weekend free-for-all – June 25-26, 2016

Sam - OliveThis 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: I’m Just a Person, by Tig Notaro. Tig is my favorite comedian (if you don’t know her, you need to watch everything she’s done immediately), but this book isn’t your standard comedian’s memoir — it’s about a very bad year and her return from it.

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

{ 830 comments… read them below }

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I’m stunned. No personal ties to the UK myself except for witnessing the shock and grief of a British former colleague whose family is devastated by the news. He’s considering his options for American citizenship, provided Trump is not elected here.

    2. Elkay*

      It’s going to take us a long time to recover. I think Cameron screwed the country in so many ways and I’m scared that Boris Johnson is going to take power. The whole stupid thing was about power and it’s backfired so horribly (even on Farage who’s now being shut out of negotiations). I’m sad that members of my family voted to leave.

      1. pony tailed wonder*

        Could he do that if he has dual citizenship with the US and UK? I remember a news story about his refusal to pay US taxes but keep the citizenship anyways. In the US, you have to be a natural born citizen to be President and I had assumed that there would be similar strings in other countries.

        1. Short and Stout*

          Boris was born in NYC to British parents, so he is and has always been a British citizen and hence eligible to stand for election as an MP. Alas.

        2. Caledonia*

          @ pony tailed wonder – it doesn’t matter about dual citizenship. The only requirements are to be able to command the confidence of the House of Commons and be invited by the Crown to form a government.

    3. I can spell my own name thank you*

      I’m stunned – and then to see Scotland and Ireland now want to leave? Could this be the end of the UK?

      1. Short and Stout*

        I think it will be.

        The political landscape in Scotland is now totally different from that in England, first with the decimation of Scottish Labour MPs, and now with the majority remain vote.

        If the economy tanks very badly, and if Scotland goes, I also believe that Northern Ireland will get their own referendum too.

        1. Caledonia*

          Scotland voted for remain. Our voices should be heard and if that means leaving the UK then so be it. I cannot, cannot condone us leaving the EU against our wishes. It’s bad enough that we are ruled overall by a government that was wiped out decades ago (and I am so lucky that the SNP has protected us from things like the bedroom tax – yes Americans, people in council houses are taxed for having spare rooms).

          1. Gaia*

            Ok, this is off topic but what *are* council houses? I’ve tried to research this and I’m not sure I really understand it?

            We have government built or operated low income housing but I don’t think it is the same thing. Council housing seems to be something you purchase?

            1. Marzipan*

              OK. Basically, council houses are homes owned by local councils and rented out at an affordable rate. There are also Housing Associations, which are similar. Historically, the type of tenancy a council tenant signed was very secure and life-long (and could even be inherited by your children). There’s also a lot of freedom to, for example, decorate your home as you want. Plus, they were really well constructed homes and had tons of cupboards.*

              But. Margaret Thatcher heavily promoted the ‘right to buy’ which allowed council tenants to buy their homes at a discount, which was good for them but less good for the availability of affordable homes, especially because the money brought in by sales of homes wasn’t reinvested in new ones.

              Because of this, they’re now in very short supply, so the tenancies offered are less secure, and you need to be in the most extreme housing need, for a long time, to be in with a chance if being offered one. There is also a perception that refugees, asylum seekers and so forth have been able to ‘jump the queue’ to access housing ahead of local British people, although to my mind the main problem is lack of investment in housing over several decades.

              (*I used to own an ex-council house. It was awesome. It had an outbuilding, and an actual, honest-to-goodness pantry.)

              1. Gaia*

                Ok, here’s another question. If the tenancy could be life long and inherited what difference did it make if you rented vs bought? How did that make them in short supply?

                This sounds a lot like some of the setups we have here. We essentially have two types of low income housing – government owned (often believed to be crime ridden and not very desirable) and privately owned. Both are income contingent and you have to be fairly low income to qualify and in my area you have to maintain very low income. However some areas let you stay even as your income goes up. This has resulted in middle class families taking up low rent homes and preventing them from being available to the poor.

                1. Cristina in England*

                  That is an excellent question and I hope someone else chimes in! I was shocked when I learned that council tenancies were lifelong and inherited. No wonder there is a shortage! The UK has long had a problem keeping up with housing demand generally, public and private sector-wise. There are large swaths of countryside that you can’t build on. If you are on welfare you can get money to pay to private landlords instead, so the lack of council housing itself isn’t the full story.

            2. the gold digger*

              I get so confused when I read novels that take place in Scotland – Denise Mina’s come to mind – and the character is looking for a new apartment and rather than looking at the for rent ads, she goes to City Hall? I am still confused, even with Marzipan’s explanation – are there no builders who build private homes there?

              1. Caledonia*

                Golddigger – yes of course we have private homes. I am living in one right now! :-)

                I have never had a council owned one though, so I can’t really comment.

              2. Cristina in England*

                I don’t know when Denise Mina’s books take place, but a lot of council housing was built after the war, and I think there were housing shortages then, so it wasn’t only low-income housing? I have lived in the UK for a decade (Scotland then England) and I still have so many questions about council housing.

          2. Elena*

            But would Scotland be able to remain in the EU if they get another referendum? Voting fatigue aside, it takes time to organise a referendum, and it costs a lot of money. If it’s successful, would they be able to separate from the UK before the UK leaves the EU? If they’re out, they’ll need to apply to re-join much like any other country, and it’s hard to say how welcoming the EU members will be despite the huge margin to remain.

            Not saying that Scotland shouldn’t do what’s best for them, but these are likely to be arguments that will be used if the referendum goes ahead. People are acting like that if only they could get independence then nothing will change, and that is just not true.

            1. Marzipan*

              I believe there may be some sort of precedent for them splitting from the rest of the UK and just not leaving the EU in the first place. If they had to apply from outside, though, then Spain would never in a million years OK it, because of Catalonia.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                I was reading an article this morning on MSN UK (or maybe it was Yahoo UK) that talked about how Parliament doesn’t have to do squat about actually leaving, even though it was voted on. They could turn right around and say, “Nope, not gonna happen.” This surprised me–I don’t know how accurate that was, but I didn’t know they could refuse to follow through. Or did I read that wrong?

                1. Cb*

                  Legally, they could. Sovereignty rests with the U.K. Parliament but it wouldn’t be a politically tenable position in the absence of a general election.

                2. Marzipan*

                  Yeah, the referendum was ‘advisory’ and they could just decide not to take that advice. I’m not sure how well that would play with the people who voted to leave, though; given that the result has broadly been interpreted as a shout to be heard by politicians who don’t normally pay attention…

          3. TootsNYC*

            but is that such a horrible thing, given that council housing was intended to provide housing for lower incomes, and not to provide upward mobility, necessarily?
            If people’s family size has shrunk, maybe they should be getting a smaller place.
            The ownership thing has messed it up, but I see some parallels to something in the U.S.–in NYC, specifically.

            We have publicly owned housing, and apartments are allocated by family size. When people’s kids grow up and move out, the parents are supposed to be moved to a smaller apartment–thereby making room for new families. They’re not supposed to be moved -out- of housing, just into a smaller place.
            But they don’t want to move, understandably, and are resisting in some way (lawsuits, refusal to move, etc.). I tend to be “liberal” in my opinions, but in this case, I think they’re wrong. The space is the public’s, and it was intended to help lower-income families as they *need* help. The parents of grown kids don’t -need- that extra bedroom. And if they move, then someone who’s still got kids at home can have it.

            In a country w/ stagnant housing stock, the “extra bedroom” tax seems like a way to create a financial incentive to downsize, and thereby reduce demand for the larger apartments.

            1. Caledonia*

              @ toots (if anyone is still reading) it’s that the bedroom tax is unfair. If your kids have moved out and you’ve got a spare room(s) it is hard to downsize because of the lack of 1 beds. Going into renting privately costs more. Also: people who are less able are being punished. Google it, there are plenty of horrifying stories about people being taxed on having a “spare” bedroom but they use it for overnight carers, respite, to store necessary medical equipment, to have a safe room because they are a domestic abuse victim, because they have a child with special needs etc….

              Also: moving people out of their home to other parts of the city, breaking up bonds and ties to the commuity, making it more difficult to travel (if they work near to previous house) etc

    4. Caledonia*

      I live in Scotland, which voted for remain (and ok, in one area the difference was only a 100 and something) and I am gutted and heartbroken at what has happened and what it means.

      In Sept 2014, I voted to remain as part of the UK and I voted to remain part of the EU. I cannot condone the fact that my country is being dragged out despite what we voted for! Our leader has already said a second ref on Scottish independence is “highly likely” and is going to negotiate with the EU leaders on behalf of Scotland (as we want to stay)

      1. Blue Anne*

        I just “moved” back to the USA after nine years in Edinburgh. (I was, basically, deported.)

        I’m shocked at the result but not shocked by Scotland voting entirely for Remain. I’m scared for my friends. But, I have to admit, if Sturgeon gets her way, it makes me hopeful for my ability to return. After this vote, I just don’t see how anyone can prevent another independence referendum, and I just don’t see how No could win it again.

          1. Chocolate Teapot*

            My initial thought is that Spain is going to be the sticky point*. Catalonia is fiercely independent, so the Catalans are likely to insist on their own EU membership. Even if it is initially blocked, other, wealthier states are going to start pushing, so a federal Europe may be on the cards. For example, Flanders, Bavaria, and Tyrol, which all have distinct identities, may want to split from Belgium and Germany/Austria/Italy respectively.

            *And that’s before Gibraltar and all the retired Britons in Spain!

          2. Blue Anne*

            Yeah. My husband and I split up very close to the three-yer renewal date on my marriage visa. Apparently if you split up in the middle of your visa, they give you a month or so to pack up and leave, but if you happen to have only a few days left on your visa, you just need to get out.

            I spent the 650 pounds to submit a visa application under a different category just to buy myself more than 4 days to pack up 9 years of my life. When I was ready to go I withdrew it. They sent me threatening letters, wouldn’t give me my passport, generally treated me like a criminal. A border official met me at the airport right before my flight home to hand me my passport so I could get on the plane. Now I’m in Ohio and they’re still sending me emails saying they believe I got off my connection in Ireland and flew straight back into the UK illegally. (They specifically told me it was okay to book a flight with a foreign connection.) The whole thing has been awful.

            9 years. Good British degree. Years of working and paying taxes, cooperating with the border agency, generally being a model immigrant. Didn’t matter. Sigh.

    5. Confused Publisher*

      To say I’m devastated is an understatement. This is not the country I fell in love with and to whom I swore allegiance as an adult. I haven’t slept in 2 nights as I try and make sense of what is happening, and what will happen in the days and months to come.
      This referendum has exposed deep fault lines along class, age, professional, educational lines, but also geographical lines. (I’m also going to stick out my neck and say racial lines, to a point.)

      If this was truly an ‘advisory’ referendum, I’m appalled that those who won’t be around to see the consequences, or be hurt by the opportunities denied, got a voice (and showed that they preferred to play-act at returning to the ‘good old days’) and those who will (the 16 and 17 year olds), didn’t (unlike in the Scottish referendum). I can’t believe so many people took these decisions without doing their research (if Google’s statistics are to be believed).

      At last count, the petition to have a new referendum has nearly 2 million votes.

      The pound, as of this morning is nearly 1:1 to the Euro.

      1. Caledonia*

        I don’t think the petition will do anything but you’re right about the fault lines it has exposed throughout the UK and further.

        I cannot believe that 16/17 year olds weren’t allowed to vote. That was a terrible decision on top of all the other ones.

        I feel proud to be Scottish but ashamed of being British. I feel like apologising to everyone to say “this was not in my name”.

        1. Confused Publisher*

          If by achieve anything, you mean ‘hold another referendum’, then no, it won’t.
          But I am still hoping that the fact that 2 million people are questioning the result means that the resultant discussion in parliament will have some effect on the decisions and negotiations that follow.

          (Even before 2 hours had elapsed since the result, Farage was acknowledging that his promises regarding the NHS were lies. And yet, that and Vote Leave’s immigration promises were key reasons people voted for them.)

          And maybe this will prevent British politicians caving in to the increasingly-strongly-worded EU demands that Britain invoke Article 50 at this precise second.

          1. Marzipan*

            I’m pretty sure the resulting discussion in parliament – if they decide to have one; I believe the only requirement is that they *consider* having one – will pretty much say ‘lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry’ and not result in any actual change. I don’t think they could change it at this point; the consequences would probably be… not good.

            Nevertheless, I signed it – not because I really expect them to reconsider the result itself, but to underline the need, in moving forward, to listen to and integrate (as far as is possible, with something so binary) the views and voices of the 48% of people who didn’t want this in the first place. Because this is where things are going to get reaaaaallllyyy messy – even those people in power who *do* want Brexit haven’t clearly expressed a single vision for exactly what they hope that will involve (leaving aside whether or not they’ll be able to get it); and I’m sure most of the public (and I include myself in this) have a fairly limited understanding of all the technicalities involved. To whatever extent we’ve all been divided by an in/out question, I can’t see how we won’t be further fractured by all the compromises which will inevitably follow – but I’d at least like those making the decisions to remember I exist, when they make them.

            Give it another ten minutes and I reckon it’ll hit two and a quarter million…

              1. Marzipan*

                And now it’s up to two and a half million. It’s oddly compelling watching the number go up…

          2. Jenny*

            Thing is, unless those 2 million people are ones who voted to leave but have changed their minds (or those who wanted to vote remain but didn’t vote on the day) then it’s pretty meaningless given that over 17 million people voted to leave. I don’t think that petition will get 18 million signatures.

            1. Kyrielle*

              Agreed, but people who voted leave might well be swayed the other way since they’ve now been told that certain promises and statements that swayed them were lies…by some of the same folks who made them.

              1. Billie*

                There’s suggestion that a lot of the swing voters who ended up voting ‘leave’ did it expecting a big win for remain, and wanted to make the margin smaller so that the UK could have a bargaining chip in EU negotiations.

                Essentially they wanted to fire a warning shot, but misfired on target. I guess they still have that chip, only the EU are calling their bluff.

                Now I don’t know how many leave voters actually feel that way (most evidence is anecdotal), but if it was enough to make a difference…then yeah, it’s really screwed up.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  Well here’s the thing—DEAR BRITAIN, IT’S OKAY TO ADMIT YOU MADE A MISTAKE!

                  I promise; you won’t die of humiliation. If anyone understands, it would be the U.S.!!!

      2. Marzipan*

        It’s well past two million now. Interesting that it seems to be getting more signatures in England – I wonder whether the possibility of independence is a more promising avenue for Scottish remainers?

        1. Caledonia*

          Or it’s because people have woken up and realised what has happened.
          The money for the NHS – not true.
          There will be less immigration – not true.

          As I said, I voted against independence before and since the oil crash (it’s been <$50) it's just as well but I cannot condone my country's voice being ignored. I think Scottish independence really relies on how we as a country can be self sufficient and if we will be accepted into the EU.

          1. Marzipan*

            No, I mean, in general the concentrations of signatures have mirrored the concentrations of remain votes, except that Scotland was very remain but seems not to be signing so much.

            1. Confused Publisher*

              I get the feeling Scotland is thinking ‘we’ve had our say; our position is pretty clear’ and focusing their energies on IndyRef2. (And as a Brit – no I am not English, I just live there – who tried to help persuade Scotland to stay in last time, I will support them this time. The Scots deserve better.)

            2. Jess*

              I think it is partly that Nicola Sturgeon has come out so strongly to say she will not let Scotland be dragged out of the EU against its will that it doesn’t feel quite inevitable at the moment. (Though who kn ows what the future EU will look like with the ramifications of the UK leaving).

              Partly that the Scottish referendum was so huge and also very heated towards the end, facing the possibility of independence felt much more immediate and close to home, we’ve already faced the possibility of a seismic change recently.

              (Not to mention voter fatigue. I have voted in the Scottish referendum, general election, Scottish Parliament election, and for EU ref in 2 years.)

                1. Jess*

                  I saw we’d posted about that at the same time! Before the vote I was saying that even if Scotland did vote to stay and the rest of the U.K. to leave we wouldn’t have another indyref because nobody could cope with that. Now…I am trying not to think about it. I don’t want to leave the EU, but the thought of mixing the bitterness of indyref and bitterness of Brexit refs is not appealing.

      3. Robina Goodfellow*

        I don’t think people over a certain age should have been denied a vote. Where would the democracy have been in that? By definition anyone on the electoral register should have been allowed to vote. In any case, votes for Leave and Remain went across geographical boundaries and normal left/right areas. Also, there are too many generalisations happening. Nowhere on the ballot paper did I have to give my age, profession or social social class yet there are so many heated accusations being thrown around.

        Yesterday my parents had two front windows smashed and vile accusations pushed through their front door, on the lines that they are racist pensioners for voting Leave. They are in their 70s which meant they were Brexiters according to the internet (and some newspapers). Yet they voted Remain.

        1. Jess*

          That is horrific, I’m so sorry that happened to them :(

          A lot of the rhetoric on both sides is sickening. I have been feeling very uncomfortable with some of the comments I’m seeing from people who voted remain in the past day, people I previously thought were level headed and sensible. It really does feel like we are in a divided country.

        2. Tau*

          Some of the rhetoric aimed at the elderly has been truly appalling. I am so sorry that happened to your parents.

          1. Newshound*

            Lots of the votes coming out of the elderly have been truly appalling. I don’t condone violence, that’s unacceptable. I do condone telling them off. And voting to reduce their piece of the benefits pie.

            1. Observer*

              But that’s just it. How do you know that “the elderly” voted in one specific way? In fact, you DO NOT. What right does ANYONE have to “tell off” someone for doing something, when the ONLY indication that they did so is that they are part of a certain group? “The elderly” is about as “The Blacks”, “the Pakis” or “the youth”.

              And by the way, plenty of young people voted Leave.

              I don’t have an opinion either way, but I’ve followed some of the rhetoric and some of the reasoning. And neither side comes off too well.

        3. Marzipan*

          That’s terrible! That shouldn’t happen, whoever they voted for. I hope they’re OK.

          1. Chocolate Teapot*

            That’s terrible. What is wrong with people?

            Also the restrictions on voting, not just for 16-17 year olds will have had an impact. I was just able to register to vote as I have been living outside of the UK for just under the cut-off point of 15 years, but I know lots of people here (founding EU member state) who did not qualify, and would have voted to remain.

      4. Billie*

        GBP is trading 1.23 EUR before markets closed, but yeah, if you’re exchanging cash for personal use you’ll probably only get one Euro to the Pound at the moment, but you definitely won’t be able buy one pound for one euro at the moment.

        Take the headlines with a grain of salt. The huge fall in the pound on the result of the vote was always predicted (along with stock market falls) and makes a dramatic headline, but initial market reactions are always exaggerated. The real test is how they’re going to manage the transition, only then will long-term effects start to emerge.

      5. Gaia*

        Are 16 and 17 year olds normally allowed to vote in the UK and, if so, what was the reasoning to deny them that right here?

        1. Caledonia*

          @ Gaia – no the voting age is 18. However in the Scottish Independence Ref 16/17 year olds were allowed to vote and it was thought that they would get tp with this ref but it was ultimately decided to keep it to the voting age of 18+

    6. Marzipan*

      I had yesterday off work (I figured I’d give myself a buffer zone in case I needed one) and just cried and cried. It’s just so utterly horrible. It’s all just grown from Cameron wanting to gain a bit of internal party advantage; he only did it because he thought it’d be an easy win for remain and would shut the Eurosceptics up once and for all. He’s dragged the entire country, plus quite possibly the continent and the rest of the world, into a ridiculous mess that never needed to happen. And at this point, everyone is seething – even if the result had gone the other way, it’s basically brought massive divisions to the surface which now we’re all supposed to just let go and bond together and grow past, and I am SO ANGRY. And we have to watch Farage sliming his smug way across our TV screens, and there’s every risk we’ll get sick with Boris sodding Johnson as PM.

      The thing that makes it personally worst is, I’ve mentioned before I’ve been trying to get pregnant as a single woman, and I’m so worried about whether that would be at all a responsible thing to do in a post- (or, mid-) Brexit Britain. I need to think about it some more, but it feels absolutely as though the country had a referendum on whether I get to have children, and voted no. Which sucks!

      (Also, my autocorrect now contains the words ‘Brexit’ and ‘Farage’ and when I type ‘Boris’ it immediately suggests ‘Johnson’ as the next word. This is clearly a sad state of affairs.)

      1. Caledonia*

        Cameron doesn’t even have the audacity to stick around and deal with his mess either!
        I have genuine despair over what has happened.

        1. Marzipan*

          I do have some sympathy for that part – can you imagine if you’d spent the last several months explaining (with evidence) why you felt that leaving the EU would suck and the deals available would all be worse than what we currently have; facing off against people who just yelled ‘Project Fear!!!! It’ll be great!!!!!’ at you (largely without evidence, but certainly with enthusiasm); and then you were expected to be the person doing the negotiating at the end of it? That’s going to be a thankless task – and sure, he deserves it, but the temptation to yell I TOLD YOU SO on pretty much a daily basis would be overwhelming, I suspect.

          1. ClairefromLondon*

            Half German, half British here. I’ve felt so sad and angry about this. It’s one thing to have bad luck or only bad choices available as a country, the self-inflicted nature of this has been very hard to accept.

        2. Blue Anne*

          I’m just pissed that Cameron finally resigned and I don’t even get to enjoy it.

        3. Sarahnova*

          Although promising the referendum at all was a stupid mistake, resigning straightaway without invoking Article 50 was the biggest ‘fuck you’ he could give to Gove and Johnson. Now they have to reap what they sowed and face the fact they peddled lies they didn’t believe, and much may they enjoy it. All their options now are bad.

      2. Billie*

        It occurs to me that if Johnson was to be PM, he’d be living at 10 Downing street … right in the heart of central London. He’s probably not going to be riding a bike (or going down a zip wire) again any time soon.

        (I don’t condone violence, but the anger will definitely be there)

    7. New Jane on the Block*

      Like everyone else, I was completely stunned when I saw the results. I never would have thought that the separation movement would have succeeded. And now I am seeing reports of people regretting their votes because they didn’t think their voice mattered (?!) and also Farage’s comments on Good Morning Britain (If you haven’t seen this, OH BOY>>http://ind.pn/28UD5V0). What a mess!

      1. Elena*

        I followed the results live (I’m Australian, so results were rolling in around 10am to 2pm our time). I was at work and in a meeting for some of that time, and many people around the table had their phones out checking updates in disbelief, all the while muttering ‘nah, it’s not going to happen, Remain will recover…’, of course that recovery never came.

    8. Gem*

      I am angry and sad. I can’t believe Cameron threw this referendum out to get right wing Tories on his side, and now it’s come to bite him he decided its not his problem any more.

      I am still shocked at Farage’s ‘without a bullet fired’ comment 8 days after Jo Cox.

      I’m feeling helpless and listless, and trying to carry on life as normal without any idea what is going to happen. It’s…hard.

      1. Elkay*

        The complete non-apology for the comment was sickening. It’s a weird phrase to use but you could put it down to a speech written weeks ago and delivered at 3am, however the lack of “Oh shit, no, no, no, that was phrased so badly” feels quite telling about his personality.

        1. Billie*

          He didn’t so much as blush when questioned on the 350 billion pound claim, and that he could just write it off as a ‘mistake’ is mind-boggling. I don’t know if anyone watches ‘The Last Leg’, but one of the panelists was astonished that during that interview, Piers Morgan was somehow /not/ ‘the biggest twat at this table’.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            LOL! I can’t stand Farage. He looks like he’s perpetually holding in a fart. Plus, did you see that anti-immigration advert people were talking about, the one they were saying looked like a Third Reich poster?!

            We are having the same sort of debates in the US and it’s just as disgusting. I can’t facepalm any more than I already am!

      2. Sarahnova*

        I can understand why people feel p’d off with Cameron in this regard, but it was actually the strongest move he could make towards this not actually happening at all. Now Johnson has to manage it, and the odds that it will destroy him politically are high. Have you noticed how non-overjoyed he looks since the verdict?

        1. Newshound*

          Clearly, it wasn’t “the strongest move towards this not actually happening” – he should’ve never called the referendum, even if it cost him some personal power.

          If Boris has any sense, he won’t take up this mess. Nobody with a brain will want to be PM for this mess when they could just wait a few years to take over instead, so whoever you get next as PM will be someone who is both a bit stupid and incredibly power-hungry. Those types are the best people to have in charge of a disaster, right? /sarcasm

          With a lot of luck and daring, they could do a motion of no confidence to force a new election. Parties could campaign promising to not submit the necessary request to the EU if elected, and choose a PM who basically just refuses to honor the referendum. It’d be as close to a redo of the referendum that they can plausibly do, and if the majority opt for a party that’s against withdrawing from the EU, then it gives them a lot of political cover with constituents. They’d have to make a much better case for the EU to the populace, and they’d need a clear win. Of course, that could backfire tremendously, just like the original referendum did.

          1. Sarahnova*

            Post- losing the vote, I mean. :) He absolutely should never have called the referendum in the first place.

          2. Mallory Janis Ian*

            It could, or maybe the idiots who voted to leave, thinking their votes “didn’t count” and they could have a consequence-free little snit, would then wise up and vote *for* what they’d really like to see happen, instead of *against* it.

    9. Apollo Warbucks*

      It’s terrible, so much damage is going to be done and it wount change anything, we’ll still have to negotiate a trade deal with the EU.

      Scotland will leave the uk now I’m sure and I can’t say I blame them.

      And I’ve seen people saying they wish they hadn’t voted leave now, it was a protest vote they didn’t it would make a difference. I’m sure that’s not many people but really don’t bother voting if you’re not going to take it seriously.

      And 70% turn out is really low for such a big decision.

      1. Confused Publisher*

        It just goes to show how much rhetoric and misinformation there was in all this. And so, 52% of 72% of the eligible voters have made a decision all 100% of us are stuck with.

      2. Caledonia*

        The turnout in Scotland was 67% – partly because we just had our own (Scottish) elections last month. The EU ref was the 4th time I voted in under 2 years. I definitely was feeling ‘voting fatigue’ especially as both the refs have been extremely bitter.

        1. Blue Anne*

          I was really surprised that the turnout was so much lower than for the indy ref. But I had forgotten the parliamentary elections. That does make sense.

        2. Jenny*

          And ironically this is the vote that would have the biggest – and longest – repercussions. Along with everything else that was wrong with the campaign, the timing of the vote couldn’t have been worse.

    10. Cristina in England*

      I think that the utter collapse of the Labour Party foreshadowed this. I’ve never understood why the Labour Party even took a Remain position (the party leader’s personal Euroskeptic voting record notwithstanding) since I would have thought that flooding the market with cheaper labour would be against the interests of its traditional core constituency: white working class tradesmen, miners, etc.

      Anyway, the Labour Party leaders seemed shocked to be completely destroyed in the election last year but they have completely lost touch with this traditional core constituency to the point where a Labour front-bencher resigned over allegations that she was openly sneering at this group on Twitter (Google Emily Thornberry tweet England flag). Enter super leftie backbencher Jeremy Corbyn, who was voted in by the core constituency despite many of the party higher-ups being against him. He’s a longtime Euroskeptic.

      Obviously it isn’t quite as simple as a Point A to Point B, but the term “silent majority” comes to mind.

      1. Cristina in England*

        For some context, I’m an American in the UK (11 years, some of which in Scotland) and I’ve never voted Conservative or Labour in my time here, mostly LibDem, SNP or Green. I’m discussing more analytically than emotionally.

          1. Caledonia*

            In theory I could vote Green but it’s more or less a wasted vote because the SNP are so strong here. There wasn’t even a Green candidate here last time.

            I have previously voted LibDem but that was (unfortunately) in 2010 so we got the ConDems…yeah, not going to do that again.

            1. Apollo Warbucks*

              I meant to say that I vote for them inspire them having to chance of winning

        1. Short and Stout*

          I totally agree with this analysis. As a lifelong Labour supporter, the only near-future positive to arise from this mess is the prospect of Hilary Benn ousting Corbyn as leader.

          1. Caledonia*

            I quite like Corbyn. The Labour Party isn’t doing itself any favours trying to oust him.

            1. Short and Stout*

              Labour would be much more effective without him. He is not a good leader, and he is a very poor communicator.

              A good example of not leading: he did not come back from his holidays for five days to see the flooding in York, and across the North. I also think that Sadiq Khan won the London mayoral election despite Corbyn, not because of him.

            2. Cristina in England*

              This referendum (and the last gen. election) has really exposed the complete disconnect between Labour MPs and Labour voters. I think Corbyn missed an opportunity. Imagine if he had gone rogue and campaigned for Leave (his preferred option, despite his party)! He might have saved the Labour Party from the electoral wasteland.

      2. Confused Publisher*

        Speaking of Labour, as of this morning, according to the BBC, half the Shadow Cabinet is threatening to resign. So not only is everything else wrong, there is no Labour…

        1. Tau*

          It’s like watching the government slowly implode.

          I am just really going. Why. Why. Why would you hold a referendum, if you weren’t prepared to deal with either outcome? It’s like both Remain and Leave were banking on Remain winning and now have no idea what to do. This is not how governing is supposed to WORK, you guys!

        2. Caledonia*

          It’s not even noon and a whole bunch of Labour MP’s have already resigned!

          It’s a total mess, the whole thing.

      3. Elfie*

        I simply cannot believe that the Tory party come out of this f*ck up looking like they’re the ones most in touch with the voters! After all, nearly half of them voted Leave. The other parties, almost to a man, were Remain! Go Conservatives, the party of the people!! (And that’s sarcasm, BTW).

    11. Mimmy*

      I’m in the U.S. and would like a better understanding of what’s going on over there. Anyone willing to offer a “cliff notes” version, or point me to jargon-free articles that explains this? Thanks!

      1. Cristina in England*

        Happy to help. Is there a particular sticking point that you don’t get?

        1. Mimmy*

          Thanks! The news my husband and I watch is usually pretty good at giving easy-to-understand explanations, but after watching tonight, I may return with more questions. But here’s a couple I have now:

          1. Is this exit going to take affect now/soon or was the referendum more of a recommendation to the British government?

          2. I’m guessing all of the UK voted, but only Britain voted to exit?

          Even though this is overseas, I am sure Brexit is going to have huge ramifications globally, particularly for the rest of Europe and the U.S. For example, the stock market here in the U.S. plunged (I believe) over 600 points yesterday :(

          1. ClairefromLondon*

            1. It is not legally binding for the Prime Minister to accept the people’s vote, but it would be hard for him/or her to wriggle out of it. It is a mandate to inform the EU that the UK wants to leave. After that the negotiations go on for two years. Cameron has already suggested that they may buy time by not applying to leave right now, but in a few months. The rest of the EU is not hugely impressed.
            2. England and Wales voted out, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as several cities in England (notably London) voted in.

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              So what would happen if, in the course of negotiations, the UK decided to not really leave? Would there be some sort of sanctions or penalty from the EU?

              1. ClairefromLondon*

                The problem is that none of this was ever supposed to happen and that the rules about leaving are therefore to put it politely brief.
                I’d suspect and this is pure speculation though that if the UK did apply to leave and then wanted to stop the negotiations they might possibly lose their rebate (very short version: countries contribute to the EU budget according to their means, the UK on a previous occasion negotiated having to pay less than they would have to according to EU rules). Although, thinking about it, probably all the old agreements would be allowed to stand as nobody really loves negotiating that much to redo all the treaties.

                1. Key to the West*

                  I think the only way the exit process can be stop after Article 50 is triggered is if all other member states unanimously vote to allow us to stay.

              2. Short and Stout*

                Key to the West is right: it’s all about Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Once the UK government triggers that, then there is no going back without going through the whole motions of rejoining, which means every other country agreeing that we can rejoin.

                There is now an argument about how soon Article 50 will be triggered. The Leave campaign leaders here in the UK want to take this at a leisurely pace, but pretty much all the other EU countries have said that this needs to happen ASAP.

                I haven’t read deeply about this, but I guess the Leave campaign not getting to leave in the way they wanted is going to affect the separation badly.

                1. Short and Stout*

                  Oh yeah, and our Prime Minister has resigned, but not till October! So it’s not clear who’s going to be leading these negotiations … And the Leader of the Opposition is probably going to be ousted in a no confidence vote next week, which both probably mean that there’ll be a snap general election in November.

                  But only probably, because we’ve never dealt with a snap election since the present government enacted fixed length terms (of five years) in 2010.

                  In conclusion: everything is very uncertain. :(

      2. ClairefromLondon*

        Very rough and somewhat biased version: UK joined the EU more on pragmatic than idealistic grounds during a time when it was havin economic difficulties. Subsequently EU responsibilities expand (as per agreement of countries involved) to manage product standards, encourage things that matter to everybody (environment, research, channelling money from wealthier to poorer areas). Cold War ends. Germany reunites. Former communist countries are welcomed into EU. To keep Germany contained, freedom of movement for former Eastern European countries is decided (significant numbers move to the UK instead). To keep Germany contained, the Euro currency is divised (another project that didn’t quite work out as planned). In the mean time the UK has a drum beat of negative EU stories from its press, started back in the day by Boris Johnson as correspondent in Brussels (most of them weren’t that accurate but they were entertaining). Fast forward: Significant parts of the UK population are lead the believe that the UK is overrun by migrants, that the reasons that they don’t have enough houses or hospital beds lies not with their national government and its policy of not spending money on public services, but the EU.
        The conservatives are outflanked on the right by UKIP (think one-issue tea party). To get things sorted Cameron (former prime minister) gambles a referendum. Significant parts of the UK (particularly the older and poorer with something to lose, i.e. house owners and council tenants) especially in areas with few migrants vote to leave.
        Result: An unholy mess.

        1. Mimmy*

          This helps, thank you!

          I have seen talk about the issue with migrants (might’ve been in yesterday’s Open Thread but don’t quote me). Great, more ammo for *certain* Presidential candidates :/

          1. Caledonia*

            @mimmy – yes, that *certain* Presidential candidate was actually in Scotland! Naturally, they were a douche.

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              OMG, I just read this morning about that certain candidate’s comments during his trip to Scotland; how appalling!

              1. Elizabeth West*

                I know; I learned some new curses. Yay Scotland! \0/

                And the guy near the golf course who put up the Mexican flag! LOLOLOLOLOL I LOVE HIM HE’S MY HERO

                1. Mallory Janis Ian*

                  I’m adopting “you weapons-grade plum!” or really, weapons-grade anything, into my name-calling dictionary.

            2. Mazzy*

              A lot of this is the media’s fault though; our local newspaper is devoting four pages to Trump every single day even if he hasn’t said anything in days. They just recycle this same old things. I was dismayed not at Trump but at the media when I got in the elevator very early Friday morning, only to learn about Brexit results framed as “Trump’s reaction was….” Even if Trump was my favorite person alive, I don’t want the news always framed as “Trump thinks _ about _.” I want the facts first, then later on, if I am interested, I will look up what a celebrity or politician thinks.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Our media has lost its way in a profound and devastating manner. I do not expect to see our media recover in my life time. My uncle who worked for a major news paper gave great advice: “Always remember that an article is simply the reporter’s opinion of what s/he THINKS is happening. What you read may or may not be happening in reality.”

