weekend free-for-all – October 3-4, 2015

Eve and Olive sleepThis 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: Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, by Mary Roach. This will answer questions about life in space that you never knew you had, like how astronauts handle personal hygiene, sex, life in incredibly close quarters, and zero-gravity Coke dispensers.

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

{ 770 comments… read them below }

    1. Sparky*

      I wish my kitties would cuddle. They get along pretty well, but they don’t snuggle. But one is long haired and the other is a sphynx, so I think there just isn’t a range that is comfortable for both of them. Such a cute photo though.

  1. Hattie McDoogal*

    I love Packing for Mars! Personal ranking of Mary Roach’s books:

    1. Stiff
    2. Packing for Mars
    3. Bonk
    4. Gulp
    5. Spook

    1. Dear liza dear liza*

      Mary Roach is awesome. I’m not sure if I could rank her titles (they kind of blur over time) but Spook would be last. Loved all the others.

    2. "JFK shot first!"*

      I, too, have great respect for Mary Roach.

      Lots of “Mars talk” around these days, what with that book and that movie about rescuing that guy stranded on Mars – I forget the title …

    3. Audiophile*

      For some reason, I took “packing for mars” a little more literally than I should have. And I was like “um, I know they just discovered water… but?”

    4. Squirrel!*

      It’s a great book! I love all of her stuff, haven’t read Spook yet though. Packing for Mars led me to read Mike Mullane’s autobiography, Riding Rockets, which is absolutely hilarious and very touching. He’s the guy who pulled the floating skull prank from Roach’s book.

      1. Hattie McDoogal*

        I bought Mullane’s book for the same reason! Only got partway through it, though — I guess I just have limited patience for astronaut biographies. My husband has no such problem and has read it a half dozen times or so.

    5. Mimmy*

      I remember when Mary Roach had a column in Readers Digest. The only book of hers I’ve read is “My Planet”, which I believe was a compilation of writings from the RD column of the same name.

    6. Al Lo*

      Stiff and Bonk are two of my favorite non-fiction books ever. Stiff has seriously impacted discussions with my husband about wishes and plans if I die before he does.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Same here – I’d had vague thoughts about donating my body for research before I read the book, but after I read it I actually ordered the forms from the local medical school.

        I laughed more than seemed decent at Stiff, so it’s quite something that it had that much of a serious impact as well as making me literally LOL. I just wish I hadn’t read the section on plane crashes during a long flight!

        1. Marcela*

          Oh, oh, I just bought Stiff for a 16 hours flight! I guess I’ll need to skip that chapter. Thanks!

        2. Al Lo*

          I’ve told him to either donate me to science or turn me into a tree, whichever is more feasible. I’ve even bookmarked and sent the link to the biodegradable urn/tree planting company around to multiple family and friends.

          It was interesting to discuss with my parents — my grandma passed away earlier this year, and was cremated, which is super uncommon for my family, but she’s one of the last of that generation in my family, so I would imagine that won’t necessarily be the norm going forward. No one had any particular objections to cremation; it was just that everyone had always been buried. However, my parents bought cemetery plots quite early in their marriage — when they were in their mid-20s — which is a level of foresight I certainly haven’t had. A cousin of mine passed away at age 2 (back in the early 80s), and they were quite impacted by the level of hardship it put on my aunt and uncle, both financially and in terms of making decisions, so they bought their plots then.

          1. Cath in Canada*

            I’m going to go the “organ donation if possible, everything else for research” route IF my husband’s OK with it. He’s been resisting having that talk, so I haven’t actually signed the forms yet. He needs to be OK with the decision more than I do!

            1. PhyllisB*

              I’m glad to see the topic of donating body to science vs. organ donation being discussed. I would like to make provisions for both: meaning if anything of mine can be harvested to help someone live a better life I want to do it (and this is on my driver’s license) BUT if I die from something that makes that impossible, I would like to be donated to Science to help future doctors learn from me. My question is this: How can I set that up? As far as I know, it’s an either/or proposition. Is there anyone in the reading audience who could answer this for me?

            2. Al Lo*

              Yeah, that’s definitely a given in our family — organ donation first, and then whatever else afterwards. I didn’t even mention it because it’s so separate (in some ways) from any other discussion of burial vs. cremation vs. composting vs. whatever else — the organs are donated, and then you decide what to do with the body.

  2. nep*

    On this chilly, cloudy, windy day, one feels like doing just what those lovely cats are doing.
    What a sweet photo.

    1. Winter is Coming*

      We must be in the same part of the country. Just spent 2 hours in it watching my son play soccer. He score on a penalty kick though, his first varsity goal, so it was worth it!

    2. Nashira*

      I spent all day at an Ingress event, and there was discussion of how nice a few cats would be to keep us warm. You know, just tuck one into your shirt and be done with it!

      N.B. My cat would murder me if I tried to put her in my shirt. She is a next-to cuddler, NOT an on-top-of cuddler.

  3. SandrineSmiles (France)*

    Good news! I may have had lots of trouble lately due to Twitch, my video games streams, insults, DDOS attacks and the like, BUT!

    I finally got to the police yesterday and, while they were no geeks, they took me seriously and lodged the complain. Woohoo!

    Next step on Monday: see if ISP will change my IP. If not, ISP switch. Then VPN. And then maybe DDOS protection. And maybe a real router. And… huh… then I dunno but I will be able to do my thing again in peace xD !

    1. VintageLydia USA*

      Good to here! Cops all over are taking this more seriously than even 5 years ago. I know that Stateside the FBI is who you talk to because local and often even state law enforcement wouldn’t know what to do with the report even if they took everything seriously.

    2. Apollo Warbucks*

      Good to hear the police are taking it seriously, they’re not always geared up to tackle online abuse.

      It sucks you have to go to the trouble of changing things and all that extra work but hopefully you’ll be able to get back to gaming soon.

    3. Revanche*

      I’m so glad for you! It’s upsetting here in the states when we see people experience trolling and abusive behaviors but the police act like there’s nothing that can be done about it. Looking forward to things clearing up for you!

  4. Marcela*

    I have a question that’s half work, half familiar life. My brother lives and works in Chile. Last February his boss sent him to a conference in the US, in Florida. My brother told him I am in California, and asked if he could take his holidays with me. His boss not only approved his holiday request, but sent him on training to a city close to mine, so he paid for the flight from Florida to California. Soon I will be traveling to my home country, and my brother asked again for holidays for those days. The boss said ok.

    I feel really grateful to this guy. I mean, he allowed my brother to stay one month with me, because of the training. And now he is giving us time to be together again, and our time together is always so short. So my question is do you think it would be appropriate to give him a bottle of wine or something like that?

    1. fposte*

      I don’t think it’s at all obligatory. But I think since it’s not *your* boss, a jaunty “Hey, thanks” bottle of wine might be nice. I like a bottle of wine because it *doesn’t* say “I put a lot of thought into this,” which would start becoming weird.

    2. Kyrielle*

      I would actually ask your brother, because he will be better able to take both cultural norms and his individual boss into account….

    3. Apollo Warbucks*

      I dont think I would do or say anything, I assume your brother’s boss has provided this perk to your brother for good reason (to reward high performance, to get some good will or something like that)

      I think your brother should be the one to thank him, maybe you could ask your brother to pass on your thanks or maybe write him a short thank you note or card.

    4. Marcela*

      Hmmm. A thank you note would be super weird. We (i.e. my culture) don’t use them. We (hubby and me) didn’t know them when we came to the US and that bit my husband when he was looking for a job two years ago.

      I aim to be as grateful as I can every day. I don’t feel obligated to thank my brother’s boss, but I would like him to know I truly appreciate what he has done. I was afraid you were going to tell me it’s completely inappropiate, but since you haven’t… I’ll ask you another question :D: is there a typical American wine (brand) or alcoholic beverage, or liquor you can recommend? I don’t drink at all, therefore I don’t have any clue yet as what to buy. To the rest of my family I’m taking a huge bag of fortune cookies, but I thought of wine precisely for what fposte said.

      1. acmx*

        I don’t drink wine, but I’d suggest a Californian winery (since you’re in CA). The larger liquor stores in my area have employees who can recommend something.
        But, I’d ask your brother if his boss drinks first. Otherwise, food/sweets is usually a great gift.

      2. fposte*

        How about a Californian wine? I don’t know wine, so I’d just Google for a nice wine in my price range. Is there a kind Chile isn’t particularly known for (there’s a lot of Chilean wine, right?) that might be nice to come from California?

        1. Marcela*

          Uf, I don’t really know, since I don’t drink at all. But a Californian wine is a great idea, precisely for the Chilean wines. I’ll have to find a place where I can get a recommendation.

          Thank you, guys, you are great!

          1. Tina*

            How about something else that would be a special local treat in you American hometown? Where I live we have a beloved cholocate store and a few bakeries that cook recipes with local ingredients from the farms surrounding our town. When I travel I often take something made locally like that and then I tell people the local story. Another option is something that has a regional or national story – I’d say maple syrup or candy for eastern/central Canadians, or smoked fish or meat for westerners – perhaps your region has something similar?

            1. Marcela*

              Problem is that my country has very strict rules about food, seeds or wood entering the country. Chile export fruits, meats and veggies, so they are very paranoid, with reason, about illnesses or insects or fungus or anything that could affect the industry. Thay means, for example, honey is absolutely forbidden, the same as untreated wood or feathers. All people entering the airport is checked, every suitcase opened and inspected… Therefore, it’s so complicated trying to guess what can enter and what can’t (it’s not that anything packaged is allowed: for example cat food is forbidden too), that I’d rather avoid food, except very simple things, like cookies.

              1. acmx*

                Maybe try a dessert wine? They’re a sweeter wine and I don’t know how common they are outside of the US. Or maybe wines made of other fruit? There’s a winery locally that makes it out carambola, avocado and other fruits.
                I agree with fposte that a CA wine in your price point will be an acceptable gift.

  5. Shell*

    The weather is absolutely gorgeous today, and tomorrow seems to be the same!

    Gonna go out for a good walk today and a hike tomorrow.

    By the way (not that anyone cares), but the Fitbit One’s battery life is ridiculous–in a good way! I’m now at two and a half weeks and the battery indicator is still at medium! Love this thing.

    1. fposte*

      I love fall. I did have to turn the heat on, but I kind of like that anyway. I’ll be making a lot of soup this weekend anyway, so that should reduce the furnace demand.

      1. Shell*

        Autumn is definitely my favourite season. No pollen like spring, gorgeous weather (well, until the rainy months anyway), chill in the air, and hot comfort food. Oh, and fuzzy socks/fleece robes/PJs.


        I should take a leaf out of your book and make some chowder!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          There’s SOMETHING out there. I was out earlier and then sneezed and now headache. Grrr.

          Soup sounds great. I have some Bear Creek minestrone I’ve been craving. May have to make that, and some pumpkin bread. :D

      2. danr*

        Yep, finally gave up and turned on the heat too. Cooking all sorts of warm comfort food this weekend.

      3. skyline*

        I still have not had to turn on the heat here in the PNW, but I have pulled out the winter comforter.

        Soup! I am making lentil soup with sausage, chard, and garlic today.

            1. skyline*

              Have posted link in a separate comment going through moderation. I chop up the chard stems and use them in place of the celery. Recipe says the yield is 6 servings, but I usually get 7 or 8. Guess it depends on how big your servings are!

        1. Liz in a Library*

          Seriously. Our state was initially expecting a month’s worth of rain this weekend. It slackened off juuuust enough to be the most rain in 17 years…

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      These are both pretty good articles:



      My biggest piece of advice: Give it time, and don’t panic. It will take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months for them to peacefully coexist, and that’s totally normal. Keep them separated for the first few weeks, but let let them see each other (a baby gate is good for this), and swap smells as much as you can (the articles above have tips on this). From what I can tell, a huge part of cats’ territorialism is about smell — even when they’re curious and want to investigate each other, the unfamiliar smell will make them growl and hiss. So the more you can do to get them used to each other’s smells, the better. (And even then, it will still take time.)

      Also, Feliway.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Oh, and I forgot to expand on the “don’t panic” part of my advice. I am admittedly prone to worst-case-scenario thinking, but I had definite moments when we first got Olive and again when we first got Eve of thinking “this is never going to work out.” Lucy was awful to Olive in the beginning, and then in turn, two years later when we got Eve, Olive was awful to Eve (growling, hissing, angry swatting, generally open hostility), and I was pretty horrified to see my sweet, loving cats turn into monsters (toward a small kitten, no less). But as you can see from the photo at the top of this post, it went away in time. So, be patient and don’t panic.

        1. Gene*

          And even then, they may never be besties, our older male tolerates the two littermate females, even though it’s been 4 years. There have been sightings of mutual grooming; but it’s mostly tolerance at best, slapping and hissing and chasing more common.

          That could be because the littermates are a unit and came in together.

          1. dawbs*

            Yes to the not besties thing.
            I lost my older cat this winter. We did everything ‘right’ when we introduced the younger (dominant, sometimes [ok, often] asshole) cat to her and they still barely landed at tolerant–he picked on her a lot.

            But once she passed, we found that he was apparently enjoying hanging with her (even if he was picking on her when he did it) a lot more than any of us, even he, probably realized. He’s completely changed his sleeping habits because apparently he went out of his way to sleep near her. And he’s a lot louder and such.
            So even when they’re assy to each other, they might still be having important relationships. kinda like when my siblings and I were all under age 12 and smashed each other in the head for entertainment.

            1. Monodon monoceros*

              This sounds like my cat with my dog. She normally acts like he is some big disgusting monster who must be put in his place and like she can’t stand the sight of him. But when I go away, sometimes I have my dog with me, and sometimes he stays behind. When he is not there, the petsitters report that she wanders around meowing. When he is there, she is quiet. So she must like him at least a little bit?

        2. SL #2*

          My friend had a very old cat (passed very peacefully in her sleep recently) and she was used to being the only cat… and then about 3 years ago, the family brought home not just one, but TWO new cats that were from the same household.

          Very Old Cat immediately established that she was the queen and that the new cats were nothing but peasants to her– there was a lot of ignoring and general hissing if they got too close to her, but other than that, there wasn’t any outright bullying or fighting…

          New Cats do bully the pitbull they have, though, and she cries every time. It’s a sight.

          1. Hellanon*

            My 10-yr old calico is *still* bullying the formerly-feral kitten I found in the yard when he was 4 weeks old. He’s 7 -1/2 years old and outweighs her by 4 lbs. Anybody who says cats have a short attention span has no idea`what they are talking about…

        1. Windchime*

          Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. I put up a baby gate at the bottom of my stairs when dogs come to visit; the cat jumps it easily to run upstairs. I’m not understanding how a baby gate works to keep cats separated unless it’s a tall one. (I’ve often thought that a screen door temporarily replacing a bedroom door would be a great way to keep cats separated.)

    2. littlemoose*

      Accept that they may never be buddies, but tolerance is good enough. I have a middle-aged cat who is territorial and often kind of a jerk. Last year my boyfriend found a kitten by the side of the highway, scooped her up and brought her home. We introduced them slowly and it went ok. They are not really friends, mostly because the older cat is territorial and the kitten likes to try to play with her by surprise-pouncing on her, but the older cat tolerates her. There’s some hissing and growling sometimes, but never any fighting or biting. We all do ok and the house is generally peaceful even though the cats will never be snuggle buddies. Good luck on introducing yours!

    3. catsAreCool*

      Some adoption places suggest keeping the cats separate for several days, maybe doing “site switching” so each cat can sniff areas that the other kitty was in. If they hiss at each other, don’t worry about it too much. Don’t leave them alone together for a while.

  6. Lady Elaine*

    Hi, I’m hoping someone can give me some tips on getting over my fear of airplane turbulence. It absolutely terrifies me. Logically, I know it’s not dangerous and is basically like a car driving over a bumpy road. But when I’m in an airplane and we hit turbulence, I’m immediately convinced we’re going to crash. I actually freaked out once on a plane during turbulence and was really embarrassed afterwards. I’m asking because I have a transatlantic flight coming up, and I get even more scared when the plane starts shaking and jumping over an ocean. Any advice? Thanks in advance!

    1. pieces of flair*

      Would a mild sedative help? Maybe you could ask your doctor about getting a prescription for Valium or something?

      1. fposte*

        I’d vote for that. It’s how I fly even now that my flying phobia has improved. Since you can’t plan around turbulence, just enjoy the nap if it turns out you don’t need it.

    2. nep*

      I’m with you — turbulence scares the hell out of me when it’s particularly bad and lasts a while. Even after countless flights and some periods of pretty bad turbulence, I still get scared and I’m convinced we’re going down. I generally just sit there thinking ‘well, this might be it’… Irrational though that may be, it’s where my mind goes in that moment. I rarely drink on a flight — can’t recall whether it’s ever helped to have a drink or two.
      I, too, will be interested in hearing people’s tips here.

    3. Not So Sunny*

      Ask your doc for an anti-anxiety med — I wouldn’t recommend Valium because it’s a muscle relaxant.

      I’m not a doctor, though, so ask yours ;-)

      1. fposte*

        Valium can definitely be used as a muscle relaxant, but it’s mainly employed as an anti-anxiety agent. I think all the benzos have both anti-anxiety and muscle relaxant capabilities.

    4. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      Are you the kind of person who feels reassured by learning more? There’s an Ask The Pilot website with a pilot blogger who discusses turbulence in-depth–the hows and whys and how it’s not dangerous, just scary. He talks quite a bit about all the other nonsense of the current flying industry as well, which is really interesting too.

      1. Lady Elaine*

        Oh yes, I’ve read that website and many others. I know that planes are made to withstand weather that’s much worse than the worst turbulence, and that turbulence doesn’t scare pilots at all. In my head, I know I have nothing to worry about, but when the plane starts rocking and shaking, my fear takes over. I’ve actually thought about asking my doctor for something to take the edge off.

        1. fposte*

          It really helped me, so I would encourage you to ask. I think you’ll find that just having something to help dials down your stress levels.

        2. Kali*

          Agree with the pharma help. I got atavan prescribed and found that just knowing I have them to use of I need to helped me a lot. I made them last three years, with lots of travel, and only recently ran out. They make me not care about anything, so I’m always careful to not schedule any meetings right after a flight lands.

    5. StudentPilot*

      I get freaked out too, and one thing that has helped me is learning to fly. I notice the mild turbulence in a Cessna (talk about freaked out!) but understanding the physics and dynamics of it have helped me on jetliners. Obviously not a cheap option and won’t help you right away.

      What also helps me is slow, deep breaths. Focusing on keeping myself calm keeps me from focusing on the bumps.

      Oh also – turbulence can be from hot air rising, so if there are clouds (big fluffy ones) you’re likely to have turbulence. The air is rising faster/slower in different places so yeah – like bumps in a road. Maybe knowing when turbulence could happen will help.

      1. Dan*

        I was going to write in with the same advice, but I thought that would make me sound like a smart arse.

        TBH, turbulence annoys the hell out of me. I’m not scared of it or anything.

        1. mander*

          It always seems to hit right when I’m taking a bite of my dinner or have a drink in my hand. FWIW, I used to get a bit scared when flying but I would visualise things like turning into a bird that simply flies away when the plane starts to go down, etc. A bit silly but out helped. Some sort of guided meditation you can listen to during the flight might also work.

          Generally, I think just doing it more was a big help. I moved overseas and visit my parents about once a year. By now I’ve flown across the Atlantic so many times now that a little turbulence is actually almost a welcome break in the monotony!

    6. NYCAtty*

      Whenever I get a little nervous about turbulence, it helps me to think about the view of the plane from the ground. The bumps feel enormous to me while sitting in the plane, but if I was watching the flight from the street, the plane would be smoothly gliding through the air. Helps put things in perspective.

      1. dragonzflame*

        I remember the guy that does Ask The Pilot saying this – he was once on a flight where the turbulence was so bad things were being flung round the cabin, seatbelt signs were on the whole time, the kind of turbulence people tell their friends about. You know when the plane drops and you could swear it was hundreds of feet? He was watching, and it barely nudged the altimeter. Even he was surprised.

    7. ptrish*

      I don’t have a solution, but I just want to say that I relate! I get unreasonably nervous during takeoff, turbulence, and landing. And I’ve traveled a LOT over the last few years. Do you have anxiety other than flying, or is it really just that? Because I just take my typical anxiety-busting strategies and kick them up a notch, and I’m considering meds for the future.

      And if you’d rather avoid meds…a glass or two of wine doesn’t hurt. (As long as you stay hydrated, of course.)

    8. Thinking out loud*

      My husband worked in commercial flight test for a major airplane company for about ten years. The airplanes are designed to be able to handle the worst turbulence you can imagine, along with lots of other crazy things, and they test the heck out of them. All two-engine jets can land safely after BOTH engines go out (the ram air turbine, or RAT, deploys, which allows the pilot to harness the power of the airplane’s forward motion to power steering and brakes – I always enjoyed imagining a small rat hoping out of the bottom of the airplane to help in times of distress, but that’s probably neither here nor there) and four-engine jets are designed to still work if three of the four engines go out. Anxiety meds might help if you know all that and still aren’t comforted, but if it helps any, know that people who work at those companies think every day about the people whose lives are in their hands and feel safe flying in the airplanes they work on. I know folks at our major competitor feel the same way, and I am confident flying in their airplanes too, so this isn’t specific to our company.

      1. Anonyby*

        I love to watch those shows that deconstruct and reconstruct what happens with air crashes/incidents, and go into the science behind them (Mayday/Air Crash Investigations/Air Disasters, Seconds from Disaster, etc). It’s honestly made me feel so much safer about flying. And you’re right, those planes are TOUGH. It’s amazing what some of them were put through and still held together enough to touch down!

        1. TootsNYC*

          My husband watches these and then he tells me about them, and what went wrong, etc.

          And I say, “Hey! That’s my workplace, in a nutshell!”

    9. "JFK shot first!"*

      This is just me, but I got life insurance. Seriously: a lot of the stress I felt was related to fear that I’d die and my wife and kids would have to live in a cardboard box somewhere. Yes, this is what motivated Walter White in Breaking Bad.

    10. Mephyle*

      On a long flight (as a transatlantic flight would be), I try to sleep all the way, once the first meal has been served. If I can’t manage to sleep, I doze. If turbulence disturbs me, I create a fantasy – a sort of lucid half-awake dream – that we are on a bus and going over a bumpy road (while still dozing, and deliberately trying not to reach higher level of wakefulness). I could never have thought something like this up deliberately, but it sort of happened by itself, and I realized it works, so I use it whenever I need to.

