weekend free-for-all – July 23-24, 2016

Olive with iPadThis 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: A Room with a View, by E. M. Forster. This is one of my favorite books of all time. It has a priggish fiancé, an unsuitable second suitor, an annoying chaperone, a romp through Italy, and so many more delightful things.

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

{ 1,080 comments… read them below }

  1. Dynamic Beige*

    I love that book! The movie wasn’t too bad, either. I wound up reading everything Forster wrote after ARWAV

    1. Lucy Honeychurch*

      Yessssss that book is amazing! (Can you tell I think so from my username?)
      Howards End and Passage to India are also excellent, and Maurice is a refreshingly non-depressing gay love story (from 1914!)

      1. Expected to pay more than my fair share*

        Howard’s end was a assigned book in high school. The teacher ruined it for me at the time and I stopped reading it. I’ve read it a few times since, enjoy it but was surprised the first time to realize that I actually remembered the ending.

        1. EmmaLou*

          I’ve often wished that teachers wouldn’t assign good books as classwork. I’ve ended up liking very few that were assigned because it just ruins them for me to have them pulled apart for themes, motifs, styles, ad infinitum. I wish we could just read them for the story. I’ve enjoyed so many more that I got to choose myself and didn’t have to dissect than the ones thrust upon me. Fahrenheit 451; Gatsby; Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. (Okay, I’d never ever have picked up Wounded Knee on my own. True, but way too graphic for me.)

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I always read ahead–I was finished with the book before the rest of the class, so I got to enjoy the story on its own. Then I had to go back and read it again for my paper, or discussion or whatever.

            Most of the books we read I really liked–except for Great Expectations (sorry, Dickens) and Cry The Beloved Country. I just could not get into those two.

            1. HoVertical*

              Great Expectations was almost enough to make me give up reading Dickens. In a word: depressing.

          2. Temperance*

            I’m the total opposite – I love ripping apart a good book into its component pieces! I always hated when boring, clunky books were assigned because I felt like they discouraged kids and teens from developing a relationship with literature.

          3. Mephyle*

            I’ve often wished that teachers wouldn’t assign good books as classwork… it just ruins them for me to have them pulled apart.
            I’m torn on this: I’ve had poor teachers ruin books for me by pulling them apart. An average teacher may or may not ruin it. A brilliant teacher can lead me to appreciate it more. I would like to have had a brilliant teacher teach me Shakespeare. I have heard that his plays were really good, but no one ever led me to see why, and I don’t have the literary talent to discover it on my own.

            And then there’s the flip side assigning good books in school: if only the crap books were assigned in class, it would reinforce the non-readers’ idea that reading can only be a chore, never fun.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              One thing that made Shakespeare come alive for me was reading scenes from the plays aloud in class when I had a course in college. So many teachers want you to read them on your own as homework, but they’re plays! They’re meant to be spoken, not silently read!

              It also helps with the language. I think the archaic language in many classic literature intimidates a lot of people. I had a teacher in high school who made us read the Greek plays aloud–Antigone, Medea, etc.–and we enjoyed studying them so much more. And I couldn’t get through Beowulf until I read it aloud to myself (loved it).

              1. Not So NewReader*

                We had a teacher read us Canterbury Tales. He made sure to explain to us what was going on. He worked in his general opinions about women.
                Yeah.

        2. Marillenbaum*

          I love Howards End so much: my college orientation T-shirt had a quote from Howards End on it. “Live in fragments no longer; only connect…”

    2. Sydney*

      I’m a big fan of the book and the movie too and the fact that Daniel Day-Lewis is in it is a huge plus.

        1. Artemesia*

          In a very short period he played the prig in A Room With a View, the sexy doctor in The Unbearable LIghtness of Being, and the marginal gay guy in My beautiful Laundrette — and then we got the seriously disabled Christy Brown and the frontiersmen in the Last of the Mohicans. The guy has spectacular range.

          1. Sydney*

            Last of the Mohicans – swooooooooon. Now that’s a love story. I just wish the theatrical version was on Bluray. *sigh*

            And yes he does – Age of Innocence, In the Name of the Father, The Crucible, The Boxer, Gangs of New York, There Will Be Blood, Lincoln. Amazing.

            1. Marillenbaum*

              Daniel Day-Lewis in The Crucible was everything! I had a lot of feelings about his John Proctor as a high schooler (I passed off watching his scenes on repeat as “research” for our school play).

              1. Sydney*

                I know. I know! So good. God he’s amazing……..

                sigh I feel a Daniel Day-Lewis movie-fest is going to happen soon. :P

        2. Sydney*

          He’s so amazing in everything (ok not Nine but I’ll forgive him). He’s my favourite actor.

    3. Nancypie*

      I just stayed in the hotel (from the movie) last month. I really have to see the movie!

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Uh… link? It probably does not have a view of the Arno but… would be worth a look. Just in case I ever go back to Florence.

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            Wow. That looks amazing. I know I’ve walked right past that building, probably eating gelato. Because you can’t go 100 m without hitting a gelato shop and it’s all so, so good.

  2. Need anonymity for this one*

    Hi AAM Community –

    This is a hybrid of a personal and professional issue, but can someone let me know if I am justified in being irritated by a situation or if I am overthinking it?

    I’m a member/officer of a Teapot Makers Club and am a passive user of online dating sites. I recently saw someone I knew through the club on an online dating site and didn’t realize it was his profile until I clicked there. Because this dating website notifies members when someone clicks on your profile, I sent a generic, “Hey… How’s it going. What’s been your experience on this site…” Nothing too personal or flirty. The guy wrote back and we had a brief conversation about some random things that he’s talked about within the club that are also on his profile. Within this conversation there was NOTHING about us getting together or going out or anything along those lines.

    Fast forward a couple days and I get a phone call from a number I don’t recognize, and he is calling to ask me out (not to hang out as friends, but he specifically used the word “date”). I felt really awkward and somewhat violated because we never discussed getting together and he only has my number because my role within the Teapot club requires members to be able to get in touch with me easily.

    Am I overreacting or am I justified in being irritated?

    1. LivinginLA*

      I’d be irritated too, but my first thought is that he may have thought you were interested (and perhaps shy) since you messaged through the site.

    2. SophieChotek*

      I would be irritated to — but he could just be excited someone is interested and is pushing too fast. (This is what my post, below, is going to be about; similar situation.)

    3. BRR*

      For just a call I wouldn’t be irritated. you had a conversation with someone on a dating site and then they asked you out on a date. I wouldn’t have called but different people have different communication preferences. Would you have been less irritated if he asked online?

      1. Need anonymity for this one*

        Yes. If he had asked online, I probably would have still said no, but at least it would have been a legitimate way for him to reach out to me. I feel like it was wrong for him to use my phone number to ask me on a date, when he only has it because of my officer role within our club.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, you clicked on his profile. He was surprised to see you and a message from you. He thought about it later, realized, “well it IS a dating site, we know each other sort of, so why not?”

        If you don’t want to go out on a date with him, I don’t see a problem in telling him, “no thanks, I just look around and I tend to click on people’s profiles without thinking. I realized it was yours so I said something because otherwise it would be weird/rude. But, sorry, actually I’m not interested in dating anyone from the club.”

      3. MK2000*

        I agree. I think it was a bit unusual of him to call you since you hadn’t actively given him your number, but it was public to all members of your club, and I don’t think he was out of line to reach out and ask you out in general. You contacted him on a dating site, so he assumed that you were open to being asked on a date. But you’re allowed to feel however you feel and also allowed not to go out with him!

        1. gsa*

          “You contacted him on a dating site, so he assumed that you were open to being asked on a date. But you’re allowed to feel however you feel and also allowed not to go out with him!”

          ^^^ this!

          He could have passed a note, via another member, at Tea Pot Club… :D

          Asked and answered. If I were him, I might be irritated as well…

    4. Persimmon*

      I can see why you sent the message, but for the future, I think your etiquette was a bit off here in my online dating experience. Many people view lots of profiles, so it’s pretty normal to accidentally view a profile of someone you’re really not interested in (including, awkwardly, someone you know in real life). The right thing to do is either a) pretend it never happened and move on, or b) if you want to make a boundary, just block the person. This sounds aggressive, but actually isn’t: most people will never notice you did it, they just will happen not to see you there anymore or might assume you left the site. I preemptively block anyone I see online that I know from work, which hopefully means in some cases they never know I’m there in the first place.

      Unfortunately, I think it’s pretty much impossible to send a message through an online dating site that isn’t flirtatious–the context by definition makes it a come-on to some extent. So unfortunately you sent a signal you didn’t mean to, and it’s not surprising that he responded this way, especially since you had a couple-message conversation after which the next step is often swapping numbers and setting a date. No big deal–turn him down gracefully, but I don’t think you should hold this against him as he hasn’t done anything egregious here.

      1. Audiophile*

        Persimmon is right on this one. I get the urge to avoid awkwardness, but on dating sites (okCupid, Match, Eharmony, HowAboutWe, Tinder, etc) it’s so common to click on someone’s profile and decide you’re not interested. One many of these sites, you can see when someone views your profile but not when they like it or engage with it in some other way, so the only way to gauge interest is through messaging. You sent him a message, even if it was innocuous, he read that as interest.

      2. Bekx*

        I completely agree. One of my acquaintances found my OKC profile and he FACEBOOK MESSAGED me and said “I find it really refreshing in your OKCupid profile that you said “_____”.

        I was incredibly creeped out.

    5. Mando Diao*

      In my opinion, he did everything right. You sent him a message on a dating site and he already had your number. IMO you were the one who broke protocol here. :/ Sorry.

      1. Basia, also a Fed*

        I agree and think it is unreasonable to be irritated with him. It doesn’t matter if you mentioned dating in your online conversation. The very fact that you contacted him on a dating site signals that you’re potentially interested in a date. That is the reason why that avenue of communication is available – for dating. In fact, he might have believed that you were expecting him to ask you put and that you might be offended if he didn’t, since you initiated the interaction on the dating website.

    6. Suzanne*

      I think you’re over-reacting. It sounds like he behaved pretty much as I’d expect. You messaged him on a dating site first. He then asked you out. That’s not unreasonable or weird.

      If he didn’t take no for an answer or was pushy about it, THEN there’s a problem.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Or acts weird later at club events.

        I can see why you’re put out OP, but as Suzanne said, you did make the first move, even if you didn’t intend it to be seen that way, by messaging him. Best way to handle it going forward is to just apologise for the misstep. The nicknames and profile pictures, sometimes you just don’t know who someone is until you click it, the preview is too small.

    7. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      Hm. I don’t think he’s done anything wrong, so I guess I vote “not justified.” If someone I knew contacted me on a dating site I would assume they were interested in.

      In your shoes, I’d have sent a note that said: “Hey, it’s always funny to run into people you already know on here. I’m not looking to start something with anyone from Teapot Club but didn’t want you to think I was a creeper! See you at the next meeting.”

      At this point I’d text him back and say “Thank you for the invite. I’m not interested in dating someone from Teapot Club and just wanted to say hello on Match (or whatever). See you at the next Teapot meeting.”

      1. Dan*

        Yeah, if you really were inclined to message him, this is the way to go. Maybe you’re justified with some mild annoyance, but you did contact him through a dating site.

      2. Need anonymity for this one*

        This is REALLY GOOD wording for those situations! Makes it clear of the intent but diffuses potential awkwardness. I’ll be using it. Thank you!

        I’ve been on the flip side and gotten messages just saying hi from guys I know in real life and didn’t think they were interested, just saying hello, which is why I originally thought saying “hi” was innocuous, but I think women think about these things differently.

        FWIW, to be clear, my frustration was not with him asking me out, it was just with the phone call, which seemed a little presumptuous, since he only had my number because of my role within the club. It wasn’t like he had ever called or texted before, so it seemed a little too forthcoming, given our history of communications.

        I really do appreciate the thoughts and comments and need to remember how men and women are wired differently, especially when it comes to online dating!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I think women do tend to read “nothing” in saying hi.

          It’s not so much now, but I use to forget to look at context. Context does matter. Some people fall apart if you talk to them in the bathroom. But if you happen to be the younger version of me, you figure they don’t want to talk for whatever reason. So you don’t say hi in the hallway, and they get ticked over that. Context, context, context. Younger me was like, “who writes these rules?” now I realize there are inferences because of the setting of the moment.

        2. Marillenbaum*

          I feel exactly the same as you: it’s not the ask, it’s the use of contact information he only had for other reasons. I’m a big believer in not crossing the streams: in the same way you can’t use the church phone tree to recruit for you MLM “business”, you don’t get to do this.

    8. Dan*

      Oh, I should mention that guys don’t many messages online, so it’s kind of exciting to get one. To send a message and then *not* want to meet him is rather weird.

  3. LizB*

    I had an IUD placed this morning, which is great! I love long-term reliable birth control.

    But owwwwwwww. Ow ow ow. I just took another dose of tylenol and am praying it kicks in soon. This is going to be a really shitty day, isn’t it?

    Ow.

      1. LizB*

        Yep, and I just called her again to double check. She said everything sounds normal. (And gave me permission to take ibuprofen in addition to the tylenol, so hopefully that helps too.)

    1. mehowe*

      Everybody is different, of course, but I spent an afternoon in bed with plenty of Advil and a heating pad and felt much better the next day. I’m sorry you’re hurting and hope your recovery will be as quick as mine was.

      1. LizB*

        I’m really hoping this is how it goes for me. This was what I expected, I’m just complaining on the internet because my boyfriend is out of town and I can’t complain to him. :)

    2. greenfairy*

      Curious, what made you choose the IUD? I got Nexplanon in my arm about 4 months ago and I love it! The implant was put into place in just a few seconds with now pain. The next week I had some bruising, but it wasn’t painful. When I looked into these, IUDs just seemed like a worse option…more potentially hazardous side-effects and the like.

      1. mehowe*

        I know this wasn’t directed to me, but I chose a Mirena IUD because my doctor and I hoped it would help control heavy periods (I do not do well with birth control pills and my insurance did not want to pay for an ablation).

        1. greenfairy*

          Ah, that makes sense. My doctor and I just didn’t like the risks with that one. And I’ve been lucky with the implant…3 days of weird spotting, but other than that, I have had nothing these 4 months.

          1. Gaia*

            I went with Nexplanon too. I had about 5 days of super light spotting after almost a month and since then…nothing. It is kind of great. I just…forget about it.

        2. finally a fed*

          I had a mirena placed last July (most painful experience of my life) and have had maybe 8 aggregate hours of spotting since then. So, I hope you have the same experience!

      2. LizB*

        I’ve had nexplanon for close to the full 3 years, and it was great for me for a while, but over the past year or so I started having big problems with my weight and my mental health. It’s possible the nexplanon has nothing to do with either of those things, but I felt it would be best to switch to something non-hormonal (I got the Paragard copper IUD) just to see if that helped.

        1. greenfairy*

          All of the research studies I’ve read show no correlation between Nexplanon and weight gain. Sorry that this happened to you!

          1. h.cowl*

            She already has the IUD, so I’m not sure this is a helpful comment.

            I also chose the Paragard (5 years ago!) due to its complete lack of hormones. I love it.

          2. LizB*

            Yep, I’ve read the studies as well*, so obviously I know it’s a long shot. I did my research before making my choice, I just happened to make a different choice from you, and I was ready to try something new. I hope the nexplanon works out really well for you! One thing I did love about it was the sense of security that there was more or less a 0% chance of getting pregnant unless I chose to take the implant out and intentionally try. It’s a very nice, in-control feeling.

            *Anecdotally, I personally know two women who’ve had similar problems to me while on nexplanon, which obviously doesn’t negate the studies but does show me that maybe there can be outliers who have different experiences than the average research subject had.

            1. Gaia*

              My doctor explained that the weight issues with Nexplanon might actually have something to do with how progesterone interacts with the way your body manages carbs. I didn’t really understand it all (because I so didn’t care to pay attention) but I’ve now heard that from three different doctors. The weight issue is different than with other forms of birth control and it seems really hit or miss. I hope that whatever you use long term it is successful and worry free for you! Everyone is different which is why it is so great to have so many options.

          3. Is it Performance Art*

            A lot of times, a major side effect isn’t really reported until years after a drug is on the market. Most people who take SSRIs have a significant reduction in their libido, but most of the earlier studies showed it was really rare. If a side effect is embarrassing, you’re concerned that the side effect will get dismissed as you overreacting or you’re worried you’ll be judged negatively for the side effect, you’re a lot less likely to report it.
            I have done really badly on systemic progestin only contraceptives and it was really hard to get reliable research about whether it was common for women to have these side effects or if I was just an outlier. One of the common side effects of progestin only contraceptives is frequent or heavy bleeding. I asked my doctor how common it was and she told me that it was a problem for at least 10% of women, but in her clinical experience, it was more common. It was probably underreported because a lot of healthcare providers treat it as harmless and something you shouldn’t get so upset about. When they decided to discontinue, they probably cited one of the many other side effects.
            There are a lot of other side effects that they have that weren’t supposed to happen because estrogen was supposed to be culprit and those also tend to get underreported because they’re assumed to be unrelated. Depo-provera can cause blood clots but it’s only progestin, it wasn’t supposed to. Some doctors still insist it can’t possibly cause blood clots because only estrogen can and therefore all the studies are wrong.
            Clinical trials are the best we have, but sometimes side effects get hidden or they just don’t pick up problems.

      3. TL -*

        I got mild/medium cramps with my IUD insertation. I took two ibuprofen and was fine – I hiked the following three days. (Sorry for everyone who had a worse experience!)

        But I liked it better than the implant – it lasts longer (by two years!) I’m super active so I didn’t want to worry about my arm, and I scar easily and it is the most effective birth control. Plus the squick factor was less with the iud than the implant for me.

        1. Miss Nomer*

          I’ve never had children but omg if the pain is like my insertion, I’m not sure how women have more than one. It took me a full two days to stop cramping constantly. I mean, I love it now, but I was convinced I was going to have to get it removed.

      4. Ella*

        Ditto- not directed at me, but I chose my IUD cuz we were thinking of trying to have kids in a few years, and my friend who is a gyno highly recommended it as both an effective birth control that’s also easily removed, and you can try to get pregnant immediately after removal. Huge fan! Had my Mirena for 2 years, had it removed, pregnant 3 months later. Also, my period mostly went away/seriously reduced with the Mirena, which was a huge bonus.

    3. Lily Evans*

      I was just reading an article about that on Buzzfeed this morning! It made me cringe, I’m not super great with pain so I think I’ll stick to the pill for now.

    4. Kay*

      Oh, wow, I feel you. I’m so sorry.

      I’m really, really good with pain (like did not get a painkiller prescription filled after major abdominal surgery) and I was totally knocked flat by my IUD insertion. I had actually walked to the doctor’s office and was so out of it that my doctor drove me home in her personal car.

      In my case it wasn’t so much sharp pain as that my body basically started releasing childbirth hormones because it was so confused by everything that was going on. So I got flooded with these waves of hormones that made me tremble, and break out into a cold sweat, and get really really faint. Then the dull aching set in and my whole body was just wrecked for like 12 hours.

      After that first day, though: amazing. One of the best health decisions I’ve ever made. So it was awful to start with but so, so, SO worth it.

      1. LizB*

        Yep, I had weird sweating and lightheadedness for a while. It probably wasn’t the best idea for me to drive myself home… but I took surface streets so I could easily pull over if I needed to throw up, and got home just fine. (I pulled over twice but thankfully both instances were false alarms.) I really hope things are good after today!

      2. Emilia Bedelia*

        That happened to me as well – almost passed out when trying to leave. I lived like 4 blocks from the office so I had walked also (bad idea…). The doctor made me lie down and drink a juice box, and call someone to get me. It was pretty awful, but I’ll put up with it once every 5 years

      3. blackcat*

        Gah, me too. IUD insertion was THE WORST.

        I say this as someone who has dislocated a shoulder. The shoulder hurt FAR less. But at least I had the foresight to bring a driver to the appointment.

        I think I was back to normal on day 2 or 3, though. I have a copper IUD (can’t tolerate hormones at all), and it did cause my cramps to get permanently worse, to the point that my husband and I are thinking about trying to have a kid sooner rather than later (all women I’m related to report that their severe cramps lessen or go away post pregnancy).

    5. Blue_eyes*

      Maybe some women can go back to work or normal activities the same day as insertion, but I had the same experience as you when I had my first IUD inserted. I just had it replaced recently (switched from paraguard to mirena to control heavy cramping) and having the second insertion hurt a lot less and I was much less incapacitated than after the first one. For others who are considering it, my advice would be to take your pain killer of choice (mine is Aleve) before the procedure and plan to spend the rest of the day in bed with Netflix.

    6. C Average*

      Ow, indeed.

      I’ve had a root canal. I’ve had Essure. I’ve broken my collarbone and my hand. I’ve had two hip surgeries. And none of that came even close to hurting as much as my IUD insertion did. They actually tried to insert it and weren’t able to on the first try; I had to come back for a do-over the next day. IUD insertion sucks.

      The insertion pain eased up pretty quickly for me. I hope it will for you, too. Not having to think about birth control was GREAT. It’s why I ultimately went with Essure as well.

      1. Allison Mary*

        Really? Essure was an easier process than the IUD insertion? That’s good to know… I’ve had Paraguard for five years now, and I’m seriously considering the Essure procedure, for after it’s time for my IUD to come out.

        1. Treena*

          I would consider this an outlier. Essure requires more dilation, filling the uterus with fluid, and a lot of uncomfortable things for a much longer period of time than an IUD placement. Pain differs from person to person and even body part to body part, so while C Average’s experience *can* happen, I wouldn’t make decisions assuming it would happen.

          1. C Average*

            N = 1, obviously, but my IUD insertion hurt like hell, and my Essure procedure was comparatively easier. It wasn’t pain-free by any means! But of the two procedures, it seemed less painful to me.

            One thing that I think is really key is to get it done by a medical team that knows the procedure and does it frequently. I went to a local teaching hospital (OHSU in Portland, Oregon) that’s done hundreds of Essure procedures. They project confidence and competence, and they were able to complete the procedure quickly. I’ve compared notes with other people, and it’s my impression that it can be a lengthier, more painful, and more anxiety-inducing experience when you’re working with a less experienced team.

            I also found that it was easier to focus on things other than the pain during my Essure procedure because there were more interesting distractions. When I got my IUD in, I was in a boring white room at the local Planned Parenthood with a couple of nice but not overly engaging people telling me it would only hurt for a short time. It hurt–REALLY hurt–for the better part of a day. When I got my Essure done, while it hurt a lot, I really enjoyed watching the procedure play out in real time on the monitors. You can see them maneuvering the metal coils into place, and it’s really interesting. They answered all my questions and then they sent me home with a Valium, and it was overall a much better experience.

            Don’t get me wrong: They both hurt. But I’m going to go out on a limb and venture that pregnancy and childbirth hurt a whole lot more! And never having to worry about those things again has been GREAT.

    7. Kali*

      I made the mistake of trying to go back to work in the afternoon after I had my first IUD put in. I ended up going home after a couple of hours. Still worth it. I just had my second one placed a year ago and was glad to know what to expect. I got it done on a Saturday and was able to drive myself home. I made no other plans than watching trashy movies and I picked up a slushie on my way home (my guilty pleasure). Both times, the pain was probably 90% gone by the evening, so here’s hoping you’re out of the woods soon!

      1. Treena*

        Same here! I always think I can go back to work and then I’m like eh…nah. First time I drove myself to my bff’s house and she made me soup and lent me her heating pad. Second time husband took me out for waffles. Netflix for the rest of the day both times. I was at 100% the next day.

