ask again,” is really your best answer (and I speak with some knowledge of what I’m talking about!)

    8. TL -*

      I think, if you’re sure that your friends is going to use, and that the quality they’re likely to get is bad, I would be okay with giving them your contacts (with the caveat that you don’t endorse and maybe that you don’t want to be involved any further.)

    9. Diploma Mill grad*

      Umm… Your information is still traceable and you are admitting to distributing drugs. That’s a bigger crime than doing the drugs. What on earth is wrong with people these days?

      1. Kate*

        Eh, I’m not too concerned about a few comments on an unrelated blog, where I didn’t actually even admit to doing anything.

      2. Honeybee*

        She definitely didn’t admit to distributing drugs – she said that it was possible to connect her friend to a supply.

    10. W.*

      Don’t get involved – you’re acting as an enabler (or getting pulled into their sphere to do so), and if you start helping them fuel their drug use/addiction you’ll get caught into it and perhaps manipulated/used yourself.

      You’ve already said it makes you uncomfortable – it’s their habit – their problem, if they get it from someone dangerous – they are the ones that put themselves in that situation. It has nothing to do with you and you’re not responsible for their behavior/responses – this taking on of responsibility is dangerous because it can lead to someone unintentionally either having an unhealthy relationship or becoming an enabler.

      If you’re concerned for their well being express that you’re available to talk – or whatever you feel comfortable doing, but you won’t get them drugs. – Don’t give a reason – giving reasons could lead them into chipping away at your reasoning (and confidence) and it sounds like you’re already feeling that way.

    11. YaH*

      I would drop her as a friend.

      Plus, what if something happens to her while she’s on it? Do you really value her friendship over an innate desire to stay out of prison?

    12. pony tailed wonder*

      No. Be there if she wants to get clean but don’t get involved with this Russian roulette. Let her know that you are there for her when she wants to get clean but don’t help her self destruct.

    13. asteramella*

      That’s a big favor to do for someone with no real upside and potentially bad consequences for you. If you’d rather not do it, don’t do it.

    14. Honeybee*

      I don’t have any moral issues with drugs or drug use.

      That aside, I still don’t think you should do it. You said yourself that you would rather not. If they are going to get it anyway, let them. Your new friend’s an adult, and like you said elsewhere – most adults who use (even occasionally) are aware of the risks, including the risks of getting a bad supply. I mean, it’s one thing if you think the supply in your city is particularly bad/sketchy and you’ve heard lots of bad stories, but even then, I think you’re entitled to simply warn your friend of that and tell them to be extra careful.

      At the very most I might give them some ideas about where to look, but I would stop far short of procuring it for them myself.

    15. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I don’t think you’re under a moral obligation either way. As long as you/your friend/your dealer are even remotely careful, there’s probably not any legal implications. I do think you’re right that she’ll get it anyway. I was in a similar situation a couple months back, and I decided not to just because it was inconvenient for me, so I say, if you’d rather not and are trying to talk yourself into it by building a moral case that you should, just don’t! But if you would feel genuinely bad not doing so, that’s a tougher call… I tend to do more things to avoid feeling bad afterward, and I typically feel like I made the right decision.

    16. Not So NewReader*

      Sure, she is going to do it anyway.
      We are not responsible for how the poor choices of other adults play out. This boarders on trying to be in charge of outcomes of people lives, and we are not in charge of outcomes in other people lives. She knows the risks and she willing to absorb that risk. It’s not your risk to take on.

      Okay, different angle but still food for thought. It sounds like you know a lot of people. This can be a huge asset in life. How do you want your life to go? Do you want to be known as a person who connects people for positive reasons or for dodgy reasons? All it takes is one time and the gossip goes right around. So even if you don’t get caught you still have no idea how this is effecting your relationships with other people. And you have no idea of the life span of the rumor, ten years from now people could be telling each other “go see her, she can hook you right up”.

      I would not do it for the simple reason that negative attracts more negative. I don’t want it in my life.

      1. Lizh*

        Sore point for me. I say no, stay out of it. I have a family member who is an addict. The parent enables, and the issues have ruptured our family. The addict has stolen, lied repeatedly, been arrested numerous times and has almost died on 3 different occasions. Don’t get involved.

  8. Amber Rose*

    I want to see a movie, but there’s nothing good in theaters right now. I’m craving overpriced popcorn and action sequences, darn it. /silly problems

    It doesn’t help that I’ve had the soundtrack for The Labyrinth stuck in my head. Husband is tired of hearing that he reminds me of the babe. :D

          1. Amber Rose*

            Me too. I bought it on DVD a couple years back. I have trouble watching the sequence with the dudes who pull their heads off though. Still freaks me out like it did when I was a kid. =P

    1. Margot, Terror of the School Bus*

      Have you seen The Man from UNCLE? It’s not the best movie ever but I thought it was super enjoyable, with great chemistry between the leads, fun action sequences, and AMAZING clothes and soundtrack. There are a lot of the fun, non-dire spy-escapade elements from early Bond films without the oppressive gender grossness.

      1. Amber Rose*

        I wanted to, but it got kind of meh reviews and I wasn’t sure if it was worth the money.

        Maybe i’ll try and catch an early showing tomorrow.

        1. Margot, Terror of the School Bus*

          The Vulture review is pretty on-point about what I thought made the movie so fun (the review is light on spoilers but does give you the whole set-up, in case you like to go in totally blind: http://www.vulture.com/2015/08/movie-review-the-man-from-uncle-shines.html). The emotional stakes aren’t super high and it’s not a life-changing experience or anything, but if you just want to get out of the house and ogle incredible mod fashion while eating popcorn in air conditioning, I think it’ll be worth your time :)

      2. Nina*

        Yeah, I heard good things about UNCLE. It’s not groundbreaking or anything, but it’s a lot more entertaining than the reviews would suggest. I think box office wise, it was just released at a bad time.

        1. Margot, Terror of the School Bus*

          Isn’t it the most fun? I’ve seen it twice and if this wasn’t the summer of endless resumes and financial responsibility I’d probably try to see it once a week until it left theaters.

    2. Trixie*

      Our local budget theatre sells $20 popcorn buckets annually which we then fill for $2.50. I like the price break, just wish it wasn’t so salty from the seasoning.

    3. Steve G*

      I concur, I am looking forward to The Intern (Ann Hathaway, Robert Deniro), coming out Sept 25th. I like a good non-violent movie about the world of work.

      1. fposte*

        I’ve been looking at that one too. The trailers don’t blow me away, but I figure I can’t go too wrong watching De Niro have a good time for 90 minutes.

      2. OfficePrincess*

        I just checked it out and now I want to see it too. The husband and I do have a Fandango gift card to use…

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I probably won’t go see anything until Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out. December, I think. I don’t typically go to the cinema unless it’s something huge and loud, LOL. Mad Max fit the bill nicely. I loved it.

      In February, at our nearby tiny nerdcon, the special guest will be—Peter Mayhew. AKA Chewbacca. I wasn’t going to go but now I have to.

      1. Liane*

        I doubt I will go to the theater for anything before then, too. I do so hope the 501st/Rebel Legions have some release appearances locally, I love being part of those.
        And Peter Mayhew is a sweet, clever man who is a lot of fun to talk to. Enjoy the con!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’m sure I will, if I can manage to actually get anywhere near him! But he’s a friend of one of the writers who goes regularly and I suspect he has been nagging him to come. I’m thinking attendance will be through the roof with this one.

    5. Jubilance*

      I second the recommendation for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – my husband and I both enjoyed it. We saw The Visit last night which was very good – M Night Shamaylan is back!

    6. AnnieNonymous*

      Do you have a mall with a movie theater attached? So you can walk around for a bit and then buy bucket of popcorn without having to pay for a ticket? Get the popcorn and then come home to watch the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries on Netflix.

  9. bassclefchick*

    MasterChef finale this week!!! SPOILERS if you aren’t caught up!

    So, the final 4 last week. I was very sad to see who got eliminated. I really wanted him in the finale. Luckily, I really like all 4. Well, not REALLY a fan of Stephen, he annoys me. But I don’t HATE him. Unlike Courtney (I REALLY hated her and was NOT pleased she won) from last year or Krissi from the year before. I’ve really enjoyed this season. There wasn’t anyone that I “loved to hate” and I would have been happy if any of them won. Well, was rather glad to see Christopher go, but he was the only one. I was sad Tommy got eliminated before Katrina, but I didn’t think either of them would win anyway.

    I know a few of the boards I’ve been following have absolutely HATED Christina (the new judge this year), but I didn’t mind her. She wasn’t as snarky and mean as Joe, which was fine with me. The comments on the boards seem to think there shouldn’t be so many baking challenges since it’s a cooking competition, but I was fine with that. Better a baking challenge then the animal heads, I say. But that’s just me.

    What are your thoughts?!

    1. Jillociraptor*

      We’re firmly Team Claudia! I totally agree with you: there were so many really neat people on this season and no “villains,” which I always find pretty contrived anyway.

      I have no feelings really about Christina, though I am curious to see how she does as a judge for MasterChef Junior. I was pleasantly surprised at how well Joe did with the kiddos. While Christina isn’t as snarky as Joe, she also hasn’t really seemed to have that same drive to coach and develop talented people, which is what’s made the other judges great (and particularly great with the little ones). Still, it’s only her first season and she definitely has potential–lots of screen presence and clear technical expertise.

      1. bassclefchick*

        I was hoping for a Nick/Claudia finale, but I guess I got that already, didn’t I?! LOL I would be fine with either Derrick or Claudia winning. I wouldn’t be upset if Stephen won, but he wouldn’t be my choice.

        1. OfficePrincess*

          Agreed. I don’t dislike Stephen, but I’m not really a fan either. I’ve liked Claudia from the start and Derrick grew on me throughout the season.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I called Derrick as the winner on the season premiere. I firmly stand by that prediction! Do I have a reason? Nope, I just had a feeling… though I’m cynical enough to attribute that feeling to the way he was shot in the first episode.

    3. Nina*

      I’m not a regular watcher, but I tune in sometimes. I prefer this to the constant screaming Ramsay does on Hell’s Kitchen.

      I think it will be between Stephen and Derrick in the end. I would rather Derrick win, because Stephen’s behavior makes me genuinely nervous. I feel like he would have a breakdown in a fast paced kitchen.

      While I don’t think of Christina as a judge one way or the other, I found her helping Claudia to be in poor taste (no pun intended) in the previous challenge. It’s way too late in the competition for the judges to be assisting the cooks, and if she helped Claudia, then she should have clued Nick in about asking for the missing ingredients. I actually thought those things weren’t allowed in the show (judges helping contestants and using anyone else’s ingredients) but apparently it’s not.

      I doubt Claudia would have won the challenge otherwise, because she wouldn’t have had any time to frost the cake, and that was imperative to the finished product. The way that challenge went down wasn’t fair to Nick, and I say this as a Claudia fan.

      1. bassclefchick*

        I agree. Thought it was really unfair that they helped Claudia and left Nick to flounder on his own. On the other hand, at least we know they got a recipe. I always wondered about that. If someone told me to go make a souffle in 90 minutes I’d have no clue. I’ve never even made a souffle before! And yet, they all seem to just jump in and make one without any warning. Of course, if I took total leave of my senses and decided to audition for that show, I’d practice making the perfect scallop, a souffle, a beef wellington and learn how to make pasta from scratch. LOL

  10. Come On Eileen*

    I’m starting the process of buying my first home, and I’m wondering when I’ll stop feeling anxious and start feeling excited. Any single women out there recently bought a home that can send me some good vibes? I’m worried I’m not going to find much in my price range or desired neighborhoods — definitely seems harder to rely on just one income for big purchases like this. Im in Northern California and prices have been bouncing back for a while, so I’m on the cusp of being able to afford a small/conservatively priced home.

    1. Jill of All Trades*

      It was a while ago for me but good vibes anyway! It’s tough buying a house as a single person, but you can do this. To stave off the anxiety make sure you’re looking at houses you can afford without being house poor. That may mean the edge of your desired neighborhood or something smaller than you want. You can upgrade later when you can afford it.

      1. the gold digger*

        It’s been a while for me, too, but I was so happy to have my own little house. I bought one that cost 25% of what the bank wanted to lend me because I am not crazy. And when I was laid off from my job four years later, I was fine – I could still make the mortgage.

        The great thing about owning your own house is you learn how to take care of your own stuff and you feel powerful. Like this week, in the ladies at work, the toilet started to overflow in the next stall. I heard my co-worker panicking and I was able to say calmly, “There is a knob behind the toilet near the floor on the left hand side that will turn the water off.”

        She did it. The toilet stopped. She called maintenance.

        It’s nice to know these things and you learn them because you do not want to pay someone $500 every time something goes wrong at your house.

    2. FutureLibrarian*

      So I didn’t end up purchasing a home when I went looking as a single woman, but that’s because I decided to quit my full time job and buy a graduate degree instead ;)

      The first thing I will say is that you should never settle. Don’t buy if you’re not 150% ready to do so.

      Next, are you financially able to support yourself and pay for the house if you lose your job and are unemployed for a year?

      Last, have you actually gone out and looked at houses? I found that once I physically started looking, it helped me realize I didn’t want to buy yet. I liked what was in my price range, but I realized I wasn’t quite ready to settle down as much as I thought.

      Good luck!

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Both times I bought, I bought as a single woman. Get online and start looking! You’ll get a really good idea of what you can afford and in what neighborhoods.

      And if you don’t yet know how much money you can spend, talk to a mortgage broker and get pre-approved or at least get a sense of what kind of mortgage you’re likely to be able to get. And of course, don’t just go for the highest number they’ll approve you at — get a sense of what your mortgage payments will be at different price points. But once you do that and you know your price range, online listings will help you see what you can get for your money (and are really fun and totally addictive).

      1. Come On Eileen*

        I’ve been talking with a mortgage broker the past few weeks, which has given me a better idea of what I qualify for plus how much I feel comfortable spending (two numbers that are a long way away from each other, since I’m super conservative with how much I want to spend each month). I’m going to call the realtor she recommends this week and see what she can find for me in my price range. I’m not in any hurry, which is nice, but I AM antsy thinking prices and interest rates might soon price me out. But I really won’t know until I start looking, so that’s the next step!

        1. Honeybee*

          I’ve been doing some mortgage calculations because I’m looking to buy a house in 3-5 years, and I’m an over planner. But one thing I am totally blown away by is how much the calculators say you can “afford,” and how much variation there is in that. The other problem is that so many of them do not include property taxes and homeowner’s insurance (and PMI, although we’d probably get a VA loan and not pay that) in their calculations. I found out that on a mortgage for about $500K the PMI alone can add like $500 a month to your payment, which is a not insignificant amount!

    4. Sparkly Librarian*

      I purchased in that market last year and understand the frustration about budget. My wife and I both work, but only one of us took the mortgage (was evaluated and approved for credit based on one income) because of a number of factors (credit history, job instability, expected future earning potential). There are a lot of lovely homes that we will never be able to afford. The thing is: you only need one to be the right price/location/configuration/etc. It’s okay to be picky!

      I had a good idea of what I wanted from a home/neighborhood, and we’d discussed it frequently before a small windfall made it possible for us to act right away. We actively searched for a couple of months, picked a house that was for short sale, and then waaaaaaaaiiiiiited and went through a ton of paperwork to actually purchase it. That part was a pain, but we did get a good deal — came in way under market price for a pretty solid house that needed minor-to-moderate repairs but could be lived in right away. We intend to make this a long-term home (maybe relocating in retirement; we’re now in our early 30s). The actual monthly mortgage payment is much less than a comparable rental, and with taxes and insurance included we are paying on the low end of market rental. Plus we have extra space to offer for rent (although we can make the payments without depending on that). That said, we didn’t put down 20%, and would not have been able to put down as much as we did without a lump sum from an inheritance. We’d planned to save for a few more years now that student loans are all paid off (which is where the bulk of our money had gone in the past couple years), but who knows what the real estate market will look like then?

