weekend free-for-all – May 28-29, 2016

Sam OliveHappy Memorial Day weekend — and happy birthday to Ask a Manager, which came into life nine years ago today and was supposed to only be a six-month project!

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: Tepper isn’t Going Out, by Calvin Trillin. You wouldn’t think a book about a man sitting in his car to protect his parking space would be very interesting, but it is, oh, it is. And it’s Calvin Trillin, so it is also charming and funny.

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

{ 826 comments… read them below }

  1. Kyrielle*

    KITTIES! They are adorable.

    Happy birthday to Ask A Manager – glad it outlasted its original planned timeline. :) :)

    1. Owl*

      <3 I've been looking for this! Trying to cook/eat without onions (my biggest trigger) is so tough. :(

      1. Kyrielle*

        NicerFoods has a shallot-infused garlic oil that should be safe – though if it’s your biggest trigger there’s always the chance it might not. :| Have you been able to use any of the other onion workarounds, or are those too close? (Green bits of green onions, etc.)

        1. Owl*

          Oddly enough it looks like chives are OK, but green onions are a big no. Garlic is fine (as long as I don’t have too much). In the process of going low-FODMAP I also discovered that milk is out, period (*sigh*), also adding to the complexity of food.

  2. Confused Publisher*

    Congratulations, Alison! Thank you for all you do, with your advice, but also for providing space to the supportive, intelligent community here.
    It’s 7 months today since I got married, and my husband and I have spent today in gloriously sunny London, eating our way through Borough Market before walking through what our complaining feet are telling us was most of Green and Hyde Parks.
    Also, shoutout to commenter Elizabeth West who talked to me a few weeks ago about her fascination with dolls’ houses. My fascination is with teddy bears, so this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-36372330 led me to this: http://www.newbyhall.com/ and made me think of her.

    1. Caledonia*

      Piggybacking onto this, I’m pretty sure it’s Elizabeth’s birthday weekend – if so, hope you’re having a wonderful day! :)

      Also, teddybears <3

      1. Confused Publisher*

        I’m so glad I’m not being judged for being an adult with an oversized love for teddy bears! Also, happy birthday Elizabeth!

        Food heaven is about right! I wish we lived closer every time we go, but then I doubt our wallets or waistlines would be too happy.

        1. Sophie*

          I don’t see why we should :) I have a large collection of soft toy penguins – I even have an instagram account for them!

          1. Confused Publisher*

            That just sounds amazingly adorable.
            My husband and I have his-and-her bears, as well as those which are ‘ours’ and all of them have been ascribed personalities. (Is that too weird?)
            Our friends keep telling us that soon we’ll be the ones sleeping outdoors or on the steps because the bears have taken over the house.

            1. Chocolate Teapot*

              Not wierd at all. When shopping for cuddly toys, you need to pick the one with the right face.

              I once got some very odd looks in Ikea for emptying a wire basket of soft toys and lining them all up to choose the friendliest looking one. A dad with his children announced to me “They all look the same” as his children stared at me as if I was bonkers.

              1. Confused Publisher*

                I think we might be the same person. I once lined up a row of bears at a shop at an international airport and the winner of the ‘cute-off’ became my much-loved travel bear.

          2. Phyllis B*

            Sophie, my daughter would love to “meet” you. She loves penguins. Every time I travel, I look out for penguin items. The last time I brought her a Beanie Baby phone holder. She loves it.

          1. Confused Publisher*

            One of our bears is a foul-mouthed Scottish bear who keeps winning games of Cards Against Humanity!

    2. Merry and Bright*

      Borough Market is food heaven. Official. I live about half an hour away and was there this morning too! Supper tonight is cheese on toast with grilled tomatoes all bought there. It has been a good sunny Saturday.

      1. Confused Publisher*

        Delicious! (Although we’re still too full from everything we ate there – my standout was chicken gyozas from the Asian food stall.)

  3. Anonymous Educator*

    How do you all handle people talking in the movie theater?

    A) Ignore them.
    B) Tell them to shush.
    C) Move to another part of the theater.
    D) Stop going to movies in theaters.

    I’ve tried any combination of the four above, and they don’t really seem like good solutions to me. Why isn’t there a fifth solution like…?

    E) Movie theaters have ushers actually pay attention to theatergoers who are talking and tell them to shush, and then kick the offenders out (sans refund) if the warning goes unheeded.

    1. CA Admin*

      They have those! Check out the Alamo Drafthouse to see if there’s one near you. They also serve food and drinks during the movie and have reserved seating.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Oh, I didn’t realize the Alamo Drafthouse actually polices horrible theatergoers. So you’ve seen them boot people out? There is one in my area, but I haven’t visited it yet, because I didn’t know that was one of the perks.

        1. Cruciatus*

          Oh yes! Here is a video that went around about 5 years ago about someone who got kicked out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L3eeC2lJZs

          Unfortunately, these are not a thing near where I live. You can tell the usher but then they just stand there for a while and the talking stops, then it starts up the minute they walk away. I’ve tried to get more assertive (instead of sighing) and saying “excuse me, I’m having trouble hearing the movie”. Fortunately my last few experiences didn’t have many cell phones or talkers.

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            “I wasn’t aware you couldn’t text in a movie theater” cracked me up! Thanks for sharing.

        2. nonegiven*

          Google Alamo Drafthouse and Youtube for an angry vm they got for kicking out a texter.

        3. Connie-Lynne*

          Yes! I have been reprimanded in an Alamo Drafthouse (we were in fact talking too much; we hushed after the warning), so I can confirm that they actually do get after people who talk during the film.

        4. Lindsay J*

          Yes! That is like one of the main reasons to go to Alamo Drafthouse! (Besides the food and drinks, which are also awesome. And the sing-alongs, etc. And the custom previews stuff.) They are *serious* about the whole kicking people out thing. They also seem to draw an older crowd than the typical theater, which I think helps as well.

      2. Anonymous Educator*

        Spouse and I just booked the Alamo Drafthouse to see X-Men. Hopefully it will be a better experience than Love & Friendship was yesterday.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          The Alamo Drafthouse was a big hit for me and the spouse! Thanks to all who recommended. Yummy food, too…

          1. Rebecca in Dallas*

            Yes! We love Alamo Drafthouse, it’s the only place we’ll see movies.

            If someone is talking during the movie to the point that it’s distracting, I recommend getting an usher or manager to deal with it. That’s part of their job. I’d rather miss a couple minutes of the movie going to get them rather than get into a verbal altercation.

    2. Persephone Mulberry*

      Ugh. Usually I am an ignor-er. The one time I tried to shush someone, he got louder and more vulgar, in front of his kids and mine. I thought my husband was going to punch him.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Yeah, I’ve shushed people before, and it’s not really effective, unless you have theater staff who are going to usher them out. You don’t have power over other people, and getting into fisticuffs doesn’t really make for a better moviegoing experience either.

    3. Temperance*

      I am choosy about which theater I attend because there are a few near me where people consider shouting and talking to be part of the experience. The expensive theater with reserved seating doesn’t typically get people acting like jerks.

      I don’t do A, because realistically, I’m going to be pissed off that I paid for a film and have to listen to the idiot in front of me talking the whole time. I either do B or get an usher/manager to shut the offender up.

    4. V Dubs*

      I wouldn’t recommend B (tell them to shush)… you don’t know these people and don’t know how they’ll respond.

    5. Nicole*

      For awhile we stopped going to the movies (mostly to save money but also due to the rudeness) but we recently discovered a theater closer to home that has $4.50 matinees. Not only can we both see a movie for the same price as a single ticket at most other theaters, but there’s a lot less people in the theater at an 11 am showing which reduces the chances of being annoyed. Win-win!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        That’s why I like to go to the first showing on a Sunday, when everyone else is just getting out of church. The only time that backfired on me was opening weekend for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; the theater was packed. And someone brought a baby. And just as Lucius Malfoy was saying, “Potter….give me the prophecy….” WAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!

        You should have seen it–every single head in that theater swiveled in that direction! The mother took the baby out pretty fast–probably saved her own life, LOL.

        1. Rebecca in Dallas*

          Haha my parents took me to see the new Star Wars movie that came out the year I was born. I think they thought I’d just sleep through the whole thing. Instead, they had to rotate who walked me around in the lobby (I think my grandad did the majority of it)!

          Alamo Drafthouse also has “crybaby matinees,” my friend said she went at least once a week while she was on maternity leave!

        2. Nicole*

          Haha! At least she was smart to leave. Some parents just let the kid cry throughout the film. I can’t image it’s fun for them, let alone anyone else.

    6. Mica*

      Lately I’ve had no patience for people talking during movies. It depends on how close they are, but sometimes I’ll tell them to “please stop talking, I didn’t pay to hear your commentary.” It usually shuts them up.

      A few weeks ago I went to a theatre performance and the people beside me were carrying out a FULL conversation!!! I “asked” them to save their conversation for the intermission, lol.

      I have no idea why, but all the movie talkers I encounter seem to be 65+.

      1. the gold digger*

        Primo and I went to see the play “Fences” last week. There were several people in the audience talking to the characters and expressing their strong disapproval of their choices. Normally, it would have bothered me, but I agreed with everything they said, especially when a woman snapped, “Make him sleep on the porch!”

    7. Ex Resume Reviewer*

      I usually wait until the week before it’s going to leave theaters and hit the matinee so all the talkers have already seen the movie. Or wait until it comes out on Netflix years later. Generally I’d go with A followed by C if possible.

      I am going to see the new Star Trek this summer, and I’m hopefully it won’t be bad. I ended up seeing the last one with a friend who talked until I told her to shut her mouth, so I won’t be inviting her again. Everyone else was fine (except for the clapping when “My name is Khan” happened, but I was clapping too!)

    8. Mike C.*

      I go to 21+ theaters, since they tend to have really strict rules about that sort of thing, and fewer people in each theater.

      1. Windchime*

        That’s what I do, too. It’s more expensive but there is food and drink served and no texting, yakking teenagers.

    9. TootsNYC*

      I suppose there’s a variation on B: Ask them nicely to please keep it down because you’re having trouble hearing, and smile at them?

    10. Perse's Mom*

      C is not a possibility here as seats are reserved when you purchase your ticket.
      D’s not going to happen – I love seeing movies on the big screen and our brand new theatre has reclining, super comfy seats.
      E happens here – I don’t know that the ushers show up all that often, but I have seen a viewer go get one and they did throw the offenders out.

    11. Lizabeth*

      Try a weeknight rather than the weekend. We discovered that Tuesdays are half-price night plus 9 times out of 10 there’s only about 20 people or less in the theater. Woot!

    12. AdAgencyChick*

      Lately I’ve been encountering way too many people talking during classical music concerts! WTF? I just turn around and glower.

      People talking at movies is a big reason I rarely see movies in theaters. I’m not even 40, and I just want to scream, “Get off my lawn!”

      1. F.*

        We completely quit going to movies, the symphony and plays about 10 years ago. Had too many ruined by ignorant people talking, snoring, crackling candy and chip packages and even singing loudly over the cast of high school musicals. We also rarely eat out because of all the loud, rude people in restaurants. Hey folks, this is NOT your living room!!

        1. Connie-Lynne*

          There was a drunk girl one row in front of us at a performance of “ReAnimator: the Musical,” who kept shouting the lines before the cast said them. One of our group informed the house staff, they said they’d handle it but did nothing.

          At intermission, I walked up and asked the staff again to do something. Drunkypants overheard me telling our friends that the staff had assured me she’d be dealt with.

          So she turns to me and slurs loudly, “DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ME?” I said calmly “Yes I do. You need to stop shouting the lines out.” She lunged for me, missed, knocked over several rows of chairs, and was FINALLY escorted out, shouting the whole time how everyone was bitches and she was friends with the cast and etc etc etc.

          Live theater!

    13. steeped in anonymtea*

      A $7.00 an hour ticket taker (who has ushers anymore???)is not going to risk getting shot to tell someone to not talk.

    14. Jane S*

      Haha I’m the total opposite- I seek out talky theatres because, for me, it’s a positive addition to the experience when people talk to the screen! I enjoy the camaraderie of it.

      But I hate it when people are looking at their bright phone screens or talking about non-movie things during the movie!

    15. Lily Evans*

      I wish there was a polite way to ask people at the movies to chew their popcorn with their mouths closed. I think that bothers me more than talking…

  4. Anonymous Educator*

    Anyone else binge-watch Dramaworld on Netflix this week? I’m not even into Korean dramas, and I found it utterly engrossing.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Just as a heads-up, it isn’t strictly a Korean drama, but it has a lot of K-drama in it and references to it. You may still enjoy!

    1. Parks Associate*

      Thanks for the recommendation! I just spent all my Saturday watching Dramaworld. It was amazing and now just wished season 2 was up as well.

  5. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Does anyone else find that your method of procrastination is to do lots of productive things that just aren’t the thing you’re supposed to be doing? I’m supposed to be spending the weekend writing a particular thing (book proposal!) and so instead am doing everything but that — writing all of Monday’s posts, cleaning my house, rearranging a closet, etc., while telling myself “I’ll just get these out of the way first.” I will end the day with a clean house and an orderly blog queue, which is nice, but also aren’t the thing that is actually hanging over me.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Yes, this is totally how to stay productive without being productive! Hey, it’s better than procrastinating by doing non-productive things, right?

    2. blackcat*

      Oh, yes, absolutely. My house is always at its cleanest when I have a deadline looming. I also fill the house with baked goods.

    3. danr*

      That’s the type for people who love being busy. My procrastination method involves reading a book or three.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        See, I’d feel too guilty if I read a book (even though now I really want to read a book, and also nap). But if I’m doing things that need to be done, I fool myself into thinking I’m not procrastinating and that there are just things that need to be taken care of first.

        1. Bibliovore*

          You shouldn’t feel guilty but…my procrastination things are reading blogs and newspapers on line.

          I write on the weekends…tenure track… Although these are procrastination for what I am supposed to be doing, I have convinced myself that the Friday Thread and Evil HR Lady is professional development therefore okay and the Weekend thread reminds me, that I should have something besides work in my life. The New York Times, Slate, and the Washington Post keep me current.

          I am supposed to be reading books for my work so I procrastinate by reading outside my professional scope. Most recently Outfoxed- a mystery novel by David Rosenfelt and Drop the Ball : women,partnership, doing more by doing less by Tiffany Dufu.

          Oh yeah if I am really on deadline, the kitchen sparkles, the closets are organized and all the laundry is clean.

        2. JJtheDoc*

          I do this all the time – and justify the rotational procrastination process as ‘allowing my subconscious to process x’. Worked well with my dissertation committee, not so well with my boss. sigh

        3. Emmy*

          But the nap you can justify with “I’ll be so much more alert and intelligent with some sleep.” Except…. I tend to wake up groggy and slug-like, so that might be a lie. Can you split the task into smaller tasks? “I will just write the first draft paragraph, then I can read a chapter of my book.”

      2. Cruciatus*

        This is my style too. The weekend I had to do one of my comprehensive exams in grad school…I read Michael Chrichton’s “Timeline.” I tend to read and take naps until I can’t avoid the thing I don’t want to do any longer.

    4. Rahera*

      Yes, someone described that to me once as ‘constructive avoidance’ :). I do it rather a lot.

      Congratulations on the ninth anniversary of this place! :)

    5. Sparkly Librarian*

      It’s not like the to-do list ever runs out. There is always other stuff to do than what I’m supposed to.

    6. Temperance*

      Yes. I’m avoidant with some things. Like if I’m supposed to be going to visit my in-laws or do something else that I find unpleasant, I can suddenly find 100 things at home to take care of.

    7. LawCat*

      Nothing got my closet and bedroom more organized in college than having a paper due soon. :-D

    8. Lady Bug*

      Yes! My house was never cleaner than when I was studying for finals in law school.

    9. Me2*

      I remember back in college a friend calling and asking what I was up to and when I said I was mopping my kitchen floor, she asked, “Paper due?” She knew.

    10. Mimmy*

      Oooooh yes! All. the. time. Says the woman who has her final paper due in 3 days, yet is on AAM and working on laundry :)

    11. Bigglesworth*

      One of my profs told me it’s called “Creative Avoidance” and that it’s the bane of dissertation writing.

      1. GOG11*

        I’ve used that term, too! But I’ve used it in reference to the act of a person making it harder for a coworker to work with them than for the coworker to do just do it themselves. It’s something I tell my student worker they better not do.

        1. Bigglesworth*

          I’ve been very grateful for my student workers this past year. They’ve never done anything like this to me (or the rest of the department for that matter). One of them decided to study abroad in Rome for a month this summer and is currently making the rest of us jealous with her Facebook photos.

    12. GOG11*

      Yes, I do this sometimes, and I used to do it a lot more. If my focus just isn’t there, I figure at least I’m procrastinating productively. I’ve gotten better about just doing things, rather than building them up into a big Thing that I then avoid, but I’m not sure how.

    13. Kay*

      This is basically the story of my life. This morning, I cleaned my oven, tidied all the dog toys, did two loads of laundry, swept out the garage, spread grass seed, and watered the garden BEFORE going to work because I did not want to pack for the weekend trip I have to make after work tonight.

      I can also blaze through a to-do list…as long as I ignore the thing at the top of the list, which is the knotty, thorny thing that will require careful thinking and probably pissing people off.

    14. Not So NewReader*

      Big Project seems to be a great motivator for getting mundane unrelated tasks done. Yet, if I had just the mundane tasks, I could chose to nap or read first. What’s up with that?

      I know there is an incubation time for any good size project- it’s the time away from the project, the time not thinking about said project that can be very valuable. But if we haven’t started the project or we are on week number three of incubation, then this is more like avoidance behavior.

      Doing mundane tasks does give a quick feeling of accomplishment. I think that it’s important not to ignore that. Human beings need to have a sense of accomplishment.

      I have also see people who once they start their project they do not stop. My husband was in hour number 15 (for the DAY!) of wiring the garage. I said, “This is not reasonable to work 15 consecutive hours on one project. You need dinner/downtime/sleep.” But when a person has a habit of demanding long days of themselves, it is reasonable to see that they would be unwilling to start a big project. He finally called it a day after hour 16. Brutal. Totally brutal. General question to anyone pondering this, do you know when your quitting time is? Do you stick to that quitting time or do you push yourself beyond reasonable limits?

      Next step in logic. One of the reasons why we don’t quit for the day when we should is because we are afraid we won’t know where to start when we return. This can be solved by quitting when you know what your next steps are. Don’t wait for a stubborn problem to come up to decide it’s quitting time. Quit while things are smooth and you know where your starting point is for the next day. Bonus points for lining up a couple things you will need to start with the next time.

      I try to do a blend. Start with big project. Work on that for a while. Stop, throw in a load of laundry, give the bathroom a quick clean, make a phone call or two. Go back to big project, spend a while more on that. I repeat this pattern a couple times during the day.Then I have a point in the day when the big project is over for the day- it’s quitting time, no matter how much is left to be done. It’s a huge relief to be able to draw that line and say “enough for one day”.

      What happens is, each time I return to the big project it feels like I am working more efficiently. I have a better handle on the project and I am less restless from the distraction of laundry/bathroom/etc.

      Not a method for everyone, but I think it is a good idea to take a look at our patterns. Acknowledge the patterns that make sense- it makes sense to be concerned that household chores are done. It make sense to want to call it a day at some point and get good rest. Likewise, hanging out with friends and family and many other activities just make sense. Maybe with some deliberate planning the big project can become less daunting and less life consuming.

      1. the gold digger*

        people who once they start their project they do not stop

        That is also my husband. There are boxes and boxes of his parents’ crap in our guest room and boxes he hauled into our house eight years ago – boxes he had hauled from California to here 12 years ago – and has not touched since.

        I suggest that he set a timer and spend 15 or 30 minutes a day on the task.

        He won’t do it. He procrastinates and procrastinates until he has some kind of deadline (and there is no deadline for boxes of junk as far as I can tell), then stays up all night to finish.

        I think he’s nuts. I am really good at breaking a huge project down into smaller tasks and can start and stop. The only good thing about his approach is that if I can actually get him to start something, he will finish it.

        1. nonegiven*

          Early on his day off, take some empty boxes and a trash bag and start sorting through a box. He might step in and finish.

      2. Lily Evans*

        I’m definitely a do it all at once or not at all person. Which leads to procrastination because I know when I start something I won’t be able to stop until it’s done. And I mean that literally. I can’t focus on anything else until I finish whatever the project is unless I work to the point of absolute exhaustion. I’ve spent eight hours cleaning out my apartment, a full day on a project in college, half the night packing an entire apartment’s worth of stuff, and up to five hours when I decide to re-do one of my blogs.

    15. Nye*

      Structured procrastination! There’s a professor who writes about this at a website of the same name. Haven’t read his essay in a while, but he claims you can make it work.

      It’s my favorite kind of procrastination, since at least I’m not digging myself into too much of a hole while avoiding the most critical thing I need to do.

    16. Accidental Analyst*

      Productive procrastination can be really powerful. It helps if you keep a list of things you’re putting off rather than choosing on the fly. You’ll end up doing more of your higher value tasks as they’re easier to justify. Another thing that works is having things that you want to avoid under almost any situation. If you change your priority from the task you’re currently avoiding to the task you never want to deal with, it can make the current task more attractive to complete.

    17. Elizabeth West*

      Yes, and get to work! *shakes finger at Alison*

      I set myself a goal to write the nine chapters in Secret Book I hadn’t done yet (and actually finish) over my six-day break. I’ve written one. Two days left!

    18. MsChanandlerBong*

      Absolutely. Every time I have an impending deadline, I organize my files, clean my kitchen, look up recipes, do my monthly budget, etc.

    19. Mallory Janis Ian*

      God, yes! Life, before I sat down to write a paper that was due in just a few hours, I suddenly and desperately needed to unhook my printer so I could spend forty-five minutes moving it to the other end of my desk — so I could write productively, of course!

    20. Bibliovore*

      The laundry gets done, the dog gets a bath, the clothes get sorted for Goodwill…
      Had a deadline hanging over me and have a revision due to the copyeditor this Wed.

      Hey. I just realized, is this work-related?????

    21. Pennalynn Lott*

      The semester I took “Matrices and Vectors” was the one time I’ve ever had spotless grout in the bathroom. :-D

    22. Ruffingit*

      Constantly. It’s so annoying and I really need to just suck it up and do the activity I’m supposed to be doing. But I don’t.

    23. Joanna*

      Absolutely. The trick is to find something else to procrastinate by doing whatever you’re avoiding now, then repeat the cycle by finding yet another thing.

    24. Artemesia*

      I got a lot of useful things done using this form of procrastination — at least you get something good done.

    25. FD*

      Oh, God, yes!

      One thing I’ve found helpful is having two different projects that I have to do (and that are due around the same time). If I want to avoid one, I ‘have to’ do the other, instead of unrelated work.

    26. Rebecca in Dallas*

      Yes! Just yesterday, I procrastinated cleaning our back patio. Instead I did tons of laundry, cleaned my desk, filed old papers… and bonus, my husband ended up (happily) cleaning the patio.

    27. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      Almost all the time. Most of the time I can justify it because the work had to be done and when I’m done procrastinating I’ll do a better job focusing on the deadline thing. The rest of the time I sit myself down for a stern talk and promises of vague consequences if I don’t knock that procrastination off right now. Also I rat myself out on Twitter and inevitably someone will help me out, giving me a much needed verbal boot.

  6. Raia*

    Was AAM like a happy birthday project for you Alison? Surely your birthday and AAMs start date weren’t coincidental.

    I just realized, this may also be my first year anniversary in reading AAM as around this time last year I submitted my first question. Thank you Alison and commentariat for making me a better person and employee over the past year!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      No connection! It was just a spur of the moment “hey, this would be fun” idea one day while I was in Seattle, visiting my then-boyfriend, and was looking for a way to kill time while he was at some work event. I really didn’t think it would go anywhere — I just thought it would be a fun writing project for a while. (I really hope that doesn’t sound false-humble. That’s not how I mean it! I just find the roots of the site funny and weird.)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Well, I was doing a lot of hiring and dealing with various management stuff, and I’d been thinking more and more about how I saw people making mistakes that could be avoided if they had a better understanding of how managers (and interviewers) think. I’d also been reading Evil HR Lady, and I loved what she was doing.

          I’ve always written about whatever’s going on in my life (for example, the dating/bar advice blog I’ve mentioned here before, a guide to various forms of bad teenager behavior when I was in the throes of adolescence (!), and pretty much anything else I was consumed with at the time it was happening). It’s always been a pretty reflexive instinct — I can’t say I ever put a lot of thought into the decision to do it in any of those cases. So it was the same thing with this — I think blogging was on my mind as a format because of Evil HR Lady, so I just created a site on Blogger in like five minutes (I don’t think I even thought very much about the name because, again, this wasn’t going to be a long-running project, and possibly no one would ever even read it).

          I remember my boyfriend came back from his event and I told him I’d started a blog to give advice on work stuff, and he didn’t understand why / was skeptical of the whole thing. (He has since eaten his words!)

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Was there a particular moment where you said, “Whoa. This is REAL. This is not a short term deal. There is more going on here than a short run.”? Or did it just gradually evolve that, “Hey the questions are not stopping. The questions keep coming.”?

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I think it was gradual; I’m not sure when I started looking at this as a big part of what I do, rather than a thing I was doing on the side, although that definitely happened at some point. I’m also pretty neurotic about not wanting to really accept anything is successful until I’ve been hit over the head with the evidence (partly because I think I will jinx it and partly because I worry about being presumptuous and then being wrong).

              I’m actually going through that right now — since that recent NY magazine article, things are kind of blowing up and there are a bunch of interesting offers materializing, which is great and amazing but I’m also still trying to get my head around what’s going on. It’s all very good, but I have a big hang-up about not wanting to read too much into anything.

          2. Magda*

            Wow… now I’m even more impressed. I was thinking it would be lovely to have an Q&A with Alison about the history of the blog… I’m sure there’s a lot you have learned from it, too. I hope you consider it one day

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Well, to be fair, luck played a huge role — I think that inadvertently it was very good timing, in that the career-advice section of the internet was still relatively small and it was easier to get readers. I think if I did the exact same thing today, it would be more likely to fizzle — I think it’s harder to carve out unique space and get eyeballs now, and these days you probably need a marketing strategy, etc. So you should probably be less impressed by this origin story :)

              But I’m always glad to do Q&A on this stuff — it’s so gratifying when others are as interested in it as I am!

              1. Magda*

                Okay, a question then. How did you get your first questions? Did people ask you for career advice even before you started this blog? When did you realize it was going to be a Serious Blog? Was there a moment of panic?

                1. Confused Publisher*

                  Ooh yes! I was wondering about this too! Not to be creepy or anything, but I’m a firm believer in ‘what would AAM say’ in ways that are positively impacting my personal life too.
                  Following on from there, I had the thought: even Alison had to start somewhere! I wonder how that happened?

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I suppose I did like to give work advice before the blog … in particular, I’ve always really liked talking to people who are pretty new to working and are confused and trying to figure work stuff out. (Those still might be my favorite questions, in some ways.) And also, analyzing the minutiae of an interaction or situation — I’ve always loved doing that and still do.

                  First questions: I’m not sure! Early on, I participated in some blog “carnivals” (lots of blogs contributing a post on a certain theme), but beyond that I’ve always been a little unsure about how I got readers in the beginning. I suppose it really might have just been the carnivals. In the beginning, of course, I didn’t have any questions to answer so I just wrote on topics that I felt like talking about. Then my seventh post was a letter! Post 19 was a second letter. And then they kept coming! (You can see this in the archives from 2007 if you’re interested: https://www.askamanager.org/archives/2007-posts )

                  Moments of panic: All the time, and still! (What makes me qualified to do this? Am I still qualified now that I’m working for myself? Will I still be qualified next year? What if my advice leads someone horribly astray? Is this going to come crashing down in some horrific way? Etc. I specialize in worst case scenarios.)

              2. FD*

                What do you find is the hardest thing about running Ask a Manager? Is it the same thing that was hard for you at the outset or has it evolved over time?

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Probably balancing time for it with time for other stuff. That’s evolved over time as the site has taken more time and resources. I could happily spend more time on it than I currently do, and I definitely feel that pull, but I need to balance it with other work, non-work time, etc. and that’s sometimes tricky.

      1. Raia*

        Wow, I had no idea. How awesome! Knowing the roots makes it even more impressive that you’ve made the site what it is today!

      2. salad fingers*

        Oh wait, is it your birthday today too? If so, Happy Birthday fellow May baby! Mine was on Tuesday :-)

      3. Dynamic Beige*

        It was just a spur of the moment “hey, this would be fun” idea

        You know, I think that things that are started specifically to make money/turn an obscene profit rarely do. But things that are started like this seem to have more success. Maybe because the goal isn’t shedloads of cash from the get-go. I dunno. When you think about blogs that became really popular like 1000 Awesome Things, they pretty much started as one person’s idea about how to improve themselves/their lives in some way (or other people’s) and not because the marketing department at a think tank put together several focus groups on what would people like.

        FWIW, they hired that Neil Pasricha guy at one of the conferences I did as a guest speaker and his talk was about how he got started doing it. He was going through a divorce and his life was generally crappy so he started a blog about things that are awesome to remind himself that just because he felt bad didn’t mean there weren’t things out there that weren’t good or could still make him happy. And now he’s published 4(?) books, obviously does speaking engagements, remarried, has a kid. I would bet he wasn’t thinking about any of those end results when he sat down to think up one awesome thing to make himself a little happier all those years ago.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I totally agree. It didn’t even occur to me for the first few years that I could make money from the site, and I think that shaped what it was. I think if you’re doing something for the pure joy of it, it has a different character (and often a more appealing one).

    1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*


      I can’t imagine where we all will be in 9 years, but I’m excited to see it.

      Fingers crossed we won’t all have been replaced by robots ;)

      1. QualityControlFreak*

        I hope to be starting my new life in the off-world colonies, but I’ll keep in touch. ;)

  7. Anne*

    Any desktop pc recommendations? Used for Netflix mostly. Sometimes the bf does gaming on it. It is on all the time. The hard drive in the current pc is failing.

    1. Bigglesworth*

      Why not just replace the hard drive if you’re otherwise happy with the computer? My spouse’s computer is about 8 years old, but he’s replaced several parts on it over the years. His dad used to take broken computers and rebuild them to sell, so that’s probably where he got that skill.

      Just a thought. :)

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Agree with this recommendation. One of the main benefits desktops have over laptops is ease of replacing failing parts. The hard drive is usually the easiest to replace. I would go with an SSD. They’re more expensive, but the performance gains you get will be tremendous—everything will feel much snappier, even just launching up your web browser.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          Even if you get an SSD drive, it’s only about US$130. You won’t be able to get a good replacement desktop for that price.

          1. PollyQ*

            That’s not necessarily true — I just bought a refurbished HP for $120, and so far (~1 month in), I’ve been very satisfied.

            1. Anonymous Educator*

              Where did you get it? All the refurbs I saw on the HP website were US$260 and up (most over US$400).

        2. Ex Resume Reviewer*

          I bought a quality terabyte HDD for ~$60 almost 3 years ago, so DEFINITELY less. If you go with an SSD, expect to pay more but still well below any bargin tower you can acquire.

          If you’re primarily Netflixing an SSD may not be worth the price. Look for a normal 3.5″ HDD that’s 7,500 to 10,000 RPMs and save some money.

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            If the boyfriend sometimes does gaming on it, I’d invest that little bit more to get an SSD. The performance will be way better. And chances are storage isn’t that important (even a 128 GB SSD should be fine for most games and some Netflix streaming buffering).

      2. Observer*

        I think a lot depends on the the age of the computer, what else is failing and how well it performs over. If this is a 3 yo computer and the movies lay really nicely, then yes, just replace the hard drive. In all but the smallest computers, it shouldn’t cost much for the drive, and can even be done at home by someone reasonably handy and who can read instructions.

        But sometimes even the $100 is too much to spend. And sometimes, it’s going to cost much more than that because the computer is so old that current drives won’t work properly.

    2. Perse's Mom*

      If it’s just the harddrive and everything else is up to snuff, you can get a new harddrive pretty cheap, as others have noted. You can either back everything up to an external harddrive, replace the dying one, and then reinstall everything from the external harddrive… or if you have a reputable shop nearly, they could do it for you.

      *Source: my harddrive died a couple of years ago and the shop down the road saved all the data, installed a new drive, moved all the data over, and did it pretty fast. The motherboard dying last year was much uglier.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Some of this depends on how tech-savvy you are or how much Google-searching you’re willing to do. What I would recommend is buying a SATA-to-USB adapter or an external hard drive enclosure (either very cheap) and then using something like CloneZilla (free) to just clone from the old hard drive to the new one. Again, not something your everyday person is probably going to do, but all the tools and tutorials are available online. It’s about as difficult as changing the air filter in your car (i.e., not very, but some people pay others to do it for them).