    8. KR*

      I have a Skyla IUD and I love it. No worries birth control, more effective than condoms and the pill put together and my periods are still reliable every month but getting lighter. I was on the pill before and it was awful. Getting it put in hurt a lot and I had a bit of cramps and bleeding for a few days after but for the trouble it’s saved me I would do it over again in a heartbeat.

    9. Dear Liza dear liza*

      I LOVE my Mirena but the insertion was awful. Luckily my husband drove me and the doctor gave me a prescription for Tramadol. I netflixed for a day and by the next day I wa fine. I hope your recovery is equally quick!

    10. Pickwick the Dodo*

      I had mine put in 4 years ago (almost exactly! One year left!) and I took the afternoon/evening off. It hurt like crazy going in, and I had extreme cramping for the rest of the day & spent it on the couch watching teen movies. I was fine the next day. The worst part was my boyfriend going out with friends that night and telling everyone I was home because I’d had surgery, which worried them & I had to explain (bless his heart; he’s a little clueless sometimes. “Under the weather” would have been fine).

    11. anon for this*

      IUDs terrify me, but that’s probably because a normal pap hurts like hell (I’ve passed out momentarily the last two times) and even sex hurts sometimes – I have endometriosis, so this is a totally normal side effect, unfortunately. So I worry that an IUD would knock me flat, or that it would mess with my hormones after a bit and be worthless. I have to switch to a new pill every few years to help tamp down my endo symptoms, so as much as I love that there’s long-term birth control out there, I wish I could use it.

      Hoping you feel better soon!!!

    12. Sibley*

      Yes. Ow. I found a heating pad, copious amounts of Motrin, and going to bed was the only way to survive it. Hope you feel better soon!

    13. Gaia*

      I had the nexplanon implant put in about 3 months ago and holy hell my arm hurt for 2 solid weeks.

      I was nervous about this one because people reported such horrific side effects but it actually has been great! I hope you have a good experience with your IUD. I love that we live in a time where there is long term, easy, reliable birth control.

    14. Knitchic*

      Oh yeah, IUD recovery is bad. I had my first put in right after my youngest was born. My boss told me just don’t even plan on doing anything after until the next day. Loved my heavy blanket and ibuprofen that day. Feel better, it’s so worth it!

    15. Brooke*

      It gets way better. The first day was some of the worst pain I’ve ever had. Smooth sailing ever since.

    16. Miss Nomer*

      I am so sorry omg. I had mine done in May and I was not expecting the pain. Try a heating pad, Tylenol, and maybe laying out straight. Fwiw, I did feel much better after the second day and I’m already a fan!

    17. Audiophile*

      I’m sorry you’re dealing with that. I hope your pain has subsided by now.

      I’ve actually been considering the NuvaRing. Anyone used it?

      I know someone who had Mirena and dealt with some side effects.

      1. TL -*

        I used Nueva Ring and really liked it. Very easy to use, no side effects, and I just had a calendar alert set up.
        Mind you, I’ve never had a bad reaction to any form of birth control but I did like the ring much better than taking a pill every day!

      2. LizB*

        I actually used the NuvaRing for many years and really liked it! It was super easy, you can put in one right after another if you want to skip a period, and I never noticed any particular side effects. You may want to let your partner know you have one before you have sex, if only to avoid any “whoa, what’s in here?!” confusion if they can feel it. I considered going back on the NuvaRing instead of doing an IUD, I liked it that much.

        And thanks for the good wishes! I haven’t taken any tylenol since 2pm yesterday and am pain-free this morning, so I think the worst is over (*knocks on wood*).

      3. Bekx*

        I just got off Nuva Ring yesterday. I have a tipped uterus and a rather small one, too, according to my doctor. The ring kept slipping out and it was pretty difficult for me to use. I was inserting it correctly, I’m just apparently a small person.

    18. Madstuart*

      Oh, man. The first few days of IUD were awful. Then, I had what felt like really low-level period cramps for the first few weeks after the IUD was put in, so much so that they had me come in an do an ultrasound to figure out if it was improperly seated. But everything was where it should be, the ultrasound lady gave be a nice tour of my internal organs, and the pain was gone and stayed gone after the fourth week or so, and everything has been good for a year or so now.

      …that is probably not helpful. But it sounds like I’m the worst case scenario (unless you consider my friend who had a uterus too small to fit her IUD).

  4. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    My parents received a baby formula sample in the mail and sent a frantic flurry of emails my way.

    No, not pregnant, not married, just got a nice boyfriend. Fortunately that’s smoothed over, but how did baby formula wind up at my parents doorstep (captioned “new mommy/new baby”? It’s addressed to me with their address, but I haven’t lived there in 3 years.

    My theories:
    -I’ve gone to weddings/details through a wedding registry
    -My mom’s bought a huge ton of cotton balls (which I’ve heard can trick spanners into thinking the residents are preggers, coupled with unscented lotion and a child nearing their 30s?)
    -I haven’t signed up for anything online at all ever and this never happened till now

    Once my mom recovered from the shock she was surprised not to have heard of this spam sooner thru news as she said this could’ve started bloody family fights/conservative family members could end up dead from this. (Her way of joking….I think…)

    Thoughts?

    1. SophieChotek*

      I received one once when I was in grad school and living on the East Coast. (No boyfriend or past relationship; no way was I pregnant; I doubt I was even on any sort of email that would have triggered that, unless they sold my address when I signed up for Columbia House DVDs…)
      I called the company and they said they were just mass-marketing my area and said I should just give it away to food shelf, if it did not apply to me once.

    2. mehowe*

      I don’t know, but my babymaking days are long past (and I didn’t use formula even when I had a baby) and every now and then those checkout coupon printers that are supposed to target offers specifically to shoppers based on their purchase history give me formula coupons. I just stick them in the formula aisle and hope some mother can use it.

      Food banks would likely appreciate the donation. WIC provides some formula but I hear they don’t give enough for the whole month.

    3. nep*

      Mass-marketing, I reckon. Just to random females. My guess, anyway. I’ve received packages of coupons for all baby products.

    4. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      A number of women in my new town received these over the past week, including one woman whose four kids are teenagers and one woman who got two–one addressed to her and one addressed to her 11-year-old daughter. Mass-marketing, probably nothing more, but women’s shelters are usually very appreciative of formula samples along with food banks.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Naming names. I believe Target does mass marketing like this but I thought it was just coupons in the mail.

      1. C Average*

        One of the podcasts I listen to (I’m thinking either Freakonomics or This American Life) did an episode on Target’s creepy pregnancy-prediction algorithms.

        1. Chaordic One*

          I remember that. I think it was on “Market Place,” where some guy was freaked out because Target started sending him baby-related coupons and offers, based on “his” shopping habits. It turned out that his daughter had become pregnant, but hadn’t told him yet. She had purchased some pregnancy-related items from Target which prompted the coupons.

          1. Marillenbaum*

            My college math dept. chair used to use this story all the time to talk about 1) the interesting shit you can do with math, and 2) the importance of a broader liberal arts education. Because sure, you CAN write this kick-ass algorithm, but it’s also hella creepy and maybe you should think about the ethics of that and how much it will weird people out.

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I heard or read that somewhere, too. “Creepy” is definitely the right word.

    6. Rebecca*

      I got deluged by baby things a few years ago. Turns out there’s another patient at my doctor’s office with the same first and last name (different middle initial) and she’s the one who should have gotten all this stuff. I learned that that the office will send the name to companies (with the patient’s approval). They made a mistake. OMG it took me MONTHS to quash it all…phone calls, I wrote to companies, etc. So, it could have been a simple clerical error!

    7. AcidMeFlux*

      You missed your chance, Carmen. I would have totally punked my mother if that had happened. “Yeah,mamá, well, ya know, it just…..happened….but don’t worry, I’ve found a great unlicensed holistic midwife and I’m moving into her commune for the last trimester….the fact that it’s triplets complicates things a little…but as soon as we figure out who the father is, I’m sure he’ll step up to the plate and be a great dad.” But I’m evil that way.

      1. Me2*

        AcidMeFlux, loving the evilness. I hosted a baby shower once where one attendee was a mom who came with her 16 yr old and 27 yr old daughters. We had the mom-to-be pee on a pregnancy test stick so the mother and daughters could take it home and leave it in the bathroom to punk their husband/father. Apparently he was practically gibbering when he found it, didn’t know who to accuse first. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that one!

    8. Kay*

      Mass marketing, like the others said. Your name and age got on some mailing list.

      Kind of like how I STILL get solicitation letters for Who’s Who in American High School Students. I’m 33! I have a master’s degree! Definitely out of high school, guys!

        1. Audiophile*

          Me too, though not too often.

          My mom got super upset when she got AARP stuff and she was closer to their target demographic. I pointed this out and just received a glaring stare.

    9. Laura (Needs To Change Her Name)*

      That happened to me this week too! But at my house, luckily. Was it Enfamil? Maybe someone built a crappy predictive model.

      1. Carmen Sandiego JD*

        OMG. Yes. Aka, “how enfamil gave my dad a panic attack, almost ruined my weekend, nearly cost me my sanity, and turned my mother into a raging paranoiac giving my belly the once-over to ensure I am baby free while unmarried.”

    10. Elizabeth West*

      I got diaper coupons in the mail when I was in college–this was even before internet, so I have NO idea how that happened. The packet had my apartment number on it, so I figured maybe someone who lived there before had gotten that kind of stuff, or else someone signed me up for it as a joke. I gave them to the apartment complex maintenance guy, because I knew he and his wife had a baby.

      1. Artemesia*

        There is a story out there about a man who raged at Target for sending baby coupons to his teenage daughter — who was NOT pregnant, just a teen — who found out that yes, his teen daughter WAS pregnant. Target knew before the family did.

    11. Dynamic Beige*

      If you’ve got a store loyalty card, they keep track of what you purchase. Same thing with some credit cards, it doesn’t have to be an online thing. We give data about ourselves away all the time without even knowing it. That data is then being sold to other companies, kind of like how if you support a charity with a monthly donation, they will sell your address to other charities and next thing you know, you’ve got a mailbox full of stuff.

      Since you’ve been to some weddings and they know your age, it is possible that you popped up in a specific demographic, but that’s probably it. The main issue is that they are using an old address, and that is causing you a problem. If you can get that sample and track down who sent it, you should phone and give them an earful/get removed from their mailing list. Or at the very least, change your address.

    12. Sami*

      I’ve gotten four or five Enfamil coupons via the checkout coupon thing. I have NO idea why. I’m not pregnant, never been pregnant and not trying to get pregnant. And I’m not buying anything that -I- think would trigger a baby item. So strange.

    13. louise*

      Two Facebook friends of mine got formula samples this week too! They at least have kids, but the youngest of one is 7 and of the other, 12.

    14. Young'n*

      I got subscribed to baby mags somehow several years ago a well. I think it is targeted by age and location.

    15. dawbs*

      To beat a drum that’s been beaten a lot…that’s a kinda awful spam to send. It’s such a landmine when it’s anything but the predictably ‘thrilled to be having a baby’ story.
      Infertility sucks, and buying habits of IF treatment mirror pregnancy buying habits; I didn’t appreciate the spam.
      I have a friend who got the spam around what would have been her due date after her very late term miscarriage; she appreciated it even less.
      I’m sure there are many worse stories out there.

      I know it’s just business, but it’s still kinda awful.

  5. Sparkly Librarian*

    I got my gallbladder taken out and don’t even have an amusing post-anesthesia anecdote. Apparently I’m the only person who wakes up from surgery and thinks, “No, it wouldn’t be appropriate to make a joke right now. Be nice to the nurses.” (Although I forget what the topic was.) All in all, an unremarkable procedure and so far an easy recovery, yay.

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        *giggle* Nothing on you, Mimmy, or any of the other well-wishers I’ve heard from this week, but I’m starting to think that if I were a drinker I’d have a great post-surgery drinking game called Speedy Recovery.

    1. mehowe*

      I’m glad the surgery was relatively easy and hope you feel much better now that the gallbladder is gone!

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        I do! I’m looking forward to eating potato skins (etc.) without dreadful repercussions. The gallstone they found was the size of a golf ball. I’m calling it Gandalf.

    2. Sheep*

      Hope the recovery continues being easy!

      Husband might have to have his out too. He is worried about potentially having to change his lifestyle because of this. Anyone with advice on this?

      1. mehowe*

        I know that some people do have to avoid fatty foods and eat smaller portions, but I did not have to make any changes at all.

      2. Sparkly Librarian*

        Everyone I know who has had theirs removed says “I can eat anything I want now.” This was also the message I got from multiple doctors and nurses — my range of foods will expand and I won’t have to be as careful around fatty/greasy foods as when I was at risk of having a gallstone attack — but then the discharge literature mentions stuff like eating low-fat foods for the first month or so, the possibility of urgency/dumping syndrome, etc. I was already mindful of what and when I was eating (and there were clear negative consequences when I made conscious decisions to eat high-fat foods within a short time), so having the gallbladder out seems much less restrictive.

      3. Laura (Needs To Change Her Name)*

        I have to be really careful about eating fatty foods. I have a lot more GI problems. It sucks, I know for most people it improves their quality of life, but I had zero problems before it was removed and some pretty chronic ones now.

      4. Elizabeth West*

        I can’t eat really fatty foods much anymore–if I do, I pay with lovely digestive upsets. And when I have to go–I have to GO. But other than that, I’m fine. No more feeling sick. :)

        My gallbladder had polyps in it, not stones. I did not know that you could even get polyps there. But the surgeon said if the thing wasn’t working, the treatment was to yank it, no matter what. So out it went.

        1. Sheep*

          Yes, this is what my husband has. Apparently they are benign, but could become malignant. And if they do, well, that’s a pretty dire sentence. (That’s how I understood it, at least)

      5. Library Director*

        Oh, my life became so much better. The only thing better was my hysterectomy. No stabbing ice pick pain in my back. My food choices increased.

      6. MsChanandlerBong*

        For me, it’s the grease that does me in. I can eat high-fat foods (cheese, for example) with no problem, but anything fried is what gives me trouble. I’ll occasionally “cheat” and have onion rings, but if I do, I know I need to not make any plans for the next day.

    3. Sparkly Librarian*

      Oh, and also — some of my wife’s family members decided to visit us without prior arrangement, while I’m recovering at home. Like, the plan was for my wife (and I, but that got modified after surprise surgery) to drive 2 hours to see them on Saturday when they were doing something in a town 2 hours away this weekend. (They’re normally 6+ hours away.) But instead, they rang our doorbell at 5AM on Friday. And then announced their intention of staying with us Friday and Saturday nights. With their friend who was traveling with them.

      Normally I would be incensed, but at this point (painkillers and all), I have relaxed enough to let my wife deal with them and just announce that I will not be hostessy as I am staying on the couch. I’m letting them deal with air mattresses and whatever, and not commenting when they leave full cereal bowls in the sink or tease my wife about the state of the house. Just eating pudding and taking my meds. La la la.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        As someone else pointed out above, if you were willing to yank some chains, you could say things that you’ve always wanted to and then blame the painkillers later. You could seriously prank these people.

        “I think it’s *fantastic* the way you waste my food that I worked so hard to buy and make more mess for $Spouse to clean up by leaving it in the sink! Why are dogs purple?” trail off, muttering to yourself, flop on couch, nap

      2. Library Director*

        Ack! I don’t like visitors when I’m feeling ill. Just take your meds and have good conversations with Gandalf.

    4. Temperance*

      I hope you’re recovering well, and giving yourself permission to be lazy this week!

    5. Gallbladder*

      Not sure that I have too much to add, other than, “be nice to yourself”. I’m only a couple of months out from mine, but so far I’m having similar experiences. When I have to go, I have to go right now, but it’s not abnormal. I was being extra-conservative with my diet, so I am now able to eat that diet. I’m not big on greasy to begin with, but I can have some if I don’t overdo it. Still need to try the ex-problem-foods.

  6. LivinginLA*

    Curious as to how other people may handle this situation – having a family member (in this case a SIL) that hates you? Especially when you seriously haven’t done anything to cause it other than have different life circumstances that they are jealous of. At this point I just keep them on extremely low contact, and try to avoid them (but be pleasant) at the family events I do see them at. SIL is openly rude and also speaks poorly of me behind my back, which gets back to me and honestly makes me want to confront her, though the rational part of me realizes it won’t do any good.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      It takes a village. Or in this case a family. Each person who is reporting back to you, shouldn’t even. Drama llamas, is what they look like to me. Tell each person that you are done listening to the synthetic drama and that you have no ill will toward your SIL at all. Instruct each person to tell SIL to come talk things over with you and say you’d appreciate it if they would just shut the conversation down after that, since there is no need for the negativity.

      1. Florida*

        If your parents, siblings, cousins, or anyone else says, “SIL told me…” I would cut that person off and politely say, “Please don’t tell me what SIL said about me. If she wants me to know, she knows how to get in touch with me. I would be happy to talk to her.” This type of triangulation (where SIL won’t talk to you except through other people) is not at all healthy. You can’t do much about SIL talking about you to others, but you can definitely end it when others try to pass it on tho you. In many cases, once SIL realizes that the information is not getting back to you, she will quit doing it.

        1. StillHealing*

          I agree with this! Often family members don’t realize they aren’t required to participate in the gossip fests. Stay consistent cutting off the gossip and repeating SIL should come to you directly if she has an issue about something.

          Your SIL is a bully and a coward. I’m No Contact with my Family Of Origin for my younger sister is the SIL from hell. She doesn’t know how to function when she’s not the center of attention. She fabricates stories in the absence of any facts. A very draining individual to be around.

    2. Also in LA.*

      Coincidentally, my SIL hates me too. For no good reason though I’ve spent energy worrying why.

      I do what you do – I think a low level of contact works and I try not to engage. It just isn’t worth it.

      Life is short.

    3. Kay*

      My SIL also hates my guts, and has for 15 years now – since long before she was my SIL. She is a genuinely vile human being. She has taken what might be maybe a basis for it (15 years ago, when I first met her husband, who was then her boyfriend, when we were both 18 and in college, I had a crush on him for a few weeks, and then got over it. 7 years after that, I started dating and then married his younger brother) and blown it into a huge, huge, huge deal. For 15 years.

      We genuinely do not ever exchange words. Ever. We do not have anything to say to each other. I am not a person who holds grudges (I get angry quick and fast and then get over it) but I want nothing to do with her. She has behaved in every possible horrible way you can imagine over the years toward me. No one is willing to hold her in check, her husband thinks she hangs the moon and just sort of shrugs whenever I’ve tried to say something to him, my in-laws are the ultimate in passive parenting and did nothing. Before he proposed, my husband went to her and made it explicitly clear that we were going to get married and she should treat me with basic civility, which is the only reason we can be at the same social gatherings.

      It’s kind of sad because I am explicitly not welcome in their house. Their kids have no idea who I am. Because their kids are the first in the family, and my in-laws are nuts over them, my husband has effectively been cut off from his brother and his parents won’t ever have anything even neutral said about her.

      She’s done this to other people. She is the kind of person who is treacly sweet and wonderful if you’re on her good side, but if you do something – or do nothing – and get on her bad side, you are DONE. 3 months after a mutual friend of ours was in her wedding, she had a falling out with him over absolutely nothing (a really, really mild and thoughtful political conversation in which he took a stance that was not directly in line with hers), screamed at him for several long minutes, ordered him off the property (which belonged to our mutual in-laws, not to her), and has not spoken to him since. Not when he was deployed to Iraq, not now that he has a child.

      So I don’t know that I have advice. I mostly ignore her and try to forget that she even exists. My life is happier that way. I figure when she behaves badly she proves who’s in the wrong. So I would resist the urge to confront her, as tempting as it may be.

      1. StarHopper*

        You have just described my stepmother. Ever since I got engaged to a guy she didn’t like, she has refused to even look at me, let alone speak with me. That was five years ago. I’m now married to that man and we have a three year old. Holidays are really really awkward. My son only knows my dad because he comes to visit us a few times a year, but we are not welcome in their home. I don’t foresee this ever really changing. It sucks.

    4. MillersSpring*

      I have an ex-SIL who went from being a good friend to a bitch over several years. Backstabbing, rude, name-calling, the works. I did my best to be civil and coolly friendly when we had to be around each other. Try to rise above, take the high road, be kind when you can, don’t lower yourself to her level of behavior, ignore mean emails or texts, and just be the better person. Practice feeling zen or sympathetic toward her.

    5. Temperance*

      My SIL hates me, too. In her case, it’s jealousy, because I was married younger than her. Seriously. She was pissed at me when I declined to postpone my wedding to “let” her get married first. “I know you’ve been dating for like 9 years or whatever, BUT I’M OVER 30” was her rationalization.

      She threw a fit at my wedding, and humiliated herself trying to ruin the event. I have had no contact with her since then, nor do I desire any. As far as I am concerned, she’s on my permanent shitlist. She hasn’t tried to apologize.

      She is unstable. She told my husband’s sister not to have a baby until she did, and went so far as to fake two miscarriages at family events (the night of my SIL’s baby shower and to avoid meeting said baby at Christmas).

      I’ll be honest, I don’t speak to her, I talk to her husband (my BIL) very occasionally, and I don’t acknowledge their kid, who I see as an extension of his mother. I don’t hate my BIL or anything, but she’s so toxic that I mostly refuse to spend any time with her.

      1. Mike C.*

        Can someone explain the whole “I need to get married before I’m 30” thing? Last time I checked, women don’t have a expiration date…

        And faking miscarriages? Holy shit.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          Women may not have an expiration date, but fertility does. Men can still father children into their senior years (see: Mick Jagger, Tony Randall), so getting married while you’re still young enough to have kids isn’t as crucial.

          As a man, what would be shameful and embarrassing to you? Being a virgin at 25? Never having been on a date by 21? It’s like that for some women, if they’re not married by 30, they have failed to achieve what others have, they have fallen behind their cohort. They’ve watched their younger friends/sisters/coworkers get married, be showered with attention and be seen as more mature/grown up. There is still a very strong dread of being a spinster/unloved/alone/unmarried in our society, despite the divorce rate. You are still perceived as there being something “wrong” with you if you never married.

          I once read an article a woman wrote about how ridiculously pleased she found herself to be engaged. She had been with her partner for years, hadn’t really thought about getting married, saw it as an outdated convention of being property rather than a person. But when that ring went on her finger, it was like she had gotten a Gender Award (her words) and it was so sparkly and people treated her so differently now that she was one of “the club”. Whenever someone I know has gotten engaged, I look at the ring, ooh and ahh as I’m “supposed” to do, but in my head I think “Gender Award.”

          1. Mike C.*

            You don’t need to be married to have kids though. My oldest niece was the flower girl at her parents wedding, for instance.

            1. Illegitimate child*

              You don’t have to be. But in many places and many families, there’s still a huge pressure to be.

              My grandfather refused to speak to my mother for three years after she got pregnant with me without marrying dad. My 40 year old aunt eloped to Vegas to marry her boyfriend when she found out they were having a kid, to avoid telling her dad. When my brother and his girlfriend had a baby, no one was allowed to tell grandpa. Grandma wouldn’t allow it. It would have caused such ructions. He died without ever knowing his great-granddaughter existed.

            2. Dynamic Beige*

              No, you don’t, but people are judgey and weird. About 20 years ago, a friend of mine had a baby. The next year, she married the father and then a year later, they had another baby. She went to get passports for herself and the children and the passport agent made a big deal out of the fact that one of her children was “illegitimate” even though the other had the same father and she was married to the man who had fathered both of them. She just hadn’t gotten married at the “right” time.