    5. Carrie in Scotland*

      I’m selling mine as a single woman and I say, don’t underestimate how difficult it is to do everything by yourself. Seriously, it’s draining.

      But maybe that’s just me.

        1. the gold digger*

          Get a husband who can do repairs! If he can’t, make sure he has enough money and is willing to pay someone else to do them. :)

          (I strongly recommend a husband who can fix things. I have let women on my block borrow my husband’s fixing ability. It gives me great status.)

          1. Diploma Mill grad*

            I’m the most anti-feminist person ever. Mid-30’s. Female. Construction manager. And this is the most absurd advice ever. I pray you are kidding but I’m fairly certain you are not. Pick up the damn screwdriver and do it yourself.

            Your happiness in life should never be based off of the NEED for someone else. I’ve been happily married for 11 years. Mom of three girls. Husband has been deployed a ton of times. My life doesn’t stop because he has to go. Our strengths and capabilities are independent of one another, not dependent.

            1. W.*

              That’s funny – that sounds pretty feminist to me. Indpendence and equality are important feminist concepts.
              I worked somewhere where a husband and wife divided chores into ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ tasks – made me want to scream.

              1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

                One of my coworkers spends most of her time bitching about how her husband won’t do his “blue chores”–i.e., garbage, recycling, mowing the lawn, cleaning out the basement, and so on. She was baffled at the idea that my husband and I split our chores pretty evenly based on ability and what we prefer rather than just codifying it as “pink” or “blue.” It grinds me up.

                And yeah, independence, equality, and complementing one another’s strengths is a pretty feminist concept.

                1. schnapps*

                  Exactly. Husband type will scoop the litter boxes before he feeds the cats (the man is so uncomfortable in a kitchen, yet his mom is an awesome cook, he will starve before he warms up a plate of spaghetti and meat sauce).

                  Opinion follows: any woman who claims she isn’t a feminist shouldn’t vote. After all, suffragettes and women, generally, risked their reputations and sometimes lives for the right to vote, and they continue to do so today all over the world. So if you’re a woman, and you think you’re not a feminist, you shouldn’t be voting

              2. Stephanie*

                While I agree that Diploma Mill grad’s advice sounds pretty feminist, I could see what she means about being “anti-feminist.” Historically, mainstream feminism hasn’t been the most inclusive or focused on race or class (in combination with gender), resulting in offshoots like womanism. I think feminism’s gotten better about being more inclusive, but it can still feel like one fits outside the “feminist” label if she doesn’t fit the archetype of white, middle class or higher, left-leaning, and educated. Or at least this is what I always kind of guessed when women claimed to be anti-feminist.

            2. Jill of All Trades*

              Gold Digger can, has, and will pick up the screwdriver. However, it’s nice to not *have* to do it, which I think is more to her point. I don’t think the snark is warranted.

              Also, some people are genuinely not handy, just like some people genuinely can’t do a lot of things. And no one can do absolutely everything, and it’s not a shortcoming.

              1. fposte*

                I think being handy is more attitude and practice than anything innate, though. I was thinking about this today as it looks like I need to flush my water heater (and apparently should have been doing this annually–whaddya know?). And I wondered about getting somebody else to do this, since I don’t have a ton of free time and I don’t do a lot of work on the house these days, and I thought about why it is that I was reluctant, and I realized it was mostly the fear that I would damage something worse. But I was able to read enough to be clear that it was going to be pretty hard for me to blow myself up if I followed the basic guidelines, and that if there ended up being a lot of water in my basement–well, it wouldn’t be the first time. So that’s the plan next weekend when I have a little more flexibility and have figured out if I need to get a pump or not.

                There’s still tons of stuff that I don’t do, and I’m definitely not one of these people who believe that you’re morally obligated to change your own oil, etc. But for me that was one of the great things about getting my own house: not just learning how to do stuff but learning that screwing it up wasn’t the end of the world. I think a lot of “being handy” is about not worrying so much about failure.

                1. Colette*

                  And the unwillingness to call someone to fix a mess you got yourself into because you thought you could do it yourself. IMO, that’s more embarrassing than just hiring someone in the first place.

                2. fposte*

                  Sometimes when I think it would be nice to have somebody in the house who was better at this stuff, I remember my friends who found they were living with somebody who just *thought* they were better at this stuff.

                3. Natalie*

                  @ fposte, or is slow as heck. My fiancé, God love ‘im, will volunteer to do many things, and I’m sure he would do them well. But I’d like them done this month, not next year.

                4. fposte*

                  @Natalie–ha, is he the kind that won’t let you hire somebody else because he’s totally going to do it? I have friends who’ve lived in that limbo.

                5. lay your head down child, I won't let the boogeyman come*

                  I think there *is* a ‘talent’ aspect to being “handy”. You can go pretty far without massive amounts of it. But I once had a roommate who was simply *bad* at anything that required tools or any kind of ability with machines.

                  Heh … If you really want to test your ability and your resolve, get a motorcycle and start modding it: a new seat, new grips, add saddlebags, etc.

            3. Elizabeth West*

              I don’t mow my lawn because I have a bad shoulder and I don’t WANT to. I hire a man to do it for me. If I had a husband, he’d probably do it. Or he’d pay for it to be done, because I’m not doing it. I don’t like paying for everything myself and doing everything myself. I don’t have any kids to do the damn dishes–I have to do them.

              Just because someone doesn’t want to spend their life alone doing chores all the time doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong.

              1. schnapps*

                Don’t get me wrong: I have no problem throwing money at a problem. Cleaning, yardwork, laundry, throw money at it. Hire a maid service, a gardene (er/law mowing boy, take your laundry to a laundromat that washes, dries and folds your clothes (a friend of mine swears this saves her marriage).

                But if you have kids and/or a partner, they need to pull their own weight as much as they are able (e.g – my 6yo can put dishes in the dishwasher, but no way in hell I am trusting her with my laundry). Ane if she puts all her My Little Ponies and shopkins on the floor, she has to clean the up before going to bed (or they get donated to kids who don’t have toys, because I am the meanest mommy ever).

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  Absolutely. If (when please) I have kids, they will learn how to take care of their own things. Because when they grow up, they will have to. Even if I end up living in a palace (relatively speaking), those kids are going to have chores. I don’t want them going to university and being the whiner in the dorm who can’t run the washing machine (how many times I had to help a dorm mate like that, arggh!) or losing jobs right and left because they can’t do their own work. And I’m not doing all the work while my husband does nothing. Unless we have a housekeeper, but I still figure we can put our own clothes in the hamper like adults, even if someone else does the actual washing.

                  LOL I love your last sentence.

    6. Diploma Mill grad*

      As a large production home builder in the south, we monitor new starts and sales constantly. Don’t buy a home in CA until the drought issue is resolved. The property will ultimately be worthless without a solution. We have Californians moving to the south building brand new homes by the tens of thousands.

      1. Come On Eileen*

        Eek. Not the answer I was looking for, but I understand where you are coming from. Things are pretty brutal here right now, with the drought plus all the wildfires.

    7. Colette*

      I wasn’t terrified when I bought, but I probably should have been. Everyone has good advice about finances – buy less than the bank says you can afford, make sure you can save for repairs, and consider what you’d do if your I come changes. If you don’t know how to fix stuff, the Internet is a wonderful gift, and stubbornness is almost as valuable as know-how (says the person who took three days to figure out how to change the cartridge in the kitchen sink a few months ago).

      And make sure you buy a place you’ll want to stay in for a while. Selling is really expensive.

      (Fifteen years in, I’m still glad I did it.)

      1. fposte*

        Hey, sixteen for me this summer. And I’m going through another house-focused phase right now and getting stuff fixed and upgraded. Which I really enjoy.

        1. Colette*

          I’ve done a lot of painting and a few small renovations (plank ceiling in the basement bathroom to replace the one I cut a hole in … eight? years ago, putting a hidden door on a closet) over the last couple of years. Next is the basement, which will be the type of project I hire someone for. There’s always something I can do, but there’s not often something I must do.

            1. Colette*

              The former bathroom ceiling was low. It turned out that this was because the ducts are above it, so the people who built the bathroom built a framework below the ducts (and built it into the tops of the walls, so it wasn’t going anywhere). The old ceiling was the foam tiles you staple up, so when I had to cut into them, it wasn’t easily fixable.

              My criteria for the new ceiling and was that it had to be close to flush with the frame, it had to be easy and relatively cheap, and o had to be able to remove and replace part of the ceiling if necessary.

              I ended up buying construction grade 1x4s, painting them white, and screwing them to the frame. Since the bathroom is long and narrow with an obvious break about halfway, I put them up lengthwise to the break, then width wise afterwards. Then I caulked between them and painted again. I didn’t hide/cover the screws since I want to be able to easily take a board down if necessary, but I think it looks good anyway.

              If I were doing it again, I’d probably use wider boards, since it took a lot of 1x4s.

              You can see a picture here .

    8. Natalie*

      Yes, I bought my first house this summer as a single woman. (Since engaged, but I wasn’t expecting that to happen quite yet.)

      The anxiety is totally normal. I have a little note I wrote to myself reminding me of what resources I still had after wiring the down payment, because that was scary as shit! I have never handed over anything like that much money to anybody, and probably never will unless I eventually need a bigger house.

      As far as being concerned about what you’ll find – I think it’s best if you aren’t on any sort of timetable. I renewed my lease, and as it happened I had an offer accepted weeks after the new lease term started. I wasn’t thrilled about paying the lease break fee, but I can’t see the future and it helped me to know that I wouldn’t be homeless. Take your time, don’t rush into anything because you want *a* house – make sure you want *that* house. When the right one comes along, you’ll know. I thought that was realtor nonsense but it really ended up being true. And I love my home.

      1. Natalie*

        Oh, and I tended to shift between anxiety and excitement at every step – offer, counter offer, inspection, etc. I don’t think I stopped feeling anxious until about 6 weeks ago when I unpacked my last box.

        1. fposte*

          My realtor teased me because at the walkthrough before the closing I still wasn’t ready to park in the driveway.

          1. Natalie*

            I don’t have a driveway but I do have a parking pad in the back. Still not used to it! I park on the street, which is extra inconvenient because I have an alley house and the parking pad is 5 feet from the back door.

            Habits are funny.

    9. Meg Danger*

      Just purchased my first home a couple months ago :) I live in a very affluent area and income diversity and affordable housing are def on community radar here. I qualified for an affordable home-ownership program that is exclusive to my county… so maybe you want to check if the communities you are interested in have similar programs? For me it was a way to stay in my community permanently.

    10. class factotum*

      I learned how to do a lot of things after I bought my house as a single woman. I had my dad’s old Good Housekeeping home repair book and my own tools and I figured stuff out. There’s a lot a person can do just following instructions. I am sending you good vibes!

      When I got married and we moved into the house we are in now, we had to tear out the carpet in the basement. (Hint: You do not ever want to hear what carpet sounds like after it has been wet for three days.)

      The stairs looked awful. My husband wanted to pay to have them replaced, but I said NO WAY – I can refinish them.

      And I did. They are gorgeous now. Look! http://class-factotum.blogspot.com/2009/05/hoe-not-ho.html

    11. NDQ*

      Doing this on my own as well. It’s rather empowering to know you’re not relying on anyone else to buy your home. Be proud and celebrate the achievement.

      Single women especially need to plan for their financial future. Provide your own security.

      NDQ

    12. Not So NewReader*

      Good vibes heading your way~~~~~~

      I bought this house with my late husband. Uh, the tricky part here, is that husbands have to have time off from work in order to fix the house. A person who is working 12-14 hours a day does not have time/energy to do household repairs.
      I have been here for a few years on my own. In a way, it was kind of a good thing for me to see and get used to my husband’s long hours. I did learn some repairs on my own. I also learned that my ability to keep my house came from three things: having the finances to able to afford it, having the physical stamina to keep up with everything and having the mental strength to move forward when what I really want to do is sit down and ball my eyes out because the roof is on the lawn and the rains look more like a monsoon than a rain shower.

      Yes, you can do this. No, the nervousness never goes away entirely. It changes form and it changes focus, but it does not go away totally. The good news is that the lessons expand on each other. The thing with my roof spread out all over my lawn was less taxing than looking for a house and buying said house. For one thing I had more control over how the solution for the roof played out than I had control over the whole house buying process.

      Take your time. If it takes years, then so be it. Don’t let the fluctuations in the housing market push you into something that is not what you want or not what you are willing to handle.
      I have a little house here, everything is on one floor and my yard is small. It is easy for me to handle. I can find handymen that will come and do the stuff that is beyond my scope. Sometimes the man will show me how to do something so I do not have to call again. I learned to change the filters in my water softener this way. When you are looking at houses look for a house that just makes sense and it suits the way you want to live- that is the best way I can describe it. Also realize that you can feel anxious and excited at the same time, expect to have the two emotions at same time and it’s okay.

  11. Cath in Canada*

    Mr. Robot finally showed up on Canadian TV last week! I’ve really enjoyed the first couple of episodes and have mentioned it to a few friends so I have someone to talk to about it :) Thank you to everyone who recommended the show on previous open threads – it’s the only time I’ve heard anyone mention it, and I might not have checked it out otherwise.

    1. Trixie*

      I love this program, it’s like a quality movie every Wed evening. You might check out Atlantic Monthly who did a couple great reviews/write-ups as far as production, cinematography, directing, etc. They really craft and frame each shot so beautifully, not what I would expect from USA. Enjoy!

      1. Stephanie*

        FX has some fantastic stuff, too! I always kind of assumed their programming was for bros, but they have some fantastic shows like Archer, It’s Always Sunny, The Americans, and The Bridge.

        1. Anx*

          FX and FXX also way over-bro their ads. Like, do you really need to make a Parks and Rec ad bro-y? Like, really?

    2. Dynamic Beige*

      It is a very interesting show. I have a theory about what’s going on which I want to see if I’m close or not (probably not). The logo of Evil Corp gives me a little chuckle.

      Weird as it is, I am strangely excited that Heroes is coming back. I thought the first season of the original was great, and then it just kind of went whaaaat? so when it was cancelled, not all that miffed about it. Should be interesting to see how they work it this time. Not often you get to see something crash and burn then get resurrected and a chance to fix the mistakes. All the other show reboots have been of much older lineage.

  12. Vanilla*

    I’m curious to see what advice and feedback others have as well. I’m *thinking* of buying something in the spring, but it’s so difficult to find anything in my price range that I actually like and that’s in a decent area. Purchasing on one income can be difficult.

    1. NDQ*

      I’m in a similar situation. I am buying on one income, but my plan is to buy several rental units to fund my retirement in six years. The challenge is doing this on one income, but it can be done.

      Good luck!
      NDQ

    2. Natalie*

      If you have a stable place you can stay until you buy, it never hurts to look. You don’t even have to spend your own gas if you don’t want to – my realtor drove me around to showings. And it’s kind of fun.

  13. Fleur*

    Has anyone has experience as an art newbie learning digital painting online? Links or recommendations for tutorials? Is it a bad idea to start digital if I have no traditional pen/pencil art experience?

    I just bought a shiny monoprice tablet that was on sale, and hoping to put it to use.

    1. Pipette*

      It is certainly easier to learn digital painting if you have some traditionalart experience, since you already know how to “art” and only have to figure out the tools. I haven´t done digital art in ages, but check out Deviantart.com for tutorials and inspiration, and try to find an active oekaki board to get feedback.

      1. Fleur*

        Yeah, I have some “art for beginners” books, and I’m kind of torn between learning to draw with a pencil first before moving to digital, or just going pure digital.

        I’ll look around deviantart and oekaki boards, thanks!

    2. lay your head down child, I won't let the boogeyman come*

      Personally I think the important part is just *starting*.