                I know of examples where a reporter totally failed to grasp the complexities of the topic and basically reported “the sky is falling”. Readers who were not familiar with the topic would have no way of knowing how far off track the reporter was. When the many, many inaccuracies were reported to TPTB at the company, NOTHING happened. The public was left with the erroneous knowledge that “the sky is falling”.

                Sometimes I almost cry when I think about the staggering amount of wrong information that is out there.

                1. the gold digger*

                  I really like your uncle’s advice. I have absolutely no respect for reporters – I see so much where I know the real story but the reporting is very flawed and misleading. I want to think that the reporter just doesn’t know all the facts and that there is no deliberate intent to deceive, but I am not sure.

                  I also still wonder about the story that ran in the Austin newspaper in the early 90s. The reporter wrote – and this made it past all of his editors – that because X% of the blood samples taken at the University of Texas student health center were HIV positive that X% of the entire UT student body – about 50,000 people – was also HIV positive.

                  I really wonder how someone that stupid makes it through the day.

                2. Mimmy*

                  THIS!! My hunch is that TPTB are the ones who encourage those inaccuracies, as well as exaggerations, to stay to increase ratings / readership.

                3. Not So NewReader*

                  @ Cass. I hope you and your peers can “be the change”. Thank you for your comment.
                  @TGD. My uncle went on to explain that one has to consider where the reporter was physically standing when the event happened. Additionally one has to consider where the reporter was standing psychologically, emotionally, culturally, and so on.
                  I am amazed by how much news reporting is designed to leave us feeling upset and insecure. It’s a deliberate lack of responsibility.
                  @Mimmy. I know, I feel this way too. But the sad fact is that the explanation probably has very little to do with conspiracy and much more to do with massive amounts of unimaginable levels of stupidity.

              2. the gold digger*

                I would love to get actual facts. And I never, ever, ever care what a celebrity or a politician thinks. I care about what actual experts think about their field – that is, I care what a physicist thinks about something going on in physics, but I care not at all what a politician thinks about physics or what an actress cares about – well, anything.

                1. Dynamic Beige*

                  There was that thing recently were a certain former teen idol came out as a Trump supporter and then threatened to sue anyone who said he was a moron because of his statement. Uh… if I thought you were a moron *before* you said you supported Trump, does that still count? Because, I really, really, really, REALLY don’t give a fat rat’s ass what any celebrity’s opinion is on anything, unless it’s directly related to their industry or profession. You want to talk about the inequities in the Writers’ Union and you are a TV writer? Go on, have at it. You will have more direct experience in that than most other people. Otherwise, remember the first rule of holes: stop digging.

                2. Mike C.*

                  Yeah, the utter lack of analysis for fear they might look “biased” is really nuts. I get that some reporters claim, “well I let the audience decide”, but if the audience is unfamiliar with the topic (a likely reason they’re reading the article!) how can they make that decision?

          2. ClairefromLondon*

            Well, I’ve been a bit excessive in following this, so I hope that at least something useful has come of it :-). Do bear in mind, that I am not an analyst, but merely an overly-interested bystander. I forgot to mention the Conservative obsession with the EU and several other things.

    12. Jess*

      I have spent the past few hours scrubbing my flat to within an inch of its life in what I can only assume is an effort to exert control over something…

      It is so sad. I work in a professional services firm, as do a lot of my friends, and it is pretty unlikely that we will all still have jobs in six months. I feel sad about the divisions in the country and seeing everyone at each other’s throats, there is so much horrible rhetoric flying around. I am very worried about what is going to happen to Northern Ireland. I worry about the EU breaking up and fragmenting.

      And the frustrating thing is that it didn’t need to happen, it was all down to internal Tory infighting. Ugh.

      1. Jenny*

        But why do you assume that your jobs are already in jeopardy given that negotiations will take two years minimum?

        1. Sandy*

          The U.K. is out of the EU two years after article 50 is invoked, regardless of how the negotiations are going.

          And businesses can certainly go under in that time!

        2. Jess*

          Working for global firms, a huge part of the reason jobs are based in the UK is that we are also members of the EU and therefore have the access and benefits that arise for that. For regulated industries in particular (financial services and law, to name a couple) the ability for professionals in London to operate in the EU is a key part of that. You can be a registered lawyer in London and also able to operate across the EU without additional licensing requirements. It’s not that business will go under straight away but rather that a global company with operations across the EU would often rather just downsize its U.K. operations and bulk up EU offices rather than wait to see.Yes it will take at least two years, but that is two years of uncertainty and business hates that.

          There are already news reports of this – banks are moving staff to Dublin/Paris/Frankfurt right now. Many people have been told confidentially, within their firms, that they can expect to see the same. In financial services in particular there are going to be huge job losses in the UK, and this will the have an impact on all the industries that support those jobs.

          1. Not A Scientist...*

            I work in a science based company that is HQ’d in Cambridge. We have employees from all over the EU there.

            I’m terrified about what this means for us.

          2. Jenny*

            I understand the funding issue, I was just surprised that people thought it would happen as quickly as that.

            1. Caledonia*

              @ Jenny. We don’t know what will happen. It is entirely possible for some contracts with EU funding to be coming up for renewal or something.

    13. Brexanon*

      So. Yeah. I voted for Brexit.
      Reasons: Deeply worried about the direction of the EU and control over laws in general. (Honestly don’t think the EU will still exist in 10 years, decided it would be better to leave now.) Much of what is decided at EU level belongs at national level. Frightened to death of the likes of AFD/ FN being able to influence Europe-wide laws (seeing a lot of commentary on what the EU means for human rights- yeah, RIGHT NOW, but I voted on the structure itself, not the temporary positive results of the structure. Results can change). I see a lot of positive models for open, internationalist countries that don’t need an EU-like structure governing them and who welcome people from all over the world.

      Would be happy with EFTA etc and a large degree of freedom of movement and collaboration in both directions (looks like this is likely to happen, or something like it). Want to work with Europe on trade, research, resolving international conflict, but any more moves towards federalism will cause more problems than they solve. It seems like the leadership has taken a look at widespread discontent with the EU, and prescribed ‘more EU’- that’s… going to hit boiling point eventually.

      Don’t want to stop immigration (exactly the opposite), don’t dislike Europe or Europeans (exactly the opposite- very worried for what the EU will mean for Europeans), but genuinely think that all the moves towards ‘ever closer union’ in the name of peace are far more likely to lead to unrest and conflict- would have been better if we were all just a friendly, collaborative trading bloc with free movement all along and no single currency. (See: current relationship between Greece and Germany…)

      I have a lot of sympathy for Remain. If this was 10 years ago I’d have voted that way. I recognise that a lot of people who voted like me have… views I would not agree with (but nowhere near as many as the media commentary would have you believe). I know it’s going to be hard, I know I will suffer personally, but I thought it was overall the right call in the long term.

      *Braces for impact, hits submit*

      1. Marzipan*

        Personally, I have zero issue with someone who voted to leave upon consideration of the facts and recognising the risks. That’s totally cool – I’ve seen lots of people explaining their positions which are by and large reasonable and hopeful ones. (Not ones I share, but that’s how things work and that’s fine).

        My issue, really, is with the way the leave campaign was conducted – in particular, the outright lies they relied upon (see exhibit A, that sodding bus) – and the way certain sections of the media presented it. I am concerned that some of the people who voted to leave did so based upon a different understanding to yours and expect certain outcomes that, frankly, aren’t going to happen. And, I’m concerned that people who will feel negative economic effects the most may have basically voted to bring them about, without realising it. When people have made that choice consciously, as you have, then that’s fair enough – I’m just not convinced everyone did, and I’m concerned for the effects it’ll have.

        1. Brexanon*

          “I’m just not convinced everyone did, and I’m concerned for the effects it’ll have.”

          Me too, on both counts. It’s going to be a hard road.

        2. Confused Publisher*

          I started to type a response… And realised Marzipan had beaten me to it.

          + 1 to everything you’ve said.

        3. Caledonia*

          @ Brexanon – I agree with marzipan (both first and second paras).

          It’s the people who have voted leave for “a laugh” or “I didn’t think we actually would win” and for no other reasons than those.

          1. Marzipan*

            To me, a lot of it is the whole £350 million a week/NHS thing – I was aware that we don’t actually give £350 million a week to the EU in the first place, but apparently getting on for 50% of people believed it was true (thanks to Boris’s Bus of Lies). I was aware that giving the EU money to the NHS instead was basically never going to happen, both because the people implying it would are ideologically not big fans of the NHS and, more practically, because even a 1% drop in GDP wipes out the savings created by leaving, while most economists predict Brexit causing between a 1.5% and 9.5% drop so the money most likely won’t be there to spend – but, I think a lot of people believed that extra money for the NHS would happen (again, thanks Lie-bus) and, if they cast their vote on that basis they have every right to feel aggrieved.

            On immigration – widely considered to be a key issue for a lot of voters – my understanding is that accepting free movement will be almost unavoidable in order to achieve any sort of decent trade deal moving forwards. But, there are plenty of people who seem to have voted because they want greater control over immigration, and while I don’t share their concerns personally, it seems pretty rubbish to me that they’ve been encouraged to vote leave in order to achieve that outcome, which they then almost certainly won’t get; and meanwhile other impacts of leaving will potentially hit them, which the leave campaign have said over and over are just scaremongering nonsense but which I’m inclined to think are quite real.

            And both of those issues which probably motivated a lot of votes were being talked down by prominent voices on the leave campaign within a couple of hours of the result. If there’s a way of showing more contempt for your supporters, I’m not sure what it would look like, to be honest.

            1. Tau*

              I wonder if we could arrange for political debates and speeches to be held with some sort of fact-checking buzzer. “We give £350 million a week to the EU” – “BZZZT! This is, in fact, not true. The true number is £X and needs to take Y and Z into account. You will now make your way to the Factually Incorrect Corner Of Shame and let your opponent speak uninterrupted for the next three minutes.” My hazy knowledge tells me the press is probably supposed to fulfill this sort of function, but it doesn’t seem to be working.

                1. Billie*

                  I’m so grateful for the standard of satirical news programs in the UK right now (although I know TLL is lead by an Australian). Even in such difficult times they manage to bring a bit more of a balanced discussion and some humour to lift the gloom – even if for a little bit.

              1. Gaia*

                Oh man. Can we borrow it for our fall debates leading up to the November election in the US? Because I have a feeling someone (with tiny fingers and the face of a mango) will spend a lot of time in the Factually Incorrect Corner of Shame.

            2. Sarahnova*

              That’s the thing; we’ll end up more or less where we were on free movement and all the issues involved in trade deals, because we need them desperately, but poorer as a country and no longer with any voice in negotiations.

        4. Tau*

          Absolutely +1 to all of this. I have a suspicion one of my coworkers voted “protest Leave” expecting it not to win. (He came in on Friday morning looking completely shell-shocked and saying that he’d wanted 49% Leave, 51% Remain, he hadn’t expected Leave to actually *win*, and it strikes me as the sort of thing he’d do.) That’s the kind of thing that makes you just want to take someone and shake them and go “Being a voting citizen is a serious responsibility! So take it seriously!

          So many chickens are coming home to roost right now. Cameron resigning after his gamble blew up in his face. Farage going back on what he was saying about the NHS what I understand was mere hours after the results were in, a fact that didn’t surprise me but will probably have been an unpleasant surprise to some Leave voters. It’s funny – I’m German, but I can’t muster any schadenfreude. All it is is sad.

          1. Gaia*

            This terrifies me. I have heard people in the US say the same thing about our upcoming election. “I don’t want Trump to win but I want it to be close to make a point” Christ Almighty, you don’t use voting to make a point unless you want that point to WIN!

      2. Jess*

        I was having a conversation at the start of the week with someone who was voting leave for similar reasons, and I totally respect your stance.

        I have a feeling that if we’d had a few months of sober intellectual discussion in the country about the pros and cons of the EU and of leaving/staying instead of increasingly heated mudslinging and hysteria we’d be in a much better position and I’d be feeling happier about the outcome.

        1. Brexanon*

          Oh god, absolutely- if anyone knows of an org that works towards calm, sober, respectful political discussion and checking facts I’d love to join it. It’s all been so depressing to watch, and it’s not even just this issue.

        2. Mimmy*

          The U.S. needs something that too in its election campaigns. “Mudslinging and hysteria” has been the name of the game for as long as I can remember, particularly this year.

          @Brexanon – I’d join one of those orgs too!

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            The social justice team at my UU congregation is talking about getting together a few “Drink the Vote” events for our congregation and anyone else who wants to come. It’s an evening gathering where you have some wine/beer/soft drinks on hand and get educated about both sides of an issue. Of course, being UU, people’s opinions are going to slant liberal, but I think the presenters do a good job of dispassionately explaining what each choice actually means. There was one state ballot a few years ago where people voted against what they actually wanted on the issue of gay couples adoption because the wording was a legalese trap of double, triple, and quadruple negatives.

          2. Brexanon*

            There is Civil Politics dot org in the US- they do a lot of research into the social psychology of group identity and act as a hub for initiatives trying to break down political barriers.

            1. fposte*

              Wow–that is *really* interesting to me. Thanks for the tip.

              I may have mentioned this here before–I was at a party a couple of years ago when somebody working for a candidate *in the party I vote for* launched into what was essentially bullying when I dared to say something not negative about the incumbent from the opposing party. I wasn’t even going to vote for him, and I made that clear, but she just couldn’t cope with even the slightest good thing being said about an opponent. (Her candidate lost. I wasn’t sorry.)

              1. Random Citizen*

                This is so frustrating to me! I generally have a lot of respect for people on the other side of the aisle, particularly for people who are principled, and consistent, and fight for their convictions. We may disagree on the right way to reach the end goal, or even what that goal should be, but in general, people on both sides of the aisle are trying to do what they think is right and best for the country.

                1. fposte*

                  Yup. And there are no shortage of scoundrels on my side, either. Plus I’ve been around long enough to remember when the parties stood for very different things than they did now.

                  I just hate things that close off conversation, because that closes off understanding. It’s a lot easier for me to fill in the “Joe Blow voters are all ____” with whatever I dislike most when I never listen to any of them.

                2. Gaia*

                  I can 100% respect someone that has the complete opposite belief as me as long as I can see how they got there. If I can see that they took Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 and ended up at Step 4. Ok. I might have gone Step 1, Step 2, Landing Turn, Step A and ended up on Step B but it is ok, I get how they got to Step 4 even if I took another path and ended up elsewhere. I think Step 4 is dangerous and we shouldn’t be there because it is about to fall apart but you know what? That’s ok. It is their dangerous step and they can be there. What I can’t respect are people that go Step 1, Step 2, Landing F, New staircase Q, The Pond outback, Step 4.

      3. Elkay*

        Thank you, I need to read more information like this. I wish there had been more people offering reasoned opinions running the leave campaign (I think IDS probably would have done if he hadn’t left the government shortly before the campaign kicked off).

        1. Caledonia*

          Anyone who went through the Scottish Indy ref should’ve realised that this type of campaign would happen – it’s exactly what happened then, all this lies and scare tactics. Possibly a reason we voted in?

          @ Elkay – not sure about IDS, given his stance on benefits and the mess that’s occurred there.

          1. Elkay*

            True, he probably would have been vilified along with Gove due to his actions in government, I was just trying to think of someone who was a semi-decent speaker and IDS always strikes me that way.

      4. fposte*

        I was talking to a good friend of mine who also voted Leave, rather to her own surprise–she wasn’t sure how she was going to vote and then dove into some research. She’s socially liberal, but she’s worked extensively with EU commissions and is appalled by the amount of waste and inefficiency involved, and also by the way power ends up getting increasingly vested not in the elected officials but in civil servants.

        Which was interesting to me, because it’s really being portrayed as Nigel Farage vs. Nice People in the media I’ve been reading. She was also really annoyed that that polarization meant that there was no actual conversation about what was good about staying within the EU and how the arrangement might be improved, so that it was mostly dealt with in terms of emotion and truthiness rather than the facts of policy and economics.

        1. Sandy*

          Your friend sounds a lot like me, but I didn’t get a vote. I work with the EU a lot, and as a result, I am very sympathetic to Leave. Ditto to everything she said.

          Being outside the UK though, I never really paid that much attention to the campaign, so I didn’t realize how anti-immigration the Leave campaigning had become once their economic arguments were shot down.

          I guess it’s hard to run a campaign on slogans of “do you have ANY idea how hard it is to sit down at a table full of EU bureaucrats and actually get anything done??”

        2. Not So NewReader*

          The EU has concerned me for quite a while. [Insert long discussion here.] I am very sad that Britain is leaving. Maybe I was wrong but I kind of felt that Britain helped to lessen some of my concerns a tiny little bit.
          OTH, I read that other countries talk about leaving. It could be that the EU has lived well beyond its usefulness and a better idea is on the horizon. [Try to understand that I need some type of optimistic thought in order to sleep at night. I do know that the road is going to be long and rocky and steep. And that is on a good day.]

        3. Elizabeth West*

          That’s what I was wondering–I knew there were real concerns about remaining, but the entire thing seemed like a huge panic attack. I kept waiting for people to bring those issues up and they never did.

      5. Sarahnova*

        Honestly, if everyone who voted Leave had done it for the same reasons as you, I’d feel a lot less afraid right now.

        I disagree somewhat about where we’re going, but I have 100% respect for your reasons.

        1. Brexanon*

          Thank you. If it helps, I’ve spoken to other Leavers and they all voted based on concerns about the EU, both what it is and where it might be going next. None of them want EU citizens to be forced out. Obviously there ARE plenty of racists and/ or people strongly opposed to immigration, but it didn’t appear to be a big factor for my small sample, even looking between the lines for the old ‘I’m not racist BUT-‘ thing.

          (And, of course, it doesn’t break down along the binary- will have been some Remain voters opposed to immigration who thought the financial risks were too great, etc. Media oversimplifies greatly!)

      6. Robot Dog*

        How do you feel about the impeding rupture of the UK as a consequence of this vote? Was leaving the EU because you’re worried about its direction worth losing Scotland and Northern Ireland?

        1. Brexanon*

          Yeah, I think so. Wouldn’t like to see it, but as I voted for more direct political control/ accountability… I have to be willing to apply that same principle to Scotland/ NI as well. If they as distinct political entities want to remain part of the EU then that must be respected. (Obviously if NI vote to join Ireland then the ROI should be consulted as well! Or they may work out a compromise third option) Hopefully they can time the vote so that they know exactly what the deal would be on either side, but don’t leave it too late either. I think this time indyref would be successful, but not necessarily unanimous- would people vote for, say, EU, the Euro and Schengen over the pound, EFTA and free movement? Maybe.

          Been researching the relationship between Sweden and Norway (one EU/ one non EU, used to be politically joined as we are now), and I think we could make this work in a similar way although Schengen might be a complication. We will always have a close political and economic relationship, there will always be people from both countries on either side of the border, and while it’s a big upheaval now? In 100 years time people will view whatever we all decide as normal and just how things are.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I like this explanation. There has always been issues in the relationships here and this is just another issue, granted it’s a large issue but there have been centuries of large issues. And I agree in as short as 100 years the new relationship will become the new normal. Even within our lifetimes we will see acceptance of the new normal.

            1. Robot Dog*

              I’ll admit my European history isn’t the best, but – before the UK was unified, weren’t there hundreds of years of wars between the member countries, going back to the earliest recorded history we have? Ditto with Europe before the EU precursors, right up to the fall of the Wall in 1990? I am terrified that THAT will be the “new normal” for the next 100 years.

              I’m in nuclear security. When Scotland had its separatist movement, everyone in this business was very interested (anxious might be the better word) in how the separation would impact all the nuclear subs that the UK keeps in Scotland. Would Scotland become yet another nuclear power? How about all the nuclear knowledge they have because they’ve been an integral part of the UK? That know-how can’t just be erased, and suddenly those people will no longer be bound by the rules and structure of the UK and they’ll be out of jobs. Will they be a proliferation risk? Who will pick up those scientists and engineers the fastest? When the Soviet Union fell, the US tried to pick up a lot of their major scientists, but that’s not going to happen because of our current political climate and because this is an ally dissolving instead of a foe. How about Northern Ireland, will they reunify with Ireland and transfer that kind of nuclear knowledge? Will these newly independent countries be able to fund nuclear material security and upkeep – will they even realize they need to immediately? Historically, Ukraine agreed to give up its nukes when the Soviet Union disbanded, in return for treaty assurances from Russia and the US that it would not be invaded, and we all know how well that worked out – will Scotland and Northern Ireland become rival nuclear powers right next to the UK with significant tensions between them? Will there be a fight about how to handle it? After Russia set such a poor example with Ukraine, it seems unlikely anyone will ever give up nukes voluntarily again.

          2. The Avocado*

            I must admit I read your reasons for voting out and thought ‘ok. I hate the result but ok’. But finding it worth breaking up our entire country for?? Yeah, just…no.

            1. mander*

              Yeah, they are reasonable arguments for wanting out, and I agree that the EU desperately needs reforming. But was it with the expense of destroying our country and giving the xenophobes a mandate? Because that’s what this whole campaign felt like to me. I think the consequences will be devastating and we will not see the benefits in my lifetime. My career is likely finished because big businesses will no longer want to build shiny new premises in London.

    14. Tau*

      Like I said on the Friday thread, I’m an EU citizen living in the UK. I’ve lived here for over ten years.

      I was so, so angry, but now I’m just… sad. I feel empty. And I hear the clock ticking in the back of my head. The message got received loud and clear, and I don’t want to stay where I’m not wanted.

      Bright spots: Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan’s messages to EU citizens currently residing in their regions, saying we’re welcome. The former in particular brought tears to my eyes – although I’m not there now, most of my time in the UK has been spent in Scotland.

      1. Caledonia*

        I’m so sorry you feel that way, and anyone else. You are wanted! One of my local uni’s sent out a lovely message to its FB (I posted it on yesterday’s thread) that says:

        Following today’s announcement that the UK has voted to leave the European Union, I realise that in what is an unsettling and uncertain time there may be some concerns among staff, students and prospective students.
        The full impact of the decision will not be realised for some time and I want to assure everyone that there will be no dramatic change overnight at the University of Stars Hollow.
        We are an institution with a global outlook and reach. I can assure everyone that throughout the transition period that will now follow we will work with Government and stakeholders across the UK and European higher education sectors to ensure we make sure our voice is heard in the discussions that will help protect our many links with the EU.

      2. Brexanon*

        You ARE wanted- your post yesterday was the one that prompted me to post above. I sincerely hope it all gets worked out quickly, and I for one would completely oppose any moves towards hatred or mass deportation.

        1. Tau*

          Thank you! It is good to hear from people who really thought it through and voted based on reasons like yours. I can respect your decision, even if I think differently. Unfortunately, so much of the Leave campaign has been built off fearmongering and stoking hatred and lies and so much of that has been directed towards immigrants like me that it’s hard to believe a lot of that isn’t reflected in the outcome. :(

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Agreed, Tau, and we have a lot of people in the US who are in similar positions to you and are watching our upcoming election with a huge amount of trepidation.

            I would not think Trump could win, but then again, I never thought he’d be the presumptive nominee. His campaign has been very similar to this one, and it scares me a lot because those people can really mess stuff up in a very short amount of time.

            1. Mike C.*

              If it makes you feel better, the campaign is out of money and has only 30 paid staffers. Perhaps he could write in, given the wide experience in small, non-profits were have here.

            2. Mazzy*

              Well, same for Hillary though. At the same time she is preaching on income inequality and access to education and education costs, we find out two weeks ago that Bill had earned $16 million dollars as an honorary chancellor at Laurelate Universities (for profit school, which I’ve seen have a bad reputation here), which got $55 million in funding from the government at the same time (2010 – 2014). Pretty sleazy.

              I know the choices aren’t great but I’m tired of people defaulting to Hillary because she can control what she says. Yes, but she also has a bunch of speech writers and reads everything off of scripts so doesn’t say as ridiculous things.

              1. Gaia*

                I default to her (if I can’t have my Bern) not because she can control what she says but because she isn’t a raging racist, misogynistic, bloviating embarrassment of a human being. Is she wealthy? Yes. Is she a bit of a war hawk? Sure. Is she a Republican masquerading as a Democrat? You bet.

                But she is the only option other than Trump and he is a fascist who would employ a military like force to round up anyone suspected of being here illegally (which would include many people here legally, no doubt) and would decimate our economy.

        2. Chloe*

          I too wish it was true that the decision was made by people who based it on considerations other than immigration. Pity the referendum is a blunt instrument, and the finer details of what leavers actually want won’t be heard over the racists. But you won’t be subjected to that and it’s not a cost you’ll have to carry so of course you’d think it was still worth it.

      3. Short and Stout*

        You are wanted, by nearly half of those who voted. I know it’s not enough, but I’m so so sorry.

    15. The Avocado*

      I am distraught. And really angry. And I can’t believe it’s really going to be allowed to happen. Last week my child was from a country that was part of something big and pretty cool. Now sue’s part of a small island and in a year she’ll be part of a bit of a small island that’s tearing itself to pieces. Our and her chances to work and live freely in 27 other countries have been torn from us. Racists feel legitimised, children are scared they’re about to be deported, teenagers feel their futures have been torn away…

      …and I feel like I don’t have a home any more. This doesn’t feel like my country. But I don’t know any other countries where I feel confident to go to. I think I feel like the Vogon fleet just blew up my planet.

      1. Marzipan*

        Well, I don’t know what you’re complaining about. The plans have been on display for the past nine months. At the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying beware of the leopard…

      2. nep*

        ‘Racists feel legitimised’…Sounds like a situation on the other side of the Atlantic…

        1. Pineapple Incident*

          American here. I hate it, but there is a lot of truth to that statement :/

      3. Confused Publisher*

        My Facebook feed is full of my friends and colleagues talking about having been told/having watched people around them be told to ‘go back wherever the **** you came from’ and ‘we voted to get rid of you *****, go home’. My heart is breaking over this, in case everything else had left it whole.
        … And I’m also terrified I’m next.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          The irony of it is that if this American goes back to where she came from, I would have to move to England, Germany or France. How ironic. This does not even start to figure out where I should go because of my darker skinned Swedish ancestors, they must have been part of an invading group centuries ago. So my Swedish ancestors were not really Swedish. More irony. How do we get 4 billion people to stop moving around? We don’t. That’s reality.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            I don’t know where the heck I’d go to go back where I came from. I’m Scottish, Irish, and Native American, as so many in my area are.

            When my BIL was a student at the university, he got told to “Go back to Iraq!” by some idiot in Walmart. He is Indian from Trinidad. They just shout this nonsense at anyone who looks brown, I guess.

            1. Gaia*

              I’m sorry, it isn’t funny that he had to put up with that. But I laughed so hard. You have to be extra dumb to get your racism wrong.

      1. Marzipan*

        Every ‘meal’ I have ‘cooked’ for the last two days has consisted of toast, so mental fish and chips would also be appreciated!

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          I have been off my food since the result was announced as well. Admittedly the only British foodstuffs I have are teabags and Marks and Spencer’s Mango Chutney.

          Apparently I am still welcome in my EU state, but I am going to apply for dual nationality. There is a section on the form where you have to put your reasons for applying. I need to think of a better explanation than “I am not letting somebody else decide how and where I live my life”.

    16. Mike C.*

      I can’t believe about Cameron completely and totally screwed that up. All so he could try and keep his position.

      Nice work.

      1. Short and Stout*

        Yes, it’s like he’s accidentally caused us to leave the EU, and now the country will probably be torn apart. Easily the worst prime minister ever.

        1. Mike C.*

          If Scotland and Northern Ireland leave, wouldn’t he also be the last PM of the UK, or are there other areas I’m forgetting?

          1. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

            Wales is a separate country as well, and they (somewhat surprisingly) voted to remain. So England + Wales could still form a (smaller) United Kingdom, and maybe they’d actually wind up with a flag with a dragon on it ;)

          2. Sarahnova*

            I wanted Scotland to stay In last time, but now I totally sympathise. I have family in Edinburgh, so I could always just pack up and head north, especially since I wouldn’t be surprised to see half the City heading the same way :)

            In fact, I have some slight hopes that this will basically never happen, because the City will raise hell, and the country can’t come close to affording to do without it.

            1. Chocolate Teapot*

              According to The Guardian, there are already rumours about City jobs being transferred to Luxembourg and even before the vote, various banks/financial companies said they would move out of London to Paris and Frankfurst. JP Morgan has said it will transfer 4000 and HSBC 1000.

    17. Short and Stout*

      This is quite literally the worst thing the UK has ever done; I’m sad and ashamed of the political establishment here, who have allowed so many parts of this country to become so disenfranchised that they voted to leave.

      There are already several media reports of horrible public racist acts, especially directed towards Polish people.

      I live and work in Cambridge. All my friends and all my colleagues are devastated. Several colleagues and ex-colleagues are continental Europeans who have already stated that they will leave.

      I no longer work in academia, but I’m hearing already that friends-of-friends will not be taking up positions they’ve been offered, as those offers were dependent on EU funding.

      I fear deeply for the future of my country.

      1. Caledonia*

        If people are so disenfranchised and are pissed off at the Conservative govt (which may be a reason why certain areas voted the way they did), why didn’t they vote in the General Election last year? Why are we being ruled by a party that was barely voted in by its electorate? I just…I despair.

        This will be a question in history exams in years to come – explain the reasons why the UK left the EU which lead to the break up of the UK (30%)

        1. Short and Stout*

          LOL re the exam question.

          Re the General Election: I think it’s because in England there is truly no party who represents poor people. The Labour party are vastly out of touch with those who don’t live in London, or in other very big cities. This all first became widely apparent with Gordon Brown’s bigot comment during the 2010 election, and no-one in the Labour party has come close to addressing this problem and the swing of voters towards UKIP. Brexit is the result.

          So Cameron sleep-walked us into this in order to sort out his own internal Conservative party politics, but it’s Labour’s failures that took us over the edge.

          /end of exam :(

          1. Caledonia*

            thanks for replying. I’ve now remembered that it was reported people wanted to vote SNP in the GE because of Nicola – at least we have another party to vote for. That said, the SNP aren’t all sparkles and light, as they seem intent on ignoring the oil crash where I live….I think I’ve read that some minister or other has never visited my city since the oil started to slide and there’s mass unemployment here

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Good luck trying to find ANY politicians anywhere who care about the poor. At least, any who could possibly be in a position of power.

            It’s far more profitable to keep poor people poor.

        2. Cristina in England*

          They did vote in the GE. The people who abandoned Labour in the last election (a lot!) are a big chunk of the Leave voters. The party and media elites ignored them after the GE, and are now shocked at the Leave result.

          I agree with @Short and Stout. Labour tried to have it both ways, but the party elites seem to openly resent the percentage of trade union votes within the Labour Party (se: the elections of Corbyn and also “Red Ed” Miliband as party leader).

          1. Caledonia*

            @ Cristina – I was meaning people in England were wanting to vote for the SNP. Which they can’t, can they? I wasn’t very clear!

            1. Cristina in England*

              Whoops! Sorry I misunderstood. No we can’t vote for the SNP down here, though I did when I lived in Glasgow. :-)

      2. IrishGirl*

        As someone from a former British colony, the “worst thing the UK has ever done” comment really rankles …

        1. Short and Stout*

          I feel that Being in the EU was one of the things protecting us from the likes of very right wing politicians Gove and Farage, who would happily spend all day spouting crap about he glorious days of the British Empire.

          In terms of the UK moving forward and admitting the damage we have caused, this is the biggest possible step back.

        2. Gaia*

          As someone from another former British Colony, and a student of history, I can assure everyone the UK has done much – much – worse, but has probably never done worse to herself which is what I think the OP meant.

      3. Mazzy*

        This thread is completely losing me. I keep hearing that the people who voted against Brexit are working class Britons who are falling behind economically, and I am recalling the thread on the young lady who quit Yelp or some website because they paid so low, and there were 1000 comments here on income inequality and people being left behind economically in the new millennium, which would have led me to believe that most AAM readers would be pro-Brexit. What am I missing?

        Also, please stop with the “racist” and Polish thing. Let’s not pretend it’s a race thing, especially since English and Polish people are both right. If you’ve been to England or Ireland recently, it is very surprising how many Polish people there are – they are working everywhere. Please don’t tell me you can support the “little guy” but think it’s OK to give away all lower-middle-class jobs to people from another country. Imagine you were 20 years old in England with no education and needed to make rent but couldn’t find work because every job was filled by someone from another country.

        1. fposte*

          I think what you’re missing is that the “taking British jobs” thing seems to be a myth based on a false notion of economics being a zero-sum game, that isolating Britain isn’t that likely to improve young Britons’ prospects, and that the welfare of young people from elsewhere counts just as much as young Britons.

        2. Confused Publisher*

          It’s a lot more complex than ‘working class’ people voted a certain way and ‘other classes’ another. If we’re going to generalise, please remember to include things such as age too, where patterns have also been noted. See above about the appalling behaviour meted out to Robina Goodfellow’s parents.
          I am not going to engage on the topic of race.

    18. FiveWheels*

      I expected it, but it’s the single worst thing to happen to the UK in my lifetime.

    19. Gaia*

      This just looks like one huge, hot mess. I have several friends who live and work in the UK but have citizenship from other European nations. They are, of course, terrified for what this means for them. And I am sure they are devastated to see the country they live in and work in turn their back on them. I also worry for what this means for the US this fall.

      The only good thing was Obama’s speech about the vote. He sounded like the mutual friend in a nasty divorce. It made me smile in a very sarcastic way.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I’m really going to miss Obama when his term is over. After years of being embarrassed every time George W. Bush opened his mouth in an international platform, as if we’d sent our village dimwit to speak to them, it has been so edifying to have a president with grace, aplomb, and intelligence. If we elect Trump, it’ll be back to cringing every time he speaks, and that will be the least of our problems.

        1. Gaia*

          I have hope that Obama won’t go away. He is still quite young, I hope he stays active on the world stage. I’m not a huge fan of either of the assumed nominees but I am horrified that someone let that tiny-fingered mango man into the presidential race.

          I’m also more than a little worried that we’ll get our fair share of “I didn’t think my vote would count” protest votes, too.

        2. Mazzy*

          Are you kidding? He ignores Israel, a long time US ally, Russia isn’t afraid of the US anymore, and Iran walked all over him this summer during his unnecessary nuclear deal, which they are now violating.

          Just because his speeches sound good doesn’t mean he is doing a good job, you need to look at what is behind the message. As an LGBT supporter, I’m still angry at his weak speech last week on Orlando, I really love how he talked about how “we” need to deal with “our” hate instead of dealing with anything or anyone specific. So I guess Orlando happened because Americans are just full of hate? Great speech, Obama.

