weekend free-for-all – January 16-17, 2016

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

Book Recommendation of the Week: The Godfather, by Mario Puzo. My sister sent it to me and I was baffled because I didn’t think it was at all my reading taste or hers, but then I opened it up and I couldn’t stop reading. I’m neutral on the movie, but the book is enthralling.

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

{ 716 comments… read them below }

    1. periwinkle*

      I don’t need to watch the game. Our neighbors set off fireworks whenever the Seahawks score (plus a slightly longer barrage for a victory). Non-professional fireworks are prohibited in our county except on the 4th of July during certain hours but there seems to be a tacit agreement to allow this.

      Crossing my fingers for Beast Mode…

      1. StillHealing*

        We must live in the same neighborhood. I’m in Phinney/Frelard and we have neighbours who do that also.

      2. StillHealing*

        Oh..and I hope Beast Mode is up to playing too! It sounds like he wants to play and that the doctors might have cleared him to play. I am not at all surprised he end up with a sports hernia. He just keeps pushing and drags people along who are trying to tackle him. He is incredibly strong.

      3. Stephanie*

        Someone in our neighborhood was setting off fireworks after the Cardinals won. We also aren’t allowed fireworks outside of major holidays…

    2. StillHealing*

      LOL! That made me smile.

      I was worried it was going to end up Packers and Seahawks for the Championship again, but the Cardinals rallied back today. If we (Seahawks) win tomorrow, I feel confident we can beat the Cardinals next.

  1. littlemoose*

    Friends, please tell me your tried-and-true migraine remedies. I’ve had this one for a day and a half, and it wrecked my sleep last night. My Rx meds (Maxalt, Fioricet) have not helped much. I can’t take NSAIDs due to stomach conditions. I’ve got a cool compress going. Any other ideas?

    1. Trill*

      I don’t get migraines myself, but I know people who get relief by rubbing peppermint oil on their temples.
      Hope you feel better soon.

      1. Tara*

        Just remember that you probably want to dilute it a tad, because that stuff *buuuurns* if you don’t.

    2. Rana*

      I don’t have any for immediate relief, but adding a daily calcium-magnesium supplement has helped me with mine.

    3. JPixel*

      Ice packs help me – really really cold. I feel like a cold compress doesn’t stay cold long enough for me. There’s also a product called biofreeze which is supposed to be for muscle aches, probably like icy hot, but I put it on my face and it can help. Super hot showers too. Spicy food and seltzer if I’m up for eating. All of this is in addition to my normal meds (Maxalt). Hope you feel better soon!

    4. Soupspoon McGee*

      Take a hot bath, or at least heat your hands and feet to draw blood away from your head. If you have Epsom salts or baking soda, add that to the bath to relax your muscles. Put an ice pack on the back of your neck/base of your skull and another on your face. Drink a ton of water.

      Also consider using a neti pot and taking sinus meds. I get sinus headaches that spin into full-blown migraines when the weather changes, and sometimes getting my sinuses to chill out helps.

      I started taking an herbal remedy called Migraine Relief by Ridgecrest Herbals a few years ago. It works well as a preventative, not so much after the migraine sets in. I tend to get migraines in clusters, when seasons are changing, so I only take it during the worst times. It helps a LOT.

      Good luck!

    5. Windchime*

      I take Imitrex for mine. Right now I’m on a medication that prevents me from taking NSAIDs, but when I’m not I found better results when I took an Imitrex with an Aleve. There are times when Imitrex just doesn’t work, and so I have to go to the doctor and get an injection of Torodol, which is just a super strong anti-inflammatory.

      A lot of people find cold packs to work, but I have found that heat works better for me. I sometimes get relief standing under an hot shower and just letting the water run over my head. I’ve also been known to turn on a heating pad and place it on my pillow and lay on that.

      This won’t help for you now, but I found that I was accidentally causing some of my migraines by clenching/grinding my teeth at night. I bought a cheap, do-it-yourself mouth guard at the drug store and my migraines have been drastically reduced.

      Good luck. Migraines are a horrible curse. I hope you feel better soon.

      1. Bangs not Fringe*

        I’m a grinder too. Actually wearing the retainer I should have been wearing helps immensely!

    6. Lore*

      The hot shower–for me, running it on the back of my neck–sometimes helps. Also, I agree with whoever else mentioned sinus medication–mine definitely can be triggered by allergies/sinus issues, so taking an antihistamine or something like Mucinex alongside the pain/migraine meds helps get over the hump. I also used to have an aromatherapy heating pad thing (hard to describe–it was full of seeds or little beads and also lavender and other herbs in a printed fabric case; it could be frozen or microwaved) and something about the way it equalized pressure on my face was enormously helpful. Sadly it sprung a leak and all the seeds fell out and I’ve never been able to find another.

      1. Izzy*

        I used to have one of those but after years of use it got funky. I recently got something similar from Massage Envy. It was called a shoulder trigger point pillow. It is U-shaped, so drapes around your shoulders and the back of the neck. sometimes I use mine on my face to relieve my sinuses. It has the seeds and herbal scents like the old one did. It is heavy, the pressure is supposed to help the trigger points. It is seriously expensive, around $50, less with a member discount. For me it was worth it. I can’t decide if I like the heat or cold better – sometimes one, sometimes the other.

        I have had a good massage therapist do wonders for a sinus headache I had had for a week. She said you shouldn’t have a massage during a migraine but there re massage techniques that will help prevent them.

        Before I had this aromatherapy pack, a bag of frozen peas to the back of the neck was helpful while waiting for medication to kick in.

      2. Maiasaura*

        Those aromatherapy things are the best! When I was pregnant with my oldest, my hippie birth class instructor had us make lavender aromatherapy rice sock heating pads, and they were great, cheap, and easy to put together. IME, they worked as well as more expensive versions. You can search “rice sock heating pad” and a ton of versions come up. One piece of advice– make sure it’s a new 100% cotton sock that has never been worn before, lest your heating pad get stinky when you heat it.

        1. Lore*

          Adding “rice” or “flax seed” to the search turned out to be the key! I’ve now found a bunch of them on Etsy as well as one that Bed Bath and Beyond claims to have in stock at the store near my office. I am going to BBB Tuesday when I’m back at work and if that’s not right, I will order one. Yay!

    7. Dr. Johnny Fever*

      Try an ice pack against the neck.

      If you can get your hands on navratna oil (found on Amazon or in Asian/Indian Markets), that is amazing. Apply all over the scalp. Peppermint oil (food grade, so it doesn’t burn) against the temples and along the hairline also helps.

      I think I mentioned this in a previous thread – if you are in an MMJ state, get your license. there are CBD balms and tinctures that do wonders for migraine pain and are not psychoactive. CBD is the cannabinoid that has helped a number of children by dramatically reducing seizures.

      1. Noah*

        There are days I wish I was not subject to DOT-regulated drug testing. One positive test and my career is over.

    8. HardwoodFloors*

      For your migraines have you considered going gluten free? I went GF about 4 years ago because I couldn’t deal with the stomach problems anymore but found a side affect was I didn’t have migraines anymore.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        My husband and I gave up sugar and both of us stopped having headaches. My lasted longer but I could function- kind of. He had to go to bed when he had a headache. I haven’t had a headache in years.

      2. littlemoose*

        I’m already gluten-free because I have celiac. Everything in me is broken. :/ But thank you for the suggestion – thanks to everyone!

      3. Andraste*

        Peanuts are a trigger for my sister’s migraines. So odd the different foods that can cause them!

      4. Hlyssande*

        My friend’s mother had the same result when she went GF. Years and years of treatments that did very little, and when she went GF the migraines pretty much stopped entirely.

    9. Heather*

      Maxalt, Tylenol 3 (with codeine) and gravol. I can only take about 1/4 of a gravol because I’m a medication wimp. Sometimes I’ll take 1/2 a gravol if I’m really crazy. And caffeine. To be honest the only reason all of that works is because all of those drugs make me sleepy and I sleep it off.

    10. Sandy*

      Sugar. I have prescription meds as well, but eating candy (something super sugary like gummy worms or sour cherries or whatever) helps slow down the onset for me. Not as useful once it has already settled in.

    11. Elkay*

      Caffeine, either via coffee or chocolate then sleep. Sometimes heat on the back of my neck helps. Sending much sympathy your way.

      1. Wrench Turner*

        Don’t be sorry, it’s true! Suddenly re-arranging the blood flow to your brain really helps. The hard part is getting there when you’re starting with a migraine.

          1. dawbs*

            yes, I’ve had that moment make it go from “huh, I’m pre migrainey” to ‘please go find a murder weapon and kill me now”

    12. Aam Admi*

      I take prescription NSAIDs at the first sign of migraine. If it is full blown by the time I catch it (i.e., wake up with a migraine) no medication helps and I just have to allow it to run its course. I am able to shorten the course by forcefully throwing up. I find Tiger Balm helps ease the pain a bit but I cannot use it when I am at work as the balm has a really strong smell. After the last annual physical, my GP put me on blood pressure controlling meds. Since then, my migraine incidents have gone down significantly (from 4-5 times a month to once every couple of months). Plus the headaches are less severe now – no aura, no nausea and I am able to control them with mild OTC meds instead of prescriptions.
      Hope you feel better soon.

      1. GOG11*

        I am on blood pressure meds, too (for high blood pressure) and I’m pretty sure it has played a big part in why I haven’t had a migraine in ~6 months. I forgot to take it once and got a migraine 12 hours after the missed dose, but I haven’t missed a dose and haven’t had one since. Birth control pill reduced the frequency before I went on bp meds (still on bc, so I take both) and imitrex almost always works provided I take it at the aura stage. Without those things, I’d have to just let it run its course as I haven’t found any other methods to prevent them. These aren’t home remedies, but they do remedy the issue. Best of luck to you, OP. Migraines suck.

    13. Schnapps*

      Have you seen a chiropractor? I have an excellent one and my migraines (the head part at least), all but disappeared after I started seeing him.

    14. Seal*

      I used to get migraines that were related to my monthly cycle. Once I hit menopause, the migraine all but went away. But when I have had them, I found strapping an ice pack to the side of head where the pain was helped. And I mean strapping, as in tying the ice pack tightly to my head with a dish towel or ace bandage. The combination of cold and pressure often did the trick, or at least made the pain tolerable.

      Over the years I tried various migraine medications. Some of them worked on the migraine but made me either so sick or spacey they almost weren’t taking. I finally got them under control by taking 400mg of riboflavin daily. The difference was amazing. I went from having to spend a day or 2 a month in bed in a dark room to occasionally having a tolerable headache a few times a year. No side effects beyond bright yellow urine, either. Truly miraculous.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        ” . . . tying the ice pack tightly to my head with a dish towel or ace bandage.”

        My daughter just had her wisdom teeth out, and they sent her home with an elastic headband thing that had pockets on each side to hold two gel-pacs. The gel stayed flexible even when frozen, so it wrapped closely around her face wherever she applied it, and they could also be heated in the microwave and used warm. I wonder if such a thing is available just from a medical supplies store?

        1. Aunt Vixen*

          Thermipaq is a brand of clay ice-or-hot pack that fits in a sleeve with an elastic-and-velcro band. I adore these. I have them in two sizes (about 9×6 and about 16×9, I think) – one small and one large in the freezer and one small and one large out at home, and one small in the freezer and one out at work. Sinuses, back of the neck, top of the head, TMJ, shoulders – they can do it all. (Fun fact: traveling with them can get interesting because on the video monitors the TSA can’t tell the difference between these and plastic explosive. But if they can see it with their eyes it’s fine.)

          For migraines, I take an Excedrin with a Coca-Cola chaser. I don’t normally drink regular soda, but somehow the caffeine in Diet Coke doesn’t work without the sugar and having coffee with sugar doesn’t do the same thing. For all other headaches, the clay packs are my favorite thing ever. Should be able to get them on Amazon.

    15. Noah*

      Hot shower, as hot as I can stand it, putting my head under the water. Doesn’t feel great while I’m in there but once I get out and do the cold compress or ice pack thing it starts to fade. Also for me the best thing is to go home, pull the blackout shades and lay down in my bed. I usually can’t sleep but after the shower just laying there with the ice packs makes me feel better.

    16. LCL*

      I don’t suffer from them myself. I used to take my girlfriend to the ER for a shot of morphine when her headaches got bad

    17. Weasel007*

      Ok, my doctor and pharmacist would kill me for doing this when I have migraines but I’m still here. I have scripts for fioricet (caffeine, butabital– barbituate, tylenol). I try that first. I also have one for torodol (advil x 10). When I’m desperate I take one of those with sudafed. Most of my migraines now are kicked off by sinus pain. I keep a chemotherapy helmet in my freezer too. It is cold (soothes my headaches) and tight and helps. Yes…I have a lot of migraines.

    18. Blight*

      I’m a chronic migrainer – as in as of a few months ago (pre-new meds) I had a migraine almost every single day of the week.

      One thing I find is that it helps to have a cold compress and then a really hot shower (then repeat). The moments in the shower are almost pain free .

      There is also a number of massages that you can do to your face/head that really do help, googling the options available will help you experiment with what works. I was also shown a breathing technique that sometimes helps, you breath in through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4 and then exhale through your mouth for a count of 4.

    19. Tau*

      There are these adhesive cold patches you can buy that stick to your forehead and stay cold for hours. They’re the #1 thing that helps with my own headaches (which aren’t migraines, mind you, they’re something vaguely cluster-headache-y) and I find them much better than ice packs because I can localise the cold more easily and have my hands free, plus they stay cold far longer than cool compresses.

      1. Hlyssande*

        Yes, I love those things!

        The adult ones are really big, so I get the kid-size patches. There’s usually more in the box and they’re cheaper besides.

    20. the gold digger*

      My cousin swears by two aspirin and an entire coke (with sugar). I take imitrex but it doesn’t always work. It almost always, however, makes me feel kind of crummy, so no matter what, I lose six hours of my life.

      Maxalt and codeine do not work for me.

      I have tried Lyrica, depakote, topomax, and other drugs as preventives. None of them stopped my headaches but I did lose my hair and gain weight, except with the topomax, which killed my desire to eat so much that I saw my abs for the first time in my life. I still have the topomax and need to take it again to get rid of these 15 lbs, but it has other side effects I don’t like.

      1. Hlyssande*

        I have a similar problem with imitrex. You’re supposed to take it at the first sign of migraine, but I don’t get auras so it’s really hard for me to tell sometimes. Combine that with the imitrex side effects that feel worse than a mild migraine, and you can see why I only take it as a nuclear option (along with other things).

        The neurologist I went to once also prescribed me reglan to take with the imitrex. It’s an anti-nausea med and it seems to help with the nausea side effect of imitrex. Now if only there was something to combat the ‘my eyeballs and nose are both cold and burning’ and ‘cannot focus on anything ever’ issues.

    21. CrazyCatLady*

      Sometimes wrapping something around my head really tight helps. I usually use a scarf. Other than that, dark room, ice pack on my head, and heating pad on my neck.

    22. Nye*

      My partner swears by a shot of Whaler’s vanilla rum* followed closely by a hot shower and a nap. For myself, there are two meds I’ve found though sounds like they’re out for you: Excedrin Migraine (aspirin, acetominophen, caffeine) and acetominophen + codeine.

      *Pretty sure any clear, high-test liquor will do, but he is very specific about Whaler’s vanilla.

    23. Older, maybe not so wiser*

      Discovered totally by accident that the prescription birth control Errin (progestin only) stopped mine completely. Imitrex quit working and I didn’t like the cost associated with trips to the ER for morphine and other drugs.

      The only other help I can offer is what my neurologist told me. When you feel the migraine coming on, take your meds and go to bed. Don’t try to be superman or superwoman. Just go to bed. There is no fighting through a migraine, it only makes them worse. Good luck and find a good physician to help you.

    24. Maeve*

      If you haven’t tried multiple triptans, I recommend trying that out–Maxalt did nothing for me, Imitrex gave me rebound migraines, but Amerge works like magic.

    25. Hlyssande*

      I’m so sorry you’re struggling with this. No bueno!

      My nuclear option is imitrex, reglan (anti nausea), cyclobenzaprine (muscle relaxant), and vicodin. Sometimes with aleve as well. And then the darkest room I can manage, no glasses.

      One of my early and ongoing symptoms in a migraine is that I cannot handle any pressure of any sort on my head. It’s ridiculous. In college, before I even knew what a migraine really was (popular wisdom says the only thing you can ever do with one is curl up in a dark room and scream, or at least that was my understanding), I had to very lightly tie a lightweight bandanna around my head to keep my hair out of my face. Braiding it out of the way was too heavy. The bandanna was too heavy sometimes. Couldn’t even wear my glasses, which made things fun.

      I have had luck with the Be Kool patches in addition to everything else. They do give me some issues with the weight, but they are soothingly cold on the forehead. I get the kid-size because they’re usually cheaper with more in the box and the big ones are too big for me.

      Good luck. :(

    26. Boogles*

      I’ve recently tried taking 50 mg of Benadryl and lying down. I had a migraine for 3 days straight. Onset in the mornings. On the third day, the doctor recommended the above. I can’t say if it was truly the Benadryl or just a coincidence, but the migraine finally broke for me.

    27. Bangs not Fringe*

      Fiorocet gave me horrible rebounds, probably due to the caffeine. If you’re not already, I would consider going caffeine free. When I finally did it cut out a good bit of migraines, but especially my rebounds. (Many people swear by caffeine’s curative powers but those are only temporary before the vessels respond angrily.)

      As a chronic migraneur, this book (Heal Your Headache, by David Buchholz) has helped me a lot. It might help me even more if I would follow it’s guidance better.

      In the meantime, a hot water bottle feels great up against your head (with the proper insulation of course). And then switching with an ice pack like many have mentioned.

      My doctor got me out of rebounds with a steroid dose pack and advocated that I try using triptans that aren’t being absorbed through the stomach since apparently this isn’t the most effective path. There are nasal spray, inhalers, and injectables you can do at home. All of which are supposed to be more effective if you haven’t tried them.

  2. The Other Dawn*

    Anyone have any recommendations for an affordable urinary tract health wet cat food?

    One of my cats (I have 10) just got diagnosed with calcium oxalate crystals in the urine. Vet put him on Royal Canin SO for the next three weeks in order to health dissolve the crystals. After that, he will likely go on a maintenance food. I know the vet will give me recommendations, but I’m looking for one that would be OK for all my cats and be affordable for 10 cats. With this many cats, it’s really difficult to feed separately. Wet isn’t difficult, but dry is because I have two cats that eat only dry food. Since they don’t eat at the same time as at the others eat their wet food, I leave it out all the time so they can graze.

    Years ago we had a cat with the same issue, so we fed Friskies Special Diet wet food, but it is now discontinued. We also gave them Pro Plan urinary health dry food. They all did well on it. We bought the Pro Plan dry last night and have already started all the other cats on it, but now we need to find a wet food.

    1. Earhart*

      We have a cat who has this issue, and after years of feeding him wet food (the Science Diet prescription food) and a little bit of dry food, we realized that the lack of dry food was harming his teeth- plaque build up, he had to have a teeth cleaning and tooth removal… which is very expensive and hard on him- so now he gets a dry food and unsalted chicken broth- a sympathetic vet told me about the broth, as a way to get him to up his liquid intake. It has to be unsalted as the salt in normal broth is bad for them, we use Swanson Unsalted Chicken Broth and have for years- and he’s never had another episode, plus he loves it. We recently switched to a non-prescription dry food that’s less expensive and available at our local store, the Wysong Uretic food. Good luck.

      1. Myrin*

        Ooh, can you tell me more about the tooth cleaning? My own cat might have to have one done some day – there are several vets at the clinic I go to and only one of them has ever said something about his teeth so I really want to get some more information about it. You say it’s hard on him – can I ask in what way? My cat is already older (about 13) and I really don’t want to put him through something that isn’t absolutely necessary and/or doing more harm than good.

        1. Earhart*

          Generally, when a vet cleans a cat’s teeth, they have to sedate him, which can be hard on the cat. We actually started brushing ours’ teeth with the cat toothbrush and paste, but probably don’t do it enough. If they eat enough dry food, the dry food crunching helps keep plaque off their teeth.

        2. Adara*

          Anesthesia these days is very safe and your vet will likely insist on preanesthetic blood work to make sure he doesn’t have any underlying conditions that would contraindicated anesthesia. Depending on bloodwork, the anesthesia may be worth it in order to clean his teeth. Tartar and plaque build up on teeth can cause gum recession and root exposure which can lead to oral bacteria migrating through the bloodstream and affecting the heart and kidneys, especially. Cats can be susceptible to restorative lesions (cavities, in a way) and stomatitis, which is chronic gum inflammation.

          Also, many studies have come out in recent years regarding dry vs wet cat food. It’s been found that dry food doesn’t actually keep tartar and plaque build-up from happening and wet food is better for controlling weight. Since cats are obligate carnivores, they need the wet food that’s higher in protein. Dry food is higher in carbs, which cats have a difficult time metabolizing.

        3. Perse's Mom*

          If your vets aren’t indicating there’s anything suspicious about your kitty’s teeth, don’t worry about it right now. You can absolutely ask if there’s anything preventative you can do (there are cat specific toothpastes and toothbrushes), but as all cat owners know, a lot of that depends on what he’ll let you do.

          That said, dental health is pretty individual to the cat, just as it is for people. I have one cat that was a teenager before the vet suggested even a cleaning and one that’s had resorptive lesions and has had to have tooth after tooth removed since she was just a couple of years old, while her mom had great teeth all her life.

          Even a basic dental cleaning involves bloodwork, then anesthesia – which can be hard on the cat by itself. If they find anything else during the cleaning that results in additional work, Kitty’s sore mouth is going to be even more sore.

    2. Orangetrout*

      There is a Pro plan wet food too. As far as I can tell, it only comes in small cans. Its not cheap, but I think it is easier to find on sale than the prescription foods.

      I have a similar problem, but with only 4 cats. Unfortunately, mind don’t like the Pro plan dry. A work in progress.

    3. Evie*

      I don’t have a cat but a friend who does needed to increase his liquid intake because of (I think) kidney issues? One of her tricks was to get an electric water fountain thing that kinda airs out the water but keeping it moving, so it tastes fresher to the cat and they want to drink more. I don’t know if that’ll help your cat but it seemed pretty cool.

      1. Al Lo*

        We have one of those. When we first got our cat, she was really picky about what she ate and drank, and the fountain helped a lot.

    4. YaH*

      I’ve had to put mine on the Purina UR dry (it also comes in canned) prescription food for the last 9 years because the *minute* I feed him anything else, he blocks up and has to be hospitalized & catheterized. :(

    5. Mina*

      I feed Hill’s prescription CD for my two cats, but only one truly needs it. Unfortunately it is very expensive to feed two; I can’t imagine how expensive it would be for 10.

    6. edj3*

      I’ve mentioned this before, but when our kitties were having issues with not getting enough water, someone recommended adding an equal part of canned pumpkin to their wet food. Cats in the wild get most of their water from their prey, not from drinking. So this was an easy way to increase their water intake.

      They love their pumpkin, maybe even more than the canned food. We keep dry kibble out for on demand feeding and we also use a water fountain. We haven’t had any issues in about four years now.

    7. The Other Dawn*

      Thanks for the ideas. I’m going to have to go back to the vet and buy the Royal Canin SO canned in the morsels with gravy, since Max isn’t too happy about the loaf kind. He’s eating a little, but then he goes right to the dry food. If I can’t get the morsels, I might have to try the canned pumpkin.

      1. The Bookworm*

        I have cats that don’t drink enough water too.
        I’ve found that one likes to drink week old tap water from a plastic bowl.
        The rest prefer filtered water from the frig in either the pet water fountain or in a ceramic bowl.

        I’ve also found that if I give them canned food in a bowl, and put water in the bowl so that it surrounds the food, they’ll eat the food AND drink the water. If I mix the water into the food (and make the food soupy) one of my cats won’t touch it.

        Good luck.

      2. Hlyssande*

        Mine doesn’t have that health problem, but he also refuses the loaf or pate style wet food. Gravy all the way!

        Probably not cheaper, but I’m feeding mine BFF packets, not canned. They’re about 95c apiece at my local store (not at petco, petsmart, etc) and he gets them twice a day. They’re all tuna + something else and about 50/50 meat vs gravy. He loves them to bits.

    8. Sibley*

      My understanding is that simply increasing the cats water intake will help a lot, regardless of what you’re feeding them. Cats don’t feel thirst I guess, and chronic mild dehydration does a number on them in general. Some things I’ve tried: water fountain regularly cleaned; up the wet food consumed, regardless of type; and not sweating the mud puddles (do not ask me why the silly cat prefers to drink from the mud puddle when there’s a nice clean water fountain available, but she does); diluted tuna water whenever I open a can.

      I feed my pre-kidney failure kitty with Fancy Feast Savory Salmon, simply because that’s what she likes. She won’t eat Science diet or Royal Canin. My two also get Purina One dry food. It’s about the best I can manage, they won’t eat separate foods. You can also try adding a little extra water to the wet food and mix it up, it’ll up the water intake a little more if they’ll eat it.

      I’ve also been told that the Fancy Feast Classic wet foods are pretty decent for diabetic kitties.

      1. Mreasy*

        I have a kidney cat & I cannot highly enough recommend a supplement called Renavast. Her blood levels are all back to pre-failure levels, meaning her kidneys actuall started working again. I give SubQ fluids every other day also, but when I started with the Renavast, she really started to stabilize. She doesn’t even need low-phosphorus foods anymore.

  3. Not Karen*

    I’m on the apartment hunt and it’s proving difficult because:
    a) one of my must-haves is in-unit laundry, and half the listings don’t mention anything about laundry, and the other half don’t specify whether the laundry is in-unit or just on-site
    b) availability dates are ranging anywhere from right now to September (my lease is up in May)

    Somehow I thought it would be easier now that for once I’m not searching out of state.

    1. Dan*

      I can’t comment about the laundry, because in my area, they’re pretty clear about it. Are you using rent dot com? That’s worked for me in multiple areas.

      Keep in mind that most places are going to be on a 30-60 day notice period, so for a May/June move-in, most people won’t have their notice in yet. You may have better luck in March or April. That dude who has a September move in, that’s unusual.

      1. Not Karen*

        So far I’ve tried apartments dot com, hotpads, and padmapper. I’ll take a look at rent dot com.

        That’s what I figured on the timing. My place has a 30 day notice period, but the office has already started bugging me about my renewal plans.

    2. Sunflower*

      My guess is if it doesn’t mention laundry, it probably doesn’t have it. However, I would still reach out and ask because you never know. I used zillow and craigslist for my apt hunt. Zillow has a Facts section and Laundry is listed under there so you might have more luck looking on there. If you can get access to the MLS, you should also look on there as I think it’s listed.

      Have you tried using a realtor/broker? they would be able to save you some time and only show properties with in unit laundry. It really depends on where you live if it’s worth it. I live in Philly and most realtors here are free as they are paid by the owner to rent out the property so it’s free to the renter. However, every listing they sent me was also listed on Zillow or Craigslist so since I was an avid searcher, they were pretty much useless to me.

    3. azvlr*

      You might try apartment list dot com. I was browsing (dreaming, really) and ended up signing up. It is a Tinder-like website that shows you one apartment at a time. I wasn’t getting any results, so I modified my search. In-unit laundry is one of the criteria you can enter.

  4. BRR*

    Anybody have experience ordering large furniture from overstock? I’m in the market for living room stuff and there’s a couch and chairs I love. Both have good reviews but the couch only has 4 reviews. I’m hesitant to order something like this sight unseen and my husband is even more so, so that I have to convince him after convincing myself.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’ve ordered a dining room table and chairs from Overstock, but I’d be hesitant to order a couch, because so much of what you want in a couch is how it feels when you’re sitting in it. However, sometimes you can find more reviews by googling the product name — for instance, if it’s on Amazon too, it might have tons of reviews there. I’d still be nervous about not trying it out myself first, but that might give you more to go on.