              Because you have to remember that it wasn’t so long ago that if you — as an unmarried woman — were caught having premarital sex or even worse with a bun in the oven, you were considered fallen/spoiled goods/a disgrace to your family. It was like that for a very long time and the collective perception of society is going to take some time to get over that. So much of what is worn or done at weddings is a direct connection to the time when a woman was property of her father, who passed her off virginal and unsullied to another man. It was Queen Victoria who made white wedding dresses popular, and that less than 200 years ago. Before that, a woman just got married in her best dress, regardless of colour. Just try and suggest a different colour other than white/oyster and watch people lose their minds.

            3. Ellie H.*

              You maybe don’t have to be but a lot of people want to be. I really want to have kids, and I guess I’d rather have kids without being married if I knew it were my only option and the alternative was never having kids, but I want to have kids *with* someone and I imagine many others would feel the same way (both men and women).

          2. 221 Baker Street*

            Where I live in the anti-woman South you aren’t considered a “real woman” until you’ve gotten married to a rich man and have at least “two of his kids”. People are so weird and still believe in the nonsense of possessive marriages. “His wife” and “her husband”, etc. are so old and annoying. I’d like to know someone’s name instead of guessing it. If you even try to bring up same sex marriage you’re a “godless monster” that “needs to be educated on how morally superior religion is”. It’s pretty sad and entire neighborhoods are polarized.

            I get harassed about my age and people will stare at your left hand. It’s a creepy “hurry up and get married” race over here before you’re 21! When it comes to people assuming there’s something wrong with you if you’ve never been married, even when contrasting to married people who cheat and get multiple divorces, I’ve had people try to pry a lot. It gets to the point where you just ignore them and plow over them in conversation.

            I think “Gender Award a-la religious indoctrination” would work better in the South here. I don’t get the scramble for a ring when you’re more likely now to become a divorced mom inside of five years. If you think dating is hard now just wait until you have kids and get that divorce! Count me out of that race. You just can’t win no matter how you look at it.

            1. Blue Dog*

              I lived in the South my whole life and it definitely isn’t “anti-woman”. Maybe the people you know are but it’s really insulting to tar a whole geographic reason with that brush and those kinds of statements perpetuate untrue negative stereotypes.

              I had a friend from England married to man who was career Air Force. When he got stationed in Alabama they were appalled because they thought Alabama was full of racists and people with 1950’s attitudes but they discovered that none of that was true and ended up loving it. What if they hadn’t given it a chance because of all the negative nonsense they’d heard? They’d have missed out on a nice experience.

              1. Marillenbaum*

                THIS. I mean, you still couldn’t pay me to live in Alabama, but I lived in North Carolina for seven years and it’s a wonderful place: beautiful, friendly, and with an incredible arts scene and strong progressive streak (present government notwithstanding).

        2. Temperance*

          She wanted to have several kids. In my unpopular opinion, if she wasn’t such a massive jerk she would have had actual relationships before she met my equally-desperate BIL. His low self-esteem led him to a relationship with her, even though she drank way too much and was mentally unstable. Meh, his loss.

        3. always anon*

          As the other comments have pointed out, it partially has to do with fertility, but society puts a serious stigma on women once they hit 30. Women who aren’t in a relationship, married, or on their way to being married are seen as having something wrong with them or past their prime, while men rarely get that same stigma attached to them and are just considered “bachelors” or not questioned about it.

          I turned 30 last month and you would not believe the comments I got about how I wasted my twenties or was past my prime, as if turning 30 suddenly meant I was no longer attractive or capable of dating. Or saying I had to settle now because it was hard for women to date past 30 (and I blame that stupid Newsweel article in the 80s for bringing this issue full force into society again tbh). And while this is absolutely a ridiculous, archaic way of thinking, it’s pretty common. Look how many movies and TV shows have 30something actresses playing mothers of teenagers instead or being pushed aside into the “older women” roles because being 30+ no longer makes them a love interest to the 40+ leading male (and don’t even get me started on how it pushes older women out of the picture entirely).

          1. Audiophile*

            Does anyone remember the article about Maggie Gyllenhaal being too old to act opposite a 55-year-old?

            Or the joke made about Clooney floating off into space in “Gravity” just to avoid being with Sandra Bullock, because she was close in age to him?

          2. Lady Bug*

            It cracks me up how if you have a baby at 20, Omigod your life is over, but if you don’t have one by 30 Omigod you’re going to die an old maid! Is there like a magical week where your 27 where you can get pregnant without judgment?

            1. EmmaLou*

              Well, now that depends…. who is your partner (can’t be a single mother by choice, the horrrrrrror!)? Are going to breastfeed? Cloth or disposables? Co-sleeping? A crib? A pink nursery? Are you insane?! What are your schooling choices? So I am going to guess… no.

            2. Former Diet Coke Addict*

              I started trying to get knocked up at 27. Some people told me “omg, you’re so young! You have so long to have kids, take your time! Enjoy your youth!” and then some people told me “you waited so long! Aren’t you worried you’ll be an older mom? Better get a jump on it!”

              In the same week.

        4. matcha123*

          As a woman, I hate those kinds of women. What a waste, imo. However, I think it’s indicative of a certain train of thought in certain areas of the country.
          I am no interested in marriage, so I don’t really understand why people (esp. women) are so eager to get married by a specific age.
          I live in Japan and they’ve upped the “marry by” age to 30 vs the previous 24. A bunch of people offered their sympathies when they heard my younger sister got married before me. I don’t care for marriage… So I was like “why would something like that bother me?”

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            Wait, what? You mean women over 25 are no longer “Christmas Cake”? (answer, because no one wants it after the 25th)

          2. Temperance*

            I’m from a rural part of Pennsylvania, and she’s from Central Pennsylvania, so yes … that’s exactly it.

            I like my husband, and I like being married, but I honestly didn’t care when his sister and my sister married before us. I actually found out later that my mother told my sister she should hold off until I was married so my feelings wouldn’t be hurt, wtf?

        5. Panda Bandit*

          Some people have been taught that they only have worth if they’re married, in a relationship, or if they’ve had sex. Terrible messages all and it’s best if we stomp them out of existence. Real self worth and self esteem come from within.

          1. 221 Baker Street*

            +1000. This goes on the list of “Things you should have been taught in high school, but weren’t.” along with a few other things.

        6. Audiophile*

          As someone who turned 30 this year, leading up to it I was NOT a happy camper. I felt very far behind my cohorts. (Of my small circle of friends, I’m one of the few who’s still unmarried, single, and living at home.)

          In addition to that, for the first time in my life, I felt like I had a real professional job. Having the new job, definitely made me feel better and working on my birthday and having a distraction helped as well.

          The time of my birth passed without any fanfare from me, and the one person at work who knew it was my birthday wished me a happy birthday. That was good enough for me, I didn’t want a big to-do at work. I had dinner with friends and cake at home.

        7. Not So NewReader*

          Married before 30 has something to do with the math. Having your first kid in your late 30s is considered a “not so great idea” medically speaking and I think society still says that too. Working backward from say age 38, this means you want to be married and have at least one kid before then if you want a family. You’d might want to be started on this process by early 30s at the latest.

          I do know from first hand experience, I was my parents first kid that lived. One parent was 38 and the other was 40 when I was born. They could NOT keep up with me, AT ALL. By the time I hit 16 I was pretty much left to my own devices when it came to making any decisions. NOT everyone parents this way and SOME people have more energy than others. I think resources and family support are absolutely key in how these things play out.

          Argumentatively speaking, people will also be critical if people have kids ( at what they think) is too young an age; “Babies having babies”. I have heard this comment too. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

          My punchline I go to is I think we (collectively) are just too damn critical of other people. We are too interested in watching people fail and not interested enough in watching them succeed. Being interested in watching a person succeed means taking note of where their goals are and cheering on their goals. We’d have to set aside our own preconceived notions and that is tough/almost impossible for some folks.

          1. Artemesia*

            I have a close friend whose two kids were born at age 44 and 48 and it worked out great except she was widowed when the kids were half grown. But she is really an outlier. Fertility starts going down at 30 and way down at 35 and so the longer you wait the greater the chance that you won’t be able to have the family you want if you want kids.

            1. Paquita*

              I know someone who got married for the first time at 41. She was told she would never be able to get pregnant. Conceived on her wedding night and now has two boys.

            2. Panda Bandit*

              Fertility doesn’t drop anywhere near as much as people have been led to believe. There’s a great article about this subject written by Jean Twenge. She dug around and found out that the dreary fertility rates everyone refers to were based on French birth records from 1670-1830. Studies based on modern women show much better rates.

          2. Temperance*

            On the flip side, my parents were 23 when I was born and kept having kids as soon as one of us would turn 4. Basically, my mother didn’t want to hold down a job, so she’d wait until one of us was kindergarten-ready and get pregnant again, because she also couldn’t handle taking care of more than one of us at a time. I ended up responsible for my younger siblings and the household from a really young age due to my mother’s issues.

            I don’t think that there’s a right time for any of this stuff. I mean, my own mother – who wasn’t fit to parent a Pet Rock – told me that I’ve given up my chance to be a Mother because I went to law school at 28 instead of quitting work to have a baby.

          3. Anon for this*

            If you have a kid too young, you’re generally a lot less able to provide for them, and it makes getting an education/job training more difficult. Finished with education and job training is usually a marker for this, in modern society. If you want too long, you’re risking not being able to have kids, due to decreased fertility, and there’s an increased chance of age related issues in raising the child if you have one (life expectancy, decreasing energy levels, other age-related health problems).

            If you’re 35 and very single, you’re still generally biologically able to have kids, but not everyone is willing to go to a sperm donor and commit to raising a child as a single parent. If you want to have kids with a partner, you need time to meet someone, date for long enough to know that you’re compatible, and they are someone you’d want to raise a child with (or trust to be responsible and civil in the event of a separation or divorce), and then conceive the child. Rushing to conceive with someone you’ve been dating six months might be good biologically, but not necessarily a sound long term decision.

            So in modern society, there’s about a ten year window between finishing university and starting to worry about whether you’ll be able to have kids, and about a 15 year window between finishing university and starting to seriously worry about fertility.

            Of course, if you go to grad school, the windows are a lot shorter. I finished my PhD when I was twenty-nine (fairly typical in my field), met my husband when I was 35, married two years later, and I lost the race against my biological clock. I could theoretically still have a kid with donor eggs, but by this point, we’re in our mid 40s, and I don’t want to have kids at home when I’m hitting retirement age.

        8. fluffy*

          I am reminded of Jane Austen’s Charlotte Lucas, who was considered a pitied spinster until she managed a proposal from Mr. Collins

        9. SeekingBetter*

          “I need to get married before I’m 30” thing is more like a, “I need to get married before I’m 25” thing in Chinese culture. Apparently, if you’re not married by 25, you are on the official “do not bother to even date” list over there.

  7. EA*

    Does anyone have any recommendations for clothing stores? I use to shop primarily at banana republic, and I liked that everything was simple, and that I could find good things on sale. I also shopped at loft and j crew occasionally. It seems like these stores have gotten trendier ( particularly banana) and I don’t like their recent clothes. I dislike shopping and have no interest in fashion, I am just looking for basics that I can wear to work and wear on nights/ weekends. Does anyone have any new sources?

    1. Violet_04*

      The regular Ann Taylor store might have more classic items. I also like The Limited. On Macy’s website, I use filters to look for stuff I specifically need – black cardigan, ponte knit leggings. Also, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is going on now. Not sure if this is too casual for you, but Land’s End has good basics – shorts, t-shirts, dresses.

    2. SophieChotek*

      I think I am like you. No interest in (current) fashion; hate shopping for clothes.

      I agree with Ann Taylor. (Every once in a while Ann Taylor Loft, though lately they seem much trendier than they used to be).
      Sometimes also Christopher & Banks and J. Jill.
      Macy’s Charter Club is usually quite traditional.

      Ralph Lauren and Anna Klein have some lines/parts that are less trendy and more basics.

      Agree with Violet_04 with Land’s End having basics–ditto Eddie Bauer and L.L. Bean. (Better choices online, usually).

      1. Anna the Accounting Grad*

        I agree that Loft’s gone a lot more trendy than they used to be. But regular Ann Taylor has some good stuff. And yes, J. Jill does have some good stuff, but a good portion is a bit wide of the BR mark. They do have good sale prices though.

        But if you’re looking for classics of the more suiting variety, Talbots might be worth looking into.

    3. Meemzi*

      Resource, not vendor: Corporette (dot com) does a lot of workwear posts.

      Also, the Nordstrom anniversary sale is happening right now.

    4. Anonymously*

      I am HERE for this question. The same clothing shift happened to me. Boden is great, tbough it can be pricey. I like Modcloth and eShakti. Both are online only but have easy return policies. The latter has amazing customization options for dresses; you can lengthen skirts, change necklines, etc., for a flat fee, and they always customize it to your height for free.

      1. Ex Resume Reviewer*

        Oh, THANK YOU! I live in a area with a very pathetic “mall” that has few of the options that others are listing. eShakti looks very promising.

      2. Library Director*

        I really like eShakti. The coupons and discounts can often be combined. The customization that I allows me to get elbow length sleeves is great. The dresses have real pockets. My major piece of advice is to take advantage of the measurement options.

          1. Library Director*

            Yes they are. The cotton is a good weight. I also get cotton-spandex dresses and like those too. The seams are well sewn.

    5. nep*

      Along these lines — Anyone here buy clothes from H&M? I glance at their site from time to time and items seem amazingly affordable. How is the quality?

      1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

        I have had nothing but hit-or-miss with H&M. I got a couple inexpensive tops there that fell apart after a month or so, not unexpected. I got a maxi skirt there two summers ago, again inexpensively, and that sucker has worn like iron. I literally wear it year round and it’s just now starting to show a little bit of its wear on the hem. I have no idea.

        1. Levsha*

          H&M has been dogged by a lot of allegations of low wage/slave labor practices, so I generally avoid them. Actually, I mostly shop at thrift stores because I feel guilty buying any other cheap clothes (but can’t afford anything but cheap clothes.) If you don’t like poking through racks and racks of stuff, consignment stores often have a pretty good selection of nice, traditional, and lower price items.

          Of course, it helps that I can shop in regular sizes. There’s no perfect answer!

          1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

            I would love to shop at consignment/thrift stores, but I live in a rural area (160km from a city of more than 15,000 people) and consequently the only thrift places in the area are Value Village and a kids’ thrift place–and Value Village is pretty useless, because it’s a poor area and the stuff they sell is generally Walmart quality + 2 years of wear.

            I wish there was a website version of a really good thrift store for those of us who live far away from stuff. Like a swap-and-shop except for clothes.

            1. Dot Warner*

              Try Poshmark.com or ThredUP.com. Both great places to find used clothes (I think ThredUP allows returns, but Poshmark does not). I’ve had great experiences with both.

      2. FiveWheels*

        I have two H&M suits which are surprisingly high quality and get mistaken for tailored suits. Great for work shirts too – I wouldn’t wear them to court or at an important meeting but they’re fine for day to day office wear. Quite skinny cuts though!

      3. Ex Resume Reviewer*

        We just got one a few months ago, and I’m a bit disappointed. It’s either dirt cheap or super expensive, and the quality doesn’t appear to scale up with price.

        I haven’t actually bought anything since I feel Target has better quality cheap clothes and my hips are too big for their cuts of dresses. I actually tried one on recently and definitely ripped something just gently pulling it on in the dressing room.

      4. Mando Diao*

        Their fixing is wildly inconsistent. I’m anywhere from a 4-12 in their stuff. Don’t buy from them unless you have time to go to the store and try on four sizes of everything.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          I had to buy an outfit to wear to a baseball game with clients today. Went to Old Navy for longer, khaki shorts, and ended up getting a size 2. I’ve been wearing a 2 there since 15 lbs ago. It’s completely ridiculous. Then I had to go to Dick’s for a golf shirt because you can’t buy a plain woman’s shirt at actual clothing stores anymore.

          1. Mando Diao*

            Yep, I’m not one for vanity sizing and I’m sooooooo not actually I size 4. I can safely order an 8 across all the brands on the ASOS site but h&m can’t get it together in its own single brand.

      5. mehowe*

        IME, H&M’s sizing seems to be inconsistent, so I would think twice about ordering online unless you’re okay with doing returns/exchanges (I love shopping online but hate packing things back up if they don’t work out).

      6. Ella*

        I agree with a commenter below- quality can be hit or miss, but they do have some good stuff. I just wore a little black dress from there to a wedding- I’ve had it for years, it’s a great staple, and I recall it being cheap.

      7. Artemesia*

        They have lots of attractive summer clothes but there stuff is mostly plastic and I am not wearing polyester in the summer and rarely in the winter. Cheap clothes are rarely made from natural fibers. I travel a lot and virtually all ‘travel clothes’ which look good and don’t wrinkle also feel like wearing a plastic bag, so I stick with linen, cotton and wool which you don’t find in cheap clothing stores. H&M does have great basic kids clothes though. I buy a lot of stuff for my granddaughter there.

        I stopped by a Uniglo (?) store recently and noticed that they had a huge section of mix and match career type clothes. No idea of quality or fit but it looks like a good source of inexpensive clothes for the workplace when you are starting out and don’t have a big budget. They also have inexpensive kid clothes.

    6. LizB*

      Land’s End, maybe, if you’re looking for a very classic look? Their stuff tends to skew more casual, but they always have basic pieces in a million colors, cater to a wide range of sizes, and are very high quality.

    7. Dorie*

      Uniqlo is great for basics – the quality is high and the prices are usually pretty good, and sizing is consistent with their guide.

      1. Stephanie*

        Every time I go to NYC, I go to Uniqlo to stock up on basics. But apparently it’s not doing that well in the US. :(

        1. matcha123*

          I’d second Uniqlo.
          Are they doing badly in the US? I heard their winter jackets were popular.

        2. Audiophile*

          Despite my proximity to NYC, I’ve never stepped foot in one of their stores. I remember their marketing push just before they opened and between knowing how the store’s name was pronounced and that I assumed it was a store I would be priced out of, I didn’t put them on my radar.

          1. Artemesia*

            I have been to the one in Chicago and my impression is that it was fairly cheap — certainly the kids’ section is cheap.

            1. Audiophile*

              Hmm. Yeah I ventured on their website last night and they seemed to be inexpensive.

      2. Anna the Accounting Grad*

        Generally, they’re good — and inexpensive — but the way their sizing works doesn’t suit everyone (pun unintended, but I’ll keep it anyway).

        For example, I carry my extra weight on my waistline, to the point where I’m a weird combination of curvy but with bust/waist/hip measurements that are not much more than a rounding error apart. I have a Uniqlo windbreaker, and a very nice cashmere cardigan that I can’t have paid more than $100 for, but that’s really it.

        As much as I would wear more of their clothing if I could, I really can’t carry it off since my figure doesn’t quite work with their version of Japanese-sizing-Americanized.

        1. Lore*

          This may or may not help depending on your issues with fit but: they hem for free (or $5 of the item costs less than I think $25). I never bothered to try on their clothes because I could see on rye mannequin they were cut long. But this summer they had really cute Liberty print sundresses with built in bra tops so I went in the dressing room for the first time–and *that’s* where they post the free hemming offer. (Of course right now they have ankle jeans which fit me like regular jeans but now I know…)

    8. Jean*

      I hear you about disliking shopping and wanting simple clothing! Here are my sources, along with information for budget shoppers.

      LLBean and Lands’ End. Both have great sales (although it’s hit & miss as to whether you’ll find a garment you like in a color & size you like). I like their cotton tops (available in a range of colors and the vast majority of garments come in classic shapes & styles ranging from tank tops to turtlenecks) which can be layered in same-color or different-color combinations, and their women’s button-front shirts. My whole life is basically business casual so I can rotate these garments among work,hanging out, and almost all “formal” occasions.
      JCPenney for cotton crew socks.
      – I buy almost all of my trousers and some of my skirts (jeans, capris, shorts) and shirts from thrift or consignment stores. Supply is very hit or miss. Sometimes you’ll find absolutely nothing. Other times you score an attractive garment with classic styling that is also in good condition and in _your_ desired size. Good brands to watch out for: Lands’ End, LLBean, Eddie Bauer, Orvis, Talbot’s, JJill, Jones New York.
      – There are online clothing resellers (e.g., eBay); I have no experience with them.
      – You could also try any retail store that sells–brand-new–any of the brands mentioned above. Or discount sites–such as overstock.com or Sierra Trading Post–that sell multiple brands. Or, come to think of it, single-brand online store(s) selling any one of the above brands.
      – Lord & Taylor (especiallly their end-of-the-end-of-the-season sales…when they’re practically paying you to buy the merchandise)
      – Target or JCPenney or Kohl’s for socks and tights

      In my fantasy life I sew my own skirts and jackets. In reality I do my own hemming (because short people have to hem almost everything) and occasionally swap out the buttons on something, but that’s it.

      Good luck. Shopping is tiresome but it’s satisfying to find what you need without spending hours and hours on the task.

    9. shorty*

      White House Black Market. Full price is expensive but the sale prices are almost reasonable. I’ve found their clothes last and hold up well.

    10. 221 Baker Street*

      Wow. You people make me so jealous. You must make a lot more than I do and live in nice cities.

      What do I get to do? Look online because I’m “too small” for Dress Barn and Boot Barn.

      You read those right and yeah, I laugh too when I drive by, then realize I can’t shop there because I’m not plus size redneck.

      1. Jean*

        Ouch! I think I mentioned that I shop sales (online as well as bricks-and-mortar stores) and thrift/consignment/resale stores.

        Gentle suggestion: Instead of “plus size redneck” how about “people who live in places where the dominant culture and economy encourages eating lots of carbs (e.g. fatty meats, processed foods w/ high-fructose corn syrup, scant whole grains or fresh veggies and fruit).” If we’re speaking strictly about diets that lead people to wear plus sizes, you could also substitute for “redneck” almost any other ethnic group with culinary traditions of meat, starch, fat, sugar, salt and mothers pushing all of the above (when it’s available) to encourage survival of poverty + long, cold winters in the Old Country and/or New World.

      2. ThatGirl*

        Dress Barn, despite its name, is not a redneck store and they have sizes across the spectrum. A lot of the clothes are cute, too. Maybe check your judginess.

    11. Rebecca in Dallas*

      I mainly shop at the Limited (for work clothes), Loft (for casual clothes) and Gap (for both).

      I also go to a consignment store in the nicer part of town regularly. I have to spend some time looking (and more often than not I leave empty-handed) but sometimes I’ll strike gold.

    1. StillHealing*

      When I die, I want to come back as one of Alison’s cats. They always look to be so contented.

  8. My cat is a unicorn*

    First time commentor, long time reader.

    We found out Wednesday that a buyer accepted our offer on a house! We have been house hunting for over a year and the area we live is incredibly competitive. For this particular house, we made an offer the day it was listed and when they picked an offer a day and a half later there were 6 total offers, including 3 cash offers. Well the buyer picked another offer and we moved on. But Tuesday we found out that the buyer backed out after the home inspection and we increased our offer to the amount we felt we should have just offered the first time (from 285,00 to 300,000 for a 600sqft house!). This time there were 3 other offers. So we were honestly unprepared to receive the news that that the seller accepted our offer.

    We have enough for a down payment and have been approved for a 15yr mortgage. But I am having serious buyers remorse now. For the past 5 years we have never had to worry or even think about money. And now money will be tight. Not unlivable tight but no more random sushi nights tight.

    For all home owners out there how did you deal with buying your first home? It is the biggest expense most people have in their lifetime and instead of being excited I am just feeling sick over the amount of money we are spending.