          1. Gaia*

            Mazzy, I think maybe you just don’t like him so you read into that a bit much. We (as a country) do need to deal with our (as a country) hate. We have a lot of hateful people here and we need to deal with that. Can you really deny that after Orlando?

            As for the rest, we got what we wanted out of Iran, Russia doesn’t need to be afraid of us they need to cooperate with us and they are, and Israel can handle their own. Obama has been a great President. The uninsured is way down, unemployment is way down (even when you look at “real” unemployment), science funding is up, DOMA is gone, DADT is gone, bin Laden is dead, ISIS is in retreat in several areas (thanks for them, Bush!), the world and US economies are on the mend.

            Did he do everything he could? No. Was he always doing the right thing? No. But if you are looking for a perfect President you are going to have a very long wait. He did what he could given the resources he had and obstacles he faced. He will go down as a great President. Depending on how November goes, he may go down as the last great President.

            1. Mazzy*

              Wait – real unemployment is definitely not down, or even if it is, it is still at 10% and labor participation is at a decades’ low point. The jobs reports have been extremely abysmal, the government has even been analyzing individual employers to make the report look better (since when would one company, Verizon, having a strike be noteworthy enough to bring up to explain the entire job market being horrible). This is the first presidency to not have one year of 3% + growth, and it’s been 8 years. The May jobs report shows the entire country had a net job growth of 38K. In the entire US! We need 300K-400K new jobs per month to meet the demand for jobs from graduates and natural population growth and immigration. The labor participation rate is at it’s lowest in 40 years, even though 1M more people over 65 are working – which shows that the labor participation is hitting more younger people.

              Housing is unaffordable, wages are stagnant, more younger people than ever can’t afford to buy homes, so people are renting well into their 30s or 40s involuntarily. And not only are young people not able to afford housing, but disposable income has also nosedived, which suggests that the “decision” to rent isn’t a tradeoff to have more cash on hand. Where do you live and what data are you seeing that you think the economy has improved, presidents aside?

              1. Mazzy*

                I forgot this one because it’s not a workday, but there is a reason I have to screen 500 applicants for every low level job I hire for, and it isn’t because the economy has improved and people have choices. It is because people are desperate for any job and there are so few openings that they are applying to everything.

                1. fposte*

                  The number of employed persons per job opening, per the BLS, is below where it was in December 2007. Obviously that’s not a statistic that operates proportionately across all regions, fields, and levels, and I think you’re right that lower-level applicants are still struggling more than they were prior to the recession. But lower-level applicants were often struggling before the recession too, and some of the benefits people then enjoyed–like bank loans and home ownership–weren’t always due to economic strength but to bad banking practices. So the goal isn’t necessarily to get back to 2007, either.

              2. fposte*

                Unemployment was 4.7% in May. It’s been dropping pretty steadily from the 10% peak in 2009. Then there’s also the rise of the markets over that period. Business loans are rising again. The Purchasing Managers’ Index bounced back pretty quickly, and while it’s seesawed around it’s stayed well above the 2008 drop. There’s been little inflation. The Consumer Confidence Index has been seesawing but rising. Consumer spending is steadily rising. Those count when you’re judging an economy in recovery.

                That doesn’t mean it’s a post-war kind of zoom to the top. It’s not the most robust recovery on record, that’s for sure, and it’s definitely a recovery pattern that’s least benefiting those with the least power and enhancing the economic stratification of the country. But just as the president didn’t make those good things happen single-handedly, he didn’t perpetuate those bad things single-handedly either. Good luck getting a CCC/WPA enacted these days, for instance. Good luck with judicial appointments. And so on.

                I don’t know where Obama’s going to fall when historians look back at the presidents, and of course judgments tend to keep changing on those anyway. But there’s not a single president who isn’t associated with either actions or failures to act that are far from ideal, and certainly far from any single citizen’s personal collection of legislative wishes. So if you’re counting only by what good things didn’t happen under them, they all pretty much suck.

              3. Gaia*

                Real unemployment is down from its peak. And growth is low because of the recession and Congress’ complete lack of concern for a job’s bill.

                Everything you are mentioning was going to happen no matter who was President during the last eight years. It is a direct result of the previous 8 years (Bush) and his terrible economic policy and unpaid for wars.

                Blame the right folks: An inept Congress and Bush’s economic policy. Obama did what he could with what he had. We’d have been worse off without him.

                And I hire people too. And I struggle to find qualified candidates for good paying jobs with great benefits at a stable, well known company. Why? Because they all have jobs already.

                1. Mazzy*

                  I wasn’t blaming the president, I was correct the previous commenter when they tried to paint a rosy picture of the economy. But it is ironic that you are telling me to keep the president out of this but then blaming it on Bush, I think we should discuss the economy either including or excluding the presidents, not cherry pick which presidents to include or not.

                2. Gaia*

                  Mazzy, I’m not telling you to keep the President out at all. I’m telling you to blame the appropriate parties. In this case, Obama pushed an economic agenda that would have helped and he got shut out by Congress. In Bush’s case he pushed a dangerous and deeply flawed economic agenda and was able to push it through Congress.

    20. Wrench Turner*

      “‘I never thought leopards would eat MY face,’ sobs woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party.” – best comment so far on Twitter.

      1. Caledonia*

        @ wench turner – that just sounds like the 2016 version of ‘first they came for…and then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.’

    21. Chaordic One*

      While I’m very surprised by ballot results, I’m also puzzled that there hasn’t been very much discussion about why so many people in the UK made this decision. Obviously the ones who voted in favor of the Brexit were very unhappy, and they certainly have legitimate reasons to be unhappy. That said, voting to leave the European Union doesn’t seem like it will improve things very much for them.

      So why isn’t anyone talking about what steps might be taken to improve the lot of many of the “leave” voters? What can be done to get them better jobs? What can be done to provide them with social programs to lift them up?

      1. fposte*

        Isn’t that assuming that there’s only one reason people voted Leave, though? What about the people who voted Leave who are doing just fine?

      2. Apollo Warbucks*

        There seem to be a couple of reasons people voted leave (in no particular order)

        Taking back money from the EU
        Taking back power from the EU

  1. (Less EU now)-RO-Cat*

    Sad day, Friday. I’m still EU, I have no ties to the UK and still…sad. Like I lost a part of my home.

    1. (Less EU now)-RO-Cat*

      Damn, I can’t even nest a comment decently! Caledonia, it was meant for you. #Brexit

  2. Sami*

    Looking for suggestions for getting to know you and/or icebreaker activities for a family reunion. And I know the AAM community knows lots of these!

    Background information: There will be about 30 people (of varying physical abilities), three generations and an age range of 4 to 84. We will be at a local park under a pavilion with picnic tables. In the past, people have tended to stay close to their own nuclear family and it’d be nice to interact more.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      This isn’t icebreaker isn’t a game, but one way we’ve encouraged people to mix more at family reunions is to sign each person to a team. We don’t tend to clump together as nuclear families but more by age/gender (old men, old women, young fathers, young mothers, teens, etc.). So we make groups with names such as Chipmunks, Squirrels, Owls, etc. (we’re usually in a cabin campground, so the names are animals found in the deciduous forest). Each group has a mix of young, old, male, and female, and there is a posted list of activities and which team is responsible (ex. Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, and toast. Chipmunks. Clean-up: Owls. And so forth for the two- or three-day gathering). Once people are already doing a job together, different groups tend to form for the leisure activities, too. Certain people still gravitate to certain others and activities, but people also discover commonalities with other family members that they may otherwise not have noticed.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        I love the core of this; I think I’m going to adapt it and use it at work!

    2. Oryx*

      Scavenger hunt, as long as people don’t pick their own groups. The organizer can put people into groups in advance or count off or pick names or whatever. We did this at one of our reunions a few years ago and it was a lot of fun.

    3. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      All kinds of games!

      -Werewolf (everyone gets a card with a role and a moderator walks you through the day/night cycle… during the day, everyone tries to figure out who the werewolves are and at night the werewolves kill the people. You can make your own cards or they sell a version called “Ultimate Werewolf” on Amazon. We played at my birthday party last year with a decent sized group and it was really fun!

      -I don’t know the name of this one but it’s sort of like pictionary and telephone… You get stacks of paper and sit in a circle. Each person gets a stack. On the top sheet, each person writes something down, maybe something that not everyone knows about them… then you pass the stack to the next person, they look at what you wrote, move your sheet to the back and draw a picture of it. Then you pass the stack to the next person, they look at the picture the previous person drew and write a phrase of what it is. When each person gets their own stack back you go through and see what became of your original phrase. People usually get a good laugh out of it :-)

      -Apples to Apples can be fun with kids… Cards Against Humanity with family can be really interesting if you have the right kind of family.

      -Bingo – Ask each person to send you something unique about themselves and make bingo cards telling people to find someone who fought in the Korean war, someone who majored in underwater basket weaving, someone who once met a former president (you get the idea)… It will be fun for everyone to learn a little bit more about their extended family and may even spark some conversations.

      1. LizB*

        I’ve heard many names for the second game you list — Visual Telephone, Interpretation, I Like Dog Food, etc. etc. I’ve also played where instead of a stack of paper, you have one sheet of paper, and fold it over before you pass it so the person you’re passing to will only see what you added, not what came before. Then at the end you can unfold and see exactly how things evolved. Absolutely hilarious game, although I think a group of 30 might be a little bit big.

      2. Thimbledore*

        There’s a board game version of the second game you describe – Telestrations! Comes with dry erase markers and spiral bound reusable notebooks to pass around the circle. I think it only supports up to 8 or 12, so the DIY option with paper/pen works just as well. Suuuuuch a great game, oh my god. It always gets away from you and becomes so funny. :)

        Also, Werewolf is THE BEST for big groups.

    4. LizB*

      Human bingo? Make a 5×5 grid, fill each square with some quality that at least one person in the group will have — knows how to waterski, spent most summers on grandmama’s farm, married into the family, understands how Minecraft works, whatever will capture a wide range of people. Everyone gets a copy and has to find people who have each quality to sign the appropriate square. Make rules that you can only have X number of squares signed by any one individual* and Y number of squares signed by members of your nuclear family, and maybe offer prizes for whoever can get a blackout or different kinds of bingos.

      *so if 10 things apply to Uncle Jerry, he can’t just fill up your board for you.

      1. LizB*

        Oh, also, I just learned a party game that I liked but forget the name of. It’s like a combination of Taboo and charades. Get a bunch of little slips of paper, and each player writes 2-4 things on separate slips — people, places, things, phenomena, whatever. (When I played, some of our things included “Donald Trump’s hair,” “Oprah,” “margaritas,” and “Yellowstone”.) Put all the papers into a bowl. Divide into two teams, and alternate turns.

        The game has three rounds. In each round, when it’s your team’s turn, one member of the team will take the bowl and have a certain amount of time (~2 minutes?) to get their team to identify as many things from the bowl as they can. Each round has different restrictions on how you can do this:

        Round 1: you can say anything you want as long as you don’t say any of the words written on the paper. (Ex. for “margaritas”: “This is a drink with tequila, lime, and triple sec, sometimes you get them blended, there’s a Jimmy Buffet song with this as part of the title…” until your team guesses and you pick your next paper)

        Round 2: you can only say 1 word. You can say it as many times as you like, with any emphasis you like. (Ex. for “margaritas”: “Tequila. Tequila!” with hand motions as necessary until your team gets it)

        Round 3: you can’t speak, but can make any motions you want to. (Ex. for margaritas: mime the shape of the glass, mime drinking)

        Each round goes until all the papers have been used, and you put all the papers back in the bowl at the end of the round, so for rounds 2 and 3, people will have some ideas about what’s in there and will be able to make educated guesses. You don’t have to attempt every paper you pull out of the bowl — you can put anything you draw back in the bowl if you’re not sure how to represent it or your team is taking too long to guess. While Team A is playing, Team B is keeping time and keeping an eye on the player to make sure they don’t break any rules.

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          Usually when I’ve played this game it’s been people only as the things to be guessed, and it’s called Celebrity. I’ve also heard it called Pass the Chicken (because the names go in a bucket, like fried chicken).

          An acquaintance of mine turned it into an iPhone app, Celebrity Get a Clue, which is fun. It introduces skips (with a time penalty) and clues to use if you’re stumped.

        2. Elkay*

          We played this with my Girl Guides and I haven’t laughed so much in ages. It’s not much of an ice-breaker but if you play it the first night you might end up with shorthand catchphrases which end up in giggles.

    5. AdAgencyChick*

      Go to puzzlers.org and click on the “rules for various games” link — for some reason I can’t copy the link.

    6. Ang*

      We had a big family reunion last year, and most people didn’t know everyone there. One day we made big, goofy nametags to highlight all the family branches. So my nametag was something like: “A, daughter of J, son of C, daughter of A & D.” You had a card for each connection, and taped them together. The farther along in the family tree you were, the longer your nametag was. It was pretty comical, but it made a great conversation starter, “Oh, you’re L’s son! Your dad and my dad are cousins!”

      We also took a few of the old family photos from a couple generations ago and had an online company make puzzles out of them. The pieces weren’t too small, so it was great for picnic tables under a pavilion. People would just wander to a table and start helping someone put the puzzle together.

  3. Anonymous Educator*

    I’m at the last wedding I’m obligated to go to. All weddings going forward will be elective attendance. Yay!

  4. Cat Woman*

    I’m so happy to see the kitties today! :)

    I’m going anonymous for this one, since I’m putting in a lot of info about salary and debt. And it’s going to be long…
    I’m looking to hear about anyone’s experience with credit counseling and/or a financial planner. I think I need one of them, but not sure which one or if I really can just do this on my own.

    My husband and I sat down last weekend and tallied up our outstanding debt, which consists of multiple credit cards and one small car loan. The total is 70,676.91. Staggering, I know. Together we net roughly $6,350.00, plus we get $1,400.00 in rental income from renting out our old house. Sometimes we have more, because my husband is able to work overtime most weeks. Our total monthly payments, including all debt, mortgages, utilities, etc. is $6,370.00. So basically that leaves us $1,380.00 for cat food (we have multiple cats), food, gas, cat litter, and anything else that comes up. And it leaves us some to pay down the debt. So, 83% of our monthly net income goes to expenses. Not sure if that’s normal or not.

    As I mentioned, we have multiple cats. Most of them are over 10 now, which means we’re seeing a lot of health issues popping up all at once. And that’s costing a lot. So any extra money that might have gone towards paying down the debt now has to be used for the vet, prescriptions, and special food for two of them.

    I know the easiest way to pay down some debt would be to sell some stuff. The problem is, we really don’t have anything that would give us any appreciable amount. We don’t have a bunch of unused stuff laying around, because we moved a couple years ago and did a thorough cleaning-out. We could cut our monthly expenses, but I don’t see that netting much either. Most of the cell plans cost the same and most of them now make you pay for the phone itself in monthly installments. I could probably cut cable and the land line, though. I tried searching for a cheaper vendor, but there isn’t much to choose from in my area. We got out to the diner for breakfast maybe three times a month, so I could cut that. We don’t have a coffee habit or anything like that. I thought about trying to find some side work, like cat sitting or something. Unfortunately I’m exempt, so there’s no possibility of earning overtime pay. My husband can sometimes volunteer for more overtime than he does now, but I don’t want to work him to death either.
    The other issue is that while we would love to get rid of the old house, we owe more than it’s worth. We would likely have to make up a shortfall of $20k or so. We just can’t do that right now. We have $0 in savings, so we’re stuck there. Something we thought about, and I’m sure it’s probably not a good idea, is to take a $20k loan from my husband’s 401k so we can sell the old house and be done with it. Not sure if that’s a good move. I know it would cost us a lot in 401k earnings, but on the other hand we wouldn’t have the constant worry that something will go wrong at the house that we can’t pay to fix. (We recently had a leaky roof at the old house and that was scary! Luckily my husband is handy and was able to just re-tar the area that had a crack in it. Crack in the tar, not the roof. So it was a cheap fix.)

    I don’t even know where to start. I feel very stuck and kind of in a state of “analysis paralysis.” I feel like I have to choose between getting out of debt or keeping the cats healthy, and the thought of something major needing to be fixed at the old house is a constant cloud looming over us.

    1. MsChanandlerBong*

      It would be helpful if you gave us an idea of how much you spend per month on your cell phones, groceries, etc. For example, our food budget is $300 per month for two people, which I actually think is kind of high. But we might be able to give you some suggestions on making cuts.

      1. Cat Woman*

        –Cell: 160.00, two people, one unlimited data plan (grandfathered in), one with 3GB, unlimited text and 550 minutes each. Includes a 25% discount from my husband’s company
        –Cable, Phone and internet: 225.00, soon to be 250.00 because the 2 year agreement is up
        –Oil budget plan: 381.00 (soon to go down, we have a balance to pay off from the winter)
        –Electric: 155.00, budget plan
        –Car Insurance: 183.00 for two cars, one was financed so full coverage on that one right now (we bought used). And I forgot to include this in the monthly expense numbers above.
        –Not sure with food. I usually go every weekend and spend about 75.00. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
        –Cat food and litter: 150.00/month.
        –Cat’s prescription: 100.00/month. Also now need prescription food, so probably about 120.00 for that. Since I have so many cats, they all get the prescription dry food. It’s just too difficult with that many cats to keep that separate.

        1. Cat Woman*

          Forgot to say that I can’t move the car insurance to another carrier, because it’s a multi discount that’s tied in with the insurance on the old house. If I move the homeowner’s will go up, which makes a wash of any savings.

        2. Jen*

          I paid of 30k in debt and finished up just last year. We are now debt free except a car payment and mortgage.

          You need to first figure out where all your money is going. Your expenses there are $1199 which means that based on your calculation above PITI, debt payments plus food is $5171.

          The cell phones and cable look high. Can you also look around for new insurance that would move over old house and cars? I was able to save $700 annually just by shopping around.

          I liked a mix of mint.com to find out where I was spending the money since my $20 grocery trips were really adding up and a budget spreadsheet. I still use my spreadsheet and it has all my bank balance, my paychecks based on date and all expenses based on date. I can tell you exactly how much I have in cash that I can spend before my next paycheck.

          1. anon for this*

            They may be out of luck on the insurance – I own an older home, and my options are….. one! :-D

        3. Aurora Leigh*

          I have a prepaid phone plan from Cricket. $35/month unlimited minutes, text, data. If they have good coverage where you are, it might be worth looking into.

          1. pony tailed wonder*

            I have Cricket too. I went for the $45 per month plan. I recommend them as well.

        4. CAA*

          For cell phones, you might investigate Republic Wireless, and Google Fi. You need to know how much of your data you’re actually using in order to figure out whether it’s worth it, but currently we have 2 phones on RW and our bill typically runs about $31/mo. The Moto E is $99, so you’d have the up-front cost for phones, but you would see savings pretty quickly.

          I’d really consider cutting the cable and land-line phone completely. Amazon or Hulu streaming is cheaper, though it doesn’t include everything.

          For the old house, look at the neighborhood. Is there a reason to think property values will rise soon? If not, and the rent doesn’t cover your costs of ownership, then it’s better to cut your losses even if you have to take money out of the 401K.

          1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*


            First thing I saw was the cable bill. Go to the cheapest internet plan you can stand, dump cable and use Netflix. Also, you have cell phones, so I would be getting rid of the land line.

            I pay less than $60/month for good internet and Netflix. That’s about average from where I’ve lived (three states so far), and will save you almost $200/month. While it sucks to not have on-demand cable (trust me, I know!), $200/month can make a HUGE difference when it comes to paying down debts quickly.

            1. Kristen*

              Yes, this. I got rid of cable last year and now only have Netflix. I thought I would really miss cable, but rarely do. $225 is too much to spend when you have nothing in savings.
              Also, shop for cheap cellular plans (my bf has some plan through Google(?) that’s super cheap (you will need one of their phones though). Or Cricket should be sufficient and much cheaper as others have mentioned. I overspend for T-Mobile, but get 2gb I think of data (plenty for me especially with wifi at home) and get unlimited calls and texting for $20 less (just less than $60 after taxes for just me) than you’re spending without a work discount. Of course though I’m using an old phone.

          2. Ellie H.*

            Me too – I don’t even have internet at home but I would definitely cut cable and phone first if you can pay less for just internet.

          3. Girasol*

            Yay Republic Wireless! After buying our phones we pay $25/month for cell anywhere and data where there’s wifi.

        5. Nicole*

          With my husband losing his job we wanted to reduce expenses even though we didn’t have much to cut. We were able to get our cable/internet bill from $120 to $70 just by saying we wanted to cancel – the cable company gave us a reduced rate to retain services. We just had to drop to the basic package without a DVR. Internet speeds remained the same.

          As for wireless, we switched from AT&T to Ting and save $100-$60 per month depending on our usage. If you’re interested feel free to check my site for the referral code to save on your first month. It was tough letting go of the unlimited data until I checked our average usage and realized we weren’t taking advantage of it anyway.

          Every little bit saved helps and I wish you luck!

        6. JBunny*

          Unless you need a landline and Internet for work I would immediately cancel your phone, internet and cable. $250 a month for items that aren’t a necessity is a lot. Yes it sucks to not have internet but it sucks worse to be broke.

          1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

            I agree with all but dropping the internet. In today’s world, internet is a necessity for most modern families. While some can live without, most need it to pay bills, access banking information (my bank charges to mail paper statements!), use email, etc.

            1. Christopher Tracy*

              But if OP has cell phones with Internet access, the Internet at home is redundant and an extra expense they can delete.

              1. The Rat-Catcher*

                Depends on how nice the phone is. I have an older iPhone that can’t be counted on to access sites with anything but the most basic security (I can check FB but not get on my bank account).
                But I agree with the overall point, if the two Internet sources are the same, one might be redundant.

              2. Observer*

                Not really – the phone is still not an appropriate tool for many tasks, high usage tends to cost, and most unlimited plans don’t allow tethering anyway.

            2. Cat woman*

              Yeah I sometimes remote into work from home so I would need the internet. And working from home isn’t necessary for my job so work wouldn’t pay for that. It’s just a convenience that I need to use from time to time, like if I’m sorta sick but ok to work, or have to be at home for some reason.

        7. Perse's Mom*

          Lose the landline and the cable entirely. Netflix is cheap for streaming only, Hulu’s not that expensive either. If nothing else, drop as much as possible from the cable, and they’ll still probably give you a discount just to keep you as a customer.

          For cat stuff – depending on what’s going on health-wise, look around online and work with your vet. There may be a generic medication rather than a branded one that could save you some money, or you may be able to get it in a form that’s more cumbersome to deal with but costs way less ($11 pred in pill form vs $75 pred from a compounding pharmacy).

          Also – and this depends very much on your vet – don’t let them talk you into things that aren’t necessary. I’ve had vets that didn’t dick me around, and I’ve had vets that tried very hard to talk me into multiple expensive tests that were unnecessary.
          (Hopefully your kitties’ various old kitty conditions are manageable. I’ve got a tremendously healthy 13 year old and a 17 year old going down hill due to a long fight with renal disease, so I know your pain on kitty-related expenses).

          High quality cat food is very nearly as expensive as prescription food, but ordering online could potentially save you a lot on either or both if you can avoid retail mark-ups.

        8. Observer*

          You are almost certainly overpaying cell and phone / internet.

          Unless you guys use a ridiculous amount of data, the unlimited data plan is just overkill. I just gave a look at some plans. With AT&T you can get 5GB for both of you for $100 per month, or jump to 15 for $130. (It’s a small jump because they lower the per line cost at that point.) Cricket Prepaid – 2.5 GB each for $60 per month if you have automatic prepay and join the plans. H2O is $50 per month for 2 GB ($60 for 3GB) and full speed then unlimited at a slow speed (so you never have overages). This is for each line, so $100 – $120 per month. I haven’t even looked at more local plans – these are all plans that have broad coverage. By the way, all of these plans have unlimited talk and text.

          Similar is true for phone / internet and cable. Worst case, you could cut out cable. But, if you can get Verizon FIOS, you’re looking at $70 per month for a decent plan that has all three. Verizon DSL is not as good as FIOS, and doesn’t get you cable, but the phone + dsl cost, if you can’t get FIOS, is in the $75 range per month. And if you get a basic cable package you’re still going to be saving something.

          Neither of these is a HUGE saving, but if you put them together and automatically apply them to your debts it will still start making a difference.

          1. Observer*

            Also, if you go to unlimited talk and text, rather than your current capped minutes (all of the plans I mentioned give you that), you can drop the landline altogether.

      2. Cat Lover*

        Feed the one cat with the special needs separate, either by putting him into another room/bathroom or something.
        Ditch the cable and landlines, but keep Internet.
        Groceries are expensive! Do you shop Costco (may be worth the membership for the cat food/cat litter-their prices are pretty decent for that). Also places like BigLots have a lot of stuff like that. Cut food down to basics for some months–no prepared foods & pack your lunches, and coupon too.
        Medicines for Cat: Did you check online? We found a bulk (Vet size) bottle of the flea treatment you have to measure yourself, but the cost was half.

        Consider selling old house if possible. Use money to pay off debt.
        Side jobs: Yes! I don’t know what exactly, but there are ways. Weekend work? House cleaning? Lawn mowing? Pet sitting/walking? Babysitting? It depends on what you can do and can do in the time you have, but whatever it is, it should not have a huge cost outlay at the outset.

        Can you or husband get a better paying job? (consider and look, but carefully and consider benefits too)

        And, though I hate to say this, if you must, you can consider a bankruptcy. But I would make that a last ditch option. Being that you haven’t lost your jobs or anything.

        I have used a credit counselor, which was mandated as part of bankruptcy counseling before actually filing. They will go through all of your expenses and income. In my case, when I was doing this, it honestly didn’t help any as I was unemployed and had $0 income coming in, so any expenses were too many expenses.

        Things can get better.

    2. anon for this*

      I’m at about $28K between student loans and a credit card. (Not counting mortgage) I’m making all my payments, and the debt is going down, but not as fast as I would like. Just a little in savings – I’d love to know the best PT jobs a working professional should go for!

      1. Cat Woman*

        Same here. I work at a fairly conservative job and I often wonder if I should go back to the world of retail to make a little extra money. I used to work as a cashier and then in the cash office at a grocery store. I used to enjoy the cash office.

      2. Red*

        When I was moonlighting in part-time retail alongside a full-time professional-type office job, I really enjoyed working at Target — they were flexible on my schedule, paid fairly decently (the company has an internal minimum wage now of $10/hour, regardless of the state minimum wage), and offered a decent employee discount — 10% on everything, a little bit higher on some things like produce – while also treating their employees quite well (at least in my store, I suppose I can’t speak to the company on a whole). My fiancé and housemate both currently work there full-time.

      3. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        If you’re smart and patient with kids, tutoring can be a really good side gig (actually for a year or two after I had build up a client base that was my primary income and my husband and I did okay). Depending on where you live hourly rates will be different, but it’s something you can either do on your own for cash, or work for a company. If you work for a company, I recommend looking for one that pays its tutors as W-2 employees instead of 1099 contractors because you’ll find both and dealing with the tax responsibilities of being a contractor is pretty annoying IMO.

        Most tutoring is done evenings and weekends, but there’s not a lot to be done in the summer when kids are mostly out of school.

    3. Formerly Bankrupt*

      @Cat Woman:

      I have been there and done that so I know your pain! I am also a cat lover so I know how important that cats are to you.

      I would highly discourage you from getting a 401K loan. That is almost never a good idea.

      There are several excellent forums devoted to credit and money. I’ve used MyFico, BK Forum, and Credit Boards.

      On them you can get some excellent advice on money and possibly filing for bankruptcy, because that may in fact be an option. I had to file bankruptcy a few years ago and it was the best thing I ever did.

      However, before you take that step, get some advice from people who have been through the wars, whether that includes getting a second job, cutting your budget, etc.

      I will provide links in my next post.

    4. Punkin*

      On the cell phones: If you are in the US, please consider Consumer Cellular. We were paying ~ $145 a month for 3 phones (probably 3000 mins a month, plus some data & texting) with AT&T. My last bill for 3 smart phones (with 2500 mins & data as needed & oodles of texts) was $71. You can raise and lower your plan as needed. No contract. May be able to use your old phone, but they have a good selection of reasonably priced phones ($35-150). Not the latest models, but all functional. You can even get iPhones on a payment plan. The customer service is great. That’s $900 a year.

      Cable: My husband loves live sports, so it is really our entertainment budget. But we have cable only one 1 TV. And we pitted the cable companies against each other to get a great rate. The other TV in the house has the free digital stations.

      Check out Tractor Supply for vaccinations for the cats. They have some really good store brand food (4Health) – some of it grain free. Chewy dot com has some good deals sometimes as well.

      Plan meals ahead of time – we shop once a week. That has saved us more than anything. Before, we were too tired to make a decision, so we ate out. And we wasted lots of food that we bought for the house.

      I used to deliver pizza when I needed $ fast, but am too old for that now. Maybe clerking at a pet supplier or other retail spot that interests you? Not much $ is still $ that you can put toward the bills. There is no feeling like paying off a debt, even a $200 debt.

      Can you tutor or help people with organizing/cleaning house? I would pay good $ to have someone come help me, because sometime I just do not know where to start. 4 hours on a Saturday could bring in $60-80. Again, not huge, but could make a big dent in some bills.

      It WILL get better. My hubby and I were caring for incapacitated/elderly parents for the first 24 years of our relationship. There was no extra $ (due to us being young and our respective parents having no savings and service jobs with no retirement plans). We have found that “living poor” works for us now as well, even though we are further along in our careers and our parents have passed on. We mend clothes, we eat out only with a really good coupon, we shop at resale stores. All the little things DO add up.

      I started a spreadsheet for monthly expenses. It feels good to look a few months ahead to see the progress. And the differences from year to year are cool, too.

      Sorry so long, but I wanted you to know that it is possible to fight the money monster. It’s great that you are looking at strategies. Internet hugs to you.

    5. Me2*

      Do not borrow from your 401k, if at all possible. If you can’t tutor, can you babysit on the weekends? Even position yourself as a drop in babysitter and charge extra for the convenience.

    6. Jen*

      Also, if you aren’t couponing already for your basics try hip2save.com or maybe Aldi vs a more expensive grocery store.

    7. Lauren*

      You mentioned several smaller expenses in your post and said how little they would yield if you cut them out. But I think you ought to re-look at them and give some serious thought to either cutting them out or cutting them down. Could you get rid of your cell phones or one of them or are they the only phones you have? Can you cut breakfast out to one special day per month?

      Here’s what I do. It’s not a quick fix, but if you cut out or down on some of the smaller expenses (not the cats), you can come up with some money, however, small, that you can apply to the balance of the highest-interest debt. Most payments you make go to interest and debt, but if you make an optional payment and require it go to the debt only then the debt itself, particularly if the interest is a large part of it as is common in new mortgages, will be reduced much more quickly. You see this advice where experts tell you that even adding $10 per month to your mortgage and specifying it go to debt only can take years off your loan. Why not look into doing this?

      Also, can you raise the rent, even by $50 on your tenants? You could use that extra money to create a cash cat fund, a cookie jar of money for your potential vet expenses.

    8. Mkb*

      I think you can definitely dig out of this without having to declare bankruptcy. Are you familiar with Dave Ramsey at all? He gets calls exactly like this regularly on his show. It might be beneficial to read his book the total money makeover, or to enroll in financial peace university.

      1. Cat Woman*

        Thanks for the recommendation. I was able to find the book through Overdrive so I can borrow it from the library electronically and read it on my phone. Free! :) I used to spend a lot on ebooks, but about a year ago I switched to Overdrive. I can’t always find what I want, but it keeps me in books pretty steadily; I read A LOT.

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          Overdrive/the local library has been amazing for me. I read constantly (I’m up to almost 50 books so far for 2016), and even though I usually stick to $1.99 Kindle books, it still adds up. Since I signed up for a library account, I have been able to read a bunch of awesome books (some of which are $13.99 for the Kindle version!) and discover some new authors.

    9. Lady Kelvin*

      For cell phone bills I’d check out smart talk too. You can get through Walmart and it’s a paid plan for unlimited everything for $45 a month. Plus if you set it up to autopsy email each month you get a couple dollar discount. Unlike some of the other cheap networks they just piggyback on the major 3 cell towers so you can pick which network you’d be one based on what’s good in your area. We are on the att cell towers so everywhere att has service we have service. $90 for 2 ppl is much less than $160 for 2 ppl

      1. The Rat-Catcher*

        Seconding straight talk. Hubby has had it for years and $45 a month is really, really manageable for us. (I’m still on my parents’ plan – a little embarrassing at 26, but I’m not going to beat $40 a month, soooo…)

    10. Cat Woman*

      Unfortunately bankruptcy is not an option–I wish it was! My husband’s job requires a top secret clearance and he has a background check every 5 years. If his job were to find out, he would likely lose it.

      I’ve tried calling the credit card companies to ask for lower rates, but no go. Every one of them said they wouldn’t do it. I don’t know why.

      We tried refinancing the new house in order to lower the payment, but our credit scores are about 665-670 because of the amount of debt; we’ve had no delinquencies at all over the last 10 years. The only loan we qualify for is FHA, but it really wouldn’t save us much per month–about 100.00– so it’s not worth it after paying the appraisal fee, closing costs, etc.

      I hate feeling so stuck!

      1. pony tailed wonder*

        I have a lot of friends who sell their plasma. I think they get about three to four hundred bucks a month.

      2. LCL*

        Well, sometimes you have to use the system before it uses you. Try having your husband, or another person with a male voice, calling up the cc companies and negotiating for a better rate. Yeah sexist as hell, but it’s a sexist world and its worth a try.

    11. PollyQ*

      We would likely have to make up a shortfall [on the house] of $20k or so.

      Are you 100% sure on this? In some states, if you sell your house and the amount isn’t enough to cover the mortgage, they can’t come after you for the remainder. Not sure how this would affect your credit rating or taxes, though. This is not to say that you should or shouldn’t sell, but it’s a fact worth knowing.

      I agree with other commenters that you could probably do better on your cell & cable bills, maybe by a lot. If you do cut the cable TV service entirely, and make a one-time purchase of an HD antenna or stick for your computer or TV.

      I also strongly urge you to leave your 401K alone. Not only would you be pulling money out of retirement, but the immediate tax penalties are fairly sizeable, an extra 10% on top of the 20% withholding according to one source I found.

      1. LCL*

        I think I would talk to someone who really knows the real estate market in your area. Because by your numbers, every month the rental is vacant you are upside down. How much is the rental costing per month? From here, selling one of the houses looks like a good idea. It may be worth borrowing against one house to get the cash to sell the other. Or it may be a terrible move. Find out, for your sake.

      2. The Rat-Catcher*

        The 401k numbers are accurate. DH did it before we got married – it’s 20% off the top and another 10% come tax time. It’s an icky way to go.

    12. StillHealing*

      We dumped cable a long time ago and bought a cheap in-house antenna. We got rid of a landline recently. So all we have is $49 a month internet service. So I’d make that suggestion – dump cable and landline as a place to start.