    11. Dan*

      BTW, while your plane won’t fall out of the sky, turbulence is still pretty dangerous. It’s one of the leading causes of injuries on an aircraft. While US pilots are a bit trigger happy with the fasten seatbelt sign, if they have instructed the flight attendants to pause service and get their seatbelts on, it would be a good idea to follow along.

    12. Laura Beth*

      Not sure if this will be helpful or not, but I used to also be terrified of turbulence, until I sat over the wing and was watching out the window. I noticed that the tip of the wing would shake a little before my seat did. Something about KNOWING it was about to happen, and not having it be a constant, unwelcome surprise, really helped me visualize that it wasn’t anything to be scared of. Kind of like being able to see the bumpy road ahead of you in the car.

    13. Weasel007*

      Turbulance usually happens in the afternoons when heat has settled. Take your flights first thing in the morning.

    14. BRR*

      Two things help me because I also don’t like turbulence:
      -I look at the flight attendants, I figure there’s no need to worry unless they’re worried.
      -Planes statistically are most likely to crash upon take off or landing. Reassuring but in a dark way, I’d stick with number one.

  7. Extremely Anon*

    So, my husband stinks. How do I remedy this?

    (Warning: Details may be kinda gross)
    — The smell is not typical BO. It’s two different smells: kind of an acidic sweat smell on his upper half/overall, plus this horrible smell emanating from his butt/crotch that I can only describe as… cheesy. I can smell it on our couch right now, and he’s been out of the house for hours.

    — The acidic smell is definitely not new. I can’t tell if it’s gotten worse or if it’s just bothering me more lately. The butt/crotch smell has been going on for months at least, but I can’t remember if it was there years ago or not.

    — My husband is overweight, weighing about 400 pounds, but he exercises regularly and his diet is usually fairly healthy. Hes a power lifter so a lot of that weight is muscle, but he does have a large belly.

    — He showers every day, and typically right after every workout (though sometimes he sits on the couch before his shower and stinks up the place). After his showers, he seems to smell fine for about as long as the body wash scent lasts. Then it starts back up.

    — He is kind of sensitive and so far every mention I’ve made about him not smelling great has hurt his feelings, so I’m not sure how to approach this with him again but it has to stop.

    Any ideas about what might cause this or what I can do about it? I love my husband and I think he’s cute as hell, but it’s hard to cuddle up with someone who reeks.

    1. mookitty*

      Yeast, the cheesy smell where his body us hot and moist, sounds like yeast or a fungal infection. Go to doctor asap.

      1. Editor*

        Does your shower have a handheld spray? Because maneuvering the spray directly onto the butt while using a hand to spread one cheek away so the water pounds into that area may wash away some stuff that isn’t rinsing out.

        Drying thoroughly could help, too. Sometimes a thinner towel makes it easier to dry crotch areas — I got some of those cheap washcloths that seem to be everywhere now, and I use a clean one to blot dry the spots where my thick towels don’t reach as easily — if he’s squeamish about putting the towel into the crack, a cheap washcloth is a good solution, and it can just go into the hamper after one use.

        I second the recommendation about the doctor. I had to tell my husband about horrible bad breath, and it was very, very hard. I started out the conversation by asking him if his doctor or pharmacist could tell him if any of his medications or their interactions would cause bad breath, because he continued brushing his teeth just as he always had. Eventually the problem went away and we never did find out the cause. His dentist was also at a loss.

        1. anon breath*

          On the bad breath thing — seems like it’s so damned tough to talk about that, both sides. Is that everyone’s experience?
          I know I’ve got bad breath; I have been able to bring myself to ask people directly only a few times. (They’ve said no but I can tell it was yes and they were just unable to say it.) I want someone close to me to be honest so at least that person could help me monitor…could let me know whether this or that method is effective as I try different ways to attack it. Ugh — I’ve pretty much resigned myself … I’m that one with the bad breath and it’s just my lot.

          1. Myrin*

            I’ve had bouts of bad breath ever since I was a kid. I can tell pretty clearly where it comes from, though – it’s either when I haven’t eaten anything substantial yet or because of throat aches/general not-feeling-well-ness which manifests in that way. Thankfully, my family knows about it and is 100% honest when I ask (or will even say something on their own because they know I want to know). I’ve had succes with – if the food thing is the reason – just eating something, like, really munching it, and – if it’s because of the throat, so not going away on its own – these fresh-breath-pills or something sweet that overpowers the scent. Only my personal experience, thouhg!

            1. anon breath*

              For me as well — it’s been since I was a kid.
              My sister and I have a pretty OK relationship, and we’ve got this understanding that she’ll tell me if she ever notices it. Whenever I ask her, she says ‘no — I told you I’ll tell you if I notice it’. So, perhaps it’s not 24/7.
              I just feel bad for people who’ve got to be around me for any length of time at work and such. I’m constantly brushing, swishing, popping mints and gum.
              Not sure of the cause.

              1. OK*

                Do you floss?
                My husband thinks he doesnt need to floss so he has this gross smelling mouth.

                I wont kiss him. He wont fix it and the dentist has told him flossing would help. He has gingivitis and has stopped going to the dentist.

                He has other hygiene issues too though. Ugh.

                1. nep*

                  Yes, I floss. Thanks for the reminder of how important that is, though — as I should do it more often. Indeed I think flossing makes a big difference.

                2. anon breath*

                  Probably not as often as I could / should.
                  I think I also would do well to get off coffee again.
                  Appreciate everyone’s feedback on this.

              2. Monodon monoceros*

                I get bad breath when I haven’t eaten, too. I did the 5:2 diet for a while (where you eat very little for 2 days per week) and on those days my breath is terrible (the diet worked great for weight loss but then I started travelling a bunch and it was really hard to stick with it). I tried chewing gum, but this made the hunger worse. I found that if I was constantly drinking tea or coffee or water on those days, my breath was better.

        2. Marcela*

          My husband uses a hair blow dryer for every fold in the crotch area and even between his toes. He says it’s easier to be sure everything is properly dry, and for him that’s a very big deal since he doesn’t sweat as much as he should (my FIL has the same problem and uses the same solution), so he is very prone to get fungus.

          1. misspiggy*

            Yes. It’s amazing to me how difficult it is to dry a hairy body. My husband doesn’t use the hairdryer approach, but gets through three towels each time; the water just doesn’t fall off, it clings to all those little hairs. I’d imagine not drying thoroughly would contribute to a yeast problem.

    2. Lora*

      about that ‘cheesy’ smell….could be it’s a fungal/yeast infection in skin folds. It’s a pretty common thing, but no amount of showering will clear it up. Ya gotta get an anti-fungal/anti-yeast powder. Look for red areas of skin, especially in skin folds. They can be kind of ‘weepy’ with white ‘stuff’ that easily cleans off, only to reappear in a few hours or so. These types of infections have a very distinctive smell to them. As far as the other smell, some spices could be the cause, but though it might sound over doing things, a trip to the doctor to rule out more serious causes would be an ok thing to do.

      1. Extremely Anon*

        I share your suspicion about jock itch or some kind of fungal infection. I brought it up today and he insists it’s just chafing and it doesn’t itch. I may have to be more persistent.

        1. Blurgle*

          He’s basically saying it’s not a problem because it doesn’t bother him. You have to tell him “dude, I don’t care if it doesn’t itch. The smell is intolerable and you need to do something to fix it, and that mans going to the doctor on Monday. It’s affecting my quality of life.”

          1. Elizabeth West*

            This. And just because it doesn’t itch doesn’t mean anything. It may not be the same kind of thing, but it’s definitely a problem. He needs to take care of it not only for the effect on you, but so it doesn’t turn into something worse.

            1. Extremely Anon*

              I didn’t mention that the smell was the reason I suspected a fungal infection, but I may have to… And I guess I’ll just bring home some anti fungal cream when I go grocery shopping tomorrow.

              1. Editor*

                I forgot to say above, but when you’re shopping look for some skin cleanser. I was using something my dermatologist prescribed, and he got tired of writing scripts and told me to buy a cleaner OTC that will kill off stuff. He recommended the chemical below.

                I use Rite Aid First Aid Antiseptic Skin Cleanser, which has chlorhexidine gluconate 4 percent solution. If you don’t shop at Rite Aid, look for another generic brand with that active ingredient. I don’t know if this was/is used for surgeons to scrub, but it deals with prickly heat, problem spots in folds in my skin, and for cleansing cuts and injuries. It tends to leave my skin dry, so I use it only about once a week or if things are bad, every other day. If he balks at the doctor, see if you can persuade him to try the antiseptic wash.

                1. Momiitz*

                  I work in an operating room and chorhexidine glauconate 4% is what we use to prep the surgical site of our patients.

          2. TootsNYC*

            And..it’s affecting his HEALTH.

            Smells are symptoms and warning signs.

            Make him go to the doctor; make it be about health, and not about how offensive he is.

    3. Anon Accountant*

      Sounds like a yeast or other infection. He should try OTC cream or see a doctor ASAP.

    4. Myrin*

      Regarding how to approach this: Captain Awkward had made a post just the day before yesterday about something quite similar (it’s actually about smell, too!). The details are obviously quite different from your situation but there are many scripts provided by both the Captain and some commenters that I’ve found really helpful!

    5. smeller*

      my dad has diabetes and when his blood sugar isn’t in control, he has a yucky acidic smell.

      1. Lora*

        Thank you for sharing this information. Many people who have diabetes aren’t aware that they have it. Husband really should see a doctor.

    6. Anon for this*

      I like using natural remedies as much as possible. So I recommend: puremedy, Fungus Relief for skin and nails, company website is: puremedy.com
      This is a salve that I have used and had very good results.
      Also in addition to seeing a doctor, your husband could benefit from seeing a nutritionist and/or a naturopathic doctor.

      1. Extremely Anon*

        Hubs actually is seeing a nutritionist right now, though I was not really impressed with the plan she put together. It seems too high in carbohydrates to me, but I have a bit of insulin resistance myself so my diet is lower in carbs that your average joe.

        I’m starting with the anti fungal cream and I’ll work toward getting him to a doctor. It’s tough to get him to see a doctor for anything less than bronchitis.

    7. mander*

      You might also look for body wash with no perfumes. I had similar issues once and the irritating properties of the cheap, strong-smelling body wash were exacerbating it. Of course he should still see a doctor but this could help.

    8. Lisa*

      I’d approach it as a medical issue, there are lots of things that can affect odour – everything from a diet that is healthy but doesn’t agree with your personal gut flora, to skin infections, thyroid or hormonal problems, or bigger more serious issues like diabetes or immune disorders. I have a digestive disorder that means I have impaired nutrient absorption – I found that (doctor approved and monitored) supplements combined with Epsom salt or magnesium flake baths changed my personal odour significantly. If you have the same doctor as him I’d call or make an appointment for yourself first and mention your concerns and then encourage your husband to make an appointment. Or, if you two are the sort to do annual physicals perhaps you could plan to book together as moral support with a nice lunch or date afterwards as your family reward. I’d keep your focus on concerns about health and promise to let it go if it turns out he’s healthy. The flip side of this is that you’ll need to listen if he has concerns about your health too. In the event that he’s healthy you can start other measures like airing out your house more often, purchasing an air filter to help clean the air, adding vinegar to an extra rinse cycle in the wash, ensuring that your towels air and dry properly between uses (or are single use only), spraying a water + alcohol mixture as a part of the household cleaning process, or other odour reducing/masking techniques.

    9. catsAreCool*

      Sometimes a vinegar – water combo can get rid of body smells, and then soap can be used to get rid of the vinegar smell.

    10. Belle diVedremo*

      Joining the chorus for medical attention.
      This is a change, not for the better, that doesn’t seem to be going away.
      AND it’s interfering with your physical relationship.

      Might he be more likely to go to the doctor if you go with him? If he’s still seeing the nutritionist, can you go along for one of those appts, too, and raise these as new issues?

  8. Anonymous Educator*

    I just bought a Nexus 5x. I’ve loved my Moto X 2013, which is a perfect phone is just about every way… except its sad camera. I was all excited for the Moto X Pure, but apparently it’s enormous, and its camera is amazing but doesn’t do well in low-light, so I’m hoping the Nexus 5x will pull through, and it’ll be nicely to get timely OS updates again. Anyone else on the Nexus train?

    And am I the only one who’s tired of high-powered phones just getting bigger and bigger?

    1. Anonynous for obvious reasons*

      I’ve got a flip phone because I don’t need anything fancy. But daughter need new phone and is going to try to find a refurbished one. She’s about 2 generations back and doesn’t like the new sizes.

        1. Editor*

          My daughter got sore thumb joints with her newest, larger phone. It took just that much more stretching to text and she’s had to change the way she grips and uses the phone.

          1. Merry and Bright*

            Would a phone stylus help? I got a pack of them from Amazon and they are much easier on the hands.

    2. Fleur*

      I’m in the same boat! I’m still using my Moto G 2013, which is the perfect size for me, and was hoping to upgrade this year. But I just tried out one of my parents’ phones at 5.5″ and it’s just so uncomfortable to hold. I can’t imagine the 5.7″ Nexus 6P, although its specs are almost perfect in every other way.

      I’ve been eyeing the Sony Xperia Z5, which is sadly not available in the States. Maybe they’ll release it at some point in the future, but otherwise, I’m going to wait for next year’s releases to see if there are any decent smaller models.

    3. Alma*

      I just got my Project Fi invite from Google, and will be arranging for my Nexus 6(P probably) to arrive and get started with it. My eyes are so bad, I need the bigger screen even with corrective lenses. I have enjoyed the Nexus 7, but understand that won’t get an upgrade.

      The good thing about the bigger size is that I *absolutely* cannot use the thing without 2 hands. That keeps me from doing things I shouldn’t be doing (and not paying full attention to driving) in the car.

      I’m very excited to get on board – and will be glad to sound in (especially on Project Fi) for those interested.

    4. Finny*

      I’ve got a Nexus 5, myself. It’s quite a decent phone. Good camera, very responsive, and not too big for my nearly kid-sized hands.

    5. SandrineSmiles (France)*

      Had Samsung Galaxy Note phones (1, 2 and 3 : aiming for 4 now after having an Iphone 4 for over a year) .

      I love the huge phones ^^ . Better that way for me, for some reason. Much more comfy to use… And my ass is big enough that the phone usually fits my pants pockets, too xD

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        I appreciate that big phones have a market, but I just don’t like this move to all high-end phones being big.

        1. Windchime*

          I don’t either. I have an iPhone 6 (but not the giant 6s) and it’s fine. A friend of mine had some Galaxy something and that thing was about the size of my Kindle. I can’t imagine something that big; I like to carry my phone in my front jeans pocket and those big ones don’t fit.

    6. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I have a Nexus 5 and I love it! It really does everything I want. And the camera is pretty good, I’ve had no problems. It has withstood a fair amount of abuse, too, which is a bonus.

    7. RG*

      Yes! I got a Nexus 5 when my 4 stopped working, and the sales guy asked if I wanted to wait for 6. My response? “I’d like to be able to use my phone with just one hand.”

    8. Beck*

      Isn’t the Nexus even bigger than the new Moto X Pure? I just saw a picture and it’s like twice the size of the original Moto X.

      I bought the Moto X last year because I thought it was a good phone (besides the crappy camera) and it was the smallest smartphone I could find. The screen cracked later that year and when I went to replace it, they sent the 2nd gen. I STILL hate how huge it is, and wish I still had the 1st gen.

  9. Gene*

    At Mom’s in Central BFE, Missouri. She had a minor stroke last week and I busted her out of the hospital yesterday (OK, they let her out…) A brother lives next door, but he has to go out of state tomorrow for a specialist doctor appointment on Monday (I did say Central BFE). Youngest brother was here, but had to get back to work Thursday, and older sister will be getting here Thursday. So I leave Friday.

    Mom is doing well, no apparent after effects from the stroke.

    1. Jean*

      Good wishes for all of you as your mom continues her recovery. Sounds like you’re all doing as well as possible.
      (Please advise: what does BFE mean?)

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Bumblefuck Egypt. It means you’re in the middle of nowhere, where there is nothing.

        *waves at Gene and blows good vibes to his mum from BFE Southern Missouri* ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        1. afiendishthingy*

          I grew up in BFE Southern Missouri and am also very familiar with that abbreviation… Wonder if it’s more commonly used in that area?

      2. Kyrielle*

        In the middle of nowhere.

        It’s an acronym for “Bum F*** Egypt”, though how Egypt got involved in that term, I’m not quite sure.

    2. fposte*

      Glad your mom seems to have bounced back and your siblings are all present and accounted for on keeping an eye on her.

      1. Gene*

        The siblings who can, are. Oldest brother is doing chemo, and we just heard he’s in a nursing home because the meds caused him to have a stroke. We aren’t supposed to know, he’s been an antisocial prick for a couple of decades.

        Oldest sister is dealing with other health crap with her and her husband. She’ll come out when she can.

    3. Apollo Warbucks*

      Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that your mom had a stroke my dad had a small one last year. I hope she recovers well.

    4. salad fingers*

      Good luck to your mom in her recovery — sounds like she has a very supportive crew. Hope you guys are doing well too.

    5. Carrie in Scotland*

      Glad that your mum is recovering well and that everyone is doing their fair share of looking after her.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Not fun stuff, for sure. Am glad the troops rallied for your mom, that was probably very meaningful to her. Best wishes for her continued speedy recovery.

    7. Sunflower*

      Glad to hear your mom is okay. Glad you and your siblings are able to work your schedules around as well!

  10. SL #2*

    I’m driving to San Diego today! For the record, it’s a little over 2 hours away, but traffic is bad enough today that it’ll probably take 3, according to Google Maps. Oh, Southern California.

      1. SL #2*

        It was tons of fun! I was in Pacific Beach to see a friend play at a recording studio… the traffic getting there was a bit of a nightmare, but the time spent in San Diego itself was great.

  11. Anon Accountant*

    What a cute picture. This week was my first week of seeing a counselor. It went well and I’m returning in 2 weeks. Thanks to other readers for the suggestion.

    1. Nashira*

      I just saw a new counselor yesterday, for the first time. It’s such a relief when it goes well. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

    2. Sunflower*

      I also saw a new counselor yesterday for the first time. Glad it went well and hope it continues to

  12. Christina*

    I’m attempting to make homemade amaretto today! I’ve really gotten into infusing booze this year. Last year I made damson plum gin (like sloe gin) and this year made elderflower liqueur (St. Germain) and strawberry elderflower liqueur, strawberry jalapeño tequila, plum vanilla vodka, and “whatever bits of fruit I have left” vodka. This is way more fun than making jam!

  13. Rethinking my life*

    So, I’ve been widowed over five years and come to terms with it. I am ready to date again. I don’t drink much, I can’t spend much time outdoors because tetracycline made me sun-sensitive, I’m allergic to dogs and cats and can’t pet them but I don’t have trouble breathing around them, and I like to read but rarely go to movies or watch tv. I like ballet, some opera, and a wide range of music. Online dating sites haven’t worked for me, but I’m not into hiking, hunting, sailing or dogs, which may have counted against me because I was upfront about the allergies, not that I’d ever want to separate a dog from it’s owner unless the owner was abusive. I suspect I’ll be a living-apart-but-together type of relationship person.

    Any suggestions for ways to meet men in person? The guys I’ve met at art museums and the ballet in my age group (mid-60s) all seem to be gay or uninterested. I don’t run into many men at the library. The three or so men (over two years) who were interested in my profile online were a decade older and too old for me in my estimation, partly because I am not ready to be a caretaker. I’m not presently attending a church and my distaste for the institutional church is growing. I’d like someone to go to dinner with, but I won’t be tasting the wine or having a drink before or after dinner. And I’m in central Pennsylvania, a conservative area, but I’m a liberal who gets turned on by intelligence. I haven’t found a volunteer gig I like, and my hobbies are either solitary or girly (writing, needlework, home decorating). I’m a member of the Y but that hasn’t led to anything, not that I look my best exercising or in the pool. I do have a social life, but it’s mostly with family or women my own age who are single or widowed.

    1. nep*

      I wouldn’t give up on the possibility of the Y. I think if there’s some chemistry and a mutual interest, it would be great for that to surface in that setting where you are just purely you — in the pool or sweating through a workout.
      No great suggestions here — Simply that I sense it’s going to happen, and when you’re not seeking it. Be open to surprises, serendipity, finding someone when/where you least expect it.
      All the best to you. Please keep us posted.

    2. Carrie in Scotland*

      Is there an opera or ballet group you could join? Or a bookgroup? A website like meetup(dot)com might be a way of meeting new friends and maybe someone more than that.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I second Meetup.com. LOok for groups in your area who are interested in some of the same things you are. I still haven’t met anyone myself in BFE (tee hee), but I found my nerd friends through it. So at least I get out of the house now and then.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          I will third Meetup. Not that I have joined any group specifically to meet men, so I can’t comment on that. I went to one last night that was full of people of a similar vintage (*cough*) to me, there wasn’t any drinking, but the home owner/meetup host did have two small dogs (that were very friendly). I think that last night, there were slightly more men than women, but there were also a few married couples.

          However, there are Meetups in my area for board games, morning coffee, dinners, social events, there’s one that’s called the Singles Mosaic (for the 50+ crowd) <– literal name and they have over 1500 members. If there's something you're interested in, there is probably a meetup group for it. If it's a general topic, like boardgames/cards, then you'll probably find more men in it than in the Knitting Meetup or something that is more "traditionally" what women are interested in.

          1. Rethinking my life*

            I will have to check out meetup again. I did so about two years ago, but didn’t particularly find anything I wanted to get involved in. There are a lot of outdoorsy and mom/kid groups, plus a bunch of tech groups that I’m not qualified for or interested in, being that I don’t do any coding.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              I joined a few groups — actually I just went to the meetups without joining and they just were not for me. Then I joined one group, and every time they scheduled one, I had to work. Then that group folded. I didn’t go to another one for a long time because it just wasn’t working out for me, time-wise. But then I went to an accidental Meetup — the person had advertised their event on Meetup and another site, I had signed up on the other site. And it was OK. Not too long after that, I read one of the people on here talking about how great their Meetup had been Saturday morning and I was all “Hey! I need to do that, I wonder if there’s one in my area for that topic that meets on Saturday mornings?” But there wasn’t, so I started one. And so far, three months in, it’s going well. I had to upgrade my account because we’re almost at 50 members and I’m thinking I’m going to add an occasional once-a-month speaking series at night/after work so that people who have more experience with our topic (writing) can tell everyone what happened and answer questions. Some people in the group have been published, for example, and most have not. There are grocery stores that have a room non-profit groups can rent for free, so it’s doable. I don’t charge people any money to attend, but they are expected to at least buy a coffee/drink or “pay the rent” as one of them puts it.