        1. Perse's Mom*

          Provided everything goes right, it’s probably a few clicks and then waiting, but if the metaphorical crap has already hit the fan… well, for me it was see if a shop can save it or start from scratch, and I couldn’t afford a new system right then. The shop cost was worth it for me simply for the time and frustration and upsettedness I didn’t have to spend on it. Dropped it off before work, they fixed it, I picked it up the next morning.

    3. Observer*

      You’ve gotten some good recommendations about replacing the HD. However, it’s not always the best idea.

      How old is this machine? Was it a bargain deal when you bought it or somewhere above the top half of the mid-range? (the latter are much less expensive to upgrade down the road, in general.) How well does the machine perform at the moment? Is it an All-in-one with a built in monitor?

      I’ve seen too many cases where someone spent the money on the hard drive replacement, only to realize that they had other issue that they needed to upgrade anyway. By the time the were done, it would have cost only a very few dollars more to just buy a new machine.

      1. Anne*

        It is 6 yrs or so years old and works great..is fast. Lately we have been getting errors related to the hd though

        1. Anne*

          It didn’t come w a monitor. It was built so monitor and keyboard and mouse were separate purchases

        2. Observer*

          Based on that, it’s worth looking into a new hard drive. The two things you need to look at are what kind of connector does the system use and what is the largest size hard drive it can handle. If you can use a standard SATA 150 or SATA 300 drive, and don’t have limits on how big the drive can be you can pick up a perfectly good drive in the $55 -60 range. Otherwise, you can run into some trouble.

  8. Sparkly Librarian*

    Digging up the backyard today to prep the site for our fruit tree hedge/fence.
    Today: Clear (so much ivy! and leftover fence) and dig.
    Tomorrow: Insert straw bales and soil amendments, then cover back up and keep watered.
    In a month: sow cover crop (alfalfa or clover) and maybe some marigolds. It should break down all summer until it’s about level again.
    In the fall: plant apple and pear whips.

    1. fposte*

      Ooh, is this the espalier plan? I’m excited for this and it’s not even my yard.

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        Yes! But you’d never know it to look at it right now. It’s a months-in-progress project (and of course it will be a few years before the fence bears fruit).

    2. SAHM*

      Ooooh! That sounds like fun! I hadn’t heard the term pear whip before so I googled it, and now I’m realizing I need to prune my pear tree in a certain way :-0 . The things you learn! What type of apples are you planning on planting?

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        I don’t know yet – there are sooooooo many varieties. These will be primarily eating apples (eating out of hand, not cooking), so sweet is good. They ought to be spur-bearing, for the espalier form. And we are in zone 9a in Oakland, California. The site gets full sun, but we don’t have the chill hours necessary for some types of apple. Do you have any suggestions? I’ll be talking to some local nurseries in a couple months.

        1. SAHM*

          Oh we’re basically neighbor’s! I just moved from Hayward to Brentwood, so there’s lots of nurseries and places to get fruit trees out here. Surprisingly Costco has some really great deals on fruit trees right now, they were doing $15/tree a few months ago (I bought a elephant plum) but now they’re doing $30/tree which is what the average is for Home Depot and the local nurseries. I actually got my pear and apple from Costco last year, and my dwarf peach from Home Depot. The peach had the prettiest pink blossoms this spring but sadly no fruit this year. I do have a single baby plum on the elephant and five or six baby pears and apples. I think there are a few local nurseries in Castro
          Valley that are pretty good.
          Stay away from Granny Smith apples if you want sweet ones, is literally my only advice as to type. I’m still a newbie at this gardening on my own thing, (our second year with a backyard!) but I love it!

          1. Sparkly Librarian*

            I got 2-gallon raspberry plants from Costco for $10 each. :) And my lemon and lime trees were a gift from my mom, who got herself a lemon that is doing much better in the Gilroy climate. Will try an Alameda nursery first, but may end up more your way if they’ve got a better selection.

            1. SAHM*

              I think I’ve killed my lemon. I kept it alive in our condo in Hayward for 5 years and was so excited to plant it in the actual DIRT when we moved I planted it in the wrong spot, then transplanted it, then transplanted it again. I think the total transplant count ended up 4x. But it’s still green-ish? It’s been over a year and I’m happy with where it ended up but it’s about 1/4 the size it was starting out. Now when I’m not 100% sure where I want a plant I stick it in the pot on the spot where I think it should go and leave it for a week or two, then if I’m not happy I move it and it doesn’t get transplant shock. Lol.
              At the moment I’m trying to figure out what the best tree to provide shade for the backyard (and some privacy) that’s root system won’t rip up the fence or sprinkler system. I’m leaning towards a Japanese Dogwood or a Crepe Myrtle. They seem fairly similar except the flowers are slightly different.

    1. Guava*

      Maybe you can find some on sale at Sports Authority? Most things were at least 10% off today (up to 30).

    2. AdAgencyChick*

      How heavy do you want? Target has very light ones (25# and less). If I wanted a bigger one I’d probably order from Rogue.

    3. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      Craigslist/Kijiji are fantastic for buying inexpensive weights if you want to put in a little time searching for them. People are constantly getting rid of exercise equipment for cheap. I think you can even put an alert for people in your area posting kettlebells or similar.

  9. Mica*

    How do you guys organize your purses?

    I’ve always just put stuff in my purses and let everything roll around freely (does that sentence make any sense?). I can never FIND anything in my purse, so I think I need to get some pouches for it to keep it organized. How do you guys organize everything?

    1. Christy*

      I have a purse with pockets and sections. I also have a small cloth bag that holds a nail file, tweezers, earplugs, bobby pins, advil, etc. That goes in the main pocket. I could never use a tote-style bag.

    2. Cruciatus*

      There are purse inserts you can buy, but I tend to buy purses with lots of pockets for various stuff. One for my wallet, one for my check book and many others for the other “essentials” I always carry (Trivial Pursuit cards (for long lines)), lotion, hand sanitizer, chap stick, pen/paper, etc.)

      1. PollyQ*

        Ditto. I have a Kipling bag with pockets that are sized juuuust right for my phone & glasses case, plus a larger pocket in the center for my wallet, and several other pockets for various & sundry. Oh, and a cord with a toggle to hold my keys. Love it!

      2. Professional Merchandiser*

        I used to carry a purse like that, but in my line of work I can’t really keep up with a purse. I do have a toolbox that I bring with me, and in addition to the few tools I use, I bring extra underwear, a small first aid kit, lipstick, baby wipes (They’re great for the obvious, but they’re also wonderful for cleaning dirty shelves!!) Some loose bills (buried in the bottom) for drink and such. I bring my lunch but buy my beverage. Even if someone decided to take a peek in the toolbox (has happened) all they see is a bunch of random stuff and don’t dig through it.

    3. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      I have a larger wallet that fits everything, including all those ridiculous store cards.

      In addition, I have a pouch that I bought at Target in the makeup section, and it is divided into two large zip pockets. I fill that with medications, feminine products, an extra pair of underwear (you never know when things might go bad!), wipes, etc.

      Then, I have a first-aid kit I found in the travel section at Target (I spend 90% of my spare money there…), which is perfect for all those odds and ends.

      I’m on the hunt for a waterproof pouch for all my hand sanitizers, lotions, etc. Haven’t found one I love yet, but it will pop up.

      If it doesn’t fit into those categories, I try to take it out!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I love hearing what other people have in their purses! I am a minimalist: wallet, keys, lipstick, nail file, tiny brush that folds up like a transformer, and I think a compact. If I’m lucky, a tissue and some mints.

        I am fascinated when I hear other people’s lists. You all are so prepared! And I’m obsessed with the bag Gary carries for Selina on Veep, with all the pockets that contain everything in the world.

        1. acmx*

          I like hearing about it, too. Women have wallets bigger than my purse.

          Mine contains at most: wallet (like a double business card holder), 2 phones, keys, chapstick and sometimes coins.

        2. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

          Haha I never was well-prepared, then I bought one of those large purses and now I feel the need to be organized (otherwise the purse weighs 1,000 lbs), and prepared. Why? No idea. However, I always carried a wristlet before, so maybe I just never had the chance!

        3. Kit*

          I used to be super minimal with a binoculars case for a purse. It held my wallet, keys, phone and iPod. But then I got an iPad, started buying bags with it in mind, and now I’m not fully in charge of my life. My every day bag contains an iPad, a long wallet, sunglasses, phone, keys, pencil, notebook, lip balm x3, lipstick x2, tea bags, cutlery, and generally lunch and an ice pack. I’ve been daydreaming about going back to the binoculars case.

        4. neverjaunty*

          It’s a holdover from having three children under the age of five. You learn to be Boy-Scout prepared. :P

          1. Phyllis B*

            Seriously, neverjaunty. My “purse” was a diaper bag for about 8 years. Not only did I have most of what’s been mentioned here in it (as well all baby items) I also learned to bring MYSELF a change of shirt. You wouldn’t believe how many times baby blow-outs (from either end) left me in a bad position!!

      2. auntie_cipation*

        I have a stereotypical dig-for-stuff-for-ten-minutes mess of a bag, but the organized part is wallet, bank zipper pouch which contains checkbook(s), several blank envelopes, a ziplock baggies with stamps (I still do checks and snail mail! and also drop bill payments in drop boxes where an envelope is helpful even though it’s not being mailed) and a pen or two. My primary keychain and then two others, one for a rental house and one for visits to my mom’s. Obviously I don’t need to carry that with me on a daily basis (visits are only twice a year as she’s far away) but I find leaving it in there easier than needing to remember to add that keychain when I’m planning a trip. Hmm, just writing this has caused me to realize how rarely I use some of these things when out, and maybe I could reduce the daily clutter — yay!

        Other than the wallet and bank pouch and daily keys, my most used/useful items are knit gloves in the wintertime, a bandana/handkerchief for runny nose, and throat-tickle lozenges. My bag is fairly large so in the summer I often carry my quart water bottle in it too.

      3. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I have one of those inserts that has some pockets and keeps everything kind of corralled. That contains mints, a small notebook, pens, my phone, my work ID badge and hand sanitizer. Anything else that I collect along the way gets thrown into the insert and I clean it out occasionally.
        I have a small zipper bag for makeup essentials (lip gloss, lip balm, blotting papers, concealer, a compact brush) and a small zipper bag for my mini-pharmacy (bandages of all sizes, antibiotic gel, cortisone cream, ibuprofen, migraine Rx, Immodium, I forget what all else).
        I have one of those wallets that has a keychain, so my keys and wallet stay together and I hook those to my purse strap with a caribeener. I have digging for my keys, so it’s an easy way to always have them handy.

    4. Kimberlee, Esq*

      I get Ipsy, which is a makeup “box” thing that, each month, also comes with a cute little mini bag. They are different each month, and I though for sure I’d be overwhelmed with bags, but I’ve found uses for almost all of them, including purse organizing! I keep keys and business cards in one, makeup type items in another, change and $1 bills for panhandlers, one for each of the fobs I use to get into work buildings (easier to find the bag than the single fob), vape pen and charger in another, etc. Basically, I have nothing loose in my bag now, and as a bonus it’s also really easy to switch bags like these fancy people who use mulitiple bags.

      (happy to share my Ipsy referral code, which get me “points” of some kind, if anyone is interested! It’s only $10 a month, which is a great value.)

    5. Kay*

      Different compartments and pouches and a very strict adherence to what goes where and in what order.

      My purse has three interior compartments; two open, and one zippered in the middle. There is also a small zippered pocket on the front.

      In the back, in order of size (large to small): Kindle, planner, and between them any folded pieces of paper or mail that I might need in my day (like the confirmation receipt from the mechanic for my new tires, or the mail I need to drop at the post office). On the bottom, two pens.

      In the middle, which is zippered: a portable charger with 3″ iPhone cable always attached, two tampons, both checkbooks, small tissue packet, glasses cloth, small travel lint roller.

      In the front: wallet (for cash + cards, one of the oblong ones that unfolds and opens up much larger), phone, multitool, chapstick, hand cream, and keys.

      In the front pocket: business cards, personal cards (with my email + phone number), public transportation pass, and a teeny little slim/flat LED flashlight.

      I am, in case you couldn’t tell, fairly obsessive about cleaning it out regularly, making sure what I need is where I need it, etc. But I never, ever have trouble finding things in there. It’s all about sticking to the system.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I am fascinated by small things that can be used in numerous ways or are just handy to carry.
      Safety pins. I don’t want to say how many times a safety pin has fixed a zipper or a bra strap during the day.
      Stamps. It’s nothing to carry a couple stamps. I am surprised by how much I use them.
      Bandaids. Again, one of those small things that are nice to have.
      Spare car key. Handy. And nice to know that if I lock my keys in the car it will not be the rest of the morning getting the car opened. It also ensures that I don’t lock myself out, because there is some rule about the degree of preparation is inversely related to the likelihood of the occurrence. If it wards off lockouts, then I will just keep carrying that spare key.

      1. salad fingers*

        My boyfriend (former boy scout) usually carries a palm sized first aid kit with him and I have also been surprised at how often it gets used (pretty much never for him, but for other people).

        1. Professional Merchandiser*

          Yep, when I used to work pit crew (resets in grocery stores) my little first aid kit came in handy a bunch of times. Like you said, I never needed it for myself but once, but we had a lot of accident prone people on our crew. There was one who was a easy bleeder and we really put it to use that day!!!!

    7. salad fingers*

      I mostly carry a backpack, because it’s easier to bike with. Looking in it right now, I see:

      a wallet, with cash, credit cards, store cards, change, etc.
      a makeup bag, with all the basic makeups in, always a chapstick, and face wipe things for sweaty situations
      a small dental stuff bag, with toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, listerine strips, gum, mints, etc. (excessive, I know)
      a bike bag, with a pocket rocket, patch kit, spare tube in
      one bottle of pills, with a mix of ibuprofen, allergy and acid reflux meds in
      a phone charger
      prescription sunglasses in their prescription sunglasses case
      a tube of sunscreen
      a Trader Joe’s brand granola bar
      an apple
      3 receipts

      Not exactly a minimalist over here.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      Pockets, and I have a few little pouches for stuff if the purse doesn’t have good pockets. I also have one of those things you put stuff in and move it from purse to purse, but it falls over a lot and I tend to overstuff it (do I really NEED fourteen pens, three highlighters, a screwdriver set–yes–and two books of stamps!?).

    9. Nicole*

      I keep my necessities (lip balm, medication, lip gloss, perfume, hair ties, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, etc) in a see-through pouch I purchased for under $5 at Walgreens years ago. It’s fairly rigid so it retains its shape. This pouch, along with my wallet (a business card holder I bought at Staples since I hate large wallets), my sunglasses, my phone, and a plastic envelope I got from Walmart to hold coupons and receipts, gets moved to whichever purse I’m using at the moment.

      On work days I carry a larger purse so I put the the pouch inside a purse organizer which also contains a spare pair of contacts, my glasses, a hairbrush, my Kindle, Kleenex, my iPod & earbuds, keys, and lotion. Sometimes I will use additional pouches (which I got from Ipsy like someone mentioned above) to carry other items such insect repellent or snacks depending on where I’ll be that day. I try not to carry too much but I also like being prepared so it’s a delicate balance.

    10. Ex Resume Reviewer*

      I’m struggling too. I have a small zip section that contains assorted pads and tampons, painkillers, hand sanitizer and really old allergy medication. There’s two phone holders, but I don’t bother with them. I carry a personal phone and a work phone, a wallet, USB drive or two, phone stand, headphones in a little pouch, pen pouch, plastic baggy with paper towels in case I need to clean my menstrual cup while out, key card for the office and assorted scraps of paper, broken jewelry, etc. I used to have the large purse to carry lunch to work, but since switching jobs I can go home for meals, so I’m considering downsizing since it’s actually fairly empty with all this junk.

    11. littlemoose*

      Having a structured handbag with stiff sides and compartments/pockets helps me. I find floppy bags really annoying in part because I feel like they’re harder to keep organized and stuff goes everywhere. If the bag stands up on its own, it’s less likely to drive me crazy.

      Right now I’m carrying a medium-sized leather tote with two main compartments separated by a small zip section. The zip section gets my large wallet, which contains money, cards, pass card to my office, and stamps (very handy, as someone mentioned above). The tote has two small pockets sewn into the inner front, in which I keep my phone and a travel pack of tissues. Front section has pill bottles (I’m a sickie) and a hairbrush. Back section has lotion, keys, and a cosmetic case, wherein I keep my contact lens items, nail clippers and file, bandaids, Shout wipes, lip balm, safety pins, and other small assorted items. Tampons go in the little zippy pocket in the back section of the tote.

      TL;DR: structured handbag and a cosmetic case or two.

    12. ginger ale for all*

      I’ve been reading the lists of what everyone has in their purses and now I’m curious. Am I the only one who carries a book in their purse at all times?

      1. Beth*

        Well, I don’t really carry books around too much anymore (though I have several in my car right now), but I pretty much always have my kindle in my purse! It’s basically why I got one.

      2. Nye*

        I always have a book or two on my phone. Not my favorite way to read, but takes up no extra space in my small purse and it gives me something to read on Metro / waiting for an appointment / etc.

      3. auntie_cipation*

        I don’t carry a book ongoingly because whatever book(s) I’m currently reading live in the house, either bedside or bathside. But I do put that book in my purse when I’m going somewhere where there is a reasonable chance of reading time. If the book du jour is too big/heavy, I’ll carry a few magazines instead.

        Oh, and forgot sunglasses in rigid case, and small bottle of ibuprofen to my earlier list. And a little mini-pouch with eyedrops, lip balm, and Rescue Remedy. Soon as I resume knitting I’ll probably have a small project that goes with me most of the time. A sock, most likely.

        Thank Dog I no longer have to carry menstrual products but those were a staple too. Five years post-hysterectomy and I’m still finding hidden stashes of tampons in the glove box, etc. (Might as well leave them there; never know when a friend will need one, and I hear they’re good first aid too — not that I expect to encounter any gunshot victims, but I guess you never know…)

      4. Professional Merchandiser*

        Nope, I forgot to add that. I always have one in my trusty toolbox. Or if I am somewhere that I’m using a purse, I make sure I have something small enough to fit it.

    13. Audiophile*

      I don’t organize my purse at all. My current purse has a ton of pen marks on the inside for this exact reason. I mainly carry my wallet (a large one at that), keys, cell phone, headphones, and office keys/ID. Sometimes I throw a book or magazine in there.

    14. Joanna*

      You can buy special inserts to keep everything organised, but I’ve found pencil cases with multiple compartments work just as well for a fraction of the price.

    15. Perse's Mom*

      Mine has three sections.
      The front snap-pouch is keys, work badge, and any coinage.
      The middle section is checkbook and receipts and a pen and sometimes hair-ties.
      The back section is all the cards in their little slots, any cash goes in there, and it has two little pouches that are perfect for my ipod and phone to have one each so they’re not rattling around.

    16. Artemesia*

      I am committed to not carrying a purse. To that end I buy clothing with hidden pockets particularly for travel. I wear black jeans and the hip pockets hold a few dollars, a wet wipe in an individual packet, a couple of bandaids. The watch pocket holds aspirin (heart attack first aid I am old and married to an old guy) ibuprofen, other needed meds) The front pockets — tissues, a lip gloss, mints. And then the jacket or shirt has somewhere for the cell phone or card case for money and credit cards and bus pass. Lots of my jackets have a pocket that also works for a small camera. 90% of the time I can move around town without a purse.

      Scottevest.com sells a short trench coat with 18 hidden pockets — great for travel except in summer. Magellan.com and Travelsmith.com both have shirts and jackets with lots of handy Pockets.

      I used to carry enough to survive in the woods for a week — and my shoulder would ache and I would get a headache after lugging a shoulder bag for hours while traveling — and rarely did I use most of the stuff.

      I do have a messenger bag that will carry lunch, an unbrella, water, a big camera, etc etc when doing a day trip during travel — but you might be surprised how easily you can survive without hauling tons of stuff just walking around.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Wish I was a minimalist.
        I carry a over the shoulder Highway bag with many zippered compartments and a Northface backpack.
        In the Highway bag
        Zippered web envelope for dollar bills,
        Leather case with credit cards and drivers license
        Rescue inhaler
        Pill case with three days supply of all of my meds
        Hand lotion
        Toothbrush, tooth paste
        Three envelopes to be mailed
        Pack of almonds
        Pack of gum
        Lidocaine gel
        Envelop of expense receipts
        Dental floss
        Assorted change
        One mechanical pencil
        A sharpie
        A notebook
        A gel pen
        A newsletter
        Business cards
        Back up cell phone battery and cord
        Granola bar
        Retainer case

        BACK PACK
        two galleys that I am supposed to be reading
        One picture book F&G, I am supposed to be reviewing deadline may 30
        Mac Air and power cord
        Folder with 195 page manuscript that I am revising
        Pair of socks,
        Tiny brush,
        Pashmina shawl
        Four pens and a pencil
        2 newsletters
        Business cards
        Baseball cap
        Water bottle

    17. Mirilla*

      I bought one of those purse inserts things many years ago when they first came out. I love it because it allows me to switch purses easily and organizes the small items.

    18. AdAgencyChick*

      I prefer a purse with at least 2 inner pockets — one for my wallet and pens, the other for keys and lip balm. Right now my purse has only one pocket, so all that stuff goes in there. My own fault, but annoying.

      Everything else — Kindle, umbrella, ibuprofen, hair ties, sunglasses, lens cloth, and hand lotion — goes in the bottom of the purse. Which is why I ca never find my lens cloth when I want it. :/

      My husband used to make fun of me for carrying an umbrella when it’s not raining. He quit doing that after enough unexpected showers that forced him to choose between buying a crappy umbrella at a bodega or eating crow and getting under mine.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Oh, I always have an umbrella in my purse. I work on a college campus and my parking is a twelve-minute walk from my building, so I don’t want to get caught without one.

    19. Seal*

      Since I do a fair amount of travel for work, I generally carry a purse large enough to hold my iPad and a notebook comfortably. In theory my weekday purse is large enough to carry my lunch, but I usually carry it separately in a neoprene lunch bag. While I don’t always carry the iPad and notebook around, here’s what’s generally in my purse:
      – long billfold
      – small makeup bag
      – small pouch with meds and related items (Klonipin, Advil, Tums, pill cutter, nail clipper, Kleenix, small hairbrush, extra cleaning cloth for my glasses)
      – comb
      – business cards
      – a few pens
      – a few flash drives
      – earbuds in a small case
      – cleaning cloth for my glasses
      – old school iPod
      – iPhone
      – Altoids
      – umbrella

      On weekends I usually switch to a smaller purse and leave the med pouch, business cards and umbrella at home (unless it’s raining).

    20. SophieChotek*

      I am a minimalist. All I carry is my library card, drivers’ license, health insurance card, credit card, local coffee shop card, a few business cards, a pen, and my cell phone. Nothing else. It does mean I would be rather in a bind if I needed anything else. I live in a city where I drive, so a lot of the stuff many other people mention is in my car, so in theory, if I needed it, I could run and get it.

    21. Mander*

      I tend to change bags a lot to go with my outfit, except during the week when I carry a big utilitarian backpack with my dusty work stuff in it. I use cheap pencil cases, little makeup bags, etc. to corrall all my stuff. My work bag usually has a pencil case with an assortment of might-need things like band-aids, nail clipper, a map of the tube, aspirin and cold meds, lip balm, tampons, a pen, and a tiny sewing kit. Usually I also have an umbrella, a folding hair brush, a pouch containing a phone charger and back up battery plus a couple of other computer doo-dads, bottle of water, and an assortment of who-knows-what. If I’m going out after work I have a little makeup bag so that I can try to look less like I’ve spent the day on a building site.

    22. Ellie H.*

      I have an Orla Kiely shoulder bag purse. They’re small but big enough so I usually. I just use that for social stuff and a lot of the time I carry my backpack around which has basically everything in it. I’m extremely minimalistic in my apartment but I love dragging around a lot of stuff with me (same applies to my car, haha). In my purse . . . wallet, bottle of water, glasses case, sunglasses case, pencil, lip balm/lipstick, hand lotion, ziploc of Wet Ones. In the zip pocket I keep tampons and a Ziploc bag of pills (aspirin, ibuprofen, Tums, Zantac, Lactaid) and bandaids and floss picks which I replenish regularly, and a nail file and a nail clippers. Plus my keys and sometimes a small book or a newspaper article or a magazine or something. Cell phone pocket too and I keep hair things there as well.

      In my backpack I’ll have all this stuff in the front compartment & glasses compartment, and in the front compartment I also have a comb and hand sanitizer and also my department keys and a spare pair of house keys. Then in the zip in the back compartment I have my passport, checkbook, a small notebook, index cards, and important receipts or financial things or whatever. In the sleeve pocket in the main compartment I have a ton of kinds of tea, wet wipes, usually a package of instant oatmeal. I have a pencil case pocket in the main compartment where I keep a ziploc bag of various pens and pencils (colored for grading, permanent marker for packages) and post-its and post-it flags for note taking. I also have my earring container box and a couple extra scrunchies and often a Larabar or two in there. Also I have some random crystals from yoga chakra workshops in various pockets. I usually keep my planner and a folder or something in the back pocket and then whatever notebooks or books or whatever in the main pocket, I just listed all the stuff that’s ALWAYS there. I absolutely love my Osprey backpack.

      1. Ellie H.*

        Oops – the Orla Kiely purses are small but big enough to hold pretty much anything any stay lightweight. I usually just throw everything in loose . . . I think the trick to an organized purse is just the amount of stuff relative to size.

  10. Bigglesworth*

    Happy birthday to the AAM site!! I’ve lurked on this site for a couple of years (and only recently started commenting). This site, with Alison and the AAM commenters, has been an excellent source of information, camaraderie, and general fun and interesting stuff for a geek like me!

    Here’s to many more years for this site!

  11. LawCat*

    Spouse and I are taking our inflatable kayaks out on a lake this afternoon. We’ve both been under a lot of stress the last couple weeks so this should really help us feel rested and relaxed! We’re having burgers, beer, and streaming a local soccer match on our TV tonight. It’s going to be a good day.

    1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      This sounds amazing. I would love to get an inflatable kayak to keep at the in-laws, but my other half has a water phobia and wouldnt be able to kayak along (not that this is a deal breaker..) Can you recommend certain brands?

      Alternatively I would keep one at my parents, but they are on Lake Michigan so it would need to be more of an ocean-going type one. Just something to paddle around in hugging the shoreline and bobbing about on the waves would be more than welcome!

      1. LawCat*

        We have these cheap little kayaks called Intex Challenger K1. They are super fun on the lake we use, but I could not recommend them for anything with strong currents like oceans or rivers. So if Lake Michigan is ocean-like, I don’t think they would be that great.

    2. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Lake kayak floats are such a good stress reliever! A woman in my women’s group organizes a monthly full-moon float at night. We have a floating campfire that we gather around out on the middle of the lake, drink some Mike’s hard lemonade, and chat. Some people go off and fish. We watch the moonrise and just chill for a while before going home.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          My friend made it out of a tiki torch refill and some pool noodles. Cut one length of pool noodle long enough to snugly encircle the tiki torch refill bottle. Then make a larger circle (maybe 12 – 16 ” diameter? I was just eyeballing the finished product, so not entirely sure) out of another length of pool noodle. The inner concentric circle is the tiki torch bottle in its pool noodle floaty, and they used some sort of straps or maybe PVC pipes to attach it to the larger, outer concentric circle, which is just a pool noodle. Someone carries it out in their kayak, lights it, and sets it on the water. It has some sort of anchor on it, too.

  12. mander*

    Does anyone have advice for staving off a potential stalking situation?

    One of my work friends was in a very manipulative relationship that has recently ended. I won’t get into details but he is also a former colleague of mine and we were on friendly terms, although we never actually interacted much. Things have escalated in the past few weeks, to the point that he sent me a message via Facebook today asking me about her whereabouts. He knew about some tentative plans we made to get together this weekend as well as her plans to move to a new place by herself, neither of which she told him about. We’re not sure how he got the information but it set off all kinds of alarm bells for me. I didn’t respond to his message.

    What steps should she take to protect herself? She is planning to look into getting a restraining order and filing a police report, but of course that doesn’t really help much if you are dealing with someone who is unstable.

    1. Cristina in England*

      I am not au fait with Facebook’s current morass of privacy settings, but in addition to her settings, make sure that yours also limit what this guy can see. Maybe create a special category for him that doesn’t let him see more than just the basics.

    2. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      I am not a professional in this at all, but this hurts me. I hate to see someone having to alter their lives due to some weenie. Hopefully it will all just be temporary.

      Information is very easy to get, unfortunately, but there are many, many steps you, she, and others can take.

      I would suggest both you and your friend (along with anyone else you think might be a “link” for him to use), go extreme with social media.

      For your friend, she might want to delete her FB and any other social media altogether for the time being as a precautionary measure. That way, there are no indications of where she is, no way for him to reach her, etc.

      For you and any other trusted friends, go to the most stringent privacy settings. Block his account immediately, and accept no new friend requests without outside confirmation (in-person is ideal) of the person’s identity. If sh*t goes sideways, he will do what he can (including lying about his identity) to gain access.

      If she decides to remain on social media, do not tag her, post to her page, etc. I would lock down any co-workers or friends who know him but either aren’t aware of the situation, or can’t be trusted to police themselves. Either remove them, or limit their access to your profile.

      She should, if she hasn’t already, consider changing her cell phone number. She should not provide it to anyone except those in her most trusted inner circle.

      If she is concerned he will be violent, which is what it sounds like, she needs to find alternate accommodations, effective immediately. Make sure she doesn’t have anyone following her, and take a crazy route to the final destination. Wherever she is staying will ideally have a security system, multiple locks on all outside doors, and others in the same building/home who are prepared to protect her.

      While difficult, she should make (at minimum) her boss aware of what is happening. Any security should be given a good, recent image to share, and he should never be allowed access to her building. If he does, it would be good to have co-workers who can block access to her. She should not feel embarrassed at this! This guy is a toolbag, and generally people will want to help however they can!

      Encourage her to enroll in krav maga or something similar. The goal is not to get her trained for a match, rather, she needs to be able to disarm and escape an attacker. It also helps with self-confidence in what can be a very demeaning time.

      Finally, encourage her to seek therapy.

      It sounds like you’re a wonderful, supportive friend. Don’t let him get in your head, and do what you can to keep him out of hers. Keep her busy, have a rotating group of people doing things with her, and generally, just be available.

      I wish you both the best, and hope for a quick end to this.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      She should make sure other people know about the situation and give them clear instructions not to discuss her with him, since he may be getting info from someone who doesn’t realize it shouldn’t be shared with him.

      If she hasn’t yet clearly told him to stop contacting her, she should do that. If she’s already done it, she should totally cease contact with him (since otherwise she may inadvertently train him that if he contacts her enough, he’ll get a response).

      She should read the Gift of Fear, since it has excellent advice on stalkers from someone who handles these situations for a living, including things that may be counterintuitive. (For example, some people think “I should change my number.” No! You should get a new number, but keep the old one active — since otherwise he’ll realize you changed it and just track down the new one. Also, restraining orders can sometimes do more harm than good, depending on the situation — the book has really good advice on this.)

        1. cjb1*

          This. Don’t delete the old number as then he will realize that she has it changed and attempt to find the out new one and/or it will be harder to track any texts, messages or calls that he makes to her phone in case this escalates.

          So sorry about this rough situation for your friend.

      1. Cordelia Longfellow*

        Definitely tell him clearly to stop all contact, if she hasn’t already. This is usually a prerequisite to be able to file a police report for harrassment or stalking, and absolutely for a restraining order.

    4. Ultraviolet*

      A local anti-domestic-violence agency should be able to help her make safety plans, even though the relationship has ended. They sometimes have insight on the efficacy of restraining orders or other police action based specifically on your local police department.

    5. Emmy*

      Change passwords. He got information somehow. Make it harder. She may have to shrink her circle of trust for a while. Sometimes people who love you don’t understand how serious it can be. “Give no one my phone number. If my mother calls and asks for it, do not give it to her. I’m that serious.” (Because he can probably get a nice lady to say she’s her mother and she’s out and misplaced her phone numbers can you just remind me what the new one is, dear? Or her boss or….)

    6. neverjaunty*

      She should not only change her passwords, but she should do so from a computer she doesn’t normally use (like a friend’s) and she should set up two-factor authentication where she can do so. (That means that, say, if you log onto Facebook, it will send a text to your phone as well; you can’t just log in with the password.)

      1. LCL*

        A new computer. If he had access to her old one he could have installed a keystroke logger.

