weekend free-for-all – March 5-6, 2016

Lucy Sam

If you are sitting where Lucy wishes to sit, she will sit there anyway.

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: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader — Anne Fadiman’s essays about the role that books, reading, and words have played in her life. I especially liked her essay about combining books with her husband when they moved in together.

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

{ 792 comments… read them below }

      1. Mimmy*

        Which one is Sam? (The only cat of yours I can pick out is Olive, who is not pictured above.)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Sam is the one on the right, being sat on by Lucy. Sam is actually twice Lucy’s weight and size, but you can’t tell it from this photo.

          1. Carrie in Scotland*

            sam & lucy look so alike! is that just co-incidental or are they brother and sister?

            (and hurrah for the lesser spotted AAM cats!)

              1. MsChandandlerBong*

                Orange kitties are the best! I love Olive and Eve, but it’s nice to see Lucy and Sam. =)

          2. Mimmy*

            LOL it looks like Sam is looking back at Lucy like, “Mom, please get her off of me!”

  1. Weekend Warrior*

    +1 for Anne Fadiman. I love books about books and reading. The Books that Made Me is a podcast series from the Guardian. And Notes from the Attic is Robertson Davies’ wonderful collection of essays about famous and obscure books. I’ve lost my beloved copy! RD’s summary of “Don Quixote”? Endless drubbings. Haha… So true.

    1. Pleiades*

      Agreed on Anne Fadiman. I also enjoyed her other books of essays, At Large and At Small.

    2. Liz L*

      I enjoyed Ex Libris too and LOVE Robertson Davies. Will be hunting down Notes from the Attic!

      1. JaneB*

        Yes yes you must find Notes from the Attic, it’s lovely. I haven’t read the Anne Fadiman, I feel a book shop trip coming on..

    3. Stella Maris*

      Yes, Anne Fadiman is amazing.

      Maybe next weekend we need a weekend thread about reading – or books about books and reading, like ’84 Charing Cross Road’ which may be my all-time favourite.

  2. Forget T-Bone Steak, Let's Eat T-Rex Steak*

    I’m turning 29 this weekend. There are so many things I thought I’d have done by now, but life worked out differently. Any recommendations for things to make sure I do before 30? Open to all suggestions – fun and practical. I’m not dreading my thirties at all; I just want to make sure I finish my twenties right.

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      Well, what do you want to do? I tried a 30 before 30 list which included things like ‘sell my flat’ and ‘move to a different city’ but also ‘dolphin spotting’ and ‘learn how to do my makeup properly’. I ended up achieving about 12-13 of them on my list, and I carried about 10 over to this year (I realllllly want to go dolphin spotting!)

    2. Trill*

      Is there something big that you’ve always wanted to do, but put it off figuring you’ll do it someday? A looming big birthday is a good excuse to check something big off your list.

      In the final days of my 20s, I hiked the inca trail in Peru. It was hard work but hugely worth it.

    3. Jen in RO*

      Happy birthday! I turned 30 two years ago, I didn’t have a list of things to do before the milestone birthday, and I don’t regret it. I *am* very happy that I decided on a birthday celebration, even if it was old-lady style, sitting in my living room and eating sandwiches. (I am not very big on birthdays, organizing something is usually too much trouble for me.)

      1. Hillarz*

        That sounds totally fine! I celebrated some birthdays by staying out all night, drinking and dancing, and my most recent one (age 32) by having a “date” with myself that included 1) not covering someone else’s shift, and 2) watching a movie by myself. I loved it so much that I also scheduled a Halloween “date” to watch “Hocus-Pocus” and eat candy by myself. Glad I have options!

    4. Hellanon*

      Finish your twenties ready to have fun & accomplish things in your thirties and forties – gain all the skills and competencies you can at work, volunteer or build a great hobby, say yes to as many interesting things as you can… it is the confidence that comes from being capable that’ll see you through the rest of your life, and now is the best time to consciously build it.

      Also: learn how to be kind to yourself, forgive yourself for any early mistakes and move on.

    5. Mike C.*

      I couldn’t wait to be honest – it felt like my life wasn’t really starting until after my 20s ended.

      1. NacSacJack*

        I agree. I was just getting started in my 20s. I did score my first long term boy friend before I was 30, but you cant predict that. And don’t try to make it happen. Getting into a relationship just be in one is not fair to the other person.

    6. Felicia*

      Pick something you’ve always wanted to do but have never done, and then do that thing

    7. Sunflower*

      It’s good to have goals but my biggest suggestion is to not let 30 be anything more than a number. I have a weird thing where 30 feels like this very hard stop. Like I should be having fun and making all the mistakes, be single and carefree in a tiny apartment until 29 and 364 days and then midnight hits, I turn 30 and all of a sudden I am supposed to go home to a husband in a house I own. Don’t feel like you can’t still do the things in your 30s that you did in your 20s because of some sort of societal pressure that your 20s are for mistakes and your 30s are for knowing better. I can’t believe how many of my friends say things like ‘I just feel like I’m too old to be doing that’ even though they would enjoy it- don’t let that happen!!

      30 is a good excuse to get some stuff off your bucket list though! I think 29 is also a good time, if you haven’t recently, to sit down and reassess things. Do you still have the same goals or are you finding yourself doing things because they’re easier. It’s a good time to rethink what you want out of life, where you want it go and if you’re taking the right steps to get there. Happy bday!!

    8. Dana*

      My favorite pre-30 activities were all the times I traveled. Any and all travel you can do is great. Even a road trip to the next town over can be a future story.

    9. NDQ*

      Get your financial house in order. If plan to wait until your 60s to retire, you’re half-way there. If you don’t have a plan for how you will support yourself, start one. Your future self will thank you.


    10. ThursdaysGeek*

      Happy Birthday! And remember, studies show that people who have more birthdays tend to live longer. :)

  3. Not Karen*

    For those who are more gym-going than I:

    I’ve been thinking it would be fun to whack a racquetball around a racquetball court – by myself, not as a competitive sport or anything. I’ve found a gym nearby that does have racquetball courts. Is this a thing that people do, or are the folks at the gym going to be really confused if I inquire about it?

    1. Sherm*

      Totally fine. I see people alone in my gym’s racquetball courts all the time. And a lot of them aren’t even playing racquetball — they’re doing squats or some other exercise. I wouldn’t even bother inquiring; I’d just say “Hey, I’m here to use a racquetball court if any are available.”

  4. Jen in RO*

    Opinions on this season of The Amazing Race? I have no idea who any of the so-called famous people are, so I am enjoying it just like any regular season.

    Also, I hate how every single official TAR video is blocked outside the US.

    1. pandq*

      I wonder what the reasoning to be blocked outside the U.S. is? I love this show, probably because I for one would get lost getting out of the parking lot. Although sometimes I refer to it as the Amazing Argument and have to tune out the sniping. Hasn’t been much of that this time (yet); last season was the worse for the bickering.
      I don’t have a favorite yet, and I also don’t know who anyone is.

      1. Mike C.*

        Likely the show is licensed to someone else for rebroadcast in the nations where it happens to be blocked.

        1. fposte*

          Yup. I think blocking is the default now for all TV, since even if it isn’t licensed now it could be later.

      2. Artemesia*

        We travel a lot internationally and most everything we might want to watch on line is blocked. They are licensed for a market and if no one is paying to broadcast it in England or Italy or whatever you were SOL. I think it is true of netflix as well so we turn that off when we travel now.

        1. internetkimmy*

          Could you use TunnelBear or similar to watch Netflix and TAR when you’re outside the US? I used it to watch The Great British Baking Show on BBC One while in the US (it makes it look like my IP was from the UK), so I imagine it works in the opposite direction as well!

            1. fposte*

              Can you explain what that means? It sounds onerous, and I would like to watch TV all over.

              1. Elkay*

                TunnelBear costs about £4 a month and gives you access to IP addresses from other countries so to Netflix it looks like you’re in the US. The issue I found was that it was taking both my Netflix viewing licences (presumably one from my IP and one from the TunnelBear VPN) so no-one else could watch UK Netflix if I was watching US Netflix.

                1. kimmyontheinternet*

                  @Elkay: Interesting, I didn’t know that. Thanks for clarifying! I don’t share my Netflix account with anyone, but I can definitely see where that would be a problem if you share your account.

        2. Irishgal*

          I’m in Ireland watching US netflix right now using HOLA extension on Chrome as you guys have so much more content than we do (I use “cast this tab” option on Chromecast as otherwise the IP address blocks it)

        3. Nancypie*

          I am delighted that we can now download things to watch later on Amazon prime. And last week my US Netflix streaming was totally working in Germany! I don’t know if it was a fluke but it was nice.

      3. Jen in RO*

        What they said, basically. Amazing Race used to be on some local flavor of AXN, though they were years behind the actual show. I torrent all my shows and I am not ashamed, as I have no legal way of seeing them at the same time as the US. (Netflix was recently launched here, but with a fraction of the shows… I think the only thing worth paying for is HBO, which really does air Game of Thrones etc. a few hours after the US premiere.)

    2. Nancypie*

      Well, my teen aged children love it! Unfortunately, they talk excitedly over the show and I’m not as interested. I’d rather have regular, non-famous couples to watch.

  5. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I realized this week, after holding an 8-month-old through religious services and then spending several hours with a 3-month-old, that I loooove holding babies. I always offer to come over and hold my friends’ babies while they shower, nap, eat, get their arms free, etc. (I also realized that while I would love to have a baby, I’m not especially on board with having a KID, so I take the baby snuggles when I can.) I’m also pretty darn good at holding the little ones, especially when they’re newborns.

    So I’m thinking about volunteering at a hospital to hold babies in the nursery and/or the NICU. We have several excellent hospitals in our area and I want to start looking into opportunities and availabilities, but I want to check– has anyone done this? Any drawbacks? Any experiences to share? I’ve never done this type of volunteering– I do admin work for a dog rescue and I used to help out at an AIDS hospice– so I want to make sure I don’t go in there thinking that it’s simply baby snuggles for a little bit and on about my day.

    1. fposte*

      I have a colleague who does it for a local NICU, and she makes it sound like it really is baby snuggles and then on about your day :-). What she said is that the nurses have their hands so full with the supportive care that they don’t have much cuddling time, so that’s pretty much it. I think what training you have to go through will vary depending on the hospital, but you might check to see if they have information online at the places near you.

    2. Cristina in England*

      I would LOVE for this to be something that existed in the UK. I want all of the baby snuggles!

    3. Elizabeth*

      I wanted to do this until I found out that my local hospital has really strict requirements for volunteers on how much time they will volunteer. Like you must promise up-front to your schedule (with a certain number of required hours per week that I don’t remember but was more than 1-2), you have to agree to 15 weeks at a time, and you can take off no more than 1 of those weeks. I have small children myself, so there’s no way I could do this due to the possibility of them becoming ill. I had been hoping for agreeing to work for a set number of months setting a weekly schedule each week or something similar, not agreeing to the whole thing up-front and no changes.

    4. Observer*

      Two things that will crop up with just about any well run volunteering program that puts you in contact with a vulnerable population:

      1. They WILL do a background check of some sort – whether a full formal check using a company that specializes or just a whole lot of questions and talking to you references varies. But, it has to happen.

      2. They are going to want a fairly firm commitment of time.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        No fear of a background check! I did see some stuff from local hospitals about time commitment, but they ask for about 2 hours/week, which I can definitely do.

        I also found out that they have no room for any more volunteers! Our local hospitals seems to be all filled up. I’ll keep looking for openings, though. And I’ll continue to offer my baby-holding services to my girlfriends.

        1. Observer*

          In most cases, what they want is not so much the AMOUNT of time, but a commitment that you will be around for some length of time – anywhere from 3 -6 months is typical. And, that you WILL show up to each scheduled session, pretty much no matter what. eg If you have a time slot on Monday 6:00 – 8:00pm you show up each Tuesday like clockwork.

        2. Intern Wrangler*

          You could check to see if your area has a crisis nursery that provides short term respite. They often need volunteers and aren’t as well known.

    5. fluffy*

      I have a friend who cherished her time at a crisis nursery. You might check if your community has one, and what their volunteer requirements are.

    6. Liz L*

      Long time ago, someone told me about spending time holding babies in orphanages overseas. Apparently many die for no apparent reason, possibly due to lack of this basic physical connection. Breaks my heart. I also want to hold all the babies!

    7. Rebecca in Dallas*

      One of my friends in college used to do this! She literally would just be scheduled a few hours a week in the NICU purely for snuggling. The little babies needed a lot of time being held and I don’t think the nurses could do all that plus all the things they needed to.

      I think it might depend on the hospital, though. I know my MIL wanted to do that and if I remember correctly, when she found a hospital to volunteer at, the baby snuggling wasn’t for the newest volunteers. Maybe you needed to work there for a minimum amount of time or something. But it doesn’t hurt to ask!

  6. Windchime*

    This post might be gross to non-cat people, so feel free to skip.

    I’m about at my wits’ end. My cat is only 3 years old and has been to the vet countless times. He has an embarrassing problem of scooting his bottom. At first, it was due to full anal glands and a quick trip to the vet would fix that. It kept happening, though, and then the vet noticed that he also had some infection there. So thus began the long series of cortisone, antibiotics, etc. Then the vet thought maybe he had a food allergy, so she changed him to some fancy non-allergenic food. He hated it, but finally came around and started to reluctantly eat it. He has always been a very, very picky eater and food changes are upsetting and difficult to him. He will starve rather than eat something that he doesn’t like.

    The past week, he has been on more antibiotics and has suddenly stopped eating again. He has lost over a pound in the last couple of months (and a pound is a lot when you only weigh 10 pounds to start with). After 2 1/2 days of not eating, I finally broke down and got out his old, beloved Purina from before. He fell on it like he was starving and gobbled it down. I’ve been feeding it to him for a couple of days now. His bottom is still bothering him, and he has an appointment for the vet again today. My old vet moved so we will be getting a fresh set of eyes today.

    I just feel so frustrated. I’m hoping that the new vet will help. Last trip, his liver functions were slightly elevated. Apparently anorexia can be a sign of liver disease, but I’ve also ready that the liver functions can go whacky if a cat is starving. So it’s a chicken/egg situation.

    Has anyone had something similar happen? He is so young to be having all this trouble. My old cat (age 19) died of kidney failure, so it’s very upsetting to think that this current kitty could be seriously ill.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Do you have a specialist vet in your area (basically like how humans go to a specialist when something is outside of your general practitioner’s expertise)? I took Sam to one after our normal vet had run out of options in treating a never-ending cold and it was really helpful.

      1. Windchime*

        The vet he was seeing is a feline specialist, but she has moved away. We saw someone new today and he agrees with my plan to let Kitty eat his old food that he loves so we can try to put some weight on him, and then try to figure out what the booty-scootin’ is all about. He has lost another 2 ounces since his visit 10 days ago. We will give him 2 weeks on the old food and see if he gains. Also, he had more labs today. $$$$$

      2. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

        Turns out our cats never ending cold is feline herpes. It’s apparently not an STD like with humans. So our little boy probably got it as a kitten in the shelter when a nearby cat sneezed on him. I have found a daily vitamin with lysine does the trick.

    2. Wendy Darling*

      My dog is a booty scooter. His anal glands just do not sufficiently empty even when his poops are perfect and fantastic, so I have to take him to get his butt squeezed on the regular. This is not actually uncommon in small breed dogs, so I’ve filed it under “annoying” rather than “distressing”, but he’s also like 10,000x easier to get to the vet than the average cat.

      I have no idea if recurring anal gland issues are a thing with cats. I know in dogs if they have recurrent infections that don’t respond to less drastic treatment, they actually do surgery to remove the glands!

      1. Lizh*

        Try pumpkin. It adds fiber to help with the elimination process. You can do fresh or canned. I do canned, give my terrier/ Dachsund mix 1 tsp. 2x a day with his kibble. It helps a lot. One caveat, pumpkin can spoil quickly, so once I open a can I freeze it in tsp size chunks, in smaller size containers. Thaws quickly. Hope this helps.

        1. StudentPilot*

          I second this, although I did it for my cat. (And yes to the freezing, I used an ice cube tray). It really helped her constipation issues. I used maybe a half tablespoon in her wet food.

          1. Windchime*

            The thing is, he’s not constipated and most of the time lately, the glands are empty. So we don’t know what the scooting is about. It might be that he has a pain inside and doesn’t know how to deal with it so he’s trying to fix it by scooting.

    3. Pokebunny*

      but I’ve also ready that the liver functions can go whacky if a cat is starving.

      A cat cannot go more than 24-48 hours without eating. Hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) is deadly. It is much better for him to eat something, than to eat something “good”.

      I’m not familiar with your cat issues, but I’m a moderator at a cat community and with your permission, I’d like to post your issue to the board to get some opinions. Of course, nothing should ever replace a vet’s advice, but perhaps having a couple of people with similar experiences chime in may be helpful to you, or at least put you at ease.

    4. LawCat*

      Yes, our cat had eating issues. He developed a sensitivity to fish (his favorite thing in the world) and it took a lot of trial and error to find something new. He has lymphoma now and is on a prescription diet for dry food, but was Not Having the prescription wet food so we had to trial and error some wet food he would eat.

      However, when he has refused to eat when feeling poorly, his specialist is adamant that we give him whatever he eats even if all he’ll eat are Temptations (which I am convinced are the Cheetos of the cat world). Eating being better than not eating.

      I have found if we microwave or add hot water (or hot meat broth) to his wet food, it gets very smelly and makes him very interested in it. So having something that has a strong scent might stimulate him to eat.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        More eating advice! When Olive was a tiny kitten, she stopped eating the first week she was with us. I now think she was actually slightly too young to be eating solid food (which I don’t think the shelter realized when they gave her to us to foster) and/or it was a reaction to a deworming medicine, but in any case, wouldn’t eat. For days — extremely dangerous for a kitten. I was panicking. Someone finally told me to give her Nutri-Cal, which is a nutritional supplement gel that also has an appetite stimulant in it. I put it on her paws, she licked it off, and within hours she was eating normally and has never stopped.


        (There’s also one called Supplical, which is basically the same thing.)

    5. MsChandandlerBong*

      So, kind of gross question, but are your cat’s stools normal? When my orange kitty was young, he had diarrhea/loose stools. One day, some gross stuff shot out of his behind onto the bed. We took him to the cat hospital (it was a Saturday; nothing ever happens at noon on Tuesday when you could just go to the regular vet!), and the docs said stool needs to be well-formed; that’s what helps the cat express the glands normally. If a cat has diarrhea/loose stools, the glands don’t express properly, and then you end up with a scooting cat.

    6. fposte*

      Left-field thought–is this pretty constant, and are there other signs his bottom is causing him distress? I’m wondering if it could just have sunk in as an ass-scratching habit that stayed when the cause left. Tbh, I haven’t actually heard of that happening, but it seems like something that a random cat could just develop.

      1. ExceptionToTheRule*

        This is going to get slightly gross: one of my boys had recurring urethra blockages and eventually had to have something called a perineal urethrostomy, which was essentially a penis amputation to enlarge his urethra. He licks where it used to be constantly, I think it’s completely a psychological thing.

        I would second the pumpkin suggestion to ensure sufficient fiber. I had a male cat with anal blockages and that’s what the vet suggested. It really did take care of the problem.

      2. catsAreCool*

        I think sometimes habits stick around after the reason for them is gone. I have a cat who, when I adopted him, had recently been treated for (and cured of) ear mites. For several months afterwards, he had a tendency to shake his head as if trying to get something out of his ears. He doesn’t do it much anymore.

    7. non-profit manager*

      So sorry you are going through this. My male cat (Tim) was very, very sick a couple of years ago. Like you, countless trips to the vet and nothing really worked. It was scary and frustrating (and very expensive). Finally, after seeming him develop more problems with each new medication that was supposed to help other problems, I found a new vet. It took some time to wean him off his medications and transition him to a completely new diet, but now he is perfectly healthy.

      I first want to state that I agree with the poster above about never letting your cat go more than 24 hours without food. That may be why the liver function is elevated. Cats can develop hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) very quickly if they go without food. So please make sure you cat eats.

      Because your first vet suspected a food allergy, I suggest you take a look at the ingredients in your cat’s food. Even the fancy, expensive non-allergenic food from the vet has ingredients that can cause problems in some cats. We think that was the problem with Tim; as soon as we stopped feeding food that contained carrageenan, his most serious issues stopped. Through trial and error, we learned that Tim is sensitive to many gums and thickeners used in canned foods. And he was prone to constipation, so dry food is out. By modifying his diet and adding a probiotic, his issues all went away and he’s now very healthy, happy, and energetic.

      I hope you are able to figure out what is going on. I am glad you’ll be seeing a new vet, as your other vet really couldn’t help you.

    8. Allison Mary*

      Another thing you could try, just to get him to eat – some kind of baby food where the ingredients are just meat and gravy or water. But if that’s all you’re feeding him (even for a couple meals), you should add a little bit of taurine (cats will go blind without it, and it doesn’t exist in cooked meat). Take a 500 mg capsule of a taurine supplement for humans, pull the capsule apart, sprinkle maybe 1/4 of the capsule into the baby food, and stir it in.

      This might help, just to get him eating.

      1. Sammie*

        I did this for my cat in her last few months of life (cancer). I was also able to get her to eat roasted chicken.

  7. Bibliovore*

    So I am waiting in the ER after being brought by ambulance with chest pains at 6:00 am. the worst case- aortic dissection and pulmonary embolism have been ruled out. Not in pain- nitro relieved that. hoping they say indigestion and send me home. Doc is thinking about Stress test this afternoon. he is consulting with cardio.
    grateful that I have health insurance.
    Have a headache AND I am REALLY hungry.

    1. Mimmy*

      Oh goodness, must be scary! Here’s hoping all is figured out soon and that you get to go home soon. Wishing you better health.

    2. MsChandandlerBong*

      Ask them for some Tylenol. Nitro opens up your blood vessels, which is why you get the headache. I’m only 34, but I was diagnosed with heart disease at 31* and have been through all kinds of tests (stress echo, nuclear stress test, treadmill stress test, echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization, etc.), so if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I’m having a lazy day, so I’ll check in here periodically.

      * I have terrible genes. My doctor said I could weigh 95 pounds and run marathons every weekend, and I’d still have heart disease just based on my family history.

    3. Come On Eileen*

      The same thing happened to me about six years ago – I was in my mid-thirties, so I didn’t think anything was wrong with my heart. Turns out my gall bladder was inflamed and had to be removed. I still don’t quite understand the connection to chest pain (other than perhaps bile was backing up) but what started out really, really scary turned out to be an easy operation and I was home the next day. Thinking good thoughts for you.

      1. MsChandandlerBong*

        My gallbladder was also bad at the time of my CAD diagnosis, which is why it took three hospital trips for anyone to take me seriously. The cardiologist walked into my room, said, “You’r 31 years old. I highly doubt you have heart disease,” and left. Three weeks later, I was having a stent put in my artery to open up a 70% blockage!

        I had my gallbladder out last year, and I feel SO much better now.

      2. Alma*

        I was certain I was having a heart attack when I had my last gallbladder event.

        The media had been full of news about how women have different warning signs for a heart attack than men do. Nausea, check. Numbness in left arm, check. Painnnn in center of chest, check (later I learned that if you feel the pain in your back, like between the shoulder blades, that is likely gallbladder – but listen to REAL doctors!).

        So I dropped off the dogs to board, with the instructions that if I died they were to be adopted together – and whomever adopted them got the featherbed and down comforter.

        Then I drove myself to the hospital. (don’t do this – not a smart move if you’re even just stressed because you think you’re dying.) They do an ultrasound to diagnose gallbladderitis. In a small town you’ll likely be sent home with Prilosec because they think you’re having the flu like everyone else.

        I think that at 21 they should just schedule an appointment to have your gallbladder and appendix removed. What a glorious difference!!

        1. the gold digger*

          I drove myself to the hospital

          My aunt, who was about 72 at the time, waited until Monday to drive herself to the hospital when she thought she was having a heart attack on Friday because she had promised to help at a church dinner on Saturday. Lord. Have. Mercy.

          (That was three years ago and she is fine.)(But still.)

          1. Oh, I'll Answer The Phones.*

            I used to take taekwondo, & I was part of the older crowd that would help out with the little’uns, so I couldn’t fathom not going in bc of a silly stomach ache (it all about pushing yourself, you know?).
            Finally, I couldn’t take the pain anymore and begged to be taken (by my parents; I was still a teen) to a hospital or minor med.

            Thinking now about how it turned out to be appendicitis, sooo happy I didn’t go & get Chuck Norrised in the stomach (that’s actually how the pain/nausea first started, three days before the hospitalization).

            Most of my experience was hilarious, in retrospect. I was fighting the knock-out anesthetic so hard; I literally thought that I was dying when I was losing consciousness (from the drug). The doctors were asking questions (to gauge how much more drug to give me), like what school do I go to, what grade. I was so hazed, I think I was arguing with them, like “Yes, I do too go to school!”

    4. fposte*

      Yikes–that’s no fun at all, and I’m glad they’ve ruled out the worst cases.

      I’m another one who’s done that ER trip and come away with nothing dangerous, so hopefully that will happen to you.

    5. After the Snow*

      I had the same thing happen years ago. everything fine, it was probably all stress related. They used Nitro patches. Having it placed near the ankle does help with the headaches. They will give you extra strength Tylenol if you tell them about the headache. And the Nitro should be/will be stopped before the stress test. I think it was 12 to 24 hours.

      1. bibliovore*

        Checking in . Thanks for the advice.
        Scans all came back okay but still was admitted for the presenting pain. Stress test in the morning. Super low potassium . . They let me have a some food and I am actually feeling okay. They also let me take my super special NSAID that I brought from home. Missed a cool event today but not super sad about it. So grown up if me,

        1. nep*

          Wishing you all the best.
          I’ve gone to ER a couple of times w chest pains over the years. Just not something one wants to mess with — best to check. Good that you are doing so.

        2. Amanda*

          As an NP student, just wanted to pop in and say that super low potassium can cause some pretty scary hearty arrhythmia stay may have contributed to the chest pain. It’s definitely theylst important electrolyte in the body for cardiac health, too much or too little can be very dangerous. Glad you are getting admitted so they can monitor it. I work on a telemetry floor so we non-stop cardiac patients all day long. We usually admit a lot of people for observation and run some tests just to make sure everything is okay once the more serious stuff is ruled out. Best of luck!

        3. MsChandandlerBong*

          Wonderful to hear you are doing okay. Take it easy, and please let us know how you’re doing tomorrow, if you feel up to it.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Have you had cardiac issues before? What about GI issues? A hiatal hernia can cause severe chest pains if it gets strangulated. If they can’t find anything related to your heart, and you have GERD issues, see if they can check for that.

      I’m sorry you don’t feel well. I’m glad it wasn’t a dissection or a PE.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, mine was almost certainly GI issues; they’d just never presented in that location before.

        Like the new avatar and hair!

        1. Bibliovore*

          Thanks everyone. GERD would be such a relief for me.called my older brother . He has practically the same thing happen to him about 6 years ago. Horrible “new pain” in the chest. All the tests and it turned out to be Gerd.

          Amanda , I was dehydrated and sick for a week with GI tract symptoms so this all makes sense. And traveling and under stress. high pressure meetings, speaking engagement.

            1. Bibliovore*

              okay here is the update. I am home now. Had the stress test. Heart is fine. Slept most of the day. Pain is gone now.
              So… they weren’t sure what caused the pain- could have been GERD or esophageal spasm. I have been taking pretty high doses of NSAIDS for 30 years. They might be a cause.
              On recommendation of the medical professionals, taking a few days off. Passed on my classes to subs and taking it easy. Checking in with my GP this week.

              Thanks for the support.

              1. Alma*

                I’m so glad you had everything checked out, and thankful you are at home for rest.

                Thankfulness dance!!!

  8. Wendy Darling*

    I made the chili so over-spicy last night that today I am making an additional half-batch of entirely un-spiced chili to add to the first batch in hopes of getting it to TONE IT THE HELL DOWN.

    The chipotles en adobo were a bad plan. A delicious, delicious bad plan.

    1. Soupspoon McGee*

      Oh, I have done the same thing, then realized that I had to make another whole batch of unspiced chili just to make it edible. Also, the first time my mom and I made curry together, we added spice until it was perfect, then simmered it for half an hour, completely forgetting that the heat would bring out the spice even more. We cried while we ate it, but it was so good!

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Aww, that reminds me of my grandma’s hot tamales when I was growing up. They were delicious but so spicy hot that we would eat them with tears streaming down our faces and our noses running like crazy.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I wish I had some now, but they are more labor intensive than I want to take on. All the women in the family used to make them assembly-line style, starting with boiling several whole chickens and making the corn meal masa (which they called the ‘mush’) with the resulting broth.

    2. Love to learn*

      I have had great success calming the spice in chili and Tortilla soup by adding Greek yogurt (Fage is my favorite). I don’t add it to the pot, just to my bowl.

      1. Mike C.*

        Yeah, that or sour cream or something heavily dairy will take care of it.

        Either that, or just train yourself to like spicier food over time.

        1. Mike C.*

          Sorry, I didn’t mean that last bit to come off as some “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” nonsense, I only meant that over time you can become accustomed to greater amounts of spice if you’re consistent. I’ve found that once you can take the heat, there’s a lot of investing flavors to be found – for instance, habaneros are quite fruity.

    3. Kit*

      A tip I learned from painting: add the too-spicy chili to the unspiced chili, not the other way around. You can add more spicy but you’ll be way grumpy if you have to make more unspiced.

    4. Clever Name*

      My husband made some really spicy chili when I was pregnant with our son. I cried because it was too spicy and couldn’t eat it. :/

    5. Mags*

      If it’s still too spicy adding some nut butter could help! it can help temper the spice, and give rich flavor.

    6. TootsNYC*

      I was worrying that it would still be too spicy, even diluted by one extra batch, and then you’ll have way too much chili. So wanted to suggest another option:

      Freeze the too-hot chili in quarter batches, and add them to plain full batches in the future.

  9. shauna malwae-tweep*

    So the big 3-5 is looming and I’m not handling it well. Life never turns out how you expect but single with a roommate is not where I thought I would be at this juncture. Still hung up on my jerkstore ex. Got upset when my friend suggested I freeze my eggs, especially because I have been pretty clear about not wanting kids. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to get married at some point though. Does anyone else feel like they are totally not where they want to be?

    1. the gold digger*

      Yep. I was supposed to be living on a big farm with a lot of cats and some border collies and almost-grown children and an adoring, very wealthy husband. Big farmhouse kitchen where all my friends come over for lunch on Sundays.

      Not rich. No kids (which really, is not that big of a tragedy, as I never had much interest, either). Career nowhere. Husband for sure not wealthy and not even working. Nothing of note that I have contributed to the universe. You are not alone.

      1. bibliovore*

        Gold digger… There is a book in that blog. I was at a conference and suggested it th Chronicle Books. Perhaps you should pursue.

        1. the gold digger*

          Wow, bibliovore! That is so nice of you! I actually do have a manuscript but after working on it intently for all of December and January (the deal with my husband was that I would not try to publish anything until after his mother was dead and she died in May and TRAVELSMITH, SHE IS STILL DEAD, SO QUIT SENDING YOUR CATALOGS), I decided that I hate it and it stinks. Maybe I need to look at it again and check out Chronicle. Thank you.

          1. fposte*

            Look up Deceased Do Not Contact registration. Won’t get rid of everything, but gets rid of a lot.

          2. kckckc*

            Gold Digger, call their corporate marketing department and let them know. Sometimes it does take a while to get off of the list because mailing lists are due quite in advance of when the pieces are actually mailed out. I’ve worked in corporate marketing for several companies and they’ve always processed these requests immediately due to the sensitive nature. Sometimes if you send it in by mail, or don’t talk to the right department, the request will get lost. If you are talking to someone customer service they probably won’t even know who to send it to and will forget it them second the next call comes in.

          3. Bibliovore*

            So this is what I told them…funny…pee in your pants funny… Changed my life…you lit a fire under me and with all the Will drama, the husband and I went out , got a lawyer and a will. Compared your writing to the Bloggess, so we know there is an audience for it.

    2. Pokebunny*

      Ever heard of “forever alone”? I’m 29 and that’s me, and I’m applying for my first full-time job. So no, you’re not alone.

    3. TheLazyB*

      I am nearly 40 (… shit, really need to book a room for my party). I have now accepted on some levels that for the last six years or so my mental health has been terrible and that it is highly likely to continue that way, but it still really, really pisses me off. I WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO DEVELOP DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY. It hurts, especially when I have bad periods, like, err, this weekend. And it absolutely guts me when people have babies. And I kind of hate myself for that. I have one child, lost two.

      Also, I am underemployed, and can’t see that ever really changing.

      So, yeah, totally different but I still get it.

      I should go anon but I always just end up outing myself so won’t bother!

    4. Soupspoon McGee*

      Oh, I hear you! I’ve felt that way through my 20’s and 30’s. I think it’s part of the human condition. Somewhere along the way, I made a mental shift from “I’d be happy if only I could do x . . .” to being sort of okay with where I am. It’s come with a mix of changing life circumstance, really paring down my relationships to the people who completely have my back and whose company I enjoy, finding a sense of purpose in a new career, and realizing that I’ll land on my feet through these transitions because I’ve made it before. In my younger days, I didn’t know how much I was capable of because I hadn’t done it yet.

    5. Josie*

      You are very much not alone. I’m a few years older than you, and there is almost nothing about my life that is how I’d hoped it would be at this point (single for over a decade, living far from family, a job that’s far from what I want etc). While I feel loss at times for the things life’s curveballs have put a stop to, I’ve found other things to work towards that are more achiveable for me – like the occational travel to new places. I think sometimes we get hung up on the things we wanted when life was going one way, that it’s difficult to adjust hopes and dreams for the new direction. It can be difficult and hurt and make you angry because you wanted it so much, but it is possible.

      Hear you about people commenting on your reproductive choices too. Can be so frustrating to get opinions on something that is none of their business. :(

    6. Pleiades*

      I’m seriously considering trying to finish Proust’s Search for Lost Time, just so at least I accomplish that before the big 3-5 later this year.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Yeah, I am not where near where I thought I would be. And our birthdays do remind us to step up our act a little bit.

      I think that every one that commented here should look back at their comment and contemplate this: What GOOD thing(s) do you have right now that you never expected to find or have given your own unique givens?