              So, my suggestion to you is, if you don’t find the Meetup group you want, make it. It costs about $10/month to use the service (for 50), so there’s that. But if you want to play board games on Wednesday nights, there are coffee shops that will accommodate you (provided most people buy something) if you look for a place(s) around. If you want to meet people to socialise with, then start up something like that. The one I went to this week, the hostess charged $3 for each person, but I thought that was reasonable because we were in her house, she provided snacks (no drinks) and there were prizes for the highest (and lowest) scores. Way cheaper and more interactive than a movie.

              It honestly doesn’t take a lot of time each week, except for attending. Once I decided on a place, I just set the Meetup to repeat indefinitely — the site does all the advertising for you. You can have co-organisers or set it up so that other people can suggest their own activities that people can join in on. I mean, for $15/month (unlimited) that’s less than you’d spend on online dating for a month.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                I didn’t join to meet guys either–I figured if I met someone through it that would be a happy accident. But I was going to say, you can start one yourself if you don’t find one you like.

    3. F.*

      Don’t rule out older men automatically. I am almost 55, and my husband just turned 84. He is in excellent physical condition and works out (weights and cardio) almost daily. We met 13 years ago at a Parents Without Partners dance. We’re both intelligent, conservative, introverts, and were raising 11 year old boys at the time (his grandson, my son). I thought long and hard about entering a serious relationship with him, but I do not regret it at all. Our sixth wedding anniversary is in a couple of weeks. As for having to take care of a partner, that can happen even if they are your own age. Bad things happen in life, unfortunately.
      Meeting quality, eligible men IS difficult. If his political views are important to you, consider working on a political campaign. You are also more likely to encounter liberals around college campuses. Best of luck in your quest!

      1. nep*

        I like hearing about experiences like this. I’m in my 40s and it’s often the case that men I’m attracted to are 20+ years older. I can easily envision myself in a relationship with that wide an age gap…It is but a number.
        Thanks for sharing your experience and insights. All the best to you.

        1. F.*

          Just be sure to be upfront that you are not looking for a ‘sugar daddy’ and be mutually clear about your expectations. Expect a lot of disapproval from both families and when you are in public together (especially from older women). Vet an older man like you would any other guy and don’t be conned. Prior to meeting my husband, I dated another older man for a while until I discovered that what I thought was a mutually exclusive relationship was definitely not. I broke it off and was stalked by him. I even had to involve the police. Scammers and abusive men come in all ages.

          1. nep*

            Of course — all ages. Caution is in order always.
            Re: disapproval — don’t give it any credibility or power. Period. Who cares.

          2. nep*

            P.S. Not interested in getting involved anytime soon if ever. So the ‘envisioning’ is just that — I can imagine it, were I looking to get into a relationship.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I have the exact opposite thing—I like younger guys. :) Hey, we like a lot of the same stuff.

          From what I’ve seen on dating sites, however, F.’s husband is the exception, not the rule. But YMMV.

      2. Jean*

        I was also going to suggest a political campaign (either for a specific candidate or a specific issue-advocacy position). This may or may not yield single men immediately, but in the meantime you’re doing something you find interesting and compelling and worthwhile.

        1. Rethinking my life*

          Political work is problematical with my current job in a news-related business, otherwise I would totally look there. (Earlier jobs at newspapers prohibited political activity — no bumper stickers, signs on the lawn, volunteering, or, at one place, signing petitions.) I should ask how far I can push things now that I’m not actually reporting any more.

          I’m actually thinking of trying to get a different job so I can do more political stuff — friends have suggested politics, too.

          1. Spice for this*

            I just wanted to share my friend’s story (I will call her Jane). Jane was 64 and met her current husband at a slot machine tournament in Las Vegas (he was 80 at the time). They have been married 8 years now and they are very happy (and they are both in good health, they like to take road trips, play golf and enjoy eating out at the casinos).

      1. Rethinking my life*

        Yes, I’m looking forward to my next college reunion. I escorted my mother to her 65th college reunion this summer because she wanted someone along, and was impressed by the number of her divorced/widowed classmates who were pairing off in the course of the long weekend. I should be so fit and well-preserved in my late 80s. There were people from even older classes there who graduated from college in 1940, 1943 and 1945. Amazing.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Do you live near a college? If yes, maybe you could take some courses or do some continuing ed type things. Or even just attend public events such as when they have guest speakers.

    5. ginger ale for all*

      I have been taking ballroom dance classes for about five years now and it used to be that there were more women than men but not for the last year or so. Now there are men without dance partners in each style of dance that I take. You might call your local dance studios and ask if you need a partner for classes and ask how the classes skew. I have noticed that the tango classes have the most extra men. It is a more challenging class and the dance is more athletic though.

      1. Rethinking my life*

        I am looking around at dance classes, partly because I never learned but I like music. I’ll double down on that.

        I also like the suggestions about about looking near colleges. I used to live in a college town years ago, and if it weren’t so far away, I would have moved back there when I was widowed. Unfortunately, my area doesn’t have any alumni groups or I’d join one of them.

    6. StudentA*

      Since you are a liberal, there are Democratic Debate watch parties taking place on 10/13. Google “Democratic Debate watch party” in the city closest to you. A ton are being hosted in homes and are open to strangers. Usually they support specific candidates, but I’m sure they’re open minded enough.

    7. louise*

      I’m a liberal in the Bible Belt. We found the Episcopal church and *love* it. I can’t believe how many people I’ve seen pair up there, mostly post divorce or widowed. I know you mentioned being put off from institutional churches, but if you haven’t checked that one out, I highly recommend it as a place to find liberal-skewing, art loving, cerebral people.

    8. Kristen*

      I can relate to your situation. I lost my husband 13 years ago to brain cancer, I was only 31 years old but had no interest in dating for 3+ years. When I did start dating again, the drama of divorces or baby mamas was insane! Plus, men in my dating pool didn’t understand or know how to deal with a widow versus a divorcee.

      Look into the local colleges and activities they offer or enroll in a class. Let all of your friends know you are open to meeting someone to have dinner with and see where it leads.

    9. Beth Anne*

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that seems to think dating sites are full of guys that like to hike, camp, and do other out doorsy stuff…no one I meet IRL seems to like outdoorsy stuff as much as the men on dating sites…

        1. QualityControlFreak*

          Sorry, Special Forces. A formidable sparring partner. I learned so much and had so much fun.

    1. nep*

      (Not right even to include the word ‘hate’ in there, even in jest. Love everything about it.)

  14. Weekend Warrior*

    Any luck getting a senior parent to make some sensible decisions? My very independent 89 year old MIL lives alone in a hoarded house (can get to exits, no animals, packed fridge the biggest concern) and is still driving. The driving will end any time now, really affecting the independence, plus she is a very shaky walker, quite deaf, etc. She deflects any suggestions that she might want a Plan B for when she’s not able to live in the house and point blank refuses to give her kids power of attorney so they’d be able to pay her bills, take care of legal things if/when she can’t. I think we’re said our piece as best we can but am looking for any senior “hallelujah” moments others could report. Has a stubborn older relative been able to turn themselves around and make good decisions for themselves? One of my grandmothers did so I know it’s possible!

    1. Amber Rose*

      I’m having that a bit with my dad. He lives in a seniors apartment at least. It’s not a care facility but they keep tabs on everyone. But he badly needs a wheelchair and should probably put away his drivers license.

      No advice from me, sorry. Just fistbumps of solidarity.

    2. Myrin*

      “Has a stubborn older relative been able to turn themselves around and make good decisions for themselves?”

      Hmmm, yes and no, kinda? My grandfather is 84. There are some weird rules/laws where I live that, if he were to suddenly become gravely ill and hospitalised, his financial and health stuff couldn’t actually be taken care of by my grandmother or my mum or uncle but by someone from the state. And wow, no. This can be prevented by a form our lawyer gave to us (where my grandparents declare they do indeed want to be taken care of by their spouse or their children). Now, my grandfather is of the “I don’t sign anything!” kind of mentality. Doesn’t matter if he’s actually read the thing, he won’t sign it. My family tried to convince him to just sign the damn thing already for at least a year. Nothing. Then one day, my mum visited, they talked about it, and then she suddenly broke down pretty much crying saying how she couldn’t deal with the thought of him being at the mercy of some strangers and if he actually wanted that? This wasn’t planned or anything at all but somehow, it “worked”. My grandfather signed the form and everyone sighed in relief.

    3. LCL*

      My sis and I told my mom we wouldn’t do any more errands or help with medical stuff until she got her hearing tested. Not necessarily fixed, but see a professional to find out what her options were. 2 hearing aids later, it is easier to deal with her.

    4. the gold digger*

      My mom and her siblings actually had to just take my grandmother’s car keys away. She had had a mild accident right about the time that older man had driven into Pikes Place market and (I think) killed a few people. My mom and aunts and uncles decided they would rather have my grandmother be furious at them for the rest of their lives than risk someone dying because of my grandmother’s bad driving.

      Sorry – that’s all I’ve got. My husband sure has not had any luck with his parents.

      1. Steve G*

        A couple of years ago my grandma gave up driving after she stepped on the gas instead of the breaks and thus accidentally sped up in a parking lot and drove right into a parked car behind her. We all cringed at the thought that there could have been someone walking who would have gotten pinned between the two cars and potentially lost their ability to walk, as it would have crushed their legs. It was a busy shopping center, and she seemed to be driving fine at that point, but apparently not.

      2. Artemesia*

        My FIL drove while legally blind long after he could get a license; my BILs finally stole his car and took it out of state when he was in a nursing home for rehab after an accident. We were all terrified he would hurt someone; we had long given up on worrying about him hurting himself but the nightmare was that he might kills someone’s child or parent. No one was every going to tell him what to do. He died alone and lonely.

        We finally convinced my mother that she needed to move into a retirement apartment with some assistance (not at all a nursing home). She was adamant for decades that she would never do this, that is was like being in a nursing home. Finally she was nearly blind and agreed she needed to. She died about 3 weeks later while preparing to move — I am convinced the anxiety lead to the heart attack or stroke that killed her.

        My husband and I have moved to a condo that is manageable and many people in our building have caretakers come in when one of a couple becomes infirm — hope we will have the good sense to get our papers in order before it is too late. We do have POAs with contingencies to the kids, as well as wills and living wills. I think our generation will be more realistic about this than our parents’ generation.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      My father lived on his own in the boonies. Although his mind was fine, he was a little hard of hearing and life in general had slowed down his ability to move about. I worried about him being so isolated, his nearest neighbor was a half mile away. Silly thing for me to worry about. In his last go-around, he managed to call an ambulance for himself and get himself to the hospital. (Nearest hospital was an hour away, so this was a bfd.) I met him in the ER and he clearly said that this episode was nothing he could handle alone and he knew to call for help. I worried for nothing.

      With my MIL she was very stubborn, until she fell one day. The rehab center would not allow her to return to her home if she was going to remain there alone. By that point, she had been challenged on so many levels (physical, financial, emotional) that she realized things had to change. She went to an assisted living place. She mourned the loss of her home- UNTIL everyone there told her, “We ALL lost our homes. GET over it and start looking at what you DO have here.” Just the message she needed from her peer group. It’s not a messages us kids could have delivered successfully. My MIL’s story is more about nature running its course and letting other people deliver the message.

      One of my favorite aunts and I had a little exercise that we actually enjoyed doing to combat worry. We would think about all the times we worried “but what if this or that?” and how did that story play out in real life? One hundred percent of the time the real life story was never any where near as bad as what we pictured in our heads. In my examples above, I would mention, “Yeah, my dad called for help when he most needed it. I never thought of that happening. And my MIL succumbed to peer pressure to move on and let go of things she considered hers. I never thought of that one, either.”

      1. Artemesia*

        My SIL’s parents just walked out of their house, got on a plane and showed up at the airport in my SIL’s town without luggage, money etc and called her, telling her they couldn’t cope anymore. It was a nightmare to sort out (they hadn’t even locked the house). luckily they had the resources that allowed my SIL to get them adequate care. These were very smart people; her father had run the UJA in a major state for years etc etc — but like so many they didn’t cope until they were past the ability to cope.

    6. TootsNYC*

      What if she heard all these ideas from a peer?
      Or, from someone like her life insurance agent, her accountant, etc.?

    7. Weekend Warrior*

      Thanks everyone. I’m not sure she’ll be able to change but we’ll go back to our “save it up for the really necessary fights” approach. It is her life and her choices… I really wonder how many of us will do better when we’re at the end stages. :) Human nature is pretty consistent. Here’s hoping to model myself on the sensible grandmother who decided herself to give up her licence and then to move to assisted living, staying ahead of the inevitable. Funny update – MIL tells me this morning that she is using her cane in public but not when people who know her might see her and think she needs it. Hahaha *sob*

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This has been my take away from all the stuff that went on, “please, let me do better than this when it is my turn.” But it’s also made me realize we are responsible for our setting/predicament right up to our last day. We can either take charge of how that plays out and try to minimize issues or we can throw caution to the wind and let others sort it out.

      2. JGray*

        My husbands grandma (she’s 92) and her husband (he’s 86) moved into an assisted living facility just recently. My husbands grandma had lived there previously with her 2nd husband and she actually met her currently husband when he was visiting the assisted living facility for activities. They lived in the current husbands house for a year until there was in incident where he passed out in home depot & their neighbor (who also happens to be my boss) had to come pick them up because they didn’t want to call an ambulance to get to the hospital. Perhaps there is a place that would allow her to visit and do activities with those that are her age and she might find that she loves being there. I always joke with my husband that I want to move into an assisted living place because they have everything right there- at the one his grandma lives in there is even a hair salon.

  15. SL #2*

    For those of you who replied to my post a couple weeks ago about my friend’s cat going missing, here’s an update. He hasn’t come home yet, and there haven’t been any calls from shelters or vets, which means he either hasn’t been found or someone else has taken him in but hasn’t taken him to the vet yet. It’s hard to deal with, because my friend lost another cat (to old age) a couple months ago, and now this little one’s gone missing… but thank you for all the tips and advice.

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      Thanks for the update. I’m sorry your friend hasn’t gotten the cat back though :(

  16. Amber Rose*

    Our D&D group meets tonight and I don’t wanna go because I want to level my crafting skills in FF14.

    Also I’m debating whether I should use my savings for a new laptop, or a training sword. The cost is equivalent. The sword is more fun but the laptop is more useful. Buuuut, my current laptop is basically still ok (just old). Also there’s pumpkin slaughtering coming up. Hmm.

    /geek problems

    1. Wrench Turner*

      Get the sword. If your laptop still works, you’re in good shape.

      Also, no shame in leveling. Your D&D party should understand.

    2. Blue Anne*

      I think we need to be friends, Amber Rose. Come to Scotland and I’ll buy you a beer.

      That said, as a GM it’s pretty annoying when people don’t come to sessions, unless there will definitely still be at least 3 players there (4 ideally). Planning a session is hard work, organizing people to get to it is hard work, it sucks when people don’t show.

      1. Amber Rose*

        Haha, I would if I could! But Scotland is a little far from Canada. =P

        Oh, I’m going to D&D. There’s only three players and the GM is new and all excited and full of plans. I’m not gonna ditch. I’m just feeling lazy.

      2. Anonyby*

        Agreed from the GM’s perspective, though the fellow players might get annoyed too. There’s long-standing members of my group that have been cancelling a lot lately and the rest of us are getting frustrated with it. Part of it is the number of games we have in rotation (currently 5, though tonight will be the finale for one of them)… Keeping up with them just got to be too much and they pulled out of several. Which is fine and we don’t begrudge them that. But then they’ve cancelled last minute on the ones they’re still officially in (and are the hosts for!). The last minute scramble to find a new place and figure out if we have enough of the right people to do the same or another game in its place is wearing. (Especially for me, since most of the time I end up being the one to step up and host, and I work on game days and thus don’t have enough time to clean!)

      1. Amber Rose*

        I’m just a fan of imaginary violence and video games. =P

        It looks like most people think the sword should be my next purchase. I kind of agree anyway since it’ll give me something to do over Christmas break that isn’t just sit on my butt playing games.

    3. danr*

      Bring your laptop up to full ram. I just did that and the difference in my four year old laptop is amazing. And it wasn’t that expensive either.

  17. Wrench Turner*

    Anyone live next to a vacant/abandoned house?

    The house next door to ours has been vacant/abandoned since before we moved in 3 years ago, and we’ve been warning county officials that the trees in the yard are getting hazardous (the house is its own dangerous problem), and finally this afternoon a large branch fell and tore the power/phone lines off our house. They’re still somehow magically connected but now in the yard and across the fences. Power/phone company already called (on hold, still, for the former), but this problem is more long-term.

    Anyone have advice or solutions? I’m not above setting the house on fire, or taking over the property ala Adverse Possession.

    1. danr*

      Don’t burn down the house… you’ll be the prime suspects. Research the tax status and see if you can force a tax lien sale and put in a low bid. You might get the house. Then you can tear it down, or offer it as practice for the Fire Dept to burn down. My grand niece and her husband did this. They’ve joined the parcels and it’s solved more than one problem.

    2. Editor*

      In Pennsylvania, some counties have “vacant property boards” (name may vary) that handle trying to get in touch with owners, authorizing work on mowing, getting rid of vermin, trimming trees and so on (paid for by tax liens, I think), then condemning the property if necessary. Whether you have a neglectful owner, a person who is hoarding property, an indifferent heir or incompetent nonresidential owner, it’s hard.

      If it were me and if you are in the U.S., I would take photos of the property to a public meeting of my municipal officials and talk about the problem to them. They can tell you more about their options and may know who owns the property.

      If you want to do adverse possession, I’d talk to an experienced real estate lawyer (not just any lawyer) or maybe a lawyer whose practice includes advising municipalities in your area (because the municipal lawyers know the political ropes).

      Find out where your local deed records are kept and research the property ownership. Knowing that will be useful if you talk to a lawyer, and in some counties and states the deed records are online. You might also ask a real estate agent to come to your place and give you an idea of what your property is worth, how the condition of the neighboring property affects yours, and what the neighboring property is worth. They often do this free, and they can probably tell you how to find out who owns it, what the taxes are, and maybe other useful tidbits. Look at real estate signs nearby to find an agent who’s working your neighborhood.

      If it looks like you have mice, rats, or a squirrel condo next door, also contact the health department for your area to see if they have any authority when a location is vermin-infested.

      Good luck. Dealing with neglected properties can take years. Making noise in public may result in newspaper or television stories about the property if it’s a slow news day, particularly if there’s anything publicly interesting about the owner (“Former fire chief’s home caving in” or “Murder house now home to rats” or, well, you get the idea). Sometimes local historical societies or libraries can help research a property’s background once you have some names.

      1. Rebecca*

        I agree – go to your municipality. We had a problem with a property like this in our township, and the next door neighbor took pictures, documented everything and brought it to the township meeting. It was presented to the supervisors, the codes enforcement person went out, our solicitor got involved, and yes, it took a little over a year, but the responsible party (owners) were served with papers and the place was torn down at their expense. They determined the building was in such bad shape it would take more money to fix it than it was worth.

        Good luck!!

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          Me, too — start at the municipality. Just because it’s vacant doesn’t mean it’s abandoned, someone may be paying the property taxes and holding the property for some reason — future mansion, estate issue. There’s a house on my street that has been vacant for years, the people who own the property have experienced… resistance… to their plans to build a McMansion. But they do keep it up somewhat.

          FWIW, back before I was able to afford some much-needed repairs to my house and I hadn’t cut the grass in a while because we were having a drought, someone stuck a note in the door saying that they had passed by and noticed the house was abandoned and if the owner was interested in selling to call 555-IMATWAT. Yeah. That really happened.

      2. Wrench Turner*

        We’re in Maryland, just outside Washington, DC. I can’t burn it down – much as I may want- county officials said No (I asked, really). I’ve already tried talking to some neighborhood/county level officials who basically said, “Yeah, sucks, don’t it?” I’ve now emailed them again and our state-level rep saying that “I’ve warned you for 3 years, it’s still a problem, send help.” We’ll see how it goes from there.

        As far as ownership – we’ve actually met the owner, who moved away but still comes to collect mail sometimes – but she claims the house isn’t hers anymore due to foreclosure, and we found out the bank, and they do basic yard mowing, but that’s it. It took a couple of years of county fines and notices taped to the door to get just that much.

        Maybe a sternly-worded letter to the bank would help. For now, bourbon.

        1. Observer*

          Lawyer’s letter to the bank might work – they don’t want to spend any money, but if they realize that there is a lawyer looking to make some money on a liability case, they might move on the most serious issues.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Our county has an online tax map that you can look and see who owns the property. Not the most up to date reliable information but it’s a starting point you can do from the comfort of your own home. And it can be educational, as you might find tidbits of info you did not know.

      With having an actual incident happening, I should think that would give you some leverage with code enforcement. If you lived in my county, I would tell you that it’s a long, slow, painful process. You might be able to accelerate things if you think people are going in there and using drugs, abandoned buildings around here attract this type of thing. That makes ears perk up and people pay more attention when you say things like that around here.

      Code enforcement can issue tickets. With the ticket is a court date. If the owner fails to appear in court then an arrest warrant goes out. Something to be mindful of….

      The power company will come and trim around power lines. So that is something you should definitely take advantage of, if this problem keeps going unresolved. Just like everything else, it takes a bit for the power company to come, but they do arrive eventually.

      This last bit may or may not apply to your setting. A property I knew of was facing foreclosure. For whatever reason, the county forgot to include it on the list of properties to be foreclosed. That list changes over, so it might not be a bad idea to check if the property is on the list. If you know it should be on the list and it is NOT because it got dropped off when they redid the list, then you can point it out to the tax people.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Wanted to add, around here a lot of things get bumped up to the county level because towns and villages have no money for resources to handle matters. It’s helpful to know how the system works in your area.

      2. LCL*

        But the part where the service drop crosses customer property, the power company can’t help. Customer trees on customer property that only affect secondaries and telecomm are usually considered a customer problem. I’d just trim it myself and not tell anyone.

    4. meower*

      In my city the codes department would be all over that. If you haven’t talked directly to them, try that.

    5. Alicia*

      I don’t have any useful advice, but I can commiserate. We live downtown in a rural town that was heavily based on natural resources. It’s been in a decline for the past 25+ years (conservatively). The houses in this area of town are all 75+ years old, and many times you don’t even realize they’re abandoned until one day they board the windows over. The biggest thing we’ve noticed was when the one backing our property was torn down, there was a sharp decline in the number of strays/feral cats. I believe they had set up a colony in the run-down home.