        1. Observer*

          Not necessary – reformat and reinstall (or using the restore options that came with the computer, if any) will generally take care of that.

    7. Dynamic Beige*

      I would also say that she’s going to have to document everything. And if you can make a note in your diary/calendar whenever he contacts you about her, that will back up her story should she ever need corroboration. It sucks because the last thing anyone wants to do is give someone like this any energy but without a clear, demonstrable pattern of harassment (and/or threats), there is the issue that she might not be taken seriously.

      I also agree that everyone in her social circle should know that he’s having trouble letting go/moving on so that they can keep an eye on him. This isn’t something to be ashamed of, she did not choose for him to react this way. The more she isolates herself from others, the easier she’s going to be to prey upon.

    8. mander*

      Thanks, all! I probably won’t really talk to her until Tuesday but it seems for the moment that the guy has backed down. I’ll pass along this advice and hope that I can persuade her to talk to the police. I figure they won’t really do anything but they can maybe give her advice.

      1. Mander*

        Well, I thought he had. Apparently he emailed her last night to say that he was in the hospital with a suspected stroke due to stress, including a photo of his hospital bracelet.

        Sigh. She didn’t respond, thankfully.

        1. Observer*

          Did he actually tell her that the stress was ALL HER FAULT, or did he leave it to her to tell herself that?

          Find her a copy of The Gift of Fear. It’s a really good place to start.

  13. Mimmy*

    Happy birthday to AAM!! Congratulations on 9 years (and counting!) of success, great advice, and great camaraderie!

  14. Cath in Canada*

    Anyone else spending this weekend reading City of Mirrors? I bought it as soon as it came out earlier this week, but haven’t had a chance to really get into it yet. It’s pouring rain outside and I’m just waiting for the kettle to boil, so I’m about to dive in!

    1. Cruciatus*

      I have to wait for it to come in at the library–but I’ll get to it the minute it does!

  15. Pumpkin scone*

    A relative has been dealing with serious health issues and the latest Doctor thought a certain medication would help. Hurray! Until she went to get the prescription filled and the pharmacy said it costs $9,000/ month. WTH? Who can afford that!

    1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      Check the drug producer’s website! I’ve found many that either offer coupons to reduce the cost to almost zero, or financial support programs.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Good idea. Also let the doctor know there is a problem. IDK why we have to explain that, but sometimes we do.
        You can also ask the pharmacist what others are doing.

        1. Jen*

          I think a lot of docs assume it’s covered by insurance-sounds like it was not in this case!

          1. neverjaunty*

            A lot of docs are also going by pharmaceutical company advertising, and may have no clue that the drug isn’t actually covered by insurance.

        2. fposte*

          The array of possible coverages is crazy–I can’t blame doctors for not keeping up with it. I’m currently on a weirdly good plan that’s covered some outlier prescriptions completely, and my doctor can’t believe it.

          1. neverjaunty*

            Yup. But doctors wise to this will try to line up a generic alternative if your prescription isn’t covered, or make sure you get a cart load full of free samples.

    2. Artemesia*

      the business model of many drug companies now is NOT drug research but rather buying up all the capacity for specific generics or buying other drug patents and then raising the prices to gouge those who have no choice but to pay. Some very ordinary cheaply produced drugs are now suddenly many times more expensive than even a few years ago. Meanwhile, new antibiotics are not being developed.

      It is an entirely corrupt industry and its goal is not public health.

      1. TL -*

        That is generally not true – there are lots of companies who are doing stuff research and development.
        That being said, drug development is a high risk high reward game and the pricing of new medications (and some old ones) reflects that.

  16. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    Summer=vacation, but it also=airplane travel and checkpoints.

    For those of you who look young/healthy but with invisible conditions (ie. requiring a pacemaker or diabetes pump, or are a few weeks pregnant but can’t tell anyone), how do you go through airplane Xrays?

    I’m flying out to go to a friend’s function and while I do not have the above, I know close friends/family who do. Experiences?

    Also, how worried should people be re: zika in North America, during the summer, if they are of childbearing age but not pregnant/etc? Asking for friends/colleagues..

    1. E*

      From what I understand, Zika does not cause symptoms in most people. Based on the information we have now, Zika shouldn’t have any affect on a woman’s reproductive system after the infection has passed. I wouldn’t worry about it – if you want to learn more, there’s a good Washington Post article about the virus that was published yesterday.

      1. enough*

        Not too concerned about Zika and my daughter is going to Costa Rica in August.
        As for the airport The Washington Post did an article on this in 2013. Title – How to get through airport security with medical disabilities or equipment

    2. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      You can always request a patdown instead of an X-ray at the airport. No one will ask why. Just grab any near TSA agent to say “I can’t go through an X-ray,” and they should shunt you off to the side to have a patdown instead (where, of course, it is acceptable to request a female officer if so desired as well).

      But usually the not telling people about pregnancy is related to not wanting to have to discuss a miscarriage, or not wanting everyone in your social circle to know. I can’t imagine any consequences from telling a TSA agent you’re pregnant and can’t go through the X-ray.

      1. auntie_cipation*

        I thought it would be more a concern about one’s travel companions knowing of a pregnancy, as opposed to the TSA folks.

    3. blackcat*

      All of the scanners currently in airports use radiation relatively close to that of radio waves. If they are not safe for pregnant people, then neither are our cell phones or wifi. The ship on exposing yourself to that type of radiation has already sailed, I’m afraid. Odds of harm are low, and negligible for someone who doesn’t do something like stand in one of those machines all day. The radiation from the flight itself (you’re exposed to far more radiation at those high altitudes) is likely much worse for a person or fetus than the radiation from those scanners.

      Until 2013, there were “backscatter x-ray” scanners. Those were almost certainly not safe. The government banned airport security workers from bringing dosimeters (tools that let you measure radiation exposure) to work. It was really shady and super bad news. Basically the radiation from those scanners was all concentrated on the skin. Even though it was much less radiation than say, an x-ray of an arm, what matter is how much radiation is concentrated on particular cells. So a fetus in early stages would have likely been fine, but OMG BAD FOR SKIN!! At the time that these went into service, I was in college, majoring physics & chemistry. It took 5 minutes of reading about how these machines worked before I sent emails to my (skin cancer prone) family basically saying NEVER GO THROUGH THESE MACHINES.

      Thankfully, they are no longer in use.

    4. Thinking out loud*

      I traveled every week for work for a long time and became pregnant. I would go to the iteration telling you to go into the scanning machine and day, “I’d like to opt out and do a pat-down instead.” They always did it, no unhappiness no questions asked. The only thing I would say is that a person in that situation might want to add five or ten minutes to your expected security wait time – it sometimes takes a little while for them to find a female screener.

      As for zika, it depends on where you are. If I wanted to be pregnant or tight there was chance of it, I would minimize my time outside and wear mosquito repellant if I were in the south, but the southwest and northeast have much lower likelihood of infection, and there is no chance in the northwest, as we don’t have the mosquitos that carry the virus.

    5. BRR*

      My pump manufacturer recommends not going through body scanners and I have a continuous glucose monitor hat has a small needle which I can’t just take out for screening. I requested pat downs and I got some push back both times but I went straight to “the manufactur says for it to not go through the body scanner and i’m no going to void the warranty.”

      This actually reminded me I wanted to complain because one officer was really pressuring me.

    6. Artemesia*

      No one has to go through the X-rays; we rarely do so because we know that these machines are not well maintained or tested. I fully expect 15 years from now for there to be headlines about how travelers have been exposed to dangerous cancer causing levels of radiation.

      All you have to do is refuse and they do a physical pat down. The problem is that they are pretty PA sometimes. We once were forced to stand for 15 minutes while our laptops were stacked into the plastic bins. Luckily when our stuff was missing (just our laptops not our bags) we had the good sense to insist they unstack the bins and the laptops were 8 or 9 bins down the stack. They clearly were yanking us around because they didn’t want to deal with refusals to go through the ‘cringe with your hands up porn machines’

      BUT you don’t have to have a ‘reason’ not to go through –you simply have to request it. If you think they will be nicer you can tell them you are pregnant or whatever, but you need not.

    7. Tomato Frog*

      My boyfriend opts out of the body scanners on principal — no medical reasons whatsoever. He never gives a reason and they never ask. I doubt I’ve ever had to wait for him for more than 15 minutes as a result.

      BUT. They always search his bags, which irritates me because it strikes me as punitive. If x-raying everyone else’s bags is good enough to ensure our safety, it’s not suddenly less effective because someone is exercising his right to opt out. (Well, former right. I believe that as of last year, the TSA can now compel you to use the scanners. I still think they won’t in most cases, though.)

  17. Champions League Final!*

    Anyone watching?

    I don’t have any any allegiance to either Madrid, but I sort of hope Atletico manages to get this one after coming so close two years ago.

  18. Dear journal...*

    Question for people who have children: if you discovered that your child kept a diary/journal and you had the opportunity to read it (without them finding out) would you do it?

    (Last week there was a letter to an advice column in the Guardian where someone found her 18-year old daughter’s diary and ‘couldn’t resist reading it’, and then wrote in asking about how to deal with something uncomfortable she discovered through reading said diary. I was more uncomfortable with the fact she would invade her daughter’s privacy like that than the actual content.)

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Oh, HELL no. We have told our daughter that we reserve the right to monitor her email, texts, browsing history, or phone logs, but the important part is she knows we may read those things and remind her occasionally that those are the terms of having a phone and being able to use the internet with very little supervision.

      It’s very different to take something like a diary and read it. Those are exactly the things she chose not to share with her parents, and wanted to keep private. There’s no safety issue with a diary, which is the whole reason why we set the terms above in our house.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      Not a parent, but I would’ve been extremely pissed had I found out my parents had read my diary.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        After an incident involving schoolwork that was displayed, when I had another assignment years later to do a diary, I chose to write a story in that diary instead. Because there was no way in hell that I was going to leave something containing my thoughts lying around.

        While I can understand the temptation, that mother should be ashamed of herself. How would she feel if her daughter had read *her* diary? If the only way you can learn about your child is by violating their privacy… you’ve got a problem and it’s not that you read their diary.

    3. enough*

      One of my daughter’s kept one. I didn’t read it. There was not likely to be anything good to be gained from it. And all my children have proven over the years that they will come to us if they need help.

    4. Chriama*

      When I was younger I would write stuff on notepad on the computer. I’d figured out how to create my own user account. One time I forgot to log out and my mom read a rant I wrote and lectured me on it. That really upset me because the whole point of it is to vent. And if she’s unhappy with my thoughts, telling me not to have those thoughts is not likely to put me in a cooperative frame of mind. So I’m coming down on ‘no’ for that. Stuff like social media, cell phones, etc should be fair game because that’s communication with other people. But personal thoughts are personal. Be there for your kids, raise them right, and let them know they’re safe to have their own opinions.

    5. Temperance*

      My mother did this to me, and it’s something I couldn’t really ever forgive her for. She used to listen to phone calls, too.

      She loved snooping and would pretend that she would never do it, because HER mother did. Meanwhile, she’d rifle through my backpack, purse, room … everything. We have a pretty strained relationship.

      1. non-profit manager*

        My parents did this, too. Went looking for it; I had it very well tucked away so no one could claim they just ran across is. Even though much of what I had written about was in the past, they never let it go. I moved out as soon as I turned 18. It took years for them to stop bringing up things they had read.

      2. Snow*

        My mother did this too – when I was about 14. Then immediately gave herself away by referencing something I had written and just to make sure I then wrote that I had had detention to test her out. She lasted about a day before she confronted me about it and then denied I had any right to be angry about it and spent the rest of my teenage years wondering why I never confided in her about anything. (I once also hid cigarettes in my room to see if she was going through my stuff but it took her sixth months to find them so i suppose she wasn’t regularly snooping?)

        After I got a job but before I left home if anyone phoned for me re bills or anything she would just say she was me to see if I was behind on anything (I often was but still) the default security at that time was to ask your date of birth and mother’s maiden name which obviously she knew. When I moved out when I was twenty she was really sad because she thought I would live a home until I got married which was never going to happen.

        She pulled none of this nonsense with my younger sister though and they are really close so I guess it is true that the eldest gets to be the test kid.

      3. Laura*

        My parents were snoops. They read the diaries I (briefly) kept, listened to my phone calls, and somehow tracked my emails/logged in to my email account and read them. It was a horrific breach of privacy and when they made me aware of it at age 15, I knew I could never fully trust them again.

    6. Down the road*

      I would not, barring some extreme situation where I was truly concerned he was in danger. The thing about journals is that what we write in them is often not literally truth. It is emotional vomit… thoughts we have to get out onto paper so we can process them. They aren’t written to be shared with anyone else, and the reader is likely to interpret wrongly.

      1. Oryx*

        I found out after I dumped him that my emotionally abusive ex read my diary. We had a bad relationship but in the moment I didn’t see it so, yeah, it was pretty much all emotional vomit. The fact that he read my diary pretty much sums up all the good reasons I had for dumping him.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Hit submit too soon. I meant to add I hope that if I had kids (please universe, come ON), I would have already tried my best to create an atmosphere where, if they were really in trouble or having a serious problem, they could come to me and know I would help first and worry about freaking out later.

    7. AnotherFed*

      Probably, but only if the kid seemed to be having a rough time with something. If this were discovered, I’d have the same conversation with them that I got as a kid – if you want to keep it secret, then 1) don’t write it down, 2) don’t leave it discoverable, and 3) encode and then encrypt.

    8. Jen Erik*

      When my two eldest started big school (at age 11) they had an absolutely fabulous headteacher – just one of those inspirational educators. She gave a talk to the new parents while their daughters toured the school. Both years, one of her pieces of advice – along with ‘make sure they eat breakfast’ – was to read their diaries.
      I was struck that someone so good and so experienced with young people thought that was the right thing to do.
      (At 18 it’s a different story – you might argue that at 13 a flick through a diary might give you a heads up on some situation that you would want to be aware of – but if you’re reading the diary of an 18 year old you’re invading an adult’s privacy.)

      Mine never kept diaries: my instinct is to say I wouldn’t have read them even if they had – but I can imagine scenarios in which I might – if I was seeing odd behaviours, or mood swings or catching them out in lies (of the ‘I’m having a sleepover with Rachel’ variety.)

      1. neverjaunty*

        …which would just have taught them never to trust you, and never to be stupid enough to write true things in their journals.

    9. Ann*

      I saw my mum reading mine once, I’ve literally never trusted her word or her alone with my stuff in the 30 years since

    10. Mando Diao*

      Invading someone’s privacy in that manner is a really good way to instill shame about things that aren’t shameful. I couldn’t even pinpoint the exact mechanism (since if the things aren’t shameful, it shouldn’t matter if anyone else reads them), but the natural reaction is to retreat further and try to maintain control any way you can.

    11. No spies*

      My mother read my diary and later put a key logger on my laptop. If you want to make your kid hate you I guess that’s a good way to do it. We never speak now and she doesn’t understand why.

    12. neverjaunty*

      No. Parents who pull the ‘oh I just couldn’t resist’ or ‘I happened to come across it and…’ are liars who prioritize their own nosiness over their child’s emotional health.

    13. Artemesia*

      I think privacy is generally a good policy. We knocked on their doors and didn’t read their stuff. BUT you have authority and responsibility for kids. If you have a reason to think that there are issues you need to deal with, you can certainly read. I did read my foster child’s diary because she was high risk for serious behavioral issues; it did give me clues about areas where we needed to step up supervision. An 18 year old — well that is an adult and I would have to have serious concerns about something like drugs in my home or criminal behavior before crossing that line with someone that age.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Oh, I read that question in The Guardian as well. The on-line commenters were almost all of the opinion that the mother should not have read the diary. (To paraphrase “I found my daughter’s diary and couldn’t resist reading it”)

    14. K.*

      I’ve kept a diary since I was about 8, and I say all the time that if anyone ever read any of my diaries it would be the ultimate betrayal. (I plan to put instructions to destroy them in my will; if I see death coming I’ll destroy them myself.) If my parents had read mine when I was a kid I’m not sure I could ever forgive them. They’re mine and mine alone, full stop.

      I had a friend in high school whose mother read her diary cover to cover, and the fallout was tremendous – my friend ended up staying with her grandparents for a bit because of it. The mother was mentally ill and my friend had written a lot about how hard it was to deal with her illness, which upset the mom greatly and caused her to spiral. My friend was firm in her anger over having her privacy violated (rightfully, in my opinion, and her father agreed) which led to some huge fights. It was terrible.

    15. Observer*

      I agree that there are some scenarios where it makes sense to read your kid’s diary. But that are very, very rare. Neither curiosity nor the fact that you are the parent (by itself) is a good reason to do so.

      Besides the issue of giving people their privacy (and you child is a PERSON separate from you, there is an educational issue here. How do you expect a person to learn to respect the privacy of others if you never model that. Also, it’s kind of hard for someone to understand privacy if they have never experienced it. Privacy, secrecy and shamefulness are different things. Someone whose privacy is violated at a relatively young age is going to have a much more difficult time in understanding the distinction.

    16. Lily Evans*

      I learned the hard way not to leave personal things where my mom could find them because she would read them. Diaries, stories for school classes, notebooks in my room, appointment cards that had fallen out of my purse onto the table, etc. It ruined any trust I had (not that there was much, but that’s it’s own story) in her allowing me to keep things to myself. We’ve never had a close relationship and, shockingly, reading my private things and interrogating me about them didn’t help that.

      I did once purposely write a rant about her invasion of my privacy and other things she’d do and left it where I knew she’d “find” it, naively thinking it would change things. It didn’t.

    17. Kyrielle*

      No, just no.

      The only way I can imagine reading my children’s diaries or journals without their permission, is in horrifying circumstances (at best they’ve vanished, at worst they’re deceased).

      If I saw they had one, would I be curious? Well, yes. I’m human. But I wouldn’t let myself read them. My curiosity doesn’t get to be satisfied just because it exists.

    18. Not So NewReader*

      Not the same thing, but in a similar line. When I cleaned out my father’s house, I made it a point to throw away/shred the letters of people who were still alive without reading them.

      There was nothing to gain and everything to lose.
      I prefer people tell me things first hand. Sneaking around to find it feels crappy. In quality relationships people tell each other the truth or they skip the subject. They don’t sneak around.
      Once you know X, you can’t UNknow it. At some point I will probably screw up and let on that I know about X.
      I’d want someone to do that for me. If I sent letters/emails to a the currently deceased person, just destroy them without reading it.
      Learning about other people’s personal stuff by a questionable method brings no joy. It does add more burden in life and who needs that?

      I guess if I went missing and the police were called in then I would have expected my parents to read my diary as part of the effort to find me. But for normal situations I would not. And they didn’t. They just asked me to my face whatever they wanted to know. And I would answer them, even if they would not be happy with my answer.

    19. Kassy*

      Nope! I think kids need a safe place to express themselves. And better a diary than a blog if they’re not Internet savvy enough to keep it sufficiently private and safe.

  19. V Dubs*

    Any juicing recipe recommendations, tips and tricks, or advice?

    I just borrowed a friend’s juicer to see what it’s all about. Mainly thinking of juicing for breakfast and as a way to get more veggies.

    1. Gene*

      Best – It’s a race weekend. That means race cars, loud engines, the smell of race gas in the morning, and quiet time alone in the evenings.

      Worst – Nothing comes to mind right now, it’s been a good week.

    1. Ruffingit*

      Best: Having an expensive dinner out with my husband. We don’t do expensive dinners often so it’s a nice treat.

      Worst: Massive flooding where I’m at blocking roads and making things generally difficult.

    2. danr*

      Best: it’s hot enough to cook outside.
      Worst: It’s 9o+ degrees F for two days now and we’re due for another day of this heat. We have AC, but I want to be outside, not inside.

    3. Elkay*

      Best: Unexpected catch up with a friend
      Worst: My week has been an “if you don’t laugh you’ll cry” week. The drugs the doctor prescribed me didn’t work which meant I wasn’t sleeping through the night, I went back to the doctor, got different drugs, struggled into work and started getting migraine symptoms, went to the toilet and broke the zip on my trousers, gave up and went home. Thankfully the drugs kicked in after four days and I slept for 10 hours yesterday.

    4. Caledonia*

      Best: I guess you could say ok weather for most of the week and tennis on my tv. Have done some revision towards my exam next Friday. Oh! and my credit rating according to experian is ‘excellent’

      Worst: just about everything else. Still no job and feeling pretty hopeless about it, the economic situation in my city is terrible (oil & gas). I’m running out of money. I need to sell my flat but obviously, see economic situation.

      It’s hard to believe that one decision (to move for a job) has fudged my life up so utterly and completely.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I hope this changes for you very quickly. You need some positive stuff to start rolling in.

    5. Liane*

      Best: Daughter graduated High School last weekend.

      Worst: See my separate post about our dog :(

    6. KR*

      Boyfriend left for new base across the country after his leave on Wednesday which was our 4 year anniversary. That was the worst. The best was getting to see him on our anniversary which almost never happens and the wonderful weather.

    7. Trixie*

      Best: Three day weekend which includes a paid holiday with my job.
      Worst: Feeling just unattractive the last couple weeks which is not great for morale. Focusing on clothes this weekend, making an effort to pick up a couple pieces I really like and simply enjoy wearing. Plus a haircut earlier this weekend, and eyebrow sculpting always feel like a mini-spa treat.

    8. ginger ale for all*

      Best – extra hours at my part time job were offered and I was able to configure the hours at my full time job to be able to take them.
      Worst – problems with a co- worker got so bad that I vented to my boss. She had already noticed thank goodness.

    9. Mimmy*

      Best: Inching ever closer to the end of my horrible class and commencement.

      Worst: Husband needs hand surgery, which takes place this Friday.

    10. AnAppleADay*

      Best: Currently out if town for a short vacation and to attend a wedding. It was a beautiful wedding and I’m so very happy for the bride and groom. Second time for each and it seems like a perfect match.

      Worst: can’t think of anything really.

    11. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Best: My husband and I bought our first major piece of art from one of my friends as a twentieth-anniversary gift for me. I’ve wanted one of her pieces for several years, and I fell in love with the pieces that used to hang in my office at work. She showed me some of her new pieces, and I liked them, too, but I felt a special affinity for one series that she did a three – four years ago, because I remember her talking about her process and struggles and triumphs as her concept for the series came together and then changed and developed organically as she worked on each painting. Well, just last week, a gallery in Durango sent some of her older works from that series back to her, and I am thrilled to have one of the ones that used to hang in my old work office!

      Worst: I had to leave work to pick up my daughter from her first bad drinking-to-excess incident. She had been drinking with friends and got on one of those maudlin, tearful jags that seem to sometimes hit people. When she called me, crying, and wouldn’t say what had happened, I thought that maybe someone had assaulted her, so I was wondering who I was going to have to kill . . .

      1. Artemesia*

        Congratulations on having created a relationship where there is enough trust for her to have made that call.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Thank you. She told me that her friends were against her calling a parent, thinking (in their college-freshman wisdom) that she was just opening herself to punishment, remonstration, etc. I’m glad she is able to call me because some young adults that age (1) abhor parental involvement and (2) trust their own faulty judgement enough to allow real harm to come to a peer, all in the name of handling it themselves and covering it up from “real” adults.

    12. Guava*

      Best: I got to sit in the VVIP section in Disneyland (in front of the castle) and watch the night parade and fireworks. You cannot buy these seats. Usually the park either has to f up really badly and offer you these seats, you have to know a manager, or you’re dying. Spouse knows a manager! I saw a “famous for being famous” family post IG pics from their VIP seats (in front of of the railroad) the same night and I felt muy especial

      Worst: “disagreement” with spouse that rears its ugly head like every other week. I cry every time. Can’t help it.

    13. Dot Warner*

      Best: family visited for the first time since DH and I moved to our new state.

      Worst: High school/undergrad classmate lost her battle with cancer. Not someone I was especially close with, but still. :(

    14. Emilia Bedelia*

      Best: I graduated! My manager bought me donuts and everyone signed a card for me which was very nice :)
      Worst: I have sunburn from sitting outside for 3 hours :(
      Also best: my boyfriend has a cap tanline straight across his face. Hilarious (to me, at least)

    15. Nye*

      Best: this afternoon boyfriend, best friend, and I are finally having a long-planned Day of Introversion. Friend will come over and we will sit around the house reading our own books or doing other solo things, and since I relax by cooking I will keep us all in summery cocktails and snacks and chef up a nice dinner this evening.

      Also best: spent last week doing data analysis on the first element of a major research project, and it strongly supports my hypothesis. Since the rest of the project largely rests on said hypothesis, this was very encouraging.

      Worst: flat tire heading home from work last week, which luckily wasn’t a dangerous blowout or anything but which added some unwelcome hassle and expense to my life.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I love the planned Day of Introversion, and there’s something charming in having a friend over to do it with you.

        1. Nye*

          It was great! In addition to the pleasure of her company for dinner, having our friend over and making it A Thing meant we were really committed to relaxing and didn’t fill up the time with laundry and chores and such.

          Highly recommended!

    16. AvonLady Barksdale*

      BEST: A very good friend of mine is in town for the weekend! We had a lovely day yesterday, catching up and getting to have some one-on-one time.

      ALSO BEST: I got two birthday gifts this week– my KitchenAid and my new Fitbit Alta. I’m loving them both. I’m really pleased to see that I’m more active than I thought, though today it’s raining so my 5000-step morning walk with the pooch was cut short.

      WORST: A co-worker and friend got laid off this week. Totally unexpected. And for a reason I think makes good long-term business sense but absolutely terrible short-term business sense, and I’m really frustrated that my company keeps doing this, sacrificing short-term solutions and needs in the interest of long term goals that may never come to fruition.

  20. JeanLouiseFinch*

    Happy summer to people at home for this holiday weekend! For me, I know it’s summer when I can get my husband to make beer can chicken on the Weber and I make my first batch of Gazpacho soup. How do you know it’s summer wherever you are? (In Australia, I would imagine it’s when the Christmas decorations go up!)

    1. Caledonia*


      When it’s time for Wimbledon (major tennis tournament).
      Relatedly, when strawberries taste of strawberries.

      1. JeanLouiseFinch*

        I love it when the strawberries come into the farmers’ markets around here.

    2. salad fingers*


      Sometime in August when it stops snowing here.

      But actually, when our windows start to stay open and I can hear kids and music playing in the park I live next to all day. When I start to feel compelled to have a beer on a patio, any patio, just about every day after work. When my freckles come out.

    3. Down the road*

      Positive… traffic lets up in the morning and summer fruits show up at the market. Not so positive… Texas heat and crap television.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I hear the ice cream man. He comes out as soon as it starts to warm up in spring. Either he changed his truck or we have a different guy–it used to go DING DING but now it plays this very annoying electronic rendition of “The Entertainer,” a song I hate.

    5. fposte*

      I love the user name!

      I’m going with fresh peaches. Best summer dinner–peach slices with fresh mozzarella and prosciutto.

    6. SAHM*

      Fresh peaches for me too! Fresh plums, watermelon, all the fruits! I live in a bit of a farming community turned suburbia but we still have “You-pick” farms around. Lots of fruit right now, makes me happy!
      Also, playing in the sprinklers, water balloon fights that devolve into running away from whoever has control of the hose, digging holes to China, camping in the backyard, and finding cool bugs (I have little boys ).

    7. Mimmy*

      1. When we hear that annoying ice cream truck
      2. When people start wearing shorts and sandals and kids are playing outside – the shorts and sandals are already taking place, and summer doesn’t even officially begin for another 3 or so weeks!
      3. When I was younger, I knew it was summer when school was out – we always got out around the third week of June or so. I remember walking home and hearing the lawn mowers going and I’m like “yup, summer is here!”

    8. ginger ale for all*

      The Texas heat lets me know. When I am out walking and see a sprinkler going and I have to resist the urge to run through it to be more specific. However, sometimes I look around to see if anyone is looking and I take a slight ‘detour’.

    9. Anonymous Educator*

      How do you know it’s summer wherever you are?

      I live in San Francisco, so the big joke here is that you know it’s summer when it’s cold and foggy!

    10. Seal*

      I’m a transplanted Midwesterner, so for me summer starts with Memorial Day weekend and ends with Labor Day, even though it starts getting hot in the South in Apriil and stays hot until October.

    11. LizB*

      A combination of factors:
      – the cottonwood trees start spreading their seeds, so the air is full of little white bits of fluff for a week or two
      – the part in my hair gets sunburnt while I’m out and about (it always does this once at the beginning of every summer and then never again for the rest of the season)
      – first mosquito bites of the season

    12. And Peggy!*

      Living at my parents house it’s evil birds who are super loud at 4 am and equally evil neighbors who mow their lawns before 8 am on the weekends. Who does that??? I rescind the equally evil label. They’re way more evil. Birds don’t know any better, people should.

      I’m so happy I’m moving.

  21. Grumpy*

    Any idea on what to do during the day when it’s well over 100 degrees and swamp-like humidity outside (in a big city)? I hate feeling like I wasted a precious day of the weekend hiding inside.

    1. Nicole*

      Hit up a water park?

      Otherwise maybe a museum or the movies? Sure, it’s inside but it’s still fun at least.

    2. Temperance*

      I daydrink if I feel like I need to get out. I went to the gym today, though.

    3. JeanLouiseFinch*

      Do they have any nearby street fairs? Maybe visiting one for part of the day won’t be too bad. Then a soak in a cold tub. We have movies in the park in several locations. Usually, even in the hottest weather, the park is bearable at night. I will give you an idea of my age that when my husband was growing up and had no air conditioning, people would often take their pillows and blankets and sleep in the parks.

    4. The IT Manager*

      Museum or a movie. Or if you’re a shopper, visit a mall – it’s not my thing but you can get some walking done indoors, enjoy some people watching, get a meal, catch a movie (in a lot of malls) and window shop without leaving the air conditioning.

    5. Lady Bug*

      I’d be outside enjoying every drop of sweat and packing away the feeling of being hot and sweaty for when its 10 degrees out and I want to stab myself in the eye, but I looooooooove summer. Gimme 110 degrees please!

    6. Mando Diao*

      I really enjoy nighttime in the summer. I’ve invested too much in skincare to risk much sun exposure, and I live on the shore so egads I’d rather stay indoors than deal with daytime tourists.

    7. Nancypie*

      Go outside early and late. Stay indoors/have a siesta in the middle of the day. And/or find somewhere to swim.

  22. ExGoalie*

    I’ve just retired from hockey, partly so I’ve got the time and energy to go to law school. It’s a proper adult decision that makes perfect sense and I’m depressed and don’t want to be adult right now!

    Took off my skates for the last time ever a few hours ago.

    1. Overeducated*

      Making proper adult decisions can be a drag. I hope your next stage will have awesome parts you can’t even predict yet.

    2. TootsNYC*

      Does it really need to be the last time ever?
      Can it be the last time for a while?

      I once decided I had to get rid of the cloth I’d bought to make clothes with. It was so hard. I finally decided it was OK to not be a sew-er for now. That I could go back to it later if I wanted to. It made it easier. And…I do go back to doing it now and then.

      Also, focus on the forward, not the back.

      (but I would also say it’s OK to mourn this. And you have my sympathies)

      1. ExGoalie*

        As a goalie it’s all or nothing! Can’t squeeze an extra one in here or there as you could with skaters, can’t play as an emergency goalie without being fully registered and insured. And most of all I can’t do things half hearted, I’ll miss hockey but I would HATE messing about and “playing” instead of being serious.

        So, new chapter opens!

        1. Betty (the other Betty)*

          If you find you miss the ice but don’t want to continue playing, you could look into coaching. I know the place my kid plays hockey could always use an extra goalie coach: it’s tough for the coaches to set up drills and supervise the skaters and still have time to give goalies individual attention. Even coming in occasionally would probably be appreciated. (You’d probably need to do the safe sport coach training.)

          It’s ok to be done altogether and to focus on the next part of your life too. Good luck with law school. As a goalie, you have a lot of the qualities that will help you succeed: quick decision making skills and reaction time, self confidence and bravery, good work habits and willing to out yourself out there for the wellbeing of others.

  23. Amber Rose*

    It’s been one year since I joined my sword fighting class. And in two weeks, five years since I got married, which i’ll be in Japan for. It’s an exciting time. ^^

    Any travellers have advice for things I might need on my trip that I may not have considered?

    1. Elkay*

      No advice but I’ll be following because I’ve just started looking at trips to Japan for next year.

    2. MsMapmaker*

      Paper towels aren’t usually available in public restrooms, so I usually carry small cloths/handkerchiefs with me. And that includes Narita airport.

    3. AdAgencyChick*

      I just came back from Japan a few weeks ago!

      Get a decent amount of yen before you go. With the exception of Tokyo, I was surprised how few ATMs there were (and how many restaurants do not accept credit cards).