    1. FiveWheels*

      I’d really worry that the home inspection made the cash buyers back out. What was the problem?

      1. My cat is a unicorn*

        It was a bunch of honey do items: cracked Windows, clogged downspouts, paint, flashing, bent dryer vent. There was one major issue of mold but it is being take. Care of by the seller through a legitimate company in town. The original buyer was only interested in it as a rental and chose to bail instead of fix.

        I’m just freaking out about the actual amount of money we are investing into this. It is just so much money!

        1. FiveWheels*

          So long as there’s nothing structural wrong, no damp problems, and no unauthorised building works that sounds fine. No idea about mold though, it doesn’t seem to be an issue in this part of the world!

          During the market boom I knew so many people who bought the most house they could afford, as opposed to the least house they needed. Most people i know who got into trouble did so because they spent the max they thought they could afford and had no safety net.

          So long as you’re not doing that, you should be fine :-D

    2. Jules the First*

      In my experience, feeling sick right after buying your first house is completely normal. The key is to think back to how you made the decision in the first place – if you ran all your numbers and thought it through logically and you’re prepared to walk away if the inspection turns up nasties, then you’ll be fine.

      Shopping for a house is great fun. Actually buying one alternates between frustration at the bureaucracy and sheer terror. It will get better once you move in!

    3. MillersSpring*

      Buyers remorse is very common. You’ll likely feel better after you move in and have a few months of your new normal financially. Be sure to take the inspector’s findings very seriously, work with your realtor to make the seller fix anything important or give you a reasonable adjustment to the final sales price.

    4. Jax*

      When we bought our house I was so excited about all the possibilities when we made the offer and then when the offer was accepted I wanted to throw up. I, too, felt like it was a big mistake. Luckily, that went away once we moved in. We had a couple of lean months adjusting to the new budget but so far it has worked out. Every time I come home I want to hug my house, and it has been 18 months since we bought it.

      1. Neruda*

        When we bought our first home I remember shaking when signing the papers. I apologised to our broker because my signatures were a bit off. He told me it happens a lot, it’s a normal reaction to taking on a big debt. Once the papers were signed I haven’t felt worried about it since.

        1. FiveWheels*

          Related question – what’s the procedure for buying a house in the USA?

          Here in the UK, you pick a house (usually advertised by an estate agent), you put in an offer, it gets accepted, a mortgage broker will approve an amount to borrow, you instruct a solicitor, the vendor’s solicitor will send them the title deeds, your solicitor will make sure title is okay and approve it to the mortgage company, you sign the contract, mortgage document and transfer deeds, mortgage company sends your solicitor the money and they pay the vendor’s solicitor.

          (Doubtless slightly different across different parts of the UK.)

          It strikes me that if you sign anything with a broker the procedure must be very different – so how do you go about things?

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Basically the same process, except that you get approved by the mortgage lender ahead of time (so you know that you can spend to up $X). You generally have your own real estate agent (who’s paid by the seller) who coordinates the whole process, so you don’t need a separate lawyer to deal with the title for you.

            1. Dangerfield*

              That happens here too! Most estate agents won’t consider an offer serious unless you have an Agreement In Principle for the amount of mortgage you’d need.

            2. FiveWheels*

              If you don’t have your own separate lawyer, who do you site when it all goes wrong?

              Even something basic like a boundary discrepancy or strange old covenant in the deeds, or shared access could make a property unmortgageable and therefore almost unsellable, so who takes the hit? Or rather, who pays the professional indemnity insurance to cover the hit?

              Over here it’s all separate; except in very unusual situations the vendor and purchaser will have totally separate legal advisors. Realtors/estate agents, lawyers and mortgage providers are all at arm’s length.

      2. My cat is a unicorn*

        Thank you that is what I needed to hear. We have been saving for so long the idea of parting with all that money is really making me feel sick. When I got the news our offer was accepted I started tearing up and just wanted to sob with emotion.
        We love this home and endlessly talked about how we should have offered more when the original offer was accepted. But now that it is real….

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Try to factor in that there is usually a flood of emotions when any long term goal a achieved. This could be an education, a family, a home, restoration of good health, or anything.

          Second thing to consider is that crossing a major goal off your life list can leave us feeling rudderless, where do we go next? It’s healthy, normal to have long term goals. If you do not see another long term goal right now, that is okay, that means you are supposed to work with what is right in front of you.

          Putting these two factors together here is a story: After my husband passed, I struggled financially, but, hey, I paid off the medical bills and I was bumping along. Well, I got some money set to one side and I decided to get my house repaired. Owning a home is a life goal of mine, and it’s been a little bit of a roller coaster here.
          So I emptied out a room in preparation for repairs and painting and I found myself blatting my eyes out. I had been so afraid to see an empty room because I associated it with packing up and moving out. Here I am getting it repaired instead. A life goal realized. Then in the back of my mind, I am thinking “what is next?”, what will make me jump out of bed every morning and launch my day. I have never had a time in my life where fixing up my home was NOT a goal, this is sooo very different. But now as the house is getting fixed other things are coming to the foreground and I know that I will have plenty of goals to aim for. Goals are a healthy thing, goals can be tied to mental and physical well being.

          Take care of what is in front of you. Write a good budget and do things to make sure you are safe in your home. As you go along it will fall together and make sense.
          Congrats on your new home.

    5. LCL*

      If you are in the US, do a practice tax return using last years numbers but itemizing and deducting all of your mortgage interest. You will be pleasantly surprised.

    6. NZ Muse*

      I also felt very sick too! But you have been hunting for over a year and I had been thinking about it for years (though not actively hunting for that long). Trust that nerves are normal and you are making the right decision.

    7. Rebecca in Dallas*

      If my experience is anything to go by, that sounds totally normal! Also, there was soooo much more money than just the down payment. Closing costs (which you may be able to get the seller to cover), any repairs needed from the inspection that the seller won’t cover, moving costs… It felt like we were just hemorrhaging money for a few months! But we love our house so much, we wouldn’t change anything.

      Congrats! Hope the inspection goes well!

  9. Not Karen*

    Etiquette question: I always thought it was the party host’s duty to introduce guests to one another, but I’ve been to two parties as an “adult” so far and at neither did the host make any effort at introductions. Am I misinformed? Or has custom changed?

    1. Megs*

      I think a lot of formal etiquette is slipping away, for better or worse. I’d just go with the flow and get used to introducing yourself or asked by mutual friends to do so.

    2. greenfairy*

      What kind of parties were these? That sort of thing seems like it is only for a very, very formal event.

    3. Violet_04*

      If I was hosting a party where people didn’t know each other, I would introduce people as they came in. Like “Hey everyone, this is Jack and Jill!” Or if it’s a smaller group, I would name everyone that’s there.

    4. Meemzi*

      If it was a small dinner party, that’s kinda weird. Otherwise, there’s just too many people.

      Additionally, hosting (especially the interpersonal parts) is a skill. Some people are really good at making these introductions and making them feel like a totally natural part of the conversation. For some people, it feels 1000 times more awkward than saying, “Haaaave you met Ted?”

    5. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I’m totally with you. I think it’s important to introduce people, no matter what kind of party it is. A small party makes this even more important! It’s so simple, too. “Oh, hi, welcome!” Turn to person closest to door. “Sasha, this is Malia. Not sure if you two have met! Sasha is my work buddy, and Malia is my partner in my crafting class.” I think introductions are a basic requirement of hosting and I have been to way too many parties where hosts didn’t do it at all. At one of them, she invited two of her friend groups, and each group basically partied separately without interacting at all. Awkward. Aaaand… kind of defeats the whole purpose of a party, which is to get people in your life together to have a good time.

    6. LadyKelvin*

      It depends on the size of the party. If it’s a big party, like more than 10 guests, it’s really hard to introduce people, and if I know someone is coming who wouldn’t know anyone else I’ll introduce them to a few people but not everyone, that’d be exhausting. Less than 10 though, I’d introduce more organically, so maybe not do a go around and tell everyone your names type of thing, because I think that’s super awkward and I never would remember people’s names like that anyways, but I might make sure everyone has met as we’ve split into conversations, etc. Less than 6 I’d make sure everyone is introduced as soon as someone arrives. So that’s my 2 cents, if its worth anything.

      Also depends on the type of party: cookout, probably less likely to make sure everyone is introduced, dinner party: I’d introduce everyone.

    7. Mephyle*

      If it’s a big party, the host can still introduce the arriving guest(s) to the nearest compatible person or conversation group, just to get them started.

      1. Florida*

        Not weird at all. Ideally, the host would introduce people, but sometimes that doesn’t work. Sometimes the host isn’t good at it. Maybe she is too busy. Maybe there are too many people. I think there is never anything wrong with walking up to someone and saying, “Hi, I’m Temperance. Host and I are in a bridge club together.” Most people will appreciate that and respond in kind.

    8. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I’m a bit of a manners nerd and I’ve found that most people are unaware of or ignore those types of social conventions. Ideally, if you don’t know many of the other guests, your host will introduce you to someone and get a conversation started. Or if you walk up to a group with your host, they should aknowlege you and introduce you to the group. Since that isn’t happening you can learn a couple good ways of approaching people and introducing yourself. Asking how the others know the host is always a good conversation opener.

    9. Sandy*

      I do a lot of work related events and some personal hosting (husband’s request).

      I think I have mentioned before that I consider it my personal service to humanity to do a very explicit introduction of new people to one another. As an introvert , there is nothing I hate more than that awkward silence and expectation that I will sort myself out with other guests.

      Much easier to have someone (ideally the host) say “Hey Sandy, this is Cassius. I know Cassisus from my brother’s research firm and it turns out the company he’s working with is investigating knitting rackets. Sandy, you’re a big knitter. Is this something that you think will impact your local knitting group?”

      I plan to pay it forward.

    10. They mostly come at night. Mostly...*

      Ugh, social protocol.

      Do what I do: get a drink, find a corner and stand there not talking to anyone. Or study the bookshelf. Stay for a polite amount of time, and sneak out.

    11. Marillenbaum*

      I think it depends on the type of party and what the host is doing. At a small dinner party where the guests don’t know each other, it’s more expected to make introductions. At a cocktail party, a host might make a few connections, but they’re also keeping food and drinks going, checking in on all their guests, and making those introductions might fall by the wayside. Still, it’s probably wise to come prepared to introduce yourself.

  10. SophieChotek*

    TL; dr – Fergus seems very interested in me and calls me 1-2x a day

    Last week in Best/Worst I posted about how a guy (call him Fergus, since that seems to one of the names here) at church (whom I have known for at least a year or two to say “hi” to); how I suddenly found out (somewhat by chance) that he collected/was interested in Specific Hobby. I am peripherally interested and have wanted to learn more, so we talked about it at church. Fergus seemed excited I was interested and promised the next week to bring more of his collection related to Specific Hobby next Sunday or would call me (yes, I gave him my number) so we could arrange to meet. I was busy with other plans/work, so could not get together during the week, but he was at church on Sunday. For (understandable reasons) he ended up not bringing collection related to Specific Hobby with him to church–but asked if I wanted to have dinner with him. Honestly, I was not superkeen, but I could hardly claim to have plans, since we had discussed looking at Collection after church. So I went with him; when we got to restaurant and were waiting to be seated, he made some joke about how the staff all knew him and were always teasing him about not having a date, but this time! (Awkward!!!!) Anyway, during dinner he went on to make it clear he was excited I was interested in similar hobby because most women that he had met who were also interested in similar hobby were already married/with a guy…he ended dinner with ‘I want to see more of you’…I was like “hmmm”, though I did not explicitly say “I don’t want to see more of you.” I mean, I’m (technically) of the opinion that women & men not romantically interested in each other should be able to be friends without dating and since I was interested in this Specific Hobby and learning more, I struck up vague conversation with him.

    But now since last church, he has called me 1-2 times on Wednesday (I was out to dinner with family), Thursday (I was out to dinner with Friends), and Friday (he called when I was still at work, so I let it go to VM). I admit I have not called back. Won’t see him at Church this weekend–tickets to opera tonight and I have to work tomorrow. I know I need to nip this in the bud…

    I honestly don’t think I’ve given him any sense I was interested in him…except agreeing to eat dinner with him…But I also am worried I did do something…I mean, he’s certainly persistant–which in novels is endearing (sometimes), this is the first time it has happened to me (ever, I’ve never dated much) and it’s actually disconcerting in real life.

    I was at first interested/excited I had found someone that I already sort of knew that had similar interest in Specific Hobby, but now I am so regretting I even opened my mouth and if I could go back in time, I so would.

    Sigh…Advice? Thoughts?

    1. YaH*

      Because you’re going to continue to see him at church, I’d call him and let him know, “I enjoyed talking about Hobby with you, but I want to be clear that I’m not interested in anything more than a casual friendship.” Bonus points if you add “with you”.

      If he had been a complete stranger, I could go for the “ghosting”, but I think you’re going to have to use your words with this guy.
      Also, check out Captain Awkward for all kinds of incredible dating and relationship advice.

      1. SophieChotek*

        Thanks — yeah, love CaptainAwkward–another friend said same thing
        Applying advice to one’s own issue…so much more difficult than nodding and agreeing when its someone else

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Tell him, “When I said I was interested in Hobby, I really meant that …. and JUST that. Look, if you want a friend who shares Hobby with you, that is fine, we can do that. But I am not interested in dating you, I am sorry that you had that impression. So it’s your call, if you can be content with talking about Hobby and being friends, let me know.”

      Yeah, nip this one. Vow by the next open thread you will have had the talk with him. The longer you let this go on the harder it will be. And I promise you it will get harder.

      I have a male friend, I told him very early on, “no, not ever”. Then I went on to explain if he wanted a friend we could do that, but “don’t hang out with me for ten years and then say ‘but I thought this was going somewhere’. Just NO and I don’t want to listen to it.”
      Well we have been friends for over five years now, we’ve bailed each other out of some messes and had some laughs. But the whole time it has become more and more obvious why my NO answer was the correct choice. Telling him upfront this is what to expect and being consistent about it, left him free to chose what he would like to do.

      You don’t need to explain why you are not interested, some people just don’t click with each other at the same time and there is no need to explain all that.

      1. blackcat*

        I always am averse to “I’m sorry I gave you that impression.” Because 90% of the time, the woman didn’t really do much of anything to give the that impression, and this sentence is all about a woman managing the emotions of the dude. Dude should manage his own emotions.

        Otherwise, I like your script. You could also go for a text that says, “Hey, I’ve missed a lot of calls from you in the past few days. I’ve been busy. If you want to meet up as friends about [hobby], I’d be up for it. I’m not interested in pursuing anything more than a [hobby]-based friendship, so I’m not interested in getting dinner again.”

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, now that I think about it, you’re probably right. I think the sentence calls for a certain tone of voice and that tone of voice may or may not come across. Best to skip that sentence.

        2. SophieChotek*

          I always am averse to “I’m sorry I gave you that impression.” Because 90% of the time, the woman didn’t really do much of anything to give the that impression, and this sentence is all about a woman managing the emotions of the dude.

          Yes! But I am totally one of those people to fall into it…(It’s not you, It’s me, sort of trope).

          (BTW – he doesn’t text.)

          Hobby-based friendship was what I had been aiming for…but I think we’re going to go back to “hello” at church…this whole situation has made me feel quite uncomfortable…and I am not sure if this is because of him or because I was stepping out of my “normal” comfort zone to start with (by striking up conversation with him beyond “hi” because of Hobby….

      2. SophieChotek*

        Vow by the next open thread you will have had the talk with him
        Actually, I realized that I could make it to evening church before opera last night, so I did go to church.
        I talked to him for like 2 minutes, but it was sort of awkward, because there was another person he was sitting next to…
        He actually seemed okay with my “not interesting in any sort of romantic relationship” but then when said “talk to you next week” — he said “I can’t call you?”
        ….sigh…

    3. Lizh*

      If you are not interested, you need to tell him. In my experience, he is already being too pushy. I was in a similar situation once. Went on a date with what seemed to be a nice guy from church, and I had to spend the evening hearing
      about how his mother was pressuring him to make her a grandmother, and about all his other failed dates. He was so happy to have a date, he invaded my personal space. Wanting to hold me hand, and then asking for a kiss when he dropped me off. Way to pushy and eager. Ugh!

      1. SophieChotek*

        Yes…! that was sort of how that dinner felt…thankfully we didn’t get to the holding hands/kissing stage…and I insisted on driving to dinner myself (from the church)–I did not want to have an exit plan…

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      I don’t know Fergus, so maybe I’m misreading things, but based on what you’ve written, it sounds as if he knows exactly what he’s doing (being obnoxious, ignoring social cues) in the hopes that you’ll somehow see him as John Cusack with a boom box of Peter Gabriel.

      he ended dinner with ‘I want to see more of you’…I was like “hmmm”, though I did not explicitly say “I don’t want to see more of you.”

      If you say “I want to see more of you,” and the person doesn’t enthusiastically echo the sentiment, that means the person isn’t interested. I know you may feel you have a great chance of shutting this down if you’re more explicit, but he can’t really plausibly plead ignorance here.

      But now since last church, he has called me 1-2 times on Wednesday (I was out to dinner with family), Thursday (I was out to dinner with Friends), and Friday (he called when I was still at work, so I let it go to VM). I admit I have not called back.

      Again, this is just not acceptable behavior. So he either has some kind of cognitive condition that makes him not able to see this, or he’s deliberately being obnoxious and hoping you won’t call him out on it. Calling four times in three days without a return call? That’s acceptable only if he has to get you an urgent message about a loved one dying or something.

      1. SophieChotek*

        Don’t get the John Cusack reference I admit (High Fidelity?)…but I do agree that this many phone calls in 3 days was pushing absurd. Another friend of mine said the same thing–and I agree–I feel like if it’s a friendship and you call, you wait for them to call back. Maybe if its been a week, another check-in is okay…but 5 times in 3 days…yeah, like you said, dying relative aside…

        I don’t think he’s got a cognitive condition…I do think he might be very socially awkward with women…but if he acts like this with most (single) women, I can understand why he’s not getting any dates!

    5. Dan*

      Tbh, I think you should just tell Fergus that you aren’t interested in doing things with him, period. He’s made it clear that he wants something you don’t. By opening the door for more contact, it’ll just be more awkward.

      Men and women can be friends if they both agree to it.

      1. SophieChotek*

        Thank you all for your reply. Even though I agree men & women can be friends if they both agree on it, I am starting to feel (based on everything written above) even if he says he gets it, he really won’t…

        Sort of bummed because I am trying to be a little more outgoing and meet new people…this was like literally one of the first time I’ve tried to step out and be a bit more open to meeting new people (of either gender) and this experience makes me want to run…

  11. greenfairy*

    Pretty much just ranting because I am so outraged!

    My brother is getting married in October and I am in the wedding party. We just got our bridesmaids dresses in and I went in to get a fitting and found it was way too small and the zipper wouldn’t budge at all! The lady re-measured me and said that I had gained 7 inches in my bust and 4 in my waist. I know I haven’t had the best diet lately, but that much weight is just NOT possible…it’s only been 4 months since we ordered the dresses and I’m only 152 pounds at 5’7″. I would have noticed that kind of weight gain!

    When I asked if there could have been a mistake in the ordering or measuring, they said no, very forcefully. I slipped the dress of and was in the process of putting my shorts back on when the seamstress told me that there wouldn’t be enough fabric even if she took all the seems out, so I would have to lose quite a bit of weight if I expected to fit into this dress.

    WHAT? No, she did NOT just say that to me while I stand here half naked in a dressing room. I almost blew a gasket.

    1. SophieChotek*

      That’s a huge difference–7 inches in bust and 4 in waist! I don’t know a lot about sewing…but that’s like almost 2 sizes usually? She measured wrong or wrote something down wrong and won’t admit it??? I don’t know — but I am sorry you have to deal with this stressful situation

      1. Red*

        Yeah, not likely. I’m 5’5″ and wear mostly the same clothes at either 150 and 160 (yay yo-yo :-P ) even though I can see the difference without them on — if you’d put on enough weight to make that much difference in four months, you’d have noticed.

    2. Megs*

      F-that! It sounds like they messed up and are trying to cover their butts. I hope you can figure something out! Mismatched wedding parties are totally in these days.

      1. greenfairy*

        Haha, it already kind of is a mismatched dress thing. We all have strapless, floor-length black dresses but they each have a different colored sash built into the bodice.

    3. Mimmy*

      That’s completely inappropriate for the seamstress to make that kind of comment! Sounds like somebody really messed up. I hope you get it figured out soon–I’d be royally PO’ed too!

    4. nep*

      You certainly would have noticed — at the very least, in how your own clothes fit — had you gained 7″ in bust and 4″ in waist. Sounds like she made a mistake somewhere along the line.

      1. Anna the Accounting Grad*

        Exactly. That kind of difference in four months? You would have certainly noticed! To be blunt, their bullshit needs to be called.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      That is a huge error in measuring. I am just a smidgen taller than you and I was around 155. I have gained about 20 pounds and went up one size. I understand that everyone is different, but not THAT different.
      If you gained four inches in your waist, none of your pants/skirts would fit you at all. You would definitely notice. Same deal on top, you would have tossed out your bras by now. Your shirts would be gone-gone.

      If they won’t make good on the dress, then I would write the attorney general for your state. Maybe you can let the shop owner know that, “It’s your error, make good on the dress or I am writing the AG.” In your letter to the AG, point out that the clothes you wore four months ago, still fit you now. Even if you had a minor weight fluctuation, the dress still should have nearly fitted you. This dress does not even come close.

    6. Jules the First*

      Let me guess…was it David’s Bridal?
      I’ve had eight bridesmaid dresses from them over the years (I’ve been a bridesmaid waaaaaaaay too many times) and not one fit the way it was supposed to.

      1. Overeducated*

        Really? I find them very consistent. I have never had a dress tailored there though, I fit into one of their standard sizes pretty well in short and mid length dresses.

        This error sounds big enough that I wonder if they switched measurements with another bridesmaid’s order.

          1. Jules the First*

            Yeah, if you can buy off the rack and just hem or tweak, it’s fine, but if you need it substantially tailored (which I do – I am both curvy and unexpectedly short) it’s probably beyond the skills of their team. The last couple of times I ended up just buying the dress about four sizes bigger than I needed it (so there would be plenty of fabric) and taking it to my dressmaker, who rips it to pieces and remakes it in the right dimensions. Expensive, but…

      2. J. Kay*

        I purchased a pair of shoes at David’s Bridal the day I picked up my bridesmaid dress. As soon as I signed the credit card receipt I knew I could find shoes somewhere else for less money. ( Bride had me caught up in the moment. She convinced me the shoes were PERFECT!) I immediately told the sales person that I had changed my mind. I had not walked away from the counter yet. I was told that shoes are not returnable!! Needless to say I demanded to speak with the manager. She refunded my money but acted like she was doing me a huge favor!

      3. Liz in a Library*

        They ordered my wedding dress so big that it literally fell off me when zipped. They also claimed that I must have lost weight because no way they ordered it wrong…

    7. Temperance*

      I think you need to talk to the manager of the store. You would have noticed in your other clothes.

      1. greenfairy*

        We went to the manager, and they refused to help us. They said that I must have gained weight and that there was nothing they could do. Each bridesmaid dress has a different colored sash built into the bodice, so this is for sure mine.

      1. greenfairy*

        Yeah, we already did all of that! Terrible ratings on Facebook, Google, and Yelp. They don’t care.

    8. Tomato Frog*

      Of course it’s possible that they made a mistake. Just the fact that they would say it’s not possible completely discredits them.