      Let me try this. Money is very tight, the house needs MORE work, let’s not talk about the car. The dog needs obedience school badly and probably will never get there. BUT. Life is good in ways I never expected. I have good neighbors and a great boss. I feel safe in my home. My AAM mug arrived. I don’t think we ever have “it” all at once, we get parts of ‘it” at a time, if we are lucky.
      Your turn, go! What do you have right now that ten years ago you never would have thought you would get?

    8. EngineerGirl*

      If you concentrate on where you think you should be, you’ll never be happy. Just let life happen and try to appreciate the journey and make the decision to be happy with your lot.

      That’s what they tell me, anyway. I was supposed to go to MIT and then get a PhD from CalTech in Astrophysics and then become an astronaut, but instead, I’m a divorced 33-year old with a 9-year-old kid getting a EE masters from a state school (with my bachelors from another state school). I used to feel bitter all the time that life didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but all the decisions that led me where I am were mine to make, and my life has certainly been more interesting than it would have been if I had followed the more prestigious path. I have to really concentrate on being happy with how things are. It’s pretty easy to get caught up with regret.

      1. fposte*

        Ah, I wondered about something you said earlier this week, and now I get it– you’re a different Engineer Girl from the one who used to post here, who was more my age (50s). Interestingly, she does work in some kind of space-related stuff, because one of the things she worked on is in the Smithsonian.

        Not that it matters–just getting it clear in my head!

        1. Myrin*

          Oh my, I had the exact same problem! I don’t remember what it was that this EngineerGirl said but I was super confused because the other Engineer Girl had either said something about a sister who’s already in her seventies or something or other about retirement and that didn’t match up with that other comment at all. Glad I wasn’t the only one and thanks for unknowingly clearing up that confusion!

        2. Engineer Girl*

          Yes, that isn’t me. The original Engineer Girl is nearing 60 after a 34 year career in aero engineering.

          1. Engineer Girl*

            As an FYI, my life didn’t go as expected either. The love of my life was killed unexpectedly in an accident when we were in our 20’s. That was a hard curve on the road of life. If you want to be happy you roll with it.

      2. AnotherAlison*

        Great advice. I had a lot of that “my career isn’t where it’s supposed to be” feeling from about 28-36. I think it was when I gave up all the fantasies from when I was 16 and committed myself to the path I am on that things really took off.

      3. EngineerGirl -> EE Lady*

        Ok sorry for the confusion! I’m new to post (been lurking for YEARS) so Engineer Girl should have it. :-) I will take EE Lady and I hope no one else has that!

        1. Engineer Girl*

          I don’t think that is taken. I’m an EE too! EE Lady is better than “Sparky” isn’t it?

    9. Jem*

      So not alone!! I’m 40 and my life is nothing like I thought it would be. I’ve never been in love but I guess the flip side is I’ve never had my heart broken? I focus on the positives in my life and am trying to actively change areas I’m not happy such as my career. And know that no relationship is better than the wrong one. Or so they tell me anyway!

    10. katamia*

      Absolutely, although I’ll be turning 30 this year. Haven’t traveled much (biggest life goal, working on it), single (although I’m ambivalent about marriage, I wouldn’t mind being in a relationship for awhile), my health isn’t great (again, working on it) and I can’t support myself solely off my own income. So basically no progress at all between the time I graduated from college and now except for a finished screenplay I haven’t submitted yet. (Not afraid of rejection, just that my contact info has been a little wonky recently and I want to make sure I have everything set up properly so people can reach me if they like it.)

    11. periwinkle*

      When Dirk Gently was lost, he followed this navigation method: “My own strategy is to find a car, or the nearest equivalent, which looks as if it knows where it’s going and follow it. I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but I often end up somewhere that I needed to be.”

      If you’re not where you wanted to be before, that doesn’t mean you’re in a bad place now – you’re just in a different one and that can be pretty awesome too. And if it’s not awesome, find a car (make a plan) and follow it somewhere else to see if that’s more suitable. At age 44 I was mostly not where I wanted to be and yes, re-reading “Long Dark Teatime of the Soul” turned out to be an inspiration. I’ve just turned 51 and things are pretty darned good now because I found a car to follow back then – and haven’t been afraid to switch cars as needed.

      1. Weekend Warrior*

        I’m happy where I am now but it’s always a good time for a Dirk Gently reread!

      2. fposte*

        Which reminds me very much of an episode from Susan Calman’s radio program Keep Calman Carry On, which I am enjoying very much on the BBC. For those of you who aren’t familiar with her, she’s a Scottish lawyer turned comedian, and the series is about the fact that she’s an overplanner who can’t relax, so she’s letting people take her through pastimes she thinks she’d hate to see if she might actually find them relaxing. The Holiday episode struck home for me because it’s about how she can’t go on vacation unless she has everything planned in advance, and this time she goes with John Finnemore, who travels much more spontaneously and therefore there’s much more serendipitous pleasure in the experience.

        I’ll put a link in a followup–it’s a very enjoyable series so far (it’s three episodes in to a four-episode series, 30 minutes apiece) and you don’t have to be in the UK to get it off the web. Plus it’s made me think I might like cricket :-).

    12. anooooooon*

      The big 3-0 is coming up for me in a few months and I feel the same way. I haven’t had a serious relationship in years and while I don’t really want to get married, it’s lonely and I’m tired of getting ghosted after first or second or third dates.

      I’ve realized I went into the wrong career and switching industries is so hard when I have no contacts outside my industry. And I’m tired of being the extra wheel around my friends who are all in relationships or feeling awkward because they have houses and I’ll never be able to scrape enough for a downpayment.

      But I try to think of the good side of things. I have more money now than I did growing up and I can buy all the fresh produce I want so it’s a common, everyday item and not a rarity.

    13. Jillociraptor*

      I’m on the verge of 30 and while the age doesn’t freak me out, I do often have moments of envy at the other people who seem to have their stuff together. While I have a career I’m pretty proud of, am financially very sound, and have a partner I love, I still find myself feeling jealous and “behind” when I see my friends getting married, having babies, buying houses, etc. And sometimes it’s not even a specific thing, just a general sense that I’m still waiting for something…and I’m super sensitive to feeling like other people think I’m not moving fast enough (like your friend with the egg freezing. I do want kids and I would have lost my mind if a friend suggested that…).

      I was in a meeting a couple of weeks ago where a colleague said something that’s really stuck with me. We’re in the midst of some financial issues at my institution, and she was saying that we have a tendency to put things on hold in these moments of professional uncertainty. “We’ll do this when we figure out the budget.” “I’ll just get through this big project and then I can slow down and develop a better long term plan.” The fact is, there’s always something. We always need to adapt and grow and learn and change. There’s never a moment when everything lines up and you never have to deal with uncertainty and change again.

      That has really resonated in my personal life too. I have a huge tendency to look to the future, which I think has its good aspects, but I’ve been trying to live a little bit more in the present and focus on how I can make my immediate world more satisfying rather than measuring myself against where I thought I would be OR arguing that it’s fine because once X, Y, and Z happens, things will be better. It helps, honestly.

    14. K.*

      Definitely not alone. It struck me the other day that I’m doing worse than my parents were when they were my age, which really bothered me. I’m not going to do better than they did unless something really drastic happens.

      I’m trying to climb out of the dark after a tough year (I’ve posted here about it a bit; am in therapy to help) and I’m realizing that everyone has struggles, and there are benefits to be found in certain situations. Like I’m single and wish I weren’t (I had and lost love last year and love is something I really want), but I can also pick up and move anywhere, if I want (which I was considering, strongly, until I got my new job). A friend of mine who’s looking for work laments that she can’t expand her job search because her husband’s job is here, and they have their kid in a day care they like. You know? Everyone makes compromises.

      Also, I think if you took a poll, most people would say their life turned out differently from how they thought it would; it’s just that some people would follow it up with “And I’m so glad!” and others would be morose. You’re far from the only one who feels this way – I bet you $10 you’re not the only one you know personally who feels this way.

    15. nep*

      Be. Here. Now.
      Precious energy too often goes to regret and thinking about the past or what would have / could have / should have been.
      A shift in attitude can make a huge difference. It’s OK to use milestone years as motivation — but don’t beat yourself up or drown in negative thoughts.

      1. fposte*

        Very good wisdom, as usual from you. I would say that probably most people aren’t where they’d dreamed–but they also aren’t where they’d feared.

    16. Sunflower*

      I think the majority of people feel the same way as you. I don’t know a single person who has said ‘my life has turned out exactly as I expected!’ In fact, I hear much more ‘I got/have everything I ever wanted but I’m still not happy’.

      As EngingerGirl said, if you focus on where you want to be instead of where you are, you’ll never be happy. That might sound cliche but it’s because it’s true! At 27, I expected to have a BF(or at least some ex BF’s), be making enough to live a nice life and not have to worry about following a strict budget, be much farther along in my career- have a career I was insanely passionate about and knew that’s what I wanted. Instead I’ve never been in a relationship, still living on a pretty strict budget and at a job I think I like but have no idea if this is what I want to do as my career.

      I like to think of life as a series of stepping stones to get what you want. You might not be where you want but think about how far you come and how your present life is setting you up for getting what you want in the future. I thought at this point in my life I’d be living in NYC for a few years- I’m not. But I’m in a job that is giving me the steps and better possibilities of that happening sooner.

      If you’re wanting more out of life, focus on things you can change. I realized there was a reason I’ve never had a BF and it wasn’t because all men are jerks- just the ones I wanted to date. Working with my therapist I’ve realized that I can’t snap my fingers and voila perfect man but I can change my habits and meet someone I want to be with who makes me happy.

      But you are not alone!!

    17. Overeducated and underemployed*

      Oh man am I glad for this thread today. I’m almost a year out of grad school and still looking for full time work. I got one great “stretch” job offer right after graduation that I was unable to accept for family reasons. I am afraid that maybe it’s time to give up and just accept any full time job I can get and see where it takes me, but I still want to do what I want to do, and it feels so unfair to have to close that door when my partner is still perfectly on track due to luck and timing. I did think I would have a steady and interesting job by now. It is good to hear that I am not a unique failure.

      But on the bright side, I do have a kind, patient, smart spouse who deals with my frustration, a happy and healthy kid, and supportive, if far away, family and close friends. So I am lucky. I just can’t always appreciate it.

    18. Liz L*

      I’m turning 38 soon and currently working as a lowly entry level after making a career switch. I’m also single, and people hound me all the time about what my life is supposed to be like at this stage. I don’t listen to any of them now, but I used to, and spent years punishing myself for never feeling good enough. I tried being “normal” with a steady 9-5 job and social circle full of similar people — and the whole thing made me miserable. Now I’m pursuing the career I always dreamed about, and I have a foot in the door. It makes me blissfully happy while my friends move onto senior positions and possibly feel sorry for me. I don’t care.

      I think the “supposed to be” thing is a big trap that’s really difficult to get out from. I’m sure that you’ve already done all the supposed-to-bes and now it’s time to just do the things that YOU want. Happy early birthday and good luck!

    19. Panda Bandit*

      Yep. I’ll be 35 next month and this is not the life I envisioned or wanted at all. I’m perfectly happy being single but I’m working a job I hate and living with roommates in a sketchy neighborhood. It’s not all terrible though – I’ve fixed some very important things and I’m trying to change the rest of it.

    20. Alicia*

      Oh man, I feel this. I am 30, recently ended a six year engagement that left me as a walking cliche (30, single female, 3 cats), and sadly, a pile of his debt. I’ve hit many milestones, but I’m definitely have some sort of life or identity crisis. I’m working on it, and I am trying to recover in many ways, but definitely thought I’d be married, have kids, and be a bit more financially secure. Though, I’d rather make the tough call to end it than have the marriage and the kids with someone I was forcing it with.

    21. Granite*

      Just wanted to chime in to say I was un-phased by 30 and 35, but 40 was another story. In the year leading up to 40, I had major anxiety. Lots of tears and insomnia, culminating in something close to a nervous breakdown, much of which happened in front of my boss. All I could say for myself afterwards is I didn’t actually cry in front of him, for which he was grateful.

      This occurred despite my having a solid 15+ year romantic relationship, a job I like with opportunity for advancement and a great boss, and fairly solid financial footing.

      There is something about some of these round number birthdays that makes us question our existence no matter our circumstances.

    22. NacSacJack*

      I am turning 50 this year and I never had a “Do by ” list except for one thing that keeps getting moved – revisit the places I visited during the backpacking trip I did in 1983 when I was 16. I wanted to go back in 1993 (no vacation, no money) in 2003 (car died, new house/mortgage) and 2013 (car engine blew up, too busy at work). I have a bucket list, but trying to get somewhere by the time I’m some age seems like I’m trying to force life too hard. So much of our life is beyond our control. I am disappointed that I am trying to adopt when I’m 50, instead of when I was 40 or 45 but the people I was with in the past didn’t want kids and I wasn’t in a place. Life is teaching me, a time for everything, to quote the Byrds and the bible.

  10. Mimmy*

    Has anyone gotten sick on king crab legs? Two or three times now, I’ve gotten royally sick after eating king crab legs in the past year or so, the latest being two nights ago. Hubby only remembers two instances, both from the same story, but I could swear it happened once before from king crab bought at a different store. Anyway, we originally thought it was from the melted butter you dip it into, so this time around, I dipped a little as possible. No dice!

    I am absolutely fine with other types of crab and seafood (I love shrimp!). Hubby researched on the internet, and some have said that they get sick only on king crab legs, and no problems with anything else.

    Meanwhile, appetite has returned but now my sides feel like I did about 1,000 sit-ups (only came on last night – delayed reaction I suppose).

    1. Mimmy*

      Hubby only remembers two instances, both from the same story,

      That should read “same store”, not story.

    2. danr*

      You may be allergic or have a food sensitivity to king crab. Unless you want to keep getting sick, just stop eating it. These sensitivities come and go. Wait a year and try again.

    3. ginger ale for all*

      My uncle is allergic to just crabs and can have other kinds of seafood. He still eats them because he finds it difficult to resist. His wife is a nurse and one story is that he had a reaction so bad that they had to call an ambulance. They went to the hospital that she worked at and he proceeded to loudly scream out to everyone there that he had crabs and that my aunt (who is a saint) had given them to him.

      1. Mephyle*

        And that is why he finds it difficult to resist – just so that he can set up that joke? I would believe it of a man who would do that to his wife in the first place!

        1. ginger ale for all*

          No, he just loves the taste. The opportunity to be a comedian is a bonus for him. Aunt gets a lot of sympathy from the rest of us.

    4. Noah*

      My grandma made king crab legs one time. That’s the one and only time I’ve ever eaten them, but I became so sick I will never eat them again. I eat all kinds of seafood and no one else got sick that night. Weird.

    5. Sunflower*

      Sometimes I get really nauseous from egg yolk and sometimes I don’t. Doesn’t matter if they’re from a restaurant or I make them myself, sometimes I feel fine and sometimes I feel terrible.

      Any chance the crab legs are pre-seasoned with something that’s upsetting you? Are you always eating the same side dish with them or eating the same meal earlier in the day that could actually be the culprit?

    6. Mags*

      I had that happen over a few years- then the allergy I had been unknowingly developing hit the point were my face swelled etc. I recommend speaking to a doctor about it, or at least making sure to carry Benadryl and be alert! Better safe than anaphylaxis.

      1. Mimmy*

        Luckily for me (or not…) my reaction entails vomiting. This past time, it didn’t seem like it would stop – I was going for at least an hour I’d say :( I sure hope it doesn’t develop into anaphylaxis. I doubt it, but you make a good point – I will make sure to mention it to my doctor next time I see her. I definitely will avoid crab legs, though, that’s for sure!

  11. Mimmy*

    Also: Shout out to fellow poster Anonsie who has their transvaginal ultrasound this coming week–hope it goes well! Mine is this Wednesday.

    1. Anonsie*

      Heeeey girl hey!

      Actually, I ended up not having to do it, haha. They did a manual exam first and said nothing seemed out of the ordinary so they decided to scrap doing the ultrasound. This was actually crappy for me because you don’t get lidocaine for a manual exam so it was extremely painful (that being my primary symptom here) whereas the ultrasound wouldn’t have been, I’m told. So it was not a good time.

      BUT based on the exam they gave me a referral to pelvic floor physical therapy which sounds fun. What they’re thinking now is exponentially more treatable than what they originally thought was going on (and with PT versus anything requiring an incision) so I’m extremely relieved overall even if the visit was worse than I expected.

      I hope yours goes well!

    2. Jen in RO*

      Are these supposed to be scary or painful or something? I mean, I kept reading about them online and I was apprehensive when I got mine done and… um, it was the easiest thing in the world? Do they have different devices in the US or something?

      And since we’re on TMI topics, I will hijack yours and say that I got an IUD this week and I am still traumatized. I hope my brain erases the memories ASAP, because it was horrible and I am even dreading removal right now. (But apparently I am an unfortunate exception, I don’t want to scare anyone!)

      1. Treena*

        Trans-vaginal ultrasounds have gotten a bad rap in the US because some new, unnecessary abortion regulations include a requirement to look at an ultrasound before the termination takes place. Since so many abortions happen prior to an abdominal ultrasound being possible, the trans vaginal ultrasound would thus be required.
        Essentially, it was basically unheard of unless you personally needed one until this came up in the press. The media made it seem like this horrible thing to put people through on top of having an abortion. In reality, the shittiest part of it is having to PAY for the ultrasound. Of course if you’ve been traumatized in any way and don’t want to have one done, it’s very invasive for something not medically necessary.

        1. Formica Dinette*

          Transvaginal ultrasounds aren’t inherently painful, but many women do experienced excruciating pain during the procedure.

      2. Irishgal*

        My IUD wasn’t painful going in but I experienced horrendous stop me in my tracks cramping on and off for about 8 weeks after; each cramp would last maybe 20 seconds or so. My gynae was encouraging me to give it the 12 weeks to settle in but I was almost at the stage where I was just about to have it out and be done when they just went away.

      3. TootsNYC*

        I found my easy-peasy as well. It’s not like it’s painful.

        It’s just technically “invasive,” as in, something goes inside.

        But given that it’s medical, etc., it just wasn’t that big a deal to me.
        I think it’s a bit like being nude in the locker room. Some people find that borderline upsetting, they wear a towel, they don’t want to see other people, etc. And I’m like, “meh.” “It’s a nude female body, but this is a place where that’s acceptable.”

  12. LibbyG*

    Folks who kon-maried your clothes and stuff: did it last? Or did chaos reassert itself? I did my kid’s drawers, but they were still overstuffed so the tidiness didn’t last. I’m planning to go at my own clothes next weekend.

    1. TheLazyB*

      They slip from time to time but my clothes are largely still folded nicely after KonMari-ing in August.

    2. EngineerGirl*

      I’m curious how you managed to KonMari your kid’s room. Did you hold up each of her shirts and ask her if they “sparked joy?” ;-)

      All joking aside, this has never worked for me for lon. The chaos always creeps back in because I get new things and hate to get rid of the old until the closet is bursting again. (I want to make a joke about the second law of thermodynamics here, but I’ll spare you.)

      1. EngineerGirl*

        ^above should read “long.” Proofreading is not my strong suit!

        I thought about this some more and I decided KonMari for kids would have to be a recurring effort, because there’s so much turnover of a child’s possessions as he ages.

      2. Engineer Girl*

        Hey there EngineerGirl! I would appreciate it if you used a different screen name. I’ve been using this one for a few years now…

        1. EngineerGirl -> EE Lady*

          Whoops! I have been reading AAM for years but just now (within the last week or two) started reading and participating with the comments. I had no idea this name was taken and I’m sorry for any confusion. Going to change to EE Lady to distinguish myself. I hope that name is unique!

          Funny we have similar backgrounds. I was in the AF for 10 years and worked at AFRL, so I know quite a few aeronautical engineers. I always focused more on the sensor end of things, though, rather than the “keep the thing in the air” aspect.

    3. saro*

      My clothes are in decent shape. I could do better with paper and have to kon-mari my beauty products again (getting into asian beauty products did not help this). How old is your kid? I find it to be easy to get my two year old’s closet in shape because he doesn’t seem to have a particular attachment to his clothes except for his penguin pjs. I am sure it will get more difficult when he gets older though.

      1. LibbyG*

        He’s not quite 2. I timed it poorly, between seasons so there was a lot of different kinds of clothes. There are only two deep drawers, so I ended up with two layers per drawer, which is, of course, totally contrary to the whole point. I’m inspired to do my own! I think it’ll stick. I’m also inspired to do the kitchen.

        1. saro*

          I didn’t keep all of his clothes in his closet either. Just the ones that were in season. I know she says it should all be in there but I thought it would be too much.

    4. LCL*

      It’s lasted but I didn’t get very far. I only went as far as getting rid of a huge mound of clothes, which the method was so helpful for. Then I loaned/gave the book to my sister, and haven’t seen it since. My end result is typical of my short attention span when it comes to any sort of organizing task.

    5. fposte*

      My clothes have lasted. I did a pretty good job of weeding down so stuff fit. I don’t have an ideal arrangement with the stuff on shelves, but it’s still a lot better, and the drawers are delightful. I like seeing more of my clothes, and I notice the difference enough that I’m thinking of rearranging to make it even better. And overall, it’s put me more in the weeding mindset, so I’ll go back over the books again now.

      I do think that weeding down to fit the space is key. I am a really messy person, and I don’t put stuff back in a hurry; the easier it is to put away, the faster I’ll put it back. I relocated one sweater section to a place where there was room for them and suddenly I was putting them away on a regular basis.

    6. Grumpy bear*

      My stuff is still lovely and tidy, but not everyone in my household finds joy in looking at perfectly folded socks, so I’m resigned to not having a properly tidy house at this point. I also find that I’m a lot more thoughtful when deciding on new purchases, because as it turns out a lot of things I was buying weren’t sparking joy, shopping was just giving me something to do.

      My toddler is a lot better at getting ready in the morning, now that all of the clothes in the drawer are visible at once. I will admit that I tossed some things based on whether they sparked joy for *me*. (Why are there so many kids clothes with special wash instructions and why do people keep buying them for my kid?)

    7. RKB*

      I did it in August and everything is still perfect. If you find enjoyment in the minimalism it’s gonna work, but if you like stuff it’s not.

      1. fposte*

        I think it can work if you really like stuff, because I definitely do. You just have to wiggle in through the little crack in your mind that really would like to *see* your stuff, not just have it.

    8. Anonsie*

      It’s lasted for… When did I do this… I guess a year now? And I’m an absolutely slovenly person so this is definitely a big deal.

      The thing I have yet to get on top of is the first place is putting my clothes away after they’re washed in the first place. I’ve always been really bad about this and I’ve gotten better with it but I still usually have a pattern of washing clothes one weekend and not putting them away until the next weekend.

    9. Liz L*

      Whatever you decided to part with MUST leave the property ASAP or you will find yourself digging through them again. I kept inviting people over to have a go at the unwanteds but that lengthened the process and I’m back to chaos. I’m going to conduct a final round and just start taking things out of the house as soon as possible.

  13. LawCat*

    Any recommendations for books about Yellowstone and Grand Teton? Any for adults and a 13 year old kiddo?

    We’re going to make a trip there this summer and I’d love some ideas on some reading about the parks.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      Probably not what you were looking for, but Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park by Lee Whittlesey is kind of a gruesomely fun read. I bought it at the park and read it during our trip, and retold some of the stories to the fam.

      We had some friends who had been there a couple years before, so we had travel tips from them. The best tip I can remember is to take the Yellow Bus tour out of west Yellowstone. Get on Matt’s tour, if he’s still there. (We went in 2012.) IIRC, there is a North and South tour. The North(?) one is awesome. It’s the one without the geysers. My kids were 14 and 7, and they really enjoyed it. I can’t imagine not doing the tour now. . .so much more interesting with the stories. My husband and I want to go back in the winter for the snow mobile tour, but we haven’t made it back there yet.

      We also went to the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole. There is a Lake Jenny hike that is popular in the Grand Tetons. Fairly easy for everyone, but enough that you feel like you did something different. Jackson Hole was okay. There’s a cowboy shoot out show in the town square. There’s also an alpine slide around there somewhere. I was sick during that part of our trip, so I don’t remember it as being as much fun.

      We had an RV, and that wasn’t great for staying in Jackson Hole (unless you have a tow car), but it worked great at Yellowstone. I can give you RV park suggestions, but no hotels.

      1. LawCat*

        Gruesomely fun reads are right up our alley! I’ll definitely check out the book!

        Thank you so much for the tips on the tours! That is great info for us! We’ll have our car, but we’d rather have a tour so everyone can enjoy the scenery without the pressure to drive. The lake hike is a great tip too!

        We’ve got our hotel reservations so we’re good on that front :-)

        1. Gene*

          Came here to recommend this book.

          I spent a while reading books like this, Over the Edge (Grand Canyon) and Off the Wall (Yosemite) by Michael P. Ghiglieri were especially good.

    2. Tea*

      For a children’s book, maybe consider: The Absolutely True Story…How I Visited Yellowstone Park With The Terrible Rupes

      I remember reading it quite a long while back, and enjoyed it thoroughly as a kid.

  14. SaraV*

    So I’ve caught the “creeping crud” that’s been floating around town here. For me, it’s a really, deep cough…hard enough that I threw my back out. :( It appears it’s gone through our whole management team in varying degrees. Although, there appears to be a strain of the stomach flu going around, too. As much as my back hurts, I’ll take the cough any day.

    In our part of the Midwest, we had a nice four day warm spell (upper 50’s, lower 60’s for highs), and then dropped back down to highs hovering right around freezing. I’m wondering if that had anything to do with this sudden onset of sickness around town.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      You must be near me. One of my coworkers developed a hernia from the cough. I’m thinking the cold weather is about over now, I hope.

    2. Dynamic Beige*

      When I got pneumonia a long time ago, I coughed so hard I pulled a bunch of muscles in my back/between my ribs/I’m not sure where. Just taking a deep breath hurt. If someone made me laugh it would be ha-ha-ha… ow…

    3. Perse's Mom*

      I think our office has been hit by the same thing. I just got it during the second wave.

    4. Mags*

      I reccomend Pukka lemon, ginger, manuka honey tea. Honey should help sooth the throat, ginger in case of stomach etc. I hope you feel better soon!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Thank you for asking! I meant to report back. I liked it much better, so clearly quality plays a big role. It’s sort of caramel-y. I really like it! I also got their peppermint bark tea, which is ridiculously good.

  15. Grey*

    I bought my girlfriend a pot of tulips for Valentine’s Day and they’re dying. She’s sad.

    I keep them in direct sunlight and I water them. Is it possible to over-water? I don’t know. Can they be saved? Any tips?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Did you give them any fertilizer?

      They may just be fading out, done.

      You can let them die back and then plant them outside, see if they come up next spring.

      Yeah you can over water. Is the water in the pan under the pot? That would be excess water.

    2. MsChandandlerBong*

      Indoor tulips usually only need to be watered once or twice a week. Are you watering them more often?

    3. fposte*

      Tulips are bulbs, not perennial or annual plants–they power up to bloom and then die back. It sounds like they may be doing just that. (There are a few bulbs with longer-lasting foliage, but they’re mostly the little ones.)

      With some bulbs, you can store the bulb and it will reflower the next year. In general, though, tulips you get packed in pots aren’t likely to perennialize that well–they’re usually from the one-and-done tulip families. Unless I knew it was something like an Apeldoorn that really would come back, I wouldn’t bother keeping the bulb in hope of a return.

    4. danr*

      As the others have mentioned, they’re done blooming and the foliage may be done too. You can plant the bulb after the danger of frost has passed, but don’t plant it deeply. However, if you live in an area with deer, don’t bother. Tulips are like candy to deer.

      1. fposte*

        I’m curious–I’ve been taught the deeper the better for tulip bulb planting, especially in squirrel country. What’s the “not deeply” theory? I’ve always been lazy at planting tulip bulbs and put them in pretty shallowly, and I’m hoping this means there’s a theory I can hang it on.

    5. Grey*

      It’s possible I over-watered. The blooms were drying up/dying and I figured water was the problem. Now the foliage is dying too. I can’t plant them outside yet since there’s still snow on the ground. I live in the wood and the deer are here every morning too.

      Maybe I’ll just put them in the ground this spring and see what happens. No harm in trying.

      Thanks for the tips.

      1. Artemesia*

        when the foliage dies back just clip ir off and put the bulps in a bag in your refrigerator crisper drawer and then plant in the spring. They will bloom again if they got enough sun while they were dying to power up the bulb. And it depends on the type; some are not bred to be repeaters.

    6. Mephyle*

      Tulips only last so long, even in the garden. That’s why they’re a spring flower and not a summer or autumn flower. They have their blooming period, then the flower finishes, and later the foliage (leaves) dies back. You can google instructions for when you are supposed to stop watering them, let all the green stuff die, and finally cut it off. Then store them away (in a cool place? in a warm place? you can look it up) for the rest of the year. At a certain time in the winter (again, the instructions will tell you), bring them out into the light, and start watering them as instructed, and you will have tulips again next spring.
      The part where I failed was to put a reminder for the start-up process on my calendar, so I can’t tell you how likely it is that you’ll get results, but it would be fun to try.

  16. Come On Eileen*

    Several of my friends have recently become consultants for the Rodan + Fields skin care product line. I’ve been invited to one of those in-home parties tomorrow, and looking on line, this stuff looks EXPENSIVE. But, I’m wondering if any of you have tried it and found it helpful? I’m 41 and my skin is just very dull and lifeless these days – dry here, oily there, sun spots showing up more and more, still breaking out during my cycle, etc. Would love to find something to make my skin look good again, and would be willing to try R+F if it works.

    1. EngineerGirl*

      I used Rodan and Fields because my step-mom was a consultant. I didn’t notice a real difference, but I’m a bit younger than you so maybe my skin didn’t need as much work. For anti-wrinkle, I just use Neutrogena daily lotion with SPF-15 and retinol. However, I remember reading (in like consumer reports) that the best bang for your buck comes from the Oil of Olay Regenerist line.

      TL;DR: don’t waste your money.

      1. Camellia*

        Olay Regenerist rocks! People always guess me two DECADES younger than I really am (which is a plus since I am in IT).

    2. Spa Manager*

      So, I’m not super familiar with Rodan and Fields products, but the one’s I’ve tried seem pretty good. Nothing life changing, but they seem to have a pretty good approach to anti-aging. If I remember correctly, in comparison to spa products, they aren’t prohibitively expensive (which unfortunately doesn’t say much, because that stuff tends to be pretty $$$). Whether you go for R+F or not, ingredients I would seek out if I were you:

      Acids (glycolic, salycilic, lactic etc) – good exfoliation via acids is helpful for dullness, sun spots, breakouts (especially the salycilic for breakouts) and generally to stimulate cell turnover, which starts to slow down as you age. I’d try a cleanser and/or toner with Glycolic. Always apply to dry skin as the active part of the product is neutralized by water.

      Retinols – anything with retinol or vitamin A is going to help target wrinkles, and is something to consider. Retinols are usually found in serums or creams.

      SUNSCREEN! – if you aren’t already, so important to keep sun spots at bay, and especially if you take on a heavier exfoliation regimen.

      Vitamin C – good for lots of things! Including lightening and brightening.

      And then of course, making sure you’re using something nice and moisturizing in combination with heavier exfoliation. I’d keep my eyes peeled for peptides for deep hydration.

      I’m in my 20’s, so as far as anti-aging is concerned I don’t have a ton of first hand experience, but the above are often the focus of higher end anti-aging skin care. I wish I had good recommendations for things that are less expensive (I’m sure they exist) but I’m most familiar with spa stuff. One of the very few perks of this job, aside from lots of massage, facials and mani/pedis, is being sent every spa product under the sun to try out.

      Good luck!

    3. Trixie*

      In addition to Spa Manager’s suggestions (all of them), I also notice an improvement with plenty of veggies. I’m into spinach salads right now with some protein and avacado, but as soon as it gets warm it will be smoothies. Also, sardines for omegas. And less sugar which tends to cause inflammation for me.

    4. Artemesia*

      I have great skin for an old lady as did my mother (and that is my good luck, genes). She used soap and water and a little light petroleum jelly on hers. I use soap and water, and the Olay daily serum and then a high spf sunscreen every day; I am using the Olay moisturizer with 50 spf sunscreen right now. I use a more specific sunscreen in summer. I have experimented with all sorts of products but none of them work any better than this stuff which while not cheap is not super expensive and a 20$ bottle lasts a very long time. I really massage it into the skin around my eyes each evening.

      There is little evidence that expensive skin products do anything special. Hydration, sun screen, adequate moisturizing and good genes pretty much account for skin quality as we age.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        My MIL is the same. All she uses is whatever hand soap is beside the sink and some inexpensive face cream, and her skin looks great. She just has good genes. I can’t tell about myself yet. I feel like I look pretty good, but I can’t tell if it’s reality or my optimistic habit of seeing what I want to see. I’m forty-six and no-one is falling all over themselves to hit on me, so there’s a partial clue . . . My MIL has old guys hitting on her all the time. But then, she’s always been a vivacious flirt and I’m pretty introverted, so that probably has something to do with it.

    5. Anonsie*

      R&F stuff is fine, but I personally hate buying stuff from companies like this and you can get the same stuff for cheaper and more easily available. So yeah, their products are fine, but you could go elsewhere.

      I’m with Spa Manager, go for vitamin C and glycolic acid. I have sort of pallid skin that tends to be acne prone and I use a salicylic acid cleanser and toner, vitamin C serum, and glycolic acid treatments here and there. I’ve rotated out which specific products I’ve used many times, I wouldn’t specifically recommend any one thing except that Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel and Alpha Hydrox’s Enhanced Cream are two really really good products. I’ve been using the peel (it’s not like a spa peel where you literally peel afterwards, you might be a bit red after but that’s all) to get rid of acne scars and get rid of acne for many years now and it’s great.

    6. The Sugar Plum Fairy*

      I personally don’t buy anything from in-home parties and/or MLMs, so I haven’t tried R+F and don’t plan to. However, if price isn’t an issue, I would highly recommend Kiehl’s products, particularly the Super Multi-Purpose Correcting Moisturizer (or the name is something similar to that). It comes in a purple jar.

      I’m nearing my mid-thirties and people constantly think I’m at least 10 years younger. I used to tan a lot in my teens and early 20s, but stopped in my mid-20s and really started care of my skin. I also use Cetaphil bar soap on a daily basis and my Clarisonic a couple of times a week. I also drink a ton of water. I can definitely see a difference in my skin in the last couple of years.

    7. Oy Vey*

      Lancome has a facial serum that is amazing. I have similar skin issues, my area is really dry.
      Lancôme Advanced Génifique.
      It’s worth the money.