      Maybe carry a ziploc bag for your trash, too. There are VERY few trash cans in public places — people just carry their trash until they get home or to a coffee shop. If you don’t like trash floating around in your handbag, at least you can keep it separate from your other things with a plastic bag.

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          That sounds like more than enough. We started off with 60,000 total for 2 people and it didn’t last long at all! We thought we’d be able to supplement with ATMs but I wish we’d started with double that amount.

      1. Ellie H.*

        I’ve got in so many arguments with people about this, LOL. So many people have told me that there are no trash cans in Japan and it’s shocking to have to carry everything with you, etc. The only place this was ever a problem for us in 3 weeks was in the main Tokyo metro station. The rest of the time we commented to each other like every day about how weird it was that everyone was obsessed with the lack of trash cans when we always found them.
        Moral . . . YMMV ;)

    4. Seren*

      A hand towel is really good to always have. Unless you’re from New York city, it is a lot of walking to bus and train stations so good walking shoes are a must. I wouldn’t carry much in a bag or purse, since all that will weigh you down as well. Also, I try to change my sleep/wake pattern to Japan’s time zone as soon as I get on the plane, since there’s a 13 hour time difference. Id rather be jetlagged and still on the plane than jetlagged at my exciting new location.

      Have fun! When I was younger, my family would go for a week or two in the summer. I miss it. It is always so clean and there is good eating to be had everywhere you look. I recommend Mister Donuts and Ikkanro pork buns if you’re in the Kobe area. Mmmmm.

      1. Seren*

        Oops, I spelled Ikkanrou wrong. Also needed to mention that it is worth the investment to visit some 100 yen shops like Daiso, they put our dollar stores to crying shame. Not that it would take much.

    5. Ellie H.*

      Japan is SO easy and comfortable to travel in. If you are coming from the US, you might even think it’s easier than getting around at home :) I’ve never been in a place with more public bathrooms and vending machines so you will never have to be uncomfortable or thirsty.
      Another already mentioned below that it is useful to get cash at ATMs when you can bc you don’t always find them and Japan is mostly cash based.
      You will probably want an umbrella but they sell very cheap ones there in every convenience store so you should buy it there – you’ll be able to get the gigantic clear ones which are perfect and totally key for not bumping into people while walking around on city streets, do not bother bringing one. But you should *definitely* bring a good raincoat if at all possible and shoes that don’t get disgusting or damaged when they get wet.
      Definitely advise doing some hiking while there if that’s your thing, and eating everything possible.

  24. Very much anon for this*

    I just got way too drunk and now I feel horrible. I did not have much too eat so I understand why it happened but I am so embarrassed and I don’t know how to handle the anxiety that comes with the hangover. This is not something that happens very often but I am just so embarassed and now I keep thinking that the people I went out with hate me, and that they think that I am an idiot for getting so drunk. Any advice on how to feel better? (and yes I think that I have learnt my lesson never to drink on an empty stomach)

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Drink a lot of water; that will help.

      Been there, done that; there is no t-shirt unfortunately (or if there is, we probably puked or spilled on it, LOL). Everybody’s done this at least once. If the people you hang out with like you, they’ll get over it.

    2. Caledonia*

      As Elizabeth says, most of us have been there. It’s easy to keep on reliving the night, playing it over & over in your head thinking ‘why did I do/say that!?’ When I was having counselling, my counsellor suggested thinking about it for say a minute and then telling yourself ‘it’s done’ and everytime you keep on drifting back, repeat ‘it’s done/finished’. Or the good old elastic band on wrist trick.
      Most likely, the people you were with were just as drunk and won’t remember anything.

    3. FiveWheels*

      Move to the UK, where it’s outright strange if you DON’T sometimes get smashed?

    4. Pennalynn Lott*

      We all [OK, all of us who drink alcohol] have done that at least once in our lives. When it happened to me, I apologized, explained that I was drinking on an empty stomach, and then never did it again.

      As for the hangover, actual scientific studies have shown that only two things will help: Water and an anti-inflammatory like Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen). I’d stay away from Tylenol, since it puts a heavier load on your liver, which is busy detoxing your body from the alcohol. And I, personally, stay away from aspirin since it hurts my stomach. YMMV.

    5. Clever Name*

      I’m sure your friends don’t hate you for getting drunk on a night out. The last time (and I hope it’s the last time) I got very drunk I told my friends I’m the smartest person I know. We still laugh about that. :)

    6. TootsNYC*

      did you punch somebody? Insult somebody? vomit on somebody?

      If not, I bet your friends probably think you were kinda funny.

    7. Mando Diao*

      Everyone has one or two nights like that a year. Set any diets aside and listen to your cravings and try to feel better.

    8. mander*

      Joining the chorus to say it happens. Curiously I’ve found coconut water to be good for hydration (I didn’t believe the hype but I felt better after drinking some). But the main thing is to drink water and go back to bed.

      Unless you were the only one drinking I doubt it was anything but funny to your friends!

    9. Emilia Bedelia*

      I have found that the Naked Bright Beets smoothie is amazing for hangovers- it has ginger, which soothes nausea, and beets, which are supposed to help your liver “detox”.
      Also, unless you did something particularly stupid (like getting arrested or stripping or something), no one will care. I get the same hangover anxiety and sleeping is the best thing for it

    10. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I recently looked up hangover remedies on the Mayo Clinic website (see my “worst” in “Best and Worst” upthread), and it said to stay hydrated; take ibuprofen or naproxen, not Tylenol; and use Pepto-bismol for nausea. My daughter also needed a warm bubble bath, both to calm her teary emotions and because she smelled a little vomity.

      I know that I had to learn my own limits through trial and error, so I’ve had plenty of times, mainly when I was younger, of not judging those limits correctly. Drinks that taste really good and hide the alcohol taste are especially easy to over-indulge on. My daughter’s recent bad experience was with butter beer and rum, and she drank too much too fast because it was sweet and delicious and she didn’t taste that icky alcohol taste.

      1. Aardvark*

        +1 to learning your own limits. Also, your limits can change over time because your body and your lifestyle change over time. I think a lot of people forget that. I don’t drink as much or as often as I used to partly because I don’t want to, partly because I hang out with more non-drinkers, and partly because my body stopped tolerating as much alcohol when I did. On a few occasions, that has led to mornings like yours :) Your friends understand, unless you totalled a cop car, had an affair with someone’s spouse, and/or threw someone off a building. And maybe even then. Most of them have been there themselves!

    11. Not So NewReader*

      Alcohol is a downer, so too much can lead to a lot of negative thinking. Maybe decide to sort out all that stuff about what your friends think on a different day and just get some rest today.

    12. Coffee Ninja*

      I doubt the people you went out with think you’re an idiot, or hate you. I’m not trying to minimize your feelings, I promise! But the alcohol + empty stomach and now the hangover yuckiness are probably greatly magnifying things. Relax & recuperate :)

    13. Natalie*

      Kinda there myself – had my bachelorette thing yesterday and I got properly smashed. Just in time for my planned drinking break, I guess.

      The anxiety is really normal, you just have to ride it out. I distract myself (pretty sure my Netflix knows when I’m hungover because I watch a handful of sitcoms all day). Eat something, drink water, and get some sleep! You’ll feel better tomorrow

  25. Elizabeth West*


    And happy birthday to me! :D

    Not getting stuff done like I thought I would this weekend, but oh well. I had a massage (Swedish; I forgot to drink enough water after and got a headache), treated myself to a nice lunch yesterday, and went to see Captain America: Civil War today. I liked it, though I’m behind on Marvel stuff and was a little confused here and there. Oh well; I got to stare at Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan for a while, so it’s all good. I can’t decide which one I like more, so I’ll just have both. ;)

    1. Caledonia*

      Happy birthday! I think you’re allowed to have both men, it’s your birthday! :)
      It’s nice to treat yourself and I can’t think a better time for it than on your birthday

    2. SAHM*

      Happy Birthday! I prefer Sebastion for his soulful eyes and wounded puppy dog look but the Cap’n is scrumptious….. you’re right, you should just have both! I haven’t seen it yet, I’ll probably get to it when it comes out on DVD.
      Birthday Wishes:
      -That your year is full of unexpected joys
      -That you will have peace of mind while you deal with all life’s little emergencies
      -That you will read good books, drink great wine, and have amazing friends

    3. salad fingers*

      Happy birthday! Sounds like you did a good job treating yourself to a nice bday weekend. Two thumbs up.

    4. ginger ale for all*

      What a great way to celebrate your birthday. I hope you have a great year.

  26. Another Courtney*

    I want to learn how to sew, but I have no idea where to start. I’m a total beginner, but my goal is to someday be able to make clothes for myself. Any advice on equipment, classes, YouTube videos, tips, etc.?

      1. Yetanotherjennifer*

        Lots of the independent fabric stores offer classes or will know someone who can teach you. There are also maker spaces with sewing classes. And there are a few sewing studios not affiliated with a shop. Craftsy offers classes online but I recommend getting your first class in person. Your first project should be something simple like pajama pants or a pillow case.

    1. NN*

      A good place to start is to make kids clothes or dolls clothes, if you have a child in your life who’d appreciate these. You get to practice techniques and following patterns using less fabric, and it’s less pressure if you make mistakes. (Says someone who is always scared of cutting into “good” fabric and making a mistake!)

    2. SAHM*

      There’s typically a sewing or home ec type class that teaches sewing at your local adult school. That’s where I learned to sew, mom was disappointed in highschool that I never signed up for Home Ec (choosing instead for AP English and college credit courses, who’d a thought?) so she signed me up one summer at the adult school. I was the only 16 year old in a class of women in their 40’s-60’s. Suuuuuper fun. I know how to hem stuff, skirts are hard, measurements are hard- although, if you take a class the other people will help you take your measurements….correctly. :-D

      I actually did buy a sewing machine last year, it’s still unopened in its box but I have one. Maybe one day I’ll be inspired to make blankets or something.

      1. Jen*

        Ha, we had to do home ec in middle school- in 7th grade it was one quarter of cooking, one quarter of sewing. I think in 8th grade you got to pick from more electives but it was things like shop, art, computer, home ec, woodworking, and probably some other stuff. I did a second unit of sewing because the sewing class was in the part of the school that had air conditioning, and shop/woodworking was in the old part of the building.

        So now I can see a button and hem pants but had to learn how to change oil and tires from my dad ;). All because I didn’t want to sweat in the early 90s.

    3. Dangitmegan*

      The best advice is to not be scared. I used to teach sewing and people would be terrified to cut into fabric or mess it up. It made them mess up so much more.

      If you buy a machine all you really need is a straight stitch, zigzag, and buttonhole foot. Don’t spend a lot of money on a complicated machine with a ton of settings. I sew for a living and computerized machines drive me nuts.

    4. TootsNYC*

      well, there’s simple hand sewing, and there’s machine sewing.

      For machine sewing, which is what most home decor things (pillows, curtains, tote bags) and clothes are made with, you need a machine.

      So I agree with the suggestion of taking a sewing class, either at a store, or from someone individual, because they’ll provide the machine, and you won’t have to buy one right away.

      However, a decent starter machine isn’t that expensive; they’re all zigzag, most of them come w/ buttonhole capability (check to be sure that you can make long ones if you need to). The starter machines won’t do denim very well, bcs they won’t have that much power.
      But you can start small and switch up without guilt. And you can also buy machines used! (Sometimes you can ask around among family, friends, folks at church/club/work, and either get one cheap or borrow one, or “borrow to own”).

      I’ll go counter to the “don’t get a lot of fancy stitches” advice. I would say buy a machine one step up from what you think.
      I have discovered that having fancy stitches has meant that I would make a garment simply to be able to use the decorative trim across the collar of a shirt, or the pocket. And it’s better to have capability you end up not using, than to get discouraged or bored and not do it at all.

      Here’s a roundup w/ some brands and models.

      Seconding the kids’ clothes idea, for clothes. Because it won’t take as long (seams are shorter), the fit is more forgiving, and you’ll get a sense of garment construction easily.
      I have a fantasy of taking a sabbatical from my job and running a summer sewing camp for kids 12 and up.
      -first we’ll make tote bags, or shoe bags, or pillows. This will teach the “right sides facing” technique, seam allowance, pressing seams open, hemming, marking, etc.
      -then we’ll make kids’ clothes. My church funds an orphanage for Haitian kids in the hills of the Dominican Republic, near the border, so we can send them the clothes as a charity project.
      -then we’ll make clothes.

      the easiest garment to make is an elastic-waist skirt. Then you can move up to pants w/ crotch seams. Then zippers, armholes, etc.
      The fit on tops can be a little tricky, and I find it frustrating to spend the energy to make something and have it not fit well. But I’ll make shells and tank tops.

    5. Marcela*

      All I can recommend, having started almost the same path about a year ago, is to get a machine with automatic tension. My grandmother was a seamstress, so I learned to sew as a child. I made my own graduation gown by 17. However, she prepared the machine and selected needle, thread and tension every time, so when 5 years ago I finally resumed sewing after more than 20 years, I could use my machine only for quilting cotton. Indeed, when trying to sew a bias tape to shorten a very thin king size duvet (I don’t know if duvet is the right word: I mean to say the thinnest and lightest of bed covers), I set wrongly the tension, so the seams were a mess and eventually I killed my machine. Early last year I was given a machine with automatic tension (I guess I complained too much about it =^.^=) and by now I have made a couple of handbags and a messenger bag.

      But I guess the most important thing is that you make things that excite you. Someday I’ll sew clothes again. Now I am afraid of wasting too much money. I started with just pillowcases, because I could not see myself doing most of the stuff for newbies. And I could not care less for kids’ clothes. Later experience has shown me that the smaller the thing you sew, the most difficult it gets. I’ve made bags (I just love them, from tote bags to elegant clutches), placemats, tablecloths, rigid cases, and many pillowcases. All it matters is that I will learn something from each project, but I have to have some use for them. Otherwise I feel mine it’s an unreasonable expensive hobby.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I buy Burda magazine , but have never been brave enough to make anything other than drawstring bags for laundry and shoes. Mind you, they are very smart drawstring bags!

    6. mander*

      If you want to buy a machine, look on eBay first. I bought myself a new £50 machine a few years ago which only lasted through a couple of projects before it developed a fault that would have cost twice the price I paid for it to fix, so I gave it away. Since then I have bought two 60s/70s era machines via eBay (for £16 and £30, respectively, including shipping) and both are great. They may require a bit of TLC in terms of cleaning, frequent oiling, etc. but in my experience these old tanks will sew through almost anything and never seem to die.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I have an old Janome here. Back when I bought it they called it a New Home. The machine has been great. My dog even managed to slam it on the floor and I picked it up, tried it, it was FINE. (The house shook because the machine hit the floor so hard.) I don’t know if it’s still true, but it used to be that Janome was the choice for schools because the machine actually runs. Students did not spend a lot of time fussing with the machine.
      The model I bought originally sold for $2500. You can get the current version of this machine for $250 now because the technology is so much cheaper. If you find a dealer you might find bargains on year end closeouts. I ended up getting 4k dollars worth of machines for $2k. A dealer probably will offer you intro DVDs or classes or a sewing group membership as part of your purchase.
      Their machines last about 25 years then the main board goes. I found that was true with mine. But no problem, I had a stress free sewing experience for 27 years. I am willing to buy that brand again.

      The way I learned to sew was for kids, but I think it’s still good for adults. Take pieces of paper, if you have thin tissue paper that is ideal. Make patterns on the paper. Have some sheets with boxes others with circles and so on. Use the machine WITHOUT thread to practice sewing on the tissue paper. This is where you learn to get a feel for how the machine is going to respond to what you do. Guide the needle along the lines of the patter you have drawn.
      Next, make more patterns on tissue paper and put thread in your machine. Now you are actually sewing the tissue paper.
      Then move to scrap cloth. You can use rags such as old clothes or old sheets. Just iron the cloth out so there are no wrinkles. It’s too hard to learn anything if your cloth is wrinkly and lumpy.

      The next jump is a leap and you might find it easier to take a class or join a group or beg a friend to help. Get a pattern, get some material and give it a shot. Some patterns are labeled “easy”. If I remember Simplicity has an “easy” series. There are probably others. These patterns are not cheesy, you can actually find something you would like and actually use. Pick something short and simple so you feel success quickly. Maybe a tote bag or other small item, with not too many curves, or corners. Allow extra time, because this is your first pattern. The next project will go a bit faster.

  27. junetwentyone*

    Regular poster going anon on the very slim chance of crossing paths with anyone I know IRL.

    Dating advice! I met a guy online and agreed to a date, and now I’m having second thoughts. I’m 99% certain there would be no second date. Do I call it off or go through with it? If I back out, what do I say? If I do go but don’t want to go out again, what do I say?

    I feel like a dope asking this but I haven’t dated in a very, very long time.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Do you think your second thoughts might be more about nerves/anxiety? If so, I think you should go through with it and see what happens! But if your second thoughts are more about him — realizing that you’re not compatible, etc. and you’re not sufficiently motivated to invest further time, I say call it off — no point in wasting your or his time.

      Eeeek, I am being called to make guacamole, so I’m leaving wording suggestions to others!

        1. Lindsay J*

          I honestly found that it was hard for me to judge chemistry and even attractiveness online. In-person conversations are so much different than online, and most people are better at one or the other.

          I honestly found my best strategy for online dating was to meet people pretty quickly after starting to talk, and to meet pretty much anyone who I didn’t see any red-flags/dealbreakers with when we were talking online.

          Once we met once for a quick date it was much easier to judge whether or not we had any chemistry etc, and whether things were worth pursuing any further.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Yeah, I would ask why you’re 99% certain if you’ve never met him. If you have very good reasons, then maybe cancel it, or if you have good reasons but still are very insecure about dating in general, maybe consider it a “practice date”, where you make sure you put out no signals whatsoever, and just work on small talk and see if there is any possibility of a second date anyway. But if you think it’s because you’re not comfortable dating, if it’s more about you than him, then give it a shot. If nothing else, you need to get some practice, and it’s possible that you’ll both enjoy a night out with someone else even if you both aren’t interested in a second date.

        Good luck, junetwentyone!

        1. junetwentyone*

          I’ve got a couple other dates lined up and some conversations going that I am WAY more excited about, so pretty sure it’s not general dating insecurity.

          I like the idea of treating it like a practice date. I still could use some pointers on shutting down future interest (no doubt it will come in handy eventually, regardless).

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Ah, then it’s definitely OK to cancel, but as you intimated, it might do you good to give him a fair shot, even though you know it’s not likely to work out, just to practice how to gracefully decline. :)

          2. AnAppleADay*

            Yes, treating it like a practice date sounds like a great idea.

            Being able to shut something down might actually begin before that first date ever happens. Make sure to not lead any one on unnecessarily. Clarify that first date as being more of a “meet and greet”.

            Be honest and firm and not wishy washy on First Dates where you are not interested in a Second Date.

          3. neverjaunty*

            Eek. Treating another person like a ‘practice date’ while they think it’s an actual date? Not nice.

            There’s no reason to go on a date if you don’t want to, and ‘just not feeling it’ is a perfectly good reason, especially since it’s sometimes your good instincts warning you about something. Just text/call/however you usually communicate that you’ve thought about it, and you wish them well but have decided it’s not working for you.

    2. Becca*

      If you don’t want to go, you don’t have to :) And you’re not a dope!

      Captain Awkward has an excellent script if you decide to cancel: “Dear (Name), I’ve changed my mind about meeting up in person and am writing to cancel our plans. So sorry for the short notice. I wish you well. Your Name.” — https://captainawkward.com/2016/02/03/822-psa-that-answers-about-10-current-letters/

      If you do go and the first date doesn’t go well, or you’re not sure if you want to commit to a second date immediately, you can just say, “Thanks for a nice evening” at the end. If pressed, you can say, “It was nice to meet you, but I’m not interested in a second date.” Or: “I want to think about it. I’ll get back to you in the next couple of days to let you know.” Captain Awkward has a post on this as well, as well as many others on dating! I enjoy reading her blog as much as I enjoy reading this one— which is a lot!!

      Good luck, and have fun when you can and don’t bother when you can’t :)

      1. junetwentyone*

        Thanks, that’s perfect. I knew the AAM commentariat would have the answer!

        I also credit AAM’s cover letter writing tips for helping me craft a kickass dating profile. :D

    3. Mando Diao*

      If you’re just feeling iffy about things, I’d say go on the date. It’s good practice, and you can always reject a second date later on. Goodness knows we’ve all been rejected enough. You don’t have to feel bad about doing the rejecting.

      If you genuinely have a gut feeling that something’s wrong with the situation, listen to your gut.

    4. Dan*

      Unless he’s setting off creep vibes, go. I use online to just make sure we have something to talk about for an hour and the other person can carry a conversation.

      It’s like the phone screen for a job interview. Passing that and making it to the in person obligates nobody to anything but that conversation. (And r phone screen is meaningless at that point. New round.)

      If you don’t want a second date, you can just ignore him, or tell him that he’s not getting moved forward in your process;)

      At the early stages, details aren’t necessary. The”why” is implied: we’re not the right fit.

    5. Dot Warner*

      Once, I had a date planned with a guy I met online and I felt iffy about it (not because I thought he was a creeper; it was just anxiety). I almost cancelled the date, but decided I’d try to get out of my comfort zone for a change and go.

      We celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary last month.

  28. Clare*

    I currently go to the gym about five times a week (most weeks), but I’ll soon be moving to a city with a much higher cost of living so gym membership is probably going to be one of the luxuries I’ll have to forego. Does anyone have tips on keeping fit if a gym isn’t inside the budget?

    There’s a lot of advice on exercising outdoors, but I never know how to carry around water bottles / keys / phone etc. Most backpacks I can find are too cumbersome. I could never understand how people can jog outdoors without carrying any water (in fact there are people at the gym who don’t bring water either, I have no idea how they manage to keep going).

    If I get, say, a yoga mat and some hand weights, and did most of my commuting on foot (this city’s fairly pedestrian friendly, though not really bicycle friendly).

    1. Trixie*

      I would check things like Meetup for local exercise groups that enjoy hiking, walking, running, yoga. Also, in addition or instead of handweights, I would consider heavier kettlebells. Resistance bands = easy travel. And maybe TRX knockoff from Amazon for $100.

      1. nep*

        You can stay fit with exercises you can do anywhere with little to no equipment. Push-ups, pull-ups, planks, squats, lunges, to name a few basics — with countless variations of all, depending on your fitness level. Yoga can do absolute wonders too, and will nicely complement any other kind of workout you do. The internet is teeming with videos of creative and effective home workouts.
        Great if you want to add some dumbbells. Second kettlebells. A jump rope = light, portable, and excellent for conditioning.
        All the best

        1. Girasol*

          Yes! Google “bodyweight exercises.” If you have room for a few dumbbells or a weight bench, check the second hand store before buying new. Old iron is as good as new and they often have it cheap.

          1. nep*

            Absolutely — craigslist, garage sales, moving sales are great for finding inexpensive exercise equipment.

        2. Clare*

          Thanks for the advice. I think I’ve always had this notion that if you’re standing still (i.e. not running/biking etc) it doesn’t really ‘count’ as exercise, which is a ridiculous notion since I’ve done pump and barre classes before and they’re exhausting! But yeah, at the moment I don’t spend nearly enough time or effort on resistance training, so might be a good time to change that!

          1. nep*

            Great — consistent strength training, done with proper form, has countless benefits. Enjoy.

      1. Amy M in HR*

        Yes!!! That is what I was going to say. I’ve been using their videos for years now and love them, there is so much variety.

    2. the gold digger*

      If you have a computer you can move to a place where you can exercise (ie, living room or basement), work out to videos online. I really like FitnessBlender.com. We have a Roku box so I do it in front of the TV, but on business trips, I have just used my laptop in the hotel room. I can work out in private and I can do it barefoot, which solves the tennis shoe problem of traveling.

    3. nep*

      Terrific that you’ll be walking a lot, by the way. Good for you in so many ways.
      Second Fitness Blender.
      Another home-fitness person you might want to check out is Melissa Bender — great workout library on her website benderfitness. And she’s just got a great vibe — positive attitude, really good at motivating, and she works her ass off in her videos.

    4. Colette*

      I have an interval timer app that I use for exercising – I can set how many reps I ant to so and the duration and it beeps to let me know when to switch. It doesn’t give me ideas of exercises, but it does mean I don’t decide I’m too tired a minute in to the workout,

      1. nep*

        I’m sure there are many — but Gymboss is a handy interval timer. Easy to create and store your own intervals. Visual as well as audible cues.

    5. Today's anon*

      They have hand-held water bottles and water belts that I use in the summer or for longer runs that are made for runners. Usually they also have a small pouch for keys and more. I usually try to fit everything in it, but if not, an extra waist pouch also works. I also minimized things a great deal – i have just my apt key for example (not all the keys I carry around daily), my cellphone, some money and/or a credit card, a transit card just in case [i don’t have a car], and some gels if it’s a longer run; I got one of those RoadID bracelets so all my info is there in case of an emergency.

    6. AdAgencyChick*

      Back when I did distance running, the Fuel Belt was a lifesaver. It allowed me to carry like 40 oz of water, plus some gels, and wasn’t cumbersome at all.

    7. K.*

      There are so many fitness videos on YouTube and your cable package may have some on demand – mine does. My friend does booyafitness.com, which is a website that costs $9.99 a month and has lots of workout videos. I did a free month trial but didn’t commit because I already belong to a great gym and use YouTube when I feel like I need to change it up so I don’t think paying an extra $9.99 a month makes sense for me. (She has a small gym in her building and uses that plus Booya, so the $9.99 a month is all she pays.) Most of the videos on that site involve body weight exercise (burpees are Satan’s creation); sometimes you need a dumbbell. And they are hard workouts, make no mistake!

    8. LawCat*

      I like DailyBurn.com. They have structured programs, and a nonstrucured program (called 365) that has a new class every day. They have a pretty active facebook community too for the 365 program if you like any community aspects of a gym like always seeing the same people and such. It’s $13/month so way cheaper than a gym, and I think they usually have some sort of coupon code or deal for new members (I got half off for three months earlier in the year).

    9. LizB*

      I like You Are Your Own Gym for bodyweight exercises — there’s a book and an app, and the app includes videos of how to do the moves plus pre-made workouts and a timer that helps you monitor your reps.

      I never understood how people could run without water either, but having tried it a bit recently it’s actually not as bad as I thought it would be? I never go too far (my longest runs have been about 3 miles), but as long as I hydrate well beforehand I never end up dying of thirst by the time I make it back to my car/house to where my water is.

    10. Rebecca in Dallas*

      I run outside and I try to stick to trails that have water fountains. In the really hot summer months, I carry a handheld water bottle. Those usually have a pocket for keys/ID. The one I carry can’t fit my phone in the pocket, but some might be able to. My husband has an armband he wears to carry his phone when he runs or bikes, it also lets him use his ear buds. I also have SPI belt that I use to carry my phone in case of emergency.

      1. TL -*

        I didn’t drink water when I ran (maybe a sip at a fountain) but my stomach cramps really badly if I drink more than a mouthful or two. So I just hydrated really well beforehand.

        And I didn’t carry anything but my car or apartment key tied into the laces of my shoe.

        Also, look into the YMCA before ruling out a gym – they’re really reasonable in high COL areas, along with things like Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym which are cheap everywhere. It depends on what you’re looking for in a gym – some places just have equipment and are really cheap because they just have weights and machines. But the Y is good about having a pool and classes and being reasonable!

    11. Kassy*

      This is going to sound super 80s of me, but my workout videos have been a lifesaver!

  29. Liane*

    Okay, here’s my family’s Worst of the Week, separated out of that chain because we need advice. And some sympathy, kind thoughts, prayers. Whatever you prefer.

    I can’t recall if I posted about it here, but at Easter we (me, husband & 18 & 20 year old kids) adopted a wonderful Lab mix from the Animal Village (aka city shelter). Bear is about a year old, very sweet, pretty mellow (for a Lab, most of the time) and he had some training. We love him, needless to say.

    We knew from the shelter that he had hip problems. But it didn’t appear too bad. He loves to take walks, run around the yard, and fetch. In between sleeping on furniture or his new humans, that is. :) He’s never appeared in pain. Until late Thursday night, when kids noticed he was limping badly, not putting any weight on one back paw. We took him to the vet the next day. Turns out he has very bad hip dysplasia :(:(:( and will need replacements, sometime. Sooner would be best. Right now he is on NSAID for pain and Glucosamine/chondroitin. We can’t afford the hip replacements currently, but will have to save up or arrange for credit–either of which is going to be hard in our money situation.
    A friend found us a link to Brown Dog charity with helps with vet expenses and I am looking for others. (All of the other ones Friend and I have found so far are limited to cancer cases, which this of course isn’t.)

    I think I will contact Animal Village. Not that we want to return Bear. He’s *Our Dog, part of the family* now. But I am hoping they might be able to help or know of some resources. It’s a very good shelter and I don’t think they would have offered him for adoption had they known the extent of the problem.
    Also go ahead and get the contact information for the vet who can do the surgery because I am sure his office would know what arrangements can be made.

    So hoping people here have more ideas.
    Right now, Bear is happy, playful and comfortable. And sprawled on the floor beside me.

    1. Ruffingit*

      So sorry I know the pain of high vet bills and wanting to ensure your baby is not in pain. My suggestion? Start a Go Fund Me. Vet bills are expensive and I know I would totally contribute to a GFM for something like this.

      1. Emily*

        One of my old teachers did a GoFundMe for a surgery to remove a cancerous jaw tumor from her dog (also named Bear) over a year ago, and she got the money pretty quickly. Her Bear is still alive and happy.

        I can’t guarantee that you would have the same success that she did, but I agree that you should look into it as an option if the shelter can’t help.

        1. Lea*

          Or possibly even a Go Fund Me arranged by the shelter? They would have a mailing list of people who care about this issue (helping with adoptions and keeping the animal and family health and happy). Also, some shelters have relationships with vets who do pro-bono work or who can do it for cost. Praying for you all!

    2. AnotherFed*

      I’m so sorry – that sucks for all of you! Definitely talk to the place you adopted the dog from and see if they have any help – they usually have an arrangement with a local vet to get reduced cost vet care for their animals, though this might be beyond that. If nothing else, they may be able to refund your adoption fee, but should try to do better. Since they build their reputation on both providing good animals and making sure animals get adopted into good homes, they’re invested in making sure you can afford to keep the dog and keep him in good health. Also, most vets that specialize in surgery offer payment plans – it’s worth looking into those options.

    3. DoDah*

      I’m so, so sorry. Last Wednesday I lost a cat after nursing her through a terrible illness for months so this is pretty raw. It was devastating and expensive. Please talk to the rescue organization–they will have access to discounted vet fees. If you have a regular vet–talk to him/her about their pricing. I find that vet fees vary widely depending on where you live–and even what part of town where your vet resides. I found driving 15 miles out of my way–would save me a few hundred bucks. Also–vets who market themselves as “emergency-surgency centers” are incredibly expensive. Finally–keep an eye on the number of tests they want to run–that’s how they run up the bill.
      Oh–and one more thing–if/when you opt for surgery watch the overnight boarding costs+ daily boarding costs. Carefully consider how much caretaking you can do yourself–at home.

    4. Liane*

      Thanks everyone! Going to look into all of those suggestions.

      Also talked to Pastor today. Their Rottie had had such issues, so he had some been there/done that advice, such as we don’t have to do *Right Now* as long as he isn’t in pain. We may take Bear to their vet for a second opinion on how bad it is. Not that we doubt current vet, who we also found with a friend’s recommendation.

      There aren’t many vets in this state who do that surgery. The nearest–only?–one, the one our vet recommended, is a couple hours away & members of Son’s Sunday School class say he IS good. (Surprised there isn’t one in the state’s capitol but there isn’t a university in-state with a DVM program, odd as that may be in a big agriculture state.)

      We are definitely getting in touch with Animal Village after the holiday. They were very nice and should have some advice. No adoption fee to refund though. Every so often, they have weekends where they waive the fee and we got him on one of those; we didn’t even know about it until we got there.

      Bear and I just back in from hanging out in the back yard, where he alternately played, ran and flopped down with his giant chew toy bone. Now he is napping on our cool wood floor. :)

  30. NicoleK*

    I’m in the market to purchase an newer used vehicle. My car has some mechanical issues and I’m not willing to invest anymore money in a 14 year car. The last time I purchased a car was 10 years ago so I could use some car buying tips. TIA

    1. nep*

      You’ve probably already got this in mind — but my advice would be don’t buy a used car without having a trusted mechanic give it a thorough check. I saved myself from buying a vehicle that had some huge, expensive problems that were evident only once it was on the lift.
      I lost the chance to pursue a couple of cars I really liked because of this extra time-consuming step, but it’s worth it in the end.
      Best of luck

    2. ginger ale for all*

      Go to your local library and camp out for an afternoon with the Consumer Reports and Car and Driver. See if they offer a scanner and scan a few pages to mull over later.

