weekend free-for-all – February 6-7, 2016

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

Book Recommendation of the Week: The Partly Cloudy Patriot, by Sarah Vowell, who is smart and funny and mixes pop culture with history and you will want to invite her to dinner.

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

{ 710 comments… read them below }

  1. Tilly W*

    I had ACL surgery on Wednesday (complete reconstruction due to a ski injury in December). Any one have any tips on getting it back to full health? I start PT on Monday but didn’t know if anyone had any other advice. Thanks!

    1. Weekend Warrior*

      Take PT really seriously, especially when running through the exercises by yourself gets boring.

      1. North*

        +1000 to this. I deeply regret ending my PT too early by not continuing on at home after my formal sessions were done. Now I can’t stand up quickly without my right knee refusing to work right away.

      2. StillHealing*

        Yep. This. Be consistent and follow through on home exercises. Same time, communicate if something seems off. Pushing too hard too fast can create additional injuries or compensation injuries. “This is NOT a Race!” Is what my doctors, pts and therapist would remind me. Every healing process has its own timeline. Be patient with yourself. Sending you good, healing thoughts.

    2. MissGirl*

      Hi, I’m going on two years this April. Definitely work your but off in PT; my knee grows scar tissue unusually fast so I had stiffness a lot longer than average. Also, I wish my doctor had been more upfront about the recovery process. He told me I’d feel really good at four weeks and that was a joke (of course, everyone is different). Are you doing hamstring or patella? Each have a different recovery. My doctor said patella had an easier recovery but hamstring was better long-term, especially for skiers.

      I’ve talked to other skiers about it and five years seems about right to feel %100 better. But don’t feel hopeless, when I say 5 years, I mean zero soreness and zero stiffness. I’ve been skiing on it all season (I’m an instructor) and while I do get sore when there’s a lot of powder and bumps, the ACL is holding up. Because I did hamstring, that darn muscle can really tighten up and feel like a charley horse sometimes, mostly when I jump.

      I was on skis about eight months after my surgery but I wasn’t allowed off green runs the first eight weeks and nothing steeper than a blue or off-piste terrain the next eight which, was pretty much the end of the season. I didn’t actually fight him on that much because I could feel the weakness in my muscles. The first day out I had a hard time having enough strength to snap into my bindings.

      In the meantime find activities you can do that strengthen your muscles. I had my surgery in April and did a ton of hiking and biking that summer since those were some of the few things I was allowed to do. It’ll be good you have your six-month mark in July so you’ll get to enjoy more of the year. I’m still bitter about no water skiing. :)

      Above all have patience. Some days it may feel like it’ll never be the same and you’ll never get better but you will. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else’s recovery because everyone’s different. Give yourself permission in the next few months to let some things go. I couldn’t believe how much PT and an 8-hour desktop would wipe me out that first month or so. Good luck.

      1. Honeybee*

        In my experience doctors are pretty bad at estimating how long it will take you to recover from something. I had a minor surgery a couple years ago on a Thursday, and the doctor was like “Yeah, you’ll be feeling good enough to go back to work on Monday, and you’ll probably feel 100% in like a week or so!” So I took a week off just to be sure. Uh, NO. I was certainly not ready to go back on Monday; I was kind of ready the following Monday, and full recovery took about 6-8 weeks. Later I found that that’s the standard for this kind of surgery. (It was on my tailbone, so I had to feel ready to sit on it for hours straight!)

        1. fposte*

          I think orthopedic stuff is the worst for that, because ortho surgeons tend to be jocks who make it a matter of pride to be back and bouncing around ASAP themselves; they therefore all have colleagues who went back to work the next day after whatever the surgery is.

      2. Emily*

        Above all have patience. Some days it may feel like it’ll never be the same and you’ll never get better but you will. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else’s recovery because everyone’s different.

        Thank you for the reminder. I’m almost four months out from my ACL reconstruction surgery and get frustrated sometimes at things I thought I’d be able to do but can’t yet (jogging, bending my bad leg as far as the good one). Since some of my early recovery went faster than expected, I thought that I’d be farther along by now.

      3. Tilly W*

        I did hamstring and I was wondering about next ski season. This is great insight about what to expect and if I should get a ski pass (or to where – sounds like a place with a lot of green-blues). I’m worried if I don’t get up there next season, I’ll let fear build up. My skis didn’t eject due to my bindings being set too high so I think my first few times I will be a psychological mess all around.

        1. MissGirl*

          I was in a brace up until my one year mark, which coincided with closing weekend. :( After that point I would been allowed to start pushing steeper stuff. I was starting small bumps and steeper blues but my muscles would shake.

          I totally agree with going up though; that fear builds up and can be paralyzing. I did mine getting off a lift. A kids ski went under my ski and pulled my leg out from under me. My first day I made sure it was a slow day and I started on the kiddie hill. As nervous as I was I could feel the ACL was solid underneath me. Good luck.

    3. Connie-Lynne*

      If your health insurance pushes to take you off PT before you feel 100%, ask your PT and your doctor to refer you for another six weeks, and more after that, until you personally feel up to snuff.

      1. Bibliovore*

        ACL recovery. Take the pain meds on schedule. Do the PT consistently. Slow and steady. Keep gel ice packs on hand. 4 big ones. On for 20 minutes, off for 20 minutes. set on, set in the freezer. I discovered Netflix during my recovery. Couldn’t read. Watched all of Sports Night. In a row.

    4. Kimmer*

      Finish required PT and continue to do it for at least another month. The trick is building strength in your quads and hamstrings to support your knee.

    5. SusanIvanova*

      I broke my ankle last April; there’s a saying in software engineering that my PT and doc both agreed with: the last 10% takes 90% of the time. I’ve been working on that last 10% since October and I’m still almost but not quite there.

    6. Tilly W*

      Thanks everybody! I really appreciate it. I was curious about when I would actually feel back to normal vs what the doctor said. I bought an $8 recliner at a thrift store prior to surgery and I’ve been living in it. Thank goodness for Netflix.

      1. MissGirl*

        Ha ha my PT told me to dump the recliner on week 2. Said it would hold me back as I was either not straightening it or bending it. I hated those drug induced first weeks. Good luck, you’ll get there.

  2. Dynamic Beige*

    That is the face of a cat who knows she’s hit the jackpot!

    Also, love the line separating her greyish side from her more orangey side.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I swear, every time I look at her, I see a montage in my head of her early weeks and get a little teary thinking about the change she’s undergone.

      (For those who missed the history, she wouldn’t let anyone touch her during the five weeks we fostered her as a kitten and was terrified of people. The shelter thought she’d be hard to get adopted so we took her. Then, in a total turnaround, from the day she came back home to us, she has exuded love and affection and asks to be petted all the time. As in, sees us walking toward her and stands on her back legs to get closer to our hands. She is a miracle kitten.)

      Also! For people who followed the saga of her and her two brothers last summer (we fostered the three of them together), I recently got updates on the two boys from the families who adopted them! It sounds like they are all happy and loved.

      1. Megan*

        Thank you for fostering! My babies were littermates, fostered by a couple who had much experience fostering. Even with all their work, they were nearly unadoptable and were slated to become barn cats when I broke and had to love them. Frankie and Annette are such loving cats, and I’m glad they got a home, but I know it wouldn’t have been possible without their diligent foster parents, and I’m so grateful to them.

  3. Jen*

    My mom is having surgery on her ankle in a few weeks, and on her birthday no less! My (toddler) daughter and I are going to take our shift helping her right after her birthday so we will be bringing presents in person. Ideas for what she might enjoy while being laid up and in a mild to moderate amount of pain?

    To add to the question, she is currently on a very low carb diet (for weight loss, not health restrictions) so my default of snacks is pretty limited. Any make-ahead low carb meal ideas much appreciated!

    1. Alma*

      A ventilated lap desk for her laptop! I find that coming off anesthesia makes reading difficult for several days to weeks. Perhaps an audible.com membership? Or certificates for Red Box or PPV movies. A realllly good cream for her arms, legs, and back. If she will not be able to use the shower for several days, some of those heat in the microwave caps that wash your hair in the bed, or easy chair. They are not at all sloppy, and friends have said they’re amazing.

      Food. For her birthday, make her a cake made of real fruit (or go with an edible vase of fruit flowers). What is the weather like where you are, and what are your Mom’s preferences in food? I can help you more with that info.

    2. TootsNYC*

      short stories

      They’re a bit of escapism, but they don’t take as long or require as much emotional/intellectual investment as a novel. There are lots of genres.

      toddler games, too–interacting w/ little kids is fun, and their short attention span is probably a good thing when someone is in a little bit of pain. (Uno scales WAY down the age range, btw, as does backgammon)

      I’m wondering how long the pain is expected to be a factor.

      1. Jen*

        A while, she had this same surgery on her other leg about 6 months ago. She’ll be weaning of the good drugs for about a week, then on mega painkillers. She can’t walk for 3 weeks and won’t be able to drive for 6 at minimum.

        I have told her several times that bringing the toddler is a terrible idea, but she insists otherwise.

        She’s not a big reader withOUT pain; I am thinking movies are going to be the best bet. I got her Netflix last time, so she’s still got access to that.

    3. Maybe Tomorrow*

      I would reconsider bringing the toddler. I have 3 kids and wouldn’t do it.
      Toddlers arent old enough to understand why grandma can’t play or why she shouldn’t climb in bed with grandma.

      Crossword puzzles, word searches, those adult coloring books with new watercolor pencils if she’s at all artsy.

      1. Jen*

        It was her request to bring the mini. I think it’s an awful idea but it’s what she wants. I know exactly how this will end, trust me, but moms are…stubborn.

    4. Honeybee*

      What does she like to do? My mom is crafty so when she was laid up after surgery a couple years ago, crochet projects were what she liked. She also has a Cricut that she uses to make cards and other various crafty things. (I did not inherit that gene from her.) She’s also an avid reader so lots of books were really helpful – you don’t even have to buy them, you can get them from the library. Also movies and Netflix! But really what my mom wanted was someone to talk to and sympathize with her, so I provided that.

      None of my make-ahead meal ideas are low-carb. Well, one – chicken soup. You can make a big pot yourself over several hours, divide it into a couple of tupperware and then freeze it. It keeps pretty long.

      1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

        My mom had foot surgery in November and spent most of December knitting and working on an enormous jigsaw puzzle and every crossword she could come across. She’s only just now back to getting close to 100%–her recovery took a long time.

    5. Pennalynn Lott*

      Low-carb make ahead idea: Crustless quiche. Just throw your regular quiche ingredients into a greased baking dish. We like chorizo, cheddar, spinach, onions, and mushrooms (with some cream and a dash of nutmeg). But you can use pretty much anything (turkey, roasted asparagus/cauliflower/bell peppers, name-your-cheese, raw veggies, kale, tomatoes, ham, bacon, ground beef, ANYthing!). Let it cool and then cut it up into individual serving sized squares and refrigerate. Pop a square into the microwave for a minute or so to warm up, and — tada! — instant low-carb (and very healthy) meal!

    6. Gingerbread*

      A few of my favorite low carb dinners:
      -chicken enchiladas using zucchini instead of the usual tortillas. I found the recipe on Skinnytaste.
      -“spaghetti” and meatballs, but I use a vegetable peeler to make the noodles out of zucchini
      -chicken stir fry with cauliflower “rice”

    7. Alston*

      So what ever snacks you do bring try to avoid pumpkin seeds (or maybe any seeds) or anything super fibery. Post surgery painkillers can make you SUPER constipated.

      And after I broke my arms I couldn’t concentrate on reading/listening to audio books, so I just binge watch he Say Yes to The Dress. So Netflix month subscription?

      1. Prunes*

        I’m confused by this – if you are constipated, isn’t fiber going to help with that rather than make it worse?

        1. Alston*

          Painkillers slow the digestive processs and basically everything takes 4 times longer to get out. Fiber doesn’t speed things along, it just compacts it. Doctor told me the worst thing I could do was eat more/take any fiber auplements.

      2. SusanIvanova*

        Oh, and something my doc didn’t mention – when you start decreasing the painkillers, *decrease the anti-constipation meds too*. Or you’ll find the effect has gone too far in the other direction.

    8. Justme*

      Thanks for posting this, as it’s relevant to me. My mom is having surgery next month that will require quite a bit of recovery time.

  4. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    A high school teacher I wasn’t particularly fond of passed away recently. I wrote a brief 2 pager to my favorite English teacher (who worked with the deceased and is compiling excerpts from past and present students).

    The deceased teacher–didn’t let me in a school society because it was claimed I was too shy, and didn’t seem too concerned with anything except padding “my dossier.” (Well, excuse me for playing at the national level because of my sheer enjoyment of the particular hobby, which did help the school too). I spun the paper into something positive, like how that changed my mindset, and his quietest student grew up to be a vocal advocate for teapot rights…that sometimes people tell us what we need, not necessarily what we want to hear/what is popular.

    …Also, a piano arrived. I didn’t know I had to reserve the freight elevator (ie. put in a deposit). The concierge was kind of po’d, the fine is up to $250 for using the wrong (ie. passenger) elevator while moving in. Tl;dr: forgot to notify concierge a piano was entering the (correct) elevator. Though technically, I already live here, wasn’t moving in. Nervously saving for IRA put keeping it in my main bank acct in case I need to pay fine…..

    And planning for the summer trip with the bf. And going to a party later today. I need something to get me out of this vaguely sad mood :S

    Finally, I’m remembering a quote I tell myself over and over re: the (interesting) mom: “I have fought my way here… For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great. You have no power over me.” -Labyrinth

    1. Honeybee*

      You have to pay to reserve the freight elevator? Way harsh. We had the same regs in my old building with freight vs. passenger but at least you didn’t have to pay to use it.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        That was my reaction, but now that I’m thinking about moving large pieces of furniture, I wonder if it’s either a “you will use the freight elevator or lose this money” ploy or basically a deposit against damages from moving huge, heavy things around the building.

    2. Artemesia*

      Boy our building makes a giant big deal of this sort of thing and provides all that detail to people who move in and then live there. We all know that the manager needs to be aware of any big delivery. Your building is really remiss if they haven’t made all that clear. We don’t have to give a deposit though for a single delivery just for move in and move out where we reserve the elevator all day and a staff member supervises the whole deal; the elevator designated for this sort of thing is alas also a passenger elevator — we only have too, no designated freight elevator — but it is padded every day so that recycles can be taken out and packages delivered and the occasional delivery occur without damaging its historic paintings and woodwork. Your management should be making all this more visible if it comes as a surprise.

  5. Doriana Gray*

    I just spent entirely too much money getting my hair and eyebrows done. But I look cute, so I don’t care.

    Now I need to go home and figure out what the heck to write for a contest that ends on the 29th. I feel like I am an empty well of ideas when it comes to literary fiction short story ideas. Like, what can I even say that would remotely be original? Everything I write in this genre seems so…trite.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Ugh, I have that same problem. I can’t think of anything like that on demand, maybe because I mostly write genre fiction.

      I had my brows done today too! And in two weeks, I’m going lighter with my hair. I talked to my stylist about it while she was doing my brows (we also talked at my last hair appointment) and she’s doing babylights to get me up to a lighter red. I told her I don’t want to be orange, and I’ve been touching up with the lighter color, but it’s also too orange. I think I’ll have to find a more red/blonde color to use. It’s going to be costly, but if it will keep the upkeep down, that will make me happy. I just hope we can find the right shade. I’m kind of nervous about that.

      1. Doriana Gray*

        Wilk you dye your brows, too? I can’t get my eyebrows to pick up color, my hair’s so dark! It’s maddening. I had this really pretty caramel brown hair color last year through the spring and summer (it eventually went ombré) and tried to tint my eyebrows to match – it was a no go. I got blunt bangs that covered my brows, and they looked fantastic, but when those bangs were swept to the side? Yeesh – I looked crazy, lol.

        And finding the right shade of brown was trying as well, so I completely understand your concerns about finding the right red. The wrong one will have you walking around looking like Carrot Top. A woman at my job who works in my previous division gets red dye jobs, and lawd, it’s hideous! The red is too red and looks garish against her skin.

        As for the writing, I mostly write genre fiction too (mysteries, horror, thrillers, pulp fiction, and occasionally, erotica). I’ve dabbled in lit fic, have had pieces published, but it’s like pulling teeth whenever I do write it – it just doesn’t come naturally to me at all. But I like to challenge myself, so that’s why I keep attempting to write it. Hopefully, I’ll get better at it the more I practice.

        1. Gingerbread*

          I have red hair, but my eyebrows are black. I lighten them using Sally Hansen’s cream facial hair bleach and leave the formula on for 7-8 minutes. I have thin brows so I also fill them in using an eyebrow powder that matches my hair color.

          1. Doriana Gray*

            Hmmm….I’ll have to try this. I’m planning on going golden brown this spring so I’d like my brows to match. Does the bleach make your brows yellow and then you get color with the powder? Or does it just make the black less severe? I have jet black hair so I have trouble even bleaching my brows.

            1. Gingerbread*

              It just makes the black less severe and the brow powder is what makes my eyebrows match my hair. Maybe you can try the bleach when you have bangs? That way if you don’t like how your eyebrows turn out, you can hide them.

              1. Doriana Gray*

                Yeah, I’ll do that to be on the safe side, lol. Then I have to go find a shade of brown that compliments my hair color. Looks like I’ll be making an Ulta/Sephora visit in the near future (I’ve never been in either place before, so it’ll be an adventure).

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I’ve been touching them up when I touch up my roots (I’m very careful not to get it in my eyes) to cover greys, yargh. The plan is to make touchups less frequent. I don’t know what I’m going to do about brows except rip the greys out.

          I really like the dark auburn I am now, but I just can’t keep up with the lighter roots. I’m sick of doing it every two weeks. I’m half tempted to just go completely grey and then do some of that galaxy hair or something, LOL.

  6. Going anon for this*

    I know this isn’t the best place to ask and I should get professional therapy….but I feel disgusted and ashamed and I need to talk about it somewhere, anonymously.

    I’m married and I’ve been texting wiht someone off and on. It’s not the first time I’ve done it, but I feel guilty.as.hell now. We’re both fully aware of the consequences and know the limits so it won’t get physical…but I enjoy the attention, thinking about it/that person, but I feel physically sick every time our conversations end.

    It’s not hte first time I cheated, but I never felt as guilty before for whatever reason. But this is different now. I feel super guilty.

    I want to stop. I don’t know how.

    The things I get from others…the attention, compliments, my spouse gives me all of that. So why do I enjoy it so much from others?

    1. fposte*

      Because you’re human. People like to be flattered. Very few of us (save perhaps movie stars) will say “I’ve had enough flattery today, so if anybody new wants to flatter me I don’t want to hear it.”

      I think the question isn’t why you like it, it’s why liking it is what makes you decide it’s worth the risk to do it. That’s where I think you really, really do need to talk to a therapist, especially since it sounds like this is a pattern for you. You’re not in an open marriage, right? So you’re talking about inflicting some likely damage on the bond you want at home.

      And sure, monogamy isn’t for everybody, and maybe it’s not for you. But you can’t become poly while your partner thinks you’re monogamous. Right now it sounds like you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too, and some talk with a therapist (who will have heard much more shocking things than somebody texting inappropriately with a co-worker) might be in order before you end up leaving your cake out in the rain.

    2. FD*

      There’s a lot to unpack here, and I think therapy might be a good idea. However, here are some of the things you might think about.

      You’re doing something that is dissonant with your values, but you’re doing it anyway. You say that you get enough attention and compliments from your spouse, so it’s not that. Can you isolate what it is that motivates you to seek out this other person? For example, are you bored, and seeking novelty? Are you lacking intellectual challenge right now? Are you feeling unsatisfied with the emotional or physical intimacy between you and your spouse? Those are all reasons that you might find this other relationship more alluring right now.

      In the immediate term, if you can identify what you’re missing or what you want, you might be able to seek it out in a more constructive way.

      However, you mention that you’ve cheated before (possibly multiple times?), and here, it sounds like you consider what you’re doing emotional infidelity at least. That does make me wonder a little…SHOULD you be married to the person you’re married to? Sometimes, two people are good people, but they’re not right for each other. They might have incompatible goals or drives, or just plain not click in the way they want to. For that matter, while society says that everyone should aspire to at least serial monogamy, not everyone’s really cut out for it.

      I think you owe your partner honesty. S/he believes that you’re being exclusive to him/her, and you’re not, and haven’t been. You don’t owe it to him or her to stay in the relationship if you end up realizing it’s not right for you. However, I would really encourage you to seek out some therapy to work out exactly what the right next step should be.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      My wise friend told me that once you correctly identify the cause of a behavior then the behavior just stops. Under his theory, your behavior has not stopped in spite of identifying some strong reasons. My suggestion to you is to keep looking for reasons. Probably counseling would be best, but you an also read on your own to see what you can learn.

      Start here- texting is an escape from ______. When I am texting I do not have to deal with or worry about _____.

      Don’t answer my post, it’s just food for thought.

      1. Honeybee*

        Ehhh, I’m not so sure about that. Behavioral change requires two components: Knowing the cause of the behavior/the behavior you want to change AND being motivated to change that behavior. OP might identify the reasons for doing this – because it gives her a thrill, makes her feel good, because the other person is attractive, because she’s doesn’t prefer monogamy, whatever – but she’d actually have to be motivated to change the behavior if she wanted to start.

        1. Doriana Gray*

          Yup. Otherwise, she’ll be exactly like my ex who knows why he cheats, but just doesn’t care and won’t stop.

            1. Doriana Gray*

              Thanks. But it happened so long ago, I no longer harbor any ill will towards him. Shoot, we even occasionally chat over the phone about stupid stuff (no in person meets) – he’s paying dearly these days for his shit behavior toward me and every other woman he’s ever cheated on (and that would be every woman he’s been with in his 35 years on this earth, oh, except his very first girlfriend at 16 – she cheated on him first). The universe took care of him. :)

        2. Not So NewReader*

          I think OP wants to stop. Maybe I am reading too much into it, that could be true, but my rule of thumb is that people do not ask if they do not want to stop. Sure, some people ask and then do nothing, that is true also. But once the question is expressed out loud, I believe as the listener, I must assume the asker will succeed. So yeah, I do assume there is motivation there because a person asked a question.

          1. Observer*

            Maybe she wants to stop. But does she want to stop ENOUGH?

            I don’t know the answer to that, but it’s a part of the issue that she’s going to have to address.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              I have often faced this quandary when talking with people about their concerns. Is this person going to see it through to a resolution?

              The real answer is: We don’t know.

              BUT, it is unfair to the person asking if we do not give our best thoughts on their subject. It’s not fair to the person to assume they will not “make it” through the situation. What if they fail because *I* failed to pay attention and show sincere concern????? I don’t want that on me. I think that we should give people our best and if they fail to use it or fail to work a variation of our advice into something useful for their setting then that is on them. It’s not on us. Keep in mind that in this setting here, if we miss the mark, OPs can come back and indicate that we missed a key point. And we can rethink what we have said.

              That said, I still remain optimistic for our OP, here. I feel that identifying the problem is half way to solving it. We have had a couple of OPs in the way past that I was not optimistic for, at all.

              1. Observer*

                I agree with you. The point is not “OP may not want it enough, so what’s the point.” Rather, part of the best answer is to address the entire issue of motivation. Not just the why of a behavior, but the apparent benefits vs the downsides, and how strong the motivation is to change. Because just as advice that ignore the reason why someone is doing something is often not useful, advice that ignores motivation to change (or lack thereof) is also generally incomplete.

    4. stopping by*

      Check out the Dear Sugar podcast,
      They just did a 2-3 part series on unfaithfulness. You might find they something say that hits you.
      Good luck.

    5. StillHealing*

      Not sure you will want to hear all of what I have to say after going through what I’ve been through these past 16 months… quick summary. Old girlfriend from the 1970’s contacts husband via email, I post on Ask A Manager if I should be concerned ? (tl;dr I kicked husband out after finding out they were having a long distance affair, filed for divorce, he moved to the East Coast to be with Affair Partner, took all year to divorce him because he wouldn’t cooperate; divorce was final end of December; ex-husband is miserable)

      You are being extremely unfair to your faithful spouse. Your behavior can not be blamed on your spouse. This is 100% your doing which you DO seem to understand. That said,
      Please find a good Therapist. There is hope for you because you are capable of feeling guilt. At the same time, once you answer to yourself as to why you feel guilty, you will have your answer as if you should get divorced or not. It may not be what you think.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Well said. She feels guilty and she is asking for advice. Two things in her favor right off the bat.

        1. StillHealing*

          Yep. Has a great chance of 100% healing. If she does the “work” she needs to do, her life will be better than she thought it could possibly be.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Please don’t skate by this one, OP. If you work at what you need to work at, your life will, indeed, be better than you what can imagine right now.

      2. KMS1025*

        Please ask yourself how you would feel if your husband somehow read these texts and left you over them??? You sound like you already know what to do…you just need to bring yourself to do it. Best of luck to you.

    6. A sex addict*

      You may be a sex addict. Sex addiction is a real addiction like alcoholism and drug addiction. I strongly suggest you start by seeing a sex addition specialist (CSAT) to get evaluated and go from there. You can look for one in your area using the link below.


      Sex addiction is real. Think of Tiger Woods, and probably, Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner, and many many other people.

      *I am speaking from first-hand experience*. Please see a therapist immediately before this goes too far.

      You are not alone in this and there are people out there who are willing to help you. All you have to do is ask.

      The best of luck to you.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        I was going to say the same thing. My boyfriend is addicted to porn. If you substitute “texting” and “cheating” for “porn”, the OP sounds exactly my boyfriend does when he talks about doing things that seem great while he’s doing it, but make him feel physically sick afterward, and how he does it even though he knows the painful consequences to our relationship.

        If you can’t afford a therapist, please look into SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous).

    7. Similar Boat*

      I think you’ve gotten some good advice here. I don’t have any answers, but this is a note that I almost posted this weekend too. I don’t think my situation is as advanced as yours, since we’ve kept things ostensibly on the friendship side of the line so far. But I know in my heart that I’m playing with fire. And I know how much I could hurt my spouse over something that’s really quite stupid. Yet dancing down that line is so tempting anyway. I hope that you find the resolutions you seek.

      1. A sex addict*

        Please see my advice above. I think you should take it also. This is how it starts. It only goes downhill from here.

    8. Allison Mary*

      I know I’m a bit late to this thread – but I’d like to offer a totally different angle to this.

      Have you considered perhaps that your need for adventure and romantic thrills simply isn’t being met, the way your relationship is currently structured? Is it possible that if you went to your partner and told him this, in those words (i.e., non-blamey, no use of the word “you”), that your spouse might be open to experimenting with different relationship structures to get those needs met?

      I’m not talking full-on non-monogamy here (which is what I do, to be fair). I’m talking about really simple things like, you and your spouse go to a bar, and maybe you guys start out by picking people for each other to flirt with. I.e., your spouse, knowing that you need/desire flirtation, says to you, “See that person sitting at the second seat from the end of the bar? Go see if you can get their phone number.” Or maybe something as simple as, “Go see if you can get them to flirt with you.”

      And it doesn’t necessarily GO anywhere – it’s just a way for your needs to be satisfied, and involving your spouse in a way that lets them feel like they have some control and that they’re being included. There are unlimited ways you guys could play around with means of interacting with people outside your marriage, without ever coming into any physical contact with any of them.

  7. MsChandandlerBong*

    I’m looking for some classical music/opera recommendations to expand my music collection. Some of my favorite pieces are Poet and Peasant Overture, the Overture to La Belle Helene, March from The Love for Three Oranges, Waltz of the Flowers, Overture to Candide, First Suite in E Flat for Military Band, Night on Bald Mountain, and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. Also, my favorite instruments are the clarinet, oboe, and bassoon, so I’d love recommendations for pieces that feature those instruments prominently. Thanks!

    1. danr*

      I like these pieces that seem to fit are: Kodály – Hary Janos Suite and Ralph Vaughan Williams – English Folk Song Suite.

    2. Ilf*

      Vivaldi – ‘Concerti per fagotto e oboe’ and ‘Concerti per fagotto’, in Naive’s Vivaldi Edition. I actually recommend wholeheartedly the entire edition, and operas in particular: beautiful music, some of it unheard since Vivaldi’s time. I have a hard time choosing just one , but I will say try ‘Atenaide’ or ‘Catone in Utica’, they have several arias accompanied by winds.
      If you like ‘Night on Bald Mountain’, you’ll like ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ also by Mussorgsky, and “Scheherazade’ by Rimsky-Korsakov.
      A couple more suggestions: Edvard Grieg ‘Peer Gynt’ and Smetana ‘Ma Vlast’.
      Hope you enjoy!

    3. Honeybee*

      I have no suggestions, but just wanted to say I played Poet and Peasant Overture in high school band. It was hard to learn but fun to play. I play flute.

      1. MsChandandlerBong*

        Yep, that’s where I first heard it. I have loved it ever since. The clarinet part is amazing.

    4. Florida*

      Something similar to Candide is a piece called Festive Overture by Shostakovich. It features clarinets. There is a good recording of it on an album called Summon the Heroes. It’s John Williams conducting the Boston Pops, if I remember correctly.

    5. Artemesia*

      La Traviata and Aido each have a gorgeous song in every scene; Turandot is also full of many gorgeous arias as well as La Boheme.

      1. Belle diVedremo*

        From the operas Artemesia listed:

        Aida – Verdi
        Ritorna Vincitor! https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=renata+tebaldi+ritorna+vincitor&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004
        Aida has been captured and enslaved in Egypt, but has fallen in love with Radames, the Captain of the Guard. She charges him with returning victorious from war – against her father’s people.
        Renata Tebaldi, soprano

        Triumphal March. https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=aida+triumphal+march+with+elephants&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004
        The Egyptian army returns victorious – you know this tune. It’s the quintessential spectacle, this one complete with dancers & horses (but no elephants.)