    13. BRR*

      Do not take a 401k loan. They’re super expensive with fees, penalties, and taxes; your 401k cant touched in bankruptcy; and it’s probably not going to fix things in the long run because it’s address a sympton and not the cause.

      If your husband can get more overtime I think he should do it. your cable is high. Call and ask what promotions they have. maybe look into good balance transfer cards. Pay your highest interest rate card first. I know the snowball method can feel good but it sounds like you need cash.

      You have to ask yourself how you accumulated so much debt. That’s what you have to figure out then change. I wonder if you bought too much house? Next you’re expenses seem high as a portion of your income. Do you know where your money is going? You’re going to have to do some serious cutting. Other people have suggested great things for the small stuff. A very serious question though is can you afford the home you’re in? I know you’re stuck with a second one but since housing is usually the largest portion of someone’s budget I wonder if that’s what is killing you.

    14. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I think you need to take the attitude that no amount is too small to put towards the debt. If you can change something to save $5 then do it. Those little things will add up and your financial situation won’t always be what it is now.

      Also, as you knock out individual loans you will have more money to put towards the remaining loans. You can either tackle them based on interest rate or size of the loan, whichever will motivate you more.

      I don’t think you should take any money out of your retirement funds. The financial costs are too great. better to choose austerity now than have it forced upon you later.

      1. Yetanotherjennifer*

        Cutting expenses is like weeding; once you’re looking at that level you’ll start seeing more and more ways to cut expenses.

        YNAB is competition to Mint and has lots of great content on getting out of debt. They forums are also very helpful. They also have a philosophy of getting one month ahead on living expenses which you could use as a cushion against old house and sick cats problems. The only downside is they are now on the subscription model which I don’t think is good for someone in your position. Try and find a copy of the desktop version or use their methods on some other software.

        1. AliceBD*

          I also second YNAB! (You Need a Budget) I didn’t have much debt (just a 0% car loan from my dad, who refused to let me pay it off early), but it has helped me move to a new city and pay for an apartment by myself, and figure out all of the things I can afford or not afford. There are many people on the forums who have the amount of debt you do who are paying it off. Good luck!

    15. Blue Dog*

      You need to check out Dave Ramsey! He has common sense advice for becoming debt free. We followed his advice, which as he is fond of saying, is nothing more than fourth grade civics, and became completely debt free ! We don’t even have car payments or a mortgage anymore.

      The first thing he recommends is to begin paying off your debts, smallest to largest. If you have a lot of credit card debt he recommends calling the credit card companies and working out a payment plan. You pay the minimum allowed every month on all you debts but the smallest. With the smallest you pay as much as you can until it’s gone and move on to the next smallest.

      You also slash your lifestyle to the bone. Get rid of cable, eating out, and buying new clothes, etc. Think about selling any car you’re making a payment on and paying whatever CASH you can scrounge up for a beater to get around in until you’re back on your feet. Whatever you do, do NOT borrow more money or use your credit cards. Cut them up!

      It’s hard but you can do it. Having no debt is the best feeling!

      Check out his podcasts and radio show. He’s like the Ask a Manager of debt and people call into and as questions.

      1. Michael*

        I don’t mean to sound heartless, but what about getting rid of some or all of the cats?

      2. Cat woman*

        I was going to get the book through the library electronically but there are 11 people ahead of me. Amazon just settled some class action suit which gave me 35.00 in credit. I’ll use that to buy it.

    16. Caledonia*

      All I can remember about your previous house, Cat Woman, is your infamous renter – what was the reason you moved? Is there any chance you could move back and rent out the place you are living? Air b ‘n’b your properties?
      And how many cats do you have – have you adopted any more recently?

      1. Cat woman*

        Nope, no more adoptions. Made the decision not to adopt any more. Ad we break even on the rent for the old house. Great renters who really keep up the place with no cost to us unless something needs fixing. To move back would mean an hour commute with no traffic for me. Plus i have a great job with great benefits and pay. The issue is the credit cards, which we have used in several months now unless really, really needed. And we only needed to once. The minimum monthly payments are way more than the mortgage.

        1. Caledonia*

          In your case though, it’s not enough to “break even” on the the rent/mortgage. I’d look at upping the rent a bit if you can.
          You can air bnb lots of things – spare room in your current place? Give up your garden for camping?

          I sympathise – I’m not exactly having the most wonderful time financially – all my debt is in my overdrafts.

        2. the gold digger*

          Caledonia, I sure see your point about raising the rent, but having just helped a friend get rid of a nightmare tenant,* having watched what Cat woman has gone through, and having watched another friend and her husband deal with evicting horrible tenants and then finally, happily, selling the rental property, I have to say that possibly getting rid of good tenants over a few dollars is maybe not worth it.

          The nightmares that a bad tenant causes – I have a friend who is 93 years old who is dying of cancer, which you would think be top of mind, who still has nightmares about a bad tenant he had decades ago – are not worth the extra money. It is like having a bad boss – there is no place in your life that is safe.

          * She called 911 because Keith and I were doing a walkthrough of the place as she was moving out. She gave him a bad forwarding address for her deposit and then threatened almost daily to take him to court because she had not gotten the letter. She refused to return the keys; she damaged the property; she was often not home to let her daughter, who has Downs Syndrome, back into the house after school, etc, etc, etc.

          1. Caledonia*

            I see your point – it is however worth seeing if the tenenants would pay a little extra? Like all the other things, as the debt is so high, raising the rent will not make it go away but will compliment all the other savings.

            I would say it’s worth asking even if it ends up being a no-go.

            1. Observer*

              You don’t mess with a good tenant. When the year is up, you can look at raising the rent. Otherwise? NOPE. The potential cost is just way too high. Especially in a neighborhood like this, where she could be stuck with any empty house for a few months. At least breaking even means the house isn’t costing her anything and she can get to a point where she can sell it without losing money.

            2. Mando Diao*

              You can’t just raise the rent. You have to wait until the end of the current lease term and then give the renter the opportunity to either re-sign or reject a new lease. You legally cannot “just ask.” A lease is a legal contract and you cannot ask for more money than the signee has agreed to pay.

          2. Cat woman*

            Yeah Im fine with things as-is at the old house. They’re paying enough to cover the mortgage and they pay for their own salt in the winter, plus oil, and they do the landscaping and did their own painting, which looks awesome because it needed it and the boyfriend is a pro painter. I really can’t raise the rent. What I charge them is the very top of the market for that area and type of property. I absolutely do not want a repeat of last year so I’m ok with things as they are. And I know they couldn’t afford more, which would mean new tenants that may not work out.

            1. Caledonia*

              I hope you have found some things that help. I just converted it into £’s from $ – it’s a lot of money but I have my fingers crossed you can make it work.
              Any way of making your blog financially viable in some way? (or at least, get freebies!)

              1. Cat Woman*

                I’ve thought about that, but I really don’t have enough traffic for that. At least, I don’t think I do. I have no idea at what point it could be viable to do that.

    17. Not So NewReader*

      I had a few animals here. I developed some major allergies. In the kindest way possible, my doctor said, “As the animals pass on, do not replace them with new animals.”
      I am down to one dog and I probably will replace him when the time comes. But I will not go back to the head count I had before. It is amazing how much they did cost me in hidden expenses. My aunt had lost her last two animals and decided not to replace them. (A good idea since she was battling cancer on and off.) She commented how much cheaper it was to do the weekly shopping. We both admitted that we did not realize how often we picked up “some little thing” for our animals. We gave up our animals primarily for health reasons but we did it the same way- we just let the number of animals dwindle down.
      I won’t even start on how much damage the animals did here.
      I have had vets show me how to do some basic stuff so I could reduce my visits to the doctor and in turn reduce some of my costs. You can also see if you have friends that are good at animal care and would be willing to help you at no cost. I go over a friend’s house and help with his dog. He knows that he has saved some bucks, now that he sees my methods, he helps me with my dog when I need an extra set of hands.

      Do you get a tax refund? My husband and I called this “found money”. Sometimes the way out of a problem is by watching what you do with “found money”. We agreed with the tax refund that we would put it into something that benefits the both of us. In our case it was paying down our yearly oil bill. Found money could be refunds on our escrow account, gifts, bonuses, heck, one time we found $10 laying on the ground, literally. We watched how we handled that extra money and used it to our advantage. It’s not that you move mountains in any one action, it’s that you KEEP doing this. Over time you do gain ground.

      I run a shoe string budget here. My latest thing is tag sales. My strategy is to get out the door early on a Saturday and be one of the first ones in order to get good selection. AND I have a list of practical things, I must stick to my list. No different than a grocery store list. This allows me to get the things I need to run my house. Most recently, I picked up a microwave, toaster over and coffee pot. All were near new condition, and it cost a total of $55. Why this stuff dies all at the same time, I have no clue. As a side bonus, I have been able to bring home free cans of paint, free rugs and other interesting items. If you make a purchase, it’s amazing how people are willing to toss a free item in with the purchase. I buy just necessities and probably at an average of 80% less than original retail. Running on a shoe string does not mean you cannot have fun.

      Last, this helped me a lot: I decided that I would live the rest of my life looking for ways to reduce bills. Making this decision caused a shift in my head. It no longer feels like punishment to look at bills and think about how to reduce my costs, because now it is a life habit. It is on a par with doing dishes or cooking a meal. Congratulate yourself for the smalls gains. I reduced one bill from $75 per year to $35 per year. You’re right, that is not a huge deal but I took the time to feel good about that and use it to encourage myself to keep looking around. Once you get out of debt, you will need to continuously look at your bills anyway, so no change there, right? It’s just your life long habit.

    18. Cat Woman*

      Thanks for your ideas, everyone!

      The cable/internet/landline renewal is coming up in July, so that’s where I’ll start. I’ve looked into AT&T Uverse and Verizon Fios, and neither of them are available in my area. I looked at Vantage and Frontier, too. Vantage isn’t available and Frontier…well I’ve heard way too many bad things about them. And I really don’t want satellite. It’s just too windy here sometimes, so I’d be without a signal for part of almost every day. I have Amazon Prime, so I’m thinking I’ll get a Fire Stick and use that on the main TV. Between internet and that, I should be able to watch most of what I usually watch. Except the Walking Dead; I really don’t want to pay for episodes so I might need to have bother a friend or something. I can live without a landline, since we don’t get many calls anyway.

      The cell phones aren’t up for renewal until May of next year, so I have time to research that. Thanks for all the great suggestions on companies!

      Groceries. I shop at a combo of places–like Aldi, Price Rite, and the regular store–and I’m doing much better with that. After the hell year I had last year, I’m much more careful these days. My favorite is the marked down meat. I don’t ever buy full priced steak anymore. Ever. I’ll admit I got a bit wrapped up in buying marked down meat for a bit. My freezer was so full that I had to empty it, inventory it, and repack it.

      Dave Ramsey. I bought the book today with the Amazon credits I got from their class action suit (I think it involved Apple and the pricing of ebooks). And…I bought it used, so it was even cheaper! :) Also got a copy of A Street Cat Named Bob and Thug Kitchen’s first cookbook, both used. I’ll dig into Ramsey’s book as soon as it arrives, which should be the end of the week.

      As for entertainment, I got a ton of free vouchers out of Ticketmaster’s class action suit. Although, I’ve noticed it’s first come first served, so I’m not optimistic I’ll actually be able to get the free tickets. And as far as any other entertainment, we actually don’t do anything or go anywhere other than the occasional meal out at the diner, which is a few times a month. I go to the movies maybe twice a year and we don’t drink. I do go to concerts sometimes–usually for just one band–, but I’m not charging that on a credit card.

      And the kitties. I already use Chewy for litter, and I use autoship so I get the cheaper price. Canned food I usually get at Walmart. The prescription stuff is actually cheaper at my vet’s office, which is really unusual in my experience. I’m rationing the new dry food that one cat needs ($50.00 for 8.8 lbs!!) since I have to give it to all of them. I have several that eat dry only, so when I’m gone for 10 hours a day, I don’t really want to leave them nothing. Yes I could, but I’ll see how this goes for now. The prescription wet food is being fed to only the one that needs it and it’s being controlled pretty well. I’m hoping he can come off of it after a few weeks; we’re trying to weed out a possible food sensitivity.

      I’m all ears if anyone has anything else to add.

      (And I guess I wasn’t as “anon” as I thought. Oh well. LOL)

      1. Observer*

        Is Verizon copper available in your area? It’s not as good or cheap as fios, but DSL is usable. And, your cable provider will be far more amenable to change if you can tell them that if they don’t give you a break, you’ve got a good option b, if you prefer to stay with them.

      2. NaoNao*

        Hey there!
        I am on a fairly strict budget after a breakup left me with an apartment rent that was about 50% higher than the previous years’.
        One thing I do as a “side hustle” is eBay sales.
        My tips:
        Go through your current closet for brand name, good used condition items, as these are easy to write about in terms of size and fit.
        Your local Goodwill will have a 50% off day—make this day your shopping day. Look for:
        Excellent used condition or new with tags brand name items *or* very unusual standout vintage items.
        Examples of brand names that I find sell:
        Calvin Klein
        Banana Republic
        Vera Wang Simply Vera
        Merona and other Target brands
        Vera Bradley
        Upscale department store brands like Vincent Camuto, Buffalo, Liz Claiborne, DKNY, etc

        Odd vintage items or one off items I’ve sold:
        Vintage slips in unusual colors (these can be had for less than 3$ and sell for 20$)
        Novelty sweatshirts from the 80’s–especially funny cartoons
        High end designer brand name dust covers for bags (yes really!)
        Scarves from the 50’s and before with visible brands or trademarks showing provenance

        Measure your item and include measurements
        Armpit to armpit or bust
        Shoulder to shoulder at top of shoulder
        Neckline to waist or waist to hem or overall neckline to hem (or all three)
        Armhole diameter if not stretch item or loose fitting

        Take pictures with high quality camera in natural light, and photograph any marks or flaws, as well as any details
        In your description, include how to wear the item–this really helps me sell unusual things. I list out outfits, occasions, etc.
        Include any details that the buyer needs to know. Is this 100% poly and will not “breathe”? I state that. Are there any other things they need to know–fitted lining in a stretch garment? Is it sheer with no lining? Is it supposed to be a boxy fit or runs small? Describe how it fits you if you can. (for example, I am tall with a bustline for days and I often reference this in the fit notes to give people an idea of how it fits this body type)

        Price with .99 as the final digits.
        Go about 2-3 dollars higher than suggested, you can always go down if it doesn’t sell.

        I make about 250$ a month doing this (granted I spend money to make money, but I get about a 50% return on it, so it works out well).

        Good luck!

        1. Cat woman*

          That’s an interesting idea and hadn’t thought of that. I have a goodwill very close to me. Thanks!

          1. stevenz*

            I know this is way late… but, do you have any equity in your house (I know you don’t in the rental)? If so, can you get a home equity loan to pay off your debt? When interest rates are at the lowest they have ever been, there should be some way to consolidate your debt to cut the overall interest rate. Be careful, though. Go through legitimate banks or finance companies, not Jerry’s Loans! AsSeenOnTV! But it’s the interest rates that kill you, especially credit cards. Make sure you know what the rates and terms are of every card and loan.

            Ditto on not going into your 401k.

            Don’t use smart phones, i.e., no data plan. Just basic voice phones like they used last century. No land line. No one has a land line anymore. They’re so 19th century. Ditch cable. Get videos from the library. Check out pay as you go phone plans. There are pretty cheap ones. Actually there is a company that is now marketing “simple phones” to old people who don’t need or understand smart phones. They’re pretty cheap, but read the fine print! They all have ways of making the headline cost look great then bite you in the end. But there are much better deals than you will get with the ATTs and Verizons of the world. You’re not going for quality or features, just basic service.

            Have breakfast out. Don’t go to concerts. (I wondered why you have so many Ticketmaster coupons… put them on ebay?) Take good care of the cats and give them lots of attention.

            And if your husband has access to lots of juicy secrets, well…. heeheeheehee (Just kidding.) By the way, a large debt load can be an issue for security clearances, not just bankruptcy, so be careful how you go. And for God’s sake, don’t get pregnant.

            Smack yourself upside the head, admit to yourself that you made some poor choices and you have a very deep hole to climb out of. Having gotten that out of the way, try to live and love your life. Don’t let this kill you or consume you with guilt or recrimination. Many many others in the same situation have gone before you, so you can get through this too.

            And here’s some advice, much like some above, from someone who knows: It’s better to save than to spend. I have bought lots of nice things, dressed well, lived in nice neighborhoods, shopped in the best shops, traveled a lot and in style, never had a car payment but had nice cars, gave lots of money to charity, and now that I’m closing in on retirement age, I have nowhere near enough money to retire on. *I actually cannot afford to live much longer unless I’m working full time.* The prospect of unemployment is really untenable for me. Meanwhile, my retired friends are living the life, traveling, mortgage-free, buying new cars, spoiling grandchildren, etc. They made the right choices, I did not. Things are meaningless. Family, cats, security and comfort are everything. But I think you’re on to that now. Sending light and love to you…

  5. Bowserkitty*

    YESSSSS I finally made the weekend FFA!

    I’m moving next week and found out I get my keys a day earlier than expected, I’m so excited. I’m getting a new bed a couple of days after the move-in date, and even though the place isn’t new it’s going to be a total upgrade from everything I’m living in now.

    And do you know what I’ve been doing instead of packing?

    OITNB marathon. Because it’s new and I have no self-control with this series.

    It helps that I don’t need to have my stuff out of my current place until the middle of July, but I’d like to have it out well before then. Motivation, attack meeeeee….

      1. Bowserkitty*

        So far it’s very good! I know a lot of people disliked season 3 because it was “boring,” but after the rollercoaster of season 2 I was thankful for something less eventful. There’s a lot happening this 4th season but not in a way that makes me want to hurl things at my TV(ee).

        That said, I’m only 6 episodes in but it sounds like the finale is pretty big, so I feel like I’m racing to get to it (=_=)

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

      You might want to pack now. The ending is… rough.

      1. Bowserkitty*

        Well, I finished it Sunday morning and my heart hurts. But I did like the finale – aside from how it was a cliffhanger!

  6. Elena*

    Once again, I bought a new 17 month planner and I *know* that I’m not going to use it. How do you become a “planner user” when you aren’t one? I don’t know why I keep buying them, probably because they’re cute. I’m not one for writing things down much, I’ve never kept a proper diary or journal. I only used agendas while I was in school. Lol, help me use it! I was thinking it might be better to use retroactively, like write a few bullets about the day post-mortem in it?

    I’m good at remembering dates and appointments in my “head” (I swear!).

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      One of my aunts kept leather-bound, dated planners going back for decades.

      She faithfully wrote things of note that happened each day (ex. how many eggs each hen laid; how many hours she and her husband each worked at their hourly jobs and whether they worked any overtime; baby’s first smile, first step, etc.; family came to visit from out of state; played Scrabble, dominoes, etc.). Just any little thing that stood out to her in a day, for either practical or sentimental reasons, she would write a brief, one- or two-line entry about it.

      When she died a few years ago, her family got out all her planner/diaries and were surprised at the poignancy of so many memories, so pragmatically recorded.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Particularly poignant entries were those such as, “Betty and Grady, Dub and Louise, Dexter and Linda, . . . all came over and had a fish fry and the men played poker”, when all those aunts and uncles had passed away years ago, and reading the entry was like a brief revisit to the past.

      2. Elsajeni*

        This is similar to how I use my planner — I started out mainly using it to track my New Year’s resolutions, which were to exercise more and spend more time on craft projects and writing. So I have a line every day for whether I exercised and what I did, and if I worked on a craft/writing project I put that on another line, and then at some point I started adding little notes if anything else interesting happened, or if I did anything outside my usual daily routine: “Blaise came over and we rented Ant-Man — better than I expected!” “Tried a new recipe for stroganoff, REALLY GOOD OMG.” “Went to the Art Deco cars exhibit at the museum with my parents. Gorgeous. Dad especially liked it.” I don’t know if I’ll save it forever, but it’s been interesting to keep track of things like that, and I’ve already used it a few times to look back and answer a question like “What museum was it where we saw that cool exhibit on inventors?”

      3. Windchime*

        My mom keeps a journal. She can tell you when the first snow was for every year going back to the ’60’s. She keeps an old-fashioned check register (not the little one in the checkbook; it’s a big, notebook sized register that the bank special-orders for her). She can look up and see how much she spent for my shoes at JCPenney when I was 2 (and that was a LOOOOOONG time ago). I wish I was half as organized.

    2. Weekend Warrior*

      Why not try using it for a month to see if this is a habit that fits you? Then if not, free yourself from thinking you “should” and move on. A simple online calendar (or a print out on the fridge) to mark appointments may be all you’ll ever need. Add a scratch pad for grocery or to do lists and you’ll be a productivity ninja!
      But I get the appeal of pretty planners, journals, notebooks! :)

    3. Oryx*

      I just got one of those Passion Planner things about a month ago and started following a bunch of fellow users, and other planner users, on Instagram. It helps spur lots of ideas for how to use the planners in ways other than just writing appointments down.

    4. New girl*

      When I was in school my planner was my life. At the beginning of the semester I would write down every single due date in the syllabus. Now that I’m out of school, I use the calendar on my phone for everything. I plan every day with something even if it’s just “cleaning the bathroom” or “sleep in”. My SO hates it. He says I need live life on the edge.

      I don’t really have any useful advice on how to make yourself use a planner, I think it’s just something you either do or don’t do.

    5. Me2*

      Husband die hard planner user, me, not so much. I’ve tried and can never keep it going. Finally decided my “system” of little random scraps of paper in my car cup holder works so much better for me.

    6. Mike C.*

      Buy a fancy pen to go with. You’ll find excuses to try it out, including your planner. Try a Pilot Metropolitan.

    7. Yetanotherjennifer*

      There must be some reason you think you need it. Otherwise you just think it’s a cute accessory. In which case, carry it around and consider yourself a successful user for your purpose. (Please attribute any snarky tone to my lack of sleep last night and not ill intent.)

      Don’t try to move your whole life in. Start small and plan meals or track what you ate. Or exercise…books you’ve read/want to read. Just pick one thing and use it for that until you come up with another reason to use it. And don’t expect 100% use right away. Just keep at it bit by bit.

    8. Wrench Turner*

      I get a really big (poster size) wall calendar and write on it. This year’s came from a local auto tire place. Every few weeks I look through and edit a gmail calendar to make sure they match. It’s a good way to remind me of things coming up that (even though written down) I’ve forgotten about. It’s also good for home maintenance tasks that should be done regularly but aren’t frequent enough to be remembered.

  7. LizB*

    Anyone have recommendations for healing bruises? I wiped out on a dirt bike this week — it was my first time riding, I went into a turn too fast, but I was wearing all my protective equipment and was on grass so I was mostly okay. I have three huge bruises on my legs where I hit the ground/the bike fell on me, though, and I’m supposed to be running a 5k tomorrow morning. I iced the bruises the first day, but haven’t done much for them since then. Anyone have something miraculous to put on them and help them heal up quickly? I’d really like to not have to bail on the 5k.

      1. Pretend Scientist*

        I second the arnica. And eat pineapple or find bromelain supplements (the anti-inflammatory enzyme in pineapple). I did pineapple and the bromelain before I had my wisdom teeth out and didn’t swell (and have photographic proof!!!)

      2. nep*

        I’ve heard the same about arnica — I’ve never tried it but I’ve heard people swear by it for reducing pain.

    1. Dynamic Beige*

      I’ve never used Arnica for a bruise, but I was given it when I had my only wisdom tooth taken out. Didn’t hurt or swell, yay anesthetics!

      The thing is that to the best of my knowledge there is *nothing* that is going to heal those in 12 hours. So IMO, you either have to get used to saying “Yeah, gnarly accident on my bike last weekend!” or get some waterproof makeup to cover it/wear long pants.

      Don’t give up a 5K you want to run just because of a little cosmetic thing. If you’ve really hurt yourself to the point where you think running would cause you more injury, that’s something else entirely.

      1. JaneB*

        Arnica also recommended here, taken both internally and applied as a cream to the bruise site – it doesn’t fix things but in my experience seems to reduce the stiffness and pain on the first few days after the bruise. My sister was advised to take it by her midwife following an emergency caesarian for the bruising!

      2. LizB*

        I’m not worried about the cosmetic side of things at all — I don’t think people will really notice, honestly, since most of my running shorts will partially cover the bruises, and even if they did I’d just tell them what happened. It’s just that the worst bruise is still kind of sore, and moving quickly seems to make it hurt more due to where it’s placed near my knee.

        Anyway, it’s turned out that I’m not going to be able to do the run for other reasons, so it’s not a concern anymore, but thank you for the advice!

    2. Florida*

      Ice. I know you said you iced them the first day, but you really need to ice them several times a day if you want them to heal quickly.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Ice and willow bark.
      Willow bark is the natural equivalent of aspirin. You can get it at some grocery stores and you can definitely find it at health food stores. Just get the regular strength. The extra strength is very spendy and you will not see that big a difference. The regular strength should be about $10 give or take.

      My husband fell while getting off his motorcycle. I have never seen a bruise so large in my life. I don’t know how he was able to get his coat off, his arm was so swelled up. I thought he had broken his arm. He took some willow bark and used an ice pack for 45 minutes. The swelling reduced by 75% in that 45 minutes.
      A friend broke her little toe and could not get a shoe on. I gave her some willow bark. The next morning, she could put on one of her larger shoes.

      Willow bark is also great on sinus headaches. So what you don’t use will not go to waste.

    4. TootsNYC*

      I had arnica nearly erase the discoloration from a bruise pretty quickly. I heard later that it works better if it goes on ASAP–the sooner you use it, the more effective it is.

      So I tried it on a second injury-the-should-turn-into-a-bruise right away, and it never did discolor.

      I prefer the cream version, not the ointment; the ointment is petroleum-jelly based, and that’s messy, plus I didn’t feel like it absorbed as well (though that’s not scientific).

  8. Rob Lowe can't read*

    I live in a two-family home, and the other residents seem to have forgotten how trash and recycling pick up work. Our town has curbside single-stream recycling and pay-as-you-throw trash pick up (i.e. you buy official city trash bags for your trash, and they only pick up those). Growing up we had to put city tags on our trash bags, so while I’ve never lived anywhere with the exact system my current town has, I don’t perceive that it’s terribly unusual.

    Our neighbors moved in about two months ago. For the first month, there were no problems. Trash and recycling went out, trash and recycling got picked up. (We each have our own city-issued recycling bin, and we buy our own trash bags. My household puts ours in the large kitchen trash can; there are no trash cans shared between the two units.) Then about a month ago, I came home and our trash and recycling were gone, and theirs was still there. Okay, maybe they put it out late. Stinks for them, but not my problem. Until they left the trash and recycling bin in front of our house for two days! I know they were home because I could hear footsteps and running water, plus their cars were both around.

    For the past two weeks, they have been filling their recycling bin with non-recyclable materials and putting it on the curb. I know the materials are non-recyclable because both weeks the city has put a sticker on it saying that this is why the recycling isn’t being picked up. They usually wait 1-2 days before bringing it in. Their trash hasn’t been picked up either. Last week, I don’t know why. This week it was because they used a non-city trash bag. Both weeks, they put the bag of uncollected garbage on our shared front porch to wait for the next trash day!

    I cannot think of a legit reason why they would suddenly be unable to correctly dispose of their trash and recycling. Do they have trash-specific amnesia? What should I say, or should I just call the landlord?

    1. LizB*

      I’ve never encountered that kind of trash pick-up system, but I can’t imagine that I’d still be as confused as your neighbors seem to be after two months of living somewhere that used it. If there’s currently a bag of trash on the shared porch, maybe you can approach them to ask them to take it to the dump, which might give you an in to re-explain the rules? Or, depending on how expensive the official trash bags are, perhaps you could offer them one as a neighborly gesture if they’ve run out? I don’t think I’d personally take it straight to the landlord, but if you think the landlord would be best placed to explain the trash and recycling rules, that could be a reasonable step.

      1. Rob Lowe can't read*

        Yeah, it’s really not hard to understand at all. And it would be one thing if they had just moved in and were struggling with it, but there was a month of smooth sailing before the problems started.

        I think I will ask them to remove the bag and use that as a way to probe their understanding of the system.

        1. fposte*

          One possibility is that it started out as one person’s job and got switched to somebody else’s.

            1. fposte*

              I was thinking about how many households assign taking out the garbage to the kids :-).

              1. Rob Lowe can't read*

                This is a household of two adults, but it’s certainly possible that not all the essential information got conveyed.

              2. Mallory Janis Ian*

                *Raises hand*. One kid is responsible for taking the trash to the curb and the other for the recycling. Then they are each responsible for bringing their respective empty containers back up from the curb after returning from school on trash day, or after the pickup has occurred if school’s out. I can’t even tell y’all how many times they’ve been in trouble for not doing their jobs without parental reminders to do so.

        2. Mela*

          My guess is that when they moved in, there was a small supply of city trash bags left over from the previous tenants. Now that they’ve run out, they’re flailing and not being responsible about figuring out how to acquire more. I would just let them know where to buy them.

        3. Fog*

          I can think of plenty of scenarios that might lead to confusion, but I can’t imagine being okay with the confusion for that long!

          I would have called the city to straighten out what we needed to do the first time our recycling wasn’t picked up. So weird!

    2. Gene*

      If you are renting, it’s something to pass on to your landlord. If you own and they rent, talk to their landlord. If you both own, start talking with them nicely. If that doesn’t work, good luck.

      1. Florida*

        It i likely a code violation to leave your trash out too long. The definition of “too long” depends on the city. It could be that you have to bring it up by the end of the day on trash day. Some cities give you an extra day. Find out what it is for your city. You can probably also find out what the fine is pretty easily.
        Tell the landlord that you are concerned about the trash bins because you know it’s a code violation and you don’t want Landlord to get fined. Say this in a concerned way, not a threatening way. If it doesn’t improve in a few weeks, I’d make an anonymous code complaint. When Landlord gets a notice in the mail from the city, they will take care of it.

        1. Rob Lowe can't read*

          Yeah, in my old town they were super strict about trash code violations, but they must be more lax about it here. I should look it up though.

        2. BRR*

          Ooh that could work. I saw your trash wasnt picked up and the city does X I f you have it out past Y. I wanted to let you know so you don’t get in trouble. Make the city the enemy.

      2. Rob Lowe can't read*

        We both rent (same landlord). I guess I can be a reasonable grown up and try talking to them before I mention it to the landlord. He’s around quite a bit, though, so if he asks me about the trash I’m definitely not going to cover for them.

        1. NewCommenterfromDaBronx*

          That would be what I would do. Speak to the other renters & just remind them of the rules re trash & recycling. I would also ask politely if they forget or miss the collection day that they not leave it on your shared porch. After that, I would let the landlord know & follow up with the other tenant.

  9. Be the Change*

    Struggling with a personal family issue. My parents split up when I was little, and my older brother lived with my dad and I lived with my mom. So we never had much of a relationship. I’ve known for decades that I want my brother’s respect and appreciation — and that I’ll never get it. He’s a right-wing military guy, an evangelical Christian, an engineer, spends time on overseas missions, and a few other things along those lines. He’s incredibly smart, a wonderful father, has an iron will, more energy than any other three people I know. And he’s contemptuous of anyone who is not like him, and is utterly unwilling to entertain questioning of any kind.

    I am a liberal agnostic who likes to sit around and read and think and has never done anything interesting, ever. So you can see, there’s just no way I’m ever going to get a nod from him. Usually I manage not to care or think about it but every now and then it raises its head and I have to go through the whole thing again.

    I know a lot of us on AAM have family issues, and as they go, this is pretty minor (we live across the country from each other and can go years without talking). But if anyone has strategies, I’d love to hear them.

    1. Weekend Warrior*

      I wonder if it’s more that you need respect and appreciation for yourself? I also truly love to sit around and read and think but would never say that I’ve not done anything interesting. It worries me that you think that about your life! I think once you’ve gained appreciation for yourself ( a bit of therapy?) your brother’s opinion will matter much less. And to be honest, he doesn’t sound like such a paragon…

      1. Be the Change*

        Chuckle — of my siblings (older brother and younger sister) I am definitely the boring, nice one. It’s an exaggeration that I’ve *never* done anything interesting, but I am sure not the person asked to tell stories at family reunions. You call them when you need big things to get done. You call me when you need a kind, calm presence and a sympathetic ear. I don’t mind being boring, necessarily.

        Brother actually has legitimate reasons to think highly of himself. What I struggle with is that he sees *no value* in *any other way of being* and my way of being is very different than his. Maybe if I thought, “What would I say to someone else who brought this story to me?”

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          Let’s put it this way: if he was someone you met casually and got to know, would you want to remain friends with him once you found out that he holds people who are not like him in contempt and will not allow anyone to question him?

          Because despite having some good qualities, he kind of sounds like a nightmare TBH. I saw this documentary about the children of high-ranking Nazis where even though they are elderly now, some of them still struggle trying to reconcile “Papa” with someone who was responsible for atrocities. Some of those Nazis were terrible inside home as well as outside, others seem to have been good parents who loved and cherished their children, adored their wives and families. That may be an extreme example and I’m sure your brother isn’t a Nazi, but he seems to lack empathy for other people and that is not good.

          My sibling and I never got along, even though we grew up in the same house, we did not grow up together. We do not speak any more and I have made my peace with that. One of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn was that just because family is important to you, it doesn’t mean you’re important to family.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Take from this what you want or toss the whole thing, if you wish. I scold myself for assigning obligations to people who do not want said obligation. Annnd, I remind myself that I can be so busy thinking about Bob should do X with me, that I totally miss Sue who wants to do Y with me.

          Here’s the deal. We want sisters to be sisterly, brothers to be brotherly, mothers to be motherly and fathers to be fatherly and sometimes they just. do. not. comply. with that. It just won’t happen, period. It hurts, grieve that. Then, look up, look around. You may have a neighbor who is looking for a sisterly/brotherly person to hang out with. You may have an informal mentor at work that you don’t even notice.
          People volunteer to play roles in our lives all. the. time. And we often miss those cues.
          Part of moving through the grief of a failed bonding relationship is to go forward and build relationships that are successful. It helps to give us perspective. For example I learned that X actually could not help me with my issues. (where X is someone like your bro.) I met new person Y, who had all the know how in the world and they are helping me. The contrast is stark, seeing this difference helped me to understand why X kind of had to sit on the perimeter of my life. It’s actually true that not everyone is for everyone, our needs are that diverse.

          New experiences with new people can help give us a fresh perspective.

          1. TootsNYC*

            ” I scold myself for assigning obligations to people who do not want said obligation.”

            Nice insight!

            And actually, it’s disrespectful to do that–to decide for yourself what someone else is obligated to do.

            Now, Be the Change hasn’t said she thinks less of him for not approving of her, or that she’s pressuring him–she’s just wishing, and that’s no disrespectful.