      My biggest suggestion is to do a little digging into who owns it. Someone is responsible, even if they’re not doing anything about it.

  18. Come On Eileen*

    Engagement ring update: I listened to your words of advice and took them to heart. Realizing the ring isn’t mine to keep and I need to give it back. One of my best girlfriends offered to serve as the go-between and drop it off to him, so I took her up on the offer. She’s been on vacation for a week but plans to hand it off when she returns next week. Feel like a huge load off my mind and my heart.

    Thank you all for your help and your insights. I love being able to bounce questions off this group and I’ve really come to admire and respect your points of view.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Am smiling. There is a power/strength behind a decision like this. It can be like finding parts of yourself you did not know you had. Congrats, well handled.

    2. Sunflower*

      Wow that was a huge decision and it sounds like you came up with a great solution. Glad to hear you’re feeling relieved.

  19. Sunflower*

    Does getting guys to ‘chase’ you really work? Let me back up a bit. I have a tendency to go harder after guys when I feel them pulling away. I start texting them and trying to set plans but I think it pushes them farther away. I can feel this happening with a guy who I’ve been seeing for a bit. Things started out too fast and too intense and then slowed down the past few weeks since we’ve both been out of town a lot. We’ve been talking a solid amount but last week it kind of stopped. I know he’s busy and out of town but I’m not sure if he’s still interested. My instinct is to start contacting him more but I’ve thought it through and I think maybe I should be patient and not contact him , keep dating around and just let whatever happens happen. This has been giving me quite a bit of anxiety and my therapist says I should be open with him about my needs but I’m not sure what my needs are. I should also note I definitely like this guy but I’m in no rush to commit or get married anytime soon so I’d like to try to have fun dating for once!

    So I’m wondering if people have any real luck with this? Can letting a guy work a little really make him like you/want to date you more?

    1. Shell*

      I view it in a different way: it’s not so much that I am purposefully responding less to “make” him respond more, it’s that if he doesn’t want to put forth the effort to communicate approximately as often as I do, then obviously we aren’t compatible and thus I lose interest.

      I (female) will initiate. I’ll carry the conversation a few times. But no reciprocation is a dealbreaker. I want a relationship of equals, and that’s not happening if I’m carrying on a conversation by myself.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        YES! This. Look for reciprocating relationships and an easy back and forth. If you have to play head games* to get him interested, then you are going to have to play head games to keep him. Is this what you want your life to look like? (*I call anything that sounds like over thinking, a head game, because that it what it works into sometimes. Life is too hard to begin with, this added complexity is not necessary.

        It’s fine to not know what your needs are. It’s not fine to leave your days empty. Fill your days with a variety of activities. Check out this, try that and so on. It’s about balance, finding an SO is a part of life but it’s not all of life. My personal thinking is that it’s interesting women that attract a man’s eye. Keep yourself interesting, do interesting things, check out new activities or develop new skills.

        1. Sunflower*

          This actually made me realize something pretty significant. I’m going through quite a major life change right now. For the past 2 years I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck filling all my free time with job searching and worrying about paying my bills. I met this guy pretty much the day I got offered a new , better all around job paying much more. So now I’m discovering I’m so effing bored and have limited things going on in my life which is probably why my anxiety is creeping up so bad, so early on when it never has before- I have nothing else going on so finding a SO has been my life for the past month. So now I will spend today trying to re-discover things I used to enjoy or finding new things to fill my days with!

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s not that it will make him like you more (and if it does, I’d argue that’s the sign of a dysfunctional guy/relationship; you don’t want someone who’s only responsive when you’re pulling back — imagine living with that dynamic for years). Instead, it’s that it will help you pay attention to (and respect) the signals he’s sending you.

      You want to be with someone who’s excited to spend time with you, right? That’s got to come from him; you can’t force it. If he’s not reaching out as much as you’d like, your choices are to (a) wait and see if it comes in time as you get to know each other better, but meanwhile keep a “wait and see” attitude and not try to push him to do it your way, or (b) interpret his behavior as not sufficiently interested.

      “Highly interested in you” should be a requirement for pursuing a relationship with someone :)

      1. Artemesia*

        As an old married lady of nearly 45 years, let me echo this absolutely. I don’t want to play games in marriage and wonder if he cares for me. The whole point of marriage is that you can count on someone — their kindness, their affection, their having your back. You want someone who loves being with you. Naturally you have to nurture this and repay it with your own kindness, and affection, and having their back, but you don’t want to have to be playing games to get their attention. Taking each other for granted in a deep fundamental way is the core for me of marriage; after 40 plus years being with someone who is kind, good company, and interesting is worth the world. And facing the last act when one or the other of us will probably have to deal with illness and disability and need someone in our corner, it is reassuring to be well partnered.

        1. TootsNYC*

          Taking each other for granted in a deep fundamental way is the core for me of marriage;

          Yes! This is what I was trying to articulate several years ago when I was realizing that I *like* being taken for granted. I like the confidence that comes with both of us absolutely knowing how important we are to one another.

          You can’t neglect one another–that’s different, in my opinion. That’s beyond “taking it as a given.”

      2. TootsNYC*

        My husband always says, “If a guy is really interested in you, you will know it. You won’t have to wonder. If you wonder, he’s not. Move on.”

    3. the gold digger*

      It’s not so much letting him work as it is not being too needy. People do what they want to do. There is nothing wrong with your calling him, but there is a difference between sending a text on Wed saying, “How about dinner on Sat?” and leaving it at that and sending seven texts and five emails a day.

      I like your idea to keep dating around. Think of this as a job interview – you interview and then you keep looking. You do not email the recruiter to ask if you got the job. :)

    4. Katie the Fed*

      If he interested, he’ll be in touch.
      If he’s not interested, there’s almost nothing you can do to change that.
      If he’s on the fence though – pursuing him might push him away. Let him decide how much he wants you.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I also want to point out that I think you have the wrong goal here! The goal is not to make him like you more. The goal is to screen out people where you won’t be mutually happy together, and to screen in people where you will be mutually happy together. Some of the signs of “could be mutually happy together” are (1) the other person’s need for contact/communication is compatible with yours, and (2) you each seek each other out and want to be around each other. If you’re not seeing those things, you’re getting important information that’s highly relevant to this particular potential relationship and to your own happiness.

      So: change your goal here.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Yes, this is a good point. When I met my husband – it was EASY. I never felt like I needed to get clingy because he never left me wondering. Our needs for attention matched up well.

        1. SevenSixOne*

          “Our needs for attention matched up well.”

          This is vital for long term compatibility! Some people are fine with a call/text/in-person hangout once in a while, others like to check in all day every day.

          There’s nothing necessarily WRONG with either approach, but if you’re on one end of the spectrum and your partner is on the other extreme, it can be almost impossible to reach a compromise.

          1. Artemesia*

            Great point. My husband and I each have a high need for being left alone and having privacy; it would drive either of us nuts if the other were not independent and instead was clingy and demanding. ‘Good fit’ is as important in a marriage as a job.

        2. mander*

          Indeed. I was single throughout my 20s and I worried about it a lot. But when I finally met my husband, it was easy. I don’t doubt his feelings at all and I feel no need to be clingy or demanding about his time, who he talks to, what he’s doing at the pub with his colleagues, etc. If I had to play little games in order to maintain his interest I don’t think it would be this way. I’d be constantly analysing what he says, whether the fact that he had lunch with his pretty colleague means he’s thinking of cheating, blah blah blah. If trying to pursue this guy makes you think like that, then it’s probably not the right relationship anyway.

      2. Sunflower*

        I totally agree with this! A big thing I’ve been tackling in therapy is often times, esp in relationships, my ego gets in the way of finding happiness. For example, I sometimes will continue to pursue a guy after he pulls away, even if I don’t like him that much, because I crave the satisfaction of knowing he likes me. And then I end up miserable with a guy I don’t even like who is texting me way more than I want him to be. So when I think ‘will I be happier if we spend more time together/are in contact more’ the answer is ‘I know my ego will be satisfied but will I be happier? I’m really not sure’. So maybe I do need to take a step back and figure out if I actually even like this guy or I’m just worried about a bruised ego.

    6. Wrench Turner*

      Guy here. No, it usually doesn’t work that way. If you don’t know what you want (and that’s totally okay) then just keep dating around until you find something that makes you go “That! I want that!” Your time is too precious to worry about trying to get a cold fish to bite.

    7. Ruffingit*

      What I’ve learned through decades of relationships is that if a man is interested, you will know it and it will be easy. There is no chasing him, him chasing you, playing games of if I back off, he’ll come running, oh no should I text him or not or….

      It just isn’t that hard. Seriously, it’s not. When it’s the right person, you both want to be together, you both make an effort, and that is that. If that is not what you have here, move along. He may decide he’s interested and contact you and you can decide if you want to give it a go. But whatever happens, do not fall into the trap of thinking there is some strategy to all this. There isn’t, not when it’s the right person.

      And, if someone starts pulling away, don’t yank the rope harder in your direction. Let them go. Chasing after them, texting them more, calling, etc. is not the way to do it. It just leaves you feeling badly and unfulfilled and questioning yourself. Let them go and keep on moving forward.

    8. Dan*

      If you *never* initiate, then you should try once a week to reach out to him with concrete plans. (Ie dinner on Sunday?, not just ‘sup?)

      I get tired of doing all of the pursuing. I’ve been seeing a girl for a few months, who is extremely responsive to my outreach, but never asks me to do anything. I pretty much told her that she needs to initiate a bit, and I haven’t heard from her in two weeks… Including my birthday.

      I’ve already written the relationship off, so no biggie, I just want to say that making the guy do *all* the work gets tiresome.

    9. Kristen*

      Yes, it works! I am currently dating a man that seems to run hot and cold (he has some anxiety issues and when he is stressed he pulls away from everyone). When he gets like this, the more I text or try to engage him it seems like the more he pulls away so I just back off. I will send the normal Good Morning and How was your day texts but not a whole lot of extra unless it is something that I have to ask him of importance. After a day or so he usually realizes what he has been doing and will re-engage and tell me what has been going on/stressing him out.

    10. Beck*

      You need to stop assuming the worst case that he’s not interested when you know for a fact that he’s preoccupied. Text him to say you would be happy to see him when it gets back and propose a date for a few days to a week after he returns. Then it’s in his hands. You’re coming off as an attention hog and probably setting off red flags – if you bug him a lot now when you’re still pretty casual he’s just going to imagine that you’re going to keep tabs on his every move if you guys become more serious.

  20. Amanda*

    So for some reason I still can’t quite get over this one, and thought I’d commiserate here.

    I got married two weeks ago today. Hooray! It was not a perfect day but I did not want it to be. It was a very happy weekend in general, I am glad I got married, all went as hoped for, etc.

    Here’s the one catch. We knew that with our guest list we could potentially have 20-25 kids under 10 at the wedding. We did not want them underfoot at the ceremony or the wedding, but we did not want to prevent any friends or family from attending, so we vetted and hired 5 babysitters, we decorated and stocked rooms at both the church and the reception site with toys, each kid would get a personalized package of toys, the caterer prepared a special kids meal – you name it. We communicated this to everyone who was coming with kids and everyone was excited for a few hours of partying and free babysitting.

    Four weeks before the wedding, the best man (my husband’s older brother) and maid of honor (my best friend since college, so for 15 years) informed us that unless we made an exception for their kids (5 kids, all under 4), and seated them at their table at the reception, they would not attend the reception. They refused to “leave our children with strangers.” There was no negotiation, no conversation. They went straight to the nuclear option, and said their children could not possibly expect to be separated from them for the length of the ceremony and reception (about 3.5 hours, a morning wedding + brunch). They both have partners who could have stayed with their kids; they both have parents or other relatives who also could have watched the kids; the only option was that their kids sit at their table with them, or they would come to our 30 minute ceremony alone and then leave. We explained over and over again that we couldn’t make an exception for their kids while all the other parents had to leave their children with the babysitters.

    We were really heartbroken at the way that they brought it up and handled it, and expressed that to them, and they basically shrugged and said that was too bad. My husband’s parents, who adore their only grandchildren beyond reason, told us we were being cruel and that we were making a deliberate choice to exclude family and that we would have to live with the consequences forever. Not “your wedding day” but “3.5 hours in the lives of our grandchildren.”

    We relented. The kids and their parents were seated in a far corner table at the reception where they could duck out if need be, but basically the kids were allowed to wander the reception. We did not interact with or see the best man or the maid of honor at the rehearsal dinner, reception, or beach after party at all. They stayed with their kids the entire time, really only standing next to us at the ceremony and then giving toasts.

    I thought I had mostly reached a place of acceptance – this is what they told us about the people that they are, and the friendship that they had with us, and all I can do is learn from that and move on and not count on them anymore.

    But I’m still sad, because I think back on our wedding day and I feel kind of abandoned. It did not ruin the day and it does not lessen my joy, but it’s like this horrible toothache in the middle of it all, and I feel especially sad that my relationship with my best friend basically has ended over it.

    I don’t know if there’s a solution or an answer, other than people + weddings + children = no good shall ever come of it, but I guess I just felt the need to vent a little bit more.

    1. Come On Eileen*

      Wow. That SUCKS and I think it’s incredibly selfish that they put you in that position. I don’t have any words of advice on how to get over this, other than to give it time and the pain will lessen. That does’t make it right — if it helps, they were in the wrong for asking to be the exception to your rule, and turning it into an all-or-nothing ultimatum is just a crappy way to treat a best friend and a brother. I agree that you should use this as a piece of information about the kind of people they are, but right now, I’m sure that doesn’t make the pain any less.

      They suck.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I 100% agree. I’m angry on your behalf, Amanda–how totally and utterly selfish. I really really despise when people act like this. My reaction would have been, “I’m so sorry you’re unable to attend. We simply cannot accommodate your request.” But I can see where you felt like you had to. I would not do it again, however. This would only be the beginning of their walking all over you.

        Anyway, I’m glad everything else went well. And congratulations. :)

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Yup. Pretty much that. Not only did they insist on getting an exception, they leveraged their positions to get you to bend to their will– any other guest, you could have said, “Oh, so sorry we’ll miss you,” and let it go. I’m mightily pissed on your behalf.

    2. fposte*

      Well, first, congratulations!

      With five babysitters and stocked rooms, you went *so* above and beyond that it’s really unjust that you included people who were really obnoxious about your very reasonable plan. I think you were probably going to hit something with this friend at some point anyway, and you’d be sad about it then; it’s just a shame it happened at the same time as your wedding. I’m more concerned, from a future standpoint, about the in-law thing; I’m glad it sounds like your husband and you were united here, and hopefully that will keep it from being bigger deal down the line.

      1. Amanda*

        Yes, thankfully we were 100% united in our feelings and plans about it – honestly without even having discussed it, which was good, because the maid of honor called me at the exact same time the best man called my husband, and tried to basically end run us with each other. :( We compared notes about the phone calls when we got home that night and we had said precisely the same things and felt the same way.

        I am pretty broken up about my in-laws too, but I guess the silver lining is that my husband has for years insisted that his parents favored his older brother in all things, and I was skeptical, because that is so contrary to the way my family works. And I got my proof, and now we know how to interact with/trust my in-laws. They are SUCH nice people, I was totally blindsided and really hurt for how resigned my husband was.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yes, you do now know how to interact/trust your in-laws. And you and your hubby are on the same page regarding his parents. This is wonderful news. Many couples spend years fighting over this. Ironically, your in-laws tried to pull a fast one on you both and it just made the two of you stronger as a couple. I am sure that is not a side-effect they thought of, but they pushed you two closer together by making you both the butt of their bullying tactics.

        2. Artemesia*

          I hope one or the other of you says when you have a chance; ‘Tom (or I) have always known that you favored Charlie over him (or me); it has been that way all his (my life) but the stunt you all pulled at our wedding made it clear. It is sad that even on our wedding day, Charlie’s demands were more important to you than your son’s happiness on his special day. It was a crushing disappointment that will ever affect how we see you.’

          People like that need to have it said straight.

    3. Amanda*

      I also feel obligated to point out for some reason that we ADORE these kids, have known them all since birth, bring gifts every time we visit them, have hosted them at our house and devoted the entire weekend to kid-friendly activities so we could all spend quality time together. And every other wedding-related activity all weekend (it was one of THOSE weddings, sigh) was open for kids with lots of kid-friendly stuff planned. So I guess we didn’t feel like asking for a 3.5 hour exception was a huge deal, except apparently it was.

    4. Myrin*

      I am completely baffled by your BIL and (former) best friend here. Wow. What a horrible way to behave (and your inlaws are being ridiculous, too, btw; how very immature to play the “cruel” and “ruin” card here), especially to come at you with this only four weeks before the wedding when they probably knew about your rule long before, and with ridiculous reasoning (I could understand, for example, being uncomfortable with leaving a small special needs child with someone who maybe doesn’t know how to handle them; but really, they couldn’t be left with strangers for three hours? What?) and an ultimatum no less! You went to great lengths to make sure the whole children-thing would go over smoothly and to then have to deal with that behaviour, wow. I totally wouldn’t have given in, but then I’m pretty heartless and feel like you and your husband were kind of being the bigger people in this scenario – although that obviously doesn’t help any with the horribleness that was basically all of this situation or the hurt you’re feeling now. (And isn’t it weirdly ironic how in the end, the amount of time they apparently actively spent at/”with” your wedding was actually the same as it would have been had they just done what they threatened – be there at the ceremony and then leave?)

      I’m really sorry for both you and your husband and sending you best wishes and jedi hugs, if you want them.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Yeah, I don’t get this either. It’s not like you were charging people $X for each kid they brought, or requesting they don’t bring kids at all. I think that your solution was a very good one. Kids being together in a separate room where they can be loud and play or whatever is a better idea than having them be bored at an adults thing. If the parents were that concerned about “strangers” looking after their kids, they could have stayed in the room themselves and just come back for their toast/speech. If they’re opposed to strangers looking after their kids, what are they going to do when it’s time for school? Home school?

      2. Not So NewReader*

        It’s disturbing to me that the best man and MOH launched an obviously coordinated effort to “attack” at the same time. wtf. A requirement of being a best man or MOH is that you MUST support the marriage, that includes the wedding ceremony. These two are a massive fail at supporting this couple. MASSIVE.

        1. Liane*

          In cahoots or not, it was jerky. And – easy to type since I wouldn’t be the one having to deal with the fallout – I would probably have seriously considered telling each of them, “I can see that being MOH/BtM has become too much of a burden for you, on top of your family responsibilities. So I am letting you off the hook.”
          And not offered to cover the costs of clothing.

    5. Apollo Warbucks*

      I agree with the comments about them sucking, you had a very good plan to have the kids looked after and cared for and like you say if it was that much of a problem then the other parent could have watched their kids.

    6. I'll Commisserate!!*

      It is especially surprising when FAMILY pulls this kind of end-run on your very generous and well-thought-out alternate plans for younger children.

      When I was ordained, I did the same thing – vetted two sitters, provided food, drink, toys, all the amenities – for the three very young children my siblings brought to the almost 3 hour ceremony. One was a crib baby, and one was not old enough to walk steadily. My siblings and their spouses had roles in the ceremony. My thinking was that the children would be well rested after their drive to the location, and be ready to be presented at the reception.

      But Noooooo…. they got fidgety, their moms were in and out and in and out of the building trying to shush them and keep them from shrieking in the sanctuary with 500 people present. It was distracting. It was embarrassing. The sitters I had paid for finally went home because they weren’t used.

      There was a lot of action and movement during the ceremony, and then overtired babies went into the hall for the reception where many many unsteady elderly folks were, so the children could not run free. That meant my siblings and their spouses sat together in a corner with their children. I hadn’t seen them in a long time, and wanted to enjoy the day with them.

      They didn’t even tell me that they would do their own thing. That is the worst part. You had some warning. I should’ve had bouncers instead of ushers – yeah, that’s it.

      1. Thinking out loud*

        If it helps any, it may be with it to consider that any child who cannot walk is probably nursing for half an hour out of every two hours. I chose not to attend some things that were a long drive away when my son was that age, so the fact that those mothers came to your ordination and obviously spent a significant amount of time and effort keeping their children under control as much as possible so that they could support you would seem to indicate (to me, anyway) how much they care about you and wanted to support you, not the opposite.

        1. TootsNYC*

          I don’t think this reaction would be reasonable in this instance–there was a separate room, the baby would be there, the mom could leave the event to nurse. I’m certain the bride and groom could have found somewhere quiet and private for nursing if it was needed.

          1. Thinking out loud*

            Right, I’m not trying to explain the maid of honor and the best man at all – I think the bride accounted for those issues well as you mentioned. I was specifically trying to address the comment from “I’ll commiserate,” who seemed frustrated that the parents of young children were attempting to keep their kids quiet and sometimes had to leave the church to do so.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Maybe I am off base, but I think what is really going on here is a form of grief. You found out that your good friend, and your husband’s bro are not the close relationships you thought they were. It could be that your friendship with your MOH will never be the same again. And that is a loss.

      From your husband’s perspective he knew his family was this way. BUT, now he must wrap his mind around the idea that they will treat you this way, also. This gives a person a new level of objectivity that they never had before. Previously, he might have told himself little things like “ignore it” or “oh, that is just them”, well, now those little sayings are not working as well as they used to, because these people have also treated his wife this way. If you guys have kids, will they do this to the kids, also? So this is his loss that he is facing.

      Maybe someone can find the link, but I believe there was a discussion a while back about how so many people who were involved in our weddings moved on and were not active in our lives afterward. I was surprised by how frequent this is. And yet, in your story we can see why people drift from each other.

      So, in among all this happiness you have some sorrow to find out who these people actually are. Not what you had planned on, but there it is anyway. It sounds like the two of you are on the same page and that is hugely important in a marriage. It’s okay to feel sadness and happiness at the same time, it’s human nature. And it is befitting of this situation.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Previously, he might have told himself little things like “ignore it” or “oh, that is just them”It can be easier to ignore abuse when it’s just you. Seeing it happen to other people, especially people you care about, brings it into clearer focus. The person who may not stand up for themselves may be motivated to stand up for their loved one.

        And I agree, this is grief. The knowledge that things have changed, they aren’t what you thought they were and they will never be again what you had. A shifting to a new reality… and that’s hard.