        L’aborrita rivale a me sfuggia… & Già i Sacerdoti adunansi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btLtSgQjeLA
        Amneris is the Egyptian princess, & she assumed Radames was hers. She is angry, but also wants to save him from her father’s death sentence for treason. She sends for Radames, & asks him to do as she wishes – he refuses.
        Fiorenza Cossotto, mezzo & Franco Corelli, tenor

        La Traviata – Verdi

        Libiamo, ne’ lieti calici: soprano, tenor, and chorus (you know this one, too) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWz7Gbalk98 Drink from joyful cups!
        Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon in Salzburg

        Germont & Violetta duet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwAs7nmS9uo
        The tenor’s dad has shown up to tell Violetta to let him go, that she’s ruining his daughter’s chances at marriage, etc. He’s quite surprised by what he learns from Violetta, both her relationship with Alfredo and her personal character. She gives him a message for her daughter.
        Ileana Cotrubas, soprano & Cornell MacNeil, baritone

        La Boheme – Puccini
        Quando m’envo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDvE8uKWznc
        Musetta is needling her on again/off again beau by singing about how men flock to her when she goes walking. Anna Netrebko, soprano

        Veccia zimmara: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDxnThhAKi4
        Colline serenades his warm coat before selling it to buy medicine for Mimi.
        Sam Ramey, bass.

        Turandot – Puccini

        Signore, ascolta: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDMEmYuDmFE
        The family servant Liu begs the Prince (who later sings Nessun dorma) to not attempt the three riddles set by the Princess Turandot at risk of his life. (He, of course, doesn’t listen.)
        Leona Mitchell, soprano

        Ola, Pang!: trio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiqaYm_uecg
        Three officials reminisce about their homes far away from the palace. Baritone & two tenors. Sadly, the singers aren’t identified in this clip.

        One last:
        Rusalka – Dvorak
        Song to the moon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trfLkYpOglA
        The water nymph Rusalka asks the moon to tell the human prince of her love. (sung in Czech)
        Renee Fleming, soprano

    6. NonyBassoon*

      AAM just got even better for me because of this post saying you like bassoons! I play obviously, so my recommendations will be bassoon-heavy:

      Andante and Hungarian Rondo, Carl Maria von Weber
      Tchaikovsky 5 great and challenging bassoon and clarinet parts. Apparently 6 is better, but 5 is my favorite orchestral piece.
      Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute, I’m a big Mozart fan though.
      Malcolm Arnold features bassoon a lot, but he’s 20th century.

      1. MsChandandlerBong*

        Oooh, thank you! I wish I could play the bassoon, but I tried to play the oboe and almost passed out. I think I am destined to stick with single-reed instruments. I play all of the clarinets, alto sax, and tenor sax.

        1. NonyBassoon*

          You should try playing bassoon! Bassoon is usually considered easy to play for most people because there isn’t much air resistance, although there are lots of keys. Oboe has a ton of air resistance, so it’s very tough to get air through, let alone a sound, let alone a nice one. It’s so weird, many people think oboe and bassoon are similar, but the only characteristic they share is that they are double-reeds, everything else is TOTALLY different!

    7. Short and Stout*

      For clarinet and piano:

      Finzi Five Bagatelles
      Hurlstone Four Characteristic Pieces
      Arnold Clarinet Sonatina
      Saint-Saens Clarinet Sonata
      Poulenc Clarinet Sonata

    8. Belle diVedremo*

      As a fan of opera, I’m curious what kind of vocal music you like.

      Some examples, of concert music and opera, mostly from concert performances and recordings rather than staged opera, of different kinds of voices singing different kinds of music. I’m sequencing them by voice type (eg, soprano – bass), and within that by “weight” (coloratura, lyric, lyrico spinto, dramatic).
      Well I’ve had fun browsing around and putting these together. Hope you find something you enjoy. I’m sure others have plenty of suggestions, too. Elizabeth West? BRR?

      Coloratura soprano https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V28UvMf-Vpw
      (Adele is out on the town, and runs into her boss – who recognizes her. She laughs at the idea that *she* could be his maid. Hence “the laughing song.” Mein Herr Marquis, from Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus) Edita Gruberova. Coloraturas sing *high* and fast.

      Lyric-coloratura soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7kQo1KVVgM
      Gavotte from Massenet’s Manon. It’s wonderful to be young and gorgeous with the world at your feet! Take full advantage of your youth and beauty, we won’t always be twenty years old, she says. Anna Moffo.

      Lyric0-spinto soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJjXadvkohk
      Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915. Leontyne Price

      Soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIQQv39dcNE
      Casta Diva – Hymn to the chaste goddess (the moon) – from Bellini’s Norma. Montserrat Caballe. (This one is from a live opera, outdoors) She doesn’t fit neatly into a subcategory (lyric, coloratura, etc) of soprano.

      dramatic soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8noeFpdfWcQ
      Schubert’s Erlkonig. Jessye Norman. The Erlkonig (boogeyman type) is chasing a father and son. Like many German lieder it’s sung by many voice types.

      Duet, soprano and mezzo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf42IP__ipw
      Viens, Malika or “the flower duet,” from Delibe’s Lakme. Anna Netrebko & Elina Garanca

      Mezzo soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KH4b69bI4Q
      Dopo notte atra e funestra from Ariodante by Handle. Ann Sophie Von Otter. (As a pants role; that is a woman singing “a youth” or “young man”, this is most common with earlier opera with roles for castratti – which we no longer have, thank goodness – which have become the province of mezzos, and now sometime counter tenors, it’s less common to find ones that go back and forth between mezzos and tenors. This one is also sometimes sung by tenors, in which case it’s just a tenor role.)

      Mezzo soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJsaGDaEJh0
      l’Heure exquise, Reynaldo Hahn. Susan Graham

      Mezzo soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI1HjEKsOv4
      Card scena and aria from Bizet’s Carmen. The cards predict death to Carmen and Don Jose. Shirley Verrett.

      Contralto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7S162WFNI8
      Brahm’s Alto Rapsody. Kathleen Ferrier

      Counter tenor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjK0i-wKI2k
      Aure, deh, per pieta from Handel’s Giulio Cesare. David Daniels. Counter tenors sing “alto” roles, some of which were sung by mezzos once we stopped making castratti. We’ve had a resurgence of counter tenors in the last 20 years or so.

      Duet, counter tenor and mezzo soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKLqZMrKAno
      Madre… Son nata a lagrimar also from Handel’s Giulio Cesare. David Daniels and Stephanie Blythe.

      Tenor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kD1dpxaMPK4
      Ich baue ganz from Mozart’s Die Entfurung der Serail. Richard Croft

      Tenor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usg2GAVK1uI
      Nessun dorma (“none shall sleep” – because the princess has everyone on the hunt for this prince’s identity. You know this one.) from Puccini’s Turandot. Luciano Pavarotti.

      Tenor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GVRoRILVD4
      E lucevan le stelle, (he’s remembering Tosca, and awaiting his execution) Puccini’s Tosca. Jonas Kaufmann

      Tenor & Baritone duet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PYt2HlBuyI
      Au fond du temple saint, from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. Best friends see the new priestess and fall in love, compete for her, and then swear allegiance to their friendship. Jussi Björling, tenor & Robert Merrill, baritone

      Baritone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZLAeUDLnxs
      Largo e factotum (Figaro, figaro, figaro… He’s bragging about the demand for his work, he’s Figaro) from Rossini’s Barber of Seville. Thomas Hampson.

      Baritone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-snRz5L3Ups
      Votre toast/Toreador’s song from Bizet’s Carmen. You know this one, too. Describing his work and the “dark eyes that watch” and “the love that awaits him.” Dmitri Hvorostovsky. This is generally a bass-baritone role, but Hvorostovky has it well in hand.

      Bass-Baritone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAiWPrhxlpc
      Ravel’s Kaddish. Jose Van Dam

      Bass-baritone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88KALPyoPJ8
      Credo in un Dio Crudel (Iago’s aria) from Verdi’s Otello. George London.

      Bass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUUQhJZWgew
      In diesen heil’gen Hallen kennt man die Rache night from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Rene Pape. Sarastro (Pape) sings of a life of peace and love in “these hallowed halls.” This is a live stage clip.

      Bass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vj-wOp-JBw
      Ella giamai m’amo from Verdi’s Don Carlo. He’s just figured out his new much younger bride doesn’t love him, and is heartbroken. Jerome Hines.

      There’s so much more…

      1. NonyBassoon*

        +1 for flower duet with Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca! Diana Damrau, Samuel Ramey, Frederica von Stade, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Lawrence Brownlee are also great, famous opera singers.

        1. Belle diVedremo*

          from NonyBassoon’s list

          Frederica von Stade, mezzo in the pants role of Cherubino in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. The Countess and Susanna in this clip are not identified.
          Voi che sapete (You who know what love is… and describes what is happening to him.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7y3_SZqNi4

          Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano, as the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier (R Strauss)
          Hab mir’s gelobt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnRhDsqx5Zs
          with Anne Howells, Aage Haugland, Barbara Bonney. The Marschallin releases her young lover Octavian (mezzo, another pants role) to the arms of Sophie (soprano).

          Diana Damrau, soprano, as Lucia in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
          the mad scene, Il dolce suono… Spargi d’amaro pianto : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEM3bvdNS_g. Forced into a marriage, that night she goes mad and kills Arturo her new husband, and wanders out dreaming of her beloved Edgardo.

          Lawrence Brownlee, tenor, as Tonio in Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment in recital
          Ah, mes amis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9OXNPuHK-g
          Famous for having SEVEN high Cs. Tonio has fallen in love with Marie, and eventually is persuaded to join the Regiment as part of gaining their approval to marry her their jointly adopted daughter. But she’s heading off with her newly discovered aunt, and…

      2. F.*

        + 1 for “Au fond to temple saint” from The Pearl Fishers! I heard an absolutely gorgeous rendition of that opera a few weeks ago on the radio. The Toll Brothers Metropolitan Opera productions are aired live on public radio around the US on Saturday afternoons. (also available on demand on Sirius XM radio) I grew up listening to classical music, but opera was not included. I am now learning so much about opera from these broadcasts.

        1. Belle diVedremo*

          Wonderful! Have fun exploring. I love listening to voices, to the music, interpretations and the ways they match up in often very different ways. Those Saturday afternoon at the Met broadcasts are terrific. Have you seen any of the HD broadcasts in movie theaters?

    9. hermit crab*

      There’s a really fun recording of Richard Stoltzman playing both the Brahms and Von Weber clarinet quintets. I know purists love to hate Stolzman but you don’t sound that stuffy. :)

      Also, if you like the First Suite, there’s a LOT of great stuff in the British wind band repertoire. HOLST FOREVER!

  8. Dear Liza dear liza*

    I just recommended Sarah Vowell’s ASSASSINATION VACATION this morning to someone. She is a hysterical writer.

    1. periwinkle*

      That’s one of my favorite books! It’s such a quirky obsession and she convinces you to love it as well.

    2. TootsNYC*

      She has a new one–“Lafayette in the Somewhat United States.”

      I gave it to my husband for Christmas, and am hoping to read it myself AFTER I’ve finished “Alexander Hamilton.” (Lafayette and Hamilton were best buds, so I want the history before I read hers.)

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      I’m not sure if you’re reading it yourself or listening to it as an audiobook, but if you can listen to Sarah Vowell herself read it… even better!

    4. Liz in a Library*

      Just finished her Lafayette book a few weeks ago, and I absolutely loved it. She has a writing style that people seem to love or hate (I adore it), so if you liked Assassination Vacation, I recommend all of her books!

  9. Samantha*

    My husband and I are spending a few days each next month in Seattle and Vancouver. This is our first trip to both cities and I’d love recommendations on what to do and see. Also restaurant recommendations…we are both pretty adventurous eaters and there’s really nothing we don’t like. Thanks!

    1. mt*

      The underground tour in seattle is worth it. Alsonif you are planning on the needle plan on doing lunch there . Burgers are the only reasonable priced thing on the menu but it will save you from paying just to go up

      1. StillHealing*

        I agree it makes more sense to eat at the restaurant than to wait in line and pay for just the observation deck. Plus eating in one of the restaurants, you get to sit in comfort and revolve 360 degrees. After eating, you are allowed to go to the observation deck for free. (I usually make reservations for either lunch or dinner because they always want to do the Space Needle)

    2. Elkay*

      I loved Seattle. If you like beer then visit the Pike Brewing Company near Pike’s Place Market in Seattle, they do food too. We spent a long time at the EMP Museum but that was mainly due to the exhibits they had on (Lego, Nirvana and music videos). We bought a Seattle pass that included a trip up the Space Needle during the day and in the evening, entrance to the EMP Musum and the Science Museum, it was good value for what we wanted to do. The underground tour was also interesting.

    3. stopping by*

      If you like gardens and parks, Vancouver is the place. World class Japanese garden on the UBC campus and a Chinese Garden (pay the $ to go in, separate from the park) downtown, plus Stanley Park, Van Deusen, etc. etc. Walk around Granville Island, and/or the path that goes all the way around False Inlet (name?).

    4. Artemesia*

      If you visit the Pike Place Market get crab rolls at Pike Place Chowder Co which is sort of across the street from the main market stalls that go down the hill. Dungeness crab is simply the best tasting crab there is and is rarer and rarer. These sandwiches are fabulous. My best friend from elementary/hs and I used to go there when I was back in Seattle. After her memorial service I went to just remember her and once again have one of these tasty goodies. Their chowder is good too if you like chowder — but the crab rolls are it.

    5. Honeybee*

      Pike Place Market is probably one of our biggest attractions besides the Space Needle – it’s a place that actual locals go too, large farmer’s market. The EMP is a science + pop culture + music museum. Right now there’s a Hello Kitty exhibit, a Jimi Hendrix exhibit, one on horror films, one on fantasy and one on indie games. Might be too cold to take the ferries, but you can visit the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Flight. the Seattle Public Library (the architecture is really beautiful). If you’re interested in flight and have access to a car, you can drive north to Everett and take a tour of Boeing (which has some interactive exhibits).

      There are lots of local cideries, wineries and breweries – craft alcohol is a big culture here. Lots in the city but some on the Eastside, too. Woodinville is about 20 minutes from the city center and there are lots of wineries there, including Chateau Ste. Michelle. Capitol Cider in Capitol Hill is probably one of the more popular cideries, and the tasting room for the Seattle Cider Company is also in the city proper. Optimism Brewery is a popular brewery. I never liked beer before I moved to Seattle but I actually like craft beer a lot. And of course the cider is good :)

      If you want good seafood I recommend Palisade – beautiful views of the bay and the food isn’t so ridiculously overpriced. I’ve also heard good things about Matt’s In the Market but I haven’t been there before. I’ve also heard excellent things about The Walrus and the Carpenter but it fills up so quick.

    6. Weekend Warrior*

      Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. Pricey but worth it for the bridge over the canyon and the elevated tree walk on the other side. Owners have also done a good job of partnering with the local First Nations for carving demos and displays. (Years ago the displays were tacky, tacky cigar store Indian level.)

      Further up the road the Cleveland Dam gives you beautiful mountain views for free, and still further up, the gondola up Grouse Mountain (not free!) gives you stupendous city and ocean views. Lots of other activities up there too, skiing, skating, nature trails.

        1. Vancouver Reader*

          Not on the list, but if you have a car, and are in North Vancouver, I’d recommend swinging over to West Vancouver and going to Salmon House on the Hill. If it’s a nice day, you get a beautiful view of downtown Vancouver and the seafood is amazing.

    7. StillHealing*

      There is so much to do and see in both cities!

      In Vancouver, check out Granville Island. Taking Amtrak from Seattle is a beautiful ride along the sound and coast. Victoria on Vancouver Island is something everyone should do at least once. That’s a whole ‘nother post all its own. High Tea at the Empress is my favorite thing. I’ve done it seven times and it never gets old.

      Seattle, when first timers visit we usually start out early taking a bus or driving and parking near the Pikes Place Market. Getting there just as the vendors are opening makes it easier to maneuver. Plus is has a special feel to it. Getting a Latte anywhere and tiny fresh donuts made as you watch is “breakfast”.

      Once we are almost too tired, we hoof it up Pike street to Westlake Center. There, we get on the Monorail to Seattle Center. So much to do and see there. Usually we book reservations in advance for either lunch or dinner at the Space Needle. Reason: You don’t have to pay to go out on the observation deck if you eat at one of the restaurants. Otherwise, the line and cost of the observation deck is not all that worth it. The restaurants revolve so while you are warm and comfortable with your guests, before your meal is over, you would have turned in a 360 and had a chance to see the complete view.

      1. Elkay*

        I was surprised how quick the line was and how not crowded the deck was both times we went up (evening then the following morning) and that was mid July.

        1. First Initial dot Lastname*

          And then turn around, walk 10 steps and get a bag of hot, roasted cashews. That’s breakfast!

    8. sarakg*

      One thing to consider is taking the ferry from Seattle to Victoria, then from Victoria to Vancouver. They’re both really great ways to get out on the ocean and see the sights!

      For Vancouver, I’d definitely suggest heading to the mountains just north of downtown. You can do the self-guided/free-to-cheap version: drive up Cypress Mountain (check ahead to make sure it’s not too snowy), you can snowshoe or hike, ski (downhill or crosscountry), or just admire the view. Then a ways east down the highway from Cypress, Lynn Canyon has some great walk/hikes, plus an ecology centre and suspension bridge.

      The more expensive/touristy option is going up Grouse Mountain via gondola, and then just south of Grouse, the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Both options are similar, and you’d be just fine doing one or the other likely!

      In general, downtown Vancouver is really walkable – it’s small and gridlike, with generally lots to see. The Gastown area is really touristy but also has some great restaurants. I like Salt Tasting Room for something a bit fun. Huge selection of meats and cheeses, which you get in mixed share plates, and then a huge selection of wine. Joe Fortes has been around forever and is pretty popular, but for good reason. It’s a splurge for sure, but also has an amazing rooftop patio and is known for it’s amazing steaks and oysters.

    9. Thinking out loud*

      Seattle has lots of great food. I’ll assume you’re staying downtown but that you have a car – let me know if either of those are incorrect, as I might make different recommendations. I also don’t know how much money you’re willing to spend – I’ll try to mention prices where it matters.

      Stuff to do:
      – I agree about the Underground Tour. History + humor.
      – Pike Place Market. I was just there today! Some of my favorites are Piroshky Piroshky (across from the market – try the smoked salmon one!), Chukar (chocolate covered cherries), Beecher’s (cheese, across from the market), and Le Panier (french bakery with coffee and macarons, also across from the market). Also, all three of the fish stands in the market will give you free samples of smoked salmon.
      – I’m not a huge fan of the Seattle Art Museum, but on a nice day, I love the Olympic Sculpture Garden, and bonus – it’s free. If you’re into parks, I also really like Kubota Gardens, a Japanese garden kind of near the Museum of Flight.
      – Speaking of which, that’s a great museum if you enjoy airplanes. The Boeing Factory tour in Everett is also great, but it’s a little bit of a drive to get there from downtown.
      – Theo Chocolates has a tour that’s inexpensive ($6 per person last time I went). It’s pretty informative and you get chocolate!

      As for restaurants:
      – Our favorite moderately nice and Northwest style restaurants are Barking Frog (in Woodinville, near the wineries, if you choose to go there) and Dahlia Lounge, which is owned by famous local restauranteur Tom Douglas. Neither are inexpensive, but they aren’t crazy expensive either. I also love Harvest Vine for Northwest-inspired Spanish tapas – you should make reservations there.
      – I love Taste of India, just north of downtown
      – Our best burgers are at Red Mill Burgers. Don’t bother with Dick’s.
      – The best Thai is Bai Tong, kind of near the airport.
      – I love the salmon and chips (like fish and chips) from Anthony’s Fish Bar. It’s just a walk-up-and-order-at-the-bar place.

      1. Samantha*

        Thanks! We are staying downtown and will not have a car but we wouldn’t be opposed to taking Uber to get somewhere really great. We’ll try to stick to moderately priced restaurants mostly with a couple splurges for dinner.

        1. LCL*

          Take the rapid ride bus from downtown into Ballard. Check out the trendy part of Ballard along market street/Ballard avenue. From there, walk to the Ballard locks, or take an Uber to Golden Gardens park. Which is a saltwater, sandy beach. If you go to the locks, take the tour if it is offered. The locks are a fascinating kind of infrastructure built by the federal government. Have lunch at Totem House fish and chips across the street from the locks-expensive for f&c but worth it.

          If you have a waterproof jacket, bring it. And a light polar fleece shirt or vest, and a light knit cap if you are a hat person.

          1. Headachey*

            Totem House is a Red Mill now, FYI. If you’re into beer, Ballard has about 17,679 breweries now, mostly in the semi-industrial area south of Market Street.

            I would very highly recommend La Carta de Oaxaca – on Ballard Ave. in downtown Ballard, about a mile from the locks.

        2. Thinking out loud*

          Dahlia Lounge (probably around $20-$25 for most entrees) and Anthony’s Fish Bar ($8 or $10 for a plate of fish and chips) are easy walking from anywhere downtown – the other restaurants I mentioned would need Uber. (Any if those could be worth the cost of Uber if you’re in the right mood for them. Barking Frog is the most expensive – it’s maybe $30-$40 per entree.)

          Kubota Gardens, the Museum of Flight, and the Everett factory tour are all outside of walking distance (and, honestly, I bet it would cost a lot to get to Everett – the tour is not worth it, in my opinion, unless you’re really looking forward to it. Theo is probably just outside of walking distance, but Fremont is a fun place and is on the way to or from the Ballard Locks.

          If you do go to the Ballard Locks, my favorite restaurant out there is La Carta de Oaxaca, which is a delicious Mexican restaurant. It is not particularly fancy, and the plates are small, almost tapas-style.

          Il Bistro (Italian) is good and downtown.

          I wear a zip-up fleece as my outer layer at least six or eight months out of the year – if you have one, I’d bring it.

    10. Maya Elena*

      Consider scheduling a tour of the Boeing factory. It is very impressive seeing the hangars where the 777 and 787s are assembled. (But be wary typing the address into your GPS, do it doesn’t take you to the factory employee entrance.)

    11. Tmarie*

      If you go to the Seattle Center, where the Space Needle is, also visit the Chihully Garden and Glass Center. It is beautiful!

    12. Samantha*

      Thanks for all the great recommendations! Reading them has made me super excited for our trip. And hungry.

  10. danr*

    For those of us with back pain and who had surgery… I read an interesting report in the New York Times on exercises. It doesn’t matter what kind you do, as long as you keep doing it. If your doctor or physical therapist recommends an exercise, the trick is to keep at it. Orthotics, belts, etc did nothing long term. Exercise did.
    (link in reply)

    1. Alistair*

      The old man at the office once regaled me with a story regarding this topic. His friend who did his back exercises on schedule every day never again had major problems, nor ever needed back surgery again. The old man was terrible with his exercises, and subsequently has had several back surgeries. So I can believe it’s true.

      1. the gold digger*

        A friend of mine – biology major, used to be a drug rep for P&G, her mom is a nurse – had some herniated disks. Kept avoiding surgery but was in pain all the time.

        A friend recommended acupuncture. My friend scoffed – she is a woman of science – but went because she figured she had nothing to lose.

        Pain went away. Disks healed on their own. She quit her job and became a (licensed) acupuncturist.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          There was a Cracked article where the writer tried some alternative stuff and out of all the things he tried, the acupuncture actually made him feel better. And he wasn’t expecting it to do anything. I’m half tempted to try it myself just to see what happens.

          1. the gold digger*

            I have several friends for whom it has worked as a pain reliever. Acupuncture did not cure my friend’s herniated disks – it’s just that the pain relief from acupuncture gave her body the time to heal on its own.

            I have another friend whose husband has been on disability for 20 years because of weird pain stuff. She ran the house, got a full time job, raised the kids, etc, and had gone through much of the mourning (and was still going through) of losing a spouse, because that’s really what it was – he was physically and mostly emotionally unavailable to her.

            His pain is now mostly gone – he started getting acupuncture. (I don’t know why he didn’t try it years ago, but again – he’s a scientist.) Her life is completely turned upside down – it’s almost as if he has returned from the dead, which is mostly good, but everything has changed and now he wants to run the house again, etc.

    2. Mimmy*

      Huh…interesting. A friend of mine has been having issues with her back lately – no surgery, but she said the pain is shooting down her leg. Her doctor actually put her on bed rest for the weekend. Which to me makes no sense, although she did say she’s tried that but her back tightened up on Thursday. I know back issues are a bear to get resolved, so please send up some good vibes for her.

      1. fposte*

        Pain shooting down her leg is a very strong sign that she needs to talk to a spine person. As it happens, some moderate rest for the first 24-48 hours seems to be reasonable advice, but for most people I think that window has long passed by the time they see a doctor.

        Good thoughts to your friend, and a strong suggestion she see somebody who does spines if it doesn’t resolve quickly.

      2. Jen RO*

        That sounds like sciatica – I had it recently because one of my butt muscles was too wound up (probably due to sitting too much at work!). A month of physio and kinesiotherapy* later, the pain is gone! This is to say – I hope that your friend is lucky like I was and it’s *not* her spine.

        (*A question for the native speakers – does physiotherapy mean the thing with electrical current and ultrasounds, and does kinesiotherapy mean the gym stuff? That’s what I am talking about, but I don’t know if I got the right words.)

        1. fposte*

          Good point! A tight piriformis muscle will bite right into the sciatic nerve.

          From my experience and Googling, the US uses physical therapy/physiotherapy as the default term for doing exercises to recover or to keep something from hurting you. Most PT programs require graduate degrees. They may use TENS machines and ultrasounds and they may not.

          Kinesiotherapy is a less common term, and it looks like it covers some more basic stuff that you would do at an undergraduate level. I don’t know if that means kinesiotherapists grow up to be physiotherapists or not–maybe somebody here is in the field and can give more info.

          1. Jen RO*

            Wow! Next time something hurts, I’m asking the AAM hive mind! The piriformis is exactly what it was, except it took me 2 weeks, 2 doctors and an X-ray to find out. I will say that in my case I think that the TENS helped more than the exercise part – but either way, I am happy the pain is gone!

            (And thanks for the explanations! It’s always interesting to learn how other countries do things.)

            1. Today's anon*

              Foam rolling is also something you can do on your own and might help when you first start feeling it. Foam rolling the piriformis, the IT Band and the quad are usually recommended.

                1. fposte*

                  A tennis ball can also be a great way to get to the piriformis, since it’s small and deep. Sit on one until you find where it hurts. Move it around slightly while swearing.

    3. Honeybee*

      Yes. I have chronic back pain and had no surgery, but I find that my back feels much better with regular exercise, even when I’m just running.

      1. fposte*

        It’s kind of a vicious circle: pain disincentives movement and thus debilitates you; debilitation increases pain.

  11. Cristina in England*

    Finally reading The Gift Of Fear, bought when someone on here announced a sale on the Kindle version. Thank you, whoever that was!

    The first story about Kelly instantly reminded me of that scene in Wild by Cheryl Strayed where she is in the woods and that guy clogs her water filter. If the whole rest of the book is like that, then I can’t read it before bed, don’t want bad dreams.

    1. StillHealing*

      There are stories like that off and on throughout the book. Yes, don’t read it before bed. Take your time and process the thoughts and feelings it brings up for you. Watch a comedy or something to balance out what you’re processing. When finished, honor your intuition.

      It took about six weeks, was important for me to read yet caused a lot of flashbacks. Much of what I’ve been through (victim of violent crimes three times) might have been prevented had I just 1. Trusted my intuition 2. Wasn’t afraid to draw attention to myself by screaming 3. Wasn’t so afraid of hurting a person’s feelings or coming across as being mean.

      Give yourself a break from reading it if it gives you bad dreams. Personally, I think it’s a good sign you are processing internally that which you’ve read. I felt like the book gave me permission to fully trust myself and my intuition again. I’m so glad for the recommendations too. It was recommended here and on a Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers forum ( now defunct).

    2. Belle diVedremo*

      My experience was that the first half gave me nightmares, the second half didn’t. Either way it’s not bedtime reading. I also read it in chunks, rather than trying to go straight through.
      I keep an eye out for used copies to pass along. It’s a tough but useful read.

  12. Felix*

    Anyone else use sleep cycle or a similar sleep tracking app? What do you do with the results? I have two years of stats now, but I’m not quite sure what to do with them to improve change sleep habits.

    It’s very interesting to look through at the very least (for instance my worst nights are always wednesdays).

    1. RKB*

      I use my Fitbit. I actually showed the stats to my doctor when she wanted to know how my sleep was. She found it really interesting!

    2. Honeybee*

      I use my Microsoft Band to track my sleep. It’s interesting but yeah, I don’t know what to do. One thing I have found is that I consistently wake up 2-3 times a night, but I don’t know how to stay asleep and not wake up!

    3. Noah*

      I use my FitBit, but like you I have no idea what to do with the data beyond look at it occasionally and think “that’s neat”.

    4. Liz*

      I had a Microsoft band for about 9 months (turns out I’m allergic to the metal plates and had to stop wearing it :/)

      At first I didn’t know what to do with the sleep tracker except think it was a cool feature. But then I was able to use it to test out different tactics for sleeping better. Did I sleep differently when I took melatonin? How did I sleep when I stayed in for the night vs when I went out and did something? It was especially helpful when I first moved because it sort of validated how miserable I was feeling and the fact that I wasn’t able to sleep.

      I’m not sure if other systems do this, but the Microsoft Band gives tips on how to sleep better and they were interesting things to test out

      1. StillHealing*

        I second this. Good Sleep Specialists know exactly what to do with it. They may even have you come in for a sleep study if they see something that is of concern. They could use your lengthy data and compare with what the brain is doing as well as if you have sleep apnea, etc.

      2. Connie-Lynne*

        Note, I was so excited to do a sleep study because I thought they’d track how I actually sleep. Nope, turns out it’s all about whether you have sleep apnea or not.

        My disappointment in that aside, seeing my sleep specialist was the best thing ever. I learned that yes, I have a real disability and that yes, it is fucking hard to manage and that my feelings of inadequacy at being not able to just follow popular advice and fix it all were unfounded because I had such a disadvantage to start.

        So now I still take sleeping pills but I don’t feel guilty, I feel like I’m practicing self-care. And instead of castigating myself on bad sleep nights, I forgive myself and WFH so that I can nap over lunch. And if I sometimes have to miss a day, I know it’s OK to just tell my boss I need it as an accommodation instead of freaking out and saying I was sick.

        All if this has reduced my sleep anxiety such that I have far fewer bad nights than I used to.

        Life changer.