  17. Dynamic Beige*

    Does anyone have one of those wake-up-with-light alarm clocks? The CD player in my alarm clock is busted, so I’ve been wondering if I should get one that has an iPod input then I saw these ones that supposedly wake you up by simulating a sunrise. Since I hate mornings and have a hard time getting up to just music, I was wondering if that would be “better” or not?

    This is the cheaper one, there’s another that’s over $300!

    1. Not Karen*

      I do and it definitely helps! Looks like the one I have is an older model of the one you linked. In addition to music, it has nature sounds as an alarm option. That said the light isn’t what wakes me up (the music does), but I find it not as harsh to wake up if there’s already some light in the room and the alarm increases in volume gradually.

    2. Noah*

      I have one that plugs into a lamp in my bedroom. You have to use an incandescent bulb because of the way it reverse dims. I like it a lot, much better way to wakeup. I always set an alarm on my phone too, but I usually am awake before it goes off and I’m not squinting or struggling to wakeup.

    3. Come On Eileen*

      I have the Philips Wake Ip light, same as above, only an older model. I love love love it, and recommend it all the time. I get up super early most days, way before the sun (like 4:45 am) and a regular alarm clock was just too jarring for me. I love how gently the light is, and the chirping bird sound when it’s finally time to go off. Get one, you won’t be disappointed.

    4. Anonsie*

      I have that exact one and it is a LIFE SAVER. I’m a very difficult person to wake up and I HATE doing it, and the light really does make me shift out of sleep more easily and wake up faster/less grumpy.

    5. Liz L*

      I got one this past winter and it does help. It’s sort of useless now though as the day lengthens. Mine was about $120 but I didn’t think to spend more just to have different music options. The soft beeps aren’t blaring but I do wish I had spent a little more for variety of sound effects.

    6. The IT Manager*

      Yes! Love it! I’ve noticed that I am now waking only to the light which starts 20 minutes before ( I don’t wake up right away) the soft nature sounds starts. It’s very gentle; I notice the room is getting lighter and I check to make sure that it is the alarm clock. Then I know the bird calls wake up sounds are coming soon.

    7. TootsNYC*

      I have one and love it! It’s really, really effective. I know mine wasn’t THAT expensive.

      I also will say that I do NOT think an iPod app would have the same effect.

      And, I’ll say that I keep a really dark bedroom. So the light is very bright. If I were used to a gradual lightening of the room, and used to sleepign through it, it might not be as effective.

      But, it does still work in the summer. It helps that I have room darkening curtains.

      Mine was a gift, given right at the same time I had decided to get myself one bcs I was realizing that in the summer, the light around the edges of the room-darkening curtains was waking me up earl yand rested.

      In short, I can’t think of any downsides, except for the space it takes up (and if I were willing to get rid of a couple of other things on my nightstand, it wouldn’t be a problem).

        1. JaneB*

          I have a lumie one, and use it for the light, with an alarm set in my phone for when I actually have to wake up. I mostly wake up with the alarm, but it feels like a much gentler awakening, much less of a nasty shock! I think the gradually increasing light levels start me waking out of deep sleep so it’s a more natural awakening when the alarm goes off.

          As someone who feels like death warmed up most mornings, this really helps, especially in winter…

  18. SandrineSmiles (France)*

    I recently bought myself a Super Nintendo.

    I am now finding games to play with it. I feel like I am catching up with my youth xD ….

    Too happy kekekekekeke.

    1. katamia*

      Awesome! I had a Sega Genesis as a kid and spent many happy hours with Sonic the Hedgehog, but I was always a little jealous of kids with Super Nintendos who could play Mario.

    2. Alistair*

      I only had a small collection, so I only have a few recommendations. Super Metroid might just be the pinnacle of the 2-D side-scrolling Metroid games. I have a soft spot for Secret of Mana and Super Mario RPG, despite never having finished either. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a treasured classic for a reason – it remains outstanding even today. Super Mario World is a classic as well, and introduced Yoshi and many other staples into the Mario-verse. And Chrono Trigger is considered one of the best games for the SNES.

      Good luck finding games and have fun!

      1. SandrineSmiles (France)*

        Yesterday in a shop we saw a brand new SNES Super Metroid game.

        999 euros.



    3. Noah*

      I wish I still had one. I do have my old N64. My mom found it and gave it to me for Christmas. Lots of fun.

      1. Alistair*

        Rather wish I never sold my N64. Had a great hard to find Tetris game, and I loved loved loved Star Fox 64. Though selling the 64 funded my Gamecube, so I suppose it worked out.

      2. Myrin*

        I’m in the process of catching up on all the N64 games I couldn’t play when I was a kid. Doing Ocarina of Time at the moment with my sister as a constand commentator and we’re having lots of fun! :D

    4. Elkay*

      I picked up a pile of N64 and GameCube games a few months ago for an absolute steal (£30) they were mainly Mario and Zelda games, I should really get around to playing them.

  19. Tara R.*

    Oh my god I have cramps so bad I feel like I’m gonna die. It’s 1pm and I haven’t made it out of bed yet, other than to grab my heating pad. I have things to do today! I need instant remedies. :( :( I pretty sure I freaked my roommate out by lying here and crying for half an hour straight, but it really hurts. :(

    1. anon709*

      Can you take ibuprofen? That’s usually the only thing that reliably helps me. Hope they don’t last long!

      1. The IT Manager*

        That’s my go to drug. It works at high doses. Often I set my alarm so I know when I can take the next dose.

    2. Cruciatus*

      If this is normal I would definitely talk to a doctor. Birth control has been great for me as cramps and painful cystic acne were a regular part of my period before. But for the here and now, I remember in a class a professor saying whiskey and orgasms were two ways to alleviate cramps. And definitely some sort of pain reliever medicine. Some people swear by a glass of milk. And some people massage the area about 3 inches above your ankle. Maybe one of those things (or all!) will help. My sympathies as I know how it can be. Feel better!

    3. LisaLee*

      What used to work for me was ibuprofen + aleve + a can of coke. Then nap for an hour. Idk why it worked but when I woke up I was fine.

      Then I went on hormonal birth control for a few years and now I seem to be fine so ymmv.

    4. Cristina in England*

      You might want to look into a TENS machine if you have chronically bad cramps. You put little pads on your back and it sends these pulses to disrupt the pain signals on the way to your brain (or something…) and anyway I found it extremely helpful not only during childbirth but also after when I was having bad after pains (which are like very bad cramps).

    5. BSharp*

      Okay. Weird tip that always helps me. There’s this “detox deodorant” by a company called Herbalix. You can get it on Amazon for $10ish for a small. I roll it on my stomach once or twice the month before and it cut my cramps WAY down. I don’t know why (it’s marketed to help the lymphatic system, so an entirely different area), I just know it has a HUGE impact.

      Also, get your hormones tested. My dr recommends against using birth control for periods because it’s a one-size-fits-all approach that can have bad side effects. But if you get your hormone levels tested, a compounding pharmacy can make you a topical cream with the right balance of estrogen/progesterone to help your body balance things.

      1. LisaLee*

        That’s interesting! I wonder what that “detox deodorant” contains that helps you. I’ve heard nettle tea can help, but I never heard of a topical herbal thing before.

    6. Doriana Gray*

      I sympathize, Tara – I’m right there with you today minus the being bedridden thing (had to go get my hair done and buy a new mattress). My heating pad has been putting in work, and I pray this is over by tomorrow morning (my cramps usually last one to three days).

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I used to have really bad ones for like three days–then I went on the pill and they vanished for years. When I came off it a few years ago, I found that I still have them, but typically they are only one or two days and then it backs off. But I feel your pain—this Thursday, I spent nearly twenty minutes in the bathroom at work waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in. I seriously thought I would have to go home.

    8. StudentA*

      Midol works pretty well. It is not a magic pill, but for me, works better than regular pain killer.

    9. Jen in RO*

      Ugh I hope you’re feeling better by now. I had bad cramps after my IUD insertion and I am someone with super light periods. My first reaction was: oh my god, how do women live through this every month?! :(

  20. Hopeful Nashville Tourist*

    Any tips or advice for spending a few days in Nashville at the beginning of May? Has anyone done this? Any recommendations on hotels, areas to stay in, renting a car or not, what to wear, and anything else would be most welcome.
    Thanks in advance for any input.

    1. the gold digger*

      My husband was in Nashville last fall (the trip where he transported his parents’ ashes and all their financial records, which were all mixed up in a few boxes – heed me if you love your children – get your act together before you die so your kids don’t have to deal with your crap! and arrange for someone to throw out the naked photos of you and your partner and your equipment!)

      Where was I?

      Nashville. He said Prince’s Fried Chicken was delicious and he really liked the Ryman Auditorium tour. (You can make a record at the Ryman! Look on their website.)

    2. The Sugar Plum Fairy*

      I lived in Nashvegas for a year. The beginning of May can be pretty warm and muggy. I would definitely check out Franklin (suburb of Nashville). It has a really cute “Main Street” area, plus a cool theater. There are good restaurants there, too. My fiancé and I go back to visit and we usually stay in Franklin/Cool Springs. If you like smoothies, you should check out 9 Fruits.

      Downtown: Check out Puckett’s (also a location in Franklin too), the Ryman, Broadway (where all the honky tonks are), Bridgestone Arena, the Frist Museum

      The Gulch (very close to downtown): Bond Coffee and Cantina Laredo for food, Two Old Hippies for shopping

      Bellemeade/West Nashville: Cheekwood is a MUST SEE, especially if you like botanical gardens, art, and historical stuff. It’s especially beautiful this time of year.

      The North side of Nashville isn’t the safest place, so I would steer clear of there. Prince’s Hot Chicken is good but be prepared for a wait (2+ hours on off-peak times). It’s a sketchy area too, so go during the day.

    3. Dangitmegan*

      I live in Nashville and you will def need a car. Things are pretty spread out. It’s probably going to be warm and humid, so dress for that.

      Everyone’s suggestions are great. East Nashville is a cool area too. A bit more “hip.” Pharmacy is a great place to eat, and Calypso has the best chicken nachos ever.

      If you’re in to outlet shopping Opry Mills is overwhelming and crowded but you can find some great deals. You can also then visit all the other Opryland area things.

      Nashville is such a cool city. You’ll have a blast.

    4. Gene*

      There’s a full-scale replica of the Parthenon that’s really cool if you’re into that kind of thing.

    5. YaH*

      Look at staying in the Cool Springs area (South Brentwood/North Franklin, which is about 15-20 minutes south of Nashville proper) rather than downtown. Unless you’re super into country music and bar hopping and live music, staying downtown is pretty pointless because nothing except Lower Broad is walkable anyway. Nashville is super spread out! You won’t have a choice about renting a car unless you plan to stay in your hotel the whole time- there’s virtually no public transportation.

      Summer comes early, and so May is warm-weather clothing. Nashville natives don’t actually wear cowboy boots and cowboy hats, so it’s easy to spot tourists. You’ve gotten some good suggestions from others about places to visit. Skip Prince’s and try Hattie B’s. Skip Monell’s and try Biscuit Love or Puckett’s.

    6. DCGirl*

      Eat at the Pancake Pantry near Vanderbilt University. The line can be out the door and down the block, but it’s a true Nashville experience.

  21. breakup question*

    My boyfriend and I broke up last month after dating for a year…everything was civil, though we haven’t spoken since then.

    I really liked one of his sisters, though we only got to hang out a few times due to living in different parts of the country. I didn’t have a separate relationship with her without my boyfriend there, but I did feel close to her somehow, and when we talked alone she told me she looked forward to me joining their family. She’s a bit older than me and felt kind of like the cool aunt, if that makes sense.

    I keep thinking about sending her a short email to say basically “goodbye, I enjoyed getting to know you and I’m sorry I won’t get to know you better, wish you the best.” I don’t think I knew her well enough that we’d end up becoming friends, I just feel sad somehow not acknowledging the end.

    Does this email seem like a bad idea? Do you think it would make the recipient uncomfortable? I certainly don’t want to do that. Thanks for any opinions. By the way, if this looks familiar, it’s because I posted it a couple weeks ago on corporette and got really mixed opinions, which is why I’m posting it again here.

    1. Ruffingit*

      When my ex and I divorced, my sister-in-law sent me a nice email telling me she was sorry to hear about it and that she wished me well in the future. We actually stayed friends on email and connect every once in awhile when I send her a happy birthday wish or whatever. So, it’s possible you could stay friends with her at least at a distance if that is something you’re comfortable with.

  22. Mirilla*

    I have just recently rediscovered Corelle dishes. My aunt had a set for like 30 years. I got tired of the heavy stoneware plates so bought a cheap set of the plain white ones. Wow. Lightweight, stack easily, etc….why did I not get these before? Plus if you break one they are easy to replace.

    1. TootsNYC*

      We had them when I was a kid. When I finally decide my stoneware-like dishes are too chipped or scratched, I may go with them again too.

      They are also really durable–they probably WON’T break.

      Though we did shatter a plate once. Adn I mean SHATTER!! Little, itty bitty SHARDS everywhere. It was like every piece turned into a splinter. Very dramatic.

      But I would still get some even if I had little kids who could drop stuff. Because boy did we drop a ton of plates until that happened. And it was only once in something like 15 years.

      1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

        I have a crazy Corelle story.

        I used to have an old set of (very ugly) Corelle that my grandmother bought in the 70s, that was my parents’ first set of dishware, which they replaced and held onto until I was old enough to go to university and need dishes of my own. Those were my dishes for several years until my husband and I got a new set of dishes for our wedding. So they were heavily, heavily used, and pretty old for dishes. One day in one of our old apartments I took a plate out of the cupboard and set it on the counter, then got distracted and went into the living room or something, and THE PLATE EXPLODED.

        I kid you not. It had completely just exploded everywhere. I FREAKED, thinking the house was haunted (I don’t know!) and went to go clean it up, and it was just ev-ery-where. Like little tiny pieces of shrapnel (which makes sense, it is glass). I spent some time frantically Googling and apparently this has been known to happen before, especially when the dish, like that dish, already had a tiny little chip or crack in it. I couldn’t believe how loud it was, it sounded like someone had thrown a rock through the window. I still really like Corelle, but that did turn me off of it a bit, and I was not too upset to get rid of that set of dishes when we got new ones. (Also because it was a hideous pattern of a green, yellow, and orange flower, which could definitely put you off your feed.)

    2. After the Snow*

      Have stoneware from before I got married. But got Corelle when we had kids. Also both my grandmother and Mother converted to Corelle as they got older. It makes great every day dishes.

      1. GreenTeaPot*

        Love my plain white Corelle. I have other dishes, but we always seem to use Corelle. It’s like classic, like Pyrex, Revere Ware and a Kichen Aid mixer.

    3. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I have a few Corelle lunch-size plates, and I love them. They’re white with a small border of black checks. My other everyday dishes are from the Pioneer Woman collection at Walmart, which I like for the bright, cheerful, eclectic look. I mix and match from her coordinating sets to make my own kind of whimsical set. But they are thick! I wish they looked the same color- and pattern-wise but that they were just a bit thinner.

    4. SL #2*

      My mom loves Corelle, so that’s all I use now too! So durable, lightweight, and easily available in all sizes and shapes.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          All my cereal bowls are Corelle. I don’t know what’s up with dish manufacturers these days, but what they call a cereal bowl is a small serving bowl to me. Even the Pioneer Woman collection has gargantuan cereal bowls. I wish she’d add a smaller-sized one. Don’t people read the research about larger dishes causing over-eating?

    5. Anonsie*

      I love Corelle dishes, I have a very deep brand loyalty to them. We had these white ones with a little blue floral border the whole time I was growing up and when I got ceramic dishes after I moved out as a teenager I remember wondering what was up with these weird, heavy plates haha

    6. ThursdaysGeek*

      Mine are plain white: simple enough for daily use, and nice enough for fancy too. If I want fancy I just accessorize, and they go with whatever I choose. Mine are probably close to 30 years old, and I don’t think any have broken yet.

  23. Tris Prior*

    Can anyone recommend a face moisturizer that won’t result in immediate zits? I’ve had terrible luck with several brands that claim to be for sensitive skin, won’t clog pores, etc. I rarely break out any more (thank you, pill) unless I use moisturizer. And I’m starting to get dry flaky patches on my face, I assume from being outside in the freezing cold/indoors in dry overheated spaces. Plus, I am over 40 and should probably find *something* that works.

    Ideally something one can find at a drugstore and not anything super pricey. Sephora looks to have some good stuff but I cannot pay $60 for something that goes on my face.

    1. Cruciatus*

      I mostly just use Cetaphil. For day I use the Cetaphil with SPF and at night I put on the non-SPF version. They don’t do anything extra, but they also don’t break me out. I also do OK with Oil of Olay’s SPF face lotion (in the wider, cheaper bottle), but I just prefer Cetaphil because it’s slightly creamier and less scented and once in a while the Olay stuff seems…gritty? Sometimes something is off about it so I bought Cetaphil instead one day and was happy with it.

    2. it happens*

      Try neutrogena’s hydro boost – it has hyaluronic acid, which is supposed to be super moisturizing. Since it’s a gel it shouldn’t cause outbreaks. BUT – it has no sunscreen. And you need sunscreen.

    3. Victoria, Please*

      I really love this stuff called Sassabella with vanilla and frankincense. You have to special order and it is a *tad* pricey ($20) but it is really lovely smelling and soothing.

    4. Shell*

      I love CereVe. I’ve also tried Cetaphil, but found it too sticky. CereVe on my skin moisturizes as well as Cetaphil but soaks completely into my skin (dry to the touch) in about two minutes.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, I just found out about that–I think Beautypedia had it strongly recommended, maybe? And it’s turned my life around, because I never had found something that seemed to protect without staying greasy, so I wouldn’t use it. CeraVe I’m happy to use.

        1. Shell*

          Yeah, Beautypedia is also where I found out about it! I bought Paula Begoun’s books about ten years ago and have kept an eye on her stuff ever since. I’ve never bought her skincare because it’s far too expensive for me (especially with shipping to Canada), but I found her articles sensible and invaluable. I discovered CereVe last year and haven’t let go of it since (even though I still have some Biotherm gifted to me that I have yet to try).

          CereVe isn’t sold in Costco and doesn’t have generic dupes, but there are enough coupons that the price in drugstores isn’t too bad. And I was probably being overly cautious with my two minute estimate…I think general dry-times for that lotion (I use the body lotion, not the facial version…works fine even on my face) is about a minute.

          1. Cruciatus*

            I was just at CVS and they have a CVS version of CereVe. It was about $4 less ($10), though right now CVS is having a buy one, get one 50% off on CereVe if that is of any interest to anyone!

      2. internetkimmy*

        +1 to CeraVe! It was recommended by my dermatologist and my breakouts have decreased dramatically. And I agree that I prefer it to Cetaphil.

    5. Trixie*

      A thread above we talked about Olay Regenerist. I’ll add sunscreen for day. I do have to say I’m not crazy about spending $ on products but am now willing to if works well on aging skin. I will also go to Sephora or dept makeup store counters and ask for samples to get an idea of what i like. My pores tend to block up like that so most of what’s out there will not work for me.

    6. Cristina in England*

      Have you tried something totally plain like coconut oil? I use that at night and I have really sensitive skin. I also have a small bottle of food-grade almond oil with some tea tree oil mixed in and this helped me tame breakouts.

      1. Trixie*

        I found coconut oil way too heavy for me. Sometimes I’ll go with Vit E oil but only in winter or after a light chemical peel at home.

      2. AnotherTeacher*

        I also use coconut oil at night, too. I apply a tiny amount after using a serum.

    7. Not Karen*

      I like Yes To products. I use the cucumber one that’s formulated for sensitive skin but they have a few formulations. It’s light, not oily, and moisturizes well. A tube that lasts me about a year is ~$18. You can find them at Target and CVS.

    8. Anonsie*

      MY GOD. I WISH I COULD. I have yet to ever put a moisturizer on my face that doesn’t give me little angry red bumps within about 48 hours so I just don’t. I just use serum and call it a day. I used to try new moisturizers constantly and even the bland standbys like Cetaphil and CeraVe give me angry breakouts, so I’ve thrown in the towel. I’ve tried in vain to find out what specific ingredients causes it, because the list I have excludes just about everything out there.

      What I do when I need to moisturize: I have “lotion” from from Japanese skin care brands, which is like a watery gel. They are sometimes called moisturizing toners and come in a bottle like a liquid. I don’t know why, but these don’t break me out compared to creams. The one I have right now is Juju Cosmetics AquaMoist Moisturizing Lotion, which I like a lot. The corresponding moisturizer cream from that line also doesn’t break me out if I use it infrequently, but I definitely can’t use it a lot. It’s in my cabinet in case of emergency I guess.

      Also, I did have success a few years ago with Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Lotion but it’s way way way too heavy for my oily skin. I used it successfully when I had some crazy dryness from retinol, but when I quit the retinol and went back to being a greasy faced lady it was way too much and felt gross.

    9. Allison Mary*

      About a year or so ago, I started doing oil cleansing with just jojoba oil (a pretty high quality jojoba oil that I found on Amazon). It has worked wonders for balancing out my skin – it’s reduced acne in acne prone areas, and made the dry areas of my face way less flaky. I wish I had discovered it years ago.

      1. Paige Turner*

        Yep, I use the Trader Joe’s jojoba oil for makeup removal and moisturizer. I think it’s around $8 and it lasts like a year. So great. I have drier skin so YMMV but I think if it’s too heavy you could put it in a spray bottle to have it go on lighter.

    10. Windchime*

      I was still breaking out in my late 40’s and early 50’s. I found that, for me, gentle exfoliation was the key to stopping the breakouts. So now I use Aveeno products. They have a really gentle daily scrub that I alternate with their daily face wash. Then I follow up with the Aveeno moisturizer that has sunscreen. This is all I use now (well, once in awhile I’ll rotate in a scrub from Philosophy).

      The Aveeno stuff is all available at the drugstore or grocery store (in the US). I got the Philosophy scrub at Sephora.

    11. ThursdaysGeek*

      No-one has ever heard of it, but Great Scott Skin Creme. I use it on my hands, face, feet; I use it instead of chapstick. It’s made in Idaho, so I order it online.

    12. Hypnotist Collector*

      Kiss My Face Face Factor with 30 SPF sunscreen.
      And don’t use soap on your face! Use a gentle cleansing lotion.

    13. Beck*

      Try some oils. I like argan oil at night in the winter, it’s extremely moisturizing but too thick for me to wear in the summer. I was getting some light eczema on my face and a few days of argan oil saw it decreasing quite a bit, now it’s gone completely. I use jojoba in the morning year round and morning and night in the summer. I also break out from anything on my face and I’ve found oils to do the trick for me. Jojoba oil is really similar to the oil the skin naturally produces, so it’s a nice complement.

    14. Formica Dinette*

      Not a moisturizer, but it’s my winter go-to: Aveda Intensive Hydrating Masque. It was recommended to me by my sister’s husband, who isn’t usually into beauty products. This stuff keeps my (our) skin hydrated without making it greasy or causing breakouts. I put it on before bed, but if you apply it sparingly and don’t wear foundation, you might be able to wear it during the daytime. I think it sells for about $25 a bottle, which is plenty for the winter. FWIW, my BIL and I are similar in age to you.

  24. Mirilla*

    Not a moisturizer but I use Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser. I don’t need a moisturizer because it’s already moisturizing. My old dermatologist recommended it to me years ago.

    1. Trixie*

      I still use Cetaphil but I found with the rinsing it was too drying. These days at 44, it’s more of an oil cleanser I’ll remove with moist cloth, then toner and moisturize.

  25. AnotherAlison*

    Mascara question: Does anyone use waterproof mascara? If so, have you found the product to have gone downhill the past couple years?

    I’ve been using it since I was a teenager, and I never used to remove it. Brands like Revlon Colorstay really stayed. I could coat over it the next day, with zero smudging. Now, I still don’t remove it, but I wake up with big black smudges under my eyes, and then when I shower, the water knocks more loose and leaves smudges under my eyes. I end up using eye makeup remover ~3x to get each application off.

    I’ve tried a few brands, all the same results, so I wondered if maybe the FDA forced everyone to change to a crappy, safer formulation or something.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      There have been some changes and I think that more are necessary.
      Make-up in the US has some issues.

      I remember in the mid 80s working for a restaurant. We’d scrape down the grills and the grease would go into a well beside the grill. At the end of the day we would drain the well into former pickle jars. (Big glass pickle jars.) We would repack the pickle jars into their original boxes and stack them up. This was actually a clever way to reuse the pickle jars and boxes.
      What happened next, not so clever. A person would come from a cosmetic manufacturing firm and BUY that grease from my boss to use in manufacturing cosmetics. Yes, that burned, used cooking grease when into something we put on our faces.
      After that I started questioning what else went into make-up.

      I remember a while ago they changed red dye in cloth/clothing. Now red runs more than it used to. But they really had to change it, the old dye was just too toxic.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Here’s what I do:
      I put my Mally Volumizing mascara on first and let it dry. Then I put a very light coat of Rimmel waterproof mascara on top of it and when it dries a little, then I comb/brush/separate my lashes and touch up with the Rimmel where I missed any spots. All day, my mascara holds up–it even holds up when I skate and my eyes water due to the cold. Because the Mally underneath is NOT waterproof, at night, I can wash my face and the layers of mascara will wash right off. :)

      You should not be leaving mascara on your eyes at night! It will make your lashes brittle and you can get an eye infection.

  26. Sunflower*

    How big is the city everyone lives in(population wise)?
    Is it a suburb of a big city or just a town on it’s own?
    Do you like it or prefer to live somewhere bigger/smaller?

    I live in Philadelphia and while it’s a big city, it feels oddly small a lot of the time. Makes me wonder how I would handle living in a smaller city and how other people feel about their cities?

    1. Ruffingit*

      I live in a suburb of Houston, the town I live in has about 54,000 people in it. I used to live in Houston proper. I like the city I’m living in. I’ve lived in places with 5,000 people up to millions and I found that, generally speaking, every place I’ve lived has become its own little “city” in that people tend to stick to their little areas of the town even when they live in a huge metropolis. I’m really comfortable with where I am at.

    2. Laura*

      I miss the about Philadelphia :( All the perks of a big city, advantages of a smaller one. Providence was the opposite – all the downsides of urban living with few of my favorite city things.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I live in a town of a about 3k. We probably have 10k cows.

      I love it. It took a while to feel a part of the community. And I am not sure this is the place for me when I am old. But I can stay here for many years and be fine. The only draw back is that it’s a half hour to anything. While annoying, that also helps to keep spending down.

      I grew up in town with 80k people. I think to make this jump it helps to be looking for something different than what you had. If you basically like where you are then going to a tiny town may not be for you. I did not like my home town as you could live next door to someone and never speak to them or learn their names. I knew this was not for me.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, really. A security company DID figure out that we needed security systems to protect ourselves from marauding groups of cows.

          Am shaking my head. We get these calls for companies that install whole house security systems and I have to ask them what I am protecting myself from– a cow riot?

            1. Not So NewReader*

              cows with guns. omg. lol.

              Thanks for the share, that was very funny, especially since I just made up the cow riot thing. ha!

              1. Ismis*

                It’s great, isn’t it? I loved it when I saw it first – I need to watch it again.

                1. Not So NewReader*

                  I have to send it to my boss. I was telling her about it, I got to the chicken in choppers part and she roared.

          1. TootsNYC*

            well, if you’re really isolated, you might want warning someone is there.

            I grew up in a town of 1,200, in rural Iowa. And I live in NYC.
            So interestingly, I feel MORE safe surrounded by so many people, and less safe when I’m out at someone’s farm. No witnesses.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              No, I can open a window and several neighbors would hear me yell. They are very close. I have a postage stamp lot. I would not be comfy on a farm, either.
              Where I grew up apathy reigned supreme, so while there were probably witnesses no one did anything any way. It could be the particular city I grew up in. I lived in a much smaller town before moving here. So I did not go from large area to tiny area in one step. I do not think I could have just moved here, because as you are saying, the lack of people can be disconcerting at best. And it has taken me a long time to realize all the ways I am happier here. It was not instant love.

    4. Aurora Leigh*

      Mine is about 20,000. It’s a town, not a suburb. I like that’s it’s big enough to have multiples stores and places to eat, but I miss living in the country! I want to go back to raising chickens and goats in my spare time.

      The town where I work is about 1500. I like small towns and how everyone knows everyone else, but it can also feel constricting.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I left my hometown of 1,200 to 1,500. It was too much “everybody knows your business.” I like the anonymity of a city, combined with its “you’re never alone” feeling. Lots of witnesses, but not lots of everybody in your business.

    5. NicoleK*

      I live in a St. Paul which has a population of 294,000. In some states, that would be considered a small city but it’s the second largest city in the state of Minnesota. St. Paul, is a stand alone city, but it’s commonly associated with Minneapolis (The Twin Cities).

      1. Not Karen*

        Once upon a time I got yelled at on Facebook because I called Minneapolis-St. Paul a city and they thought it wasn’t big enough to be considered a city… Like you’re telling me there aren’t any cities in Minnesota? How does that make sense??

      2. bibliovore*

        I live in St. Paul. work in Minneapolis. Spent the last 23 years in NYC
        The good- affordable livable . Great job. Near husbands family.
        All the big city culture . arts. Music ,theater.

        The bad : here three years. Seems hard to make friends.

        1. NicoleK*

          Lol. Yes, tough to make friends here. Most of my friends are current and former coworkers.

      3. Greggles*

        Love St Paul. I live in the south metro but spend a decent amount of time up there!

      4. NacSacJack*

        I also live in Saint Paul. And I used to live in Minneapolis. I laugh now, when I remember I used to tease my friends living in Saint Paul about living in the burbs. The Minneapolis-St Paul metro area is very unique. We have 1st, 2nd, 3rd and by now, probably 4th ring suburbs. We just keep growing and growing and growing. We really don’t have any geographic limitations. We’ve crossed the river and consider Hudson and counties in Wisconsin to be in the metro area. I do admit, on the days I run to Minneapolis 3x in one day, that I wish I lived in Minneapolis, but then I remind myself of the commute from StP to Mpls during the afternoon rush hour and I thank God I live in St Paul. It’s easy to get around this city or cities and easy to bike and easy to leave and get out of town. As for anyone who thinks MSP isn’t a city, excuse me, but ummm, 600,000 people live here and would disagree with you. Metro area population is 2.2 million people and 22 counties by last count. It is hard to meet people but the best thing to do is get out and do activities, meet your neighbors, find groups with similar interests. Other than that, I think its hard to find friends anywhere you move to. I myself love small towns, but will never move to one, nor will I move back to my home town of 20,000 people. Too cozy.

    6. Felicia*

      I live in Toronto, which is 2.8 million I think. 4th biggest city in North America. I love living in a big city, and I don’t think I could ever personally live somewhere small. I live right downtown and it’s expensive but I love it. I grew up in a suburb of Toronto, which is still technically part of Toronto, but I prefer downtown. I understand it’s not for everyone, but it is perfect for me. The only other place I’ve been i could totally like living is Boston, but I would never ever leave Canada because I love my country too. The one thing I don’t like is how geographically big and sprawly it is, though I have seen cities that are more sprawly

    7. AnotherAlison*

      I live in an unincorporated rural area, just a couple miles outside a city of 150,000. This is a suburb of a 2M pop. city.

      I am not a city person, so I wouldn’t want to live anywhere bigger than I do. (Even though I can get to downtown metro in ~30 minutes, I rarely do). But, I like that it’s big enough here to have the big-city stuff the every 5 years or so that I want to take advantage of it. I’d probably move to somewhere sparser, but I need a city of this size to support my type of employment. Culturally, it’s not a great fit for me here. There is a high SAHM/working-but-not-professional-jobs female population here. (That’s probably more my area, if I moved more into the city, it might be better.) So, I don’t like too many people, but I’d like to have a few more to find more like me.

    8. Doriana Gray*

      I live in a small city in the Midwest, but I’m from Bucks County, PA and went to school in Philly. The city I live in now feels a lot like the small town I grew up in in Bucks County, and I hate it. There’s very little to do (and I even live downtown) since everything downtown closes early on weekends. I at least had a variety of things I could do and explore when I lived in Philly. Plus, the indie music scene out there was great. The scene where I am now is pretty much nonexistent.

      I would move back to Philly in a heartbeat if I wasn’t so determined to move to NYC in the next couple of years.

    9. Al Lo*

      I’m in Calgary, which is just over 1M these days. I’m definitely a city person — I always say that Calgary’s about the smallest place I’d want to live, but that’s not 100% true — I just need to live somewhere that has a thriving, vibrant arts and culture scene and is large enough to feel like it ticks every box I could want. Calgary’s a pretty good small-town feel, big-city amenity place, though. A lot of the specialized communities are small enough that people know each other and have worked together, and I can almost always run into someone I know at any mall in the city; but it’s also very multicultural, has world-class arts companies, and is big enough that it feels like the educational and business opportunities are available.

      1. Finny*

        Huh. I’m in Calgary, too. Met the husband at an anime con in Toronto, then moved up here to marry him a few years later (I’m originally from the States).

        I love Calgary. Among other things, I love that it has an actual public transit system. As neither the husband or I can drive, due to vision, a decent transit system is most important. Colorado Springs, where I’m from, has a transit system, but it’s the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s much better up here.

    10. Tau*

      I’m currently splitting my time between one city that has around 100k inhabitants on paper (however, the borders are drawn in such a way that this includes every village in the surrounding area) and one town of 25k. I lived in a major city – around 800k inhabitants – before that, and I have to admit that although I never thought of myself as a big-city sort of person I’m missing the size. :( Especially in the 25k town.

      The biggest problem for me is transportation – I don’t drive and like to cycle if I can. (I’m in Europe, FYI.) This is the smallest place I’ve lived since I was a kid and it’s really striking how heavily car-oriented everything is and how difficult it can be to get around by cycling as a result – massive roundabouts and roads that aren’t safe for cyclists with no alternatives and the like. Getting to work every day is a bit of a nightmare, I’ve ended up on the super-early schedule in part to avoid as much traffic as I can. This was not a problem in the bigger places I’ve lived. :(

      1. Doriana Gray*

        Transportation is the biggest issue I have in my city too. :( I’m also a non-driver, and you really need a car to get anywhere around here if you want to leave downtown because there are no trains or subways and the buses don’t run regularly or across townships.