      I don’t know what style you’re looking to develop, but you might want to search YouTube for FZD.

      Not to rain on your parade about the monoprice tablet, but I’m really excited about the iPad Pro (and the Apple Pencil) that were announced on Wednesday. It’s expensive, but it’s still cheaper than a Cintiq (and also a lot easier to carry around). Does the monoprice have a stylus with pressure and tilt sensitivity?

      1. Fleur*

        Thanks for the FZZ suggestion! Looks great and I’d never think to search for it myself. I just want to start learning how to draw, like proportions, and the basics. Eventually I’d like to draw my own cartoons/comics.

        And haha, when I say sale, I do mean sale. I’m super cheap, and the Apple Pencil itself is more than twice the cost of my tablet ($40!). If I could do it over, I’d probably get the Huion 610 Pro ($70) for the better driver support and rechargeable stylus, but my monoprice tablet (essentially a Huion 610 rebrand) has a nice large drawing surface (10″x6.25″) + 1024 pen pressure. No tilt unfortunately and no Windows 10 support.

    3. asteramella*

      Digital art is certainly different from traditional, but the advantage of digital is you don’t have to spend lots of money on art supplies!

      There are a lot of figure drawing websites and videos online–try doing loose gesture drawings of figures in different poses. It will be pretty tough to get a hang of and your taste will outpace your skill for a long time, but drawing can be a really satisfying hobby.

    4. Future EdTech*

      Ctrl Paint is pretty good since it tends to start with the basics. As someone who does digital art on the side, practice both digitally and traditionally. Get a small sketchbook and use your favorite pencil (can be cheap) to doodle and draw when you’re away from the computer.

      Practicing traditionally will help you refine your technique, confidence, and speed than just digital (no ctrl+z). When you can’t refine, zoom, or fix certain aspects, you start to really think before making strokes. Digital practice is great when you want to speed sketch/paint (no long time being spent on mixing colors!) or try a certain style without investing in materials.

      Also for practicing drawing humans: try Pixelovely.

  14. LSP*

    Anyone do the KonMari method recently?

    I read most of the book (thank you digital library/why your loan periods gotta be so short?) and enjoyed a lot of what she had to say. Side note: some commenters do not get the whole “spark joy” thing but it makes total sense. To those who do not get it: (read this in Michel from Gilmore Girl’s voice) you are lazy and I hate you.

    I have yet to actually organize my house, but I’m going to!

      1. TheLazyB (UK)*

        I did clothes and books, they were ok. Papers I started but have got totally stuck halfway through. THERE ARE SO MANY AND THEY ALL HAVE THINGS TO DO and that’s after getting rid of tons- my shredding pile is massive and i already recycled a load!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I KonMari’d all my drawers and I love them so much. I don’t know if the objects themselves bring me joy, but looking at my perfectly folded and organized drawers does.

    2. Bye Academia*

      I did my clothes, books, kitchen items, and a few other odds and ends, but then I got derailed by some travel. And also by the fact that 70% of the stuff in my apartment belongs to my partner, who has no desire to declutter anything.

      It does feel a lot better to have my own stuff under control, especially the clothes. If I see something new I really love, I can actually bring it home and put it away somewhere! There’s still more I want to do, though. I’m not at the click yet.

    3. NDQ*

      Yes! My organized drawers and closet make me super happy. Still working on the rest of the house, but at least my bedroom is wonderful.

      NDQ

    4. nep*

      Looked her up when I read about KonMari in another post on AAM a while back. I get the importance of organising, and how gratifying it is. But I wasn’t really feeling her odd approach. I’d probably benefit from giving it another chance.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I think you may need to read *her* book to get the full effect.

        I know that was true of Dr. Richard Ferber’s “Solving Your Child’s Sleep Problem.” You really needed to go through his whole mental process and presentation of the tactic to truly understand him and what he was trying to help you do.

    5. LSP*

      Re: Joy

      I feel like this somewhat lost in translation.

      For example, my workout socks. I have like 15 pairs. But in reality, I only really like 4 pairs and I wear them over and over again because they are the best. Why bother keeping the other 11? I should just buy 1 (or 3) more pairs and just wear the ones I truly like!

      Same with my t-shirts. It’s like I only wear the same 10 shirts even though I have 50.

      I don’t think shirts and socks necessarily “bring joy” (unless we’re talking about some super cute socks with baby squirrels on them) but I know you know there are clothes/items that are your go-to’s. I guess I read “joy” more so as “favorite”.

      I am motivated to organize now! Thanks everyone!

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, for me it was another question to ask rather than the sole determinant, and it was in concert with the “pull together all the things of that kind.” Wow, I really use this pile of socks all the time, and I keep these others out of a vague sense of whatever and never wear them. Why not just keep the first?

    6. Roly Poly Little Bat Faced Girl*

      I’ve started! Spouse and I finished our clothes in the last couple weeks and ending up donating about 20 paper grocery bags of clothes and shoes, along with throwing away some stuff that wasn’t good enough to donate. I’ll admit to moments of panic when I think I’ll miss something, but hey, it’s just clothes and I’ve haven’t missed anything yet. And like others, I love how organized my drawers are now! I’m more of a clothes-hanger person and we have a spacious walk-in closet, so not much incentive to fold. I’m a terrible folder too, but I’m actually finding it fun now. I confess to opening a drawer just to look at it and admire the organization of it. :)

      The KonMari approach is a nice, fresh perspective. There are lots of ways and motivations to declutter and I’m glad this one works for people.

    7. fposte*

      Anything that evokes Michel sparks joy for me :-).

      I didn’t do the full KonMari, but I let the way she thought about it inform my summer house purge (that’s the purge of my house this summer, not a summer house that got purged). I love the no-piles thing (I have big closet shelves filled with vertically folded clothing now), I love the putting-like-things-together notion, and I like, though don’t religiously adhere to, the notion that stuff that you keep should really make you happy.

      I haven’t done the papers and the general stuff; I don’t know that I ever will, at least in KonMari terms. But I continue to weed the contents of the house down in a very satisfying way.

    8. Ruffingit*

      Haven’t done the KM method, but my husband and I did do a massive clean-out of our closet and bedroom. We still have a ways to go, but it’s SO much better already. We got rid of several boxes worth of things. Dropped them at Goodwill. Now looking at selling a few things and we’ve started another donation pile. It’s unreal how much stuff I have (it was mostly mine, not so much his) and how useless it really is. I am so ready to pare down and love the things I have.

    9. Saro*

      I have! I have paper, kitchen goods and sentimental items left. It really made sense to me and a number of my friends are reading her book now.

    10. Anx*

      I like some of the overall points, but I didn’t find that much about the book or method groundbreaking. Well, I suppose I actually liked doing it all in one go.

      Or I tried. But then I decided to do things in batches. Not all at once, and not a little bit at a time (I’m far too inpatient for that).

      One thing I don’t like at about most decluttering and organization books/sites is that they seem a bit classist. I need a method where I’m not throwing stuff out that I may need again, because buying again is not an option, but that keeps me from hoarding things unnecessarily and lets me try to enjoy my house a little.

      I really couldn’t get behind the touching things for joy (sometimes you have to make do with what you have), but I did like the way she broke down clothes, books, paper, and other.

    11. Noah*

      I read the book and really appreciated the approach. For me “sparks joy” can mean a lot of things. For instance, I kept a Halloween costume because my grandmother and I made it together the year before she died. It makes me happy to see it in my closet, even if I never wear it again. Sometime in the future I might feel comfortable getting rid of it, but right now it makes me happy.

      So far I’ve done clothing and books. I was amazed at the amount of clothing I own when I had to empty my closets and dresser drawers into a huge pile on the floor. It was a bit overwhelming but in the end it only took me about four hours to go through everything at a quick pace and decide what I wanted to do with it. I kept it simple and made two piles: keep or donate. I realized I own a ton of button up shirts but I only wear about 7-10 on a regular basis, mostly due to fit or color issues. I kept the ones that made me the happiest and got rid of the rest.

      She does address items that you have to keep for whatever reason. The best example for me is a work uniform. It doesn’t exactly “spark joy” and thankfully I rarely have to wear it unless I’m working in a customer-facing position, which only occurs every 2-3 months. However, the fact that I use it and it is a tool that keeps me employed does spark joy. Same thing with a winter coat. The one I have is ok, but not my favorite. However, I kept it because I need a coat but I will be on the lookout for one to replace it.

      I don’t think it is exactly life changing, but it does make me happy to look into a clean closet, a tidy bookshelf, or a neatly folded dresser drawer. I liked the fact that the rules were not as hard and fast as “if you haven’t worn it in 12 months, get rid of it”.

    12. TootsNYC*

      I haven’t read the book yet (I bought it, bcs I knew it would take me awhile to get around to it–I want to read it right before I’ve got some time and freedom to actually do something with the lift).

      I did apply the “spark joy” thing to my clothes, and I get it there.
      I can totally get it with dishes and heirlooms (or “heirlooms,” LOL!)

      I’m having trouble w/ “spark joy” in the cleaning closet. I can easily do the other thing: “does this make you annoyed or guilty, or [insert negative emotional reaction here]? Then toss it.” But it’s a little weird to feel joy about stuff like Lysol.

    13. Christy*

      I did my clothes and I love it. Love it. I don’t have any clothes I hate anymore. I got rid of backup underwear! I only own one sweater. I’m overjoyed.

    14. MegKnits*

      I have!! While I don’t necessarily find ‘joy’ in everything I found the sorting process useful (mostly for my clothes). Do I like this item? Why am I keeping it? Will I need it in the future? etc. Some items like my suit I don’t find joy in but kept because I could need it in the future. I donated 3 bags of clothing and find getting dressed for work in the morning takes half the time it used to.
      I really need to KonMari the office/spare bedroom but it’s 70% of my husbands things and he’s not quite on board yet. (I swear he keeps every single scrap of paper he’s ever had).

  15. Jill of All Trades*

    Random thought from my week: I need Gilmore Girls to make a comeback because my life will be enriched by what Lorelai has to say about The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Please and thank you.

      1. Jill of All Trades*

        Is the actress still alive? I loved Hyacinth because physically she reminds me so much of my grandmother (and the resemblance ends there – my gma wouldn’t know how to be such a snob).

        1. Steve G*

          Yup, I checked recently when watching reruns. She is 86. Onslow and Rose, unfortunately, are dead….they would only be in their early 70s if alive…….

          1. Charlotte Collins*

            Patricia Routledge was also in a mystery series, “Hetty Wainthrop Investigates.” She plays a very different character, but I love her as an actress, and it’s a nice series, especially for those of us who like cozy style mysteries and don’t always need a murder to enjoy a mystery.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Stupid Netflix took off all but the first season. I wasn’t finished and now I can’t watch it at all because the YouTube videos are blocked in my country.

        I think that the BBC should charge a small fee to let us use the iPlayer here. I would pay for that. I tweeted at them and everything. With Netflix, Hulu, a Roku, and the iPlayer, I’d be set and not have to do a VPN that could get me in trouble or mess up.

    1. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

      I’ve just finished season 4 of my annual Gilmore Girls marathon rewatch. I miss this show.

    2. OfficePrincess*

      I just realized today that I had never seen season 1 episode 1. I knew there were some episodes in the later seasons I missed, but I had always thought I had seen all of the early episodes several times. I finally got Netflix not too long ago and decided to settle in for a rewatch this afternoon and didn’t recognize the first episode at all. I always thought the one where Rory started Chilton was the first, but apparently not.

      1. AnnieNonymous*

        The first episode is a bit odd – it’s a little edgier than the rest of the series, and Alexis Bledel’s acting was notably better. She’s always been beautiful and she certainly has a strong on-screen presence, but her acting is atrocious for the most part.

    3. Al Lo*

      I’ve bee getting my Gilmore fix from the Gilmore Guys podcast. It’s probably the show that I’ve watched the most frequently of any show on TV, so it’s fun that it’s hitting the pop culture zeitgeist again in a way since coming out on Netflix.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        I was just coming here to say this! Listening to Gilmore Guys while I cook is a great way to get an additional Gilmore fix since I already re-watched the whole series when it came on Netflix.

    4. Anx*

      So this is probably way too serious, but I’m not sure there can really be a GG in 2015; at least not as we know it. So much of that show revolved class issues between the middle class and the wealthy. I wonder how the Dragonfly Inn would be doing now? Would a Walmart have made its way into Stars Hollow? How would the recession and crash have effected Stars Hollow? Rory very well could have ended up needing to rely on her grandparents for connections after her campaign gig to transition into a well-paying, full-time position. Her legacy/upper class classmates would likely be able to leverage their hard work and excellent education much more efficiently than the scholarship students, which I’m sure Rory would be pretty uncomfortable with (but ultimately take advantage of) Would there be less takeout? What about the mindless consumerism Lorelei partook in so often?

      I have thought about this before, as you may be able to tell.

      1. Kerry ( like the county in Ireland)*

        Nicole Dieker just restarted her “How (pop culture reference) Does Money” series at The Billfold, and she is doing Gilmore Girls this round.

  16. Alistair*

    I want to say thanks to everyone who gave me advice and experience about Adderall last week. I finally got my prescription and started taking it. I think it’s making a difference already!

    Overall my mood has been better, I have more energy, and I have a major interest in [i]getting things done.[i] My usually jumpy brain can actually focus. I love it. And (sorry, quick work related) my coworker and I produced a product that both my boss and our client loved. Excellent turn around from the previous month or three on my part!

    I’ve noticed, though, some trouble sleeping, dry mouth, and some headaches. I hope the sleeping and the headaches are more work stress than medicine, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that. And the medicine has been suppressing my appetite. As an overweight guy, I can’t help but feel happy about that, though I know it could be very worrisome.

    While some part of me is upset that I need medication, I think over all this truly is Better Living Through Chemistry. We’ll see where it takes me.

    Anyway, TL;DR: thanks everyone for your thoughts last week, it was informative and helpful. Ya’ll are the best!

    1. Alistair*

      Blast! I chose brackets instead of alligators! My italics didn’t work. I chose…poorly. turns into an old man, then a skeleton, then dust.

    2. Anonymous for this*

      The trouble sleeping may be from the Adderall – I have that problem myself. I find that even after the intended effects wear off, there’s still enough in my system to keep me up for a few hours.

      Timing my doses so that the second one is mid-afternoon (about 8 hours before my bedtime) has helped a lot. Your doctor might be able to suggest a medication schedule that facilitates better sleep for your particular bedtime and wake up time.

      1. Alistair*

        I’ll keep an eye on the sleep schedule; hopefully it was just stress! But good to know it might be a real thing.

    3. Nashira*

      Sometimes better living through chemistry is a perfectly awesome choice, especially when it lets you live your life and do awesome things. I know it can be hard to get used to, but I’m so glad to hear that you’re already doing awesome stuff.

      Re: the dry mouth, you might try Biotene products. They help protect your teeth the way saliva does, as well as making it so you aren’t drinking 27599393 litres of water a day.

      Re: the sleep and appetite, that can be stress and can also be the Adderall. You might need to take your dose earlier in the day and practice good sleep hygeine. If it keeps bugging you, talk with your doctor about how to work around it, or if it means you need a different medication.

      1. Alistair*

        Yeah, I’m really hoping that the sleep thing is just temporary due to stress and my body getting used to the medication.

        I already take some blood pressure meds, so I’m halfway to that better living through chemistry. Somehow this feels like a bigger step. It’ll pass, I’m sure, as things continue to go good.

        Thanks!

        1. I'schnapps*

          I don’t know about adderall. I know that when I went to my doctor with depression and he put me on zoloft, it took two or three weeks before I could sleep normally. The first three nights, I was up all night. I would read in the living room until 3 am, then go to bed.

          Any of these meds screw with your brain. The lack of sleep was a minor problem compared to how much better I was able to handle the day.