    5. First Initial dot Lastname*

      I use the app Sleep, it give charts, stats, suggestions for optimal sleep duration, bedtime/wake times, has a noise recording option, (is spouses snoring waking me; cats; if not, what?), it registers flippy-flopping etcetera. I started using it to help understand my chronic insomnia and optimize sleep times, bed times, sleep environment and all of the other things I have some control over. It helped me immensely! knowing what was waking me up and when. With that info I have been able to tailor my sleep habits and I’m mostly sleeping like a normal person. I do wish it had fitbit integration because I use the silent alarm to wake up, alas, no.

      If you’re wondering what to do with two years of information, I’d suggest finding a way to look at it as a whole to improve sleep quality and then let that information go, I don’t think you need to hoard the stats for any reason.

    6. nosilycurious*

      I use my Fitbit and Sleep Cycle to track my sleep. I like the idea of taking the info to a sleep specialist, but I look at things like my worst nights, etc. and write out what I do/eat/etc. and see if I can make changes that improve it. For example, I changed my workout schedule and my worst night became an average one, similar to what Liz explained also.

  13. Felix*

    Also, I was using songza as my music app, but now it’s gone!! I’ve begrudgingly moved over to google play but need some playlist suggestions!

    Genre: quiet working indie, loved indie yoga on songza

    Genre: mellow working music: loved morning indie on songza

    Genre: upbeat running or cardio music (didn’t love any on songza), I do like good pop and dance music for running.

    I can’t wait to hear your suggestions!

    1. Hattie McDoogal*

      I was so sad about Songza! Google Play Music says it’s the same but it’s not. I never got ads on Songza, and a couple of my favourite playlists (the Pitchfork 500 70s and 80s lists) are nowhere to be found. My other favourites are still there, though.

      At work:
      – Hail Spreadsheets! (black metal), Folk Metal, Electronic Film Scores, Psychedelic Indie, Jazz for Working, Today’s Indie Dance Beats, Original Video Game Scores

      Studying/doing homework:
      – Downtempo Instrumentals, EDM Instrumentals, Provocative & Evocative Instrumentals (there is a pattern here)

    2. Honeybee*

      Honestly I use Spotify, and Spotify has some great playlists for those. I have Google Play Music too and I have yet to find any really great playlists there.

      I feel hypocritical saying this because I work at one of these companies, but I really wish large tech companies would stop buying smaller indie ones. Or at least if you’re going to buy them let them be a company inside a company and keep operating the project; don’t ruin it!

    3. katamia*

      If you’re willing to spend some time training the station first, I still really like Pandora. I have Spotify but never use it. I’ve found a lot of cool new artists (especially smaller, indie artists) on Pandora and have never really found much of interest on Spotify. Never tried Google Play, so I can’t comment on how good/not good Pandora is compared to that.

      Having never used Songza, I can’t be sure whether these really fit the “indie yoga” genre, but Omar Akram and Niyaz might be to your taste/could be used as potential station seeds.

    4. pleiades*

      Ahhhhhh I came here today to lament the loss of Songza too! I really miss it. I’ve tried the other options and nothing comes close.

    5. Sunflower*

      I like the Power Hip Hop/Pop Workout Station on Pandora. You do have to train the station a bit- that station loves David Guetta way more than I do.

      I like the Feel Good Indie station on Spotify.

  14. Noah*

    My dog and I have always had a good sleeping arrangement. He sleeps in his bed (crate with door open) in the living room and I sleep in my bed. My new cat decided she wants to sleep on the bed with me, which was ok at first but quickly became annoying and disruptive to my sleep. She wants to sleep on top of me and that’s just uncomfortable.

    So, now my dog’s crate is in the bedroom with me and he sleeps in there so he can wake me up if he needs to go out. Cat is locked out. I kind of feel bad for her because she just wants attention, but I don’t want to be grumpy all day just because I can’t sleep at night. I definitely make sure she gets lots of snuggles during the evening though.

    1. Cruciatus*

      I was able to get one of my cats off of me at night by putting a box on the bed. She had her space, I had mine. She probably slept on me during the night but I normally didn’t notice. Unfortunately with one of the cats I have now, I can’t lock her out because she ruins the carpets around the closed doors and will make noise for as long as it takes. So in she comes. Sadly I’m now used to waking up at 4something in the morning. If I put my hand out she will go back to sleep (on my hand), but it’s usually too late by then to get any more restful sleep. Cats!

      1. ScarlettNZ*

        Our two cats have their own bedroom. While I love having them sleep with us, my partner isn’t so keen. One of them has this really annoying habit of getting up on the dresser and playing with the cord of the roman blinds in the wee small hours (which causes the bead on the end of the cord to bang against the wall). They have also both decided that they want to sleep in the exact same spot on the bed (snuggled up in front of me) so there is often a contretemps in the middle of the night. Plus they take up so much space. We have a king size bed and there is hardly room for me, my partner and both cats.

        Oh, and one of them will occasionally spray on me while I’m in bed. Lovely. Not. I’d trade that anytime for a cat who simply wants to sleep on me! (Actually, my little girl who I had prior to the ginger ninjas used to sleep on my hip every night. Once I got used to it, I used to miss her if she wasn’t there. Mind you, she only weighed 2 kgs. If our 8.5 kg ginger monster tried to do it I don’t think I’d be so keen! I occasionally wake with him lying on my chest and it’s pretty hard to breathe).

    2. Clever Name*

      Our cats used to sleep with us and it got annoying at times (sleeping on us, the occasional 3am tiff), but when our son was born and started sleeping bed with us the cats were banned form the bedroom (way too crowded). The cats adjusted and we sleep better.

    3. Jill of All Trades*

      She may want your warmth. Maybe if you put a heating pad on low under blankets in her catbed or the other side of your bed (don’t know if it’s occupied by an SO), she’d stay off of you.

    4. littlemoose*

      Sleep is too important to compromise for the kitty. I feel like a jerk locking our cats away at night (in the office and laundry room where they have food, litter, etc), but they are both disruptive during the night. The little one in particular was waking me up around 4:00 or 4:30 demanding breakfast. Um, no. They’re used to the routine now, and I sleep better. They get plenty of snuggles in the evening (and I work from home a couple days per week, so they have company then too).

    5. Vulcan social worker*

      My cat sleeps on the bed with me. I feel like I sleep better with her. There’s just a comfort of having another living being close, though it’s not like she’s going to protect me from intruders like a big ferocious dog would or anything. I try to encourage her to sleep next to me and not on me, but she’s a cat. Fortunately she’s an 8 pound cat and not an 18 pound cat, so on me is not that big of a deal and I just adjust her if I’m not comfortable with the place she has chosen. I have a medium distance relationship (i.e., a couple of hours in the car) so sometimes it’s two humans and a cat in the bed. Then she wants to be in the middle, of course.

  15. LizB*

    A few updates to questions I’ve posted about in other weekend open threads, from oldest to most recent:

    – Going to Sephora for a makeover/to learn about makeup — I did this a few weeks ago, and it was fun! I told the makeup artist that I wanted a natural, low-maintenance look, and what she gave me was definitely not what I would consider either of those things, but oh well. I liked most of what she used, except the mascara, which was horrendously clumpy and made my lashes look like weird clusters of knobbly twigs. I also learned that I don’t particularly like filling in my eyebrows — they’re already very dark and clearly defined, and I see no need to make them moreso, even if that is the current trend. I bought blush, pressed powder, and a really nice color corrector; I really liked the liquid foundation she used but it was way out of my price range, so I’m currently searching for dupes that are more affordable.

    – Having to delay therapy due to lack of insurance — sadly the therapist wasn’t able to give me a big enough discount to put her into my price range without insurance, so I rescheduled for February, and my first appointment is next week. I’m both looking forward to it and kind of nervous. It’s so nice to be on my own insurance now, though, and not have it changed all the time or dropped without warning because of my dad’s job-hopping shenanigans.

    – Bra that was coming apart after less than a month — took it back to the store, they exchanged it with no problem, even though I had lost my receipt! Awesome. Its replacement is holding up just fine. Hooray!

    1. Alma*

      Victory!! You have some great updates!! (you’ve given me incentive to make an appointment at the makeup counter…)

    2. Jen RO*

      My coworkers asked me what present I want for my birthday next week, so I asked for a foundation and for my makeup-savvy coworker to come with me to buy it (because I don’t trust myself to find one that matches my skin). So we’re going to Sephora, which intimidates the hell out of me, but I hope it will turn out OK!

      (I hate the feel of foundation on my face, but as I get older my skin is getting… darker, somehow? So I am hoping I will find a very light foundation/BB cream that actually matches my face and I can stand…)

      1. Honeybee*

        I wish Sephora organized their stores in terms of product instead of brand – so instead of Lancome is here, Tarte is here, they did mascaras, then blushes, then lipsticks…might be easier.

        If your skin is discoloring or changing as you age, try a CC cream! CC creams are just like BB creams, except they’re supposed to be “color correcting” and they’re supposed to even out discoloration and hyperpigmentation. I really love Smashbox’s CC cream. My favorite light foundation is also a Smashbox one, their HD Halo foundation (or something like that).

        1. Jen RO*

          Thanks! (And isn’t 32 a bit too early to be worrying about this? I think I just need to figure out a better skincare routine…)

          1. esra*

            Eh, depends on your skin. Mine is good, but little age splotches tend to appear on the ladies in my family in our early 30s. So basically all I wear is a foundation with sunscreen and moisturizer to even things out.

    3. Honeybee*

      Yeah, make-up artists’ idea of a “no makeup” look has a lot of ridiculous makeup. If you like liquid foundation but want a dupe, try a thicker/fuller cover BB cream. I wear BB cream most days to work as my only coverage and I love it – super lightweight, but evens everything out. My favorite is Smashbox but that’s $42 so sometimes instead I buy SheaMoisture’s brand, which $15. Not as good but does the job.

      My eyebrows are pretty sparse so I fill them in with a pencil. If you want a nice natural mascara look, I recommend Korres (their vitamin B5 rice bran whatever mascara) or 100% Pure. Both are about $20. One note about 100% Pure, though, is that because their ingredients are 100% natural the mascara does have the tendency to run with the slightest moisture – and I do mean the slightest. If your eyes water a lot it’s not a good choice. Another good mostly natural mascara is Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes!

      I use mostly or all-natural mascaras because my eyes are very easily irritated, and those brands are the only ones I can wear without getting an itchy burning sensation all day. If you want a nice regular brand that does pretty well, I like Chanel’s regular mascara and I love Lancome’s Definicils mascara.

      I really, really like mascara.

      1. LizB*

        I just don’t think of mascara as something I would ever wear for a “no-makeup”/natural look — my lashes are naturally long and dark, so whenever I put on mascara they REALLY stand out, and it becomes incredibly obvious that I’m wearing makeup. For special occasions, I love Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara, but mascara just isn’t going to be part of an everyday look for me.

        1. matcha123*

          Mine are also long, dark and thick, but my preferred mascara doesn’t really make them turn into OMG EYELASHESSSSSS11!!1
          Just to offer an alternative opinion!

          1. Clever Name*

            What is your favorite mascara? I have really long eyelashes, and I really just want mascara that darkens them. I don’t want plumping or lengthening or anything. So far I’ve used the stuff in the pink and green bottle and nyx

            1. Saskia*

              I spend way too much time on my makeup….especially when I’m trying to make it seem as if I’m barely wearing any. But I quite like the Clinique mascara. However, you may want to look into dark brown mascaras if you’re looking for a subtle look.

            2. matcha123*

              The Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara has worked well for me. Though, I’ve only used the sample size, I’m planning on buying the full size.

        2. TootsNYC*

          I don’t normally wear makeup, but if I only wear one thing of makeup, mmascara is it. I don’t find that it makes me look like I have !!makeup!! on; it just makes my eyes a bit more defined. And often that’s all I really need.

          Maybelline’s Great Lash is pretty much the universal mascara–for decades, it’s the one tha’s been winning Glamour magazine’s reader poll.

    4. fposte*

      Random mascara note: I just bought a cheap little mascara comb/brush combo, and if I get stuck with clumpy mascara (mine gets clumpy when it gets old sometimes) I just comb it out. I find it takes less time than shopping for more mascara.

    5. matcha123*

      I haven’t used many mascaras, but my favorite is Bobbi Brown’s Smokey Eye Mascara. I bought a Bobbi Brown sample package a few months ago and really liked how it went on and how easily it came off. Unfortunately, they do not sell it at Sephora…or at least as of December 2015 they were not selling it…according to the staff at the store I went to.

      I’ve also used Clinique’s lash power mascara. I liked it because it “held,” but, it was difficult to take off and I’ve lost a number of eyelashes with it. (I have a lot, and they’re long, it’s not a huge deal, but it might matter to some people.) I also felt like it thinned my eyelashes…maybe because it was so hard to get off.

      Personally, I either use eyeliner or mascara, but rarely both together. Eye sticks like ones sold by Laura Mercier or Marc Jacobs are great for eyelids, have a variety of colors and are easy to use.

    6. Sunflower*

      I would recommend giving the Bobbi Brown counter a try since I know they don’t sell a lot of her stuff at Sephora and her makeup. If you are worried about having to spend money, sometimes I buy stuff and return it a few days later to avoid the awkwardness. Also I know a lot of drug stores accept opened makeup so don’t be afraid to try stuff there and return it. Elf has a lot of great cheap alternatives and I know they have a few retail stores so you can try it before you buy it.

      Check Pintrest for drug store sub ins. I’ve read that Smashbox Photo finish primer has the same ingredients as Monistat chafing gel.

    1. fposte*

      I love Barbara Pym, and I clearly remember that particular sentence. I believe the speaker was even startled at herself

      I also love (possibly paraphrased): Really, did one look like the sort of person who had a bucket?

      1. Weekend Warrior*

        Haha! I also like the mystery series by Hazel Holt, BP ‘s friend. Similarly cosy (drawers constantly being “turned out”) and trenchant, particularly about aging parents, widowhood, friendship.

  16. Winter is Coming*

    Cat question! My indoor cat has gotten a little *ahem* chubby. She is on a dry Rx cat food for urinary issues, (Purina UR) which I believe is causing part of the problem. Her food is measured: she gets two 1/4 cup servings per day, in addition to about 2 tbs of wet food. The vets are no help. One said to cut her food qty in half, which to me seems like barely anything. I tried to back it down a bit, but she keeps me up all night asking to be fed. I can’t keep her out of the bedroom for various reasons (we literally rescued her from the woods and she has some issues with being alone). I guess I’m wondering if there are any weight loss oriented foods that would still keep her urinary issues under control. My vets do not know of any, and I know several people here are knowledgeable about cats so I thought I would throw it out there. Thank you!

    1. alex*

      You need to feed her less, period. An overweight pet is an unhealthy pet and it’s all in your control. Based on what you said, I’d think eliminating the wet food altogether is the easiest way to curb intake. Just give high-quality dry food in a regulated way and nothing else. Your cat shouldn’t be overweight if you do this.

    2. fposte*

      And I think there probably are ways to keep her out of the bedroom and make it be okay, so don’t let that stop you from putting her on a diet.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Maybe feed her less food but more often, and time it so that the largest supply of food shows up right at bedtime, so she won’t wake you up to be fed?

    3. Marzipan*

      There are moderate-calorie urinary tract foods available, so if the one you’re using isn’t one of those, maybe look into them?

    4. Sara smile*

      The amount of food you are providing is already low. I don’t see how you can healthily cut more. Try a different dry food, as they all have differing carb levels and can affect cats differently, or switch to wet food entirely. For a cat with urinary issues, you seem to barely be feeding any wet food anyway, which is really important for urinary health (the advice to cut out wet food from the other poster is not appropriate for a cat with urinary problems). As an aside, make sure to add water to your wet food to get more liquid in your cat.

      Just like humans though, diet alone cannot always alleviate weight issues. How much exercise is your cat getting on a daily basis from you?

      I would personally be giving attention to exercise and switching to wet food.

      1. First Initial dot Lastname*

        5 minutes of hard play every day, but not more. If Cat is chubbo, that will be plenty. Play time should be RIGHT BEFORE feeding time to activate the hunt/kill/eat/groom/sleep cycle, so mayhaps the second play/feed is the last thing you do before getting ready for bed. Cat should be satisfied with the activity and be a bit worn out by the sleepy time.

        Mostly cats are jerks, bored jerks. Who puke at 4am. Jerks.

    5. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.*

      Switch to all canned. It will very likely fix both issues. catinfo.org

      1. fposte*

        Way of Cats calls this “The Catkins Diet,” because it’s cutting out the grains from the dry foods.

    6. Winter is Coming*

      Thank you for all of the helpful suggestions! I’ve taken some of what each of you have recommended and have come up with a doable plan. I really appreciate it! Wish us luck!!

      1. Belle diVedremo*

        We’ve done much better with the bulk of my girl’s food as grain-free wet, with some dry kibble for snacking. Her weight is better than in the inverse, and she gets more of the fluid she needs. Especially important with urinary/bladder issues.

        Good luck to you both. =^.^=

    7. Racheon*

      Do you have time to play with her more? Something like a laser pointer that she can chase around and around to burn off some of those kitty calories? I’ve seen little remote control mice on eBay, but don’t know whether cats actually like them or would be scared of them…

    8. Camster*

      Please do not cut out the wet food – in fact, I would increase it. My cats also get fed grain free only. Most cats do not tolerate grain well and that may be contributing to her weight gain. As others suggested, increase her exercise more (my cats love Da Bird) and please don’t shut her out of the bedroom! My cats are rescue as well, but mostly, cuddly kitty bodies are heavenly! :)

  17. Sparkly Librarian*

    Back to painting the extra bedroom(s) this weekend! The big ol’ hole I opened up (paint prep + crumbly plaster old enough to have horsehair in it + my innate curiosity + a touch of compulsion) got replastered yesterday and needs to cure for a week before I can paint it. But I can put a second coat on the other three walls and do the trim. (This is a green nursery with a garden theme… the baseboard will be sprouting grass and the windowsills have leafy vines.)

    1. Windchime*

      I’m painting today, too. I’m getting new bedroom furniture next week so I am painting the master bedroom. I like to paint because I feel that it’s the fastest way to completely change the mood of a room.

      I used to tape edges and cut in with a brush, then fill everything else in with a roller. I get a really clean, sharp edge that way but it’s super time consuming. So this time I bought a little edging gizmo and it WORKS. I used them in the past and it seemed like they were just messy and not worth it but this one was slick. I also bought a thing that you snap onto the rim of the paint can so you can pour more easily–omg. I wish I had known about this earlier. So much better! No more paint flowing down the side of the can.

        1. Artemesia*

          Funny, it reminds me why I want to hire someone to do this. I used to do all our painting. We hired someone to paint a room recently and it was astonishing to watch him just free hand paint the edges — that used to take me hours to get more or less right.

          1. acmx*

            I’m in between. I don’t mind much doing the walls but I attempted to do the ceiling (after a renovation) and was over it after about 5 minutes. I will hire that out!

            Maybe this will be the spark to repaint the extra room…so I can buy a needed bookcase that will go in that room (it’ll be a Billy bookcase and I won’t move it after it’s up).

          2. Doriana Gray*

            It would take me hours, too, but the level of satisfaction I get from it is gratifying to me.

            I think I’m slowly talking myself into a home redecorating project. Although, I’d actually have to clean first :\

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I want to also. I need to repaint ALL my walls because they’re disgraceful. So I’m deciding on colors. Plus I’m changing it up from the Victorian cottage thing I’ve had going to something a bit less cluttered so I can display my comic art/nerd stuff. I wish I could afford to have someone do it, but no, it’ll just be little old me all alone. But first I have to get about half my stuff out of this damn house!

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        Oooh, I saw the edging thing in our garage but couldn’t be bothered for a one-room job. The pouring spout would definitely have come in handy!

    2. Jen*

      Oh! I am painting a nursery too and my daughter got to pick the color- she picked green. Do you have any photos you are using for inspiration that you could share? I was shopping for (green) colors today but totally lacking inspiration. Nursery is for a girl if it matters, and furniture is white.

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        Y’know, I looked around online but couldn’t find anything close to what I was picturing. The color we picked for the walls is called “Sanctuary”, and the trim (doors, window frame, baseboards) is “Fresh Olive”. (You can google for images with the paint names.) So soft yellow-based greens. I painted some brushstrokes beyond the baseboards for grass, and left the bathroom door and doorframe white, with Fresh Olive vines. The furniture is white and mostly from Ikea (Hemnes convertible daybed, Expedit 8-cube shelf, Sundvik changing table/dresser combo, DaVinci Alpha mini rocking crib, nameless glider we picked up at a thrift store) and I’m thinking of adding some ivy leaves to the paper shade of the Dudero floor lamp. I’ll be keeping an eye out for nursery decor in yellows and greens and browns… hedgehogs, foxes, frogs, butterflies, and owls are possibilities. That’s what will be in there eventually, anyway; we’re renting the room to a friend for a while until we have a preadoptive match. If it helps, this is the duvet cover I chose (also from Ikea!): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30282913/

    3. Al Lo*

      When we were repainting the whole house, we bought an electric paint roller, and I love it. Just the difference in not bending down to refill the roller and keeping it consistently loaded makes things go so fast! Usually my first coat is 90% there, and the second coat goes pretty quickly. I still do the edging — the edging attachment isn’t the greatest — but the time it saves on the big expanses of wall is HUGE. It also has an attachment for a garden hose, so flushing out the system and cleaning up is super quick.

  18. LawCat*

    I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for over a year and lost 35 lbs, but still have aways to go to get to my goal. I’ve really stalled out and even gained some on the new SmartPoints program. I feel I’ve given the new program a fair shake, but it leaves me feeling deprived and defeated constantly (had great success with PointsPlus and never felt this way.

    I cried on my way home after today’s meeting because I’m back where I was 4 months ago on my weight and I realized I am no longer getting value from the program and should cancel. I will miss the people at my meeting very much, but I can’t justify the cost for something that isn’t working.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on where I should go from here? I checked out LoseIt! but it won’t sync with my Garmin activity tracker.

    1. Winter is Coming*

      The only program that’s worked for me long term is the Food Addicts Anonymous program. It’s strict, but there is plenty of food, and no hunger. To be honest I was first attracted to it because of the large breakfasts! :) I have food issues which started in college, so the structure of the program works well for me. Good luck, I know how difficult it is.

      1. Jessi*

        Have you heard of myfitnesspal? its a website and/or an app that is about calorie counting. Ive lost 10kgs, and there is a lovely community spirit there too.

    2. Laura*

      Can you keep going to the WW meetings but just go back to following the PointsPlus program? You still have the old materials, right?

      1. Dear Liza dear liza*

        That’s what I was going to suggest! I do WW online and I use the tracking app, but I calculate for Points Plus- I just divide the calorie count by 40 if I don’t remember the P+. It’s been working for me. I hate the guilt trip of the Smart Points.

        1. Kate*

          When you say you calculate for PP instead of SP, do you mean you manually enter all your foods (at least for the first time?) I liked PP much better but have been following SP. I wish ww would have given the option to switch or not and made the online tracker with the option to continue PP.

          1. Laura*

            I haven’t used the online tools – I always just did the booklets, so I am not sure how different/feasible this would be. I bet your meeting leader would have ideas though!

            1. LawCat*

              Yeah, the WW app doesn’t give you a choice between SP and PP :-( You can’t see the PP values for anything.

                1. Kate*

                  Yes that happened to mine too! So frustrating. I have used myfitnesspal in the past with some success. I may go back to that.

          2. Dear Liza dear liza*

            Yes, I manually enter everything. I tend to eat the same things over and over so I rarely need to look items’ values up.

      2. TootsNYC*

        That’s what I was wondering–is the old program not available to you?

        Also, be sure to tell the WW leaders how the new program is not working for you. If possible, get that info to corporate. They’re always tweaking, as I remember.

    3. Hypnotist Collector*

      I too did very well with Points Plus and I hate SmartPoints – I’ve never done meetings, only the online tracking, but I too have given up on the Oprahfied, nanny Weight Watchers, and am trying to cancel my membership (they make it very hard). Wish I had a suggestion for you; every online tracking alternative I’ve seen is too intrusive and obnoxious. It’s a shame. I lost 15 pounds with Points Plus and felt that I was eating a very healthy diet.

    4. Anonymous Weight Loss*

      This is not for everyone, especially if you have existing dietary restrictions, but what has really helped jumpstart my weightloss and improve my relationship with food has been keto. The essentials of the program is that you cut down your carb/sugar intake and as counter-intuitive as it is, increase your fat intake. A lot of people (generally men, moreso than women) don’t even count calories on the program, because high-fat foods are a lot more filling, so you end up filling full more naturally. I did have to count calories more carefully, and especially watch my protein macros as a woman (look into /r/xxketo on reddit for a female-centric space if you are a woman) – but the important part is that I no longer felt like I was starving – and in fact, I often felt full so I stopped boredom-eating.

      I’m off keto now that I’ve lost 50 lbs, but it was a really good place to start for me because it improved my ability to judge when I was full and to stop eating compulsively.

      1. Nina*

        I didn’t go full keto, just low-carb, but it was the only thing I had tried where I noticed a difference immediately. It was rough, but seeing that I had lost even a few inches worked as the instant gratification I needed.

    5. Mel*

      I lost 60lbs with the help of this service: http://www.mybodytutor.com

      There is no particular diet that you are expected to follow and no measuring if that doesn’t work for you. Just support and accountability. It’s pricey but I really do recommend it!

    6. Pennalynn Lott*

      I have lost 55 lbs from June 20 of last year until now. I eat low-carb, no sugar, low-processed*, next-to-no grains. And I track everything in Fitbit’s app (which lets you set a weight-loss goal and then it tells you how many calories you can eat for the day, based on your activity level).

      Eating high protein / high healthy fat / high veggie made the weight loss surprisingly easy. I never felt deprived or starving. I also incorporated trail walking (can’t really call it hiking because I’m in an urban setting and the trails aren’t that challenging), and get in my 10K+ steps at least 6 out of 7 days.

      I joined Nerd Fitness Academy (an online fitness program) and that made all the difference. The support there is *amazing*, and I love their philosophy of approaching every new change in incremental micro-baby steps. (i.e., Did I walk one minute more today than yesterday? Did I eat one ounce more of veggies today than yesterday? Did I drink one ounce more of water today than yesterday?)

      Oh, and I still drink beer more days a week than not, and I eat crap at my next-door neighbor’s house on Friday nights. But I do it consciously as part of my daily calorie (and carb) count, and thus in waaaaay less quantities than I did before I got serious about losing weight.

      * I have several friends who have been trying to lose weight with WW for a couple of years now. I see them eat the WW desserts and pre-packaged/frozen foods, versus making real food on their own at home, and I think that’s a large part of why they haven’t been able to lose much weight. A calorie of processed non-food isn’t the same as a calorie of nutritious real food, in terms of what your body does with it.

      1. Dear Liza dear liza*

        Yeah, I never get the prepared stuff. WW works for me because of the tracking function. I have 30 points, and I can eat what I want but it can’t add up to more than 30 points. I love the recipes at Skinnytaste: she focuses on natural ingredients and tasty results. I think the key to almost any program is to be mindful and intentional in your eating.

    7. YawningDodo*

      …Hearing that they’ve changed the points system *again* makes me feel more sure that yes, it was time for me to leave the program. I thought even the change to starting people on “Simple Filling” when they first joined was asinine (the whole point of the system is that you can eat whatever you want as long as you get it within your allowance, but “Simply Filling” demands that you completely change your diet to a set list of allowed foods–no wonder newbies seemed so stressed out). It seemed to me like every time they changed the system they just made it less friendly to people who’d been doing well on PointsPlus.

      That wasn’t really why I left, though. I left because my local leader was really bad at her job and I wasn’t getting anything out of the meetings anymore. It’s a shame, because I lost 85 pounds when I lived in another city and had a WW leader who actually knew how to run a meeting. The other issue was that I lost interest in tracking; it had been a sort of game when I was originally losing weight, but in the long run it was frankly exhausting to obsess over my food budget with no end in sight, and after a point I was just beating myself up on a daily basis for not having the will to track.

      So I don’t have an answer for you, but I’m looking through the answers others have offered. I’m back up about thirty pounds — all in all, I’m way better off now than I was before I got on the program, and I’ll always be thankful for that. I know that I need to figure something out, though, before it gets any further out of control. Honestly I think the best thing for me would be a focus on exercise rather than diet (I figure diet-wise I’ve at least got a better feel for what’s reasonably healthy and what’s not than I used to), but it’s hard to find something I actually like doing enough to keep doing it (am major couch potato).

      1. LawCat*

        I’m definitely thankful for what I have accomplished with WW and don’t think I’d have lost the weight I have without it.

        I’ve definitely gotten more active over the past year. I took up Vinyasa yoga for about 6 months, which was great but had some emergency expenses and had to cancel my yoga studio membership. Since then, to avoid my natural couch potato tendencies, I’ve taken up running and plan to do a 5k every month this year. I do not love running and am the slowest person on the planet, but I appreciate that it is highly effective and I like the app “Zombies, Run!” which makes a story/game out of it. I’ve started a program on dailyburn.com that live streams a new 30 min workout every day and that’s been great. I really like when I can say to myself, “In 30 mins, this will be over” :-D

    8. LawCat*

      Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone!

      I probably should have mentioned that I eat 95% vegetarian (the only meat I’ll have is fish maybe 1-2 times per month). This has been a huge problem as pretry much all non-soy vegetarian proteins went up in points.

      The new system is definitely is low-carb oriented. I use a meal planning service that offers different options including vegetarian and paleo. The meals all involve fresh ingredients. Under PointsPlus, the points were pretty similar regardless of meal type, but there is a significant difference between the points on SmartPoints. I use dinner leftovers for lunch. With PointsPlus, my lunch plus dinner used about 2/3-3/4 of my daily points, but now they use almost all and sometimes even exceed my daily points. This also results in an unhealthy level of low calories on some days if I were to try and stay in my daily points so I worry about nutrition with the new plan and did not with the old.

      I pre-track my meals for the week and stay within my points on the app, which was a highly effective strategy for me under the old plan, but I feel so defeated when I do it under the new plan because it shows me running negative points. People at my meeting said not to worry about it, but it’s confusing to know how many points are okay then and it just doesn’t feel good to have the app showing me at the beginning of the week how I’ve “failed.” That’s really impacted my mentality and has led to overeating. I’m tired of trying to work around the new system. It’s clearly not a tool that will help me succeed.

      I downloaded myfitnesspal last night and it looks promising. I successfully pre-tracked my budgeted calories last night without going over. I’m going to try that and not log when I have a whole piece of fruit ot vegetable for a snack (like on WW) but log everything else.