      1. Chaordic One*

        Definitely recommend Consumer Reports because of their road tests AND their information collected from car owners about the reliability (frequency-of-repair records) of different cars. The annual car issue in April or their special buyers guides are especially helpful.

    3. Dot Warner*

      I highly recommend CarMax. No high-pressure sales and they have a wide selection. I bought my car there a couple of years ago and had a great experience, both with the sales process and the car.

      1. Lindsay J*

        I will not recommend Car Max. I went there when I was shopping around for a car and they offered me a laughably low offer on my trade-in (they offered $500, while the dealership down the road I brought it from gave me $2500.) The sales person didn’t really listen to what I was interested in either and kept on trying to get me to look at cars I knew I didn’t want.

        I got my car from Enterprise Car Sales. Yes, that means it was a former rental car, which some people don’t want. However, those cars get guaranteed regular cleanings, oil changes, etc, while plenty of individual owners won’t keep up with those things. They also had no-haggle price, a lower price than any of the other places in the area for the car I wanted, (they were $1000 less on the car I wanted than CarMax, and the car was lower mileage and a model year newer) and they can get any car they have in their system shipped to you (for a cost). The whole sales experience was pretty low-pressure, and they were able to get me financing despite my awful credit rating.

        1. Dot Warner*

          I’ve heard good things about Enterprise too. Good info about the trade-in – I didn’t trade my car in at CarMax since I had a friend who wanted to buy my old car.

    4. nep*

      The Car Guys regularly touted ‘Vroom.com’ — I’ve got no experience with it and haven’t read any reviews, but it might be worth checking out. (Has anyone here used it?) Apparently they deliver…

    5. Tmarie*

      Do your research on Edmunds.com for both new and used cars. When I decided to get my last two new cars, they had options to find a dealer and do “internet sales”. Both times, I knew what I wanted, did all of the mundane business* of purchasing a car through email, and just went to the dealership to sign the paperwork and drive away. You can also research prices online at Bluebook.com? I think that’s their website, but could be wrong.

      *Mundane business included 1) agreeing on the price of the car and 2) the dealer seeing if they could get better interest rates than my credit union.

    6. Liane*

      1–Second the advice to study Consumer Reports & have a trusted mechanic check out the vehicle/s independently.

      2–Tell people you are looking. When we needed a replacement vehicle *fast* after one of ours died, I mentioned it in choir. A member who works at the local Kiwanis camp spoke up–her boss wanted to sell the camp’s old Isuzu that was in fairly good shape for its age. We checked it out and were happy to pay the money to a children’s organization which probably needed it more than a car dealer.

      3–I have heard good things about Drive Time although we haven’t used them.

    7. SophieChotek*

      Agree with stuff about trusted mechanic, Consumer Reports.

      Also heard a lot of people can good cars for pre-leased vehicles; sometimes they are still under warranty, if person turned it in after 1 or 2 years, and it had a 3 year or 30,000 miles or that type of thing. Some friends have always purchased pre-released cars — there is a dealership they goes to that pretty much only gets pre-released vehicles of many different makes. Often lower mileage, but still in pretty good condition.

  31. Katie*

    When I was in high school I had a crush on a girl in my class (it was an all-girls high school). She had the most sunny personality and was really open and friendly. I never said anything to her about it (mostly because I was such so shy at that age, wouldn’t have said anything even if it had been a boy), we were reasonably friendly til the end of high school, but didn’t really keep touch afterwards.

    It’s been over a decade since high school ended, and recently I came across her Facebook page (as a friend of a friend). And I was appalled to find that she wrote posts and articles full of homophobic (mostly religious) content. I have no idea if she was always like this or if it’s something that happened after high school.

    Needless to say I didn’t try to get back in touch. I’ve long since gotten over that teenage crush, but it was still disappointing nevertheless.

    1. Pennalynn Lott*

      Similar thing happened to me. I had a best friend that I grew up with. As in, the school always made sure we were in the same class from 1st through 6th grade, because we were that close. We split into different friend groups in junior high, but still hung out. I moved after 9th grade and lost contact. Until Facebook. Where I discovered that she is now a super-religious, anti-feminism, homophobic, zealous right-winger. I am a liberal atheist who is pro-choice and believes in equality for everyone. I was so sad to find out that we would never again be friends. It feels like a part of my childhood died.

    2. ginger ale for all*

      I got back in touch via facebook and found out that two or three of my childhood friends are homophobic. I didn’t defriend them. I just keep true to who I am now and keep posting occasional rainbows and articles on my wall that are open to the public about my liberal point of view. I figure that they won’t die by seeing opinions that do not reflect their own and maybe someday they will realize that what they think is abnormal actually isn’t. I just keep being me.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I like this idea–you can always unfollow if they post something upsetting. I typically unfriend only if they get snippy/nasty with me. One stridently homophobic person is gone and blocked forever. She’s had a hard time in life, but she is bitter and horrible and awful to other people she disagrees with, so bye Felicia.

        But sometimes they take care of it themselves, yay. A high school friend had been saying/posting ugly stuff about Caitlyn Jenner (and whatever you think of her personally, the man-in-a-dress stuff is rude). She was one of those ones who kept posting pictures of veterans and “This is brave not this” and finally got nasty on one of my posts. I told her “If you don’t like what I post, you’re free to not come to my page.” She unfriended me.

        I was a bit sad, but honestly, I don’t want to be friends with someone who does that. There was no talking to her.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      I’m sorry that memory got ruined for you. I wonder if that’ll work as advice for all the “I have a crush on my co-worker and don’t know what to do” questions that keep coming up here: “Just imagine your crush is a homophobic bigot.”

      1. Liane*

        LOL. But common advice for getting a over an unwanted crush–workplace or not–is to remind yourself repeatedly about Crush’s faults and magnify them greatly.

        And I do feel for those of you who have lost childhood friends this way. I lost one of my closest friends–since babyhood–in 5th or 6 grade. Not over homophobia, but because her parents sided with my mom and dad had custody.** We were in same high school band a few years later and talked and were nice to each other, but that old bond had been broken and we had our own (non-mutual) friends. It’s stories like the ones above that make me say to myself, “Nope, not going there. Ever,” any time I am tempted to search her name on FB.

        **Reason #1.14 million you shouldn’t take sides in others’ relationships

    4. Ruffingit*

      It’s always a huge disappointment to find that people you thought were one way are actually something else entirely and that something else isn’t good. Sorry about this, it kind of leaves a cloud of sorts over past memories sometimes.

  32. TL17*

    I’m going to the Indy 500 tomorrow! I’m really excited. I’ve never been to a car race before. The crowd is predicted to be enormous – like 250k people! It should be fun.

    1. Betty (the other Betty)*

      Have fun! I’ve gone to one race and it was quite an experience. Consider bringing ear plugs, NASCAR is loud!

  33. Juli G.*

    I have to demote a player on my intramural sport team. He still has an active spot but just can’t play the position he has been and all the other players are completely frustrated. It’s not just a lack of talent – it’s that this person doesn’t realize he’s not great and blames errors on others. Our team isn’t super competitive but the attitude is frustrating to everyone and we need a change.

    I have a new person to the team that is great at the position. Do I just go straight and say “Sansa is awesome at X position so we’re going to move you to Y position”? Other advice.

    1. Emmy*

      Maybe don’t say Sansa is awesome, just say, “I’m moving you to Y position to see how things work there.” and then do it. Don’t argue and don’t explain.

    2. Graciosa*

      There may – I stress may, because there also may not – be an opportunity for coaching in a way that could benefit his life later on.

      If this was an employee not able to handle his responsibilities effectively because of [poor skills, attitude issue of blaming others, lack of focus on improvement, inability to accept constructive criticism, or whatever] would you be able to address this more directly? If so, you might think about whether you can bring some of that insight into the coaching discussion.

      It won’t always be appropriate – adjust for age, for example – but learning these lessons can be helpful for the rest of his life and career, regardless of whether he learns them on the field or on the job.

      Good luck.

  34. Girasol*

    Happy anniversary AAM! This day will also be the anniversary of the day I retired (starting next year). I get to retire because Alison got me over a near-firing event a few years back and kept me employed long enough to finish up the savings plan. I hope AAM has many more anniversaries and many more grateful readers and success stories.

    1. Ruffingit*

      That is awesome, congrats! Would love to hear more about the situation and how Alison helped. Sounds like a good story with a great ending!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      This is the reason I hope Alison never stops writing her blog. Alison, you have no idea how many lives you have impacted in tremendous ways.
      Congrats, Girasol, for tacking a tough situation and succeeding. And congrats on your upcoming retirement. Let the count down begin.

  35. uncomfortable and hot*

    It’s not even June and it’s 90 degrees inside my apartment. I’m going to roast this summer. Heat headaches are already starting. Fans are doing nothing and I’m not allowed A/C. I wish I had the money to move. :(

    1. nep*

      I feel for you. There’s nothing quite like the irritating discomfort of not being able to escape that kind of heat.
      I’ve often gotten some relief — albeit temporary — from applying an ice pack or just ice cold water or cloth to neck, inside of wrists and elbows, forehead.

      1. uncomfortable and hot*

        I have a spray bottle I use for temporary relief, which is great, but I feel slightly guilty about all the water I’m wasting just to stay cool. I can’t believe I’m already wishing winter back and we haven’t even officially reached summer yet.

    2. Pennalynn Lott*

      Back during a record-breaking heatwave in my area in my childhood, we were too poor to turn on our A/C. My brother and I built a rack from some 2×4’s that held four layers of cookie sheets a few inches apart (think something like a four-level oven rack, but made out of wood). It fit perfectly in front of a big 3′ by 3′ box fan. We loaded up the cookie sheets with ice and sat/slept in front of the fan all summer, taking turns refilling the trays from our refrigerator’s automatic ice maker. (Note, we needed lots and lots of towels under the whole setup, too, to handle some of the excess melted ice).

      If I made the same thing today, I’d use something slightly deeper than a cookie sheet. Maybe some kind of plastic tray. But being in front of that contraption made a huge difference.

      1. uncomfortable and hot*

        I’ve done a mini version of that! I have ice cubes in a bowl in front of a fan, but I don’t have an automatic icemaker in my fridge, just ice cube trays, so I have a limited amount I can make unless I want to clear out my freezer meals (so there’s no oven usage in the summer) to make more ice.

        The cookie sheet 2×4 contraption is a really good idea, though. I’m definitely going to consider that.

        1. Pennalynn Lott*

          The idea behind using cookie sheets was to have as much “cooling surface space” as possible within the confines of the fan. Similar to the cooling coils in a window A/C unit (though we had no idea how A/C units worked at that time, we were just looking for maximum cooling effect. The more ice, spread out over the most efficient area, the better).

          Also, you could buy a super-cheap styrofoam cooler and load it up with a few bags of store-bought ice, and replenish your bowl/trays from that. Check and see if you have a commercial ice dispenser anywhere near you. My neighborhood has one, and it’s only a buck or two to fill a massive cooler. (Ours is a drive-up thing in the parking lot of a DIY car wash place. Weird, but very useful when it comes to neighborhood parties. :-) )

          1. ginger ale for all*

            The local Aldi’s weekly ad has a portable ice cube maker for $99.00. Perhaps you can scout one out in your area for just as cheap if there is no easy way to get a lot of ice.

    3. TootsNYC*

      google “homemade air conditioner DIY”

      And Popular Mechanics has some ideas on their website.

      Also be sure your window coverings are good.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        Ooooh, those are awesome. And WAY better than my childhood cookie sheet thing.

        1. TootsNYC*

          One thing that works w/ the one I looked at is that the ice is inside a sealed milk jug. So you aren’t also adding any humidity; the water, as it melts, stays sealed inside. And you could get 3 milk jugs, or so, and then rotate them through. You’d have to give up freezer space so that 2 of them are always freezing.

          I’d also seriously suggest talking to the landlord about the idea of blocking the windows from the glass side during the day while you’re away. With a space blanket or something you can just lean up against the window.

          There are films, etc., that you can get. I might try to argue w/ the landlord that he should pay for that, since it can stay w/ the apartment and be a selling point when you leave.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Wait, why are you not allowed A/C? That’s a total health issue. Can you have a portable A/C, like the ones that go from room to room? They don’t need to be screwed into the window or anything, if that’s what the landlord is worried about.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        A friend of mine isn’t allowed to have window units because they [supposedly] make the property look cheap and ugly. But the building-wide A/C system regularly breaks or will only cool her apartment down to the high-80’s. And she can’t afford a portable A/C because the ones that cool a whole apartment (vs just a tiny bedroom) start around $300 and she is on SSI Disability.

      2. Chaordic One*

        Have you thought of using a “Swamp Cooler”. It’s not exactly an air-conditioner, but I’ve had one in years past for the hottest days of the year when I lived in apartments that did not have air-conditioning and it helped.

      3. always anon*

        It’s not really that unusual in certain cities. A lot of places in Boston and NY don’t allow A/C, especially if you live in an old building or a building marked by the historic committee. And sometimes the way the buildings were built means that the landlord would have to do major reconstruction to even have an A/C fit into the windows.

    5. Thyri*

      My former landlord told me I couldn’t have AC, then tried to jack up my rent $75 a month when we installed a window unit in the bedroom (so we could, you know, stop suffering long enough to sleep). We moved the following month. This may sound silly, and I know there are lots of places in the world where AC is unheard of, but I almost feel like it’s a violation of the tenant’s rights to deny them that comfort in a developed country.

    6. Belle diVedremo*

      We don’t have a/c either. Can you have a dehumidifier? If you’re not in an arid climate these can help a lot.

      A few things we do:

      * Freezer packs: Instead of ice, we use those “freezer packs” that you’d add to a lunch box to keep food cold. We have a lot of them. Wrap one in a rag or other cloth, and keep it next to or on your body. I move them around – back of neck, chest, feet, etc. Also put one out for the cat to nap near.

      * “Pet cooling mats” the cat has decided this is helpful, so I’ll be getting her another and picking up a couple for human use. Assuming they work for humans, swapping out the warm for a cool one will be good. (The trial one for the cat cost $13; she also persuaded me to try the reflective heat pads designed for cats too.)

      * Peppermint oil: Decent quality essential oil is available in the grocery stores here. A drop on the palm of you had, rub hands together, then wipe your palms on the back of your neck (and/or back of your knees, inner wrists). Does need to be a scent you’re comfortable with; the cat doesn’t like peppermint. Other mint oils may work well for you too.

      * Popsicles: I like to make them with yogurt and juice concentrate, mashed fruit, etc.

      * Keep up physical activity/exercise: it helps manage internal temperatures.

      Good luck – it’s way too hot for this time of year here, too.

    7. Lauren*

      Can you buy a portable air conditioner or two? They are not cheap but they can save your life in the summer heat. Considerably less expensive (and effective, though it works to some degree) is covering your windows with aluminum foil (dull side out). You can tape the foil directly to the glass or get large pieces of cardboard (from a mattress store if you have sliding glass doors) and tape the foil to those, then set them in your windows. If the air is cooler in the morning, open the windows and then close them the rest of the day. You will have just judge if having foil on the windows might make your neighbors think you are dealing drugs so the cardboard is good.

      I do have central air but during the summer I keep the bedroom windows closed (and cardboarded) all the time so the room stays dark and cool. And I don’t mind missing the view and the smell of the flowers; the trade-off is worth it.

    8. Jen*

      Ugh, ugh. We have window units but live on a busy road. Once they go in, if they aren’t being used, the house gets really noisey, so I always wait as long as possible to install them.

      Yesterday it was 95 degrees, OMFG. Forecast for the next 2 weeks is low/mid 70s. I refused to let DH put in the a/c yesterday. We suffered through, spent most of the day out of the house and left the dog in the garage with a block of ice in his water (which is under the house and stayed nice and cool and he’d probably have roasted in the house!). We had fans going full blast all night and went to bed early just to get the day over with.

      Today it’s been a high of 65. So crazy.

  36. Anon for this*

    So my sister and my husband have never gotten along, he’s always been a complete gentleman (to the point where sometimes I don’t know she’s been rude to him until she leaves and he tells me about it), but she’s been pretty petty, makes disparaging remarks about his clothes/looks/abilities whatever. His birthday was last Sat and I invited her, his folks, my brother, mom, etc for a birthday party for him. When he went to go open the door and let her & kids in she said “You’re wearing THAT?” And that is literally the only thing she said to him for the entire time she was at our house. She talked with me, my brother, the in-laws, but never said a word to him.
    ^ this is pretty par for the course for her, but I was a bit frustrated because, um, hello, it’s his BIRTHDAY.

    Anyway, my brother and I had to talk to her about a delicate topic because she had asked our advice about her non-divorce divorce weirdness she’s going through. I texted her yesterday with my thoughts and I probably shouldn’t have because I was still irked at her so I came across as a bit harsher than I should. She was pretty pissy with me and I was pissy back and kinda aired my frustration about how she’s treated my husband for the last 7 years and she hits me with the reason she’s always been an asshole to him. Apparently he “lied” to a landlord that was her friend about the place we lived in for two months right before/after we got married. She had been the renter for years previously and her friend, the landlord, told her hubby complained about the carpet being filthy and the house stank.
    A) The house DID stink like dog, the carpet WAS stained and I found dog hair everywhere (window sills, corners, like little tumble weeds of dog hair rolling across the kitchen floor).
    B) The landlord wanted hubby to pay for the carpet to be cleaned and the house painted, which is why he even brought it up (and told landlord “hell no”).
    C) She’s held this grudge for SEVEN YEARS! She’s treated my hubby like shit for SEVEN YEARS because he dared impinge on her cleaning skills. And not even directly! It was to her friend/landlord bc he wasn’t going to be bamboozled into paying for all the cleaning/painting.

    So right now I’m not even talking to her, and I don’t plan on doing so for at least the summer but how do I deal with this? She’s family so we’re going to eventually have to see/deal with her. Plus my family is really close, things usually don’t last that long (mom is really good at playing peace keeper), and she is supposed to be Godmom to my new one this summer – But I don’t want her around disrespecting my husband. I always thought she had a subconscious man-hating bug up her ass but to know she’s been rude INTENTIONALLY for 7 years…. That’s not a behavior that can change easily and would she even want to change?
    My husband doesn’t deserve this, my kids don’t need to see their aunt continuously disrespecting their father, and a good portion of the time I don’t even see/hear her be rude and I hear about it afterward so I can’t shut it down.

    1. Sara smile*

      Why would you want your sister to have the honor of being godmother to your child when she cannot pay basic respect to your husband? That’s sad for you and gross for your husband. Your sister is petty. You seem scared to talk to her. You think she is likely unwilling to change. You have a family who likes to rugsweep and ignore problems. Girl, you got bigger issues.

      The main problem isn’t that you aren’t there in the moment to shut her down. You shouldn’t be treating this as each individual incident of disrespect but as her overall disrespect. As you appropriately noted, she doesn’t respect your husband overall in 7 years and he doesn’t deserve that and he doesn’t deserve your kids seeing that. Your family, your boundaries to draw. You need to take a time out from her and this summer isn’t enough — TO need to usually be 6 months minimum (in which time she doesn’t meet your new baby, etc.). She needs to feel the effects of her bad behavior and you need your mom to back off the peacemaking. No rug sweeping.

      I feel really bad for your husband here. He has had to put up with this behavior for years, while you do nothing but say yeah but my family is really close. Your primary family is your husband and your children. Your extended family is your sister. Why have you let her be more important all these years and make him suck it up? Make his kids watch while their aunt insults their father’s looks, clothes, abilities. Gross, gross, gross. Draw some appropriate boundaries now. Read captainawkward.com or DWIL nation and learn from others.

      Good luck.

      1. Anon for this*

        Ouch. But true. For the record hubby never made a big deal of it (and still doesn’t) because he didn’t want to create drama and he knows I love my sister. He says she wasn’t worth it and it’s her problem not his. But he’s been walking around with a spring in his step since finding out I’m not talking to her.

        We do have a problem with rug sweeping, in the whole “BUT FORGIVENESS” vein instead of “BUT FAAAAAMILY” vein (I do read the cap’n which is why when she called me up screaming at me over Christmas I did hang up on her and refused to apologize when my mom called multiple times bc sister was very upset and driving in the SNOW (oh the horror!)with the kids so apologize so sister doesn’t crash and kill moms grand babies). We have been giving sister too much leeway and walking on eggshells with her for as long as I can remember (she’s 10 yrs older) because “that’s just the way she is”.

        I’m not quite certain how to bring it up because I’m not taking to her bc of her divorce / non divorce (and the additional 7 year thing was a red herring to get me to back off so she might not even know THATs why I’m mad)- and I don’t want to just stop talking to her for months and have her misconstrue WHY I’m not talking to her.
        Sorry if that wasn’t clear, my brain is so jumbled up right now.
        And she’s definitely not being Godmom, even though I always told her when I have a daughter I want her to be god mom bc she’s good at the girly stuff I suck at. It’s more like-What do I do? Not invite her to the baptism? That’s a pretty big deal in my family. She’ll definitely hear about it.

        I just am struggling with how to approach her about WHY I’m upset and taking a break from her … And yes, I’m scared of her, she’s my big sister, she can beat everyone up.

        1. Ruffingit*

          She can and has beat everyone up for years. It’s OK for you to stand up and say “Sister, I’m floored that you’ve treated my husband so poorly for years because of a petty issue. I can’t tolerate you disrespecting him further and I can’t disrespect him myself by letting it go on. So unless and until you can treat him with dignity and respect, we simply can’t have a relationship with you. And that saddens me.” Then hang up the phone, block her email, or whatever so you don’t get entangled in a back and forth.

          And yes, it’s totally fine not to invite her to the baptism or birthday parties or what have you. Your husband had to endure this woman and be insulted on his own birthday. Frankly, if you don’t start standing up for him by shutting your sister down, he’s going to start feeling insulted by you if he doesn’t already. He may not be telling you he feels that way, but were I in his shoes, I sure would be thinking “What the hell? Why does my wife put her rude, petty sister before me?”

          As for your mother, if she calls you and tries to peace make, you can simply say “Mom, Sister and I are adults. We can handle our relationship ourselves. So how is that new garden club?”

          Sometimes these issues are much simpler than people want to make them. Basically, your sister isn’t a part of your life until she can be respectful and appropriate to your husband and to you. Period. It’s OK if she’s not at the baptisms and parties. Not being there is a choice she’s making by being a petty biatch. That’s on her, not you.

          1. the gold digger*

            I am sorry you are having to deal with someone this mean. But everyone is right – your husband and your children trump your sister.

            It is OK to cut a family member out of your life if that person is being mean. It is! You and your husband and your children deserve to be around people who are nice to all of you.

            You don’t even owe your sister an explanation, although if you are hoping that she might someday change her behavior, it doesn’t hurt. But – you could write her a letter. Keep it super short and don’t give her stuff to argue with.

            Dear sister,

            I am not happy with the way you treat my husband. You are rude to him. The last time you were here, you did A, B, and C. This has been going on for seven years. My family is the most important thing in my life and I am no longer going to stand by and watch you mistreat them. I will no longer be inviting you to events at my home or with my family.

            Or something like that. You get to decide if you are around her. It’s your choice. It won’t be easy because it sounds like your mom is complicit, but you get to choose. So choose your husband and your kids. They should win in any decision like this.

        2. neverjaunty*

          She’s scary, she can beat people up, and you want to allow her around your children? Why, so she can bully the next generation?

          This is somebody who was an ass to your husband for seven years and you were so afraid of her that you didn’t say a word. This is somebody who dragoons your family members into emotional blackmail on her behalf. This is somebody who you all entirely believe would kill her own children in a fit of road rage if she has a spat with a sibling.

          If you have to walk away from the rest of your enabling family to get away from her, do it.

        3. misspiggy*

          You could send her an email saying you’re hurt and surprised at her deliberately poor treatment of your husband for so long and the reason for it. Because of this you’d like an apology for the both of you.

          It sounds like this won’t make much of a difference to your sister, but at least you’ll have been clear. If she doesn’t reply, invite her to the baptism but be prepared for drama – or don’t, if you want a drama free occasion. If she gives you a whole lot of abuse, don’t invite her.

          Then don’t reach out unless you get apologetic treatment from her, and be calm about it with other family members – she owes you an apology, you’re not going to make an effort with her until that happens, but you’ll be civil if you’re at the same event.

        4. Observer*

          One second. Your mother thought she would deliberately create an accident to “show you”?! Or just that she’s so unstable that she’s going to get into an accident because she’s going to be busier with stewing than driving?

          If the former, they you have a MUCH bigger problem. If your mother’s assessment is near to being correct, then you cutting sis pretty much out of your life (at least to the extent that you don’t invite her into your house, you don’t go to hers and you don’t correspond) is where I’d be heading, I think. That’s a simply a dangerous type of person. If you mother is wrong, then you need to draw as many boundaries with her as with Sis. And you need to crystal clear because this kind of imagination makes anything else fraught with miscommunication. In either case, you need to ask you mother why she thinks it’s ok to cater to someone who would deliberately cause an accident that would kill someone?

          If it’s the latter, you still have a family issue, but it’s not quite at the same level of urgency. Of course, you still need to set limits, not let her disrespect your husband, etc. But it doesn’t necessarily require the same level of distance.

          Having said that, forgiveness is not the same as ignoring. And “that’s just the way she is” is not a good reason to let someone do something ridiculous. You don’t get angry at a rabid dog (at least I hope not.) But, you still put it down. You can forgive a kleptomaniac, but you still don’t give her an opportunity to steal. etc. So, you can forgive your sister while still deciding that if this is truly the way she is, you are going to protect yourself, much as you protect yourself from viruses.

        5. TootsNYC*

          We have been giving sister too much leeway and walking on eggshells with her for as long as I can remember (she’s 10 yrs older) because “that’s just the way she is”.

          It’s time for you to just be the way you are. You know, unwilling to talk to people who are unpleasant.

          Oh, and invite her to the baptism, just pick someone else.

          And focus not on “you can’t be godmom bcs you’re rude”; focus on “I want my good friend to be godmom.”

          1. catsAreCool*

            “We have been giving sister too much leeway and walking on eggshells with her for as long as I can remember (she’s 10 yrs older) because “that’s just the way she is”.” Your mom has messed up your sister’s life by doing this and making others do this too. Don’t let your mom or sister mess up your life by letting your sister walk all over you and yours.

        6. Student*

          You don’t know what you want. Figure that out first.

          Put aside what your sister wants. Put aside what your mother wants. Put aside what your husband wants. Put aside what your kids want.

          What do you want? In priority order.

          If you want nobody to be angry at you more than anything else in the world, then you’ve already lost. You can keep groveling to your sister in order to temporarily mollify the loudest angry person in your life, but don’t lie to yourself about it. Every time she mistreats your family and you say nothing, they get angry with you, too – but it’s the quiet, I-don’t-trust-you-to-respond-appropriately kind of anger. It builds up over time as you let your sister get away with worse and worse behavior. Eventually, it breaks like a dam. Your child (children?) will pick up on this as they get older. She’ll say mean things to and about them. Will you defend your kids only if they throw a bigger tantrum than your sister? Is that what you want to teach your kids – to let people treat them badly as long as it keeps the peace and makes Grandma happy?

    2. Mando Diao*

      I wouldn’t usually go this route, but I think this is the sort of thing that you should be telling people. “Hey mom, did you know that Jane hates my husband because he noticed she didn’t vaccum before moving out of that rental? I guess she was embarrassed for being called out.” Nonsense has a way of being stamped out once other people have said the words out loud. Let your mom and idk your brother make fun of your sister about this and see if she’s able to maintain her dramatic stance around your husband.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I’m pretty sure that would just prolong the drama, because then OP would be involved in a whole behind-the-back thing with the rest of the family and that would just give sister more ammo. Cutting her off is the best thing because it’s not just OP who has to deal with it–it’s her husband and kids too.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I’m totally with Sara smile.

      I don’t think you need to make a huge aggressively angry feud out of it.

      i think you sit your mom down and you explain (without DH around) how bad this is, how angry you are, how unfair it is. And you TELL her that you are never going to invite Sis to your home again. She will not be godmother, nothing.
      As for events at your mother’s house–tell her you’ll see. If your sister can be pleasant to your husband, you’ll all attend. If she’s rude to him, you are all leaving immediately.
      Make it clear, flat-out say it: “I refuse to let you cast me as the bad guy here. And you are not to pressure me at all. In fact, I think you should just butt out completely–don’t carry messages, don’t lecture either of us.”

      When your sister can apologize for treating your husband badly, you are willing to resume SOME friendliness. But meanwhile, this is how it is.

      Then call your sister–no texting, but don’t bother meeting in person, is my view. Tell her, “I’m so angry I cannot be around you. And you will not be welcome in our home while you are treating one of us so badly. It’s a bad example for my children, but worse–it’s horrible to my husband! We’ll find someone else to be godmother, someone who actually likes both of my child’s parents.
      “I’m going to be very clear: You owe my husband an apology, and you owe me one as well, because you have treated him horribly for 7 years. If you had any reasonable, legitimate grievance, you would have brought it forward so explanations or apologies could be made. When you can see your way clear to apologize for treating him that badly, we’ll see whether there’s any sort of relationship left to salvage.”

      Then block her everywhere. and never invite her until she figures it out.

      Your family isn’t close. Because you are ALL letting her treat your husband badly. Is your mom an idiot, that she doesn’t see this? Is your dad, your brother, the spouses, etc.? (whoever “my family” is) That’s not “close,” to allow one person to be so unpleasant to someone else. I don’t buy that other family members don’t see it–before you drop the bomb, have a quiet convo w/ one of your other siblings, or a spouse-in-law.

      Your sister is getting away with this bullshit because she’s the one who’s willing to be unpleasant about it. It’s a basic bully tactic. The way to fight back is to be the one willing to live with the unpleasantness of standing up for your husband.

      Also: I do NOT think her animosity stems from only this incident. If she generally liked your DH, she’d have mentioned it, or it would have blown over.

      1. Rubyrose*

        Yes to all of this.

        And don’t be surprised if your mom does not take this message well, and decides you are the problem. And communicates her twisted view of what you have said to all of the “family.” Be prepared for an all out family war. You will need to decide who your true family is and stick up for them.

    4. Observer*

      I haven’t read others’ responses yet.

      There are a couple of different issues here.

      1. Being your kid’s godmother. No. Just no. Even without this falling out, it would have been a bad idea. You simply don’t put someone into that kind of position, even symbolically, when that person is regularly disrespectful to the child’s parent. And it doesn’t really make a difference WHY the person is disrespectful.

      2. How do you deal with your sister going forward. I think that you should drop your plan of not talking to your sister for x amount of time and them talking because family etc. Either you decide you’ve had enough and you’re done, or figure out how to deal going forward. My feeling is that I would want to do the following:

      You are on speaking terms – which doesn’t mean best buddies, etc. Just polite and non-dramatic.

      No invitations to small events / events that revolve around your husband. 4th of July barbecue for the entire family? Yes. Birthday party for husband? Nope. Small dinned for any reasons, no.

      Be willing to draw some firm boundaries about how she treats your husband. If you see her being really rude to him, be willing to walk out. Even if it’s not her party – the rest of your family needs to know that they need to lean on her just as much as on you. So, you don’t start anything and you don’t make a scene when she’s rude, but “It’s time to go” and out of there.

      Advice and help on other issues, delicate or not. Either help and keep your annoyance / anger over her behavior to your husband out of it or bow out. If she’s being rude to your husband and you’re ready to bite her head off, just tell her that you are not able to be of any help to her right now. If she figures out what’s going on an accuses you of “choosing your husband over your family”, point out the she is the one creating the need for any choice. Don’t get drawn into a discussion, just keep on repeating that as long as she creates the need for such a choice, she’s going to be on the losing end. This is the ideal time to be a broken record.

      1. TootsNYC*

        This is a pretty sustainable pathway, actually:

        “You are on speaking terms – which doesn’t mean best buddies, etc. Just polite and non-dramatic.

        No invitations to small events / events that revolve around your husband. 4th of July barbecue for the entire family? Yes. Birthday party for husband? Nope. Small dinner for any reasons, no.”

        Start treating her like a distant cousin. So you don’t invite her to any small gatherings. You don’t care about all the drama in her life, and you don’t give her advice–or ask for it–for any reason.

        You don’t hate her. “We’re just not close anymore, Mom.”

        Fade out. Be Teflon.

        Never answer when she calls; let the machine get it. Never text her back until a day later. Never have more than 5 minutes to talk on the phone, and focus on only business.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Please take a look at how you describe your family.