            But that concept might be one thing that can help her let go of her own wish.
            It helped me, actually. I grew up w/ my big brother, and his approval was always more important than my parents’. I don’t think I ever got it. (Well, once, when I told him, as an afterthought, “Oh, hey–I met Julius Schwartz the other day.” My bro had been a huge Superman comic book fan, and we’d read footnotes from “Julie” in the comics a lot. My brother actually gaped and then shut his mouth, speechless. Yay!)

            I finally was able to let go of it by seeing that he has the right to just not care much about me. And that someone who was that careless, and flat out dismissive (other things happened–he came to my city for 2 days and didn’t make any effort to contact me, despite having tons of downtime), was not actually someone worth admiring in that way.
            That I would give him AND myself a gift if I could just accept that he is who he is. And that he’s entitled to be.

            Good luck!

    2. Turanga Leela*

      An indirect strategy: is there anything you both enjoy? Talking about that together might help you forge more of a bond, which might lead to more respect on his part or less feeling of need on yours.

      It doesn’t have to be anything exciting. If you both love Dancing with the Stars, maybe you can call him after the episode airs to talk about it.

      1. Be the Change*

        Well, we both love ridiculous super-hero smash ’em up movies with lots of explosions!

        I do not like talking on the phone with anyone, even my best friend, so there’s no way I’m going to call up my brother and make awkward small talk about Captain America. The rest of the family interacts extensively on Facebook, but he does not — at least until someone posts about gun control and then he’s all over it.

        The funny thing is we do fine in person. The last time I saw him, almost three years ago, we sat around and talked for hours around the table every night.

        1. Ccccccc...*

          Hey there,
          Your situation resonates with mine, so I’m taking to the comments. I also have an older brother with whom I have a very fraught relationship, though we grew up together in the same (dysfunctional) household. I’ve also struggled with wanting his approval and respect and never feeling good enough. Two points come to mind:

          1) Like you, I always knew I wanted my brother to think well of me, and it was a very sore point (he’d typically either ignore or disparage me). At some point in my 20s, I realised that this dynamic with him – seeking approval, caring too much about what he thought – was not only exhausting, but bad for me. Worse, I was doing it to myself: I’m not sure he knew about my internal monologue. I’m not sure he really thinks about me in terms of the comparison I set up, just as you do with your own brother (in my case, he’s also The Successful One, with me playing the role of The Problem One, or fuck-up). In many ways, it was my own narrative, and it lost some of its power when I decided to step back from a relationship with him.

          That same story strikes me in your account. You seem certain that he thinks poorly of you, but do you know that, really? What if the comparison between you two doesn’t even occur to him? I’d doubt he would describe you as “the boring one” to his “interesting.” I think that Weekend Warrior is correct: often these are labels we slap onto ourselves, and project onto others’ perceptions of us. What if you allowed yourself to believe that you don’t (can’t) know how he feels about you? That whatever he does think, his opinion of you ≠ who you are? Because you two certainly sound very different – in vocation and temperament (same with me and my brother). And different ≠ “less than.”

          2) It sounds like you two really get along in person! Let that tell you something: if he thought so poorly of you, you wouldn’t spend hours talking.
          More to the point, is it possible you’re putting him on a pedestal? He sounds extremely accomplished, but this: “he’s contemptuous of anyone who is not like him, and is utterly unwilling to entertain questioning of any kind”… Well, he’s hardly perfect. Try not to reduce yourself to the goal of gaining the approval of a judgmental person. Like yours, my brother is someone who Always Knows Best. And when it manifests, I remind myself of two things: a) I don’t like that trait (in anyone). He’s flawed, often selfish, and I admire his achievements, but not his personality. b) My opinions matter too, and yeah, he doesn’t know best. I’d also add that your brother’s different beliefs do NOT invalidate yours.

          Finally, you mention your parents are divorced: how is your relationship with your father? For me, I think my brother’s approval mattered all the more so because my father was an ineffectual parent, and I didn’t get the affirmation from him a child needs (I don’t need it now, of course). That likely made my relationships with men (I’m a woman) all the more fraught. Is it possible your brother looms so large in your psyche because of your father’s absence (in the sense of being a part-time – because divorced – parent; I’m not making any other assumptions about him)?

          Just some thoughts. I really do understand your struggle – I saw my brother at Christmas at my parents’ and it still hurt me (bc of specific circumstances). But I promise you, you are tremendously valuable in and of yourself! That I know.

          1. TootsNYC*

            I also wonder if you’re not exaggerating how contemptuous he is of others. I bet it’s not as extreme as you think.

            And don’t let Facebook shape your opinions of people too much.

    3. fposte*

      I like Turanga Leela’s idea a lot. I think there are ways to have a relationship that don’t focus on what he thinks of you, or the differences between you. (I actually have no idea what my brother thinks of me, come to think of it.) Another possibility is to ask him more about himself. How did he come to choose this path? What gives him the most satisfaction? What does he love best about his kids? How is his parenting approach affected by your shared/not shared childhood?

      You don’t have to have political/ideological similarity to find a wavelength. And I think sharing a wavelength is likelier than silence to increase his regard for you.

    4. bluesboy*

      This might not be relevant to you at all, but I’ll throw it out there because it works for me.

      I live a long way away from my family and didn’t really communicate much with my siblings (we’re 3 brothers & 1 sister). Then one day my brother had some info to share and created a WhatsApp group with all of us in. Now each of us post regularly with news, questions, we tease each other and it’s really helped me to feel close to them. And if any of us don’t feel like posting that’s fine, there are three others.

      I know you only have one brother, do you get on with his wife, do you have cousins, mutual friends, people you could form a group with including your brother? I know it might just seem the same as chatting on Facebook but it doesn’t work like that – people comment more because it’s a closed group so probably someone hasn’t already said what you were thinking.

      Anyway, works for us. Hope you find a solution!

  10. Oryx*

    How many friends, like really good close friends, do you all have?

    I’m 34 and very introverted and have maybe half a dozen people in my life I consider friends. The kind I know I can call to help me bury a body, no questions asked, and that’s about it. Aside from 2 of them, they all live several hours away from me, I see them maybe once a year if I’m lucky, so most of our friendships are done through text, email, etc., but for an introvert this is actually kind of ideal. I’m friendly with co-workers but I don’t hang out with them after work and I’m not FB friends with them. Speaking of, I keep a very small FB friends list. There’s another level of maybe another half dozen people between Friend and Acquaintance, (or what I consider between Friend and Acquaintance) but that’s really kind of it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally okay with this arrangement, I’ve just been thinking lately about it as I’ve realized some of my previous friendships from a few years ago have started to drift apart. 20 years ago I had a really, really wide net of friends, but as we’ve gotten older and our lives have taken different paths, and you start to realize what brought you together isn’t enough to keep you together things change. In some cases, Facebook has added a false sense of intimacy — I had to kind of have a Come To Jesus moment with one of these people, I hadn’t seen her in 15 years, we had very little interaction in that time, but she still thought of us as BFFs because of social media.

    So I guess I’m just kind of curious where everyone else is with this.

    1. Turanga Leela*

      My close friends are in clumps, so they’re small groups where we’re all friends with each other. It’s hard to define within that who’s really close. For example, my friend Susan is not a close friend on her own, but she’s in my unofficial sorority of girlfriends who all stay in touch via group email, so she knows all my secrets and I know hers. Does that count?

      Gun to my head, I’d say I have 5-10 close friends scattered across the country. I’m like you; I don’t see them often. Several of the friend clumps try to do group trips every year or two so that we actually get to spend time together, but that’s expensive and hard to coordinate. (Weddings are great for this, but you can’t count on having them all the time.)

      I wish I saw my close friends more often, and I wish I had more of a group of local acquaintances to go out for drinks with. I used to have this with coworkers, but they’ve mostly moved away and the new group isn’t as social.

    2. FriendAnon*

      I’m 32 and have one friend (other than my partner) I could maybe call on to bury a body, one friend I meet for lunch every so often, one friend I keep in touch with via email (surface chat only). I’m really not ok with my situation but my efforts to make friends have all floundered. Luckily I know work in a chatty office so I get my social interaction that way.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I’m so relieved I’m not the only one! I’m 41 and have one very close friend nearby, a good friend I talk to off and on who lives in the same state, two good friends in other states that I text or Facebook with, and one person I’d go to lunch with maybe twice a year. I’d love to make more friends but I tend to closely guard my “me” which isn’t very conducive to making new friends. I deal with it but I do get lonely.

    3. GOG11*

      There are 5 people I think of who are very close, two of whom are my parents and one of whom is a cousin…and one is my boyfriend… I then have other friends who I see somewhat frequently, get on with, and could rely on for some things, but I don’t feel as comfortable asking for things (though maybe that’s just me). Growing up, I had a 4 or 5 close/best friends, some of whom I see occasionally, but many are far away and doing their own thing. I get along well with people, but I find them exhausting, so I don’t mind alone time at all.

    4. Pretend Scientist*

      Yeah, I need help with this. Anyone local are mostly friends from college and we just aren’t that close anymore. I’m having a hard time making new friends. I was reading the new Bon Appetit on a flight yesterday, and remarked to my partner that I wanted to cook everything in it, but for people other than my parents (they come over for dinner on Sundays)

    5. Crylo Ren*

      I’m 27 and only really have 3 close friends. My fiance, my twin brother and a former boss turned personal friend. (just saw her for a much needed happy hour last night!)
      I had a best friend outside of this group, but he’s newly into his first real romantic relationship and so we haven’t talked in maybe 3-4 months. I’m not resentful of this as he’d been wanting a girlfriend for some time and it’s adorable to see how happy he is via social media, but I do miss him.

      I’m pretty envious of people who have managed to keep friendships going for years and years. I’ve never been good at it.

    6. Levsha*

      I tend to distinguish between “forever” friends (who I plan to keep in touch with forever) and “now” friends (who I like and hang out with locally but probably would not stay in touch with long term if I moved.) I would say that I have four forever friends and like 6 now friends.

      1. Elkay*

        On his radio show advice segment Graham Norton often refers to the theory that friends come into your life for “a reason, a season or a lifetime” which is a nice way to think of it when friends start to drift.

    7. Aurora Leigh*

      I’m 25.

      I have 7 friends. Most of them are former coworkers. One is a college friend. Varying degrees of closeness, but at least 2 are “hide the body” friends.

    8. Myrin*

      Oh my. I must admit I’m not reeeally a friend person. Does that sound weird?

      Like. I’m very, very close to my mum and my younger sister. I wouldn’t call them “friends” because I’ve always had that thing about family members not being my friends, they’re my family, but yeah, for all intents and purposes, I do and talk about a lot with them that many people probably do and talk about with their (best) friends.

      Other than that… maybe… three? I have one friend who lives on the other side of the country (we met online several years ago but only met once in real life) with whom I share lengthy emails every couple of weeks. We talk about a lot of personal and intimate stuff and I’d consider us “close” but it’s obviously a different kind of closeness from when you see someone every once in a while and talk about personal and intimate stuff in person.

      My other friend is someone I went to school with. We weren’t actually close at all but happened to meet all the time later because we’d take the same train home from uni. We see each other somewhat regularly (in a “every couple of weeks” kind of regular, not the “every other day” kind) and we don’t really, hm, “deeply” know each other but saw the other through some hard times and I’d definitely consider us friends.

      The other was another person from school but we kind of fell out of touch in the last few months. I’m not really sure if her silence means she’s no longer interested (I had reached out to her but haven’t hear back) or if she’s just so immersed in her definitely stressful and hectic life (she’s in the last stage of becoming a physician) that I kind of fell on the wayside. I’ll see about that one.

      Thing is, I really enjoy this as it is. I’m someone who gets along really well with basically everyone and I know that I’m widely regarded as very friendly and likeable but I’m not really someone who’s all that into being extremely close to others, if that makes sense. But I’m happy with the situation and I think that’s what counts.

      1. Myrin*

        Ah yeah, I’m 25, by the way, but I’ve always been that way. I did have several best friends when I was at school (consecutively, not at once) but that honestly was helped by the fact that we had to see each other and thus couldn’t fall out of touch. Although I’ve recently been thinking about reaching out to that very first best friend from primary school – we’ve left on somewhat weird terms but I’ve never stopped liking her.

      2. Random Citizen*

        Yeah, see, I have a tendency to keep people at arm’s distance, almost like a protective instinct? I’ve never been dumped by a close friend or anything like that, so I don’t know where that tendency comes from, but with basically all my friends, there are things I just don’t tell them, no matter how open we are in general – just a certain guardedness around… everybody. I have one friend and one coworker (that’s more of a personality/relationship dynamic thing than a being super close thing) that I could call to bury a body. I love them to death, there’s no one who knows everything. I love having acquaintances and groups I can feel myself around – I don’t have to make a point of being nice or worry about what they think – but not feeling obligated to share everything. That’s my happy place. :)

    9. Random Citizen*

      I’m really close with my two sisters, and have one friend who would bury a body with me. Beyond that, it’s mostly in friend groups – the gang from x activity that I see most weeks, the gang from y event who I see 1-2 times a year – and a few people in those groups who are closer – maybe 4-5 people that I make a point of getting together with/texting occasionally, etc.

      I’m lucky in that I really enjoy my coworkers, although I’ve never really hung out with them outside of work, but enjoy talking and joking with at work, which fills my I-need-to-be-around-people-who-know-me tank (they may not know as much about my background or things like that, but they have a pretty good idea of who I am, personality-wise, just by virtue of spending 8+ hours a day together). There’s one that I’d call to bury a body with me, even though I never see them outside of work, just because of our relationship dynamic – wouldn’t bat an eye.

    10. Caledonia*

      I have two friends who I’d do anything for. I used to have a third friend but things have been weird between us recently (mainly to do with me) so I’m not sure. I have a fourth friend who I’m close with in some respects but not others.

      Everyone else is my friend of varying degrees.

    11. Ex Resume Reviewer*

      27 and I have 3 good, close friends, none of home live in my town. Two live on the other side of the country, and one is a few hours away but planning to change states ASAP. I’m actually okay with this. (I’m hiding inside on a gorgeous sunny day with the blackout curtains drawn and lights on, folks….) I get a lot of my social needs filled through work, and we call and text each other.

      I had friends in town, but they all got married and pregnant, and as a single woman who isn’t interested in children or having any ever… well we drifted apart.

      1. Ex Resume Reviewer*

        I guess I should add, one of my three friends I met in middle school and we’ve been through it all together. The other two I met in college.

    12. Claire (Scotland)*

      I’m 40, and have 5 people I consider close friends. Only one of them lives enough to see regularly, the others are anything from an hour away to a continent and an ocean away. Most of our interactions are online, with periodic meetups, visits etc. As an extremely introverted person, this works great for me.

      This is also the most friends I’ve ever had. As a kid I had just one, as a teenager I had three, as a student I had three, early in my career I had just one (who was also my flatmate).

    13. Guava*

      29… Other than my husband, I’d say 3 very close friends, two whom were my bridesmaids. I’d say there are probably an additional 7 people who I’d consider close-ish…closer than not.

    14. AnotherTeacher*

      I have a few close friends – people I respect and trust completely, with whom I have fun but also discuss serious personal topics. Then, there are a few more friends I feel the same about but for one reason or another do not get to talk to/see as much as I would like and thus we’re not as close. Being an introvert is certainly part of this. I prefer a smaller group of people I truly like.

    15. NicoleK*

      I don’t have many friends. Never did. I was shy, odd, and quiet as a child. And now it’s harder to make friends as an odd, boring, and quiet adult.

      really close friend = 1. I would feel comfortable calling this person if I needed a ride in the middle of the night.
      close friends = 4-6. I see people in this category 3-4 times a year and am totally comfortable sharing personal things with people in this group.
      casual friends/acquaintances = This group consists of former colleagues or the majority of my facebook friends.

      I’m working on growing my circle of close friends and casual friends.

    16. Ellie H.*

      I have five good friends. My childhood best friend, who is like family (and our whole families are very intertwined and close friends). My adult closest friend – from high school originally when we were very good friends, but after college I moved back to our area and we see each other once or twice a month for the last four years. Our other friend who’s the only one we both stayed friends with from high school from our group, who was living in NYC and we’d visit at holidays but just moved back to our city! She’s not as close in familiarity but emotionally yes. Then I have my oldest friend – our mothers were very close and pregnant together – we don’t talk so often but really love each other and talk about the most important things whenever we catch up or see each other – we will always be friends. Finally I’m now very close friends with my ex-boyfriend. We were together three years, it was a difficult, miserable, repeated and dragged out breakup with lots of negative feelings, but after not speaking for 2 months we started hanging out and now are just good friends, which is so nice and we get along a thousand times better (both seeing new people too which helps!) I have a few other pretty good friends whom I feel great affection for and would tell some personal things to, but those are the “inner circle” and people I would and have looked to for emotional support or been 100% prepared to provide it. I’m pretty introverted and it would be difficult to feel comfortable enough to be as open with more people, I think.

    17. Blue Anne*

      I’m a 27 year old extrovert and I have only two, maybe three really close friends. My boyfriend, my bestie (who also happens to be my ex-girlfriend) and one other friend who I don’t necessarily speak with often, but I know she’d help me bury a body and then take me out for a beer after. They’re all in the UK and I’m in the USA right now, which is tough. I just started dating another boy here who might get there, I guess.

      I have a wide, wide circle of friendly acquaintances. I usually chat with 5-10 different people every day. But it’s tough for me to become intimate friends with people who I don’t become romantic with. I’m not sure why that is.

    18. NewCommenterfromDaBronx*

      IF you have 6 or so friends who would help you bury a body, no questions asked, you are very friend rich! I am much older (65) and so my friends in this category (maybe 4?) are mostly spread far & wide. I do have friends & co-workers that I socialize with, which I like.

      1. scarydogmother*

        I agree! I had to read that sentence repeatedly in order to realize she really did mean six. That is A LOT of people you can count on to help you bury a body, at age 34 (I am also 34)!

    19. Christopher Tracy*

      None. I’ve outgrown all of my old friends or we’ve drifted apart because life circumstances changed for us so much that we no longer have things in common, and I have no real desire to make true friendships with anyone else. Well, this isn’t completely true – my younger brother is the first person I talk to when I have exciting news to share or when I’m upset, so he’s my best friend. Otherwise, I’m pretty meh about having people around me (but I’ve been that way since I was little – my mom used to pay me to play with other children).

    20. Not So NewReader*

      I think you are doing quite well, honestly.

      The only life lesson that hit me between the eyes is what happened to my father. He worked all his life and having friends outside of work never crossed his mind because of HUGE family.
      He retired and the coworker friends left the story. As the decades had rolled by many members of the huge family died. He ended up feeling pretty lonely.

      My take away was
      1) We are as alone in the world as we chose to feel. If we want to convince ourselves we do not have a friend on this planet, we will probably convince ourselves of that.
      2) Redefine “friend”. Not all friends are confidants, some friends are casual but they are a constant in our lives. We keep crossing paths.
      3) Keep adding acquaintances to your life. They do not have to be besties. These are people who know your name and you know their name.

      I have a friend who has over 1,00o friends on FB. I don’t. Differences in people. We live according to what is important to us and what satisfies us. If you are content, you are doing very well.

  11. Turanga Leela*

    A friend was the subject of a mean viral article this week, and it’s bumming me out. He’s not a public figure, just someone who happened to be in the newspaper, and then it got picked up by internet hate-readers. I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it, and the internet will forget about it soon, but it’s just kind of depressing. Has anyone had a similar experience?

    1. GOG11*

      Could anything that was recommended to the reader in the article below (link to follow) apply to your friend’s situation? Maybe there’s something there you could recommend to him to help?

    2. Jessica*

      Did it involve a wedding? Because a similar thing happened to a friend of mine this week! It made me think about the consequences of that viral stuff and laughing at/mocking “strangers” on the internet.

    3. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      I forget which actor it was but his suggestion was just to “shut the *** up” and let it pass.

      ANY attempt to correct misinformation, defend yourself, etc will just cause more problems.

    1. Mimmy*

      Fudge – hit enter by accident :(

      So people have been telling me for years now that I should write or start a blog. I’ve asked about it before but…as usual…just let it all go in one ear and out the other :/

      But I really should get started on *something*. So I have some questions that might help me make that first move.

      1. Best blogging software (seems people like WordPress, which I’m leaning towards) – I’m probably going to limit my audience to Facebook friends for now just because I’m feeling skittish about having the whole world see me.

      2. What could a “first post” be? Do you describe what you hope the blog will entail?

      3. I think I might’ve asked this, so apologies: Does a blog have to be on one topic? I have this vision of having a few areas, both professionally- and personally-focused. I used to love writing in my journal YEARS ago, and it was on everything in my life ranging from favorite MTV artists to frustrations in school to, later on, relationships. I’d even love to have “conversation starter” posts, but I might wait awhile on that one!

      1. GOG11*

        I just started a blog as a way for me to work through some of the challenges of being asthmatic. I was shooting for once a week, but got ill and haven’t posted in a bit. I used blogger (link to follow). I made my first post just like I’d do any other one and I included background information in the blog’s description. I chose mine to be on a specific topic (logistics of life with asthma) so I can’t offer any advice about varied topics. Best of luck!

      2. PollyQ*

        I’ve started and semi-abandoned a blog, so not so much in the way of expertise, here.

        1) I just used Blogger, since it fit in well with the rest of the Google stuff. It was fine for my needs, but I could well believe that WordPress is a better/richer/more flexible solution.

        2) If you’re going to limit the readers to people who already know you, then you can skip a personal introduction and start with a “mission statement”, or even just say “Hi, here’s my blog” and dive right in.

        3) “There are no rules in a blog!” as Butch Cassidy never quite said. If you want to cover multiple topics, or just whatever’s in your head on a given day, I say go for it.

      3. Former Diet Coke Addict*

        I blog weekly at WordPress (link in my name), and I’ve found it to be pretty simple and straightforward to use, and not difficult to add media/images or anything. Piece of cake.

        You could always give your blog an “About Me” section where you described what your plans for the blog were, or you could do a sidebar describing it if you think it will be short, or something like that. If your blog is primarily targeted towards your friends, I think you can write whatever on whatever schedule and it might make more sense. Further down the line if you find yourself blogging mostly about one thing, you can always change it up and make it a dedicated blog towards that!

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I started a blog a couple years ago after I had weight loss surgery (click my name to go there). I use Blogger. No special reason other than it seemed easy at the time. Every once in awhile I think about switching to Word Press, but then I get lazy. I write about my weight loss surgery and life afterwards. I’ve started added regular life stuff, too. I’m not someone who loves to create recipes or gets creative with my food, so I just write whatever I feel like writing now. I sometimes think about abandoning the blog, but then someone will tell me they like what I wrote about X or Y was funny, so I soldier on. Good luck!

  12. Anne*

    I asked this wrt business travel…but want to open it up on weekend thread…

    Does anyone have experience with bed bugs? I’m terrified of bringing them home unknowingly via travel?

    1. Anon For Today*

      I’ve never had a problem with bed bugs or any infestations after travel.
      But my mom instilled in me (and most of my siblings) that all suit cases stay on the porch (or an area off from the bedrooms) and clothes go from the suit case into the washer.

    2. CMT*

      I’ve dealt with bed bugs twice, in two apartments on either coast.

      The first time, I think my roommate accidentally brought them back from a work trip. I saw one in my bed, searched the rest of the bed and I think ultimately found only two. I called the property management company, they called an exterminator who was there two days later. I had to wash all my bedding and clothing, and that was it. After the exterminator was came, they were totally gone.

      The second time, I lived in a giant apartment building, so who knows where they came from. Once again, I told the management. In this case they already had an arrangement for an exterminator to come weekly. I waited until the next weekly appointment, did the same washing of clothes and bedding, and again the exterminator took care of everything.

      In both cases, the infestations were very small (like, the exterminators counted fewer than 10 bed bugs) and in both cases, they were living behind art work I had on the wall above my bed. They are sneaky bastards. So, I’ve had relatively easy encounters with bed bugs. I don’t think it’s always like the horror stories you hear.

      1. Chaordic One*

        Several years ago I lived in an apartment building where the person in the apartment directly below mine brought in bedbugs in some furniture that he found on the street. The management company fumigated the entire building. I can’t remember everything we had to do, but it was a major pain having to move everything away from walls and I think we had to leave all the drawers and cupboard doors open.

        I don’t think that any bugs actually made it into my apartment, but just the thought of it kind of made me itchy. Then the chemcials from exterminator spray kind of seemed to make me half sick, too. But again, that might just be me having psychosomatic response.

    3. Blue Birds Fly*

      Take your luggage straight to the hotel bathroom. Wear plastic gloves and, using a flashlight, look at the mattress under the sheets. Look for blood droplets and small specks in the seams. If the bed is OK, the rest of the room probably is.

    4. MsChanandlerBong*

      Yes. It’s awful. My husband and I picked them up in a hotel in St. Louis. We didn’t know it until two months later. I was getting weird welts, but my husband didn’t have any at all, so I figured it was my lupus flaring up. Then the cats started going nuts. Turns out they could see them crawling on the wall behind the bed. We had to launder all of our clothes and dry each load twice. The exterminator sprayed our books, electronics, switchplate covers, outlets, baseboards, and everything else in the house. It cost us $1,600 to get rid of them.

      Tips from our exterminator: Don’t ever put your luggage on the floor or bed of a hotel. Put it in the bathtub or shower. When you travel, put all of your clothes right in a garbage bag and leave the bag in your car for a day or two after you get home; the heat should kill any eggs/bugs. Check your room for signs of bed bug activity as soon as you check in. If you notice any, find another place to stay.

    5. Port of Indecision*

      You can spray your luggage with an insect repellent fabric bonding spray (permethrin). It bonds to the fabric and repels them, so you don’t have to inspect the room or keep stuff in the bathtub. REI/Amazon/Possibly Walmart carry it.

    6. nonegiven*

      There is a woman in town married to a pest control guy. The first thing she does is check the mattress before she decides to stay in the room. Don’t put your luggage on the carpet or the bed.

    7. FD*

      I worked in the hospitality industry, so here are a few tips.

      1: Bed Bug Reports. Google the name, and you’ll find it. While it’s not 100% accurate–there are some false positives–it’s generally pretty accurate.

      2. As others have said, look under the sheets for reddish/brown spots. These will occur if previous guests were bitten by bedbugs–the bloodstained sheets will have been changed, but the mattress won’t have been. If you find signs, check out and go to another hotel–they may be in the common areas as well.

      3. I am personally of the belief that putting luggage in the bathroom is overkill, but YMMV. However, putting luggage in a sealed plastic bag in a hot area (garage in the summer, laundry room) after getting home will help, as bedbugs are very heat sensitive.

      Just remember, everyone’s scared of bedbugs, but honestly, they can be dealt with comparatively easily.

      1. Mela*

        All this. Just realized we had bed bugs last week, and they’re really not that big of a deal. We moved into a furnished apartment a few months ago and I saw small blood stains on the sheets. I freaked out and looked everywhere but didn’t see any other of the typical infestation signs. We started getting bitten right away, but we had a simultaneous mosquito issue (I could see mosquitos flying around and killed many filled with our blood).

        I still had bed bugs in the back of my head and would check every couples of weeks, and still no signs and only the occasional bite. We went away for 5 days and came back and were eaten ALIVE–my guess is they were hungry. I knew I had to call the exterminator because it was clearly something besides mosquitos even if it wasn’t bed bugs. The first thing they said was if there are blood spots on the sheets, it’s definitely bed bugs no matter what the other signs say. The apartment was empty for at least a month before we moved in, so I assumed that after 4 months other signs of an infestation would have appeared. Live and learn! If I had known this, I would have called immediately. So this is your PSA! hah

        Extermination was super easy and cheap–USD50! (I’m not in the US) They came and sprayed all parts of the bed, couch, armchairs, rugs, and the outer walls of the apartment. The spray is eco-friendly/plant based and lasts for 3 months. The exterminator said to just wash everything in hot water (>50C) over the next few months to get the odd bug or larvae, but I was too freaked out so I’m going through everything and washing it all now. The annoying thing is luggage and pillows. I had to wash the pillows and I had them spray the luggage. The only things they wouldn’t spray are linens and clothes (it’s eco-friendly but not *that* eco-friendly).

        1. March*

          I think it can be very much subjective on if they’re easy to handle or not – I got a minor case of them while travelling a month ago, and I thought I had everything handled when I got home (I went above and beyond to avoid bringing them in the house. Changed my clothes at the airport to fresh, uninfested ones, put all my luggage in plastic bags before it went in the car, emptied my suitcase on the deck, bagged all the clothes, and washed it immediately in hot water, froze anything that couldn’t be washed. My suitcase is bagged up in the garage and there it’ll stay for the next year to ensure anything there is gone). Where I live isn’t hot enough to kill bedbugs by just leaving my bags out in a garage or a car. When I found a few new bites a few days after I got home, I almost cried. I had tried so hard to avoid them coming into the house and an exterminator is something I cannot afford – it would have been over $1200 to get an exterminator. I can’t afford that.

          As luck would have it, it can take a few days for bites to appear, so the heat and humidity a day before had made these bites pop up. But unless you’re careful, they can be a real pest to get rid of, especially on a limited budget.

          1. Mela*

            But doesn’t that speak more to outrageous pricing in the US rather than actual ease of getting it done? Even in a developing country, though the exterminator was expensive for locals (abut 4 days of minimum wage earnings, or $250 for someone earning minimum wage in the US), it was a reasonable cost. The inflation around certain costs in the US astound me (and I’m American). How can it possible to cost over $1000 to spray your house?

            And yes, bites can appear up to 14 days after your last contact, so you’re always second guessing yourself! Glad you never had to pay for extermination!

    8. TootsNYC*

      Before your trip, get your mattress and box spring protected w/ coverings. Ditto pillows.

      SO much cheaper than buying a new one, and better than having to fumigate the mattress w/ some chemical.

      As mentioned above, the bugs live in places other than the mattress, but the other stuff is so much easier to clean.

  13. GOG11*

    Vacation activities recommendations! I have several weeks of vacation coming up and I’m at a bit of a loss for what to do. I was going to go on a trip with my boyfriend, but medical appointments and generally dodgy health are keeping me closer to home. Growing up, my family never went on vacation and I don’t really know how to plan one or what to do.

    Ideas I have so far include going to local nature parks, walking to the local library (though I just learned it will be closed for renovations…UGH!), and just puttering around in the downtown shops. I’m also thinking I’ll book a massage. Any staycation or daytrip ideas or recommendations would be very welcome, especially things that are more “gentle” or relaxing since my health has been putting me through the wringer lately. Thanks so much in advance!

    1. CAA*

      Spa day! If you can afford it, add a few other treatments to the massage and make a whole afternoon of it.

      Do you have a lake, beach or park nearby? Bring a book and find a nice place to read. (Somehow reading outdoors always makes me feel like I’m on vacation.)

      Any free local concerts where you could bring a picnic? Our park has a different local band every Sunday evening all summer.

      Does your downtown area have a cafe with sidewalk tables? Have a fancy coffee drink and just sit and people-watch for a while.

      Museums usually have benches throughout where you can sit and relax and enjoy the art and the people for a while before moving on to the next area.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      It’s hard to recommend as we don’t know where you live and if you live in city vrs. smaller town.

      Museums, galleries, antiquing, flea markets. Spa (if you like that sort of thing). Restaurants

      Lake, beach, pool, amusement park, parks, camping “lite” or glamping. Areas of local interest or day/overnight tip to a nearby city. Maybe easy biking or nature walks.

      1. GOG11*

        I live in a smaller town. Nearest cities are about an hour away, though I am not up for the drive on my own. What is glamping? I’ve never heard of that.

          1. GOG11*

            I haven’t, but there is a program put on by the library coming up that I’ve been considering going to. I think I will now :)

        1. First Initial dot Last Name*

          Glamping is fancy car camping! Not really roughing it with minimal basics, or ultralight stuff. Instead it’s taking everything with you including the kitchen sink. If you have the big car camping stuff, it’s a fun way to get a change of scenery without really sacrificing comfort.

    3. PollyQ*

      Spend a day at the local multi-plex watching things get blowed up real good. Matinee prices make it more affordable, and the AC is lovely.

    4. LizB*

      Seconding the recommendations for spa day (or mani/pedi), reading outdoors, and matinee movies. I’d also suggest:

      Finding a restaurant you’d really like to try that’s on the fancier/more expensive side and indulging in a really great meal there

      Trying out a new type of exercise, or going swimming

      Booking a hotel in a nearby city for a few days (maybe your boyfriend can drive you there?), and going to museums or a play/opera/concert

      Going to the zoo

      Some kind of crafty project you’ve always been interested in but have never tried — photography, embroidery, jewelry-making, scrapbooking. Craft stores often have classes that you can try out.

      Doing a movie marathon at home — pick a theme (a particular series, a particular actor, movies that have been on your To Watch list forever), acquire appropriate movies, make popcorn or other snacks, and watch your way through whatever you’ve picked

    5. KK*

      Hubs and I just had a staycation. One of the things we love to do is try new restaurants – we tried 3 or 4 new breakfast places that week (and during the week those type of places tend to be less busy than the weekends, yay!) and we would sometimes eat dinner at times we never would be able to so able to take advantage of happy hour prices or specials. We also drink pretty rarely but had a bottle or two of wine over the course of the staycation week. We have also used staycation time to book leisurely appointments – ie you have to go to the Dr but that Dr is a pain to get into at a convenient time for work, do it on a staycation day and pair it with something fun like trying a new place for tea or coffee or see if there is a crafting shop nearby to check out – decreases the stress of the visit with something fun to look forward to other than fighting traffic. Also, we usually get the house nice and clean while on staycation but only do it one small task at a time in between fun things so at the end of the week we have a sparkly clean house but no stress or pressure from it.

      We have also done zoo or museum visits and such but I tend to avoid those places when they will be full of children on summer break and such.

      And sometimes afternoon naps and no responsibilities are what a great staycation is made of

  14. Gene*

    At a gathering at a friend’s house. Goats, chickens, turkeys, dogs, a duck, multiple children, and about 30 adults. The bonfire is burning, the beer is cold, the jello shots at set, and the burgers are ready for the grill.

    It’s a combination remote recharge group for the Ingress anomaly in Salt Lake City and a ”FUCK, my cancer is back!” party. Good times and good friends.

      1. fposte*

        Bummer on the cancer; glad you’re all celebrating the day nonetheless. I’m amused that jello shots are your barbeque booze.

        1. Gene*

          Jello shots are the go to for this bunch, I think there are about 150 for this party. Last party the jello wrangler used a habenero infused vodka for one set. Those were excellent; dangerous but tasty.

          1. Indy, Jenn, and Hannah*

            You are from SLC utah? me too. I hope your friend kicks Cancer in the balls.

            1. Gene*

              No, I’m a bit north of Seattle. For events like this, there are remote recharging groups.

              Using a “waiting for my turn at the Genius Bar” computer at the Apple store, so no Gravatar on this post.