  19. RKB*

    I got new glasses, and on the inside of the left arm is: “Boys make passes at girls in glasses.”

    Seriously, Kate Spade? Even my glasses can’t escape sexism. Why is it necessary? What about lesbians? What if a boy wore those glasses? Ugh.

    It bothered me probably more than it should have.

    1. Rin*

      I would not have gotten them. That’s pretty tacky. Or empowering, I guess, if you’re wearing the glasses and are confident. But even then….I don’t know.

      1. fposte*

        It would never occur to me to check the inside of the frame for a secret message; I’m just trying to squint to see how I look in the damn things.

    2. Thinking out loud*

      If it helps any, this is obviously a reference to a Dorothy Parker poem, which is called Newsflash. The entire poem is: “Boys never make passes at girls who wear glasses.” So I don’t think they’re trying to be exclusionary, although I also understand that they are inadvertently doing so.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Reminds me of the horrible Docker campaign that was like “Be a man. Wear the pants.”

    3. matcha123*

      I think Kate Spade has a lot of cute items, but I was turned off when I saw a bunch of “Mr. and Mrs.” stuff on their site the other day. Why is there an assumption that a woman would change her name when getting married?

      1. Sunflower*

        I don’t understand this? Not every product is geared towards everyone. Even people who do change their names may not want to purchase something that say Mr and Mrs.

        1. matcha123*

          I understand that, I was just chiming in with the OP’s comment on not liking something written on her Kate Spade glasses with my own “dislike” of a product. I’m never going to buy it because I think it’s tacky and I don’t agree with the message. They are free to sell it.

      2. CoffeeLover*

        This is a little off topic but I recently got married and decided to change my name. I’ve been surprised by how many people have asked me why I changed it (basically everyone I’ve talked to about it). To think a few years ago people were shocked when you didn’t change your name. Times have really changed.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          When my husband passed people were surprised I did not change my name back to my maiden name. Well for one thing that costs money. Second thing, I am not mad at him. Third thing, people can kind of spell his name. Last thing, I have been using this name for over half my life. Everyone’s answer is as unique as the individual attached to the name.

        2. Laura*

          Nobody bugged me about it when I changed my name but I have read a number of articles and things about pros and cons that completely ignored the reasons why I did it and made it seem like the only reason to do it was pressure and patriarchy.

      3. TootsNYC*

        Well, Mr. and Mrs. is sort of shorthand for a married couple. Even a couple in which the woman doesn’t change her name.

    4. Racheon*

      I’d probably end up painting over that with nail polish that matched the frame. It’s on the inside, so it would hardly show. Little things like that really bug me, too.

  20. Ms. Didymus*

    I’m pretty upset.

    My grandfather had an artificial shoulder put in last year. Ever since his surgery he’s been complaining of pain and a lump in his shoulder. They finally went in Thursday and opened his shoulder up to find a massive infection. It is so massive that they had to remove the shoulder completely. The doctors have no idea what the infection is – they sent it to the CDC for analysis. They say he’ll need IV antibiotics for weeks and it will be months before they can replace his shoulder.

    How does this happen? I’m angry and sad and worried. He is 74 years old and otherwise healthy. He has been in so much pain lately because of his shoulder and it is psychologically very difficult for him to be unable to use his arm (he is the typical Patriarch who prides himself on caring for his family’s needs plus his hobbies include cars and his Harley). The last time he had a similar issue where he was unable to move around much for months it got so bad he talked about not wanting to go on living like that.

    I am furious that his doctors couldn’t catch this earlier and prevent this from happening. I am terrified for my Grampa and I am so sad I can’t be with him right now.

    1. Mimmy*

      Oh wow, that is scary and just wrong. How on earth did they not catch that – was he not having other symptoms to indicate a possible infection (e.g. fever, other flu-like symptoms)? I hope he is well on his way to better health.

      1. Observer*

        Most likely they didn’t catch it because he’s “an old codger who is just grumpy” and doctors are supposed to ignore complaints from those people, don’t you know?

        In case anyone missed it, this is SARCASM. But, it’s based on the very real fact that doctors DO tend to downplay the complaints of many categories of people and “old folks” is one of the most common categories that has their complaints dismissed. If Grandpa Didymus also happens to have an accent that is not from Western Europe or Anglo-speaking, that will just add to it. So will membership in certain ethnic groups.

        1. Marcela*

          It can be sarcasm, Observer, but as you say, it is very real. That is the reason why endometriosis is diagnosed so late, in average after 10 years of complaining to doctors: because periods are supposed to be painful, so if you say your pain is invalidating, you are obviously exaggerating. Ugh. It makes me furious to think about this. So sorry it happened to your Grampa, Ms. Didymus.

    2. Artemesia*

      Doctors often ignore old people — they just categorize them as old an whiny and their complaints as ‘age’. I knew someone whose hip replacement got infected and they were slow there too — and this guy was still an active professor and not really that old — in his 60s. It took forever to get the infection under control and then be able to redo the repair.

      People who get medical care need an advocate and this goes double for old people. Often without someone keeping track, medications don’t get properly dispensed and asceptic techniques are not practiced. It is hard to advocate for yourself when you are flat on your back and in pain.

      Sorry about your grandfather; sounds like that should have been caught MUCH earlier when it would have been easier to treat.

    3. Honeybee*

      I’m not a doctor, but infections – especially internal ones – can be difficult to catch. They require screening to find. That’s why if you go to the doctor and your throat is red and inflamed, the doctor can surmise that you have strep but they don’t know for sure unless they send off to the lab. And sometimes infections have no other outward symptoms – I had an infected cyst once but other than it being painful and sore, I had no other bodily symptoms. The doctors only knew it was infected when they opened it up.

      Especially post-surgery, complaints of pain are very common – especially in older people. The doctors may have assumed (wrongly) that he was just having a difficult healing period, that he wasn’t taking pain medication correctly, that maybe he has a low pain tolerance…not saying any of these things are okay to do, but doctors do do them. Lumps can also be a variety of things – sometimes your body just produces a cyst and there’s no reason why. My mother had one for years that she finally got surgically removed but even when that happened nobody knew what it was. I got one on my wrist, and it was very painful, and then it went away. Nobody could tell me what was wrong. And lots of doctors don’t like admitting that they don’t know something, so instead of telling you that, they may say nothing’s wrong, it’s just normal, and handwave it away.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Some artificial joints have been in the news because of class action lawsuits. Apparently in one case, the manufacturer left oil in the joint. Numerous people were made sick by the residual oil. This was for hip or knee joints.

      Just like cars, replacement joints have manufacturer names and specific model numbers. If you can get the manufacturer and model number you might be able to find out something by googling. The idea here is not that your grandfather is going to sue, the idea is that you guys need to know what happened, what went wrong. It might be worth a look into the joint that was used.

      I hope they fix it and he is on the mend very soon.

      1. Doriana Gray*

        Apparently in one case, the manufacturer left oil in the joint. Numerous people were made sick by the residual oil.

        Oh my. Their products liability carrier is going to be paying out the ass.

    5. Liane*

      I am so sorry this happened.
      To echo other replies, yes, internal infections may not have the classic symptoms. When my son was 4, he started limping badly and conplaining about his knee. We assumed it was due to banging his knee a few days before but took him in because it shouldn’t still have bothered him. His doctors wanted him admitted for tests and were concerned about several serious possibilities–not an infection. When an MRI of his leg was done, the scan field was just large enough to visualize the lower part of the iliopsoas, a muscle in the side. It was infected. No one knows how.

  21. The Other Dawn*

    So, does everyone remember my tenant from Hell last year (the one I had to evict)? I posted awhile back that she was saying she’s pregnant, when she’d had a full hysterectomy (I was friends with her at the time so I know she had the surgery). She claimed that she has half a uterus and the baby will have to be taken out at 7 months. She stopped my to visit my current tenant, Sally, last week and talked her ear off for an hour. Uninvited. (She lives in the area still and walks over there to feed the stray cat we used to take care of, even though he’s now taken care of by my tenant.) Well, it’s about 6 months later and she’s still “3 months pregnant.” She also Sally that she and her husband, the one she cheated on and is supposedly getting divorced from, did ALL the renovations in my old house. They knocked down walls, totally gutted and remodeled the bathroom, put down all the wood flooring, painted, remodeled the upstairs, etc. And she also claims that she turned the feral cat into a lovable, docile house cat single-handedly. Ummm, no. WE did all that and my husband is the one that tamed the cat. Apparently she doesn’t remember that I know Sally personally–she’s a friend of my best friend–so she had no qualms about telling these stories to her. Sally also cleaned my old house a few times when I lived there and the woman met her those few times. (And apparently when Sally cleaned, the woman would come over–she lived across the street–and follow her around the house, talking her ear off, going through my cabinets, and using my washer and dryer. I had no idea!)

    My old tenant is the gift that keeps on giving. Pure entertainment. From me to you. :)

    Here’s one of my posts. Don’t have time right now to find them all. https://www.askamanager.org/2015/02/weekend-free-for-all-february-21-22-2015.html#comment-671493

    1. Amandine*

      It sounds like this woman is suffering from some sort of mental illness. I don’t find that entertaining.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Maybe she is, and maybe she isn’t. I have no idea. But considering all I went through with this person, I just have to laugh at the stuff she comes up with. This is the one and only person on the face of the earth that I have zero sympathy for. And I don’t generally say that about anyone.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I’m glad she’s now entertaining instead of enervating! It sounds like you’re lucky to be shut of them now.

    3. Artemesia*

      Your cleaning person let someone walk in and do laundry at your place? Even someone you knew? WOW.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        The woman who cleaned is also a friend. I hired her to clean before a big family get-together. The old tenant was a friend at the time, lived across the street, and the friend who was cleaning knew we were friends. I had told her ahead of time the old tenant might drop by because that’s what she does. But I had no idea she went through my cabinets and did laundry until much later. And she told my friend that I told her she could use the washer and dryer that day.

        1. Clever Name*

          Yeah, I wondered if tenant from hell lied to your friend. As someone who is fundamentally honest, it’s always painful for me to realize when a friend is basically a liar.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            Agreed. I don’t lie either. Too much effort. And now that she came out with the stuff I mentioned in the original post, I know she lied about everything else: the lawsuit, rent assistance, among other things. I mean, I pretty much knew that anyway, but now I have even more evidence. From what I understand, no one in her family–her daughter, step children, husband, his family–speaks to her anymore.

  22. Mimmy*

    Sigh. I am veering dangerously close to BEC mode with my professor!!! I don’t want to go into too much detail in case he reads AAM (doubtful, but you never know!). Suffice it to say that he seems to be very stubborn. Some of us are trying to find something on the course site, and we can’t seem to convince him that we’re not seeing it.

    Also: One student said that a link provided in the syllabus doesn’t work. What does he do? Tells her to google it. Seriously dude?!

    1. Mimmy*

      Update on the first paragraph: We finally got through to him!! Back in the plus column….for now :P

    2. Pennalynn Lott*

      I had a Professional Development professor last semester who put a bad URL into an assignment. She then scolded all of us the next class period for not knowing how to Google things when we run into problems. (!!) Um, b*tch, we wouldn’t have had a problem if you’d checked your document [ya know, like you require us to check our homework assignments], and why on earth wouldn’t you just APOLOGIZE for the typo, instead of treating the whole class like they’re a bunch of idiots? (Yes, this was a *Professional Development* class! She gets a failing grade for the class she was teaching!!)

      1. Sophia in the DMV*

        Eh. As a professor, we should double check links. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. But it does irritate me when students don’t try to problem solve before reaching out to me.

        1. Pennalynn Lott*

          But would you scold the entire class for not Googling the link? After you’d gotten 2 or 3 emails about it, wouldn’t you just go fix the link? [Because now 135 people are having to track down the correct link instead of just one person. Also, I found a link on the website she was pointing to that covered the subject matter (resume writing), but it was the wrong link. If I’d done my assignment based on that template, I would have failed the assignment.]

          FWIW, she had a habit of saying, “Please email me with any questions or come by my office; I’m here to help” and then complaining at the next class about the “stupid questions” people sent her. Which basically taught me to never ask her any questions.

          1. So Very Anonymous*

            I had a professor do that (though he never indicated that he wanted questions, so, no false advertising at least). He complained about getting 20+ questions via email on an assignment, and he quoted my email sarcastically (didn’t name me, but the wording was definitely mine). I used to be a professor, and I know that getting 20+ emails about an assignment in a class of maybe 30 students means that something is wrong with your assignment and you need to fix it. … Same guy told the computer lab techs not to help anyone in his class. Whole class felt like a lesson in how not to teach.

          2. Sophia in the DMV*

            No. But if someone emailed me with the correct link, I’d pass it along. I also want students to come to me with any questions but I also expect them to put effort or thought into it beforehand. So for example, finding the correct url and send me an email saying that the link was wrong and you found the right one. I also am clear that students should not expect an instantaneous response so if you email me the night before class I may not have read the email. I tell my students I’ll answer 24-48 hours, though often sooner.

      2. danr*

        Bad urls are a fact of life. And good ones can be changed in an instant. However, I have found that more people like to complain about bad urls than do a little searching or editing to find the correct ones. I only complain about bad urls if it takes more than 5 minutes to find the right one.

        1. Mimmy*

          You just inspired me to go in and check the link myself! (I was going to wait until it was time to read the referenced case in a couple of weeks), and I was prepared to edit it but it came up for me fine. I wonder if my classmate either just tried to type it in manually (it’s not displaying as a hyperlink) or didn’t copy/paste it correctly.

          It does pay to think and be resourceful – I just have a bad habit of complaining first, lol.

    3. A Nonny Mouse*

      I have a professor like that for an online class. We had to watch a video and respond to it. The link she put up was a Facebook link. I don’t Facebook. When I asked if she could provide a link, she told me to Google it. Which I couldn’t do because I couldn’t even get to the video to get its name.

  23. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

    It is so freaking hot here. Regularly 30C (86F) which is far, far warmer than I’m used to. I’m melting in the heat. We’ve got an appointment to get a quote for aircon, but in the meantime, any suggestions for cooling the place down? We have one pedestal fan, but the entire district is sold out of fans.

    1. danr*

      Does it cool off a bit at night? Open all the windows that you can and get a cross breeze going. Put the fan in one window and set it blowing in on high. For sleeping, put the fan in the bedroom. If you had two fans, I’d have one blowing in and one blowing out.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Draw your shades/curtains during the day, minimally, on the sunniest sides of the house. You may decide to draw all your shades or decide to pull them down half way.

    3. Aussie academic*

      I feel your pain, we had 38C (100F) almost all week. I have air con at work but at home try not to run it to save money (although there are times I just have to!) But my suggestions would be:
      – if you’re going to be sitting at a desk, get one of those little tiny desk fans and have it focused on your face. Even though it won’t cool the room, having the air flow on your face will make a real difference. Even better if you can get a water spray bottle and mist your face now and then as well – as the air from fan then hits your face it will be really cooling
      – ditto for fan focused on you in bed. One of the big problems with heat is that it doesn’t cool down enough at night for your body to get that respite from the heat, but it’s really important to your sleep quality and ongoing health. If you have overhead fans and your bed is up against the wall and not really centred under the bed, it can be useful to sleep with your head up the other end of the bed to be more under the fan. If it’s safe to do so and you have somewhere suitable, putting a mattress on a verandah that gets a breeze also helps (can you tell I grew up in North Queensland?)

    4. Alston*

      Slightly wet your pillowcase and put it in the freezer until its Tim for bed. You can also freeze a towel and sleep on it.

      Or hug an ice pack.

    5. nicolefromqueens*

      Take a COLD shower. To the point where you’re shivering. Then let it evaporate off you.

      If it’s humid, get a dehumidifier.

      You can make a DIY ice bucket fan cooler (instructions on YouTube), though you may not want to invest the time and money to do this if you’re going to get an AC anyway.

      1. Colette*

        Actually, I’ve heard that warm (not hot) showers are better for cooling you down than cold showers. (Something about the way your skin reacts.)

    6. LCL*

      Figure out the path the sun takes along your house. If there are windows, put reflective film on them. If you don’t/can’t put something permanent on the window, block it with cardboard cut to fit. Tacky but it works, we had to do this after destructo dog mangled the blinds.

    7. Marzipan*

      Soak a thin sheet in water, wring it out, and hang it just inside the open window (like a curtain). Also, at night, have a spray bottle of water by your bed (like a plant mister) and give yourself a spray if you’re feeling the heat – especially around your temples, wrists and neck.

    8. Belle diVedremo*

      Get some cold packs to put in the freezer. Wrapped in a hand towel, and in your lap/against your back/wherever they help keep your body cool. Makes a huge difference for sleeping.

  24. Jen RO*

    I’m trying to decide whether I want to do something for my birthday or not. The list of invited people is easy (certain coworkers + SOs, about 10 people in total), but I don’t know whether I want to throw a party at home or go out somewhere… or simply not do anything.

    Home would be kinda boring and more work for me (cleaning up afterwards), going out means I’d have to make a reservation and I suck at choosing places to go out, and I’ve become more social in the past few months so doing nothing is not looking very appealing…

    …And writing it out here actually helped – I think I will just email everyone, invite them to go out, and ask for suggestions of places to go!

    1. Jen RO*

      Thanks for the wishes! The Facebook group is set up and the people are invited – we are first going to eat/drink something, then dancing (hopefully to a place where I can headbang to my heart’s desire!). I am exceedingly excited and I don’t want to wait a whole week more.

    1. Pennalynn Lott*

      I saw the article in my FB feed. So glad that the software showed that RBF isn’t a purely female phenomenon, it’s just that society expects women to be all-smiles-all-the-time. (Ugh).

  25. periwinkle*

    Oh, in case my original post didn’t actually go through because of the link… test your RBF here:

    www (dot) noldus (dot) com/test-if-you-have-resting-bitch-face

    Of course I do.

  26. PowerOfDeeDee*

    Just feeling happy and thought I’d share. Snuggled on the couch with my dog while the “Daddy Monster” chases the kiddos around the house. There’s a lot of shrieking, squealing and roaring also lots of tossing the kids onto couches and beds. DeeDee, my son’s favorite stuffed rabbit, is currently the trophy toy that gives them super powers to defeat the Daddy Monster, unfortunately Daddy Monster has the DeeDee. I think my life is pretty darn perfect in this moment.

      1. PowerofDeeDee*

        It really really is! I love weekends, hubby is gone 12/13 hrs a day during the week bc of commuting, but weekends he is 100% present and involved. I feel very spoiled. :-)

  27. Jinx*

    Hello AAM Community!

    One of my biggest problems is dwelling on things that I handle poorly. My husband once remarked that I only remember the bad things that happen to me, and in a sense that’s true – I have more vivid memories of embarrassment than anything else. For example, I cried in an interview and behaved very unprofessionally afterwards – three years ago. Even though there were no negative consequences and I won’t do it again, it still makes me anxious and stressed to think about it. A few months ago I cut someone off in traffic because I wasn’t paying attention, they road-raged at me, and that pretty much put me into a week-long anxiety attack.

    Earlier this week, I tried to pay a doctor’s bill with my HSA card, and gave them the wrong one. I have two different cards from two different banks that have my employer’s logo on them, and for some reason my brain completely flipped the two. When the card got declined, I got really confused and called support, and spent half an hour trying to explain that this *was* my HSA card and I didn’t understand why they said it wasn’t in their system. I became pretty frustrated and agitated, and I wasn’t very polite. Sometime while I was on hold again (probably because the rep thought I was psycho), I finally realized that I was dealing with the wrong card all along. And instead of waiting for the rep to come back and admitting that, I hung up and had a good cry. Today, there was a help ticket entry on my account page basically describing how I called in and acted like a crazy person, which brought all the anxiety and guilt back. I left a note on the ticket explaining that it was all my mistake and I’m sorry, but my stress is through the roof and I don’t know how to move past the situation.

    Even though I know in my head that people make mistakes and that I learn each time something like this happens, my anxiety doesn’t seem to care and I go into an emotional spiral that can last days, and I can’t feel good about myself again for a long time. It impacts other parts of my life, because I have a hard time thinking about anything else. I think my social anxiety and unfamiliarity with adult-ing (I’m in my early 20’s and dealing with things like having an HSA account for the first time) are major contributors to the problem. All I want is to say “well, I f***ed up and I won’t do that again” and move on, but the guilt and bad feelings don’t go away. Does anyone else have experience with this?

    tl;dr – I feel bad about myself for days after making embarrassing mistakes. How can I accept these things and move on?

    1. Weekend Warrior*

      One thing that helps is to always take the high road when things go wrong, that is, stay pleasant and professional. Makes it so much easier if you have to climb down and admit the mistake was yours. And we’ve ALL been in that situation!

      1. catsAreCool*

        And there’s less to feel guilty about afterwards. There’s a trick to being unhappy with your service but still treating the support person well.

        1. Weekend Warrior*

          Exactly. And I should have said “try” to take the high road because it isn’t always easy.

          Sadly, there’s no hand gesture from inside your car that will look apologetic and not rude when you’ve cut someone off by mistake. I’ve had times I’ve wished for one!

    2. misspiggy*

      These things do take time. You could think of your Jerkbrain as trying to protect you from having problems in the future, but overdoing it. Is there any way you could train it to give you more positive feedback and less negative feedback? Could you focus on times where you did something difficult and didn’t freak out, and remind yourself how that went fine?

      If you feel yourself getting agitated, could you remind yourself to call a pause using some stock phrases? So perhaps saying to the call centre person, ‘Actually, I’m sure this can be worked out, but I’m going to have to call you back later. Thanks for your help.’ Then when you do work out the issue and call back to sort it out, give yourself a really nice reward afterwards. Try to treat your Jerkbrain like a dog or kiddie and reward good behaviour, but ignore and cut short the bad.

      1. Jinx*

        Your in-the-moment suggestion is really good, and sometimes I’m bright enough to step away from a situation instead of going at it. For some reason things involving finances tend to set me off when something isn’t right. I don’t want to make a mistake that has serious repercussions, but I feel like I’m flailing around at something I’m not naturally good at.

        It’s kind of like something Alison was talking about in an earlier post – I’m one of those people who was praised for being innately smart, so feeling lost or overwhelmed about a subject is very stressful. I think every time this happens I get better at managing, but it’s getting over the mess-ups that is hard.

        1. misspiggy*

          I’m not surprised you freak out about finance stuff – much of it is incredibly arcane, we’re not taught about it at school, and it’s so easy to have bad experiences because the law is often set up to put ordinary consumers at a disadvantage. I cringe when I think about the financial things I learned the hard way.

          Would it make the postmortems less likely if you viewed ‘getting to understand financial issues’ as an experiential learning programme which is going to take you some time to complete? In the UK there is a great site called moneysavingexpert which clearly talks you through all sorts of financial things and how to get the best outcome. I don’t know if there is something similar for your country, or whether others have recommendations. But recognising that this is information you don’t have and can’t be expected to just know may help.

    3. fposte*

      Here are a few retraining ideas. I think you might find it helpful to make a checklist for what you do when your brain starts to go that way. Maybe it’s 1) take a deep breath, stand up and stretch, and get a drink of water; 2) say out loud something that makes you happy–a good memory, how much you love your husband, how soft and pettable your dog/cat/kid/sofa is 3) say “That wasn’t good, but it’s over now and I’ll do better next time.” Pick your own in there, but the idea would be you have something else for you and your brain to do so it doesn’t just go hamster-on-wheel aimlessly running, and to have a way to declare “enough.” It’s okay if it doesn’t automatically work–this is training, not an instant solution.

      Second, what about trying to retrain yourself to notice and remember positive things more? I loved Alison’s end-of-year overview of things that she accomplished that year. You could do a small version of pleasures, accomplishments, satisfactions, weekly or even daily. “Today I was nice to that horrible Lucinda in accounting.” “I really enjoyed that episode of Transparent.” The point is to train your mind to notice those good things rather than letting them slide by.

      And I know it’s the book of the moment, especially around here, but you really might want to have a look at Carol Dweck’s _Mindset_. What you’re talking about may seem more like an emotional pattern than an intellectual one, but I suspect Dweck’s discussion of the different ways we can deal with failure and error might be useful to you.

      1. CrazyCatLady*

        I’ve also heard the suggestion of, for a year, writing down any good thing that happened and putting it in a jar. Then, at the end of the year, you have all the positive things to reflect on.

        Jinx, I struggle with the same thing and I know it can be a spiral of embarrassment and shame. When one bad thing happens, I ruminate on all the bad things that have happened. In addition to what I mentioned above, I also keep an email file of any praise or compliments I receive, I lock text messages that make me feel good, and I do what fposte mentions above – doing a year-end review of my accomplishments. It doesn’t make everything else go away, but it makes it feel more balanced.

    4. Carrie in Scotland*

      You are not alone!

      A while ago, when I was having CBT, my counsellor suggested giving into these feelings but only for a limited time, like 5 minutes or so (set a timer!) and then whenever your brain goes back to it say to yourself “I’ve dealt with it” each time. It has worked for me, although I still overthink alot.

    5. AcidMeFlux*

      I know that! What helps me is a bit of organization and planning, which god knows is not my strong suit. I have gotten in the habit of making sure my bag and wallet have all the things I need every couple of days (cards, cash, phone accessories, workday toiletries) so I smooth over everyday stuff; I make lists of not only what to do (“Dentist Appt”) but add what else I have to do to get that done (“Call insurance, find local dentist, call for appt, confirm rates, make sure card is up to date”); look at deadlines, both daily and long-term and put reminders on my calendar (both paper and Google) that realistically tell me when to get what done. In other words, push myself into the right place so I don’t have so many opportunites to go all bratshit crazy because the world surprised me with something.

    6. pleiades*

      Know this, Jinx – getting older in many ways kind of stinks, but one wonderful glorious thing I’ve experienced is that the stupid stressful stuff that used to instantly rile me up….doesn’t as much.

      I could live without the gray hair coming in, but my newfound increased capability for zen is delightful.

      1. Jinx*

        I’m looking forward to getting older partly because of this – I’m really tired of going “oh, well I wish I’d known *that*” about pretty much everything financially-related. I know some of the things I do are just because I’m inexperienced, and I know I’ll be better at managing stress as I get older. But I hate screwing up or not knowing things.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I am laughing. I hit 45 and my give-a-damn broke into little pieces. I kind of scared me.
          It came back but the things I give-a-damn about are very different than what I used to care about.
          I was looking at the post about guys making passes at girls who wear glasses. I haven’t thought of that saying in YEARS. But I remember hearing it a lot. I remember thinking, “Oh is that a Thing?” And wondering how much else I did not know and really needed to know. I do not miss those days of ignorance… er, I mean… innocence. I do not miss the dopey sayings we used to have, either.

          1. Arjay*

            Oh, me too. When I think about the completely unimportant things I used to feel very, very passionately about, it makes me laugh.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      First off realize that everything has a learning curve. It sounds like you expect yourself to know everything from every angle right now. And that simply is not fair to you. I don’t think you’d talk to a friend that way. Here’s a tricky part, if you can’t say it to a friend, you can’t say it to yourself, either.

      Second thing, I am a big fan of autopsies. If you are going to insist upon replaying a bad situation in your head, then insist that you line up a plan of what you will do differently the next time a similar situation occurs. This is how to change your future. Yes, I needed to autopsy a lot of stuff and on some things I still do.

      Lastly, when the brain plays the same tape over and over and we cannot shut off the tape that can be indicative of low vitamins or minerals. How’s your diet? I know when I eat too much white bread my thinking goes into the latrine. That is just an example of what foods can do to some people.

      Try to line up several tools to work with and rotate through the tools. Beating yourself up is only going to bring you down lower, so please be gentle with you.

      1. Jinx*

        To be honest, the last couple of weeks I have been really bad in terms of mental organization and stress management. Oddly enough I’m eating better lately – it was one of my new years resolutions. The biggest change I’ve made is quitting caffeinated soda – I quit cold turkey in January. I haven’t noticed any severe withdrawal symptoms, but I suppose that might be contributing to the irritability and brain drain. If that’s a factor, I hope it goes away. :/

        I’m reaaaaally not good at being nice to myself. It’s something I think I’m improving on, but sometimes I screw up and beat myself up over it. I guess it’s because I view every failed interaction as avoidable, because it always happens when I handle something bad in the moment. When a social situation goes south for me I tend to cry, which is really not a professional or mature way to respond. Then I feel like a big baby on top of everything else.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Sounds like you could use some vitamin B to me.

          I understand too well about viewing every failed interaction as avoidable. Mine was less focused on people and more focused on mistakes, such as errors at work or purchasing the wrong item for my home. I got fixed on how much money I had wasted and how avoidable it was. I really micromanaged my own financial decisions and I would become exasperated with my husband because he did not get what a bfd it was. AND at the same time, I envied him. He could purchase a $20 item and use it to the point he could not return it. He would then decide it was the wrong item and not even break into a sweat. I was annoyed by that reaction and coveted it all in the same stroke. It was really good that he did not nag me about my own poor decisions in the same manner I nagged myself. Two of us nagging me would have sent me over the edge, I think!

          Having quit caffeinated soda myself, yes, it will go away- the brain drain etc. And the craving for it goes away too. But a funny thing, I have been without soda for 22 years and the other day, I wanted one so bad…. I did not cave. I was kind of amused.

          What do you read? If you are going to try to get rid of an old method you have to have a new method to put in it’s place. Do you read up on relationships, social etiquette and so on? Feeding your brain isn’t just about nutrition, it can be about acquiring a new way of dealing with old problems. It’s not fair to beat yourself up AND not give your brain other methods to work with. (Think about a pup. You tell the pup to leave you alone but then you don’t have any toys for it to play with, nothing else for the pup to do. That’s not fair to the pup.) Give your brain something new to work with.

          I don’t know what books would fill your gaps, but go to the library or book store and just start wandering through self-help books, etiquette books, etc. Pick out ONE. Just one because you are actually going to read it, you probably won’t read ten, so don’t pick out ten. I am still doing this. It’s been decades. The more gaps I fill in the more gaps I find. But it’s not dire like it used to be and I cry a lot less.

          1. catsAreCool*

            One thing I try to do after I buy something is to stop shopping for it. It’s tough if it’s an expensive purchase that I spent a lot of time shopping for, but it is easier if I don’t keep looking at sales and realize I could have gotten an equally good sofa for $100 less if I’d been able to know the future and waited to buy the cheaper sofa. I also try to think that maybe that cheaper sofa wasn’t as good in some ways when I forget and keep looking at sales.