      They are all about forgiveness. Except your sis. She does not have to forgive anyone for their slightest transgression. No. What they are all about is YOU have to forgive everyone else, to the point that your own basic rights as a human being are trampled.

      You are a close family. If this is close, I am not sure I want it. You guys are all serving as a greenhouse to shelter and grow your bullying sis. And she is just getting bigger and stronger every year. Heaven forbid that your child say “hi, auntie” and not smile enough to suit her, what will happen ten years of silence?

      Your mother is a peacemaker. NO. She is a problem avoider. Peacemakers actually, uh, make peace. Your mother prevents you guys from killing each other until the next time. This is not the same as making peace.

      The original problem was none of your sister’s business, until the landlord/friend complained that she did not do a good job. Anything else in that story had nothing to do with her. It was a problem for the landlord and your husband to come to terms on. Sis inserted herself where she did not belong, UNTIL the landlord/friend expressed dissatisfaction with her work, which employers have the right to do. Then that would be a convo between the landlord/friend and sis, not with sis and your husband.

      As you said, dragging this out for seven years is incredibly childish of her. Subjecting your husband to her for seven years means you could probably give hubby an apology for accepting this irrational behavior into the home you both share. Basically, sis is polluting your home with her toxic behavior. Do you want your kids to think this is normal/acceptable behavior among adults?

      Allowing a person to walk all over you and yours is not love. Love is a reciprocal action, there is a back and forth. All I see here is you giving and sis taking. I suggest you take a closer look at your definition of love. I know I have had to look at my own definition of love a few times, because things were not working out well for me using the definition of love that I had.

      I hope your sis gets counseling. But my bet is that she does not see any problem anywhere. Please know that she has bigger problems than any one person can solve for her. And if she does not see a need to solve it, then that process of solving it will never even start.

      1. Ruffingit*

        All of this. Every word. You did an excellent job of spelling out what I was thinking NSNR!

      2. catsAreCool*

        It sounds like you were raised to treat your sister well, no matter how mean she is to you, so it’s understandable that you’ve let this go on so long, but please don’t let it go on any longer.

  37. Mimmy*

    Question for Alison – didn’t you have trigger finger surgery a few years ago? My husband is having the surgery this coming Friday on his middle finger, left hand. I think he may be going under general anesthesia, which seems to be a bit overkill for what sounds like a simple procedure.

    I’m a little nervous because, obviously if he’s going under, he can’t drive. I can’t drive, but he wants me to come with him so that I can help carry things and call for a cab / Uber once he’s discharged. We did this once before when he had a colonoscopy and it was fine, but I’m still feeling skittish.

    Good thing school will be done!!!!

    1. Mimmy*

      I don’t mean to question the decision about anesthesia – obviously its up to each surgeon’s discretion. My dad had similar surgery and he had general anesthesia as well. Whereas my husband has read online that many get local anesthesia.

      1. Seal*

        One of my staff members had this same surgery a few years ago. They told her that she had to have general anetsthesia rather than local because it’s a somewhat delicate procedure and they didn’t want to risk having her twitch during the procedure. However, I believe they didn’t put her completely under because she said they had to ask her to move her finger before closing her up so they know the procedure was successful.

        I had twilight anesthesia a year or so ago for a two different outpatient procedures (as described above, where they don’t put you completely under but you’re still more or less out of it but can still talk and respond to instructions). In both cases, I was required to have someone sign me out when the procedure was done and instructed not to drive for at least 24 hours. After both procedures I was fine to walk to the car and into the house, but it definitely took a full day for the anesthesia to completely wear off. I spent most of that time sleeping.

        Best of luck with your husband’s surgery!

        1. Mimmy*

          Yeah it’ll probably be twilight, which I think he’s had before. He uses a bi-pap for sleeping, so they asked that he bring his machine for the procedure.

      2. Liane*

        Even with local anesthesia, you may not be allowed to drive. Patients are often given sedatives–like Valium–to help them relax, for example, and you can’t drive with those in your system.
        Plus it is his hand. A lot of times you need/want both hands on the wheel. But it might be painful or the bandaging may be just too bulky.

        Also, be aware that some facilities insist that your driver come in with you before the procedure and stay in the waiting room until you are released. “My wife Uhura will come in later to pick me up” won’t fly. The VA once sent my husband instructions that not only did I have to arrive & stay with him, but I would have to show my valid license before they would take him back for the procedure!

        1. Mimmy*

          Ooh might they require that the person accompanying the patient actually has to be able to drive? I cannot drive so we plan to use a cab or Uber both ways. It wasn’t a problem for the colonoscopy a few years ago, but it was a completely different facility.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Nah, as long as you’re accompanying him, they’re not going to ask about the mechanics of your journey. And even if they did, I’m sure that would be fine — they just want a responsible, lucid person with him.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I did! They were going to use twilight anesthesia, but I’d read online that it’s a really simple procedure and that some doctors just used local. Since twilight anesthesia makes the whole experience much worse (you can throw up, it can take a day for it to fully wear off, etc.), I asked if he’d use local and he agreed. It was totally fine, and I’m really glad I did it that way.

      1. Mimmy*

        I’m glad you were able to get him to use local. How long was it before you could start typing again?

        On another note: He’s starting to feel the symptoms in his right hand now, but so far nothing like it is now – he’s at a point where he can’t do much with his left hand :( Are there any exercises or supplements he can take to prevent the problem from getting worse? It appears you can conceivably get trigger finger in every finger – I don’t really feel like going through this ten times! He told me it’s due to inflammation of the tendon (I think?)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          They’d told me it could be as long as three weeks, so I freaked out and did a ton of work ahead of time. It turned out I could type the next day. (That said, it was my thumb, not my finger, and it might be slightly harder with a finger.)

          I don’t know if there’s anything preventative you can do, but his doctor might! I should have asked that myself.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Oh, and make sure he takes the painkillers they give him before the numbness wears off. That night was excruciating — I had to take six Percocet to deal with it.

    3. Lea*

      For what it’s worth I’ve had a lot of surgeries with local, general, spinal, etc and I was not safe to drive regardless – partly from being hungry and dehydrated from the surgery prep and partly from the pain or pain killers after the surgery. Maybe you’d find it helpful to visual the different steps you and him will take with each of the options so that you’ll have a plan to refer to if you feel anxious in the moment? For example calling a cab and doing a dry run, or making sure you are comfortable with a map and navigating for the driver if your husband is too impaired to help

    4. Rebecca in Dallas*

      Is there a friend/family member who can drive you both? As a bonus, you would have company while you’re waiting. My mom and husband both came when I had to have surgery a few years ago. It actually worked out nicely, one person could corral me and my stuff while the other one brought the car around.

  38. Indecisive*

    For those of you that had a small wedding/eloped, do you regret not having a big party? We initially wanted to have a big wedding with all of our family (about 250 guests), but the more I think about all the planning, the expenses, etc, the more anxious I become. I don’t feel right spending almost 30k, stressing about all the details, worrying about who doesn’t want to sit next to who. My fiancé and I both have big families (he has 12 aunts and uncles and 60 cousins only from his dad’s side), so he doesn’t want to invite some family and not the other.

    Basically, we will either have a really big wedding or a really small wedding (like, elope in a different country). I’m just worried that we will have a small wedding and regret not having a big wedding later. We can afford the expense, so it’s not like we will go into debt for the wedding. I just don’t know if it’s worth the expense and the headache, but we (especially me) are so indecisive as to what to do. Our indecisiveness is leading us to just keep pushing the wedding date (we never published a date), but after almost 3 years of being engaged, people are really starting to wonder when/if we’ll be getting married.

    1. NicoleK*

      For our wedding, we had about 120 guests and total cost was $5300. My husband wanted the wedding, I was fine with going to the courthouse. We were thrifty and decided to cut some things out (no alcohol, no dance, and etc). Your wedding can be as expensive or as frugal as you want. I don’t regret having a larger or more expansive wedding.

    2. the gold digger*

      Nope. My regret is not eloping! If we had eloped, we would have missed the drama of having his parents at our house for nine days, getting drunk every single night and eating all of our Good Cheese.

      We had only immediate family. If we could have had only my family and Primo’s stepdaughters, it would have been perfect, but my family and Primo’s stepdaughters plus his parents made it not as nice.

      I don’t regret not spending the money one bit! I paid $39 for my dress (on sale at Macy’s). We paid $400 to the church. Had a nice dinner at a restaurant for everyone that was about $600. And that was it. I would rather have a paid-for house than a big party.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Likewise, I had a small wedding and regretted not eloping. I could go on and on about that day, but the upshot is my husband and I never mentioned our wedding day ever again for the whole time we were married. I wish we had just eloped like we wanted.

    3. Graciosa*

      I can think of a lot of things I would do with $30K other than spend it on a wedding, but since you’re not going into debt for it, I think you should come up with other spending options and compare.

      With $30K, would you prefer the wedding or a luxury trip for 2 to Antarctica? A new car? A trip around the world? Renting a private island in the caribbean? An expedition to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?

      I don’t know what your dreams are, but think about how $30K could contribute to those you share with your husband to be.

      If you think of your choice not as spending versus not spending on the wedding, but rather spending on the wedding versus spending on something else, it may help clarify your thinking about what’s really most important to you. Discussing your priorities for your life together as a couple is worthwhile whatever you jointly decide.

      Best wishes.

      1. Nico m*


        Because – if you regret it in the future, it will be from a happy place .

    4. Oh Fed*

      My husband and I married at the courthouse 11 years ago. Our parents were our witnesses and we had lunch with them afterward. I personally have no regrets–my husband & I are both uncomfortable being the center of attention. Also, my husband was so incredibly nervous before the ceremony he looked ashen gray and ready to puke. We laugh about it now but I think it would have been so much worse in front of 200 people. The money we would have spent on a wedding went toward our mortgage and emergency fund and I am especially thankful for that now since our house is paid for.
      I do remember that one of our siblings was miffed to not have been invited but the relationship was strained to begin with and I think she was going to find fault no matter what we did. We had a Bar-B-Q with that side of the family when we returned from our honeymoon.

    5. Sara smile*

      Husband and I eloped though not to the courthouse. We sort of did a destination wedding of sorts for ourselves. So we still had the dress/kilt, pictures, nice venue, etc. but it was just us two. It was just about us and we don’t regret it at all.

    6. Anonymous Educator*

      If anything, I wish our wedding had been smaller (we had about 120 guests). Truth be told, our wedding wasn’t that great or memorable, but we’ve had an excellent marriage (well over a decade), and I’d much rather have a good marriage and a bad wedding than an excellent wedding and a bad marriage. Not that the two have to be mutually exclusive by any means, but I do think people put too much importance on one day. It can be a great day… but it’s ultimately just one day. Don’t stress too much about it.

      I just don’t know if it’s worth the expense and the headache

      My opinion: it’s not.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        P.S. When we did celebrate our 10th-year anniversary, it was a small dinner we hosted for about 10 of our friends (our treat, of course), and it was amazing—much, much better than our wedding. Friends traveled from other coasts (even other countries) to celebrate our anniversary with us, and it was authentic, special, and a lot cheaper than our actual wedding. I remember that night very fondly.

    7. SAHM*

      I ended up with a crazy big cheap wedding. We were married at the church my grandpa built and was pastor at for 50 years, so he got the church for free and he married us so that was free. We did the reception at the church gym, and we did buffet style picnic type food – no designated seating but plenty of tables and chairs. One of my sisters is a hobby cake maker so she made my wedding cake, the other a wedding planner so she helped find the food and decorated the gym/organized clean up after. My brothers all pitched in with set up and take down, it was a “dry” wedding so that helped with the cost. My dress was only 300$ + 100$ to have it tailored, it was a basic white dress with some gorgeous beading around the torso, I had a friend of a friend tailor it for me. My bridesmaids were all graduating college or finishing college and so we decided to just go as a group to Ross and see if we could find the same dress, and we did. It was a gorgeous green dress knee length with a tank top style top (20$ for the dress), they all wore cream shoes or flip flops. Another of my sisters made a veil, it’s gorgeous, don’t buy a veil at the bridal store they’re ridiculously easy to make (hot glue gun, sparklies, a base head band, and the fabric~15$) I still have mine. I literally pull it out to wear on my anniversary every year. Cause I’m a princess.

      The most expensive thing was the catering, but we still invited EVERYONE which came to about 250-300 people and we didn’t spend more than 8k? I think? It’s been 7 years and I knew we went over our budget of 5k but I had a blast and everyone else did too.

      When it came down to it, we were budgeting for wedding / housing we decided we’d rather put the money toward a down payment on a house then have an expensive wedding. It just made sense. The important thing was to have everyone we loved there, not to have a big fancy wedding.

      My advice? Look for a free venue like a park or a beach, or a church one of your newly acquired family works for/is involved with that can give you a deal, if you don’t have a sibling that can be your “wedding planner/coordinator” see if one of your new 60+ cousins can do it (highly recommend you have someone on point to organize last minute details on your big day), someone you trust who only wants to do exactly what you want, look for cheap caterers and buffet style is cheaper than paying for a specific #of plates (because Aunt Bertie can’t eat and Uncle George will be too stressed for anything besides cake, etc so why pay for a whole plate when there are people who aren’t going to eat?), decide what’s really important (a fancy dress? The venue? Certain flowers you absolutely have to have?)

      You don’t need to Pinterest the whole wedding to make it cheap, and it doesn’t have to FEEL cheap either. Just be wise on where you DO spend your money. And involve family, you’re acquiring a lot of family, feel free to involve them, big families are pretty used to being involved in each others lives.

      1. catsAreCool*

        “The important thing was to have everyone we loved there, not to have a big fancy wedding.” This!

    8. Becca*

      You can elope AND have a big party!!! You don’t have to choose! My husband pointed this out while we were at the beginning of wedding planning… Fortunately, our wedding turned out really beautiful, with ~125 guests at my childhood synagogue. But I liked his suggestion also!

      Go off on a wonderful elopement vacation, and then when you get back, throw a party that isn’t a wedding. You can forgo all of the obnoxious industry markups and clergy/justice of the peace requirements. Depending on where you live and what’s near to you, you could:

      – throw a giant potluck picnic in a park or backyard, hire a local band to play music for a few hours, and enjoy!
      – rent a function hall for an evening, serve just appetizers and desserts, and get a band or DJ for dancing

      If you don’t think it’s imperative for your various folks to meet each other at the wedding, you can also throw a few smaller events targeting the different sides of your families, which might give you a few more options in terms of how large a space you’ll need. (For example, my friend’s getting married with about 100 guests and she’s hosting it at a restaurant.)

      Good luck!

    9. Dan*

      I had a small wedding (about 20 people) and don’t regret it for a moment. $30k is $30k, period. Spend it on your honeymoon, at least you’ll enjoy that ;)

    10. Mando Diao*

      You can always have a big party later on. Elope now if that’s what you want in this moment. Throw a big catered party in a few years if you think you want to. 90% of the BS surrounding weddings would go away if normal people felt like they had societal permission to have big parties whenever it suited them.

    11. New Bee*

      We had 42 people and we loved it. I come from a huge family, but due to rifts and some minor drama I wanted to feel 100% comfortable (and avoid any of that good ol’ Midwestern passive aggressiveness), so we got married where we live. 2000 miles was far enough that the folks I really wanted to be there were willing to travel, and the folks I didn’t want to invite weren’t snubbed by the lack of invite. I spent quality time with every single person, had fun (and ate my entire dinner and dessert), and didn’t have to play hostess all night. In contrast, my best friend had a 400+ person wedding and loved that every single relative was in the room but hated that she didn’t get to just have fun with her new husband and friends. No wedding size will be perfect, but you could also split the difference and have a small wedding and large reception later.

    12. neverjaunty*

      Nope. Small wedding. The idea of a big wedding is terrifying you so much that you are putting off getting married. FOR YEARS.

    13. FD*

      We were always going to do a small wedding, but some job things came up and what we’d planned didn’t make sense anymore.

      Our entire wedding cost less than $1000, and the large part of that was in fees (i.e. cost to get new driver’s license, the cost of the marriage license, officiant’s fee etc.) We got a local humanist officiant to do a paper-signing for us (the courthouse here doesn’t marry people right now because they’re terribly short of judges).

      Our entire guest list was my parents and siblings, who live in town, and our two witnesses. I cooked dinner for the event, and we ate in the common room at our apartment. One of our witnesses took pictures with my camera. My favorite image from the event is of me opening the oven to temp the steak in my wedding dress. I wore a $20 wedding gown I found at a thrift shop, and my wife wore an inexpensive bridesmaid’s dress she bought.

      Honestly, the only thing I regret is that her parents couldn’t be here, due to the timing. But we videotaped it and live-streamed the event, so they were OK with that. But I don’t regret at all that we didn’t have a big or fancy party. It was inexpensive, it was fun, and it was us.

    14. Mkb*

      I had both (we had a large 200 person wedding planned then my fiancé lost his job so we eloped to get him on my health insurance, with 25 people present and had the large reception that we had originally planned 8 months later.) I loved our small wedding but honestly, the large reception was one of the best days of my life and worth every penny and all the stress that comes with a large wedding. If you keep costs low (we’re pretty frugal) you end up making a lot of the money back in gifts.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Small wedding here. Immediate family and a few family friends. Wedding at 11:00. Buffet lunch . No regrets 29 years later.

    15. Tennessee*

      We eloped and never regretted it. I was planning a small wedding which quickly got out of hand with the number of relatives. Mom offered me $50 to elope, so I did.

      I like what one of my relative did — they had a surprise wedding. They had a potluck engagement party, invited all their closest friends and relatives. In the middle, they stood up and said Surprise! we decided to go ahead with the wedding. They had arranged to have a minister present and just had a small ceremony right there. It was wonderful.

    16. BRR*

      We had a mid-size wedding, 70 invited 43 attended and it cost less than 6k. Part of me is happy with it, party of me wishes we eloped, and part of me wishes we had a big wedding. We invited aunts and uncles but no cousins. We both have huge families and couldn’t afford it. If we could have afforded a bigger wedding I would have done it. But I’m a person who doesn’t mind planning things. I find a lot of people balk at spending a huge amount on a wedding but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a big celebration if you can afford it and that’s what you want.

      Reading into your post, it sounds like you don’t want a big wedding. If your husband agrees with you, I would Think if there’s anyone who you wouldn’t want to get married without them bein there and then figure out if you just elope or do a small ceremony say of immediate family and some close friends. When figuring this out it matters what you and your husband want, not what others want. people have your entire ma ridge to celebrate it, the wedding is just one day.

      Lots of rambling but summing it up, I sad sometimes that we weren’t able to have as large of a wedding as we would have liked bu 1.5 years later it doesn’t cross my mind most of the time.

    17. Nicole*

      Eloped and took a two week honeymoon. Don’t regret it because we’re not comfortable with being the center of attention and we’re pretty frugal so the idea of spending thousands on one day just didn’t set well with us. That being said, I do regret not having a big party afterwards. We will probably do one when we hit our next milestone anniversary. Something to consider if you still want to have family celebrate your big day!

    18. Liane*

      (Note–the few prices mentioned are 1991 vintage)

      Never regretted!

      We didn’t want or need a large wedding, so had ours in a park we loved to visit with maybe 30 people, which included my dad, his parents and his Nana and step-grandfather. Attendants were Best Man, Matron of Honor, Maid of Honor. Recorded music, plus Singer Friend. There was a mini-boardwalk leading to the picnic shelter so I got to process on Dad’s arm even. Snacks were provided by Mom-in-Law and a friend made the cake.

      I got my $500 dress–lots of chiffon, beading & lace!–for $50 from the bridal shop discount rack because the train had a hard-to-find snag/run and Singer Friend paid for the alterations as our wedding gift. Husband just wore the suit he already owned. We went with silk bouquets and boutonnieres we made ourselves. The craft shop had a ready-made white bouquet that I added satin ribbons and lengths of “pearl” trims–plus a single blue silk blossom for my Something Blue. We also made my wedding hat–a big straw sun hat with added netting, ribbons and silk flowers. I don’t recall the price for flowers and hat, but under $50.

      The biggest expense was our honeymoon Scuba trip to the Florida Keys. The dive resort off-season package was $500. The owner of our favorite local dive shop–who really got Customer Service–booked the trip for us and was kind enough to allow my husband to pay the cost in installments before the wedding.

      The two funniest moments:
      1–When we got ready to leave, Husband impulsively decided to pick me up and carry me to the car. Alas, the crinoline and all that satin & chiffon were so bulky and slippery that he had to give up before he dropped me! Wish someone had their camera aimed at us–but no!
      2–Some months later, after a co-worker returned from her honeymoon, our manager, Geralt, was comparing our attitudes toward planning, gleaned from lab conversations. “Now, Liane, on the other hand, acted like it was all a walk in the park.” All 4 of us just looked at him & one of the other women said, “But Liane WAS married in a park, Geralt!” We all broke up laughing, including Geralt.

    19. Jubilance*

      I got married last year, we had 85 guests and spent $18K on our wedding. This might sound corny, but we genuinely loved our wedding and found the money to be worth it. We went into it inviting 120 people and knew that we would get under 100 because we got married in our current city so 90% of our guests had to travel to attend. We didn’t break the bank and we had a wedding that we look back and loved. We had such a great time celebrating with our friends and family and I’m so happy we decided to go that route.

      If you’d like to see pics/deets, you can check out our feature on A Practical Wedding – http://apracticalwedding.com/2015/08/mcnamara-alumni-center-wedding/

      1. the gold digger*

        You are gorgeous and so are the photos! It looks like your wedding was a lot of fun!

        PS I didn’t know that Brides Not Wearing Glasses was A Thing. Who made up something so impractical? When I want to see, I need my glasses!

        PPS What really impressed me was sleeveless dresses in March in Minneapolis. :)

        1. Jubilance*

          Thank you! We got really lucky with the weather – it was almost 70 degrees that weekend, and the last nice day for the rest of March. I was so happy we could do photos outside and not freeze.

    20. Student*

      We had only parents, siblings, and the plus-one guests of siblings. Seven guests in all, plus the officiant (good friend from college).

      I have absolutely no regrets about it. It was a relief not to have to bother with a big party and all the conflicting expectations on both sides of the family. When you tell people it’s very small, suddenly they give up on all the “wedding conventions” they otherwise expect and go along with nearly anything.

      I can have a party any time I want, and a big one if I really wanted to (but I don’t!). We saved money towards a down payment on a house instead of a big wedding. That $30k you mentioned would be a pretty respectable lump of money toward property, or a pretty nice car with no loan.

  39. super anon*

    I posted a little while ago about finding a therapist. I wanted to thank all of you who gave me advice and encouraged me to keep trying to find someone. I eventually did find a psychologist who didn’t have a 3-6 month wait and it’s been incredible the difference the sessions have made for me, even though I’ve only been to 3. I feel like a lot of what she’s told me is common sense.. but it’s things I never realized on my own, nor do I think I would have.

    I think the most amazing thing is that going to therapy has helped me realize that I am actually pretty great and that I matter, and my feelings matter. I went in with a jumble of emotions and confusion – my grandfather who raised me died last year in September. At the same time I was starting to realize that my mother is most likely a narcissist and the way I was raised took a toll on my entire adult life. Because of the way I grew up I never learned how to have my own emotions or that it was even okay to feel that way. I’ve also been having major identity issues because of my job, and all of this ended up with me being incredibly depressed and not realizing it until I went to a mental health training session and learned that crying in your car on the way to and from work wasn’t a thing that healthy people do.

    I think it’s really incredibly how much this has helped me, and I plan on making it a priority to figure out how to pay the $180 a session once my insurance runs out because it’s SO worthwhile for me to go. I feel like I’ve become way more confident in myself and empowered. I’ve had difficult conversations at work, started experimenting with saying no and feeling okay with making other people unhappy or uncomfortable (which I never would have done before ever), and a bunch of other small breakthroughs that make me feel really positive about the direction my life is going.

    So ty AAM commentariat! The encouragement from all of you not to give up searching really did help me push through and find someone, and my overall health thanks you for it.

    1. also anon*

      Re paying after insurance runs out: speak with your therapist; many are willing to make adjustments. In some cases major insurers force providers to take lower rates, which the providers are sometimes willing to extend to individuals. good luck!

      1. TootsNYC*

        and sometimes the providers are REQUIRED to offer you the same (adjusted, lower) rates they were charging your insurance company.

      2. Coffee Ninja*

        Yup, the majority of mental health providers (at least, in my geographic area) offer sliding scale fees to people without insurance, or who have insurance but would prefer to self-pay

    2. Caledonia*

      I’m glad that you found the help you were looking for and that its working for you :-)

    3. Rahera*

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve found a helpful therapist and that it is proving to be such a useful and insightful process. Wonderful, keep on keeping on :).

    4. Nicole*

      That’s so good to hear! Therapy can be real helpful – it allowed me to see that just because I was raised not to stick up for myself doesn’t mean I shouldn’t. And even more importantly, that when I do say something it won’t necessarily turn into a huge argument and cause a rift.

      Like someone else said, check with your therapist once your insurance runs out. They can, and often will, reduce your rate to help make it more affordable.

    5. K.*

      I posted here about my struggles with depression and finding a therapist. I’ve been going to therapy for about five months now, and it’s so worth it. I’ve had some hard, painful realizations, but even that pain is worthwhile if it keeps me from making the same mistakes again. If absolutely nothing else, having an hour that is devoted to nothing but self-care is helpful. I am so glad you’re getting the help you need!

      My therapist charges on a sliding scale (I pay a discounted rate) – maybe yours does too?

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Rock on.

      And learn how to be a good parent to you. Learn how to teach yourself the things you do not know and want to learn. In the process you will learn how to explain things to other people, meaning you will be able to help someone else with what you have learned. Look for those opportunities because it’s in those moments of helping others that you have made a complete circle; you close the gaps in your life story.

    7. Coffee Ninja*

      I am so, so glad for you! Deciding to begin therapy can be difficult, and finding a good therapist you click with can be even harder. Best wishes for the rest of your journey.

  40. super anon*

    One more thing: does anyone have experience with getting things from an estate after someone dies, when you were named in the will to get something?

    When my grandfather died last summer my mother told me in his will I had been named to be given my grandparent’s original wedding ring set. I received my grandmother’s original engagement & wedding band when I went home in the summer to visit my grandfather before he died. However, I still haven’t received my grandfather’s band (or anything else from the estate). After he passed my grandmother took his band and has been wearing it, but I would really like to have it now to complete the set. My mother is the executor of the estate and is also notoriously bad at doing anything she says she will and is incredibly unreliable. I also doubt she would be willing to upset her mother to get the ring to send to me.

    The will was never put into probate so I can’t find a copy in the probate course system where he died, so right now the only way for me to get a copy to review is to ask my mother – so she may have been lying about me getting the rings in the will. I have no way to know for sure.

    Short of spending $2000 to go there in demand it in person, what can I do to try to get it? I doubt a lawyer would be willing to be involved because there’s no monetary inventive here, and it likely isn’t worth their time. If I have indeed been named in the will as this being my inheritance or bequeathment (is this the right terminology?) is she legally bound to give it to me? Was there a timeline she needed to follow? It’s now been 8 months and I’m seriously beginning to doubt I will get this ring without a fight.

    Oh, and I’m in Canada.

    1. Joanna*

      I’m not a lawyer, although I do know some stuff about this area from working in the Australian banking deceased estates system (insert standard not speaking for employer disclaimer here). How things work in Canada with physical property may vary.

      My understanding is that executors are always legally required to act in accordance with the will as far as is possible. However, in the absence of probate my understanding is it gets a bit harder to challenge or get information, especially in the case of assets not held with an independent third party (like a bank). Here being a beneficiary but not ether an executor or next of kin can also limit what information you’re legally entitled to. I don’t think here there’s a timeframe after death in which estate distribution has to be completed (at my work we sometimes get claims many years and occasionally decades after someone died). However, obviously it’s better to pursue estate claims as soon as possible lest what you’re claiming get lost or assigned to someone else in the meantime.

      Obviously not knowing your family dynamics beyond what you’re posted I can’t say for sure what the best course of action is. However, my guess is it may be to approach your mother gently as though it’s all a misunderstanding you’d like to clarify. It’s quite likely that’s what it is as having to deal with unfamiliar legal and financial processes while still grieving can throw even otherwise pretty together kinda people into disarray and overwhelm, causing things to get missed. There’s probably been larger, more complex elements of the estate that have taken up a lot of their focus. If it was something more deliberate, at least going in gently will hopefully make the necessary discussions a bit less heated.

    2. Undine*

      I’m unclear — is this the same grandmother that gave you her wedding band earlier? I think that having his wedding band could mean something really deep and emotional for her. Yes, there’s a chance that if she wears it, you may never get it, but if someone wants to wear the wedding ring their now-dead husband got married to them with, that is a big part of grieving for them. Legally, you may have a right to it, but this is what she has left of her marriage. My sister died twenty years ago and I still have shirts from her in my closet. A wedding ring is so intimate, I can completely understand she might not want to let it go. This way she can still go to sleep with him every night and wake up with him every morning. It might be better to try and make sure that she says in her will that you can have it when she dies.

      It is really nice to have something to remember your grandfather by, I think that is important for you as well. Perhaps there is something else that would be meaningful for you that she would be happy to let you have.

      1. super anon*

        I should have specified that my grandparents raised me. I was very close with my grandfather, as he was for all intents and purposes my father.

        This is the same grandmother who gave me her wedding ring earlier (I’ve never met my father and I only met my paternal grandmother once last year for the first time). I realize that emotionally it likely has extreme significance for her, but on an entitled brat child level – I want it. I was told I would get it and nothing else, and I would really like to have it.

        There is nothing else left for me to have. The day after my grandfather passed away, his children threw away every single thing he owned that they hadn’t claimed. If I don’t get his ring there is literally nothing else for me have to remember him by. I, unfortunately, wasn’t able to be there when he passed because my mother didn’t call me until it was too late for me to come, so I wasn’t able to salvage anything from the house before it was thrown away.

        I realize I’m probably being really shitty and selfish wanting this, but after starting therapy I realized that I’ve always put my feelings aside for everyone else in my family even if it was to my own detriment, and for the first time I’ve found something worth standing up for, even if it hurts someone else.

        1. fposte*

          I think it’s absolutely legitimate for you to want it, and I also think you’ve outlined why it’s a tough haul to get it. Is your mother also named as the executor on your grandmother’s will, do you know? Maybe you could bring it up to her as something you’re willing to wait on for understandable reasons, but that you want when your grandmother dies. Or, if you’re still close with your grandmother, bring that up to her, if she’s somebody open to those kinds of conversations.

          Did a lawyer draw up the will? If you’re named in the will, she may be able to let you see it. I don’t see that putting the issue to bed for you unless it turns out your mother misspoke and he didn’t leave you the rings, though.

        2. MommaCat*

          Honestly…ask your grandmother directly, if you can. You could let her know how much you miss him, and how much it would mean to you to have that ring. Bypass your mother entirely; that kind of message can get garbled way too easily.

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            She may not know that that was what he wanted. Or, she may be holding on to it herself because she wants something to remember him by, as well. I mean, he was your grandfather, but he was her husband for a lot longer. Do you really need it right now or could you wait until she has also passed? If you think that once she’s gone it’ll be a repeat where everyone takes everything and throws the rest out, tell your Grandmother this. She may not give it to you right away, but perhaps if she understands your concern she’ll be mindful to see that you get it.

            You could contact a lawyer and go to court and compel her to hand it over but do you really want to do that? Since IANAL, depending on where you are in Canada, you may be able to get 1/2 hour of free legal advice from the law society of your province. I did this with the Law Society of Upper Ontario a long time ago when I needed some advice but I don’t know if there’s a similar system elsewhere.

            1. fposte*

              Yeah, I think that emotionally the widow’s rights to her husband’s wedding ring trump anyone else’s, and that may be what super anon’s mom is thinking, too. I would definitely go for Dynamic Beige’s idea of making your concerns clear about what would happen later rather than trying to get the ring from her right now, no matter what the will said. (And I doubt that Grandfather would have wanted this to cause his wife additional grief either, so maybe that’s a thought that can tide you over.)

        3. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I realize I’m probably being really shitty and selfish wanting this, but after starting therapy I realized that I’ve always put my feelings aside for everyone else in my family even if it was to my own detriment, and for the first time I’ve found something worth standing up for, even if it hurts someone else.

          For what it’s worth, it’s very common that when someone who hasn’t been used to standing up for themselves finally starts doing it, they sometimes go too far to the other extreme at first. I think that may be happening here.