    11. Ekaterin*

      I live in Boston (pop. 645,699 per Google). I go back and forth about whether I like it; I miss the green spaces of my suburban upbringing, but I like the city amenities. I don’t think I’d like living in a city larger (and/or more crowded) than Boston, but I think that I could trade in for a similarly-sized city in the region of the U.S. where I grew up. (I’m not an east coast native, and living here has come with a lot of culture shock.)

      1. Windchime*

        I live in a suburb of Seattle that has about 30,000 people. But it’s a weird suburb that’s really spread out and has a funny little old-fashioned “downtown” with nothing in it but a tiny library and a grocery store. I grew up in a town of 2000 that has a bigger downtown.

        Oddly enough, Seattle has roughly the same population as Boston (652k). I didn’t realize they were the same size.

        1. Formica Dinette*

          Hey, neighbor! I’m in Seattle proper. You’d think I’d be able to guess your suburb, but so many places around here have expanded so much in the past 10-15 years that I’m stumped.

          You also stumped me on your cat question above and I’m a total crazy cat lady. I hope your boy’s behind is better soon.

          Anyway, helloooo! :)

      2. Amy UK*

        I had no idea Boston (or Seattle) was so small! Not that I’ve ever been, but the amount it shows up on the internet and media made me think it would have far more people than that. It’s about the same size as Bristol in the UK, which isn’t a big city by any stretch of the imagination.

        You learn something new every day!

        1. Formica Dinette*

          Dunno about Boston, but the amount of physical space available for the city of Seattle to occupy is very small. We’re hemmed in by Puget Sound to the west and Lake Washington to the east. That said, there’s a whole lotta sprawl, and the Seattle metropolitan area has something like 3.5 million people.

    12. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I live in a turn that has grown from 3K to almost 6K in the past twelve years or so. We’re a bedroom community to a college town that in the past twenty years has grown from 30K to more than 70K. I have loved the excitement of seeing the progress, and I like that having outsiders from more progressive areas move to our little southern town has forced changes to some backwards ways that things have always been done around here.

    13. complaining, so anon for this*

      I live in a suburb of Los Angeles. It’s about 20-25 miles southeast and has about 200,000 people. But there is no distinction, no open space between cities here, so it feels like one big city of millions and millions and millions of people. I hate it. The traffic is terrible all the time. The cost of living is high, especially housing. The “suburbs” are so densely populated now that it is like a big city in terms of people and traffic, but without any of the amenities. We still have to drive everywhere, there are no cultural attractions- still have to go to Los Angeles, and it takes forever to get anywhere.

      A few years ago we purchased a home in a small unincorporated community of about 15,000 people. Right now the house is a rental, but we are planning our escape. The town is surrounded by open space and we can walk to many shops and restaurants from our house. Just need to find a job or some other way to pay the bills.

    14. Elizabeth West*

      160,000 people, but it feels smaller. (It acts smaller too.) I like a bigger place because there is more to do, better transport, etc. I would move but I can’t afford it. :(

    15. Colette*

      I’m in Ottawa. I believe if you include Gatineau (which is on the other side of the river but in a different province) it’s around 1 million.

        1. Colette*

          I like it here and it’s a beautiful city, but it has its idiosyncrasies – its a hard city to meet people in, and bilingualism is required for a lot of jobs.

      1. StudentPilot*

        Me too! I think Ottawa actually is about 1M without Gatineau – it was just under 900,000 in 2011 (per Google, anyway). But that is including all the rural areas that got sucked in, like Manotick and North Gower.

        And I agree with your comment about it being hard to meet people – Ottawa is very cliquey it seems. It’s hard to break into.

    16. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      I live in a town of just under 20,000 people, and the nearest “big town” is about twenty minutes away–that’s under 50,000. And that’s the biggest town in the area by far–to get to a place with over 100,000 people is an hour or more away. (And this summer we’ll be relocating to an even smaller town of under 15,000 people! I’m really curious to see how different that will be.) It has a lot of downsides–no public transit, very limited restaurant options, general hickish attitude in a lot of residents (which I will hasten to add is not because it’s a small town alone, just a fact for this specific area), limited employment, etc.,–but there are some upsides, like our fairly inexpensive home and the fact that I live a stone’s throw from the lake, some lovely parks and open spaces, and access to a ton of nearby provincial parks.

      We live here only because of my husband’s job. Both of us much prefer a bigger town, since we were both raised in cities, and we’ve lived in a bunch of places. I think my favourite place to live is in the suburbs or neighbourhood districts of a city of about 1 million or so–to me, that’s a big enough town for cultural amenities and city life, but small enough for a nice experience. Bigger than that is hard for me–but I also don’t like where I live now, with under 20,000 people. To me anywhere between about 100,000 and 1 million is a nice sweet spot.

    17. Jen in RO*

      Bucharest, Romania has about 2 million people on paper, but it’s probably closer to 3 million if you count the people living here but registered in other cities. I live somewhat on the outskirts of the city now, but I still kinda miss my old apartment that was across the street from a mall and had 20 bus stops in a 5-minute range.

      I would probably hate living in a smaller city – I like to be “just part of the crowd”, I like to have lots of places to go out (even if I never do), I love that we’re finally getting big concerts, I like that the biggest airport in the country is 20 minutes away from my home. Lots of people claim to hate Bucharest, and it’s far from perfect, but I don’t think I could move away.

    18. Claire (Scotland)*

      I live in Edinburgh, which has a population of around 500,000 (double that in August when the Festival is on, though. Ugh). It’s a smallish city, which I find best. Larger cities can be fun to visit, I go to London a few times a year, but they are too big and too busy for me to spend more than a few days there. I get overwhelmed and peopled out.

      Here in Edinburgh I have all the benefits of a city (I grew up in the country. Never again!) but it’s small enough I can walk most places if I want. And we have an excellent bus service, so I didn’t need to learn to drive. Small cities are definitely the best for me.

      1. Tau*

        I used to live in Edinburgh and miss it a lot sometimes! I also think the size was just about right – a bit smaller maybe would be fine (especially in August, ha), but not really bigger. I’m passing through London on a regular basis and I wouldn’t want to live there, it’s just too BIG!

        1. JW*

          I live in London and sometimes I marvel at how walkable and easy it is to get around, which is only hampered by the millions of people clogging the joint up :) The workweek is one thing – everyone knows their timings, how to behave on the commute (god forbid you talk!), running around to drinks/dinner/workout etc. Weekends are spent trying to either get out of the city or do something in the city that necessitates beating back the tourist hordes. Summer is lovely – if you don’t go into town. I never have enough time to get everything done, leaving town on vacation can be a trial in its own, and sometimes the sheer amount of everything going on can be overwhelming. Right now I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but I will be ready to move on in the next five years or so – if they don’t kick us EU dependents out before then!

          I lived in St Paul before this for three years and hated every minute of it. It was clean, easy living for the most part (provided you didn’t need to drive across town – worst drivers in america!) with a pretty decent music scene, but as someone without kids, it was a real drag and tough to feel accepted.

      2. Elkay*

        I love Edinburgh and always say it’s a city I’d love to live in because it’s very similar to my home city which is small, walkable and has lots of green spaces.

    19. Carrie in Scotland*

      I live in a city that’s about 200,000 people and I grew up in a nearby town of about 10,000.

      It does indeed seem like a rather large town and I joke with my friends that the 6 degrees of separation is more like 3 here. The nearest other city is around an hour away and is about 150,000 people in size.

      I just came back from living in a larger city and I didn’t like it that much because I felt anonymous – much like I do when I visit really big cities like London.

    20. Triangle Pose*

      Hello fellow Philadelphia person! I grew up in a place that is totally different from Philly and when I came for school I completely fell in love with it. “A big city that feels oddly small a lot of the time” is one of my favorite things about it! Also, unlike a lot of other Northeast cities, it has a much more working class vibe as a city – there’s not a lot of old money hanging around, which I love.

    21. Clever Name*

      I live in an unincorporated suburb of Denver. According to Siri, the Denver metro area’s population is 2.6 million people. There’s a ton of open space in my neighborhood and we’re a 40 minute drive from all the cultural stuff that Denver offers. And we’re 5 mins from the mountains. In a word, heaven.

      1. NacSacJack*

        I want to live there! Five mins to the mountains. I bet you have ski passes on order every spring.

    22. Dan*

      I love in suburban DC, on the VA side. The geopolitical landscape here is a bit odd, VA has very few real cities or towns, particularity in this neck of the woods. Most things are county focused. For example, Arlington is not a city, its a county.

      DC itself is quite small, it’s about 600k. Metro DC is about 5 million. The closest suburbs don’t feel like suburbs, they’re very much city like. Where I live, I more or less have to have a car, but I don’t feel like I’m in suburban hell.

      In general, I’m a city person. I grew up in truly rural areas and don’t miss it.

    23. Short and Stout*

      I live in Cambridge, UK: population ~129 000. The job market in science and tech is the most buoyant in the UK (apart from London). There is a consequent lack of housing in all sectors, and so despite my very reasonable pay and savings equivalent to my net yearly income I will never be able to buy a house or flat here.

      I do like living here though: it just feels feels transient. I don’t have a car because I don’t need one. I cycle through the historic centre everyday. There is world class culture (esp music and museums) on my door step. Friends and family enjoy visiting.

      I’m originally from a small town in the North of England and hope to move to a bigger city closer to my folks sometime in the next year.

    24. Rebecca in Dallas*

      I live in Dallas (as the name implies), according to the Internet our population was 1.258M in 2013. I live in Dallas proper but there are tons of suburbs which are pretty big in their own right.

      I really love Dallas. Texas itself is a very red state, but Dallas is relatively blue. I feel like we have good culture, not on par with New York or Chicago but we have a great local art scene, wonderful museums, a budding craft beer scene, etc. I wish mass transit was better.

    1. Trixie*

      Worst: Hormones while training on new job over crazy 2-3 days = worst timing ever. Honestly, just sucked. Grateful I don’t have to add cramping to the list.
      Best: Booking ticket to head west in early May. Little latter than I’d like but I’ll use the extra weeks to strengthen my hiking legs.

    2. Felicia*

      Best: My birthday was on Thursday and I had a great time celebrating with my friends, and me and my sister saw Beauty and the Beast the Musical as her gift to me.
      Worst: I’m apartment hunting with is stressful and not going well yet. Also I’m having a medical procedure on Tuesday and it terrifies me. I’ve had it before, and it’s extremely painful

    3. Sparkly Librarian*

      Best: I finished decorating the future nursery (well, except for the ceiling), and it looks and feels really nice.

      Worst: Woke up with monster cramps at 2:30 AM a couple nights ago and had a miserable night.

      Oh, actually Best: Wireless. TENS. Unit.

          1. EE Lady*

            Oh! Still great though! I’ve had one of those on my hip in physical therapy and they’re great at taking pain away.

    4. internetkimmy*

      Best: I booked an appointment for my first-ever tattoo with one of the few artists I’d ever consider getting ink from.

      She’s pretty well known worldwide and does beautiful, geometric, watercolor-style tattoos of animals and flowers. (Some of you may know her–her name is Sasha Unisex). I’m really lucky to have secured a spot with her.

      Worst: Along the same vein, her team is kind of spotty on communication, and I think there’s a bit of a language barrier. I’m sure they’re super busy due to all the interest in booking, but I’m a bit nervous because it’s my first tattoo, and I’d be flying to Italy from the US (!!!) to get it.

      I also had to make some compromises on the design and they told me that I had to let her pick the color palette, which… I get that she’s the artist, but it still makes me nervous.

      I won’t get to see the tattoo painting until 5 days before the appointment, and it sounds like the colors can *maybe* be tweaked, but the design can’t be. So, there’s a *lot* of faith riding on this turning out okay and not being a waste of time/money.

      Worst case scenario, I guess I lose my deposit, maybe get a nice painting, and go to Italy but don’t get a tattoo? But I’m still really nervous…

      1. fposte*

        Wow, those are *amazing*. I only just heard about watercolor tattooing and meant to look for an example; this may be the best I’ll ever see.

        1. internetkimmy*

          Gah, I know! Her work is gorgeous. I’m a ball of anxiety about the whole process, though, and how most of it is so out of my hands at this point.

          Did you check out her Instagram? She puts a lot of her work there and it’s quite stunning.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        My guess would be that part of her craft is to kind of match the art to the person. It is not in her best interest to put her art anywhere, randomly. This will not win her any acclaim.

        The times I have let people pick things for me, they have picked out stuff that is far nicer than anything I would have chosen myself. Sometimes we have to trust that the people in the biz know their stuff better than we could ever imagine. Yes,it feels like we are stepping off a cliff, it’s a loss of control type of sensation. I’d encourage you to keep going until you see something that is beyond any doubt, a STOP sign. I am betting you come home with that tat. Let us know how it goes.

        1. kimmyontheinternet*

          The rational part of my brain is telling me exactly that, but the anxious part of my brain keeps going to the “what ifs” of what could go wrong (What if the style/color/etc. is just totally wrong? What if they misunderstood my idea? Even if I like it, how do I know if I’m ready for it to permanently go on my skin?)

          I’m sure part of it is first tattoo jitters. And totally agreed, a lot of it is not liking that loss of control.

          I am very hopeful that you are right. Thanks for your supportive words. :)

      3. lfi*

        OH MY GOD you are getting one by Sasha?! Holy cow – I am so jealous! Please please keep us updated and share pics!

        1. kimmyontheinternet*

          Thank you! Glad to know there’s another Sasha Unisex fan here. :D My fingers and toes are all crossed that it works out (and that I haven’t mucked up the process too much!)

    5. Shell*

      Worst: generally stressful, exhausting week. I’ve been meaning to go out for a walk but my headache won’t let up.

      Best: finished reading The Hunger Games yesterday. Loved it, currently devouring Catching Fire. (I love my Kobo.)

    6. K.*

      Best: someone paid me to cook for an event she hosted. I’d like to start a small-scale side hustle catering/cooking.
      Worst: a couple of my friends have had major losses this week. One lost her mother (she’d been ill), another had a miscarriage.

    7. Doriana Gray*

      Best: I had PTO this week and had the pleasure of just relaxing at home in bed reading.

      Worst: I was supposed to write a short story for a literary magazine’s fiction contest on my week off, along with finishing some of my horror shorts, but when I sat down to write, everything sounded like crap to me. So, frustrated, I gave up after three attempts, and now I won’t make Monday’s grace period deadline for the literary magazine fiction writing contest. *sigh* I feel like such a hack sometimes.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Don’t feel bad; Secret Book is languishing in organization hell right now. I made a table with all the scenes/chapters I had planned (like the word version of a storyboard). I have NINE I still need to write to finish it. That doesn’t sound like much, but they are kicking my ass.

        1. Doriana Gray*

          I’ve got a book I’ve been planning for going on three years that I haven’t started, and one that only has four chapters completed out of 30 planned chapters, lol. One of these days I’m going to be struck with inspiration, I swear. Are you going to do Camp NaNoWriMo next month? I’m going to try to do at least 20k words of something (while simultaneously studying for another professional designation).

          1. Elizabeth West*

            No, I’m just going to finish the damned thing. Then I can do research and rewrite (my favorite part anyway!) and start on the Rose’s Hostage sequel. That poor thing has been waiting forever. I have the Blogging from A-Z Challenge coming up in April, too. Blergh! But I’ve been pre-writing for that one.

            You can’t wait for inspiration if you’re actually going to finish something. Just write. It really is butt-in-chair (or sofa, as the case may be). It doesn’t matter if it sucks. All first drafts suck. :)

            1. Doriana Gray*

              I don’t necessarily agree with the first draft things (I’ve had some first drafts of short stories published and those same stories have won awards), but I do agree that waiting for inspiration to strike is like waiting for Godot, lol. I just need to stop being hypercritical of what I’m doing when I’m doing it and stop pressuring myself to write in a style that’s not my own. Easy how I can say that, and yet, lol.

            2. Oryx*

              “You can’t wait for inspiration if you’re actually going to finish something. Just write. It really is butt-in-chair (or sofa, as the case may be). It doesn’t matter if it sucks. All first drafts suck.”

              Yes. Stephen King talks about this in “On Writing,” where if you just pick a time and stick to a schedule and write consistently, eventually the Muse will figure out you’ll be there at X Time and will start showing up.

    8. Perse's Mom*

      Best: Got all sorts of praise at work the last couple of days, from call center to sales to a surprise glowing email from one of the company executives.

      Worst: Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick.

    9. Lore*

      Worst: The flu. And some sort of simultaneous tonsil inflammation that probably isn’t strep because it’s very hard to get strep and the flu at the same time, but sure as hell feels like it.
      Best: Really, nothing but the flu. I’ve rediscovered the joys of Vitamin Water and egg drop soup, and finished watching Jessica Jones?

    10. Elizabeth West*

      WORST: Very long week, with awful cramps on Thursday while I was at work (and you know when you are cramping that bad, other er things cramp as well) and EXTREME fatigue. I am so tired today and all I did was skate and then get a haircut. I was going to leave work early on Friday but then someone sent me something and I was like, AUUUGGH!

      BEST: Everyone at the rink who didn’t see it last week liked my blonde hair. :) I got a good trim today, what my stylist called a “health cut,” and got all the nasty straggly ends off without sacrificing a lot of length. Hopefully that will help with frizz. My hair is always frizzy but it’s more noticeable with the light color.

      Plus I found a box color that will do for my roots, I think. Ha, I lightened because the roots were coming in so light, but they aren’t totally grey as I had thought, and now I have the exact opposite problem! It’s going to be a mixture of at-home and salon keeping this up because I don’t have a trust fund, LOL. (Wish I did–the Kevin Murphy products they use at my salon would be worth it for the scents alone, mmmm.)

      I realize it sounds like I’m obsessed with my hair, but right now I kind of am, until I get a routine going for it. I thought being red was hard work! Sheesh!

    11. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Best: My Women’s Wisdom Circle meeting was really nice today. The leader for this session passed out cards from a getting-to-know-you game, and we went around the circle with each woman reading and responding to the sentence on her card. For example, I got, “If you ever changed your name, what would you change it to?” Which was funny, because I’ve been thinking about that question lately. I never have seriously considered changing my name, but I’ve met so many people in my new church who have done so for spiritual or personal reasons, I wanted to understand more about how much meaning and satisfaction they all seem to find in their new names. My inquiry led to several women telling the stories behind their name changes, and most of the stories were about reclaiming a part of themselves that was lost or taken from them by critical or absent parents, or abusive or ill-suited spouses. Some of the stories were about defining a chapter of their lives as closed and a new one thereafter begun. Their stories of becoming who they wanted to be were moving to me.

      Worst: My seventeen year old cat is starting to eat only half the amount of food she used to, and she doesn’t want to go outside much anymore. Her vet visit was six months ago, and he gave us advice for caring for an aging but healthy cat. I wonder if I need to take her back in, or if this is normal aging-cat stuff. She still drinks plenty of water; she just doesn’t have much appetite. She doesn’t seem to feel bad; she just wants to downs a lot of extra time curled up in her kitty bed. She purrs a lot and is still happy to see us.

    12. LizB*

      Best: I successfully made it through all my Couch To 5k workouts this week! I’m feeling ready to try Week 4 again starting on Monday. (I struggled with it for two weeks, unable to get through the workouts, and was feeling terrible about myself until a friend pointed out that the total running time per workout jumps from 9 minutes in Week 3 to 16 minutes in Week 4 — so it’s no wonder I was struggling! My friend then wrote me plans for a couple of unofficial “interim” weeks, increasing total running time to 12 minutes, then 14, and I’ve made it through the 14-minute ones, so now I can go back to the real program and try Week 4 again! Progress…)

      Worst: I attempted to clean my stove this morning because it had gotten absolutely disgusting, and I couldn’t really get it clean. :( I don’t know what kind of cleaning solution or fancy sponge or whatever I need to use to get rid of the bits that are baked on. It also doesn’t help that there are two pilot lights right under the stovetop, making large portions of it really really hot. Whyyyyy.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Is it a ceramic top stove? My husband got ours clean today by very carefully using a razor blade to scrape off the baked-on bits. Then he buffed it to a good shine with some ceramic stove top cleaner that we got at Lowe’s.

        1. LizB*

          I think it’s ceramic; it’s a really old stove in a rental, so I’m just paranoid about messing it up. But I guess having burnt-on food counts as messing it up as well. Maybe I’ll get a razor blade and some special cleaner and go at it again next weekend. Thanks for the tip!

    13. GreenTeaPot*

      Best: Finished Phase One of the huge project I started in mid-February. The worst is over. Was asked to consult on another project, and enjoyed meeting with some of the team.

      Worst: Not sleeping well. I take melatonin, but have a hard time staying asleep all night.

    14. Jen in RO*

      I haven’t had the best week…

      Worst: IUD on Wednesday. Hurt like a bitch, due to my anatomy down there being tricky, and continued hurting like a bitch for half the day.

      Bad: Former coworker I was trying to recruit back got a much better offer somewhere else. Hiring someone else for that position is a big question mark, so I will need to sort-of-cover it for a while, and I am overworked as it is.
      Also bad: Long, long days because we are understaffed and we have a big release coming up.

      Better: New coworker is hard working and talented, I am so happy we hired him.

      Good: Most of my coworkers are great, actually, and they make long days much more bearable.

    15. Claire (Scotland)*

      Best: two of my favourite authors had new books out this week.

      Worst: my grandpa was taken into hospital for the third time in four months on Tuesday, and there was nothing they could do for him. So on Wednesday they withdrew life sustaining measures, and the family took shifts sitting with him until the end. He died on Friday evening.

    16. Overeducated and underemployed*

      Best: my dad came to visit for the weekend to visit the grandkid. The two of them are having so much fun together, and when my spouse and I got a rare date night, the kid handled it really well and let someone other than a parent put him to bed for the first. Time. Ever.

      Worst: huge waves of sadness over the late-in-the-process rejection for the kind of ideal job that comes around oh so rarely for me. That was last week but I am still having trouble processing, and feeling really sad and anxious about the future and how it feels like time to settle. It is really hard for me to accept that instead of “marriage means compromise” for everyone, it might just mean giving up long term career dreams for me while watching my spouse realize them…somehow that feels worse than us both having to make career sacrifices. I am also exhausted from going to bed late after spending evenings on job applications when the kid is asleep, and not having time to exercise.

    17. Carrie in Scotland*

      Best: I had a catch up with my close friend and it was amazing. I managed to get my tv working all by myself.

      Worst: I didn’t ask for a bag because I was only 2 minutes away from my flat and in that time the sweet n sour sauce dripped all down my new winter jacket and left lots of sticky stains. I’m really cross with myself. It’s been at the dry cleaners since Monday :(

    18. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Best: celebrating anniversary with the bf. He’s working so hard to provide for our future.
      Worst: my parents pretend my bf doesn’t exist and don’t understand he really makes me happier than I’ve ever been. I don’t think they’ll ever come to terms, and if I get engaged later on, I worry about a third world war so to speak

      Silver Lining: my friends, bf’s friends, his mom, and my cousins absolutely think bf is amazing. And bf is, really, quite amazing.

  27. Don't tell me there's a reason*

    We just miscarried (our first child) and I’m exhausted beyond words. I want resources, for me and my husband, but there are so many truly terrible books I can’t handle searching through for a good one. But we don’t know what to expect. I’m still in pain and very very tired. I want to hear from people who’ve been there. But I don’t want to go public, because sympathy makes me cry and advice/platitudes makes me angry.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I did not know I was pregnant. I blatted like a two year old. Since I did not realize I was pregnant and really had no plan on children, my experience made me see that doctors woefully underestimate the physical side of what this does to a woman’s body. I believe that there is a huge physical depletion of vitamins and minerals. I was not emotionally involved with the pregnancy because I did not know I was pregnant. And I still cried and cried.
      It’s not one loss, it’s two losses: there’s the child and then there is what happens to the mother’s body afterward.

      hugs. (I hope virtual hugs are okay.)

      1. Don't tell me there's a reason*

        Thank you, you have convinced me to take my vitamins. I hate taking them but what you said makes sense.

        Virtual hugs are lovely, thanks.

    2. LCL*

      Hope this helps-my mom had 5 pregnancies to end up with 2 babies. She said it was sad and exhausting the time right after the miscairages moved very slow.

    3. the gold digger*

      I am so very sorry to hear this. I had a miscarriage at ten weeks while my husband’s parents, who had threatened to boycott our wedding, were at our house for our wedding. (They came only because he told them I was pregnant and they would never see their grandchild if they skipped the wedding. Ha. They never would have seen their grandchild anyhow.)

      It is a horrible shock and a horrible thing to happen to anyone. It took months for my body to get back to normal. Those hormones take forever to flush out.The physical part is hard enough but there is a horrible emotional shock that goes with it for both parents. I hope you and your husband have an easy recovery and that things are better for the two of you soon.

      1. Don't tell me there's a reason*

        Oh Lord have mercy, Sly and Doris were there? I am so sorry. How traumatic. (I love your blog, but I also really want to buy you a scotch.)

        It helps to know that it will take time. I don’t want it to, but if I know I should be patient, at least I can be a touch gentler with myself.

        1. the gold digger*

          Yes, you are allowed to be nice to yourself and be sad and to feel crummy and to eat whatever the heck you want if it will make you feel better. When you and your partner have already talked about what you are going to name your child and where he is going to go to college and how you will decorate the nursery, you already love that kid. It is a great, great loss and it deserves mourning. I am sending you a big hug. (And I would be so happy to have a scotch with you someday!)

        2. TheLazyB*

          I was off work for three months, back for two months, off another month, back three months then off six weeks. If I’d taken more time off at first maybe it would have been better. Depends how sympathetic your work is though as to whether this is possible

    4. Jean*

      I’m so sorry! Internet hugs if you’re a hugging person.

      >sympathy makes me cry and advice/platitudes makes me angry
      Your last sentence is perfectly on-target for anybody dealing with a tragedy. Often the best thing we can do is just be there with and for the person who is heartbroken.

    5. ItsComplicated*

      It is really hard to recommend resources because everyone’s situation is so different and the wrong book can be really harmful to your emotional recovery – if the book talks about religion and you’re not religious, or you are religious and it isn’t, or it assumes you will try again immediately and you don’t feel that way, some people want numbers to comfort them, some people hate to hear how common it is and how likely things are to be better next time – there are just so many different ways for it to hurt you unintentionally.

      Reddit can be an internet blackhole, but there are some good pockets – the /r/miscarriage subreddit can be helpful. It’s completely anonymous, and you can post more about yourself and get recommendations just from people who are in the more precisely the same situation as you.

      I’m sorry for your loss.

    6. saro*

      I am so sorry. I’ve had three miscarriages after I lost my first baby a few hours after he was born. It’s really hard. It was just too much to deal with and people say some really stupid things, even friends. I don’t remember reading any good books but I agree with Not So New Reader: take your vitamins, drink plenty of water and allow yourself to feel sad. Try not to take it out on your partner even if you think he is not handling it properly. Feel free to vent, you’re with friends.

    7. LibbyG*

      Another hug from me! Such a wrenching loss, especially when there’s no identifiable reason for it (as is usually the case). I had two first-trimester miscarriages and a fetal demise (of a fraternal twin) during my childbearing years (I now have two kids). I don’t have anything to add to others’ comments except that there’s no wrong way to grieve.

      For me, those losses have become part of parenting in a good way. Not that I appreciate my kids more than any other parent, but they were my first lesson that I don’t, ultimately, control how this all unfolds. To say that losses like this are “part of the journey” is a weird kind of platitude, but I found it comforting to think of them as sort of normal. People recover from this experience, I told myself. I will too.

    8. TheLazyB*

      The only book that really helped me after my miscarriage was ‘you’ll get over it: the rage of bereavement’. By Virginia ironside. I actually read it again in the bath last night six years on and it’s such a relief to know it’s not just me. There are quotes in there from people who’ve had miscarriages and it felt so good to see them, like it was legitimising the pain I didn’t think I would feel.

      Also, I blogged a lot.

      Fwiw I wish I’d a) talked about it more at the time and b) realised that it would take more than two weeks to get over.

      And I am always very sad around the anniversary.

      I hope some of this is helpful, if not please just ignore.

      Virtual hugs or fistbump of solidarity, whichever you want x

    9. Sophia in the DMV*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks and it was awful. No recommendations. I cried a lot, watched a lot of tv and ate chocolate


    10. Ruffingit*

      I am so sorry for your loss. I have not personally experienced this, but I remember talking with my mother about her miscarriage. She miscarried her first pregnancy and then went on to have three healthy children. Regardless, it always stings. She gave her baby a name and she always feels a little sad and down on the anniversary of the loss and on what would have been his birthday. It’s a process, this grief and it’s painful. Do what makes you feel better in the moment. HUGS!

    11. Liz L*

      I’m so sorry.

      I know someone who miscarried multiple times, and when she finally spoke about it to her friends, she realized that more people miscarried than not and kept silent about it. And because she had told me, I was able to stop someone else from giving her an unwanted sympathy card/present at work.

    12. Observer*

      If it helps, miscarriages are REALLY common. But, unless you have multiple miscarriages in a row, the odds of your having a healthy baby the next time round are really, really good.

      Beyond that, as the others have said, take good care of yourself physically. Also, know that it’s going to take time, both physically and emotionally. It’s not a great thing, but it helps not to put pressure on yourself to just “get over it” and “get back to yourself” quick-quick. Also, know that some women eventually totally leave this loss behind, and for others it remains a significant part of you. And both are normal and OK. Don’t let anyone (including your doctor) tell you how you “should” be feeling. It’s just too individual.

      That said, don’t wallow. The line between healthy grieving and wallowing is fine and different for each woman, but it does exist. If you find yourself (even internally) invoking this in contexts where it doesn’t make sense, or apparently inviting the sadness and all the other feelings that go along with it, that may be a sign. Also, if you cannot seem to move forward in functioning up to your normal standard, that may be at play.

      On the other hand, you may also seen to go back to your doctor and make sure that all is well. (In my case, it turned out that my OB/Gyn totally messed up, but when I went back to my GP for apparently unrelated symptoms, he told me that I was significantly anemic. Getting onto an iron supplement made a WORLD of a difference.) And, sometimes you just need a little extra help. I’m not saying it’s COMMON, but it’s also not UNCOMMON.

    13. ThursdaysGeek*

      I’m so sorry! I’ve never been there, but I know my mom had a miscarriage between my older sister and me, and I was very much wanted and loved. I expect my missing sibling may sometimes still be missed, even more than 50 years later.

    14. J.B.*

      I’m so sorry. Everyone’s response is different. Just keep taking pain pills as you need and time off as you need.

    15. cataloger*

      I’m so sorry. I’ve been there too (three times). I recommend chocolate (or whatever sounds good), sleep, and funny television. Also don’t be surprised if you start to lactate after a couple of days; my doctor didn’t mention this, so I was pretty surprised.


  28. Jessen*

    Why on earth is women’s clothing so sheer? I need a new wardrobe due to weight gain, and I swear I can’t find spring and summer weight tops that aren’t so sheer you can read through them!

      1. The Sugar Plum Fairy*

        Completely agree. I’ve really cut down my amount of shopping through the years, partly due to trying to simplify my life, partly to save money, but also partly because I just hate the clothing choices that are out there right now.

        I did however buy a blouse lately at Express (which I haven’t set foot in years). It’s called the “Portofino” blouse and it’s great for work or fun. I wear a tank top under mine. I got it right after Christmas for 50% off, and I think it ended up being around $25. I plan to buy a few more in additional colors.

      1. Perse's Mom*

        That would explain why I now have more tank tops than I’ve ever had before in my life.

        1. Al Lo*

          I stock up when Old Navy has their $2 tank top sale. I also wear a lot of cozy cardigans in the winter, and usually wear tanks under those, as well as keeping them around for lighter-weight tops. I’ve got a handful of more silky/camisole style tops, but a lot of mine are just plain cotton tanks.

          I bought a couple packages of cheap shower rings, hooked them on the bottom part of a hanger, and loop the tank top straps through to hang them. Like this. They all kept getting crumpled at the bottom of a drawer, and this is the best way I’ve found thus far to store them where I’ll actually see them.

          1. Windchime*

            What a great idea. I usually hang mine up on individual hangers, but your idea saves a ton of space and makes it easy to see them all.

      2. Jessen*

        I am, somewhat annoyingly, trying to get away from the “tank top under something” look. It’s more clothes for me to wash and store and it’s hot in summer.

    1. Rebecca*

      I’ve been trying to pick up items at thrift stores, and noticed that the Croft & Barrow tops at Kohl’s are a bit thicker and you can’t see through them. I’ve noticed this too. I really doubt that people want to see every seam and detail on my bra all summer long, and tanks for me just mean an extra layer to wash, plus I get too warm.

      1. L*

        I was just going to say that I went to Kohl’s recently and was pretty impressed with the quality and really like the Croft and Barrow stuff as well.

  29. Cruciatus*

    Has anyone been using Paribus? Do you like it/find it useful? I just signed up for it. For those who haven’t heard of it, it goes through your email receipts and looks to see if prices are now lower for certain retailers. If it is, you get the cash difference. Their commission is based off the money they get you back (which starts at 25% but can be lowered as you invite people to the service and promo codes like “nbc” right now). It sounds a little scary and invasive, but reviews have been really good so I’m willing to give it a shot. I like not having to do anything to save money–like using ebates or fatwallet. Hopefully this will work out!

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I was checking back to see if anyone had answered this; I’ve been wondering about it, too. I guess you’ll be the first among us to try it out and maybe report back? I’ll try to remember to ask in an open thread after about a month or so has passed and you’ve had a chance to see how it is.

      1. Cruciatus*

        Just responding to say I saw your post! I will try to remember to post about it again. Unfortunately (at least in the case of this program, not my wallet) I shop online sporadically. Nothing for months then I’ll have a mini-binge so I don’t know how long it might take to see something happen. But hopefully soon I’ll have some sort of savings/news to report.

  30. K.*

    I’m usually pretty good with others’ grief; I think I’m pretty supportive when people are going through tough times. But I’m a bit at a loss about what to do about this:

    I have a friend that I haven’t seen in a while – maybe 8, 9 months. Not for any reason, really; she got into a new relationship that came with her guy’s kids, I was dealing with a lot, and then I looked up and thought “Hey, I haven’t heard from [Friend] in a while.” (I think I’d texted her a few times and she hadn’t texted back.) So I reached out and said she was glad to hear from me and had missed me, but she was going through a tough time because she was miscarrying. (She used the present tense.) I said how sorry I was and asked her if she needed anything, and she said no, that she was just waiting for the physical part to be over. I told her to let me know if she needed anything and she said she’d reach out when “this” was over.