      1. Yetanotherjennifer*

        Can I add one more? I have OCD and this sounds an awful lot like what I go through. OCD isn’t all germs and hand washing, there’s a type called “pure O” which focuses more on the obsessions with none or less obvious compulsions. If you examine your pattern you may find you do have little tricks you use to try and make yourself feel better. This could also be part of your social anxiety. I have this theory (based on absolutely no medical training) that since thoughts are chemical, that maybe different thoughts have different chemical signatures and maybe a brain can become habituated to a particular signature. It’s comforting to me to take this behavior pattern and attribute it to my brain jonesing for a fix instead of some sort of social death wish. Ultimately, you are miserable and losing time and confidence to this behavior pattern. Life doesn’t have to be this hard. A therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders can help you sort out the symptoms and find a treatment that works for you. Good luck!

    8. TootsNYC*

      A couple of thoughts.

      One is, is there an element of dread?
      What if you imagine the worst that can happen from whatever it is you screwed up. What’s the worst? And then, how likely is that, seriously? Might that exercise help you set down the worry?

      Also: my son’s OCD therapy had him talking back–literally, out loud–to a “monster” that was giving him these obsessive, anxious thoughts. Yours sound a lot like that–maybe that would help you. Look at “Talk Back to OCD.”

      And last–the Golden Rule is, “do unto others are you would have them do unto you.”

      But I find that the HARD part is the inverse:
      Treat yourself the way you would treat others.

      Would constantly berate someone else for that sort of mistake? No, you’d forgive them, you’d sympathize, etc.
      Try to think of someone you know and care about making the same mistake. Think about what you’d say to them–maybe say it out loud. Now think about saying it to yourself.

      1. Arjay*

        Yes. My husband and I are good accountability partners for this. When he starts ragging on himself, I’ll stop him and ask him not to talk about my husband that way please. It really does help to reset the thought process.

    9. Student*

      You should be embarrassed. You behaved terribly, and it didn’t get you what you wanted. Instead, it got you shame from others. It’s not the embarrassment you need to get over – that is a healthy and normal response to normal social pressure to behave appropriately. Instead, you need to start getting your reactions under control so that you stop behaving so poorly in moments of stress; then you’ll have less to be embarrassed and anxious about. The first step is going to be admitting that you have a behavioural problem instead of an emotional problem, because I see very little to no recognition in your note that your behaviour is really the root cause of your distress.

      That’s not to say that changing your behaviour will be easy. It’ll take a lot of work to respond better to stress and unexpected problems. That’s something that takes years to learn. You might need to think about why you never developed that social skill and make changes to your life if the root cause of that is an ongoing issue (over-protective parents? co-dependent partner? social, physical, mental medical issue?). But, becoming less attuned to other people’s reactions to your inappropriate behaviour is not going to make your life better.

      1. pieces of flair*

        This doesn’t seem to match Jinx’s situation at all. She is making normal human mistakes and having intense, prolonged episodes of anxiety about them.

        Accidentally cutting someone off in traffic: yes, it’s a mistake, and yes, embarrassment is a normal reaction. But she didn’t “behave terribly”; I would bet that the number of people who have never done something stupid during a moment of inattention while driving is approximately 0. A few minutes of embarrassment and a resolve to pay better attention in the future is the normal reaction, not a week-long anxiety attack.

        As for the HSA example, she freaked out and lost her cool. Yes, it was inappropriate, but again, that kind of thing happens to all of us sometimes. The normal response is to feel embarrassed, apologize, resolve to remain polite in the future, and move on. Jinx has done all of that except moving on.

        It’s possible that Jinx behaves terribly all the time, but we don’t know that based on 2 events. What we do know from her post is that her shame and anxiety responses to relatively mundane screw-ups are seriously out of proportion.

        It sounds to me like an anxiety disorder is a possibility. Therapy and/or medication might be worth considering.

  28. Persephone Mulberry*

    Salon etiquette question.

    I’ve been seeing the same stylist for about four years. In that time, she has climbed the ranks at her salon (Aveda, she’s now a Master Stylist II or some such) and now charges close to double what she did four years ago. I was willing to go along with her price increases because she was very good with my hair – thin, fine and growing out from a pixie. But now I’ve reached a maintenance length/pretty straightforward style (shoulder length bob with bangs) and although she gives a killer scalp massage, I’m finding it hard to justify her rates. Can I ask her for a referral to a more junior stylist, or is that extremely Not Done? I would prefer not to change salons, and I REALLY don’t want to play the “start seeing another stylist on your old stylist’s off day” game.

    1. Doriana Gray*

      I’d ask, but that’s because I have no shame. Plus, my hairstylists gives me recommendations for people to go to when she can’t do a particular style I want. I even asked if she knew an all natural stylist (someone who does natural black hair and uses gluten-free/organic products), but she didn’t.

      It’s your money so you shouldn’t feel obligated to keep going to the same person if you can no longer justify the expense. And your stylist should understand that.

    2. Anna*

      I am a Master Stylist at my salon. We mentor the junior stylists and are invested in their success. I, personally, am never insulted if a client feels the need to switch due to pricing. I would rather they stay with the salon where I could advice (if necessary). And if I could recommend a stylist, even better. I have a few clients that see me for a service once in a while, then returns to the junior stylist for maintenance. I can’t speak for all salons, but most places I have worked take this approach as we know clients will come and go. I never want a client to be unhappy —whether it’s the service or the price.

    3. Noah*

      I don’t know the etiquette, but I would certainly ask for a referral. I would make sure she knows it is due only to the price and not her skills.

      Before my recent move I saw the same stylist for a few years. One day I had to rebook and I assumed (wrongly) that the salon would book me with my normal stylist. It was very awkward to sit there and I made sure to mention on my next appointment that I was not unhappy, it was just a scheduling mix up. He laughed about it and said the front desk will just book you with whoever has an open time slot if you don’t specify a particular person.

  29. SwissPurple*

    Traveling from the West Coast to Europe and back within a week. Any tips or suggestions to make this long flight as easy as possible? I seem to always end up with headaches, sore shoulders and back from the long flight and have difficulty adjusting to the time zones.

    1. Soupspoon McGee*

      I took a redeye to Nicaragua a few years ago, which was a longer, harder flight than I’d had before.

      I saw what the veteran passengers did, and I’m modifying my flight routine. I wish I’d gotten a neck pillow, the u-shape pillows that support your neck so you can sleep while sitting. Several women wore shawls or pashminas that they could layer and use as light blankets or pillows.

      Wear comfortable clothes that let you move easily. I chose leggings and a zip-up sweater over two t-shirts because I hate being cold. I also packed warm, comfy socks. Drink lots of water and avoid caffeine until you’re almost at your destination (if it’s daytime); that should help with headaches. Pack high-protein snacks. I brought almonds and dried apricots, which my seatmates loved. Make sure to eat a little every few hours to avoid headaches and general yuckiness. If you have allergies or sinus issues, consider taking an antihistamine before you take off. Pack hand cream and lip balm.

      Also, bring comfortable headphones and an extra battery pack so you can listen to music, audio books, or podcasts. I brought a book and a sketchbook, but found it really hard to read because I didn’t want the light to bother my seatmates. Maybe an adult coloring book or something similar will give you something engaging to do. I swear time moves more slowly on airplanes.

      1. Grumpy*

        All of the above, plus a few more FWIW:
        A very small bag with essentials like reading material, water, snacks, napkins and a ziplock bag to seal your trash in when you’re done stuffed under the seat is useful. A zip-up pocket or wristlet to stuff ID / pen / chapstick / hand and face cream / mints / wallet / sleep mask in is also useful.
        If you must drink, hard liquor is easier on the bladder then beer. First aid cream around the nose seems to help prevent picking up a cold. Compression socks are amazing. My go-to sleep on the plane attire is a dark hoodie or light-blocking pashmina and sunglasses (plastic). Some seats have headrests that bend to hold your head upright when you sleep. If you’re overnighting in a hotel, swiping creamers for morning coffee can make in-room hotel coffee much nicer.
        Having low expectations helps too.
        Have fun!

      2. StudentPilot*

        All of this! I just did a 17 hour flight back home from Jo’burg, and the neck pillow is a great thing to have. (If you get an inflatable one, it won’t take up a lot of luggage space when you get there.)
        Also, in addition to caffeine, some people advise avoiding alcohol. (I usually have a couple of beers waiting to board/with dinner, but that’s spread out over a few hours.)

        And when you get to your destination – try to stay awake until a good ‘bedtime’ – even 8:30 is late enough. It helps to adjust you to the new time zone. (Same with coming home.) I find if I have too much downtime, I tend to have more jet lag, but when I’m go go go (I got home from Jo’bug on a Sunday at 2, I was at work the next day at 7:30, for instance) I adjust quicker. But, YMMV.

        Getting up and walking around on the flight – or even just to stretch – could help your shoulders and back. A small pillow/folded shirt/shawl on the small of your back might help too.

        1. The Butcher of Luverne*

          About getting up to stretch: even a simple bend-and-hang might help with neck/shoulders. Stand against something solid, bend over and just hang from the waist. Concentrate on letting your top half relax, hand dangling to the ground. I usually hear a little pop that lets me know my top vertebrae moved back to its rightful home ;-D

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I’ve done lots of the above, but as a taller-than-average guy, the worst part about long flights in coach was the pain in my tailbone. Now I bring one of these with me, and it’s SO much better: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00080UO8A

      I’m not saying you need to buy that particular one, but if you have to shift in your seat a lot due to discomfort, a wedge cushion like this will alleviate that.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      What they said. Personally, I’m not a fan of the blow-up pillows, even though it is somewhat annoying to carry around one that is full of fluff. If you can afford the splash out, noise cancelling headphones are the best thing for long flights. It’s amazing to actually hear the movie and I find I feel better when I use them, all the white noise of a plane is blocked out so it’s like I’m not fighting that or something. Or at the very least, buy some foam ear plugs from the drug store for when you want to sleep. On really long flights, I have brought my foot duvets with me and put them on instead of shoes, warm feet and when they swell up, not painful. Undo your laces/shoes if you don’t want to bring something comfy.

      I’m weird — I wear my coat in my seat. There are a few reasons for this, such as it’s warm so I don’t need a blanket. I hate being cold on a plane, I even turn off the overhead air vent. My coats have pockets that I use for foam earplugs, hand wipes, lip balm, kleenex, secure an iPod in. So much easier to get at when they’re right on you. You may wish to wipe down all the stuff you can touch that’s plastic with some form of cleaning wipe. Because you don’t know who was sitting in the seat before you and what they had.

      Also, Goji berries can be a good snack, along with nuts. If you can buy nuts before you get to the airport, that would be best. I find that at airport vendors, the nuts are usually salted (or at least they are every time I’ve looked) and you don’t want that on a plane. If you’ve got a Contigo or Klean Kanteen, that can also a good thing to bring along. Since you can’t bring water through security, when you get to the other side, the price of bottled water is crazy. But you can bring an empty container through and fill it from a water fountain.

    4. Graciosa*

      I used to do all of the things people mentioned above and still wound up with a headache that persisted long after landing – until I finally bought some noise-cancelling ear phones. They have made a *huge* difference – my headaches disappeared the first time I used them. It is amazing how much noise you can hear if you turn them off momentarily during flight, and in retrospect I’m not surprised flying was giving me headaches.

      The good ones are pricey, so if you don’t want to spend the money, you might borrow from a friend or family member, or even try cheap foam ear plugs from the drug store. Some relief must be better than none –

    5. misspiggy*

      Agree with the pashmina advice : I find that sticking it over your head is a lot more comfortable than using an eyemask, and has a good ‘blanket over the parrot’s cage’ effect. Try to prop your feet (shoulders) on a bag or whatever is available. Take melatonin to help you sleep, but even if you can’t sleep make some time for just resting without the light on – that can help compensate for lack of actual sleep. Expect grim jet lag going West to East – try not to schedule too many demanding tasks and go easy on yourself physically and mentally. Expect to be fuddled by the low oxygen in the cabin for some hours after the flight, so make extra checks on things you might have left behind, dropped etc.

    6. YawningDodo*

      I second the advice to wear shoes you can at least loosen. I used to wear sandals on planes and undo the straps, but then the cold bothered me too much and I switched to sneakers I could slip off under the seat.

      That’s the other thing–this may not be helpful if you’re shorter, but I’m relatively tall and I’ve found the best way to get comfortable is to pull my bag out from under the seat in front of me once we’re at cruising altitude, tuck it under my knees/up against my seat, and stretch my legs out so my feet go under the seat in front of me. Much, muuuch more comfortable that way; the seats are too low for me so I can’t have good posture if my feet are forced to stay close in.

      1. Al Lo*

        I always wear slippable shoes, and pack a fresh pair of socks in my carry-on. I feel less awkward about taking off my shoes if I’m immediately putting on clean, not stinky socks. My toes are covered, my feet are warm, and there’s no residual smell from having had my shoes on previously.

    7. matcha123*

      When I fly from Japan back home to the US (about 16 hours total of flying, not including transfers), I do the following:
      Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Wear a face mask (the air on the plane is dry and having a face mask keeps my nose and throat relatively…err…moist). Eyedrops (put them in every hour or so because I get headaches with dry eyes) Water!
      Get up and go to the bathroom every hour or two. Stretch near the wing or back of the plan for about 30 minutes.

      On my last flight I found that getting up to use the bathroom (rather than just waiting 5 hours or so), sipping water, stretching, using a facemask and eye drops were the things that made my flight more comfortable. I was in economy class, so…there’s only so comfortable you can get.

      I tried the pillows years ago, but they never really supported my neck and I haven’t used them. I usually take the blanket the airlines provide and the pillow and push them into my lower back.

    8. Blue_eyes*

      Water, water, water. Keep drinking water, juice, or other non-caffeinated beverages frequently throughout the flight. Planes tend to be very dry and you will easily end up dehydrated which will only make your headaches and muscle aches worse.

    9. Treena*

      When I was a newbie traveler, I “knew” I should drink lots of water, but I had no idea how to get it! Aside from buying a bunch of heinously overpriced bottled water in the airport, it’s tough to get attendants to give you more than one little cupful. Since discovering the Vapur anti-bottle, I’ve become an evangelist. I hate carrying bulky water bottles with a huge capacity, especially when they’re empty. This can come with you through security empty, (taking up no space!) and then on the other side you can fill it up with water. I usually try to drink a whole bottle and refill before boarding. Then when they come around for drinks, I ask them to fill it up. Yes, they hate it, but it’s really the only way to stay hydrated.


    10. A sex addict*

      If this acceptable to you, I suggest alcohol. Not too much but just enough to help you relax. It worked wonders for me on a long flight.

  30. (Mr.) Cajun2core*

    It is a wonderful feeling when you walk into an acquaintance’s office to chat and say “hello” and knock on the door (it was open) and he looks up with a look of “What the f*** do you want” but when he sees that it is you, he smiles because he is genuinely happy to see you. It doesn’t matter that he was in a rush and trying to get out of the door and has to cut the visit short. Just the fact that he is happy to see you is a wonderful feeling. It really brightened my day.

    This is the kind of stuff that I can only post here anonymously. A 48 year old married man showing this much sappiness would get some weird looks in most places.

    1. fposte*

      We’re here for you, Mr. C :-). Seriously, knowing that somebody is genuinely happy to see you, hear from you, whatever, is one of the great emotional lifts. I’m glad you have people who feel like that about you.

      1. AcidMeFlux*

        I get you totally. We’ve all gotta work, the world wouldn’t turn if we all didn’t do something…and for me it’s the people you meet along that way that make it good, when it is.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I’m very close to your age and I have people who make my day like that, too. But then, I still tear up a lot when I watch Shrek. :)

    3. pleiades*

      This was wonderful to read. We all feel good about positive human connection. Cheers to you, Mr. C.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      We could all use a little more sappiness in our lives, thank you so much for posting.
      I think our Best/Worst for the week could become Best/Worst/Sappiest and I would never tire of reading the sappy ones.

    5. Vancouver Reader*

      I think there needs to be more anecdotes like that shared on a regular basis. I find there’s somuch negativity in our daily lives, we really need to offset it with more happy stories.

    6. (Mr.) Cajun2core*

      Thank you so much for all of the wonderful replies. I was on another forum (non-specific forum) and there were so many trolls and so much negativity that it is wonderful to have a pleasant forum for a change.

  31. katamia*

    I’ve had a bad knee for years (back in PT for it for awhile because I really messed it up when I was overseas). The problem is that I never really take it to the next level. I do my PT, it gets better, and then I coast along on that “better” without trying to improve any more until I somehow wind up hurting it again. Which bit me in the butt when I was overseas–turns out I wasn’t as healthy as I thought I was, and it really limited what I could do while I was there. I desperately want to go overseas again, but I need to get my knee under control first.

    So when my PT is over this time, I’m thinking of trying to get a personal trainer to keep me at that higher level that I want to stay at, but I don’t really know how personal trainers work. Does anyone have experience with finding a personal trainer who’ll work with people like me who have bad joints? Any warning signs or things I could do that would make my time with the personal trainer more productive/positive?

    1. pieces of flair*

      This is exactly what my husband does for a living! Do you live in the DC area by any chance? :)

      He says to look for a trainer who specializes in corrective exercise and/or older adults (even if you’re young). A typical gym trainer who’s not used to working with post-PT people can unfortunately do more harm than good.

      1. katamia*

        Thanks! And actually, I am in the DC area, haha.

        I’m still in my 20s, so while I’ve looked at some personal trainer bios and seen that some list more physical therapy-type specialties, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to look for someone who specialized in older adults. But that sounds like a good idea, and I’ll keep it in mind when I look for someone.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Depending on where in the D.C. area you are, you might try the guy I used when I was recovering from a foot injury:

          He’s good, he has experience working with people with injuries and other issues, and he’ll come to your house so you don’t even need to go to a gym (which is exactly what I needed, because I’d have never motivated to do it if I had to go somewhere).

          1. katamia*

            Thanks, but he’s a little far for me. I didn’t think to check Yelp, though, so I’ll see if I can find someone with reviews like his who’s a little closer to home.

        2. pieces of flair*

          Well, if you’re interested in talking to my husband (he is an ACE- certified corrective exercise specialist with 15 years experience working with older adults and people of all ages with various injuries and health conditions that require specialized exercise plans) you can contact me at pieces.of.flair.aam@gmail.com.

    2. nep*

      Agree with pieces of flair — find a personal trainer who specialises.
      What caused your knee problems? What was the diagnosis?
      All the best. I’ll be interested to hear how this goes. Please keep us posted.

      1. katamia*


        I dislocated my kneecap when I was a teenager, got some bad medical care after it first happened (they had me keep the leg immobilized, which was apparently the opposite of what they should have done), and then repeatedly dislocated the kneecap doing various things (used to dance, kept it up for years after the injury, probably shouldn’t have) until it finally just wouldn’t stay in place. It was very unstable, basically, and moved around a lot.

        Had two surgeries on it now. One was a patellar realignment (which worked really well–even at my worst now post-surgery, I’m still much better than I was pre-surgery) and then I had another one years later to take the screws from the first surgery out because they were really painful, which is apparently not typical. They put the screws in to help with the healing after the first surgery. Lots of people don’t have problems with them and just leave the screws in, but once the knee was healed up it wasn’t a problem to take them out since they were bothering me.

        1. fposte*

          Hey, that’s my knee.

          Crossing the streams a little–I would be suspicious of any personal trainer who focused only on your knee, since this is quite likely to affect and be affected by the whole kinetic chain. (IOW, I’d bet you need stronger glutes, too. It’s really common for people just to haul damaged knees around by the quadriceps–there’s usually a ton of quad focused physical therapy–and stop firing the rear chain.)

          1. nep*

            Oh, absolutely. By specialise, I don’t mean a very narrow focus / specialisation in knees — But someone who specialises in precisely what fposte is talking about here — Knowing how the joints and muscles work together and affect one another. Yes.

          2. katamia*

            Oh, yeah, good point. I have IT band issues (although those have gotten a lot better even in just the month or so I’ve been back in PT) and hamstring issues that my PT is working on a lot, too, in addition to the quads. One of the things I want from a personal trainer would be to help me establish a regular exercise routine that I could stick to and that would be less boring than endless leg lifts and wall slides. *shudder*

    3. Belle diVedremo*

      Pieces of flair’s spouse sounds like an excellent resource.
      Have you had your gait looked at?
      One thing might be to look at how you carry yourself, to know if there are habitual inadvertent movement patterns that unnecessarily stress the knee. One way to look at that is through training in the Alexander Technique, which focuses on “the use of the self” to enhance efficiency and ease throughout your system.
      Be sure to work with someone who is helping with your whole body and not just the knee.

    1. Dynamic Beige*

      What are you waxing? I recently started getting threading for my eyebrows and prefer it to waxing… but if it’s for some other area…

      I don’t see that there’s much difference between sugaring and waxing. A hot sticky substance goes on, a piece of fabric rips it off. Maybe it’s more environmentally friendlier? But I doubt it’s less painful.

      1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

        Bikini. I get my eyebrows threaded, though. From what I’ve read, the difference is that sugaring isn’t hot like wax and doesn’t require muslin or cloth, and that it adheres to the hair but not the skin, which is what’s supposed to make it easier on sensitive skin.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          Well, I think the only way you’re going to know for sure is if you try it once and see!

          I bought a sugaring kit a long time ago and it came with fabric strips to rip it all off with. Maybe there’s some different way of doing it in the salons? I dunno.

    2. Clever Name*

      Let us know how it goes. I tried getting my bikini area waxed (at a high end salon) and I got terrible “razor” burn. The exact opposite of what I was hoping for. I have extremely sensitive skin, and the only thing that doesn’t cause massive ingrown hairs is to use a men’s beard groomer.

    3. AdAgencyChick*

      I feel lucky to have found a really awesome aesthetician who waxes me. I have never tried sugaring, but have been getting my bikini line waxed for more than ten years. The place I go is a bit out of my way, but it’s worth it because the wax is over in 10 minutes and although it’s never going to be completely painless, it’s no worse than pulling off a band-aid. I have, however, visited another salon in a pinch and lived to regret it, because I was sore enough afterward that I thought, “THIS is why people are afraid of waxing.”

      Have never tried sugaring.

  32. Kyrielle*

    *weary* Science fair time. I do not remember doing science fairs in the very early grades, but my son’s school has them start in kindergarten.

    Who has in-the-trenches stories to share? And does anyone have any suggestions for things that might interest him that won’t drive me nuts? This year we’re measuring coke-and-mentos vs. vinegar-and-baking-soda, and I am…less than enthused. (I was trying to talk him into color distribution of M&Ms. I failed….)

    1. Female-type Person*

      Best one ever involved making marble shoots from cut in half lengths of foam pipe insulation. The trick was weighing a bunch of marbles on a gram scale to get several that were the same weight. The hypothesis had to do with the starting height, and what height it took to get a marble to loop. I think we called it Roller Coaster Physics. But save this idea for middle school.

    2. LaurenR*

      The second my now 2-year-old comes home with a science fair project is the second we move :) Seriously, though, how is that anything but assigning the parents homework. There’s not a single kid younger than late middle school or high school even that can manage such a large project Good luck!

      1. Kate*

        Yes. My daughter had to do a science fair project, and the criteria were so strict that it was very clear that *I* was supposed to be doing this project. A third grader is not going to be able to conduct an experiment and present a pristine board without parental involvement. I don’t mind helping, but when the requirements are so far above age appropriate, it’s just assigning me homework.

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          That’s awful. I don’t have kids, but I dread this if I do. My parents never offered me help with my school projects — the most they would do was drive me to the store to buy the supplies I needed — and that’s how I think it should be. What’s the point of assigning a project if the parent has to do all or almost all of the work?

    3. TootsNYC*

      My son won a science-fair prize by using the scientific method to answer a question:

      Grandma complains when the checkout lady leaves air in the bag of strawberries before she weighs it. Does it really cost more money?

      So we picked a hypothesis (“tying the bag of strawberries with extra air will make them weigh more and cost more money”), laid out the test (one bag with, one bag without; same strawberries), performed it, measured, and said, “No, it doesn’t–Grandma doesn’t have to be mad anymore.”

      So that might be a thing. Is there a similar question that the scientific method would solve? Even if it’s just “it takes longer to put my clothes away in the drawer than it does on a hanger.”

      In Kgarten, my DD and her friend did a big display on giraffes; it wasn’t an experiment, just a display.
      Stuff like, “a giraffe’s foot is as big as a dinner plate,” and we glued a paper plate (the Chinette kind, colored to look like giraffe skin) to the board.
      And “A giraffe’s legs are X feet high,” and we taped two yardsticks together and attached them to the side of the board.

      And “a giraffe has the same number of bones in its neck as you,” and a drawing of the bones.

      They won.

    4. Alston*

      Have you ever seen the experiment where you layer liquids of different thicknesses/viscosity and you end up with this awesome layered thing? You can dye the layers too, I don’t remember what all you use (I am sure there’s a science fair pinterest board somewhere)

      1. Amy UK*

        You can use basically anything, as almost all liquids will have a different enough density to separate. But honey, dish soap, water and vegetable oil makes a good start.

    5. matcha123*

      Fill a glass with sugar water. Over the lid, place a pencil or something similar with s string tied to the middle. Drop the string into the water and after a few hours sugar crystals should start to form around the string.

      Or something like putting a stick into the ground and seeing how the shadow moves?

      1. Nancypie*

        We did the sugar crystals science fair project one year. It didn’t work, had to start over.
        in our school district, science fair is optional. My kids don’t opt in anymore, which I’m fine with.

    6. Liane*

      Former science fair judge here. For middle school, 12-14 year olds. The youngest I think should be doing this, too.
      But here are some ideas off the top of my head. Either the experiment items or just photos can be used in display.
      1-which plant grows best? Get a few seedling plants of the same kind. Put half in the dark and half in a sunny window for 1-2 weeks. Which get taller (or live)? Or do watered/not watered. Give the watered ones the same amount every day.
      2-many people say bread doesn’t go bad as fast if it is kept in the refrigerator–is this true? Leave a slice on the counter and one in the fridge, both in plastic sandwich bags, or bread bags, to duplicate how bread is usually stored. Check in 1 week.
      3-variant on growing sugar crystals. Try to grow other crystals the same way at the same time as the sugar crystals, in different containers–salt, flour, sand. Does one kind form faster than the other/s? Can you make crystals from all of them?
      4-if the weather in your area allows, try this Cub Scout activity: mark off a 1 foot square in your yard. Help him tally how many different kinds of bugs and/or plants he sees in the square over a short time. Take pictures, and you could do more than one square, depening on his interest & your energy
      5-prove that a pound of metal and a pound of something soft–feathers, a bag of confectioners’ sugar–do weigh the same. For the metal, a Scuba shop can sell you a 1 lb dive weight–this is a tough “beanbag” of metal pellets so won’t hurt if dropped on a foot. I would only use photos for the display, since I know some kindergarteners still put things in their mouths.

    7. Artemesia*

      The important thing is that it IS a science project i.e. you test a hypothesis or answer a question. My daughter in grade school did one on ponzi schemes i.e. showing what would happen with subsequent rounds of chain letters that were all the rage then — you know, send this prayer to 10 friend or you will die, kind of thing. She carried it out until after very few rounds more than the population of the earth was involved. She made her own display.

      My son did one in grade school that involved growing bean seeds in pots in the window using different colors of cellophane to show what different colors of light do in affecting growth of plants. I know a kid that tested different laundry detergents on stains.

      The kid should be able to build the display of results and conduct experiments like these with some parental guidance. We both worked but thought this was a fun thing to do with kids on the weekend and ours did some fun experiments.

  33. mander*

    I have not been home for over a month, and today I arrived for a flying overnight visit (I’m doing contract work on the other end of the country). We’ve had high winds while I’ve been gone, and the neighbour’s fence has blown down and is currently leaning against my back door.

    The fence has been an issue before (long story), but basically, it was built to a totally inadequate standard and all the posts are rotten. I’m surprised it lasted this long.

    Anyway, I’m just venting because I’m annoyed that the neighbour, who is otherwise nice, has just left it leaning up against my house like that. I guess I have time in the morning to try and take some of it down but it irks me.

    1. Mander*

      Just to chastise my grumpy self: 10 minutes and a hammer, and the fence has been removed. Hardly worth the complaint!

  34. mander*

    Oh, I have another complaint. ;-)

    My knee is really annoying me. I don’t remember injuring it, but I noticed back in October that it would get very sore if I sat with it bent for too long. I wasn’t working for two months and I figured it would get better with rest, so I didn’t go to see anyone.

    I got another contract and started work again, even though my knee was still very stiff. It seemed to get better with exercise at first, but now it is getting difficult to bend or put weight on it. Sometimes I get a sharp pain when I straighten it.

    I thought maybe it was just overuse or perhaps even arthritis kicking in, but it seems too acute for that. Anybody had any similar symptoms?

    I guess I need to figure out how to get the time to go see a doctor, but it’s a pain since I’m away from home.

    1. nep*

      I’m not a physician or a physical therapist, but I know that sometimes knee pain can be linked to weak hip muscles.
      Not to prescribe anything — just wonder how much exercise you get, and how much you work your hip muscles. Of course there are countless possible causes for knee pain — just noting this might be something to look into.
      All the best.

      1. fposte*

        That’s what I was thinking–it’s sure common enough, and knees getting annoyed when sitting is the classic “theater sign.” Still worth going to a doctor for, of course.

        Mander, if it is patellofemoral syndrome, that’s a broad term to mean that your kneecap isn’t tracking smoothly and the cartilage/soft tissue is getting irritated as a result. It’s not a big deal, but it’s also, as you’ve discovered, annoying and uncomfortable, and usually there are things you can do to keep your knees better behaved. As nep notes above, strong hip muscles, especially the glutei (and definitely the little glutes, not just the big one) can help; I also find that my knees bug me when my muscles get tight, so the quickest route out for me when they’re starting to be weird is to stretch my hamstrings, which I guess gives the kneecap a little more freedom on the front side.

        1. mander*

          Hmm, I’ll look into this. I vaguely recall being told I had an issue like this when I first had knee issues when I was a teen. Thanks!