      1. The Butcher of Luverne*

        Agreed. A couch or reading chair really has to “sit” right — you could be leaning too far back, the seat might not have enough support or be too hard… too many variables.

        I also want to feel the fabric against my skin for nap time.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          We bought new couches not too long ago, and even after trying them in the store, it took me over a week to realize that the scale of the couches is so large. On my previous couch (RIP), I could sit with my rear all the way against the back cushion, and my feet would still touch the floor. Now, when I sit all the way back, the cushions are so large that my feet sturck out like a little kid’s. My husband is 6’3″, so this new furniture is perfectly sized for him.

          1. Anxa*

            I was just about to comment on this!

            None of my current furniture fits me right now. If I’m ever rich enough to by my own sofa, I’m so looking forward to back support and bent knees.

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              I never thought about furniture coming in different scales. This new set is like man-cave furniture or something.

    2. Not Karen*

      I’ve been wondering how this stuff gets delivered. Do you come home one day to find a couch sitting on the front stoop?

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        They’d surely give you a slot e.g 12-4 to deliver the furniture and put it inside to the room you’d want it in.

      2. acmx*

        When I bought my bed frame, it was delivered via semi and as Carrie mentioned, they give you a time for when it’s delivered. You sign for it, acknowledge condition etc.

        I bought my coffee, end table and dining room chairs, those came via UPS or FedEx since they’re broken down.

      3. Stephanie*

        Yeah, it’s delivered via freight. Most of the package companies have a freight component or partner with someone like Yellow Freight. For us, it’s anything over 140 lbs and a certain dimension (which most furniture exceeds) and it gets sent to our freight side.

    3. Nina*

      My mother ordered a set of dining chairs from Overstock, and they were supposed to be dummy proof assembly, but they were awful. Cheaply made, confusing instructions, the holes weren’t aligned properly, etc. The only way to really assemble them properly was to use a power tool, which we didn’t have. To this day, the chair legs still wobble. My rule is that if a product has poor reviews, regardless of the website, I stay away from it.

      Several reviews mentioned the difficulties of the chair assembly, but my mother loved them so she got them anyway. We were really disappointed with the results and haven’t ordered from Overstock since.

    4. Stephanie*

      I’ve ordered two bed frames from Overstock. Both came disassembled in a large box–I just read all the reviews closely. But my bed frame needs were pretty basic (queen-sized, platform bed, not particle board).

  5. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    So something odd/funny happened. I went to meet friends, and one asked me if I was engaged (I’m not, and the person asking is in mid-30s/no kids/doesn’t want any/is single). Also, my bf and I met with his friends who are getting married later. And they asked if we were going to get engaged/if we were going to announce it when we met up with them that day.

    Funny thing is, we’re not engaged, but we’ve been together a couple years nearly. Why do people think we’re about to get engaged? Bf has no clue, and neither do I.

    Although after, he started talking about getting a condo/small house with me in a year or so, where we could have a pet. And kids, maybe….:)
    Tl;dr: Why do our friends assume we’re getting engaged when we’re dating, 1.5-2 yrs or so? Is it some vibe we send out?

    And how do you know when you are ready to be engaged, for that matter?

    1. alice*

      I don’t know the answer to your last question. But people thinking you are engaged or about to be may just be surrounded by a circle of people who get married fairly quickly. For example, everyone in one of my friend groups is single or casually dating. Everyone in another friend group is in a serious relationship, and they’re getting married after less than two years of dating (in one case, six months). I have no idea why. Maybe it’s just the culture those friends are around or were raised in.

      1. katamia*

        Yeah. I get to see both sides of this because I grew up in one part of the US and went to college in another. Most of my high school friends are still single (well, unmarried), while most of my college friends are married and got married fairly young (to my eyes, anyway–clearly they were ready for it and they all seem to be pretty happy, but I couldn’t imagine getting married when they did).

        1. alice*

          This is exactly my situation too! All of my college friends are married – and we’re in our mid twenties. In my home state (at least in the area where I live) people don’t get married until their thirties.

        2. hermit crab*

          I’m the opposite! I’m from a smallish town and now live in a city; nearly all of my high school friends are married, and few of my college/post-college/work friends are.

    2. Lucky*

      In my experience, it’s a stage-of-life thing. If most/many of your friends are around 30 and pairing up/getting engaged, they may just assume that everyone else is doing the same. In 4-5 years, they’ll move on to “are you pregnant?” every time you order soda instead of booze.

      Your second question, I’m not the one to ask because Mr. Lucky and I never got engaged. We bought a house together, got a cat, etc., then at year 12 had a party and got married between the cocktails and dinner. Way less stress than planning a capital-W Wedding.

      1. FinePrint*

        This is awesome! Mr FinePrint and I have been together 16 years. We threaten to suddenly announce we’re married. But then again, in our world, we are.

    3. Graciosa*

      Engaged just means you are ready to publicly announce your upcoming marriage.

      So the real question for me is whether you are ready to get married? Is this the person you want to share the rest of your life with? The one to make decisions for you when you’re incapacitated? Co-parent with you if children are on the horizon? Are you comfortable sharing a financial future?

      I’ve seen a major trend (that I admit I don’t like) in people announcing that they are engaged without any intention of planning to get married (other than “maybe someday”). Some of these “engagements” go on for decades. I can’t tell if these “engagements” are to appease a partner (one wants to get married and the other really doesn’t, but is willing to be “engaged” as long as no actual marriage results) or simply to provide a socially convenient descriptor (fiance rather than boyfriend or partner) – and candidly, I don’t actually care. My objection to the trend is more around the integrity of word usage.

      If you’re ready to announce you’re planning your wedding (and actually working on dates within the next couple years) you’re engaged. If you want to tell me that you’re permanently together without planning an actual wedding (and I’m totally fine with that if you’re honest about it), please feel free to introduce your “permanent partner” or “boyfriend of twelve years” or “Chris, with whom I share a home” and I’ll get the message. No problems, no criticism, no negative judgments.

      But “engaged” means “engaged to be married” – it is not the post high-school version of “going steady.” If you tell me you’re engaged, I’m likely to ask about wedding plans (not to be nosy, but showing interest in the topic of conversation you just introduced). Hearing that someone has been engaged for a decade or so but isn’t actually planning to get married, or that “that’s just how I refer to him, but we aren’t actually planning a wedding” is a conversational dead-end.

      1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

        I have to agree. To me, engaged means that you are planning the wedding. Engaged should not be AP Dating, it is not “well we’ve been together an awful long time and we should upgrade,” it should mean that you are going to be married. That’s how I’ve always taken it to mean, and I agree with you on how super-long engagements often sound like one partner isn’t as enthusiastic as the other.

        How do you know when you’re ready to be married? No one can tell you. There’s a zillion individual questions–do you agree on life goals, in general? The question of children or no children? (There’s no real compromise on that one.) Can you agree on religion, or agree to leave each other alone? How about money–have you discussed commingling finances and potential future earnings? Do you trust this person with your emotions and your finances and your life? How about your families, since those are usually major factors in your life, are you going to be OK with things like bananas siblings or elderly parents requiring care or things like that? Are you sexually compatible over the long term? Are you culturally compatible (not culturally the same, but compatible, can you live with each other’s viewpoints when possibly coming from a different place growing up)? Can you talk easily and comfortably with one another about these things, are the lines of communication open, or is it awkward and painful to talk about money and sex and health issues and in-laws and stuff like that? Questions like that are where you start.

      2. Dan*

        Well… I’ve had to accept over time that people use words in ways that I don’t think are correct, but there’s not much I can do about it, nor is it my place to do so. Or for that matter, they simply attach certain meanings to things in ways that I don’t.

        You can certainly be engaged without having a set date. I’d say the ultimate weird would be a couple who got engaged with the intention of setting a date for marriage, let the date slip, and then got “unengaged” because hey, if we’re not actually getting married, we can’t be engaged, right?

        To me, the different phrasings are used to convey various meanings. As a divorcee, one thing you learn the hard way is that undoing a marriage is no small matter. I can understand a couple who says, “we’d get married if divorce wasn’t such a bitch. But because we understand that, and want something that’s clean and easy to walk away from, we’re not getting married.” “Engagement” certainly conveys a meaning of exclusivity and commitment that “boyfriend” (permanent, long term, or otherwise) does not.

      3. L*

        Where I live (in South Georgia), a couple is “boyfriend/girlfriend” until they sleep together, then they are “fiancees” They can be fiancees through childbearing and until death do them part . . . . but there isn’t necessarily a wedding.

      4. Lindsay J*

        I was in one of these engagements for years, and, well, never again. 18 months is now my limit for time elapsed between engagement and marriage.

        I don’t know what my ex was thinking when he proposed, but he was never willing to discuss wedding plans or even set a tentative date. My only assumption is that he was not ready to think about marriage (or, at least, marriage to me) yet, but wanted to “lock me down” so I didn’t get anxious or doubt his commitment or so other guys didn’t think they had a chance with me or something.

        And also, I feel like one you’ve been engaged but not planning a wedding for years it’s difficult to break the inertia that has built up and actually start planning a wedding. Like, you’ve already been engaged for 3 years, so why, on a random Tuesday would you suddenly sit down and finally set a date or stay looking at venues? The engagement is usually the impetus to actually begin doing these things and once that has happened and you haven’t started it is difficult to do so.

        IDK. I’m happy, ultimately, that my engagement didn’t ultimately result in marriage because we were honestly really wrong for each other. But it’s also made me really wary of making the same mistake again.

        Fwiw I don’t think any of these long engagements in my friends group have ever resulted in marriage. They, thus far, have only ended up being per at engagements, or break ups.

    4. fposte*

      Because it’s more common for couples who’ve been together for a few years to have marriage plans or to break up than to stay as they are. But staying as they are is fine too, and plenty of people do that as well.

      But I feel like your real question might be the last one. I don’t have an answer for that specifically, but I can say it doesn’t depend on when your friends think you should be engaged. It’s also worth asking yourself if that’s something you want, period, and really listening to yourself think it through, so you’re willing to hear a no or a yes. And if you’ve been with your boyfriend for a couple of years, you’re also close enough to talk about this with him–that your friends’ questions makes you wonder what you want, and you’re not sure, and you are/aren’t happy as you are; how does he feel about this?

    5. nep*

      You just know. Sounds trite — but in cases like this, I really think it’s when there’s no more wondering about it. My take.

      1. Christy*

        Yup. We got engaged when I turned to my girlfriend and said “I’m ready to be married.” To me, you’re ready when you’re not wondering about it–you just know you’re ready. My girlfriend was ready after six months. It took me 3.5 years. I’d started seriously considering the idea after less than a year.

    6. Wrench Turner*

      When you’re seriously talking about purchasing property, it’s probably about that time.
      After a couple of weeks talking about buying a house where we could have a studio was when my wife asked me.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I am not sure that it’s a vibe you send out, I think it’s just that you have been together this long, so they think maybe there is a long term commitment here.
      And it could also be your friends saying, “Hey I think you guys are a cool couple.”
      I had a friend that got tired of dealing with break ups. “I’d get a good friend that was someone’s SO and then they’d break up. I’d lose my friend. I am tired of it.” An extreme example, but some people think about this.

    8. TootsNYC*

      And how do you know when you are ready to be engaged, for that matter?

      I don’t think it’s so much “ready to be engaged” as it is “wanting to marry that specific person.”

      If you want to marry them, you should make plans to. And once you state that intention, especially to outsiders, then you’re engaged.

      “Getting engaged” is not a thing one achieves. I used to do a wedding-etiquette column, and there is no such thing as a engagement announcement.
      Weddings are a thing. Being engaged just means you are going to get married.

      1. GOG11*

        One of my cats, who is somewhat chubby and highly food motivated, will sit on the stairs and whenever I almost fall over him, I remind him that if I trip on him, fall down the stairs and die, there will be no one to buy him cat food. He is not impressed by my melodramatics.

        1. FD*

          I have a black cat who LOVES to hide out in the dark part of the hallway, between the bedrooms and the bathroom. Where people can–and are nearly guaranteed to–trip over her when they go to the bathroom during the night.

          Then she gets all offended when the inevitable happens…

        2. Afiendishthingy*

          I’m so glad there are no stairs in my apartment or I would definitely die.

          I once threatened one of my cats with “If you knock that down I will NEVER KISS YOU AGAIN.” which if true would be very sad for the big mama’s boy, but we both knew I could never follow through.

    1. SaraV*

      I love how my brain is teasing me with if you took the picture looking upstairs or downstairs.

      I hope they don’t sleep there overnight. Makes traversing the stairs in the dark interesting.

    1. MsChandandlerBong*

      Best: I applied for seven freelance gigs and got positive responses on three of them. Two of them are writing gigs (one of which pays very well), and the other one is a transcription gig for a company that does talk-to-text technology for mobile phone companies. I have two test assignments and a transcription test to complete within the next few days (all paid).

      Worst: My husband has been job hunting for four months and is having no luck at all. Money is extremely tight, and it’s stressful for both of us. Me because I have to keep us afloat with my work, and him because he feels like a failure.

    2. periwinkle*

      Worst: My fingers are cracked and dry. It happens every winter and owwww. Slathering my fingers in cocoa butter helps, but then I have to be wary of touchpads and touch screens.

      Best: We decided that trying to split two cans of wet food among 5 cats was too complicated. So we adopted a 6th cat, a 10-month old blue-cream girl. She’s shy and not quite ready to emerge from under the futon sofa in my office. But if we lie on the floor and reach under there she comes right over for petting and purring. That’s pretty good progress for the first day in her new home!

      1. nep*

        I get that problem with my fingers each winter too — Ouch. Almost screamed when I went to squeeze a lemon the other day. I think it calms down quite a bit when I drink enough water — another reason to make sure I get enough.

      2. The Expendable Redshirt*

        This is the best reason to adopt a cat. Complicated food division! Lol
        The sixth cat solves everything with a nice, even number of animals. I must try this strategy.

      3. rl*

        I have the same problem, once it gets below a certain temperature, my hands are drier than the Sahara. Recently I’ve been using avocado oil and my skin absorbs it fairly quickly. It’s working pretty well, although I have to reapply often, but I’d have to do the same with regular lotion anyway.

    3. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Worst: My mom’s coming back from the 10-15 hrs away locale/vacation. To be 1 hr away as per usual. *GROAN.* These past few weeks without her here have been utter paradise.
      Best: My friend’s celebrating her birthday tonight, with noms and dancing. Also, I found a potential volunteer attorney after-hours gig for experience. And, the bf is making concrete-ish future plans (ie. type of house, pet, kid, specifics). *inner squeal*

    4. Mimmy*

      BEST: Got the go-ahead from my council to attend a particular conference, which include a somewhat famous keynote speaker. This will take place in March.

      WORST: Sliced my middle finger, left hand, with a rather large knife cutting carrots two nights ago. No stitches, thankfully, but there’s a scabby flap of skin that I’m trying to keep covered so it doesn’t get snagged.

      1. Stephanie*

        Look for butterfly stitches–they’re basically adhesive bandage strips that’ll keep the flap in place while it heals.

      2. Nashira*

        You can also fake out butterfly stitches with cloth medical tape if necessary. Cut off 1″ lengths and then cut lengthwise into narrow strips, with clean scissors.

    5. Take Me 2 Atlanta*

      Best: I moved apartments at the beginning of the year and I could not be happier. Every day I come home I am so happy that I made the switch and the feeling hasn’t gone away yet.

      Worst: Still setting up the internet for my apartment and they won’t be able to attempt anything until Monday (officially a week since my service started). Luckily I do not live far from the office if I want to use the internet. My Kindle Fire has been a life-saver.

    6. Elkay*

      Best: Clean bill of health for the cats at their check up today.
      Worst: I haven’t slept through the night all week.

    7. AnotherDan*

      Worst: My wife and daughter flew to Orlando for 10 days, leaving me in chilly DC. I’m separated from my wife due to bad behavior on my part, though I’m getting help from a therapist and determined to make things better. It’s complicated and I’m spending lots of time with them in the meantime.
      Best: Hanging out with my seven-year-old this morning before we left for the airport. Flirting by text with my wife when she was waiting for their flight. Going to see my older daughters next weekend.

    8. danr*

      Best: a local furniture store is closing for the second time (the owner just couldn’t give it up after the first time) and we got some good bargains.
      Worst: dental work coming up.

    9. Colette*

      Best: I think I’ve mentioned before that I volunteer with a group of 12-15 year old girls. We were helping at the community winter carnival, and a couple of them noticed that the ice as getting covered in snow, so they picked up shovels and started clearing it without anyone asking them. I was impressed. (They’re good kids, but they sometimes forget to pay attention or wait for someone else to solve the problem.)

      Worst: it’s January and I’m tired, yet I turn into a stubborn toddler and don’t want to go to sleep. You’d think I would have learned by now.

    10. Elizabeth West*

      David Bowie and Alan Rickman. :'( GADDDAMMIIITTT 2016, WHAT THE FEEEEECKKK

      I did buy Blackstar–my first Bowie album purchase (read my blog entry on him if you want to know why it was my first). It was so brilliant and I cried throughout the entire thing. I so want to meet/work with the people I admire, but they keep dying on me.

      Also, it’s freezing now. Brrr.

      I tweeted a reply to something about how I was enjoying the hell out of season 2 of Galavant, and it was tagged to GalavantABC and Timothy Omundson (who plays King Richard) and Timothy Omundson liked my tweet!!!

      God, I love Twitter. :}

      1. Nina*

        Losing Bowie and Natalie Cole was bad enough, but damn, I did not see it coming with Alan Rickman. Talk about being blindsided. :(

      2. Mimmy*

        Yeah this whole week was just one blow after another with celebrity passings. In fact—yes, 2016 is not starting off so great in that realm :(

        I was never really a David Bowie fan but it was still a shock to see that he had died. All the tributes and comments on Facebook was something else. Natalie Cole was a bit of a shock too.

        I’m also sad for Celine Dion – her husband passed away on Thursday or Friday (?) from cancer. I was a huge fan of hers in the late 90s/early 2000s and remember when he was first diagnosed. Then, her brother passed away a day later.

    11. SL #2*

      Best: 4-DAY WEEKEND WOOHOO. Also I slept until 2:30pm today. Oops. (In my defense, I got up around 11:30… and then went back to bed at 12:30).

      Worst: The lack of social things to do during this 4-day weekend… my closest friends both work on Monday, so. :(

    12. Christy*

      Worst: just found out my friend’s brother died.

      Best: getting help at work and my new anxiety meds helping.

    13. CoffeeLover*

      Worst: Seeing hubby off at the airport. Won’t see him again for months. Its not our first time saying bye but it’s always hard.

      Best: Found out I’ll be working in a much warmer city for a month during our very chilly Canadian winter. Found a cat food my sensitive kitty’s stomach can actually handle.

    14. ginger ale for all*

      Best – discovered Morgan James. She is an amazing singer.
      Worst – I’m ill and I would love it if my boyfriend would ask if I need anything from the drugstore but he hasn’t. I don’t need anything but I would love Gatorade and liquid Pepto Bismol. The chewable kind is okay but liquid is better when you are actively ill. If it was a necessity I would ask but it is only a nicety.

      1. danr*

        So… ask already! Niceties are good to ask for too. And puts the idea in his head for next time. Some folks just don’t think of it without help the first time.

        1. ginger ale for all*

          He just asked this morning :) . I didn’t want to before because I am a whiner when I am sick and I didn’t want to open that door because a flood of whiny mcwhinerisms would have rushed out. I am trying to conquer that part of my personality and it helps to stop things before they get started. I got that part of my personality from my dad and I hate seeing my mom go carefully blank when he starts with his if only’s. I don’t want to be that person.

    15. LCL*

      Best:at least 12 inches of fresh snow at Snoqualmie.
      Worst: being stuck on the ski bus for 3 hours at milepost 45 because the pass was closed to clear the people that wouldn’t chain up so spun out at the top.

      1. :)*

        12 inches?? Can I come visit and ski?? We have a bit of snow here, but no great hills in Southwestern Ontario.

    16. StillHealing*

      Best: Just feeling better about life in general with the divorce being over. Life settling in a balanced calm state. I like the new normal.

      Worst: Alan Rickman passing. It was quite a shock. I didn’t know he was ill. What a truly great actor. And, from the sounds of it, he was an incredible man off the stage and screen.

    17. Nashira*

      Best: Figured out how I want to get my hair cut, and what clothes I need to buy to completely transition my wardrobe to a male one.

      Worst: I see my psychiatrist tomorrow and I don’t want to. Turns out most of my mental health issues are from trying to pass as a cis woman when I’m a transmasculine person, and I don’t want to come out to him.

    18. Audiophile*

      So hard to pick!

      Worst: still sick, this is like week 3 with this cough. I’ve taken Mucinex DM intermittenly, but it doesn’t seem to be going away. At least the sore throat went away after week 1. I keep making plans and then canceling because this cough is so annoying, plus people tend to be grossed out by coughing, more than anything else.

      Best: my birthday is on Friday. Having a birthday dinner with friends / former coworkers. My mom is probably going to be less than thrilled that I won’t be having dinner at home, but I think all my siblings have plans anyway, so what’s the big deal about pushing cake off by one day?

      1. Lore*

        I think I just got over that illness. It took me about two weeks to realize that even though my main symptom was the cough/sore throat, and my nose wasn’t stuffed or runny at all, massive amounts of post-nasal drip were still contributing to the cough. I took multi-symptom cold pills (instead of cough meds/Mucinex) and/or decongestants for a few days and it made a huge, huge difference.

        1. Audiophile*

          I started off taking Alka Seltzer geltabs, to kick the sore throat. I really just took the nighttime pills and not the day pills. Once the sore throat went away, the cough appeared and I kind of left it, until it got on my nerves and then I went and bought Mucinex. That stuff has gotten so expensive.

          But the cough has been lingering. I do wonder if I have some post nasal drip, because I’ll wake up and my throat will be so dry.

          Maybe I should go back to the cold pills again for a few days, because I’d love to kick this by my birthday dinner.

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        My son just had the same progression of symptoms, with the cough and postnasal drip hanging on for two to three weeks after everything else had cleared up. I finally took him to the doctor, and she said that it had probably started off as viral, but that a bacterial infection had also settled in. She gave him a Z-Pac and now he’s all better.

        1. Audiophile*

          Unfortunately, I can’t really go to the doctor (won’t have insurance until March) and while I could go to urgent care, I’m afraid of what that would cost me, if I wound up with a prescription.

          1. Lore*

            I am almost positive that Target/Walmart/Kroger have a number of antibiotics on the $4 generic prescription list. If you do decide to go to urgent care and you have access to one of those stores, might be worth checking the list before you go (I just went through this w/the SO, who is also between insurance and just had to go to urgent care for an ear infection). BUT if it is the same virus that everyone in my office (including me) has been fighting, try the decongestants/cold pills for 3 days first.

    19. Merry and Bright*

      Worst: on a personal level, nothing much. But like above – Alan Rickman and David Bowie.

      Best: staying in the warm yesterday while it was sleeting outside, drinking Christmas gift tea and listening on the radio to England winning the cricket.
      Also, on Tuesday having a great birthday dinner with a friend who was having a landmark birthday/entering a new decade. I had the best steak I have eaten in my life.

    20. CrazyCatLady*

      Best: Back in April of 2015, my cat was diagnosed with Stage 2 kidney disease. I put her on the special KD diet food and at her follow-up it was Stage 1 but her other bloodwork wasn’t great. I took her to the vet over the weekend for another follow-up and they said her health has done a miraculous turnaround!

      Worst: My therapist thinks I need to start going to therapy once a week :/

    21. Ruffingit*

      BEST: Getting things done that needed to be done.

      WORST: Had a blow-up with mom, but things were said that needed to be said and seem to be better now.

  6. Ruffingit*

    Where is the best place to order Trifexis for dogs online? It’s expensive at the vet’s office.

    1. periwinkle*

      Over the years I’ve ordered meds and other supplies from Drs. Foster & Smith (drsfostersmith dot com). Their prices have been lower than what the vet charges. They carry prescription foods, too.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Not sure if this drug is included, but a grocery near me has people drugs and animal drugs dirt cheap if you are a member or some such. The thing that caught my eye was that veterinary drugs are included in the plan.

    3. AnotherFed*

      Not sure about online, but if you live near a Tractor Supply you can find much cheaper vet drugs there. I know they used to carry Trifexis, but might have dropped it after it was tied a few hundred dog deaths a couple years ago.

      1. Ruffingit*

        I heard about the dog deaths, but my dog has been on it for close to 9 years with no problem and my other one over a year with no problem so I’m not concerned about it being an issue.

    4. MaryinTexas*

      I buy from bestvaluepetsupplies.com. They’re from Austria (maybe?…not sure exactly) but since they’re not in the US, it’s cheaper than any other site. I have 4 dogs, so looking for good prices is something I always do. I used to order from Vidals pet supplies out of Australia, but for some reason they’re not able to ship to the US anymore. But I’ve used this new site for over a year and never had any problem. They have a code for free shipping. Email me at mreveles@email.com and I’ll send it you if you want it. Good luck.

  7. Beth Anne*

    I just wanted to say HI. I found this blog when I was super unemployed and depressed in 2011. I haven’t read the blog as much in the last year or so but I passively read and usually on my phone when it’s a PITA to comment.

    1. fposte*

      Hi back! I see you when you post–your picture is really nice. I’m glad you’re still reading, and I hope things are better for you now than in 2011.

  8. Fleur*

    Recommendations for a good beginner’s electric guitar? I’m looking for more quality and longevity than the uber cheap budget ones that are “just in case you give up”, but I also don’t want to break the bank and spend more than $300-400. I’m completely overwhelmed by all the choices and millions of identical sounding models in that price range.

    1. Me2*

      Any chance you are left handed? I have two my son left behind when he moved out after college and it’s time for them to move along too.

      1. Fleur*

        Sadly not! Good left guitars are hard to come by though, so I’m sure you can find a taker in the usual places like reverb.

    2. Office Princess*

      Hopefully someone else can chime in, but I’ll have my husband drop by and throw in his two cents. Bass guitars are more of his specialty, but if you can strum it, he’s got it.

    3. azvlr*

      Try Craigslist. As a rule Squier (by Fender) and Epiphone (by Gibson) are the entry-level brands. Once you get your guitar, take it to a shop to get set up. A good set-up on an inexpensive guitar will make it sound so much better.

      Get an amp that is more than just basic loudness (you’ll want one with a clean channel and a distortion channel). A good amp will make you sound better. You’ll want a solid-state amp with some basic amp modeling (mimics the sound of higher-end amps). You can find what you need in your budget!

    1. Noah*

      I have a Cuisinart Griddler. I bought it on Woot almost three years ago for around $50. I use it several times a week. It is nice because it can be a flat griddle, flat grill, contact grill (George Foreman style), panini press, or a waffle iron depending on which plates you put in. You can also put the plates into the dishwasher for cleanup.

      1. Office Princess*

        I want one of those so bad. My husband and I registered for one when we got married, didn’t get one, and didn’t get enough rewards to justify buying one since we had received a smaller device that works as a contact grill or waffle iron but doesn’t work as well as we’d hope. Someday…

  9. katamia*

    I’ve been staying with family for a bit after coming back from overseas, and WOW do I need to be out and have my own place. I’ll be staying in the area for at least a little while (though I want to move again within the next year or two), and I have a weird apartment hunting question: how do you do it when you’re in the area? All my apartment hunts have been when I’ve been in one place but moving somewhere else, so it’s been all Craigslist, Skype apartment tours, etc.