    4. Noah*

      That’s awesome! I resisted taking drugs for ADHD for a long time, I’ve been on Adderall for more than a year now and all I can say is that I don’t know why I was against it for so long. I ran into the same sleep issues at first, but it settled down after a few weeks.

        1. BRR*

          I’m on vyvansse and try to not take it on weekends. A lot of times I need the energy and focus and will have to take it one day but an upside to a stimulant med is you can just not take it if you don’t want/need to (but ask your doctor to be sure). I have found my body does better having a little time without it in my system.

        2. Noah*

          I don’t take it on weekends unless I’m at a work event or conference or something. I talked with my doctor and he was fine with that. He did say to watch out because the side effects can sometimes be worse if you are starting/stopping each week. Adderall is not like other psych drugs that have to build up in your system, it has a pretty short half life.

          The other good part about skipping weekends, at least for me, is that you end up with extra meds. Adderall, as a controlled substance, can be a bit of a challenge to get refilled sometimes. Each month I have to make a trip to the doctors office, pickup a physical prescription, and take that to the pharmacy. There is no calling in a refill or having the doctor fax it over.

  17. Treena*

    Any AirBnB users who have gone through a dispute before?

    My husband and I stayed 2 weeks in an Airbnb last week and a few days later we were notified via the site that we “broke” the vacuum and it would cost $200 to repair. Problem is, we literally never touched the vacuum. As in, the host showed me where it was when we checked-in, I never touched it, and my husband didn’t even know it was there.
    We had some Amazon packages delivered, and left some bits of packaging on the floor, so I think our host thinks we tried to vacuum them up, clogged the vacuum, tried to open it up, and broke it in the process. She also claims that the electrical wiring to the power supply was damaged beyond repair, so I don’t know what her theory on that one is.
    So, we have to write in our “evidence” that we didn’t do this, but how do you prove you didn’t touch something? We obviously didn’t think to take pictures or anything like that. I was thinking of tracking down old landlords/neighbors where we broke their stuff and told them and paid for it. (Our neighbor let us use her washing machine/dryer and the ancient dryer happened to break with our stuff in it and we paid the $100 repair bill. Our first week in a house with a disposal in the sink, I shoved corn husks down. Called up the landlord and said I didn’t realize corn was a no-no, and she should let us know what the plumber cost her and I’d tack it onto the rent next month, etc.)

    Is that a good idea? Can you think of anything else we could do?

    1. A*

      Not a good idea, because they won’t give a flying squirrel about it. Reach out to the site and find out what your options are for fighting it. Consider shopping/pricing some legal help in case it escalates.

      1. Treena*

        The site is the one evaluating both our arguments and making a decision. I doubt a lawyer would help because I’ve already “agreed” (by using the site and clicking a check box) to defer to the site’s judgement on these issues. I just never imagined that this would happen.

        1. Diploma Mill grad*

          The standard “we agree to arbitration” line item on these contracts is easily voided. Every agreement includes this clause and it is rarely enforceable. If that company provides you with evidence that you broke it, get a lawyer and bring it to their attention. I will say, too, there has to be intent to harm or cause damage. If the vacuum is a million years old and mummified but presented as usable and you touch it and it crumbles – not your fault.

          1. fposte*

            You can seek compensation for economic damages, but it doesn’t sound like Treena is out any money because of this. There’s no economic compensation just for being exposed to stupidity; otherwise we’d all be owed money all the time.

            Other people may know better on the arbitration or no thing, but this seems like a situation where going to court would be to the detriment of the person *not* trying to get money–i.e., Treena.

            1. Treena*

              Yea, I’m definitely not going the lawyer route. We just moved abroad and I’m busy settling in, job-hunting, and apartment-hunting. If they find us “guilty” we would be out the $150 (or whatever their judgement of the damage is) because it comes out of the deposit that we already paid when we booked.

    2. Diploma Mill grad*

      As the accuser, that owner has the burden of proof. She must prove it was not broke prior to your visit. “Innocent until proven guilty” means just that. You are innocent unless evidence presented points otherwise.

    3. Apollo Warbucks*

      All you can do is explain the situation and hope that they believe your version of events. If they see photos of the damage it might be obvious that the damage is older than they are claiming.

      1. Treena*

        That’s what I’m hoping for. She claimed the vacuum is less than 2 years old, but somehow dropped in price from $300 to $150 to buy a replacement. She sounds so fishy hopefully the Airbnb team will pick up on that.

        Fun fact: She also told us we were rude for not leaving her gifts of candy and/or wine!!

          1. Kate*

            That’s what I thought. Also, perhaps because you DIDN’T touch the vacuum cleaner? If she showed you where it was, she may have been expecting you to run it, at least at the end of the two weeks. And am I reading correctly that you guys left bits of Amazon packaging on the floor when you left? Considering you mention below she also made a massive deal about taking the trash out and the candy / wine thing, maybe she thinks you guys didn’t leave the place in a good enough state when you left and this is her ridiculous attempt at retaliation?

        1. Laura*

          You’re supposed to leave gifts for the host for airbnb? Is that a common thing?

          (Like, I’d get gifts for friends I stay with, but for airbnb isn’t it enough you’re paying them already?)

          1. Stephanie*

            Ha, that was my thought too. I thought the gift was the money. I’ll bring gifts for friends, but that’s usually an acknowledgement of “Hey, I know this might be an inconvenience and you could have told me to go get a hotel, but didn’t.”

    4. INFJ*

      This might be a long shot, but do the owners have personal social media accounts? It might be worth looking if they’re public and one of them posted in the past something to the extent of “Damn vaccuum cleaner broke again” or something equally damning. You’d be surprised how stupid people can be about leaving that stuff online.

      1. Treena*

        Oh my goodness thank you! No evidence of broken vacuums, but her page has confirmed that she is a super obnoxious human being. She has a Politeness Society FB page and this is one of the rants she posted! Literally LOLing

        The inspiration for this page happened a few days ago, when I held a door for a woman, for a solid five or six seconds. It almost became a standoff, between us: Me, the determined, polite holder of doors, vs. she, the perturbed reader of a sign, which was posted just to the right of the door, she evidently had no desire to pass through, at that particular juncture.
        So there we were. I suppose the woman simply hoped I’d stop holding the door for her, eventually, but I persisted! Finally, she spun towards me, making somewhat of a grunting noise, a look of perturbed disdain on her face. “Oh, so you wouldn’t like to go in? You’re all set? Okay!” I said, cheerily, as I finally relented and let the door swing shut. “You’re welcome,” I said, as I turned and walked away. Now, I know this last bit was less than polite of me, but my position is thus: If, as a society, we continue to allow this sort of behaviour to persist, it shall. We will eventually devolve into a society of brutish grunters, with a total lack of thoughtful public interaction.
        Furthermore, as our “filterless” use of the internet becomes more and more a dominant force in our cultural experience, we’re heading towards a disgusting reality, wherein it’s deemed socially acceptable to be a brash dispenser of rude insults, anytime and any place. I, for one, WILL NOT HAVE IT! Perhaps, if we stand united in this cause, we can inspire those around us to be more thoughtful, to speak to one another, politely and, well, frankly, to NOT be rude jerks! It might take some negative reinforcement, but I say, SO BE IT!
        Go ahead – post a story! Post a pic! Use the hashtag ‪#‎PPSS‬ ! Had I thought to take a pic of the woman I mentioned above, I might have captioned it “When someone holds a door for you, please say THANK YOU, regardless of whether or not you’d like to make use of their service. #PPSS .”

        1. fposte*

          Oh, wow. Maybe reading somebody’s social media is a good step before using them for AirBnB, because that would have sent me a-running.

          1. Treena*

            Yes! There were other signs in her profile (a lot of instructions/information in ALL CAPS) that in hindsight, indicates she’s had “issues” with people. When we checked in, she was very clear that if we didn’t take out the trash before leaving, it would be a Big. Deal. which I thought was super weird, but just thought she didn’t want the smell to gather if it took her a few days to come in and clean.

            1. BRR*

              I can understand the why of the trash thing but not how she seems to communicate. All caps anything would have been a red flag for airbnb. Her Facebook post is just wow. She’s mad because somebody was reading or posting a sign and she insisted on holding the door for them? I’m feeling a little more now that you’ll be fine. I’d guess she’s communicating with airbnb this way too.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          “I tried to force my politeness on a person who didn’t want it and was a sarcastic twit when she didn’t fall to the ground and thank me in grateful tears.”

          [insert extremely rude British curse word here].

          1. Treena*

            Seriously! The woman probably didn’t even realize she was meaning to hold the door for her–she was reading a freaking sign!

            1. fposte*

              I love the woman’s belief that this woman was merely pretending to read the sign out of cunning–it was literally impossible for her to grasp that somebody near her wasn’t noticing her at all.

              1. Treena*

                Exactly! Your diagnosis is so spot on you’re going laugh…she’s a singer-songwriter! The epitome of “Look at me!”

        3. Honeybee*

          I mean I think it’s obvious that she’s just obnoxious, but the first example is just SO baffling to me. It’s polite to hold the door for someone who is coming in the door behind you. If that person is not entering, you let the door close and let them open it themselves later. Why on earth would you get mad at someone who you thought was coming in after you but then ended up not for…not…following…you through the door?

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I’ve held the door when I thought someone was coming in, but I usually ask, “Coming in?” and if they don’t answer or say “No, thanks,” I let it go and continue on. It’s really not that big a deal!

  18. CollegeAdmin*

    I dyed my hair red two weeks ago and LOVE it (seriously, I’m obsessed with my own hair now) but it’s fading very fast. Any tips to bring it back to its former bright glory, and/or how to keep it from fading next time?

    1. Jill of All Trades*

      I’m following this. Red dye fades so fast (and I’m a natural auburn so it’s not a stretch color). Even with the fancy color preserving shampoo.

      1. Come On Eileen*

        I get my hair colored a reddish shade every two months — more expensive than doing it myself, but the color lasts longer and fades to a lighter auburn. I was never able to make my home-colored red last longer than a few weeks.

        1. CollegeAdmin*

          This is the first time I’ve dyed my hair, and I went to a salon. The color it’s faded to is nice – a reddish brown – but the bright red I had for the first week was beautiful. It was such a confidence boost for me.

      1. CollegeAdmin*

        Mine’s a natural shade of red – bright, but natural. Not sure if those would work for me, but thanks!

        1. Lady Bug*

          I agree with the color conditoner. I’ve been various shades of red for the last 20 years or so and there is no way to stop it from fading in about 4 weeks. The color conditioner just gives it a kick that lasts a few days, it doesn’t deposit color. That said, I’ve only used it when I had light red highlights over dark red hair, to keep the highlights from fading, I’m not sure it will help hair that hasn’t been lifted.

    2. Amber Rose*

      I get the same feeling when I dye my hair red. I love the super bright reds, so pretty.

      But mostly I’ve just resigned myself to re-dying every few weeks. Red does not have staying power.

    3. Calla*

      First, I would explore different brands–some fade better than others!

      Shampoo doesn’t really make a difference. Here are some things you can do:
      1. If you wash your hair every day, think about trying out a dry shampoo!
      2. When you wash your hair, use lukewarm or cool water instead of hot.
      3. You can make your own color boosting conditioner–just mix any leftover dye in with your regular conditioner, let it sit for a few minutes when you use it, presto.

      Best of luck! Even the best dyes I can’t make last at full vibrancy past about a month, but you should be able to get more than 2 weeks out of it.

    4. Anx*

      I dyed my hair red for a costume. It was supposed to be wash out color. It lasted forever! Especially in the baby hairs that frame my face.

    5. Tris Prior*

      Long time bottle redhead here! Shampoo it as infrequently as you can stand. My hair is super dry and really doesn’t get greasy so I can get away with this; I know not everyone can. Maybe try a dry shampoo in between?

      Regardless, though, it’s going to fade quickly. Red is tough.

    6. LAMM*

      I’m a fake red head and I get my hair done every 6-10 weeks (I aim for 6. Sometimes life happens and I have to go 10). A few things I do…

      1. I only wish my hair 2-3 times a week (max!). The less you wash it, the less it fades.
      2. When I do wash my hair it’s with luke-warm water at best. If you can stand colder, do it. Somewhere I heard that warm water causes dyed hair to fade faster (just like with clothing… wash in cold if you want to prevent fading).
      3. I use John Freda For Redheads shampoo and conditioner. It’s available pretty much everywhere from what I’ve seen (CVS, Ulta, Meijer, etc.). Even my hairdresser was shocked at how well the color held up using this shampoo.
      4. From what I’ve seen/heard, hair tends to “hold on to” certain colors. My hair loves the reds. I went without dying my hair for over a year and my hairdresser could see the red undertones still in it. My best friend’s hair can’t hold red to save her life… but it loves being blonde. So if you can’t keep the red from fading fast, it might not be you. It might be your hair.

    7. brightstar*

      There’s a glaze you can get at most stores like Walmart, Target, etc; I think it might be John Frieda or something. When I had my hair dyed red my hairstylist recommended it and it did help, especially when I would coat my hair with it and let it set a while.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I need to try that. Mine fades out at the top faster. Also, maybe it will turn the incoming greys into highlights, LOL.

        I’m thinking it might almost be time to go lighter, since the evil greys are starting to come out in my brows, rawr.

        1. brightstar*

          I have very dark hair with quite a bit of gray (I started graying at 28), and actually get a lot of compliments on it. But I don’t like the gray eyebrow hairs. No sirree.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Mine started about the same time. I read a book about thyroid disease, and it said premature greying was one of the symptoms that some people have. The symptoms began around then, too.

            My natural hair (was) light reddish brown. In one high school picture of me in a yellow cowl-neck, my hair looks SO auburn. That’s the color I dye it. :)

  19. AdAgencyChick*

    Talk to me about what to do with okra. I’ve never made it before, some came in a CSA box that I ordered, and I have no idea what to do with it.

    Obviously I can Google recipes but I’m looking for people with experience to tell me what is un-screw-up-able!

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      PS, stovetop only for me (although if roasted okra is awesome, feel free to say so for future reference). My oven refuses to turn on and my super refuses to come by outside of 9-5 M-F, so it ain’t getting fixed for a little while :(

    2. Jill of All Trades*

      Slice really thin, coat in corn meal, and fry (I’m from the south so I grew up pretty much battering and frying every vegetable ever).

      1. Sarah in DC*

        You can also pan fry without battering, which is my preferred method. Do it in a cast iron skillet if you have one, you want a hot pan so they get nice and crispy.

      2. Noah*

        This is literally the only way I have ever had okra, fried and dipped in ranch. I remember seeing pickled okra but I’ve never tried it.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Steam it for a few minutes, then let it cool. Slice it and add to bowl with chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped red onion, queso fresco, lime juice, cilantro (if you like it) and salt. Makes a delicious salad.

      Also, soak it in cider vinegar for about 30 minutes and stew it with tomatoes and Middle Eastern spices. I love okra! I also like it sliced, sauteed, and scrambled with a few eggs in olive oil.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        That sounds wonderful. I try (not always successfully) to avoid grains so although fried food is delicious, this cider-vinegar idea sounds much more like something I’ll do. Gracias!

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Martha Rose Shulman writes recipes for the NY Times’ Eat Well blog– both of the above suggestions are inspired by her. :) Find the blog and search for “okra”, and you’ll find some great healthy ideas.

    4. Be the Change*

      When you wash it, make sure you dry it well before cutting. That helps it keep from getting all gummy if you fry it, like Indian style.

  20. Stephanie*

    I feel horrible about this, but my grandmother’s moving out here Monday and I’m pretty ambivalent about it. From what I’ve gleaned (and what my mom’s told me), she was a pretty absentee mother to my dad. She had my dad very young, so he grew up with his grandmother. Because of that, their relationship has always been very strained (especially when my great-grandmother was still alive). And also because of that, I didn’t really grow up with her around and visiting that much (or us visiting her that much). They’ve gotten better since my great-grandmother died about a decade ago, but there’s still some tension.