    2. MsChandandlerBong*

      I do a lot of sitting for work, and I also started having knee pain after sitting with my leg bent for long periods. I went to an orthopaedic surgeon, and he diagnosed me with quadriceps tendinitis. It turns out I also have arthritis (I’m only 34, so I didn’t exactly expect that), but that’s not what was causing the pain. I did six weeks of physical therapy and then started doing strengthening/range-of-motion exercises on my own.

  35. Sunflower*

    Does anyone have experience using contact paper or temporary wall paper- specifically on cabinets/furniture? I HATE my cabinets in my rental. They are old, wooden brown cabinets that are peeling- could use a good paint job but I don’t feel like dealing with getting my landlords permission. I’m wanting to cover them in plain white paper. I’ve heard some contact paper horror stories when trying to remove the paper though so I’m a little nervous. Any stories or other suggestions?

    1. Trixie*

      Depending on the hardware, I’d also consider removing cabinet doors for either open shelf look or hanging short drapes/curtains/ tea towels.

      I also love removing unnecessary doors and storing them, just creates more space.

    2. First Initial dot Lastname*

      You can use fabric and starch to do “no damage decorating” in your apartment, google this search phrase, “fabric on cabinets with liquid starch”, for a lot of great results on how to do this. I looked through images, some results are bit busy, but you don’t have to use wacky fabrics. It’ll last for years and comes down and cleans up pretty easily. My aunt wrote a book on decorating with fabric in the 70’s, her guest bathroom had starched fabric walls for 20 years(!) the fabric was out of date before it showed signs of failure. And if it does start to separate, it’s an easy fix.

      I’d stay away from wallpaper or contact paper simply because of the adhesive may do more damage to your cabinets. You do not want to be on the hook for replacements.

      1. Yetanotherjennifer*

        This is a great idea but maybe not for kitchen cabinets. The fabric will be tough to clean and may become dingy fairly quickly due to cooking oils in the air. I’d also worry about odors lingering in the fabric.

        I agree that the adhesives in contact paper will do you no favors. When you pull it off you’ll pull off the peeling paint and maybe even some wood.

        1. Sunflower*

          I’m really confused- if contact paper just pulls paint off then why does it exist? Is it mostly used on non-painted surfaces? I’ve seen a few suggestions on how to use contact paper but not actually adhere it to the surface so I will try that first.

          1. TootsNYC*

            Contact paper is intended to be permanent.

            I’ve covered bare wood, plastic, cardboard, and occasionally something painted that I didn’t intend to remove it from.

            I agree, don’t use contact paper. You’ll lose your deposit.

            1. Sunflower*

              I’m shocked to hear this because contact paper has come recommended on almost every single post I’ve read about decorating rentals!

        2. TootsNYC*

          Well, maybe instead of covering the whole cabinets, Sunflower could simply stick a rectangle of fabric to the center front. (with starch)

  36. Grumpy*

    Welcomed a new addition to the family today: a senior kitty from a local rescue organization. Kitty seems to have settled right in quickly (we thought it would take a few weeks). So thrilled!

    1. Schnapps*

      Older cats are awesome. Congratulations.

      A couple of years ago I adopted a 7 year old and a 12 year old. I think they would like it if my 6yo loved them just a little less some days though :)

    2. TootsNYC*

      I am so totally getting an older kitty the next time. That way I can get one whose personality has revealed itself, because I want a lap-sitting, foot-sleeping kitty!

      1. Grumpy*

        Kitty knows how to use the litter, stays off the table, knows how to make us laugh, and has already been fixed and had shots. This kitty is fantastic.

  37. Schnapps*

    So is anyone else’s productivity way down this week because you’re also following the Adnan Syed case?

    No? Just me?

    (Sidenote: we have two weeks of nothing at work so there’s not a lot to produce anyways)

    1. Gingerbread*

      I’m right there with ya. I don’t know whether he’s innocent or guilty, but I don’t think the prosecution proved that he’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I hope he’s granted a new trial.

    2. Sophia in the DMV*

      I used to think that the prosecution was shady going off of serial but since then the actual police files have come out (eg transcripts, notes etc) and I’m convinced of AS’ guilt. I also am disgusted by SK on serial BC of blatant misrepresentations. Off the top of my head – Hae did describe him as possessive in her diary, he first spoke with police the day Hae went missing and he lied to the police multiple times (eg first admits to asking for a ride but Hae didn’t wait around, then saying he didn’t BC he had a car and then saying he would never ask Hae for a ride BC of picking up her cousin). Want the primary source documents (and don’t get me started on Undisclosed – they are shameless, have cropped documents before posting them and misrepresented evidence)? Go to Reddit.com/r/serialpodcastorigins and on the right are links. They also have a timeline that links to primary source documents.

    3. Windchime*

      Just thought I would mention that the Serial podcast did two separate, 15 minute updates on the new hearings that Adnan is going through right now. That was a nice surprise to see when I was looking through my podcasts!

  38. Saro*

    Hope this isn’t considered.work related. Am going to DC for some informal meetings and a maybe interview. What to wear? I’m thinking I will fly in and out in one day. I haven’t worn a suit in ages. Do I need to buy a new suit?

    1. Artemesia*

      Of course it depends on the field but generally speaking DC, yes on a suit, or something darn close to a suit. Even if the dress code is more relaxed day to day, interviewing has a different standard. Although I know in the software industry, the norm is much more casual and you would look out of touch in a suit — so you need to know the norms for interviewing this field.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq*

        Yeah, if it’s a tech company, don’t wear a suit, but do look professional. For anywhere else, probably go with a suit. Unless you can get a specific recommendation from the employer themselves on what they recommend!

    1. Ruffingit*

      BEST: Turned 40 and my husband threw me a surprise party.

      WORST: Have been sick for a week. Bronchitis.

      1. Doriana Gray*

        Happy birthday, Ruffingit!

        Best: Yesterday I received my first paycheck with my raise factored in – I have a little breathing room again. It’s such a nice feeling. It won’t last long (bills keep increasing, ugh), but for a while, I’ll have an opportunity to sock away some extra cash and start working toward going part-time at work.

        Worst: My apartment is a mess, and I can’t find the motivation to clean. I have half a mind to just set the place on fire and start over again, but my landlord (and my renters insurance carrier) might have strong feelings about that.

      2. StillHealing*

        Happy Birthday! That is so sweet of your husband. Sorry you’ve have bronchitis.

        Did you look forward to turning 40 or have you been regretting it? I was looking forward to 40 but got horribly ill with SARS like illness and ended up needing an inhaler. (This was during the SARS outbreak over a decade ago) I missed a full 40 week of work. That’s the only time that happened. It made me wonder if I really WASN’T looking forward to turning 40? . I don’t really know but was surprised at how sick I got during the week I turned 40. I’m not say your bronchitis is related to turning 40. How do you feel about turning 40?

        1. Ruffingit*

          I feel pretty good about turning 40, but it definitely is a shift. I realize that I’m likely halfway through my life at this point and that is somewhat of a scary thought. And yet, at the same time, I’ve accomplished everything I want to accomplish in terms of my education, my relationships, etc. So really, from here on in, it’s all about getting things done on the bucket list. I no longer need to think about meeting someone who is right for me, going back to school, etc. And that feels really good.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I remember my late aunt busting on me when I hit 40. She was one of my favorite people and she was almost 80 at the time, so I took the teasing in stride. Her teasing landed on an opening for me, where I said, “I like being 40. I know who I am and what I stand for. I am no longer worried about what others think all the time. I have established interests and concerns that are clearly a consistent part of my character/personality. It feels good”. I said, “I think the best years in life are from 40 to about 80 something.”

            And this is why I loved my aunt so- she changed direction on a dime and said, “Yep, that is right. And you are heading into your best years.” Then she smiled knowingly. I want to be like her by the time I am pushing 80.

    2. NicoleK*

      Best: Been at new job for 6 weeks now. Things are starting to come together and I feel that I’m getting a handle on my tasks.
      Worst: Been ill for the last couple of days. No PTO so I’ve been going into work anyway.

    3. ginger ale for all*

      Worst – my boyfriend is now an ex.
      Best – I have great friends who are letting me vent.
      And weirdest) – I went out to lunch today and my stomach feels like a brick. I had something I have eaten many times before but not lately because I have been trying to lose weight and that lunch is rather rich. So now my own body prefers the healthier food which is great in the long run but not tonight.

    4. First Initial dot Lastname*

      BEST: Moving closer to school.
      WORST: Moving. I’m elbows deep in my thesis work, (six weeks until defense), the process of moving with my crazy intense schedule is bananas.

    5. Jen RO*

      Best: Birthday party planning! (And still happy to be content with getting older, not having “quarter-life” crises like some of my friends.)

      Worst: Training a new joiner at work, so I am behind on *everything* and it’s a busy month.

    6. Liane*

      Best: a regional comics convention invited the Star Wars costumers to be part of their Mardi Gras parade unit. My grown kids joined me and we all met some new people. Bonus: no troublesome Imperials, just Jedi and Rebels! (no we actually missed them. We team up a lot)

      Worst: Still have cough–I don’t want to have to go in to the clinic for what is either the last remnants or a cold or allergies. Also both husband and daughter had dental work last week and daughter has more this coming Friday.

    7. Vancouver Reader*

      Best: nothing in particular.

      Worst: m-i-l passed away, which was sort of a good thing because she’s no longer in pain, but we’re helping with cleaning their place and it’s filthy (cats have urinated and defecated everywhere) and she was a hoarder.

      Like Doriana Gray, I’d love to just set fire to the place and start anew, but I don’t think strata would appreciate it.

    8. Emily*

      BEST: I got together with a couple of friends on Friday and started making my D&D character for a campaign that will start in a few weeks. I’ve tried RPGs a couple of times before this and had a mixed experience overall, but I’m excited about this one.

      WORST: Realized that my left knee (I got ACL reconstruction on it four months ago) still doesn’t bend as far as the other knee. Stressed about it for a while until I decided that it’s probably still capable of being stretched further over time.

    9. AvonLady Barksdale*

      BEST: My bf is out of town so I made extra efforts to “put myself out there”– had a lovely girls’ evening on Friday with two new friends, then yesterday I visited another friend’s newborn (and proved that I am, indeed, the Baby Whisperer– give me an infant and a comfy place to sit and you have a happy, sleepy baby for several hours). It was nothing less than a lovely way to spend a weekend.

      WORST: Work stuff. Always work stuff. I’m mad at my boss and kind of tired of dealing with other people on my team freaking the eff out and coming to me for help. I don’t mind giving the help, but the freakouts have become way too frequent.

      KINDA IN THE MIDDLE: I miss NYC and my friends most on days like this, when the annual gatherings I treasured continue without me and I haven’t built up similar traditions in my new home.

      SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: A commercial just came on for the hotel where we’re staying next weekend, and I CANNOT WAIT. It will be an awesome, luxurious, much-needed getaway.

    10. danr*

      Best: We finally saw Wicked last Sunday. A wonderful musical and the theater was filled. Also finished digging out from the blizzard. Had to clear the front walk and steps and make a path to the wood racks.
      Worst: my wife has started volunteering and has come down with the new job cold. It’s “worst”, since she’s immune compromised and colds always take longer to go away.

    11. Raia*

      Best: Great weekend and successful first week at NewJob! Lots of orientation and sitting for 8 hours, but the supervisors have remarked that I have made good suggestions and comments. For NewJob being outside the realm of my knowledge base, I am really happy with myself.

      Worst: figuring out health insurance, coming home from work to start on my contract work, and thinking about all the shiny things I want to buy myself and then rememberng student loans are a thing.

    12. CrazyCatLady*

      Best: Snow day during the week and it involved sledding AND got to go for a winter hike yesterday.
      Worst: I went to the gym today and immediately felt nauseated and dizzy so I went to the vending machine and ate a bag of potato chips. Then I left.

    13. Elizabeth West*

      BEST: My neck is getting better; though it sidelined me today after I skated yesterday. Also, I am very deep into Parks and Recreation and LOVING IT. I laugh out loud at least a few times every episode. I’m up to Season 5, Ep. 9.

      WORST: There’s some weird pain going on in my lower abdomen. I need to go get it checked out. Every time I go to the doctor, it turns out to be something stupid, but better safe than sorry, I guess. I don’t want to be THAT patient, though.

  39. Gingerbread*

    My dogs have fleas for the first time. I apply flea drops on them monthly, but we recently moved from our own home to an apartment and there are a lot of dogs in this complex. I just took them to the groomer who shampooed them with a flea shampoo, washed their blankets/leashes/beds, vacuumed and sprayed all of our furniture with a flea spray, but what else should I be doing to prevent this from happening again? Thanks to google I now think my whole apartment is infested with fleas. :(

    1. Pennalynn Lott*

      *Food-grade* diatomaceous earth is your friend here. Sprinkle that stuff EVERYWHERE, including on the carpet and furniture and your dogs. It’s used in dog food, so it won’t hurt them if they ingest it (I know people who mix a teaspoon of it in their morning juice and drink it).

      Fleas can develop an immunity/resistance to chemicals, but *food-grade* diatomaceous earth (D.E.) is the powdered skeletons of marine creatures called diatoms. Their crushed skeletons are like microscopic knives that puncture and slice the exoskeletons of insects and the bug dies from dehydration (actually, desiccation, since the D.E. sucks the moisture right out of them). And no insect has ever developed a resistance to being sliced open. >;-)

      When I wash my pets’ bedding, I sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of D.E. into the dryer so the bedding gets permeated with the stuff.

      **** Use only FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth. There is a type of D.E. that is sold for use in swimming pool filtration but it has been heated to such high temperatures that it contains silica. Breathing it in can cause silicosis, a potentially deadly lung disease. However, *food grade* D.E. is harmless. (I mean, if you snorted lines of it, you’d have a problem, but mostly because you’d just inhaled too much stuff for your lungs to properly deal with, kind of like being in the middle of a massive dust storm without a mask. But it won’t cause silicosis.)

      1. Gingerbread*

        Thank you for this! I just ordered food grade DE on Amazon and will be sprinkling that stuff all over my floors.

      2. Noah*

        Big +1 to this. DE is awesome stuff. I sprinkle it around by house to keep ants and other nasty bugs out too. If you use it outside you have to reapply after rain, but it was a big help following the ant invasion of 2015.

      3. Artemesia*

        This stuff is magic. When we put all our earthly possessions into storage in a 10 by 30 foot storage unit a few years ago, I put this stuff in a ring completely around the edges of our unit; when we moved the stuff, there were lots of dead bugs — and we didn’t seem to bring any home. I dusted it in corners, baseboards, and on the bedstead when we moved in where we are now and we have never had any bug problems. The stuff is totally safe (except to breathe — use a mask if you are dusting it in corners — you can eat it, but not breathe the dust) and it prevents a bed bug infestation from getting started by killing larvae. I didn’t know it worked on fleas, but it is safe whether it does or not. It is particularly good on the soft larval stages of many insects.

      1. Gingerbread*

        I have not. I just discovered the fleas a few days ago, but I should call my vet on Monday. Thanks!

        1. Perse's Mom*

          Vet will likely want to deworm the pooches at the very least, as fleas carry tapeworms. Not sure on the lifecycle, but they may want to dose now and again in a few weeks to a month to play it safe.

    2. First Initial dot Lastname*

      Get thee to the vet for aggressive flea treatments. You may be switching formulas, adding tablets, changing the application cycle, all of which your vet will guide you through.

      You’ll also want to treat your floors with the DE, carpet or wood, doesn’t matter, those little flea-jerks will get in and stay in.

      1. Artemesia*

        That scene in alien is based on the life cycle of the flea. Their little eggy form will lurk until a warm blood walks by and out they spring. If you have animals they will go for them but if not they will go for your legs. We once checked into a hotel room and had flea bites on our lower legs immediately; we try to avoid places that allow pets now for that reason.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      My vet had me use Borax. Put it in a shaker container, spread it all over your rugs/floors. Let it sit for a while. Then vacuum it up. I was using baking soda to do this, but the Borax seemed to work better.
      You can find Borax in the detergent aisle in the grocery store.

  40. Sophie*

    Has anyone done all inclusive trip to Mexico? And if so, do you have any recommendations/advice/etc. I’m getting married in April and we’re trying to figure out what to do for a honeymoon?

    1. Dear Liza dear liza*

      Yes, we’ve gone to the Playa del Carmen area (near Cancun) multiple times. Where in Mexico are you thinking?

      1. Sophie*

        We’re open to almost anything. I was thinking that an all inclusive resort might be the easiest.

    2. MKT*

      Yup! We just went to an all inclusive in Riviera Maya in December!(loved it, would go there again)
      We’ve also done all inclusives in:
      Cozumel Mexico(island close to Cancun) My second favorite trip, it’s a great island and we stayed at Iberostar, they have cute little private balconies and hammocks for every room!
      Punts Cana, Dominican Republic -AMAZING beach and ocean! And we took a trip up into the mountains, it was wonderful
      Negril, Jamaica – Our honeymoon, the beaches are flawless and the people are some of the kindest and most genuine I have ever met. Of all the places we have been, Jamaica is my favorite and the one I miss the most!
      I highly recommend any and all of those locations!
      The cost isn’t crazy either, anywhere from $800 to $1500 per person for a week, airfare, hotel, food and alcohol all included.
      We usually book with AppleVacations
      Hope this helps!

    3. Packer Fan*

      My husband and I just returned from an all inclusive in Puerta Vallarta and had a blast. All the perks of a cruise (and booze!) with none of the seasickness. We also honeymooned at an all inclusive in Cancun last year. We learned that not all are created equal but both have been fun for us. Our first trip, Cancun, was at a higher rated place and we felt the service was better as was the beach but we still enjoyed our second stay. We choose to do the adult only resorts but they tend to have sister resorts that are family resorts with additional dining options which we liked. We have booked through Costco Travel both times and found they were easy to work with, the arrange flight, transport (to and from) along with resort upgrades :)

      Also, if you haven’t traveled to Mexico before by plane beware of all the vendors selling their cab service just outside customs. I would suggest setting up a ride prior to arrival so that you can find a company and research before you get there.

      Have a great vacation! (And if you’re pale like,w don’t forget your aloe!)

    4. Katie the Fed*

      I know I’m going to be an outlier on this, but I did it once and HATED it. It was for a friend’s destination wedding on the Maya Riviera. I will never do an all-inclusive resort again. Here’s why:

      – When I travel I want to experience things – cultures, people, etc. You don’t get any of that at resort. You’re just holed up in some excessively sanitized corner of a country that you won’t get to see or experience, unless it’s on an excursion where you pile onto a tour bus and go get a guided tour.

      – It’s just boring. There are several restaurants to eat at, but not a ton of variety and not much to do. By day 2 or 3 I was going stir crazy.

      – All-inclusive resorts are one of the least socially responsible ways to travel. Very, very little of the money you spent goes into the local economy. You’re denying locals access to their own beaches, and most of the money you spend goes to overseas conglomerates. The food is probably shipped in, and you have no idea if the workers are being paid a living wage. The whole set up made me so uncomfortable.

      1. Felicia*

        I’ve done an all inclusive once before, though not to Mexico, to Cuba, and I disliked it and will never do it again for all the same reasons as you. The being bored part was the biggest part for me (I’m not the type who can just lie around by a beach/pool, and that’s what it is), and it’s not like you can go on an excursion every day, which is what I would have liked. I thought of the other stuff you mentioned later, and it adds to why I won’t go back. But by the end of day 3 (and day 2 was an excursion to Havana, we could only afford one excursion), I was like I wanna go hooooome right now.

        1. Weekend Warrior*

          And Cuba has so much more to offer – great scenery, UNESCO heritage cities, fascinating historical sites, wonderful music, art and people. Even Americans can visit these things now on “educational” tours.

          1. Felicia*

            I’m Canadian, so going to Cuba , to an all inclusive resort, is just a thing people tend to do all the time (it’s very cheap, and hot, that’s probably why). I really enjoyed the historical sites in Havana, but a lot of the things I wanted to see were closed on Mondays, the day I went , which I didn’t know

            1. Weekend Warrior*

              I’m Canadian too and recently did a tour that went to several cities, the beach, historical sites (Bay of Pigs, Santa Clara), etc. A lot of Canadians and Europeans on similar tours, but many Americans too. Americans aren’t allowed, yet, to just go to beach resorts. :).

              1. Weekend Warrior*

                The tours are more expensive than the all inclusive beach resorts for sure. But what a memorable honeymoon!

                1. StudentPilot*

                  I did two weeks backpacking around Cuba – I stayed in their version of a B&B for $25cnd a night (private room, with ensuit bathroom and usually a/c), took buses between cities, ate at little family run restaurants – it can be fairly inexpensive! I barely speak Spanish, and had no problems getting around. (I visited Havana, Baracoa, Santiago, Trinidad, and Cameguay)

                2. Weekend Warrior*

                  That sounds great, Student Pilot. We took the tour route but solo backpacking sounds great too. We visited Vinales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara and Havana. For a honeymoon, I guess it depends on the style of travel you want but I am glad we didn’t spend our time in Cuba only at a beach resort.

      2. Noah*

        I’m right there with you. It is fun for a day or two, but then I get bored and realize I want to explore and learn new things. However, no judgement from me on the people that love them. I’m more of a hiking in the mountains person and not a laying on the beach person anyways.

    5. dear liza dear liza*

      Everyone makes good points. The big question is what do you and your fiance want to do on your honeymoon (aside from the obvious)? Does the idea of lazing around a pool and beach, being waited on hand and foot, sound lovely and relaxing? Or would you rather be active and see a bit of the world?

      We go to Mexico AIs in the winter at a very stressful time of year for me, professionally. I’m burnt out and fed up and all I want to do is sit in the sun, do silly games, and go to the spa. I come back refreshed and rejuvenated. But dear Henry and I joke that we’ve seen as much of Mexico by going to the AIs as we did going to the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot. We do travel quite a bit so other trips are more immersive, but I treasure our AI trips for my mental health!

    6. Sunflower*

      All inclusives- depends what kind of person you are. I did one all inclusive to Montego Bay in Jamacia and hated it. We did an excursion in Ochos Rios one day and we went to Negril another. I really enjoyed the excursions and thought doing an all inclusive hotel was a terrible decision. However, this is my sister’s standard on her vacations and she thinks it’s a great idea. I agree with a lot of what Katie the Fed said. I wanted to experience the culture and feel free to do whatever I wanted. I also thought the food was mediocre. I felt like doing the all inclusive was a waste of money since we didn’t drink that much, the entertainment was corny and the club was terrible. I would have preferred going back to a real house and going to local eateries in the area

      I think if you are looking for a vaca where your plan is to sit your butt on the beach and want to truly relax and get away, an all inclusive would be a good idea. If you want to do more adventurous exploring type stuff, I’d opt out of it. I’ve said next time I go to the Caribbean, I’m renting a house. In Jamaica, my excursion guide told me you can rent villas- many with personal chefs- for equal price. Seems much more worth my money to me.

      1. Arjay*

        Many years ago, we planned our own vacation in Montego Bay, and it had me longing for an all-inclusive resort instead. We had trouble with local transportation, ended up renting a car which was it’s own special nightmare, and just struggled a lot on our own. One day we decided to drive to Negril, which if I remember correctly is about 60 miles away. It took about 5 hours to cover that 60 miles, including passing dead cattle in the middle of the “road”, and when we got there, Negril was just like Montego Bay, lol. We got lots of stories out of that trip, but it had some rough moments. Renting a villa with a personal chef does sound lovely.

    7. Clever Name*

      We’ve done it. While I enjoyed it, it’s not my favorite way to travel. It feels like a lazy way to travel, but if all you want to do is lay by the water, they’re often the cheapest option. Unless you go someplace high end, the food is usually meh.

    8. Jubilance*

      We did the all-inclusive for our honeymoon, but we did one of the Sandals properties in St Lucia. You really can’t go wrong with the all inclusive for a honeymoon – lots to do, lots of food and drinks, and with a honeymoon you really want to just hang out and spend time together, or at least we did. Congrats on your wedding!

    9. SAHM*

      You might not be affected by this, but I wanted to throw out a reminder on the Zika virus. Hubby was sent to Guatemala for biz in the beginning of Jan, and now we’re learning that Guatemala (and basically ALL the South American countries) has the Zika virus, which they’re classifying as an STD but it’s spread by mosquitos. Which of course, since I’m pregnant, my OB freaks out and we’re getting tested for the Zika virus. Except it’s so new they don’t have the tests and have to order them special from the CDC. We’ve figured out that if he’s positive but I’m negative he sleeps on the couch for the duration of the pregnancy and then gets a vasectomy bc right now they’re saying don’t get preggo for 2 years after contracting the virus (and it might be longer, they just Don’t Know enough about this virus). If we’re both positive then we pray. So if you’re considering kids in the near future, like the next 2-? Years that they’re currently stating, you probably want to avoid visiting Mexico or any other South American area. Not Worth The Risk.

    10. Mephyle*

      We went to Club Med – the original all-inclusive brand – in Ixtapa and loved it.
      My husband wasn’t looking forward to it because he’d been to other all-inclusives and the food wasn’t really special – the best meals were when he and his colleagues left the club and went into the town.
      But this was entirely different; the food was fantastic. I liked everything else about it, too and I look forward to going back some day.
      This particular brand has two locations in Mexico – one in Cancun that is all-adult, and Ixtapa which is family-oriented, but the staff keep the kids busy all day long, and you hardly see them.

  41. Anonymously Yours*

    I wanted to thank you guys – I posted here a few months ago looking for advice on ending my marriage. I got a lot of support and good advice, and I appreciate it.

    I spoke with a lawyer a couple of weeks after I posted, as so many of you suggested. He advised that, in my state, if we had not attempted marriage counseling, the court would compel me to go if my husband asked for it (and he would). I’d discarded the idea of counseling because I thought we were beyond help, but I would rather do it voluntarily than be forced, so we went. It’s helping. I don’t know if it will fix things longterm; we have a lot of issues, but we understand each other better and we’re communicating now, and if things do end, I think we’ll end them on better terms than we would have otherwise.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Wow. I am impressed with your progress here. A lot of people can’t do this stuff. Where ever this lands you will come out a wiser person for sure. I am sure the decision you reach will be well thought out and well considered, this is the best anyone can hope for in a tough spot. If you wish, keep us posted.

    2. Artemesia*

      I did an intensive marriage counseling thing when I was leaving my first husband. I was done but he didn’t want a divorce so I ‘went through the motions’. It actually was very useful for me; I learned a lot about myself even though it made me even clearer that the marriage was not what I wanted for my future. It is great if you genuinely find you can make your marriage work, but don’t let it push you into continuing if you KNOW that is not where you want to be in 5, 10, 15 years. I am so very glad I ended it when I did with no kids or serious entanglements — we were poor so the financial part was easy. I have been remarried in a wonderful relationship for over 40 years now — even if I had agreed to keep trying for a few more years with the first one I know it would never have gone the course. Listen to your own innermost truth on this.

      1. Artemesia*

        ps There is a lot of talk about ‘working’ on relationships. And it is definitely true that a marriage has its ups and downs. But it shouldn’t be lots of struggle and work. It just shouldn’t be that hard IMHO if you are well matched. We have done hard things — e.g. him moving for my job and then having a hard time getting re-established in spite of a great career history before the move etc. But struggling together is different from struggling with each other. There just shouldn’t be a lot of hard work between two people who are well matched.

        1. Nicole*

          I couldn’t agree more! My husband and I have had this discussion before because we don’t feel like our relationship has ever been work (we’ve been together fifteen years). That’s not to say you will get along with your partner perfectly 100% of the time, but if you’re constantly working on the relationship chances are you’re not with the right person.

          1. StillHealing*

            Now that I’m divorced and haven’t been living with my ex for over a year, I agree with what you three above my post have written.

            This is exactly what a newly divorce friend and I have been discussing. We were both married close to 23 years before our divorces were final. It felt to each of us wives that we were constantly working at everything. Sure there were wonderful times and events with our husbands, kids and us as a family. But overall, we both felt exhausted at the end. We’ve both agreed we don’t really know what a “truly healthy” relationship would look like but we are certain it surely wouldn’t be as much “work” as these past 23 years were.

            If fact, we keep saying, “It really shouldn’t be that much work when you are in a healthy relationship”. It’s great to read what you folks have experienced. My friend and I may not have had a truly healthy relationship,partnership,marriage, yet or know what it will look like, but at least we know we are on the right track!

            1. Nicole*

              I think you probably do have a better idea than you think of what a healthy relationship looks like now that you’ve had time away from your unhealthy one. Hindsight is always 20/20. :) I dated some real “winners” (sarcasm) before my husband so I’m sure that helped me appreciate a good relationship when I found it.

              I wish you and your recently divorced friend much future happiness now that you are free from an exhausting existence (because I’m sure I don’t have to tell either of you how draining it can be living with a difficult person and how much that can color all of your life experiences).

    3. esra*

      That your state would compel people into marriage counselling really rubs me the wrong way. Way too much up ins people’s business.

  42. Bekx*

    This will easily out me if any of my friends read this blog but oh well.

    My dog had two seizures today at the vet. Like full on convulsing seizure. It was so scary and I screamed and cried because I did not expect it. She’s 8 years old and has never seized like that before. The last few times she’s gone to the vet (or a petstore) she foamed at the mouth a bit and spit up. Last time she did like a weird mouth chomping thing and the vet said it was a little seizure and gave some pheno to her for car rides. They thought it was anxiety related.

    They still think it’s anxiety related…but have diagnosed her with epilepsy. The vet will now be examining her in the parking lot instead of inside the office, since she seems okay outside. It’s literally like 20 seconds into the waiting room that she starts acting weird, making them think it’s a smell thing.

    I’m an exhausted crying mess after seeing that today. She’s 100% fine now, keeps bugging me to play…like sweetie, you just had a traumatic thing happen, go sleep and relax!!

    1. Perse's Mom*

      I’ve got an epileptic cat – difference being hers started when she was a year old (a few months after adoption) and that was 16 years ago now. Her epilepsy is idiopathic (the ‘i dunno what’s causing it’ kind) – they just happen out of the blue sometimes, last a few minutes, and then she’s perfectly normal again. She’s been on phenobarbital twice now – after a streak of seizures when she was a couple of years old and now again in her dotage after another streak. In between, she was weaned off; she would have a small one every 3-6mos, but that was it until recently again.