  15. Levsha*

    Curious about this, but too aghast at my own unfeelingness to ask friends: when did you, if ever, start to love your in-laws? My partner and I have been together for 5 years, and his parents are very nice, but I just…I don’t love them. We live near-ish and see them about once a month, and they definitely like me too, but somehow I imagined my partner’s family becoming my family and it’s just not the case. It doesn’t help that we’re all pretty low-key, mild-mannered, slightly shy people, so my predominant feelings are “It’s nice to see you….this is pleasant….ok now I am bored and want to go home.” Am I terrible?

    1. Gene*

      First MIL, within a couple of meetings.

      Second, never. She was an evil, vicious, vindictive harridin. She’s now dead and the world is better for it.

        1. Gene*

          Those were her good traits. My wife will be in therapy for the rest of her life due to the Hell that female dog (and that’s unkind to female dogs) put her through.

    2. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      I don’t think you’re terrible. I’ve been married 3 years, together about 5 1/2, and I am okay with my in-laws, but I wouldn’t say I LOVE them… not the way I love my own parents. Maybe one day I will, but I’m not pushing for it, I just try to get along and make sure my husband knows that I support us spending time with his family because they are his family.

    3. Confused Publisher*

      No you’re not terrible. My MIL’s insistence on day-long ‘faaaaamily’ events has me chafing at the bit. I can hang out with my parents all day long, no problem.
      Sometimes it works; sometimes it’s enough just to get along.

    4. Aurelie*

      I’ve been married almost 20 years and am very fond of all my in-laws (well mostly) but no I don’t “love” any of them. They’re very nice to me and we get along really well.

    5. Jen*

      I have been around my MIL for 10 years and I am still not to the “I really want to spend time with you just for fun” place. They are great people, but we don’t have a ton in common – in fact, we are complete opposites in a lot of ways which really annoy me. I am a planner to the minute and she wasn’t sure if their vacation was going to be a week or two depending on what they found on the way home.

      You may never get to that love point, but you can still enjoy the time with them.

      1. Gene*

        Our vacation to Australia would have made you break out in hives. We had a car reserved and a hotel reservation for the convention week and one near the airport for the night before the flight back. And that was it for the month we were there.

        And we had a great time putting 5000 km on that rental.

    6. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I’m very fond of my in laws. I don’t know whether I love them, but I know I can rely on them more than I can my own parents, who didn’t raise me. My dad left my mom and he’s always had other children, from two subsequent marriages, who have received more of his time, attention, and resources. We were adopted by my grandparents, and my mom came to live with us, after two years of absence, under the dictum by my grandparents that she could live there so long as there were “No men, no drinking, and no drugs.” She held up her end of the bargain for seven years, but when she found a man again, she sent my youngest brother away to live with her sister, and she stayed away from us for several years. She would always ditch her kids if there was a man involved.

      So my person that I really, really love is my grandma who adopted us and hagave us normal, stable life. My biological parents, I’m fond of as if they were an aunt and uncle with no responsibility for me, and my in-laws, I’m fond of in sort of the same way, except that I trust them somewhat more.

      1. KR*

        To elaborate, people love each other through experiences and spending time together and having memories and stories together. I think as time goes on and you spend more time with them you’ll find you like them more.

    7. misspiggy*

      I would say at about the ten-year mark. Doesn’t mean I can spend more than two days with my MIL without wanting to climb the walls, but I have come to appreciate and love her despite our incompatibilities.

    8. TheLazyB*

      I think some people are lucky enough to have in laws they can love, but the rest of us just hope that we can get on well with them. I can stay at my in law’s house for five days and we all still like each other at the end. Considering our VERY different views, I’m happy with that.

    9. Emmy*

      I tried to love my in-laws from the beginning, however they never liked me at all. I too expected to just increase my family and it just never happened. We were married 25 years when my MIL died and she had not once been in my house. We’d invited them, they just never came. (And they lived blocks away at one point.) I wasn’t really singled out for dislike though. She didn’t like any of her sons’ wives. And it sadly cost her as every son ended up choosing his wife and spending very little time with his parents. That was just his parents though. We do well with his brothers, one of whom is the “would help you hide a body” friend mentioned in the friend section above even if he was already busy burying his own bodies. My parents loved my husband and he considers my family his.

    10. NicoleK*

      I care for my MIL but don’t love her. I have a passable relationship with SIL and BIL but have nothing in common with them.

    11. the gold digger*

      I would have been very happy to have “nice” and “they definitely like me too.” I, like Gene, am very happy that my in-laws are dead. No more drunken phone calls to my husband complaining about me and how I eat bacon or about my husband or about anyone else, ie, “Your half brothers have always been such a disappointment to us.” No more screaming at the grandchildren for taking the white meat at Thanksgiving. No more FIL reducing my MIL to tears by calling her stupid and telling her that if “stupid” were a category on a report card, she would have gotten an A. No more threats to disinherit Primo (who, it turns out, was never inherited in the will of 2005, which was the last one) if he does not “get [me] in line.”

      There is nothing wrong with how you feel. This is why you get to choose your friends – so when you have the option, you can be with people you really like and who do not bore you.

      1. Christopher Tracy*

        No more FIL reducing my MIL to tears by calling her stupid and telling her that if “stupid” were a category on a report card, she would have gotten an A.

        I know this awful, but this made me laugh out loud.

    12. NewCommenterfromDaBronx*

      I was married for 38 years & never loved my in laws. They were very nice people & ok to be around, but I think they felt the same about me. More like acquaintances that frequented the same social occasions. I am always amazed when people do seem to love & be loved by their in laws actually.

    13. Not So NewReader*

      Some times love looks like quiet respect and peaceful coexistence. It’s underwhelming.

      Think about your definition of love and look to see what their definition of love might be.

      Ask your partner if you should expect more from the inlaws. This might be as good as good gets.

    14. Marcela*

      I met my husband about 15 years ago and from the very beginning I knew I was never going to love my FIL. I am never going to like my FIL (who, btw, is coming again this summer to my place. Gold digger, I think I need a virtual hug, for it seems the old beast will invite himself to my place for a month every year for the rest of his life).

      My MIL? I was very fond of her in the beginning, she was so warm and lovely, which was so different from my cold family. But she managed to isolate herself giving you orders, not advice, and fighting you when you don’t comply.

      So now I don’t feel any love for any of them. Which is fine, because I would hope my husband is not as crazy as to love my mom.

      1. the gold digger*

        Marcela, I am sending you a huge hug and lots of courage. If it weren’t illegal – actually, if I thought I could get away with it, I would send you xanax. :)

        I love my mom and Primo loves her, but we don’t even want her staying with us for an entire month! That is a very long time.

    15. Windchime*

      No, you’re not terrible. I had inlaws for 16 years and I never really got attached to them. They were honestly kind of weird. I didn’t want anything bad to happen to them and they were good (but strange) people. But I didn’t really feel love for them.

  16. New Jane on the Block*

    What a week. If anyone is feeling overwhelmed with the barrage of events that happened over the past few days, here is a roundup of wiggling animal gifs. So much cuteness.

  17. Aurora Leigh*

    I have an adulting question for y’all.

    How much do you save and what do you do with it?

    I’m 25 and underemployed. About 50% of my income goes to rent, 25% is groceries/gas/utilities/etc, and 25% goes into my savings (about $200/month).

    I have roughly $14,000 in my savings account. Should I be doing something with it? I don’t have debt. I don’t have health insurance, and I know that if something happened, I might need to be able to get to the money quickly.

    I’m hoping to find full time employment in a year or so. Eventually, I’d like to buy a house.


    1. Levsha*

      I am curious about this as well (though I’m sure it varies a lot by individual situation)

      After two years of Americorps making ~2ok/year in DC, I’m super proud that I’ve saved $6000, so $14,000 in saving sounds awesome to me! I just got a “normal” job though (37k/year) and don’t know what to aim for now that, on the one hand, I’m not completely destitute, but on the other hand, need to build up a bit more of a cushion in my bank account.

    2. Amber Rose*

      Depends on your country, but I would put maybe 1/3 to 1/2 that in investments, or a sealed, high interest savings account. You can never plan for retirement too soon. I have an RRSP, as well as a Tax Free Savings Account. I add to both.

      But maybe talk to a fiduciary and get pro advice. ;)

    3. GOG11*

      I’m interested to see what others say. I’m 26, employed full time, and put $140 per month into savings (though I save other stuff, too – like, I allot $50 per month to car insurance, but only pay the bill twice a year, same deal with car repairs/maintenance, house stuff, etc.). I have a mortgage and about $5,000 in student loans, but no other debt. All of my savings ($8,000) are just sitting in a savings account, though some of it is in a high interest account (1% interest).

      1. GOG11*

        I also contribute to 5% to retirement, and my employer matches some of that amount. I plan to up that once my student loans are paid off.

    4. MissDisplaced*

      They usually say you should have at least 6 months saved for your emergency fund in case of job loss. I say ONE YEAR’S SALARY.

      After that, save into your 401k, about 10% – 20% of your yearly income for retirements.

      Check out Suze Orman, she has a lot of good tips for any age, and you can read some without buying the products.

    5. Ex Resume Reviewer*

      …none currently, if I’m honest?

      After finally ending years of being underemployed in January, I am spending some money on much-needed things these next few months and indulging myself a bit. Next year I’ll finish college (again) and I’ll have to start paying down loans. I know I won’t succeed spending my entire 20s living like I’m flat broke, so I’m relaxing a bit and enjoying my larger paychecks right now. I’d like to knock those out by 2021, and I think I can send a good $700 – $1000 a month (depending on OT) towards them. Once that’s taken care of, I think I’ll start worrying about retirement.

      1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

        Please don’t wait to start saving for retirement/saving for an emergency fund.

        While I totally and completely understand the need to indulge (and you should), please try to set aside a little bit each month. Even $20 a paycheck (one dinner out) will make a HUGE difference.

    6. Mkb*

      You sound like your doing really well with savings! Especially while being underemployed! Do you have any debt? If so, I would keep an “emergency fund” of about 10k and put the rest on debt. If not, I’d probably keep that money is your savings account as is and start putting the $200/month toward health insurance if you can. When you get a new job then the extra money can go to investments.

      I’m 31 and my husband and I both put 10% into 401k (with the match, hoping to get to 15% soon) and max out his HSA. We have emergency fund of 4 months of expenses, trying to get that up to 6 months. Other than those we usually save for specific goals like replacing husbands car and being able to pay cash for it, or a big vacation. Any other money we can save or come in to we throw toward our mortgage as an extra principle payment. We’re trying to get our house paid off in 10 years instead of 30.

    7. Florida*

      My first thought is that you need to get health insurance. If you do not have health insurance, you need way more than $14,000 in savings. If something happens where you need surgery, a hospital visit, something like that, you will blow through $14,000 in no time. Any kind of insurance feels like a waste of money until you need it.

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        On the insurance thing . . . I’m kind of in a bind there. I tried to get something in the (US) marketplace, but I apparently don’t make enough money to qualify for a plan. I’m embarrassed to apply for Medicaid (and I doubt I’d get it, IL is pretty broke lol).

        1. HardwoodFloors*

          You can buy health insurance directly from the company, Blue Cross BS, United Healthcare–whoever is in your state. And if you are young-ish the premiums will not be half bad. You really should have health insurance just in case you get hit by the proverbial bus.

          1. the gold digger*

            Please get the health insurance. Even if you have a really high premium, get it. I knew a young woman who had just gone off her parents’ insurance because she had graduated from college. She had started a job, but there was a two-month waiting period. I gave her information about temporary policies – they were only $60 a month and didn’t cover maternity, which is fine, because if the purchaser is willing to take that risk, she should be able to.

            This woman refused, saying she was an aerobics teacher and was super healthy and would have no problems.

            Two days before she would have had her work insurance, she went to the ER with horrible pain. She spent two nights in the hospital with, it turned out, ovarian cysts. The bill wiped out every penny she and her fiance’ had been saving for their wedding.

        2. Mela*

          Don’t be embarrassed to apply for Medicaid, if you qualify, you qualify! Get the coverage now and get check-ups to keep yourself healthy. There’s nothing more than health insurance and you want to be able to keep your 14k in savings.

    8. fposte*

      Emergency fund, then IRA. There aren’t much in the way of high-interest savings accounts these days, but you can get a 1% interest account.

      I think the one-year’s living expenses isn’t unreasonable for somebody early in their career; whether you go for that or 6 months or something in between depends on how much padding you have elsewhere, like with family or an SO that can feed you if you don’t find a job in 6 months. When you get older, if you’ve been fortunate, you get more options for finding emergency cash so you don’t need to keep as many months’ worth in savings.

    9. pony tailed wonder*

      If you have school or car loan debt, pay those off first. You can go to your local public library and look up Suze Orman or Dave Ramsey and get their call numbers and go to that section and pull out a stack of books on personal finance. Bring them to a table and skim through them to see which ones you click with. As an aside, leave the books you don’t want on the table so the library can get some statistics on what sections and subjects are “hot”. We use this information and check out information when we are ordering new materials .

    10. BRR*

      first save emergency fund of 6-12 months of expenses. Then for you I’d get health insurance. Then you should look into opening a Roth IRA since it’s a better deal the lower tax bracket you’re in.

    11. Not Karen*

      Depends on your definition of “saving.” I put all my extra income towards debt since that is my primary goal. This amounts to 25-45% of my income depending on how well my discretionary and flexible spending goes. I have $4,000 sitting in the bank that I don’t use as a sort of mini emergency fund.

      Once I’m out of debt, I’m going to save a 6 months’ emergency fund, then after that split extra income between a travel fund (since that is very important to me) and a low-cost index fund for growth (I’ll reply with a link if you’re interested in learning more).

      If I were planning on buying a house, I would start saving towards a 20% down payment. If you’re in the US, a minimum 20% down is needed to avoid private mortgage insurance.

    12. Mazzy*

      At most other points in time, I would say to put it in a fund or the stock market, but my stock accounts and 401K have had 0% growth this year, even when I diversified by 401k. Anyone else in the same boat? Usually those are the ways I used to earn on my money.

      1. anon101647*

        Same. I started working (& investing) in 2014, and I’m only up about 3% overall in those 2.5 years. Better than nothing, but I sure wish I’d been able to get in there during the post-recession recovery years instead!

        And of course, still funneling some cash into the market every paycheck… have to stay the course, keep thinking long-term, believe in the future, yada yada yada!

      2. fposte*

        The stock market is volatile. That’s why if you’re needing the money in a few years, you don’t put it in the markets but in an account guaranteed to preserve its value. But if you *are* saving longterm, you don’t base your decisions on one year’s performance–that’s a sure way to lose money.

    13. Observer*

      I haven’t read the responses, but I would see if you could get basic medical insurance. What we used to call “Major medical” to cover you in the case of really significant medical expenses. One incident could wipe you out.

    14. Worker B*

      Thank you for making this thread. I am 27 and no where near the good shape you and others below are in. This is a very good wake up call, very much needed for me. Going to use the long weekend weekend coming up to get some advice from friends/family and start setting some goals for myself.

  18. Amber Rose*

    Sooooo. My mother in-law was going to leave her alcoholic boyfriend. He found out and responded by drinking himself half to death and getting on his motorbike, saying he was going for a final ride. Sister in-law called the cops and they took his bike and his license and dumped him at a friend’s place. He then sent threatening messages.

    This was Thursday night. Now he’s sober and back at the house so she’s going to stay with us, and I’m arming myself with borrowed self defense gear.

    On top of that, my grandmother went to have a tumor removed from her neck and her lungs collapsed, so she’s in the hospital. And dad wants to dump mom’s ashes in my backyard.

    And basically my life is Days of Our Lives this weekend minus the amnesia. Anyone wanna give me millions of dollars to make crappy daytime TV out of this message?

    1. Myrin*

      Oh Jesus, Amber Rose, that sounds incredibly horrible, I don’t even know what to say. It’s very cliché but I’m wishing you and your family all the best and hope good things will come out of this. :(

      1. JaneB*

        if virtual hugs from internet strangers aren’t too creepy, I’m sending one!

        Sounds pretty horrible… :-( Hope everything resolves!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      May something happen very soon that calms all this down for you.

      As an aside, you can say no to dumping mom’s ashes if you do not want to do that. That is asking a bit much, in my opinion.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Uh, yeah. It may be a nice *idea* but what happens when you move? Was your house important to your mother? Did she never speak about what she wanted?

        And on that subject… what about your father? The death of someone often makes other people consider what they want when it’s their turn. Perhaps you could offer to take the urn/ashes (if you’re not too upset by something like that) and hold on to them for him until he passes so they could be together? If your mother always loved the ocean or a specific place, that seems more appropriate than your back yard.

  19. Anon1*

    This is going to be long and I’m not sure if it’s the right place to post this. I haven’t been happy with my life for about two years now and I feel like it has changed me. I graduated from college two years ago. I was always busy in college since I was working full-time, had a part-time internship, was enrolled in college full-time, was studying for the LSAT, and had a boyfriend. My days were nonstop from 5am to 1am almost every day.

    Once I graduated, I got a job that I loved at first, but I was quickly overworked, grossly underpaid, and was stressed out all the time. Although I wasn’t as busy as I was during college, I felt exhausted all the time. I became really unhappy because of my job and it carried over to my personal life. I switched jobs, but my current job is even worse than my previous one. My boss is horrible and the work is mind-numbing (I could go on, but this post isn’t about my job). I now just go to work, go home and sleep. My boyfriend and I live together, but we’re on opposite shifts and never see each other so I pretty much live alone.

    For the past two years I’ve felt.. Different. I’m not sure how to explain it. I’m not necessarily sad all the time, but I don’t remember the last time I felt happy. Any time I see my family, they always ask why I look sad or worried and that I’ve changed. I know I’ve changed. I’m just not sure how to change back or if it’s even possible. I know I should get a new job, but I’m not even sure what I want to do. I’ve talked to my doctor about this, but all she did was give me anti-depressants. I haven’t taken them because I don’t think it’ll help. It sucks because I’m in my mid-twenties and it seems like people at this age are out having fun while I’m just…here. Has anyone felt like this for a long period of time? Did you ever go back to “normal”? I can’t imagine having to live like this for the rest of my life and I feel bad that my family and boyfriend have to put up with me being a Debbie downer all the time.

    1. K.*

      [big virtual hug]

      Get some therapy. If money is an issue, look into sliding scale options. I’ve talked about my depressive issues here a bit. 2015 was an actively horrible year (lots of major losses one right after the other; I felt like I kept getting hit by waves and knocked down) and I originally sought therapy this year because things got very bad for me emotionally – I was in a terrible place. Sometimes it feels Sisyphean to get out of bed. People – even strangers – commented that I looked sad. I’ve been realizing that while 2015 may have been awful, I actually haven’t been happy in years, for a number of reasons, to the point where I started to feel like,” well, maybe it just isn’t my lot in life to be happy. I don’t deserve it.” I stopped dreaming and setting goals taking agency. I had gotten so used to being unhappy that it became normal. I thought happiness was for other people.

      That’s no way to live.

      Your family and boyfriend may be unhappy that you’re sad, but not because you’re a burden to them – it’s because they love you and think you are wonderful, and they want you to be happy because you deserve to be. When I started talking to my family and friends about not thinking I deserved happiness, they were horrified – not AT me, but, like … “you deserve all good things,” they kept saying. And so do you. You just might need help seeing that, and breaking down the steps it takes to get there. There’s no shame in it.

    2. Cristina in England*

      If your doctor gave you antidepressants, did she also give you a depression “test”? (they do that where I live) Your description of yourself sounds an awful lot like me when I was depressed and was given antidepressants. They helped. I felt really flat all the time. I had a type of depression that was kind of like a reaction to sucky life events, and antidepressants lifted the clouds a little bit, and when my life got back on track, I didn’t need them anymore. (YMMV)

      1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*


        I’ve been in therapy on and off for years. I developed a nasty anxiety problem after being bullied for multiple years in school.

        At one point, I realized I just wasn’t happy, and therapy wasn’t really getting me out of the hole I was in. Anti-depressants were a huge help. While they sucked to get onto for me (I’m very, very sensitive to medications), it was well worth it. I don’t need them now, but would absolutely turn to them again if needed.

        They’re a tool in a toolbox!

    3. fposte*

      Seconding the therapy. I’ll post a Captain Awkward link about finding low-cost therapy in a followup.

      I don’t know that back is how you’ll change, because you’re a different person now a few years on; I think you can find more pleasure in life than you do, though.

    4. Turanga Leela*

      Echoing everyone who suggested therapy. (And if the first therapist you try doesn’t help, try another. Finding a therapist is a process, and there are different approaches that work for different people.)

      Is there a reason you don’t think antidepressants would help? I’m not pressuring you to take them, but they might help. Low-level chronic depression* is pretty common, and it does often respond to antidepressants. That said, if your regular general practitioner prescribed them, maybe go to a psychiatrist for a second opinion. There are people who specialize in psychopharmacology who might be able to help, and again, it can be a process to get the dosage right.

      *I’m not diagnosing you or saying that you have this, but your sentence—“I don’t remember the last time I felt happy”—suggests that it’s a possibility.

    5. Not Karen*

      Of course you are not happy – your life has lost direction. I recommend seeing a therapist and doing some soul-searching to try and find it (and yourself) again.

      Good luck, and know that this is very common in twentysomethings.

    6. Ellie H.*

      I felt exactly this way in graduate school which I am now quitting. Therapy usually helps, but I would honestly also start taking the antidepressants, which I think WOULD probably help? I could not possibly have had the energy to make any changes or continue to move forward (or in any direction) without it. I think it’s possible that if you would take them it would give you the mental energy to work on changing your life so that you are happier.

      I worried constantly and still do about the experience of having been so deeply unhappy for 2 years would change me permanently. I think it is definitely following me in some ways but as I am now working part time at my old office and applying to jobs and making plans I feel more and more like my old self.
      Good luck!!

    7. Mazzy*

      I have a different take on this that the other commenters, because I went through a similar phase when my life had no direction, or felt like it had no direction, when I was your age. I don’t think anti-depressants are the answer unless they show you have depression, but from what you’re describing that might not be the case. Your life does sound like it feels directionless. It helps to know that it is not and that these bad jobs now are setting you up for a happier and higher paying role in the future. Just because that role hasn’t materialized yet doesn’t mean it will never come. I remember having serious anxiety by my mid 20s because I was still broke and was so sick of mind numbing work and the low paychecks which didn’t allow me to do anything outside of work, which only increased the anxiety (if I could at least have afforded my own place or more hobbies at the time, I would have had more non-work things to focus on). I kept job hunting and eventually found a job that paid more. Things got better. I could afford to live comfortably alone, and now bought a place, and can afford some hobbies and trips which take my mind off of everything and put it into perspective. I’ve also learned in my 30s how to deal with “horrible” bosses and coworkers. The things that stress you out in your 20s don’t seem as stressful in your 30s and beyond, as you either get used to certain things, or learn to be assertive and say “no” or shut down bad behavior even from higher ups. Or at least put them in their place and set boundaries. My current job is one I would have labelled as horrible for various reasons at your age, but at this age, it seems OK because I’ve developed different skills to deal different types of problems.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Where did your goals go in all this?

      I see goals missing from your story. While I agree that therapy is probably a good route for you, it struck me that I see no mention of goals. Some of the unhappiest people I know have no goals.
      Understand that a sucky boss or job can do this. It can make our goals just vanish. It can make our lives just vanish and we can feel like we are on a hamster wheel going from one day to the next. Take the therapy to get back a sense of self worth, that it seems to me,the boss has taken from you. You know if our bosses/cohorts think we are jerks, that is just their opinion. But when we start to lose our own sense of value that is a much larger problem. It is times like these that we need to invest in ourselves. What the word “invest” means could be anything- counseling, message therapy, yoga, diet, anything that helps to build you up is fair game.

    9. Worker B*

      This was me all through 2015. Between work drama, family drama, friend drama, moving to a new house and roommate drama, I have been a mess. I would cry at the drop of a hat and had several panic attacks. I wasn’t my normal happy self; I alarmed my family when I admitted to them that I didn’t feel like myself to the point that “I missed the real me”.

      At the start of 2016, I took myself to counseling and it has helped so much. Having an unbiased person that I can share every issue without holding anything back has been amazing. Hell, my last appointment, we didn’t even talk about my personal issues, we just chatted and shared stories back and forth, and that still did so much good for me. It’s only been a few months but I feel loads better. I can’t recommend counseling enough.

      However you combat these feelings, it can be done. You aren’t doomed to this for the rest of your life. You’ve hit an understandable slump with everything going on in your life and you need a little help to work through it. Nothing wrong with that at all. Good luck and please know that you’re not alone in feeling this way.

  20. KitCroupier*

    So I’m a tad bummed out. A friend on Facebook asked me to take a pole fitness class with her. I agreed since I’d been curious about it and wanted to shake up my own exercise routine.

    I *loved* it. Once I got the instructor to show us more pole work and spins rather than the ‘sexy’ routines I had a blast. And my arms and shoulders really feel the workout. And all for $20 for about and hour and a half!

    The reason I am bummed is because she does this out of the basement of her house and her husband was feeling really uncomfortable with some of us coming over, specifically people he’d worked with in the past (my friend) or currently works with (me).

    So now the instructor has told us we can’t do classes with her because of possible ‘conflict of interest’ since her husband is HR. Or at least this is what he’s saying. I think he’s uncomfortable with people knowing his wife teaches pole dancing.

    Now I have to respect their wishes but I’m trying so hard not to be spiteful. I haven’t worked with him directly and I’ll probably never see him since he leaves before I walk in, but I’m so aggravated! It’s taking all I have not to tell everyone at work about this situation and name names.

    He’s just started working at the place I do two weeks ago so he’s probably worried about getting through his 90 days and what not.

    So now I’m looking for more pole fitness classes I can try out. I don’t think I’d be so annoyed if I hadn’t tried and liked the class so much.

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

      That blows. I have a few friends that really love it. I know someone that opened a studio even, (Western burbs of Chicago if it helps).

  21. Myrin*

    The price for strawberries was really good last week here so I bought a bunch and made jam and jelly for the first time. Here are some pictures, if anyone is interested. It went super well and both taste absolutely delicious! I’m very pleased with myself. :D

    Do any of you can things? And if so, do you use stuff from your garden or do you buy things or what? I just really love canning and cooking and making things and I would love to hear from others!

    1. Aurora Leigh*

      I made strawberry preserves and blackberry jelly when I was a 4-H kid. They were from homegrown berries and so delicious!

      Haven’t done it for years, and my apartment kitchen is not conductive to such projects. . . but I’m really missing it!

    2. Red*

      I do lots of jam — I haven’t done anything out of my own garden yet, but I buy berries when they’re on crazy sale in season, puree them, and freeze the puree in two-cup portions so that I can have “fresh” jam all year round! Every year my mom asks for a batch of raspberry for mother’s day and her birthday – I’m also a big fan of strawberry and blueberry-peach. (Peach works really well if you just buy frozen peaches – fresh ones are a pain to process and in my experience they taste the same in jam.)

      I also can homemade berry lemonade concentrate: 6 cups berry puree, 6 cups sugar, 1 quart bottle of lemon juice. (Fresh squeezed lemons are too likely to vary in their acidity when canning, you need the reliability of the processed stuff.) Heat to almost boiling but not quite, stir for five minutes, jar and process. When you reconstitute, start with one part concentrate to two parts (something else) — usually water, but 1:1:1 concentrate:water:(sprite or ginger ale) is good too. You may find you want it stronger or more diluted than that, but that ratio is where I end up :)

    3. Tris Prior*

      I am a canner! I do a combo of cheap produce (mostly fruit) from the local cheap produce market, and tomatoes from my garden. We went strawberry picking last weekend and 12 quarts of strawberries got cut up and frozen for future jam/fruit butter recipes. I belong to a blueberry CSA so in a few weeks I’ll have 10 lbs of blueberries to deal with!

      I mostly do jam and fruit butters, salsa, canned diced tomatoes, and cut up fruit in syrup. I learned the hard way that I don’t really like pickled food so I stopped doing that, other than pickle relish for Boyfriend.

      I was pleasantly surprised to learn that canning isn’t really that hard, and as long as you follow recipes you are not going to kill your family with botulism.

    4. Anonyby*

      I can! Both to make gifts for the holidays, and just to use up fruit from my tree or that I get cheaply and can’t eat all in a couple days. :D

      And those look tasty! You mentioned in the post you weren’t sure which term was used for which in english–well, you got the american terms correct. :) Jelly is made from juice, while jam has the actual fruit in it (either pureed, or just mashed until it’s only slightly lumpy). Fruit preserves tend to be the same as jam, but with larger chunks of fruit left.

      I don’t know what the terms are in other english-speaking countries, though I know they’re slightly different.

    5. PlainJane*

      Another canner here. I used to can lots of stuff from my garden, but now I live somewhere where gardening is a challenge (climate, soil, and pests all conspire against me), so I never have enough home-grown stuff to can. I occasionally get “seconds” from the farmer’s market, fruit or vegetables that aren’t pretty enough to sell but are just fine for canning. I processed a whole big box of apples a couple years ago and scored a bunch of tomatoes last year. I also can my own broth, especially turkey broth after Thanksgiving.

  22. I Don't Think Emily Post Covered This One*

    TL;DR: what is the etiquette around going back to a strip club when you start dating one of the dancers?

    The long version: My friend Dean, while at his “favorite” club where he goes once a month or so, hit it off with a new dancer – let’s call her Mia. She gave him her real number and after texting back and forth a bit they recently went on an actual date, with another lined up in the near future.

    So: assuming Dean and Mia continue seeing each other socially but not exclusively, does it become bad form for Dean to go to this club and get dances from not-Mia? Does it matter if she’s off that night? What about getting dances from Mia when she’s on the clock (that would be a weird thing to do, right?)?

    1. YaH*


      I think if Dean is insistent upon going to a strip club, he needs to find one that Mia doesn’t work at.

      Also, unprofessional for him to get dances from her when she’s working.

      PPS- More than anything, Dean needs to have a conversation with Mia about this, period.

      1. KR*

        Yeah, she probably has a preference or there might be some standard thing that most dancers do

    2. pony tailed wonder*

      I had an ex who dumped me for a stripper. I can tell you one thing to not do – do not bring your friends to the club and treat them to lap dances from your girlfriend. I got so many phone calls from his friends wanting me to step in and tell him to cut it out. I did nothing about it though. His friends were upset and disgusted (not with me though).

    3. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      Why doesn’t he ask her?

      Honestly and truly. I’d speak with Mia, and see what her thoughts are. It may be more uncomfortable for the other dancers than Mia, knowing that she was “seeing” the guy they were dancing on.

    4. Mt*

      My buddy started dating a stripper in college. We would go hang out at the strip club every so often. Comped admission and $1 beers all night. Plus we ended up knowing several of the girls and the weirdness ended pretty quickly.

    5. Grumpy*

      Don’t ask me how I know this.
      I know several bouncers and it confuses things when the boyfriend/husband shows up since they don’t know if they should throw the guy out for touching her and they can’t be expected to remember who’s allowed to touch and who isn’t. To quote one of the more eloquent ones, “f’ck him at home, this is a place of business.”
      Also, dating customers is very common and it seldom lasts.

    6. Noah*

      Haha, Supernatural reference.

      I’ve never dated a stripper and I’m not big on strip clubs, but this whole situation seems like it could explode with drama. Mia could become jealous when a coworker gives Dean a dance. Dean could become jealous when Mia dances for another customer. Seems like it would be better if Dean just found another strip club for entertainment.

  23. Guava*

    Sunscreen question!

    So I splurged a bit – La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 for my face if you must know :) – and I’ve put it on in the morning even though I don’t really go out into the sun until 4 pm.

    Should I wait until 3:45 pm to put it on instead? Or regardless of the time, 15 mins before sun exposure only? Does it just seep into my skin, wasted if I put it on in the morning?

    1. Charlie Elle*

      Yes, wait until just before you go out in the sun. If you apply it hours before sun exposure, then the active ingredients may have already rubbed off, broken down, etc.

      1. fposte*

        The recommendation I see is 30 minutes before exposure to allow the ingredients to bind to the skin, then reapply every 2 hours.

        Basically, sunscreen is a physical barrier–a rashguard in a tube. The old thick white paste has been updated so it’s not as visible, but it’s pretty much the same principle. Think if you put toothpaste on your face in the morning–it would slide, crack, get sweated off in a fairly short amount of time, leaving you with the odd glob but no reliable coverage.

        That doesn’t mean you’ve got no coverage at all toward the end of the day. The recommendations are deliberately conservative, and your personal reuslts will depend on what you’ve done in the meantime. But if you’re going to take the step of buying some really nice sunscreen, might as well get the biggest bang for your buck and put it on when it’ll do you most good.

    2. Marcela*

      Well, things are more complex than that. Sunscreens can be classified in physical and chemical sunscreens. The physical ones work “reflecting” the sun, as if they were tiny mirrors. Their effectiveness diminishes over time because they rub off or we sweat or they were exposed to water, etc. The chemical ones absorb the rays. Their effectiveness diminishes over time because they just break down from absorbing light.

      Most sunscreens are a mix of chemical and physical, because it’s very difficult to get a cosmetically elegant product with a purely physical sunscreen: we get the awful white-bluish phantom face. So many of the best sunscreens are purely chemical. So, you see, if you apply a chemical sunscreen (the only physical ingredients are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, so everything else is chemical), you have to reapply very frequently because the sunscrenn will be less effective just by being there. If you are using a physical sunscreen, you could -theoretically- apply less frequently provided you can still see and feel the sunscreen in your skin, for it will keep doing its job as long it’s there.

      Having said all of that, and being someone who uses a lot of sunscreen, everything depends on were you are and how much sunscreen you use. If you are indoors and only venture outside in the morning and for lunch, you could apply sunscreen only half an hour before you are exposed (and wear a hat :D). If you are outside all the time, reapply every two hours or so. Btw, there is this app for Android, called Violet, which can help you reminding you to reapply according to the SPF you used and where you are.

      But the most important thing is that you apply the right amount of sunscreen. For the face, that’s about 1/4 teaspoon, which, believe me, is a lot to put and blend. I use a cooking measurement spoon for that and my tiny sunscreen for face only last 4 weeks.

  24. Cruciatus*

    So I bought a new smartphone, the S7. My previous phone was the S4 and I did all the transfer stuff after I activated the phone, the NFC thing, the Smart Switch thing, but I still can’t find all of my apps! I’ve googled this problem repeatedly and can’t find the answer which is making me feel like no one else has ever had this problem and I’m a moron! I can find similar issues, but mostly for the iPhone. I see the apps in the Play Store, and I can install from there, but I feel like I shouldn’t have to re-download everything. Am I completely missing something? I just want the apps to pop up on my phone! This is my first transfer of info to a smartphone like this (back in the day you only worried about the contact list!). Also, is there a way to keep all of the statistics–game progress or other information–associated with the apps I’ve transferred? Even the ones that did make the initial transfer seem to be back to the beginning. Is this just what I should have been expecting the whole time?

    1. Gene*

      Sounds pretty standard. I’ve seen the same. Sometimes the apps are different depending on which version of the OS you have.