    I’ve also always tried to get as close to my job/school/whatever as possible, but I’m working from home (and will probably be for awhile) and thus don’t have a specific location to focus on. So how the heck do I narrow things down?

    1. Ruffingit*

      Apartment locators are a big help and are free for you. They are paid by the apartment complexes. Google apartment locator in your town. You just tell them what you want and how much you want to pay. As for area of town, is there a particular area near things you go to often such as stores, library, etc?

    2. Dan*

      In some ways, I get what you’re saying. It’s rather easy to move when it’s long distance, and you have to be near place X by Y date. That limits your choices to available places within Z minutes drive at a certain price point.

      Your problem is that you can move when you feel like it, to a place that you feel like. So when and where do you move? Answer: Whenever and wherever you feel like it ;)

      I get it though. The apartment I live in now was a long distance move from out of state. I switched jobs, doubled my commute… and kept my apartment. (Full disclosure: My commute went from 6 miles to 11 miles.) I’ve lived and worked in suburban DC for my entire career. When would I actually move? If I ended up working in the city or the close in suburbs. Also, if/when I decide to buy a place. But when do I actually move? When my lease is up? If not, do I just go ahead and pay the break lease fee? So to your point, the fewer constraints you have, the more options you have, and the more options you have, the harder it is to pick.

      1. katamia*

        Ooh, yeah, that’s the big one. I’m not very good at making decisions when I have a lot of options and when I’m not under a tight deadline to choose. My family members aren’t insisting on an official eviction date (and in fact would be happy to have me stay for awhile so I could save money), so the only pressing concern is my sanity, unfortunately.

        I’m in suburban DC too and grew up around here, so I know the possible areas pretty well overall and think I could be reasonably happy in several of them, which bodes well for my general future apartment but bodes even more poorly for my ability to pick a place, lol.

    3. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      I had the same thing happen when I came back after grad school abroad. I looked up Craigslist with a price range and style of apt in mind, and priorities (ie. gym free, walkability).

      Also, being on Facebook/social networks help a lot. In my age group on Facebook, a lot of people post listings and I looked at each and every one of them. I also let spread among my closest friends by word of mouth I was very interested in looking. One even offered me her lease since she was marrying/moving out of state. I ended up w/a different one though because my friend’s was super pricey. But I’m happy bc I got the gym I wanted, and the walkability.

    4. blackcat*

      Do you want to be able to walk to specific places? (Coffee shop, grocery store, yoga studio, etc) Depending where you are, that could HUGELY narrow down what you want. Or, on the other side, do you want to be in a quieter space where you might be further out from things.

      When I’ve narrowed down a neighborhood, I’ve used padmapper. I’ve also used Craigslist while local.

      Another thing is to think about whether or not you want a place with amenities (eg gym) or something more basic.

    5. Sunflower*

      I used Craigslist and Zillow for my last apt search. I also contacted some realtors but every single one of the listings they sent me I found myself on Craigslist. So if you’re an avid searcher like I am, realtors were kind of useless.

      The first thing I’d decide is if you want to live in a building or a walk-up. In a building you’ll probably get more amenities but you’ll get more space and character in a walk-up. I would walk around the areas you’re interested in and see how you like the neighborhoods. If your city is anything like mine, you’ll also find that the apts are similar in certain neighborhoods. In Philly, certain neighborhoods are all new construction; others are all old converted houses. Buildings are only located in certain hoods as well. Some places are mostly houses, some are mostly apartments. You’re lucky that you get to choose an apartment pretty much wherever you want. If you’re working from home, I’d want to find an apt that had plenty of space- maybe an office if it’s realistic and in your budget.

      You have time so take your time but be realistic. I’d look at a lot of places so you have an idea of what is available and what is a reasonable cost for the apt.

      1. katamia*

        Thanks! I know the area fairly well because I grew up around here, but I’m sure there are a lot of things I never considered when I went out to eat in various neighborhoods. I think I’ll spend some time doing that over the next few weeks.

  10. Sparkly Librarian*

    My wife and I submitted our application to the adoption agency this week! That was the longest questionnaire ever – felt like the most uncomfortably personal cover letter for a dream job. Next up: the homestudy. AKA the most uncomfortably personal interview.

    1. the sugar plum fairy*

      Best of luck! One of my close friends went through this a few years ago (as a single woman no less) and she is now the proud mother of an adorable three year old. :) She did the foster to adopt program in our state and it was a lot of time, effort, and stress, but all worth it.

  11. NL*

    I have a question about friendships. I’ve realized lately that my circle of friends has really narrowed. I have one close friend who I see a few times a month. Other than that, I’m close to my brother, who is not local but we talk regularly, and my husband. I have other friends who I have had for years but I’m not close to any of them anymore. Most are not local and we text or email sometimes but if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t miss being as close as we used to be. I have additional opportunities for friendship but I don’t follow up on them by accepting invitations or making overtures because I feel content with my life as it is (and let’s be honest, I would rather be snug at home than out socializing unless it’s with the one close friend I mentioned.)

    I am happy with this state of affairs. I don’t feel lonely or depressed or disconnected. I like my life. But I know that most people would want more connections in their life and I wonder if it’s something I should be thinking about more and if eventually it will be something I come to regret. And I do feel a little ‘friend shame’, like it could be weird to have so few close friends. I guess my question is if other people feel like this and if there really is reason to try to change it.

    1. fposte*

      I tend toward a similar pattern, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. The one thing I will say, from a cold and practical standpoint, is that it can leave you a little out there if your main friend is out of town or undergoing a personal difficulty so you don’t really have anybody to give you support if a need comes up. I also think there’s something to be said for having lunch every two or three months with people you don’t see regularly so you do have a few middle distance friends; it keeps the skills polished and gets you a little broader experience.

      1. Me2*

        Totally agree! I own a retail store so I’m surrounded by people all the time and my home life is quiet and precious to me but I’m afraid if my friend circle dwindles much more it will disappear. I’m trying to expand it a bit this year by being more open to making the first overture with people that I find interesting. I have several customers I would like to see outside of my store environment, they seem like neat people.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Dwindling supply of friends. Yep. This can work into a big deal for some people. I will always remember what happened to my father. He knew A LOT of people… when he was 20-40 years old. By the time he was 60, so many of them had died! It made a lasting impression on me. Then he got sick and had other problems and more people drifted out of his life. Because he did not routinely add people to his life, he ended up with about a handful of people. And he was lonely.

          My suggestion is to keep this as easy as possible- find a neighbor that you can build a reciprocal relationship with, you help each other with small things. You run out of coffee, she has some. She needs to borrow a pair of crutches, you just happen to have an old pair she can borrow. Then find someone at work, who will pick you up at the repair shop and you pick them up at their repair shop. And so on. Build these little reciprocal relationships. Not everyone has to be besties, and not every relationship has to be close/personal.
          But, OP, my main concern is that not adding new people to your life can become a habit. Then one day you wake up and find out- hey, I actually need peeps in my life. And it can really suck to look around and realize what has happened.

      2. meg*

        Yeah, I definitely agree with this. I have been hit really hard by the fact that my main friend moved 6 hours away (and we had already started kind of growing apart) 6 months ago, and my social life has not recovered. I’m going to start going to therapy to work through some of my anxiety issues, and have already mapped out events I want to go to for possible friend meeting/working on social skills.

        I also have been evaluating why my close work friendships haven’t turned into Real Life friendships — and I’ve come to realize I’m the blocker, and in one or two cases, that work friend has been really hurt by the fact that I don’t end up hanging out with them after I leave the job/the leave.

        1. Dan*

          Meetup is your friend. There’s one particular group that I belong to that meets more or less monthly. There’s a reasonable core of regulars and newcomers at each event. At some point, you realize that some people are fun to hang out with, you look forward to seeing them, and then who knows what happens after that.

          I’ve been casually seeing someone via a “referral” (I suppose they call them blind dates) from that group for a few months now. I’m not one for a large circle of friends (I’m an introvert, and need my alone time) but it’s certainly fun to have social outings with people you look forward to seeing.

          1. fposte*

            Randomly: Meetup in my area suuucks. It’s basically a handful of groups for coders and a handful of groups for runners. There’s no group I’m so dying to have that I’d be willing to start one, but I was disappointed in my region’s lack of imagination.

            1. esra*

              Yeppp. I’m in Toronto, so you’d think there would be tons of great meetups. And I guess there are, if you’re keen on a 1.5hr round trip commute on a Tuesday to go to one on the other side of the city. But all that’s in my area: Runners, joggers, run-joggers, jog-walkers. Other than that, I think there was one for 35+ skeevy singles.

            2. Pennalynn Lott*

              This made me laugh because in my area there are Meetups for every little niche of life you could possibly think of. It makes it hard to find the right group because my interests aren’t terribly specific.

              A quick look at Meetup Dallas gives me the following groups: “Gastrosleuths Dining Out Adventures”, “CurlFriends Abroad” (?), “We Are Breitbart”, “DFW Bucket List”, “The Architecture Happy Hour”, “Active & Fun Girlfriends”, “Cool Internationals”, “Dallas Pedals and Pints”, “Veterans in Business”, various groups for moms, “Patriots Fans”, poker groups, a witches Meetup group, WordPress, quilting, salsa dancing, “Schimelpfening – Enhance Your Life”, and THOUSANDS of others.

              1. Al Lo*

                I’ve only ever gone to one Meetup*, with a co-worker who took me along to one she’d signed up for through the local “Do Something New” meetup group. She said she’d had an eye on it for a few months, and that was the first one she’d gone to, but they seemed to have some really cool activities.

                Calgary seems to have a pretty broad spectrum of groups, though. My own personal meetups tend to be through things like choir. Choir, arts activities, working on shows — that’s where I’ve always met people (outside of school), because those are just such inherently communal activities.

                *No, wait; two. The other, I was invited to via a FB invite, so I keep forgetting that it was technically a meetup. A Whovian tea, with custom latte art, fancy high tea snacks, and a couple of bigscreen episodes of Doctor Who.

              2. AnotherFed*

                I think you need to go to the witches meet up and tell us how it goes. Maybe they can teach you how to put magic curses on your coworkers, or better yet, remove them for the old AAM letter writer!

              3. Mallory Janis Ian*

                We have so many different ones around here: wine tasting; dining out; Laundry Love, which does laundry for homeless people; pagans; hiking; secular families’ playgroup; preppers emergency preparedness; scrapbookers; cardmakers; journal decorators; vegans; power of positive thinking; and, believe it or not, even more that I can’t think of right now . . .

              1. fposte*

                My interests are to browse various Meetup groups that aren’t running or coding and not to have any administrative duties :-).

          2. Dynamic Beige*

            Sometime last June, I read a post here in an Open Thread from someone (Cath in Canada I think) who said that she had gone out to her writer’s meetup group that Saturday morning and felt great that she had gotten a lot of stuff done. I had been threatening to write a blog for years but never got around to it — there is always something else to distract me/I allow to distract me. All the meetups I had ever seen happened at night or during the afternoon, I hadn’t really considered one in the morning. So I went on meetup and searched. There was nothing for writing in my area that met Saturday mornings, which is pretty much the only time I can guarantee that I can make time, my work isn’t steady or reliable. I kept looking for about a month and then I just decided to start the group I wanted to be a part of.

            Well, it’s been over 6 months now and it’s a mixed bag. I’ve met all kinds of people that I never would have met any other way. Some have written books and been published (not successfully, as in there’s no James Patterson slumming it in the group) but everyone has the same thing: they want to write whatever, they hope to get published (some really want to get published and make money and I have no idea how one goes about that) and by coming to this same place every week, they do a little more towards their goal. Just like me, it forces them to get out of the house, make the time and sit down and do it. Many of them have also started working during the week, too. I have made a lot of progress with the topics I want to talk about, I wrote two very short pieces yesterday and edited a third.

            We don’t do readings or group critiques (unless you want someone to read your stuff, then you can ask). We sit down, chat a little (and sometimes too much) and do some writing. Yesterday there were 9 people in total who came out, which is the most ever. There are over 60 people who have signed up and almost 1/3 have come out to at least one. Most have never come out and I do scratch my head sometimes at the things that happen. People who sign up and list their location as being 2 hours (or more) away. One woman wanted to know if we would relocate to her city so she could participate (uh… no?) and a couple of weeks ago, someone showed up who was um… concerning because he was either off his meds or had taken too many of them. I’m not being mean or facetious. He mentioned at least two pharmaceuticals he had taken before he came and that he had been up all night. I was concerned for him and also concerned that he might drive away in the condition he was in because he kept micro-napping (which he blamed on the Atavan), but he was not threatening just very loud and unfocused, constantly changing topics, singing, asking questions then moving on before the answer was given. The best word to describe might be disruptive, as we’re pretty much a quiet bunch for the most part.

            So far, the one thing I find that is key is consistency. We meet at the same place always at the same time, unless it’s closed for a holiday. Some people just show up without RSVPing because they know we’ll be there. I went around and tried to find some place that had a list of things that I thought were important: electrical plugs for computers, decent food, tables big enough for computers, parking, clean, it’s also right off the highway which is useful. I don’t charge people money to belong, which some groups do. It’s not that freakishly expensive per month to pay for (I think ~$15US, less if you have a group fewer than 50). I also don’t really track who doesn’t show or kick people out who haven’t come, which some groups do. It’s a low-pressure thing which is why I think it’s been working. I also think that because it’s practically free (people are expected to at least buy a coffee) that makes it easier for people to come out.

      3. Colette*

        I agree as well. I don’t tend to look to people for support (which is a problem on its own) and I only have a couple of good friends, but it is nice to have other social groups on occasion – if for no other reason than to have something different to talk/think about.

    2. AnotherFed*

      If you’re happy, that’s all that counts. There’s probably a lot of other things social pressure tells you that you should be or do, but you’re happier not, so don’t sweat this one either. Personally, I’m still pretty close to my family, but don’t have many non-work friends, and I’d much rather spend Friday night in with a good book than out with a group.

    3. Myrin*

      Apart from some details being different (I’m not married, for example), I’m very much the same! I do have two additional “middle distance friends”, as fposte calls them, but other then that, yeah I’m in the same “category” as you. And I like it as well. I do understand your “friend shame” but on the other hand, it’s really that I like it the way it is and I don’t think I should force myself to make more superficial friends just to appease random people who have different ideas of how many friends one “should” have. As long as you don’t feel lonely or sad about it, it’s a perfectly fine way to be. And don’t worry, you’re not alone – we’re out there! :D

    4. Father Ribs*

      I think depth is better than breadth; but you should cultivate good relations with people who “could be” your friend if you pushed for it. Having all your friend eggs in one basket can be devastating if your best friend moves, or dies, or you get a divorce and they pick your partner’s friendship over yours, etc.

      I do it by being active in hobbies with a social aspect that don’t require constant attendance but I could always ramp it up if need be. 9/10 the time I will just go home after a meeting or event, but on occasion I will do some of the extracurricular face time stuff.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Actually, I think people benefit from having both–but “breadth” can be fulfilling even if it is really shallow. I like the hobbies way of adding the breadth.

    5. Mando Diao*

      Social media has made it seem normal for people to have huge groups of super-close friends, and IMO it’s there’s no need for someone over 30 to have 40+ friends. However, I would urge you to get together with the people who are making overtures to you. I’ve been on the other side of that, and I get that people get to points where they’re just not interested in making new friends, but these people are trying, and they’re choosing you as the person they’re reaching out to. It’s devastating to ask someone to hang out and to have them respond that they’re not interested in you as a friend. You don’t HAVE to, but consider the other side of things, especially given how many people post in these open threads about having their invitations ignored. You could make someone feel really happy.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Gah, I can think of three women right now who have recently reached out to me and I didn’t pick up on it until later and didn’t really reach back. I like people, but I am introverted and sometimes shy (two separate things), so I don’t often expect new people to want to hang out with me. It catches me off guard when they do.

        1. Mando Diao*

          I spent last night in tears because none of the 10+ people I reached out to wanted to see me. It absolutely breaks my heart to think one of them could have been commenting here like, “Mando texted me, but I’m good, I don’t need her friendship right now.”

          1. Colette*

            But if they were, that would be about them, not about you, right? They’re allowed to be busy/tired, or to need a weekend in. Would you rather they be sitting next to you counting the minutes until it’s polite to leave?

            Of course not – you deserve to be friends with people who want friends with you. The people you contacted genuinely may want to be friends with you but that this weekend wasn’t good for whatever reason – but if that’s not the case, that doesn’t mean anything other than that they’re not a good fit for you at this point in your life.

            1. Mando Diao*

              I’m talking about the general attitude of “these people keep making overtures toward me, but eh, I’m not going to respond.”

              Everyone is tired. Everyone wants a weekend in sometimes. But friendship takes work, and it really, really sucks to know that you, a whole human being, are someone else’s “meh.”

              It’s also part of the weird attitude of “women who don’t have female friends are self-hating misogynists.” This is a manner of blowing people off that men don’t fall into. I’m getting really close to not wanting to pursue female friendship anymore, because men simply don’t ignore people in this particular way.

              1. Colette*

                I’m not sure what you mean by not responding. If you say “hey, do you want to do X on Saturday?”, I agree they should say yes or no – but if you say something like “i was thinking about doing X on Saturday”, that doesn’t, necessarily.

                And while I agree that friendships take work, you’re not obligated to maintain friendships with everyone who’d like to be friends with you (and vice versa). If someone keeps saying no when you suggest activities and never suggests alternatives, you don’t have to consider them a friend.

                I get that it hurts when that happens, but sometimes life hurts. I’d imagine it hurts more to know someone only made time for you because they pitied you.

                The thing is that if someone doesn’t want to be your friend, no amount of guilt will make them change their mind. They don’t want to be your friend, possibly for reasons that have nothing to do with you personally.

                1. Mando Diao*

                  They usually do say that they want to stay friends, which is why it’s hard.

                  It also plays into the reality that these women in their 30s are easing out of their social lives because they plan on having kids soon. Those of us who are single and don’t plan on having kids have a lot of anticipatory fear regarding this: new mothers rightly seek out other mothers for friends because 1) they need the support that comes from experience, and 2) their lives have gone down a path that women like me can’t always follow.

                  I think my conclusion here is that we need to stop acting like women are bad people or virulent misogynists if they can’t make female friendship work in an easy way. There are a lot of socialized reasons for why women seek out other mothers or for why they “calm down” in their 30s, but that doesn’t mean that I deserve to be called a bad feminist for, at this juncture, deciding that female friendship might not be worth my time at this point in my life. Maybe I’ll call them up when their kids are older.

          2. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Oh, I didn’t mean that I didn’t want to hang out with them. I do, and I have been lonely and wishing for female friendship. I just mean that I literally did not understand that they were trying to engage me until I went home and thought about it later. I think I have some high walls around me, which is part of why I can sometimes be lonely. Having someone want to hang out with me wasn’t something I was prepared to handle spontaneously. Then later I was like, “Oooh, she was trying to be your friend, ya big dummy!”

            1. Phlox*

              With you on the high walls thing. Not quite sure how I built them and working to knock some holes in them but I’ve done similar many times. Tried to protect myself so much that it hurts new friendships/ potential relationships.

              1. Mallory Janis Ian*

                Mine started when I was adopted by my grandparents as an eight-year-old. Before that, I ran around with the other neighborhood kids and my friendships with them were natural and easy. But my grandparents were very strict, to the point where I wasn’t allowed to do the things that other kids my age were allowed to do. I started of at my new school making friends as usual, but then they started asking me to come to birthday parties or just to play at their house for a couple of hours. I was never allowed to. Then I started getting embarrassed that I was a “baby” who couldn’t do what the other kids could do, and I started protecting myself from being called that by avoiding getting invited places. It also tied in with my childish thinking that there really must be something wrong with me if my mom didn’t want me and my grandparents think I’m bad enough to not be allowed to be the same as other kids. I got kind of stuck, as I got older, in not letting people close, even when I want to.

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Also, what I left unsaid here, I guess, is that now I’ve realized that they were making overtures of friendship to me, I plan to reach back out by asking them to coffee or something when I see them again. They are women from church, and they each separately hinted about ‘getting together sometime’ or something like that. Not a direct invitation, but it has gradually dawned on me that the same three women always approach me during mingling time, and not by accident (as in, oh here we both are in the same place, so we can’t help but chat you up a bit out of politeness).

      2. Colette*

        I somewhat disagree with this. Yes, it is important to be kind to people who are reaching out, but there’s no obligation to do what they want, whether it’s be their friend or buy the product they’re selling. NL is allowed to value what she wants more than what others want.

        Sometimes it’s good to push yourself to do things that are outside your comfort zone, but it’s ok to be too busy to add another social event or to just dislike someone. Its actually more cruel to let someone think you’re their friend when really you don’t like them or dread getting together with them than it is to just (politely) say no in the first place.

    6. Nicole*

      I was you just a couple of years ago; then I started craving more social interaction and found the few friends we have are often too busy to hang out. It made for a lonely 2015. So my husband and I gave Meetup a try and really enjoyed the first get-together we attended this week. Even if I don’t get any close friends out of it, just having options for the weekend to go out and do something with a group of people prevents me from feeling lonely. My point is, you might be ok with how things are now but it’s worth considering how you might feel in the future and start building up your network now.

    7. Beth Anne*

      I feel you! Ever since college, I’ve had barely any in real life friends other than a few people here and there I’ve met at church or people I work with. I also find it is so hard to get people to actually do things outside of how you meet them.

    8. Ann Furthermore*

      Is there a hobby you have or would like to learn? That might be a way to meet some new people. Like if you want to learn how to knit, see if there’s a weekly class somewhere you can attend. You’re already starting with something in common, and it might go somewhere from there.

  12. Myrin*

    In the open thread two weeks ago, I talked about my sister having decided to go to the hospital to deal with her mental health. Two days later, our GP called and said she could be moving there the very next day.

    She was super scared and cried a lot at first, especially when we got there (my mum and I went with her that first day), but it’s become a lot better since then. The 6th is a holiday here so the place wasn’t fully staffed and she wasn’t able to really start therapy until last Monday but at least she’d had time to get used to the place and the people by then.

    There were some major, um, unpleasant things happening on the second day already (her roommate kept muttering about threats and revenge throughout the night – not directed at my sister, but she was super scared nonetheless but thankfully was able to be transferred to another room two days later; she also had to go to another ward for two days because her pulse was way too fast and there were some anomalies with her heartrate but everything turned out fine) but after that, everything went just fine.

    Her new roommate is a lovely quiet older lady, she gets along well with the other patients (except for her former roommate who keeps annoying everyone), and the therapies seem to be helping a lot already, despite it only having been a week. The only downside is that she’s not been able to get a good night’s sleep through all of this, partly because of recurring nightmares and flashbacks to her abuse, partly because the secure unit of the psychiatric ward is right above her and has two people who erupt into vicious screaming bursts at the most random times [I visited her yesterday and was able to witness these as you can actually see up there when you’re in the common room – it was horrifying and bizarre and incredibly sad all at the same time], partly because of her anxiety and homesickness. On the upside, she’s already managed to apply some of the strageties she learned during different sessions in these situations where she got triggered, and she seems to be really really happy to see it actually working.

    She’s allowed to come home from Saturday morning to Sunday night, so we made some special lunch today and she’s basically been glued to our cat and yeah, we’ll see how it goes in week 3. But so far, while she’s scared of what’s to come and would much rather be home, she’s also getting much needed help by people who are without fail very nice and competent and understanding.

    1. fposte*

      Aw, Myrin, this sounds like a relieved exhale is in order; I’m glad. I know it’s not perfect, but it’s really great that there are good things happening there and she’s getting the benefit.

    2. Tara R.*

      Oh, I’m so glad it’s helping her. I had an ex go through a very similar program after she had attempted suicide, and I know it really helped her get her head together and she’s well on the road to recovery now. Wishing your family all the best.

    3. nep*

      Wow. Thanks for the update. All in all, sounds very positive. Glad she got transferred and things are better with new roommate. Tough road ahead, but sounds like all in a good direction. She’s fortunate to have such loving, caring people in her life. All the best to you and your family.

          1. AnonInSC*

            Agreed. Your sister is so brave to do this – I hop she knows that! And hugs to you and your family as you support her.

    4. TootsNYC*

      I get that an organized ward or unit like this can be an efficient way of gathering the services together, but oh my goodness, how hard on people must it be when there are such extremes, and right next to you where you can’t get away?!?

      Best of everything to your sister!

  13. Marcela*

    Several weeks ago there was a conversation about wills. I ended very convinced we needed one, so I used a service my husband have through his work, Arag, to make a will. But now I don’t see how that thing is going to help me. It essentially says I leave everything to my husband and if he doesn’t survive me, to my brother. But I wonder how this is ever going to be executed, since my brother doesn’t live in the US and the will does not include any contact information or a way for him to verify he is the actual person I had in mind (such as our ID or passport number). I don’t actually care if my things go to the government, at least not enough, since my family has been in bitter wars for relatives’ possessions, even if in my country the rules are actually very clear and strict. It’s my cat I worry the most.

    So I wonder if I’m not getting the whole process. When you die, what happens? I mean, if I die now, my brother will know something happened when I don’t answer his IM messages for several days and he can’t contact me. No one in the US will think of contact him or my family in my whole country. Or do they? Will someone try to find my next of kin in between my documents and discover that way we have wills? Or are wills register in a database so they will “pop” when my death certificate is created? Would it help if besides from the paper we have inside our door saying “please rescue my pet, he is a tuxedo cat called Curu”, we put our family info in our home country?

    So many questions…

    1. fposte*

      I would say that you’re talking about two kinds of documents. One is the registered will that identifies who is legally entitled to your assets. One is the document that tells people what they should know when you’re dead or incapacitated. You’ve done the first one but not the second; I’ve done the second and not the first :-).

      What you want to do about the second depends on what else is going on with your assets and your family, but for a start I’d give your brother the info for your lawyer and vice versa; I’d have a copy of the will readily accessible at home, and I’d definitely add info about your lawyer and family to your cat document.

      I don’t know about the will/death certificate crossmatching thing, but I’d do my best to make the connection clear at my end even if theoretically that’s supposed to happen.

      We’ll probably never need it, but it’s an easy thing to do just in case.

      1. Marcela*

        Oh! I did not know about the second document! Is that the one saying you want or not to be reanimated in the hospital (or something like that: my English fails me now) or that’s yet another document?

        1. fposte*

          That’s yet another one :-). There you’re talking about a living will and possibly medical power of attorney. I don’t think there’s an official name for the one I’m talking about–it’s just the one you’re leaving in a prominent place at home so people can find the legal stuff. Mostly it’s telling your spouse where all the info is, especially if you’re the keeper of the financial side, but it’s also, as you indicate, the document just in case it’s somebody other than your spouse who has to figure this out. My friends know where mine is, for instance, as does my cleaner, so the people likeliest to get into my house when I’m doomed can find the loose end to the life documents ball of yarn.

    2. SAHM*

      You might want to consider getting a trust rather than a will. My husband and I will be setting up a trust soon, basically everything goes into the trust, bank accounts, any other accounts and passwords (this one is important, my hubby is IT and everything is crazy networked in the house, I can’t even get into our movies if he’s not logged into the iTunes library sharing mode of the Apple TV), house, guardianship of the children, whose going to be the executor in the event of our deaths, etc. It’s a bit pricier, but because everything is a trust you don’t pay inheritance tax(?) or go into probate (? Words might not be accurate) after you die, everything is easily and QUICKLY accessible to the inheritor. So they can, you know, pay the mortgage so the house doesn’t forclose while they’re getting your funeral and arranging stuff for your kids.

    3. TootsNYC*

      You often can register your will with the local government–and that’s a wise move, bcs it’s then always there.

      And if you die, and they know who you are, they may look there.

      But you do need something somewhere–even if it’s just that you give info on all that stuff (just draw up a sheet of paper that’s complete and well-organized) and give it to someone who would know you locally. I don’t think the second one is really all that specific a LEGAL document (the will is); just a list of what to do, who to contact, and put it somewhere (or somewheres) easily found.