    I don’t want to push her, but it feels like I could be doing more to help her. Maybe I’m feeling insecure because it’s been a while since we’ve spoken or seen each other. Should I just let it lie and wait for her to reach out?

    1. nep*

      Sounds like yes — you should let it be at this point and see whether she reaches out to you. You’ve put it out there that you’re there and happy to help if she needs you for anything, which is great. I wouldn’t push it beyond that. You can’t know exactly her state of mind right now and what she needs.
      I’m still into snail mail so I’d probably send a ‘thinking of you’ card in a couple weeks or so just to touch bases.
      All the best.

    2. Don't tell me there's a reason*

      Here is what has helped me:

      The next day, crying with me. Company. Feeding me lots of protein. Tea (raspberry leaf tea supposedly helps). Letting me just sit. Good chocolate. I went through so many “overnight” pads. Grocery-shopping about killed me. I pack my heating pad in my purse at all times.

      I feel weary and bitter and also grateful beyond words for our friends and my husband. I’m so glad I had the baby while I did, that it existed. This is not what I wanted and I want control. I despise platitudes.

      I can get up for 2 hrs then I’m back on the couch for 3 hours. Need lots of happy-ending books. Also I can’t make decisions. I know that I need A and B but trying to weigh options…I’m too overloaded. “How does xyz sound?” is the best way to offer me something. My friend had to make us dinner because I couldn’t handle choosing a recipe. Other friends are coming to help wash dishes because I’ve been too tired to stand all week, and my husband’s amazing but can’t do it all.

      It’s like the period from hell. Everything reminds me of the baby and our plans. No point pretending otherwise, but also talking about it is exhausting. Mostly because I feel like I have to be gentle with others to help them process my miscarriage. I hate the word “should”. No advice. Helpful tidbits are maybe allowed, but not shoulds.

      1. fposte*

        This is the clearest and most poignant description of miscarriage I’ve ever read. Holy crap, what a ravine full of suck.

        1. Don't tell me there's a reason*

          Thank you. Ravine full of suck. Exactly. And we know we will climb out but it will take so much longer than we want it to.

          FWIW, K., I think you should drop off a little care package: an old favorite movie, chocolate, takeout food, a heating pad or electric blanket. Text her and say you’ll leave it on the door at x o’clock. If she’s ready to see you she’ll text back and ask you in. If not it’ll be a low-pressure way to help.

          1. nep*

            Thank you for sharing your insights and just letting us all in a bit on your experience with this unspeakably sad situation. So sorry you’re having to go through this. Wonderful idea to drop off a care package in that way. Helpful and at the same time respectful of the person’s needs in the moment.
            Best wishes for peace and healing.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Echoing fposte, you write very well.
          OP, this is what it’s like, Don’t Tell Me has laid it out here pretty clear.

          If you want to go back in on the conversation, offer something specific. “I am going grocery shopping, do you want me to pick anything up? We can settle up when I see you.” Then when you drop the groceries off, maybe help put them away, then leave. Tell her you can come again, if she would like. Short visit, specific activity, then go home.

      2. TheLazyB*

        Oh Jesus every single book I picked up after my miscarriage had dead babies in it. It was horrific

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I just got off the phone with a good friend whose close relative died rather suddenly last year. I had moved away, so I couldn’t be there physically for her, and besides that, our friendship was very task-oriented. Like, we showed each other love by doing fun stuff together and doing things for each other. I was the only person she trusted to water her plants when she went out of town, for instance. So being physically far away made me feel like I couldn’t do anything that would truly be a help to her. What I ended up doing was just randomly texting her every once in a while. Not simply, “I’m thinking of you” texts, but stuff like, “Dude, I just heard your favorite Michael Jackson song on the radio and I miss karaoke,” or, “I’m at this concert and I really wish you were here.” Sometimes she answered, sometimes she didn’t, but when the fog started to lift, she told me that she appreciated those texts and just knowing that she was on my mind and she could get in touch whenever she needed to.

      So in your situation, I would let it lie, but don’t let too much time go by. Sometimes people feel strange about reaching out, sometimes they don’t have the energy, sometimes they don’t know what to ask for. A text or an email lets her know that you’re available and open, but no pressure on her to make the first move.

    4. Sunflower*

      I think you should respect what she says. If anything, I think it would be okay in a week to reach out and say ‘Hope you’re doing well, you don’t need to respond but just wanted to let you know I’m thinking about you’. I like nep’s idea of a card!

    5. Jean*

      Posting here the text that got edited out of my response to Don’t Tell Me There’s a Reason above. (I wanted to share the rest of my thoughts about helping people who are grieving without being Example A of the person with the self-centered reaction.) Maybe it wasn’t necessary because other AAM readers have already hit the same idea: The best thing to do for someone who’s deep in the ravine of suck–thanks to fposte for that image–is just to be emotionally present for and with them in real life, or on paper, or via email or text.

      Being emotionally present without Making Decisions or Taking Charge or Handing Out Advice is not easy for lots of us who live in this run-decide-act 24/7 culture. Mindfulness is not a note that often sounds in the post-industrial urbanized go-go-go environment. Neither is empathy. Add in plain old human fallibility and it’s easy to be so clumsy and/or cause pain when reacting to a terrible event in someone else’s life. It’s not always intentional, but that doesn’t help the person at the epicenter of the tragedy who now has to deal with another layer of injury, aggravation, or irrelevance.

      Gah–my run-on comment may be another clumsy effort. I’m trying to say that I found the insight of Don’t Tell Me There’s a Reason to be powerfully applicable to other unasked-for sad situations. DTMTAR, I hope it helps a tiny bit to know that your words will reverberate for me for a long time to come.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I so agree. It’s very powerful to see people say/show, “I can’t fix this, but I will stand beside you while this process unfolds. I am not afraid of the situation and I am not afraid of not being able to fix it for you. I can stand here anyway.”

    6. Observer*

      “let me know if I can help” is well meant, but generally people don’t follow up on that. This is true of any really tough time, not just miscarriages. There are a lot of reasons for that, but often one reason is because it really feels like a platitude, well meant but not really a concrete offer of help.

      If you know what your friend likes a care package is a good idea. If you can text an offer of specific help – like the shopping one, but even something like making supper or offer something for the kids (a bad miscarriage can have surprising effects on the other kids, which the parents may not be able to deal with so well for obvious reasons.)

      1. K.*

        I’ve never met her boyfriend’s kids (she had just met them herself when she and I lost touch; she has no kids of her own), so I’m not sure how comfortable anyone would be with me offering them anything. I’m also not sure how much the kids know; my friend wasn’t very far along so they may not have told them she was pregnant. They’re at their house every other weekend and one of them is young enough that I could see not telling her anything, but I really don’t know.

        I think I’ll offer to do something on the “help keep your household running” front.

  31. Jennifer*

    Has anyone needed to transfer (rather large sums of) money overseas?
    I’m moving to the UK in a few months, and was wondering how I’d transfer funds over to a new bank account. Obviously I wont’ be carrying it as cash, but bank money transfers seem to have the worst exchange rates.

    1. katamia*

      I just carried cash when I moved to Taiwan. Went to a currency transfer place in the US and carried most of the money deep in a bag that never left my side (well, except for going through security). I totally get why you might not feel comfortable doing that, but I didn’t have any problems when I did it. Alternatively, you could look at Paypal or at international banks to see if opening an account in one county will also give you an account accessible in the UK.

      If your concern is primarily short-term funds (like I was going to have to pay two months’ worth of rent before I would get paid by my job in Taiwan, so I needed way more cash than I would on a normal basis), you could look into a credit card that doesn’t have fees for different currencies. I have a Barclaycard and have been pretty happy with it, and a lot of people seem to like Chase Sapphire.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      This advice might be a bit outdated (by two decades), but when I was in the UK for a while, I brought travelers cheques with me and used those to open a local account there.

    3. Love to learn*

      Use a foreign exchange service like Forex. They help you get the best rate possible.

    4. Cristina in England*

      I use the OnlineFX service from westernunion.com. I have used it nearly a dozen times and it is super easy. Costs $5 per transaction if you pick the slowest way.

    5. Treena*

      If you don’t need it quickly, try withdrawing at ATMs over the course of a week. Depends on the rather large sum (5k vs 20k) but if it seems doable to withdraw, that’s the fastest and cheapest way. Another thing to keep in mind is that depending on the visa you’re on, it may be easy or very difficult to open up a British bank account, so that might elongate a formal bank transfer.

      I’ve moved abroad also and need my American account for income coming in from American sources, but even if I didn’t, I would still keep it. I write checks for nephews at Christmas, the odd random bill that comes through, etc. We use Charles Schwab and it has no ATM fees throughout the world. We often withdraw $500 several days in a row. Obviously, there are cheap transfer options out there, but I’m a total cheapskate and will run down to the ATM every day instead of paying $5.

    6. misspiggy*

      Look into setting up an international bank account if you can. Getting a bank account in the UK can be difficult so an international one might be a good starting point for that and may help with the exchange rate issues.

    7. Emma*

      If you are going to open a bank account in the UK then you might want consider using transferwise. I have not used it but a lot of my friends have and they swear by it.

      1. JW*

        We use transferwise to ship money around between three countries (US/UK/Sweden) and LOVE it – works fast, get a good rate, and its FAR cheaper than wiring with the banks. It WILL take far longer to get a bank account here than you think should ever be normally possible, so I would second the ATM suggestion if its just a short time.

    8. Mander*

      Bank transfer fees are ridiculous. I actually found that I got a better rate by just withdrawing cash from my US account using an ATM. The amounts were a bit limited, but at least that way I didn’t have a lot of cash on me.

      Also, PayPal isn’t too bad.

    9. Not Karen*

      Maybe not a large enough sum for your needs, but when I was in Japan I could use my debit card at the ATM in 7 Eleven to withdraw up to $500. Don’t know what exchange rate they used, though.

  32. LizB*

    Ugh. I just sent an email saying I can no longer help with the Purim spiel at my synagogue, which I know was the right thing to do, but I feel so guilty about it. I got badgered into helping out with the music when I didn’t want to, which turned into helping wrangle musicians, which turned into stage managing, and now the director wanted me to take an acting/singing role and also help her make copies during what is normally my prep time for my Sunday school lessons… and it was just the last straw. I never wanted to be involved with the darn thing in the first place, I definitely don’t want to commit MORE time to it! My Sunday afternoons are always full of grocery shopping, meal prep, usually laundry, and planning outfits for the week, plus packing my gym bag and work bag for Monday; I don’t want to add rehearsals and wrangling rowdy 6th graders and even rowdier adults to that workload. I feel bad, because they’re seriously short on people to help out, but can’t someone else from the congregation — ANYONE else from the congregation! — help out for once, instead of recruiting me into yet another activity?!

    I just hope my friends who are involved don’t try to give me flack about dropping out. You’re the ones who decided to do an elaborate musical in a five-week timeframe and recruit a bunch of preteens into important roles. I want no part of that nightmare. I will come to the performance and sing along and shake my gragger at the appropriate times, and that’s all I have time or energy for.

    1. Jean*

      Go You! Cheers from another person who is ruthlessly stifling all sorts of urges to Contribute to My Community beyond the limits of my time and physical and psychic energy. If your friends start badgering you, just repeat to yourself “NO is a complete sentence” and say something slightly less rude aloud such as “I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but I just can’t participate.”

      Whenever I get inspired to write a skit for Purimschpiel, I sit still until the urge goes away. Although this year, given the narrative of our U.S. presidential primary campaign, who needs to write anything?! You could simply get up and recite verbatim from the news source of your choice. As people used to mutter back during the Watergate scandal, you just can’t make this stuff up. Presidential candidates sniping about the sizes of each others’ genitals. The rest of the world on the edge of its chair, watching agog at the train wreck. I mean really. I can’t even. GAH.

      Quick explanation to anyone wondering what is Purim and/or Purimschpiel: Purim is (yet another!) Jewish holiday that can be quickly summarized by “They tried to kill us but failed. Let’s celebrate.” There’s the strongly held tradition that people should whoop it up by getting so drunk that they can’t distinguish between the hero and the villain of the story. Along with this comes all sorts of other subversion such as dressing in costumes and poking fun at social institutions and personalities at all levels of society.

      1. Jean*

        And Purimschpiel is literally the Purim schpiel or spiel (speech, shtick) aka live performance of drama or stand-up comedy or dog-and-pony show. Song and dance routine. Hot number. Okay, I’ll show myself out now.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I think all of your explanations are excellent, so don’t leave so soon! I haven’t been to a real Purim event in a loooong time– no kids = no urgency. I might go this year, though.

          When I was a kid, I always dressed as Queen Vashti. Just to be different.

          1. Jean*

            Re dressing as Queen Vashti: When I was in college one of the Hillel rabbis dressed up as QV. She also had a sign proclaiming “equal rights for women.” (Yes, a woman rabbi! This was back in the days when a Woman Rabbi was a Really, Really Big Deal. I know that some folks are quite tradition-minded re the idea of women serving as religious leaders, so no disrespect intended to people who prefer their clergy to be menfolk. I didn’t and don’t share that mindset because of historical happenstance: I rediscovered organized Judaism around the same time that I discovered feminism.) If you go to Purim anything this year, I hope you enjoy it.

      2. LizB*

        Last year they did an improv spiel, where some bits of the story were scripted but a lot of scenes were done through improv games, which was pretty fun and didn’t require so much preparation. This year… I just think they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. It’ll still be fun, because the point of the spiel is to be silly, not perfect, but I don’t have the energy to deal with it.

    2. Rebecca*

      Thank you for posting this. I’m in a bit of a similar situation, but with church choir. Our choir director had some family/personal issues last summer, and I agreed to run choir practice and direct on Sundays until the end of October. It is now March, no end in sight, and next Sunday I will be at church for 2 services (as it’s Lent) when I had made plans months ago to go somewhere else. I’m really tired of this, and my biggest fear is they will expect me to take over permanently. My answer is no. I agreed to help out, that went on 5 months longer than I thought it would, and quite frankly, I’m tired from job stress and things in my personal life, and this is a now a burden to me. I don’t know about your congregation, but ours is elderly, as in 70’s to 90’s, with very few people under the age of 55. I am 53, and the second youngest person in choir. So, in many cases, there is no one else.

      Good for you for saying NO and meaning it.

      1. V Dubs*

        Can you give them an end date? “Hey guys, I’m glad I’ve been able to help out for the past 5 months! I’m happy to work with training someone else. I have other obligations coming up [myself] and I will need to bow out by May.”

      2. LizB*

        Ugh, I’m sorry that’s happening. I agree with V Dubs that if you give them an end date and stick to it, they’ll find someone else — they’ll have to, because you won’t be available! Even if your “other obligations” are “having time to read and go for a nice walk on Sundays,” that’s valid (and they don’t need to know those details). You can do it!

    3. Liz L*

      SAY NO. I had trouble doing so at my family church for years, and the last “no” that I never said led to a severe breakdown. I should have said no years ago. They’re just going to have to find someone else and deal.

    4. Artemesia*

      If things are worth doing, people will step up and do them. Churches/Synogogues are great at using the same people over and over because they haven’t learn to say no. They always take the easy way. My mother used to be this person sewing costumes, working in the kitchen etc etc and they will keep asking as long as it is easier to abuse the good nature of the regulars rather than recruit new help. Bunch of kids in the program? Well that means a bunch of parents, some of whom should be doing this.

    5. TootsNYC*

      Don’t feel bad–it’s important to create vacuums in order to pull other people into the organization.

      And…if no one wants to step up, then that’s an indicator that the community doesn’t value that activity, and it -should- cease, or it should scale back, or something.

    6. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Echoing Rebecca who posted not great: thank you for posting this. I mentioned last week that I let myself get voluntold by the pastor to serve as the young adult group’s advisor because I work at the university, and the advisor of a registered student organization has to be a faculty or staff member. I have no interest in doing this, even though my daughter is in the group. Isn’t she supposed to be getting some separation from me, anyway, and not still being in a youth group led by her mom? I was a cub scout leader with weekly meetings for six years in a row, and now that my nest is partially empty, I’m ready to be done with youth service. I belong to the women’s group, and I’d rather channel my efforts there. I feel like, in my mid-forties, I’m ready to focus on adult women things and not youth centric things; I’ve already done that to death.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I don’t know how to get out of it, either. The reason I was pinpointed is that the pastor saw that I had a daughter in the youth group and I work at the university. I’m perfect for it on paper. Plus he got me because the topic was an agenda item on the membership committee agenda, and I’m on the membership committee, so I was a sitting duck when it came up and be just collared me with it. I don’t even want to go to membership committee meetings anymore!

        1. Rebecca*

          You have to tell him no. I got nominated to be assistant treasurer, and then when we did the audit, I saw all the unending paperwork that went with it! They pay all bills with a handwritten paper check (no auto pay, nothing), and the spreadsheets that go with all of it made my head hurt. I said no, and my name was taken off as assistant treasurer. I have no idea what they will do if our treasurer is unable to “treasure” as again, there are very few people to pull from now.

          I’m not looking forward to the conversation I’m going to have when choir rolls around again after it ends for the season, but I’m going to stick to my guns.

          I think you need to frame it exactly as you did here, that you want to participate in grown up activities now, and you’ve done your time, so to speak.

          As an aside, I get really irritated when people ask for temporary help, then assume you’ll do it in perpetuity.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Thanks, Rebecca. I’m going to go to our women’s group’s wise founding leader and get some moral support from her for how to tell the pastor no. She successfully defended the women’s group from becoming the church’s de facto volunteer brigade for menial housekeeping tasks. A previous pastor tried to sign scrubbing the sanctuary chairs to the women’s circle during spring cleaning, and she set him straight that while individual people might volunteer for that task as they saw fit, the women’s group was not a resource for ad hoc labor.

            1. Jean*

              Wow, what an assumption (by the previous pastor)! Good for your women’s group leader for getting that clarified. She sounds like a great person from whom to learn.

              1. Mallory Janis Ian*

                She is an 80-year-old firecracker who worked for Planned Parenthood for years and is a fierce women’s and reproductive rights activist. And she knows how to stand up to overreaching pastors,too. :-)

        2. TootsNYC*

          “Isn’t she supposed to be getting some separation from me, anyway, and not still being in a youth group led by her mom”

          This is how you get out of it.

          I have teenage kids, and I’m absolutely with you. This is crucial for her faith–she needs to see examples of believers who are not you.

          Send him an email, so he can’t pressure you.

  33. Agent Carter*

    Does anyone watch Marvel’s Agent Carter? I really loved the first season of it and was surprised to find how poorly it was rating. It opened to almost 7 million viewers but was struggling to get over 4 million by the finale. The second season finale aired last week and could barely get half of that.

    I’ll admit the story arc of the second season was weaker than the first, it had unnecessary (and rather cliched) subplots and didn’t tap into the full potential of the characters, but the ending seemed to show some promise of more interesting plots next season. Unfortunately the way the ratings are going it’s highly doubtful whether that’s ever going to happen.

    If they don’t get renewed, I really hope some other network (or Netflix or whatever) would pick it up (maybe as a truncated season) to play out the teasers. Maybe there’s even hope for a revival if they can make it compelling enough (new writers probably needed).

    Sigh, one can hope…

    1. Colette*

      I watched it. I actually liked season two better than season one, mostly because I liked the characters a lot more. I agree the plot was more flimsy, and I have no idea why she couldn’t just move instead of being on vacation. But I too hope it’ll be back even though I suspect it won’t be.

    2. SL #2*

      Ugh, I loooooved this second season (I’m from LA, so there’s emotional attachment there as well). Whitney Frost was one of the more compelling villains they’ve had, and I have a soft spot for Daniel Sousa.

      They probably will get canceled, though… Hayley Atwell’s been cast in another ABC show as their lead, so hopes are not high.

      1. katamia*

        Weird. I don’t watch the show, but I could have sworn I read somewhere that it was getting renewed.

        1. SL #2*

          It got a surprise renewal last year– ratings were low then too, but ABC green-lighted S2 for whatever reason, so fingers crossed! I haven’t heard anything about a S3 renewal yet, but I feel like S2 happened as a “one last chance” thing to see if changing the setting helped the ratings.

          1. Agent Carter*

            From what I’ve heard the change of location was a budgetary issue (although I don’t know anything about the relative filming costs of NY vs LA), not a ratings push. If that’s true then if there is a S3 it’ll have to stay in LA.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      I don’t like the second season as much as I did the first, but I still enjoy the show, and I’m sad it’s not doing as well in the ratings, but then again there are a lot of shows I’ve liked that have been cancelled due to low ratings:
      Surviving Jack
      Super Fun Night

      At least Agent Carter hasn’t been cancelled yet!

    4. Nina*

      I’ve read that the time frame (the 1950s) is a hard sell, especially since you need to have some background with the comics to know where it’s going. I think it’s a great show. No, this season isn’t as strong as the first, but Atwell really carries the show. Plus her costars (particularly Jarvis!) are awesome. I hope it gets a third season.

      1. SL #2*

        I actually like this season much more than S1! I feel like a lot of S1 was setting up Peggy as a character on her own outside of her relationship with Steve, but she’s grown into her own with S2.

    5. Aurora Leigh*

      I really liked Season 1 but haven’t seen season 2 yet. That’s too bad about the ratings. And I have no background with the comics. I also love the 50’s setting.

  34. StudentA*

    Has anyone successfully stopped grinding their teeth? It has been a losing battle with me for years now. Night guards do not work well for me.

    1. nep*

      I’ve not had the problem of doing it at night, but after a dentist showed me how clenching my teeth in a certain way was affecting one of my top front teeth, I’m far more mindful about it. But it’s when I’m awake, and it got me wondering how one might deal with it if it’s happening during sleep. Could hypnotism help — anyone know?

    2. ThatGirl*

      I’m not sure it’s possible to stop. I grind on one side and didn’t realize it until my 20s that my teeth are flatter on my left.

      Try slim/comfort night guards, they are much easier to wear and more comfortable. Plackers and Sleep Right make some.

    3. Christy*

      Have you gotten a high-quality hard mouthguard from your dentist? Mine was like $600 ($120 copay for me) and it’s the ticket for me. I still grind sometimes but my teeth aren’t grinding down.

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      When you say nightguards haven’t worked for you, are you talking about the kind you get at a pharmacy off the shelf or the kind a dentist makes for you custom-built?

      I tried off-the-shelf ones, and they were extremely uncomfortable, so I gave up on those. Then I (using pre-tax money via flexible spending, because it wasn’t covered by dental “insurance”) had my dentist make a custom one for me for about US$400, and it was excellent (far smaller).

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I have not experienced it first hand, but I have had chiropractic work done on my jaw that has helped with other issues. This leads me to conclude that you might find some relief through chiropractic. If you decide to check this out, be sure to ask if the doctor has had experience with jaw grinding problems before setting an appointment. This will help you find the right person on the first try.

    6. Artemesia*

      I have to use a nightguard. There are so many different kinds. The dentist made kind are hideously expensive. The kind that are like athletic tooth guards that you boil and then fit to your own bite, completely don’t work for me at all. What I have found does work is this night guard which used to be expensive and only available on line, but with competitive models is now affordable. It is easy to get used to, to keep clean and does prevent the worst damage as I clench my teeth in the night. there are adjustable wings on the sides tied together with a strip in front — they are comfortable (get the ‘low profile’) and last a long time. I just rinse them in hot water and soak them every day or two in listerine.


      1. Windchime*

        Thanks, I’ll look into this. I grind my teeth and wake up with horrible headaches due to grinding and clenching my teeth so hard. I’ve been using a silicone guard from the drug store and it does help, but it’s very thick.

      2. StudentA*

        I just purchased it! I really hope it works. I am so tired of spending money on my teeth – it seems never-ending.

      3. ThatGirl*

        Yes, this is one of the kinds I refer to above – I like them much better than the boil-it ones.

        1. Artemesia*

          When I used the boil it type, they gave me a jaw and headache because they held my jaw in too rigid a position. This wing thing allows for natural movement of the jaw (and alas for chewing it during sleep) but it really does a fair job of protecting the teeth and jaw. I am old and one of the thrills of old teeth is that they move and I now have spaces that trap food as the back teeth sort of tip back and open up space — this thing has helped curb that movement. I had horrible to non-existent dental care as a kid and all my teeth are filled or capped now as a result — my universal advice to you youngs is ‘floss, take care of your teeth’ because it all comes home to roost. If I had had flouride and good dental care and flossing it would have saved me tens of thousands of dollars over the years. When I was in grad school I had gold inlays to save a bunch of teeth that cost literally two thirds of my income for the year. I was eating noodles to get my teeth fixed. These inlays are now 45 years ago and I lost one just the other day; my current dentist was able to re-install it. Apparently that expensive dentist in the early 70s was really good if expensive.

    7. Belle diVedremo*

      Soft tissue manual therapies (eg, cranio-sacral, myo-fascial) from a good massage or physical therapist can do wonders. Note that this work often addresses habitual movement/muscle patterns, so it can take a bit for the relief and changes to stick.

      1. StudentA*

        I came across that in my research. I just sent an appointment request to a facility :) Thank you.

    8. Panda Bandit*

      Mine stopped after I started seeing a therapist. I haven’t ground my teeth in years at this point. If your mouth and jaw are otherwise fine, and you don’t have sleep apnea, consider tackling it on another front. Oftentimes stress and anxiety will show up as physical symptoms.

  35. Shell*

    I have a treadmill at home. I use it sometimes for speedwalking (not often enough).

    I’ve noticed that after a 20-30 minute session on the treadmill, I get lightheaded, like I do if I go too hard at the pool. I set the treadmill to a fast walking pace (just under a jog; I don’t jog because I have crappy knees) but not ridiculous. Weirdly, while I get lightheaded pretty much every time, I don’t feel that winded when I leave the treadmill–a little winded, but not badly. However, when I walk outside, I always slow down/stop because I get winded and I’m panting, but I never get lightheaded.

    Anyone knows what’s going on? Am I just going that much harder on a treadmill because I would naturally slow down outside when I’m tired? It baffles me.

    I know I’m pretty sedentary and I don’t get enough cardio; I’m just baffled why I get lightheaded indoors but not outdoors.

    1. fposte*

      That is weird. When you’re outside and you get winded, how long have you been walking before that happens? I’m wondering if you’re going shorter and faster vs. longer and slower.

      1. Shell*

        When outside, if the road is pretty flat or a gentle slope, I can go a pretty long time–30+ minutes isn’t a problem. I probably go a bit faster on the treadmill than outside, since obstacles, other pedestrians, and terrain keep me from going full-tilt speedwalk.

        Not sure if these numbers will help, but…let’s take a walk to my local community centre.

        Part of the first leg of the walk is a hill (19.5% slope, 107 metres rise/550 metres run). Here I get winded within five minutes of going up that hill and I’ll stop and take a break. (I’m usually up maybe a third to a half of the hill by then, depending on how much exercise I’ve gotten recently.) Once I finish up that hill, I proceed to walk the rest of the way to my community centre, which is approximately a 126 metre rise/900 metre walk (14% slope), and that I do without even pausing and takes me about 15 minutes. At no point during this walk will I feel lightheaded, only (very, in the case of the first hill) winded. My best time for the entire walk from my home to community centre is about 26-27 minutes, though usually I break 30.

        I should also add that my treadmill is flat (the incline function doesn’t work; it’s a really old treadmill), so it’s not as if I’m walking on an inclined indoors but vary the slope outdoors. I do think I’m probably going faster on the treadmill than outside because the speed selection is discrete and there isn’t one that quite follows my natural (pretty quick) gait. I’d get it if I just get winded at different rates than if I walk outside, but I always get lightheaded on the treadmill when I stop (I never feel it while I’m walking on the treadmill) and never do when I walk outside.

    2. Colette*

      My guess is that you are working more consistently indoors, since you aren’t encountering hills or walking around obstacles or pausing to let someone pass.

      This sounds to me like you should run this by your doctor.

    3. Aisling*

      When I first joined a gym, I would get lightheaded and a little nauseous with the first workouts. It’s a dehydration and pushing yourself too hard. Make sure to drink while you’re exercising. If you’re not doing the treadmill very often, a fast walking pace for 20-30 minutes is too much on your body. You have to work up to that intensity. Try a moderate pace for 15 minutes for a few weeks, and then increase intensity. I’m not sure why it doesn’t affect you when walking outside, but it’s the same for me- I never get lightheaded walking outside. I have a feeling it’s because I’m subconsciously slowing myself down when I’m setting the pace, and I can’t do that on the treadmill.

    4. Student*

      Go to a doctor.

      Light-headed would suggest a blood flow problem or maybe ear problem. Possibly vision problem if you have a bad glasses prescription. Heart problems are very common and can sneak up on you – if it’s something fix-able then it’s best to find out sooner rather than later. It might be nothing, but frankly it sounds pretty abnormal to get light-headed that fast and with such frequency.

      1. Shell*

        Hmm, speaking of blood flow…I do recall that I never cool down on the treadmill, and though I never explicitly cool down outside either, the fact I can naturally change my pace outside may also contribute to this.

        I’m going to go on the treadmill tonight and takes some notes for 2-3 weeks (this question is inspired by my wanting to go on the treadmill tonight after a loooong time of not touching it. I don’t use the treadmill much, but I do remember the lightheadedness being noticeable the rare times I do use it). If this still persists after that time, I’ll take my notes to my doctor.

    5. V Dubs*

      I actually think it’s because your body is confused- you’re walking, so it thinks the world should be moving by/visual and physical stimuli changing; but you’re on a treadmill. So while your body is in motion, the visual and sensory input stays the same, and this is confusing to your body. Katy Bowman mentioned this in one of her podcast episodes; I’ll link in a comment.

  36. fposte*

    Looking at a possible trip to Vancouver later this year, and we’d like also to go to Victoria. Any suggestions as to how much time we should spend there? We’re thinking 2-3 nights, maybe?

    1. Colette*

      2-3 nights for Victoria or both?

      I know there used to be tours from Vancouver to Victoria – you leave in the morning, take the ferry to the island, go to Buchart (sp?) gardens, then spend the afternoon in Victoria before going back to Vancouver. They may still exist, I haven’t been in years.

      There’s more to do on Vancouver Island than Victoria, though. I would think you could easily spend a few days there, depending on what you want to do.

      Both times I’ve been to Vancouver I was there for a week, and that was a good amount of time.

      1. fposte*

        2-3 night for Victoria; maybe 5-6 for Vancouver? Sounds like it might be just a taste call–we weren’t sure if we’d be cheating Victoria if we left early or running out of things to do if we stayed longer.

        1. Colette*

          It really depends on what you want to do. I’m hardly an expert (isn’t Cath from Canada from that area?) but I think 2 days would be plenty in Victoria, but you might want more time if you want to hike, spend time on the coast, or otherwise get out of the city.

        2. Shell*

          What kind of things are you thinking of doing? Walks, gardens, parks, restaurants? Are you sticking to Vancouver proper or you do want to branch out to neighbouring cities/suburbs as well?

          1. fposte*

            Museums, gardens and parks, eating, arts and crafts shopping, I’d say. We wouldn’t be averse to heading out of town, but we won’t have a car so we’ll focus on trips that public transit can get us to.

            1. Lore*

              What time of year? I did the passenger ferry from Victoria to the San Juan Islands (well, actually, Seattle > San Juan > Victoria > Seattle) in July and both the boat trip and Friday Harbor were magical places well worth the detour. Amazing whale-watching (between Seattle and FH on the boat but also just sitting on the beach on the west side of San Juan Island). I did it without a car; there’s a jitney bus thing that will get you from one end of the island to the other if you need to go (though you could also spend a very pleasant day or two just in Friday Harbor town, there is an excellent sculpture garden in Roche Harbor, a gorgeous state park with views of the mountains over the water, and a lavender farm somewhere in between). I ended up doing four nights in Seattle (not relevant to your purposes), two in Friday Harbor, and one in Victoria; I wished I had another night in Victoria because I definitely missed some of the museums and barely got to try any restaurants.

              1. Anonsie*

                I HIGHLY recommend this. I live in the area and every time I go out there it’s still gorgeous and fun.

                Personally I don’t think Vancouver has 5 days worth of stuff. I think Lore’s timeframes here are pretty spot on.

    2. Gene*

      I’d spend more time in Victoria than Vancouver. Buchart Gardens is a day. Depending on the exhibits on tap, the Royal BC Museum could be a day. If you aren’t staying there (and you should) plan a dinner at Sooke Harbor House.

    3. Felicia*

      I spent 6 days in Vancouver in mid February (and 6 nights actually) and it was perfect for me, but I spent the days doing stuff, and the nights hanging out with a friend, and it wasn’t too much of a “go go go” type pace, more comfortable. If my friend wasn’t there, and if I went at a more nonstop pace, which I know some people do, 5 days would have been ok.

      I have never been to Victoria but i’ve heard there’s not all that much to do there (it has a reputation as a place people go to retire, if that tells you anything, I was told that by a friend my age, 25 , who’s from there but who knows how true it is).

      My favourite part was the Capilano suspension bridge (which includes cliff walk and tree top adventure and a nice hiking area so imo worth the money) and there’s a free shuttle bus that goes there that leaves right from downtown Vancouver, so it’s super easy without a car! But there are so many great parts. For a while i’d just stare in awe at seeing mountains and ocean simultaneously

    4. Liblady*

      If you want shopping in Vancouver, be sure to go to Granville Island. Great quirky shops.

    5. Cath in Canada*

      I think 2 nights in Victoria would be plenty – it’s very nice, but pretty small. The ferry route is beautiful, but if you go by bus it takes several hours from Vancouver. If you can afford it (it’s actually not *that* much more expensive), I’d take the ferry there and a float plane back. The latter takes about 20-3o minutes, city centre to city centre, and the views are spectacular.

      If float planes fit your budget, you could also make it to Tofino, which is just amazing. Not a ton of accommodation options though, so book early if you want to stay overnight.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Oh, and top picks in Vancouver: Stanley Park / Aquarium, Anthropology Museum (combined with a walk along Spanish Banks / Jericho Beach if you have the time and the weather), Granville Island, Grouse Mountain, Lynn Canyon park and suspension bridge. Be careful – I came here on a planned one night visit, stayed three nights, and ended up moving here :D

        1. Shell*

          Cath said just about everything I wanted to say (and more), but I’d also add in Queen Elizabeth Park and the Bloedel Conservatory. The Van Dusen Botanical Garden is pretty nice too, but if you’re going to the Butchart Gardens that may be too many gardens in one trip.

          Capilano suspension bridge is nice–I took my best friend there when she visited–but Lynn Canyon is free.