    2. SaraV*

      Hmmm. I just went ahead and got the S7 myself, also from S4. Are the games you’re downloading ending up in a folder somewhere? I noticed that on the S7, they grouped all the Google apps together, all the Samsung apps together, and then all my carrier specific apps together. I’m taking a total stab in the dark on this.

      Funny story: The gal at the phone store tried to sell me the screen protector and the case, at a cost of $39.99 each. I balked, because I was already shelling out more money than I planned. She says “Well, their all the same price everywhere… except Amazon.” Went to Amazon today, got the exact same case, plus a similar screen protector…with paying for shipping…$33.12. I just need to be extra careful for about a week until they’re delivered.

      1. Cruciatus*

        They aren’t in the folders, but I appreciate the suggestion! I wondered if they were somewhere on the phone, just not on my app screens, but I’ve searched for them in the application manager as well as the search function on the app screens to no avail. Some just didn’t come over. I’ll survive, but it just seems like no one else was having this issue so I wondered if maybe I was alone or doing something really wrong!

        I bought a Carved case with puzzle piece design for $29.99–this was a bit of a splurge, but I saw it right away and liked it and had a gift card for Amazon from my birthday! I bought the Armorsuit screen cover and it’s only been a few hours, but so far so good. My last screen cover lasted for years. I really like the phone so far and I hope it stands up as well as my S4 did. I still could have continued to use it for a while more–it wasn’t really failing me in any way–but Best Buy had the S7 for $100 for 2-year contract renewal and I just went for it. Now I have to decide if I want to sell the old one…

    3. Ellie H.*

      I just got the S7 from the Moto X. It’s been only 3 weeks but I pretty much hate it. I didn’t think this was possible but my typing is even worse on this (I cannot really type on a touch screen. I had a Blackberry 2009-2014 and still didn’t get used to it in my 2 years of smartphoning with the Moto X). Plus a million other things. I miss my Moto X! A lot. The camera is amazing but I think it makes the colors a little lurid. That, the speed and the double storage are the only advantages.

      FWIW I think you’ll have to re-download apps.

      1. Noah*

        I have a BlackBerry Priv. Seriously my favorite phone ever. Runs Android but has a BlackBerry keyboard. Battery will last my all day.

        I don’t know about the app question. On iOS they download and even appear in the same order on the screen if you choose to use a backup of a previous device. If you set it up as a new device you have to download apps individually.

      2. Observer*

        Why didn’t you return it and get the Moto X again? Or even the Priv (I think that every vendor is required to give at least a 14 return window.) Why did you switch in the first place?

        This is not a challenge. I’m just curious.

    4. Jubilance*

      When I’ve upgraded Samsung phones I’ve always had to re-install my apps, they don’t transfer. But you can go into the Google Play Store and see all the apps you’ve downloaded previously in “my apps and games” so you don’t have to search for everything.

      If your game is synced with Google Play or has some other save function, your progress is saved. If not, you’re SOL unfortunately.

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      I tend to shy away from those restore-from-backups options, so I would recommend reinstalling them again. But you don’t have to do it from the Play Store within the phone. You can go to the Play Store through your laptop/desktop web browser, and it’s a lot easier to just click to send the apps you want to your phone than to do it on the phone directly.

    6. Observer*

      It’s pretty standard. And there is actually an upside. In every upgrade, I’ve found stuff that I really didn’t want anymore for a variety of reasons (not the least of which is that the new phone functionality made the apps no longer necessary.)

      If you go to the play store on your computer and log in, and then go to your app list, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to reinstall everything. And then, tell the play store to disconnect your S4.

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

      Dumb question, but you did sign into the same Google account on both phones? When I went from my HTC to the S4 it automatically D/L everything. I haven’t pulled the trigger on upgrading to the S7 yet though.

    8. Marcela*

      I moved from the note 2 to the note 3 last week and I used Helium and the Smart Switch and everything was moved, including the wallpaper and every icon in every screen. But I moved between not so different phones with not so different android versions, so perhaps that was why it worked so well (twice, because I returned one phone).

  25. Exercise Question*


    Is it possible to gain lean muscles if I can only workout late at night, like at 10 or 11pm?

    After my workout, I will immediately sleep. I am wondering because during sleep muscles are relaxed and won’t be active–not strength wise.

    1. nep*

      I’m not sure about the specifics of that time for the workout — But it is clear that good sound sleep is as important as the workout for building muscle. (Do you cool down after your workout? Any trouble sleeping right after exercise? How long has this been your schedule and what have been the results thus far?)

      1. Exercise Question*

        I just started working out again after a long hiatus.

        I normally workout from 15 to 30 minutes. I don’t do cooldowns after my workout. I just immediately go to sleep.

    2. Noah*

      Short answer, yes.

      Remember, some is better than none. Meaning, work out when you can and get sleep when you can. Just because you cannot do it at the optimal time doesn’t mean it is not still beneficial.

      I tend to run in the morning and lift later at night. The only issues I’ve ever had with nighttime workouts is being able to fall asleep right away. Normally if I shower and read for 15-20 minutes that solves that problem.

    3. K.*

      I don’t think that timing matters. I don’t work out that late because I have trouble sleeping – if I worked out and then immediately showered and went to bed, I’d never fall asleep. But in terms of building muscle, no, I don’t think time of day makes a difference.

  26. Kari*

    My sister-in-law had her baby at only 26 weeks. Everything was fine. There weren’t any complications before this. I saw her that day and everything was fine and she was happy and said she felt fine. Something went wrong after she went to bed and she woke up in horrible pain.

    The only reason she and my niece didn’t die was because of their next door neighbor. My brother was on the porch looking up the street and yelling on the phone about where the ambulance was. Their neighbor heard the commotion and came over to see what was going on. She an RN and paramedic who used to be in the military. The doctors at the hospital said if it wasn’t for her they both would have died. She treated both of them until the ambulance came, told the operator what was happening and what the hospital needed to have ready for when they got there, and she assisted the paramedics on the way to the hospital. She also foresaw that SIL would need surgical intervention and because of the info she provided they were able to have a helicopter at the hospital almost immediately to get her to the trauma center that was much further away (the first hospital they went to was a small town one that didn’t have whatever the trauma center had). She probably saved them about 10 minutes of figuring things out plus any extra time of waiting for the medical chopper. She also kept my SIL alive until the ambulance got there and helped resuscitate her in ER at the first hospital. She knew the name of the doctor they needed to be ready and the trauma center and told them so that doctor would be waiting.

    SIL is fine and is out of the woods. My niece is 26 days old and has a long road ahead. She is hanging in there though and getting stronger every day. I don’t even know why I am writing this. I feel like I am in a fog. I am going through the motions of going to work, doing laundry, doing the groceries etc. but my heart isn’t in any of it. I am trying to follow my normal routine (going to the gym, watching this blog) but all I really want to do is either be at the hospital or in bed. I don’t know if this is normal or what else I’m supposed to do. Thanks to anyone who read this and for letting me vent.

    1. nep*

      Wow. Thank you, heroic and skilled neighbour. Oh my goodness.
      Understandable that you’re going around in a bit of a fog.
      Best wishes to all of you.

    2. Caledonia*

      Horrible situation. I am happy that your niece and SIL are doing ok and *hugs* for the rest of it. You’ve had a huge shock and it’s not surprising you’re feeling this way. Continued best wishes for you and your family. It’s so great that there are people like your SIL’s neighbour in the world.

    3. Rahera*

      Oh my, I’m very very sorry to hear this, and glad your sister-in-law and niece are doing ok. How terrifying for all of you. So, so glad their neighbour was there at the crucial moment. I would say you are in a totally normal state of shock, please be gentle with yourself.

    4. Ruffingit*

      I’m so sorry, it’s scary when things like this happen. Thank God for the nurse next door! I have a dear friend whose baby girl was born at 28 weeks, 1 pound 6 ounces, 11 inches long. That was in 2006. She’s 10 now and doing great. There is hope!!

    5. pony tailed wonder*

      Oh my goodness! I’ll be sending out kind thoughts your family’s way and to the neighbor.

    6. Dynamic Beige*

      Wow. That is just… wow. I can’t even imagine. What an ordeal! It’s no shock at all that you and probably everyone in your family feels like they’re walking through taffy all the time.

    7. Juli G.*

      Maybe write a letter to the neighbor and let her know how grateful you are for what she did for your SIL and niece? Focus on the good!

      1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

        I was going to suggest this, and maybe a nice flower bouquet or some nice treats.

        It will give you something to do, OP, and also take that thing off the hands of your family members.

        Also, consider putting together a meal train! I know there are websites out there for it, but you can also just create a Google Doc or Facebook group for anyone interested. Then, once mom and baby are home, you know that they have at least a few meals already planned out!

    8. Mimmy*

      Wow, that had to have been really frightening for everyone. I am glad your SIL and niece are okay. I like Julie G’s idea of writing a letter to your neighbor. Kudos to her!

    9. Mkb*

      My friend had her baby at 26 weeks. The first year was very rough with the baby in the hospital and full time nurse care when then we’re able to take her home, but she is now a happy and healthy 5 year old.

    10. Clever Name*

      Wow! Your sister’s neighbor is a true hero. My sister had a complicated pregnancy and delivery (twins, but only one survived :( ) and it was very difficult for the whole family. Hugs.

    11. Turanga Leela*

      I’m so sorry your family is going through this, and I’m glad your SIL is okay and your niece is getting better. It’s totally normal to feel how you’re feeling. Since you asked for what else you’re supposed to do, I have two ideas:

      1) Offer ongoing support to your brother and SIL. It sounds like you live nearby. They might not even know right now what they’ll need, but you can offer help in the months going forward, especially if your niece will be in the hospital for a while longer. You can cook for them, offer rides to the hospital, visit your niece when they can’t, and be a shoulder to cry on. (You may be doing all of this already.) Has your SIL had a baby shower? If you had to postpone it, offer to host it whenever she might be ready.

      2) Give yourself space to handle your own emotional trauma. Find other friends to talk to about it so that you can support your brother and SIL, and your friends can then support you. Give yourself days off from the hospital and do things that you enjoy or that relax you.

      Best wishes to all of you.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. And do something thoughtful for the neighbor. Does not have to cost money. Maybe write her a letter that she can keep and re-read later.

        Added bonus, you will make your sis smile LARGE because you did this.

  27. SL #2*

    I went to my very first comic con last weekend! It was a blast and I met lots of awesome people (and one of my favorite celebrities). I’m so impressed by the amount of effort put into some of those costumes, especially the ones that require props or more than just an article of clothing. Just. Wow.

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

      I saw you went to Wizard World. Which one?

      1. SL #2*

        Sacramento! I happened to be on a work trip at the official con hotel, so I extended my stay for a couple days. :)

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

          I went to the Chicago one a few years ago and it was SO disorganized. I’m glad they aren’t all like that.

          1. SL #2*

            I heard that Philly this year was a hot mess because it was so packed and the guests were a lot more well-known (Chris Evans and most of the Marvel cast, iirc), but Sacramento was smaller and a lot less crazy. Still a bit disorganized, but they worked really hard to at least get the VIP badgeholders in the right places for signings and panels and whatnot.

    1. Caledonia*

      Worst: Brexit.

      Best: someone has put a note of interest on my flat. No offer, but at least there’s that.

    2. SL #2*

      Best: Wizard World Comic Con last weekend! (as I posted about above)
      Worst: THIS HEAT. I grew up here and 90 degree dry desert heat is perfectly normal to me in the summers (I have quite a collection of tank tops) but it’s been pushing 100 nearly every day, plus there’s a big wildfire raging about 15 miles away.

    3. Nicole*

      Worst: Spent two days having a garage sale and didn’t sell even half of our stuff or make much money. I would have been better off working an extra day at my job. The whole thing was a waste of time and energy. Plus after selling my old stereo system I had a huge feeling of regret even though it has been sitting in the garage for years unused. I didn’t realize until it was gone how much sentimental attachment I had to it. Really threw me for a loop and I was emotional for awhile afterwards. Ugh!

      Best: The garage is sale over. I didn’t really want to have one in the first place but hubby did. Now he never wants to do another one again. I resisted the temptation to say I told you so. Proud of myself for that one.

      1. the gold digger*

        Isn’t it sad that the best opportunities for “I told you so” are the ones you should not take if you really love the person? I hate that. :( (Yes – because I am kind of tacky that way and I looooove to say it.)

    4. Gene*

      Best – Got a long-needed conversation started with spouse. No resolution, but the conversation is started.

      Worse – While grabbing my yard work boots to mow the lawn, I noticed the water heater is leaking a little. It’s 10 years old and leased from the gas company, so all I have to do is make a phone call on Monday.

      Worst – My 8 year old iMac decided it doesn’t want to start up. I have an appointment at the Genius Bar tomorrow afternoon. If it’s more than about $300 (value of the computer) to repair it’s new iMac time.

    5. Ruffingit*

      Worst: Mom was admitted to ICU tonight. She’s doing OK and it’s a matter of getting her back to baseline with meds and what not, but still not fun.

      Best: Incredibly supportive friends who rally around me when needed.

    6. Blue Anne*

      Best: Lots of good things this week. But the best is probably this boy I’ve started dating. Not exactly my usual type, but a sweet dude, good lay, and head over heels for me. It’s nice to be getting to know some people in the USA.

      Worst: Brexit.

        1. Blue Anne*

          Yeah! After nine years of Edinburgh goths and hippies, I’m somehow dating an American fratboy? (I mean, he’s not in college any more, but yeah.) I’ve surprised myself. But it’s really nice.

    7. pony tailed wonder*

      Best – I remembered my mom’s birthday.

      Worst – I was the only one. I told her that she would probably get a lot of extra presents after I called people but it turns out that I have been the only one who has ever gotten her anything for decades. Let this be known – I love my job but I make peanuts. Others in the family make three figure salaries. So it isn’t a lack of money on others parts, it is something else. I have lost respect for for some people.

    8. Elkay*

      Ignoring politics…

      Worst: My Saturday was completely wasted between a pointless opticians appointment (the optician actually asked me “Why are you here?”, answer “Because the optician I saw two weeks ago said I had to come back”), by the time I got home I had the start of a headache which led to a two hour nap to try and get rid of it (didn’t work) and I felt rotten for the rest of the evening. The headache is still niggling now.

      Best: Fun retro video games night (despite drunken idiots), I got to play Donkey Kong on the NES which I’d never done before.

    9. Schnapps*

      Best: I joined crossfit. I’m down 9lbs in two weeks and feel way better.
      Worst: my legs hurt and my house has too many stairs. Also, two 20 hour days at work this week.

    10. LizB*

      Best: Boyfriend’s family came over for dinner and absolutely loved what I cooked. It’s so nice when people are enthusiastic about things you make.

      Worst: I finally bit the bullet and told my therapist that something is very wrong with my mood that isn’t captured well by her depression inventory and that I keep downplaying, and she told me what I expected, that I should see a doctor to get a few things checked out (thyroid, vitamin D, birth control side effects, etc.) and see about getting a referral for antidepressants. Which is great, it feels good to have told someone, but the earliest gyno appointment I could get was the 7th, I don’t have a primary care doctor, and I’m terrified that whoever I go see will tell me that all my problems will be solved if I just lose weight and refuse to treat me. Finding help for anxiety and depression is not easy when you have, y’know, anxiety and depression holding you back. Ugh.

      1. Felicia*

        The first time I saw a doctor for a similar issue the doctor did say my problems would be solved and refused to treat me but i persisted and found a new doctor. Turns out I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and by the time a doctor would take me seriously my thyroid is so enlarged and compressing so many things the only option is to remove it which is happening at the end ofAugust. Not that that will happen to you, I really hope it doesn’t but just so you know if the worst happens, youre not alone and you can still persevere and be ok

      2. Observer*

        A competent doctor WILL give you grief about your weight, but will ALSO check these other things. These issues are not mutually exclusive, and good doctors know this.

    11. Mimmy*

      Best: Saw a Cirque de Solei (sp?) show on Friday night that was very good.

      Honorable mention: Signing a rather important document on behalf of one of my councils – It made me weirdly giddy. It stinks that our membership is so bare-bones, but it’s at least giving me exposure to new things since I’m technically the highest-ranking officer of the group.

      Worst: None – it’s been a fairly solid week :)

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

      Worst: My bulging disc and pinched nerve issues are back. I’m off work because of it. Because it hurts to sit at a desk and type. Yes, I’m doing that now, but as someone who normally types 70 wpm+ without issue this is frustrating. And very painful. Starting PT on Tuesday. Going to be headed downstairs with an ice pack in a moment.

      Best: This might also be the worst. Someone introduced me to Bullet Journaling.

    13. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Best: full moon/ summer solstice kayak float organized by a friend from my women’s group. About seventeen people attended, with my husband and his best friend being the only two men. A couple of the women had devised a floating “fire sun wheel” in honor of the solstice. The platform was made of pool noodles and PVC pipes, to which was attached an old bicycle wheel on a stand that allowed it to spin. They attached shop rags all around the wheel and soaked them in whatever fuel is in a tiki torch bottle. We had some beer, hard lemonade, and individual bottles of margarita; floated around and chatted; and watched the moon rise. When the moon was high, we all lined up in our kayaks facing the moon, and then we turned in unison as one person saluted each direction. At the end, we lit the fire sun wheel and one person spun and spun it with a long stick. It was fabulous!

      Worst: My boss won’t let me call references on the finalist for the admin position we’re hiring for because of some bureaucratic notion he has about getting written referrals from each reference first. And we didn’t ask for such letters up front; this is something that he just sprung on the one we want to offer the job to. Academia. Sigh.

    14. Elizabeth West*

      BEST: Reading my way through all the books I bought. Joe Hill’s book The Fireman was wrenching. I’m on Stephen King’s The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (story collection) and LOVING it. Already afraid of propeller beanies and my Kindle. :D If I could meet any famous person in the world, it would be King. He’s my hero. <3

      WORST: Post-novel letdown. I haven't looked at it but I'm convinced it sucks donkey poo. I think it's because I struggled so with this one–there's no happy omg-I-can't-wait-to-edit feeling about it. The thought of all the research yet to come is daunting, and I feel like it could even be insensitive and tone-deaf and now I don't want to work on it. There is some excellent writing in it, better than anything I've done so far, but that doesn't mean I should let it see daylight.

      Also want to write a sequel to the one I'm querying, but why? Why write it when no one will read the first one? I think I will just write something else, maybe another cop book. Screw the bank robber; he can stew in the pokey for a while yet.


    15. Emilia Bedelia*

      Best: Finally transferred my driver’s license. Had a really cool experience at the MVC – I went to the MVC at 7:30 AM and waited for 2.5 hours to go through the whole process. When I was finally almost done, I went to pay and found out that they don’t take my credit card! I didn’t have any other way to pay, so I was told that I would have to get out of line, go get cash out, and come back another day. The guy next to me heard this conversation and offered to pay for my fees so I wouldn’t have to come back! He gave me his business card, so I’m just going to mail the money to him, but it was such a nice thing for a total stranger to do. The funny thing was that while I was waiting in line, I helped a lady fill out her forms, because she had a hand tremor and couldn’t hold the pen- I distinctly remember thinking something along the lines of “well, built up some good karma for the day!” after I helped her, which apparently worked out well! The moral of the story is, even in New Jersey, people are united in a common hatred of the MVC.

      Worst: Just realized I left my phone charger at a friends’ house 2 hours away. Looks like my car charger is going to become my house charger now….

    16. Windchime*

      Best: I got to spend time with my adult son yesterday. He’s recovering from surgery and couldn’t stay alone, so I hung out with him. It was kind of nice to spend some time alone with him even though he was resting during most of it. Also, today was sunny and all of my flowering planters are looking GREAT.

      Worst: Its 1:45 AM and I’m still awake. My stomach is in knots at the thought of working tomorrow.

  28. BRR*

    I joined cook smarts after reading about it here a couple weeks ago and love it. I love not having to plan my meals and everything has been so delicious. I also love being able to adjust portion size. I was tempted by blue apron for sure long but this is better since I can easily get to the grocery store.

    1. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I love that site! Just made the pineapple curry fried rice this week. She writes good recipes and how to content.

    2. Pharmgirl88*

      Yes, thanks to whoever mentioned it – I joined after seeing it on here and love it so far!

  29. BRR*

    So I have two herniated discs (l4 and l5)and it’s been a real bummer. I’m in pt and got a spinal injection but I’m still uncomfortable most of the time and walking is painful. Anybody do anything that helped and how long did it take to feel better?

    1. fposte*

      Yes, but you’re not going to like it: surgery. Same for danr, I think. (That’s not tragic or anything; just figuring that wasn’t the answer you were hoping for.)

      However, the majority of people improve without surgery, so there’s a good chance you’ll be one of them. Spinal injections don’t have a great track record, so it’s not hugely surprising that hasn’t made much of a difference. PT helps; most people find avoiding sitting as much as possible to be really helpful as well. I think one of the tough bits is that nerves heal so slowly that it’s hard to tell when you’re getting better, because it doesn’t feel like it.

      I had some McKenzie back therapy for a while, which is a particular school of specialized spine PT; it didn’t get me much, but the therapist had a lot of really good insight. One of the best pieces of advice was that if you identify a relief posture where it doesn’t hurt or stops hurting as much, use that as a break and go-to. (For me it was what he called the “roadkill position”–on my stomach with knees drawn up out to the side.) The more breaks you can cut the nerve, the better it can recover from the irritation. (Sorry for including “breaks” and “cut” in a sentence with “nerve.”)

      If you do end up looking at surgery, I highly recommend, if you can find and can get coverage for it, going for a microdiskectomy where they just nip off the offending edge. No fusion, small incision, quicker recovery.

      1. danr*

        Good old L4 and L5. I had surgery for a severely pinched sciatic nerve and a misaligned spine. The surgery enlarged the nerve channels and I have a titanium spacer to realign the spine and hold the vertebrae apart (it’s a form of spinal fusion). Pain is now sporadic, not continuous. I felt better right after the surgery. As fposte says, you have to find a position that is comfortable when you’re in pain. You also need to find a sleeping position that doesn’t add to the pain when you get up.

        1. BRR*

          I’m not sure I’m bad enough for surgery but the relief position sounds nice. I definitely need to evaluate my sleeping position though. I bet tit s not great.

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

        Hmm. I’m starting McKenzie on Tuesday…

        1. fposte*

          It was really interesting and I’m glad I did it. I just think my nerve was too irritated and my stenosis too extreme for it to solve me.

    2. Anon for this*

      My dad smokes weed medicinally. He went the narcotics route, but it made him sick all the time and miserable. It keeps his back pain at bay without the bad side effects. Also, keeping your core muscles strong can help alleviate some of the pressure from your back.

    3. blackcat*

      Are you ok with needles? If so, I’d try to find a good acupuncturist. I’ve had GREAT luck with acupuncture reducing inflammation & pain from a variety of injuries (back, knee, ankle, shoulder & hip. I got issues). My back issue isn’t directly a disc issue–I have a congenital defect in the bone in L5.

      For me, acupuncture can get pain/inflammation down to a level where exercise/PT can help. With all of my issues, I spent ~35 minutes/day doing all of my PT exercises. I have abs of steel, not because I want abs of steel, but because abs of steel completely alleviate my back issues.

      There are some real crap acupuncturists out there, but there are also some really great ones. If you live in a major city, I recommend finding someone who was traditionally trained in China. My experience with American-trained acupuncturists (who are generally new-age-y) has been much less good than my experience with Chinese-trained acupuncturists. The first group tends to be too pushy about believing about energy flow, spirituality and all that. The second group, in my experience, is much less preachy and more pragmatic. I don’t believe in any of the spiritual stuff, but I do believe that many traditional medical treatments work–we just don’t understand exactly *how.* One of the new-agey folks I tried to see got SUPER offended by this (saying things like “Some things are just beyond science! You need to believe!”–which I took to mean “I’m not super well trained and need patients to experience a very good placebo effect.”), and the three Chinese-trained folks I’ve seen are all like “Yes. One day modern science and traditional healing will meet.”

      One master acupuncturist I saw was truly amazing. One day, I came to my appointment really tired–I hadn’t slept well. He noticed right away and asked if I would like a good nap. I said yes. One needle in the scalp and I was *out.* I woke up when he was taking out the needles. He could also do things like totally block feeling to a part of the body during treatment so I could relax a bit more on bad pain days. It was SO COOL. Like he just had buttons to press to block nerve signals. So impressive.

      tl;dr: try acupuncture, but YMMV b/c there are acupuncturists who are full of BS.

      1. the gold digger*

        I am not a doctor. This is not medical advice. This is a story about a friend who had a herniated disc.

        Brooke did not want surgery, so she kept putting it off, but the pain was bad. A friend of hers recommended a chiro, which she refused to do – she knows not to let anyone mess with her spine.

        Brooke majored in biology. She was a drug rep for P&G. She is straight science. This friend then recommended acupuncture, which Brooke also thought was just the stupidest thing she had ever heard, although at least an acupuncturist cannot damage a person permanently.

        She thought she might as well and went reluctantly.

        The acupuncture stopped the pain. Over time, the discs healed by themselves. She never had surgery. She is so convinced that she has become a licensed acupuncturist herself. Her neck is fine – she teaches yoga and bodypump with no problems.

        I know this is anecdata, but there you go – a story where 1. acupuncture solved the pain problem and 2. the discs healed without surgery.

      2. Dynamic Beige*

        Someone I knew had acupuncture for their sciatica and it cured that right up. When I was really sick, I went for a year but it turned out my problem was a bacterial one and while acupuncture might have boosted my immune system, it wasn’t the right treatment for my problem.

        I don’t like needles. I really don’t like them. When I have to have blood drawn, I have a little ritual I do which involves a lot of bracing and looking away. If I ever get cancer and need chemo, I don’t know what I’m going to do, I hate needles that much. Sometimes I think of giving blood, but the thought of that needle, in my arm for a long time… I just can’t. But, acupuncture needles aren’t really “needles”, they are much finer, like the width of a human hair fine. Yes, they can do a little prick when they go in, but it’s nowhere near as bad as a needle. In some practices, I understand that they apply electricity to the needle to give it an extra boost and that can be uncomfortable. I found that once they were in, so long as I kept my eyes closed and focused on relaxing/my breathing, it was OK. I used to bring my iPod with some meditation music on it and would usually just fall asleep. Occasionally, there would be a little spot of blood once the needle was taken out, but the acupuncturist would just wipe it away with some Witch Hazel (I think) and it was gone, there was never any bruising or soreness at the points.

        1. BRR*

          I’ve definitely though about acupuncture and now am considering it more. I’m diabetic so needles aren’t a big concern for me at least.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          My veterinary chiro said this helpful thing about acupuncture: Mosquito bites hurt more than acupuncture needles. I have found this to be true. Additionally, they seem to bother me less as I go along because my brain connects the needle to relief from pain. Instead of seeing a needle, I get excited at the thought of the pain going away. And I am one of these people who has minimal courage about needles and absolutely no courage about giving blood.

          Sometimes a person’s body does not want a needle that is in a particular place and the needle falls out by itself. You don’t feel that, either, you just find a needle on the floor. It goes the same way for dogs, too.

    4. Observer*

      What helped me was a good mattress (not to hard, but not too soft), several months of PT, and a really good chair. I’m no longer doing PT, but I do have some exercises that I do most days. If I skip too many days, I feel it. Same it I’m stuck with a no so good chair for more than a few days.

      Stooping is still difficult, but I’m generally pain free these days, and functional.

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

      I feel you. Literally. I have a bulging disc in my lower back, though I forget where. An injection helped me, though they said I should have been in A LOT more pain for how bad it was. How long have you been in PT? There’s different PT methods, one might work better than others for you. I have a bulging disc on C7 right now and it’s insanely painful, made worse by typing (!) and driving. Ice helps me, short term. I’m starting PT with the McKenzie method on Tuesday. I tried traction and Postural Restoration before to no avail.

      1. fposte*

        I did traction, and most things I see suggest that it’s pretty useless, unfortunately. I had a fusion from C5-C7 so I felt your pain, but I don’t any more, and I hope you don’t soon either.

        I did McKenzie for lower back; I don’t know what they’ll have you doing for cervical, but I imagine the principles are similar.

    6. Belle diVedremo*

      Acupuncture can be a big help.
      I also recommend seeing a physical therapist who specializes in “manual therapies”, eg myofascial-release, cranio-sacral, etc. Releasing muscle and fascia tension will release your bones. Depending on the nature of the issue it’ll be faster or longer to correct.

  30. Not myself today*

    Posting under a different name because of weirdness. Has anybody else had to revise an opinion of a long-term friend in really hard ways? I have a longtime faraway friend who’s been talking about leaving her husband for two decades now. I know she’s unhappy and I know there’s some tough psychology behind her failure to leave despite her hating where she is; I’ve had to refocus conversations when that’s the thing she defaults to talking about, so it’s been a presence in our friendship, but it’s mostly just made me sad for her.

    But I just found out that her youngest kid, who is now an adult, was housed in a way that I would, as a mandatory reporter, have had to call CPS about if I’d known when the girl was still under eighteen just a couple of years ago. (Hoarding/unsafe housing, caused by somebody else in the household.) And it’s one thing to be stuck in an unhappy situation because you’re too frozen to shake yourself loose, but it’s another to allow your child to suffer rather than make a change. And I’m so angry and so disappointed and so sad about it, and I don’t know what I’m going to do. I know my friends have flaws–they couldn’t tolerate me if they were perfect–but this is a hard one. And there’s also what it means about how bad a place that she’s in mentally that she didn’t see that as the big thing it was–that it blended into her general misery.

    So this is more a vent than anything, I guess, because I’m not ready for a “How can I support my friend?” question. I need to grieve the person that I thought she was, I need to be both angry and in a cowardly way relieved that I didn’t know to call CPS at the time, I need to figure out what the hell this means for our friendship. Argh. Thanks for listening.

    1. Rahera*

      Very sorry to hear this and glad you have a place to vent. It’s one of the worst things to find out a friend is not who you think he or she is. I’m glad you’re so insightful about your complicated and totally natural reaction to things you didn’t know sooner, and I’m sure you’ll find the way to process this and move forward.

    2. NicoleK*

      Yes. A “friend” was complaining on Facebook about a customer at the grocery store using Food Stamps. This “friend” received public assistance when she was younger and was/is the type to apply for any and all program that she is eligible for and she was pretty adept at gaming the system to benefit her.

    3. Robot Dog*

      Don’t think this will make you feel better, necessarily, but food for thought.

      A bunch of other people had direct knowledge of the child’s circumstances and opted not to call CPS. You didn’t have any reason to think the child was in an unhealthy or dangerous situation, presumably. There’s a long line of people who are much more responsible for any suffering that child went through than you are. You didn’t do anything wrong. You were never in a position to help.

      I was abused as a child. I’ve never been angry at all the people who didn’t know but would’ve called if they did know. I was (am!) angry at all the people who watched and said nothing.

      You feel pretty strongly about this, but not strongly enough to just make a full call on it. I suggest you at least pull back on the friendship. Maybe after you take that step, you’ll find it makes you feel better and want to withdraw entirely from the friendship. Maybe it won’t make you feel better and you’ll decide to stick with your friend. Make a modest step first, see how it goes, and then make a full step.

    4. Observer*

      Something else you need to think about. Did she think that if she walked out she’d lose the kids? It’s surprisingly common that one parent will stay in a bad situation – one that’s bad for the kid(s) as well, because they believe that the other parent will get custody, and they will lose any ability to ameliorate the situation.

      If something like that may have been at play here, that’s different than just being frozen in place.

      1. Not myself today*

        Nope. She’s a lawyer; she knows that’s not true. She was afraid of paying spousal support.

        1. Not myself today*

          I just realized that makes it sound like that was her only reason and she’s rolling in money. Neither are the case. She just wasn’t worried about losing custody.

        2. Observer*

          Are you sure she knows it’s not true. Unless family law is what she does, it’s quite possible that she doesn’t know that – especially if her husband threatened her. “I’ll take the kids. I’ll tell them you’re crazy, and they’ll believe it because yada yada yada.” etc. This stuff really does happen.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Oh this topic strikes a chord with me. I have had to look at a couple people in my life with fresh eyes.
      So far I have owned my part which is I was blind and I made excuses to myself for their behaviors. I have tried learning more about the types of problems that bother them. And I have distanced myself from them because I can’t help but I can’t watch either.
      I guess hold the door open a jar and never say never. But sometimes we learn too much about a person and we just have to back up/move away.

      What you have is today and the future. For some reason you have found out all this info. I am guessing but maybe you were talking with adult child? Perhaps your next move is to welcome the adult child into your life and befriend her? Maybe let her know that you deeply regret not knowing more about the situation. Then just see how things go from there. I agree with the other commenter who felt that she will say she did not expect you to do anything.

      The people who I have moved away from I still love. But I cannot relax enough around them to provide them with good companionship. From that angle it’s not fair to them. From my perspective, I needed to make changes. I could not keep doing what I was doing.

    6. Sir Alanna Trebond*

      I just went through this last year. Someone I considered a best friend, like a sister, betrayed me. She didn’t acknowledge it either, and when I saw the undeniable evidence I thought I was crazy or mistaken at first. When I confronted her with the evidence, she still denied it. I ended up needing a lot of space from her. Eventually, she apologized (kinda). Now we’re friends again but I don’t think we’ll ever be close the way we were. I don’t trust her anymore, so I deliberately keep her at arm’s length.

      People never warn you that friends can break your heart too.

    7. Mando Diao*

      It’s okay if you decide you need to take a step back from the friendship, especially since it seems like it hasn’t been a source of positivity in a long time. I’ve ended friendships with people after finding out that they abused their partners or stole money/property or otherwise had beliefs or habits that I consider negotiable. It’s a hard situation to be in, especially since so many other people are much more forgiving in ways that cause toxicity to build and spiral; this situation isn’t about your friend needing sympathy. It’s about how your friend knowingly put a child in harm’s way. You are right to wonder about what this says about your friend.

  31. Tara R.*

    Technical Canadian insurance question that y’all might not be able to help me with, but I thought I’d try.

    I’m covered by my mom’s insurance, and my student insurance. Apparently I’m supposed to submit to my student insurance first, but it only covers $20 for massage, physio, chiro, etc. My mom’s covers 80% up to a limit usually above the price of the service.

    If I get a $100 massage & get $20 back from my insurance, will my mom’s insurance pay 80% of $100 or will it pay 80% of $80? I ask because the system lets me submit to mine second (I just did that by accident), but a little message pops up telling me off. The extra $15 or so makes a big difference to me over the long run, so I might try to keep getting away with doing that if I’m going to get less money doing it properly?

    All my coverage is with Blue Cross, if anyone has any specific experience with them. (I would just call, but their business hours overlap with my working hours & I have a hard time sneaking out to make a phone call.)

    1. really*

      I’m in US but it normally the second company would figure out what it would owe if you only had their insurance. So you would have $20 paid by company 1 and company 2 would cover 80% of 100 ($80). So in this case yes the whole bill will be covered. But in any case there will never be a total payout that exceeds the total of the charge. This all assumes no deductible and the provider is in network.