      You could make it a file in your phone; put it in a bright red file folder in the very front of your filing cabinet.

      It doesn’t have to be the morbid “if something bad happens”; just label it “all the important stuff.”

  14. Amber Rose*

    OK. I am still learning adulting stuff so I have a weird question. Can I actually clean the filter on my stove’s hood vent or do I need to buy a new one?

    It’s been leaking orange goo down the walls. And it’s so old I’m not sure I could get a replacement. So I’m soaking it but. Will that just ruin it?

    1. Jake from State Farm*

      It might be too old to get really clean. I would opt to replace it and then clean the next one 3-4 times a year (by soaking it in hot soapy water…maybe more if you cook a lot.

    2. TootsNYC*

      What’s it made of? If it’s metal, it won’t ruin it.
      Simple Green is a great de-greaser; soak it in hot water s/ some of that in there.

      Also, you can buy a new one pretty easily; if you google your stove, you can probably find a manual, and cheap parts online. The model number is probably somewhere on the stove itself, in a little plate or sticker.

      1. Wrench Turner*

        2nd endorsement for Simple Green soak if it’s metal and/or just getting the measurements and ordering a new one. Consider also cleaning as best you can in/around where the filter is mounted.

          1. TootsNYC*

            Let me know how the Simple Green does. I used it undiluted on the thick layer of grease on top of the kitchen cabinets, and it completely took it off. Then I remodeled and put in a soffit to block that area.

            (You also might try cooking oil on that.)

    3. Nina*

      Sorry that this isn’t an answer, but is the orange goo that a vent-related issue? I’ve been seeing that on my bathroom walls for a long time now. There isn’t a window in there, (sigh) only a “vent” that’s probably older than me.

    4. Noah*

      Baking soda in a pot of boiling water will clean really grimy ones. I run mine through the dishwasher about once a week to keep them clean.

    5. Lissajous*

      Also, a trick to help keep the outside of the rangehood clean: engine degreaser. Yes, the stuff for cars. I happened to have some on hand when I was cleaning mine over eight months ago, and not only did it make cleaning the easiest thing ever (spray, leave five minutes, wipe), it’s only just getting to the stage now where it needs another clean.

      Not so sure I’d use it on the filter, since that sits directly over food being cooked, but on the outside it is the best thing ever.

    6. Yetanotherjennifer*

      They’re stronger than they look and most can be cleaned in the dishwasher. They’re pretty inexpensive and can be found at Home Depot, lowes and most hardware stores.

    7. Sibley*

      Oh, I just cleaned mine earlier this year! Turned out to be really easy.

      Take the filter down, spray to death with oven cleaner. Let sit for a few minutes. Rinse with hot water – a spray works best. Repeat until you’re happy with it, then let it drip dry before putting it back up. It took 4-5 rounds for me, but it turned from greasy brown to silver in the end!

  15. Tara R.*

    Is it reasonable for me to ask my roommate to let me know if she’s not going to come home? I’m not her mother, obviously, but she got realllllyyy drunk last night (which is incredibly out of character for her, I’ve never seen her have more than half a drink before– she’s told me that she just doesn’t drink) and went out to a party with her friend, and ended up crashing at her place. Meanwhile I’m up half the night because she was like falling over intoxicated the last time I saw her, and she’s not answering my texts, and I’m worried that I should be calling the police or something.

    She replied to me around noon today, so everything’s fine, but is it reasonable to have some sort of conversation about this? Or at least have her tell me in words that I shouldn’t worry about her until it’s been like 24 hours or something. I feel like my anxiety is blowing this way out of proportion.

    1. blackcat*

      When I’ve had roommates, we’ve always communicated about schedule for politeness/safety reasons. I’d say it’s reasonable, but I know different folks have different standards. Age/gender/location/etc certainly play a role–at the time, I was living on the edge of a not great neighborhood as a young woman with another young woman. My last roommate and I had a super up front conversation about it, but we were also the sorts to have a whiteboard with coming/going schedule on the wall (we were both students/working really irregular hours. So if I knew she got home at midnight, I wouldn’t be making coffee for her at 6am. And if she knew I wouldn’t be home until 7:30pm or so, she’d have dinner waiting for me. She was a really, really awesome roommate.)

    2. Meeeeeeeee*

      It depends on your relationship with her (e.g. before you became roommates, were you already friends or were you strangers? etc) but in general I would say that this is not your concern. I have had roommates where I would have gotten the friends phone number before they even left just to be able to check in on her, and I have had roommates where I would not hear about this all until we happened to be in the kitchen at the same time a few days later. In general I think the latter is more common. Of course it’s good to keep an eye on each other, but she left with a friend (not a stranger). So it really wasn’t such an outrageous situation, and you knew she was drunk so her not responding to your texts is also not that unexpected.
      I guess I’m trying to say, it depends on specifics (ages, relationship, area) but it does sound like your anxiety took you on an unnecessary ride here.

      1. Tara R.*

        Yeah, you’re probably right. Part of my issue was the girl she was with wasn’t one of her *close* friends, and I’ve only seen her maybe twice and wasn’t sure if she was also drunk/the kind of person to abandon really trashed girls alone at frat parties. Plus my roommate told me the reason she doesn’t drink is because she was once roofied at a high school party, so I think I just had alarm bells going off? (Which is silly, because it’s not like having had an awful experience makes it more likely for her to have another awful experience, but the emotions are not always rational.) At any rate, we’re not very close, so I should probably just mind my own business– we live in literally the same room, so it’s hard not to be hyper aware of this sort of thing.
        Plus the first year university aspect is probably impacting me a little bit; we’ve both only been out of the house for 3 months or so, so it just feels weird that there’s nobody looking out for her to make sure she’s ok.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          Why not have a talk with her about it? If she’s been open enough about being roofied, she might appreciate that there’s someone who has her back, so to speak. Maybe she would be OK with having to check in with you by Xpm, maybe she wouldn’t (and vice versa). There are reasons why there are different rules for women who use online dating services, so your fears are not completely out of line.

          You might also want to check how much of your anxiety about no one looking out for her is also about no one looking out for you. This is part of what it means to become an adult. You get to a certain age or place in life, and no one is really watching you/keeping an eye out. For some people, it’s a bit weird or concerning, for others they feel as if the handcuffs are finally off and they can do as they please without having to justify or explain it to anyone. It’s nice that you care enough to keep an eye on her, but she may not be the sort of person who feels the same way.

          1. Dan*

            Yeah, I live on my own, am mostly an introvert, and have a job where working from home is common. I also do a fair amount of overseas travel.

            I’ve sort of accepted the notion that if something were to happen to me, it could be several days before anybody would notice anything is amiss, and by then it will probably be too late. But that’s the price I pay for my independence.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              Me too. And I hate being photographed. I’ve joked (to myself only!) that I would be the perfect murder victim — no one would know anything was amiss. There was some story on the news a while back about a woman (?) who had died in her house and no one noticed for 3 years. She had had enough money in the bank, her bills were auto-debited online. When the money ran out, her home was foreclosed on and resold. At which point, they had to go into it and find her mummified remains in her bed. Uh… I need to get out more! Cautionary tales for people in clamshells.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            Agreeing with DB, about talking to her. It’s whatever the two of you decide on. Make sure you actually are willing to do what you have agreed to do or not do as the case may be.

            And yeah, find extra ways to take care of you. It looks like Roommate is not going to be checking on your overall well-being. So move to plan b.

            I lived with a family member for a summer. Since I was a year older, I was the Designated Responsible One. Oh what fun. Family member just wanted to do whatever/whenever. I tried to responsibly keep track of her. Meanwhile, I could have fallen off the edge of the earth and she would have seen no cause for alarm. It did not go well. She would agree to be more responsible and then go back to doing whatever.
            Sometimes it is better to just agree you are both on your own then you know where you stand and what you have to do. Your agreement might boil down to “If I don’t bubble to the surface after three days then call the cops.” At least you know where your responsibility begins and ends with her.

        2. So Very Anonymous*

          Am I reading correctly that you’re both in your first year at university? I do think that changes things a little. I’d suggest talking with her about your concerns a little later, and seeing if you can work out some kind of plan that doesn’t make you feel like you’re each other’s moms, but also acknowledges that you want each other to be safe. More like “Hey, I was concerned the other night and I wonder if we should work out some kind of plan where we text each other quickly if we’re not coming home.” Maybe just a code word or something rather than specific details, so that you aren’t necessarily in each others’ business (unless you agree that you want to be?), but enough for some peace of mind.

          1. Tara R.*

            Thank you everyone! She actually ended up bringing it up herself (probably because I did text her twice last night, once at 2 and once at 3:30– nothing too overbearing I hope, just “Hey, you planning on coming back tonight? Hope you’re having fun!” and then “I’m assuming you’re crashing somewhere for the night? Talk to you tomorrow!”) and said she’d try to let me know if she was going to be out overnight, but if she doesn’t I shouldn’t worry about it until midday the next day. I said I’d do the same, although I don’t get the impression she’s overly worried about my whereabouts.

            1. Nina*

              FWIW, I was in the opposite situation once. I was very shy and reserved in college, but one night, I went out with a few friends and didn’t return home until very late. One of my roommates had been waiting up for me because she was worried since I really didn’t party and drink.

              She was initially upset that I hadn’t checked in (I guess she tried to call me) but we got over it and things were fine. Later on, I was actually touched that she had been so worried, since my roommates and I weren’t close.

    3. K.*

      I had a really good roommate situation years ago in NYC (three of us; we started out as friends of friends and are still friends even though we all live in different states now) and we never really told each other about comings and goings unless we were going away for a few days or longer. If someone was just going out, we’d probably mention it for conversation’s sake (“Going out with that guy I met at [mutual friend’s] party later!”) but we wouldn’t expect anyone to keep tabs on anyone’s whereabouts.

      If you really feel like you should say something to her, I would probably frame it as a one-time thing, like “Hey, you were really out of it the other night, everything OK?” rather than asking her if you should be checking up on her.

    4. Dan*

      It’s reasonable to ask her in the general sense if you guys should have some sort of an arrangement of having each others backs. I think I would avoid the “when you stay out all night, I can’t sleep” line, because if that’s really the problem, that’s more for you to find a way to deal with it, not your roommate.

      Also be prepared for a “no” and don’t press the conversation further.

      I’ll note that even if you call the cops, they may very well not do anything until several days have passed. When my ex wife had gone off the deep end, there was a period of time where she would stay out all night, or not even come home for days at a time. Once when I had had enough of that and hadn’t seen her for two days, I called the cops to file a missing persons report. I live in a very wealthy county where the cops have nothing to do but write speeding tickets. They sent one over to take the report, and he was like um, she’s a healthy adult, she can do what she wants, there’s nothing we can really do, thanks for paying your taxes!

    5. Sunflower*

      In college, we used to always tell each other if we were sleeping out. Which was kind of strange because we lived in a super safe college town. Now with my roommates, we never told each other unless we asked. If I was the only one in the apt at night, I would sometimes text my roommate and ask if she was coming home because I felt safer(not sure why lol?) putting the chain on the door rather than just locking it if I was alone.

      Usually if someone wasn’t home by like 1pm the next day, I would text them and ask if they were okay or where they were. I was never really seriously concerned and it was done in more of a ‘wow what happened last night that was so wild that it’s 1pm and you’re not home yet’

    6. EvilQueenRegina*

      I remember the time my college roommate told me she was coming back to the room that night, but given that she’d spent the last two nights with this guy she was seeing I had my doubts about that and didn’t worry when she wasn’t in when I went to bed. Until I got a 2am phone call from boyfriend’s roommate – boyfriend had gone off with her best friend (long story) and she had disappeared. It turned out in the end her best friend’s ex had taken her back to his room to comfort her, but it had me worried at the time. She was really apologetic the next day and said she’d let me know if it happened again.

    7. Amy UK*

      Maybe it’s a cultural difference, but I don’t think it would be appropriate. I’d be looking for a new roommate if they expected an arrangement like that. As an adult, it’s my prerogative to change my plans whenever I like without feeling bad if I forget to notify someone. You could perhaps say, “Hey, if you aren’t coming home could you try and let me know?” if you frame it purely as a casual thing and nbd if she forgets. But if you phrase it anything like the post you made here, it’s too much like “Can you let me know because otherwise you’re causing me great distress” which isn’t cool when it’s your response which is unreasonable here, not her actions.

      If you have anxiety, you should be dealing with it yourself. I don’t mean *by* yourself, but the answer to clinical anxiety is treating your anxiety. It isn’t asking everyone around you to avoid whatever actions your anxiety happens to be latching on to at that point (because I know anxiety, and if your flatmate did start checking in, your anxiety would just find something else to feed on).

  16. Vee*

    Any childfree people out there who do not have/do not plan to have kids that can offer advice on where they have found their social circle and maybe even their significant other? I’m in my late 20s and it seems like all of my friends are getting married and having children and I feel a little out of place… I don’t want kids and feel like I will be forever single partly because of it.

    1. katamia*

      I’m childfree too, but I feel like my dating life hasn’t suffered all that much because of it (although it certainly has for other reasons, lol). I try to be very open about it–I say I don’t want kids on my online dating profile, don’t reply to messages from people who have kids or say they want them (although I will reply to people who say they aren’t sure), etc. Being with the wrong person is worse than being single, and since you don’t want children, someone who either wants them or already has kids would be the wrong person.

      I also think I have an advantage, though, because I’m in a large, liberal area where there are lots of possibilities, and I do see a lot of dating profiles with men who say they don’t want kids (not sure whether you’re looking for men, women, both, whatever), and I also know a lot of women who are uninterested in having children. I’m not sure where you are, but I could see it being tougher in an area where there are fewer options or where people feel like they can be less open about the fact that they don’t want children.

      1. Vee*

        I’m in the Denver area and I feel like it should be easy to find people who are like-minded/in a similar situation, but man has it been tough! I tried online dating a couple years ago, then swore it off after a few bad experiences, but I may go back just because the kids thing is out there in the open. It is surprising how many guys waver even though they say they don’t want them (I’m a woman looking for a man).

    2. Jessica (tc)*

      Are there any childfree groups in your area? There aren’t in mine, but I know that a lot of other places do have childfree groups where you can meet like-minded people and just hang out.

      My closest friends are still those I met in school (one from high school and a few from college), but they are now all a few states away. The friends I have where I currently live are all former co-workers, but that probably isn’t super helpful for those who want to keep a strong work/life separation. (I became closer friends after I left the job, though, because I do tend toward a fairly solid work/life separation for most people I’ve worked with.) The hardest part is keeping up with people who have school-aged children, because they are always busy with school activities for their kids.

      My singlehood story is probably a bit weird, because I thought I’d be single forever (and was okay with that thought, actually preferring it). I met my husband through blogging (we both had blogs and met via that), and we became close friends for a few years before we considered dating. Going into the romantic relationship, we knew that we both didn’t want children, and he knew that I didn’t take dating lightly. (I really took being single seriously, because I truly thought I wasn’t cut out for a relationship or marriage.) When we started dating, I actually considered him my best friend, because we knew pretty much everything about the other and had known each other for long enough.

      I know from the dating scene before I swore off dating that it’s hard to determine whether a guy is okay with being childfree or not, though. I’m pretty blunt and very upfront about these things, so almost everyone that I met through friends or social circles usually already knew that about me. I swore off blind dates (although I do know two people who met their husbands on blind dates, so my philosophy obviously shouldn’t be everyone else’s), but a few times there were the “but how can you not want children? Well, you’re a woman, so you’ll change your mind once that old biological clock starts ticking!” discussions that usually ended with me saying, “I’ve been openly childfree since I was seven, so I’m positive I won’t be changing my mind.” If a guy wasn’t already childfree, then there was never a date after the one where I discovered that fact, usually the first or second one at the latest. I didn’t want to deal with someone trying to change my mind when I knew my mind was already made up on the childfree side of things, so I generally tried to date only those I knew were like-minded. Sometimes, however, I met the ambivalent sort who seemed okay with it, but who would eventually begin to make little comments about me changing my mind. That wasn’t going to happen, so…yeah.

      I’d love to hear the stories from others, though, because I know from some of the childfree sites that I visit that it can be hard to find a significant other who is absolutely sure he/she is childfree when you already are yourself. :(

    3. GH in SoCAl*

      Be a Geek. :-D

      I’ve found most of my friends at SF Cons and Board Gaming Parties. Or swordfighting class.

      So, any unusual hobby oughta do it.

    4. NicoleK*

      We don’t have children. Some of my friends have children, some don’t. Sometimes I’ll spend time with a friend and her children. Sometimes it’s just the friend alone. I just go with it. I have nieces and nephews and do well with children. So it really hasn’t affected my friendships.

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      Spouse and I are childfree. We met in college. Almost all of our friends have kids, and it is a bit tough. We hang out with them when we can, but they’re often exhausted or coordinating playdates. The few childfree couples we’ve come across have been merely by chance.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      My husband and I found each other at work. Yeah, I know. We both ditched the job and kept each other! ha!
      And many of his friends with no kids came from work situations.
      As the years rolled by, we really noticed how people without kids hung out with other people without kids. As you are saying here, there are reasons for that: it’s easier. Birds of a feather…. as the saying goes.
      Some people with kids stayed in our lives, but not everyone.

    7. danr*

      I met my wife in grad school and children just never happened. But our friends have come from high school, college, grad schools and work . When you work for an outfit for more than a few years you do manage to make friends. Others have come from our professions and email discussion lists and facebook. The thing is that it takes time for the friendships to develop.

    8. Finny*

      Both the husband and myself are childfree. Neither of us has ever wanted (or liked) kids, not even when we were kids ourselves.

      We met at an anime con in Toronto. I lived in Colorado at the time and he lived in Calgary. My best friend, university roommate, and ex-fiancee was dating the head of security for the con. Said head of security was the husband’s friend. We were both working security for the con in 2004, and bonded over Power Ranger morphers.

      Over the next year and a half or so, we visited back and forth, then just before Christmas in 2006 I came up to Canada for the final time, we got married on February 24th, 2007, and I’ve been up here ever since. Became a permanent resident in 2008, and I’m working towards gathering everything for applying for citizenship. Once I have that, I plan on trying to revoke my US citizenship if they let me.

      As for friends up here, we’ve met most of them through My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic or more anime and other cons, honestly. None of them are officially childfree, but none of them currently have children, either, and it seems they don’t particularly care if they ever do, going by conversations that we’ve had over the years.

      What seems to work best for us in finding friends (which matters more to the husband than to me, as friends are not something I’m overly concerned with having) is to do stuff we know we enjoy, such as the conventions, local gaming stores, and whatnot, and just meeting folks through those events. We don’t really set out to make friends, either of us. It just seems to happen when it happens. Either we click with people or we don’t.

    9. the sugar plum fairy*

      A lot of my childless by choice friends struggle with this too, so you are far from alone. Most of my friends I met through our church and we are all in our 30s. About half of them have kids, half do not. We’ve been friends for nearly a decade and its been interesting to see how out group’s dynamic has changed. The couples with kids have started to drift a bit, because they are hanging out with other young families, but we still see them regularly. The childless by choice couples have all expressed how hard it is to find other couples who don’t want children, particularly in our church (which strongly promotes pro creation) and in our age bracket. I was single for a really long time, and I felt like such an outsider at times in my social group. :(

    10. Worker Bee (Germany)*

      This could have been my text. It is really though to find a man. I put my (online dating) search on hold for now because it has been so frustrating plus I need to focus more on myself first before being ready for a man.
      We have lots of “new in city xyz” groups in facebook that helped me make a lot of good friends. Good luck to you!

      1. Vee*

        Thanks! It feels good to know that I am not alone! Sometimes the emotional support and empathy helps, even when it is virtual!

    11. Not Gloria, A.A., B.S.*

      I met my husband online through a dating website. But that was nearly 13 years ago and I’ve heard online dating has changed. Honestly I wish I could find CF friends my age with similar interests.

    12. Revanche*

      I don’t fit your demographic anymore but even in our late 30s (when people tend to have drifted to the kids or no kids zones of their social circles), at least half or more of our friends are single / just dating and childfree (by choice or not), and it’s really nice to have variety rather than all parent friends just because we’re parents. At our most recent gathering, we hosted a large group of friends across the whole spectrum of single, dating or married, and none of them have kids.
      If you don’t dislike kids, like NicoleK says, it doesn’t necessarily have to affect your friendships and social circle just because everyone else seems to be getting married and having kids. And FWIW, my dating friends (my age and older) find their prospective partners online a lot, through dating sites or just mutual interest sites, and while there have been some doozies, they’ve also met some really great people too.

  17. Joel*

    Just venting some frustration: I’ll be moving house in about a month and it’s been a while since I last moved and I’ve forgotten how much a hassle it is! I’m in a one bedroom apartment and can’t believe how much crap I’ve accumulated in this small space!

    1. nep*

      I hear you. One positive thing is it’s a great occasion to purge and organise. Good luck with the move.

    2. FutureLibrarian*

      I use every move as an opportunity to reduce the stuff I have! Before I pack anything at all, I do a sweep of the room and make three piles: trash, donate, keep. Then, as I put stuff in boxes, I ask myself again if I use it/need it/want it. Otherwise, it goes. :) I find it makes life in general so much easier!

  18. Chalupa Batman*

    I identified a “visitor” in my office as a jumping spider. I decided not try to kill it because according to the interwebs, it’s only aggressive if threatened, and isn’t likely to hurt me if it bites me. I don’t want to kill anything, and I definitely don’t want to miss and break the tentative truce we seem to have developed. I have named it Fergus.

    1. katamia*

      There were a couple of huntsman spiders in my bathroom in Taiwan. I usually ignore spiders, but I got rid of the huntsman spiders because I didn’t want to step on it in the middle of the night, have it think I was being aggressive, and get bitten.

    2. hermit crab*

      Spiders make great roommates/officemates! They are quiet, eat pesky insects, and don’t judge you if you wear the same pants three days in a row. Sometimes you might have to clean up some discarded exoskeletons (most spiders don’t really understand the concept of taking out the trash), but that’s it. I am almost certainly in the minority, but I really like it when the cellar spiders that live in the vents of my apartment building decide to come out for a visit. :)

    3. mander*

      If you look up macro photos of jumping spiders, you might find that they are actually quite cute up close.

    4. ThursdaysGeek*

      As mander said, jumping spiders are very cute. They are also excellent house or office spiders because they eat other bugs and don’t leave much in the way of webs. Fergus is probably a girl (and yes, I CAN tell boy and girl spiders apart), especially if she is reasonably big. Jumping spiders don’t like being picked up, but I’ve never been bitten by one when I do. So I doubt that they are all that aggressive even when threatened (or else they can tell that skyscraper sized monster that just grabbed them with those huge appendages are not threatening?)

  19. Biglaw Stormtrooper*

    Help from cat people, please? I just got my first kitty (today!) and so far the adjustment has been great–she’s just in one room for now but she only hid for a bit, is coming to me for cuddles, seems to like her bed, etc. But…she seems to dislike the litterbox. I tried taking the lid off, and I’m using the same type of litter that the shelter was, but every time I try to nudge her in that direction the instant her paw hits the litter she backs away. What can I do? Is it possible that she won’t go while I’m here, and should I be worried about her going elsewhere or will this figure itself out once she needs to use it?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Is she a kitten or fully grown? Unless she’s a very young kitten (4-5 weeks, in which case the shelter probably wouldn’t have adopted her out yet), she will almost definitely use the box when she needs to. She just may not need to yet and doesn’t like being nudged to.

      You mentioned a lid — I’d leave that off for a few days while she gets used to it.

    2. Jessica (tc)*

      It may just be that she hasn’t had to go yet or that she’s still trying to get comfortable before using it. Most cats aren’t as crazy as mine, but just in case yours turns out to be like her, I’ll give you the background on mine. I’ve had cats my entire life, though, and most just seem to wait until they are comfortable and then go wherever you put the box. I’ve never had a cat have issues with using whatever litter or whatever box I happened to have before the one we currently have, but she’s definitely a “special” kitty, because she has other odd tendencies that spring from her previous home as well.

      Our cat is fully grown, and we adopted her from a shelter after she was surrendered from a previous home. Here’s what worked for her (but bear in mind that my cat is really, really weird about her litterbox):

      She has a clear entrance and a clear exit route. My cat is very litterbox- and litter-specific, so we had to try to find the best box for her and the best litter. She will only use unscented clay litter of a very specific kind. (I don’t know why, but it’s been working, so we’re going with it.) She also was very concerned about her actual litterbox. The short, all-one-height ones didn’t work. My vet suggested just getting a Rubbermaid box and putting litter in it, but she refused to jump in (all sides were again the same height). We finally found one that had a clear “entrance” area (one side was a little lower) that had higher sides on the other three sides (she didn’t like “short” ones). We also were unable to put a lid on it (wouldn’t even go into it) or put it in a corner. She has to have three sides clear: one side to enter, one side to exit at a leaping run, and the third side (one of the long ones) to keep an eye out on what’s going on around her.

      She only goes in on the short, low side and only exits on the short, high side. We know that she was harassed at her previous home by either other cats or dogs, so she has some food anxieties that we’ve also had to work with along with her litterbox anxieties, but we have made a LOT of progress at making her litterbox problems pretty much disappear. I mean, she’s still neurotic about what the box looks like, where it’s placed, and the type of litter, but now that we have all of those figured out, we have two litterboxes for her to use (one upstairs and one downstairs) and she hasn’t had any issues using them since we figured out all of her “requirements.” ;)

      Actually our cat hated being cooped up in one room when we first got her (recommended by the shelter) and didn’t go at all until we let her out–and then she wouldn’t go back into that room we had her shut in to use the box, so we had to move it out of that room until she realized we wouldn’t shut her in there again. She would hold it and then make these pitiful howling noises when she really, really, really had to go before eventually not being able to hold it anymore and going wherever she was when she hit that point. :( We were VERY happy when we finally figured all of her personal requirements out, because it’s sad when a kitty is so upset about it that she holds it and refuses to go like that.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      It is possible she won’t go while you’re watching her. It’s also possible that a brand new litter box and litter doesn’t smell like “cat” so she doesn’t get it. There is a brand of litter that is supposed to be cat attractant, I’ve seen it at Petsmart.

      When I brought my cats inside, I went over to a neighbour’s house and asked if I could have a cat brick. Yes, I borrowed cat poop from a neighbour. I had read somewhere that cats cover up stuff like that and try to cancel it out with their own. I think I also might have put the older cat in the box and grabbed her legs and dug with them so she’d get the idea. I also put it in the middle of the kitchen floor so if there were any accidents, they would be easy to clean up. I think the first night, they didn’t use it. There was a pee stain on my bathmat :/ which is when I think I decided to do the place-in-the-box-and-dig-with-paws maneuver. With the foreign cat poop and the digging, I think she got it because she went right away and I cheered. Then the boy did and more cheering. After it had been “christened” I moved it to somewhere else and they’ve never had a problem since.

      Until you’re seeing that she has definitely disturbed the litter, yes you should be looking around for a place she might be going. Some cats will train you where they want their litter pan.

      1. blackcat*

        Yeah, my cat won’t go if someone can see him–that’s mostly why we got a covered box. He’ll still glare at you if you walk in the room while he’s in there and he won’t enter the box if someone is near by.

        If your cat does go somewhere other than the litter box, pick it up (if it’s poop) or the object peed on (eg bath mat) and put it in the litter box. That gives the box the right smell.

    4. GOG11*

      When I got my kitten and I showed him where everything was he hopped out of the litter box as soon as I set him down in it. I assumed he just didn’t want to hang out in the litter box when he didn’t have to go and had more interesting things to do. He’s never gone outside of the box, so I think my assumption was correct.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        My kitten did his first poop on the floor, so I picked it up and put it in the litter box. I put him in there with it, and he sniffed at it and then buried it. After that, he always went in the litter box. Easiest training ever.