    Where my ambivalence comes from is that I can sort of see a lot of caretaker duties shifted onto me. (My dad is retired, btw.) He has a habit of inviting relatives out here (these are the moochy ones I’ve mentioned before in open threads) like “Stay as long as you want!”, but not really meaning that (as in, they overstay their welcome). So what usually ends up happening is that he ends up getting tired of playing host and then I’m the one being asked to shuttle guests around town or cook dinner while he “goes to the store” for three hours. So I suppose I’m afraid her moving out here will turn into a more intense version of this (she has her own housing).

    But then I feel horrible because I know elder neglect is very much a thing (she’s healthy and pretty mobile, however) and that she was in kind of a mixed situation back in her Midwestern city.

    1. danr*

      If she has her own housing and is still pretty mobile and healthy, do your homework and find out about senior activities in the area. Chances are that she will end up spending time with new friends rather than her family. Her family is there for support when she needs it for occasional dinners and if there are serious health issues. If your father issues a standing invitation to Sunday dinner, tell him that he’s cooking. If he disappears, take your grandmother out for dinner.

      1. Stephanie*

        Isolation was definitely some of my concern, especially since she’ll be out in an exurb and had a whole network back in her former city. I’ll definitely look into and suggest some senior activities.

        1. fposte*

          And I think you can feel resentful and exhausted about it and still behave well to your grandmother. Elder neglect isn’t people doing nice things while they feel ambivalent. You’re pressing charges against yourself just for feeling unwelcoming. You get to feel unwelcoming!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Maybe it is time to have a chat with your dad about how much care taking you can and are willing to do.
      The other half of the story is that the woman may have matured into a person who is likable and the few things that you agree to do for her you don’t mind as much. That sounds lame, I am sorry. But odd stuff can happen.

      I am looking at a story here of an absentee mom who has returned. Without going into too much detail there are parts of her return that are good stories. Some of it is not so good, that is true, too.
      Definitely though, consider drawing a boundary line with your father’s habit of volunteering your services. He will max you out at this rate.

  21. FiveWheels*

    So I got asked on a Schrodingers Date last week by someone I really do not want to go on a date with. If the guy had used the word “date” I would have managed to politely decline, but it was just ambiguous enough that I couldn’t work out how to refuse without being very rude. It also didn’t help that he phoned me at work and my office is open plan so I didn’t really want to get into a lengthy debate with half the department listening in.

    I said I’d check my calendar and email him with a day that suited…. And then I found out I’m getting audited next week and have no free time so got to politely decline without making up a fake excuse or having an awkward conversation.

    Yes I know I’m an overgrown child and as a professional adult I should be able to decline a date without feeling like in kicking a puppy, but really, I have never been so glad about an audit in my life.

    1. VintageLydia USA*

      I dunno. I think the real “crime” here is this person asking you out in such a way that social norms would dictate YOU would be in the wrong if you outright declined. And especially while you’re at work where dealing with the possible fallout of a “no” can be particularly socially hazardous.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)*

        Yeah, being at work your easy get out was “I’m sorry I’m right up against a deadline right now” and repeat every time the topic came up. Then when/if he tried outside of work you can be clearer.

        (I know it’s much easier when you’re not in the situation! I never would have thought of this in the moment)

        1. FiveWheels*

          The problem with giving the deadline excuse was I was asked to pick any day next week, and “I’m up on a deadline” wouldn’t have been believable. Did I mention the guy is a family friend of one of my bosses? Ha!

          Also I could easily picture the entire staff immediately wanting to know what deadline I was on, who I was trying to avoid, etc. That’s what’s so insidious about Schrodingers Dates – it’s easier to say “I don’t want to go on a date with you, although you are a nice and interesting person” than “I don’t even want to have dinner with you because the idea you would ask me out is horrifying.”

          People baffle me, too. If you want a date, use that word. The only point of being ambiguous is if you think the other person won’t agree to a definite date – in which case why would you want them to agree at all? Do people think they can trick someone into fancying them through proximity? Ugh.

          1. Ismis*

            Can you ask a few more people? “Sure – sounds good – I think Bob was looking for something to do next weekend; I’ll ask him along.”

          2. TheLazyB (UK)*

            “I’m trying to concentrate on something right now, let me email you later”?

            I would leave out the “nice and interesting” part. Too much chance that the guy won’t hear the no as he gets too wrapped in hearing the compliment :-/

            1. FiveWheels*

              Hah, a friend did suggest that I invite multiple co workers along, perhaps some of my male hockey team, and a fake boyfriend just to increase the awkward factor.

              Had I been free next week my tentative plan was to say I was only available right after work, so I’d be wearing a very non sexy business suit. Extra advantage – in flats I could out run him if he insisted on driving me home :-P

              (Yes, I am socially awkward)

      2. BRR*

        Totally agree. People use methods to try and “trick” people into going on a date. If you have to resort to something shady, why do you think it will end up as a healthy relationship?

    2. BRR*

      I’m just brainstorming but what if you were direct and asked him to clarify which I can’t figure out good wording for.

      Or could you decline him once by saying you have a date? I’m not sure if that would work though. If he’s part of a group of friends you could turn it into a gathering instead.

    3. Pineapple Incident*

      To be honest, no one ever really teaches us how to navigate these weird kinds of requests. It’s kind of left to you to figure out a clever off-the-cuff way to be like “I’m sorry, but I’m pretty booked up with work and family obligations for a while,” or something more intelligent sounding. That’s IF, of course, you can manage a clever response on the spot when you’re asked (I’ve never been good at that and end up yammering). It’s okay to kind of awkwardly amble your way out of this one, especially if you felt like this person was dancing around saying “date.” Glad you ended up with an easy out though!

      By the way, I adore the term “Schrodinger’s Date”

  22. nep*

    Interesting people’s varying takes on books. I realllly liked Interpreter of Maladies, so I was excited about The Namesake. Didn’t like the writing in The Namesake nearly as much.

  23. Anonyby*

    Here’s a light-hearted topic! What shoes do you have/want that have surprised you?

    Mine! When Crocs first came out, I swore I would never own a pair. Ugly plasic things were not on my desired shoe list even when I wasn’t fashion-conscious. However, earlier this year I saw a pair of boots online from their A-Leigh line, and I just had to get them. Actual leather boots, with a wedge heel. And they’re as comfortable to walk in as any pair of flats I own. And so this summer I also got a pair of leather sandals also from the A-Leigh line. I’ve been wearing the boots and sandals more than any other pair of shoes in my closet.

    I also purchased a pair of Grace pumps… While leather, those weren’t nearly so comfortable. They’re a half size up and my heel pops out even with those thick pads from the store…and yet the edge of the toe box is too tight and digs in to my skin. Bah. I’m considering donating them.

    1. Stephanie*

      I’ll second Crocs. I also thought the clogs were hideous and then I tried on some of the sandals (that were adult versions of jellies basically) and loved them.

      I’ll throw in Doc Martens. I had to get boots for work. They didn’t have to be steel-toed or otherwise ANSI certified, so I figured I’d try to get something vaguely fashionable/low profile. I saw Doc Martens had some pairs that were relatively low-profile and not as clunky, got them, and love them (and they’re surprisingly versatile). I also found a pair of booties also by them at a consignment shop and they were great. The break in was kind of rough, but the shoes are great now.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        Oh man, I have the rainbow crisscross jelly sandals from crocs and they are awesome. I wore them at my wedding reception as back up shoes after the heels had to come off. If I didn’t have foot problems that necessitate orthotics most of the time, I would wear them a lot more.

        1. Stephanie*

          I have those in blue and green! Crocs do lose their comfy squishiness after a while…but the sandals are pretty cheap to replace.

      2. Kate R. Pillar*

        Crocs also! I have used their “Malindi” ballet flats as house shoes since 2010 – great for quickly popping out of doors to take the trash out, too – soo comfy! (Am on my second pair; the first lives at the in-laws’ now, and would probably still be good.)

        1. Kate R. Pillar*

          Oh, and looking to be as comfy as Crocs, but more eco-conscious: “Chung Shi Dux” The brand is German, their shoes are generally even uglier than CROCS, but I have just purchased their ballet flats and they are super light and comfy.

    2. LSP*

      In a bad way? Toms :(

      I initially loved my first pair about 7 years ago, but then I got a hole in the toe box. I don’t even have eagle talons as toenails, I have nice lady toenails! So that was disappointing and I never bought them again. Then I got some last Christmas as a gift, but this time my feet hurt so bad after wearing them. Disappointed x2.

      In a good way? Payless dexflex Comfort flats. They are cute and comfortable. Downside: some styles can look a little cheap.

      Shoes that are TBD: Tieks. I am going to buy Tieks as a gift to myself if I get that internal promotion I’m applying to.

    3. Calla*

      I own a pair of Crocs flats and would like to get another pair! They’re the usual croc material, not leather since I’m vegetarian, but some of them have patent-like cap toes for a bit of shiny. No one ever guesses they’re crocs.

    4. schnapps*

      Take them to a cobbler and see what they can do! I have this issue where one foot is a half size larger than the other so I have to buy the larger size. I bought these Clark’s Indigo sandal pumps (they’re so freakin’ comfortable) and the bands were just too big so I took them to the cobbler and they cut them down.

      A friend of mine took a pair of Gucci pumps to a cobbler after her feet grew while she was pregnant and they stretched them out. I plan on taking my Salvatore Ferragamos heels there to get the toe straps stretched out (these are a half size down from what I usually buy, but were on super clearance. And they’re Ferragamos)

      1. LSP*

        Preach! I got some Lavin flats on sale. Half size too small, waaah. Plan to wear with socks to stretch out, otherwise off to the cobbler they go!

      2. Lillie Lane*

        The cobbler in my area retired and pursued his dream of moving to rural Maine. I’m super happy for him but bummed at the same time. He was a master at stretching and re-soling. Don’t know where I’m going to go now! :(

        1. Natalie*

          Mine has not retired yet but apparently has no apprentice. What will I do when he finally hangs up his tools!?

    5. Be the Change*

      A couple of times I have been *so lucky* with thrift store shoes. Brand new pair of Sofft sandals that I wore for years for “nice” until the footbed wore out. Dansko clogs, in good condition, but oiled leather so I wore them for kicking around not for nice.

      Mistake: wedge espadrilles. Painnnnful. Must donate.

      Excellent purchase: Borns with 4-inch heels and 2-inch platforms so they are perfectly stable and comfortable; love my Borns and they make me tall.

    6. Ruffingit*

      I bought a pair of Tevas sandals in 2003. I still own them and they are still in great condition even though I’ve worn the heck out of them.

    7. Nina*

      Good: A pair of Steve Madden getta platform pumps. I don’t ever wear heels, but the moment I tried them on, I was in love. I wish I had worn them more during the summer, but they’re not every day shoes. Besides adding height to my frame, I feel very “adult” in them, if that makes sense. A rare impulse purchase that actually worked out.

      Bad: I posted about these a while ago, but: a pair of Dansko clogs for my job a couple of years back. Despite the great reviews, they’re easily one of the most uncomfortable pair I’ve ever worn. They’re far too narrow and since there’s a slight platform, I fell down in them ALL THE TIME. There were also times when my toes felt like they were going numb while I wore them, so I think they were poor for circulation. Not good when you’re running around an airport all day.

      I bought a cheapo pair without a platform and stuck with those. The mule-style Danskos look surprisingly good with boot cut jeans, but overall, I found them to be a waste of money. I would not buy them again, nor recommend them.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      Good surprise: I too bought a pair of Crocs leather Mary Janes to wear at Exjob; the concrete office floor was killing my back. They were FABULOUSLY comfy. I liked the clogs for wearing around the house and in the yard already. Very nice shoes (the leather ones) and they are still in good shape. :)

      Bad surprise: I finally got a pair of low-rise Chucks and they are so uncomfortable I can’t even. They kill my feet and that makes me very sad because I’ve wanted a pair of Chucks since I was in high school. :(

      1. Stephanie*

        Oh, Chucks are horrible. They look cool, but they have zero support and can give you trench foot. I have no clue how anyone played basketball in those.

        Now Converse did come out with a new version recently that actually has like arch support. You could perhaps try those?

        1. Nina*

          Yeah…I felt so badass when I finally got a pair of Chucks, but they really are just for show. They’re so flat I had to wear inserts with them, and they offer no insulation. My feet froze in them the other day when the temperature dropped :(

          1. Stephanie*

            Yeah, I learned about the no insulation the hard way when I lived somewhere that actually had winter. I have a couple of pairs now (one even in a slip-on ballet flat version that’s really cute). Basically, I wear them if I know I won’t really need to walk very far.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I might, or try inserts of some kind. I have very high arches. I can wear the Chucks if I don’t go anywhere I have to walk much. But my feet are weird–they blister SUPER easy. I had a pair of Bass sandals way back when everyone was wearing those, and they rubbed my feet raw. Grrr.

      2. FiveWheels*

        My feet aren’t Converse shaped, it sucks. I have very narrow heels and very wide toes (like a duck!) and they kill me. Makes me so happy that Vans now come in funky patterns

    9. LCL*

      Best-Chaco sandals, they have a weird infinite adjust system and a (compared to other sport sandals) heavy vibram sole. I’m on my fourth pair, they are durable but not pointer-proof.
      Biggest disappointment was the pair of custom timberland work boots with initials and all. I ordered my true size, woman’s eleven, and they are too small to wear. I had worn men’s timberlands for years, still do, they tend to run a bit large.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        Have you had your chacos re-soled? I’ve had the same pair for over 10 years including re-soling them once. You can send them away to the manufacturer and it’s fairly inexpensive. I may need a new pair soon though because the straps are wearing quite a bit and my feet have gotten a bit bigger so I could use the next size up.

        1. LCL*

          I haven’t had a pair survive the ravages of the dog to get them resoled. I think this pair will make it, doggie is 9 years old now and seems to have gotten over his shoe eating fixation.

    10. Lillie Lane*

      Good surprise: FitFlops. I don’t for one second buy the fitness/wobble board stuff, but a friend told me they were good for plantar fasciitis (I started getting symptoms but they went away). I have some and wear them around the house constantly; 2 pairs — 1 platform flipflop for the summer, and one suede/shearling slipper for the winter. They were expensive but worth it for longevity and cost per wear. They also came in extended sizes (I wear 11, which can be hard to find).

    11. Natalie*

      I bought a pair of strappy sandals in Paris, on vacation, because my feet hurt. They somehow felt amazing in the store and have continued to be my go-to shoes. I’m sort of bummed that they don’t have any pretty heels available this season. Seriously, they are that comfortable.

    12. BRR*

      I used to have uggs (I’m the only man I’ve known to own the boots). My feet have poor circulation and I loved how they kept them warm. Also during the summer I love just throwing on flip flops to run out for errands and uggs were my winter flip flop that way.

      I was very disappointed in a pair of cole haans. I bought them online on sale but definitely still a treat yo self moment. More expensive than what I usually spend I got them and they were gorgeous but hurt. I thought they just needed to be broken in. Nope, still hurt. And even not wearing them as often because they hurt the shoelace became damaged. It was surprisingly difficult to find a brown dress shoelace that matches.

      1. Stephanie*

        Cole Haans are so hit or miss for me. I had a pair of wedges, which I got a good year out of and were super comfy. I found some of the loafers and those have been pretty comfy as well.

        I found some Cole Haan saddle shoes at Buffalo Exchange and they are SO uncomfortable. You wouldn’t guess this, but after a couple of wears, I got why they were at Buffalo Exchange. They rubbed against my little toes and cut into my Achilles. And they were really hard and didn’t provide much support.

        1. BRR*

          Yeah I got sneakers by them from DSW on clearance and they’re amazing! They’re right now the most and least comfortable shoes I own.