  12. Violet_04*

    I took my big tabby boy to the emergency vet this morning because I noticed he had been panting the past couple of days. He gets a supervised visit outside in the yard when I get home from work and at first I attributed it to the heat. Then last night he continued to pant even after he was inside for a while.

    They did chest x-rays and an ultrasound and luckily did not find any fluid or signs of heart disease that would be causing the issue. He’s still at the vet awaiting a full blood panel. He’s eating and drinking normally and is no showing signs of lethargy or discomfort. He woke me up bright and early at 6 AM for breakfast this morning. The vet seems a bit perplexed as to what might be causing the issue, but maybe the blood work will reveal something.

    Anyone else have experience with a cat panting?

    1. Mimmy*

      Could it be asthma? One of our cats had that and if she had an attack, she would pant.

      1. Violet_04*

        Forgot to mention that the vet did review that as part of the x-ray, but she couldn’t find any indication it was asthma. She said there would be spots on the lungs if it were asthma. Thanks for mentioning that though. I’m going to confirm that with her when I pick him up.

    2. Windchime*

      The only time I’ve seen my cat pant was when he was younger and one of my kids was playing with him for too long. He got over-excited and over-heated and started to pant, so we stopped the playing and made sure he had access to fresh water.

      I hope they figure out what’s wrong with your boy. Fingers crossed that it’s not serious.

      1. Violet_04*

        Thank you! I’ve had the same experience with him during playtime. He’s a bit older now, around 7 or 8, so he doesn’t play as hard as he used to. Luckily, he drinks plenty of water. I mix a few ounces into his wet food to make “gravy” and he laps it right up.

        I’m glad they were able to rule out heart disease. His respiratory rate is more increased than they would like, but part of that could be the stress of being at the vet. Hopefully the blood work will be more conclusive.

    3. danr*

      Yes, in very hot, humid weather all of our cats have panted. They usually keep panting until they cool down. You might want to skip the afternoon yard stuff until it’s cooler. Outside cats know how to find the coolest places and they stay there until hungry or thirsty.

      1. Violet_04*

        Thanks, I’m hoping it’s just the weather. He loves going outside, but he’ll have to be an indoor grumpy cat until things cool down.

        1. DoDah*

          My Siamese pants (he has asthma)–I especially notice it when it’s hot, humid or super dry (I live in LA). He’s also a bit play-intolerant so I have to keep the crazy play to a minimum.

          I hope your cat feels better!

        2. Perse's Mom*

          It may well be weather related. I’ve had to keep the AC on a LOT so far this summer because if it’s too hot in the apartment, Perse will basically stop eating. She’s much older than your kitty and has other health problems to boot, but it does make a serious difference for her.

          If he likes going outside that much, could you try to change his supervised foray to the early morning when it’s usually much cooler and see if that makes a difference?

    4. Sophia in the DMV*

      Yes, and unfortunately it was disease in the lungs, likely cancer. After medications and treatments she had to be put down bc she couldn’t live in an incubator, which wasn’t even working anymore :(

      Since your cats X rays are clean, thankfully it’s not this

      1. Violet_04*

        I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty. Yes, very thankful the x-rays came back clean.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      Only Pig, and that WAS an illness (the vet thought she might have had a heart problem). If he’s eating and drinking as normal and all the tests are coming back clean, maybe it really is just the heat. Fingers crossed that he’s okay.

    6. Dot Warner*

      Only saw my cat pant once, and I think it was an anxiety thing. She hated to ride in the car and we were driving her from old house to new house, which was a slightly longer trip than she was used to. It was also the middle of summer and hot as blazes, so that didn’t help.

    7. Seal*

      A couple of my cats would play so hard when they were half-grown kittens they wound up panting. They’d catch their breath and go at it again. As they got older and calmer they stopped doing it, though.

    8. 221 Baker Street*

      Have them check for diabetes! We had a cat starting to pant and drink more water at the age of 4. The vet and family was devastated because diabetes that young means a horrible death sentence. For older cats of 8+ years it’s manageable but we couldn’t afford it and the vet advised against it. It means a weekly vet visit and insulin too along with a very specific diet.

      Our cat was four years old and started wasting away quickly along with his behavior changing. If your cat doesn’t have all the symptoms have them check to be sure. He would pant over physical activity that never bothered him before. We first thought it was feline AIDs, but was tested and negative. If your cat is panting, losing weight and drinking more water please make sure it’s not diabetes. There’s a guy at my father’s work who is a diabetic and has a diabetic cat. It’s pretty up there in age but still active.

      If it’s diabetes with your older cat it can be managed. For some reason in younger cats it’s just not really manageable. I hope it’s not diabetes though and maybe it’s just the ridiculous heat wave.

      1. Hibiscus*

        I have a 12 year old cat who has been diabetic for 6 years, and he’s doing fine. Yes, Lantus is expensive and so is the special diet food. But he goes to the vet every 6 months, and he’s last set of numbers were great.

  13. Lily Evans*

    I took my first aerial dance class on Tuesday this week and it was a lot of fun! My arms still haven’t recovered completely though… they’re not exactly used to being used for actual exercise (I spent most of my life ballet dancing, so it was never really a body part I concentrated on). But I’m excited to see how the next class goes!

    I’m also pretty sure I’ve been ghosted by the guy I went on a date with last week. Unless it actually takes five days to check your schedule… Why can’t people just be honest? But I’ve been on another friend-date, so that’s cool. And I’m pretty excited because I suggested to the bridal party I’m in that we do an escape room for the bachelorette party (instead of an all-weekend thing) and everyone seemed pretty into the idea! Shout-out to whoever mentioned those on another open thread a while ago, because I never knew that was a thing but it looks so fun!

    Lastly, I finally might be getting my car back on Monday or Tuesday! And it’s only been a mere six weeks since my accident (I feel like a real adult now, who can appreciate jokes people make about dealing with insurance companies. IT’s been so annoying!)

    1. Megs*

      I thought my now-husband had ghosted me after our first date, but it turned out he had this rule about not getting back to a date until the Wednesday after the first date. Eyeroll.

      1. Lily Evans*

        It’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility that I wasn’t actually ghosted, but I’d rather not get my hopes up. I’m using Alison’s post-interview technique of just not thinking about it (which is so easier said than done). But that’s a really bizarre rule to have, haha! Why Wednesday? Was it his lucky day or something?

    2. LadyKelvin*

      About 3 weeks after I moved to Texas for grad school, right after I graduate college my car was totaled by a drunk driver. I had parked at a friends how and we went out drinking (cause she was DD! I made good choices) and about midnight we got a call from her roommate that someone had hit the back of my car. When we got there about a half hour later it was clear the guy was drunk, but by the time the police arrived, 3 HOURS LATER he wasn’t. So he gets off with a ticket for driving without proof of insurance and I get a totaled car. I had bought it only a month earlier and so now I lived 1000 miles from home dealing with not only the insurance company alone but also trying to buy a new car which I could not afford because I had to wait 2 months for my first paycheck and in a city where they don’t even have a local bus system. Talk about welcome to adulthood. So I feel your pain and I’m excited you get your car back!

      1. Lily Evans*

        I was really lucky because it happened the day after I moved to a city with a pretty decent public transportation system. Before that I was driving an hour each way from work. It also forced me to learn my way around pretty quickly. So I guess if it had to happen, it wasn’t terrible timing? And my parents are only an hour away, so they came and helped with the initial insurance stuff. But your situation sounds like it was terrible!

      2. Temperance*

        I’m so, so sorry. Drunk drivers are seriously the scourge of humanity. Can you sue him for destroying your car without insurance?

      1. MK2000*

        Sure, but still, when a guy asks me out for a second/third/whatever date, I don’t just say “I’ll get back to you” and then disappear and hope he never follows up. I always respond and men have told me they appreciate it. I’m not saying that ghosting after an early date is uncommon; I personally think it’s just good dating karma not to.

        1. Lily Evans*

          Yeah, it’s super common to have it happen but that doesn’t make it a less crappy thing to do.

      2. Lily Evans*

        Obviously not. But when you say to someone, “I had a good time and would like to go out again if you’re interested” and they reply that they also had a good time and will check their schedule to see when they’re free and then never text you again, that’s rude. I mean, obviously it would’ve stung for him to reply that he wasn’t interested in going out again, but I’d rather have that honesty.

      3. Dana*

        What a strange thing to say! Nowhere does she mention being in a relationship or breaking up. You seem to be answering a totally different question than was asked. How odd!

    1. Meemzi*

      Best: Went to a concert with my little sister as a gift from our brother.
      Worst: Concert wrecked my body. Got kicked in the head twice during the first song at that concert. If I poke the side of my nose, I can feel it in the tip.

      It does make for a cool story.

      1. LizB*

        Kicked in the head? Ouch! I’m curious about the logistics of this, though. Were you crouching down? Was someone crowdsurfing? Was your neighbor just really flexible and thought it would be a good time to try out some high kicks?

        1. Meemzi*

          No, just a crowdsurfer. The venue was so packed that the mosh pit was just about as safe as the rest of the space.

    2. Sparkly Librarian*

      Best: I didn’t panic under anesthetic, and I woke up afterward! I was nervous.

      Worst: My godfather, who had been in home hospice care, died the day after I had surgery.

    3. Mimmy*

      Best: Finalized plans to go to Maryland this coming weekend for a barbecue. Really looking forward to it because in attendance will be the hubby’s classmates from high school / junior college. I’ve gotten to know his friends over the past few years at various events, and they are truly awesome people. (Bigger reunion coming up this October).

      Worst: Getting caught in a windy downpour on my way to my counselor on Monday! I knew that storms were coming but was certain they’d hold off until I got to her place, so I didn’t bother with the umbrella. Nope! Storm came shortly before arriving to my bus stop. Got off and high-tailed it to her office!

    4. LizB*

      Best: Got on antidepressants, and it may just be the placebo effect but I think I’m already feeling better. I’ve been way more productive/energetic in the past few days than I have in a long, long time.

      Worst: Boyfriend and I aren’t going to be in the same place together much over the next few weeks. He left Thursday for a solo vacation, returning Sunday, then I leave Tuesday for a solo vacation, returning Sunday, then he leaves the following Monday for a work trip through Thursday. We’ll be texting plenty, I’m sure, but I already miss him a lot. (And I’m going to have to do a lot of driving to/from the airport, which is just a long enough drive to be very tedious if you’re doing it often.)

    5. Elizabeth West*

      BEST: Got asked for pages by a literary agency this week. :D

      WORST: This heat. This excessive warning generating, high heat-index heat. Gah. I usually will walk even if it’s hot, but for some reason I’m just not feeling it this time. I went to the flea market today (indoors but no AC), and I just felt like poo when I got out. So my butt is on the sofa now in the nice cool air at home.

      1. Mimmy*

        Your best: I saw that on the Friday thread – really thrilled for you. But…what *exactly* is “asking for pages”? I may write a book someday too, but it would be nonfiction. Good luck!

        I hear you on your worst. Luckily it doesn’t seem to be that humid, but I am dreading Monday when I go to an outdoor advocacy-related event. I voluntarily signed up because it is something I’m passionate about…I just wish the weather weren’t so crummy that day.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Usually, you just send a query letter and possibly the first ten to fifty pages, depending on the agency’s submission guidelines. This one asked for a synopsis and the first ten pages with the query, pasted into the email, so that’s what I originally sent. Their response time was 4-6 weeks for queries–I only sent it on 6/29 so it wasn’t even a month! Response time for a partial submission (what they asked for was 50-100 pages; I sent the first 100) is 6-8 weeks. But hopefully, they like it and will ask for the entire thing sooner than that. Since they got a synopsis, they know how it ends, so I guess they just want to see if I can write halfway decently.

          The rules are slightly different for nonfiction. You can often query on the basis of a proposal for that, depending on what it’s about. A novel should be finished and polished before you get to the querying stage. I’ve edited Tunerville eleven times already, so it was in pretty good shape! That allowed me to fire them off immediately after a quick check of the printed pages. :)

          A friend of mine who’s a screenwriter beta read for me and he liked it. He said it read like a cross between Michael Crichton and the guy who wrote Ghost. I was laughing my butt off that he compared me to Crichton. I WISH!

          Yes it is way too freaking hot. I don’t mind it being somewhat hot, but this 110-degree heat index crap can go stuff itself!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I just realized I didn’t really answer your question–it means they ask to see more of the work. Hahahah, sorry, I’ve had to explain that several times this week!

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Non-fiction — yep, you can often (always?) query just based on proposal and some sample content, and then you only have to write it if it actually sells. (I’m going through this right now, and it’s very fun. But of course all the work is ahead of me.)

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I think memoirs are more like fiction—you have to have them written already. But anything like an advice book, a how-to book, and I think true crime, etc. you can sell it with a book proposal. Though I think if you get an advance (money in advance of sales) for a non-fiction project, you have to do it or you have to pay it back! With fiction, you get the advance–if you get one–but then no royalties (a percentage of sales) until it earns back the amount of the advance.

              You can do it, Alison! I have zero interest in ever doing any non-fiction stuff; I suspect it would turn out like Krippendorf’s Tribe, and I’d just dick around with the advance and then have nothing to show for it!

    6. Elkay*

      Best: Awesome ice cream parlour in town, om nom.
      Worst: Someone remind me that volunteering is worthwhile and fulfilling because right now I want to tell several teenagers and their parents to take some damn responsibility once they’ve committed to something. It is not my job to handhold them through this and I’ve taken far too much time sending emails which have been ignored.

      1. Elkay*

        It’s got worse with a shitty email from a parent. I’m so tired of this but it’s too late for me to drop out.

        1. Ruffingit*

          UGH, I hope you can just fulfill your commitment and get out ASAP. Nothing like shitty parents to bring you down, especially when it’s a volunteer thing.

    7. Trixie*

      Best: Passed certification for new class which means I do not have to re-film and submit.

      Worst: I did not check the schedule and forgot about important morning function. Worst day ever to walk in a few minutes late. Still kicking myself for drawing negative attention on something so easily avoidable. All I can do is try to move forward. Just ugh.

    8. Schnapps*

      Best: last year I bought three pairs of jeans at target when it was going out of business here in Canada. I bought them a bit small and for the last year, they’ve been hanging in my closet because I couldn’t get them done up. 5 weeks ago, I joined crossfit, started low-carbing and now I can get all three pairs done up, one pair goes down without undoing the button or the fly. 5 weeks, and 15 lbs less of me. I’ll take it.

      Worst: when a visit with your parents has gone really well, and then they leave with your dad making disparaging comments about your partner who, through no fault of his own, has been out of work for over a year. :sigh:

      (my daddy issues taste like pinot gris today)

        1. Schnapps*

          On the upside mom called this morning, and dad apologized for upsetting me. Apparently he didn’t know insulting my partner (also the father of his grandchild) would make me upset….

          (he’s 81. He’s recently come to a major decision that will impact the rest of his life. His social filter was never great to begin with and it’s gotten increasingly worse over the last few years as more health issues have been cropping up. He’s also super protective of me and will react when he feels anyone is taking advantage of me. That said, it was still a jerk move)

    9. Miss Nomer*

      I’m new to commenting but I’ve been lurking for a while so I hope it’s okay if I join in this.
      Best: Got an interview for a position I’m really excited about. It’s on Tuesday!
      Worst: my commute more than doubled because a beer truck overturned on the overpass. In a cruel twist of fate, ANOTHER beer truck did the same thing in a different area today. Thankfully it was bad beer and I only got stuck the once.

    10. Blue Birds Fly*

      Worst: my employer shared my request for an accommodation for a disability with several other people – both the accommodation and the reason. And they won’t admit they did anything wrong. Have had to research it all myself to prove confidentiality is required! And the accommodation is for me to chase down a co-worker who is not in my section and ask if he can move something down a 20% ramp for me.
      Best: hmm, toxic workplace overshadows all, so my “better” is reminding myself I can retire in 9 months at the relatively young age of 56.

    11. Lizabeth*

      The worst is the heat wave; the best is the heat wave because since I’m hiding out at home inside I went through the kitchen cabinets and TOSSED expired stuff, old spices etc. and they are practically empty. Wow…

    12. Lizabeth*

      One more thing…don’t know which is the worse or best – discovered dr.pimplepopper’s videos and I CAN’T STOP WATCHING THEM!!!

    13. Al Lo*

      Best: We applied and were accepted for an apartment in our preferred neighbourhood, with most of the amenities we needed, at the low end of our price range! Now to spend every spare moment packing and listing/selling the things we’re downsizing, because August 1 is only a week away!

      Worst: My husband’s grandmother passed away. Not unexpected in the short term, but the illness was very sudden 2 months ago.

    14. Perse's Mom*

      Worst: Woke up on Friday to discover I’d pulled a muscle in my back and the first few hours at work were just me staring at my email, wondering how people can be so stupid (what do you mean, bob, by ‘inform the team’ when “the team” was cc’d on all the emails about the problem? If “the team” wasn’t informed, “the team” wasn’t reading their emails). I know it’s an unkind thought, but I was in pain and this was fallout from spending two days fixing a problem someone else in another dept caused, so I was also mentally at the end of my patience-rope.

      Best: Didn’t feel like I got a best this week.

    15. Ruffingit*

      BEST: An awesome day at work on Friday.

      WORST: A lot of life stress that I really need a break from.

    16. Rebecca in Dallas*

      I only have worsts, it has been a shit week.

      My husband got laid off, which was not a surprise but it happened sooner than we initially thought. He got the news last week, a week before he was scheduled to have surgery (nothing major, but out of commission for 2 weeks and with limitations for a couple of months). So he won’t be able to start the job hunting in full force yet.

      On Monday, my best friend’s fiance shot and killed himself. She has lost her own mom to suicide and also her dad (to cancer) within the last 5 years. So I spent the week doing what I could to help her out. She is being well taken care of by other friends now, so that I can be nurse for my husband.

      So I’m just feeling a little overwhelmed, I know none of these things happened to me directly, but as a spouse and friend we do what we can to carry someone’s burden.

      I was really hoping that my husband’s family would offer to come by and visit or help out in some way (I mean, he did just spend a lot of time fixing his sister’s gate so her dog wouldn’t keep escaping, despite the fact that she and her husband could have easily hired someone to do that), but so far radio silence.

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I should say I was hoping to hear from his siblings. His mom did come sit with me at the hospital and was helpful getting him home (I had her distract the dog haha) and did check in yesterday.

      2. Ruffingit*

        That is a lot on your plate at one time. I am so sorry for your best friend, I cannot even imagine. I am sending healing vibes into the universe for her. Also sending them for your husband.

        It’s hard to be a caretaker. We love our friends, spouses, etc., but it is a rough role so I’m wishing your husband speedy healing and some quiet time for you in the next couple of months.

      3. LizH*

        So sorry to hear about everything you are dealing with. So sorry for your friend. I hope everything turns out well for your husband.

  14. Windchime*

    Since it’s summertime, most of the neighbors have their windows open. I live in one of those developments where the houses are all crammed together, so my back patio faces the back patio of my neighbors. Someone has a baby who squalls constantly and sounds like an unhappy goat. I’ve noticed it all week and it’s driving me CRAZY. I need to clean my patio fountain and get it going; maybe it will mask the sound of the bleating.

    1. Lily Evans*

      I like using my window fan as a white noise barrier between my room and my neighbors yappy dogs and obnoxious whiny children (who spend hours on their trampoline that’s in desperate need of WD-40). It doesn’t block everything but it helps.

  15. The lazy b (with spaces today for no particular reason)*

    Attack in Germany. My sister was in that shopping mall yesterday afternoon and didn’t leave long before the attack happened. So glad her family is all safe but gawd I wish I could fly over there and hug them right now :-/

    1. Caledonia*

      Scary times. My friend’s family lives in Munich and she knew someone who worked near the shopping centre but thankfully everyone is ok. Glad your sister is too.

    2. Violet_04*

      How scary. Glad your family is okay. It’s tough being far away at times like this.

    3. Myrin*

      I attend university in Munich and live less than an hour away. All of yesterday evening was extremely tense because it seemed like there were three attackers (as opposed to the single one it turned out to be) who were on the run, so there was a distinct possibility they might show up around here. So glad it’s over, although I mourn the lives lost, especially as most of them were teenagers. :(

    4. LadyKelvin*

      I’m glad they are ok too. My MIL got locked down in the Banhoff and ended up having to stay in a hotel overnight because she couldn’t get home. She said they heard gun shots but were quickly evacuated to an area behind the police. It was really nice to see that all the mosques in Munich opened their doors for people stranded to stay there for free, and they were letting people sleep on the parked train cars in the train station. Is it terrible that I am relieved that it appears to be a random shooter not tied to terrorism? Because I feel like the more terrorist acts by Islamic extremists just gives people who are xenophobic more material to scream about how “they” shouldn’t be allowed in the US/EU. It makes me super sad when that happens.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        No, you’re not terrible. I felt the same way, actually. Though I wish it hadn’t happened at all, at least I can tell those people to shut up about it.

      2. The lazy b (with spaces today for no particular reason)*

        Yeah it’s horrible but I had the same thought too :(

    5. Mimmy*

      I’m glad your family is safe. It is scary though – a friend of mine lives in Germany (her military husband is stationed there) and I always think of her when these attacks happen because I think she travels a lot in the region.

    6. The lazy b (with spaces today for no particular reason)*

      Thanks everyone. I’m glad everyone else’s friends and family are safe too.

    7. StillHealing*

      It’s been on my and my son’s minds a lot. Four years ago at this time he was a exchange student in Germany. A story just popped up on my computer “Syrian man carrying bomb dies in Germany; 12 wounded” and it was at a music festival in Bavaria. I would be losing my mind right now if this had gone on while he was on the exchange program.

      It’s horrendous and tragic. What can be done to stop this madness?

  16. DNDL*

    I get really mad when I e-mail someone, and they decide to call me back instead of responding to the e-mail. It happened today with a service provider that I had e-mailed yesterday. Ugh.

    1. danr*

      They just think they’re providing good customer service. You might mention that if they do a follow up survey.

    2. Menacia*

      Perhaps you can request any responses should be in the form of an email? Might work in most cases.

    3. Not Karen*

      Me too!! I don’t understand what they’re thinking. If I wanted to talk to them on the phone I would have called instead of e-mailed…

    4. Chaordic One*

      If you need any kind of a detailed response, something more than “yes” or “no,” it is less effort to call than to write it down. (Not necessarily less time-consuming, but it doesn’t leave a paper trail.)

  17. SophieChotek*

    I just ran across this site that might amuse those who have worked in retail/just amuse people in general. It is mostly from the perspective of the retail associate–dealing with irate/upset/irrational/confused/extremely rude, etc. customers.
    I admit, since I’ve worked in Giant Coffee Chain for over 10 years as a side-gig over the years, I find it quite amusing and can relate to many.

    Link to follow.

    1. Forrest Rhodes*

      Also a big fan of Not Always Right. Have you seen their related sites, Not Always Working and Not Always Hopeless?

      1. K.*

        I love Not Always Right but have never heard of the other two – definitely going to check them out! Could use a dose of humor.

      2. SophieChotek*

        Yes I’ve seen the related sites too..though I haven’t found the as funny and amusing as Not Always Right

    2. LizB*

      I love that site, and Not Always Working as well! Such good entertainment. There are occasional stories that I think may be people recording what they wish they’d said to an obnoxious customer (particularly the ones that end with “and then all the other customers in line applauded me”), but those must be extra satisfying to write, so I don’t begrudge the authors their fun. :)

    3. Nina*

      I used to read NotAlwaysRight when I worked in customer service, and it depressed me because I related to so much of it. I do like reading the “awesome customer/awesome manager” stories.