    5. Biglaw Stormtrooper*

      Thank you all, that’s very helpful! She’s a year and a half old, so not a baby, but the last few days have been very stressful for her (her former owner gave her up five days ago, she then went to the shelter and I got her today) so I know there will be an adjustment period. I will probably be back next weekend (or later this weekend!) with more questions.

      1. Jessica (tc)*

        Aw, I’m so glad she found a new home so quickly! She probably just needs an adjustment period, since she’s had a lot happen to her in a week. :)

      2. Sibley*

        Give her time. If she’s previously litter box trained, she will use the box. If there’s an accident, don’t freak out just put the poop in the box and let her see it there. Let her explore, approach you at her own pace, and gently enforce whatever rules you need to from the beginning. Provide toys and scratching posts.

        Many cats are more comfortable exploring a new location at night, when it’s quiet. Once she’s comfortable in the room, quietly open the door and let her venture forth on her own into the rest of the house. If you move food/litterbox, make sure you show her where they are.

  20. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I think Tig Notaro might be the funniest and best human on the planet.

    In case you aren’t familiar with her, you need to be! She’s a very dry and very hilarious comedian. And if you haven’t listened to her now-famous set about getting cancer, or watched her Showtime special, or watched her HBO special, you need to do all three immediately. After you do that, you can also watch Netflix’s new documentary on her.

    Stand-up show right after getting breast cancer: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/tig-notaro/id452315956

    Or free on streaming if you have Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HL00PZC?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

    Showtime special: http://www.sho.com/sho/comedy/titles/3401415/knock-knock-its-tig-notaro#/index

    HBO special: http://www.hbo.com/comedy/tig-notaro-boyish-girl-interrupted

    Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80028208

    1. nep*

      She is fantastic. I love her bit about randomly texting a friend — ‘what’s your ETA?’
      Definitely check her out.

    2. ginger ale for all*

      She was on This American Life today with her future mother in law. Most NPR stations should be running the show on the weekend.

        1. ginger ale for all*

          She is the second segment of the show. The first one is rather long about a woman who self diagnosed her form of muscular dystrophy. It’s pledge week so the show is extra long due to begging breaks. I have been lucky to catch her on NPR a lot. My public library also has her cd’s but as soon as you check one out, it gets recalled by another patron quickly. Same with Jim Gaffigan.

    3. Come On Eileen*

      I adore her. She tours pretty regularly so if you ever get a chance to see her in person, I highly recommend it.

      Also, I think Amazon Prime just picked up her new tv show based loosely on her life (One Mississippi). Louis CK is the producer which makes it even more awesome in my eyes.

    4. Blue_eyes*

      She’s great! We saw her live in NYC last year and it was hilarious. Her bit about doing sets in Vegas with ice cream on her face is one of my favorites.

  21. Anna*

    Anyone have tips for the quickest way to freshen up after a lunchtime workout if you don’t have access to a shower?
    I’ve read that it’s not a good idea to leave makeup on during while exercising (and sweating!), and while I don’t wear much make up (just light foundation) I find it such a hassle to put it on and take it off. Do people usually do this?

    1. Nina*

      Are you referring to just makeup, or freshening up in general? I know baby wipes are popular to “clean up” without having to actually hop in the shower.

      As for makeup, I wouldn’t leave it on because I’d be afraid of the sweat being trapped in my skin along with the oil and grime.

    2. Dear Liza dear liza*

      I stick to weights and ab work during my lunch hour since I don’t have time to shower. If I do cardio, I keep it really low key to minimize sweating. I definitely don’t remove makeup. Consequently, the really sweaty stuff I leave for either before or after work.

    3. newreader*

      I don’t generally wear make-up, so I don’t have any tips there. But I do use a dry shampoo (it’s a spray) to freshen my hair after the gym. It helps get rid of the damp, oily feeling, particularly at the hairline without any water.

      1. GreenTeaPot*

        Yes, essentials: Dry shampoo, baby wipes, light-scent body spray, panty liners. I remove and reapply makeup, but I don’t wear much beyond lip gloss, foundation and powder. My dilemma: flattened hair with no body.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Flattened hair with no body: if the dry shampoo alone doesn’t fix that for you, try root lift powder. The directions say to sprinkle it on your fingertips and run them through your roots where they need a lift, but my co-worker taught me to sprinkle it directly on the spot where the lift is needed and then work it in with your fingers. It really works.

    4. the gold digger*

      I don’t sweat that much when I work out. Maybe genetics, maybe because it is usually really cold here, probably because I am super lazy.

      Anyhow – the only makeup I wear is eyeshadow and mascara. I don’t take it off to exercise and I don’t reapply. I care only to have enough makeup on to look human – I work with almost all engineers, almost all men and I already have a husband. I don’t need to look va-voom.

      We have a shower in our locker room at work, but all I do is wash under my arms and re-apply deodorant.

    5. Dr. Johnny Fever*

      I can’t advise on makeup since I don’t wear it in general.

      I use witch hazel wipes after yoga. They kill the bacteria that creates odor, and feels fresh when it dries.

      For my hair, I pull it in a ponytail or twist it under a hairclip.

  22. Wrench Turner*

    Anyone dealing with a spouse detained away for the first time? How’s it going?
    Long story short, what was supposed to be Christmas-New Year’s parent’s-couch-hopping vacation with my wife was suddenly turned to several days in the ICU and funeral/estate planning for her father. She’s still down there trying to sell his house, wrap up his affairs, etc and may not come back for another 2-3 weeks.

    Our tiny house is strangely empty. We have a little bird and we keep each other company, but it’s odd to go to work, come home, cook for me, and… that’s it. Haven’t been motivated to work on art, which I should, or much of anything else, really. Sucks.

    If some positive may come out of it, when things settle financially and everyone is paid back for fronting the funeral – we had to shake out $11k in about 2 days before/after New Year’s- we may have enough to pay off our student loans, get my motorcycle (was her dad’s) fixed and get a new small bike so she can start riding too.

    Tonight I set up another slow cooker pork shoulder that should feed me the entire week, and it will be most delicious, but it’s lonesome and it sucks and I hate it.

    1. Dan*

      Sorry about your loss.

      While I can’t really help you at this very moment, big picture, do you have any social outlets beyond your wife? If not, long term it would be a good thing to consider, especially because it comes in handy during times exactly like this. TBH, when I was married, my wife was my only social outlet after work hours, and I hated it.

    2. Jessica (tc)*

      Not now, but I did for the first time a few years ago and it sucked. It’s gotten better each time that it’s happened since (usually twice a year for a few weeks), but I still hate it because I really like my spouse and like being around him. :) I’m fairly introverted (as is my spouse), and I’m not a “let’s get together!” kind of person with others. He was gone over my birthday for the past three years and some time in the summer as well, so I had to come out of my shell a bit and try to plan some things with others. I usually don’t do much for my birthday, but I did make sure to get together with friends on that day for lunch or dinner. (It wasn’t for my birthday, technically, because I don’t like to make a deal about it with others, but it was just nice to have something planned that day instead of staying home by myself and missing my spouse.)

      If there are some others in town that you don’t mind hanging out with, see if they wouldn’t mind grabbing dinner with you or even just meeting up for coffee so you don’t have to eat or be alone every night. The first two years we were dealing with his being gone for weeks twice a year, we lived somewhere we couldn’t have pets, but the last year we finally moved and were able to get a cat, and I couldn’t believe how just taking care of another creature really made me feel less useless on those evenings when I was at home.

      Because yours is expected to last a few more weeks, could you possibly make a quick trip to see her? I know that may not be possible with work or finances, but I wanted to throw that out there. It wasn’t for my husband’s time away (finances), so I completely understand if it’s not. Otherwise, maybe even just getting out by yourself and going somewhere else for a bit (library? coffee shop? movie? quick meal?) every few evenings would help.

      I’m sorry your wife is dealing with this, and I hope she can get home sooner than later. I’m sure she misses having your in-person support as much as you miss her. :(

    3. Jean*

      I hear you! I’m no longer in the early years of marriage but I still remember how I felt so lonesome, at loose ends, and uninspired to do anything when DH was away. Sometimes my mom would comfort me when I complained about missing him by saying “that’s a good sign.” She meant that at least I would be glad when he came home!

      Is it any comfort for you to read that I found one of your post beautifully written? “Our tiny house is strangely empty. We have a little bird and we keep each other company, but … ”

      I wish you ease in learning to make your peace with your occasional unsought alone-ness. Perhaps it’s a time to go to bed early with whatever reading, viewing, or listening material you find most soothing or distracting?

      Unfortunately, life gives most of us some lonely times. I’m concluding that some of this is part of the human condition quite apart from family- or work-mandated spousal travel.

      Personal disclosure: Recently my spouse was diagnosed with a serious, incurable illness. Now, during his brief travels I take a sad satisfaction in managing on my own (or as just myself and our teenager). I’ve also gained a greater appreciation for our many years of marriage. It sounds convoluted, but it gives me strength to face future times alone by reflecting on our past shared happiness. I don’t wish you similar circumstances, but I do wish you well in accepting and getting through your current time with your wife away. One more if-it’s-any-comfort thought: she’s probably also feeling lonely despite being swamped by the details of wrapping up her late father’s affairs. Bereavement is emotionally and logistically hard for most people.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Jean, I am sorry to read of your husband’s diagnosis. Warm thoughts heading out to you.

        WT, when my husband passed, I went for life coaching. One of the life coach’s biggest things was “be deliberate”. So in your case it looks like this: you know the next few weeks are going to suck big time. Deliberately build a plan to help you through. Fill up your time with something. It might be cool to fill up your time with building some sort of surprise for your wife when she returns. Or as one other poster suggested, maybe you would prefer to plan some time off to go to see her.
        Get something going on for yourself. It will not necessarily make you less lonely, but it will give you something else to think about which can be a temporary, mental reprieve of sorts.

      2. Wrench Turner*

        Thanks for the kindness. I write on occasion, been published.
        It’s not that I’m lonely, I’m comfortable in my own hateful skin and have never been terribly social. It’s more that, beyond the disruption of our harried routine, this woman that inspires and motivates me so very much simply by being there, isn’t. It’s just jarring, the sudden absence of a catalyst in my world, but good advice from all around, so thank you. It feels silly to whine about, we’ve only been married three years and there are many greater challenges to come.

        I don’t envy what you face ahead, but you seem like you’re apt to face it well.

        1. fposte*

          I know you’re writing from a point of discomfort and I wish you weren’t feeling that, but it really is a lovely tribute to your partner, and I find it very touching.

      3. Jean*

        Not So NewReader, fposte, and Wrench Turner, thank you for your warm thoughts, good wishes, and vote of confidence. Our good news is that DH’s diagnosis includes his being more or less stable for a year or two or several (or who knows….medicine is as much art as science). We’ve mostly resumed life as usual, except for various situation-induced interruptions. Life is surely educational. (Yes, sometimes I’d prefer ignorance. Who wouldn’t? But we don’t always get to choose.)

        Wrench Turner, don’t feel silly about expressing your distress at your current situation. We’re allowed to be unhappy even if we’re not living in an actual live-fire war zone or single-handedly raising 18 children or otherwise maxing out on the scale of Life Heroism. Stress is stress. Missing your spouse is serious business.

    4. the gold digger*

      My husband has spent the past 15 months dealing with his parents’ medical issues and settling their estate. He is still not done. It has been a huge mess and he has been gone 30% of the time. I have hated the drama and hassle but have not minded being alone. I lived alone for most of the 20 years before I met him – it’s easier for me to be alone than to have someone in the house! I have binge-watched TV shows and cooked things he doesn’t like without hearing commentary on it. The circumstances have not been great for him, but the alone time has been fine for me.

      1. Jean*

        Gold Digger, Thank you for your good wishes. After reading your blog I am hoping for many years of tranquility for you and your husband.

        DH and I don’t have the same drama/disorganization as your inlaws, but we still have some work to do. If enough of us learn from your blog’s example, your inlaws will have achieved something positive in addition to raising your husband.

    5. Blue_eyes*

      I’m sorry for your loss. I don’t have any particular advice to add, except to say that what you’re feeling sounds completely normal given the situation. Your father-in-law just passed away, your wife is grieving, you’re apart from her, and your routines are disrupted. All of those things suck individually (in varying amounts) and taken together it’s no wonder you’re feeling lonely and uninspired. Sometimes just acknowledging that things suck right now and are going to suck for a while can make it easier to bear.

      Are there things you like to do/watch/eat that your wife doesn’t enjoy (or tolerates because she loves you)? Could you do/watch/eat some of those things while she’s gone? Are there any home projects you’ve been putting off? Could you complete some of them to surprise her when she gets back? (Only if you’re wife would like that kind of surprise obviously). As Dan suggested, I’m sure any friends or family would be happy to spend some time with you, especially given the situation. Sending good vibes! Things will get better soon!

  23. GOG11*

    I’d really like some tips on reading body language, especially how to know if someone is receptive to being hugged. I generally err on the side of not hugging friends or boyfriend’s family, etc., because I have no idea how to tell if they want hugged. I enjoy hugging people I know decently well, but I never initiate and there’s no difference (that I can perceive) between what’s going on with someone before they hug me and in the same circumstances where I don’t receive a hug. I tend to not look at people all that much when I talk, but I try to look at them when they are talking, but I don’t really know what to look for anyways. People have indicated that they perceive me as somewhat of a robot. It’s not that I worry that people think I’m cold or standoffish but I’m not cold and therefore I don’t want to be standoffish. Most of the stuff I found from Googling has a romantic angle and that’s not helpful. Thanks in advance.

    1. fposte*

      I have an acquaintance who outright asks. “I’m a hugger–do you hug?” she said politely, standing back and not moving in like it’s inevitable. Would that work?

      1. GOG11*

        I guess part of what I’m confused about is when to hug and when not to, so I just don’t ever initiate hugs. I thought if I could figure out from body language when people think it’s appropriate to hug I could just follow those cues and offer a hug then since I do like hugs. So far, I know saying hello or goodbye when you haven’t seen someone in along time and won’t see them for a while after and when saying congratulations or celebrating something (like, when you’re leaving an engagement party, I would know it’s OK to hug the couple, or just the person you know well if you don’t know the other person) are usually acceptable times to hug.

        That would work for figuring out an individual’s hug policy, but not for determining hugging occasions. Does that make sense? I realize now that my initial question didn’t explain what I was trying to get at very well.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Hugging occasions: (some people and some of the times)

          Unusually good news
          Unusually bad news
          Going away (moving/leaving job/you don’t know when you will see them again)
          Coming back (after long absence or unexpected return)

          1. Rena*

            I use hugs for greetings and farewells for close friends and family, even if I see them on a regular basis.

        2. MadameLibrarian*

          Honestly, I think asking is still a good policy for individual events. I have a friend who, whenever one of us wants a hug, we just say “Hug?” (or, if it’s not as a greeting, “May I trouble you for a hug?” or something along those lines. It works pretty well.

      2. asteramella*

        I do this too. It helps to smile a little bit. If they say yes, hug cleared for landing! If they say no, I just wave instead.

    2. acmx*

      I’m not a hugger so I’d like to learn the body language to avoid it. Although, I’m sure it’d be ignored anyways since people are so touchy-feely here.

      I appreciate that you’re trying to judge whether people like it or not :)

    3. Allison Mary*

      I like to be explicitly asked before I’m touched (beyond a handshake). And before I hug people I don’t know very well, I almost always ask in some way or another – either verbally, like, “can we hug?” or just opening my arms like I’m inviting someone for a hug, and then it’s up to them if they accept or not.

      So, clearly, I’m in the camp that would vote for just asking people, rather than trying to guess people’s preferences. Guessing is far less likely to lead to accurately arriving at a person’s personal preference than asking outright – at least in my experience.

      1. GOG11*

        Unless someone was coming at me with open arms in an I’m-about-to-hug-you way, I would never hug someone without asking and receiving permission (unless I’m super close to them, like mom, dad or boyfriend). I just don’t want to ask “hey, can we hug?” and then be a weird person who asks for hugs at super random/awkward times. But I also like hugging and don’t want to just continue to be weirdly standoffish because I don’t know what’s going on lol

    4. Older not yet wiser*

      Not a hugger. I really do not like to be touched at all (other than husband/ daughters / parents/ siblings). But if you mean well and I like you, I will appreciate the thought if you hug me and not hold it against you. I will try to deflect you if I see it coming though. I have had co-workers and friends who I do like ask me “can I give you a hug?” (For various appropriate reasons such as loss of a parent). I think you might try that approach as I am comfortable being asked and the person asking always seems OK when I decline a hug.

      1. GOG11*

        Similar to my reply to Allison Mary, but I would never hug someone without permission. I just don’t want to ask for a hug too often/at inappropriate or random times. So if I figure out when a hug is probably warranted and ask then, there can be mutually-enjoyable hugging. I was assuming I’d watch for the person for a sign and then know to ask about hugging preferences, but I think situationally-based judgments about when to bring up hugging is more appropriate. Touching someone against their will, even if I’d like a hug, feels really uncomfortable to me.

    5. GOG11*

      Thanks everyone, and sorry for the initial lack of clarity in my original post. It makes a lot of sense to ask if someone hugs/is a hugger or not* when the situations outlined here occur rather than trying to determine hug-appropriate situations based on someone else’s body language.

      *thinking about it more, I realize many of the hug-initiaters in my life have used this.

    6. Weekend Warrior*

      I favour a no hugging lifestyle so I very, very rarely offer hugs and it would never occur to me to worry that I should. :)

      I grew up middle class WASP Canadian and no one hugged. That’s been changing though and my friends and extended family are turning into huggers. First we learned to cook with spices, then we moved on to expressing affection. :)

      Our former Prime Minister was roundly criticized for a photo of him shaking hands with his very young son as the boy headed off to school. Only time I ever felt sympathy for Harper. My own parents would have just waved – no contact – and I’m fine with that!

      1. the gold digger*

        I had a Jamaican boss. When I expressed horror that his parents had sent him to boarding school when he was four years old, he didn’t understand my response at all. To him, sending a four year old child away was perfectly normal.

        1. Weekend Warrior*

          Ditto for a certain class of British people. A friend’s husband was sent by himself on a train from Geneva to boarding school in England when he was 6 years old. !! He thought this was normal until he had children himself. No way he’d have sent his sons away at that age – or any age.

    7. Sibley*

      You can’t go wrong with asking. If someone stiffens, leans away from you, etc then back off and don’t hug them again unless they say it’s ok. They’re not hugging you because they don’t get the vibe that you’d welcome it.

  24. Sunflower*

    So I’m finally all moved into my new place! And by moved in I mean everything is here and all over the place. Two questions.

    1. Serious issues hanging a curtain rod over one window. The windows have trim around them, however, the right side of the one window goes directly into the perpendicular wall and there is no trim. I can’t figure out a way that would allow me to put a traditional hook/bracket on the wall. I think my only option is to find something to secure the rod on the perpendicular wall- hanging from the ceiling is not an option. So far I’ve thought of using a command hook. The only one I’ve found that looks like it will work is the Double Hook and only holds 3 lbs. I could definitely use a Wall Flange but looking for any other/better suggestions. I can’t be the first person to run into this problem?

    2. I need to buy a modem. I checked out CNET for tips on buying and they recommend buying a separate modem and router(I already have one) in case one craps out, you don’t need to replace the whole thing. They also recommend buying a refurbished one. Any advice on this? What should I look to pay?

    1. Jessica (tc)*

      1. We used a Command hook that holds up to 7.5 pounds (each hook) to put up our curtain rods at our new place. Our walls are white, so they basically blend in even though they are a bit large. Here are the ones we used: www[.]amazon[.]com/gp/product/B000IN1I5A/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=househmanage1-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399349&creativeASIN=B000IN1I5A We were in the same place as you for curtain rods, and this was the solution that eventually ended up working best for us.

      2. Check with your internet provider to see if they have any specifications for the modem. When we last bought a new modem, the service provider actually had specifications on which ones worked best with their system. I got the list from them and did my comparison shopping from there.

  25. NL*

    I can’t believe I’m asking this but how are you supposed to find out if you won anything in the Powerball drawing? I know I didn’t win one of the big prizes obviously, but is there a web site I can go to and figure out if I won anything, like 100 bucks? My tickets don’t have instructions on them.

    1. GOG11*

      powerball dot com/powerball/pb_prizes.asp lists the prizes and odds for the different possible wins (i.e., just hitting powerball, getting two numbers and the powerball, etc.).

    2. Cruciatus*

      Or if you’re at a store that sells lottery tickets you can just ask at the counter. And my local grocery store has a scanner off on the side that people can use to check themselves. I always check every ticket (usually which are scratch offs) just in case I missed something–sometimes I do!

      But yes, for the Powerball you can go to their website and see how the winnings are broken down by number of numbers matched. My state also has their own lottery site for state lottery drawings. You can check what the numbers were and how much you might have won for lots of different drawings.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      And nobody here won anything?
      I can’t believe that is possible, one of us had to win something.

      1. fposte*

        They’re probably not letting on because they just want to be treated normally. But you can tell us–we promise not to be any nicer to you now you’re a multimillionaire, honest!

      2. Stargazer*

        We did a work pool. 33 of us contributed $5 each, so we got something like 140 tickets. We won $19, so we got donuts for everyone. Not a bad consolation prize.

        1. Dr. Johnny Fever*

          9 of us contributed $10 each. We won $4. We let the guy who bought the tickets keep it for his gas and time.

      3. mondegreen*

        Four friends and I bought five sets of numbers with no numeric overlap. Zero of the numbers matched, which is a bizarre kind of anti-luck.

      4. Artemesia*

        you are more likely to be hit by lightning while drowning than to win the Powerball.
        you are more likely to be born with two dicks than win the Powerball.

        but we can all dream; I know I had it spent.

    4. Mallory Janis Ian*

      My two coworkers and I bought lottery tickets on Saturday, and when we came in on Monday, we each asked the others if we’d won. Nobody knew, because we each thought the other two would look. Lol. We didn’t win.

    5. Noah*

      This was the first time I have ever bought a lottery ticket. I won $7, and I’m not complaining, at least I got my money back.

    6. ginger ale for all*

      I saw so many stories about how much people would get if they won. I wish there is a news story about how much each state got with the increased ticket sales.

  26. Jules*

    Help! We finally bought our own house and moved last June. Despite all the trawling and pinning on Pintrest.. I still have no idea how to decorate my home. Any ideas? My mom never really decorated our home but I would really like to make mine look less minimalistic.

    Thank you for any recommendations/help.

    1. GOG11*

      I start with color and work from there.

      In my bedroom for example, I wanted blue and for it to be relaxing. I painted walls blue/grey and the trim white, and the floors and furniture are dark red wood. I added a lamp with a navy shade, navy curtains on the windows, two pictures that feature one red flower each and blue matting, and a white bedspread. Limiting my colors (blue/grey, white, navy, and a tiny bit of red) narrowed down my choices and kept things simple. When I go on Pinterest, I can find all sorts of things I like, but I find that I can’t commit because as soon as I pick one thing all the others cease to be possibilities. Not sure if this is part of your problem or not, but I find that choosing certain colors (which still eliminates many others) allows me to narrow my focus to a manageable ‘size’ without the same pressure or high-stakes feeling that comes with giving up/turning down a bunch of options all at once.

      1. Colette*

        I was going to say that I started my living room with furniture, but actually, I think I started with color, too. I wanted furniture that meant I didn’t need to paint. :)

        With bedrooms, I actually start with the duvet cover/comforter and build everything else around that.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, that’s really interesting. I love bed linen but have too much wall space in my bedroom to let the bed drive the color. Does that mean you always keep the walls neutral so that you don’t have to change if you swap out duvets?

          1. Colette*

            No, I just pick one I like and use it to pick the wall colours. If/when I want to change it, I am then limited by the wall colour. Right now my bedroom is blue, but the spare room paint is neutral with an orange/pink/black/white comforter and pink/orange blinds. That room is small, though, so there’s not much wall space.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I am a big fan of limiting colors. I do the same thing in my garden. This helps me not to bring home every plant I see.

        Like GOG11 is saying, I did the same thing in my house. I wanted my bedroom to feel like a cocoon with good lighting. I ended up with a deep coral color, which my friend who is helping me calls “brown”, then once the paint dried he decided it was “dead peaches”. So much of marketing goes into the names of colors. I will add some sage and maybe some purple with the furnishings. It’s different than anything I have done before and that is why I like it.

        My laundry room is a work area, it’s practical/sensible. So I used that big bucket of white paint that I bought at a lawn sale for $5 because it’s practical to save $95. I picked up a gallon of floor paint on a clearance table. I thought it was gray. We opened it and it was the nicest shade of plum. So my practical laundry room has a cheery plum floor. Not my original plan, but it’s a nice and unexpected contrast to the white walls.

        Think about color and think about lighting. How do you want the room to feel when you are done? My bedroom I wanted something that would help me shut down from the day. My laundry room has to be practical so I can get done all the wash, etc that I need to do. Lighting in both rooms is important to me, as my old house just needs more lights.

        1. fposte*

          As a child, I used the names of paint colors as a source for the names of horses in my juvenile fiction. It worked great :-).

          1. GOG11*

            I hope this doesn’t ruin paint-color-named horses for you, fposte, but I once saw an auto-correct induced story about someone who went to the store for more paint and ended up asking for “chocolate shart” (sparkle had been changed to shart by the phone). The asker didn’t know what that word was, but the paint clerk sure did.

            My boyfriend is looking at me like I’m nuts as I LOL at Chocolate Shart doing all sorts of horse things in my mind.

    2. fposte*

      I like GOG11’s idea of starting with color–I know some designers don’t like that, but for me color is *huge*. But also you said you’ve been pinning on Pinterest–is it that you’re not finding anything you’d like to emulate, you’re finding too much you’d like to emulate and have a hard time choosing, or you’re not sure if that’s the kosher way to go about things?

      Because I don’t have an original design bone in my body. Everything I do in my house is because I saw it somewhere and liked it (“somewhere” could just mean the Ikea catalogue, too). My tastes clump enough that it looks vaguely thematic and coordinated, and I think that’s usual for most people.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        “My tastes clump enough that it looks vaguely thematic and coordinated, and I think that’s usual for most people.”

        It’s true for me. The colors and designs that I naturally like seem to go together enough that all I really have to do is just pick things that I like. A professional interior designer might take one look at my place and disabuse me of that notion, but I haven’t let any in, so I’m sticking to it.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            One of the architecture professors at my old job asked one of the interior design professors if he could help stage a house for the architect’s client (they needed to sell their old house before moving into the architect-designed one). The interior designer looked at it and said there was nothing he could do with such a place and such belongings, that whatever the real estate agent came up with would be as good as that place could get. I thought at the time, “That is probably the reaction a designer would have to my house and things.” His reaction was the designer’s equivalent of the quote, “There’s no ‘there’ there.”

      2. Uyulala*

        My planned living room design is taken right from one of the Ikea example living rooms on their US website, with just a few changes to the exact furniture pieces used.

    3. Talvi*

      I think it’s often easiest to start with a major piece of furniture or two. (Or, sometimes, just a duvet or a particular set of throw pillows!) And it makes sense – it’ll be easier to pick a paint colour to go with the couch than to search and search for a couch that goes with the colour you fell in love with for the walls.

      Also, consider accent walls, especially if there’s a bold paint colour or wallpaper you like but are unsure about for the entire room (“will that burgundy really work for the dining room or will it feel like a cave?”)

    4. Artemesia*

      There is a lot to be said for very intense color to pull a room together. My son transformed an old place by painting the living room a deep scarlet — it looked fantastic and it looked like something a decorator had done by the time they got the furniture arranged and the pictures hung.