    13. BrownN*

      Keen – I thought they were the ugliest shoes I had ever seen. So ugly, in fact, that I had to buy a pair. Could not buy women’s because the size fit smaller than US standard, so bought men’s. Love the roomy toe box and that’s why I buy them. They’ve updated their stock since I first bought them over ten years ago.

      Been thinking of Crocs because a lot of people swear by them, but the ones I saw were very expensive.

    14. AnnieNonymous*

      Uggs. I would never wear them in a “fashion” way, but they are seriously the best thing for your feet on super cold days.

  24. Steve G*

    Book recommendation: Bill Bryson, “At Home.” A meaty book about the history of houses and everything in them – the materials used to build them, the history of certain pieces of furniture, why certain rooms exist, a history of food over the past few centuries, the lives of maids in England over the past few centuries and their day to day work, etc. etc. Believe me, much more exciting the way he explains things and turns around what you think of as fact. He is really good at explaining what you would have been thinking and what your priorities were if you lived in the past………

    1. Merry and Bright*

      I have a copy of this book and agree. I just absorbed so much information without even trying. He has a knack too of telling you those things you had wondered about. “Oh, so that’s why…”

    2. Charlotte Collins*

      I agree. I really enjoyed this book – it’s very thorough, and great for history nerds. But you have to be interested in historical details, or you’d find it boring. But there are great explanations about how and why older houses are the way they are.

  25. Former Diet Coke Addict*

    I suppose this is the place to confess that for the past few years I confused Interpreter Of Maladies (Lahiri, 2009) with The Emperor Of All Maladies (Siddhartha Mukherjee’s 2010 history of cancer and cancer treatment). When Emperor Of Maladies started getting all its amazing buzz and its Pulitzer I kept going “Why is everyone so excited about a book of short stories that came out a decade ago???” Turns out, it pays to listen more attentively to things people say.

    Luckily I figured it out and both books are phenomenal.

  26. AvonLady Barksdale*

    My boyfriend is away at a conference this weekend and I am on my own with the pup for the first time in our new state (we moved a year ago). It’s WEIRD. I never mind being alone– in fact, I crave it, per the open thread two weeks (?) ago– but I’m having trouble sleeping and I miss him. This is good, because I haven’t missed him in a long time. This gives me the opportunity to remember why I love him and like having him around.

    But besides that, I am SO unmotivated to go out. It doesn’t help that the people I’ve met here who I like are all out of town this weekend, or that the weather is kind of gray. So I spent today making round challah (first time! Came out ok) and tzimmes (stewed veggie and fruit dish), then I went to the wine store to hang out for an hour or so (I’m friendly with the people who work there). I kind of have to admit that I’m kind of lonely and I miss my NYC friends, especially the ones I adored who lived close by and were always up to come over for a glass of wine. I am very glad this thread exists so I can check in on it and connect.

    Tomorrow will be better. I have an afternoon chorus rehearsal and Rosh Hashanah starts in the evening. L’shana tova!

    1. W.*

      Can you call up your NYC friends – just because you’ve moved away doesn’t mean you can keep in touch (although I’m very bad at it.)
      Have a good holiday and enjoy the pup – walkies could be a way to meet ppl or get a little more social contact :)

  27. Carrie in Scotland*

    This month is being brutal on me. I can only hope that October is better to me.

    Anyway, what’s with delivery companies, doctor’s surgeries, installation people etc not appreciating that it’s a modern world out there, a woman has got to work during the week in order to eat and buy pretty things (in theory). She is not in her flat at 3 pm on a workday waiting on a delivery. She does have to take a half day from work in order for internet to be installed because nobody seems to do it after 5 pm – or weekends. She does have to phone up and set up all the utilities by herself.

    To paraphrase Lorelai Gilmore – it’s not always I feel like I need to have a partner but right now, I really feel the lack of partner-ness in my life.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I know this feeling very well. I’m at the point that whenever something breaks or I need to move something and can’t, I just start crying. I CAN do all these things myself; I don’t want to. Dear Universe, I’ve proven that I can so now quit making me.

      I hope we both get really hawt sexy fabulous boyfriends who love us madly for early Christmas presents. :)

  28. the gold digger*

    1. “The Namesake” is an amazing book and is far better than the movie.

    2. To everyone I doubted in the thread about whether shoes make a difference to hurting the tops of your feet. I was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. I just walked the top of my foot into the rocker of a rocking chair and IT HURTS. It hurts way more than it would have if I had been wearing shoes.

  29. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

    Six weeks tomorrow until I head to the US! And I’ve managed to squeeze a quick trip to D.C. to visit a friend. I get one full day there (fly in the evening before, leave the morning after) so am basically just planning to wander the National Mall all day. I’m so overwhelmed by how much is there, though! What are the can’t-misses?

    1. Wrench Turner*

      National Museum of the American Indian. Beautiful exhibits by and about our indigenous peoples – and the cafeteria on the lower floor is AMAZING OMG.

      1. Stephanie*

        Seconding this!

        Also, I like the Hirshhorn. I think the modern art is enough of a turn off that it’s not as trafficked as the other Smithsonians.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Ooh yes, the Hirshhorn is cool.

          I really liked the National Gallery and Natural History Museum. And the Air and Space Museum. Moon rocks!!!

          Who am I kidding; I am a total museum nerd. :)

          1. Nashira*

            I cannot believe I forgot the National Gallery of Art. The Room of Thomas Coles is one of my favorite places ever, and I would squee every time I saw their Bird in Space. Constantin Brancusi is one of my favorite sculptors, and the Bird in Space series one of my favorite things ever.

      2. Nashira*

        YES. Oh my yes. NMAI is full of amazing wonderfulness, and that cafeteria… Husband and I still drool over this Carolina-style bbq buffalo sandwich that we ate there, eight years ever.

        And since he’s Cherokee (his grandma was full blooded), it was really powerful and meaningful for him to go and see the exhibits and the respect shown and the focus on Native voices.

      3. Jill of All Trades*

        I…have never heard anyone rave about the cafeteria of any public institutions. Ever. What makes it amazing? I’m genuinely asking because I can’t imagine this. People usually compare cafeterias to airline food.

        1. Nashira*

          They draw inspiration from a mix of regional American cuisines and foods specifically associated with Native American tribes from those regions, and then make sure it’s fandamntastic tasting. A lot of the Smithsonian restaurants have good food, actually. NMAI’s is just the best.

        2. Cath in Canada*

          I raved about the cafe at the V&A in London when I went for the first time in February. Not so much for the food, but the main room is incredible! There was plenty of space in the main area, but some people were eating in the super bland modern add-on area. WHY?!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I went to V&A my very first visit, long ago, and meant to go back and see the dolls’ houses this time and didn’t have time. DAMMIT. Next visit. I’ll eat there too, on your recommendation (and that cafe was actually on my list!).

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I actually think that’s a great plan– the museums on the Mall are all pretty cool, and big, and free. :) My favorite of all time is Air and Space. It’s a bit dated, but I still love it. Can’t miss? Astronaut ice cream in the gift shop.

    3. Nashira*

      If you enjoy Asian art, the Freer Gallery is great. For modern art and an excellent statue garden, Hirschorn!

      1. katamia*

        Yeah, the Freer and Sackler are my favorites. Great gift shops (well, the Sackler, anyway), and they’re small enough that they leave lots of time to see other things too.

  30. Evil*

    Fall is coming and while I’m excited for it to be pretty outside, I don’t like the prospect of the nights getting cooler, especially because I like to walk outside after dark and I can’t if it’s super cold out. What’s one thing you like and don’t like about the weather changing at this time of year?

      1. Merry and Bright*

        Yes to this. I don’t like it when I leave home in the dark, get home in the darķ and only see my flat and street in daylight at the weekend.

    1. nep*

      Second that — It’s so nice when it gets light early and stays light later…alas, that’s coming to an end (for now). This is perfect sleeping weather, though. A window slightly open, two blankets — perfect. This transition time as we move into Spring or Autumn — less energy consumption as no need for heat or AC.
      And the colours — magnificent.

      1. Sara*

        So perfect for sleeping. There is nothing I like better than sleeping with the windows open under a zillion blankets.

    2. Michele*

      I love cool weather and snow, but I hate short days. Winter around here is very gray. We go weeks without seeing the sun. I go to work before it gets light and leave after it gets dark. I run during lunch most days, but sometimes it is so overcast that I can’t find the sun in the sky. At noon.
      This is really hard on me and affects me both physically and mentally. This year, I bought a solar simulation lamp, so I hope that helps.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        As someone who’s been in those shoes (except the running part) — look into some Vitamin D supplements. Last winter was so much easier for me and I think that was the main reason. I bought one of those light simulators and it didn’t really seem to help that much. YMMV.

        1. schnapps*

          Yup. Vitamin D is water soluble so you can’t OD on it. I take a 10,000iu (or mg, whatever it is) in the morning during the winter. Also, vitamin B.

          1. Shell*

            Vitamin D is fat soluble, so you should eat it with food. Are you thinking of vitamin C?

            But I agree some D supplements will be good to try.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              Seriously, we had a winter up here where we broke some kind of record — I can’t remember the exact number but it was over 30 days with no sunlight. It was constantly grey and overcast for over 30 days. By the end of it, I was fit to be tied. It was the weirdest feeling and I hated it. Then I started hearing a lot about Vitamin D insufficiency and thought I would give it a try/what could it hurt? I can’t really go out in the sun anyway and I don’t drink a lot of milk any more, so I’ve got to get it from somewhere!

              1. Michele*

                A couple years ago I started taking vitamin D in the winter. It does help with the physical symptoms, but it definitely doesn’t fix everything.

            2. schnapps*

              Oooh, probably. But I’ve never had issues with the high dosage pills, probably because I take all my vitamins with food. :)

              1. fposte*

                That might help with stomach upset but it won’t make any difference to toxicity–but the best documented toxicity case was taking 50,000 IU daily for some time, and you’re well below that, so I don’t think you have much to worry about.

      2. Nina*

        My mother has one of those lamps and she really likes it. If nothing else, it’s a softer light than what you get with a traditional bulb. As someone with seasonal depression, I’m looking into getting one myself.

        Hate: The shorter days. That just reminds me that we’re heading into winter, which I do not like.

        Love: The changing colors of the leaves, and Honeycrisp apples which are only around for the fall.

          1. QualityControlFreak*

            I used to. Head injury -> lost/damaged sense of smell/taste -> now all apples taste bad. Still love the texture and juiciness, but…. :(

    3. LCL*

      Like-longer walks with mr dog, I don’t have to worry about him overheating, can leave his water at the car.
      Hate-the big spiders are looking for other big spiders to make big spider babies, so they come out of hiding and hang on the wall.

    4. asteramella*

      I like everything about fall :) It’s still 90+ degrees every day where I live, though. Fall can’t come fast enough.

    5. Chorizo*

      Like: walking the dogs without coming back soaked in sweat and bug spray

      Dislike: I can feel in my joints when the weather is going to change

    6. Honeybee*

      I love most things about fall, but I really love fall clothes. Sweaters and boots!

      But I don’t like it getting darker earlier, especially since I live relatively far north for my country and it’s going to start being dark most hours I’m not at work.

      1. Kate*

        Hands down the fashion for me! Coats, skinny jeans, boots, scarves make up the bulk of my wardrobe so I’m usually there inappropriately dressed in summer too!

    7. FiveWheels*

      I like that it means hockey is back and I can now spend all my free time hockey-ing.

      I don’t like that I now have no free time due to hockey.

      I also don’t like that the garden is going to sleep for the winter… But I like that I no longer need to tend it all weekend!

    8. Tris Prior*

      Having to get up when it’s dark out – and also the fact that we can’t control when the heat goes on in our apartment and our landlord never turns it on early enough. I mean, it won’t be on for at least another month and it got down to the 40s last night. brrrrr.

    9. Stephanie*

      I miss fall! (It’s not really a thing out here.) I have all this cooler weather clothing I can’t really wear (maybe in the winter–but a lot of that stuff gets too warm during the day).

      1. abby*

        I’m with you! I live in so Cal, and it seems to get more and more like AZ every year. I love fall and wearing sweaters and sleeping under blankets. Can’t remember the last time I wore a sweater or jacket, even in winter, and we’ve been sleeping with just a sheet for months. Might add a blanket eventually … we used only one light one last winter.

        1. Stephanie*

          Yes, I have a fantastic scarf collection that is pretty much gathering dust. I can break out the lighter ones for winter…that’s about it.

    10. Anx*

      It’s not getting colder here yet, but it does get wetter. And my shoes have holes in the bottom and our umbrella is broken. And I walk to one of my works. I am crossing my fingers for that 2% COL raise they keep talking about because then I can get a new umbrella!

      In a few weeks it’s going to get cold, and then they will start blasting the heat on 80, after keeping it at about 68 degrees all summer at work. Ugh. I literally have to defog my glasses because the difference between the indoor and outdoor temps starts fogging them up when I walk into the 90 degree weather.

      I’m looking forward to some relief, but I don’t like how quick fall is here. There’s maybe about a 3 weeks between running the AC and having to put on the heat. Plus, roaches make a mad dash into houses. Every September-October we have to be on high alert for invaders.

    11. Pineapple Incident*

      Fall and winter clothes are so comfy :)

      On the downside, the sun setting early gets my internal clock all thrown off, and my roommates use the heat indiscriminately despite warnings that they are NOT the ones fronting the electric bill.

  31. Wrench Turner*

    I just finished the Maryland Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course, and after a 2nd attempt, passed the test and will be getting my M license Mon or Tuesday. It was a very fun, very challenging class, which I took out of Harley Davidson of Annapolis. I got to train on brand new Harleys on their closed range near Ft. Mead

    The classroom bit was super easy – mostly common sense stuff. You’re way, way more vulnerable on a bike. Be extra careful, use common sense. The class part was 2 days in the 96 degree humid sun (brutal) and after I failed the test at the end on Wed, I came back to re-test today with a different instructor -and in the rain, no less- and finally passed.

    This is one of those life goals for me; I was given a bike by my father in law, and now I’ll have a license to ride out to the beach, which I’ve always wanted to do. Be safe out there.

    1. Michele*

      Congratulations. I got my motorcycle licence when I was 16. Even though I haven’t ridden in about 20 years, I have been renewing that M just in case. It has been so long, though, that I would want to take a course before going back out on the road.

    2. Evil*

      YAY!! Congrats! :) My father just bought a motorcycle – Honda CB500 X. He and my mother are very excited about it, and although I don’t like motorcycles, today we went to an event where I rode a Honda scooter and ATV, which was cool. The scooter was somewhat scary as I don’t like motorbikes at all. We went dirtbiking a couple weeks ago, and it was just not my thing, but the scooters were okay, and the ATVs even cooler. :D

    1. Lizabeth (call me hop along)*

      Coming to end of PT for my knee (meniscus surgery) this month. Now for the hard part of doing it on my own! Knee is feeling better but have decided against ACL reconstruction for the time being. Starting to research knee braces that would let me ski and play volleyball. Ortho doc’s office suppose to get back to about a brace. The only bummer is that there is still stiffness and some swelling that I’ve been told could take a year to completely go away. Ice is still my friend and patience.

    2. Emily*

      I’m getting ACL reconstruction surgery in October and am very much not looking forward to the crutches period afterwards, which will be about six weeks long. I’ve also been told that it’ll be four weeks post-surgery before I can drive my (manual transmission) car, so I’m hoping that my boyfriend will be able to manage it by then.

      Right now, though, my injured leg is mostly functional. I’m not supposed to run or jump, but walking and biking are fine.

  32. Michele*

    I am so excited. I have a hard time meeting other women that I have much in common with. I work in a male-dominate field, have male-dominated hobbies, and don’t have kids, so this is something that I really struggle with. I recently joined a multisport (triathlons and such) club, and probably half the members are women. They are open and welcoming, and we have activities in common. I am thrilled. I really miss close female friendship and hope to make the most of this.