      I don’t have any particular advice other than to avoid the apparent triggers, which you’ve already figured out. But I hear you on how scary it is, especially if you haven’t seen it before and don’t know what’s happening. It’s one medical issue that doesn’t seem too far removed between humans and cats – brains go haywire (the reasons are myriad), seizures ensue (and the response is widely variable).

      1. Bekx*

        Yeah, that’s sorta what the vet said. We don’t know what happens with humans or pets when they have seizures for the most part. Hopefully this is the last one she’ll ever have! Sorry about your kitty, too. :( It’s so sad and hard.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      OH man. My heart just goes out to you and your little buddy. I have assisted on numerous human seizures and I know first hand it is scary. The amount of energy that goes into a seizure for a human is equal to 8 hours of cutting/splitting/stacking firewood. In other words a huge amount of energy (8 hours of physical labor) is expended inside of a few minutes. That blast of energy is incredible to watch, I cannot imagine experiencing it.

      Do you have first aid instructions on how to assist your animal if she has another seizure?

      Is the inside of her mouth ordinarily red (as opposed to the normal pink color most dogs have)?

      1. Bekx*

        The vet offered to give me something to inject anally if she has a seizure cluster…but I said I was nervous about doing that and he said it would be better if I didn’t do anything then. He said to just move any furniture away from her and speak kindly to her until she goes out of it.

        Hmm…her mouth is pretty pink. I’m not sure if I’d call it red.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I am going to take “pretty pink” as being more pink than the average dog. You might want to investigate feeding the dog downers like broccoli, cauliflower, turkey. Yeah, I do home cooked. I worked into it and I have gotten used to it. She could have beef, fish and pork also. I’m not seeing my animals do well on pork so I skip that one. The one thing not to give her is chicken. That’s too much of an upper, it speeds them up. My dog used to be so very hyper. I changed his food and he is much better- got him away from the chicken. You can tell he is happier- less frustrated.

          If you feel inclined you might want to check with a vet that does Eastern medicine. They have different things that they work with and there might be something there for your little pal. You can ask over the phone before making the appointment if the vet has any experience with dog seizures that way you’ll know you are not wasting your money/time. Some of the folks will come to your home so you don’t have to drive the pet to them. That is a good thing if the animal is having seizure trouble.

          1. Bekx*

            She actually already eats all of that! She has food allergies so she eats salmon, duck, and potato most frequently. She also has broccoli and cauliflower daily. She eats some beef too, but mostly salmon. Really interesting to know that stuff can help.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      My one cat freaks out and has seizures when I put him in a crate to travel, like to the vet. Full on shaking, foaming at the mouth, puking, he gets that stressed out. My other cat, no problem. She’d go off with the devil himself if he was holding a bag of Temptations.

      So I was at this place and they had a pet psychic there, it was free and I figured why not ask about the seizures? Once he’s out of the crate, even in the vet’s office, he’s OK (if not happy) but it’s only in the crate that he gets that stressed. He doesn’t like to be confined in any way, including being picked up and cuddled. The pet psychic said that he associates the crate with death. That he saw littermates being put in crates and never coming back. It might be something similar with your dog, she may smell the blood, antiseptic, other animals, sense their fear/pain/loneliness and doesn’t want that to be her, doesn’t want to be left there (which is completely understandable). Here’s hoping that a parking lot exam does the trick for her!

      1. Bekx*

        That is SO interesting. I’ve never even heard of a pet psychic before!

        She used to never have a problem with the vet. She’s spoiled as hell so I’m not quite sure where she got this crazy from. She was lunged at once from a dog at a petstore, but she went back a few more times after that without having problems. It’s just been the last 2 years or so.

    4. katamia*

      Oh, I’m so sorry. Seizures are rough. My dog growing up had epilepsy, and it’s so hard to see a pet that way. I hope that your vet offering to see her in the parking lot helps, and it’s good that you have a vet who seems to be willing to accommodate her needs.

      1. Bekx*

        The vet is AMAZING. I’m moving out soon, and will probably get pets of my own…and while I was driving my dog to the vet I was thinking “Man, I am not going to do this drive. It’s so far. I’m going to find a closer vet…” but after this incident I won’t go anywhere else. They were so kind to me and he explained everything without trying to talk down to me or diminish my feelings.

  43. Anon for This*

    Anybody ever navigated a change of feelings with the best friend as an adult? It feels very high school to me (we’re late-20s) but after several years of friendship I feel like things are changing.

    I should probably just ask my friend how he feels, but I’m concerned about wrecking our friendship.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I’ve found this isn’t much to navigate except my own feelings of loss. Generally, it just happens—someone decides she doesn’t want to be friends any more and cuts you off or “ghosts” you, or the two of you just drift apart. It’s sad, but usually it can’t be helped. Unless both parties are interested in the friendship continuing / growing, it will fall by the wayside.

      That said, I’ve had a few friends I thought I lost touch with for years, and then we later reconnected and got close again.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      It feels like things are changing because they probably are. Priorities shift, needs shift, etc and that is normal life stuff. So sure, it can impact a friendship.

      When I was in my early twenties both my parents took sick. We knew my mother was going to pass, but my father’s condition could have gone either way. (He did live through his illness, but we did not know for sure at that time.) My friends were talking about bars and dating and I was talking about bankruptcy and health insurance. My friends drifted away. This is an extreme example, but you can see where it kind of makes sense. The things I was talking about was sooo very different from what they were seeing in their lives.

      Here’s the kicker, the differences in people’s lives does not have to be that extreme and people will still drift away from each other.
      There’s a saying about friends for a reason, a season or a life time. Three slots that friendships fit into and it kind of explains why people go in and out of our lives.
      Reason: Some friends just carry us through a particular event or serve a single particular purpose in our lives.
      Season: Some friends walk with us through life for a while then move on. Sometimes another friend jumps in or sometimes we go through a dry spell without a good friend.
      Life time: Very rarely do people stay in our lives for the entire time we live. So this is a huge gift if it happens to you.
      What I like about this explanation of friendships is that it helps me to use a big picture perspective. I find myself feeling less sadness and more gratitude. I can think of my friend that has drifted away in a warm light, because I can kind of understand the need to drift away.

      Annnnddd, some times friends have to leave us so new people can come into our lives. The new people tend to match our current setting a little better and add something that the old friend could not add.

      How to apply this: Sometimes the answer is to do/say nothing and let things run their course.
      Sometimes we have to speak up, like I had to indicate that pot was not my thing. And just saying that was enough for each of us to find a different path with different people. And sometimes the situation is baaaddd and we have to formally end the relationship. I try to avoid this solution if at all possible. If you can, keep the door open for a rekindling of the relationship at some future time.

      1. NicoleK*

        Yes, totally agree with everything you’ve said. It’s rare to have a best friend forever and/or have a friend that meets all of one’s emotional needs. People come and go. Friends come and go. And sometimes, friends come back.

    3. DebbieDebbieDebbie*

      I interpreted “change of feelings” differently than the other commenters… Could you elaborate a bit more on how your feelings have changed?

      1. Anon for This*

        Yeah, so, when I wrote this post I wrote it in the “am starting to look at my closest gentleman friend in a less-than-platonic way” theme. There have been a lot of shifts in our social circle dynamic that have changed where and how we interact, we’re attending a couple upcoming weddings together, I took a trip abroad with him last month… Etc.

        But I understand the rest of the comments too. I went through a couple “friend breakups” last year and I think that is definitely where part of my reluctance to broach this topic is coming from.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          Oh, for that… yeah, that can be tricky.

          I will say, though—totally anecdote and not data—that when that happened to me, we ended up together, and we’ve been married now for almost 15 years. Obviously, it doesn’t always work out that way, but, depending on the other factors involved (we don’t know all the details), I’d recommend more of the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” approach, as long as you’re not too creepy or stalkerish about it.

          Best of luck!

  44. Flailing*

    I have a little bit of a dilemma. I graduated from undergrad this spring and I’m doing a fellowship for work that ends mid-summer. My partner and I have done long distance (school in different cities) for a little bit less than two years (though we lived together this summer and it was great!) She’s in her senior year and is applying to jobs, and we both work in the same field (broadly) of political advocacy-type things in the legal and policy world. We both plan on living together after graduation, and that is more important to us than the specific city we’re in. We both would be happy living in Big City A or Big City B post-grad and post-fellowship, and we’ll only be applying to jobs within these two cities.

    I have a slight preference for Big City A because I went to school there/I want to go back there for the community etc. The culture of Big City A better suits my personality. She has a slight preference for Big City B, which we’ve both worked in before/lived in before, because it’s easier to pursue the kind of jobs we want there – though it’s not impossible to do similar things in Big City A. I could be happy in either place, but I’m really missing Big City A.

    She recently had a job interview that went really well in Big City B, and likely will be hearing back in less than two weeks. She really likes the potential job (though there are very similar jobs in Big City A). Essentially, if she gets this offer, her deciding to take this job or not could decide what city we live in. I really want to support her career goals, and her desire to have a job secured after graduation, but I also would be kind of sad about not being in Big City A. We’ve both been super honest with each other about this. How can I best support her in this decision-making process while expressing my preferences without being a manipulative jerk?

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Any chance you could do a compromise of some sort?

      A few years ago, my spouse wanted to go to grad school and decided she was tired of City A (in which we lived for a very long time), so she applied to grad schools only not near City A. We moved to City B for a couple of years, and then she agreed with me that City B was not for us, and we moved back to City A.

      Not exactly the same situation, but I would propose that if she gets the job in City B and loves the job that you also get a job in City B and live there for 3-4 years and then move to City A. Would she be amendable to that?

    2. Christy*

      Are you sure you want to stay together? Can you do more long distance? These are just general questions.

      The way to express your preferences without manipulating her is to state your desires but to not expect that stating your desires will change her opinion or choice. Don’t let it be an ultimatum, just tell her how you feel. If you won’t live in City B, then just tell her that. If she chooses to take the job and live in City B, then that’s totally fair, and a consequence of that is that you won’t be with her.

      1. Flailing*

        Hey! Yeah, definitely sure we want to stay together. For both of us at this point, being in the same city is more important than like, the specific city we’re in.

        And that’s what I have been doing. City B isn’t a dealbreaker for me, I just have a strong preference for City A. I just think it’s hard to state those preferences without it putting pressure on her decision-making, you know? Even if I say I don’t want it to do that, and don’t want her to make career decisions to accommodate me.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          I think part of this depends on how serious you are. If you’re potentially life partners (either officially engaged / married or just unofficially planning to be together for decades), it isn’t pressure or coercion to take into account your partner’s preferences when making major life (and job) decisions. We all make sacrifices for our significant others at one point or another. Just make sure if she scratches your back, that your scratch hers as well.

  45. Psychology Question*


    I wanted to ask what are the possible effects of children not receiving enough discipline from their parents? For example, they never tell their parents major mistakes they made and will never received a discipline/nagging from a parent.

    As a child, I often times do not express to my parents mistakes I made at school, talking with peers, etc. I try my best to avoid my parent’s lecturing/nagging/scolding.

    As an adult, I do find that sometimes I tend to make the same mistakes more than twice, and I also have trouble getting a sense of urgency and following through with tasks even though I have been reminded of them.
    I find it a bit hard to discipline myself to prevent future mistakes/gaffes.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Perhaps I’m not understanding you correctly, but I’ve generally found that children who received too much discipline were the ones never telling their parents about major mistakes (for fear of punishment / shaming).

      Parenting is a complex art (not a science), and you definitely want to find that fine line between being too lenient and too harsh. Also throw in the mix that each child reacts to the same “discipline” in a different way from another child.

      1. Psychology Question*

        I was wondering if children receiving more discipline from their parents can better discipline themselves later on as adults. Given that the parents give proper discipline.

        I wonder if the decision I made in my childhood to avoid parental discipline/disappointed reaction causing me to have a hard time to control myself from making the same mistake over and over, even though I have suffer consequences from it.

        1. Laura*

          Fwiw, Freud would agree with you. Freud believed that the superego, the part of the unconscious that is the drive to follow rules, develops from interactions with caregivers. It’s basically the internalized voice of society. So if you didn’t adequately receive the right voice to internalize during a critical period (according to Freud, 3-6), your voice would not develop are only enough.

          I don’t actually agree with this just sharing that you aren’t coming totally out of the blue on this idea!

        2. Today's anon*

          The way I see this is that as a child, you were responding to whatever the environment your parents provided – i.e., there might be pretty good reasons you did not share with them, in addition with the not wanting to be punished bit. You were a child, you did the best you could with what you had, I don’t think it’s fair to look at it as an adult. There were many dysfunctional things I did as a child because they made total sense in my family environment and I depended on my parents. So if those patterns were once helpful or neutral but are not so useful now to you as an adult, that’s something to look into but blaming your child-self I think is misplaced.

          Maybe I am reading my own history in this but when you say you did not get enough discipline because you did not tell, what I hear is, your parents were not paying enough attention or did not want to deal with whatever was going on.

        3. Observer*

          Both too much and too little discipline can cause issues with self discipline. Each one comes from a different direction, but the net result is the same. But it’s not just how much discipline, but the form which it takes and what else comes with it.

          As a parent what you should be looking to do is to provide authority and discipline without nagging, and to help your child(ren) tools for self control and self discipline. Also, to help them develop the kinds of internal incentives that will help them practice discipline.

    2. Colette*

      The problem with not enough discipline (which I’m defining as the parent being clear about what standards are expected) is that the child feels the pressure of being in charge. That’s a huge burden for a child.

    3. Greggles*

      I don’t think discipline and punishment are synonyms. Discipline is more proactive and empowering hopefully to cause reflection and punishment is reactive generally in response to a rule broken. With that said there are some things as you mentioned that will cause a child to not be as open to their parents. What good is lecturing about a bad grade or late paper. What’s yelling going to do? For some it might be an external motivator of fear but for others it’s not going to cause them to change it will cause them to withdraw and shut down.

    4. fposte*

      I think you’ve posted a few times now about being worried about not telling your parents mistakes. In general, the kid who is too worried to tell the parents is punishing herself already, often more than parents would. And as adults it’s up to us to decide what to do about mistakes anyway–it’s out of our parents’ hands at that point.

      I do worry, from what you’ve been writing, that you may be beating yourself up about mistakes and errors and find it hard to get over them on your own. If you can talk to a therapist, I think that might be useful for you; you could also have a look at the _Mindset_ book by Carol Dweck I mention above, because it might let you find a more productive and kinder way to see your errors. They’re not an indication of any secret badness, honest; they’re just a part of your journey.

      1. Yetanotherjennifer*

        We all repeat mistakes. We all smack ourselves on the forehead and say “this again? I knew better!” I’m convinced we each have at least one big lesson we’ll keep relearning through our lives. Your avoidance did not create this pattern you see, and you are not bad for trying to avoid punishment. All kids keep secrets from their parents and all kids try to avoid consequences for their behavior. I agree that talking to a therapist or counselor would be very helpful. I get the impression from your post that you are young and maybe in the process of learning how to be responsible to yourself instead of your parents. That can take time and is best done with a lot of patience. You could look for productivity and motivation tips to help you get things done and create the sense of purpose you believe you lack. And don’t punish or even chastise yourself. Leave that to what we in the parenting biz call natural consequences. Approach your mistakes as problems to be solved vs personal failings. And focus on what you accomplish and find ways of recognizing what you do get done.

      2. Psychology Question*

        Thank you for the book recommendation, fposte.

        One more thing: I still feel that my mindset is still too shy and intiminated to follow advices being written in self-help or psychology books. I wonder if it is productive for the book to be read, but yet I am still not brave enough to take its advice, even the very useful ones.

        I still am working on figuring out how to prevent my own mistakes, which I have learned why it is wrong but have trouble applying the lessons learned in new situations.

        I feel that I might have lack that training in my childhood.

    5. NicoleK*

      I don’t have any children of my own but I really believe it depends on the child. I was not close with either of my parents so I did not disclose major mistakes or failings to them. However, I was disciplined for mistakes that my parents were aware of. That said, I would have turned out fine even without discipline. But I was always driven as an adolescent and had an excellent internal compass (for many reasons, my parents did not provide guidance and were not involved in any major decisions in my life). I’m not perfect and I made mistakes along the way, but they were minor mistakes and I learned from them.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Most of us did not tell our parents half of what we did wrong. I am chuckling. Parents are not the Supreme Judge and Jury in life. They just aren’t.

      As a child my husband was a budding juvenile delinquent. Let’s just say he damaged public property for fun and let the rest of the story go. His parents would tell others, “My son is perfect, he never does anything wrong.” yeah, okay.

      He turned into a fine human being anyway, obviously, because I married him. So this one can go a lot of different ways and there is no set in stone answer.

      The deep dark secret here is we have to establish our own values and our own principles. This is a do-it-yourself project. Reality is everyone has trouble disciplining themselves. We see it here all the time- people saying they fell off their diet/exercise program/counseling program/whatever. All these comments are talking about discipline issues- our ability to decide something and stick to it. Look around you, do you think you are worse off than most people around you?

      At some point my husband decided damaging public property probably was not such a great idea. He moved on to find socially acceptable ways to do things that were of interest to him.

      People have values/ethic because they believe it adds to their quality of life. My husband decided he wanted more out of life.

      And the other half of the story is we all make mistakes and goof-ups. When we do, we try to apologize and fix our error if possible. Do you make yourself apologize? Do you take responsibility for fixing the error where ever that is possible?

      1. Psychology Question*

        yES, i do apoloze and fix my mistakes. But I keep repeating them and I don’t seem to be able to make myself stop. So I am wondering if that is a psychological reason that stems from my childhood experience.

        1. fposte*

          A lot of us repeat mistakes, though, whether we got disciplined for them or not. Can you say what kind of mistakes you’re hoping to stop making?

          1. Psychology Question*

            Lately, I have been always forgot to follow-up, and get work done on time. I have worked on these tasks a lot lot in the past, but I always forgot to improve on it even though I am reminded from time to time and I had experience consequences for making the slip ups.

            Sometimes I might think that I might be saying the wrong things in person-to-person conversations because I may be revealing too much information. My family and I seemed to have a different spectrum of preference for keeping private information. Sometimes I feel a bit ashamed that I may be revealing more to my friends/classmates/coworkers than to my own family members.

            1. fposte*

              Those don’t sound like things that discipline would change, though. The first sounds like you need a different strategy, and the second sounds like a personal preference, not a mistake. I think a lot of us tell our friends more things we than we do our family. I don’t think it’s anything you’d need to be ashamed about.

        2. Artemesia*

          When you have a pattern you aren’t happy with an ‘can’t make myself stop.’ that is a prime indicator for therapy. Being able to manage yourself is central to mature adulthood. Since it bothers you, find a good therapist who can help you explore the issue and develop some new insights and coping skills.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Okay, let’s suppose in time you find that YES! there is a solid reason why you repeat your mistakes and it definitely has something to do with your childhood. Let’s just suppose this is the answer you find.

          Next step in logic. You are still left with figuring out what to do to stop repeating your worst and start repeating your best. I want to throw the idea out there that maybe you can work on both at the same time. Maybe you can start with some of your smaller missteps and figure out something to stop them. At the same time you could investigate therapy to search for the deeper issues.
          Target only the missteps that recur, not the one-offs. Pick something that seems easier than the others. This way you have an action plan for your daily life as well as having therapy as an investment over time.

    7. Artemesia*

      Kids who are micromanaged end up with less self discipline although kids differ a lot. Kids have their own personalities and respond differently. Being scolded and nagged is the least effective form of discipline for me and was for my kids and now my grandkids. The obvious response to being treated like this is defensiveness or defiance. Our family tends to fall into the defiant on this. The way to get self disciplined kids is through letting them face consequences of their own failures — not foolproof but works better than berating them. I have one kid who was never punished and has tremendous self discipline. Punishment is often counter productive. The other kids didn’t receive much in the way of punishment either but did have the occasional grounding. We were amateur parents with him.

  46. nosilycurious*

    I’m very sad and … blah today. A very dear friend of mine passed away Saturday morning. It was very sudden; he had just turned 40 and had gone to the hospital complaining of chest pain. One week, nine operations and an amputation later, he’s gone. He was one of the kindest people I know, with such a positive attitude and one who had overcome a lot in his life. I feel a little guilty for letting life get in the way of keeping in better touch with him, so I’m going to visit today to say goodbye and make my peace.

    I’m a regular reader, though I rarely post, but I’m just so sad today that I just wanted the catharsis of sharing with the wonderful AAM community.

    Losing people is sad.

    1. Vancouver Reader*

      Sorry ro hear about your friend, it’s a very young age to pass.

      I feel, from my own experience, that no matter how much time you spend with a person, it never feels like it was enough when they die, but if the times you did have with them was positive and you both enjoyed yourselves, that’s what counts.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I am very sorry for your sudden loss. Compounding the tragedy, his last week on earth sounds like hell- 9 operations and an amputation? omg.

      Cry when you need to. When we cry we set off a chemical reaction in our brains that helps to keep our brains healthy. Crying is good.

      And think about changing something in your life as a perpetual honor to your dear friend. I think you have found a thing to change- taking an extra few minutes to touch base with those you love. Weave that into your life and make it part of your life for the rest of your days. Do this to honor your friend. I have done this with a couple losses in my life. I find that I like me better. I am more the person I feel I should be. And my dear friend/family member gave me this as one last gift.

  47. nep*

    Very sorry for your loss. Especially painful when it comes out of nowhere like that — and someone so young.
    Don’t give yourself another second of grief over whether you kept in touch enough. Good that you’ll go say goodbye today — may it bring you peace.
    Take care of yourself.

  48. Ellie*

    Anyone know how to deal with imposter syndrome in reference to my brother’s wedding?
    I was asked to be a bridesmaid but feel like its just because I’m his sister (I was really convinced that I wasn’t going to be asked and was coming to terms with that when she asked me.) I’m excited but I feel like I’m an extra rather than a part of the group. Also part of this is probably due to the fact that their male friend is in the wedding (or should have been asked by now) but they aren’t asking his girlfriend to be a bridesmaid, and because they recently moved away they only see them as a couple- and their other couple in their friend group both got asked. I know its not my fault that my brother can’t just call him and ask. I guess it doesn’t help he & I were never close – we have a healthier relationship when we have some distance between us, and lately the facebook memories feature was showing somethings that he had said that aren’t very nice and is making an issue – I know I should just delete them but I then have to seek them out again.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      Don’t stress your brother or his fiance out by asking about it. Just accept the honor and do it. My sister was mine and I was hers, and we’re not that close. Some things are just done that way. And being in the wedding party really isn’t THAT big a deal – it’s just thing, and you can easily do that thing.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Sometimes people invite others into their life changes because they want to build a better relationship. Maybe your brother is saying that he wants something better for the two of you and inviting you to his wedding is like inviting you to be a part of his future also.

        Maybe if you can think of it as a symbolic gesture of offering a clean slate or a do-over, it will be easier for you.

    2. ginger ale for all*

      I was in that position years ago with my brother’s wedding as well. I was only asked because it was expected. Just grit your teeth and get through it. Turning it down will make things worse. Good luck.

      And for what its worth, you will have to go to all the same events as either a bridesmaid or the sister. With being a bridesmaid, at least you will have something to do.

    3. TootsNYC*

      You’re not an imposter–you are the sister of the groom.

      This is the start of a long, long relationship. And it’s a really nice overture. It’s very forward-looking.

      (Dwelling on your brother’s past meannesses isn’t forward-looking. Try to look forward. Doesn’t mean you have to pretend your brother was always nice; but leave room for him to evolve.)

      1. TootsNYC*

        Oh, it’s also a gesture of respect to your brother’s family. You’re a stand-in for the entire clan; so think of it that way. You’re holding up your family’s status.

    4. Jean*

      +1 to the previous suggestion(s?) that maybe this will bring you a better set of experiences re family relationships. Life is long and not always easy to predict. Maybe in the future you’ll bond with your sister-in-law or a future niece or nephew. (It may be a kindred spirit experience or it may be the bond that comes from the shared goofiness of retrieving the dropped gelatin salad from the floor and serving it with a lot of strategically placed parsley.) Or, if nothing else, you can find satisfaction in executing your duties with skill and poise. Think of it as being able to witness a Happy Event up close. It’s always good when two people find each other, even if neither one of them is yet or will ever be an intimate confident of yours.

      I hope this helps. I also hope that the bridesmaid dresses are pretty and easy to wear for all involved!

  49. StudentPilot*

    I’m decluttering this weekend, and organizing stuff. And I’ve got a bit of a unique problem – I’m trying to figure out how to display one item – I have an Olympic torch from the Vancouver Olympics, and so far it’s just been sitting in a corner. I don’t know a) where to put it, or b) how to display it. Any ideas?

    1. fposte*

      How big is it (I can’t judge anything via TV)? Can you mount it on the wall by finding some kind of clamp/bracket to grab it midway and hold it vertically?

      1. StudentPilot*

        It’s just over 3 feet tall. I was thinking of something like that – maybe two clamps (top and bottom) so it doesn’t fall (or get knocked off by cats)

    2. Carrie in Scotland*

      No help but that is an amazing item! Hope you manage to find some way of displaying it.

    3. BuildMeUp*

      That’s awesome! A google image search gave me examples where the bottom of the torch has a little shelf that is rests on, and then there’s a clamp halfway up the torch to hold it in place.

  50. Princess Buttercup*

    So it seems that I am starting (in the middle of? Not sure of the stages) menopause, and the hot flashes are really doing a number on my sleep. About 5 nights out of 7, I am waking up at least one time during the night in a major hot flash (sweat dripping off, etc), and 1-2 nights each week, it is so bad that I have to get up and sit outside (So Cal, so about 40-45 degrees, not major cold outside) for 20 minutes just to cool off. By the time I go back to bed and back to sleep, I end up losing 1-2 hours of sleep. This is really doing a number on me, as I’ve always been a “I need my 8 hrs” person (compared to friends who are fine with 6 hrs a night).

    I get hot flashes during the day also, but I can deal with those by dressing in layers, splashing my face with water, etc.

    I have an appointment with my doctor next month but wondering if anyone has any ideas / tips. We don’t run the heater at night, so the room is cool. I do use a comforter, but I can’t sleep without it as it is too cold when I am not in the midst of hor flash.

    1. fposte*

      Try Vitamin E orally for the moment. It’s not good to take sustainedly, but 400 units daily shouldn’t be a big deal.

      And consider the estrogen patch. The pendulum swings back and forth on that one, but I had bad hot flashes that disrupted a lot, and have had thoughtful conversations with my gyno about risk, and I use the patch.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Make sure you are well hydrated and try to avoid a lot of sugars.

      In the winter, I slept with the window open a little. That seemed to help some what also.

      I watched my feet. If they were too hot or too cold that seemed to clue me as to how rough a night I would have. I made sure I kept my feet at an even temp by covering or uncovering as needed. If my feet got hot and the rest of me was cool, I would stick my feet out from under the covers and let them cool down. Yeah, a stupid thing, but sometimes this stupid stuff helps.

      1. Princess Buttercup*

        The bedroom is kept pretty cool (even w/o hot flashes, I don’t like to breathe warm air while sleeping) and when I have tried sheet and/or light blanket only, I am too cold most of the night (when not having hot flash.). Good point about feet – I do find myself sticking feet out of covers if I catch the hot flash at the beginning, and that seems to help.

        I’ll pay more attention to water intake – I tend to drink a lot of water during the day (at work) and then don’t think about it in the evenings at home.

    3. After the Snow*

      Have you tried using a lighter cover? And Iif you wear pjs/nightgown trying going to bed naked or at least with less clothes on. Fortunately I have very minor hot flashes. But found that for me having just a sheet/light blanket and wearing nightgowns without sleeves helped.

    4. NewCommenterfromDaBronx*

      I suffered for a few years with the night sweats, although no hot flashes during the day. Couldn’t use estrogen (family history of breast cancer). Pretty much just suffered through. Spent many a night on the couch so as to not disturb DH’s sleep too. Not much help, I know!

    5. Puffle*

      My mother swears by sage extract. She still gets hot flushes, but they’re less frequent and much less intense. She buys it in tablet form from our local health food store.

      1. Puffle*

        Ah, bad phrasing. I mean, now that she takes the sage tablets her hot flushes are much less severe than they were before.

      2. Princess Buttercup*

        Interesting – I’ll look into it. My mother never really had any menopause symptoms. She had a hysterectomy at 30 but they left a partial ovary so she didn’t take hormones. Then eventually in her 50s or so, the doctor said she had likely gone through menopause at some point without realizing it. At least that’s what I remember – she died in her early 60s, so can’t ask her and we never had major discussions about it that I can recall.

    6. Belle diVedremo*

      Peppermint oil helps. A drop on your hand rubbed on the back of your neck, can drop the heat. If it’s going to work it’s pretty fast, and peppermint oil (reasonably pure stuff) smells cool too.

    7. Mephyle*

      Best tip I can offer – keep a damp washcloth within reach. When you feel a hot flash coming on, quickly wipe yourself all over (it will feel refreshingly cold)– then leave it on your body until you return to normal. Two good places to put it are either on the back of your neck or on your belly.
      I don’t find the choice of comforter or blankets to be a problem – just toss it off when a hot flash comes, and cover up again when it’s over.

    8. Mockingjay*

      Cotton fabrics. Cotton – breathable cotton – is your new best friend. It’s hard to find nightwear in all cotton, so I used cotton t-shirts and loose-fit cotton shorts. Use a woven cotton blanket instead of synthetic/nylon. And so on.

  51. NDQ*

    For the past two years, I have been searching for a multi-family property to purchase and live in one unit. I cannot tell you how many properties I have walked through. During the two years, I have had two deals canceled due to (1) failure of the seller to fully disclosed a serious issue and (2) failed home inspection. It’s been quite a learning experience and I have not given up on finding a suitable place to invest in.

    Yesterday, I walked through a property that was so sad. I am shocked at how some people are willing to live. Not only was the property itself a nightmare, but the housekeeping skills of the residents were appalling. This afternoon, I have another property to walk through with my agent. It looks much more promising.

    It’s been such a long process and while I am willing to stick with my long-range plan, staying patient is tough. On the up side, during these two years I have been able to increase my investment account, cut additional living expenses, and fully fund my HSA. My goal is to live on 50% of my income and invest the rest. My plan is to retire early in 2021. I’m learning discipline and patience. Slowly.

    Have you made drastic life-changes to save/invest more of what you earn? I’d love to hear what you’ve done and your results. I am always looking for new ideas that I can use.