  27. Soupspoon McGee*

    I got three pretty notebooks for Christmas with very pretty covers and heavy, lined paper. They’re about 5×7 inches and about 50 pages each. I can’t bring myself to write in them yet because they are so lovely, and I don’t want to sully them with t0-do lists. Any ideas for worthy uses for them?

    1. pleiades*

      I’ve gotten myself to use a really beautiful notebook by collecting favorite quotes and book passages in it.

    2. Claire (Scotland)*

      Keep a dream journal? Write daily affirmations/3 happy things/best and worst? Record every film you see this year and what you thought of it (substitute show/book/album/gig/bottle of wine or whatever you are into for film, as desired)? Collect “overheard in…” type quotes? Keep a travel journal? Write your bucket list? Create an inspiration journal to collect quotes, images, phrases and ideas?

      These are all things I’ve used blank journals for at one point or another.

    3. Chalupa Batman*

      Someone once told me they were collecting pieces of life advice from people they interact with and asked me to contribute one. That could be a worthy use of a beautiful notebook. (Mine were 1) if it’s not yours don’t touch it and 2) trust yourself to bounce back if you fail. The best one I heard when I threw it out to the FB peanut gallery was simply “say yes.”)

    4. Wrench Turner*

      Any idea for a blank book is worthy. That’s what they’re for!
      Only 50 pages makes them ephemeral enough, but they won’t be splendors without your help.
      Just keep one with you and when the need strikes, use it!

    5. Blue_eyes*

      No advice, but I have the same problem! When I have a beautiful journal or notebook, nothing seems worthy of going in it. A student gave me Moleskins embossed with my name a few years ago, and I never know what to keep in them! They’re so beautiful and I don’t want to get rid of them.

    6. Alston*

      I vote you write your lists in them! You’ll get to enjoy them more often that way. I know I’ve tried to use pretty notebooks for special things, but never actually ended up using for anything. So use them for lists!

  28. Elizabeth West*

    I started watching Parks and Recreation this week. I would have never believed a show about the parks department in a little Midwestern town could be that funny, but I can’t stop giggling whenever I watch an episode! Now I’ll understand those memes everyone always posts.

    Haven’t gotten far; just through most of the first season up to Tom’s divorce. OMG the hunting episode had me in tears. :’D I wish I had someone to watch with!

    1. katamia*

      I just started watching it this week too. I’ve been a little disappointed, actually, though. I can’t really put my finger on what it is that makes me less satisfied with it, though, other than Ron Swanson’s voice. In my head whenever I’d see a gif of him I’d always “hear” him with a more pompous version of Will Arnett’s GOB Bluth voice, and his real voice is a bit of a disappointment. But that’s clearly not everything.

      I don’t know. I’m not giving up on it. But it’s just not working for me the way that The Office or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt did.

      1. Cruciatus*

        Wait until the hunting trip episode. I think it’s early in season 2. I liked the show but didn’t love it, and I think that’s the episode where they finally started getting it right more often than not and made it more can’t miss TV for me.

        D’oh! Just before I posted I see Elizabeth mentioned that episode. Definitely wait for that one! If you don’t enjoy that episode then it may not ever be your favorite TV show and, (in Stuart Smalley voice from SNL), that’s OK.

        1. katamia*

          I’m already past the hunting trip episode, unfortunately. It was a funny episode, but something was/is still missing for me. I wish I could figure out what it is.

          1. BuildMeUp*

            It might just be me, but there’s a character who I think is on the show for the first two seasons and then leaves (no spoilers about who it is!), and after that character left, the ensemble worked 100x better for me. And a couple characters who are added later helped as well.

      2. MsChandandlerBong*

        If you didn’t hit Season 2 yet, try to give it a chance. Season 1 is pretty slow, but it picks up in the second season.

    2. Al Lo*

      The first season (6 episodes) were a little slow for me, but it’s one of my favourite shows ever. I’ve watched particularly seasons 4-7 I don’t know how many times. It’s just a nice show about nice people being nice, but it’s not saccharine. It also, as you get into later seasons, deftly avoids some of the classic, tired sitcom tropes (the kind were in place because showrunners/networks typically thought going the other direction would “ruin” a show) without being boring — or ruining the show (fancy that!).

      It’s one of those shows that’s on my constant rotation (along with Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, and RTD-era Who) of “things I watch in the background at work while doing boring tasks because I don’t need to be actively watching since I’ve seen it so many times.”

    3. Blue_eyes*

      You’re in luck because the show really finds it’s stride going in to the second season. So if you liked it already, you’ll probably love the rest!

  29. NDQ*

    Today I prepared for a day of freezer cooking tomorrow. If you’ve never done this, I highly recommend it for saving money and for the convenience of weeknight meals that are easily warmed up on busy nights. I plan out a few casseroles that are meat and pasta based and instead of preparing them in a rectangular pan, I use smaller portions in aluminum 8×8 pans that I reuse many times. I can stack the 8x8s in the freezer nicely and the size is great for a dinner and lunch the next day. I also like to make a large pot of chili and freeze that in single-serving plastic bags that lie flat.

    At least the meal planning and grocery shopping are done. Tomorrow, I’ll brew some coffee and spend a few hours filling the freezer. If you so this, what are some of your favorite meals to freeze?


    1. Sparkly Librarian*

      Stuffed shells, chicken and rice casserole, turkey barley soup, ham and bean soup, chile verde con carne. If I made lasagna I’d definitely freeze that.

    2. esra*

      My go-to homemade freezer meals, other than what you guys have mentioned: Shepherd’s pie, beef stew, Japanese curry, Thai curry, mac’n’cheese, pulled pork casserole.

    3. Noah*

      Oh, I love this. My mom does this all the time and she’ll make extra for me too.

      One of my favorite was fajitas. The chicken, bell peppers, and onions all chopped up and ready and seasoned. Tortillas in the bag too. Very easy to pull out of the freezer and cook quickly. Basically a DIY version of those kits you can buy in the freezer case.

    4. fposte*

      Soup and stew, forever. That’s mostly what the basement freezer is for. I do sometimes go for mashed potatoes or flavored rice, too. But mostly I like a bowl of soup, which I can pad out with a salad or cheese or whatever if I want, and which can go to work or stay home.

    5. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      Chili, forever. My parents actually prefer chili that’s been frozen for a few weeks. They call it “aged” and insist the flavours are melded better.

      Also spaghetti sauce, curry, stew, and bean soup.

      If you’re a baker, there are plenty of recipes for cookies and buns and stuff that you can flash freeze and then pack away and then voila, in the oven for a few minutes and oven fresh for dinner or dessert!

    6. Rebecca*

      I’ve always wanted to try this. I usually have fish and microwave frozen vegetables, the ones in the steam in bag, or a salad with beef or chicken, or pork with roasted vegetables for supper. I really need to spend an hour or two today getting stuff out of my fridge and into the freezer. It’s like a Tetris puzzle in there! Freezer is almost full, too. I think I bought too much stuff, but fresh Canadian salmon @ 50% off because it was the day before the sell by date was too good to pass up, as were beef roasts @ $2.99/lb to cut up into chunks or strips for endless salads or beef & broccoli. So, it will be about an hour of forced adulting tonight :)

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        Goodness! Stew beef is $5.99/lb or more here, and we almost never buy it. Can’t remember the last time we had a roast (although I did get steak for my wife’s birthday last month). I remember thick-sliced bacon being on sale at $2.99/lb in 2014… I bought a year’s worth and froze it. :)

    7. Wrench Turner*

      My wife and I want to do this. I do most of the cooking anyway so it would save me LOTS of time. I’m a big stir fry guy so whatever combinations of meat/veg (or just veg, really) will do. I really like the fajita ideas mentioned below.

      How does it save money though? Unless I’m working, my time =/= money, it’s just time. Would buying frozen chopped veggies make it any faster?

      1. NDQ*

        For me, the savings are maximized by buying bulk meat (ground beef on sale in 10lb. pack, for example), sale staples, and batch cooking saves time. It then ensures I have several quick meals I can defrost overnight and cook up in about 30 minutes at night. It saves us from going out and buying fast food on busy nights, when I’ve had a late night at work, or if I’m not feeling well. The time I spend on the batch cooking is time I would have likely spent watching Netflix or gaming. No income loss there.

        I use leftovers for lunches the next day or two. On the nights I use the freezer meals, it feels like a night off. I love it. So the weekend cooking part, while a bit of work, makes me look forward to the easy nights.


    8. hermit crab*

      SOUP. All the soups! Also beans & rice, baked lentils, and my grandma’s lasagna recipe.

      Just — and I’ve learned this the hard way — be sure to be vigilant and have a back-up plan if you live in an area with frequent power outages.

    9. Artemesia*

      And you don’t even have to freeze if you are willing to eat the same thing a couple of times a week although freezing is best. When I was young and a teacher making almost no money and with a husband in grad school, I would cook for the week on Sunday and make up incredibly cheap casseroles. Really cheap. Like hominy and a little bit of hamburger and tomato and cheese. Barely edible but we had no money. so I might make up two tuna casseroles and two of the hominy horrors and that had us covered for 4 days right there and we would would cook something different on Friday night. I worked every evening since I had to prepare lessons and grade papers for 150 students, so not having to cook on a work night was important to me. (and why wasn’t my student husband who was playing bridge with friends most of the day cooking? good question. Dumped him when he passed the bar and have been married for decades to someone who is not a user.)

  30. Jessen*

    Semi work related, sorry.

    How do you feel confident in yourself when you hate how your body looks? In my case I perpetually look like a teenager, and it’s affecting my confidence. I don’t feel like I can go out and flirt or meet people because I look underage and no one my age who’s not a creep wants to spend time with a kid. I need to do job interviews but even dressed up I just look like I’m on the high school debate team. I have a uniform at work and it makes me look even younger and a lot of people talk down to me or act like I can’t do my job (especially lifting things, I can do the job but for some reason everyone thinks I can’t pick up a gallon of oil).

    1. katamia*

      I don’t feel like I can go out and flirt or meet people because I look underage and no one my age who’s not a creep wants to spend time with a kid.

      I have no suggestions, but I struggle with this a lot too. :( Hoping other people will have good ideas, though.

    2. fposte*

      You have less control over this at your job, but I think overall people take you for being your age more often than you realize, though; you just mostly notice the people who don’t. Generally, if you’re in a bar and are bitching about your job, people are going to figure you’re an adult.

      1. Jessen*

        Unfortunately even that only gets me up to “just barely 21” usually (let’s just say I’m closer to 30 than 21).

        1. fposte*

          Probably not with everybody, though (and your bars must be really well-lit if that’s an easy differentiation to make in them). I know tiny little women who look young for their age, and some of them happily date and some of them don’t. Unless you’re having an unbroken sequence of encounters where you’re flirting in a bar and they walk away when they discover you have a 401k and not a dorm room, I think you’re at risk of ruling out everybody because of a misapprehension of some. And it’s not like anybody else bats .1000 either, after all.

          1. Jessen*

            Honestly, it’s more the unbroken stream of high school and early college age boys that I get bothering me when I do things like take the bus that gets me. I’d like to be able to go out in public and not have a bunch of stupid kids trying to flirt with me – I’ve taught college, I don’t want to keep having to tell 18 year olds to go away. It’s not worth the effort of trying to meet people when you can’t get kids to go away.

            1. fposte*

              Why not? Everybody has people approaching them they don’t have interest in. It’s not like people who look their age are being left peacefully alone on the bus either; they’re just being hit on by a different tranche–or a somewhat different tranche, because plenty of stupid kids will try to hit on women they perceive as older, too.

              I feel like there’s a math error here: you’re uncomfortable with your appearance + you don’t like it when people younger than you hit on you ≠ it’s not worth making connections with with men your own age. It especially seems like a long way around to assume that any man your own age interested talking to you assumes you’re a child and is therefore a creep–so long, in fact, that it seems like it might just be a fancy version of the old game of rejecting them before they reject you. Any chance that might be going on in there?

              I mean, it’s not obligatory or anything, and being hit on when you’re going about your business, regardless of the age of the hitters, is a PITA. But it sounds like you might enjoy some romance and just feel that these are obstacles in a way I’m not seeing the same way.

              1. Jessen*

                It’s more that I feel like when I go out anywhere with social interaction I kind of get mobbed, to the point where it’s so much effort to go out and deal with the mob that I’ve got no energy left to deal with people I might actually be interested in. I mean, it’s not like you can just say “no” and be done with it – every interaction is going to take several minutes out of your time and you’re going to miss talking to people your own age.

                1. fposte*

                  What happens when you’re the one on the move instead? If you find somebody you think you’d like to talk to and then approach that person, I don’t think the mob is going to want to run to keep up.

                  And again, this is a problem a lot of women have one way or another, especially if they’re very conventionally beautiful, which may also be your situation, whether you’re seeing it or not–they get approached by a lot of people. There’s something to be said for being too busy approaching to be approached :-).

                2. Not So NewReader*

                  Agreeing with fposte. Growing up my mother used to talk about looking determined, focus on that Thing over there and what you are going to do next. Don’t keep looking at the people around you, as eye contact tends to invite conversation, whether you want it or not. People are less inclined to stop a person who seems to be on a mission. Yeah, look busy, look preoccupied.

                  Try not to wear other people’s emotions, it is their own fault for making assumptions about you, not yours. Aim for a place in your thinking where you can say, “Not my fault you think I am fifteen. That is on YOU, not me.” Decide to push back on that and then go on with your day. We know not to make assumptions about people, so they should feel embarrassed for making the assumption.

                  I can’t figure people’s ages out worth a crap. But one day I was stunned to hear someone say they thought I was in my early 30s. I was 49. It’s nice to know I am not the only one who can’t figure this stuff out. (I guess he did not see ALL that white hair????)

                  I will say though, there have been times in my life where I have detoured my route to avoid rude people. So, look for times where you can give yourself a break, too.

                3. Observer*

                  What fpost and NSNR said. Also, you most definitely CAN “just say no.” Or the equivalent.

                  This diffidence is one of the reasons women (not just someone who looks young) have this kind of problem. We are socialized to think that we have to be “nice” ALL OF THE TIME, and the “firm” cannot be “nice.”

                  It’s difficult to step away from that mindset, but it can be done. And I suspect that it will not just make it easier to get rid of the ones you don’t want, but also reduce the number of guys who hit on you. Not completely of course, because a LOT of this has nothing to do with what a woman does. But I’m guessing that even a reduction would probably be some relief.

                4. Sparta*

                  What I meant by “can’t say no” is that it doesn’t do anything to say no. It just makes most guys escalate trying to get your attention.

    3. Allison Mary*

      Recently my sister and I started sharing pins on Pinterest of average body types of all varieties – but not photoshopped, and definitely not society’s ideals (just search for things like “average body types” or “un-photoshopped real bodies”). I’m not a fan of my own body either, but there’s only so much I can do to change the body I was given. There’s a lot more I can do to change my idea of what is “beautiful,” which in turn affects my confidence.

      Also, when I started watching What Not To Wear over and over again, I started to get the hang of how to dress different body types. Once I got good at this, I started to figure out what kinds of clothes I could put my body in that would help me feel comfortable in my body.

      Those are my two strategies, and they’ve both helped me a lot.

      1. Allison Mary*

        Reading back through your post, I’m realizing I missed some of the stuff at the end, and what I wrote about was more to do with general self-acceptance and confidence, and less about the practical applications relating to work things like interviews. Whoops! Hope it was somewhat helpful, still.

        I do think watching some of the old episodes of What Not To Wear might help you get an idea of things you can do, both for interview wear and for casual wear. There were enough seasons that I’m sure you could find an episode or a few centered around someone with your body type.

        1. Jessen*

          It’s really my face that bothers me, although my body is quite small overall. But I have a very fat face that makes me look extremely young, and nothing I do with makeup or hair seems to help.

          Also, personal pet peeve, I hate what not to wear. My mother used to make me watch it with her and criticize all the stuff I liked to wear and tell me what I should be wearing instead – usually her style of stuff which I find rather boring.

          1. Allison Mary*

            Ahh, I see. Perhaps just perusing Pinterest for pictures of average people with average faces might inspire you? Sorry about the WNTW trauma – that does sound like it would create a trigger button. :(

            Also, I totally understand about struggling to accept your own face – I always feel like my own face is absolutely horrid, and I tend to struggle with that even more than disliking the rest of my body. :-/

    4. Clever Name*

      That’s tough. Part of confidence is faking it until you make it. If you act confident, people will think you are, which builds confidence. As for the age thing, I suggest going to a public place and people watch for a while. Do it more than once. Notice how the teenagers walk and move and how the adults walk and move. Teens are often adult size, but they carry themselves much differently. They play with their hair. They stand with one foot turned out. They walk kind of floppily. They slouch. Then try to be aware of how you move. Do you stroll aimlessly or do you walk with purpose? How is your posture? Do you have nervous habits?

    5. Biglaw Stormtrooper*

      I also look much younger than I am (I’m a young lawyer, but I could pass for a teenager). At work, the following things have helped: 1. Wearing clothes that fit properly 2. Putting in the time to do my hair and makeup even though I am super lazy and 3. Not getting defensive when someone says something, but not looking pleased, either (so if someone says “you look really young for a lawyer,” I’ll say “yes, I’ve heard that before” with a very small smile for politeness’ sake and immediately move on).

      1. Artemesia*

        In professional settings, dress is also important. A little black suit and white blouse like every intern wears will make one look young; more interesting textures and a little more style as well as great fit project older in a good way – a professional way. Unfortunately clothes that look more professional tend to cost more but having an eye for the look will help in acquiring things that project this image.

    6. Anonymous Educator*

      The work part is a bit tough to tackle. On the flirting / meeting front, have you considered online dating / apps in which you can specify your age and age ranges? That way, even if your appearance seems young, people know that you’re actually as old as you are?

      1. Jessen*

        I’m really less interested in dating and more in just meeting people, honestly. Though it would be nice to be able to go out and read *without* a flurry of 18 year old boys trying to bother you.

        1. Mreasy*

          Do you have a chill neighborhood bar you could read in during late afternoon/early evening? That would eliminate the presence of teenagers!

    7. blackcat*

      I have one more suggestion beyond what other folks have said, which may or may not be feasible: Acting classes, specifically in the Alexander Technique. Classes such as these had me passing for 30ish when I was 15 years old (which was helpful when I stumbled into a role at a non-profit that *should* have been staffed my an experienced person that age, but instead got 16 year old volunteer me). I still look VERY young (I am 30ish and am regularly accused of being a teenager when buying beer), but acting lessons helped me learn how to carry myself differently depending on how I want to present myself (and apparently I’m too lazy when I buy beer). Alexander Technique focuses on body movements & body language, which is why that could be helpful to you.

      For what it’s worth, if people see me speak/teach, they always think I’m tall until they stand right next to me (I am short and tiny). It’s all about how I use subtle body language.

      1. Soupspoon McGee*

        Body movement and body language are so key! Did you see The Manchurian Candidate with Angela Lansbury? She played the mother of the lead, Laurence Harvey. They were two years apart in age, but she carried herself like woman 25 years older. She was phenomenal.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Throwing this out there: Focusing on one’s body can be a crutch for not dealing with the real issues.
      By example, think of people who have lost massive amounts of weight and STILL had to figure out how to build up their confidence even though they were so-called “skinny”.

      You can’t weigh confidence on a bathroom scale. It has no weight.

      Change your expectations. Expect people to treat you as a 30 y/o person. Carry yourself in a manner that says to others, “You are talking to a fellow adult.”

      Look at your word and topic choices. What you think of to say will clue people as to how old you actually are. Teenagers don’t talk about their utility bills or their taxes, for example.

      If you are interested in meeting people, take a look at your methods of meeting others. Context matters. Some people are okay with meeting people at bars and parties, that does not fit me. I don’t like large groups because they feel detached, cold. I like small groups where I can learn people’s names and hear their stories. It could be that you are forcing yourself to fit into places that are just not you. So mull this one over, maybe you can change something you are doing to meet folks. I had a tough time making this switch because I FELT that I SHOULD be able to hit a bar or large party and have a grand old time. I imposed things on myself that were not me. Do your expectations of you match who you are?

      Last, reality is that everyone struggles to fit in, in some manner. You can read here about people trying to figure out how to fit into their new work place. You can also read here and other places about people not fitting in with their families/friends. So maybe 25% of your concern could be calmed by saying, “some of this is a part of life, it’s not just me.”

      And this is what we are talking about, calming yourself. Line up several tools that you can use to help reassure yourself. Rotate through the tools, if one does not work today, use another tool. There are days where I scolded myself, there were days where I molly-coddled me. Different tools worked on different days. It’s a process and it takes time.

      1. Dan*

        It’s funny you bring up people who lose weight. I found my ex more attractive before she lost a lot of weight. She went from 240 lbs to 120 lbs, and had so much loose skin … Let’s just say that I preferred the filled out body more.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          The ex-wife of a friend of mine wore a Xena costume one year for Hallowe’en. She looked really nice, in the sense that she looked healthy and happy and glowing. She then went on some fad diet and lost IDK how many pounds and to my mind, she looked terrible. Her skin was dull and so were her eyes. She looked bony and emaciated but everyone kept complimenting her on how great she looked. I just did not get it.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              The thing was that she wasn’t overweight to begin with. Maybe “overweight” in the sense that she wasn’t a perfect size zero but… seriously, I thought she looked better when she looked healthy. I don’t know what motivated her to do that diet, it must have been some sort of not being happy with herself, which is a shame.

              1. Beth*

                My point is that how you view her isn’t actually any of her concern. Whether it was for health or beauty or just a biological thing she couldn’t control it is none of your business.

  31. esra*

    A birthday gift arrived from my brother and sister-in-law: a complete kit to learn to play the ukulele.

    I can’t play any instrument, so I am very excited.

    The cat is significantly less excited.

    Anyone else learn an instrument at a late age? We always had to pick art or music in school, so I’ve actually never learned to read/play anything.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I started learning the ukulele last year. It’s a great instrument to learn at a later age—I’ve tried violin, piano, guitar, and ukulele, and ukulele is by far the easiest to get up and running on (not becoming an expert but just being semi-proficient and playing simple stuff).

      1. esra*

        Do you use YouTube tutorials at all? I found a few that I liked, I find them a lot easier to follow than the book I have.

    2. Mallory Janis Ian*

      “The cat is significantly less excited . . .”

      Ha. When my kids were learning to play their recorders (and then on to the flute for my daughter), our cat Sophie hated it. She would very purposefully walk straight up to the kid playing the instrument and swat it out of their hands. Sometimes she would try to bite their legs.

    3. Wrench Turner*

      The piano is on my to-do. My late uncle played it beautifully, and I’m named after him. When I was really little I learned how to play Silent Night on an ancient electric organ my dad had for some reason. I’m just going to get a cheap basic Casio and look at youtube how-to’s.

    4. azvlr*

      My dad and my step-mom are learning the mountain dulcimer and ukulele. My dad is 78! He says we inspired them to play. I have been playing guitar for about 4 years, not counting a semester of guitar in high school. When we played together the other day, I was amazed at how much was able to teach him since I still consider myself a beginner.

      So, it can be done. Stick with it! It’s a lot of fun!

  32. fposte*

    Underwear. Is there a reason it’s so hard to shop for? I just wanted something that didn’t fall into the thong or granny panty extremes and had some cotton in it, and it all seems to come in assorted packs of surprise colors and patterns that you have no control over. I’m pretty much okay with whatever solid color, but apparently that makes me a fussy diva, and if I’m not prepared to roll with the likelihood of zigzags or purple polka dots, I should just shamefacedly retreat to the all-white collections. But they’re *making* the colors. Why won’t they let me buy them?

    1. Allison Mary*

      I sometimes wonder if this must be a function of men creating underwear for women (based on your post, I’m making an assumption that you are near the cis-woman end of the spectrum – apologies if I’m mistaken in this assumption). Someone told me recently that tampons were invented by men – I haven’t verified this. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn if many women’s underwear manufacturers are being headed up by cis-male designers.

      I do want to note that I recently discovered an awesome brand of underwear designed by a group of women – and they’re period-proof! They’re spendy, but they totally work and they’re a super nice quality. If you’re interested in looking them up, they’re called THINX. They only come in black and nude, and they have several styles that can handle varying levels of leaks and menstrual flow.

      1. the gold digger*

        I think men create all clothes for women, which is why most of them look good only on tall, thin women with large breasts and which is why they don’t have pockets.

        I still haven’t figured out the connection between women-hating designers and the lack of sleeves, though. But anyone who designs a heavy wool sleeveless dress should be shot.

          1. Stephanie*

            Ha. I have a (very nice) sleeveless sweater dress. It was on sale and looked good on me, but it makes no sense–it it’s cold enough for a sweater dress, it’s cold enough for sleeves.

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            I was wondering if it was similar to the old Crayola crayon color “flesh” which only matched the color of some white people. That went away. Maybe this should too.

          2. mander*

            Once upon a time I saw an ad for “nude” shoes that came in a huge spectrum of different colors to match real-life skin tones. I have forgotten who made the shoes but I thought it was a great ad.

    2. Cruciatus*

      It’s been a while since I’ve purchased any there, but I tend to go for GAP or Victoria’s Secret underwear. Yes, it’s usually pricey–like 5 for $20 or something, but they last me years. They often have solids in the mix of prints and various styles. They are usually a few shades less granny panty-ish than Fruit of the Loom or Hanes’ comparable styles. Plus you don’t have to put up with the weird package of 2 white pair, 3 solids 3 prints. You buy the individual ones you want.

      1. katamia*

        I really like Victoria’s Secret underwear, too. Not bras–the last ones I bought from them fit perfectly in the store and then somehow became painfully tight despite no weight gain or loss, and the last few bras before then weren’t particularly flattering, so I’m done with their bras. But I’ve always been pretty happy with their underwear selection. Never tried GAP.

      2. Nina*

        Co-sign on VS. I love prints myself, but they have many solids in differing shades. The fabric they use in their panties is also much more comfortable and stretchy than Fruit of the Loom or Hanes, ime. There’s usually a bit of spandex woven in and they last longer.

        I don’t touch the bras (so painful!) but VS panties ftw.

        1. Jo*

          I used to love love LOVE Victoria’s secret underwear, but because the quality was so good that they lasted for years (or at least used to), when I went back last year to restock I discovered to my horror that they’ve changed both the fit and material. Now they are no longer 100% cotton and don’t fit comfortably anymore. I’ve been looking around but have yet to find a replacement (I’ve just been buying the really cheap 100% cotton packs from Target that barely last a month). So if anyone out there has any suggestions, I would appreciate it as well :)

    3. esra*

      I like bikini-cut and end up just waiting out sales at Victoria Secret or La Senza, then buy 3 of any pair that looks nice.

      1. esra*

        Somewhat related: I finally bought a couple new bras since it’s pretty clear the surgery weight loss is permanent weight loss. Shopping for undergarments in general kind of sucks.

        I got push ups, but there is nothing left to push :'(.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, esra, I’m sorry. I hope at least it improved your well-being, but sometimes it just is frustrating to see the changes health and medical stuff wreak on our bodies.

          1. esra*

            Ah, it’s alright. Things are definitely better now. I’m recovering well from the surgery, and my weight has been stable for 6~ mos.

            If nothing else, my mom is thrilled. She (intentionally) lost a bunch of weight and is now happily the size I used to be, so she shopped my closet.

            1. fposte*

              I’m glad to hear that overall it’s been good. I had an epic Crohn’s yoyo that was about a 50 lb. round trip this last year, and I wasn’t even particularly sick–nowhere near to surgery levels. It’s amazing how quickly it can upturn your life.

              1. esra*

                100%. And especially when you’re a woman, people can be so stupid about it. The amount of people I’ve had tell me they “wish” they had Crohn’s too, bleh.