  37. The Other Dawn*

    Those gorgeous ginger tabbies!

    So, the ex-tenant from hell is the gift that keeps on giving.

    I asked the current tenant to check the basement to see if my small tv and dvd player were still behind the stairs. She texts me and tells me it’s not there. She checks the whole basement, the house and the attic. No tv or dvd player. Since the ex-tenant took my patio chairs and my pot rack, it wasn’t a stretch to figure out she took the tv and dvd player with her. (I left those there for her use since we were friends at that time. I didn’t give them to her to keep.) When I did the walk-through after the eviction, I didn’t think to check for the items and didn’t need them until now. So I contacted her and she tells me that I gave them to her (just like the pot rack and patio set). Um,no those were to use while living there. She claims she will bring them back, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Then, I get a text from the tenant that the main drain overflowed and there was 3 inchesof water in the basement. They had to have Roto Rooter come out at 1 am to snake the drain, which cost 415.00. That’s fine. We used to do it every few years as a precaution and we were actually planning to schedule it next week. but of course it overflows this week. Tenant tells me the guy pulled out tons of baby wipes. So, I text my husband and he’s pissed. Apparently he’d had a talk with ex-tenent when she moved in and told her explicitly DO NOT flush baby wipes (she had said the whole family uses them and flushes them). Wipes don’t degrade and they clog everything up. Last time it was snaked there weren’t any in there since we don’t use them, and I know the current tenant doesn’t use them, because they’d had a similar issue at the mom’s house before they moved into my old house. So there’s only one place the wipes could have come from. And apparently there were quite a few of them that came out when he snaked the drain.

    The gift that keeps on giving.

    1. Jen*

      Ugh ugh ugh for the love of plumbing everywhere- no baby wipes!!! They do make degradable sewer & septic safe ones, which I use for my toddler.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        They’re basically the same as those flushable toilet wipes that aren’t really flushable. Google “London fatberg” to see why you shouldn’t flush them. And prepare to gag!

  38. Turanga Leela*

    I looooove Ex Libris. I picked it up at a bookstore because I liked the cover, and it’s one of the best choices I ever made—just so smart and funny. Plus it taught me the word “mephitic.”

  39. Hlyssande*

    I really should know better than to meet a friend at the new offshoot of our amazing local fabric warehouse and think that I’ll escape without buying any fabric. Hngh. On the other hand, it’s an absolutely gorgeous gray silk/linen blend that I just want to roll around on. SO GORGEOUS.

    1. saro*

      Do you want to be enabled or dissuaded from buying the fabric because I’m an awesome enabler… :)

      It’s a local fabric warehouse! You have to support them! Will you be able to find such unique and lovely fabric again? You’ll sew such a pretty item of clothing with it! It sparks joy!

  40. Anonsie*

    Any artistes afoot? Has anyone gone back to trying to learn to draw as an adult?

    As a kid I was really into trying to learn illustration and I spent a lot of time on it. In college I tried to keep up but never had time, and as an adult I’ve done basically nothing. So I’m still at a level that would be maybe impressive for a 15 year old but that’s it. I want to start improving again so I started drawing again on my own, but I feel sort of stagnated. I think I hit the level I could reach on my own back at 15 and past this I need some extra pushing or instruction somehow, but I’m not sure what to do?

    I took a class in college once and it was super useless, so I’m sort of gun shy about shelling out money for one again now since they ain’t cheap and it’s hard to know how the teacher will be until it’s too late. I’m not sure how to evaluate a class from the outside I guess? Any suggestions of things to try, choosing instruction, something something?

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I wouldn’t shell out money for another class. I’ve taken one drawing class in my entire life, and the best thing I learned there was just to scribble a lot (I’m not joking). Practice is your best friend here. I would just find a good way to practice. That can be on your own just doodling, or you can make it a bit more formally scheduled by attending drawing co-ops (there is probably a life drawing class somewhere around you that meets every week). It’s still a little money ($5-12, depending—enough to pay the model when pooled), but less than an actual class, and you get good, scheduled practice.

      1. Anonsie*

        I really don’t think only drawing on my own is the way to go, honestly. I’ve had a handful of people tell me this, but all the progress I made back then was from getting very specific instruction from an after school art program I did back then. I didn’t make any additional progress in college drawing on my own all that time, I mean– there’s practicing on applying what you know, and then there’s developing what you know. It’s the latter part that, at least for me, requires some instruction or outside input to work on.

    2. Love to learn*

      A lot of art museums have schools that are not degree programs, so not competitive like a college program. I took some great classes this way.

    3. ArtsyFartsy*

      Also, both colleges (community and otherwise) and art schools usually have some type of continuing education program. You can get courses taught by well-credentialed people, without having the pressure/commitment of a degree program. Other than that, local community art centers are also a good place to start.

    4. Aurora Leigh*

      What about instructional DVDs? My sister really likes the Learn and Master Painting set. It’s not cheap (around $100) but you get knowledgeable instructors and you can work at your own pace.

    5. Clever Name*

      In my area the open space organization hosts nature drawing groups. I’m not sure if there’s a leader, but a friend goes and she says she gets all sorts of great tips from others that has improved her drawing skill.

    6. RL*

      I am also getting back into art after a long hiatus, having just drawn before with no formal training. Have you tried searching google for tutorials of mediums you’re interested in? You can be specific or vague in your search, something is bound to come up. Youtube also has a plethora of tutorials. I’ve quickly become addicted to watching speed drawings…
      Try your local library too. I’ve found some great drawing books, all for free, and you can see what methods of learning work best for you. I’m very much learn by doing, so I wanted projects to work on to help me learn. Having done those, I can now appreciate more wordy technique books that I would’ve previously cast aside as gibberish.

    1. fposte*

      Oh, I’m sad too. I lost track of it when it seemed to get more sporadic, but it was always a favorite, and I have some of the ridiculously expensive DVDs.

    2. The Artist Formerly Known as AdminAnon*

      I love Mythbusters! Though I sort of have to…Jamie grew up in my hometown, so of course we watched it in every science class I ever had. Great show.

    3. Clever Name*

      It’s definitely bittersweet. I knew the end was coming when they let go of the build team. :( we recently saw Mythbusters Live! and it was pretty cool.

  41. Jen in RO*

    I talked about this on AAM a few months ago – just as my best work-friend was supposed to come back after maternity leave, her daughter was diagnosed with kidney cancer at 9 months old. It finally has a happy end: They finished all treatment this week and the odds are fantastic (98% or something) for the disease never coming back!

  42. Cas*

    I had a weird situation with a work colleague the other day and I just don’t know how to feel about it, but it’s been bugging me.

    My childhood wasn’t abusive, but there were parts that were neglect, which I think I’ve come to terms with. I don’t blame anybody, it was a hard life, but I did miss out on normal things growing up, like breakfast and dentists. I also have a brother with intellectual disability.

    My colleague and I were talking about families and life, and the first thing was that I mentioned my brother and she just seemed to assume it was a very mild disability and that I didn’t really understand severe situations (which comes up at work. Actually, his disability is very severe and we have had medical and criminal issues arising). Then, she started talking about how lucky we are to be from families where we had everything and we knew what normal looked like. Well, no, I didn’t know what normal looked like until I hit work. It’s been challenging for me to get norms when people talk about life-outside-work, but I think I’m getting there.

    I didn’t say anything because she’s just a colleague and it’s none of her business, but the assumptions have just been grating on me all week. I guess I just wanted to vent.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Ugh. I have seen some similar stuff myself. And like you are saying, many people have had lives much worse than mine.

      A few random thoughts:

      If people do not know my background they will assume the best. It’s not their fault for not knowing, they should however watch their assumptions. I can’t make them do that. The only thing I can do is watch my own assumptions about others and make sure I am not doing this also.

      Other times I think to myself, the person who needs to know reality is ME. Sometimes I can get derailed with “but this other person does not get this stuff” and reality is that I am the only person who actually needs to “get it”. The other person does not need to fully understand, on my part it’s a want not a need.

      Lastly, I do an exercise where I limit my thinking to the immediate situation. In your case, you are saying your coworker thinks you do not understand severe situations and this also comes up at work. If I am reading this right, your coworker thinks you don’t understand how tough the job is. And this one makes me grin. People who are used to tough situations take what they have learned and apply it to new situations. It could be that you seem to move through difficult things with ease because you are used to it, you know it could be worse and you just keep going. Your coworker could be failing to realize that your work comes easy to you because of your life experience. She misinterprets that ease as not understanding all that is wrong. She feels if you understood all that is wrong you would be in meltdown and you’re not.

      I had a situation with a group I belong to just recently. I can’t give details. But we had problem X. Where X is NOT good, but it’s not the end of the world, either. And my rational for this is that the people involved in creating X are reasonable people. We can talk with them and create a solution. It will take TIME, it’s not an instant answer. One individual in my group was in meltdown over situation X. Out loud I said, “I understand that x is a problem and it needs to be fixed. I think we all agree we will fix it. I don’t see a need to take immediate action Y. We can talk to the reasonable people involved, it will take us approximately four months to follow up but I think this is the route we should go.”

      Then I added, “I have seen far-far worse things happen in groups and I believe this problem is manageable.” As I said that I looked around the table, several people were nodding their heads vigorously. The person in meltdown was absolutely floored. I am sure she is verrrry angry with me. I am sure she thinks I don’t get how serious the problem is. The piece she is missing is that I have worked through worse problems and arrived at an enduring solution, a lasting fix.
      She quit the group. We begged her not to. She will never know how we brought problem X to a resolve. And she will never learn how we found a path through that situation. It could be that you are good at finding paths through difficult situations. You are so good at it that others do not understand what you did to get through the situation. Just like my group, the people who were nodding understood what I said, the person who was floored probably did not have a lot of exposure to dealing with difficult issues. Your coworker could be more like my person in meltdown and you could be more like the people in my group who nodded that they had seen worse problems. Differences in people, differences in life experiences.

      1. TootsNYC*

        love this so much!

        Especially the “make sure *I* am not making these facile assumptions about other people.”
        That’s a real cause for me now.

      2. Cas*

        Thanks- Those first few paragraphs are a good perspective for me. It really grates that she makes these assumptions, but it really matters what I know- not what she thinks I know.

        She’s on the same level in a different team so it’s not going to affect work much- I guess she almost assumes that if I’ve made it this far, my upbringing can’t have been too disadvantaged, but that’s a bad assumption. Lucky she’s not in a client-facing role because lowered expectations hurt everyone.

        Sounds like you did really well with that problem- I’m a bit worried for that woman- she’s going to hit a few hurdles in life…

        1. TootsNYC*

          She has definitely revealed something about herself.

          And this:

          I’m a bit worried for that woman- she’s going to hit a few hurdles in life…

          I have a Facebook friend who is the son of one of my pastors. Preacher’s kid. Very religious.
          He seems to have completely missed any of the Bible verses about mercy and judgment. He’s very smug–and one day, i worry, he will really be in some psychic pain, because it is going to get him!

    2. Liz L*

      I guess how to deal will depend on how much you want this coworker to know about your life. But it can be as simple as saying something like “there is no ‘normal'” next time to get her to stop assuming things she has no way of knowing. I find that people who stop to think about their words at moments like that are those I can actually have conversations on such topics with. The ones who are deaf to these cues and barrel on about their own grief are the ones I never share private details with. As much as I would like to be understood by other people, sometimes it’s better to protect myself from the ones who still don’t understand or care even after they are told the facts.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Or, “It’s good to be careful not to make assumptions about the people around us. You never know who you’re talking with that might have had a far worse experience than you think they have.”

        1. Liz L*

          Yeah, if you want to have a whole conversation about it. Which you don’t have to if you don’t want to engage someone to that degree.

          1. TootsNYC*

            I don’t think you have to turn that into a conversation–you might need a follow-up that says, ‘I’m not pointing at any one person, but I know that people can have problems and backgrounds that the rest of us aren’t aware of, and I just wanted to warn you about not making assumptions. It can create awkwardnesses for everybody.”

            Implication being, “not necessarily me, but I’ve seen it happen.”

        2. Cas*

          I don’t know if I have the courage for that at this point, but I’ll keep it in mind.
          I find that if you DO make the comment, people assume it’s about you instead of just backing off, and I don’t want to share the information in that situation.
          It’s tricky…

    3. LizB*

      It can be really hard when your family mostly looked normal from the outside, or when you’ve managed to work your way far enough up in life that people assume you had a totally functional and easy-peasy childhood. Sounds like your coworker assumes that everyone who has a similar life to her now must have had a similar life growing up, which is a pretty huge assumption to make. It’s really frustrating to work so hard to overcome your circumstances and have to keep that effort a secret, and then have people assume you haven’t struggled at all.

  43. DeLurkee*

    Having a bit of a meltdown at the moment. This morning, things happened which brought up issues from my past (long term sexual and emotional abuse by parent, and several different entities then making an awful situation even worse when meant to be “helping”), left me floundering and just trying to get through the day without losing my stuff completely.
    Then my abusive ex husband brought back the kids, and even though I’ve successfully kept him out of my home for years, today he “desperately” needed to use the bathroom and put it across in a way that I couldn’t say no without sounding awful in front of the kids.
    Him having been IN MY HOUSE now feels skin-crawlingly awful, and I can’t believe of all days, this happened today, when I’m already struggling with issues from the first one who destroyed my sense of safety in my own home.
    Even to myself I sound like I’m overreacting, but I’m still so shaken and struggling to breathe properly.

    1. nep*

      Wow — the last thing I would think from all that is that you’re overreacting. Sorry your going through all this. Are you safe now — are you OK?
      After so many efforts to help gone bad, as you say, are there people or institutions you’ve been able to turn to for some solid support?
      Keep us posted.

      1. DeLurkee*

        Thank you Nep. Back then, I did eventually get some help from a really amazing police officer, and briefly from a counsellor before she unfortunately retired, but mainly it’s been time and distance that have done the work.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Some times things hit big and they hit hard- like tidal waves.

      Do you have a plan to go up against this tidal wave? What are your resources for support? Do you have a counselor helping you? If no, is there someone you were seeing a while ago? Do you have friends/family that know the whole story and can you call them?

      Next time tell him the toilet is broken. If the kids interrupt and correct you- just tell them that it is a technical problem that you have been keeping an eye on and it needs to be fixed.

      1. DeLurkee*

        I actually didn’t have a plan because I thought all of that was behind me. I’ve been ok for a long time, and I was blindsided by it coming up like that.
        I did talk to my partner a bit about it (he doesn’t live with me, but is nearby) and he was reassuring. I don’t really discuss it in detail with anyone though mainly because I wanted it to stay in the past. :(

    3. Love to learn*

      Are you ever at home without the kids? If so, it might be nice to create a simple ritual for yourself to reclaim your space as yours. Burning sage comes to mind, but there maybe other things you can do to help you mentally and emotionally remove his energy from your space.

    4. TootsNYC*

      Can you find someone who can do some sort of cleansing ritual, like burning sage? Just to make you feel better about your safe home?

      Maybe (if you’re religious) even just say a prayer or read some scripture, or say some words of your own in blessing (or call a friend to say them) or read an empowering powem, and then light a scented candle in the bathroom, living room, front hall? So you can emotionally feel you’ve reclaimed that space.

      And maybe find a way for someone to communicate with him now, after the fact and say: Never again ask to use the bathroom, or ask to come in her home.

      Be ready–next time say, “there’s a Starbucks down the road.”
      You’ve got the kids, what can you tell them? You don’t want to trash him, but you can say, “Listen, you know I’m not comfortable with your dad, so I’m not going to allow him to come in our house. It may seem like I’m being mean, but this is going to be my rule, and I’m going to hold to it.”

      Basically, lay the groundwork for refusing him entry.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Sage. Interesting you should mention that. A friend of mine burns sage to push out evil spirits. Since he seems to get results for people, I can buy into this idea. OP, if you do burn sage, please be careful because of the open flames/smoldering stuff. I don’t think you need a ton of it. You might find some fresh sage at the grocery store in the produce department.
        My friend helped me, personally, when my boss and I had to deal with a VERRRY difficult person at work. He blessed our doorway and said some prayers. We had no problem with this known difficult person. According to newspaper headlines, other people after us were not so fortunate.

        Stuff to think about if it resonates with you, OP.

      2. DeLurkee*

        This part about the kids is difficult. Really, that’s the main issue, feeling that because of perceived obligations, my rules can be walked over – and it’s happening in my head as much as in the verbal space. Even though I felt like screaming “No! you don’t get to come into my space ever, ever, EVER, because you destroyed the home we had and made us all unsafe in it!”, it’s not something I feel I can or should say out loud.
        For the kids, I’ve done everything I can to be civil to and about their father, so that they can have some degree of relationship with him and be happy, but the flip side of that is they don’t know how I feel about him, and have little memory of how bad it was when we lived with him. They wouldn’t understand and would think I was being awful.

    5. catsAreCool*

      Anything with “my abusive ex husband” doesn’t sound like an overreaction to me. Naturally you wouldn’t want him in your house or anywhere near you.

      1. DeLurkee*

        Love to Learn, Toots NYC, Not So New Reader, thank you all for those ideas. That’s good advice that feels like it would help. I can get some sage later today, and in the meantime I have some frankincense resin incense that I think I want to use around my space. Thank you so much, I feel better just preparing for that.

      2. DeLurkee*

        Whoops, I attached my previous reply to the wrong message.

        Cats are Cool, thank you for your support and understanding.

        1. Paige Turner*

          If you feel like it would help or be necessary, maybe you could do the drop off/pick up somewhere other than your home? I also think you’re not overreacting and hope you’re feeling a bit better by now.

  44. Little Teapot*

    It was my birthday this week and amoung other presents my partner surprised me with a Chocolate Teapots mug. Needless to say I squealed happily and couldn’t believe it. You rock Alison! Thank you for being so awesome :D

  45. Jo*

    Does anyone know anything about Princeton, NJ? I’m considering taking a job there that will be very, very, VERY low paid, so I’m trying to decide if I can afford to live there on that salary. I’ve tried to determine rent prices, but Craigslist is not very helpful for that particular location and I don’t know where else to look at apartments/rooms for rent.

    Can anyone give me any suggestions/advice?

    1. NJ Resident*

      I live Princeton adjacent and moved here for a job from the Midwest. It’s a very nice area (I call it the garden part of the garden state). I really like it but I consider it fairly expensive. I rent a condo for $1,350 a month which is around the lowest rent you will find without giving me a super long commute. Everything else is expensive as well. Car insurance, the vet, non-chain restaurants, which are spotty in quality and definitely overpriced for what you get. I moved here married but I hear from others that it’s hard to date. Also for my industry, career progression is hard. I now commute to New York because I couldn’t find a job closer. You’ll want to look into what you do.

      Overall I really like it though. I really like the area and being close to nyc and philly. The winters aren’t too bad. My salary when I moved here was $52,000 and with a $600 student loan payment, I found it was enough to live on and have a good quality life but it didn’t go nearly as far as I thought it would (my spouse worked part time originally and was earning around $10K a year so we were around $62K for two people).

      If you have any more questions I would be more than happy to answer them.

    2. NJ Resident*

      Also check Zillow and hot pads for rentals. There are a few corporate rental complexes in plainsboro which all have bad reputations.

    3. Nancypie*

      Princeton is surrounded by somewhat upscale towns. You will need to think of whether you will be ok with a roommate or a long commute. For example, you could commute 30-45 minutes and may find something reasonable (by NJ standards), or closer with roommates. Cost of living is high. High property taxes, high car insurance (thoroughly look into this, it’s expensive!). It’s also a lovely place. Near great nature, museums, restaurants, etc. people in NJ are very friendly (I swear, really, despite the reputation).

      I would use google maps to check the commutes, but for cheaper apartments look at Hamilton, New Brunswick (or east, south, north Brunswick), maybe even bucks county PA. Hills borough, but that’s traffics. I will see if I can think of anything else. Be sure to check the travel time during rush hour, because traffic can be very, very bad. South of Princeton may be better than north.

    4. Sunflower*

      I live in Philly and Princeton is kind of the midway point between here and NYC. Princeton seems pretty expensive- most of NJ between Philly and NJ seems to have higher COL.

      I also am not sure how old you are but I don’t think the area is that big for younger adults. I’m 27 and I had a friend(same age) who moved there for a promotion and ended up coming back to Philly after 6 months because she just wasn’t into it. I have friends who have offices in Princeton- almost all of them commute from either Philly or NJ suburbs of NYC like Hoboken. Also it takes about an hour-1.5 hours by train to get to downtown NYC or Philly. If you’re looking at living in PA and driving into NJ, there’s a $5 toll to cross the bridge from NJ into PA and that can add up.

    5. Fleur*

      I was a grad student there, so it’s hard for me to imagine you’d have trouble financially living in the area if I managed on my $20k/year stipend – but it will depend on whether you have a family to support and your own lifestyle preferences. I was paying easily over half of my paycheck for rent, so I ate very frugally and went out maybe only once every couple of months to NYC to see a show. I was single, and lived in a 1-bedroom in Plainsboro and later East Windsor. Both were within 20 minute commute to the university. I didn’t do Craigslist, just drove around and looked for apartment complexes with an office I could drop in on.

    6. Jo*

      Thanks, everyone! You’ve been really helpful.

      To answer your questions, I’m early thirties and single, so from what NJ Resident and Sunflower said, that doesn’t really sound ideal. Also I would be making only around $20k after taxes, which means I don’t think I can afford to take the job, after all :(

      It’s so frustrating that this is the only job I’ve come close to getting and I can’t afford to take it. My current position is far from ideal but at least I’m keeping my head above water financially, if barely.

  46. The Other Dawn*

    So, I’m thinking of trying a personal trainer. Ive had weight loss surgery and I’m getting close to goal (after a small setback). I’m refocusing so I can finally get there and now I really need to get the exercise going. Up until now, it’s pretty much been zero. Although prior to surgery I had some pretty successful stints at the gym. Of course, I then slacked off and the weight came back. I now want to kick it into high gear so I can prepare for skin removal surgery sometime in the next couple years. I feel the only way I can do that is to go to a personal a trainer. I must admit, I really feel like I need the ass kicking, accountability and motivation a trainer can provide. Any tips for getting the most out of a trainer? How often should I see one?

    1. nep*

      As far as frequency, it depends on how motivated you’ll be to work out on your own when not with the trainer. I’ve known people to meet with a trainer once a week then work out diligently on their own a couple/few additional days. On the other hand, I know some who absolutely will not work out if they don’t have an appointment with the trainer that they’ve already paid for; they meet with their trainer three times a week.
      If you think it will work for you, ask your trainer to write up home-based workouts designed for you.
      Of all the people I’ve talked to who’ve worked out with a trainer, the most common reason they go that route is the accountability — they’ve invested money and they’ve got an appointment. They’re going to show up, and for many that’s the biggest barrier to overcome. Once they’re there, they’re going to move their body.
      All the best to you and keep us posted.

    2. newreader*

      I use a trainer twice a week. Without a trainer I would find excuses to either not get to the gym or I would get there but only do a pathetic excuse for a workout. Talk to the gym you are using or want to use for a trainer about what your goals are and see what they suggest. It may be worthwhile to start with more sessions per week in the beginning until you’re back in the habit.

      Your own motivation level will be a factor – maybe use a trainer once or twice a week and workout on your own the other days if you think you can keep to that schedule. I know that for me, without knowing that the trainer is waiting for me, I just won’t get to the gym. So paying the trainer is well worth the cost for me.

      1. TootsNYC*

        “Without a trainer I would find excuses to either not get to the gym or I would get there ”

        I found that having a workout buddy helped with that a lot–I think gyms should have match-making services.

      2. GreenTeaPot*

        I worked with a trainer twice a week for almost a year, following a shoulder injury and PT. I had another injury, leg this time, and following PT I again hired a trainer for a month. Just to be sure I am not injuring anything else. It definitely keeps you motivated.

  47. Mkb*

    It is one of the nicest towns I’ve ever been to but it is expensive. I would advise against moving there for a very low paying job.

  48. 45 Rabbis*

    This is a two in one question. I’ll be moving in the next 6 months to a year but I’m not sure where. It will be one of the two below options that I am looking for info on.

    1) Framingham, MA. Anyone live near there? It looks on the expensive and would love some tips on areas (city names) I should look at within a maximum of 40 drive into Framingham. What areas are affordable, safe, good for families. Affordable means able to make it on about $4000 per month for all expenses. Bonuses would be cultural activities and lots of town area events. Stuff to do.

    2) Anywhere in the country. I may have the opportunity to move anywhere I want with total flexibility. Spouse and I have been talking about going someplace very low cost of living and just saving money for about 5-10 years. I’m not sure where to look. The area needs to be left-leaning politically speaking and inexpensive, safe and good for families. We’re willing to do without almost everything else if it means we’re spending very little money to live there.

    3) Anywhere in the country that we can live on $4000 per month, even if it’s not low cost of living. The other thought is just loving were we will stay forever. A great city that meets all out needs and wants. It’s not as safe as moving to a low cost of living area, but this has value in a different way. If it is an area with a good tech industry it will be easier for my spouse to find a job and increase our income.

    I’m not sure where to begin looking. Any suggestions?

    1. Colette*

      Will you be trying to find a job where you live? If so, that’s your first step – not necessarily job hunting, but looking to see what jobs are available. Some low cost of living places have few jobs above minimum wage.

      Also, evaluate the cost of renting. Some places have low house prices, but you don’t want to buy if you’re not going to be there long (since it can take years to sell, if you’re even able to).

      1. 45 Rabbis*

        I won’t be looking for work. I’ll either be relocating to Framingham to work from the corporate office or I will be given permission to work from anywhere. My spouse does not currently work and ideally he will get a job wherever we go, but I make enough money to get by.

    2. Sualah*

      Well, depending what you mean by left leaning, Iowa might not be bad. Compared to, say Portland or San Francisco, maybe no. Compared to the Bible Belt, you might like it.

      But, before you write me off completely, we have a local store that makes funny t-shirts, and the shirt, “June 26, 2015: America is now finally as gay as Iowa” is pretty spot on. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2015/06/26/raygun-tshirt-iowa-gay-marriage/29340341/

      The cost of living is pretty good, especially if you’re willing to live in some of the smaller towns. But even Des Moines or Iowa City is affordable.

      1. katamia*

        This! I went from growing up in the DC area (not in Takoma Park, for those of you who have heard of it, but I went to school with kids from there, to give you some idea of just how liberal my environment was) to a college in the Midwest in an area that had a reputation for being quite progressive. Except that compared to what I was used to, the people there weren’t progressive or liberal at all. It wasn’t the only reason I had a horrible time in college, but it was definitely a significant contributing factor.

        But then my college friends also thought I was super rich because the cost of living was so low compared to DC that I could buy pretty much whatever I wanted there, so the cost of living part can definitely be true.

      2. Jo*

        YAYYY Iowa! I second this.

        Des Moines is a really nice little city, as is Iowa City. Both have nice, somewhat funky/trendy downtown areas and a very reasonable cost of living. Also both are college towns (although Iowa City more so), which always have a great vibe.

        And people in Iowa are incredibly nice. I’ve traveled a lot and I still think that the people back home are the nicest I’ve ever met.

    3. Aurora Leigh*

      With regards to #2, you might want to look for small college towns. There are a lot of these in the Midwest. While small town and rural areas do tend to be right leaning, the college will often draw left leaning professionals. And because college students need stuff to do, there’s often more cultural activities than usual for a town of that size. Possibly a search for small private colleges would bring up an area you’re interested in!

    4. 45 Rabbis*

      Just realized I wrote there were two options but then added 3 lol. My excuse is it’s Sunday.

    5. Laura*

      Take a look at Providence and Philadelphia. Both real cities but much lower cost of living than Boston/DC/NYC. Fun cultural activities, safe family friendly neighborhoods. There are good public school options although it may take legwork and asking around to find the right one for you. Bonus for PVD would be easy access to your Framingham office if needed.

    6. Anonymous Educator*

      Framingham isn’t that expensive compared to some of its neighboring towns (e.g., Wayland, Acton, Sudbury). Same deal with Natick, which is right next door and also relatively affordable. If you want to live near Framingham but not necessarily in Framingham, also consider Waltham, which is affordable and good for families.

      If you’re willing to live anywhere to save money, though, I’d highly recommend Providence, RI (or Pawtucket, which is just north of Providence). Its economy is in the tank, so rents are low (but jobs are also scarce). Since it sounds as if you’d be able to telecommute or somehow live there without getting a job there, I think you’d enjoy it. Definitely affordable. The RISD art museum is a local little gem. Lots of great little restaurants that are affordable (e.g., Eastside Pockets or Garden Grille). And there are pretty, walkable parts of the city. The Cable Car Cinema is a cute arthouse movie theater. The Brown campus is beautiful. And it’s fairly easy to take the commuter rail train from Providence to Boston, if you ever want to visit Boston.

      My spouse and I were able to rent a ginormous two-bedroom apartment in Pawtucket for $1200/month. If you’re willing to live in a smaller two-bedroom or even a one-bedroom, you can probably get something even cheaper.

      1. Anon for this*

        +1 on Waltham, I have family there and used to stay there over summers in highschool. BEST TIMES EVER.

    7. LizB*

      Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN might be something to look into. Fairly inexpensive, good job market (including for tech), very left-leaning, lots of family-friendly stuff. You do have to be okay with pretty intense winters, but I personally really like it here.

    8. LibrarianJ*

      My only experience in Central Mass is with apartment rentals, so I don’t know if that’s relevant to your situation, but — outside of Framingham you could look at the 495 corridor (south). Most of those towns are not terribly urban/exciting, but quiet/good for families and within a reasonable drive of other activities. Milford and Hopkinton are about 30 min from Framingham and that seems to be one of the ‘busier’ areas (i.e., has a lot to offer in terms of retail, restaurants, hotels, etc.). We shopped around that area a couple years ago and found not a ton of rental options but the ones we found were reasonable (in the range of $1500/month for a 2-bedroom). It’s a fairly easy drive to places like Framingham/Natick, Wrentham, Foxboro where there are more things to do, and not far from the commuter rail into Boston which is nice for recreational trips (it wouldn’t be worth taking the train into Framingham from there, however). We know a family in Milford who claims that the schools are pretty solid too.

      Framingham itself has lots of great shopping options though, and the Natick Mall (next door to Framingham on Route 9) is really nice if a bit upscale.

    9. Jen*

      I live in a town adjacent to Framingham, and have worked there.

      What type of living arrangement would you need for your family? What are your rough living expenses outside of housing?

      You could live in Watertown or Waltham and commute against traffic; both of those options would get you an apartment type setup (or one family of a 2-3 family) for 2-3 bedrooms for $2500 or so, probably less.

      You could also go west of Framingham; you’d likely be able to find single family housing in the ~200k range once you get closer to Worcester but know that you’ll be in Boston traffic during your commute. If you can devote more of your budget to housing, towns like Milford, Ashland, Hudson, Malborough and probably Natick or Holliston (great schools there) are in your range if you aren’t picky about size.

      framingham’s immediate neighboring towns are generally expensive – and the taxes are killer. Wayland, Sudbury, Wellesley.

      FWIW I made 27k when I worked in Framingham, and had 2 roommates in my Boston apartment (I was 23).

    10. 01701*

      I grew up in Framingham and loved it! The schools are awesome and it’s pretty close to Boston without being as expensive to some of the other suburbs. I agree that Natick, Watertown, Waltham, Hudson, and Marlborough would be good places to look into too.

  49. The Artist Formerly Known as AdminAnon*

    Hey all!
    I’m nearing the end of my second trimester and everyone in the universe is asking for my registry information…except I haven’t started a registry yet. My excuses (I don’t know where I’ll be living/I don’t know the gender yet) have all run out and the clock is ticking, but every time I try to start a registry I become overwhelmed and want to just give up and raise the baby in the rainforest because HOLY HELL THERE ARE SEVEN THOUSAND CAR SEAT BRANDS.

    Any advice on creating baby registries?? I don’t like having stuff for the sake of stuff and I don’t like super cutesy baby things and I don’t want to end up with a bunch of stuff that gets recalled for safety issues in three months and basically I’m just grumpy about the whole thing (in case you can’t tell, this is my first…and possibly last).

    1. Rebecca*

      I am 30 years removed from the baby stage, but I can tell you that cutesy baby things are impractical. I went to a thrift store and got onesies, and all manner of pajamas, etc. really cheap, and those receiving blankets were a Godsend. I used old cloth diapers to cover my shoulders in the morning so I didn’t have to go to work with spit up on my clothes. I only got 6 weeks off back then, and that was with 1/2 pay.

      About the car seats, what a nightmare, I agree. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that. I suggest asking other new parents, or even your local law enforcement agency if they have any suggestions.

      1. The Artist Formerly Known as AdminAnon*

        Good call on the law enforcement agency! I’m actually on a task force with several local LEOs, so that will be an easy connection to make. Thanks!

    2. Mkb*

      I’m 23 weeks pregnant with my first and just finished my registries. I did Amazon and Babies R Us. My advice is to go look at strollers/ car seats in person so you can see how large/heavy they are then register for that one. (I liked the Britax Agile travel system) The babies r us people were actually pretty helpful and sit down with you and give you recommendations on what to get. You can return anything unopened for an entire year so I’m planning on keeping everything packages until I use it and if I end up not using it within the year I’ll take it back and exchange it for something more useful like clothing or diapers.

    3. Love to learn*

      It’s a funny world we live in today where people stress about giving the right present and pressure is applied to the recipient to make a list. There were no baby registries when my children were born, and wedding registries were only for dishes and silverware (so you would end up with a matched set). Gifts were a surprise. Sometimes you got duplicates, sometimes you got something you couldn’t use, and it was okay.

      When people ask for registry information, you can always say you don’t have one, that you prefer to be surprised.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*


        If it’s something you wouldn’t use, you could either return/exchange it or regift it at a later date.

        Also, my thing about registries is similar to work contributions for a gift. Sometimes, people just don’t have the budget.

    4. Sualah*

      I hear that Lucie’s List is great. But I’m in pretty much the same boat as you. I get decision fatigue just thinking about it all.

    5. nep*

      No insights or advice here — Just to say I enjoy your writing. Your post gave me a smile.
      Wishing you all the best.

      1. The Artist Formerly Known as AdminAnon*

        Thank you so much!! I love writing, but I rarely compose anything longer than an email these days. Your comment gave me a smile! :)

    6. Observer*

      I’m with the others as to it being kind of weird. On the other hand, it can work out well.