      2. TootsNYC*

        Maybe I am off base, but I think what is really going on here is a form of grief. You found out that your good friend, and your husband’s bro are not the close relationships you thought they were. It could be that your friendship with your MOH will never be the same again. And that is a loss.

        I agree with this–I think this is what’s going on.

        And maybe a certain amount of shame, because you gave in and are upset with yourself that you did.

        Lots of sympathies!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          That is a good point and I do agree with feeling a bit a shamed about giving in. I also think that most people would have caved in this instance. She and her hubby were tagged teamed by the other two, it was so close to the event and these are supposed to be dear people in their lives. Yeah, most people would have caved.

          OP, remember you made the decision in a last ditch attempt to keep the peace. Your hearts were in the right place. Nothing to be a shamed of.

    8. Artemesia*

      I just don’t understand parents who behave like this and drag their kids everywhere they go. I took my 25 day old son to a BIL’s wedding. We worked with the bride’s family to have a sitter at the hotel who could care for him in a room while we attended the ceremony and dinner — so I could excuse myself to go feed him. The idea that kids can’t be expected to play with other kids rather than attend the reception is weird.

      But weirdest of all is the selfishness of these parents and the ugliness of the grandparents. I am not that mature — it would sour me on all of these people, probably permanently. I would know they are self centered and hostile to me and would certainly not count on them again or want to spend a lot of close time with them — it would be a permanently cool relationship.

    9. mander*

      Wow. This baffles me on so many levels. First, these people are absolute jerks. Second, your new in-laws are horrible people for so openly favouring the petty wishes of one child over the other on a day that is not about that child. Third, what kind of parent turns down a chance for 3.5 hours of free babysitting and a chance to hear themselves think for a while? Lots of my friends and relatives have young kids, and they’re all lovely, but I don’t think a single one of them would have turned down a chance to be free for a while. Helicopter parenting of the worst kind!

      I’m sorry they have revealed their true colours in this way. Heartbreaking. Hopefully once the process of mourning for who you thought these people were is over you can start recruiting some new best friends from the ones who were reasonable about the arrangements.

      1. Artemesia*

        And this was AT the wedding venue — it isn’t as if the parents would not be within reach if there were issues. This was a powerplay by the older brother to make his younger brother’s wedding all about him and his demands. Enlisting the parents is a dead giveaway. Narcissistic jerk.

    10. Sunflower*

      You went way above and beyond. I am in complete shock and horrified at your best man/maid of honor/in-laws. That is just insane. I’m so sorry you went through this. I know this probably isn’t going to help with the hurt but this does speak volumes as to the kind of people they are and sooner or later, their true colors would have come out- it super sucks it had to happen on your wedding day. Try to remember all the positive memories and the guests who contributed to them.

    11. JGray*

      I know I am a little late here but I think that you went above & beyond what you needed to for people with children. Most times people just say no kids and then you have to figure out your own childcare. I think that you have every right to be angry & just know that it will talk some time to morn the friendship with your best friend. & I think it sucks that your new inlaws got involved as well. I think that the only advise I can give you is that it will take time to feel okay with all of this because it was a bad situation- but don’t feel bad for feeling the way that you are. It was your wedding day & it should have been about you & your husband.

  21. TheLazyB (UK)*

    So apparently my four year old child doesnt like black people or brown people. HELP WHAT CAN I DO???????? I am utterly mortified and he only said it to me in our own house :(

    Conversational techniques, age-appropriate books, actions… any suggestions welcome.

    Oh we recently watched the Great North Run on TV and both the front runners were black and he got really caught up in which of them he wanted to win, maybe there’s something in that?

    1. Amanda*

      I think there’s a lot of recent research stating that a) kids pick up on a lot more in their environment about race than we ever thought and b) trying to pretend that all people are the same actually usually ends up backfiring.

      The good news I guess is that he’s four and he probably is only parroting, not processing bigotry and confirming it. (This is not to say that you are the source of it, or even any one specific person!)

      Granted the ability to have a rational conversation with a four year old is limited but: I would ask him why he said that; where he got that idea; and try to draw out the ways in which he was exposed to that sort of idea. Then I would explain in a kid-friendly way that people do have different skin colors, it has to do with what part of the world they or their grandparents or many-great-grandparents came from. And I think it’s important and ok for him to know that a lot of people say or do mean things to people with darker skin, but that the important things to know about someone have nothing to do with their skin but with kindness, hard work, and so on.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)*

        Yeah it ain’t coming from me or my DH that’s for sure! But I did the implicit racism tests online and I’ve picked it up too, so I know he must be as susceptible or more than me to the messages that are everywhere.

        Yeah I tried to explain as best I can that people are sometimes mean to people with different coloured skin, and also said ‘if you had brown skin and all the people you saw in books had white skin how would you feel?’ to which I got ‘I would be happy mummy!’ Aargh.

        Bring back the days of ‘my baby feeds and screams constantly what should I do?!’ I heard people say back then the problems get more complicated/harder to deal with as they got older. Starting to understand that that’s true!

        1. fposte*

          Well, most non-minority adults don’t really grasp the experience–it’s probably asking a bit much for somebody to get a handle on it before he can tie his shoes :-).

          1. TheLazyB (UK)*

            And apparently he had his shoes on the wrong feet for like five hours on Monday before he noticed! So, yeah :)

        2. Myrin*

          I feel like it’s quite normal for a four-year-old to not understand the book thing. I mean, you see many grown-ups not at all getting why representation and diversity in media are important. He probably imagines (himself) being dark-skinned is exactly the same as being light-skinned, especially since it’s only a thought experiment for him and not something he can really really imagine. All that is to say, I wouldn’t worry about that specific answer and reaction too much and focus more on getting to the core of what is behind all this in the first place.

            1. Alma*

              I think that is why the Muppets are all different colors, shapes, and sizes. And the neighborhood is very diverse.

        3. TootsNYC*

          Bring back the days of ‘my baby feeds and screams constantly what should I do?!’ I heard people say back then the problems get more complicated/harder to deal with as they got older. Starting to understand that that’s true!

          It gets REALLY complicated when they become preteens, then teens, then young truly-adults (21 and over).

          Enjoy those really simple times, when it’s mostly heavy lifting! (because a lot of it still is). Just wallow in them. (Don’t run around feeling trepidatious; just recognize what you have, even in the middle of this.)

          1. TheLazyB (UK)*

            That is a little bit terrifying!but also reassuring. Thank you.

            A month or so ago I started imagining all the ways he could accidentally kill or seriously injure himself when he’s a teenager. I’ve decided not to borrow that worry till I get there though. (I’ve grown so much, haha!)

    2. fposte*

      Does he know any? Or so few that they carry more weight than they should? IIRC, you’re in a region that isn’t exactly rich with diversity, so I could understand that he doesn’t see that many non-white people on the regular. I think media is a good idea–books as well as TV that don’t just feature a sea of whiteness and some that have nonwhite protagonists or entirely nonwhite casts, so that they’re really part of his normal daily landscape. There are a lot of recommended lists online for diverse kids’ books, and they’re not just available or set in the US.

      I’ll add links in a following post.

      1. K.*

        “Or so few that they carry more weight than they should?”

        This is common. On the other side of it, being the only person of color in a given environment is exhausting for many reasons, one of which being that you’re automatically elected the representative of your race. It may be something as simple as this boy having a fight with a black child in his class and now he thinks all black kids push you on the playground or whatever.

        OP, I’d simply start by asking your son why he thinks that and go from there. If the answer to “why” is “So and so did something I didn’t like,” you can say that anyone can do things we don’t like, and anyone can be nice to us and it doesn’t have to do with skin color. I’d also start introducing some diversity into his environment so that people of color (all colors) aren’t quite so foreign.

        1. TheLazyB (UK)*

          Apparently there are two Asian kids in his class who have called him names. He told me they were being mean but also that they were just mixed up. I think they are not native English speakers so I’m inclined to think the second.

          He doesn’t seem to have any reasoning behind it from what I can get out of him (although I can’t get out of him what he had for lunch, so, yeah. Four years olds, not the most reliable.)

          Do people think it’s worth flagging this with his school so they can be on the lookout/challenge it if they hear any of it?

          1. misspiggy*

            I wouldn’t at this stage – you don’t want to get a teacher thinking he’s a problem child. And teachers should be addressing racist behaviour anyway. At the next parents’ evening you could generally ask how his social skills are.

            My theory is that he’s just starting to notice difference. Our hunter-gatherer brains are programmed not to trust people who look different from most of the people we see every day, so his reaction isn’t necessarily that unusual. Perhaps him spending more time socially with a diverse range of kids and adults would help?

      2. fposte*


        I love Atinuke, and her Number 1 Car Spotter is an utter delight. It might be too old for him as a readaloud still, but you could try that. There are others that really should be on that list–Hilary McKay’s Lulu series is wonderful, for instance. I’m having a hard time pulling UK stuff out of the online lists, and I don’t want to over-Americanize, but I’d like to add some more. The keyword you’re looking for is “diverse books”–that’ll get you to the right bibliographies. In general, I prefer to de-prioritize the folktales and the history–they’re lovely and they’re important, but they’re too often a go-to in favor of contemporary realism, and I think they don’t serve the goal of bringing the diverse contemporary landscape into focus.

        Collection of lists: http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/tag/multicultural-books
        The classic School Library Journal has a really good relevant list here: http://www.slj.com/2015/07/feature-articles/a-diverse-book-list-for-the-under-five-set/
        Guidelines from the “We Need Diverse Books” movement: http://weneeddiversebooks.org/where-to-find-diverse-books/

        1. TheLazyB (UK)*

          I’ve had an initial scan and wow. Also, that Guardian list – I live close(ish) to Seven Stories and need to go back soon! :)

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          My son loved The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats when he was little; I read and reread that one countless times. I wished I’d noticed his other books about Peter and the neighborhood kids. Not sure how I missed that!

      3. TheLazyB (UK)*

        Yeah I started to add that but was scared I would sound like I was over explaining. But yes my area is 93% white, so extremely un-diverse. I like traveling to London because there I see diversity in BME-ness; I see non-white people wearing suits which I just don’t often see where I live.

        All my friends are white. I don’t like that but it’s not something I’ve figured out how to fix.

        Look forward to the links, thank you. You are always so generous with your time. I appreciate it so much, fposte.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I grew up in a place that was half black and half white, but without any other kind of racial or ethnic diversity. As a young adult, I moved to a more economically-prosperous corner of the state, but it is so white here. I’m more accustomed to it now, but when I first moved here, it was a little disconcerting; it felt like half the population was just missing.

        2. mander*

          Yeah, I’ve sort of half-moved from the same region as you down to South London for work, and the difference is amazing. I grew up in a pretty diverse neighbourhood in the States but I lived in the Northeast for so long that I stopped noticing how very white it is. The first time I walked around Brixton I felt like I was on a different continent!

          And you should totally visit Seven Stories more often. Even as an adult with no kids I enjoy going in there. ;-)

          1. Too sad to use my normal name again*

            Oh yeah I forgot you are/were nearby! Yeah, it’s like going somewhere more diverse resets your calibration for these things.

            Yay Seven Stories!

    3. Elizabeth West*

      All these are good suggestions. Sometimes, kids do stuff like this when they begin to notice things about other people that are different. It can be hella embarrassing if they blurt it out in public.

    4. QualityControlFreak*

      I think I’d start with something like “Really? What is it about black or brown people that you don’t like?” It could give you more information to go on. I sympathize with the shock. But find out where it’s coming from. That’s where I’d start.

    5. Goliath Gary Willikers*

      One of the most interesting interviews I ever read on this topic was with Rebecca Bigler, a developmental psychologist specializing in how very young children view race and gender. It’s located here: http://www.racebending.com/v4/interviews/rebecca-bigler-developmental-psychologist/.

      (The website, Racebending, is a race-in-pop-culture website that formed to protest the whitewashed casting of the Avatar: The Last Airbender movie from a few years back. Some of the interview is centered around that protest, but even if you’re not familiar with that topic, there’s a lot there that’s relevant to anyone working with kids.)

      She talks a lot about how in-group bias is very normal at early developmental stages, and gives some suggestions for how to counteract it. One of her main recommendations is to resist the urge to encourage tolerance by insisting that everyone is the same deep down, since that can reinforce the idea that sameness is the thing we value people by. She suggests telling children that, yes, people look different, act different, and may have different traditions and languages, and that’s a good and interesting thing. It’s good to know people who have different backgrounds than you. Exposing white children to more media with children who don’t look like them has also been shown to work.

    6. Thinking out loud*

      Chapter three of Nurtureshock (Bronson/Merriman) is about kids and racial attitudes. What they recommend is watching TV shows or reading books that have messages of multiculturalism but also that it’s important to follow that up with in-depth honest conversations about race.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)*

        Wow I’ve read and loved that book had no recollection of that. Will have to get it again.

    7. Pokemon Trainer*

      The book ‘Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together at the Cafeteria’ offers really good strategies on how adults can navigate conversations about race with small children.

    8. TootsNYC*

      There’s also a lot of research that shows that very little kids do a lot of categorizing. We’re alike because we both have yellow hair; we’re alike because we both have a green shirt.

      Skin color is pretty obvious.

      So I wouldn’t worry too terribly much yet.

  22. The Other Dawn*

    Anyone here watch The Walking Dead? I saw a couple episodes when they ran the marathon last month and it intrigued me. AMC is rerunning the marathon all next week so I’ve decided to DVR it. Anything I should pay particular attention to, such as characters, plots. etc.?

    1. Cruciatus*

      I’ve been watching since the beginning and I don’t think I pay attention to any one thing. Characters come and go. Plots are switched up so you don’t feel like you’re watching the same events constantly (though I think I remember some people complaining about season 2 staying too put). But there have been literal jaw dropping moments and sometimes more boring episodes (but this is true of really any show). I’ve grown to care for many of the characters and I even like Carl more these days. I never know exactly where the show will go (though those who’ve read the graphic novels probably have a better idea, but I don’t read those).

    2. Trixie*

      I’m still watching from the beginning on Netflix but have seen enough over the seasons to love show. I’m hooked on Fear the Walking Dead which expands on human behaviors in times of chaos and when society as you know pretty much collapses. Great cast too.

    3. Jazzy Red*

      The character of Morgan is a good one to watch. He was in the first episode, helping Rick adjust, and again in a later episode where he was a little nuts. Now he’s back, and I’m eager to find out what the heck happened to him and how he turned into a non-lethal ninja.

      Carol (Scarol) is another one to watch. She manipulated Rick into going after Pete (“you’re going to have to kill him”) and now Pete’s dead. I can’t wait to see her fake Stepford Wife persona crumble away.

      Sasha, I hope, will be able to come back from the extremely dark place she’s in now. Losing both her brother and her lover, along with all the everyday horror they all face, seems to have been too much for her. I like her and hope she can find some peace.

      Of course, if they kill Judith, I’ll never watch again. So far, she and Carl are the only kids who haven’t been killed. At that rate, the human race is going to completely die out in 20 years.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        If they could find a place to stay put that isn’t completely dysfunctional, then perhaps some people can get down to baby-makin’. I volunteer to make babies with Daryl Dixon. ;)

  23. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I have a Very Strange Neighbor. I wrote about her a while ago– right before she bought the house next door, she came on my property without asking and started to hack at some plants that separate our driveways. My dog growled at her (he was sunning himself on my porch at the time) and she said something nasty about him without realizing I could hear her (my door was wide open, but apparently she had no idea anyone was home, or something, I have no idea). Since she bought the place, the people who live there have proven to be quite disrespectful– not horrible, just thoughtless. Doing stuff like leaving the trash can in the public park next to her house, parking cars in such a way that other people have difficulty backing out of their driveways, a woman arguing loudly on her cell phone outside the house at 6:30am, stuff like that. Someone in that house had a cook-out one night, which I discovered because one of the guests was blocking my driveway when I arrived home, and he intended to park there until I told him to get lost.

    I say “someone in the house” because… I have no damn idea who lives there. There’s this woman, the one who yelled at the dog. Then there seems to be a rotating roster of people, as evidenced by the cars. One car is consistent– always there. Then it rotates, almost by week. One week there’s Car A blocking her driveway, then there’s Car B parked at the public park. Then Car C shows up, but it’s gone a few days later. Sometimes there’s a dog, as evidenced only by the incessant barking, but then there’s no dog for two weeks. I saw a child once.

    Believe me, I realize this is none of my business, and at the end of the day I don’t REALLY care what goes on in that house, but… I find this fascinating. First I thought she was running an AirBnB. Then I thought she rented rooms to college students. Then I wondered if it was some kind of high-priced escort house, then I wondered if the woman who lives there is “kept” and her sugar daddy only shows up occasionally and in between her boyfriend stays there… You see where my mind goes. So I ask you to amuse me on this disgusting, rainy, cold day and take a few guesses– what’s the deal with my mystery neighbor????

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        The woman is probably a few years older than I am, so likely early 40s. There’s one guy who parks his massive truck so it juuuuuuust barely misses blocking my driveway, and he looks college-aged (he has a Semper Fi license plate, so guessing early 20s). The man she was on the porch with this morning, having some kind of loud discussion, was gray-haired and pudgy and probably mid-40s.

        I’m starting to think traveling husband with boyfriends in between, but then I don’t know about the kid issue. Could also be she gets her kid only occasionally and makes a boyfriend get scarce while the kid is there.

        My boyfriend votes for soccer mom mafia safehouse.

    1. Jean*

      Making up stories based on the revolving cast of characters next door? I’m reminded of the third verse (stanza, if you’re just reading the lyrics?) of Paul Simon’s “Look for America:”

      Laughing on the bus
      Playing games with the faces
      She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
      I said, “Be careful, his bow tie is really a camera”

      Information retrieved from http://www.paulsimon.com/us/music/paul-simons-concert-park-august-15-1991/america. Song annotated as “Copyright 1968 Words and Music by Paul Simon.” Okay, I didn’t hear it until several years later, but still….damn, I’m gettingold!

      As for your neighbors? Hmmm. Maybe they are a sleeper cell community of Soviet agents? (Disclaimer: all in fun. No libel intended! Heck, I don’t even know where you and your neighbors are.)

    2. AcidMeFlux*

      I would totally punk them. Find stuff online of people conversing in various foreign languages, and play them just loud enough for them to hear through an open window. Perform strange rituals from time to time like putting a white handkerchief on a stick in the yard at precise times. Greet them with “NAMASTE!” Put out small constructions of rocks. Give THEM something to puzzle about.

    3. Persephone Mulberry*

      This totally reminds me of our mystery neighbors. We decided they were Russian mafia (they were actually Russian). They had a “garage sale” every weekend from May through October even though municipal rules were only one weekend per month per address…they’d wheel the same three clothes racks out into the driveway and the cars would start showing up. We thought maybe drugs? Who knows. We also theorized that they were stripping stolen cars based on the variety that would show up for a few days at a time during the week. Obviously none of this was based in fact, and they were VERY nice people – they plowed our driveway for us in the winter – but it was entertaining to speculate. And then there was the time the two cars with the NSA logo on the door pulled into our cul de sac, hung around for about five hours, and then left….

      1. mander*

        I’d think drugs, too. We had some people selling drugs from their house on our block many years ago, and there were always all kinds of different people there for varying amounts of time.

      2. Windchime*

        Yep, drugs. The constant changing cast of characters and the coming and going at odd hours is a pretty good indication. I used to live next to a house where meth was being made and there were a lot of scary-looking characters. Standing outside and yelling angrily into cell phones (with lots of rough, vulgar language) was very common as was the stream of cars coming and going.

  24. The Other Dawn*

    So, who here suffers from hobby/side project ADD?

    I feel like I’m a lot like my mother, in that I get some “great idea”, really focus on it almost to the point of obsession, do it for a bit, and then it just….fades away. And then I’m onto the next thing.

    It drives me crazy! There are some things I’ve been thinking about trying for a long time, but I don’t because I know how I am. I’m all gung-ho for a time and then I get tired of it and then eventually stop. Doesn’t matter if it’s cross stitch (on and off for many years), beading (that one didn’t last long), canning (another one that didn’t last), etc. The only thing I can honestly say I’ve stuck with is reading; I LOVE reading. And blogging. But sometimes I’m iffy about the blogging.

    For a long time I’ve been thinking about writing a book. It’s really the only thing that I’ve been thinking about for years, but I haven’t done it because I just figure that once I start, I’ll get tired of it and be left with just a couple chapters written.

    I’m wondering if I have a problem with things that require long-term focus.

    Any thoughts? Does anyone else go through this? Have you conquered it? How did you do it?

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I do this–there just isn’t enough time in the day to do ALL THE THINGS. I still haven’t conquered it completely, but needing to clear out space in this house may just do it. Either I get with the program and make the things, or I get rid of the supplies.

    2. "JFK shot first!"*

      Just my opinion, but: you’re far from alone on this. I’ve got a lot of different interests. But I’ve also got a job and a family and a life. One thing to maybe consider is: is it really that you lose interest? Or is it that other stuff happens (your car needs a major repair, you have to pull overtime at work, etc) and your focus gets shifted out from underneath you?

      ‘Cause that’s what happens to me. I guess the one thing I try to do is leave things in a state where I can pick them up again later. And to not beat myself up too badly. And to try to remember that this is a temporary break.

      I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on this topic – I’m just telling you stuff that I’ve noticed via self-observation.

      One last thing: there’s something to be said for self-control and consciously avoiding certain projects that are extremely expensive or that make excessive demands on your time. For instance, I’d like to learn how to weld. But I simply don’t have the bandwidth right now.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      Well, if you’ve got it, then I’ve got it, too. The amount of projects I’ve started and then just not finished are legion. I have hanging folders full of ideas for things that don’t exist — yet!

      I think in my case, work definitely does get in the way. There have been many times when I’ve started something and, just as it was getting good or I was about to start the next phase, some project that pays came along and by the time that’s over, I’ve forgotten where I left off/don’t feel like doing that project at the moment/another job happens/some other thing.

      One of the key things for me is deciding if the thing is something I genuinely am not interested in (I tried it and found it’s not as whatever as I hoped) or I’m putting up resistance to doing it/working on it for some reason. Perfectionism, fear of failure, fear of success, knowledge that I am not a master at it (and it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to become really good/finish it), being overwhelmed by the scope of it.

      I broke my promise to myself to read something light and fluffy and give myself a break because my copy of The War of Art arrived in the mail. It’s not a very big book and it deals with the topic of why we resist doing the things we want to do (AKA procrastination). Haven’t finished it yet, but in the one hour I’ve read it’s pretty easy and there are a lot of insights in it so far.