    1. Lulubell*

      I have the opposite problem – I have a hard time meeting men my age that I have much in common with. I work in a female-dominated industry, play on a women’s tennis team, volunteer with a women’s group, etc. I don’t have time for many more hobbies but I really need to find an interest that (single) men share. I do run but not marathons/triathalons or anything that would necessitate a club.

      1. Rowan*

        Our running shop has an all-abilities running club that isn’t focused towards event/competitive running. Maybe you could see if there’s something like that in your area?

        1. Nom d' Pixel*

          Good suggestion. The running store here in town has a weekly group run for all abilities. That would be a potential place to meet people.
          If you had time for more hobbies, I would suggest cycling. I am outnumbered at least 5:1 around here. I am hardly the most beautiful woman in the room, but there are a lot of men who ride and are looking for women who share that interest, so I get hit on fairly regularly.

  33. Calla*

    Another cat thread :)

    We adopted a massive Siamese boy cat at the end of August. He is an absolute doll, very chatty and loving. He’s also pretty overweight (25 lbs when we adopted him, 22 as of yesterday’s vet checkup) so we want to make sure he loses weight BUT not too fast. The thing is he’s being super picky about food and not eating a whole lot! The vet wasn’t too concerned since he’s still acting normally and IS eating, just not a ton, but I figured I’d get some input on his quirks.

    – He looooves treats.
    – It COULD be that he’s still nervous but he seems to have settled in very well, the vet thought he was the chillest cat ever.
    – He is obviously hungry because he will follow me into the kitchen and yell.
    – We have tried: Science diet (what the shelter had him on), Blue Buffalo (the same brand as the treats he liked), Nature’s Variety and Wellness (what our girls are on) wet foods, plus Wellness kibble.
    – Food has been presented cold, room temp, and heated up. It has also been mixed together.
    – We have tried a stainless steel bowl, a shallower ceramic bowl, a plastic bowl, and a small ceramic plate.
    – He can occasionally be coaxed into eating the wet food if you put it on a plate right under his nose and watch him.
    – He will more frequently eat the kibble if it’s hand-fed or placed directly on the living room rug.

    Any suggestions? Are we just doomed to having to buy a small rug to put his food directly on? Ha.

    1. schnapps*

      Some cats have eating quirks. I have one cat (who is more than a few sandwiches short of a picnic) who will only drink out of cups or the toilet (from a bowl in a pinch), and when it comes to dry food, takes it out of his bowl with his mouth and drops it on the floor. THEN he eats it. I found pet placemats (microfibre, non slip) at Dollarama.

      And Siamese are yowly. My other is (probably) half Siamese and when something makes him mad or he hasn’t been fed in a timely fashion, you know it. You’ve only had him a couple of weeks – I’d say give him more time to get used to your habits.

      Also, with our half Siamese boy, it took him six months to get comfortable with us so that we’d see him every day without having to look in every place he could hide. I suspect Siamese may take a bit longer to get adjusted than DSHs.

      Was he a big boy when he got to the shelter? If he was only fed once or twice a day at his previous home, and then had open access to food (kibble) at the shelter, he may have just eaten too much.

      1. Calla*

        Yes, he was big when he got to the shelter! I think he had only been there a few days when we got him. They had no idea what his previous owners were feeding him to get him that big.

        Thanks for the reassurance! The vet also suspected it was part of him still settling, but I am a worrywart cat-mom :) The microfiber placemats are a great idea.

        1. schnapps*

          Urghhhhh, I wonder if his previous owners didn’t just leave a big bowl of food out and just refill it every once in awhile. If that’s the case, you’re in for some retraining. He’ll get used to it.

          Opinion follows: I think most cats are easily susceptible to feline PTSD. It takes them time to get over it. Toby (my half Siamese) gave me a Christmas present of sitting beside me on the couch. Then around new years he decided I was OK and sat on my lap. About 4 months after that, he started sitting on husband-type’s lap once in awhile.

          His story: for the first 12 years of his life, he lived with one human. That human had to move away for work and couldn’t take him (and if I found that human, I would punch him in the neck because in my opinion, if you have a cat for that long, you move heaven and earth to take him along). He gave Toby to a family and one of the kids turned out to be allergic, so Toby ended up at the SPCA in a very short time. He was there for 6 weeks before we got him home, and he hid in the litter box. Then he hid for 6 months behind various pieces of furniture and appliances (but ate and used the litter box). He is a gorgeous cat with white and grey markings, the long Siamese tail, and bright green eyes.

          Toby will now sit on my lap for about 30 minutes at a time, and we adopted him in July 2014. He’s not a snuggler by any stretch but he now complains to me when he’s hungry or something is wrong. And it’s taken over a year to get there.

          My point is, who knows what happened to your boy and how he’s processing it? If only they could talk, right?

          1. Calla*

            Yeah, it’s very possible he’s used to grazing — he needs to get ready to stick to a schedule now!

            His previous owners mentioned in the surrender form that they got him as a stray so there’s even less we know about his past, true. (He’s six, by the way.) They also claimed they had to give him up because he would not stop coughing and vomiting and they couldn’t afford the vet bills… but since he was surrendered, it hasn’t happened and two different vets found nothing wrong with him. So who knows! And he’s a beautiful seal point that our vet was pretty sure is a purebred.

            Anyway, he seems so at home already — not a lap cat yet but sleeps on the bed with us, cuddles with us, loves being brushed, is playing with toys, etc — that it seemed odd it would still be some kind of shyness of nervousness, but not impossible. I really do wish they could talk!

            1. The Other CrazyCatLady*

              Coughing and vomiting plus his size might indicate he had a tendency to gorge. One of mine will do that periodically – she’ll eat too much kibble too fast, then throw it up a few minutes later.

              Your new kitty may just be a social eater – you mentioned he’ll eat if he’s hand-fed or you ‘watch’ him; it may just be that he prefers to eat with his people nearby. Get comfortable somewhere with a book and put his food within reach and see if directing him to the food while you’re there (and/or petting him) encourages him to eat.

              1. Puffle*

                Our cat can restrain herself with other flavours of cat food, but she loves rabbit so much that she’ll wolf it all down much too quickly and then throw up straight away. We avoid giving her rabbit now, or only give to her a little at a time.

            2. Harriet*

              He could still be nervous even if he doesn’t seem it – he sounds quite similar to my cat when I first got her from the shelter. I had prepared my OH for her hiding away for the first few days which was my experience with other new cats, but instead she seemed to instantly settle in – very cuddly, playing, sleeping on my bed. As the weeks and months went by and she gradually relaxed I did see a lot of changes that made me realise that she hadn’t been as settled as she had seemed to be at the start.

              She also liked having someone next to her to eat when she first came home, and she still prefers being hand-fed kibble or treats (she now has kidney disease so keeping her appetite and weight up is a challenge sometimes).

              I’d say you’re doing everything right, and to just stick with it. It’s still early days in the adjusting process and you’re doing great :)

            3. abby*

              He probably has food sensitivities. If he is that overweight and was coughing and vomiting, likely the food they were feeding contributed to that. Especially because the vets cannot find a problem. (I went through something similar with my male cat, and changing his diet resolved all sorts of problems, including weight gain, coughing, vomiting, and a lot more; vets could not find a problem with him, either, even though he was clearly sick). Gorging, as mentioned below, could also be a problem, but I would bet that is secondary to a food issue.

              So what to feed him? It’s too bad he’s picky. My male eats almost anything, so we were lucky. We currently feed him a combo of about 80% commercial raw and 20% canned Nature’s Variety Instinct. This works for him, but it is a little more work for me and kind of expensive. But better than vet visits and vet bills and medications.

              You might have to experiment with your guy. I like the Instinct canned foods because there are a variety of proteins (mine cannot eat chicken) and the foods do not contain carrageenan or other gums/thickeners/binders that are linked to intestinal issues. Those are also problem ingredients for my guy. Can you try offering your new Siamese a “novel protein”? Try rabbit, it’s a mild and lean protein and most cats really like it. Pork is also supposed to be good, and my cats love it. These are both available in the Instinct line.

              1. Calla*

                Ooh, the rabbit is a good idea! We have tried crab/shrimp, chicken/turkey, and duck (the same flavor of the treats he liked), but not that one.

    2. LeRainDrop*

      I think he likely just needs to get used to a routine. Perhaps switching up the food types and serving dishes is contributing to his delay in just settling into the food routine, as it gets switched up too often for him to get secure in it. I have a 6-year-old (12 pound) female Siamese and a 6-year-old (10 pound) male Tonkinese. Both can end up in the barfing situation if they gorge. Also, one had food sensitivities and so was on a special vet diet for a couple years, but then we transitioned to Nutro Natural Choice Grain-Free Duck & Potato dry food. That’s what both of them have been eating for at least a year and doing very well. They each have their own ceramic bowl, which are put about 8 feet apart from the other, and I give half their daily dry food in the morning, and the other half in the evening. Portion is based on caloric intake that my vet recommended. Both cats prefer that I am nearby, getting ready in the bathroom within eyesight, when they eat their breakfast.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I had a Balinese that we adopted when she was age five. We were told that the family who had her also had a child that was allergic. As time went on, we started to realize there was probably more to the story. The most concerning thing I saw was that she did not trust us to set her down gently. It probably took well over a year to teach her that we would never, ever throw her down anywhere.

      When we got her she spent the first three weeks under our bed. When she hit day number 21, I thought she has to start eating/drinking and eliminating very soon, or this is over. Well, sure enough, she came out from under the bed. Getting her to eat regularly, walk to the litter box where I normally keep it and so on took a while longer.

      I am guessing that you have had this cat for 2-4 weeks, so I think the cat is doing grrreat and you are doing a great job with him. You say he loves snacks. It could be the snacks that are interfering with his regular meals. Additionly, and I could be wrong, but I think he is training you to hand feed him. The Balinese had a personality and a half and we did not know that right off. It took a while for this to become apparent. She would do something like this, train us to her wishes.
      My thought is that he may not need a lot to eat right now, maybe he is still a bit nervous/wary. The snacks you give him might be enough to sustain him for the moment and he does not need additional food. This could be why he is not eating full meals.

      1. Calla*

        Thanks for this! All my/our cats before had been rescued as kittens, so while I am used to cats, we’ve never dealt with an adult cat settling in before. And yes, we just hit 2 weeks this weekend. Since I posted, he hasn’t gotten any more treats (primarily, he had been getting them to make sure he had ANY appetite or to coax him into the carrier to see the vet, not all the time) or hand-feedings, and he’s eaten kibble off a paper towel (instead of just the floor). So while I still would like to see him eat more, we’ve made some progress!

  34. Gene*

    Home from doing the Beat the Blerch 10k. I set a decent, steady walking pace at the start and finished with my side trips (I play Ingress and there were portals…) at 6.7 miles with an average pace of 15:59. Slowest split was 16:36 in mile 2, and quickest was 15:13 in mile 6.

    1. fposte*

      I had to Google to see what the hell a Blerch is–who knew the Oatmeal had a marathon! Congrats at completing the 10k.

  35. OfficePrincess*

    I’ve recently started a new walking routine and it seems to be sticking. I feel so much better during the day if I start it off with a brisk walk. Right now I can comfortably do a 20 minute mile (I’m out of shape, but I have to start somewhere). Does anyone have any suggestions or resources on how to start buikding it up? I really can’t get myself out of bed much earlier, so 20-30 minutes is really my max. Also, suggestions for cheap ways to stay warm as it gets colder would be extra appreciated! I’m in the northeast, so this morning was chilly but I warmed up as I got going. In a few weeks though, my current workout wardrobe isn’t going to cut it.

    1. Kirsten*

      You could do 20 minutes before work but then longer walks on the weekends to build up. Or maybe during lunch/after work? I am also in the Northeast and walk every night but will probably need to switch to the mornings soon once the sun starts setting earlier. In the winter I usually just wear long sleeves and pants with a big coat and wear gloves to keep warm.

      1. OfficePrincess*

        I was thinking about longer walks on the weekends, so I’m glad someone else thinks I have the right idea. I pretty much have to stick to mornings since we’re getting into the busy season at work. In a few weeks, I’ll consider taking a break to pee and fill my water bottle a victory and then come home at night to collapse.

    2. Rebecca*

      I live in PA, so cold dark winters are no stranger to me. I dress in layers, and experimented quite a bit last winter with how many layers and what layers kept me warm without being too warm. Layering is key, and if you are too warm and start to sweat when it’s really cold, that makes for an uncomfortable walk. I like to layer Cuddl Duds, Cuddl Duds fleece, and my Fila Sport leggings, with wool socks and a down parka, and that served me well even on below zero days, of which we had many last winter. I also wear a face mask. For warmer days, I wear Cuddl Duds tops and bottoms, Fila Sport leggings, and a thin fleece layer plus lightweight jacket, a head band or hat, and fleece gloves. I just experimented, and now I can just grab stuff based on the weather, so if it’s 35, sunny, but windy, I wear different things than 25, sunny, and no wind at all. For shoes, if it’s snowy and yucky, I wear my GoreTex Addidas trail shoes (found on 6PM). Love my wool socks, my feet never get cold even if they sweat.

      I have an old bright yellow fleece lined parka, and an orange safety vest, and flashlight for walking after work, since I don’t get home until after 5. In December, it’s already almost dark then :(

      Hope this helps!!

      1. OfficePrincess*

        I’m also in PA :-). I’m on a pretty tight budget, so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to accumulate right away, but I do see a few things on sale from Cuddl Duds that could be a good starting point. Thanks!

        1. Rebecca*

          I hope you check back – I was able to get things over time at WalMart, and their website has free shipping when the order is over a certain amount, is it $35 now? I’m also on a budget, so I’m always on the lookout for sales. I’ve accumulated quite a few things to take me from over 90 degrees in the summer, to under zero F in the winter. Good luck!

        2. Pineapple Incident*

          I have some running gear from Walmart and Target sales. I was totally where you are in terms of starting slow! I started to jog my junior year in college and just said as long as I go out and try it every day (fewer days a week now because college students have time in spades), it doesn’t matter how far or how fast. Some days I would throw in some strength or core training as well. I have found that with that, not having a deadline or a goal is kind of empowering, at least for me. It enabled me to improve at my own pace when I felt stronger.

    3. schnapps*

      Can you walk on your lunch break or later in the day, even if it means leaving the office/house earlier or later in the day? If you download the MapMyWalk app it’ll show other walks people in your area have done and logged. I’ll often do my exercise videos at 2 in the afternoon because that’s when I can get a free room at work.

      To stay warm: gloves or mittens, a warm hat (we call it a tuque up here in the great white north – in the US it’s a watch cap or beanie, according to google), a scarf, a running jacket that has thumbholes in the sleeves (I got mine at a thrift store for a for about $8), a short or long-sleeved t-shirt under it depending on the weather, long yoga pants, warm socks and a good pair of shoes. Layer leggings or longjohns under the pants if you need to.

      The hat is really important – your body will divert resources to keep your brain warm and fed so the rest of you will feel cold. Keep your hands, feet, neck, and head warm and you should be good for all but the most extreme cold. A fleece might help too (usually available at thrift stores).

    4. fposte*

      Fleece and fleece and wool socks and layering and fleece.. If you’ve got the budget, Sierra Trading Post has a ton of deeply discounted outdoorwear. For the coldest days, I have old Cybersilk longies, running tights, and fleece pants; upstairs is Cybersilk with a sport wool turtleneck and two fleece jackets.

      There is something deeply satisfying about going out in really cold weather and just not feeling it, at least for a while.