                50lbs must’ve been scary though, I hope that’s evened out for you!

    4. Clever Name*

      I’ve been wearing hankie pankie brand. They aren’t all cotton, but they come in a ton of solid colors. They’re lacy but not itchy, and the boy short version is full coverage and doesn’t ride up, but isn’t granny panty territory.

      1. mondegreen*

        One last belated suggestion: I buy Fruit of the Loom bikini panties from Target and have no trouble finding solid-color packs. Because they sit a bit lower on the hips, they work well with lower-cut pants, and they don’t seem frumpy to me. Also, they’re really cheap and comfortable, which is a priority for me because nobody else will ever see them.

        (Caveat: in my experience the sizing is one category bigger than the chart says; the girls’ section provides more options if you’re at the lower end.)

    5. the sugar plum fairy*

      I actually really love the Ambrielle line of panties at JCPenney. I wore Victoria’s secret for years but have switched over to Ambrielle exclusively. Plus, JCP always has coupons so you can get them for $5/pair a lot.

    6. Ann Furthermore*

      Try Kohl’s. They’ve got a great selection. I like nylon stuff under skirts and work slacks. I’ve had good luck with the Vanity Fair and Olga brands. And for just plain old cotton undies, they have Jockey and Fruit of the Loom.

    7. Felix*

      Omg this is the story of my life. WHY is it so hard to find women’s underwear that is comfortable and not horrendously ugly and doesn’t have pantyline?!!!

      I usually find myself settling for the 95% cotton or modal boy shorts at la senza due to lack of better options. The sizing is weird though- I wear a size 8/10 pant, but have large hips and bottom. So, that means I get xlarge underpants to account for the inevitable shrinkage in the dryer.

      Don’t even get me started on thong-rage….

    8. StillHealing*

      I used to buy my underwear at a local KMART but it closed down. For the last two years, I buy them online from Jockey. They are quality made and long lasting. They are always having sales. I’m tempted to try their custom bra sizing system but it’s a bit pricey.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, I wanted to say Kmart also. I get Hanes or Fruit of the Loom in six packs or something.

        My targeted price for a pair of undies is $1. Yesss, I am CHEAP. I have to have something that is mostly cotton. Color is not a big deal and I don’t mind designs unless they are stupid. Adult panties that look like they belong to a two year old is not something I’d like. I usually get the hip cut, the regulars are too high for me and I don’t like the bikini line look.

        @ StillHealing, I just picked up some Hanes and Bestform bras at Kmart that were fairly inexpensive and kind of comfortable. If it is possible for a bra to be comfy, not sure. Yes, I am very frugal. ;)

        Back to fposte: Underwear shopping is one of my hells on earth. It’s as bad as shoe shopping. I wait until the need is dire and then descend into misery. You have my sympathy.

      2. Older not yet wiser*

        I also buy online from Jockey.com. Not cheap but good quality and great selection of styles, sizes and colors.

      3. Curlicue*

        I second (third?) Jockey. They have both cotton and nylon ones in a variety of styles – full, hi-cut, hipster, bikini, etc. If you are near one of their outlets, the prices are incredible!

    9. blackcat*

      I LOVE a lot of the all cotton options for Aerie (owned by American Eagle). It’s 100% marketed to tween girls, so you have to wade through ugly some stuff. But they have a filter for cotton panties, and they do have an array of solid colors within the plain cotton lines. They have big sales every so often. It seems reasonably high quality for being (intentionally) thin cotton that doesn’t show panty lines. My underwear that’s worn out was 3+ years old.

    10. Dynamic Beige*

      I have been buying the Elita brand for years. They’re cotton with a bit of Spandex. They have several cuts from bikini to thong to waist high so you can find what you like. The standard line just comes in white and black but they have some others that are silky/patterned/whatever I can’t be bothered with. I’ve always found them to be well made and last for a long time.

    11. Artemesia*

      Jockey sells their underwear in 3 packs or individually and I love it. And their packs tend to be something like black, grey, white or grey, charcoal, black or all one color like black. I wear a french cut underpant but they have bikinis and granny pant styles and perhaps others as well. It fits well, doesn’t ride up and comes in colors I like — mostly grey and black for me, but they have stripes and brighter colors and beige as well. It used to wear like iron; the quality is not quite as good as it once was, but it still holds up pretty well and is super comfortable, doesn’t ride up etc etc. And most importantly for me is cotton; I can’t stand synthetic materials in underwear.

    12. Liz in a Library*

      If you listen to even a single podcast, you’re already sick of hearing about this, but I really like Me Undies. They are comfortable, come in a bunch of colors and designs, and hold up really well to lots of washings/wears (no saggy elastic in sight!).

      1. Stephanie*

        LOL. “They’re softer than cotton!” I am also sick of Nature Box, Stamps.com, and SquareSpace.

      2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        I’ll plus 1 for MeUndies. They are pricey, but the fabric is wonderful. The ones I have even fit badly and they’re more comfortable than the other underwear I own.

    13. Stephanie*

      Another vote for Jockey. Nordstrom also has a store line that comes in basic colors aside from white. If you have a Nordstrom Rack nearby, you can usually find their store line there relatively cheap.

      Sometimes at work, I’ll have to retape packages (if it’s just something simple like an open flap). One of the orders from Target was open slightly and it was this garish neon underwear with sequins and lace. I had the same reaction–it was just a lot going on in that three pack of panties.

      Also, can we talk about the horrid colors of extended size bras? Unless I’m somewhere like Nordstrom or Dillard’s that specializes in extended size bras, it’s all sad variations of tan.

    14. Blue_eyes*

      I usually buy Hanes or Fruit of the Loom multi packs at Target. They come in fun, but solid, colors. I like the ones with a little lace edging at the top. Mostly cotton with a little stretch.

  33. Bibliovore*

    Desperate to go somewhere warm for about 5 days. Hoping for a direct flight from MSP and arrive somewhere around 80 degrees. Warm water pool essential. An inclusive resort or spa. Anyone have a favorite go-to. I am terrible at vacations but want to try. My favorite thing in the whole world are hot mineral springs. Thoughts, websites, suggestions? All would be appreciated.

    1. Jean*

      No expertise here but I’m hoping to have a nice armchair travel experience based on your other responses! A warm water pool sounds wonderfully decadent. (I suppose I could go run a warm bath, but thanks to the upstairs neighbor’s leaky drain our bathroom ceiling is starting to fall into the tub. Getting hit on the head by a mass of falling plaster would negate any relaxation otherwise provided. Memo to self: call maintenance, even if it’s during the weekend.) May the suggestions be abundant, affordable, and easily accessibe.

      1. warm weather FTW*

        Use skyscanner.com. You can search for direct flights from MSP to anywhere, and see where you can go!! Good luck, it’s super cold right now, even for Mpls.

    2. LizB*

      Check out Sun Country airlines; they’re local to MSP so they have lots of direct flights, and they often have sales on flights to warm/tropical locations (on top of their already dirt cheap prices). I’ve only flown domestic with them, but I’ve had nothing but great experiences.

    3. Stephanie*

      Arizona! Specially…the lower half of the state. Northern Arizona is probably the same temperature as the Twin Cities. Lots of direct flights between here and MSP on Delta or SunCountry. Phoenix has a lot of resorts and golfing and you could probably venture up to Sedona as well (might be chilly, but it shouldn’t be frigid).

      1. Stephanie*

        I went to some hot springs north of Albuquerque, but it is not warm there this time of year.

        You’re good on nice weather here until April. It’s hit or miss after that.

        1. mander*

          Though I heard they had a foot of snow in Las Cruces a couple of weeks ago. That pretty much never happens!

        1. warm weather FTW*

          I feel for you! I normally live there, but I’m traveling right now. Super glad I am missing the cold right now. People where I am think 50 is terribly cold. I laugh.

    4. Jo*

      No recommendations because I’m far, far away at the moment, but I’m headed to the Kenyan coast for R&R next week with a good friend from college and I’m SO EXCITED — both for the warmth and beach, and to see my friend again (it’s been almost a decade) :)

  34. the sugar plum fairy*

    Any ideas for inexpensive decorations for a wedding? I’m getting married in May at a ballroom dance studio. The total budget for the wedding is $3K. My colors are white with champagne/gold accents. I would like to do some centerpieces for the tables but nothing with candles (afternoon wedding). Im fairly crafty so I’m thinking about putting them together myself.

    1. Sparkly Librarian*

      Our wedding had the same budget, and our centerpieces were stacks of interesting books from the thrift store (25 cents each) with garage-sale vases (I think $5 for a set of 9) and farmers’ market flowers ($10-12), and a couple of thrifted sherry glasses with mints or hard candy in them ($5 total). I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Dollar Store sells that polished glass gravel that you might want for filling vases or other vessels.

    2. Neruda*

      Try Pinterest! There are a lot of great ideas on there, including ideas you can adapt to make cheaper if you’re a bit creative. Pinterest was a lifesaver when I got married- much better and free as opposed to expensive wedding magazines.

    3. Treena*

      We didn’t have a similar budget, but I wanted to spend as little as possible on the centerpieces. We went with mason jars and dried flowers from save-on-crafts in our colors. They were super simple and lovely.

    4. Wrench Turner*

      I did my own wedding and that was my budget, but helped (professionally or otherwise) on literally hundreds more, and cannot recommend this site enough http://www.save-on-crafts.com/
      It’s got creative lighting accent bits – like little LED strings you can wrap round your centerpieces or glowing mini orbs you can drop in- and all kinds of stuff. They also have good combinations of looks you can put together yourself.

    5. Sydney Bristow*

      I had a similar color scheme. Metallics with a bit of pink accents. I rented sequin table runners, bought cylinder vases from Dollar Tree, and put 2 tulips in each vase. I also had metallic votive candle holders, but it would have looked nice without those. Totally simple yet pretty and easy for my sisters to set up quickly.

    6. Artemesia*

      When my daughter married we scattered freeze dry rose petals in a couple of colors on the tables and they were then used to throw when the left the reception. They were really cheap. I think I paid about $100 for enough to do the tables and the cake table. We did use candles as well because it was at night but the petals were really pretty and they come in all the rose colors.

    7. StudentAffairsProfessional*

      Try Craigslist! I have found a bunch of wedding decorations that now-married people were happily trying to pawn off for a fraction of the original cost.

  35. Vanilla*

    Has anyone else seen the TV show “Younger” on TV Land? I have heard its a decent show, so I checked it out tonight and ended up watching 9 episodes!

    1. warm weather FTW*

      I like it! A friend hooked me onto it. It’s not the best show ever, but it’s entertaining. I binged the whole first season in Dec.

  36. Vanilla*

    So, I’m about take the plunge and adopt a kitten. :) Does anyone have any first-time kitten owner advice? I would love to know about training too.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If at all possible, get two! They will bond and keep each other company and wear each other out with play, and their friendship will bring you enormous pleasure to watch.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yes! If possible get litter mates. It is so fascinating to watch their relationship with each other.
        A friend brought home two adorable kittens. He had them for months. Then one day it dawned on him that the one kitten would go find the other kitten when it was time to eat. Why didn’t they just both come eat?

        The second kitten was born deaf. She had no idea that fresh food was available. The first kitten knew this some how and would go get her.

        You can see some amazing stuff with litter mates.

      2. Dr. Johnny Fever*

        Agreed with Alison, get two so they have playmates and friends. Otherwise, you will be kitten’s mommy, playtoy, best friend, cuddlemonkey, and everything else in one. Use a soft voice or normal voice while acclimating them, don’t yell at them directly. Expect mistakes.

        When you bring them home, let them explore, but be consistent on where they cannot go (table tops, countertops, etc). Perhaps have a cat tree or some high scratching/climbing toy to redirect their urges.

        Kitten training IME can go well if you are gentle, consistent, and can redirect their playfulness to toys or areas where the kitties can go nuts.

        Also, make sure you have some enzymatic cleaners on hand for carpet and furniture for when the kittens have accidents or get sick. It happens.

        Most important thing – enjoy playing and cuddling!

      3. Dynamic Beige*

        I agree with two. I felt really guilty with my last cat that he was an only cat. He was bored. His favourite thing to do was eat. I was away at work all day and he was on his own. I swore if I ever got another cat, I’d get two so that they could keep each other company. And two showed up on my doorstep. They are not litter mates, but they are related somehow. Mother and son? Aunt and nephew? Grandma and grandson? No idea. It’s the cutest thing ever when they curl up together and sleep. They fight, but most of the time they just coexist and I feel better knowing that if I’m away for a couple of days, they’ve got each other.

      4. The Other Dawn*

        I’ll add to the chorus to get two kittens at once. Believe it or not, it will make life easier as they will entertain each other and it’s less likely a behavioral problem will develop. Been there!

      5. Artemesia*

        When we last looked for a cat we were surprised that there are sort of season of the year when kittens are plentiful and not so much other times. There were no kittens at the shelter when we shopped. We had hoped to get a pair of kittens but ended up adopting a somewhat older cat who was a delight and we had her for 18 years.

    2. GOG11*

      I would recommend clicker training. I will post a link below. I used it to train my 3 cats to sit, but you can use it to teach and reinforce all sorts of behaviors. Two of my cats responded really well to treats and I used toys with the other.

      1. Audiophile*

        You trained them to sit?? For some reason this fascinates me. I grew up with cats and dogs and no one really sat on command.

        1. Sydney Bristow*

          My husband is trying to teach my 11 year old cat to sit. It’s not going well but it’s cute to watch him try.

        2. GOG11*

          Yes. I grew up with dogs and they were all trained on sit, stay and to come when called for practical reasons (so they can be calmed if they start getting jumpy, not to run out the door, to come if they ever did get out or if they needed to come in from the fenced-in yard). I think it’s even less common for cats to be trained because there’s not really a need for most cats. I don’t remember why I decided the cats needed to know how to sit, but the clicker training method worked really well and was pretty easy for me and for the kitties.

          1. Audiophile*

            I’m seriously tickled that you clicker trained your cats and got them to sit. That’s awesome.

            We have an older cat, plus an outside cat who has zero desire to come inside.

    3. fposte*

      I’m a big fan of the blog at wayofcats.com if you have questions; there are lots of answers there already, and a friend wrote and got nice help when she had a difficult kitty. It’s also just a nice read.

    4. Kristina L*

      I agree with the people who suggest getting 2. If you have 2 kitties, it’s best to have 2-3 litter boxes.

      I wish someone had told me to spend a lot of time with a kitty before adopting it and really get some idea of the kitty’s personality. Now I try to look for a kitty who wants to be friends, or is shy but warms up to me. A gentle kitty is nice to have.

      The last time I adopted a kitty, I found a sweet, shy adult kitty, and he’s been great. I’ve heard that when you adopt an adult cat, you have a better idea of what you’re getting – not sure if it’s true, but it worked for me this time.

      Keep the food and water away from the litter box(es) – cats don’t like to eat/drink near their “output”. Litter boxes should be in a reasonably quiet out of the way place if possible. Kittens get into *everything*. Find a veterinarian you’re comfortable with and make an appointment to have the kitty/s there for a wellness visit. Kitties will sometimes eat string, rubber bands, tinsel, tape, thread, plants, so try to keep those out of their reach. Some plants are poisonous to cats, and rubber bands can lead to requiring an operation. Cats shouldn’t eat onions or grapes or chocolate – these are very very bad for them.

      Have fun and enjoy your kitty or kitties!

  37. the sugar plum fairy*

    Wedding registry question – if you had it to do over again, what do you wish you would have registered for?

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Honestly, if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t even have a registry. Spouse and I got married on the East Coast while living on the West Coast, thinking (at the time) we’d eventually move back east. So we had all the registry items shipped to my in-laws house (the idea being “Oh, when we move back, we can just get that stuff from your house). We didn’t move back, so we ended up just donating our fancy china and silverware and whatever to my in-laws. Turns out we didn’t need all that stuff at all and were perfectly happy without it.

    2. Al Lo*

      It’s not so much that I wished we’d registered for different things, but there were a few things on our registry that I wouldn’t include again. For instance, a bathroom set (soap dispenser, toothbrush holder, garbage can, etc) — the ones at the store we registered at were all stupid expensive, but we were hung up on registering for the full set. Really, we should have just found a set we liked at Ikea or wherever for far less than the set we registered for. It’s just one of those things that makes me feel a little icky in retrospect, having registered for a $50 bathroom wastebasket.

      Not much else from that particular store was really overpriced or anything, so it wasn’t like we registered somewhere expensive overall, but it was just those few particular items. Which no one bought us anyway, so it’s really a moot point, but I’ve always kind of hoped that it didn’t look terribly gauche to the people who were browsing our registry.

      I have long wished that Ikea had a registry — I actually had friends who had a member of their wedding party volunteer to manage an Ikea registry for them, which seems like a ridiculous amount of work.

      We also made liberal use of the Amazon Universal Wishlist browser extension, and added a bunch of stuff to a “secondary registry” that way. We had a lot of family and friends who live out of the country and couldn’t come to the wedding, and that was an easy way for them to send us things from one central spot, no matter what website it actually came from.

    3. HappyWriter*

      I wish I had registered for a KitchenAid Mixer. At the time, I thought it was too cliche. But for many years since, I have wished for one!
      We did not register for fancy china and I have never regretted that. We mainly upgraded cookware, cooking utensils and stemware from our single days or got specialty items (a pasta maker; an espresso maker). The KitchenAid is the only thing I miss!
      P.S. Congrats on your upcoming nuptials!

      1. Al Lo*

        We didn’t register for china either, and I don’t regret it, per se, but it’s one of those things that we would have made surprisingly more use of than I expected, and one of those heirloom-y things that I like the idea of being able to use for 50 years and then pass on.

        Of course, from the other side, my mom’s china pattern wouldn’t be mine, so I know that handing things down doesn’t always work the way one expects. Fancy china: certainly not a necessity, and most of the time I don’t miss having it, but sometimes I think about how many meals I’ve eaten on my mom’s good china (more than I can count, since we use it for virtually every holiday dinner she hosts) and how many holiday meals we could have served in our own already (in 5 years of marriage) and I think it would be nice. But I probably will never make the investment myself, so my everyday dishes will suffice.

    4. Samantha*

      More nice serving dishes/platters for entertaining. I thought we didn’t entertain that much so we didn’t need them. But between hosting birthday parties, showers, dinners for family/friends, etc. over the years I would have definitely gotten a lot of use out of them.

      Also, nice food storage containers. We just had the really cheap plastic containers and it didn’t even cross our minds to upgrade them to something nicer and longer lasting (I just bought a nice Pyrex set and I really like them).

    5. CrazyCatLady*

      I didn’t register because all of our family lives out of state and it was a financial burden for them to travel. But! After eating our Thanksgiving meal out of the pots and pans used to cook the food… on top of a dish towel instead of a tablecloth, I wish we had asked for serve-ware and a table cloth!

    6. NYC Redhead*

      We knew we had family china and flatware coming, so we only registered for two place settings of a special china setting for us (and still have used them once in six years). I second having serving platters for company, especially since we seem to do more finger food/cocktail parties than dinner parties.

      What I really regret, though, is our everyday plates & bowls. They were advertised as microwave safe, but they get SUPER hot in the microwave, so we have a bunch of mismatched pieces we use for reheating foods. I wish we had tried out one of the pieces at home before registering for the whole set.

  38. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

    My mental health has been really bad (like, dangerously bad) the last few months, and so despite all my reservations because of bad experiences in the past, I bit the bullet and made an appointment with my GP. I got berated about my weight, told I didn’t seem depressed, and “if your job makes you unhappy you should just quit!”

    It frustrates me no end that there’s very little in the way of mental health resources without going through your GP or paying through the nose, unless you’re actively threatening suicide or a danger to others.

    1. Jo*

      Ugh, that’s awful and infuriating. I’m so sorry that happened to you — when you’re already feeling that terrible, what just happened is pretty much the worst possible response and can only make things worse. I’ve definitely been there (and possibly still am) so you have my sympathies and best wishes.

      Can you switch GP’s, or just bypass that option and make an appointment directly with a therapist?

      1. blackcat*

        National health in NZ may require GP referral for it to be covered.

        I send the advise to get a new GP, if at all possible.

    2. Carrie in Scotland*

      I would go back to your GP and get another dr. Seriously, they were rude and unhelpful.
      Did they ask about your mood at all? If you’re being social or hiding away? Sleeping well? These are usually the q’s I get if I am feeling low/depressed.
      I have somw links which may/may not be useful. Will post them in a reply.

      *hugs* and take care of yourself.

    3. ginger ale for all*

      Is there any way you can give feedback about their poor response? Is there a medical board you can contact? And I am sorry you had to deal with that callousness. I don’t know the in’s and out’s of your countries medical system but do you have a trusted friend who can advocate for you at the doctors office? I wish I had more ideas of what to do, I am aghast over what you went through.

      1. Treena*

        Yes to bringing a friend! I’ve learned that I literally can’t let my husband go to the doctor alone. He’ll have 2-3 things to discuss, and then after discussing the first one, the doctor is rushing him out the door and he gets too frazzled/is too polite to be firm and get everything done. If I’m sitting there, I take notes if needed and literally hold the phone with the list of things to discuss in my hand and remind him with just a few words, so he can be examined or talk about what he’s feeling etc.

    4. Rebecca*

      I’m so sorry. It infuriates me when doctors focus on weight as the be all and end all of every single medical issue. Can you find another GP? Here in the USA, my insurance carrier provides lists online of doctors who accept my insurance, so I can stay “in network” as they call it. I hope you could do the same, and perhaps find another GP who can actually help you.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      That doctor was an idiot. I don’t have any nice words for him at all.
      I hope you are able to find a compassionate person who is able to consider the total you.

    6. Felicia*

      I had a similar experience with a GP and it made me feel worse, as I’m sure it did for you. Except I was also having some concerns about physical symptoms which may (or may not) be depression, and there were several possible physical causes of my depression that I had a bit of a history of that I asked if had been investigated, and the doctor was like “yeah, could be physical thing, but actually all the problems you think you have are because you’re so fat, so you better do something about being so fat before the next time you come back here. I never went back there. Neither should you. Finding another GP is hard here (Ontario , Canada), it’s probably hard there too.But this one is just making things worse for you.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Wow. Interestingly, I very seldom meet a doctor that is not “fat”. I assume your doctor was not Mr. Trim. I think it’s commendable that you did not point that out to him.

    7. Dynamic Beige*

      You need a doctor who will work with you, not berate you about their favourite hobby horses. See if you can transfer to someone else. When my family doctor retired, it took a while to find one that I felt OK with, especially since we had a shortage of GPs in the area — no one was taking new patients. But the one I am with now, she does listen and ask questions. I’m sure if you do some research you can find someone better for you in your area.

  39. Anna Moose*

    I got a cute hairstyle today with maybe a good 4 inches trimmed, but still long enough for a ponytail. Any guesses on how many days/weeks until my husband notices?? So far, my adult children haven’t noticed either.

    1. Felix*

      It sounds like a really great cut! Sorry no one noticed, but it is funny how family is like that! I guess 6 days before your hubby notices ;)

      (If it makes you feel any better I rarely notice when my boyfriend shaves … He often goes a week in between shaves and usually has this lovely scruffy six o clock shadow look. Then he shaves randomly and is completely clean shaven, but I don’t even realize until he says “so… Notice anything different?”

    2. ginger ale for all*

      I cut off 8 inches and my boyfriend didn’t notice until I asked him if he liked it a week later. That was when I found out that he thinks my hair color is blonde. He is a trained police officer and has taken multiple classes in police observation. They should really ask everyone in those classes to describe their significant others and have those significant other decide if they pass or fail at the end of the course.

      1. KAZ2Y5*

        Ha! many years ago my late husband and I planned a Christmas party. One of our games was a version on “The Newlywed Game” (everyone was married). One of our questions for the guys was either “What is your wife’s eye color?” or “What is your wife’s hair color?” It was hilarious ;-)

    3. Jackie*

      I went from shoulder length hair to very short hair and attended a family party where not one person commented on my hairstyle. I had the shoulder length hair for over ten years so it was a very big change to do a short pixie style. I have to say I was hurt no one noticed. In contrast at my place of work everyone noticed and told me how nice it looked too.

      1. Nicole*

        I’ve found that people tend to notice a few times after seeing you with the new look. It’s like they are mentally processing that something is different about you but can’t quite put their finger on it right away.

  40. Rebecca*

    I’m about to buy a new desktop computer for the first time in 14 years. I’ve gotten a used one in that time frame, but nothing new, and my goodness there are a lot of specs out there! I don’t need anything for online gaming, just basic stuff, so that makes it easier. I also bit the bullet and did the Windows 10 upgrade my my laptop, and so far, so good. I think it’s OK! I’m not a huge techie person, so I tend to delay delay delay until the last minute. I have 3 squarish flat screen monitors, scrounged from work when we got new large rectangular monitors, extra keyboards, mice, and cables galore.

    I’m not looking forward to the part where you plug it in, do the updates, and downloading Firefox, Chrome, etc. and doing all the settings, etc. But, one step at a time.

    1. Cruciatus*

      You may be quite surprised by features offered today, even on basic model machines! 14 years is a very long time in the computer world! You’d probably be happy with a more basic one, though a friend of mine once told me to buy what you can afford. Attempt to future-proof your machine a little bit. And I actually like the part where you plug it all in and see it fresh for the first time!

      I’ll be looking soon too. I came home from an extremely stressful week to find out my hard drive had (most likely) died. Not that there’s a good time for a HD to fail, but it might have been a little nicer during a week I was a bit more chill… I hadn’t been super diligent about backing it up (I know, I know! I have most everything, but probably the last year or two I didn’t…). I may just need a new HD but I don’t know if the motherboard is also bad. I used some device to try to recover my files just in case the HD was OK (and the motherboard was bad) but looks like it’s not as the device would not read it at all. Last night I used a program to transfer my songs off my iPod since iTunes will only let you do it if you purchased the songs from them (Most of my 4000 song library was ripped from CDs). I was excited to find I hadn’t yet taken pictures off my memory card in my camera from at least 3 years ago so that’s good news. Hooray for laziness! Or…maybe I was psychic? But I am certainly going to back everything up from today. There really was no excuse as I already had the external hard drive right at my desk… So for anyone reading, let me be the warning that you really should back up your computer RIGHT NOW if it’s been a while!

    2. Wrench Turner*

      I know what you mean. I’m not a computer gamer type, but I do need a touch more oomph for art software, and it’s intimidating. I love the technology but beyond SO SHINY! SO CHROME! I’m a little lost.

      Something that has really got my attention are these mini computers like the Raspberry Pi that have enough power to run Win 10 and do basics but are very inexpensive and sometimes as small as a USB drive. Really. I’m boggled by it. Welcome to the future!

      I set up a wireless repeater to extend our home wifi out to my art studio and am very proud of myself, so for my next “tech project” is setting up a home network using one of these tiny computers as a media server so we can store/access our many, many art files on something that isn’t our laptops or a pile of flash drives.

    3. Rubyrose*

      Sorry, I’m confused. So when you say desktop, are you thinking a real desktop computer , or do you mean either a desktop or laptop? Are you just trying to say you don’t want a tablet?

      I understand delaying electronics. I do keep my computer relatively up to date (still on Windows 8.1, avoiding 10), but am just now replacing my 23 year old television with a flat screen. Yes, coming up to speed with technology can be painful.

      1. Observer*

        Do yourself a favor, and upgrade to 10. MS has fixed most of the problems with 8, and will be dropping support for 8in the near future (while keeping support for 7 going for a bit, ironically.)

        1. Rubyrose*

          Yes, that Windows 10 upgrade popup keeps getting bigger and bigger. My plan is to get a backup, then bite the bullet. Good to hear that the problems are mostly fixed.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I’m not upgrading to 10 until I get a new computer. Too many games on my Win 7 and old Vista laptops. I’ll keep them going until they die a natural death. An upgrade will probably happen at work in the not-too-distant future, so I’ll have a chance to get used to it.