      I’m going to suggest that if you’ve always wanted to write a book, National Novel Writing Month is next month. http://nanowrimo.org/ If you set yourself a goal of writing 1,000 words a day (which should take between 1/2 and 1 hour depending on your topic), in thirty days that’s 30,000 words and that could be a novel. Please note that it’s not National Edit a Novel Month or National Rewrite What You Wrote the Previous Day Month ;) It might be a way for you to challenge yourself to do a bit every day and get it out. Signing up is free (I believe). There are no guarantees of being published at the end of it, but maybe just forcing yourself through the process you can decide whether or not writing is for you.

      I have to keep reminding myself that trying something and deciding I don’t like it/have no talent for it is better than never trying at all. With the internet and online courses, there are so many things you can be exposed to for free or little money.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Thanks for the suggestion! That sounds like a good way to see if I’m up for the challenge of writing a book.

        I don’t think it’s anything that gets in my way, like work or money. I think I just lose steam because I’m so gung ho in the beginning. I will admit, also, that I’m very results-oriented. I find it difficult to do something and not see results right away.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          I have that problem, too. I want it NOW!!! and that just ain’t happening. It takes longer than I expected it would, I get to a place where I don’t know what to do/the amount of work seems too large and… next thing I know it’s a year later and I haven’t touched it.

          I think if you’re going to set yourself the challenge of writing a book, you’ve got to break it down into pieces. Like I said, if you can write 1,000 words, then you’ve got something to show, you’ve made progress.

          We were discussing Scrivener here last weekend and it’s got a little icon where you can set the target for the piece you’re writing, so you can track your progress. Plus, breaking things down into smaller pieces, it’s easier I think to do chunks than being confronted by a long Word doc. Someone recommended yWriter5 for PC (which is free, I think) http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5.html as an alternative.

          I think the thing you’ve got to ask yourself is: if you write the book and it’s never published or no one ever reads it, is that enough? Will you be OK with just making it exist/get it out of your head, only for yourself?

          1. The Other Dawn*

            Thing is, I don’t even know what I want to write about. That’s the biggest issue for me when it comes to writing a book. My mom always said she wanted a book written about our family. Maybe that’s what I’ll do. We’re not some famous eccentric family or anything,but we have a couple black sheep and stuff like that.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              Honestly, I think that’s a good idea. I frequently tell people — especially if they have kids — to write a memoir. It doesn’t have to be long or delve into all kinds of psychological stuff. If you’ve ever seen an episode of Who Do You Think You Are, it’s pretty amazing how quickly stuff is lost and forgotten.

              My grandparents never talked about the past. There is so much that has been lost, I don’t have very many stories of anything, not even the normal stuff, like what it was like going to school for them. My parents are also gone now and, once again, whatever experiences or wisdom or family history they could have passed on went with them.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                This is a super good idea, The Other Dawn, and you can even collect pictures for it. Even if no one but the family sees it, it’s still a worthwhile project for the reasons Dynamic Beige stated. If no one preserves those stories, they’re lost.

                NaNoWriMo is pretty intense, but if you think of it as a fun challenge, then it’s less so. I typically use it to finish stuff I’m stuck on (that’s against the rules, but I don’t sign up officially). I need to do it for Secret Book because I need to just, as a writer I follow tweeted at me, “Finish that beast!”

                If you’re going to do that, I recommend seeking out information on it now, because you will need to do some preparatory work for it to go smoothly. If you’re not used to writing regularly, pumping out 1700 words a day (or more) can really tax you.

                1. The Other Dawn*

                  Any suggestions? Can I skip around or should I try to write in order from start to finish? I find it easier to write separate pieces and then piece it all together (that’s what I do when I write procedures at work ). I usually have a hard time when I have to write things in order.

                2. Elizabeth West*

                  That’s how I write too–my best suggestion is to have an outline before you begin so you have a rough idea of how you’re going to structure it. There are crap tons of blog posts out there to help you prepare.

                  The point of NaNo is to get people’s butts in the chair and get them writing; it’s not to produce a saleable or even readable manuscript (and 50K words is too short for most fiction these days anyway). Writing a first draft is only the beginning. After that comes rewriting and revising and editing. I actually like rewriting and revising best.

                  As I said, I don’t follow the rules–if you want to register and do it that way, you can, or you can just use the concept to get moving like I did. I had to finish Tunerville and forcing myself to do NaNo and blog it worked. I think I’ll do that with Secret Book. I just need to finish for now. It will be a long time before that one is ready to see the light of day, and I still want to get started on the sequel to Rose’s Hostage.

                  *sigh* Not that anyone will ever read these, at this rate!

    4. Jillociraptor*

      I’m very much like this. (I’ve listed “the idea of crafts” as an interest on many “getting to know you” forms.) I used to get down on myself on how I never cooked this or crafted that, but now I’ve realized that I really enjoy planning much more than actually doing. I’ll see a craft project on Pinterest, for example, and it’s just tons more fun for me to look at the instructions, search for the various supplies on crafting stores’ websites, find the most economical combination of supplies, think about whether there might be alternative methods, etc., than ever doing the project.

      So I’ve just run with that. I’ve planned so many trips I’ll never take (actually don’t care for travel), furnished so many houses I’ll never live in, internet window-shopped so many wardrobes I’ll never own, and so on, but the planning part is what’s fun for me, so I don’t feel bad that I never actually follow through.

      It can be very easy to get caught up in the idea of “being the kind of person who…,” rather than finding enjoyment in the activity itself, and I think that might be the hangup that prevents ever actually doing things.

        1. Jillociraptor*

          It’s what I love most about Pinterest, honestly. The rush of “a thing!” without any obligation.

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I think so, too. Once I’ve thought through the idea of something and looked up all the potential iterations and pinned then on Pinterest, I feel satisfied and as if I never need to look at the project again. I have imaginary hobbies that only exist on Pinterest.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        That’s interesting. I feel the same way about cooking: I love watching cooking shows, perusing cookbooks, reading about cooking, shopping for the food, etc. But when it comes to cooking it all, I’m just not that into it. I have to be in the mood to cook and that doesn’t happen often.

        1. Hellanon*

          I’m exactly the opposite with food – i really love the whole routine of planning a menu, going to the farmer’s markets, cooking elaborate meals – but I hate food TV & never watch cooking shows. And I’ve got a handful of cookbooks I use almost exclusively, but very few….

    5. Not So NewReader*

      The pendulum swings far to one side and then it swings far to the other side.
      Not a clear statement, let me try again.

      If you can go intense about something that is a clue, a warning that you can abandon it entirely, also. The pendulum swings to the intense side then it swings to the abandonment side.

      To break this cycle, we need to watch our for the intensity at the start. Think about how you can be less intense. Basically, we exhaust ourselves just thinking about something or watching shows on it. Of course we don’t follow through and framed this way, it’s easy to see why.

      What to do:
      If you are caught watching a lot of shows and doing nothing, then limit the shows you watch and make yourself find one or two things that you will use right now. this week. Refuse to load up on information you will never use.

      If you are caught buying materials for projects- hee, hee, hee- one of my biggest traps- there’s lots you can do here. My go to is I picture myself dusting the item for the rest of my life. This cures me on many projects before I buy the material. You can also calculate the time it will take to do the project and will you actually do the project? Sometimes that stops me from taking on more. Refuse to load up on materials you will never use and refuse to do projects that once in place are no longer a joy. That model battleship in the hall closet got donated somewhere. I learned this after dusting the model airplanes for a decade or so.

      Remember our energy is finite. So when we are enthused about something new and our energy runs high, it is tough to remember that our energy can run low, also. Trying one new recipe a week might be doable. Trying ten new recipes a week is not going to work out. We get to know our limits and what is doable from our past experiences. So a good question to say is “based on my past experiences, how many recipes can I try in one week?”

      And it takes time to train the brain to think this way. Be patient with yourself as you re-examine what is doable for you given your usual levels of energy. I have been working on this for years now and I am still am learning about me and about how much I actually need/use/do.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Ha. I think my husband’s hobby is buying expensive materials for hobbies. If only I could turn him on to the pleasures of imaginary hobbies that only exist as boards on Pinterest, we could save so much money. I’m kidding, but it’s still true.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I would like to have in cash what dear family member has in raw materials for crafting laying around her house. We are talking items in the original store bag, in piles that cover entire pieces of furniture. I could pay off my house with that cash, seriously.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            I could say the same about one of my family members. It’s mostly scrapbooking stuff and it’s all over the place! That was always my mom, too. After she passed away my sister helped my dad clean out all the craft stuff and it was amazing how much stuff she had. We had bins and bins of ribbon, fabric, yarn, silk flowers, etc., which we pull out for a tag sale. It was sad how little we sold it for, but none of us had the space for all that stuff.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that I only have a certain amount of time and bandwidth, which I think now causes me to hesitate to start something new.

        And you’re right about trying new recipes. I used to plan a whole week of new recipes, or a whole meal where all the dishes are from a new recipe, but I’d quickly run out of steam and ditch the rest of the week. Nowadays I aim for one a month, if that. Although, this week I tried three new ones. But that’s because I recently discovered budgetbytes.com (thanks to someone who posted this last week in the comments!) and my Taste of Home magazine arrived; I finally put my apples trees to use and made cinnamon apple sauce.

    6. Persephone Mulberry*

      Oh, me. It took trying LOTS of different things for me to find my “thing.” And I didn’t realize I’d found my thing until I’d been doing it for a year and it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t lost interest yet. I mean, I’d do it for a while, then drift away to something else, but I kept coming back to it. So that’s really when I started nurturing it.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        My thing like that is reading. I always thought that I didn’t have a hobby, because you don’t say that breathing is a hobby. It’s just something I’ve always done and have nothing tangible (material) to show for it. But it finally dawned on me that it’s my hobby, although it feels like I’m a boring person when that’s what I have to list.

    7. TootsNYC*

      I have this sort of problem, kind of. I get excited by an idea, plan it out, then go buy the stuff. And never do it.

      I decided this:

      My hobby is planning stuff. Not doing stuff.

      Pipe dreaming, with expert research.

      It’s OK to decide I want to build a shelf, and get out the graph paper, and measure. And go online to research which gadget or tools to use. And to talk about it.
      But I’m actually not supposed to build it. Or buy stuff for it. Buying stuff is forbidden actually.

      I really enjoyed this switch! I can plan all sorts of stuff (costumes; shelving; gadgets; bulletin boards; clothes to sew), but I don’t waste money, and I don’t feel guilty anymore.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I think I’m into the planning aspect also. I lose interest when it comes to doing. Can’t tell you how much money I’ve wasted on things I never followed through with.

        1. TheLazyB (UK)*

          Err, in a that’s an amazing viewpoint that I may steal kind of way. Not a crazy internet stranger kind of way!i promise!! ;)

  25. Too sad to use my normal name again*

    Thank you to those who replied to my very late post last weekend, it was appreciated.

    Whatsapp is how we all arrange things, so not the medium that’s the problem. And it literally just seems to be me who’s ignored. I wonder if it’s something about how I come across on it as opposed to in real life – but I think I’m the same in both places? Hard to know I guess.

    Anyway since last weekend I reminded everyone about my post. They all said no specifically to the date. I said ‘it wasn’t about having something to do that day, I want our kids to have the chance to stay friends’ (they’ve all recently moved schools and aren’t together any more). Crickets. Like, literally they all ignored that. At least I know. We had all talked about how important it was for them to stay friends and they seemed to think it was hugely important too. We have an outing together at Christmas, but by then the kids won’t have seen each other for months, and it may be weird for them. I wish I’d gone with school friends instead.

    Today one of them took another’s kid out for the day. Planned, but I only know from fb. (This is why I left fb for over 2 years; FOMO sucks.) And yet again I’m thinking….. why do you never-ever ask us? (Either to look after the one kid, or to go out for the day with t’other. They know I get sad and lonely on Saturdays now my husband works that day.)

    So. Yeah. I am still very, very sad, but I know now where I stand. I am due to see one of them, and then the Christmas thing, but unless they contact me, I guess I’m done.

    I have other friends. Time to cultivate those friendships.

    (But still kind of want to call and say ‘why don’t you liiiiike meeeeeee?!’. I promise I won’t.)

    1. Merry and Bright*

      Hope you feel better about this stuff. Some friendships just are more transient than others, I suppose. Friendships can be a minefield sometimes. Did some of the others already know each other before the children were on the scene? Do most of the meetups come from one or two people? The answer more likely lies around something like this. Or maybe just the fact the kids are at different schools now. Sounds like you have other, probably better friends in your life. Doubt it’s really something personal, and if it is – well, that’s their loss. Not trying to be glib here because I’ve been through similar situations and it hurts. But when you are able to switch your focus a bit it does get better :)

      1. Too sad to use my normal name again*

        No they only know each other because Kid A (mine), Kid B (friend 1) and Kid C (friend 2) got on really well with Kid D, and I said to 1 and 2 ‘let’s suggest to Kid D’s mum that we all meet up at the park one day’. And then suddenly friend 1 invited Kid D + family round for tea (I’d been friends with her about 18 months at this stage and she had never invited us guys round) and it’s all gone from there.

        It’s not just that the kids are in different places now, it’s been going on longer than that.

        I think it’s frustrating because I am normally hyper-aware (…. read, really paranoid) of whether people like me or not, and… I do actually think they like me. At least friend 1 and Kid D’s parents do. Maybe not friend 2, but she’s pretty much dropped us all since they started school. They clearly just aren’t as invested as I am.

        Thank you. I do feel better than I did last weekend. Yay? :-/

    2. MMM*

      Relationships, particularly ones that center on your kids, tend to fade over time. My kids are grown, and I can look back at a series of friendships that came and went as they aged. This is pretty normal.

      It could also be that, for some reason, this particular group is “not that into you.” This happens also. Where you clicked initially, over time people sometimes find they just are not as “in sync” with each other as they initially were. Having read your two letters, I feel concern that there is a little bit of desperation in your needing to be accepted by this group, and this group may be distancing itself a little because it is coming across and making them uncomfortable.

      I think you need to take back your power. Disengage from Facebook. Start reaching out to new friends. Skip the Christmas event. Time to move on. Best wishes.

      1. Little Silver Bells*

        Maybe, but I think TheLazyB stated at the end of the first letter she was going to concentrate more on her other friendships anyway. Bit harsh maybe to skip the Christmas outing though, if this already fixed and anyway, suppose her little boy is looking forward to it? Difference between branching out and cutting out IMO.

        1. Too sad to use my normal name again*

          Thanks, I am absolutely not skipping the Christmas outing, I’ve paid for it, I organised it and am absolutely not disappointing my small child by refusing to take him to see Santa on the train!

          MMM I already stated I was going to do those things.

          I saw one of the families in question today, my family and her family ended up having lunch. It seemed the same as normal and they were very effusive saying it’s so lovely to see you, it’s so sad that we don’t see each other any more. It’s so confusing when I think they genuinely mean it – but don’t usually make any effort to respond to my overtures – and don’t make any themselves.

          I guess my backing off will be the litmus test, eh?

          1. MMM*

            I only suggested skipping the Christmas event because I worry that it will be painful for you. You will be spending hours with a group of people whom you believe have rejected you on some level. I can’t imagine being in that position – I would be watching their every move for signs of acceptance or rejection, wondering whether the things they said to me were sincere or not. I would find it crazy-making. Perhaps it will turn out to be a reaffirming event instead. Again, best wishes.

            1. Too sad again*

              I only do the crazy stuff when I’m not around them. When I’m with them it honestly seems like everything is fine! But either way, yeah, DS would be heartbroken if we didn’t go see Santa. I get to suck that one up.

              I asked DH what he thought after seeing the one family today and he thought she really seemed to want to be friends. Nothing like being confused.

              Thank you, anyway.

  26. Katie the Fed*

    OK you guys, I need some advice.

    Here’s the situation: My husband and I moved into this house a few months ago. We love it. The seller was a little odd. There was clearly no wife in the situation but he kept referencing her. He seemed through the whole process like he was stalling selling the house, but he did. Then we went to close on it – he hadn’t moved out! He was still packing. We had to do an emergency rent-back for a week and threaten legal action if he wasn’t out.

    So…what we found out from the neighbors is that his wife left him and he really wasn’t coming to terms with the situation. This house was his baby – he put a lot of work into it and never imagined he’d have to leave. That’s sad – I get that.

    Normally this wouldn’t matter, but he won’t leave us alone! He emails us like once a week with things like “oh, I had plans drawn up for remodeling the basement – I can send them to you!” or “hey, you guys should write down any questions you have about the house and we can go over them.” A couple weeks ago he got the notification that we were getting our dishwasher fixed because the machine serial number was linked to his name/email, and he emailed us and wanted to know what was wrong with the washing machine and that he’d like to talk to us about it. And he accidentally had a package shipped to our house because the old address was on it; we emailed to let him know it came, and then he knocked on the door and wanted to know how the house was going.

    Thing is – he’s kind of an jerk. He’s selectively nice to us, but you can tell when people aren’t genuinely decent people and are just being nice. Like, when we were still looking, he started to yell at us for parking in his driveway until he realized we were there to look at the house. Things like that. And last week the dishwasher repairman accidentally called him because they had his number and he was REALLY rude (and kind of racist, from what we gather) to the repairman. And I won’t even get into the books he had in the house before we moved in – let’s just say we don’t have much in common.

    While I think there’s some value in knowing the old owner in case something does happen, we really don’t want anything to do with him. He’s friends with some of the neighbors (and apparently comes around a lot), so we don’t want to be really rude to him, but dude….take a hint! We’re not interested in being friends. This is our house now – I’m sorry you had to move out but it’s ours now and we don’t want to invite you over to talk and we really don’t want to hang.

    So – what would you do? Directly say something like “please stop asking us to talk about things in the house” or just politely and vaguely demur his offers.

    And yes, we changed the locks immediately. We were worried we’d come home and find him on our couch.

    1. fposte*

      I’d just blow him off. Ignore the emails; if you feel obliged to respond to him on the dishwasher one, a simple “Sorry, didn’t know your email was still attached; we’ll get that fixed” and ignore followups. If he comes by, come out to the front step/porch, shut the door behind you, and say “Sorry, Bob, in the middle of something–is there something we can help you with quickly?” I think this will probably die down of its own accord, and it’s a heck of a lot easier than if it’s happening with a neighbor, who’s still there.

      I don’t see any need to know the former owner, to be honest. My house was on the market because of a divorce, and the husband was a conceited ass and the wife a passive-aggressive princess, so I really was perfectly happy never to see either of them again. I wouldn’t factor that possibility in at all.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        That’s kind of what I’ve been doing. I ignored the demand that we discuss the dishwasher (wtf!) and just said “oh sorry, we’ll get that account info changed.”

        He definitely caught us off guard coming to the door though -it’s been MONTHS since we moved in. Move on, bro.

        We’re toying with the idea of putting up Bernie Sanders campaign signs on the lawn. Given some of the reading material we found in the house we think that might have a good repellent effect on him. :)

        1. fposte*

          Heh. Big “Coexist” sticker on the front door; VW bug with flowers and peace signs in the driveway. More entertaining than garlic.

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            The Darwin Fish. Gets ’em every time.

            As for why you would want to keep in contact with the former owner… you don’t really need to. If something weird comes up with the house, you can contact your real estate agent. A friend of mine bought a house that claimed to have all new wiring in it, the previous owner had done it themselves. But when my friend decided to put a dedicated circuit for their computer equipment in a specific area, it turned out that the “brand new wiring” was only about 1′ up each wall. The guy had pulled the wiring out, cut it, attached new wiring so that if you inspected the outlet you would see new wiring (and fool any home inspector) then pulled it back up into the wall. There had been some small fires inside the walls and they were lucky the whole place didn’t burn down. Obviously, they went back and demanded a price reduction because it was now their responsibility to get all the wiring done properly, but they did it through their real estate agent, who also contacted the seller’s agent and it was a great, big, awful mess.

      2. Sinjin*

        Yes… ignore! Resist the urge to respond, which only gives him an opening. Even acknowledging him with something quick and dismissive is not going to prompt him to take the “hint” because that’s not what he’s looking for. “Don’t pick up the snake” is something I heard a long time ago, and it’s so true. Resist the urge – leave the snake alone! – even if it feels impolite. You can live with a little discomfort if the result is him disengaging from this dynamic.

    2. "JFK shot first!"*

      Hmmm. Do you sense that his efforts to stay involved are lessening, staying about the same, or increasing?

      If it were me, my response would depend a lot on just how much of a threat and annoyance I perceived him to be. How likely are you to come home and find this guy in your house?

      If you consider this guy to be a kind of ‘stalker’, I recall reading that the average stalker loses interest in about 3 years.

      I’d probably start with something ‘polite’ like “please leave us alone”. If that didn’t work – I’m not a big fan of restraining orders and such, but in this case, based on your description of the guy, I’d escalate to getting the police involved. I mean, he’s probably harmless, but he’s arguably ‘unbalanced’, too.

    3. Alma*

      It is reasonable to kindly acknowledge that the Former Owner is grieving the changes in his life. “Losing” his house, not to mention all that with his former wife, are losses. Saying to him, “Archibald, this is our home now. We are asking you to have no further contact with us, or to come on the property. You have experienced a lot of losses all at once. Perhaps a service group that fixes up homes for people who are unable to – or a Master Gardener’s group – or the carpentry shop at the Senior Center would be places where you could use your skills and make new connections.” You might even suggest a grief group.

      Have you gotten to know the neighbors? Would they affirm your statement to Archibald? Could they encourage him to direct his interests and energies elsewhere?

      I would also document these episodes. The next time he shows up unannounced, I would call the local police to get something on the record. You have no idea what he would do as the holidays come around – or if you paint the house – or if he decides a tree or hedge needs trimming, and is injured.

      1. fposte*

        It sounds like he only showed up the one time and it was the planned package pickup–it was just a surprise that he knocked on the door rather than just grabbing the package and walking away.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      The neighbors seem to be a fountain of information. Would they be willing to help steer him away from you, also? Maybe if you broach the subject they will understand that their friend seems to be having an unhealthy attachment to the house and they would encourage him to look at other things instead.

      If you happen to find him at your front door again, you could say something like, “Bob, you loved this house, we see that. And we love this house, too. We promise to take good care of it, just like you did. But we prefer to work on this ourselves and we will handle it from here. We will be okay.”
      He sounds like a nuisance but not a threat.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I think I’ll go with this approach, since they seem to still talk to him. Although we get the impression they’re not as good of friends with him as he thinks they are. Poor guy is kind of delusional.