    5. nep*

      Great that you’re doing this. Bravo.
      None of our burdens ever seem as heavy after a good walk. Terrific way to start the day.
      Re the colder weather — Layers, layers, layers. And get some good quality socks that will help keep your feet warm.
      Even if you’ve got just 20-30 min, doing higher-intensity intervals during that period could help you build up your stamina and overall fitness. For example, after you’ve walked a while and warmed up, add in some intervals in which you speed-walk — really all out as fast as you can walk — for 30 seconds, then go at a relaxed pace for a minute or so; you can see what kind of intervals work for you.
      Good luck to you.

      1. TL -*

        Yes to the intervals – they can make all the difference.

        Try having one day/week where you really push yourself for as long as you can, and maybe a weekend day where you set a comfortable pace and go for longer but without pushing yourself. Vary your route, do intervals some days, and have fun.

    6. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Get a dog! What? Not realistic? Oh. :)

      My doggy was actually my main motivator to get walking. We do at least 5000 steps every morning, and without him to focus on, I don’t know if I could do that much. I need a reason, I guess. So in your place, I would listen to podcasts or audiobooks, and I would try different routes every couple of days. This will take your mind off the “chore” of walking and may help you get moving faster. My buddy and I have about seven routes to choose from– I let him choose– and it keeps the walk from being boring.

      As for keeping warm, it’s all about layers. I wear yoga pants all year round on my walks, but tops vary by season. Once it gets a little cooler here, I’ll start with an old hoodie over my t-shirt and eventually put on my Old Navy fleece zip-up. Old Navy is good for stuff like that. Come mid-winter, I just throw my down coat on over my clothes and go.

      Be sure you get a good pair of shoes, and check on them! Once I started walking my 5000 steps a day, I had to start replacing my sneakers every 3 months or so. A bit of a pain, but so worth it– my feet, knees and hips would be quite unhappy otherwise.

      1. Weekend Warrior*

        Envious of people who have a dog to get them out. I try telling myself that my inner dog needs to get outside so going to see how that works. :) Making sure my inner child leaves work at a decent time has been helpful so…

      2. OfficePrincess*

        I would LOVE to get a dog, but my apartment complex is strictly no pets. I’ll definitely check out Old Navy though. I’ve found it to be super high quality, but their prices will definitely accommodate experimenting to figure out what I like.

    7. skyline*

      Is your goal to build of distance or pace? I like the suggestion above to do longer walks on the weekend. If you can walk faster, but not for long stretches, you could do intervals of fast/slow. (That’s the basis of most run/walk programs, like Couch to 5K, but I think the principle would apply even if you don’t have any interesting in running.)

      What are you currently wearing for workouts? I would invest in layers, rather than in single bulky items, as they are more versatile. An example might be a good moisture wicking base layer tee. And if you’re not already wearing a hat and gloves, those definitely make a world of difference!

      1. OfficePrincess*

        Right now I’m wearing sweatpant capris and a tshirt with sneakers. I’ll definitely look into getting some things to layer. I’m not at hat and gloves weather yet (even 6am is in the 60s still), but I have a stash that I will pull out for winter.

        I did try C25K a couple times, but my knees just can’t take running. Maybe someday…

    8. Stephanie*

      You can totally do intervals of fast-slow for walking. Or you can up your distance incrementally on the weekends. You definitely want layers. If you’re going to get spendy on something, get good things for your extremities. You’ll want good, thinner gloves, hat (or just something for your ears if you have a lot of thick hair like me), and good socks.

    9. Gene*

      As others have said, layers for warmth. Just remember that cotton, while inexpensive, isn’t your friend here, especially as a base layer. Performance fabrics, silk, or wool will keep you warm.

    10. OfficePrincess*

      Thanks everyone for the ideas! Weird question if anyone is still around though – how often do you wash walking gear? I can’t do laundry every day or afford to buy more than a couple sets of clothing. Since it’s still fairly warm out, I can select from a drawer full of tshirts and a few different pairs of shorts and capris, but I’m going to be almost starting from scratch for cold weather clothes.

      1. skyline*

        Depends on how much I sweat, but I am open to rewearing everything but socks. I do make a point of hanging up anything I want to rewear so it can air out a bit. Also, technical fabrics and wool tend to do better on the smell front than, say, cotton.

  36. Sparky*

    What happened with the termite infestation from last week? Poster, would you care to update us? I hope it all is working out well for you.

  37. Shell*

    Thanks to everyone who gave me advice about their Fitbit experience last week! I ended up buying a Fitbit One. It’s scheduled for Wednesday delivery and I’m super excited. I’m already tracking all the things I can via the app and feeling like a dork.

    My conclusion: I can walk quite a bit on the weekends, I drink a lot of fluids, and I eat too much. (Although the diligence of the first two might be due to how shiny and new this is.)

    Will check back next week!

    1. Rebecca*

      Keep hydrated! That’s very important. And I eat too much, too, but not as much as I used to :) I have the Zip, and love the motivation it gives me.

      1. Shell*

        I’m not sure if this will be motivate me into exercising or guilt me into exercising, but hey, whatever works. :-D

        Wednesday needs to come faster!

        1. Cruciatus*

          For me it’s a little of both. I better get my steps in! …or else my Fitbit won’t give me the happy green face! If you have friends/family with a Fitbit, I recommend setting up challenges or even just connecting with them through the program so you can see their step counts. Seeing your friend is 1000 steps ahead of you will make you go into the driveway and walk for 10 minutes until you catch up. Then she does the same when you are winning. Next thing you know you’re back in the driveway… Though I will admit, just trying to get to my own goal every day was motivating enough. But it’s fun with friends too. Usually when we get together we start the night off at the mall getting some laps in!

    2. YWD*

      Congrats and enjoy! I was a recommender of the One :)

      It doesn’t help you this time but Fitbits are sold in a lot of stores and for the same price as online. I bought mine at Best Buy and was surprised to see them at Bed, Bath and Beyond last weekend.

      I’m going to post separately about starting an AAM group on the Fitbit community, please check it out!

      1. Shell*

        I had to get it from one particular store because I had a gift card there, and their online prices are cheaper than their in-store prices. Believe me, if I could’ve gotten it faster than my week-long wait I would have! I am a very impatient person when it comes to gifts. :-)

        An AAM community sounds awesome, none of my friends or coworkers seem to have one! I need more motivation. :-D

  38. Revanche*

    My smartphone (Nexus 4) is getting to the point where I ought to replace it soon. I’d like a phone that’s not any bigger (the Samsung Galaxy 6 is frighteningly large), has a great camera, works as a phone of course! and maybe doesn’t cost more than $500. I prefer Android over Apple but it’s not a deal breaker. Bit leery of buying used but willing to consider if it’s not awful. Does anyone has any recommendations?

    1. schnapps*

      I second the Sony Xperia Z series. I have the regular sized Z2 and it is 17 kinds of awesome. It’s slightly bigger than my FIL’s Nexus 5, but way smaller than husband-type’s One Plus 1. I have small hands and can easily hold it.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      I wish I had a recommendation for you (and for me too). I absolutely love my 2013 Moto X, but the camera is terrible. Well, it’s decent (not great) is natural light and bad in dim light. The new 2015 Moto X is supposed to have a better camera, but it’s enormous. Too many enormous phones!!!

      1. abby*

        I have the Motorolla Droid Turbo and the camera is great! I also like the long battery life. But it’s also a large phone. I’ve adjusted and it’s slim enough to fit in my bag or larger pockets.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          Yeah, I may just bite the bullet and get a big phone. It’s sad that phablets have become the norm.

    3. Noah*

      I really like my iPhone 6, but if you’re used to Android I would imagine iOS is an adjustment. At one point I had a Galaxy S3 and I liked it as well. I agree with you on most of the new phones being huge. I don’t want to lug around a tablet all day, the only reason I was ok moving from the iPhone 5 to the 6 was the 6 is a much thinner device and it still fits in my pocket.

      I don’t know if every carrier does this, but AT&T will allow you to return a device to the store within 14 days if you don’t like it. I tried a Galaxy S5 before I went with the iPhone 6 and the exchange process was easy at an AT&T store.

      1. Revanche*

        I’ve had both before, I just didn’t enjoy my experience with the early iPhones. I just got the chance to compare the 6 to my phone and it’s only a little taller so that’s not terrible.

    4. Persephone Mulberry*

      I killed my Samsung S3 this summer and upgraded to the LG G4. It felt huuuuge at first (I have small hands/short fingers) but I adapted pretty quickly and now my old S3 feels wee by comparison. Excellent battery, SD slot, very good pictures.

    5. Observer*

      The new Moto X might work for you, but I don’t know how big it is.

      Some sites that I have found useful:

      Phonescoop
      GSM Arena
      Specout

      All of them let you do some phone comparisons by various features. I would not make a decision just based on these sites, but they are good to get a sense of which phones you want to follow up on.

    6. Aknownymous*

      I have the Galaxy S4, and I love it. It takes amazing pictures, it’s fast, and you can upgrade the memory substantially if so desired. And even though it looks delicate, it’s built like a tank, and mine has survived numerous crashes into any hard surface you could think of with nary a scratch. The price depends on where you buy it, but I’ve seen it from $250-400 online.

      1. Aknownymous*

        I also wanted to add the battery life is great – I charge it every night, but I could go a day and a half with higher-than-moderate use without charging if needed. I would also advise you against buying used, unless it’s pre-certified and comes with the same warranty as a new one, otherwise it’s too risky in my opinion.

  39. Dynamic Beige*

    Mosquito bites. Does anyone have a great anti-itch treatment/idea/old family recipe? I don’t know what it is, but I managed to avoid getting bitten a lot earlier by practically bathing in Off! but recently, it’s like the little blighters are in my house, biting me while I sleep or something. The bites on my legs are just… ugh. I want to scratch them right now and I’m trying not to! I’ve tried After Bite in various “flavours” and something I can’t remember the name of from a health food store and they just aren’t seeming to work. Aaaugh!

    1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      For the worst mosquito bites I try to take a bath or shower as hot as I can stand it–it seems to overload the itch sensation for a while? Paste-style toothpaste (not gel) also takes the edge off, as does cortisone cream (you can find it at the drugstore near the Band-Aids).

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        I’m going to have to see if there’s some of that cortisone cream next time I go… not sure if I’m desperate enough to go to the 24 hr Walmart and everything else would be closed right now. I need stronger will power or something that will take my mind totally off of it. Must. Not. Scratch!

        1. fposte*

          Cortisone cream. I’m a longtime favorite dessert of mosquitoes, and nothing helps like cortisone cream. The other thing is that nothing is a one-off and you’re done; you have to reapply the cortisone cream every four hours or so. (It’s also worth taking a Benadryl if you don’t get sleepy or don’t care if you do, though the topical Benadryl apparently doesn’t perform as well as cortisone.)

          1. Elsajeni*

            Yep, especially when I have multiple bites, oral Benadryl is the only thing that really helps. (I also mostly only take it at night — I react badly to bites and the itching will sometimes get bad enough to keep me awake — so the drowsiness is a feature, not a bug.)

          2. Lore*

            I find the topical Benadryl cream is much less good than cortisone but the gel is great–it’s cooling as it goes on and then the antihistamine kicks in.

    2. schnapps*

      So if you take your fingernail and make an X on top of the bite, it’ll stop itching for a bit (make sure you don’t break the skin). It separates the poison cells and they’ll drift back together, but the relief is immediate – and you can repeat it.

      How long do your mosquito bites last? You could take an antihistamine if they’re really long lasting or really big.

    3. Calla*

      This is slightly unconventional but Lush has a spot cream called “Grease Lightning” that I find works great on itchy bites for me. The main ingredients in that are thyme, rosemary, tea tree, lavender, witch hazel, and aloe. You could easily get some aloe gel and tea tree and witch hazel oil at the store and add that to the aloe, then apply!

    4. Ruffingit*

      OK, so you’ll look like a drug addict doing this, but I swear it works because both my husband and myself have done it. Get a lighter/match/source of fire and a metal spoon. Heat the bottom of the spoon with the lighter. Give it a few seconds to cool so it’s not burning hot, but then press the bottom of the spoon against the bite. The heat takes all the itch out of the thing.

      1. The IT Manager*

        I run the metal spoon under hot water or near boil water and dunk the spoon in the water. Heating the bite does work

        1. abby*

          Ah, a different twist on the heat remedy! I posted about using a hair dryer below. These are both good alternatives. Heat works, it really does!

      2. Kate R. Pillar*

        Yes, yes ,yes, heat!
        We own a small gadget for this called the “Bite Away”, made by Riemser Pharma. Not sure if you can get this elsewhere but in Germay. It runs on batteries and has a ceramic tip that heats up for six seconds (for adults) or three seconds (kids, adults with lower pain threshold).
        You press it on the stitch and it feels quite uncomfortable for these few seconds, but I have never had any itching afterwards, which to me is nothing short of a miracle.
        A little pricey at ca. 25 EUR, though.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Oh, I wish I could do that, I’ve got a big bottle in the cupboard. I’m going to have to train myself to not scratch and just put on some alcohol (or whatever works). I just scratch and then they either start to bleed or weep. Putting alcohol on that would be a whole new kind of pain.

    5. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Take an antihistamine! Benadryl might make you sleepy, but Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra shouldn’t. I get eaten alive every summer, but no (well, very few) itchies because I take an Allegra every day for my seasonal allergies.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        It’s not so bad as that, exactly. There’s one behind my left knee and another on my right ankle and I’m trying very hard not to scratch them right now. Very hard. Erk. I think with the cool nights we’ve been having, I’ve gone out to the car/put out the trash and the mosquitoes have just gone “Banzai!” because they know that their time is limited. They’re only on my legs below the knee and in perfect scratching reach. I’ve got to get to alcohol/witch hazel/whatever before I just automatically scratch.

        I had heard of the “make an X with your fingernail” but the heat up a spoon… that’s a new one on me! Interesting how many of the cures involve heat of some sort.

    6. skyline*

      Sympathies. If there is a group of people, and a mosquito, the mosquito will always choose to bite me–usually multiple times.

      I also recommend taking an antihistamine. If one type doesn’t work, do try another kind. Allegra and Benadryl work for me, but Claritin and Zyrtec do not. (Benadryl makes me sleepy, but definitely works, so it’s my last resort when the Allegra is not helping enough.) I also use cortisone cream and ice packs (the reusable, refreezable kind) for temporary topical relief

      1. fposte*

        We should get all us mosquito-beloved folks together to see if there’s like the supreme mosquito meal among us or if they just go nuts like they’ve gotten access to a dessert cart.

        1. Stephanie*

          I’m the same. If there is a mosquito within a five-mile radius…it will find me. I get bitten in Phoenix! It barely rains long enough here for them to even nest.

        2. skyline*

          We had a 10-person family reunion and only 2 of us (my sister and me) got bitten. Everyone else was like, “There are no mosquitoes. How great!” My reaction was, “I hate you all.”

    7. Sparkly Librarian*

      Mine used to be Rhuli-Gel, which was bought and marketed as Band-Aid brand Anti-Itch Gel for a while, but now they have changed the formula and I was devastated before I found out that I could buy the chief ingredient – camphor – by itself. I use a cotton swab or a fingertip to dab it on the bites, and it’s the only thing that brings relief. To repel, the thing that works best for me – and I’m allergic to mosquitoes, so I use multiple methods – is Jungle Juice from REI. It’s some very high percentage of DEET. That plus a beekeeper’s mask and a sonic repellent when I sleep outdoors make camping/wilderness bearable.

    8. Lizabeth (call me hop along)*

      Vicks Vapour Rub. I think I just read somewhere that they did scientific tests and it really does work,

      1. Honeybee*

        It’s got menthol and camphor it in and both are well-known topical analgesics, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

    9. Bye Academia*

      Someone I know swears by putting tape over them. She has tried all the other things mentioned and they don’t work as well. No idea why it works (or if it’s just placebo effect).

    10. Noah*

      My grandma always put Chiggerex on bug bites and that stuff is amazing. I’m not sure what exactly is in it, but it works.