          Standing up for yourself is great! Not defaulting to always putting your feelings aside is great! But it’s possible to misapply that to particular situations, and I think that might be happening here. The ring is a symbol of the bond between your grandmother and grandfather, and its understandable that your grandmother would be taking comfort in wearing it after his death. I think you need to be sensitive to that and understand that her emotional claim to the most tangible, direct symbol of her marriage trumps a grandchild’s claim to it. The idea of asking her to ensure that it passes to you when she’s gone is a good one.

          This could be something for the new therapist you mention above — now that you’re standing up for yourself, how do you calibrate that instinct more finely?

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Speaking as a widow, if someone demanded my husband’s ring the answer would have been “you’ll get it when I pass”.
            Speaking from a legal angle, the exact wording in the will is critical to answer this question. Added wrinkle, just because we (lay people) interpret a sentence in one manner, does not necessarily mean that the law concurs with that interpretation. Legalese has it’s own dictionary and it’s own phrases.

            In answer to your question about wills being followed and complied with, I have seen many times where this did not happen. And the reasons are many.

            Generally, the larger the estate the longer it takes to process. I know of one estate for around $2 million that has been in process for eight years. Our systems are super-encumbered and even lawyers can’t figure stuff out. Disbursements are not usually made until the bills are paid. This means settling on what to do with the house, paying off medical bills and so on. Medical bills alone can be 5 months or longer. It is possible that the lawyer will advise your mother that the ring cannot be moved to your possession until they know all the bills are paid off. My father had a very small estate and it took me eight months to close it.And that was because I spent every non-work hour I had on getting the thing closed. I was up to 2-3 am most nights working on the estate and the various things in the estate.

            Food for thought, if the kids threw all your grandfather’s stuff away, then that means your grandmother does not have anything but the ring, also. Just something to consider.

            I am sorry for your loss. I can see he meant a lot to you.

            1. super anon*

              My mother went through and hid things she wanted to keep from everyone at my grandmother’s request before he passed. She did not extend the same courtesy to me.

              The estate is small… the house was worth virtually nothing and they had no savings or any money set aside either. The house and all of its contents went to my grandmother and will go to my mother when she passes away. From what I was told, no one aside from me, my mother, and my grandmother were willed anything. I assume that is why the will was never put through probate… and I also assume it’s why everyone else descended like vultures after he passed away.

              I realize on an emotional level the widow wanting the ring the comfort it will bring, but in a legal sense, if it is indeed willed to me after he passes, wouldn’t my legal right to it trump any emotional right, so to speak? And, if his final wish was for me to have it, isn’t it extra shitty for other people to decide to try to change that, regardless of their emotional intent?

              I’m also going to be aggressive about this because frankly, I don’t trust my mother to actually give it to me when my Grandmother passes – I can see her hiding it or “losing” it. I especially don’t trust her after seeing how she handled my grandfather’s death and did everything she could to keep me away when he finally passed.

              Basically – it’s all super shitty. I assume in a normal family this wouldn’t even be an issue… but my family is far from normal.

              1. The Rat-Catcher*

                Legally, your legal right probably does trump the emotional connection. What we’ve all been gently trying to say is that your grandmother has lost presumably the most important person in her life and the decent thing to do would be to leave it alone. Did your grandfather really intend for you to snatch it from her like this? Also, your grandmother could just as easily demand her wedding band back from you, since LEGALLY it’s hers, and then you don’t have the set.

                1. super anon*

                  Well.. I supposed depending on exactly what it says in the will, he would have intended for me to have it? He never would have intended for her to take it before I could have it, so if anyone was doing any “snatching”, it would have been her.

                  If she wants to take her original wedding band back from me, I am fine with that. I would much prefer to have my Grandfather’s wedding band.

                  Of course, if I can see the will and the wording is such that he didn’t intend for me to have it until after they both passed (although that is not what I was told prior to his death), then she can keep it and I won’t do any snatching.

                  My family situation is difficult. I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t exactly harbour a lot of goodwill in this situation.

                2. TL -*

                  Would it be worth it for you to talk to your grandma and see if she can make sure you get the ring when she passes? That’s probably the kindest route – maybe she has a friend or a relative who lives there who would be willing to help her out on this.

              2. Dynamic Beige*

                Was there an actual will? If you’re married and you die without leaving a will, your estate goes to your wife.

                The reason I ask is, my grandmother always said that I should get X and sibling should get Y if/when she went. She did not write a will. When she passed, indeed I did get X as she wished but it was something that no one else wanted, had a claim or access to. OK, that’s not entirely true. My grandmother had bought it from a former employer and the story goes that after she died, Former Employer called my grandfather and asked for the item back. Gramps told us to come and get it before Former Employer showed up on his doorstep to take it.

                I knew someone who, after her mother died, her father got a girlfriend and when he died, the girlfriend took all the jewellery and said that the man had pawned it/given it away even though it was stuff that was supposed to go to my friend. So there’s that. People suck.

              3. Dynamic Beige*

                As I said before, IANAL, but to the best of my knowledge in the case of an uncontested will — such as a spouse inheriting from their spouse — you don’t have to put that through probate. I do not believe that my grandmother’s estate was put through probate because 1. she had no will and 2. everything went automatically to her husband. If you were in possession of a copy of your grandfather’s will dated let’s say a year ago and they were using an older version, you would have a case to contest the estate.

                After my mother died, I believe the will had to be put through probate because a family member was handling it. I had thought, from too many years of watching TV, that wills were read and it was a big formal thing involving lawyers and everyone gets together in a room to hear it. Maybe that does happen but in the case of my mother’s will, it did not. Years later, my sibling used a handwritten codicil of my mother’s ramblings of how she thought things were going to happen/what we were going to do after she died to force me into something. It was news to me, because my mother had never said a word of any of that to me, she had never done the whole “you should get $Xjewelery, sibling should get the china” thing. Mainly because there wasn’t any of that stuff to argue about (or so I thought) and even though she knew she was dying, she never wanted to talk about it.

                After my grandfather died, I was the executor of his estate. The will went through probate, which is apparently something a lawyer files that essentially tells the court/government that this person has died, these are their assets, these are the people who are inheriting (they are not married to the person who died) and then taxes may or may not be applied depending on the size of the estate (I did not have to go to court for it). My grandfather left no personal instructions in terms of “I want X to have this” kind of thing so Sibling helped themselves to what they wanted before they left the country. Nothing was that expensive, it was the principle of the thing that rankled.

                So I kind of get where you’re coming from. Promises were made to you and they haven’t been fulfilled. But, I don’t think your grandmother is operating from some place of malice where she’s doing this intentionally to hurt you. Which is why you should talk to her, in person if you can. She should have a will, even if it’s just a simple “my daughter gets my estate and can operate as executor” kind of thing. She should have a Power of Attorney for when/if she is too sick to manage her own financial affairs. She should have some sort of medical directive for what gets done in the case she is incapacitated and can’t act for herself in her healthcare decisions (i.e. a stroke, dementia, coma following surgery).

          2. super anon*

            I planned on talking to my therapist before making any moves. I’m being aggressive about it partly because I want to stand up for myself, but also because I plan on going no contact with my mother and I need to get this cleared up before I do so. Once I go NC, I can pretty much guarantee I’ll never see the ring again, legal claim to it or not.

        4. Kassy*

          Grief is extremely difficult and I can’t imagine what you’re going through. But there’s a high chance that the ring is part of your grandmother’s own self care right now. I’d do the same if it were me.

    3. Student*

      You don’t even know that you inherited it! You want to take away your dead grandfather’s ring from your still-living grandmother!

      I realize this may be grief, combined with your therapy and other family dynamics, but – this is just wrong. Very wrong. Even if it were legal, which you have no proof of whatsoever, it’d be wrong. You need to get some perspective.

      Pick a different fight to have with your family if you’re just looking to fight with them. Wait until your grandmother passes to try to claim the ring, if it’s really about the ring itself.

      First off, if you’ve never seen the will, you have no idea if you’re intended to inherit this ring. Very often, a married couple will give everything to the surviving spouse if only one dies, and then divvy things up according to a will after both have died. You may not be in the will at all; you may not be entitled to anything until your grandmother dies; or you may be entitled to the ring now.

      If you are entitled to the ring now, the decent thing to do is to ask your grandmother – note: ask, not demand – that she leave it to you when she passes, as if you were not entitled to it right now at all. This is also what you should do if you aren’t in the will but would like the ring when she dies.

      If you hate your grandmother, then if you have a legal claim to the ring through the will you could try to claim it through the courts. It won’t make whatever she did to you to make you so angry at her go away. It’ll only spread more hurt around. If you hate your grandmother that much, give her back her rings and walk away right now. Don’t contact her again. Set off on your own path instead – go live your life for yourself instead of to ruin hers. Trying to hurt her like this sullies you. If you can’t imagine how hurtful this would be to her, then you need to work on empathy in your therapy, or perhaps to get a new therapist, because you are contemplating a very serious transgression of societal norms and basic human decency for no good reason.

    4. Jean*

      Whether or not you end up with your grandfather’s ring, there are other ways you can honor/memorialize/extend in this world the warmth you shared:
      – buy another ring in the same style (or from the same era) as his
      – support a cause he would have supported, or give to a cause to honor something you received from him (e.g. give to a food bank because he was always hospitable; give to a scholarship fund because he valued education)
      – continue on your own, or pass along to someone else, an interest, skill or activity you learned from him

      And to add to the others who’ve asked you to reconsider:
      do you really want to assert your inheritance by wrangling the ring from a grieving widow?
      I understand your desire to assert yourself, finally! consequences be damned (especially when the consequences would fall on people who sound like they’ve caused you grief in the past)! but is it possible to assert yourself without hurting others?
      Perhaps the marital love was one-way (from grandfather to grandmother) or nonexistent, so that your grandmother’s grief-driven possessiveness is just a display…
      but again, can you take the high road out of self-respect, even if it means that you have to go forward with a non-physical inheritance (see above suggestions)? You still have the emotional/spiritual inheritance from his relationship. Nobody can take that away from you. Or the fact that you can appreciate having it. If your family have less inner substance, that’s sad. [It’s OK to feel secretly pleased about having more inner substance–as long as you don’t get stuck there. ;-) ]

  41. MissGirl*

    I’m going to be in north L.A. for the summer for a graduate internship. What do I do, see, and eat? I love the outdoors and food.

    1. Alinea*

      Low cost options:

      The shopping/people watching at Glendale Galleria/Americana is fun. Very close to Porto’s, soooo yum!
      Gourgen’s Catering in Burbank for some bomb shish kabob. It’s a catering place, but you can buy a plate to go.
      Honey Pig in Koreatown (8th street)
      Hiking Runyon Canyon (very LA) is so overrated and smells like dog pee (temporarily closed for 4 months, should reopen in July) but many people enjoy it nonetheless. I’d do it if I were visiting.
      Griffith Observatory!!!!!!!!! There are hikes you can around there too.

  42. Beth Anne*

    Hi everyone! I haven’t been in the open thread in FOREVER! I’ve read this blog on and off for years. More so when I was unhappy with my job. But that is another story.

    I’m really looking forward to my summer. I have two really fun and somewhat relaxing trips coming up. One is to NYC / Upstate NY for my cousin’s wedding. Airfare was like $500 to where the wedding is so we’re flying into PHL and driving. We’re saving about $300+ an airline ticket. Plus the airport we’re flying out of is 20 minutes away vs over an hour.

    Then in August we’re going to Ocean City, MD for a big family vacation…we’re meeting some of my aunts and cousins there. We used to go there all the time as a kid so it’s going to be like old times. Vacations is what keeps me going sometimes.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Hi Beth Anne!! It’s good to see you again! :)
      Your trips sound really nice. That’s a great travel tip about flying into the cheaper airport.

      I hope you have a great time!

    2. Coffee Ninja*

      I remember you, Beth Anne! Glad you popped back in :)

      OCMD is so fun (I’ve only gone for drinking girls’ weekends, not family vacays though, but still!). Coincidentially, I live near PHL! It sounds like you have an awesome summer planned. I need to figure out a vacation!

  43. Dot Warner*

    Is there a TV show (or movie, or any other form of media) that depicts your profession really accurately? Conversely, is there a show about your profession that gets everything wrong? I ask because I work in the medical field and doctor shows seem to either do everything (almost) perfectly, like Scrubs, or get everything completely wrong. I often wonder if lawyer shows have the same issues.

    1. Hattie McDoogal*

      It’s not my profession now, but I’ve spent most of my working life working in kitchens and the best depiction I’ve ever seen was Ratatouille. Nothing else really captures the chaos of a dinner service. The worst I can think of is Gilmore Girls — I love the show, but Sookie’s kitchen doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to anything I’ve seen in real life. There were random bowls of fruit piled everywhere (once I paused the show because I was laughing too much at the her giant bowl of fruit on top of the functioning dishwasher), an army of prep cooks randomly stirring things/chopping things, everything sparkling clean — just, gah.

      1. Retiree57*

        So many shows get libraries wrong. The worse I recall was Will and Grace, which, for a time, had Grace working in a library. They showed her at a service desk, stamping a stack of books with a rubber stamp. Not a computer in sight. Not a patron in sight. Followed closely by any detective show that has the detective walking in and demanding to know who checked out X book or who used what computer and the librarian just tells them. Um, not without a subpoena, you don’t, and even then, most of the time that record would not exist. And then there’s the ones that have someone “volunteering to drive the bookmobile.” Just… No… (here’s where the rubber stamp would have been handy…that’s something a volunteer might do although I would still have no idea what the stamp was for… Maybe stamping “withdrawn” on everything going to a book sale?) Funniest was Parks and Rec rivalry with the local library. Entirely unrealistic in the particulars but over-the-top accurate with the flavor of local governmental internal animosity.

        1. Anonsie*

          I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Giles in particular, but after rewatching the show for the first time since becoming a librarian, it’s sort of hilarious how bad at librarianship Giles is. His high school library is unwelcoming and the collection is not remotely tailored to the needs of the student user base, and instead serves mostly to support the personal interests of the librarian himself and a small group of friends. Rare and old books are not properly preserved, and the collection seems to have never been properly catalogued.

    2. Yetanotherjennifer*

      If there is a string player in a show I will watch them like a hawk to see how well they were trained.

      1. bassclefchick*

        Agree! Any time there is a musician, I will watch them to be sure they’re at least holding the instrument correctly. Though, if I know the actor actually plays (Hugh Laurie really does play piano, so I wasn’t worried about him on House), I relax a bit.

    3. MissGirl*

      I worked in publishing and I have yet to see it remotely portrayed accurately. Seems like every Hallmark movie has someone in the book business and it’s laughable.

      We don’t wear fancy clothes and go on power lunches with authors. We’re poor, overworked, and underdressed. Authors, unless they’re Rowling, don’t go on tours, don’t make a lot of money, and usually have another job.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        The UK crime programme Happy Valley is very popular amongst the police as it is an accurate portrayal of police life.

    4. the gold digger*

      I was so shocked when I saw the show “Major Dad.” It was the first time in my life I had seen anything remotely like my life on TV. I didn’t grow up in the US in a big city where kids take the subway or in a suburb where everyone is driving at 16. I grew up on military bases overseas and went to ten different schools before I graduated from high school. I was always the new kid in school, which was not a big deal on the base school, but the few times I went to the civilian school, was hard. I was on the swim team – and then we moved. I was in orchestra – and then we moved. I played soccer – and then we moved.

      This show began in some small way to show my life and it was wonderful – it was like kids like me actually existed.

      1. the gold digger*

        Although because they were in the US, they probably cared about Star Wars. I lived in the Panama Canal Zone when that movie came out and I have never ever understood the hype. Not hating, just saying.

    5. KR*

      The IT crowd isn’t really about work but it can be realistic in the sense that some people just literally have no clue how a computer works.

    6. Seal*

      Caught the end of the 1980s Brat Pack classic St. Elmo’s Fire on cable recently. Rob Lowe’s saxophone-player character was getting on a bus to move to New York or something with his tenor sax slung over his shoulder. Not in a case or anything, just slung over his shoulder like he was in the middle of a gig. It ever had a reed in the mouthpiece. Of the all many ridiculous things in that movie, as a former musician that scene in particular always irritated me. No serious musician would travel on a bus with their expensive instrument and not put it in a case!

      1. Graciosa*

        No – they seem to be universally appalling.

        Ally McBeal was embarrassing – I have never seen an attorney dress like that and don’t want to.

        L.A. Law had Arnie Becker, a fictional character who created an entire practice out of conduct that would have gotten a real attorney disbarred.

        The Practice showed multiple attorneys conspiring to sell out one client for another – which is about the most egregious breach of professional ethics I can imagine – with no apparent concern and no consequences. When I realized it wasn’t a setup to explain the disappearance of the characters from the show, I quit watching.

        I have also had a fellow writer summarize her plot in a writers’ group with no apparent awareness that she was having her lawyer-heroine behave unethically. I had to explain that no, you’re not allowed to sleep with your client or send a private detective out to commit a little breaking and entering on your behalf.

        I swear that the overwhelming majority of the general public has no idea that there are ethical requirements for the legal profession.

        1. Dot Warner*

          Have either of you seen Better Call Saul? Jimmy does unethical stuff but when he does, another lawyer calls him on his BS and reminds him that he could be disbarred for it. (I’m certainly not expecting realism out of the show, just curious.)

    7. Alistair*

      Every show that depicts geologists as genius supermodels is absolutely correct! :-P

      Slight aside, but there’s a Dan Brown book that starts with the death of a geologist. I put it back on the shelf at the store, and vowed to never read a book that starts in such a horrible way! To this day, I have kept my vow.

      1. Mephyle*

        All professional women are supermodel beautiful. You can see this reflected in 99% of plot synopses, where ‘beautiful’ is a code name for ‘female’. There just isn’t any professional woman who isn’t beautiful; if she weren’t beautiful, she would be a man. ‘Chris, a beautiful paleobotanist…’ ‘Stacy, a beautiful insurance investigator…’ and so on.

    8. The IT Manager*

      I was in the military (not a lawyer), but I’m pretty sure JAG was the most egregiously wrong TV show until the NCISes came along. Just because someone is a navy reservist does not mean that NCIS investigates any crime associated with them – jurisdiction, people, jurisdiction. It’s a very small number of cases that fall under the the military’s jurisdiction.

    9. Cordelia Longfellow*

      Virtually all cop/crime shows are terribly inaccurate. And the “CSI effect” actually impacts real-life investigations and makes it more difficult to prosecute cases, which really sucks. There are a few shows that are fairly accurate, though – The Wire depicts a lot of the minutae of police work well (although the characters are laughably bad at covert surveillance), and Happy Valley and The Fall are pretty solid too.

    10. Kassy*

      Social work is always wrong. You’d think we were lying in wait to take kids away over simple misunderstandings; in reality, we can’t take kids often when we really should.

    11. Undine*

      Mathematicians — they don’t get what it’s like to be a mathematician. I don’t watch a lot of movies, but years ago they did a movie where they hired a mathematician at my grad school to train the actress how to prove the snake lemma, and she got down his gestures and the proof, but they still got the essence of being a mathematician wrong. (Interestingly, I don’t remember the name of the actress or the movie, but I do remember it was the snake lemma.)

      1. the gold digger*

        I was happy to hear that Big Bang Theory has an actual professor prepare the chalkboards.

        However – I was annoyed at work when I looked at a presentation from a recently-acquired software company. The presentation was full of calculus formulas – but they were not illustrating the concepts described in the presentation. The sales presentation was about how to optimize workflow in a factory. It was targeted at upper management, explaining the benefits of the software. It wasn’t supposed to be an explanation to other technical people.

        Anyhow, there were all these integrals. I asked my co-worker, who was not an English major (albeit with a year of calculus – but I got a ‘D’ in my second semester, which is part of the reason I was an English major), what the integrals meant.

        He told me they were just a very common calculation that had nothing to do with the material being presented. That is, they had thrown random formulas in there to make themselves look smart. But if the audience had actually understood the formulas, they would have said, “These are nonsense! Why are they here?”

        You would think a tech company would at least get its formulas right, but no.

  44. Anon4This*

    This has elements of work in it, but it’s affecting me at home, so hopefully it’s OK to post here. My husband has been telling me about his secretary for awhile, who he calls his friend. She’s very young, married, with a small child. There’s also another secretary who works in his area, who is his age (50’s). The young one sends him text messages about work and about other things. They (both secretaries) had a whole thing while we were traveling at Christmas that they wanted him to send them selfies at different landmarks. They texted back and forth quite a bit, to the point where I was wondering why he wanted me to come with him on this vacation. This is the first I’d heard of the friendship, and I was very uncomfortable with it, and said so. He debated with me awhile and then conceded that I was right to want his full attention on “our” vacation. He apologized, and we moved on. Today he gets a text message and kind of chuckles, so I ask him what’s funny. He says the younger secretary, “Linda,” is on vacation with her husband at the beach. She doesn’t like to get in the ocean so he and the other secretary have a bet with her that she won’t do it. Of course, she’s supposed to send a selfie. So he says, Linda just sent me a picture of what’s supposed to be her in the ocean, but it’s so far away I can’t even tell it’s her. He shows me, and sure enough it’s a photo of some tiny people very far away. His phone goes off again, and he says, “This is her, though.” Shows me a photo of Linda in a low-cut bathing suit, waist deep in the ocean.

    We just got into a big fight because I don’t think this is cool at all. Aside from the inappropriate supervisor/employee boundary blurring all along, I feel like sending your boss a photo of yourself in your bathing suit completely crosses the line. So does encouraging her to do so. (“I’m not really her boss,” he says.) He thinks because he’s not hiding anything from me, and they’re just friends, I’m being unreasonable. She’s married, she’s with her husband, he took the photo of her, blah. Blah. Blah.

    I just…I don’t know what to do. I trust him, my main problem is that he doesn’t see this is wrong. Ok, have female friends, but NOT your secretary, and WTF with the bathing suit photo! Am I completely off base here? I don’t want to be a jealous, insecure wife, but I am feeling very insecure and pissed off that he’s making me out to be the bad guy and I don’t know how to get the message across any other way.

    1. misspiggy*

      WTF with the bathing suit photo, indeed, but I’m not sure your husband shouldn’t be friends with his secretary on principle. A lot of men wouldn’t find many female friends outside work.

      The particular dynamic could cause problems at work, such as accusations of favouritism from other colleagues, or difficulties with holding the secretaries accountable if they stop performing well. Even if he’s not managing them, if they lower their standards because they’re such jokey friends he will be in a bind. He might need to step back a bit. My dad was great friends with his secretary, but there were no bathing suit pics, and he and my mum regularly socialised with her and her husband. Would more interaction between you and them help?

      You could point all this out to him. But at the moment it might look like you’re jealous of the friendship sexually, rather than having professional boundary concerns.

      I’m trying to think whether I would mind if a female colleague sent a pic of herself in a bathing suit to my husband, or texted him about silly things on vacation. If he was open about it, I think I’d be glad that he had friends at work – although I would think her boundaries were a bit fuzzy re the picture. My husband has quite a few back and forth Facebook exchanges with male and female colleagues while we’re on holiday and sends them pics. If someone was clearly trying to seduce him I’d be angry, but I’m not sure this is in that territory.

    2. the gold digger*

      No. This is completely off. I really like my boss and we are friends and will be friends once I am no longer working for him, but I have not and will not ever text him a photo of myself in a bathing suit. We do text occasionally (every two months?) about non-work issues – when he is on vacation, he texts me photos of the food. (He was at an Iranian wedding and the spread looked amazing.) I texted him and his wife to congratulate them on their daughter’s college graduation.

      There are degrees of intimacy in a friendship and your husband and his secretary are way too intimate. Texting daily is not appropriate. Texting constantly over vacation is not appropriate. Texting a photo of onesself in a low-cut bathing suit is not appropriate.

      Your instincts are correct. They are way too emotionally involved. You should be the first woman he wants to talk to about anything. You are right. He is wrong. But I don’t know you convince him of this.

    3. Mallows*

      Heck no, you aren’t off base. This is totally out of line. I would have serious problems with this situation but will stick to the professional part of it.

      How would you view a married male colleague, in his 50s, texting and exchanging a bunch of selfies with his very young secretary? What would you assume? I’d be very surprised if the other secretary actually thinks any of this is appropriate behavior; this could totally bite your husband in the ass if he doesn’t put an end to it. And if he wants to be a friend to this young woman, he needs to consider what this friendship, in this format, looks like to other people.

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      This is super inappropriate. That said, even though there are gendered components to this that add to how inappropriate it is—I believe it would be inappropriate even if same-gendered, and I think you should frame it that way to him, so he can’t use the “you’re just a jealous wife”(belittling, sexist) excuse to dismiss your legitimate concerns. Professional boundaries matter in the workplace, especially between higher-ups and subordinates. He may not be this secretary’s direct supervisor, but it does sound as if he has some authority over her professionally, so they shouldn’t be this intimate, regardless of how low-cut the swimsuit is or not, and regardless of whether they are same-gendered or different-gendered.

      That said, I do think you say your piece and then leave it there. Constantly bringing up how disturbing his behavior is (not how disturbing you think it is but how disturbing it actually is) will just make him feel all the more separated from you and closer to his secretary (it’s sick and twisted but likely true). Speak truth and then just leave it there. That said, you don’t have to entertain him when he’s like “Look at this photo of my secretary. Ha ha!” either.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      “I am not going to debate if I am right or wrong with you any more. I am asking you to stop texting the secretaries and to tell them to stop sending you pictures. I am asking as your wife. Can you do this?”

      Don’t engage in debates over who is right or wrong. You are just asking him to stop, period.

      My husband drove fast. I asked him to stop driving so fast. It sunk down to a debate about speeding and government telling us what to do etc. Finally, I said, “I am your wife. I am uncomfortable with the speed of the vehicle. I am asking you to drive slower. Will you do that for me?” He finally agreed that because of my discomfort he would slow down.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        I think this approach could work well or really backfire, depending on the existing dynamic of their relationship. For some people, that approach may make them dig their heels in even more. Definitely something to consider, though, for Anon4This.

    6. Anon4This*

      Thanks very much, all. It makes me feel so much better to hear I’m not off base. I’m not sure what’s going to happen now but I’m mentally preparing myself for whatever comes. I appreciate all of you!

  45. FD*

    Commentariat, how did you happen on Ask a Manager originally?

    My story: I was looking for advice on writing good cover letters. Ask a Manager wasn’t the top result at the time, but it was on the first page of results, and it was the first one I found that didn’t seem awful. I thought her other advice seemed good too, and I’ve been reading ever since.

    1. SL #2*

      I was linked to a post on how to look for average salaries in your area by a supervisor at a previous internship right after my graduation. I credit AAM for helping me get through the application process for my current job.

    2. Dot Warner*

      I was looking for advice on what to do when you have a vacation planned while job hunting, and AAM was one of the first results. I saw that she had advice on interviews and cover letters, and after that I was hooked.

    3. Jennifer*

      A link from Previously TV. I can’t remember which post (or even which show) it was from, but I was so happy for that link!

    4. E, F and G*

      I was volunteering on a small community board with some political games that were way over the top.

      I was desperately trying to figure out if there was something wrong with me or if there was something I could do about it. I can’t even remember what article I came across that day but it was the slap in the face that helped me realize it wasn’t me and that I was hurting myself by trying to stay.

      Reading it consistently, that came later when I ended up in a reception position that had up to five people walking in per week and twice as many phone calls (and no other duties due to privacy rules.)

    5. nep*

      I was looking for advice on cover letters and came across the site.
      Now, of course, I’m absolutely hooked.

    6. Anne*

      I was googlingabout wfh on snow days. I wfh when it snows and was wondering how common nit is for other people

    7. KR*

      I was googling something at work that I was wondering was normal/a problem for others. I got lost in the archives reading all the old questions and then started keeping up on the questions.

    8. I just want to scream*

      I was trying to google search for a cartoon I had seen previously, I forget what it was now but The caption was something like “things your boss won’t tell you” and that lead me to a post here and I’ve been reading ever since.

    9. Mimmy*

      I think I was just looking for general job search or career advice and just came across it one day. I don’t remember if it was a specific article or the general tone of AAM and the commenters that led me to sticking around. I think I’ve been here about 5 years. Eek!

    10. Anonymous Educator*

      I think it was mentioned on Captain Awkward? Then I just got hooked!

      I used to love Captain Awkward and her community, but then I just found it disturbingly off the deep end… not CA herself but her readers. They take the “I don’t have to apologize for myself ever; give me space” mentality to its absolute most extreme.

      For example, here on AaM, I feel you can have a nuanced discussion about being chronically late (see this last Friday’s open thread, for example), but on CA there are some extremely vocal people who will shout down anyone who dares question anyone for being late (ever) as stigmatizing them or being ableist.

      So now I’ve switched over. I still read CA (just her—not the commenters), but I’m a huge AaM fan now!

      1. Anonsie*

        This was pretty much my exact experience too–heard about AAM through CA, then eventually drifted away from Captain Awkward altogether. I still generally respect her advice, but between the commentariat and some of the guest bloggers (still annoyed by Elodie’s advice that a LW carry her disabled father up the stairs if she really loved him) I can’t deal with it anymore. I find AAM much more helpful these days.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, that Elodie thing was so weird. It was like she’d never read the blog and was answering an advice column called “Dear Sister Mary Margaret Midcentury.”

          I learn a lot from reading Captain Awkward, but I’m definitely a better fit here. I know some people have posted the converse, though, so I think sometimes it’s just horses for courses. (And I find blog and site culture endlessly fascinating, so I probably do more mental contrasting than is really necessary.)

        2. Cas*

          I’m just feeling so sad for the person who wrote in about that! I would have felt so crushed reading that – No, this needn’t be difficult; you probably just don’t love your dad.
          Aaargh! Just so gross and dismissive :(

    11. Felix*

      My ex-boyfriend recommended it. :p
      I was in my first “real” job and complaining about weird workplace issues that I found strange. Not sure how he found AAM, but I’ve been reading it religiously ever since. I’ve now been reading AAM for longer than we dated. (Apparently that relationship couldn’t stand the test of time, unlike this blog!)

    12. Aurion*

      I was looking for advice on job hunting, I think. I read Alison’s advice, thought it sounded sensible, but then left the site and didn’t come back for a year or two.

      Then I went looking for some other work-related advice again, recognized the site when it showed up on Google, and this time I read through some of the recent posts and comments. Fell in love with the advice, site, and commentariat. Now I check this site daily.

    13. Lily Evans*

      I was looking for cover letter advice too! Then I started reading about how to (not) follow up on job applications and ended up in the new grad tag (thank god for the post about taking your parents’ advice with a grain of salt!) and from there I just never left. I think I’ve been reading regularly for almost 2 years now, even though it does not feel like it’s been that long!

    14. dirty house*

      I was trying to help my boyfriend at the time write a cover letter for a job he didn’t have much relevant experience so I googled something along the lines of “how to write a cover letter with little experience” and came upon AAM. That was about 4 years ago and I haven’t missed an article since!

    15. Liane*

      I am SO embarrassed…just cannot remember. Was probably randomly surfing for new columns to read. (In addition to more traditionally geek hobbies I love advice columns)

    16. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I found it through Evil HR Lady; I liked her site so much that I looked through her list of blogs that she liked to read, and Alison’s was one of them. She also had links to the “Carnival of HR” but I never understood what that was until Alison explained yesterday that an online “carnival” is a set of blog posts organized around the same topic.

    17. Vancouver Reader*

      I think I was looking for cover letter advice as well. If memory serves, AAM did come up near the top of the search for me, and I read her advice and thought holy crap, this is good stuff! Haven’t looked back since.

      1. Neruda*

        I think I was looking for cover letter advice. When I first started reading I only liked to read Alison’s answers, now I love the comments! I don’t post very often but I check it every day.

    18. The Unkind Raven*

      The columnist Duana, who writes for LaineyGossip, mentioned AAM in a post (I forget the context). Duana writes a baby-name advice column, and I love advice columns, so I checked out AAM, and now I’m a regular reader :).

    19. Cath in Canada*

      I found the site not long after I started my current job in 2012, which is the first job I’ve had with any potential to move up into a management position. I think I googled “what can I be doing now to get a manager job in five years” or something like that, and found the site.

    20. Not So NewReader*

      I was reading advice about job hunting because I had not hunted in over a decade. Several articles linked to AAM articles. But I did not pay attention until about the sixth time an article sent me to this website. Then I thought let me see what this because it just keeps coming up. Alison’s advice was the opposite of what others were saying. Then I realized my discomfort with that other advice was for good reason. And I realized I no longer needed to read advice anywhere else. Good bye conflicting messages and erroneous information, gone from my life!

    21. Kassy*

      I had a second interview, had never been through a multi interview process and was Googling for advice. The point about it being a two way evaluation process rather than an audition really hit home and I have read ever since!