    5. TootsNYC*

      If mail comes, never again email him to come get it–write a forwarding address on it (get it from the real estate agent if you don’t have it; DON’T get it from him). Or if it can’t be forwarded, write “return to sender.”

      And send all his emails to spam (since he has your email address) or a special folder.

      Also–if you bought through a real estate agent, I actually think this is one of those things you all paid a commission for. The agents (if there are two of them) should communicate between themselves, and his agent should go to him and say, “You need to leave them alone.”

  27. Brooke*

    Thoughts/opinions welcome!

    I live in a multi-story dog-friendly apartment building in Los Angeles. The family that lives down the hall (I assume husband, wife, and two kids around 5 or 6) are all clearly terrified of dogs. The mom will shift her kids behind her in the presence of any dog, the guy will literally slide along the wall to maximize the distance between him and a dog, and the kids (I assume, having learned from their parents) will actually scream. I’ve observed this behavior personally, both when walking our 25lb quiet, mellow corgi/spaniel mix (who has better manners than most humans) and in their presence around other neighbors’ dogs.

    The first time the little boy screamed at my dog I said “It’s ok, he’s super friendly” in my most friendly, reassuring voice. Didn’t get the impression it helped. Is there anything that WOULD? Maybe one of the adults was hurt by a dog once, but this reaction to any/all dogs (and passing it onto the kids) is unusual. Would it even be worth it to ask the adults if there’s anything that would reassure them that my dog (I can’t speak for others, obviously) won’t hurt them?

    God help the owners of the more intimidating-looking (but wonderful) dogs nearby.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      I don’t think this one’s on you. Who knows what they told their kids. I would just proceed as normal and let them freak out if they want. It’s too bad though. My parents had me kind of scared of dogs as a kid – my dad got attacked by a german shepherd when he was young so I was terrified of them too.

      My dog (a sweet pit mix) somehow inspires terror in some people too, which is hilarious because if anyone bothers to talk to her she immediately flops over to get a belly rub.

      But yeah, since these are other people’s kids I think you should just leave it alone and let the parents deal with it. Too bad though :(

    2. fposte*

      Can you talk to them sometime when you don’t have Dog with you? Maybe bring cookies over, if it’s the kind of place where you can do that? What I’d be saying is something like “It looks like your family is really uncomfortable and worried when my dog goes by. Is there anything I can do to help? He’s very gentle, and I’d be happy to arrange a controlled meeting with the kids or with all of you. I’d like to be a neighbor you’re happy to have!”

    3. LCL*

      All you can do is be polite. A prejudice I was raised with and haven’t been able to shed is that persons who react by screaming at nonthreatening things are emotional and stupid and are basically doing it for attention. But we still have to treat them with civility. So I can’t thing of anything constructive; other than don’t snarl “don’t be so melodramatic.”

      1. Gene*

        You must know a friend’s wife. In the “Fight or Flight” continuum, she’s “stand there and scream”.

    4. Gene*

      This is firmly in the “not your problem” zone. The only thing you can do is act normally and maybe talk with the adults without a dog anywhere near.

    5. Shell*

      My mother’s like that. She was chased (not bitten, I don’t think) by a dog as a child and to this day is terrified of all dogs big and small, even if they’re across the street. She’s antsy when they’re leashed and will not go anywhere near an unleashed dog. Whether the dog is excited, interested, bored, mellow, whatever–doesn’t matter. She does not breathe properly until the dog is out of sight.

      In fairness to her and all other people terrified of dogs, every dog owner in the world says their dog is super friendly. I walk around a lot, and I have had dogs barking their heads off at me, making a beeling towards me/circling me and growling and still the owner would say “she’s super friendly, don’t worry, she won’t bite you.” Maybe not, but the growling is not lending confidence to how friendly that dog is.

      All you can do is keep a tight hold/leash on your dog, be polite, and keep walking.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Heh. I have a neighbor who has a very cute shih tzu, and said shih tzu HATES my dog. Whenever we walk by her and the dog, she says, “Oh, he’s so friendly! He just wants to play!” “Ma’am, he’s growling at my dog.” I don’t mind, I just think she’s batty.

        Anyway. I agree with this course of action. At our old building, one of the super’s kids was terrified of dogs, and her mother used to be a little too protective, in my opinion. But we all got through it because I used to hold him very close to me when we passed her and smile at her. Eventually she got used to seeing all the dogs around, and it helped that her father loved dogs and she could see how nice the doggies were with him.

        I feel bad for those kids. Being afraid of something is ok– screaming and being dramatic is not, at least not when you’re afraid of something you encounter in public on a daily basis. Their parents are teaching them rude lessons.

        1. Shell*

          My mother definitely screams at dogs. She doesn’t like taking walks alone because she’s afraid of other walkers’ dogs (and most of them will be on leash since she walks in the neighbourhood, not in off-leash parks). There’s no reasoning with her fear.

          But yeah. I’m generally not very worried about dogs because I usually have a waterbottle or something on hand that I can use to defend myself if necessary (it’s never been necessary), but growling/barking dogs, whether they’re little terriers or big retrievers, do not inspire confidence about their friendliness.

          1. Brooke*

            Yeah, I get irritated pretty quickly at super bark-y dogs… and really, more because their owners aren’t keeping that behavior in check terribly well.

            Which brings me to a rather ironic* point – the family who’s terrified of dogs? LIVES NEXT TO THE BARKIEST LITTLE DOG EVER.

            * I’m always paranoid if I’m using “ironic” correctly. Forgive me.

        2. Brooke*

          Yeah, I was a little surprised when I saw the dad/husband jump a mile, but genuinely sad when I saw the kids were just as fearful… if not more.

      2. Katie the Fed*

        My dog is really scared of other dogs. She’s also a very strong pit mix and her bloodlines are from dogs trained to bite and hold.

        Unleashed dogs terrify her and me. “Don’t worry! He’s friendly!” Well, my dog is terrified and has jaws like a crocodile. Is that something you really want to risk? No? THEN LEASH YOUR ANIMAL.

        I have no patience for unleashed dogs. If your dog is off leash you’d better have 100% voice control over it.

        1. Brooke*

          Yeah, unleashed dogs scare me too. One exception – there is an ancient golden lab that slowly ambles behind her owner around our block. Her name is Huck and I adore her.

          But all others? LEASH.

        2. the gold digger*

          When your dog runs at me, jumps on me, and hits me just in the right place to knock me over onto the wet pavement two miles from my house so I have to limp home with bloodied knees and hands, I don’t care how much you protest that your dog is “friendly.” Keep him on a leash.

          1. the gold digger*

            PS LW, I am sure this is not how you are! If your dog is on a leash and close to you, then you are doing everything any reasonable person would expect.

            The hard thing is that so many of us have data points in our lives like being bitten (my husband was bitten when he was campaigning for office – got the owner to help with the campaign!) or knocked down by friendly dogs. Makes it hard to trust.

        3. AvonLady Barksdale*

          A few weeks before we left NYC, an unleashed dog came running up to us and our buddy. I said, “Is he friendly?” and the owner said, “He’s in a wheelchair!” “Uh, his MOUTH isn’t!”

          I won’t let my dog near unleashed dogs. We’ve had a few incidents where dogs have run up to him, and we’ve been lucky that they’re just momentarily lost and very friendly, and their owners are SUPER lucky that my buddy is the most chill guy in the world and doesn’t get threatened by unleashed dogs.

        4. Elizabeth West*

          I don’t like it either, when I’m walking in the neighborhood or driving. I’m really afraid they’ll run out and get hit by a car. Our city has an ordinance against letting dogs run loose, but several people in my neighborhood don’t pay any attention.

      3. Brooke*

        “In fairness to her and all other people terrified of dogs, every dog owner in the world says their dog is super friendly.”

        My experience has been different, thankfully. I’m relatively new to having dogs and was afraid of my dog interacting and potentially being hurt by an unruly/aggressive dog whose owner was oblivious or in denial. Thankfully what I’ve seen is the opposite – folks who have dogs with issues tend to keep them on a short leash and don’t let them approach… or at least that’s what I’ve seen so far. Hoping I’m not jinxing myself here ;)

    6. just laura*

      Make it clear that you have control of your dog– leash is choked up on, that kind of thing. Or pause and let them pass you at their comfort. You are being very thoughtful and sensitive!

      1. Brooke*

        Thanks – yeah, I want to be mindful… There are a couple friends whose little kids were afraid of dogs until they met our dog! He literally trots around with a goofy smile on his face. My boyfriend and I call him a Dogbassador, get it? ;) Maybe part of me hopes our dog will lessen the family’s anxiety about dogs but I realize that’s a very VERY lofty goal.

        1. Alma*

          There are some good childrens books on how to get to know a dog. That might be something to leave with the family (without taking you dog). You could ask if they had any questions, and explain that your dog is well-trained – but that shrieking is enough to send even the best behaved dogs into high alert.

          My dog is very protective, and where we walk there are often other people with dogs, or on bicycles (which he cannot wrap his mind around), or children. A Brownie troop surprised us coming around the corner with Moms and Dads and babies in strollers, and red wagons full of cookies, and the little Brownies squealed and made a bee-line for my dog (who was on a leash). My dog interprets this as the Invading Horde Assaulting Mommy, and over their squeals, and his barking “back away from the Mommy”, I was able to say “No, please…” and the Dad caught my eye and called the girls back.

          Giving children advice on how to get along with dogs, even if they never touch one, is very important. And if you were ever going to introduce your dog to these children, I’d do so in a large open space, where the kids could back off, or sit on a bench.

          1. fposte*

            Stephanie Calmenson’s _May I Pet Your Dog_ is a great book about kids interacting with dogs they don’t know.

            I don’t know if I’d just give it to them, though; it’s their prerogative never, ever to interact with the dog if they don’t want to, and it sounds like the whole family really is dog-averse. So I might hold off on that until there was some interest shown.

            1. Hellanon*

              A friend of mine had a rule for her kids when they were young: no petting dogs unless you knew their name. It had the advantage of giving the kids something they understood as a data point, and if my friend knew the dog’s owners well enough that they’d introduced the dog to her kids, chances were better that the dog would react well to kid attention. (And if the dog wasn’t kid friendly, its owners would have made that clear).

    7. Aussie Teacher*

      Making friends with the parents when you don’t have your dog would be a good start. Once you have a relationship with them you can bring up the dog and ask if there’s anything you can do to help the kids get over their fear.

      I am scared of dogs but try to hide it (I take a step away and say “No” in a firm voice if a dog tries to lick me or jump on me, no screaming), and my kids are absolutely terrified (scream and run away and cry). They can handle it if the owner is kneeling down and holding the dog and they might even inch forward to pet it very gingerly, but an unleashed dog bounding exuberantly up to them? Total terror. And they’ve both had the experience of being chased and jumped on at the park by dogs who didn’t realise the screaming and crying and running wasn’t an invitation to play chasey. I was pretty angry that the owners (who could see what was going on) were not immediately calling their dogs to heel when they could see a child being terrified/terrorised by their dog!

  28. Rebecca*

    I just want to say that my cats love their Snacky Mouse. My office mate found it at a store near her, and got one for me. I mean the cats, of course :) At first they couldn’t figure out how to make the cat treats come out, but now I have to fill it quite frequently. And one of them has learned if she keeps it behind the chair, where I put it so my poor blind black lab doesn’t step on it, she can keep more of the treats for herself. I just love animals!!

    1. Elizabeth West*

      So cute. I want video!! :D

      My auntie’s kitty has one of those but it’s a ball. She calls it his combobulator (we’re a family of weird made-up words, LOL). He LOVES that thing. Of course, he’s on a diet because he would eat all day if you let him. The combobulator is huge fun.

  29. "JFK shot first!"*

    Random television and movie reviews:

    Pixels – I guess this has been getting panned? I thought it was funny as hell. Michelle Monaghan was great. Adam Sandler keeps his schtick down to absolute minimum levels. And I’ve given up on trying to appear cool to my kids so I’ll just say it: Kevin James is a really funny guy.

    “Limitless” – Based on the entertaining but flawed movie. I notice Bradley Cooper is an executive producer and makes several token appearances. And in another good move, they seem to have kept Paul Leonard-Morgan over from the movie to do at least some of the show music. Despite a great cast, the show seems to have budget issues or something. One of the best things about the movie were the creative and fun visual effects whenever Eddie felt the NZT kick in. But in the show, they either don’t do it, or they cheap out on it, or they simply aren’t putting the time and creative energy into making each one unique and fun. I’ll give it a few more viewings; it might get better.

    “Blindspot” – Too much action, too much gunplay, takes itself too seriously. Some people might love it. My wife was like “I can’t take this”.

    The Visit – The latest from M. Night Shyamalan. It’s not bad; nor is it great. It’s not another Sixth Sense – but then, is anything? In case you wonder why Hollywood keeps giving M. Night S. money to make movies, here’s a Fun Fact: he’s the 28th highest grossing movie director. To put that into perspective: Martin Scorsese is 29th.

    “Minority Report” – Based on the movie. So far it’s kinda fun, and the main characters have chemistry. Lots of SFX but, generally, not up to the standard set in the movie.

    “Lucifer” – Tom Ellis chews the scenery as Lucifer Morningstar (who is apparently based upon a character created by Neil Gaiman). One of the best pilots I’ve seen in years.

    “The Bastard Executioner” – Interesting so far, but mostly I’m struck by how little of this would have to change for it to be Gene Wolfe’s Shadow of the Torturer. Although maybe HBO is sitting on that, waiting for Game Of Thrones to die.

    1. Nashira*

      Wait, so Minority Report the TV show is based off Minority Report the movie… but not off the original work?

      That seems so weird to me.

      1. "JFK shot first!"*

        Theoretically the movie was based on PKD’s short story “The Minority Report” – but then again, the movie The Lawnmower Man was based on a Stephen King short story called “The Lawnmower Man” and honestly I think the only thing they had in common was the title. And I’m still amazed that Dick’s Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep somehow transformed into Bladerunner. But anyway: Spielberg produced the movie, and he’s also producing the television show – I believe it’s set like 10 years after the events of the movie.

        1. Nashira*

          To be honest, I’m amazed people keep even trying to adapt PKD work to the screen, no matter the size. It just never ever works and you lose all the nuance and atmosphere for trying. I guess it does tend to earn all the money though, so I don’t blame his heirs for going for it.

    2. F.*

      Tried to watch both episodes of “Limitless” and will not be watching it again. The main character is such a know-it-all, rude smart-ass that I can’t stand it.

    1. Apollo Warbucks*


      I saw a great stand up comedy show earlier which I enjoyed even more if I had had to leave early (see below)

      Worst :

      I’m stuck at work right now :( It’s 11:30 and the people I’m waiting on are so far of finishing what they should have done by 9:00 on the plus side I got to watch the rugby and get to read this thread.

    2. Amber Rose*

      Best: Prickly Bastard, my aloe plant, appears to be recovering. I killed the last one I had, and this one was sick when I got it, so I’m happy it seems to be doing well.

      Worst: My foot doctor, having failed to find the reason my left foot won’t bear my weight, has now become a dismissive asshole. Also I guess exploratory surgery is literally my only option but that’ll probably take a year or more to set up, assuming he can find a surgeon willing to do it. :/

      1. Nashira*

        Sometimes, doctor egos make them turn into jerkfaces if they can’t be The One Who Fixes You. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that on top of pain. That sucks a lot. I hope something changes soon so that you can start recovering.

    3. Nashira*

      Best: First appointment with new therapist is great, since she’s down with the skills-based approach I want, and not so much the “tell me about your childhood” crud I got from my first two attempts at therapy. Mercy, I just want to be better; not marinate in the stuff that makes me feel bad!

      Worst: Jerkbrain made me have an awful panic attack at the local Ingress First Saturday I help organize, so I spent like two hours hiding in the car while my husband enjoyed socializing with everyone. :( At least everyone else had a killer time and didn’t seem to notice that I had to vanish, and they loved the crockpot carnitas we brought for the potluck. :D

    4. Alma*

      Worst: My job interview S*CKED. It took me 6 mos to assemble my interview suit (black, and yes, polyester) and now it hangs on me as if I was wearing my daddy’s suit jacket. I got kitten heel shoes, strapped my feet with blister bandages, and got into the car and my right leg immediately began to cramp. It has been 20+ yrs since anything but flats (with orthotics) and I had to move the seat back.

      Then the office was in an historic building on the second floor, and with those f*ng shoes I had to maneuver myself up a staircase that was half the width of a standard staircase, and steep. That my knee needs replacing didn’t help. And nevermind that I have lost 80+ pounds up to now. Yes, I have more to go. But I was also wearing a skirt for the first time in 20+ years. And I looked good.

      The interviewers thought I was someone else – and hadn’t looked closely at my materials at all. So besides the apologies and “we want to make sure you know…” (which wasn’t necessary, had they scanned my cover letter, application, and resume’ – I’ve got Alison’s book) it was all surface level.

      I was back in the car before 45 min was up. After I cooled down, I emailed thank-you notes asking that “though they were expecting someone else, please review my documents again” and made some direct statements about how I am a great match and more.

      On one hand, I feel lucky to have dodged that bullet – on the other hand, I am terribly frustrated about the way I was treated, and that appearances matter so much. Yes, I can carry what you need me to carry, and I can devise a way to get it up the stairs (though most of it goes elsewhere).

      Best: ?? I had enough gas money to get through the week, including the interview. Whooopie.

    5. schnapps*

      Best: I won $500 in a radio contest because a random stranger called me at work (if you know my first and last names and you google me, my work phone number comes up pretty quickly) and let me know they called my name and I had 8 minutes remaining to call in. I called in, and won $250. Then the person whose name they called at 2pm didn’t call in so I won THAT $250 as well. The 5pm caller called in so I was out of the running (if he hadn’t, I would have won another $250).

      There are some really nice people out there.

      Worst: Husband type has been out of work since February and with the election in Canada, the market is pretty soft here. He had 15 weeks severance and is now collecting employment insurance (equivalent of unemployment insurance) but we’re just not making it without help from the bank of mom and dad any more. My in laws are wonderful people and will help out whenever we ask. It took a bit longer for their transfer to come through to our bank account, and so we were short on a mortgage payment. I think it cleared in time, but he’ll have to follow up with the mortgage bank on Monday. I have quite a bit of anxiety around money and ended up with a fullblown panic attack last Monday (when I had a long meeting to go to). My current manager is understanding of this so she lets me have extra time to pull it together whenever I need it.

      So even though Tuesday was pretty good with the radio contest win, I felt kind of crappy the rest of the week – tired and run down and just done with life generally.

      Sidenote: yes, I have depression and anxiety, and yes, I am taking medication.

    6. Ann Furthermore*

      Best: My daughter had an awesome flag football game today. Work has been pretty stressful and awful lately, so there have been no bests from there for quite awhile.

      Worst: My husband’s best and oldest friend from childhood/high school passed away yesterday. They had drifted apart in recent years, not because of any big falling out, but because my husband didn’t necessarily agree with some of the choices he made, plus he and his wife lived a couple hours away from us. So it’s not like they were going out for beers every weekend and our kids are all best friends. But still…that guy was a big part of his life for a long time, and they knew they’d always be there for each other. I feel so bad for my hubby…I wish there was something I could do or say to make him feel better, but there just isn’t. It’s a shitty situation and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. :(

      1. Gene*

        New addition.

        Worst: Brother and wife were headed into town and saw cat that had been hit on Highway that looked like one of Mom’s. Came back to see if he was around and let her know. That was 6 hours ago. Calling cat got no response.

        Best: Said cat just waltzed up to door in search of gooshy food.

    7. Ruffingit*

      BEST: Had a lovely day with my mom and husband today at a fall festival followed by dinner out and now we’re all back home relaxing.

      WORST: Just feeling like I can’t catch up on sleep and not getting started on my diet plan. But that changes tomorrow. I have to do this. I just can’t keep going on with this weight. I feel badly about how I look and I worry about my health. So time to get it together.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        I’ve raved here before about my Fitbit and how it seems to be the only thing I’ve ever tried that I’ve stuck with, and truly incorporated into my life. And I’m down 22 lbs since June, so it’s working.

        1. ActCasual*

          Can you elaborate on why it’s working for you when other methods haven’t? I’m thinking about getting one. Thanks!

          1. Ann Furthermore*

            I hope I’m not too late and you see this. I like the Fitbit because I like seeing the steps add up throughout the day, and I can do little things to up my step count: park on the far side of the parking lot at work, walk to the ladies’ room on the other side of the building, park further away at the grocery store, and so on. I am not, nor will I ever be, a person who loves going to the gym. I’ve tried to be one of those people. Oh, how I’ve tried. And it’s never gonna happen. But this, I can do. I also do yoga 4-5 times a week too — it helps me sleep better, and it helps me with my stress too.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Feeling better was what motivated me to lose the bulk of my excess weight. I will confess, I gained two sizes recently and went back to feeling kind of crappy. I think I have lost a size this summer. Not really a big deal except for the fact that I know if I do not make myself stop gaining weight, I will go right back to where I was at years ago. What surprised me during the original weight loss was how much that goes into losing weight that has very little to do with what we eat. You mention sleep, lack of sleep is tied to weight gain, and I never realized how much so. I have not been sleeping long enough and I have to make more of an effort to get in 8 hours… instead of 4 or 5. sigh.

    8. Aussie Teacher*

      Worst: the Grand Final (for Australian Rules Football) was yesterday and my beloved West Coast Eagles went down to a superior Hawks team. First time they’ve been in a GF since 2006.

      Best: one more week of school holidays to go!

    9. Persephone Mulberry*

      Best – DH got a new job! (I know it’s not a “me” thing but I don’t have a standout best). Formally gave his two week notice today.

      Worst – OMG. This very afternoon, my car ran out of gas. In the middle of the road, in the left lane of a two-lane road, while waiting at a stoplight. Talk about embarrassing! And as I’m sitting there waiting for help, an asshat on a motorcycle pulls up next to me and is all “Hey, what you’re doing is illegal! You nearly caused an accident back there!” I think he thought I was purposely blocking traffic to try and get into the left turn lane? I don’t know. I’m like, I’m STUCK, I’ve got my emergency flashers on and I’ve been sitting here for five minutes already, so maybe Mr/Ms Almost Got In an Accident should stop dicking with their phone and start paying attention to what’s happening with traffic in front of them?

      So the police car pulls up behind me, and we decide he’s going to push my car, with his car, through the intersection, across the right hand lane of traffic and onto the shoulder. And NOBODY in the right lane of traffic is paying attention to this, and a couple people nearly sideswiped the police car. That was fun.