          I’m the person who kept a Tamagotchi going to the end of its allowable lifespan on a repeated basis, so…. :)

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      The best thing you can do for yourself is get an SSD instead of a traditional hard drive. The performance improvements are immense and worth much more than a slightly faster processor or more RAM (though for Windows, make sure you get at least 8 GB of RAM).

    5. Rebecca*

      I miss my old Dell XP! I do have a newer laptop, about 3 years old that came with Windows 8 (then upgraded to 8.1 and now 10) and when the XP started to really lag I picked up a used HP Vista desktop a few years ago. I didn’t go with the SSD hard drive, although I have one at work, because I don’t really need it. I shop, surf the web, look at email and blogs, use Facebook and G+, look at videos, that type of thing :)

      I have to say I like Win10 more than I thought I would. Looking forward to learning about the email program so I can consolidate everything into one spot.

    6. Audiophile*

      It’s funny, I was just in BB yesterday looking at new laptops. I wandered over to the PC aisle and they were so pretty. There was one HP model with a HUGE tower, this thing was truly massive and I have no idea why. I wouldn’t get a desktop until I’m on my own and truthfully, unless my laptop dies a sudden and unexpected death, I wouldn’t get a laptop anytime soon. The one I currently have is holding up very nicely. But I was impressed with Windows 10 and super impressed with how thin laptops have become, they all look like Macbook Airs.

      If the manufacturer matters to you, you really can’t go wrong with Lenovo. I have an older model Ideapad laptop and it’s great. I went somewhat techie, because I was taking a few CS courses. Since I quickly dropped them, I haven’t really used any of the feature except the fingerprint reader.

      The only desktops I’ve ever had were IBM (back when they used to make them) and Dell. IBM was definitely better from what I remember. I hear most people say Gateway is solid, do they still produce desktops and laptops? There’s always HP, but I had a laptop and had a less than great experience.

      I love plugging a machine in for the first time, ok desktops can be cumbersome, but there’s something about that first flicker of light.

  41. Today's anon*

    Someone in my local community committed suicide, and even though I didn’t know her personally, I’ve been having the hardest time with it. I am sad and angry and I have many feelings, thoughts and questions and … there are no answers to any of them. Feeling so heavy.

    1. Also anon for this*

      So sorry for your pain. Any idea why this is hitting you so hard?

      I have never had to deal with suicide with someone who was close. I have had a couple of acquaintances from hospital stays (psychiatric ward) who completed the act, and several others who tried. They all had connections with mental health professionals whom they could reach out to. In one case I think she just got tired of trying to work through her issues. In the other, she had cried wolf so many times that I think the people around her got tired of dealing with her. And yes, I know that any talk about suicide should be taken seriously (please do not beat me up about the crying wolf statement). But there are people with psychiatric problems who will threaten anything in order to get attention, not because they are serious about acting out on their threats, and over time it gets old. The main thing these two had in common (that I know of) was that they had seen their therapists for a long period of time. My sense is that their therapy was not working and they should have gone to someone else. Easier said than done, when you are in such pain and can’t see the forest for the trees.

    2. Pennalynn Lott*

      I had this kind of reaction to Princess Diana’s death. I sure as heck didn’t know her personally, but it felt as if someone had pulled the rug out from under me. I think it was the first time I felt “old” as in “adult old”, not “elderly and frail old”. I was in my 30’s at the time and it was like, “If Diana, with all of her wealth and status, isn’t safe from harm, then none of us are.” Which I knew intellectually, of course, but hadn’t ever owned it emotionally. It was like there was something seriously wrong with the universe when someone like her, who had just seemed to finally come into her own, could just up and die and be gone forever.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Yep, I know what you mean.

      A few years after my husband passed a friend called up. He was talking about his friend. His friend had lost his spouse and just could not cope/function. Long story made short my friend’s friend took his own life.

      So my friend wanted to know, how come some people continue on and some don’t? The true answer is we just don’t know. My personal thinking is that when a person commits suicide they usually have more than one reason. They have a couple of really heavy issues going on and there appears to be no way out.

      I have seen a couple kids die this way and it is shocking/unnerving. I think kids have an additional layer of complexity because they can’t always express what is wrong- they lack the vocabulary or they lack a means to convey difficult abstract concepts.

      But yes, some deaths hit us harder than other deaths. And why this harder hit happens is yet another topic that could cover volumes of books. I think to cut to the punchline, it might be a good idea for you to endeavor to do a little something. Maybe the family needs help paying for the funeral. Or maybe you would like to send flowers or check out the comment section online under the obituary. You don’t have to go to the funeral, if that is not something for you, but maybe you’d like to make a baked dish for dinner for the family. Pick a small doable thing and go for it.

      One of the most powerful, moving things I have seen is when a total stranger sends a note, “You don’t know me. I just want you to know that I am saddened by your loss, my thoughts and heart go out to you.” Make sure you sign your name so you don’t seem weird to them.

      And don’t forget to cry as needed.

  42. Daisy*

    I hope it is okay to post an insurance question today. I got a bill from my dentist because they were told by the insurance company they are out of network. According to the insurance company the dentist is in-network for my husband but out of network for me.

    It is through a job my husband has since left so I’m struggling with getting information.

    It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that they are in-network for the insured, but out for the spouse. Anyone deal with this or have any insight?

    1. fposte*

      Spousal coverage can be weird, and dental is especially weird. Does your husband still have the big guide to his insurance benefits, or can you get it online? (Is this Delta? You can try just Googling “Delta dental” and [your state].) And is this for a procedure that occurred before your husband left the job?

      1. Daisy*

        It was just an exam (and X-rays) that happened his last week at the job. It isn’t Delta but I don’t know the name off hand. When I get home though I will try googling. Thanks!

    2. Winter is Coming*

      Honestly, I’ve never heard of this, and I’ve been in benefits administration for 20 years. Not saying it’s impossible, just that I’ve never run into it. If I were you, I would ask to see this in writing in the plan description or the benefits booklet.

      1. Daisy*

        Thanks it sounds crazy to me but you never know what insurance companies. Most things sound crazy to me. I’ll see what I can get my hands on.

  43. The Other Dawn*

    I’m looking for a bedspread or duvet cover for my guest room. Unfortunately, the wallpaper is a very pink floral pattern and the rug is also pink. Changing those things aren’t an option at the moment, and they’re no big deal, but I’m trying decide what color bedding to use. At the moment I have a minty green bedspread, but I want something different. Any color ideas?

      1. The Other Dawn*

        So glad you mentioned light blue. I just looked at te wallpaper and saw that there’s some light blue in it. Someone once told me that the way to pick the accessory or accent color is to look at the wallpaper and pick the color that is least represented. So in this case that’s blue. :)

      1. Anonyby*

        I second this, or at least a neutral color. I painted my bedroom blue, and it came with blue carpet, so I went with light tan bedding just so that the blue would be shocking, but not overwhelming. :)

    1. fposte*

      Do you like the sweetness of pink or do you want to contrast with it? If the latter, you might consider a gray–you could easily find a gray and pink pattern for the pillowcases or for throw pillows if you wanted to knit things together.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I’ve considered all three of of those colors but wasn’t sure about the gray. I knew white would match, but felt it too plain. Plus I have multiple cats and that could get ugly. Pink would be just too much I think. It already looks like someone puked pink in there.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        I think gray could be really nice. There are lots of shades/tints of gray to choose from. I like the idea of gray because I think it could add an air of elegance to a room that sounds like it’s a bit too froofy at the moment. Plus gray will go well with many other colors choices when you are ready/able to eliminate the pink-splosion.

    3. Jean*

      Your suggestion of choosing accent pieces to match a minor color already present is interesting. Does the wallpaper have green as well as blue? If so, perhaps an unusual, non-pastel green (e.g., olive or sage, or something closer to pine needles) could mute what fposte described as “the sweetness of pink.”

      However, blue might be a better fit because you seem to like the idea. Perhaps you could find ways to use both a clear light blue and some sort of more murky, more gray, less-than-typical blue such as slate or colonial blue?

      It’s really hard to give advice when I can’t see your room and you have no idea about what I’m seeing in my mind. Also, there are many many variations of pink. I could be thinking pale-pink-that-goes-on-a-little-girl’s-birthday-cake but you could be living with salmon pink or hot, bright, almost-fluorescent-or-fuschia pink.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yes, there’s some green in there as well. I have green bedspreads at the moment, but they were very cheap an the color is fading. Plus, I would rather have duvet covers.

        The pink is a little darker than pale pink. So kind of a medium pink.

      2. Treena*

        I agree, a charcoal/slate duvet cover with pale/sky/light blue sheets would be lovely and calming.

    4. Not So NewReader*


      What about something like a lavender or maybe darker?

      Dark colors make a room look smaller, light colors make a room look bigger.

  44. Stephanie*

    Finished my first 10k about an hour ago! I won’t be qualifying for Boston anytime soon, but I did it! I don’t really remember the last mile.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      Way cool! I can do 10k — walking. :) I think I can run about 10 cm, and then I’m back to walking. So I’m impressed, even if you don’t go to Boston.

    2. Allison Mary*

      Is it sad that when I first read this, I read “10k” as the annual filing for public companies required to be filed with the SEC? I’m so glad this is my last quarter of my accounting classes. -.-

      Congrats on the marathon!

      1. fposte*

        Okay, I may be able to polish off 2016’s Christmas shopping in January there. This is brilliant. Thanks, danr.

  45. Engaged*

    Going off a question listed above, how long is too long to be engaged? My fiancé and I have been engaged for 2.5 years, and while we plan on getting married next year (still haven’t set the official date), I feel like our families think we’ve been engaged for too long. It’s not that we don’t want to have a wedding, but there just hasn’t been good timing. He proposed while I was in college, so I didn’t have time to plan a wedding while in college and working full-time. After graduating, I was focused on finding a different job and, once I did, I was working 12 hour days and didn’t feel like doing anything once I got home, much less plan a wedding.

    How should we respond when people ask about our wedding plans? We don’t want to tell them we’re getting married next year until we have a set date, but I also don’t want to come across like the person Graciosa mentioned above where a couple says they’re engaged but have no plans to be married.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      how long is too long to be engaged

      That’s really up to you and your fiancé and not up to other people—not up to friends or family members. If you and your fiancé are both happy being engaged for 6 years or 10 years, then you’re happy. If you’d be happier being married in 5 years, get married in 5 years. Do what makes you both happy.

      I also don’t want to come across like the person Graciosa mentioned above where a couple says they’re engaged but have no plans to be married.

      Can you say you do have plans to get married but just haven’t finalized the date?

      1. Allison Mary*

        Second this. In my personal opinion, your relationship status with your partner is nobody’s business but yours and your fiance’s.

    2. Dear Liza dear liza*

      Yeah, get married when you’re ready. But this is why people like Graciosa (and me!) have a thing about saying you’re engaged. An engagement really indicates a set plan, not just “someday in the future we will marry.”

      When dear Henry dear Henry proposed to me and I accepted, I told him we weren’t “really” engaged until I had a ring and we set a date. We had both within two weeks of the proposal. But that’s me; live your life as you see fit.

    3. Graciosa*

      Your handicap is not wanting to tell them you’re getting married next year without a set date – although this is perfectly normal, so I’m not sure why.

      “We’re planning on a date in 2017, although we haven’t finalized our choice yet. Why not? Well, we’ve waited a long time for this and want to get everything just right.”

      “We’ve decided that the ceremony will take place next year. When? We’ll let you know when we’re ready to announce it – it’s a little early to ask our guests to save the date, but not too late to be sure there won’t be logistical issues that require us to change it.”

      “We’re looking at the [season] of 2017 as our ideal choice. Fortunately, that’s far enough away to give us some time to settle on the exact date that will work best, not only for us but also for our families.”

      People understand that weddings can be fairly complex and difficult to arrange (although they don’t have to be), and you can quite serious about it without being certain of all the details. A friend of mine just got married and changed the date and the location multiple times during the year or so preceding the ceremony – and by location, I don’t mean other venues within the same region, I mean locations more than 1500 miles apart. I would have been totally understanding about not hearing the [still changing] details until they were settled.

      Frankly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with naming the year without the date – although you will start to look like Adelaide in Guys and Dolls if you commit to 2017 and then remain unmarried in 2018. However, it is your call, so here are a few other options or thought-starters to help you craft a response that you’re comfortable with.

      “We’ve been spending a lot of time on that lately, and I’m amazed at how much there is to do! I’m glad we agreed not to try to plan the ceremony while I was working full time and in college – or trying to find another job – because there are so many details to manage. Even now that Fiance and I have more free time, we’re still working on selecting the best venue and date to have the type of ceremony we’ve settled on – and that’s not even thinking about details that need to be managed closer to the actual ceremony, like the save-the-date notices or actual invitations. Just thinking about it makes my head swim!”

      [Closings for when you want to shut down the conversation] “In fact, I don’t think I want to think about it any more – let’s talk about [other topic]” or “But I made a solemn vow not to bore my friends with any details until we’re ready to announce them, so I suppose I had better change the subject. Tell me about [different topic].”

      [Closing for when the questioner is married] “How did you manage it for your wedding? I’d love to hear any words of wisdom or expert advice. What can you share to help make our day a success?”

      Your willingness to listen to endless stories about other people’s weddings will be taken as a sign that you’re serious in planning your own.


    4. Not So NewReader*

      “I feel like our families think we’ve been engaged for too long. ”

      Is that your feeling or is that a fact? Do you have proof of this?

      Do you think you have been engaged too long?? Maybe that is the real question. Perhaps if you are comfortable with the time frame, others will see that and let it go.

      I was with my husband for four years before we got married. I had lots of chaos in my life to resolve first. We finally decided, screw it, let’s just do this.

      One thing is though that if you are allowing other people’s expectations to influence your life decisions, then hold off on marriage. Learn how to tune out other people’s expectations first. I will tell you that their list of expectations is endless, it does not stop. So marriage will not solve your problem of dealing with other’s expectations. Their expectations will not go away if you marry, matter of fact, their expectations will INCREASE.

    5. Blue_eyes*

      I agree with everything Anonymous Educator said. I would add though, that if you’re waiting for the timing to be just right, that may never happen. Check out the blog A Practical Wedding (if you haven’t already) and search the phrase “wily ducks” (and see link in reply). My husband and I were engaged for 2.5 years and that was right for us for a number of reasons.

  46. CrazyCatLady*

    I have been having lower jaw pain for the past two weeks. It seems to start slightly below the TMJ and then go down my jaw line (like where my face starts to curve into my neck). The pain is like an 8 on a scale of 1-10. The dentist doesn’t know what’s causing it but thinks a bite guard may help. I went to my doctor this week, and they did jaw x-rays (normal), a bunch of blood work to rule out rheumatoid arthritis and other causes (I have widespread pain pretty regularly) … all blood work came back normal. 4 ibuprofen doesn’t touch the pain. I’ve used ice and heat (they both help a little). Massage helps a little.

    The doctor said it’s lower than TMJD usually appears, and it’s too low to be sinus related. I haven’t had any injuries and no more stress than usual.

    Has anyone else experienced it? I know most of you aren’t doctors but any ideas what could be causing it?

    1. fposte*

      Could be trigger points, especially if massage helped a little. When you work your fingertips with gentle pressure across the area, is there notable tenderness anywhere or everywhere? You can search for “self massage [body part],” and if you know or can research the anatomy of where it’s really seeming to be distressed you can use the more technical terms, like “self massage masseter” or “self massage digastric.”

      If it’s trigger points, what causes it is usually just being human in the world, rather than any specific awful thing.

      1. CrazyCatLady*

        I actually did Google that yesterday and think it is the masseter! There has been tenderness/tension (that side feels harder than the other side of my face and sometimes there is visible swelling). It definitely feels more muscle-related than bone-related.

      2. Rubyrose*

        On Amazon: The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief, by Clar Davies.
        Wonderful book.

        1. fposte*

          I was thinking about recommending that–I like it a lot too.

          I get muscles freaked out all the damn time. It’s often intensely painful, but some diligent digging with thumbs can often make a huge difference. Then I have to be careful not to make more trouble by poking :-).

        2. Hypnotist Collector*

          Also recommend this wonderful book. Massage your masseter every day – it’s amazing, especially if you have general neck/shoulder/jaw tightness from computer work (don’t we all?). It’s a weird thing to do at first and then it’s like you can’t imagine not doing it.

    2. Aunt Vixen*

      I have a more or less permanent knot in my shoulder that causes pain all the way from my shoulder blade to my ear. I don’t know what’s the chicken and what’s the egg, but I definitely clench my teeth in my sleep and the bite guard has changed my life. (Hasn’t made the issue go away, mind, but it’s made it immeasurably better.) At one point when it was really bad it turned into a giant flaring pain in the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve – started in my ear and stopped exactly at the cleft in my chin. And that was 10 our of 10, dude, when it was lit up I couldn’t think about anything but how much it hurt and how to make it stop. Pharmaceuticals didn’t touch it. Some stretches I learned in PT for the trapezius muscles helped some. (You should be able to google these. Basically, put one arm behind your back and then turn your head around and down to look at – not over – that shoulder. Rest your other hand on top of your head.) But let your dentist fit you for a custom night guard asap. By all means carry on trying to find what else might be going on, but do get a bite guard in there.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      You could try a chiro, find one with experience with jaws. Mine pushed on the connective tissue between my jaws. (Wearing a glove of course.) It did not hurt at all. He feels that dentists push our jaws out of alignment. I don’t know. I do know that my overbite is no where near as bad as it used to be.

    4. DebbieDebbieDebbie*

      Has the pain been constant over the last two weeks? Or intermittent? If intermittent: does occur with activity? Does anything make it worse?

      1. CrazyCatLady*

        It hasn’t been constant but when it does hurt, it’s constant for a day or two. Nothing seems to make it worse, not even chewing.

      2. DebbieDebbieDebbie*

        You mentioned a work up for RA…Do you have any other auto-immune or vascular diseases? I would want to rule out a decrease in the blood supply to the area as a cause if the X-rays and initial blood work is normal.

        1. CrazyCatLady*

          I have Celiac. All of my blood work was normal (CBC, full metabolic panel, iron/ferratin, TIBC and a few others). One came back positive (ANA, but it doesn’t yet say any details other than ANA were detected) which I know can be indicative of other auto-immune diseases.

          1. DebbieDebbieDebbie*

            I’m sorry that you have to go through the struggle of a medical mystery while in terrible pain. I’d want to get a thorough history, do a good exa, of your head and neck and know CRP & ESR levels– wanting to quickly rule out a vasculitis or arteritis. Only after ruling out those conditions, would I feel more comfortable evaluating you for a neuralgia or musculoskeletal problem or referring you to a chiropractor, etc.

    5. Nashira*

      If nothing else turns up, ask your doctor about trigeminal neuralgia/tic doloreux. It’s fairly rare and I sincerely hope it’s just a muscle issue, but it’s worth considering TN if PT-type stuff and a bite guard don’t help with the pain.

    6. hnl123*

      Haven’t read all comments – sorry if repeat. I had HORRENDOUS jaw pain (slightly different from what you experience, but still close enough).
      I went to my chiropractor for a routine thing and when he touched my neck, he was like “What the Hell!” He worked out the kinks in my neck, and he found a HUUUUUGE knot in my jaw/neck area. Goshdarned it -him working on the knot was the most painful thing ever, but POOF! gone.
      Every once in a while, when my neck gets all funky, I will experience similar jaw/gum pain. I’ve gone to the dentise – nothing actually wrong dentally. It could be a neck/alignment thing. Might be worth a trip to a chiropractor.

  47. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

    My husband and I were just debating which NFL franchises we hate the most. I’m a big-time sports grudge-holder, so this is a fun topic.

    For me, it goes like this:

    1) Saints. See: 2010 NFC championship game, Vikings @ Saints. Bountygate at its finest.
    2) Eagles. Just because. It comes with living in Philly as a non-Eagles fan.
    3) Patriots. The Yankees of football.
    4) Seahawks. See: the Inaccurate Reception*. See: #wideleft, last week.

    *I realize I should enjoy the Inaccurate Reception because it was against the Packers, and as a Vikings fan the Pack should be my sworn enemy. But I just can’t do it. Who can hate on a community-owned football team that eschews cheerleaders and plays in a stadium named for a football giant instead of a corporate brand? I can’t. Plus, Aaron Rodgers is bae.


    1. NYC Redhead*

      1) Eagles. Because, Philadelphia.
      2) Patriots. Because Tom Brady reminds me of every arrogant football player I went to high school with.
      3) Raiders. Because they’re my dad’s favorite team and their fans are obnoxious.
      4) Redskins. Because of the name.

      None of this is rational, I realize. Except any dislike of the Eagles, which is totally rational.

    2. Persehone Mulberry*

      Fellow Vikings fan!

      1. Patriots. Belichick is a cheat and Tom Brady is not God’s gift to football.
      2. Saints (obvs)
      3. Seahawks (who I really used to like in the Hasselbeck days)

      I’m with you on the Pack. They are my sworn enemies and I always cheer against them, but I respect the hell out of them as an organization.

    3. Not Gloria, A.A., B.S.*

      Patriots because obv.
      Packers because I’m a Bears fan and I can hate on them.
      Steelers because I don’t like Toothlessburger

    4. Tepid Tea Water*

      The entire thing.

      The Canadian Football League is much better.

      Faster action, less commercials, few enough teams that you have a decent hope of keeping up with what is going on. Now we just need to stop the NFL from stealing all the best players away (I am a dreamer.)

    5. lfi*

      I’m a iehard niners fan..

      Cowboys: Our ultimate rival in the 90’s (I remember making signs and yelling at Cowboys fans near the stadium in the early 90’s!)
      Raiders: My husband’s team (this is more for fun, but he loathes the niners with a passion).
      Seahawks: Niner nation, obv.

    6. Lindsay J*

      1. The Eagles. Growing up a NY sports fan in NJ I am sworn to hate all Philadelphia teams. Plus, the fans are just obnoxious.

      2. The Cowboys. You are not America’s team. Plus they always seemed to have an affinity for showboating players (T.O. Neon Dion, etc).

      3. The Patriots. Just because.

      1. Winter is Coming*

        It’s so good, you’re going to love it. Very suspenseful! We are midway through Season 2.

    1. NewCommenterfromDaBronx*

      I started about 2 months ago. Almost caught up to the current season by frequent marathon viewing, including this weekend. :)

    2. Jo*

      Lol it’s so terrible and so addictive. Also it cracks me up bc I’ve spent time in some of the areas it focuses on in a previous season, so that’s always entertaining and good for a laugh :)

  48. Washing machine*

    Does a gov. agency oversee the cleanliness of shared laundry rooms in apartment buildings?
    We moved into an apartment complex (that has over 300 units) and have discovered that the washing machines in the shared laundry room have not been cleaned for a long time. I spoke to someone in the office about this but I don’t think they will do much about it! I am very disappointed!

    1. fposte*

      If it is, it would likely be your town or city. I’d check with any tenants’ organization for the city.

      But I doubt it. There’s no requirement they have laundry at all, and the cleanliness of the machines isn’t a life-threatening issue. If they’re demonstrably unusable (like, you have to go out to the laundromat instead) you could argue the place doesn’t really have laundry onsite and your rent should be reduced accordingly, but that’s obviously going to torch your relationship with the landlord and make it less likely you’ll be able to stay comfortably or at all.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Ugh, not sure who would have jurisdiction, someone else might know.

      If you have only asked once then maybe try asking again. Or try finding out who the owners are and writing them.

  49. Elle*

    Hi all,
    I haven’t had much luck finding a pair of black boots that is:
    – comfortable to walk around all day in
    – waterproof (I live in the Pacific Northwest, so lots of rain here)
    – knee-high
    – simple/classic style
    – less than 1.5 inch heels
    – not baggy in the calf area (I have small calves)
    Any recommendations would be appreciated!

    1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      Is there a specific price point you’re looking at? La Canadienne boots hit all of those (they have waterproof, knee-high, simple low-heel styles–I don’t know how they run in the calf, but they’re adjustable) but they’re on the expensive side. They’re leather, not rubber, so they’re pretty comfortable as well. Merrell has some decent knee-high waterproof boots, but I’m not sure how they run in the calves. I’ve had good luck with Clarks, and I think they have some waterproof styles.

      I’d stay away from the cheaper brands, I used to have a pair of Kamik rain boots and they kept my feet dry, but they were just freezing and gave me the worst blisters of my life.

      1. Elle*

        I googled La Canadienne boots and they are beautiful, but yeah, they’re pretty pricey :( I ended up buying a couple of Clarks boots from their website, but if none of them works out I’ll consider those La Canadienne boots. Thanks!

    2. Sinjin*

      These are a bit on the casual side, but I’m really thankful I bought my pair of Teva De La Vina boots. They’re structured really well, waterproof and comfy. I’m traveling and walk for miles in them every day, and the haven’t disappointed. They come in three shaft lengths: ankle, mid-calf, and calf.

    3. Lore*

      Clark’s definitely has waterproof, Thinsulate-lined winter boots that don’t look like winter boots–I bought a pair last year that won’t be what you have in mind because they’re only above-the-ankle and have a higher wedge heel, but they’re awesome–warm, waterproof, and with a gusset at the zipper so water doesn’t seep in there. They’re not the best on ice–the soles aren’t super-textured. But look at their style Pita Topeka or Swansea Bridge, maybe (on a big sale on the Clark’s website, FYI).

      1. Elle*

        Thanks! I took advantage of the sale Clarks has on their website. I bought a couple of different pairs just in case and hopefully one of them works out.

    4. NDQ*

      I have a pair by b.ø.c. I bought at DSW. Not knee high but mid calf. As a brand, these were comfortable in the store so I knew they’d be great. Maybe they have other styles that would work for you.

      My job requires the ability walk, run, move quickly and fight if necessary. I channel Sydney Bristow in the hope that if I have to get all badass at work, I might look good doing it.


    5. Hypnotist Collector*

      Try The North Face Bridgeton boot in black. Zappo’s/Amazon has it. I have a different pair of North Face boots that have gotten me through five Colorado winters; I almost bought the Bridgeton this year for work but decided to keep the old ones one more year. They’re warm, dry, have traction, and are not conspicuously hard-core wintery boots like Sorels.

  50. older friend*

    I met Alice at my local rec. center and she looks to be in her 70’s. Our conversations are about staying in shape and exercise. Yesterday she told me that she has been trying to contact legal aid (with no luck) since she would like to leave her assisted living facility and move to California. She walks to the rec. center (Mon.-Sat.) and walks to church on Sundays. She prefers not to stay at the facility and only goes back for meals and to sleep. Once she mentioned that she wished they provided healthier meals, for example: they give them hotdogs for lunch on Saturdays. She pays $3,300 a month and is on a month to month contract (Colorado). The money comes from her deceased husband’s pension plan.
    She has care management advocates who are her guardians here. She does not care for the staff and thinks that they are overwhelmed with the number of people that they manage. And they will not help her move since they will be losing her as a client/money.
    She has 2 living relatives who live out of state, but they are not close and are in contact very infrequently. I would like to help her and not sure where to begin? How can I help her?

    1. Jerry Vandesic*

      How do the “care management advocates” relate to the assisted living facility? Are they employees of the facility?

      1. older friend*

        I don’t believe that they are related.
        Alice said that she was told (I don’t know who told her this) that she has to select local guardians and she signed papers (she is not sure what she signed) with the care mgmt advocates. They arrange for drivers for her to take her to her medical/dental appointments. But when she goes to a super market or pharmacy she pays for a taxi.

    2. Daisy*

      Is there an elder care agency in your state. In my area there is (state) Agency on Aging and they can help with situations like this.

Comments are closed.