      If I were making the list I would go for:

      Lots of COTTON or cotton blend onsies and cotton blend stretchies. LOTS, and ONLY machine washable and dryer safe. Ask for sizes from newborn to 12 months.

      Sleep sacks (you don’t want ALOT but, 3 of them means you shouldn’t have to worry about laundry.) Again, washable and dryer safe.


      Car seat

      Nice carriage blanket

      One nice hat and coat (or whatever) to put on the baby for going out. Either two, or one that is nice enough for dressier situations, but easy to use.

      And, for everyone else. just ask them to make sure that whatever they get you, if it’s meant for the baby to wear, it’s non-scratchy and washable.

    7. Accountant*

      I did my baby registry on amazon. They have a helpful set of categories with the most commonly registered for items. And I put expensive stuff like furniture on there too, because they have a discount on that stuff after the baby is born. This is what you need at first:

      -A car seat
      -A stroller
      -A crib + 2-3 sheets
      -A containment device (bouncer or rocker or swing)
      -Diapers & wipes & a place to change the baby (you can use the floor, but you should put down a cloth in case of… liquids)
      -nursing supplies if you plan on doing that
      -zip up footie pajamas (10+)
      -more burp cloths than you think can possibly be used
      -a baby monitor (I’d recommend a video one, aka “the baby spy cam”)

      Literally all baby things (car seats and cribs etc) have to meet the same safety requirements. You can’t go wrong. Have fun!!! Everyone likes to give you all the gloom and doom stuff about having a baby and how dreadful and hard it is. I am not really a baby person, but it was so much more fun than I was expecting. Congratulations!

      1. Artemesia*

        Those baby swaddler things are magic — babies really do go to sleep easily when swaddled and the swaddlers make it easy.

    8. Jen*

      I’m on my second kid. I made a lot of mistakes with my first in terms of shopping/registry.

      Advice: register somewhere near you with a good return policy. Don’t open up all the gear until baby arrives. Chat up some moms and see what they liked. Get some of the big stuff used and put the pricey stuff that’s hard to buy used (car seats, monitors, diapers) on your registry.

    9. TootsNYC*

      You need relatively little stuff, to be honest. Most baby registries are really small–or they have big-ticket items, which most people don’t contribute to (my experience is that a grandparent might buy a car seat, or several relatives who already know one another might go together on a high chair)

      So if very many people are buying stuff from your registry, you would kind of have to make stuff up to give them all ideas, and that’s just stupid. So feel free to push back to most casual people, and say, “We’re not really making a big registry. If you want to buy a present, just get something you think is useful.”

      For car seats–if you will have help, or have money, get two: one w/ the little “basket” that can serve as the baby’s “chair” when you go to someone’s house; and one that will take you from baby to toddler.

      Get a Kushies nursing pillow; it’s firm, flat, compact, and lightweight.
      A Baby Bjorn soft baby carrier; it’s easy to put the kid in.
      Get a Medela pump–that’s the only brand I personally approve of (though maybe there are newer ones that are better than old non-Medela ones).
      Get a foldable/portable booster seat to use as a high chair when you go visiting.

      I didn’t know the gender either, and was adamant about not finding out. Which was good, bcs we -did- have a 2nd, and I could reuse the neutral jammies. I would have put my son in pink jammies, but my DH would probably have balked. A person can register for neutral stuff; it’s out there!

      One reason to register is precisely BECAUSE you don’t like super-cutesy baby things. Make an online on at some place like Elfster.com, or Amazon, and link to the kinds of baby clothes you do like, and then give those who ask that info, so they don’t go on their own and buy cutesy stuff!

      And Accountant is right–all the cribs and car seats are safe enough; just pick one that seems easy to figure out how to use, that you think you would find useful, and then don’t second-guess yourself.

      And, look around you at some other moms of younger kids, and pick someone who seems to have her head on straight, and to be not particularly pushy. Then ask her what features she liked most about her big-ticket equipment, and what was annoying, and what she wishes she’d bought.

    10. SAHM*

      CONGRATS! I’m also preggo (with my third due in June!). Things you need:
      -A diaper genie (they’re expensive and when you have to buy specialty bags for it you hate yourself, but with my second kid we broke it and bought a knockoff, the SMELL, omg. So Aweful! Plus we discovered regular trash cans and knockoffs aren’t doggie proof and dogs LOVE poopy diapers )
      – Crib (I picked one with a changing table attached that would transform into a kids bed later)
      -PackNPlay -used it as a changing table, and it transforms into a playpen as they get older.
      -A baby bjorn or a sling, whatever your comfortable with.
      -Glider or rocking chair, a super cozy one.

      My only advice about BabiesRUs is that don’t buy a rocking chair or glider there, ours kept breaking. At first we bought one and it was missing pieces so we returned it, got a second one and it was really messed up, returned it for a THIRD one which kept breaking after only a few months. My second kid it didn’t rock at all, it was stuck in stationary position, which SUCKED. This time around I’m dishing out extra $$ and buying one from a much nicer place.

      1. The Artist Formerly Known as AdminAnon*

        Thank you! And congrats to you too!! :)

        I’m especially grateful for the BabiesRUs rocking chair advice. I actually found one there that I liked, so I’m glad to know that before I bought it!!

    11. E*

      Ask friends for recommendations on car seats. I bought a convertible car seat thinking I’d save money but ended up buying a decent infant seat and two bases also just because it was easier to fit the baby in and carry him around for the first few months. Some infant seats will hold babies up to a higher weight (mine is 30 lbs) which makes it last longer.
      I tend to try to be minimalistic, so I focused on the big ticket items for my registry on Amazon. Swing, bouncy seat, but not much else. Diapers and wipes are pretty universally needed, although I planned on cloth diapers but used disposable for the first 8 weeks until he fit the cloth ones. Even now we use a few disposable at night and on trips. Focus on basic baby needs: eat (pumping or formula), sleep (bed/bassinet), and poop (diapering). You can really not have too many lightweight blankets or burp rags, and you can ask for plain onesies in basic colors, as well as pants or socks, for easy baby outfits.

  50. Not a Drinker*

    Any tips for feeling better after you drink too much? I got really drunk for the first time (not planned and turns out not a great idea for a Thursday night), and oof. I wasn’t even drinking anything high-alcohol, just a few middle of the road beers over a few hours, but I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch (yes, even for not being a drinker I should have known better, though I was trying to drink a glass of water per beer). I ended up throwing up on the drive home (boyfriend picked me up) and just felt awful and queasy most of the next day. I don’t plan on doing this again any time soon, but I’m curious what people’s tips are for getting past or curing that queasiness, it is the absolute worst.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after drinking. I know you said you did, but I always reiterate! :) For me, potassium is a big help, so if I’ve been drinking on the “a lot” side, I try to eat a banana or drink some coconut water before bed. My hangovers are always headache-based and they never go away, but I drink as much water as I can and try to eat a decent balance of proteins and sugars.

    2. acmx*

      Usually, if I eat right after drinking I feel okay the next day. Otherwise, greasy food and a soda work. So, grabbing fast food and lazing around after diminishes it.

    3. TootsNYC*

      My mom’s anti-hangover recipe:

      Two aspirin and TONS of water. Or Alka-Seltzer.

      There is actual support for “hair of the dog” (a small amount of whatever it was that made you drunk); the idea being you’re sort of in withdrawal, and having 1/8 of a beer will give your body a softer landing.

    4. Jen*

      For me, grease and hydration. Bacon egg & cheese on a bagel + Gatorade + a few hours on the couch.

    5. Noah*

      Lots of water. I always drink a full bottle of water before I go to bed and then another full bottle when I wakeup, even if I feel like crap. If I’m queasy in the morning I’ll just have dry toast, a Diet Coke, and take some advil. If it is just a headache I’ll add scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage. For whatever reason the grease helps. Also, the first 1/4 mile or so feels horrible, but a 2-3 mile run make me feel 100x better as long as I can get started.

      It is probably the combo of water, caffeine, and pain meds that do most of the work. I’ve convinced myself the other stuff helps too.

  51. Bacon*

    Relationship advice, please.

    How do you know what’s worth fighting for? And by that I mean, let’s say my husband and I disagree about something but how do you know when to compromise versus when you need to stand your ground? What’s that saying, is this a hill you want to die on? Is it worth it for me to keep pushing whatever the issue is?

    Marriage isn’t always easy, I know, but I want to respect my partner without ever having to disrespect myself in the process.

    For the record, I love hearing words of wisdom or wish-I-would-have-know advice. My marriage isn’t on the rocks or anything!

    1. Ruffingit*

      This is a tough question to answer without specifics of what the issue is. For example, if one person wants children and the other does not, then you can’t push on that. The person who doesn’t want them has the final say there because overriding that is a sure fire way to resentment and divorce in my view.

      However, if the issue is something more like where to vacation, where to purchase a house, etc., then obviously there is more room for negotiation. I think if you feel as though you are continually compromising on things and your life turns into one that barely has your own stamp on it (in that your spouse’s choices and decisions influence almost everything), then something needs to change.

      I have a dear friend who capitulated continually to her husband’s wants/ideas because it was easier for her than fighting about it. She realized only after 16 years together and his death that she had lost herself in that process. Now, she is living a life that is more suited to her needs, wants, desires.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      In this respect, your relationship with your husband is a lot like your relationship with your boss or subordinate or child or parent… or even friend sometimes. You pick your battles. In the same way that Alison often says you get one free pass on a short-term gig without seeming like a job-hopper, you get only a handful of times you can say to your spouse the equivalent of “my way or the highway.” So I think the best thing to do (either in your head or in a spreadsheet) is list out all the things you disagree about and rank them in your mind (or on a spreadsheet) as to how important they are to you. The top two things—fight for those hard and let your husband know in no uncertain terms how critical they are for you. Then push back a bit on the next five things. Then let the rest go.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I tend to think about “what is the long-term ramification here, if I don’t get my way?” Is there a real one, or am I just being dramatic.

      And, “how often lately have I gotten my way?”

    4. Dan*

      You fight for what’s important to you. Don’t pick fights/take stands just because you “should” have an opinion that must be respected. Take stands because you if that something isn’t respected, is going to hurt you as a person.

      E.g., if you don’t care where you go on vacation, and are happy just spending time with you husband, then don’t be a contrarian just because you don’t “always want him to get his way” or some otherwise goofy principle like that. But if a cabin in the woods for a week with no social contact is going to drive you bonkers, and that’s what he wants, take a stand.

      The way you ask the question makes it sound like there’s “issues.” You disclaim it at the end and say it’s fine, so take my advice for what you’ve paid for it: Decision making in a marriage is about being heard, *not necessarily* about compromise. (What is compromise anyway? Is it every single vacation has to have all elements that please you both? Is it a vacation that part of is something your husband wants that you don’t care for, but you’ll “give in” if the other part of the vacation is something you want to do? Is it a vacation that your husband solely gets his way if you get one that’s solely your way next time?) That rant about compromise aside, a marriage (or any other relationship period) is about being heard and understood. Your other half either does or doesn’t do that, at least most of the time under most circumstances. If they don’t hear you and understand your wants and needs, you die on any hill you choose. If you do not die on a hill and make yourself heard, you will slowly die a death of a thousand cuts.

      A relationship is work, but it shouldn’t be constant work. If your husband wants X (and vice versa) and it isn’t something you care for (and isn’t morally objectionable like a hooker), I feel like you’re obligated to consider allowing him to have/do it on his own, with his friends, with you if certain accommodations will make it more enjoyable, etc. (It goes both ways, not just something he wants. If you want a girls trip to Vegas, he has an obligation to hear you out and see if it’s doable.)

      If you’re in a place where you aren’t being heard, but “letting him have his way” is easier than advocating for yourself, you need to address that *now*. If you don’t, it will get more difficult, because when you try to, there will be all these pent up feelings from all the times he didn’t do (or made you do) X, and you never vocalized them, so he didn’t know they were issues for you.

      1. Bacon*

        You’re right Dan, I did ultimately write in because there was an issue. One that was important to me. But that’s where it starts. We’ve been married a few years, but we have been both very laid back until this. Nothing worth questioning my marriage over, but it’s a wake up call because what if it was?

        Ruffingit mentioned her friend lost herself after all those years. That’s exactly what I want to avoid. You love someone so much and sometimes you just cave because you don’t want to fight over it. Or you’re just over it, I want to move on.

        We had that big disagreement and then I was picking fights over smaller and smaller things. It made me question was that big fight worth it to me?

        Take stands because if that something isn’t respected, it is going to hurt you as a person Genius. Thank you for this. So simple, yet everything I wanted to say and what I’ve felt recently.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      You have a bunch of really great answers here.

      Basically, you think with your heart and your head at the same time. It sounds easy, but there are times where it is hard-hard-hard. Sometimes our hearts can lead us around and logic steps out the door. Conversely, there are times where we just look at things so logically we forget the heartache that comes with that particular situation. Think with your heart and your head as often as you can.

      Most of the time, I think it’s more about how we get our points across than what the actual point is. We can demand or we can explain. We have a choice on how we present our reasons for why something is important. It’s in the way we talk that we show the love and respect is still in place. Many times arguments can be stopped cold, simply by letting your SO that X is important to you, BEFORE it becomes an issue.

      My husband did not like using credit. I watched my mother have NO credit history because that is what happened to women in her era. It did not matter to me that my husband did not want a bunch of credit cards. It did matter to me that I, personally, had NO credit rating just like my mother. I explained all this. He cosigned on a card so I could build credit. I used it responsibly and went on to build a credit history. We both won that one.

    6. TootsNYC*

      I also think both parties need to remember: When a marriage is working well, you each want good things for the OTHER person. And you’re willing to set yourself aside to make that happen.
      Now, that’s not the same as always sacrificing yourself; not at all. Partly because if he [or she–please add this to all subsequent pronouns] wants good things for you, he’s going to -want- you to “get your way” sometimes; he’s going to want you to feel that you aren’t sacrificing yourself (note: “your self,” not “your desire to have things be a certain way at the moment”).

  52. Aurora Leigh*

    I’m curious how others define middle class?

    I grew up with the idea that if you could afford to but shoes and milk for your kids then you were squarely in the middle class. And if you were paying for their college education you were above the middle.

    But it seems to me as an adult that the whole notion of the middle class is a very flexible thing. Everyone seems to define themselves as middle class. Has the middle gotten noticeably richer since the early 90s? Or are people more afraid to define themselves as not middle class? Or were my cultural norms just skewed by a financially strapped childhood?

    Really curious what you guys think!

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I forget how it came up during class, but when I was in elementary school, one of my teachers asked us what socio-economic class we thought we belonged to (she didn’t say the word socio-economic), and we all said we were “middle-class” (with some saying they were “upper-middle-class”). She then proceeded to give us all a wake-up call that we were living in one of the most expensive suburbs (if not the most expensive suburb) in the state, and we were definitely upper-class, not middle-class.

      I certainly didn’t feel upper-class. My parents didn’t have a second vacation home. We didn’t live in a mansion. Our two family cars were old and beat up. My parents couldn’t outright pay for college for me and my sibling (and that was when college was just expensive, not ridiculously expensive the way it is now). We didn’t eat in fancy restaurants or belong to a country club or have our own horse.

      But we lived comfortably. We were in a rich suburb. My parents weren’t ever in fear of losing their jobs. They could pay their mortgage. We had a backyard. We never wondered where our next meal would come from or if we could afford gas or electricity.

      I guess a lot of people think they’re middle-class people, because they can imagine themselves poorer (well, I did have this…) but can also imagine themselves richer (well, I didn’t have this…).

      I also remember doing a workshop (as an adult) with a diversity facilitator who asked how we defined class. Most of us said it was based on how much money you earn. She said, “Okay. I have a well-paying job, and I’m upper-class. The next month, I lose it. I’m unemployed. Am I now lower-class?” The people in my group fumbled a bit on that, because we knew she was still upper-class or at least middle-class, despite having no income, even if she didn’t have savings to live on. She talked us through it Socratic seminar–style, and she eventually managed to convince us class was more about access than about raw dollar amounts. If she became unemployed, she still had a college degree, she still had networking connections, she still had family or friends she could stay with so she wouldn’t be homeless, etc.

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        I like that bit about how we can imagine ourselves richer or poorer. That is so true and I never thought of it that way!

        I had a college class once where we were discussing the socio-economic class of certain characters in a novel. My small group was discussing it and had just about decided one character was middle class when the prof interrupted us, shocked of what we thought qualified as middle class. Apparently everyone in the book was varying degrees of poor. We all backed down, but there was a group sense of embarrassment.

        1. Treena*

          Really curious as to what book that was! And what qualities you thought were middle class that weren’t.

          1. Aurora Leigh*

            It was The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I forget that characters names now, but there was one family who lived absolutely miserable lives, and then another family where they always had food to eat and clean clothes and toys. They lived in a house and possibly had a yard. Things could have been better for them but they were secure and happy. But I guess that wasn’t enough to make them middle class!

            1. Treena*

              Ohh that makes so much sense! The reason you didn’t pick up on it is probably because the narrator was poor and didn’t explicitly describe the scene they way middle class people’s would–the slum, the poor quality of build of the house etc.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        That’s funny, this describes us a lot: we have two cars with more than a decade on each, we’re prepared to have one of our incomes be completely devoted to tuition in a few years, and so on. But we save like crazy, and when one of the cars shuffles off this ignition coil, we will buy a replacement with cash. (Unless we can get 0% financing, of course.) We will have enough to retire and travel and go out to eat frequently, and we are not exactly deprived now, we’re just living below our means.

        So I was curious how close we might be to “the 1%”. Turns out, we’re part of “the 7%”. Much higher than I would have thought, for the very reasons you give.

    2. Carrie in Scotland*

      We became middle/middle upper class.

      My dad was in the navy and then became an engineer and my mum was a nurse. Neither went to university, just college. I remember that our first non UK holiday was when I was 9, we had a 4 bed house in a commuter town and two cars (one 2 door, one 4 door). I got to go on school trips to Switzerland and Italy, my brother went to LA, LV and the Grand Canyon. My mum didn’t have to work, although she went back to part time working when I started secondary school.

      But I don’t think, and didn’t experience alot of the ‘money-d’ engineer things that you hear about here (it’s a big oil town) – no second home, no private school, our house wasn’t re-decorated much etc.

    3. the gold digger*

      The book (that someone recommended here) by Ruby Payne – “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” – is fascinating. She discusses these very issues.

      Sort of related example – when I was in college, in my first economics class, the professor kept talking about rich people clipping coupons.

      I thought he meant coupons for Cheerios and butter, as those were the only kind of coupons I had ever heard of.

      Nope. He meant the kind of coupons that come with bonds.

      I guess if you know what a coupon is for Cheerios but don’t know about a bond coupon, you are definitely not upper class.

      1. Jen*

        Disagree. I clip Cheerios coupons (well…diaper and detergent but hey), have not heard of a bond coupon until this moment, but am in the 3% of income by the NY Times calculator.

        Just a data point…

        I live in an expensive suburb in New England, where everything is pricey. My house is over $750k and it is a fixer-upper. It’s hard to feel rich when your bathrooms were last updated in 1975 and your lawn was just dug up to replace your leaking septic system! We can’t afford a second vacation house or country club membership. Our cars are nice.

        By contrast, relatives in the south have gorgeous new or newly renovated homes for under 400k. They wear nicer clothes and have nicer cars, belong to golf/tennis clubs, travel, and go out to eat all the time because they don’t have to spend it all on mortgage and taxes! My family’s income is higher, but my southern friends feel and live (to me) “rich” while I feel solidly comfortable/upper middle class or upper class but not top tier.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Oh, thanks Jen, I have no idea what I used before, but I remember scanning tables manually. The NYT tool is neat! Apparently we’re now in the 5% (I said 7% before, but that was probably a couple of years ago, but maybe it was the tool I used), but only the 13% for the DC area. O.O

          And I had heard of bond coupons, but I would never had thought of them without the word “bond” in front of them, as I have no idea what they’re for. I’ll stick to my index funds, TYVM. :)

    4. overeducated and underemployed*

      Are you American? I am convinced that in the US, there is very strong cultural pressure for everyone to define themselves as middle class if they can for a number of linked reasons:

      1) Because we have this national myth of equality where we don’t want to admit that we’re “better” or “worse” off than everyone else. It’s embarrassing to be thought of as poor and seems egotistical to say you’re rich. Everyone being middle class means we’re all on the same footing, and that just seems more democratic.
      2) Because we don’t have a strong subculture of “working class” identity the way people in the UK and Ireland do – our semi-equivalent “blue collar” jobs are still ones that people in the US think of as jobs providing access to the middle class in terms of of money and standard of living, rather than being linked to culture signifiers and ideas of inherited status the way they are in the UK/Ireland. You have to either admit to being middle class, which is socially acceptable, or poor, which is a badge of shame in many social contexts.
      3) Because even if you ARE rich in terms of being in the top 5% of income, the fact that you work for a living instead of living off of a trust means you can always look up to someone else as being “really rich.” I think well-off people have a lot of denial or ignorance about what average middle class life actually means in the US because of the way wealth allows us to isolate ourselves geographically and socially from those who are worse off.

      So we don’t have any meaningful definition of what it means to be middle class in practice because it’s such a hugely broad term.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        I fully agree on all this. I would also add even though it’s desirable to be middle-class instead of “poor,” it’s even more brag-worthy in the U.S. to have been “poor” and now be middle-class or rich.

      2. Clever Name*

        This. My mom staunchly maintains that my family is middle class, maaaaybe upper-middle class. Except I grew up swimming at a country club pool, we had a cleaning person, we went on vacations, and my parents paid for both me and my sister’s college educations. My mother’s father owned a factory with his brother. And my parents are both retired millionaires and they own a vacation home (it’s very modest, but it’s still a second property they own outright).

        I agree that it’s hard to feel upper class when you do have to work for a living and don’t own a yacht or something. But the bottom line is I know that if something devastating were to happen to my income, my parents can and would help out. We plan to pay for our son’s college education.

        1. Clever Name*

          And for the record, I’m not bragging. I am acutely aware of how privileged we are, and I vote and volunteer and donate to change our broken system.

        2. Dan*

          Your parents are certainly upper middle class. When people have significant things that most people don’t, that’s an automatic segmentation right there. It’s an interesting discussion if children are in the same class as their parents, even as adults

          If you decide to become a $30k/yr social worker in a major metro area, most people would have a tough time calling you anything more than middle-middle class. Even that may be a stretch. But does that change because your parents are in a position to help you out if you need it? Or even pay your rent or something because they want you living in a nice place that you can’t afford on your own? That discussion gets hairy in a hurry.

          1. fposte*

            I think that’s a good example of how class is not the same thing as income, in fact; there have historically been plenty of well-bred young women entering social work and they would definitely not have been considered middle-middle class. Of course that’s helped along by women’s historically tending to have class status conferred by family or marriage rather than by career, which further complicates the matter.

      3. Dan*

        My family was lower class (or on the poor side of middle class) when I was growing up. We had reduced lunch, my parents saved no money for my college, the cars they drove were hand-me-downs from my grandparents, we never vacationed outside of camping and seeing my grandparents (and staying with them at their house), we didn’t have “toys” in an area that was very outdoorsy and everybody had “toys.” I used to say that we needed for nothing but wanted for just about every damned thing on the face of this planet. To this day, my mother gets mad if I suggest we were “poor” growing up.

        These days, with two kids out of the house, my dad makes the median household income in a median city in the US. I can’t call him poor anymore. I OTOH, make twice what he does, live on my own (no kids) but in an area where my income is below the median household income. While I personally do not feel rich at the moment, I have to admit that my economic status is a hell of a lot better off than most.

        1. fposte*

          It’s interesting how some of what you list are markers of low income but some of them aren’t. You’re making me think of the book The Millionaire Next Door, where he talks about the spending habits of millionaires (the book’s a little older now, so there were a lot fewer of them then) and how most of them weren’t buying flashy cars or traveling the globe.

          Not saying that your family wasn’t poor, just that some of what you’re using as markers don’t work reliably as markers. Interestingly, in some places (like the 20th century UK, for instance), upper class means not worrying about appearances and enjoying the worn and shabby, whereas it’s the unsuccessfully pushing middle class that wants to spend on new things. (I stopped being able to cope with the ridiculousness of Downton Abbey, but Julian Fellowes does write reasonably well and amusingly about upper class mores and stratification in Snobs.)

          1. Dan*

            It’s one of those things that a single thing is an indicator of pretty much nothing, but a collection of them is telling.

            What do you call a frugal person with a million bucks in the bank? A millionaire.

            What do you call a frugal person with nothing in the bank? Broke.

            I saw my parents’ 401k balance a few years ago, suffice it to say, they will not die millionaires. They probably will not die half-millionaires.

      4. Aurora Leigh*

        I’m American! That’s interesting about a working class identity. You’re right, outside of country songs we don’t really have that here.

    5. Love to learn*

      The Pew Center has a class calculator. The first calculation assigns you a class signifier based on location, income, and number of people in the family. The second calculation asks for your education level, age, and marital status, and then it tells you what percentage of people in your demographic are in each class.

      This bolsters the point Anonymous Educator makes about class being not just about your income but also about the amount of privilege you carry with you based on conditions of your birth (race and age), your upbringing and opportunity (education), and your negotiation of social norms (marital status).

      As Overeducated and Underemployed suggests, though, “middle class” is the only label of the three that most people would be comfortable owning. I would not label myself as upper class, but I am aware that our family is upper income and that we have a degree of privilege that others may not.

      The sticking point for me is the word “class,” which suggests that people within certain income ranges are somehow connected beyond the facts of income and in some cases demographic characteristics. “Class” also suggests a social hierarchy of worth which we are hopefully evolving beyond.

      1. fposte*

        But I think it exists, and it’s useful to measure–and I also think that the downside to its disappearance is that money is used as a measurement of worth, not just value, in a way that I find really disturbing.

        Not that I’m in favor of a rigid class structure, just that I don’t think the likely replacement is boding well either.

        1. Love to learn*

          Heirarchies only exists if people subscribe to them. While I agree that it is essential to study the social repercussions of income/wealth disparity on the choices and opportunities available to individuals, I think that labels such as “upper class” and “lower class” bring with them negative associations that are not helpful for moving the conversation forward. The idea of a class structure implies an external framework over which we have little control other than to possibly advance by working harder.

          As with most labels, class labels over-generalize. They do not recognize that income and financial health is a function of many factors (choice, education, character traits, talents, opportunity, inheritance, luck, location, the economy, etc.) If the goal of these labels is to have a way to talk about economic disparity, wouldn’t it be better to adopt a vocabulary that talks about increasing opportunity rather than increasing upward social mobility?

          1. fposte*

            It depends on the context. I also think that while there are reasons for language to change, it’s really the causal force that people like to believe, and that most social changes aren’t affected much by changes in terminology.

          2. Dan*

            Thanks for the reference to pew, I looked at their calculator. IMHO they tackle the right things and make defensible adjustments.

            I’m one of those classic “makes a lot of money but is broke on paper” kinds of people. Based on my financial assets, I cannot be considered upper class. Based on my financial worth potential, I certainly can be. E.g.. Pew thinks I’m upper class based on the indicators I gave it, but I’ve got a negative net worth. Considering those strong indicators are based on a job that I started two years ago, in a decade or so, I should have the financial worth associated with my “class”.

          3. Dan*

            You’re right that we sort of villified the rich in American society. A “1-%er” is something not to brag about. Any time new income tax deductions are debated, a negative point is how much “the rich” benefit from them. Well, of course the “rich” are going to benefit the most from them? High-income wage earners have a marginal tax rate of 35% on the earned income, and this is the income that will benefit from the reductions. The “poor” OTOH, are unlikely to be paying federal income tax, and if they are, they’re paying at the 10% marginal rate. By definition and construction, the rich will benefit more from a tax deduction. But we consider that a “bad” thing in the US.

            The thing with income disparity in the US is that we have to learn to accept it to some extent. If everybody were equal, we’d be socialists. But socialism is a dirty word.

            1. Treena*

              Well I don’t think it’s that the rich benefit from them, it’s that everyone else is basically paying for their tax breaks by giving up whatever services those taxes were previously paying for. I’ve never met someone who wanted true socialism. Not even close. But America was taxing the super wealthy at 95% and they still stayed rich. Only until the 60’s did we lower the top tax tier to 65%, and the rich still stayed rich. Taxation doesn’t equalize people, but it does pay for stuff that benefits everyone.

              1. fposte*

                And now, of course, it’s 39.6%%, but that doesn’t mean you’ll pay that if you’re rich; think of Warren Buffett noting he pays tax at a lower rate than his secretary.

          4. Treena*

            I think the gist of what you’re trying to say is that we shouldn’t treat people differently based on their class. And I think everyone wants to ascribe to that ideal in theory, but let’s be frank here–that’s never going to happen. You’re never going to see a low class person with an “undesirable” accent to work admin at a Big 4 firm. There will always be doors that aren’t open to people of certain classes. While we should be trying to open as many of those doors as possible and also not treating people like they’re less-than just because they’re in a lower class, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the very real realities of being born in a low-class family. Children have no control over who their parents are and what their parents teach them. Children born low-class DO have to work harder. That’s a fact.

            In all countries, class exists. But in truly advanced countries (ie not the US) you don’t talk about your job or your kids as your main identity and no one cares what you do or how much you make. Ie, no one cares what class you’re in. If you’re a sales clerk or a business exec, you got a quality education, you get healthcare, you make a decent amount of money to live comfortably and get lots of vacation. Most people want to become middle class to get those things, but what if we lived in a society where you got that automatically? My guess is lots of people won’t care about their class.

      2. Treena*

        First, I applaud your for admitting that you’re in the upper class and you’re uncomfortable with labeling yourself appropriately. That’s a big deal nowadays. But I encourage you to just say it a couple of times, out loud, and see how it feels. I grew up thinking that we were solidly middle class because that’s what my parents said, and then in high school I saw their tax return and my eyes practically popped out of my head. I knew right then that we were upper class. And I still am. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not be poor, but it’s not okay to pretend to be poorer than you are, because it distorts reality for everyone.

        The problem with doing away with class as a concept is that it feeds into bootstrap mentality. There are reasons why poor kids statistically turn out poor–it’s because they are often raised in a lower-class household, not just a poor one. Aside from money and demographic characteristics, there are class-based factors that are huge. Their parents don’t value pre-school, tutors, extra-curriculars, etc. They don’t know about tennis or how to behave in an office setting. They don’t know how to help their child buy business clothes, etc. The list is endless and varies dramatically from family to family. But there are class differences and pretending otherwise is damaging.

        Imagine a rich family, both born into upper class families. SAHM and rich father. The SAHM becomes widowed and has 3 children to care for and hasn’t worked in 15 years. She ends up working a $30k/year job to survive. Are they poor? Yes. Are they lower class? No. Her kids will benefit from all the things she’s learned and will be able to pass down. Most likely, her kids will all go to and excel in college and go right back to the upper class in both money and class-based knowledge. Even more likely, the connections she has *within her class* will get her a better paying job without her even being super qualified, because they personally know her and it’s tough being a single mom so let’s give her a break. (Imagine a fancy office saying that about a poor, lower-class single mom!)

        1. fposte*

          Yes, I agree. I think the tendency to insist that America is a classless society is one reason why class has been able to persist here and create inequities greater than in societies where class is outright acknowledged.

    6. Treena*

      Yes to all of your questions. First, quality of life has dramatically increased for everyone in the past 100 years (electricity, refrigeration, cars, pseudo-standardized education for your children, etc.) so generationally, grandparents will see the differences in their children’s and grandchildren’s lives and see a huge difference. BUT they also see everyone around them increasing their quality of living, so they assume this is the new middle class. This is the real problem–people not seeing outside their bubbles.

      Post WW2 American policy lifted up huge chunks of the population out of poverty and systemically left out others (vets vs. black people, for example). Oftentimes those lifted up didn’t notice there were others left behind, so they still see themselves as solidly middle class even though they’re upper middle class or wealthy. Because those same post WW2 policies glorified the middle class, it’s almost “embarrassing” to be wealthy and regular embarrassing to be poor. Most poor people would also describe themselves as middle class because with all the bootstrap propaganda, there’s no excuse to be poor nowadays. And of course this compounds the issue even further because pretending class doesn’t exist is silly, just like pretending race doesn’t exist.

      Also, I don’t think the middle class became richer since the 90’s but they became noticeably more demonstrable with their wealth. The 90’s was the escalation of keeping up with the Jones’ and lots of people were buying out of their ability. But you wouldn’t know unless it came crashing around them.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I think that the gap between rich and poor has gotten greater. I never thought my husband and I were wealthy. According to statistics we were okay financially. Now, I think the expectation to have material goods is higher than ever. This soaks up a lot of what used to be discretionary spending money as we now feel we HAVE TO buy things to fit our culture.

      My father used to tell me that our family was better off than most people in our town. I questioned that privately. Then I found out that my friend’s father told her the same thing. So then I really questioned it. It took me a while to find out, but I learned that my father was making almost 50% more than the nationwide average income at that time. I went all through high school with two pairs of pants and two shirts. My mother said we could not afford more. There were times my father ran out of groceries before the month was up. Whoops.

      This got me to thinking that we look at numbers and assume that number corresponds to a certain life style. My eye-opener came when I realized just because a household meets/exceeds the nationwide average that says nothing about their ability to purchase what they need.

      We called ourselves middle-middle class. With my husband, I felt the same. We were middle-middle class.

    8. LF*

      I agree with the shoes and milk definition. I think I did grow up solidly middle class – shoes and milk, but no big frills and I went to college on a scholarship.

      Even though my husband and I still have a lot of graduate student debt, I think we’re now upper middle class (we just went out for a dinner that cost more than $50 on a whim – though nice restaurants are expensive where I live), and we expect to be upper class in a few years between my earnings increasing substantially – hopefully doubling over the next two years – and his at least quadrupling (he’s a surgical resident).

    9. Noah*

      I’ve always thought of middle class as doing ok. Being able to live in a reasonable house and drive a car that is a few years old. You pay bills on time and your children have clothing and don’t worry about food.

      Growing up I know we were definitely upper middle class, but I would’ve never described us as that until I got my first job and interacted with others who lived differently from my family. We went to private schools. My parents owned our house. We really didn’t think about money. If you asked me in high school I would’ve said we were middle class because we were definitely not wealthy compared to many others at the private school I attended.

      Even now I’m uncomfortable describing myself as anything besides middle class. According to the Pew Center calculator I definitely am. However, I don’t feel like it. I guess in my mind upper class are millionaires who fly around in private jets and have multiple homes and vacation on yachts.