      Not Always Romantic is funny, too.

    4. Rebecca in Dallas*

      Haha I have seen this site before but forgotten about it! Thanks for the reminder, I could use a laugh. :)

  18. Cruciatus*

    It’s just a small thing, but I finally put 2 things up for sale on my county’s online garage sale site on Facebook! No hits yet, but I don’t know why I’ve been putting it off for so long. I don’t want an actual garage sale so this really is the best way for minimal effort. The hardest part will be driving to meet up with the buyer (hopefully).

    Related question–I have an old treadmill that would likely be fine with a new belt–but I’m no expert. Should I buy the belt (between $76-100 online) and then sell it for that amount or a bit above, or say, hey, free treadmill, probably needs new belt. Probably. I’d be out the $76+ dollars if it doesn’t fix the problem (I’d survive) but at least I’d know if it worked or not.

    1. Caledonia*

      I’m doing something similar on FB and also on gumtree (like craigslist?). So far no hits on FB and nothing but timewasters on the other site.

    2. fposte*

      I’d post it as is and see if anybody takes it. If you’re trying to get rid of something, I don’t think it’s worth futzing with it unless the outlay and ROI are sure things.

    3. Violet_04*

      When people post free stuff on our neighborhood Next Door site, they get snapped up quickly. If your goal is to get rid of it, say that’s it free and might need work.

    4. Intrepid*

      Would you have a local community college or something similar with a student mechanic shop? They might appreciate having a free treadmill to play around with.

  19. Sarah G.*

    Favorite Life Hacks, anyone? Mine:
    – Baby powder or cornstarch to absorb oil stains before laundering clothes.
    – Crumpled newspaper left in tupperware to absorb lingering food smells (I read somewhere that the carbon ink neutralizes the smell….anyway, whatever the reason, it does work!)
    – Putting avocados in the fridge a day or two before they are fully ripe — then they slowly ripen and stay good for a couple weeks longer.
    – Dump a couple tablespoons of baking soda in the water when making hard-boiled eggs, and they will be easy to peel!

    1. Caledonia*

      Not mine but one my friend passed to me yesterday.

      I was saying that I go through phases of buying nail polish when the ones I have go all claggy. She says to put in a drop or 2 of nail polish remover, a silver ball/something to mix it with and shake to make the polish less lumpy.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        I seem to remember buying nail polish a long time ago (the 80s?) and it had a couple of ball bearings in it already just for that purpose. I hadn’t really noticed or thought about newer bottles not having those in there any more, but they don’t.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Oh, I hadn’t really noticed that the ball bearings aren’t in the nail polish anymore; it used to be that way all the time in the 70’s and 80’s.

          1. Library Director*

            My Revlon polish has them. I was inspired by the conversations this weekend to blend some partial colors of polish. I wasn’t wearing them because they were too light or dark. One looks really fabulous.

      2. DanaScully*

        I read somewhere that nail polish turns gloopy when it is exposed to air. To minimise this, wipe off any excess polish around the neck of the bottle when you have finished applying and ensure the lid is on tight. Also, keeping it refrigerated can apparently help.

    2. Cruciatus*

      I don’t know if this is really a hack but I errr hack open all my plastic bottles (lotions usually) to get all the goop out before I toss/recycle the container. I’m always amazed at how much stuff is still in there that the pump didn’t get out or even after leaving it upside down until I got everything I could. My friends make fun of how frugal this makes me seem, but there is usually a week or two of product left inside! It’s the principle of the thing!

      1. Levsha*

        For shampoo, you can just put a little water in the bottle, shake it up, and pour it on your head :)

      2. AcidMeFlux*

        I totally do this with everything from huge containers of body lotion to small glass bottles of makeup. I either hack them open, or smack them against the wall to get the contents to fall to the opening, or put the container in hot water or on a warm radiator so the contents can be gently shaken out more easily. My next door neighbor does the same thing (her bathroom wall is next to mine so I hear her smakcking bottles on the wall.) She’s worked in beauty and fashion and insists that the bottles are lined with a surface that makes the product cling to it (or else she’s just paranoid.)

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I scraped all my lipstick stubs into a little glass pot and melted them with some Chapstick and mint oil to make a sheer, tinted gloss.

          It was then that I noticed, for the first time, that all the lipsticks in my ample collection were within half a shade of the same color. It kind of ruined my interest in accumulating lipsticks, so now I just have two tubes of it, and they’re both nearly the same color, except one is just slightly lighter and more shimmery than the other.

          1. Library Director*

            That’s a good idea. I did something similar with eye shadows. I had several bits in very dated colors. I ground and mixed them. I was surprised at how well they came out.

          2. Artemesia*

            I am now down to two basic colors of the paint on lipstick one sort of burgundy/brown (raisin) and the other a sort of coral. I top each with a layer of the paint on cocoa color while still wet and so don’t need the dozen colors I used to have sitting around. I have had people actually compliment me on my lipstick several times in the last month so I guess I have got it right finally. I am getting set for a long trip and am happy that I only need 3 wands of the paint on lipstick in those three colors.

        2. Artemesia*

          I have found that keeping them stored upside down and than sort of hitting the open top against my hand, gets out the last of the lotions etc. So annoying that they quit with about a quarter of the product still inside.

          1. dawbs*

            If you can do the ‘thermometer shake’ move that nurses and lab folks used to do to shake mercury back into the bulb, that works well too.
            Hard to describe, but my mom can show you :)

      3. Mephyle*

        I rinse out any lotion bottles time and time again until it’s pretty much just water coming out. Why do your so-called friends make fun of this; what’s amusing about being frugal? I don’t make fun of others for wasting their money (I just silently judge them).

        1. Cruciatus*

          It’s not like outright bullying or anything–usually good humored fun, but I think the few that find it too frugal find me taking that extra step (seriously, 30 seconds of cutting around the bottle) too much for what I might get out of it and that I’m really only saving cents at that point. I’m not sure if they think it takes me hours to cut the bottle or what but hey, I’m happy to get every last drop! Again, it’s not really just about the money but why would you knowingly throw away something you already paid for and use? It’s just impractical!

      4. Sarah G.*

        You can also microwave an almost-empty lotion bottle for a few secs to thin it out. The little that is left will pour right out! (it heats very quickly — careful!)

      5. Artemesia*

        I can use lotions for a couple of weeks after they stop pumping; I wish they were packaged differently so they didn’t quit with so much left.

      6. Nina*

        When the lotion bottle is low, I keep it stored upside down (usually leaning on something so it doesn’t fall over) so all the remaining lotion can slide to the bottom near the opening. Then I cut it open later to get the rest. That stuff’s expensive!

        Also cut open the toothpaste tube, and usually get a couple of weeks more out of the tube that way. I fold over the end and tape it shut so the remaining toothpaste doesn’t dry out.

      7. Florida*

        For most lotions and similar products, you can hold the bottle under hot water. That will get most of what is stuck to the sides to fall to the bottom. Then you can get a little more out the normal way before you resort to ripping the bottle open.

        I’m convinced that most pump products deliberately make the pump too short so you can’t get everything out. Nail polish is the same. The brush always seem to go about 3/4 of the way to the bottom of the bottle. You have to get a longer brush if you want to use everything.

    3. Lily Evans*

      -Rolling clothes instead of folding them when packing changed my life. I feel like most people know this one, but my dad didn’t.
      -In a pinch you can use baby powder in lieu of dry shampoo (you just really have to rub it in so it absorbs and doesn’t turn your roots white)
      -You can also use powder foundation to absorb hair oil
      -Wearing moleskin to protect your feet when breaking in new shoes!
      -Refrigerating cookie dough overnight before baking it makes your cookies taste better
      -If you can’t afford nice, thick curtains to keep out draughts, hanging cheap fleece blankets over your windows can help! I got some for like $4 each at Wal-mart and it kept my room warm in my last apartment, and in dorm rooms.

      1. Sami*

        Try using packing cubes- even better then rolling. My sister gave me a set for Christmas. Life-changing!!

      2. Artemesia*

        I love packing cubes and you can get really really cheap ones on line which work fine. I had several Eagle Creek cubes and have used them for years — they are great. But costly. So I just acquired 6 more for my upcoming trip. One of the things we plan to do is cross pack one complete outfit in each other’s suitcase — underwear, shirt, pants — because we have a very short connection in Europe and fear our suitcases might go astray. That way if only one bag makes it, we at least have a change of clothes. I also plan to put one outfit into a long thin cube in my carry on messenger bag. We will be traveling for weeks and in two different seasons, so being able to zone the clothes so only climate appropriate clothes need be removed from the suitcase will be convenient.

    4. Menacia*

      How to chill wine quickly:

      Wrap the bottle in a cold, wet paper towel and put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes…works like a charm!

    5. Violet_04*

      – I use newspaper to clean windows and glass.
      – When cleaning the microwave, I put a wedge of lemon or lime in a measuring cup with water and then boil the water in the microwave. I keep the door closed for a couple of minutes afterwards and the steam helps loosen any dirt.
      – I write the date on bottles of condiments and such when I open them.

      1. Nina*

        I started writing the dates on stuff like chicken broth, which has a habit of sitting in my fridge for a while and eventually goes bad.

    6. LizB*

      – When traveling, unscrew the tops from your shampoo/lotion/etc bottles, place a square of plastic wrap over the opening, then screw the top back on over the plastic wrap. WAY more secure against leaks.
      – You can use a food processor to make biscuit dough or pie crust. It cuts in the cold butter very efficiently!

      1. Overeducated*

        I also like making pizza dough in the food processor! It’s faster than kneading and very effective.

    7. Stephanie*

      I use those plastic bags bedding comes in for dirty laundry (primarily underwear) when I travel.

        1. Sarah G.*

          I use them to store various things — ziplocs rolled up to re-use, same with tissue paper and wrapping paper, but love the packing cube idea too!

        2. Artemesia*

          We do that too — our winter wool blanket goes into one over the summer and onto a high shelf.

    8. Cristina in England*

      A Ziploc freezer bag makes a great waterproof case for a smartphone/iPad mini since you can keep it dry but use the screen through the bag. A few caveats:
      -YMMV with other brands and I personally would only use Ziploc or Hefty for this.
      -Visually inspect the bag before use to check for scratches or holes
      -This is primarily for bath-readers who might accidentally drop the phone in the bath, not for water sport enthusiasts, obviously! It seems like it would work at the beach or a pool party though.

      1. Red*

        My family goes to Disney quite often and I always take a box of Target’s house brand ziplock style bags to pass out for phones, watches, wallets – they hold up to water rides and thunderstorms alike!

      2. Artemesia*

        When I go snorkeling and have no secure place to leave car keys and ID, I use a zip lock bag and tuck it into my swim suit (one piece) I usually wear a rash guard so the bulge doesn’t show. That way the plastic driver’s license, key and some money is secure. It usually doesn’t leak but I don’t put anything in that would be ruined if it did.

      3. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Yes! I also use a snack-sized bag (about half the size of a sandwich bag) for all the charger plugs in my laptop bag, one for each charger cord, and then all those cords in their bags go in a sandwich-sized bag. I just keep that all in the laptop bag all the time, and I don’t need to worry about packing anything except the devices themselves.

    9. Elizabeth West*

      I tried the newspaper one and it didn’t work very well–but I think the paper here uses soy ink. That might make a difference?

      Mine are:
      –Buy a bunch of peppers and onions and cut them up and put them in the freezer. When you need them, you can just reach in the bag and grab a handful. Thaw in the microwave or they thaw pretty fast when you throw them in a pan to saute.
      –Hit the flea market when you need something kitchen-related, like a pan. Nine times out of ten, I find what I need without paying an arm and a leg. Things I’ve gotten include colanders, saucepans, and cast iron cookware, including a skillet that’s 100 years old and still works great. :)
      –Buy loose popcorn and air pop it in a small paper lunch bag in the microwave. The bags are very cheap at Walmart. I use about 1/4 cup–it makes quite a lot. No oil needed, and it costs way less than those nasty chemical bags. You can add fresh real butter or whatever you like.
      –Used dryer sheets work in a pinch if you’re out of those Swiffer-like dry cloths for the sweeper. You usually need two, but they work. I used to save them just for that when I was super broke and couldn’t buy both. (Now I have a duster mop with a washable microfiber head and a refill for when one is dirty.) A new dryer sheet will also make your suitcase smell nice.

      1. Sarah G.*

        Oh yeah, the popcorn microwaved in a paper bag –forgot about that one! Learned it from my dad.

      2. Library Director*

        I do onions. For green onions I chop and put them in a water bottle that I keep in the freezer. Bacon is easy too. I repackage in a freezer bag I a slab. I take it out and slice off a 1/2 inch. It’s easy to cut into smaller pieces and is just enough for flavor.

        I freeze grapes and reusable ice cubes to chill white wine at the last minute. This is especially nice for outside summer sipping.

        1. Emilia Bedelia*

          When I buy bacon, I spread it all out on a cookie tray (strips not touching) and freeze until solid. Then I put the slices into a freezer bag. Makes it easy to pull out a few strips if I’m cooking bacon for breakfast.
          I also buy dried beans, cook them in the slow cooker, then freeze in 1 cup portions in freezer bags- cheaper than cans and doesn’t require much more effort.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        At one time, not sure if this is current, newspapers used to use a cheaper ink on Sundays, maybe Saturdays also. I have never tried any of the hints for newspaper, I can’t see it going well for me. Maybe they mean to go to the newspaper and buy blank newspaper in a bundle? I can remember doing that once as a kid.

    10. Sarah G.*

      Thanks everyone for all the great ideas! Some time I would like to start this right when the post opens up as I think it would get more responses.

    11. Katie the Fed*

      – Whenever I order something online, I do a quick good of the store’s name + “discount code” – usually find one that saves me a bit.

      – Baking soda/water paste for buildup in my hair – massage it in and then follow up with shampoo. Really works!

      – I added a tablespoon of Epsom Salts when I was planting my pepper plants this year. I swear I have peppers coming out of my ears!

      – I make huge batches of pesto in the summer (just did it today) and freeze in ice cube trays. Pesto cubes go in big bag and I thaw as needed.

      – I also make a big pot of steel-cut oats in the pressure cooker, then freeze in a muffin tin. Pop out and put in a freezer bag. Each one is about 1/3rd cup. Three of them in a bowl with some milk in the microwave – quick & healthy breakfast.

      – Shred and bag leaves in the fall. Then add them with grass clippings and food scraps throughout the year to my compost pile – the browns are necessary to balance the greens.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Thought of two more:

        – I buy rotisserie chickens at costco. Strip the meat and freeze it in small bags. Then I put the bones in water in the pressure cooker – makes excellent bone broth. Freeze that too. I feel like ethically I should use the whole chicken – I took its life; the least I can do is not waste any.

        – Take a picture of the garage or parking lot sign where you parked – easier to find your way back. Works great for airport parking.

      2. Chaordic One*

        Interesting about the Epsom Salts. My grandfather added some to vegetables he planted and they died. Maybe he put on too much.

      3. V Dubs*

        Love the oats tip! I’ll have to do that; especially before I travel so I have things made when I’m back home and going right into the workweek.

    12. NicoleK*

      -Snap a picture of your license plate with your phone. This will save you from running out to your car if you need your license plate numbers
      -I use a spreadsheet to track my people in my work network (name, contact info, and date of last contact). One of my goals this year is to increase people in my network and to maintain yearly contact with people in my network.
      -When I’m wearing a brand new pair of shoes to work, I also take an old pair just in case the new shoes hurt my feet.
      -Putting the trash bag by the door the night before helps me to remember to take out the trash in the morning

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Snap a picture of your license plate with your phone.

        I will have to remember to do that next time I rent a car. I don’t need to do this for my own licence plate, but a rental? Like I’m going to bother to memorise that.

        1. acmx*

          Don’t the keys come with a tag with the license plate number on it? I just rented a vehicle and can’t remember if they still do it (I didn’t need the info at the hotel).

          I have a picture of my VIN – because I needed it when I had the maintenance codes read at the auto parts store.

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            Honestly, I can’t remember, either! It’s been a long time since I had to rent a car. Funny how they didn’t ask you at the hotel, that seems to be one of the questions that I get asked, do you have a vehicle? I’ve had to write my plate down on the piece of paper that gets signed and initialed.

      2. AliceBD*

        I did this when I moved to a new state and got a new plate, and then had to tell work, etc. what my plate was. So helpful!

      3. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Oh! The putting the trash bag by the door reminded me: I don’t usually bring refrigerated items to work. (For lunch I have Annie Chun’s noodle bowls; they’re shelf-stable, so I can put a bunch in a file cabinet in my office once every so often. When I want to take those to work, I can leave them in front of the door, or by the alarm, which I have to turn off before I leave.) So when I do have something refrigerated that I want to bring to work, I’ll usually forget it UNLESS I take my work badge and put it on the inside front doorknob. When I see that, it’s like a string around my finger, I remember there’s something that I need to do. And I can’t leave without seeing it. (Nor could I get into the office without it!)

      4. Anon Moose*

        Also, if you have a smartphone and you’re parking in a huge lot, open your map app and drop a pin where you parked!

    13. Lillie Lane*

      These are great, thanks! My only hacks are for gross foot ailments, so I’ll refrain from sharing :)

    14. Overeducated*

      I don’t have many…and the ones I do have are obvious. Still:
      -In the summer I often prep coffee in my french press at night, and put it in the fridge to steep for the morning instead of pressing
      -Empty mason jars for iced coffee travel cups, since I don’t mind if I lose one (they are not safe for hot drinks though!)
      -If i’m cooking something that’s just as quick to double, I will and put the extra in the freezer
      -fresh ginger root lives in the freezer and I hack off one portion at a time for recipes
      -Shampoo for everything in the shower because body wash and shaving cream/gel are not functionally different

        1. overeducated*

          I do hot, may not be necessary but I heard somewhere that cold press requires twice as much grounds so I guess I just do it the normal way to be safe. Wouldn’t be a difficult experiment though!

    15. LibbyG*

      I often only need a tablespoon of tomato paste at a time, so after I open a can, I put the rest in a ziploc and smooth it out flat and freeze it that way. It’s easy to break off a piece the next time I need a tablespoon.

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I do something similar, I scoop the rest of the can out using a tablespoon, each scoop gets wrapped in plastic wrap, then all if them go into a freezer bag. I just pull one out when I need it, it takes no time for that one tablespoon to thaw.

      2. Cristina in England*

        You can drop spoonfuls on a lined cookie sheet, freeze them and then drop them in a bag like tomato ice cubes! Well, you can if you have a big American freezer that holds a cookie sheet. But still, the principle still applies even if I can only fit an 8 inch tart pan in mine…

        1. Elizabeth West*

          LOL tiny English fridges. I had a little tiny fridge like that when I lived in a residential hotel, in one room. Like a studio apartment.

          My auntie has a full-sized freezer in her garage (I’m pronouncing that in my head the English way) but the tiny fridge in the kitchen. In fact, I love her house. I love her neighborhood. I wish I were rich so I could buy a house there.

      3. Stephanie*

        Whole Foods (and another store that escapes me at the moment) sells tomato paste in a tube!

    16. Blue Birds Fly*

      I have password protected spreadsheets of my user names and passwords for websites for both work and home. I save them to google drive in case I have to sign into a personal account while at work (or vice versa).

      1. Gaia*

        If you haven’t already, you should consider LastPass. I have a work account and a personal account (and can swap between them, as needed). I only have to remember one password now — my LastPass Master password.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’ve got something called A-Z Notebook that works the same way. It’s from Bad Wolf Software–they also make a great writing program called PageFour. (Not a shill–I just like them.)

        2. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Most of the tech people I know use LastPass. I love that it has different methods of two-factor authentication.

    17. Nina*

      If your brown sugar has hardened, put a slice of bread in the container and the sugar will have softened overnight. I was amazed when this worked!

      Not really a “hack”, but I have egg muffin cups for breakfast. I use about 6 eggs, spinach, chopped ham, chopped tomato, mushrooms, and cheese. I just take one to work every morning and pop it in the microwave for about a minute. Besides being yummy, they’re surprisingly filling and low in carbs.

      1. Anon Moose*

        Similarly, I have seen sooo many people throw away honey that has crystallized. You just need to leave the (well closed) bear or whatever container in water then bring to a slow boil. Microwave works in a pinch, but still leaves big crystals in the liquid.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I hear that honey was found in the Egyptian pyramids and it was still GOOD. They just heated it up.

          A slice of bread will also save a box of aging cookies.

    18. Sualah*

      My favorite: if you’re at someone else’s house and need to make sure you remember to take something (like leftovers or whatever), put your keys with the thing. Put them in the fridge if that’s where the thing is. You won’t get too far without the keys and as soon as you start to say, “Why aren’t my keys in my purse?” You’ll remember where they are. And what you’re taking with you.

      1. SophieChotek*

        I do this all the time! Works great.
        I do this at home, too, if I need to remember to take something with me…keys in the fridge works every time.

      2. Sarah G.*

        I’ve done this, but hadn’t thought of even putting them in the fridge too, which is an easy place to forget you have something. Great idea!

      3. Marillenbaum*

        I once managed to walk to work without my keys, which were sitting on top of my lunch in the fridge. Womp womp. On the bright side, it turned out my coworker was willing to spot me for a sandwich that day, and in small-town NC you can leave your back door unlocked all day without anything bad happening.

    19. Ann Furthermore*

      A couple weeks ago I fixed up a jalapeno pepper and my hands were burning later. I Googled remedies and found a bunch that sounded too messy and like too much of a pain, like putting your hands in yogurt. Who has time for that? Then I found one tip that recommended washing your hands with some red wine vinegar mixed with Dawn dish soap. It worked!

      1. LibbyG*

        I needed this one! Sometimes I deal with hot peppers and then need to take my contacts out a couple hours later.

    20. Sarah G.*

      Lots of great tips! I thought of one more. I sat down one day and spent a few minutes memorizing the number on my primary credit card (along with the exp date and 3-digit code). Now I never have to dig out my card for online purchases or phone purchases. At first, the number would slip my mind sometimes, but now I never forget it!

  20. Cath in Canada*

    Ugh, raccoons. How can something so cute cause so much trouble?

    We’ve had raccoons break into the attic through our roof before, the last time causing water to start pouring through the bedroom ceiling during a morning rainstorm (two days after we got back from a 3.5 week overseas trip – so thankfully we were at least home to notice the leak before it damaged the floors too). My BIL’s a roofer so we have a free patching service, but it’s annoying.

    Raccoons have come into our house! I keep the back door open to let the cats out while I’m home during daylight hours, and this raccoon just strolled in and started eating their food. I was yelling and waving a broom right in its face and it didn’t even care. It finished its meal and then strolled casually back out.

    There seems to be a mother raccoon in the neighbourhood with a new litter of kits who are just starting to get out and about. There’s a LOT of loud screeching and screaming going on, starting at about 4 am most mornings. All the neighbours were up last night trying to figure out what to do. My husband went out in his undies and threw a bucket of water over the mother (from a safe distance), and she left for a bit but then came back within an hour. Today one of the kits was rather ineptly trying to climb our plum tree and got stuck, and was making so much racket that I thought there was death and carnage happening out there for sure. My husband was asleep (catching up after a very disrupted night caused by raccoon noise) and woke up with a huge start, thinking one of the cats was being killed.

    Any advice? It’s getting really hot but we can’t leave the doors open, or even the windows more than a crack, in case they get in. The cats are antsy at not getting outside, and miserably hot inside the house. Animal control won’t do anything. We heard that you can buy cougar urine to use as a deterrent, but that doesn’t seem like something the cats will enjoy…

    1. fposte*

      Around here there are private services who will deal with this kind of stuff–basically peast control for stuff that can fight back :-). Have you looked for something like that?