    22. Jean*

      From two to five years ago, I was in the middle of a long, dry, job search* and desperate for daytime contact with other intelligent adults! My loneliness drove me to spend a lot of time online. Towards the end of this process I found AAM through web-surfing or following links from other sites. I think I was looking up information on resumes or some other aspect of job hunting. I know I’ve learned some specific techniques from reading Alison’s interviewing guide.

      For me the main benefit has been seeing that other people also struggle with a lack of workplace self-confidence–and its corollary, workplace self-acceptance. I’ve come to realize that I may spend the rest of my life as an admin assist but it’s okay (as long as I can earn enough to support myself & family in a modest lifestyle) because I’m good at this and there are people out there who respect my skills. It’s also okay because outside of work I do other things well that bring benefit or enjoyment to other people.

      Alison, belated congratulations for 9 years on the blog! I tell all job-seekers about you. Earlier this weekend I referred you to someone in H.R.–for the first time! I hope I get to do this again.

      P.S. Posting here is a great way to hone my writing skills. (Not bragging that I post Deathless Prose! Just saying that it’s a good way to practice being articulate and concise.)

      * A miserable convergence of several factors including my being over age 50, having a family-related need to work part-time, possessing battered self-confidence thanks to low performance & less-than-thrilled supervisors in previous bad-fit jobs or workplaces, having an unusual work history, and being rather depressed about life thanks to all of the above.

  46. SL #2*

    My friend started a Dungeons and Dragons campaign tonight, and I’m playing in it, so now I’m shopping for my perfect dice set. So many pretty colors…

    1. Persephone Mulberry*

      My husband and I have so. many. dice. When we played regularly, I always brought a bagful because inevitably I’d get mad at one of them and trade it for a more cooperative one.

      1. SL #2*

        See, I always thought that your dice should be coordinated colors and everything, but I guess not!

      2. Alistair*

        During school, I played war games with a friend who would always do a pregame ritual of multiple rolls to weed out bad dice. I would laugh at him, but it always seemed to work.

    2. Aurion*

      I have a bunch of dice and tabletop paraphernalia too, though now I kind of regret buying them. They don’t take up that much space, but they remind me of when I was a much more impulsive shopper :P

    3. Anonyby*

      Dice collecting can become a hobby in its own right! I tend to buy a set for every character I play (my group has played a bunch of different games at this point). It’s to the point where if I get another set, my dice bag won’t fit in the tin I got to roll my dice in…

      1. SL #2*

        Yes, my friend/our DM plays with us and another set of friends, and she’s got two sets of dice.

    4. LizB*

      I love pretty dice! I’m just about to start playing my first ever D&D campaign, but we’re playing online over Roll20, so I won’t be able to use my pretty physical dice. :( (I’m very happy to have a group to play with, though. I’ve been wanting to try it out for the longest time.)

    5. Liane*

      Oh, yes, dice!
      So many of the games I play in use specialized dice sets too! So more to buy!
      Fate system: D6’s with 2 blank, 2 Plus sign and 2 Minus sign faces
      Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars RPG: “Narrative” polyhedral (D&D) dice with special symbols and a few blanks on the faces (too complex to explain here, just google). Fun fact: 12 siders get a LOT of use in this system. Almost every roll will include at least 1!

      My group plays via Skype but most of us still use actual dice on the honor system. I have one drawer on my 50/60 year old desk set up for mine: Fitted in front on top of a cloth is the small box I use to roll the dice in , behind are several small bowls to hold each type of dice (traditional polyhedral, Fate, Star Wars), plus a bit of space for more dice and other little things. I am an eco-friendly gamer–the bowls are the remnants of toddler eating sets my kids used years ago, but they now have a new, cooler career.

      1. SL #2*

        We’re playing twice a month in person, I think. We did character creation last night and we’re meeting again in a couple weeks (we all live in the same city, so it’s pretty easy). 3 out of 5 of us are first-time players of any table-top game, so this is going to be interesting.

        1. Liane*

          Do post how it goes in an open thread after you play a time or two.

          My Skype group is all experienced players, in fact one of them has done some freelance game dev gigs. I am probably the least experienced at gamemastering, although I do run a Star Wars campaign for them.

          1. SL #2*

            Definitely! The two experienced players in the game are the GM and her boyfriend; we’ve all been friends for years so a lot of that joking dynamic was bleeding over during character creation and we’ve ended up with the most hilarious group of characters now.

    6. Swoop*

      <3 dice :) once you start looking for the right dice you never quite stop (which is not a problem because more dice are _always_ useful! :D )

  47. Mica*

    A strange question just popped into my head and now I’m really curious about how to handle this if it ever comes up. Certain places always ask for an emergency contact number in case something happens to you like work, health care, etc. things like that. What if you have no emergency contact number? Who do you put?

    Usually people put family (I put family) and I suppose some put friends, but what do people have neither do?

    (Note: I’m an only child with aging parents, and it just occurred to me that they probably won’t be around forever to be my “emergency contact” number, lol. I don’t have friends close enough to use for those numbers, either. I’m suddenly anxious about something so stupid!!)

    1. Rahera*

      That’s s good question. I’ve always put one of my parents or a sibling at a pinch. I guess you could put your doctor??? Maybe someone at church if you have any sort of religious affiliation?

    2. ginger ale for all*

      I have an exboyfriend as my emergency contact. He is calm in emergencies and is local. I trust his judgement if I was not able to make choices at the time. I also know he will not contact my family unless it has to be done. My parents are too elderly to do anything and it would be cruel to have them as my emergency contacts. They are at the point where they both need to stop driving soon. And my older brother is an ass so he is worse than useless in a crisis. He has an obsessive need to be the center of attention and to be the only authority in the room, no one but him is right, so this is not the person to go to in an emergency.

      1. blackcat*

        I…. think we have the same older brother.

        When I’m traveling, I always offer an emergency contact who is not traveling with me and is local to either the departure or destination city (my friends are very scattered, making this pretty easy, actually). That person could be friend, family, or particularly helpful acquaintance.

        I have actually put not-so close friends as emergency contacts, though I have cleared it with them first. In the past I have also used roommates and more distant relatives (that I know & who are great in emergencies).

      2. ginger ale for all*

        I do have to add that when I first started seeing that question on forms, I would write down 911. I thought they were asking if it would be okay for them to call 911 on my behalf.

    3. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I have a similar challenge: my daughter’s forms always ask for a contact before me. We don’t have family here so I’ve had to use friends and neighbors. It was hard when we first moved here because I was asking favors of strangers. But I’ve learned that asking for help creates a connection and those people have become closer friends. Pick the most responsible person or the most logical person and ask them. For me that’s the mom of one of my daughter’s friends or a parent of not necessarily a friend (but not an enemy) who lives close to me. Most people say yes because these emergencies rarely come up.

      1. KR*

        My dad was an emergency contact for my friends family and vice versa. They never had to come get me, but once one of their daughters got pretty sick at school and everyone was at work. She was pretty grateful for the ride home.

      2. TootsNYC*

        and remember that a lot of people you know somewhat casually would be happy, truly happy, to help in an emergency. Just pick someone with sense, manners, and calm.

        My DD’s college roommate needed a local emergency contact. That’s my husband (she asked him). Or it could be me, but he’s got more time in the day.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        Agreed about picking a responsible person. I used my neighbors the one time I had to have someone. I chose them because they are close and they are retired. So they are usually around. They have a fair idea of who else to contact in my life if my dog needs care in my absence and it is very easy for them to keep an eye on my house. I only ask that they call 911 in emergency. I do not want them dealing with the issue themselves.

        I read the advice that it is wise to pick someone who lives close by your own home if you can. It just makes things go so much easier. But your first point of consideration is you want someone who is responsible.

    4. Pumpkin scone*

      My first job had me thousands of miles from my family and college friends. I had to put my boss- she was literally the only person I knew in the state. Luckily no emergencies happened.

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      Are you saying no one would care if you died or were in the ER? No one? It doesn’t have to be a family member. Do you have a close friend? A distant friend? An acquaintance? Put down someone (ask her permission first, of course) to be your emergency contact. Hell, it could even be a co-worker.

      1. Mica*

        No, I’m not saying that at all. Honestly, I don’t have much of a social circle right now and my family is tiny. I don’t have any close friends in the area I could use as an emergency contact. I’d feel super uncomfortable using a co-worker. I find it hard to believe that an acquaintance or co-worker would drop everything and come running if they were called as my emergency contact.

        This just made me realize that I need to work on expanding my social circle.

        1. TootsNYC*

          Well, they might not drop everything and come running if you had a flat tire, but if you were unconscious in the emergency room, you might be surprised.

          I can’t think of any colleague or acquaintance that I wouldn’t do that for. And I can’t be that unusual.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          You could find another person who is pretty much on their own and offer to be each other’s back up/emergency contact person.

        3. Brandy*

          I understand. I wish I was an only child, I have the same brother as above, apparently but mine is younger. And my parents are getting older. Soon I guess it might be my lawyer. Im a strong introvert, that prefers alone time.

        4. Laura*

          I don’t think it would be appropriate to put a coworker or boss as an emergency contact– I’m with you on that.

    6. SophieChotek*

      I am in a similar place; for now I still put my parents, but soon I probably won’t be able to. At the point, if still don’t have a Spouse/Significant Other I would probably talk to a friend and ask if they would be willing to be an Emergency Contact. I think I have a few friends that would be willing to be so.

    7. Student*

      Realize it is a wake-up call that you need a better social support structure, and go get one.

      The emergency contact number is there so someone can help you out in an emergency, or, in the worst case scenarios, make medical decisions for you and/or arrange your funeral. It should be someone you trust to make those decisions if you can’t make them. A family member is an excellent choice. A close friend is a good choice. In absence of those, a friend who lives near you. In absence of that, a level-headed friend who is calm in emergencies. In absence of that, a neighbor who’s on speaking terms with you. In absence of that, a co-worker who is level-headed who you have contact info for. In absence of that, a family member you dislike but don’t think would try to hurt you. Proximity is important, because someone far away can’t help you get back to your house from the hospital or check on you easily.

      Really, go make a couple of friends so you have at least one you trust to drive you back from the hospital in an emergency, or to arrange a decent burial for you if you pass.

  48. E, F and G*

    I’m hoping someone here can offer some suggestions.

    It appears to have been a wonderful year for rhubarb so far. A combination of my work schedule, my home life, and it raining on the days I do get off had me put off picking the stuff for an extra week or two.

    I am now faced with about 14 cups of chopped rhubarb and even after freezing some I am left with a significant amount.

    Any suggestions on recipes I could try?
    I’m already planning rhubarb meringue pie, rhubarb syrup for Italian soda, and rhubarb stew.

    1. Elkay*

      Rhubarb crumble is my absolute favourite. I’ve also made rhubarb sorbet but that was quite time consuming.

    2. auntie_cipation*

      Roasted together with other veggies. I think over rice and/or with a sweetish sauce it would go well.

      Raw into a smoothie that’s full of sweet berries.

      I even put some into hummus recently — not much so didn’t really taste it — gotta try that again.

      I love finding rhubarb ideas that don’t involve added sugar. I should go harvest some today!

    3. SophieChotek*

      My mom loves rhubarb and is expecting about that much, if not more also.

      She makes rhubarb jam, rhubarb torte, rhubarb crumble, rhubarb sauce, rhubarb pie. (Sometimes with strawberries in any of the aforementioned.)

    4. Kate R. Pillar (DE)*

      Rhubarb compote:

      For 400 g of (peeled, if necessary) rhubarb pieces, caramelize 150 g of sugar in a small saucepan until golden-brown, add some water (carefully!! That sugar is hot!), then add the rhubarb, simmer until the pieces are really tender and just about fall apart. Some vanilla extract might also not go amiss (the original recipe says “one packet of bourbon vanilla sugar”, but that is not available everywhere, I think).

      Great over vanilla icecream, with whipped cream or on its own.

  49. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I am now the proud owner of a KitchenAid stand mixer. I have wanted one for a very, very long time, but we never had room. My mother decided that I should have one (she balked at my request for a new food processor– the mixer is fancier and therefore more “acceptable” to her), so… it arrived on Monday, an early birthday gift. There is carrot cake in my near future. And red velvet cake. And bread that will be kneaded by an actual dough handle and not my tired fingers.

    For those of you who cook and bake and own one of these magical machines, what is your favorite thing to use it for?

    1. the gold digger*

      My mom gave us one as a wedding gift. I love it! I use it for bread – no more kneading by hand! And it’s so easy to make anything else in it – beating egg whites is a snap.

      I occasionally use the hand mixer for something easy, but I almost always just haul out the KitchenAid.

      The only things to look out for – sometimes, the beater doesn’t reach all the way to the bottom. You need to scrape the flour off the bottom and incorporate by hand. And watch out for the metal rod that holds the top to the base – the vibrations made mine work its way out and it was about to fall out when I noticed! Just push it in every time you use the mixer. Happy cooking!

    2. Lady Kelvin*

      I use mine all the ruling. Seriously. We use it to make pizza dough, cakes, cookies, mashed potatoes, just about everything I used to mix by hand I now do in my mixer. I have most of the pasta attachments so we make a lot of pasta, and of course I make a lot of cheesecake.
      My recommendation is to find a countertop for it where all you have to do is plug it in and go and you will find yourself using it all the time. I even sacrificed a counter when I lived in a teeny tiny apartment for it, meaning I could only do one task at a time without cleaning up in order to leave it accessible. It’s worth it I promise.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        There is a carrot cake in the oven right now. It was so quick! And cleaned up really quickly too. My boyfriend walked in and said, “Whoa, that takes up a lot less room than we thought.” Once this thing cools, there will be cream cheese frosting. I’ll also make a red velvet cake, maybe see if I can take it to work for my birthday.

    3. CAA*

      Meringue and whipped cream. I use mine for everything, but those are the two things I especially hate to do by hand and which make me extra thankful for the mixer.

      Are you looking at any attachments? I use the pasta rollers all the time and I like the slicers but don’t have that much use for them. Don’t waste your money on the ice cream maker (it leaks) or the pasta extruder (just makes a mess).

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Thanks for the tips re: attachments! At this point I haven’t thought of anything I want– I have a mandoline and a food processor, so I don’t need a slicer. I just bought my bf a citrus juicer for his birthday, so we don’t need that attachment. I would have liked an ice cream maker, but I don’t see myself using it more than once. Maybe a pasta roller… one day.

      2. Lady Kelvin*

        That’s funny, my sister has the ice cream maker and used it about once a week for two years before it finally died. So she got another. I don’t eat ice cream, so I don’t own one, but i agree with the slicer. I have one and use it rarely. My pasta rollers and ravioli maker: all the time. Although it took lots of bad pasta before I finally figured out how to make good pasta.

    4. FD*

      Oh man, they’re the best! I really use them for anything that needs mixing, but it’s especially good for making icing–it’s just impossible to get icing stiff enough to decorate when you are doing it by hand.

    5. Dynamic Beige*

      Just think about any recipe you’ve ever made that you practically broke your arms/wrists from stirring or kneading.

      I have a recipe for gingerbread cookies that if I make it by hand practically breaks my back. In the KitchenAid, it’s a snap. Same with making the icing, sooooo much easier.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        My sister, my grandma, and I almost broke our arms from stirring the cream cheese and sugar mixture for my uncle Moshe’s cheese cake recipe. This was twenty years ago or so, and we kept passing and passing the mixing bowl to take turns with the electric hand mixer. My Kitchenaid would have been a tremendous help then!

    6. MsChanandlerBong*

      I get more use out of my KitchenAid mixer than anything else in my life. I use it for baking (cookie dough, cake batter, cheesecake filling, brownie batter, etc.), making deviled egg filling, dough for dinner rolls, making homemade whipped cream, making cookie/graham crusts for cheesecake, and so forth.

    7. Aardvark*

      You mean after the bread dough and the cookies and the brownies and …?
      …Marshmallows! I can’t imagine making them without a stand mixer. I use the Alton Brown recipe as a base and add in different flavors sometimes for variety.

    8. periwinkle*

      I bought a KitchenAid Classic in 1997. Our new house has pretty limited counter space but the KA has its own dedicated corner!

      My absolute favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe came from Marcel Desaulniers’s Death By Chocolate cookbook (out of print but Amazon has lots of used copies). It’s a very stiff cookie dough but the KA just smirks at such challenges. Using your butter straight from the fridge? No problem.

      A non-baking use for the KA is shredding barbecued/slow cooked meats. This is easier and less messy than fork-shredding. Purists may shudder but lazy people like me approve.

    9. TootsNYC*

      (I think your mom was right to get the mixer; I have to tell you that my food processor is not that useful. I almost never use it.)

      I loved my KitchenAid for cookies. Seriously–it changes them. I put the butter in to cream on sort-of high and walk away. The concept of “creaming” butter is completely different from what I’d been getting with my hand mixer.

      And basic buttercream frosting (the kind from the Domino’s confectioners’ sugar box: 1 lb. conf. sugar, 1 stick butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup milk, and 1/4 tsp. salt, the secret ingredient). It gets plenty fluffy.

      Recently I bought one of those beaters w/the flexible sections that scrape the bowl as you mix. I like mine!

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I use mine all the time– lots of hummus. And it’s the only way to get the potatoes right for latkes (using the grating blade). However, this mixer means that I can keep the processor I have (it’s wonderful, just small and old) and simply move beyond it.

    10. LizB*

      Pizza dough! So easy to make when you have a dough hook. I like this recipe: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/homemade_pizza/ because it puffs up really big and I like puffy-crust pizza.

      Also, pavlova! (My favorite recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/04/a-ballet-of-sorts/) It’s like a cake made of a giant marshmallow, covered in whipped cream and topped with fruit. Making one big one and serving it in slices is impressive, but I also like making little personal-sized ones so everyone has their own. Plus, bonus, it can easily be kosher for passover with a couple of ingredient tweaks.

    11. Jascha*

      Congratulations! I can’t answer your question because I’ve never had such a thing, but I dream of having one someday and I hope we hear more about what you create with yours.

    12. SophieChotek*

      For very large batches of things…I actually enjoy kneading bread and cutting pastries behind; I admit I find it weirdly relaxing.

      But I do have this recipe for cookies that calls for 10 cups of flour…plus all the other stuff like sugar, etc. That is when a kitchen aid mixer is so great…

        1. JaneB*

          Also rhubarb and strawberry canned n a light syrup – a wonderful treat in winter with ice cream!

  50. nep*

    Bought the book Etiquette by Emily Post at a moving sale this week — copyright 1922. The last chapter is priceless — ‘Growth of Good Taste in America’. Another chapter: ‘The Vanishing Chaperon and Other New Conventions’. One of the many photos is ‘The Correctly Set Every-day Lunch Table’.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Ha, those old etiquette and home manual books are great. I have one from the early 1900s, along with some copies of The Delineator women’s magazine from the 1890s, and they are hilarious.

      1. nep*

        I bet they’re a riot.
        Anyone recall that antiperspirant / deodorant commercial — ‘Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman’ ?

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I remember that, and theEnjoli perfume ad–“I can bring home the bacon…fry it up in the pan…and never never never let you forget you’re a man! Cuz I’m a woooooooman…Enjoli!” So effing stupid.

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I have an old recipe book that I got from a yard sale, and it has recipes for the “regular”, wood-burning ovens, along with “conversions for the new electric ovens.” There is a recipe in there that calls for soaking a calf’s head in one’s kitchen sink! :-0

      3. Undine*

        At one point I had a cookbook that had been published during prohibition, and every time a recipe asked for wine, there was an asterisk, with a little disclaimer that of course, you wouldn’t really use wine, you would use something else.

    2. LizB*

      I love vintage etiquette books! Not exactly the same thing, but my mom had a book of social etiquette/how-to-be-cool tips for teenagers from the 70s (when she was a teenager). I got a huge kick out of reading it as teen in the 2000s. Some of the tips were still pretty relevant, and the rest ranged from fascinating to hilarious. I remember the chapter on parties revolved heavily around how to pick the right selection of records and how to balance the numbers of girls and boys so everyone would have someone to dance with.

    3. Kassy*

      My dad bought me a 1930s dictionary last month. It’s funny and interesting to see how definitions have changed. (It took very little time to find something racist.)

  51. Rebecca*

    It got hot quickly here in PA, 94F yesterday! I went on my first bike ride of the season, about 10 1/2 miles, and can’t wait to get out there again. Planning a 20 mile trip tomorrow with a friend. I love getting outside! Was so glad to have Friday off work as a vacation day, so it’s a 4 day weekend.

    I started two small raised garden beds, and it’s hard to believe that just 2 weeks ago it was cold and sleeting here. Hope to get the rest of the plants in tonight, since it’s going to be hot again today.

    I finished listening to “The Lovely Bones”, and am trying to copy a another book to my .mp3 player, but it’s not cooperating :( and won’t sync. Hopefully it’s just a glitch. I have really become attached to my little gadget and getting caught up on my “reading”!

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I had put my heaters away a month ago, but then I had to get them right back out again. We’re finally done with the cold, though. I refuse to put them back no matter what!!

  52. lychee*

    im way late to the party but I have no one to share and I just need to!!! I am getting thru Fargo Season 1,and my goodness, its so good. The plotting, the acting, the music, the pacing. Just wow. Fantastic. I thought nothing would get close to Breaking Bad. But this is close. Cant wait to start Season 2.

      1. Bluebell*

        Both are great. Season two takes a little longer to get into but it is worth it.

  53. acmx*

    Jewelry makers/crafty people!

    I have a piece of coral that I’d like to wear as a necklace. Where can I find a setting to place it in, please?

    1. Lea*

      Try Fire mountain gems online to get a sense of what’s available, or look for a local bead or lapidary shop

  54. dirty house*

    How do you find housecleaners when you don’t have any friends/neighbors you know near you to ask for recommendations? We found our last housecleaners on yelp and they had just below a 5-star average with about 20 reviews, and then they stole from us. I’ve looked on nextdoor, but housecleaner recommendations will only be recommended by one of my stranger neighbors (i.e. I haven’t found a recommendation with multiple people recommending them). Any suggestions?

    1. Sophia in the DMV*

      Look for cleaning services on someplace like Angie’s list. If you live in the DMV area, we use Maid Bright and really like them

    2. Caledonia*

      could you ask someone at work or any kind of group you belong to (church etc)?

    3. Brandy*

      Try Nextdoor.com for your community. They have recommendations on the side, or you could just ask on the main page.

  55. Where did all my friends go?*

    Oh god, I can’t believe I let this happen. It just hit me this weekend: I have no local friends. I’m in my late 20s still live in the city I grew up in, but most of the friends I’ve accumulated through the years have moved overseas (is this a sign?). I’m still quite close with some of those friends, but I just realized that I have NO local friends. I’m not too sad about that fact, I sort of feel dumb for letting my social circle erode while not making NEW friends!!

    Sooo now I’d like to fix this and make some new friends and have a more robust social life. Any advice on how to make friends in your late 20s? I was sent into a tizzy and ended up making a Meetup account, I found a few groups that look “interesting,” so I’ll try to go to some of those. And I found an interesting community arts focused organization that I might look into volunteering for. I know people recommend taking classes to make new friends, but most of the classes I’m finding are for either 1 day or 4 weeks (once a week). I don’t make friends that “quickly,” so those don’t seem like a good investment of time. Where else should I be looking? Wait… it’s actually possible to make new friends in your late 20s, right?

    1. Vancouver Reader*

      I made most of my friends at work after I graduated. Mind you, the number of people I get together with and call friends I can count on one hand, but I’m not much for socializing, so probably not much help to you.

      1. Where did all my friends go?*

        I’m going to try to put more of an effort into making friends (or at least acquaintances) with my coworkers. Most of my coworkers are pretty great people, but sometimes I feel left out and “less than” because I have a support role.

    2. Aurion*

      I hope so, because I’m in the same boat! It doesn’t help that I’m not much of a socialite and all my people energy is used up by work :)

      I’m wading into meetups, though it’s hard because I feel like a dabbler in many things so I don’t know what would be the point of going to a gaming meetup or something when I literally know about two games (though when I know in detail, I tend to know in great detail).

      I’m trying out a local AVEN meetup (I was the anon who posted on an open thread from about two months ago, polling AAM’s hive mind about being demi/grey/on the ace spectrum). I’ll be keeping an eye on this thread.

    3. NDQ*

      I made the same painful realization recently. I still have friends locally, but we are in different stages of life so right now we have less in common and different schedules or availability for getting together. I definitely need to (a) make some new friends and (b) reconnect with former colleagues who seem to be at the same life-stage I’m in now.

      I am planning on joining a local business group that meets monthly that is important to my side business and will also be a social outlet.


    4. Mando Diao*

      My advice is always to try to befriend people who are a little bit older. They’re not wrapped up in their relationships, and they’re less likely to bail on you if something “better” comes up.

      But really, you might want to consider moving, as a broader life move, if you’re able to. It’s not always conducive to growth if you’ve always lived in the same place. Good luck!

      1. Where did all my friends go?*

        Moving is something I’m planning on doing in the next few years (and maybe go to grad school, we’ll see), but right now it doesn’t make “sense” to move. There are a few family things going on right now and I think it’s best if I stay here at the moments, so I’m just trying to make do for the next few years.

        I’m definitely going to try to be open to making friends with all types of people, especially age-wise.

      2. Jean*

        From age 50+ I want to offer the opposite viewpoint. I decided that it was important to stay connected with younger people as well. It keeps a person more plugged in to contemporary culture. Depending on one’s individual life circumstances (no close family in the vicinity) this _might_ also become a way to find an Emergency Contact person.

  56. GH in SoCAl*

    WOW! I read the “Tepper Isn’t Going Out” short story in the New Yorker years ago and loved it. I mention it to people all the time. I had no idea it was part of a novel until this minute. Wow wow wow. I guess I know what I’m reading on the plane later this month.

    1. fluffy*

      The tepper book is fine, very fine. I saw Trillin years ago and he made several wry comments about “Runestone” not selling very well, so I found it to read. Also fine

  57. nep*

    Anyone here pay attention to the Hissene Habre (former leader of Chad) case? Verdict expected tomorrow in Dakar.

    1. fposte*

      I had only heard vaguely about it–it looks like landmark proceedings, but it’s being really underreported in the U.S. Do you think it’s going to have a big impact in the region?

  58. Jascha*

    What are your best solutions for walking blisters when you can’t just rest your feet? My friend walked too long in shoes that don’t work for him on Saturday (not sure why; the shoes were totally fine until recently), then had to walk again today (he wore blister plasters, but they didn’t really help), and has to walk again tomorrow. Any ideas on how to protect his feet and avoid causing pain or making the blisters worse?

      1. Jascha*

        I’ll suggest it to him – I didn’t know ice was good for blisters. Blister plasters are those oval-shaped sticky things you put over skin to prevent blisters if they haven’t appeared yet, or cushion them if they have. I’ve heard great things about moleskin, but he definitely doesn’t have any of that and I suspect we would have to order it online.

        1. Vancouver Reader*

          Okay I should clarify, I had a blister under a callous, so I was able to ice it all weekend (still definitely use a towel or something so it’s not ice directly on skin) and it brought down the blister nicely. Can you try looking for moleskin at either a local pharmacy or shoe repair place?

          1. Ultraviolet*

            There’s some chance you could get moleskin at an outdoors-sports goods store, or a store for running equipment, or maybe a general sports store.

            Jascha, has he tried ring-shaped plasters? The material is so thick that if you center the ‘o’ shape of the plaster on your blister, the blister doesn’t get much pressure when you take a step. I had a lot of luck with them (but unfortunately I probably found them in the pharmacy next to the moleskin, so maybe they aren’t available to you.)

          2. Rana*

            The problem with moleskin in my experience is that it’s best applied before a blister pops up. It is super sticky, so it can tear off the blister when you remove it later. I like the blister bandaids E, F, and G mentions. I also try to wear shoes that don’t rub in the same spots while it’s healing up.

            For prevention, I find anti-friction blister sticks more helpful than moleskin, though I’ve had some luck applying the moleskin to the shoe so that the soft part of the moleskin is rubbing on my foot instead of the shoe.

          3. Jascha*

            Thank you! Some of his blisters were similar to what you describe, so I suggested icing. It was too late at night for him to start then, but he says he will try it tonight.

        2. TL -*

          instead of blister plasters, you can use a small piece of thicker, stiff foam, cut to shape around the blister – that’s what I did when I had blister under a callous on my foot and I was able to run on it with the foam in place.

          1. Jascha*

            Ooh, like a sort of doughnut cushion for the blister. What a great idea – I’ll have to suggest that!

    1. Rebecca*

      I found out the hard way that cotton socks just suck up sweat, then the socks rub against the skin, and blisters result. This worked for me: I don’t wear cotton socks when I walk or hike, I wear synthetic athletic socks or wool socks. If I get a blister, and it’s really sore and I still want to or have to walk about, I make sure it’s clean and dry, then I put a very large Band Aid waterproof bandage over it, and usually a pair of wool socks. I’ve also put a small piece of duct tape on the inside part of my shoe opposite the blister to help eliminate any possibility of friction. Some people say wearing 2 very light pair of socks works too, but I haven’t tried it. I take the Band Aid off at night to let air hit the blister area, keep it clean, and then reapply a fresh Band Aid before putting on socks and shoes the next day. I keep a bandage on the area until there is no hint of the blister any longer to help prevent a new one from forming.

      I hope this helps! I am not a medical professional, by any means, but this works for me and I hope it will help your friend!

      1. Jascha*

        This was all really good advice! He wore a pair of thin synthetic socks (a little too small, so snug) as liners under his regular (don’t know what sort of material, but lightly cushioned) ones, and used Band-Aid style plasters over the blisters with callouses. Blister pads over the “de-roofed” ones also helped. I’ll make sure to suggest he keeps the bandages on when he’s moving about and airs them out when he isn’t! Thank you!

    2. ginger ale for all*

      Your feet can swell up to a size and a half larger if you run or walk for a few hours at a time. His shoes may be fine for everyday use but not for heavy distance days.

      1. Jascha*

        Good point. Is there any way to tell whether or not your feet have swollen to such a high degree? Perhaps he can use a tape measure or something before and after a long hike to see if he should size up in boots. (I guess the last thing he’d want to do is buy a larger pair that are then too big and cause damage by rubbing!)

    3. E F and G*

      One of the main things that works for me is a multi layer approach (this assumes you desperately need to be moving with badly torn up heels/toes/I hate thin skin.)

      I start off with a blister band-aid like this one
      This seems to protect the problem area.

      Next step is a quick wrap of some flexi-wrap product which seems to keep the edges of the band-aid from rubbing off on the shoe.

      Final step is fairly new but I am in love with kt tape http://www.kttape.com
      This stuff actually sticks to skin even when moving so I leave a piece that starts above the flexiwrap and ends below it. This step isn’t necessary but on the few occasions I have needed to wear the good shoes after a day of painful shoes I don’t care as long as nag as it works.

      Overkill, most certainly. But it works for me.

      1. Jascha*

        Really good advice! He did try layering (Band-Aid-style plasters/blister plasters, a snug synthetic sock later, a cushioning regular sock layer) and it helped a lot, along with wearing his running shoes instead of his hiking boots. I’ll see if we can get some of that kt tape where we live!

        1. E, F and G*

          Thanks for the update, I’m going to have to try and find a good pair of synthetic socks

    4. Mander*

      Back when I was doing survey projects and literally hiking for 8 hours a day, I used ordinary duct tape over my blister plasters to keep them in place. Otherwise they would slide around in my boots. Another thing that is supposed to help prevent them is to wear ordinary nylons (knee high probably stays up best) as a first layer, under your regular socks. It’s supposed to help reduce friction on your skin.

      Where are you at? I used to buy moleskin in the Wal-Mart pharmacy section. It’s an old-fashioned product and widely available although they might call it something else.

      1. Jascha*

        The sliding around has been a problem with the blister plasters (we’ve both just been using the cheap Tesco brand ones, which are good for protection, but don’t help much once you’ve already got a blister). The edges rub and roll up and don’t stick well. Ordinary duct tape may be the solution we need! My friend also tried a sort of “nylons” approach, wearing thin synthetic socks a size too small under his regular one. We live in the UK, but I’m sure we can track down something similar to moleskin given time…

  59. Concerned Citizen*

    How much of a problem is it when someone socially identifies as a nurse (including social media) at Hospital X, but does not have a nursing license (according to state database)? Could this be part of a mental health issue?

    1. fposte*

      Depends on the rest of the story. Is she a nurse’s assistant inflating her credentials, or a lawyer who’s never touched a chart? Does she state this face to face as well, or is this just a case of somebody lying on the internet?

      If it’s the last, I might point out she’s not actually a nurse if she attempts to give medical advice, but otherwise I’d just write her off as an energy suck.