      End of story, managed to get safely to the shoulder and there happened to be a gas station like a hundred yards further down the road, so the very very nice police officer brought me back a gallon of gas and sent us on on our way.

      Oh, yes, US…did I mention I had my 8 year old in the car with me? He’d probably rate the whole experience as his Best of the Week.

      1. Zingbot*

        A very similar thing (we ran out of gas late at night) happened to my mom when I was around that same age and I remember it as extremely exciting… Now reading your post I realize just how stressful it probably was for her. Yikes!

    10. Elkay*

      Best: Lovely weather, a nice meal out and seeing a show with my parents last night.

      Worst: I’m sad at my lack of friends which is stupid because I’m busy most weekends with things but sometimes I’d like to be busy with people.

    11. IT Squirrel*

      BEST: I finally got the see the Vulcan fly and it was awesome! For those of you not in the UK, this was A Big Deal – the Vulcan is an enormous bomber that was built in 1960, is now the oldest and last of her type to be flying, and will sadly be no longer flying after the end of this year :( I won’t go into more detail but for those interested you can Google for ‘Vulcan to the Sky’ and find out all about her.

      Worst: I managed to crush my finger in a ladder and have bruised the nerve. The end is now numb and likely to take weeks to get better – and in the mean time I have pins and needles and what feel like electric shocks every time I bump it on anything…which is all. the. time. because it’s on my dominant hand. Argh!

    12. ginger ale for all*

      Best – I saw the Martian. Loved it. The last three months have been mostly good at the movies for me. Train wreck, Man from uncle, Intern, and Martian.

      Worst – I caught whatever it is that is going around the office. Luckily, it is just an annoyance rather than something serious.

  30. jhhj*

    I am trying to get somewhere in my book pile before a million excellent books release on Tuesday (Carry On, Ancillary Mercy, the new book by Geraldine Brooks, the new book by EK Johnson, the next Magical Cats mystery, more I can’t think of).

    So for obvious reasons I am reading the surprisingly great biography of Hamilton. It’s also giving me a nice recap of the American Revolution — more details than I got when we covered it in history during The Year Of Revolutions, as I am not from the US. It’s really compelling.

    1. Nashira*

      I want to make incoherent excitement noises about Ancillary Mercy, and Ferrett Steinmetz’s book The Flex, but I don’t get to read either until after my assembly language final next week. Bribing myself through painful classes is childish but works.

      But oh, I’m so excited for more of the divine Ms. Leckie!!

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      The Ron Chernow Hamilton? I got halfway through before I abandoned it for some books that came into the library. I need to get back into it. I think Chernow is great.

  31. Soupspoon McGee*

    I could use some advice about how to deal with a friend’s new wife who just took a job as a commission-only financial planner and is soliciting his friends for business. I haven’t responded to her voicemail inviting me to come in and look at my portfolio.

    On hand one, it feels pusy. I don’t particularly want to share my finances with someone in my friend group, though others in the group are happy to talk with her. More importantly, I’m really leery of commission-only services like this because even if the products she reps are good, there’s no guarantee they’re the best for me. Then again, I’ve heard this particular company and its funds are reputable and solid. And of course the market has not been kind to my retirement or my mutual fund.

    On hand two, she’s nice and likably goofy. She and friend got together under convoluted circumstances and really seemed to rush, but they seem happy. She relocated, so doesn’t know many people here. So I’d like to stay friendly with them.

    My default is to ignore the voicemail and hope it doesn’t come up again, but that seems unlikely. My partner suggests I hear her out and then tell her I’m happy with my current plans. Any other ideas?

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      Maybe you could tell her that you appreciate the offer but you are all set and don’t need any financial advice / services at the moment but will keep her in mind if for next time you need some.

    2. TheLazyB (UK)*

      Tell her you don’t do (this kind of) business with people you know socially but say you’d love to see them for coffee sometime?

    3. fposte*

      No. On both fronts. Don’t mix business and friendship, and don’t, don’t go to a commission-only salesperson to handle your money. The funds may be reputable and solid, whatever that means, but they will be very costly, which means that even if they do outperform cheaper funds, the expenses will eat the difference; it also means she’s incentivized to buy and sell, which isn’t a good thing. She also isn’t going to have access to funds that are mysteriously insulated from the market.

      And if you were reasonably invested, the market was very kind to your investments from 2010 to early 2015, and the rest of this year just nibbled off the top of that–you were likely pretty pleased last year when you hit the value things are at now. Overall, if you’re sticking your money in low-cost stuff and leaving it there, you should be doing just fine even if the recent news feels like you’re not.

      1. catsAreCool*

        “Don’t mix business and friendship, and don’t, don’t go to a commission-only salesperson to handle your money.” This!

    4. Nashira*

      It makes me feel icky when people ask their friends for money like this. You don’t hold a friend to task the same way you do a business acquaintance, and it seems really unwise to risk spoiling a friendship by mucking it up with money. There’s too many ways for you both to lose.

    5. Alma*

      How about telling her that you and your partner are pleased with your financial plan – but that you’d be willing to let her do a “practice” presentation for you. Be truthful. “I don’t understand what that means – or how it compares to X – or when you spoke about Y you sounded uncertain…”. Ask the hard questions about fees, commissions, liquidity, tax impact, balance in portfolio, and how appropriate the investment is for people at different stages of life/career.

      If she has relocated, you may be able to point out concerns in your location that she may not be familiar with. Ask her to speak up and then pause at this point of her presentation to give the prospect time to think and form a question.

      If you like what you hear, you might decide to take a small portion of your investments and see what she can do with it – and how her continuing interaction is with you as a client. You might even think of people who may appreciate her services.

      And it is risk-free. You’ve told her up front you are not buying. It is a great way to support her in her new business, and get to know her. I’m sure her partner would appreciate that, too.

      1. fposte*

        If you do choose to do this–and I still vote for “run away”–make sure that any comparisons she makes are for durations *you* choose and to funds *you* specify. Anybody can retrospectively cherry pick the company’s single fund that beat the S&P for 3 years and claim it as a standard performance–without mentioning their other forty funds that underperformed during the same period.

    6. Sunflower*

      I vote telling her you already have a financial adviser. If you’re really interested in the products, find someone you don’t know to give you some information.

    7. Artemesia*

      ‘Oh, I am happy with my financial planner and am not looking to change.’ If she pushes and pushes when you say this, you can escalate to ‘I’d never have a personal friend as my financial planner.’ but mostly one cut off that says clearly “I have this covered and am not interested.” and then ignore. Tons of ‘financial planners’ are fairly clueless and use cookbook processes; it is hard to find a good one. And those that represent major financial institutions are primarily about profits for themselves and often recommend things that are plane bad for the clients. There is a reason legislation is under proposal that would require financial institutions to advice retirees in ways that support their interests. Since we retired we have had several financial types make recommendations that are insanely bad products. This includes the broker that inherited our account when our excellent broker retired; we had a terrible time wresting it away from this guy and putting it with someone else of our choosing with the same company (in a different state though — but they really didn’t want to let the account go) Someone just starting out and running through her husband’s contacts is almost certainly the last person you want to be taking advise from.

      1. fposte*

        In the meantime, it can be enlightening to ask them if they’re a fiduciary. A fiduciary is legally obliged to put the client’s welfare first. Most brokers *aren’t* fiduciaries–as long as a choice is “suitable” for a client, they choose it for you because it makes them more money.

    8. TootsNYC*

      I would actually respond and say, “I don’t buy from friends; I don’t like to mix business with friendship. And I like you too much to risk it!”

      That’s why I won’t buy Jamberry from my sister, etc. I don’t want to switch from “someone I care about” to “source of my income.”

  32. Lizzie*

    My annoying, (literal) frat boy neighbors will. Not. Shut. Up.

    They moved into the townhouse next door to mine in August and have been nothing but problems ever since. They throw house parties and have their guests throw their cigarette butts under our back deck area. They bump their music (the bass shakes the mirror on my bathroom wall. Yes, really!) until almost 3:00AM or later, throw parties all the time, and are generally a frigging nuisance. I have tried living with it, I have tried speaking to them directly about it, I have talked to their landlady (my ex-neighbor, with whom I have an amicable relationship), and I have even called the police to report a disturbance (only once – that was the time they had a herd of underage drinkers ON THE ROOF. What a disaster). Nothing seems to motivate them to stop.

    I might do something violent.

    (Not really. But I’m probably going to sulk into my wine and think about it.)

    1. Alma*

      Call the Dean of the College (especially if you know the name of the frat, and the names of the renters of the apartment). Greek organizations (or any school organization) that has an off-campus location to circumvent alcohol and behavior rules on campus will be dealt with swiftly.

      1. Lizzie*

        I don’t think this would apply since they don’t have an on-campus house, but I’ll certainly look into this! I was in a sorority that did have a house and I know that girls only really got in trouble if they were wearing their letters, so we’ll see.

        1. Lizzie*

          Er, they only got in trouble off campus if they were wearing their letters. Sorry about that.

        2. Tomato Frog*

          Well, being at your own frat house must be at least equivalent to wearing your letters. It’s identifying their behavior with their frat.

        3. Liane*

          The kinds of university rules Alma mentioned apply to any Greek organization whether or not they have a house on-campus.

    2. nep*

      Oh, man. That’s unacceptable. I’d be on the phone to the cops a lot. I’ve got zero tolerance for that kind of behaviour. Utter disregard and disrespect. (What did the police do that time you called about a disturbance?)
      You should not have to put up with that.

      1. Lizzie*

        To the best of my knowledge, they broke up the party — things quieted down and I didn’t hear anything else the rest of the night. I’m not sure if anyone was cited or fined; I tried to stay out of it as much as possible to minimize the possibility of one of them retaliating somehow.

        1. Expendable Redshirt*

          Keep calling the police! You shouldn’t have to deal with that. And report any hypothetical retaliation. Good citizens of the world ought not live in fear! *grumpy panda* *calls Spiderman*

        2. Dynamic Beige*

          Most places have a noise ordinance. Find out what it is for your area. It might be 11pm, at which point you could call the cops, point out that they are breaking the noise ordinances — drunk and on the roof not required.

          I would also get some recordings of it. It’s not illegal if it’s in your own home.

          1. Lizzie*

            The city I live in sadly does not – I looked. They are considering one, though, which is optimistic but not very helpful right now. The only thing useful seems to be that if someone calls a report of a nuisance in on an address three times in six months the city attorney can file a civil action.

            1. Oryx*

              Is there anything in the lease? Even if the city doesn’t have a noise ordinance, the lease might. I’d be calling the landlord over this, not just the police.

      2. Artemesia*

        I’d be calling the landlady at 3 am every dang time this occurred. It is up to her to get this fixed.

    3. Goliath Gary Willikers*

      What did your landlady do?

      Keep bringing it up to her each time it happens, and try to see if any other neighbors are willing to lodge a complaint along with you. If they’re as bad as you say, you can’t be the only one being disturbed.

      1. Lizzie*

        My landlady is not their landlady, to clarify – the townhomes are individually owned, and many owners rent them out. She said she’d say something to them but don’t know what she said specifically – just that it didn’t stop them.

        1. Goliath Gary Willikers*

          Ah, the fact that she’s not your landlady does make it more difficult.

          It’s awkward, but I would still try to find out if any other neighbors are being disturbed by the noise too, and see if any would be willing to make a complaint with you. The more people the landlady hears from, the more motivated she should be to actually do something. (Even better, encourage them to call the police too, to get you up to that magic three you need for the city to start a civil action.)

    4. Mindy*

      Our neighborhood has been taken over as cheap rent housing for the students at the University. Several years ago, enterprising landlords bought houses, cut up the living room and master bedroom into additional smaller bedrooms, and now rent the house to 6+ students.

      I call the non-emergency police number every. time. the neighbors violate the noise ordinance. This is what was recommended by the university. They need a track record of bad behavior to move forward. Write down names, dates, and times of when they are un-neighborly. Report to the appropriate Dean of Students every. time. And see if your other neighbors are being bothered.

      Many of the students are very nice. But parties that go until 3 am on weeknights are unacceptable, particularly when I get up at 5:30 am for work.

      1. Mindy*

        Just saw that there is no noise ordinance. Call every time they violate any other ordinance that you know of (underage drinking, suspected drunk driving, littering). And do go to the Dean of Students. There may be a Student Code of Conduct that would allow for them to discipline the students.

  33. M.*

    So. Um. The problematic roommates that wouldn’t pay all their rent every month? Upped and moved with no notice. Left behind a massive mess. I have to now fill in the walls and paint because they used double sided tape on a cork board on the wall. BUT they did give me rent for the month. Huh.

    1. Ruffingit*

      UGH sorry they did the tenant”dine and dash,” but the plus side is that you are rid of those jerks.

  34. Steve G*

    Random story of great customer service – so this week I go to a NYC garage I’ve been to maybe 3 times, and the guy working says “I have a problem with you.” I thought it was a bad joke because I didn’t know who he was, so I played along….and it turns out, he accused me of not paying the last time I was there. You know, in one of those underground NYC garages where the actual spots are behind concrete walls and the only way to get your car it to have the attendant bring it to you? They asked me when “I” took the car out because they have to pay a lot more for the daily fee to the landlord (from the time when I came in until they realized I “didn’t pay”). He asked me “what are we going to do about this?” I was going to blow up and very coincidentally, a coworker just pulled in (big coincidence, thank God he came), and he deescalated the situation. But I wanted to leave and then the attendant got angry I was leaving before I let them park my car, and he said if I was going to “have an attitude about it” I needed to get out of there, which REALLY got me mad, because I hadn’t said anything rude or raised my voice, I only grilled him on how one can sneak a car out, and what on earth I had to do with the system or payment or whatever glitch that appeared at their end.

    I got home and see that I had paid by card. This garage is really not doing itself any favors, especially since there are two others a dollar or two less per day on the same block. If he truly thought I hadn’t paid, he should have looked into it instead of asking me “what are we gonna do.” Or he should have just kept quiet and watched me. Or questioned the person working. Or questioned the billing system. Not start throwing baseless accusations at a customer! My coworker says he gave him a talking to that night but the guy is still angry about me “not paying” and is looking for a “solution.” Which is kind of odd, because the credit charge went through (I rarely paid with card for small things but am glad I have the record for this).

    1. Ruffingit*

      Wow, that is not cool on any level. That guy should not have blamed you without checking his facts.

    2. "JFK shot first!"*

      So you encountered a rude person working at an NYC parking garage?

      Have you considered alerting the press?

      (I’m just yanking yer chain. You’d think that for $45/day or whatever some of those places charge, they might be a tad more polite).

    3. catsAreCool*

      Complaining to this guy’s manager might make a difference. I wouldn’t want anyone who works for me treating a customer like that if I had a business.

    4. TootsNYC*

      I think he’s looking for a bribe. That’s basically extortion.

      I’d call the management and tell them what happened.

      1. TootsNYC*

        And this is why I say that;

        If he truly thought I hadn’t paid, he should have looked into it instead of asking me “what are we gonna do.”

        There is absolutely a way to deal with people who for some reason forget or neglect to pay for their parking (mixups have to be an ordinary part of that business; the guy delivering the car forgets to get a credit card or signature, etc., etc.).

        And it’s not to accost people (“I’ve got a problem with you”?–no, the garage has an administrative problem they need your help to solve), verbally badger them, and then way, “What are we gonna do?” He wanted you to hand him cash, he’d tell you it was taken care of (because it was), and that would be the end of the matter.

      2. TootsNYC*

        And this:

        They asked me when “I” took the car out because they have to pay a lot more for the daily fee to the landlord (from the time when I came in until they realized I “didn’t pay”)

        Ummm, I don’t know the details of how that business works, so I could be wrong, but wouldn’t the parking company just pay the landlord a flat fee for the use of the space, no matter how many cars go in or out? It’s the *customers* who end up paying more if they stay longer, etc.

        This is all fuzzy logic that’s intended to up the pressure on you so you just hand him some cash. You were supposed to say, “How much is it?”

        1. Steve G*

          Your right, I should say/write something. I also don’t get the logic. My coworker told me the guy who confronted me was the manager, though there has to be someone over him….yeah, I don’t get why they would pay rent to the landlord based on how long a particular car was in the spot, because that would mean that if the garage was empty, then they wouldn’t have to pay rent. That doesn’t make sense, unless I’m missing something about how the parking business works.

          When I was standing there speechless my coworker tried to make a joke and said “you think he wouldn’t pay? With a face like that?” Maybe my face is the problem, maybe he thinks I’d be a pushover!

  35. Expendable Redshirt*

    Last week I asked a question about disclosure and mushrooms. Should I tell my boyfriend that his favourite frozen lasagna contained mushrooms? (He hates mushrooms!)

    Well. Here’s the conclusion. I asked ever wanted to know there was mushrooms hidden in a meal. He replied with a big, bright, toothy grin “NOPE!”

    So there you go. In this case, ignorance is bliss. And I can stop feeling like a terrible human being. Lol.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I think it’s so interesting that for a lot of people food taste is psychological. A lot of criticisms I’ve heard about mushrooms have nothing to do with the taste. A lot of people don’t like the texture. I know one person who doesn’t eat mushrooms, because they’re fungi and so is athlete’s foot (so of course eating mushrooms is eating athlete’s foot?).

      Sounds like a happy ending to your situation, though!

      1. fposte*

        Taste is fascinating to me too. I think for most of us psychology is a big part of it; that’s why we can accustom ourselves to foods or combinations that we didn’t use to like. I’m also fascinated by the work of Paul Rozin, who does a lot of research on food and disgust; I think finding something disgusting and being unable to consider it edible is pretty hard-wired, since that’s how we stayed alive, and now that it’s not usually a matter of life and death disgust fires off less significantly but still really strongly.

        I haven’t found the actual research, but there was a QI that said people reacted to the same odor with disgust or delight depending on whether they thought it was something sweaty/dead or a cheese.

      2. Expendable Redshirt*

        Mr. Expendable Redshirt has a psychological dislike of mushrooms. The reasoning goes like this
        1) Mushrooms grow in poo (?)
        2) Poo is unclean and disgusting. Do not eat poo.
        3) Therefore mushrooms are unclean and disgusting. Do not eat mushrooms.

        The topic of “appropriate to eat clean food” is quite interesting.

  36. Ruffingit*

    I am childfree by choice and quite happy with that. My husband and I are both on board with the dogs, not kids life. We got a real estate agent that is in the same social circle as my husband though he didn’t know her personally. Anyway, we’re looking for a good rental (not buying at this time). She showed us a house and said “It’s got great schools too!” And I said I didn’t care because we don’t have kids and don’t want them. If we were buying, we might have cared about the schools for the resale value, but we’re just looking to rent. Anyway, she says to me “Well, you never know!” And I said “I’m nearly 40 so I do know there will be no kids for us.” And she said “That’s what I said until I was 41 and then I changed my mind…”

    SERIOUSLY??? I thought I was done with jerks questioning that I know my own mind on not having kids. I haven’t been hassled in years since people tend to be more respectful of this choice when you’re in your late 30s or older. It was just so condescending.

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      That’s so rude.

      People need to keep these types of comments to themselves. I can understand mentioning the schools as it could be
      a good selling point but as soon as you said it wasn’t of any interest to you that should have been enough.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      She’s a real estate agent who expects to keep clients/customers, HOW?

      She must be a sister of the guy who showed us a house. My father looked at the house and said, “no, not this one”. When the realtor heard this it became a whole big thing about how my father would never think any house was good enough for me, etc, etc. Over the top.
      I wanted to ask him if this was the last available house on earth and that is why he was making such a big deal over it. I mean, couldn’t he just point out another house he had for sale some where else? guess not.

      Another realtor sold us her car. And yet another realtor spilled a whole bunch of beans about the seller- that never should have happened.
      I almost think that working for commissions only drives some of this odd behavior.

    3. "JFK shot first!"*

      On one hand, I understand your annoyance. On the other hand, a real estate agent making a thoughtless, rude remark? I think we’ve all been there. On the gripping hand, if this person is a huge pain in the ass, perhaps it’s best to find out sooner than later. And – if she’s only attempting to help you find a rental, it’ll probably be easier to cut ties with her (I’m sure she’d rather be helping someone find a house to buy, that’s where the big money is).

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Unfortunately, for childfree couples, this sort of thing happens all the time (not just one or two isolated incidents, and not just with real estate agents).

    4. Noah*

      I seriously will never understand why people can’t just drop the conversation when someone says they have no interest in children. It’s like they want the chance to say “told you so” if you ever did end up having kids.

    5. Shell*

      As another childfree person, this makes my blood boil. Yes, people change their minds. But it’s rude as hell to assume that this particular person will and be totally sanctimonious to them about it.

      Seriously, lots of marriages end in divorce. Do these people attend weddings and tell the bridge/groom “you never know” about their marriage?

      Actually, that could be a great comeback. “Do you tell newly married couples at their wedding to keep a divorce lawyer handy because ‘you never know’? No? Then shut the %@*# up.”

      1. Shell*

        Said comeback would work better without the swearing, most likely. Replace it with a hefty dose of pointed silence and an arctic glare.

        But man, that attitude makes me mad.

      2. Goliath Gary Willikers*

        Over the last twenty years, I’ve gone from being fairly sure I wanted children to fairly sure I don’t. Somehow, I’ve managed to not look child-wanting people in the face and tell them, “Don’t worry, you’ll change your mind. I did.”

    6. nep*

      Unfortunately people have the right to be stupid — let them be. Not worth getting worked up over.
      Childless here, and will remain so, by choice. Were anyone to make such inane remarks I would just chuckle and perhaps momentarily feel pity for the uncouth person. Even answering back to the ‘you never know’ comment is wasted breath and energy.

    7. F.*

      Although it is absolutely none of her business whether or not you want children, a school district with a great reputation is a major plus when it comes time for you to sell the house.

    8. danr*

      Just treat it as a standard real estate line. We’re also childless and chose our town for a few reasons, one of which is great schools. Not a coincidence, but the crime rate is very low, property taxes are done intelligently, and the town workers are very competent. It’s all part of a package. Next time just nod your head and agree about the great neighborhood. No need to mention your particular situation.

    9. Menacia*

      Childfree here, and I would be pissed too. People just don’t freaking get it that not everyone wants a widdle baybee. I’d dump her ass and find a male realtor, they tend to stick to business and don’t put their nose into yours.

    10. TootsNYC*

      I keep wanting someone in your situation to say, “That’s insulting; we’ll be going with another real estate agent who doesn’t push her own childbearing agenda on us. Goodbye.”

    11. ginger ale for all*