    2. BRR*

      We had raccoons when I was a kid. I don’t know if this is right but the service we hired caught them and said they had to be released very far away because if it’s too close they’ll come back.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      You can buy a cage yourself and trap them, my neighbour does that because they have chickens. But he also has a pickup truck. There are certain animals you don’t want in your car, doing what upset animals do. An angry squirrel is actually kind of funny… until you see how much crap they can dump.

      If you can get rid of all food outside, that should help. That’s hard with fruit trees, though. Lock your garbage cans, don’t put the recycling out at night. Make sure there’s nowhere they can live (shed, garage, hollowed out tree). Males in the family might try peeing around the borders because buying coyote urine is expensive (and I really am curious how that gets collected. Is that a job that gets advertised in the papers? Are there facilities out there that have nothing but coyotes in veal-fattening pens and their pee is collected through vents in the floor?).

      There are also battery operated motion sensitive water spritzers that you hook up to your hose and if something passes in front, it gets blasted. Which wouldn’t be good for your cats but you wouldn’t have to have them on all the time.

      https://www.amazon.ca/Havahart-Motion-Activated-Sprinkler-Repellent/dp/B0079GHJVG/ref=pd_sim_sbs_199_6?ie=UTF8&dpID=31ZsorKSEeL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&psc=1&refRID=F3BXR4MG62V8T0M3ZPWJ

    4. LCL*

      Raccoons, ugh. Trash pandas are everywhere here, and they are the bane of my bird dog’s existence. He is (thankfully) scared of them so he won’t stalk them. He does growl and bark when they are in his yard, I have to get up and shut his door or he can’t settle down. Smart goggie!

      I had two fruit trees next to the house removed, which stopped them from getting on our roof. If you have any trees or bushes next to the roof prune them back hard. I pick up the deadfall apples and plums every day, so there is less of an attraction to them. If I wasn’t going to sell this place soon I would cut down all the fruit trees.

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        I’m with Bruce on this one (provided you can’t just get someone to shoot the raccoons).

        I grew up in the country. Raccoons are destructive and mean. I have no issue with them in the wild, but one of my childhood cats lost an eye in a fight with a raccoon, probably defending her kittens. I’ve also seen them kill chickens, rabbits, and geese.

        Relocating them just makes them someone else’s problem.

        1. LCL*

          And raccoons carry some weird viral/prion? disease that only affects dogs. Google coonhound paralysis, it is a thing.
          I can’t shoot them here, I live in a city. I wouldn’t be able to drown one. I know a foaf that has a St Bernard/Great Dane cross that catches and kills raccoons, maybe I can borrow the dog…

    5. Oviraptor*

      We have deer in the neighborhood (not raccoons…yet anyway) that love to make a buffet of the flowers. One of the neighbors ordered cougar pee and sprayed it around/on his flowers because it was supposed to keep the deer away. It made the whole neighborhood smell horrible. Okay, it was really about a million more times worse than horrible. And worse yet, it didn’t work. The deer kept coming back for their nightly buffet of flowers. It might work for the raccoons. But it didn’t for the deer. And the smell. Thankfully, he has given up on cougar pee.

  21. Vacation Time*

    I’ve decided that spouse and I are going to Singapore and Phuket, Thailand in about 5 weeks. Not the best weather wise, but no worries!

    Have you been? What were your must see/must do especially in Phuket)? I was in Singapore 2 years ago and got to do most of the tourist stuff but would still love your favorite things to do :)

    1. CoffeeLover*

      I lived in Singapore and visited Phuket.

      My favourite things to do in Singapore: zoo, night safari (highly recommend if you like animals; they’re so much more active at night), gardens by the bay, china town, clarke quay, sentosa, orchard road, go on the ferris wheel, eat at the top of marina bay sands (there’s a cheese and chocolate event for $50ish one night a week.. it’s the cheapest way to get up there lol), etc. There’s a lot to do :). Let me know if you have any specific questions and I’d be happy to help.

      I wasn’t in Phuket for very long (and to be honest I didn’t enjoy it compared to the other places I visited in Thailand/SE Asia). My biggest advice is make sure you’re staying on the part of the island you want to be. There’s a “party” beach and a calmer beach. It’s a $30 cab ride to get from one to the other.

    2. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Oh, how fun! I’ve been to both but years ago so I don’t remember much. I do remember that spellings often vary between maps and street signs so be alert when navigating.

    3. Dan*

      On Phuket island, go to Krabi beach. Iirc, it’s about two hours drive.
      Also try ko phi phi island.

  22. Mallows*

    I have been invited, via text message, to a baby shower by the grandmother, who is a close friend of mine. Shower is tomorrow, 1-5, at a public park. Given the nature of the invite, and the fact that i have asked twice now about registries & what they need for gifts and still have no answer, it feels pretty casual to me & like I could get away with only going for 2 hours or so (especially since I need to catch up with work, there are actual heat warnings tomorrow, and she lives more than an hour away from me). Is it rude not to stay for the whole thing?

    1. Expected to pay more than my fair share*

      No, it is not rude. But why are you going? Just because you receive an invitation does not mean you have to go. And given it’s a text and you have not indicated any relationship with the mother-to-be I don’t see why you would feel the need to be there.

    2. Megs*

      That totally sounds like the kind of casual thing where a couple of hours is perfectly appropriate. If they weather where you are is anything like where I am, you really won’t want to be outside more than a couple of hours and people should get that.

    3. Temperance*

      I probably wouldn’t go at all if I didn’t know the mother. Also, I hate baby showers and it’s so grossly hot out.

      1. Dot Warner*

        I agree, you’re not required to go at all. If you don’t know the mother well or at all, you’re not letting her down by declining the invitation.

    4. YaH*

      Eeesh. 24 hour notice, no gift registry information, outdoor event in a heat wave, and 2+ hours of driving? I’d skip it. I think if you’d been on the guest list you would have already received an invitation. This seems like a last-minute gift grabby thing, or a fill-empty-space out of desperation thing. Although you’re close with the grandmother, the mother-to-be clearly doesn’t consider you close enough to have included on the guest list.

  23. Hope*

    I’m new to commenting, but I’ve been a long time reader of the site and have a bit of a loaded question.

    How do you help a new friend dealing with depression who lashes out when you suggest they get help? I know on some level they know something is deeply wrong but they’re also trying to lean entirely on their (unfortunately small) friend group. Every time I get a text or call from her my heart drops and I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I feel selfish, but also guarded about my ability to be on call. In the past I’ve lost friends to mental illness and it terrifies me to get close to someone that unstable again, knowing that all I can do is encourage her to get help and call the authorities if she starts have suicidal ideation again (she’s already been on suicide watch before). I’m just not great at setting boundraries with friends in general.

    1. Megs*

      Make sure to take care of yourself! You can’t do much for her until she wants to get help, but you can listen and let her know you’re there for her. If she’s texting more than you can handle, you could try keeping answers shorter to keep those boundaries in place. If she’s got a small friends group, maybe make sure you’ve got a non-mutual friend that you can get support from, because like I said, you e got to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, too. Good luck!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Try to understand that this person may not be able to commit to a friendship right now.
      Also consider that you are not a qualified counselor.

      All you can really do is say, “I care about you, you are my friend. But I will not be yelled at. When you can talk calmly, we can talk. ” Then hang up.

      If you are terrified of getting close in a situation like this, then don’t.

    3. Temperance*

      Honestly, I think you get to be “selfish” here. You don’t have to be your friend’s on-call therapist, nor do you need to do so. It’s not good for you, even.

        1. Temperance*

          I don’t agree. I’m coming from the perspective of the child of a mentally ill woman, who was and is made responsible for her mood swings, anxiety, etc. It sucked, and wasn’t fair. Only the mentally ill person is responsible for their own illness.

          This friend is wearing Hope down, and treating her badly. That’s uncalled for. One of my former friends had mental health issues (depression?) and she went through a phase where she lashed out at people and said and did massively offensive and hurtful things. We all cut her off; I didn’t need a person who tried to go after my very-recent ex-boyfriend in my life, nor did our other friends want to spend time with a person who constantly said mean things.

          1. YaH*

            I think Not So NewReader is saying that being the friend’s “therapist” is enabling the friend to continue to avoid seeking professional help, and that maybe by OP putting the boundaries into place, the friend will realize that she needs to seek out actual mental health resources rather than draining her friends’ emotional wells dry.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Thank, YaH. That is what I meant.

              Temperance I agree with you. I tend to think the disconnect from responsibility for one’s actions causes the mental illness to worsen. It’s chicken/egg question, I guess, as to which came first. However, there is a relationship of some sort between not taking responsibility and spiraling out of control.

              I am sorry that things were so rough for you.

    4. CoffeeLover*

      We’re in a similar boat. I posted last week about a friend who’s struggling with alcoholism, severe anxiety, and some other stuff that is too much to explain. This friend also has almost no other family or friends. I’m struggling with that selfish feeling too.. and the feeling of abandoning someone in a time of need. You can maybe look through the responses I received last week, but a lot of people really drove home the fact that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. So you shouldn’t feel guilty about not helping that person (or not being able to help). I posted below about recently trying to establish some boundaries with my friend. I also suck at it. I’m great at establishing boundaries in basically every other relationship, but I can’t do it with friends. I think if you know you can’t keep being the shoulder your friend cries on, you need to tell her. Tell her that you’ll be always be there for her, but that you can’t be the one she comes to to unload. Maybe that will encourage her to speak to a professional, maybe not. At the end of the day it’s her life and her responsibility, not yours.

    5. Hope*

      Thank you for all your comments. Today took a turn for the worst, she called about needing to go the hospital so I went over to her place with my partner and she was increasingly delusional, we brought her to the ER where she insisted her problem was physical (tumors?) and they ran the gamut of tests on her. I let the doctor know some background of her recent behavior and she ended up being transferred to a different hospital that had a psychiatrist on staff. She has been discharged and I do plan on going forward establishing boundaries. I didn’t feed into her paranoia at all, and let her know I felt she did need help and that I couldn’t help her. I even called her mom and let her know what is going on.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        You have gone as far as you can go here. And you have been a good friend to this person. I hope she gets the help she needs.

  24. New Rx*

    After months of misery, I finally worked up the courage to find a doctor and start an antidepressant called Zoloft. These first few days have been rough. Feeling very fuzzy headed, dizzy, can’t get out of bed in the morning, stuff like that. I feel like I need to give it a week to see if these side effects go away before I give up on it. Any similar experiences or words of wisdom?

    1. AcidMeFlux*

      I had a hard time adjusting to Welbutrin, but I’m glad I did. It made me nervous to the point where I needed a hot bath in the morning and couldn’t eat till lunch. I told my doctor about it a few months later and she said, “But why didn’t you tell me? A mild tranquilizer could have taken care of those reactions.” Check back with your doctor. And it might take more than just another week.

    2. BRR*

      It may take longer than that to see how you feel on an anti depressant. Also anti depressants effect everyone differently so there’s sort of a guessing aspect. If one doesn’t work I would try another. I would also consider therapy in addition to medication. A multi prong approach often times helps more.

    3. Caledonia*

      I’ve not been on Zoloft but have taken Citalapram and the fuzzy head/feeling disconnected/a bit sick. It definitely takes a while to push on through those, usually takes about a month/6 weeks to be fully absorbed into your body. Personally I’d say 1 week is too soon to go back, give it a month and if you still feel awful, go see your dr.

    4. MillersSpring*

      Zoloft is a strong one. Call your doctor’s office Monday and list your symptoms. The doctor may tell you to wait another week or decide to start you on a different AD.

    5. Anon for this*

      Talk to your doctor about it.

      SSRIs build up in your system – they’re not short-acting – and they take about six weeks to really kick in. When starting new SSRIs, I usually had a two-week period with side effects that were gone by the end of the third week.

      Which isn’t to say that you should put up with this, just that it’s not wildly abnormal. Your doctor should be able to adjust the dose, try different medication, or help you decide what else to do from here.

      1. Anon for this*

        Also, I’m going to second advice on trying therapy and other approaches. Medication alone kept the lows from getting too low, but it was therapy that helped with the problem causing such low points in the first place.

    6. Chaordic One*

      I had a bad experience with Celexa. Immediately after starting it, I developed a mild cold and flu-like symptoms including a runny nose. It turned out they all side-effects from Celexa. Welbutrin worked quite well for me, but had side-effects of its own. (Dry mouth, dry eyes and constipation.)
      Prunes became my best friend while on Welbutrin.

    7. Gaia*

      First, good for you for seeking out help. That is often the most difficult aspect of dealing with depression.

      Second, it is important to know that antidepressants effect everyone differently and there is often a few rounds of adjustments before you find the right one for you. This is normal and expected. Do not just suffer through it and do not just stop taking them. Talk to your doctor.

      Good luck in this journey. You deserve to feel better and you deserve to be healthy.

    8. Cordelia Longfellow*

      Hang in there! As others have said, it can take up to six weeks for anti-depressants to fully kick in and for initial side effects to subside (though there may be continual minor side effects). And everyone’s body and chemistry is different, which is why there are so many different medications. It may take a few months to figure out which meds and which dose works for you, but it is worth it.

    9. ArtK*

      Hugs there. It can take quite a while for your body to acclimate to antidepressants. A few days is still very early. Your Dr should have started you on a low dose and have you ramp up after a couple of weeks. If they started you on a full dose (usually 1 pill) they’re not managing this properly. Expect this to last at least a couple of weeks or longer. Sorry, it’s one of the sucky things about this.

      Warning: Do *not* stop abruptly. Talk to your doctor first. Suddenly stopping antidepressants can have some very nasty side effects.

      1. Chaordic One*

        Oh, yeah, I kind of forgot about that. It is definitely something that you start at a low dose and you build up to a full dose over a period of a couple of weeks. It’s the same when quitting. You don’t just stop, you gradually decrease the dose over the period of at least a couple of weeks.

    10. Marillenbaum*

      When I first went on an antidepressant, my doctor prescribed Zoloft. I didn’t react well to it: heart racing, feeling panicky, like my blood was racing in my veins at a million miles an hour. I called my GP’s office, they told me to stop taking it, and we tried Lexapro, which went so much better. Sometimes, it can take a couple of tries to find the right medication, and that’s okay. Be as kind as you can to yourself, because it’s rough to end up feeling worse when you’re trying to feel better.

  25. LiteralGirl*

    I’m making a Dave Grohl cake for my daughter’s birthday. It will be okay, but the skin turned out a little Trump-y. We’ll see how it turns out.
    We bought tickets for Paris for my 50th birthday next spring. No kids, just the hubby and me. So excited!

    1. Artemesia*

      Consider lunch at La Tour d’Argent for your birthday; the prix fixe lunch is not insanely expensive for a Michelin star place and the view of Notre Dame and the service are wonderful. Make reservations two or three months out (can’t remember when they open for reserving) and indicate it is a birthday and maybe you will get the window table. Another spectacular view is Les Ombres — good food but not as good as La Tour d’Argent.

  26. LawCat*

    Ran 6 miles this morning. The largest distance that I’ve ever run! :-)

    This afternoon: Going to lunch with friends and then pokemon crawl in our neighborhood.

  27. FiveWheels*

    I don’t have great teeth. Could do with straightening and whitening. Anyone have experience of doing this as an adult?

    1. Cristina in England*

      It really depends on having a good dentist, IMO. I trust my dentist completely not to try to oversell expensive procedures or otherwise pressure me into anything but she really keeps up to date with new products. There are lots of different choices available that are great for adults, like Invisalign, which is some sort of invisible teeth straightening thing that my sister got to straighten her teeth (she never had braces as a kid). Good luck!

      1. FiveWheels*

        Thanks! I think I’ll try anything as long as it isn’t horribly expensive or horribly obvious but it’s probably hard to combine the two… And in pretty sure I can’t scam the NHS into covering it…

        1. Cristina in England*

          Oh you’re in the UK! My sister is in the US so I don’t know if Invisalign is available here under that name, but in the last ten years I have seen a big surge in cosmetic dentistry places here. You can get dental insurance through Bupa or similar (check Money Saving Expert comparison) but if you don’t need major work done you might not need that. If you are nervous you can also Google sedation dentistry. Some people here go to Eastern Europe to get implants, etc, because it’s much cheaper.

          1. FiveWheels*

            Yes I have typical British teeth lol!

            I wouldn’t travel abroad – too much risk if it all goes wrong. Pretty sure Bupa wouldn’t cover pre-existing conditions either.

            I’ve looked at Invisalign,almost looks too easy to be true though…

            My dentist has an attached orthodontist, i don’t know how good they are but i should just bite the bullet and make an appointment. I’m really shy/embarrassed about it, because i do that typically British thing of “here is an obvious flaw, i can’t fix it right now so I and everyone else will simply pretend it isn’t there”

            Coming into work with braces makes me feel like I’d be holding up a big sign saying “now we can all discuss my terrible teeth!”

            1. Cristina in England*

              Wow you’re lucky to have an attached orthodontist! My sister was happy with her Invisalign. I don’t live near her so I can’t speak to its visibility but you definitely won’t be coming into work with a big sign on saying “I AM HAVING DENTAL WORK DONE EVERYONE PLEASE STARE AT MY MOUTH”. Another option might be to get conventional braces but only on the backs of your teeth (I knew someone who had this as an adult, in the US).

              I think that it is totally normal to be a bit embarrassed about long-standing dental problems, but the dentist is the one person for whom this is a totally normal everyday thing and you should at least make the appointment. You can always decide not to get it or save up for it. Good luck!!

    2. Reba*

      It’s worth shopping around. My mom is looking into braces and got radically different treatment plans (and costs) from different orthodontists. Good luck!
      My MIL did a short, rather aggressive course of braces recently, and her feedback was, “this hurts!” We were sympathetic but like, remember when the grouchy teenagers in your house told you how it hurt? Yes it hurts!

      1. FiveWheels*

        Ha yeah, I refused to get it done as a kid. Now I’m a Grown Up I’m missing three wisdom teeth and a pre molar so i guess there’s space, at least :-P

      2. Marillenbaum*

        Time to eat nothing but pudding! When I was a teenager, I had braces for three years, and each time I got them tightened, I was miserable for about 3-4 days afterwards. Even a soft sandwich was painful to eat, and I always appreciated when my mom was nice about buying extra soup so I could eat things comfortably.

  28. SAHM*

    Cute animal or vegetable nicknames for Ellie? My oldest I called Bug and my second I call Pumpkin Noodle (or Angel Butt), but running into a snag with Ellie. I’ve been calling her Ellie Belly, which …ehh, I’m not keen on keeping that nickname but the other one I can think of is Ellie Bear, not certain about that either… She just hit 3 weeks and looks like #2’s doppelgänger, hubby can’t tell the difference when I show him baby pics of #2 side by side with her pics. Totally in <3

    1. Mephyle*

      Ellie Bear is good. You could also just go for diminutive without it being animal or vegetable – Elliekins, Elliechan.

    2. Aurora Leigh*

      Kumquat. It’s fun to say! I was known as Snickerbritches as a child. Munchkin is also good. And Sweet Pea.

    3. C Average*

      I have an Elly, and when she first learned to swim (and couldn’t get enough of the pool) I called her Ellyfish.

      She had a tendency to walk very quietly around the house and sneak up on the rest of us, so we also sometimes call her Silent E.

      El, Peanut Butter and Elly, and Weird El (we’re Weird Al Yankovic fans) have also been in play.

      And sometimes when she forgets to use her indoor voice, we refer to her as Yelly.

      (We are, if it’s not obvious, a family who indulges in a lot of affectionate teasing. All of us have various flattering and not-so-flattering nicknames.)

      1. SAHM*

        That’s super cute! Especially since I call her brothers “String Beans” sometimes. Scrawny boys.

  29. Jules the First*

    I have neighbours! The apartment next door has been empty for six months, but it finally sold and they moved in last week. Since there’s only the two apartments on this floor, I’d like to say hi and welcome to the building, but I’ve never done this deliberately before (I’ve always been more a casual-bump-into-you-in-the-hallway person).

    Anyone have any tips for low-key ways to get to know your new neighbours?

    1. Caledonia*

      When I moved in, waaay back in 2006 to my flat, one of my neighbours left me a note under the door to say hello, welcome to the neighbourhood/building and that I should go up and knock if I needed anything or I wanted a coffee after having finished packing. Keeps it low key/less awkward than knocking on their door.

    2. Marillenbaum*

      I like to drop off a quick note with my contact info and a couple of menus for takeaways near us. I also sometimes bring banana bread (no nuts–so many people have an allergy), but that’s only if I have time and I think they’ll be home.

  30. Outside Earthling*

    Does anyone have experience of sharing a new home with parents after lots of years living alone? My parents divorced 20 years ago and my dad’s current relationship is on the rocks. My mum and dad have always been good friends. They’re thinking of pooling resources and buying a new small 2 bedroom place together and living as flatmates. They are retirees and their budget doesn’t stretch too far.

    My idea is to join the arrangement and scale up to a biggish house where we all have space to live independent lives without getting on top of each other. With my salary, we could get somewhere nice. Practically I think it makes a lot of sense. My concerns are around (1) putting pressure on a currently good relationship with each of them, (2) feeling that it would be saying goodbye to the idea of ever finding a romantic partner (I am 42 and have been single for years but have not completely given up on the idea of a relationship), and (3) uncertainty about how I’d cope if their health worsens, although that’s something I’d have to face in any case, whether we live separately or apart.

    They are excited about the idea but also concerned about whether it is the right thing for me. I feel I’m messing them around a bit by dithering although they tell me there’s no pressure at all. I am someone who loves my own space but I’d like to help them find a better home than they could afford on their own, and maybe I would enjoy aspects of living with them.

    Any thoughts? Thanks.

    1. Temperance*

      Honestly, I probably wouldn’t do this, but I don’t have a great relationship with my parents. It would make it harder to develop a romantic relationship, and you would be SOL on privacy if you wanted it.

    2. Sualah*

      Unless I could find some sort of multifamily property (2 or 3 unit), I wouldn’t. A bedroom wouldn’t be enough for me, personally.

    3. AcidMeFlux*

      Ten years ago I would have said oh, no, don’t. Nowadays, with the economy and housing market as it is, I might say give it a try. How about buying a place where your housing space is a separate unit, like a studio? You could share major appliaces like a large fridge/freezer, washer-dryer, but still have your freedom/space. And if it didn’t work out you could leave, go somewhere else, rent out what was your space. As for the arrangement having an effect on future romantic relationships…well, if it works, I think it won’t be a problem for a mature understanding partner. As for future health problems, that’s such an unknown factor that right now it shouldn’t put you off the plan.

      1. SophieChotek*

        +1

        What about buying two sides of a duplex/adjacent condos or something like that? Then you would have your own space but still be together/could watch each others place, but in the future (one of the duplex/condos could be sold/rented out.)

        Due to economic situation I moved back in with my parents after 10 years, and although we get along pretty well, I would say our relationship reverted back to ‘child/parent’ in unhealthy ways. We agreed it was not good but also knew some of those ‘patterns’ were essentially impossible to get out of.

        Another family member has a house and then a sort of “mini apartment” (as in 2 bedrooms) over the garage — same idea. (Separate entrances, kitchen, bath, etc.) [I think they did this, instead of a full basement]. I also think they custom-built the house.