  53. Kassy*

    The “average” salary in America today is $51,000 for a family of four. We’re right around that benchmark (we make $53,000 combined). We’re certainly above the “shoes and milk” cutoff. We have a budget that we have to stick to very strictly (although it does have “fun” money incorporated in to the tune of $50 for each of us twice a month). I’d put us in the middle class or maybe lower-middle, taking into consideration the fact that if we weren’t paying off so much old debt that our disposable income would be significantly higher. JMO

  54. Carrie in Scotland*


    I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan so this week I started watching Bunheads and based on Bunheads I began watching Younger as Sutton Foster is in it. I’m having a somewhat like/dislike watching experience with Younger. I know it’s TV and is hardly realistic (I mean, I also watch HTGAWM) but that she is passing for 26 as a 40 year old is driving me crazy!!

    So my question to you is what do you like to watch but also dislike?

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Spouse and I have a handful of TV shows we used to love but that have gone downhill recently (e.g., Bones, New Girl), but we still keep watching them even though we dislike them now.

    2. Elkay*

      Where is Bunheads available from?

      Castle is my current hate-watch. I used to love it but the current series is awful.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        @ elkay: I use a website called tv rush.

        I’ve heard that about Castle, like the two main people (but especially Beckett) have just kind of checked out?

        1. Elkay*

          Thanks! I really wanted to watch Bunheads but it’s not on Netflix or Amazon :)

          In addition to the leads “checking out” they’ve promoted previously small characters to bigger roles, turns out Alexis can’t act which wasn’t so noticeable when she was a small part but really shows up now.

    3. Cruciatus*

      I’m sure I have a huge list if I really thought about it, but of shows airing currently, I’d say I’m hate watching The Blacklist and Suits. I like Spader, but the main actress is just shown to be completely incompetent all the time for an FBI agent but of course she’s good in the one moment she needs to be. And she has a dog but you never see the dog. Did the dog die? Did she and Tom murder the dog? What is going on with the dog who is left alone for days/weeks while she is on missions!? The writing for this show is just off but Spader is the only one who gets to say anything fun.

      Suits just…sucks now. Spoiler-ish for anyone not caught up. Mike’s secret is out and I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why everyone is fighting to be on Mike’s side as he’s on trial. He lied! He deserves whatever is coming to him. Is he evil? No, but he and Harvey are lying liars who lie. And everyone seems much nastier now than when the show began and main characters are now caricatures of their former selves. The premise was always impossible to keep up but now that it’s out…it just sucks the life out of everything. May just drop this one because I’m not even sure I enjoy hate watching it.

      A few years ago I was hate watching Secret Life of the American Teenager. Truly awful stuff. I just could not stop watching because I loved to jump onto TWoP after an episode and bitch about it with others! Misery loves company indeed.

      1. Noah*

        Yeah, the secret on Suits was never a good long-term premise anyways. The longer it went on the more people found out and the less believable it became. I never really understood the purpose of it anyways. He could’ve been a great paralegal and done almost everything he does except represent a client in court.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I don’t have cable anymore and I don’t think there are any more new shows on Netflix or Hulu or whatever, but I liked to watch those hoarding shows. It was a combination of fascination with the psychology and a little bit of scare tactics to myself, as I do have a pack rat habit and hate to clean (and often find myself reshuffling rather than getting rid of stuff, ergh). After watching, I always went on a throw-away binge. It definitely qualified as a love-hate thing because I could understand the way they felt, but also I wanted to slap them. Maybe that’s because in my head, I was slapping myself in some horrible alternate future where that was me. :\

      Except for the animal hoarding. That was completely alien to me. I can’t even imagine that. I often don’t even like dealing with one cat, let alone 75 of them.

    5. Love to learn*

      Still watching Big Bang, though its jokes have become redundant and the characters too old for the premise. I still like the characters, so I keep rooting for them to pull off a good script.

      Same thing happened with The Office and Cheers…. they carried the series a couple seasons too many.

      1. Mimmy*

        Yeah I’m with you there about Big Bang. Sheldon in particular has been grating on my nerves in the past season or two. But there’s still a lot to love, so I’m hanging on!

    6. The Other Dawn*

      I like Two Broke Girls, but the crude humor is just annoying the crap out of me. It was funny at first, but it’s just so in-your-face and constant now. I’ve thought about abandoning the show, but I like the overall story line.

      Another show I love and am not yet ready to dislike is The Middle. It drives me nuts that these people never, ever catch a t break. But I guess when you cut corners and live like they do, that’s what happens: you never get ahead. And that’s real life. I must say, though, that I’m happy Sue finally has a friend and Brick has a girlfriend.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Oh yes, the same. Two Broke Girls has really gone off the rails lately, especially the jokes about Han. The pranks they were playing on him in the last episode degenerated into an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos, a show that I could never stand to watch.

      2. Elkay*

        I gave up on Two Broke Girls early in season four, I think it was the Han jokes (and weird laughter track) that finally made me give up.

      3. Anonymous Educator*

        I honestly don’t know how that actor who plays Han can bear going to work every day. I know it’s a job, and it’s hard for Asian American actors to find non-demeaning roles, but the character they gave him is painful… and it’s multiple episodes (not a one-off like Gedde Watanabe’s character in Sixteen Candles).

    7. Mimmy*

      I’ve given up on How to Get Away With Murder. It just started going downhill in the last few episodes. I may check back later in the spring, but I lost interest so quickly I doubt I’ll get invested again.

    8. Noah*

      House Hunters. Seriously, I’m pretty sure the only reason I watch is to make fun of the people. I watched one last night where a couple was moving from a 3000 sq ft house and kept saying it was too small. Too small for two people.

      Once Upon a Time. Not sure why I still bother with this one, anymore it is just on as background noise. Somewhere in season two this went off the rails when they started adding in 10,000 extra characters. I know the curse had to be lifted eventually but maybe this would’ve worked better as a limited run series. Also, when they started just throwing all the Disney characters in (Frozen, really) it became a bit absurd.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        House Hunters: Those people kill me. The walk into a house that’s 10 years old, that has a gorgeous kitchen with granite countertops and all the amenities and say how ugly and outdated it is. Or they complain about the paint and carpet. Um, last time I checked those things are cosmetics and easily fixed in a weekend. It’s comical.

  55. One Sick Puppy Dog*

    I’ve had my dog for eight years, ever since he was just 10 weeks old and I rescued him from a WalMart parking lot. He’s been my constant companion and has brought me through life’s ups and downs. There were times when it felt like the world had turned its back on me and he was the only one by my side. And, at least one time, when he was the only reason I felt it was still worth living (because, if I wasn’t here, who would care for him?)

    Two weeks ago the vet thought his belly felt harder than it should. Friday, x-rays confirmed he has a mass on his spleen. It is either a hemanglioma which is kind of nbd, we remove it and carry on…or a hemansarcoma which is a very big deal and, according to the vet, along with his other health concerns even removal would not give us good odds of extending his life. We wouldn’t know which it was until we did abdominal surgery and tested the mass (needle biopsies are not an option with these masses).

    At first it was a no brainer – of course I’ll do the surgery. Even 50/50 chances are better than none, right? But he had to be sedated to get the xrays and…it didn’t go well. He was just given relatively mild sedation at a lower dosage than what is prescribed for his size and two days later he still isn’t recovered. His eyes are dilated, he won’t eat, he barely drinks anything, I can’t get him to go on walks and he is whimpering with his head on my lap while I type this. He is miserable. The vet checked his vitals and confirmed he is “ok” last night – he is just struggling to metabolize the sedation.

    After this, I don’t see how I can put him under general anesthesia that would be required for the surgery, and I worry he wouldn’t recover from abdominal surgery. I don’t want his last days to be filled with fear, confusion and pain. But I also don’t want to just let it go and let nature take its course and lead to a painful life for my dog (which he would hide from me until it was too advanced). So that leaves me with considering putting down an otherwise relatively healthy 8 year old dog. And I feel horrible for even considering it. I’ve never had to do this before.

    Any advice?

    1. fposte*

      Oh, that is really rough. Here’s how I’d piece it out. What kind of dog is this? (Great Dane–short lifespan; Chihuahua–long lifespan, so different calls.) What, given the type of dog and age, is the likelihood of each of the masses? How invasive is the surgery and how difficult is recovery likely to be? What does the vet think about recovery from general anesthetic, and it is possible that the pup could have some kind of anti-anxiety agent to minimize distress with recovery?

      I also think the likelihood of recovering from the abdominal surgery is a different thing than how well puppy tolerates anesthesia, and that as an attentive owner you will know if he’s in pain and will take appropriate action; I wouldn’t think his difficulty with sedation means anything about the surgery itself. I would also consider taking him to a specialist to see if there’s any additional information or options that your local vet has been unable to offer.

      I think overall I would lean towards doing the surgery, since most eight-year-old dogs have a lot of life in them, but I might check with a specialist before advancing.

      1. One Sick Puppy Dog*

        Thanks for the thoughts. He is a large mixed breed dog. Most vets have given me a general expected lifespan of 10-11 years and he’s 8 now.

        The surgery is pretty invasive, which was an initial concern of mine. The issue with sedation just makes it clear to me that the anesthesia is going to be problematic. The vet was the first one to bring that up to me. If he struggles with this, anesthesia will be worse.

        He also has advanced arthritis which we minimize (although he still struggles with pain) through medication and diet. In addition he has severe environmental allergies which are getting ready to kick into high gear come spring.

        We’re currently getting a second opinion on his scans, so hopefully I’ll know more soon. Thanks again.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          You might also ask for a referral to a larger or specialty animal hospital or clinic, where they might know if a different sedative might have a more usual effect on your poor buddy. I know with people, sometimes people have bad reactions to specific sedatives or classes of sedatives, and there are often alternatives.

          Hoping for all the best for you two.

    2. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      I don’t have animals, so this is an outsider’s perspective, so take it for what you will.

      Do not feel horrible! You have to fortune to know that your beloved pet is in pain, cannot cope with the treatment without significantly more pain, and you can end their suffering in a peaceful, pain-free manner.

    3. Belle diVedremo*

      Oh, how difficult.

      First, if the vet thinks his vitals are ok what does s/he think of the current symptoms?
      What does the vet recommend to help with metabolizing the anesthetic he’s already had?
      If your pup isn’t drinking much, has the vet suggested sub-q fluids?
      Is the vet talking about anesthesia options, or only has the one on offer?

      I’d want another opinion.
      I’d also want a plan.

      If it’s nbd, what’s the plan for general surgical recovery, including metabolizing the anesthesia? If this “small amount” is taking this kind of toll, what is the vet’s plan for something appropriate for surgery that’ll be easier on your pup?

      If it’s a fbd, what’s the plan for surgery, recovery, and follow up monitoring and care?
      What are the likely costs to the pup and to you?
      What kinds of things are big flags to the vet for changing course along the way? Are those things you & your pup can stand?


    4. catsAreCool*

      I don’t have any advice but want to send good wishes your way. It is really tough making these decisions about our beloved pets!

    5. Alma*

      Oh, thoughts of healing and comfort for both you and your Best Friend.

      I had a dear pup who had a very puzzling illness. He was just not himself (we were with friends for a holiday out of state). I couldn’t find anything wrong with him but later, it made sense that he was having a neurological reaction.

      He stayed at our vets for a week after we returned. They could find nothing – no welt, red mark, etc, but concluded he had been bitten by a brown recluse spider. Necrosis had begun on his hind leg, and we were discussing surgery, which would have been major in scope, and major for a 15 lb dog that had lost 3 lbs because he wasn’t eating.

      I am a firm believer in quality of life. I trusted my vet practice implicitly. We were planning, there was a lot of IV fluid to keep him hydrated. When I saw him one evening – the vet was on the floor next to him, and they were trying to keep his body temperature up, and we had a long talk.

      You will know when it is “extraordinary means” and causing your Best Friend more pain and confusion than is right. The office had been closed for the night way before I left, but as I drove away in my car, I knew I had to be there the first thing in the morning to let him go. There was no uncertainty, and a sense that this was the very best thing I could do for my little buddy.

      Tears are running down my face right now as I think of what you’re going through, and remember the next morning. This was 7 years ago.

      Please keep us posted. Ask the hard questions – any good doctor will tell you the truth with great compassion.

      Healing sometimes does not mean curing. Your doctor may see great improvement and I sincerely hope they do. My current little buddy and I will be surrounding you both with a warm, calming light, and the energy and strength you need during this difficult time.

      1. One Sick Puppy Dog*

        Thank you for your post. It is so hard to think of the possibility of life without my best friend. Especially because, before this weekend, he has seemed fine. I’ve thought a lot about this today and…there have been signs for a long time.

        His arthritis has been advancing. Some nights he won’t even go on a walk because the pain medicine doesn’t help enough.

        His allergies are so bad that he chews holes on his hips and licks his belly raw. He has to be kept on antibiotics to keep infections at bay during the spring and summer. It seems to get worse every year.

        And now there is this. My head says that his body just isn’t able to keep up with his mind at this point and we’ve tried so many things without significant improvement. But my heart aches and begs for a miracle. He deserves a miracle.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      If you can find a vet that practices Eastern medicine, they might give you some additional insights.

      My last dog had a spleen issue. It was $800 for the tests alone. Then I would have to pay for treatments. The problem was I had a very tight budget. Someone recommended a vet-chiropractor that also did Eastern medicine- acupuncture/herbs. I decided to use that. He did okay with these things, he did not cry much at all, he wagged and showed happiness daily. Over all he was pleasant and cognizant. He probably went about a year or a year and a half longer.
      I never had the tests done. His last day was the worst of the story, I knew he had reached the end and his passing was surprisingly peaceful. I did bring him to be put down- he appeared to be in a coma. But I could see that he would have passed away within a few hours anyway.
      Based on what I learned there, my guess is that the drug to sedate your dog cannot get cleaned out of his blood because his spleen is not processing it. That is why he still seems stoned. It’s just my guess. I think you would be able to call one of these vets I am recommending here, talk to them on the phone and find out if they think they can help you. This way you will know before you invest the money.
      Bonus: They usually make house calls. Around here it’s $20 extra to come to your house.

      You and your buddy are in my heart and thoughts.

      1. One Sick Puppy Dog*

        Thanks, my vet actually practices eastern medicine. We switched to this vet because of the chiropractic care for his arthritis.

        You are right, however, that it is likely his spleen malfunction that is causing the delayed recovery. That is why I fear anesthesia so much. With no spleen how long will it take him to recover.

        1. Belle diVedremo*

          I’ve been thinking about you and your pup, as many of us surely have. Hope that you’re both doing better.

          Because you said your vet practices Eastern medicine, wanted to suggest something that you might try when your pup is uncomfortable, if it seems like something you’d do (not everyone would). It won’t cost much to try.

          Get some Rescue Remedy (of the Bach Flower set, it’s available here in the grocery store). Put a few drops on the palm of you hand, and rub your hands together. Then run your hands *over* your pup, about 6″ off his body, as if you were petting him. You can experiment with distances; some critters are happy with this kind of thing an inch up, some want closer to two feet, some will just walk away regardless. For some, this will take the edge off the anxiety or discomfort. If it seems helpful, do it frequently. Some people get a lot of sensation in their hands doing this, that’s normal. If you do and have questions, you’re welcome to ask on the weekend open thread. (I keep atypical hours, so if you do and don’t see anything from me Sunday check back Monday, ok?)

          You can also add a drop or two to a water dish. It has a bit of a sharp taste, so putting a drop in the empty bowl and then filling the bowl with water somehow dilutes the taste better than just stirring a drop or two into the water – or at least, my cat seems to think so.

          Either way, hugs & healing to you both.

  56. GoingInvisible*

    Going anonymous for this one.

    Any thoughts on what a reasonable salary in Boston, MA is for a single person, no roommates (also not willing to find one for various personal reasons) is? I know this is kind of broad.

    Looking at the rents, things are all over the board, and most threads I found on the topic of salary by Googling are from 5+ years ago. I imagine rent has skyrocketed in Boston in recent years, so I was just hoping for some feedback. Thank you!

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I guess it depends on where you want to live. If your plan is to live in Boston, Cambridge, or Somerville, then I would suggest making at least $65,000. If your plan is to live in an outlying area like Salem, Waltham, or Quincy, then you’d want to make at least $50,000. Those are suggestions based on living fairly comfortably, you may be able to work for lower… it really just depends on what percentage of your income you want going to rent.

      P.S. I’d highly recommend Salem, Waltham, or Quincy. The commuter rail is fast and direct, and it’s not worth paying nigh–San Francisco prices to live in Boston proper.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          Quincy in particular is definitely worth looking into (though Salem is a super-cute town), because it has both commuter rail and red line T. If you take the red line in from Quincy Center, it’s only about 30 minutes to downtown. North Quincy’s even (slightly) shorter. A car is nice to have, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

          1. GoingInvisible*

            Thank you Ekaterin and Anonymous Educator!

            I always know I can post in here for good advice. So many other forums just have people making side comments about irrelevant stuff, and the question doesn’t get answered. Here, I know I can trust the answers!

      1. GoingInvisible*

        This is wonderful feedback, and I really appreciate it. I will take a look at apartments in those areas and see how they fit into a budget after 50 vs. 65, and see how that looks against my other financial stuff. Thank you!

    2. Bostononymous*

      Oh man I typed out a whole comment and it is gone. In short:

      I live in a close northern suburb. I was priced out of Somerville/Cambridge and the red line; at this point 1 bedrooms there can go for $2000 and 2-bedrooms are an average of $2600. I am 1.5 miles from the subway, near bus stops, and my rent is $1500 for a two bedroom, but I can’t afford to move because a year and a half later, similar apartments are going for $2K. I have a good friend in a 1 bedroom nearby who pays $1000 and there is nothing at that level anymore either.

      Numbers: My family of 3 was unable to pay our bills on $40K, we’d generally come up a couple hundred short. With a raise to $54K we are able to pay the bills and have a little extra, though not “max out IRAs and save for a down payment” extra, we would need a second full-time income to do that. The friend I mentioned above does fine on $40K with that no-longer-normal rent and significant student loans, but I don’t think she is able to save a lot either. So I would say $40K is a minimum if you don’t have hefty loans and are willing to live beyond walking distance of a subway stop, but if you want to be somewhere more in-demand or have other financial obligations, you’d be looking at $50K or more.

      The rough part about Boston is that if you don’t work in tech or medicine, often salaries do not reflect the higher cost of living here compared to jobs in the same fields elsewhere. You’d think they would, but I’ve been unpleasantly surprised enough that I don’t expect them to anymore.

      1. GoingInvisible*

        Your last paragraph in particular is worrisome, but that’s not a bridge I have to cross yet, so I will just tuck it away in my brain.

        Otherwise, this is fantastic! I really appreciate your personal breakdown. I was thinking $40K seemed low for a single person, and I am impressed that you only came up short a few hundred dollars with a family of three. I imagine I would be a lot shorter than that!

        Thank you so much!

    3. Jen*

      Depends where you work and what type of setup you want to live in. I’d say if you want a 1BR in an area where you don’t want/need a car (Brookline, Cambridge, or parts of Boston proper like Fenway, Beacon Hill etc), you’ll spend more on rent. But you won’t have to pay for parking or car insurance etc.

      You could get a 1BR in a duplex/3 family type setup in suburbs like Medford, Watertown or Newton, maybe even Quincy and have a quick hop to work (train or car), for more like $1500/mo. But you’ll be paying for the car.

      So to all that, if say 65000 sounds right. I made 27k and lived with roommates when I worked in a university lab; I had a car and some student loans debt so that ate into my budget. That was also a decade ago. Friwnds that made 55k at that time lived much better than I did!

      1. GoingInvisible*

        Coming from a city nothing like Boston, $65K sounds like an obscene amount of money, but based on rent, my goodness, that is what you need to survive.

        Boston is crazy! Thank you so much for sharing :)

  57. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    Bf and I went to celebrate milestone of X years together. I wrote him a card, he didn’t, but gave me a road trip to a beautiful hillside valley and some delicious noms.

    Regarding the card–I told him that when I grew up, my parents/close fam didn’t stop writing cards unless something major/scary happened. The last time my mom didn’t write a card was when she was giving my dad the silent treatment because he forgot a milestone celebration. But bf told me he understood, then cryptically said he’d been so busy (job/studying/masters/also applying for promotion) so he didn’t have one at this very moment. He did say he’d have a card for me very soon, but he would determine when, and where, and in what medium.

    I was all..ookay then..lol. Somehow I felt like he was talking about something a bit deeper than the card, but I was pretty sleep-deprived from having pulled a 13 hr workshift that week so I didn’t ask.

    So. Question–has anybody’s SO been oddly cryptic/similar thing happen? Outcome? And/or. What’s happening here?

    1. NL*

      Relax and enjoy your boyfriend for who he is and how he shows affection rather than telling him how to do it. Do not model your expectations for how healthy people should behave based on someone who gave her spouse the silent treatment (never ok) and continues to treat you horribly, according to your other posts here.

      Also since you’re talked about considering marriage in past posts, I caution you against getting married while you’re still seeing this man and his actions as mysterious or inscrutable. You need open communication for a healthy marriage.

      1. fposte*

        Yes, I wasn’t clear if you told him the story about the cards as a way of saying you were hurt that he didn’t give you a card and you hope he will in the future. If that’s what you meant, it might be worth saying it in so many words. Your bf sounds like a really nice guy who would want to please you, but it always helps to know how.

        1. Treena*

          Yea, I’m with fposte in that I couldn’t tell if the card story was a hint or the opening to a larger conversation. I make it a rule to never hint. My husband does. not. get. hints, as do most people. I told him explicitly within a few weeks of dating that I don’t like flowers or jewelry. Later on, I told him that the best gift in my book is something free or very inexpensive that is extremely thoughtful. For Christmas this past year, he got me a 10′ long ethernet cord. I was absolutely ecstatic with it, because it was something I didn’t really need but it made my life infinitely easier every single day and I had honestly never even thought to buy one for myself.

    2. LizB*

      Did you tell him about the significance of the cars after this road trip/noms excursion, or ahead of time? To me, it sounds like he had no idea cards were so important to you — and honestly, in many families, taking someone out for a nice experience would be a big enough gesture that a card wouldn’t be required. To me, his actions sound 100% reasonable and not at all cryptic; he didn’t know to buy you a card, now that he knows you want one he’ll get one, but he wants to do it his own way, and it might not appear ASAP because he’s busy. I think you’re reading a lot of meaning into his actions that isn’t actually there because in your family of origin, not giving a card was clearly a VERY BIG deal. That’s not a typical thing, and I agree with NL that you shouldn’t base your expectations for your current relationship on your parents’ relationship. If there are traditions you’d like to carry forward from your family of origin, like giving cards, you need to tell your boyfriend about them explicitly. Your parents operate in some very skewed ways, and many of the things they did that may seem obvious to you are not going to be obvious to a person from another family.

    3. Dan*

      My ex was a huge cards person – to the point where she would claim that in her family, sometimes a single person would give another person two cards for the same occasion – a funny one and a serious one. When they’d get together for events, they’d make a big production over the cards. Once, her dad (who she had a bit of a strained relationship with) made a big production over how long it took (like an hour or something like that) to find the “perfect” card. I almost gagged. At that point I’d gotten my ex several cards that she had adored, and I never spent more than 15 minutes in the card aisle.

      Me, I could care less about them. You get me one, fine, you don’t I’m not going to notice. But I’d be a moron to not recognize the significance my ex placed on them.

      Now, NL and fposte are right. What your BF is telling you is that he will show you affection *his* way. After we got married, my ex used to essentially hand me a script telling me how to “perform” in certain situations. Points for telling me what she wanted, minus points for not accepting me for who I am. I’d get pissed and tell her that I’m not a dog who barked on command. (Sure that’s not the nicest thing to say, but she really did expect me to deviate from the person I was when we dated, which I thought was a bunch of bullshit. I presented who I was, and didn’t change that when we got married. She, OTOH, had other ideas.)

      There’s no clear right or wrong here. In a healthy relationship, you both understand how the other needs to see and wants to show love. You accept that, and accommodate it at your discretion. Then that person is either someone you love and want to marry as-is, or it isn’t.

      Guys want to think, “Doing X puts a big smile on my GF’s face, and hopefully gets me you know what later…” They do not want to think, “If I don’t do X, there will be HELL to pay.” You essentially told him that if he doesn’t do X, hell will be paid. If he gives you a thoughtful gift/does something thoughtful and then says something thoughtful to you, you don’t guilt trip him for something he didn’t do, because what he *did* was not “enough”. A decent guy isn’t going to put up with that for very long. (OTOH, you are free to not marry him if he doesn’t show you love in the ways you need it to be fulfilled. Delicate balancing act here.) Along those lines, you are not obligated to have a “good reason” for not marrying him. If it’s not what you need in a relationship, no shame in admitting that and moving on. However, if you do marry him, you are obligated to accept him for who he is and isn’t.

    4. TootsNYC*

      “What’s happening here?”

      This is a thing to ask him.

      The fact that you didn’t probe for deeper levels at the time doesn’t mean you can’t ever revisit the topic!

      Bring it up again.

      And yes, you may need to find other ways that you guys express love. Your family’s actions aren’t necessarily the right way.

      Now, one thing about the “love languages”: the purpose of identifying them is not to make the other person express love your way, nor is it for you to insist they have to receive love in the language you want to use at them. It’s for you to figure out what they need, and express love to them in their language.

      (On the greeting-card front–I personally think it’s weird as hell to hand a greeting card to someone. It’s stationery. You want to tell them happy birthday, and they’re standing right in front of you, use your voice! Give them a hug. All of those WAY outrank a piece of paper. Greeting cards are for when you can’t see someone or call them, and you have to rely on the mail. I’m always weirded out by people who think of a greeting card as a substitute for a gift.)

    5. Not So NewReader*

      There is nothing cryptic here. He did not have a card because he was super busy. And so were you with your 13 hour work day. He said he would get you a card later. That means he is going to get you a card later. That’s it. Nothing cryptic.

      Please do not drag your mother’s expectations of your father into your own relationships. It did not work for your mother and it will not work for you. He just spent the day with you and you are all about a card. Tell him you are sorry and you treasured the time the two of you spent together, tell him the card is secondary.

      It’s just a card. Even if he gave you a card that would not mean he is going to marry you. Please don’t mix the two. A card does not equal marriage.

      Please re-read Dan’s post. I think your bf is a nice guy. I think you are a nice person, too. I think the two of you have different goals and different approaches to life. You are rush-rush-rush because your mother is pushing you. He is more mellow, which is probably really nice to be around, but he is not rushing like you are.

      Learn to say what you mean and mean what you say. Your words should match your thoughts and in turn match your actions. You cannot do that with your mother. But you will have to learn to do it with the man you marry.

  58. Former Diet Coke Addict*

    I’m having a very exciting evening here as my husband is deploying again tomorrow morning and the hot water heater chose today, of all days, to begin an incessant leak. Of course, it could have been worse–it could have been tomorrow! But the plumber will be here tomorrow morning and I’m crossing my fingers that this will be an inexpensive repair and not eat up all of my tax return.

    1. Noah*

      That sucks. I just replaced the water heater in my house last week. Basic 40-gallon electric unit with install was right around $450. Is is a rental, but the landlord told me to just take care of it and deduct it from the rent. Home Depot had someone out there the same day.

  59. Anon for this*

    Hoping you all can help….I’m a very nice individual who goes out of my way to help people. I’m the person who’s helping the new team member, planning a baby shower for coworker, planning happy hour for a departing team member, checking up on friends who are going through a tough time, and etc. The goodwill I put out there, sometimes it comes back and sometimes it doesn’t. And I’m okay with things not being reciprocated.

    The problem is that my well is running a bit low. And I need to pull back for now. So I need help coming up with questions to ask myself the next time a “helping” opportunity comes along. My natural inclination is to jump in and help….so what are questions I can process or things I can do to reduce the urge to help. I hope this makes sense.

    1. Hypnotist Collector*

      Remind yourself that sometimes it’s okay and even preferable to let people do things on their own, for a sense of accomplishment and skill. Ask yourself if your help is really needed, or if it’s about your need to be the person who always helps, and maybe doesn’t think other people can do it as well. (And this is only human, not a bad thing.) And it’s okay too to ask if it’s your responsibility or problem; if it’s not, you can wait to be asked for help and even say no when asked. Let someone else have the joy of helping and/or the satisfaction of figuring something out for themselves. And take care of yourself! Put your own oxygen mask on first!

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      It makes sense — let me know when you have the answer. Don’t do like I’ve done, and knowing the well was getting lower and lower, continued sharing. I’ve had to pull back in a big way, because some days I have nothing left. You need to recharge, so that you continue to have something to give. The things you are doing are probably very good and useful things, but you can’t save the world without keeping yourself healthy too.

    3. katamia*

      One way to do it would be to make categories. The people in your life could be put in groups of automatic help, maybe help, and do not help (at least for a little while). Also by the type of activity–maybe giving someone a ride is something you’re more willing to do than plan a party for someone (or vice versa, I don’t know your preferences). Then when someone asks you to do something, you can run through your categories and see if all or most of the categories point toward “Yes, help” or “No, don’t help.”

    4. Cruciatus*

      I would just practice saying no. “I’m sorry, my schedule doesn’t allow for anything more right now but I bet it will be great!” Remember how you’re feeling now and that you need a break and allow yourself to have one. The world will not implode if you tell others you can’t help when opportunities come up. Reasonable people will let it go. For unreasonable people, continue saying no as needed. It gets easier after the first one.

    5. TootsNYC*

      I mentioned this above w/ the person who’s stepping back w/ things at temple.

      It is important to create a vacuum so that other people can step in.

      They may already want to, and your presence in the arena may be pushing them out!
      Or, they may not have thought of it, and they might think of it if there was a need that wasn’t being filled.
      Or, the person who will step in is the person who you think needs help–but really just needs a way to be self-sufficient.

      (And, in either case, don’t assume that because people aren’t stepping in the first time you create that vacuum, nobody ever will. People are probably so conditioned to you stepping in. Give them time to adjust.)

      In some cases, announce it:
      “Joe and his wife are having a baby–I planned the last few baby showers, but I’m not going to plan this one. I wanted to mention it, so someone will step up.”

      In others (checking in w/ a friend), you might not really want to announce it, and just let it happen.

      Or, say: “I’m so sorry you’re going through a tough time. Call me if you need to talk; I probably won’t call you, but I’d be happy to cheer you up or distract you if you need that, so don’t hesitate.”

      And maybe stop and think about the last few times you’ve been helpful, and what made that be a drain, and whether it really was energizing. And can you identify why? You might learn a lot about the places that you find nourishing and those you don’t.

      I think it’s also OK to say among your friend circle: “I feel like I do all the party planning and stuff, and I’m feeling a little burned out. It’s on your guys now. I also feel like I do all the ‘how are you?’ phone calls, but nobody ever does that to me. I’m dialing back–it’s using me up.”

    6. Not So NewReader*

      You can ask yourself why you feel you MUST help. That can be a book or two right there, just figuring out those answers.

      You can start asking other people to help you. You know Jane goes right by your house to that meeting on Tuesday, ask if she will pick you up.

      You will continue to have points in your life where your well runs low, until you figure out how to balance things out for yourself. Picture a roller coaster- any time we go high, we are almost certain of going low later on. Decide to set a sustainable pace instead of a roller coaster pace.

      One of the many reasons people habitually help others is because they want someone to help them. Take a look at what is going on in your life. How can YOU help YOU? Been putting off that dentist visit- get there. Not getting enough rest at night, figure out how to get better rest and so on.

      1. fposte*

        These are good points. One of the things I thought, Anon, when reading your post, is that you’re phrasing this as who you are, not what you do, and defining this behavior as being because you’re “very nice.” And it’s nice to be helpful, but you could also be very nice if you never organize another party in your life, right?

  60. Alma*

    Highly recommended book: Your Perfect Right by Robert Alberti. I note it has been revised and updated a time or few since I read it, but the message is basically the same.

    If you say yes to every job or favor or committee that comes your way, your saying “yes” really has no value. What begins to happen is that people don’t even think hard about who they will ask because you will always say yes, and it is their easy way out.

    ” No” is a complete sentence. It is almost universally understood. Any excuses you offer would just provide a narrower way of someone countering your “no.”

    “No, I am not going to be able to (insert request here).” In your overloaded situation now, this should be your first and second and third… etc… response. There is no need to insert “I’m so sorry…” as that gives the asker hope that they can wheedle you into jumping in to help, especially at the last minute.

    The good news for you is that if the opportunity is one you would really enjoy – and be energized by – you are always able to call several days later, or closer to the opportunity date, and say, “My calendar has opened up and I can be available to work on X project. I really value being able to give of my time…”

    Now you have come back to offer your valuable time and energy on your terms. “I cannot help with the organizing of the charity event, but I am able to do the marketing.” Period.

    Remember: no excuses!! “My SO has said they never get to see me” just opens the door for someone crafty to go to SO, get their OK, and when you get home SO says, “By the way, I told the school committee it was OK for you to direct the school play.” this is not what you want. No end runs.

    1. Kate R. Pillar*

      Thanks for mentioning! I actually have this book in my “to-read” pile, will put it on top now.

  61. CharlieCakes*

    Anyone actually own silk pjs?

    I’ve always been interested in buying some, but I feel like silk would be cold. You know when you wake up in the in the middle of the night because your covers fell off? Like that.

    1. fposte*

      I never had that experience. I find silk a little too warm sometimes, actually. Are you looking at knit or weave? I had these silk knit nighties that I loved literally to pieces.

    2. CoffeeLover*

      I’m seconding silk pjs being too warm. The material heats up and sticks to you. It’s not very comfortable.

    3. Alma*

      Yes, silk long johns and long sleeved tee shirts are in the outdoors catalogs for those who need warmth without the bulk of cotton waffle-weave (I wonder how late IHOP is open…). I think they dry easily as well.

    4. HeyNonnyNonny*

      Ah, shoot, I hope I’m not too late– I have silk PJs and LOVE them! They’re the regular satin type fabric that you think of with silk, and I find them amazing for regulating my temperature. I’m hardly ever too hot or cold with them, which is more than I can say for sweats or other PJs. My husband also loves his and wears them all. the. time.

  62. T*

    Hi, not sure if this is the correct place to post this, but my browser has been freezing on your site, starting a few days ago. I finally had to turn on adblock to fix the freezing.

  63. Stella Maris*

    Belatedly, yes yes yes to Anne Fadiman and ‘Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader’. I also especially recommend her ‘The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures’. Maybe in another weekend open