    2. UBC Anon for this*

      Second insurer will pay 80% of the total, and I can specifically confirm this for Blue Cross. I would advise against submitting to your insurance companies in the incorrect order. It will create nothing but problems if/when one of them figures it out and you may have to pay back inappropriate reimbursements. Plus in the end you’ll get the same amount covered so there’s no need to create a potential problem.You are the primary policy holder for your student insurance and only a dependant on your mom’s so you must claim on yours first, those are industry wide rules in BC (Canada?) as far as I know.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I’m so terrified that this has happened, and that I’ll be having to pay back reimbursements.

        My college-age daughter has been completely unfunctional for years, and when I was packing her stuff up for her (because what wouldn’t), I found letters from the student insurance company, and an ID card, for 2 years.

        She was supposed to have declined the insurance, bcs she’s on mine, and we’ve had lots of medical expenses for her. I asked her about it, and she said, “I *did* decline it!” But of course, when she got the letters, she just ignored them.

        I need to call and find out why she has this correspondence, but I’m sort of hoping that if I don’t, they’ll never figure it out.

    3. Lea*

      Don’t cheat on insurance because it’s wrong. If you do, then make sure you can pay it back plus fees and fines if you get audited, and that you are ok with any other professional or personal costs. As a student in western Canada I got audited every time I moved provinces or aged out of or into a plan. A better plan might be to find a massage therapist who does direct billing so that you don’t have to pay out of pocket.

      1. Tara R.*

        Well, I don’t want to cheat! I’ve only been using my moms insurance up until now, didn’t know how it worked!

    4. Onymouse*

      A couple of practical tips:
      * Take copies of everything. In duplicate. Submit the original receipt to your first policy, then when the Explanation of Benefits comes back, submit the original of that (taking a copy) and a copy of the receipt to your second policy
      * Direct billing at the pharmacy: I only found out years after having multiple coverage that the pharmacy can add a secondary insurance to your profile. You may end up with no copay at all, and no need to submit the receipt to the secondary policy

  32. Bossy Magoo*

    Tig Notaro is one of my favorites from podcasts Professor Blastoff and past guest spots on Comedy Bang Bang. Love her! And her Amazon Prime series, One Mississippi got picked up…they just finished shooting season 1!!

    1. Spice for this*

      Tig and her work were featured on the CBS Sunday Morning today. I really enjoyed it!

        1. Mimmy*

          Duh. Just saw that Tig Notaro is the author of Alison’s book recommendation. How ironic!

  33. Billie*

    Given the outcome of the EU referendum, I really hope that the young voters (and everyone who may feel indifferent) of the US take note of just how important it is to make their voices heard. To say that one vote doesn’t matter? Sure, if you’re the only person who feels that way, but if that’s the general sentiment of the demographic, you’re losing more than you know. Think both major parties are terrible choices so you’re opting out? You’ve basically given your power away.

    (And the referendum isn’t legally binding, the same cannot be said for the outcome of a US presidential election)

    Also, I hope this will motivate young people to become more engaged in politics and play an active role. By the time the negotiations with the EU have concluded, the 16 and 17 year olds not given a vote in the referendum will be adults, and they’re unlikely to forget this. The fact so many young people wanted to stay still gives me hope for the future. Even if Brexit happens and there’s no way to re-enter and things are bleak for some time, there are signs that the sentiment is shifting, and it’s going to be all right.

    1. Caledonia*

      + 100.

      It reminds me of the ‘First they came…’ poem by Niemöller. Please don’t assume that your voice doesn’t matter. Collectively, it certainly does.

      1. JaneB*

        My grandma always said you should vote even if you knew for sure you were the only person voting for your side – because if you didn’t vote you’d hAve no right to complain about what followed!

    2. Rebecca*

      I guess I’d feel differently if it wasn’t for the Electoral College. I don’t think it’s fair for my vote to be completely discounted. For instance, if I vote for Candidate A, and Candidate B wins my state by a 51-49% margin, all 100% of the electoral college votes go for Candidate B. I think the fairer thing to do, besides getting rid of this whole thing and going with popular vote, is to split the electoral votes the same way the popular vote ended up.

      Honestly, for the first time since 1984 I may not vote. I can’t hold my nose for either candidate.

      1. Amadeo*

        Yes, this is more or less how I feel in general this year. I will still go to vote, but it won’t be for any name that popular (for good or ill) in the media. Third party sounds even better this year than it did last time.

      2. catsAreCool*

        I’m trying to think of a 3rd candidate to vote for. I also can’t stand either candidate. Even if the 3rd candidate doesn’t win, I want to be part of a group that says No, not either of those!

      3. Random Citizen*

        Even if you can’t vote for one of the presidential candidates (I sympathize!), please go out and vote down ballot for House and Senate races! Those races are so important, especially given our choice of next presidents – we need a sane Congress to act as a check on the Executive.

  34. Natalie*

    I just got that book as a wedding present from my stepmom. We went and saw her stand up last year. Looking forward to reading it.

    We got married today. Or technically yesterday in our timezone. Link in reply of us eating leftover cupcakes in the alley behind our house, cuz we’re classy like that.

    1. salad fingers*

      A wedding that wraps up with cupcakes being eaten behind the house sounds like my kind of wedding. Congratulations!

  35. Elkay*

    Gift ideas – what’s the best “non stuff” gift you’ve received/given? My house is full of books I need to read and DVDs I need to watch so adding to those piles doesn’t appeal but I’m being asked for gift ideas.

    1. nep*

      I like giving and receiving gift certificates for manicure/pedicure or massage.
      Or vouchers for some classes or training the person would like to do but wouldn’t purchase him- / herself.

    2. pony tailed wonder*

      Someone sent me a cake once and I thought it was nice. However, it was during Lent and I had to wait a week before I could eat it. It sat on my dorm room desk tempting me for days. Thank goodness for the sealed container.

      But if someone were to get me a gift now, it would be nice if they would go to a museum or aquarium or a show with me. A place where you yearn to talk about what you see with someone.

    3. Claire (Scotland)*

      Best gift I ever received was a gift card for a treatment at the Lush spa.

      1. Elkay*

        I like my local spa but their gift voucher scheme makes using the vouchers a pain, which is a shame.

    4. the gold digger*

      I love concert tickets or restaurant certificates or pedicures. These are things that I am reluctant to spend my own money on because they are so frivolous, but if they are gifts, then I have no guilt.

      I hate getting Stuff, although the belt sander a former boyfriend gave me was and is fabulous. And I love my engagement trash can from Primo.

      1. Turanga Leela*

        I was going to say concert tickets or restaurant gift certificates. If you like clothes/accessories, a gift certificate to an extravagant clothing company can be a wonderful treat (it’s still stuff, but not in the same way as a book that you haven’t read).

        Also, I once told my dad that I didn’t want anything for my birthday, and he bought me a membership in the fruit of the month club. That was fun. So maybe something like that, or a local CSA?

      2. SophieChotek*

        I also would love concert/theater/even tickets. (Even better, maybe friend giving would say ‘hey I want to go with you to X and I’ll take you out to dinner before-hand” (or dessert after) — I mean, maybe that’s out of the price range, if we’re talking HAMILTON (!) tix, but there might be something like that?

    5. Felicia*

      i love getting tickets to plays, particularly musicals, so thats what my sisters and i buy each other for birthdays. Thats just what im into but tickets to concerts with music people like is good to, or tickets to a museum or attraction you know the person likes. i like the gift of shared experience, specifically if you base it on stuff the person enjoys

    6. Nethwen*

      A paid night in a hotel at a place you might go just for a one or two night get-away.

    7. Cam*

      What about asking for a service? Do you have a room you want painted or a garden plot spruced up? Or does one of the gift givers have a skill that you’d like to learn? Like knitting, cooking a particular dish, changing your own oil, picking a winning horse at a race?

    8. AliceBD*

      My favorite gift is a Smithsonian subscription my grandmother gives me for Christmas every year. It’s my favorite magazine and I read it cover to cover every month. So, any magazines you really like? Also, in college my parents gave me a year’s worth of Netflix each year for Christmas, which was really great.

      Another good gift is tickets to something, especially if you and the gifter can go together.

      I tend to go for practical gifts. I was really Not Happy this year when my parents gave me a laptop bag for work, that isn’t as nice as the one I’m already using. I returned it and used the money to buy the Dustbuster I had been requesting for 18 months. Yes a Dustbuster is a “thing”, but I use it all the time and had asked for it.

    9. Mando Diao*

      A Sephora or Ulta gift card maybe. It’s enough to know that the person knows me well enough to let me shop for myself.

    10. Emilia Bedelia*

      My parents send gift boxes of spices from Penzey’s. Penzey’s has premade gift boxes in different themes, and they also sell DIY gift box kits where you can pick out whatever spices you want to put in. My parents like to pick out spice blends and interesting things that the person might like (they’re getting gifts for a lot of older people with dietary concerns, so things like salt free blends and salad dressing mixes go over well). A few years ago they got something different and the family complained! They’ve also done nice coffee from Gevalia. Both of these things get used up pretty regularly and are relatively healthy (as opposed to chocolates, desserts, alcohol, etc) so they go over well.

  36. Definitely Anon for this*

    I am 36 weeks pregnant and the father (my ex) took off when he found out. We didn’t speak for several months, but then he took me to court seeking a protective order (which failed spectacularly–the judge admonished him for wasting the court’s time and he was essentially laughed out of the courtroom). We have not spoken since. However, the last time we did speak, he threatened to “ruin [my] life” and announced his intention of seeking full custody. Now, I know that he will never be granted full custody, but I don’t want him near my child at all. He has a history of depression and has a tendency to threaten suicide when things aren’t going his way. He spent the first two months of the pregnancy attempting to coerce me into getting an abortion and began the PO process when I made it clear that was not an option.

    My question is: Does anyone have experience with custody cases (I’m in Indiana) ?

    I’ve been trying to put it out of my mind, and I honestly don’t know whether or not he intends to follow through (we haven’t spoken since early March), but with the baby coming so soon it’s just about the only thing on my mind. I’m terrified.

    Pertinent info: Since we last spoke, I have deleted him (and blocked our mutual friends) from all social media and moved to another state to be closer to work and my family. I have a lawyer waiting in the wings in case this comes to fruition, but her advice so far has been to just wait and see what happens when the baby is born. I understand the logic of it, but the wait is excruciating and I am frankly terrified. Any advice?

    1. the gold digger*

      I am not a lawyer, but what would happen if you did not put his name on the birth certificate? I think that might mean you couldn’t get child support from him, but if you can do without, maybe that is an option?

      1. Noah*

        That gets messy quickly, especially if you seek any state benefits. I don’t know about Indiana but in my experience the state will take you to court and compel you to produce a list of potential fathers. The state will then go after them and compel them to take a paternity test.

        1. Definitely Anon for this*

          Yep. Luckily, there’s only one potential father, so it would be an awfully short list! I’m not seeking WIC or child support or anything else. If I have it my way, he will just disappear and let us live our life.

      2. Definitely Anon for this*

        From what I understand, he can still claim paternity. It will require a paternity test, which the court can order. Once he is established as the biological father, he can petition for custody. I’m definitely not planning to name him on the birth certificate (that would require his signature anyway, and I don’t even want him to know when the baby is born). As for child support, I don’t want it. I would rather he not be involved at all. The only way I’ll ask for child support is if he is granted partial custody. Good suggestion!

      3. me too!*

        Seconding this. Friend of mine did the same, left the biological father’s name off since she was determined to NOT take any assistance from the creep. She was advised it would help in case he decided to try to harass her by trying to claim custody. The ‘happily ever after’ is that he and his family left her alone once they found out she wasn’t seeking money. And the child is now a healthy, happy teenager (no! really!) and mom is healthy, happy and has a new, good man in her life. So, lots of good wishes for you; it sounds like you’re doing the right things (lawyer, moving, etc).

    2. Noah*

      I think your attorney has the best advice. There is nothing you can do until the baby is born and even then it might be better to just wait and see if the father tries to take any action. As sucky as he sounds, courts do not generally terminate parental rights just for being an a-hole. If you try to force a custody agreement, it might end up being worse than if you just left him alone.

      1. Definitely Anon for this*

        That’s my fear. Basically I would like some sort of crystal ball to tell me what is going to happen. Failing that, I guess I’m looking for information on how custody cases generally play out and/or what could be used to terminate his rights. Obviously there has been no abuse or anything, so it’s not cut and dry. Hopefully he decides not to pursue custody at all. I’m certainly not going to take the first step (which is part of why I have taken steps to keep information about the move and the gender and such out of his hands). Anyway, thanks!

        1. fposte*

          Indiana really doesn’t do that kind of termination of rights. Their approach is kids have two parents, and they’re entitled to support from both. They do allow for stepparent adoptions, so if you end up married to somebody else for a year or so and he wants to adopt, that’s a possibility (though if bio-father doesn’t consent, that’s an uphill road). But the state doesn’t recognize termination as a way to make somebody a single parent.

      2. fposte*

        Totally agree. Runaway assholes sometimes are too disorganized to do the lawyerly filings required to establish paternity, so he might not be in your life at all if so. (As Noah noted, if you get any governmental aid, the state will want a father to hit up instead of the taxpayers, but if you’re not claiming anything, you can leave it up to him to start it all.) It wouldn’t hurt to consider what lawyer you’d use if it came to that and maybe even have a consultation now, but there’s a lot to be said for leaving it to the flakester for action, which may never come.

        In case you meant it that way–you can’t disclaim child support, if it comes to that. It’s not for you; it’s for the child. You won’t get child support unless things go to court, but you can’t make legal deals involving writing it off.

        1. fposte*

          Whoops, missed that you have a lawyer. Who is saying exactly this, so consider it unanimous.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      You’ve got a lawyer and you’ve already thought ahead to what might happen, IMO, you’re ahead of the game. One area you might not have considered is, the grandparents. Speak to your lawyer about grandparents’ rights. If his parents are still alive, they may have more force, focus and follow-through than he does. Especially if he is their only child, or this is the first grandchild.

      Also, you should look into a termination of parental rights contract, what’s involved, etc. I can see that it could come down to a “here’s a choice: sign this termination of parental rights or… pay child support for the next 18 years.” He’s made it pretty clear he is not interested in being a father or parent but one day, you may meet someone who is interested in being a father/parent to your child and may want to adopt your future tiny human. If the bio-dad will sign away his parental rights now, that would avoid future unpleasantness of having to reach out, etc.

      And, as in any case of manipulation and abuse, document, document, document.

      Finally, speaking as someone who had a parent of uncertain parentage, start drafting the story now. Your future tiny human is one day going to want to know who their father is, it’s completely natural. They may be satisfied with a photo when they’re little but as they grow up, they will want to know more. Doing some work/thinking on what to say to them as they grow up, you hopefully won’t be blindsided when it does happen. Otherwise, they are going to come up with their own story about it, such as they aren’t good enough to be loved. It’s one thing to say that their bio-dad was sick and couldn’t be the kind of father they deserved and another entirely to say that bio-dad didn’t want them to be born and threatened suicide while trying to convince you to abort. That is the kind of thing you save for when they’re adults and have had relationships themselves so that they can understand that it’s not all a bed of roses. Because one day, they may want to meet him, if only to satisfy their curiosity. It can be hard growing up knowing you have other family out there, on this I speak from experience.

      1. the gold digger*

        sign this termination of parental rights or… pay child support for the next 18 years

        My cousin married a woman with a young daughter. Her dad was not in her life, but he got pissy when the mom asked him to relinquish his rights so my cousin could adopt Emily. My cousin and his wife had to threaten to take the guy to court to sue for child support before he would sign. I guess he decided he didn’t want to be a father that much if it involved actual – you know – support.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          My thing is that this guy has already threatened to ruin Definitely Anon For This’ life. He thinks he can do that by suing for full custody, which I cannot see happening at all given the circumstances. But, I can see him seizing on an opportunity in the future to deprive Definitely Anon For This something that would make her happy, like creating a family of her choice, just as your cousin went through. So, if voluntary relinquishment is possible, I say try for it now.

          Oh, and if this guy does manage to gain some sort of toehold, make sure all his visits are supervised. If his parents sue and win, once again, supervised visits.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              Which is a shame in this case. If it were me, I might be trying to see if I could give birth in another state that did allow it.

              1. fposte*

                Honestly, I don’t know of any that do. It’s not in the state’s interest to just allow a parent to write a kid off at birth. Additionally, just giving birth there wouldn’t be enough to grant jurisdiction.

  37. Dating apps*

    Any suggestions on dating apps that don’t require access to all your facebook information that seem to invalidate any privacy settings you might have? Or am I just being a paranoid throwback?

  38. AvonLady Barksdale*

    Well, this morning I took the plunge and did something I’ve been resisting for years– I joined Weight Watchers. Just for a month, to try to identify problem areas and track my progress (of course, if things go well, I may keep going).

    This is all a result of my annual physical. My doctor has been tracking my blood pressure, which is borderline high, and some of you may remember that I started adding running intervals to my morning walks. Went to the doc this week. Blood pressure is still borderline, but my weight keeps going up. A lot of it is lifestyle change; we moved out of New York when I was 36 years old, just at the point in most people’s lives when going from walking everywhere and taking stairs and going out to driving everywhere and staying at home and spending time in breweries will meet a slowing metabolism and turn everything into a pile of mush. I put on 25 pounds. Since I’ve always been big, this isn’t good for me. I’ve upped my exercise a lot, but I drink too much beer and too many cocktails. Then I eat dessert more than I used to. And when we go out, it’s for things like pizza and burgers. Oh, and I live in the south now, where the fried chicken is amazing and the barbecue is top-notch.

    I also found out this week that my thyroid levels are low. So that’s likely contributing to some of this, but not enough to warrant medication. So… WW. 34 points/day. I have always resisted tracking my food intake and I rarely eat processed food– never thought I needed this. It feels very strange, but at the same time, I feel like I need to get some control over my weight and this may be the best way to do it.

    I’m mostly venting here, but I do want to hear some stories. Not just success stories– there’s a ton of, “I lost 18 pounds in two weeks OMG!” out there– but adjustment stories. Will I get used to this? Will it actually work? What if it doesn’t?

    1. Wrench Turner*

      Switching out water for beer & sodas at home, especially during the work week really helped cut the excess calories I was taking in and $ going out. Small step but a habit I’m trying to change. The next is actually adding exercise, even walking, to my day somehow. I’m on my feet all day for work but my wife isn’t and we both need to add just a bit. It’s hard though with 2 jobs each and a house to maintain. Just not enough hours.

    2. Schnapps*

      So I did WW many many years ago (when you could have up to 15g of fibre counting against your intake). I found the success came not so much from tracking, but planning. I usually do pretty well at planning (this is, after all, what I do for a living – meeting planning/coordination). Tracking and planning your meals does work. Think about it this way: in order to burn 200 calories, you’d have to walk at 3-4 mph for an hour. Diet is about 80-90% of weight loss. Exercise is the rest.

      So my thing with WW – I got pretty obsessed over the whole food planning/tracking thing to the point that it started feeling borderline eating disorder-ish to me because I was so focused on getting as much “bang for my buck” so to speak, as possible (lots of low fat/high carb stuff). So I just stopped because I felt, physically and emotionally, like garbage.

      I posted upthread that I joined crossfit (two weeks in, 8.3 lbs down – I will take it). The trainer (who is also my daughter’s Karate Sensei) is also providing nutritional coaching – complete with an app that I track my food intake on and post to a closed Facebook group once a week. And the thing is, he immediately directed me away from focusing on calories and towards macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) . With a direction to reduce carbs to no more than 100 g/day for the first week, and to increase healthy fats. The second week was reducing carbs even further, and next week is going to be consistency in macros day over day. This was a hard switch to make, and I still find myself thinking about calories once in awhile when I don’t flip the app from calories to nutrients fast enough. It’s also a little disconcerting to see a lot of my food intake coming from fats. But I’m getting there.

      So all of this is to say, yes, you get used to it. Start the tracking, start the planning – this is key. Fill your plate with vegetables (all low point), a fist sized portion of protein and some sort of carb if you want.

      That said, if your thyroid is low, it may be more difficult for you to lose weight. There are some herbals you can take to up your thyroid – sea kelp is what my mom used to take.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I think that’s what I’m worried about– getting obsessive. My boyfriend’s a bit worried about that too, I think, that I’ll turn into one of those people who can’t look at a menu without freaking out over points. So slowly but surely, I guess. I usually eat really well, I just go a little overboard with oils and fats. I love olives and nuts, for instance. I also really, really need to cut back on the booze. We hang out at breweries a lot and drink really delicious beer– I never drank beer in NYC, but now, it’s like 3 times/week.

        Thanks for the sea kelp rec! I will look into it.

    3. nep*

      You can do anything you really commit to doing. I know it sounds cliche but it’s true.
      Whatever programme you use, bottom line is cutting the alcohol, sugar, and fried foods is going to help you lose weight and get healthier. (You say you rarely eat processed food — what are some examples of what you mean by processed food?)
      Your taste buds / cravings do change when you change how you nourish your body. I’ve seen a small example of that in myself in the past couple weeks — it’s amazing how it happens but it does.
      All the best to you.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        When I say I rarely eat processed food, I mean that I cook and eat almost exclusively from scratch. We don’t keep prepared or frozen meals at home. I don’t even eat cereal. The only thing I buy that’s “prepared” is the salsa I’m addicted to– and I need to cut back on that! Too much salt. I do eat lunch out quite often, but it’s usually a salad from a salad bar or a sandwich or Chipotle. I have to cut back on the Chipotle, too.

        In spite of the mild (genetic) hypertension and the excess weight, I’m actually pretty healthy. My bloodwork is usually quite good. This last round revealed low thyroxine and some signs of anemia, and this is the first time my bloodwork has raised any flags. (I am ridiculously proud of my cholesterol, which has never gone above 160. Little things.)

        There’s just a lot of beer. Soooo much beer. And the food trucks that go with it. Fresh, delicious, locally sourced ingredients, all in fattening packages. We have a brewery culture where I live– our favorite thing to do is take the dog and meet up with some friends at a brewery. I’m actually considered weird because I limit myself to one beer, but that can be one beer, 3 nights/week.

        1. Schnapps*

          So one thing a friend of mine does are planned off-plan days, usually once a week. That’s a day where she can eat and drink anything she wants.

          I personally do not have the willpower to do that. I have to be on plan all the time and work my treats in (wine is my weakness and this weekend I actually measured it and it went in the food journal).

          Food trucks are dangerous

    4. fposte*

      I will yet again plug the wonderful books I learned about on here, Brian Wansink’s _Slim by Design_ and _Mindless Eating_. (If you get just one, it should be the first.) They’re smart, funny, and research-based suggestions on ways to organize your kitchen, shopping, and restaurant habits to influence what ends up in your mouth.

      1. Weekend Warrior*

        ++1 to these titles and I’d add Diet Fix for an excellent add on to any weight loss and maintenance approach.

    5. Nethwen*

      One thought is that if a certain way of living makes you feel bad, experiment until you find the way that makes you feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally. Those changes are easier to maintain and become habit.

      For me, it took about four years, and in the end, I had to ignore most of what we are told constitutes a healthy diet, but now I’ve found the right combination of foods that allows me go for more than two hours without getting hungry, I have fewer mood dips, and 75% fewer headaches. As a bonus, I started loosing weight, even thought that wasn’t my main goal.

      It might also help to decide what makes life worth living and what you can do without. If eating BBQ once a month and drinking cocktails twice a week is what makes you happy, then make sure those things go into your weight-loss plan.

    6. Come On Eileen*

      I haven’t done WW but I have been tracking my food intake over the last two weeks. It’s been really enlightening – I thought I ate out only a little bit, but it turns out I’ve been eating out one meal every other day. Now that I’m seeing patterns with my food (hello, emotional eating!) I can start to focus slowly on habits to change that. But seeing it in black and white is really helpful, assuming you use it as data and try not to judge yourself too harshly for it. Good luck with WW!

    7. Curlicue*

      I had success with Weight Watchers. I am now at my goal weight, but it came off slowly (43 lb in 18 months). If you work the program religiously, it will come off faster. But, hey, I’ve got a life and some weeks my goal was to “not gain” instead of “lose.” One of the big eye openers for me was learning portion sizes because I was already eating pretty healthy foods. One tip is to buy a digital scale instead of measuring everything. It’s faster and there’s no clean-up. Another tip is to attend the meetings – it’s really a good support group. Good luck – I wish you much success and little pain!

    8. Just Keep Swimming*

      I’m late but I’ll share my experience anyway. I did WW a few years ago and loved it. For me, my success was all about my group meetings. I had the best leader and super supportive members in my group. I lost 35 pounds in eight months and love it. But then my leader and other members of my group left for various reasons and I couldn’t find the supportive environment that I needed. So I left WW.

      I tried it again last year but ran into the same thing of not finding a group or leader that I liked (and I need the in person stuff, I can’t do online alone). So I left after a few months. This past year, non-local people I knew who did WW have all left because they say the new program is really confusing, plus the frustration that WW feels the need to completely change their system at the start of every year.

      All in all, I think if you can find the right environment that works for you, then it will work great. But I’ve also heard about a lot of frustration recently with the program. Best of luck and I hope it works for you!

  39. Wrench Turner*

    Lesson learned: Things claiming to be “universal fit” for motorcycles rarely are, without modifications and multiple trips to the hardware store. Maybe after trip 3 I’ll have the other saddlebag support bracket installed.

    Meanwhile, I finished one portrait of a local jazz musician, and started another of a Native American hip hop artist I’m a big fan of. I’m trying to crank up a big inventory that I can then take a portfolio around to local restaurants and businesses to offer rotating art based on portraits, landscapes, animals and my own spooky stuff.

  40. Nethwen*

    I hope this question isn’t inappropriate. I’m posting here because I’m looking for scientific input.

    I sew many of my own clothes because they fit better than store bought. With that background:

    I wonder if the advice for women to wear cotton underwear really only refers to the crotch area. If the crotch was cotton and the rest a synthetic, that would fulfill the medical purpose of air exchange? And doesn’t having a synthetic over the cotton in commercial underwear defeat the purpose of having the cotton there to begin with?

    Also, why is cotton lauded as the best? When cotton gets wet, it inhibits air flow. Wouldn’t another fiber that maintains good air flow when wet be better?

    1. Observer*

      If you are wearing hose that covers the crotch area and that’s synthetic, that will, to some extent, inhibit airflow, but dresses and looser pants won’t inhibit enough to make a difference.

      As for the issue of wetness, any wet material is likely to be a problem, so that’s something you want to avoid, regardless of the material.

      1. Nethwen*

        Without getting too graphic, anything worn against the crotch will become moist/wet. That’s just the nature of the human body. So wouldn’t it make more sense to have a fiber that dries quickly as opposed to cotton which takes forever to dry? “Cotton kills,” as the hikers say.

        1. fposte*

          Though that’s not because it’s not breathable–it’s because it doesn’t, like wool, preserve heat even when wet. I’m not too worried about my crotch warmth most days :-).

          That being said, I think that’s a really interesting question and I’m not sure how much hard science there is behind the cotton thing. I’ve also wondered if that was true in, say, 1950 and has never been reexamined in the light of the massive refinement of synthetic fabrics since then.

        2. Dynamic Beige*

          It probably would… but I bet that such a fiber would be really expensive and also didn’t exist however many odd years ago when buying your undies at Sears in bulk packages or whatever took over from making them yourself. They’re doing things now with athletic wear/wicking technology that’s pretty amazing. It’s also possible that with the Thong Era being not so far off, no one is thinking about different ways to make sensible undies.

          There’s a lot of talk about how bamboo fiber is superior in a lot of ways, but I’ve never heard of bamboo fiber underwear. Even the cotton stuff you buy now isn’t 100% cotton, but usually some percentage of spandex. Kind of makes you wonder if the stuff they use for menopause sleepwear would be a good alternative for cotton underwear.

        3. Observer*

          Generally not THAT wet, most of the time.

          If undies were made in other natural materials, there would be some good discussions to be had. And if undies were made in materials that wick, that would also be worth considering. But, as it stands, cotton really does tend to provide the best results for many women.

    2. Anonyby*

      My (totally not researched) thought was that it was because in the general marketplace you only have two options–cotton and synthetics. And synthetics are much much worse for you. They’re a lot less breathable than cotton, plus they’re more hospitable to nasties than cotton is. (Compare how quickly a shoe made entirely of synthetics starts to stink up compared to one that’s mostly natural fibers.)

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I think when we had not too many synthetic materials, the advice was for entirely cotton underwear. I remember in the 70s the advice was at least have cotton in the crotch area. I think now there is a whole range of answers depending on who you talk to.

      When I was not doing well health-wise, I looked into clothing and what types of clothing etc. For the extreme end of the spectrum we are talking organic cotton all the way. Who can find and afford this stuff? I try to stick with cottons because I don’t want more chemicals on me or in me. BUT. This is an illusion and here is why- even cotton is loaded with chemicals.
      I read one nightmare of an article where jeans became toxic. They were shipped in a truck that had been used to haul pesticides on the previous load. The pesticides went through-out the garments and people ended up sick-sick-sick.
      Kind of puts a perspective on things, eh? I still prefer all cotton, but must at least have cotton crotches on the unders. It’s just a personal preference. And I wash everything before I wear it.

    4. LCL*

      Underwear in synthetic performance fabrics (lightweight, breathable, wicking) has been available for some time. Hell, even Duluth sells their own label version.

  41. Scotty Smalls*

    My husband and I are considering fostering a three year old Pug mix. If it goes well, we will adopt it. Neither of us have had a Pug before…anything we should be aware of? We don’t currently have any pets or kids at home.

    1. Cruciatus*

      You will soon be posting a ridiculous amount of pug photos to your social media and sharing any memes that have pugs in them. There are a lot! But seriously, I don’t have pugs but have many friends who do and they all love them. Most of my pug friends do have children and if you ever have kids (or other pets), it seems like a pug will take to it just fine. This is just based on observation, but the pugs my friends have are playful and yet also a little lazy (this could just be the style of the owners though, I’m not sure). But all the pugs I’ve met have always been friendly and like being with their people.

    2. fposte*

      They’re short-muzzled breeds, so you often get snoring, and you need to be alert for problems with heat. I think they’re also inclined towards some eye and skin stuff, too, but a vet will be best suited to advise (and it may be that your pup is mixed with something that lengthened the muzzle somewhat and helps with those).

      And all the pugs I know have wonderful personalities. They’re just happy dogs that like being with people.

    3. Lady Bug*

      What is it mixed with? I have a puggle (pug/beagle) and a jug (jack russel/pug). Both are high energy, but the jug is higher energy than the puggle. She has many russel qualities like jumping and digging. Both have the hound “nose rules all” quality. They both love to cuddle. They get fat quickly. The puggle is easier to train (but I think it may be his personality) and rarely breaks the rules, but is totally defiant when he does (in a “what are you gonna do about it, you know you love me” way. The jug frequently breaks the rules, but always looks super guilty. They love to play fetch and hide and seek, run, and wrestle

        1. Lady Bug*

          It’s a chug! If you Google chug you should get lots of info. Personality wise it can be anywhere on the spectrum between full pug to full chihuahua. My personal experience has been 25% pug 75% what its crossbreed with. Best of luck, they are adorable.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Pugs are great, they a really are. My aunt had one and it was just a very cool animal. You will have lots of fun, they have very nice personalities.

    5. AvonLady Barksdale*

      They are freaking adorable. They snore. They often fart a lot. Be aware of that and you should be good.

    6. Princess Buttercup*

      Pugs are amazing! I have a 3 year old full pug (not mixed), so not sure how the chug mix may differ, but the pug part…highly sociable, doesn’t like to be left alone for too long (they are called Velcro dogs as they will stay hear you and follow you everywhere, even the bathroom).

      It’s very important to keep their weight under control – pugs are highly food-motivated and will pork up to an unhealthy weight in a flash if you aren’t careful. Extremes in temperature are an issue – especially heat (we checked into a dog friendly hotel last weekend as our power went out – no AC and 95 degree heat meant my dog was getting sick from heat stroke).

      Pugs do shed A LOT! I knew that before I got her, but I was still floored by just how much hair I sweep up every day.

      All in all, our pug is a complete joy, very smart, very lovable, and a bit stubborn.

  42. Dynamic Beige*

    Just wanted to say that y’all, I am tired. I don’t know what the clinical signs of exhaustion are and I’m too tired to look them up online but that word sums up how I feel. I’m going to try and do a bunch of things to self care, take naps, etc. but dammit I am tired of feeling this way, I seem to spend too much time here.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Be careful here. I have had some really bad bouts of fatigue and I could have gotten myself into a heap of trouble because of poor judgement. It’s hard to think when tired.
      Have you had a check up? Thyroid, heart.
      Do you sleep at night? For how long?

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Oh yeah do I sleep. I sleep all night, get up and just derp around for an hour or so and then go back to sleep because I can’t keep my eyes open.

        It’s probably just stress. The past month has been crazy with work and I pushed myself hard. But, as this always happens, I’ve got to change this. I felt like this a year ago (almost) and was going to change things but… nope. Things are the same as they ever were and that’s not good. :(

    2. Aurora Leigh*

      If there’s a chance it’s heat exhaustion, make sure you have lots of water and salty things.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Nope. Another thing to add to the list. :( Why does that list never get shorter or end? *sigh*

  43. Cruciatus*

    So my mom, who finally seems to be accepting that I will eventually move out (likely after buying a home, not renting) just stopped me to tell me “very important” information about how I should spend a little more to get someone (she wasn’t sure of the name) to be on my side during the house buying process. She says the realtor won’t be on my side, they are on the company’s side, but that you can pay more for a (????) to help negotiate things on my behalf. Looking it up, I think she might mean a buyer’s agent? But I’ve heard mostly positive stories from people who have purchased houses and the real estate agent was able to lower closing costs or X, Y, or Z. Is there truth to this? Of all the people I know who have purchased homes, none have used anything more than the real estate agent. Why wouldn’t my realtor be on my side, unless they were also the person used to sell the specific house I wanted?

    1. Florida*

      Realtors are like lawyers – both sides need their own. The plaintiff’s attorney is not looking out for the defendant’s best interest or vice versa. The same with real estate. The realtor who has their sign in the yard and has listed the house is looking out for the best interest of the seller. The selling agent does not care if the buyer gets a survey, an inspection or anything other type of due diligence item that benefits the buyer. They care that the house gets sold for maximum price quickly.

      It is a good idea to hire a buyer agent. It will probably not cost you any money. You want to contract to say that you will either pay the agent a commission or cause him to be paid a commission. Normally in real estate, the seller pays the commission to the seller’s agent – let’s say it’s 6%. The seller’s agent splits that with the buyer’s agent, so the seller’s agent gets 3% and the buyer’s agent gets 3%, but all of that money came from the seller, not from you. Now if you bought a for-sale-by-owner, you would have to pay your agent a commission because there is no seller’s agent.

      If you are buying a new home, directly from XYZ Homes, then your mo