        1. Ultraviolet*

          I grew up in a duplex with my parents and my siblings and me in one unit and my grandmother in the other. On the whole it was a really good arrangement. From my perspective, the main things to watch out for would be:

          1) How much care-taking would fall to you if your parents eventually need help with day-to-day things, or can’t drive/walk anywhere alone? My parents spent a lot of time helping my grandmother with groceries, banking, sending mail and bill payments, etc. And they were the ones who handled everything in her medical emergencies.

          2) How much time are you all envisioning spending together? How many meals eaten together, how many visits to each others’ units in an average day? You can probably compromise and work it out, but better make sure you’re not on radically different pages, or someone could end up really disappointed.

          3) If you would own one of the units and your parents would own the other (or each own another), you need to think about what happens to their unit when they pass away. Will they leave it to you? Will it be sold and profits split among other heirs? Is the idea of a stranger buying that unit okay with you? Are they comfortable leaving it to you if they have other heirs who would then get relatively little from their estate? Even if one of those potential heirs suddenly has a big financial or medical problem and could really use the windfall? Would it be significantly harder to sell the units individually than to sell the whole building at once? (On the plus side, when my parents eventually inherited my grandmother’s unit and moved out and sold the whole building, they sold it pretty quickly to a property management company. I think they had a much easier time than they would have selling a single-family house in that market.)

          4) This is location-dependent, but the duplexes in my hometown were not in the nicest neighborhoods. Not dangerous, but a lot of poorly-kept yards and houses and some drug activity. New neighbors moved in and out a lot, and some were pretty noisy.

    4. Cristina in England*

      I would try to think of other ways to help them. Can they find a place that can be bought for less and then renovated or extended before they move in? It is hard enough to find a house that one person is happy with, let alone three. Do you want the same things in a house and in a neighbourhood?

    5. MillersSpring*

      I wouldn’t do this because you will miss your privacy and independence.

      But if you are stuck on the idea, do a trial run. Live with each one of them for at least two to three weeks. Figure out how you tend to interact with them on a day-to-day basis on issues from laundry, meals and cleaning, to TV, errands and entertaining guests. Will you be able to adjust to having just your bedroom as your sole refuge of privacy? If you can afford it, rent a house with them together for a week or more, either in town or on vacation, and determine if they and you can live together amicably.

    6. C Average*

      This sounds like the basis for a very entertaining sitcom, but I worry about how it would play in real life.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I would not do it. I looked at this years ago with my father in mind. I realized that we could run into some serious trouble if dad could not pay his share of the mortgage for whatever reason. Instead we opted for apartments and finally a modest home, that all had guest rooms.

      Just based on personal experience, my nightmare would be to co-own a piece of property with a parent who had bankruptcy due to medical debt. That to me is the biggest wild card in this whole scenario.

      YMMV. I am not a big risk taker. However, I did want to include my father in our lives and this is what we came up with.

    8. Chaordic One*

      If your parents are still healthy and have friends their own age, I don’t see any problems in the immediate future. After a certain age, which varies from person to person, it gets really hard.
      After my father got to his mid-80s all of his friends passed away and he had health problems that led him to sitting around all day watching movies on TV. I know he was lonely and probably depressed, but I really don’t know what to do for him. He doesn’t make new friends easily and gets upset by Republicans. I visit with him by phone for at least an hour every day and when I when I visit in person he talks my ears off (telling me the same boring stories over and over, but I’d listen to them because, that’s what you do). We’ve hired a lawn service and gardener to take care of the yard, because he is no longer physically able to do so.
      My mother still has a circle of female friends but is showing signs of early Alzheimers. She has gotten lost in large department stores a couple of times, and doesn’t seem to notice that the house isn’t as neat and clean as usual. (Maybe it’s her eyesight.) Things that she does, sewing and quilting, seem a lot more difficult for her. My parents have both developed a fixation with eating out, because they don’t feel like cooking. Then when they go, they complain about how big the portions are. I’m not sure how much longer things will go one like this. My sisters all live far away and visit infrequently, but they also phone my parents at least a couple of times a week.

    9. Artemesia*

      I would not do this unless I would have a separate apartment in the home like a MIL suite. If you have your own kitchenette, bath, sitting room and bedroom so that you could have privacy and solitude it might work if your parents are not intrusive and have their own social lives. Even if you don’t have your own kitchen, I would not do it without a suite — a separate room to entertain friends and enjoy evening privacy as well as a bedroom.

      It would also need some serious discussion of how to maintain boundaries and privacy especially when entertaining friends.

    10. LCL*

      It could work. It needs a lawyer. What happens if one party dies, or falls in love and wants to move in with the new love, or becomes incapacitated and needs their money share cashed out? Will this arrangement affect anyone’s Medicare or insurance or pension or SS? You said flat mates so maybe you are UK and SS isn’t a consideration, but some benefits could be affected.

    11. Anon for this*

      I wouldn’t. I currently live with husband in a flat that sits at the top of the family building: 4 apartments in total, with 8 adult family members, 6 children, and 3 maids. Despite the separate flats, the worst for me is to always feel like someone is watching you and knows whether you are home, whether you stay out late one night, etc. Of course, your situation is different, as you are talking about your own family, but still, you are also talking about actually living in the same flat. What if your parents have a fight about something? What if you have a fight with either of them? As a potential partner, I would definitely be reluctant to moving into that sort of arrangement. (I was before moving in to the current one, and I’m packing my bags and leaving the country in one month – hoping that it doesn’t mean the end for my marriage as well, but it could potentially…. )

    12. Ella*

      To me I see plenty of ways this could go wrong- what if they don’t like living with each other? What if you don’t like living with them? What if they don’t like living with you?

      If you’re set on it, why not rent a place for a few months or a year? It would give you each a chance to try it out.

      Your instincts about worrying about future romantic partners are correct. I would be really reluctant to date anyone in this situation. It’s sort of sweet, but the reality is – no privacy. I also wonder how it would play if either parent suddenly started dating (other people- or each other).

    13. Jerry Vandesic*

      If you do this, you REALLY need a lawyer to draw up the documents. You probably don’t want to own it as joint tenants or even tenants in common. Probably best to do a very thorough trust agreement, with things like ownership, beneficiaries, ability to cash out, ability to move others in, etc. all worked out in excruciating detail. If you can’t stomach working out these details, it indicates that you aren’t up for this living arrangement.

    14. Outside Earthling*

      Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. This is the first time I’ve asked a non-work question here and it’s been really helpful to read everyone’s responses.

  31. Feo Takahari*

    Book rec: Unforgettable by Eric James Stone. It’s a potboiler thriller about a spy who’s a walking quantum anomaly that can neither be seen nor remembered, with a deadpan sense of humor that reminds me of Ron Gilbert or Tim Schafer. I figured AAM would like it because it has the best depiction I’ve ever seen of what it’s like to work for a boss who keeps forgetting you exist.

    1. Mephyle*

      Thanks for the recommendation! The premise is a little bit reminiscent of The Time Traveler’s Wife but this book is completely unlike it, since the style and approach are entirely different. Looking forward to reading it!

  32. LAI*

    Recently, a new neighbor moved in next door with 2 dogs. They seem very sweet but the issue is that the owners leave the dogs outside all the time and they bark at my dogs through the fence. I don’t think their dogs ever go inside. We go out and get our dogs every time they bark, and if it happens several times in a row, we end up locking our dogs in the house. I know my dogs are half of the problem, but I’m starting to get resentful that the neighbor owners never respond. They seem content to just leave their dogs out there and let them bark, leaving us to always be the ones dealing with it and meaning that our dogs can’t enjoy full access to their own yard.

    1. Oh Fed*

      Do you think the dogs would settle down if they all socialized in the same yard a few times? Perhaps then they would just greet each other with a few barks and you won’t have to go out and get your dogs. And you’ll be able to get to know your neighbors better.

    2. MillersSpring*

      If the dogs get along, consider creating a flap between your yards so that they can play together. You also might try asking them directly if they could keep their dogs inside several evenings each week.

    3. KR*

      Also, could you put up some sort of barrier so the dogs can’t see each other if they don’t get along or is the issue that the dogs can’t see each other so they back more? How much does your neighbor mind the barking? If they don’t really care, maybe it’s easier to let the dogs bark it out. I think you should talk with them and ask them to take their dogs in certain nights a week so you can let your dogs out.

  33. Stephanie*

    Good pinto bean recipes? I ended up cooking a whole bag (probably when I just needed half the bag at most) and need ideas to use them up before they go bad. Only idea I have now is a bunch of refried beans…

    1. Katie the Fed*

      I sometimes mash and freeze them in small containers. Sometimes with spices so I can have bean dip when I thaw

    2. AnnabelleLee*

      Cooked beans freeze really well if you are interested in keeping them longer. I spread them on a cookie sheet then when they’re fully frozen I put them in freezer bages or containers.

  34. Rory Gilmore's Book*

    Best money saving ideas?

    Im trying to build up my six month emergency fund and pay off my spouses car. The only other debt we have is our house. Im pretty good with money but would love to hear what others have done to save money.

    1. Stephanie*

      Cook at home more, if you’re not already. For grocery purchases, see what’s on sale and learn what produce is in season when (usually the really cheap stuff is what’s in season).

    2. Cruciatus*

      Some things I don’t even do to try and save money, they are just impractical to me otherwise (see above about cutting into lotion/etc. bottles to get every last drop). I pack my own lunch most days, drink non-bottled water, buy generic for products I can’t tell the difference in (except cotton swaps–will always buy Q-Tips!). Use the library–I can get books, movies, TV shows (and I recently discovered we can access their online version of Consumer Reports so I don’t have to renew our subscription next year). Go to movie matinees or discount Tuesdays, brew coffee at home, clip coupons for eating out (or for anything, really). Still like to go out once in a while but hey, why not save $5 off my Red Lobster bill? Direct deposit so I never touch the money. Try to pay in cash because it’s easier to see how much money you’re left with. Use store reward cards. Sometimes it takes a while but you can get discounts off of gas (had $.70 off last week!) or freebies (last week was a free bag of lemons!). If you won’t use a particular store’s gift card you can find people to exchange with for something you will use or just get the cash. And right now I’m also trying to sell some things online in my city’s Facebook garage sale site. Won’t make me a millionaire, but I’m getting rid of crap and getting a few extra dollars that I’ll use towards new house stuff (once I finally have a new house).

      1. Cruciatus*

        Oh yeah, and I shop a lot online. I use ebates.com to get money back. I’ve been slowly buying some home wares for the future and Macy’s was having a great sale and then ebates had them at 10% back that day. I got a great deal (I think!) on pots and pans AND $50 back at ebates. I have to wait until September or October before I can get the check but that’s fine with me. Sometimes I only get literally pennies back but it all adds up. The amount of cash back fluctuates but almost all major stores are available through the site (which is free). You can almost certainly get at least something back. Certain Amazon.com departments also get money back (but unfortunately not all).

        And like Katie the Fed said, ask for discounts. But also look for ones you might already be entitled to. Like if you have a AAA card. You can get discounts at certain stores–like New York & Co. (is that what it’s called these days?). I get a quarterly “newspaper” from them with, sure advertisements for trips, but they also tell you which stores you can use your card in. Hotels, restaurants, retailers.

    3. Katie the Fed*

      – If you’re buying coffee, stop. Make it at home and bring it with you.
      – Same with food. Cook it yourself. Also learn to make some prepared foods yourself – hummus, baking bread, etc. Very easy.
      – Go through ALL of your bills and see if they’re necessary. Like, we have a Hulu, Neflix and Cable bill. We don’t need all of those. Cut some services if you’re not using them.
      – Stop buying stuff, especially clothes. You probably don’t need any new clothes are shoes for the next 6 months, so try to do without.
      – Never buy bottled water or soda. Carry a refillable bottle around.
      – Cut electric bill by raising the air conditioning temperature, especially when you’re not home. I don’t *think* my dog minds being at home in 85 degrees?
      – If you have pets, look for cheaper but high quality foods. Nature’s Domain at Costco is an excellent food. Dog treats, flea treatments, etc are all really cheap there too
      – Erase from your mind phrases like “I’ve been good, I deserve a little splurge.” You deserve financial stability. Don’t “treat” yourself, at least not until you’ve met these goals.
      – If you have prescriptions, see if your insurance offers a mail-order program that will save you money.
      – Eat less meat (a bonus for the environment too!) Try to have 2-3 meatless days a week. Learn to cook beans from scratch and use them in lots of things. I use beans for protein in everything.
      – Talk to the adults in your life who you still exchange gifts with, and ask if they’d be willing to stop. I’ve done that with my sister and friends. We don’t need to waste money on gifts at this point in life. They’ll probably be relieved too.
      – Tell your friends you’re trying to save money when they ask about doing expensive activities. Good friends will understand and support you.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Oh also – it’s ok to ask for discounts! Don’t be rude about it, but for big ticket things – try just asking nicely. Just say “you know, this is a tad out of my price range – is there any way for me to get this or something similar for about 10% less?” I’ve done this with services like yard work, tree removal, realtor fees, legal stuff, etc. Just ask really nicely – the worst they can say is no. Don’t insult the value of their work, but let them know that it’s a tad high and see if they can work with yon the price.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          Sorry, one more thought on this. At retail stores, ask if they have any promotions you could take advantage of. This is how I discovered that at outlet malls the customer service center has a booklet of coupons for all the stores – I really wanted a pot from the Williams Sonoma outlet and a very nice lady told me I could get the booklet and it had a 20% off coupon for a single item. You’re not asking them to cut the price, but the salespeople will know if there are coupons available that you could find.

      2. Library Director*

        My only caution is on the temperature. Often it’s better to have the temp about 78F. Higher and it can cost more to cool down the house. In a humid climate? Mold will grow and that’s bad. Running ceiling fans allows us to have the temp higher but be comfortable in the room we’re in.

      3. Sara*

        Lots of great ideas here, but I’d caution against the Costco brand flea prevention for pets. I’ve worked at a number of veterinary clinics and in my experience it’s not very effective. We would have clients who told us they used that product religiously whose pets were still crawling with fleas. It’s a lot more of a pain to have to treat your house for fleas than it is to buy good-quality flea prevention (use Advantage, Frontline, Revolution, or Comfortis).

        Also, one of the vets I worked under strongly advised against the Costco brand flea treatment because in his experience it was pretty toxic stuff. He was especially leery of it for small and/or young animals.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          Oh, yeah, I should have clarified. Costco brand flea treatment is terrible! That’s how we ended up with fleas last year. They carry Frontline too though – that’s what I get, and it’s much cheaper.

    4. anon again*

      I never buy health and beauty products or paper goods at the grocery store. I can usually buy those at a big box store or drugstore when they’re having a sale. I try to have at least one extra of each item on hand at home so I never run low and have to pay full price in a pinch.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I make a shopping list, just like groceries but I list off clothes or household items I am looking for. Then I watch for places that might have that item at a good discount.

      Go to tag sales, especially the ones you ordinarily pass by in the course of your day. I used to ignore them, not any more. I am a little more spontaneous about stopping. Today’s big kick is the brand new cordless mouse I picked up for $2. Not something I would have paid full pop for, as I can’t justify it when I have a perfectly good wired mouse. I plugged it in today and it works great.

      Go to going out of business sales. I know you did not say you are renovating, but the same idea applies. I went to a building store that was going out of business and picked up $1200 kitchen cabinets for $75 each, $50 rolls of insulation for $10 each, etc. I went with a list and that was very helpful for keeping me on track.

      Actually use the things people give you. I dunno what has happened in our world but people give each other stuff and they take it home then throw it on the pile. I have made more of an effort to put the new-to-me item to use and it really helps the budget.

      I organized my husband’s tools and miscellaneous hardware. If you can’t find something that is the same as not having it. If your stuff is even a little organized you can find that nail or that screwdriver when you need it, and you do not have to go out and buy one. Years ago we found that we had 7 cans of WD-40 (wth?), we stopped buying it and made more effort to keep those cans handy.

      Watch the local paper for free events. Take more walks, couples that take walks together tend to have healthier, happier marriages, win-win.

      Watch your bank fees. Look to see what you are getting charged for and is it necessary. Can you find a cheaper place to bank with?

      A few years ago, I went through my house to see where I was wasting electricity. I reduced my electric bill by 50% because I had not even been thinking about what I was wasting.

    6. Caledonia*

      I have er…lifted various things from my places of work e.g. pens, envelopes, post it notes.

    7. Chaordic One*

      I volunteer at the library’s used book store and, over several months, made some excellent finds in exchange for a modest donation. ($2.00 for a like-new hardcover James Patterson novel.) I still spend some money on books, but it’s a lot cheaper than Barnes & Noble or Amazon. I’ve also visited used clothing stores. Most were depressing, but my town has a good one run by the Methodist church where I’ve bought some nice dressy things I wear to work (jackets mostly).

      Coupons, if it is for something that you would usually buy anyway, why not? My food allergies make dining in restaurants kind of chancy anyway and I do not miss not eating out. (I’m a fairly good cook myself, and almost always can whip up something that is going to better than eating out anyway.) I do treat myself once a week or so to Starbucks. (I usually just a get a tall drip, but it is good.)

    8. Library Director*

      There’s a good book called “Bake the Bread, Buy the Butter that does a cost analysis of making versus buying. I use my bread machine to make the dough, but bake it on a stone in the oven.

      We dropped cable and only have Hulu, Netflix, and AmazonPrime. We don’t miss it.
      We dropped Verizon, bought our own cellphones and use Boost.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Our Verizon contract is up soon, and I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do now to save money on a family phone plan. We have three adults, including my college-sophomore daughter, and one teenager. The kids will be upgrading from Samsung S3 Minis to something better, I’m still fine using my Samsung Note3, and my husband is itching to upgrade his iPhone to whatever the latest one is. I guess I’ll see what Consumer Reports recommends for us.

        1. edj3*

          If you are all willing to go Android, consider Google Fi. We just switched from Verizon to Google Fi and cut our bill from $160/month for the two of us to $80 a month. We each get 2gb of data (it’s $10 per 1gb) and if we don’t use all the data, we get a refund.

      2. Allison Mary*

        Republic Wireless is also pretty great for cheap cell phone plans (for smart phones and data plans).

    9. Ella*

      I like saving with a goal. I’m currently saving for a lawnmower, and have a few strategies. I have a high interest (1.05%) Barclays Dream account. I do auto transfers to it monthly, from each paycheck. They’re automatic, so I don’t miss the $$/don’t have to remember.

      I also add any extra money I can. For example, if I get a $4 mail in rebate for something, it goes in that account, instead of my regular checking. It’s sort of a game, where every little bit helps.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Lawnmower. I have never bought a new one. You can look for reputable dealerships and pick up a used one at a good discount. We have to have a tractor here for the looong snow covered driveway. So the tractor also mows and picks up the leaves in the fall. We were able to get a decent tractor at 60% off the original price it sold for. You can get decent discounts on walk-behind mowers also. Just my opinion, but the number one thing to look at is the service department. Machines break. That is what happens. Does the service department have a good solid reputation in the community?/unsolicited advice. Not really directed at you,I hope you know that, but something for the OP to consider if a major purchase is necessary.

      2. Artemesia*

        I like to compartmentalize too. When I was working, I did consulting and would also put the fees for consulting into our ‘travel account’. We prioritized travel and took an international trip every summer for 3 weeks. The money for that was always from the extra money I earned consulting. Money is money so it doesn’t entirely make sense but it made me feel better about spending that much and we based our retirement planning and daily costs around our regular incomes.

    10. MillersSpring*

      If you shop at Target, use their various ways to save money:
      1. Get a debit Red Card. It comes straight out of your checking account, so you never pay interest or fees. You’ll save 5% on each purpose. Plus you get free shipping on Target.com and 30 more days to make returns on any purchase, store or online.
      2. Download the Cartwheel app to your phone and peruse it regularly for deals. These are like coupons you can use over and over until they expire. The app lets you store/save a list of offers, but only a certain number of slots. They have lots of discounts on both store-brand and name brands, usually 5-10% but sometimes 25% or more. The app has a bit of gamification to help you “unlock” additional offer slots.
      3. Keep an eye out in the store for discounts you can get by texting a code or buying in bulk. I’ve gotten $10 off four jugs of cat litter at checkout as well as $5 gift cards to use on my next visit when I bought multiple packages of dog treats.
      4. Use reuseable bags and get 5 cents off your purchase for each bag you use.

  35. Cristina in England*

    Tl;dr: Should able bodied people use disabled toilet facilities?

    I remember it being different in the US, but here in the UK a disabled toilet will typically be a standalone restroom that isn’t part of the ladies’ or men’s room. It seems to be a common belief here that only disabled people should use them (I am intentionally ignoring the idea of invisible disabilities to make it simpler). You even need a special key to unlock some of them, which disabled people are given by either the local authority or a doctor when they get whatever other things like a disabled parking badge. (If you don’t have a key you usually have to ask an employee to let you in, sometimes over an intercom).

    I now use disabled toilets all the time in shopping centres and restaurants because that’s typically where the baby changing table is located. I get really upset about the state these toilets are in because I often use the regular ladies’ and the disabled loo within the same visit, and sometimes it is like I have visited two different businesses entirely. The disabled loo is often not as clean as the regular facilities and they’re often just… horrible, neglected places to have to use.

    I feel like the idea that ONLY disabled people should use these facilities contributes to the poor state they’re in. Maybe if businesses thought the majority of their customers might use them, they would put a bit more care into them? I would love to know what others think, especially in a variety of countries.

    1. MillersSpring*

      I wouldn’t feel guilty at all about using the disabled loo if that’s where the baby changing table is or if you have a stroller. But you should say something to the manager if any loo is less than clean. (Particularly if they expect mums and dads to change nappies there!) It’s very common here in the States to see signs in restrooms that the management want to know if the facility is not clean or stocked with supplies. You’d hope that any business would not want to lose customers due to the condition of its toilet facilities.

    2. Caledonia*

      Have you ever said anything to the businesses about the state of their facilities?

      I am able bodied and I have used disabled toilets – usually if I need to change e.g. long distance job interviewing because of the space/privacy vs normal toilet cube.

      In my last job, there were people of a certain faith as students/postgrads and it was thought it was them making a mess of the disabled toilet because of the use of water and it leaving a mess on the floor. They did have a special area the floor below specific for their purpose.

    3. mehowe*

      I live in the southeastern part of the US, and there are rarely separate restrooms for disabled people. There is usually a (larger) stall with a railing and sometimes other fittings at the end of the row of stalls. I generally prefer not to use that stall so that it will be open for someone who needs it, but sometimes when the restrooms are crowded and there is a line, that stall is put into the rotation. If I saw that there was someone who needed to use that stall, I would try to play bathroom police and make sure it was available for her.

      I think it’s unfortunate that the facilities for the disabled are kept in poor condition.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Similar up here. There’s one (sometimes more, depending on the size of the building) stall that’s larger with support bars, higher toilet. I also try not to use that one unless there isn’t any other choice due to long lines, or I’ve got a lot of stuff that I can’t leave out in the open and I’m travelling alone.

        I also agree with notifying the manager of the place you are, or at least one of the staff. You are using this area for one of the purposes it was intended, diapering, since the change table is in there. I will mention to someone if there isn’t toilet paper, or there’s a big mess because if someone doesn’t say anything, how long is it going to remain that way until someone discovers it? Some places have the sheet on the wall that shows how often the toilets are inspected/cleaned, but otherwise, it might not be for a while that someone comes in to clean or restock.

    4. Temperance*

      I used the accessible stall when my mobility wasn’t great after starting PT. In the US, they’re typically included in the restroom.

      I try not to use it now that I’m mostly okay, because I don’t need the balance bars etc.

    5. Mando Diao*