    1. Weekend Warrior*

      We had the same experience house shopping a few years ago – it’s crazy how some people live by choice, and sad if by necessity. It sounds like you might already know about Mr Money Mustache but if not, his blog articles and the MMM Forums will connect you to many like minded people.

      1. NDQ*

        I love MMM and maybe spend as much time there as I do here. LOL

        After seeing how others live, I think there are many living in denial about how they live and I’m sure there are mental health issues at play as well. But the dirt/filth. Holy moly. These are also not surprise visits…some require 24 to 48 hours advanced notice. If it were me, yeah, I’d be scrubbing up before someone was coming over. Ugh.

        What did you end up buying?


    2. Noah*

      My biggest life change was selling my 3 bedroom house and renting again. Since then I’ve lived in apartments and townhomes. During that time I completely paid off my student loans with the savings in monthly rent vs mortgage.

      Now I’m considering buying the townhome I live in. The first floor in retail, the second and third floors are a living unit. With what the landlord currently gets for the first floor it would pay my mortgage, and that’s with a 15 year mortgage. Very tempting and unless I develop a serious relationship or have children, there is no need for me to have a larger house.

      1. NDQ*

        That’s why I’m only going to buy a multi-family property. I will let the other tenants pay for my mortgage and property expenses, gladly.


    3. Bea W*

      I hope you can find something soon. Sticking with your plan rather than throwing money into a pit is the smart thing to do.

      I started out with not much income and no credit, so I was forced to cut expenses right from the get-go just to get by. So I’ve carried those habits forward, and some I have gotten lazy about – such as using coupons, shopping for the best discounts, not eating out so much, not splurging on things, etc.

      I have just started relooking at my finances and shuffling assets around into better investments. I just consolidated a couple of old 401K accounts, and moved a huge chunk of money from savings into a mutual fund. I refinanced my 30 year mortgage to a 15 year with a lower interest rate. I know there are lots of places in daily living expenses I could cut, and I have gotten lazy about it now that I have been making more money. When I was making less, I was forced to look for any places I could save. I am really excited about the refinance which will save me tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan while raising my monthly payment only about $100.

      I have made it a point for many years to put money into savings every month. I have an automatic transfer from my checking to my savings account set up. So I am depositing money into savings without having to think about it.

      My 401K has an automatic annual contribution increase of 1% unless you opt out. So you can slowly dial up your contribution without it being too painful. I am glad I didn’t opt out. I am now maxing my pre-tax deduction and quickly growing my retirement savings. I didn’t even have to think about it. It just happened. If I had to think about increasing the amount, I would have fretted to much about how I would make it work, and not done it.

      When I bought my place, I was given a subsidy that went toward paying part of the interest on my mortgage for 9 years. It was really an interest-free loan that would get paid back when I sold or refinanced (unless income eligible to defer). It allowed the payments to be lower the first years after buying and moving which are always the toughest. After 5 years, the amount applied toward the payments was reduced a little each year so that at the end of the 9 years I would not be faced with a huge hike in my monthly payment. I took some great advice from a friend who told me to budget as if I was paying the full amount the whole time by putting the extra money into savings. This way I would not only build up savings, but when the time came that I took over more and more of the payment, I would have it already figured as part of my budget. 9 years later when I decided to refinance, I had built up a substantial savings on which I had earned interest, and was able to pay back the subsidy in cash when I refinanced without it being painful. My income was too high to qualify to subordinate that loan. So the option was to roll it into my refinance (stupid, since this was an interest-free loan) or pay it off.

      It was that savings account that I have recently split to put into a mutual fund. I kept enough in savings to cover living expenses for at least 6 months. Everything above and beyond that is now being invested, but in a way I have access to it without penalty if I should ever need it.

      I do not carry debt except for my mortgage. I use a credit card with reward points and pay it off every month. I own one car for which I pay cash. I have never taken out an auto loan. To me that’s like setting money on fire. With my home, it’s an investment I get return on and keeps my living expenses stable as the cost of housing rises. With a car I just can’t justify paying thousands of dollars in interest on something that will lose value as soon as I drive it off the lot. I find an older model used car in good condition, pay cash, and drive it until it becomes not worth fixing. Having more money in savings makes this a lot easier. I have a good mechanic and can generally plan on when I will have to buy another car based on his recommendations. This can also lower your insurance cost, since the bank doesn’t own your car and dictate how much insurance you carry. I can adjust my coverage as needed. As my car gets older and is hardly worth much. I can drop optional coverage where the cost isn’t worth what I would get compensated for a claim. This saves a ton of money, especially in an area where collision insurance is so high.

      When the times comes that there are car sharing lots close enough to my house, I will not replace my personal vehicle. I drive once or twice a week and use public transit to get to work. So now owning a car is more about convenience than true need. Cars are such a money sink. The insurance in my area alone is well over $2000/year for the safest driver rating!

      1. NDQ*

        I hear you about cars and insurance. My previous car I owned for 16 years and nearly 200k miles. Current car has 91k and a lot of years left. Always cash.


    4. Not So NewReader*

      When my husband passed, I had a substantial issue here. Without his income and without his help, money just flew out the door as I had to paid to have too many things repaired.

      I read that one should never turn down advice about saving money. Read and consider everything, even if it only saves a few bucks. And this is where I started. Someone said to get my water softener salt from a big box store rather than from the well known water softener company. That reduced my salt bill by 50%. So I saved $40 per year. Big deal. The key part was I kept the attitude of looking for savings and moved on to other bills.

      More recently, I have been targeting my now largest bill. My heat bill. I managed to put some money aside and I got a new furnace. My friend crawled up into the attic space in my house and put insulation across the ceilings. (My house is all on one level. Almost 200 y/o house.) omg. The difference in here is incredible. I have gone from having a kitchen that was 55 degrees in the winter to having a house that is almost too hot. The oil company is saying I will reduce my oil consumption by about 40% maybe more. I was buying 1100 gallons a year and I was always cold here. Not any more.

      Last year, I decided to hit some tag sales. My friend went with me and he likes to get there first thing in the morning. oh my. People sell brand new things for pennies on the dollar. I got some things to do some repairs on my house. I saved hundreds of dollars. People were giving away things like half full cans of paint. You know you can just start throwing paints together and get some really pretty colors. (lol) One room that we painted I paid $5 for the primer and $9 for the top coat. Shoe string budget.

      If you do your own home repairs, pay attention to the cull piles in the lumber yards and the clearance tables at the home improvement stores. You can get stuff for a song. I also like to check out paint departments. They always have a few buckets of paint for 2/3’s off the price. It’s colors someone decided they did not want or a dropped can, usually. I get the color and then get a bucket of white paint. I mix them. It’s enough to do a room and the trims. I save some of the color so the trims are slightly darker than the walls that have the added white paint.

      Like you are saying about cars, I did the same with the lawn equipment. We got a good used tractor and picked up the extra accessories we needed. At that time, we ended up with a $12K set up for less than $5k. It mows, it snow blows and I use it to clean up the leaves, so it’s a leaf rake also. The trick here is to watch the dealership you buy it from. It will break. That is a given. So how is their service department? Steer clear from places where the service department has a bad rep.

  52. Bea W*

    My dad is being a wank, and I am tired of his excuses not to visit with his children or grandchildren when they are in town. I live within 10 miles of him, and don’t see him more than 1 or 2 times a year. My sister lives out of state. She and her husband have 1/2 dozen kids between them. So you can guess how often they are in town, and every time she makes plans to visit, he comes up with some incredibly lame excuse why he won’t be able to visit with them.

    I just needed to vent about that. I am so tired of that BS. It’s maddening more so because many of his excuses involve his wife’s family and her grandchildren, who live locally and they visit with very frequently (as in weekly) or for some social thing he claims he doesn’t really want to go to, but his wife insists. Um…YOUR OWN GRANDCHILDREN can’t take priority ONE day for a lousy few hours out of the entire year? REALLY?

    I don’t know what his real damage is. He frequently points the finger at his wife and her family, and I take that with a grain of salt, because I know this is what he does, deflects the blame to other people. I have a really hard time believing his wife or her children would even approve of him blowing off a visit with his children or grandchildren. That seems out of character for her. No one has actually taken the bait he’s been tossing out to distract us, because that is his MO. I don’t know his wife or their relationship super well, but I do know enough to not assume she’s the reason he blows his daughters and grandchildren off. I stopped trying to make plans with him a long time ago. I think the only reason my sister persists is because her kids really like spending time with their grandfather and ask about him, which is a crappy position to be in. He’s their only living blood grandparent.

    It’s not like he’s not kid-friendly. He’s great with kids, and that’s why his grandchildren want to see him more. They really like visiting with him.

    Whatever. I feel like this shouldn’t bother me by now, because I know this is how it has been for 20+ years, but it does.

    1. fposte*

      Oh, Bea. It’s especially sad when he’s missing his grandkids. It sounds like you have a pretty clear picture of the situation; it’s just sometimes you’re still going to be sad and mad about it.

    2. Nicole*

      I can sympathize. It’s hard to understand that type of behavior because I’d be thrilled in his position to have family who want to come visit me! I’m sorry you have to deal with that. It’s his loss, but unfortunately that doesn’t take away the hurt. I’m sending you virtual hugs!

  53. Nervous Accountant*

    Had a particularly weepy weekend. I figured it was PMS bc I tend to get weepy around this time, but this was like…..extra extra weepiness. I don’t think it helped that I just started the long hours at work, so stress level is higher and less sleep. We’ve been trying to conceive so it didn’t help that baby birthday party, newborns, infants, and the PMS just heightened it. I spent hte last 3-4 months trying to get my blood sugar down from 10 to 6.9 which is supposed to be a decentlevel for diabetics, and i dunno, I was hoping that I would conceive right away. but maintenance is even harder dareI say. I don’t haveyet the time to start a newworkout routine, and I’m prone to stress eat.I think I just need to accept that Jan-March will always be rough… I’m planning on doing some activites today (cooking and shopping) so that might help me relax and decompress to get through the next 6 days.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      You have stress coming in from all sides. Yeah, maintenance is harder- I lived with a diabetic for decades and I saw the effort that went into it. Not easy at all. I hope your day goes well today and you get to feel human for a bit at any rate. Be sure to deliberately put little breaks like this into your life on a regular basis.

    2. SAHM*

      I don’t have any words of wisdom or advice, but I think you’re doing awesome. Also I’m sending you Cyber hugs. ❤️

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        Thank you <3 I think the other thing in the backof my mind, way down on the list but there nonetheless is that had I not lost, both of them would have been born around this time. I was naive to think it would happen rightaway, but there's always that hope.

  54. Windchime*

    I had a rough week at work, so I am distracting myself by painting my bedroom in preparation for redecorating. A year or so ago, I changed the paint color in there from builder’s beige to a pale gray. It was such a subtle difference that I almost couldn’t tell it was a different color.

    I’m not making the same mistake this time. I’m painting the whole thing a really pretty blue-gray (“Sharkfin” by valspar, for anyone who cares). It’s really intense and I love it. When I went from beige to gray, I violated my own painting rule, which is “paint a damned COLOR or don’t bother painting at all”. Others may disagree, but I’m always happier when I actually find a nice color, not a pale tint that’s so subtle that it’s nearly imperceptible.

    Also–I finally found a paint edging tool that works. OMG. It makes such a difference. I didn’t have to do miles of taping or edge painstakingly with a brush. It’s so much faster and neater. Now if I could only figure out a solution to be stiff and sore from climbing the ladder all day yesterday.

    1. Trillian*

      What’s the tool, please? I have 5 gallons of paint waiting to go on the walls when the weather warms up enough for me to air out, but was not looking forward to the fiddly bits.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I am stealing this- paint a damned color or don’t bother painting– I love this.

      Yes, link to paint edging tool, please. I am very visual I like pictures.

      1. Windchime*

        I don’t want to post a link, but it’s a little red gizmo called “SHUR-LINE Edger Pro” and I got it at Lowe’s for like five bucks. It has a little thing where you can flip the wheels up so they don’t get in the paint as you are dipping the pad. You dip the pad in the paint, kind of gently scrape off the excess, and then flip the wheels down. It’s a flipping miracle. There were a couple of places where I still got a little paint on the baseboards and ceiling, but I can easily touch that up and still saved tons of time and effort. Also–I painted my entire large bedroom with one gallon. I can hardly believe it; it has always taken closer to two before. I have a whole full can of paint leftover. Now I can paint an accent wall someplace else!

    3. Soupspoon McGee*

      Yes to color! I’m sitting in my butter-yellow living room, feeling springy, even though it’s cloudy and grey outside. We have grey skies so much of the year that we need color inside.

    4. SAHM*

      +1 on the painting tool please! I need to paint baby-to-be’s room pink or purple or something, and I just finished painting the boys room blue this summer. The taping was a PAIN. Although, they’re both very happy with it and the solar system we hung along with the gloves and maps of the earth. (They love space and maps, which I’m grateful it’s not Jake and the Neverland Pirates)

    5. After the Snow*

      Painted a room when in high school with such a subtle green you couldn’t tell that the ceiling had the same color and that one wall was actually white.

      1. Windchime*

        Yeah, that’s how my bedroom was. You honestly couldn’t tell that it was a soft gray and not the same beige as the rest of the house. Waste of time. From here on out, it’s COLOR or nothing.

  55. Meg L*

    I’m planning on b-day party for my 13 year old dog to celebrate having adopted him one year ago this month. I’m mainly doing it as just a fun way to get some friends together, maybe a couple of them will bring dogs. I”m totally aware this is nuts. Any suggestions on some party games we could play? I’m thinking a guess the # of dog treats in a jar and win a prize.. but not sure on anything else- Does anyone have suggestions?

    1. DJC*

      I’m a cat person, so I’m not sure about doggy games, but I don’t think you’re nuts. I love this idea. It sounds like fun!

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      No games, but try to set up a photo booth and get someone good to take pics. We had a 1-year adoptaversary party for our pooch that was just some snacks at a picnic table in the park, but my photographer friend showed up and took some amazing photos. It wasn’t planned, but I wish I had set it up and paid her! (She wouldn’t take my money for the high-res shots of me and my buddy, but I had purchased photos from her in the past.) Enjoy your party and happy gotcha day to your buddy!

    3. Jen*

      I support this kind of crazy :-).

      For people only entertainment: make dog biscuits (great recipes online).

      Dog and human games: fetch (who brings it back faster), agility (if all dogs are healthy), paw print stamp/paint making as a keepsake (you can get ink and pain that will be safe), photo booth/corner, and maybe do chew toys as prizes?

    4. No games please*

      I attend a lot of parties because of my job. My job is along the lines of a DJ or photographer. I’m at a party nearly every weekend.
      I would recommend no games. All you need for a good dinner party is dinner and people.
      I go to so many events where people are sitting around enjoying one another until the host says, “Let’s play pin the tail on the donkey. Everyone grab a tail. Who wants to go first?” Everyone rolls their eye and reluctantly participates because they know the host put some thought into these games, but really people would be content sitting around visiting. (Obviously, it’s not really pin the tail on the donkey at adult parties, but it might as well be.)
      If you have food and good company, that is all you need for a good dinner party.
      BTW, don’t worry about having a party for a silly reason. If it weren’t for 1-year old birthday parties, I’d be out of business. And 1-year old birthday parties are just a fun excuse for adults to get together.

      1. Meg L*

        I’m glad to read this! I am inviting people from different friend circles so I was think a easy, but fun game would break the ice a bit. Maybe I will just focus on the good food part! I know it will be good company :)

    5. Nicole*

      Maybe I’m nuts too then because it sounds fun. I’d totally go to a dog birthday party even though I don’t have a dog of my own (yet).

      Sorry, no advice here though!

    6. Meg L*

      Thanks for the silly party support everyone!! My budget for deco and food is around $150, so that rules out some of the party suggestions. I think I will focus on having kick ass snacks and drinks and the rest will follow. And lot’s of dog puns. … it is a barkday pawty after all…

  56. Anon for this one*

    I’m here to bemoan my butt. I’ll save the 2 years of back story, but I started working with a trainer doing a lot of glute rehab exercises in the beginning of December. I guess it has worked. I cannot fit in any of my pants, thanks to my thighs and butt.

    Have other people had this happen? Most stuff you read on weight training and strength training for women says don’t worry about getting bulky, it’s really difficult to put on muscle. Not for me! I figured bodyweight exercises would strengthen, but I’m surprised by the mass. Oh well. I’d rather have a strong butt and by bigger pants than my previous situation, but it was really weird that after two months of workouts, everything popped out seemingly overnight.

    (I haven’t been measured lately, but I usually gain fat in my stomach, and my stomach is less fat, so I do think it’s actually muscle.)

    1. nep*

      What sort of exercises got you there? And did you alter what you eat?
      Your hip and knee joints are likely better for it.
      Enjoy your strength and health. All the best.

      1. Anon for this one*

        Mostly clamshells, hip bridges, planks, banded side walks, bird dogs. A few of my workouts have had squats, but only things like 15# goblet squats. No full depth back squats with 60#s or anything like that–I’d expect to get bigger from that. I’m also doing some push & pull upper body cable stuff.

        I didn’t change my diet. I eat pretty much the standard American diet (grains, sugar, meat), but I don’t eat a lot of dairy (pizza maybe once/week), and I don’t eat out a lot (fast food or sit down). My lunch is usually a based around a soup or salad, so I get quite a bit of veggies in.

        For most of the past 10 years, I’ve combined strength and cardio work. I took most of 2014 off from any type of exercise (not planned, just life), and when 2015 rolled around, I couldn’t run without my HR going through the roof, so I got into heart rate monitor running & followed a plan that said not to do anaerobic work. I ended up running a marathon, but catabolizing a lot more muscle than I knew. I was roughly my normal weight, but my BF% was about 5% high for me. I think I still have that extra body fat, but now my muscle is getting back to where it should be. . .which makes for a much larger lower body. I’m hoping in a couple more months, I’ll have enough muscle mass that I can burn the fat off, but you are correct – right now I just need the extra support for my hips and knees, which I trashed during my 2015 training.

  57. Kimberlee, Esq*

    So excited! I’m majorly splurging with a chunk of my tax refund; going to a David Guetta show with friends, and getting a table with bottle service; the whole deal. I never would have thought bottle service and a table at a club would be something I’d enjoy, but then I did it and it was an amazing feeling. I highly recommend it if you’ve never done it! It’s quite the experience. The first time was on a deal from Gilt, so it wasn’t that expensive, but it was also like “Bottle service experience lite.” This will be the full deal. I feel ridiculous about it, but I also can’t stop smiling!

  58. Soupspoon McGee*

    Financial aid and marriage question here: I been with my fiance for six years and engaged for two-and-a-half. I’m going back to school for a second master’s that will cost about $100K (health care, can’t do it without the degree, totally different from my liberal arts degrees). I left a well-paying job to start at the bottom in health care, and I’m surviving on $12 and hour and savings.

    Will getting married negatively affect my financial aid, since his income will be factored in? I ran a scenario, and on my expected family contribution is about $3,000 if I’m single vs $17,000 if I’m married. I qualify for loans and a few scholarships–no Pell grants for a second degree. I’m worried about paying for the program (it is my responsibility, not his), ability to get low-interest loans, long-term debt, and other vague things.

    (I wrote and deleted a philosophical thing on marriage in general, individuals vs a unit, and why I want to be married but not with a big financial weight over our heads). Anyway, what can ya’ll tell me about marriage and financing grad school?

    1. Applesauce*

      I don’t know enough about financial aid to answer this intelligently, but a few thoughts on the rest of the situation:

      1. There could be other financial benefits — reducing his income tax burden, health insurance under his plan, cheaper car insurance, etc. This may offset reduction in financial aid.
      2. Can you get through the program quicker by not working at all while he supports you? I think I’d feel more comfortable doing that with a spouse than a fiance, and that could reduce your debt (net w/ interest) if you get out and start paying it back.
      3. CAN he help pay for school? I’d much rather pay $17k now and borrow less. If you were my spouse, I’d want to do that if I knew it meant you’d go from $12/h to $xx/h quicker. I wouldn’t want you to postpone marrying me so you could acquire more debt.
      4. Interest rates are less important than paying debt back quickly. If you’re making a lot more, and you’re a united team, you can probably pay it back before the interest really starts to weigh you down. (i.e. you graduate and spend your first couple years living off his income and paying loans back with yours)

      I think it really comes down more to what you and he decide, more than what’s more financially benefiting. If you don’t get married first because he isn’t 100% on board with your plan and doesn’t want to contribute to your education, then that’s the bigger problem than the financial aid stuff. (Although, since my younger sister has a ug degree and 2 masters and a lot of debt on the second masters, I’ve seen a similar situation first-hand and understand how it could frustrate a partner if it looks like you might be a perpetual student who will never contribute financially to the household. You’ve just both got to understand the other’s perspective.)

    2. Princess Buttercup*

      I was a management-level financial aid administrator for 10 years but changed careers about 13 years ago, so some things may have changed but…

      From a federal financial aid standpoint, the rules look at a student’s family income and size. Unmarried undergrads under 24 (last I heard, and with a few exceptions) are considered part of parent’s household, so parent & student income is considered. Unmarried grad students are considered their own household, so only student’s income counts. Married students (undergrad or grad) are considered in a household with spouse (with or without kids), so joint income is considered.

      You already see that your expected family contribution will rise significantly, which depending on the cost of your program may mean the difference between subsidized federal loans and unsubsidized federal loans (and unsubsidized private loans – yikes! avoid if at all possible). The effect on scholarships depends on whether they are need-based or merit-based (or a combo), and any scholarships you do get will also affect your loan eligibility.

      Example: program cost of attendance is $50k per year. With $3k student contribution, that means you are eligible for up to $47k in need-based scholarships and subsidized loans (up to whatever the current annual max on subsidized loans – and your subsidized eligibility is effected by all scholarships, even merit non-need-based scholarships). Any remaining amt of the $50k not met can be unsub federal loans (up to annual max) and/or private loans. With $17k student contribution, the scholarship / subsidized loan max goes down to $33k.

      Very rudimentary explanation (it is a little more complicated, but this is the simple explanation).

        1. Princess Buttercup*

          Interesting to know – used to be Some portion of loans were subsidized (as recently as about 6 yrs ago when I was in grad school).

          Love how higher ed keeps getting more and more expensive but financial aid seems to just get worse :(

          1. Ekaterin*

            Yeah, I want to say they stopped giving them out in 2011 or 2012 – I started grad school in 2013, and by then, unsubsidized Stafford loans were no longer available for graduate studies.

            Costs are ridiculous. I went to a private university for grad school on what worked out to be a nearly-full tuition scholarship (I had to pay for 2 summer classes), but even if I’d gone to a public school in my state of residence, it’d have cost me at least 40k. (And I went for education! How was I going to pay that off?) Even my boyfriend’s in-state graduate tuition is only about $100 less per credit than my private grad tuition was.

            1. Soupspoon McGee*

              Oh, that is so depressing. The PA I shadowed was shocked at how high tuition had climbed. He thought it was ridiculously expensive at about $10K a year, and that was 20 years ago. At least there’s a chance to get some of the loans partially paid for working in high-need areas.

            2. Ekaterin*

              Whoops, typo! Should say, “…by then, subsidized Stafford loans were no longer available for graduate studies.”

  59. AvonLady Barksdale*

    We’re having another couple over to watch the Super Bowl. I have four dips made (well, I haven’t mixed the onion dip yet BUT I WILL) and a huge pot of black bean chili simmering on the stove and two boxes of Triscuits (among other dip delivery systems), yet I still keep assuring myself that we can order pizza if we have to. There will be FOUR people here. One day, I will remind myself that I know how to make enough food to entertain people and I shouldn’t freak out so much.

    Also? I have enough leftover stuff to make another batch of pimento cheese. And two blocks of queso caribe if I want to make queso blanco. I… kind of love dip.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        You’re welcome to join us! There will be plenty of dip. You just have to make sure my big lunk of a doggy doesn’t try to swipe your cheese.

        1. SAHM*

          Doggies are the best! I have two cockers and was bemoaning the fact we don’t have a big dog to hubby. I want to get a big dog next time around but we just got Ducky a year and a half ago and I’m *really* not ready for potty training another pup.

    1. Liane*

      I thought I was the only one who made chili with black beans. My version uses ground pork, with or without ground beef as well.

      We probably won’t watch the game, no big sports fans in the house. But will keep track of commercials. Dogs and horses rock!
      We are having burgers by son!

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I’ve just recently discovered pimento cheese. Where has this stuff been all my life?! YUM!

      I haven’t yet mastered making the correct amount of food for the number of people invited. Someday.

  60. SAHM*

    Do you guys ever have those places in your house that you DREAD going into bc you *really* need to clean it and just don’t have time? I FINALLY cleaned out my office. It’s off the kitchen so every day I walk past it it’s like nails on chalkboard, “Cleeeeeaan Meeee”.

    I chucked 5 bags of stuff, packed up my packaging and display items, restocked my fragrances onto those ikea spice rack shelves I hung on one wall, reorganized my colorants, ordered NEW colorants (!!), and scrubbed the soap scum that accumulates on the floor. Spending some time in here today mindlessly coloring while Thing2 watches TeamUmizoomi, and Thing1 is hanging out upstairs in hub’s office playing some sort of Lego game. It’s kinda amazing how two days ago this room filled me with dread and now I’m hanging out in here relaxing.

    Also, really looking forward to playing with my new colorants, I bought from a store I’ve never bought from before. Nurture Soap, which apparently a lot of the soaping community uses them and TKB. I’ve always used TKB because they’re local, but I really loved this teal color that the duchess used in one of her Royalty Soap YouTube clips, so I gave it a shot. Of course once I got online to order the teal color, I was like “Oh! But this one is pretty! And that one is pretty! And that one!” So I ended up spending more than I had intended. Oops. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  61. Jen*

    Looking for a low cost laptop. Needs to handle basic MS Office stuff, plus hold photos as a backup. No other real requirements, no need for gaming etc.

    Any recs or brands to avoid?

    1. katamia*

      I’ve always had good luck with Dell laptops, although mine right now is higher end (Alienware) because I do a lot of gaming.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      We got my daughter and my dad Acer netbooks. They had good reviews, and they’ve been pretty reliable and durable.

      1. Ekaterin*

        My previous and current personal netbooks are both Acers, and both were really reliable. The first one still works fine 7 years later, after three years of wear and tear abroad; I only upgraded because the newer models were much sleeker and lighter, if slightly larger.

    3. Bekx*

      I’d really recommend Chromebook if you’re okay with using Google Docs/Sheets and those types of products. They are super cheap, very very reliable, and they just work. No setup really required. You might be able to put word on it too, idk, but it sounds like it’s what you would be needing.

      I’d avoid Acers. I’ve never heard a good thing about them. I’ve never had good luck with Dells but they might have improved in quality since the times they shipped viruses out on their harddrives. Toshibas are good but they can heat up. HP is hit or miss. Asus and Lenovo are really great brands, but will be more expensive.

      1. Jen*

        I don’t want a chrome book or tablet type thing; I really want (and have the license for) full Office.

        Our current home laptop is a cheap-o Acer from 2010 which is starting to fall to pieces. But it got my husband through business school and has done our bidding since then. I’m not anti-Acer but was interested in other options.

        I’m a little spoiled because both DH and I have powerful Lenovos for work and this computer is really for home stuff only so we can’t justify big spending.

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      I would recommend a Chromebook (with Microsoft Office 365), except that you want to hold photos, too? Most Chromebooks come with a 16 GB SSD (maybe there’s one with a 32 GB SSD, but even 32 GB isn’t a lot for photos).

      That said, you do get two free years of 100 GB of Google Drive storage (and I believe your photos may not even count in storage) when you get a Chromebook. And, frankly, you’re far more likely to lose or have your laptop stolen than Google is to lose the documents you store in Google Drive.

    5. danr*

      Dell is good and get it from the business side. That way you’ll get the professional level software and avoid the game stuff. I’m using a 5 year old Dell laptop. I’ve upgraded the memory and replaced the battery. Those have been my only problems. It came from the business side and had no extra software. I added what I wanted to the install from Dell, and added the rest myself. Have fun.

    6. Mander*

      Mine is an Acer; I bought it under duress in 2005 or 2006 and it’s still working fine. Granted, I happened to get a huge one that has space for two hard drives and I’ve upgraded the memory and replaced the fan once, but it’s been good for me.

    7. Noah*

      Look for reburb business laptops. The pricing will be in line with cheaper new models but the quality is generally better. I’m partial to Lenovo Thinkpads, but it has to be the business oriented stuff like the T-Series. The consumer models are not that good.

      Woot frequently has reasonable deals, but you have to be ready to look it over and quickly pull the trigger. You can’t research for days.

      1. hermit crab*

        In my experience, the other Lenovo models are decent too, depending on what you need them for. I have a big G510, which I use for the internet and MS Office, sort of like a portable desktop. It’s marketed as an “entry level” laptop, but it’s got everything I need; the screen looks good, battery life is great, the keyboard feels really nice (something that’s important to me), it can handle multiple long documents full of tracked changes, and it’s built like a tank so when I fall asleep watching Netflix and then roll over and push it off the bed in the middle of the night, it’s not a problem. :)

        1. Random Citizen*

          I’ve had my Lenovo G570 for three or four years, and it is awesome! Battery life is starting to shrink (down to maybe two hours?), but it still boots up and runs quickly, keyboard setup is great, and it comes with a webcam and DVD drive. I mostly have loads of documents and a decently sized music library on it, and so far everything still runs smoothly. Mine’s running Windows 7 right now, although Microsoft keeps bugging me about Windows 10. Not a chance! Windows 7 is my all-time favorite OS. :) I bought it from Office Depot for about $350, I think? Awesome machine, well worth the money.

    8. esra*

      Keep an eye on asus and acer sales. That said, if you just need a basic laptop, you can almost always pick up an hp for around 400.

    9. Student*

      Whatever you buy, have the default OS completely paved (formatted) and re-installed immediately before using it.

      Both Lenovo and Dell manufacturers have been caught installing software that purposely breaks security features intended to protect your private communication. The manufacturers do it so they can send you more ads and collect more data on your activities to sell, but the security break allows others to, for example, steal your online banking info. If you format the drive and reinstall the OS, then don’t download any (largely useless) manufacturer-based software, you can avoid lots of these problems.

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