weekend free-for-all – September 17-18, 2016

4catsThis 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: Siracusa, by Delia Ephron, about the unraveling marriages of two couples during an Italian vacation that very much does not go according to plan.

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

{ 890 comments… read them below }

  1. Parking Etiquette?*

    My two friends and I rent out a house in a neighborhood from one friend’s parents (deceased grandmother’s house that the family didn’t want to part with so they rent to their daughter and friends). It’s a nice neighborhood with -fenced-in yards and the like. My question has to do with parking and the possession of the curb.

    The three of us have no trouble parking our cars. Our driveway can hold three but because of our schedules, we usually have two in the driveway and one on the curb. Said curb is big enough that three cars can park there if they don’t mind being snuggly but still with enough space to get out. And the curb is very much in front of our house, dropping off into our neighbor’s driveway only a foot past where our fence ends and the neighbor’s begins.

    Our neighbor typically parks on one end of the curb, next to their driveway and still technically in front of our property. And I don’t mean on occasion, I mean always parks there. Their house has I think four cars and I know they drive them all because the curb car does switch spots every few days with one of their other cars. But they are constantly there on the curb in front of our house, often far up enough that we can only park one other car there, rather than three total that could easily fit. If it was just once in a while, that would be fine, but they are constantly parking there, night and day, every week, for the past year.

    We didn’t mind it at first but, after living here a full year, it’s become very frustrating. We already have to scatter our friends’ cars around the neighborhood when we have large gatherings (which none of our other neighbors have complained about but that only happens once every few months) so that one extra spot would be nice to have. Also we’ve lately had large numbers of vehicles to park because our house is the center of most our friends and family, thus makes it a good meeting place to all carpool together for trips and stuff. Just today, the landlords were here with a service tech, and both of their cars had to park in front of other houses in the neighborhood because there wasn’t enough room at our house.

    So my question is, would we be terrible neighbors to ask them to not constantly park there? We’re not really sure what the typical neighborly etiquette would be because we all previously lived in places where parking was plentiful and you only had to discuss with neighbors if someone parked in you grass as opposed to their grass. Is it a reasonable request to ask them to not use our curb as a permanent parking spot?

    1. always anon*

      This may be dependent on the town/city you live in, but generally curbs are public property so you really have no right to ask someone not to park there just because it’s near your property.

      Honestly, if I was your neighbor, I’d be pretty annoyed that you had so many people constantly over and taking up other parking spots. But I’ve always lived in neighborhoods where parking was scarce and parking in front of the condo/apartment/house you owned or rented wasn’t yours and anyone could park there. The only thing you owned was any parking space or driveway connected directly to the house.

    2. Ayla K*

      Oof, this is tricky. Obviously you don’t have a legal “right” to the curb space, but it’s neighborly to leave the space in front of someone else’s house for them the majority of the time. I can’t think of a way you could ask them to not park there at all ever, but would it help if they just parked further up the curb so that you can still get one or two cars in behind them? That seems like a reasonable request.

    3. Loopy*

      Most places I’ve lived sound like a similar set up and as far as I know curb parking is fair game for anyone. You can’t ask people not to use that spot as its public parking. It would rub me the wrong way if someone acted as if they had any say over use of a curb spot in front of their house. This goes especially if they have a driveway.

      Also, I know in winters people try and claim curb spots that they shoveled out and even that can get nasty. If you shovel your car out, you don’t get that spot for the next few weeks until it snows again.

      I’ve only heard of people complaining when a car sits parked for weeks at a time. If the car is moving then I think it’s fair that they can use any spot along the curb they find- as often as they like.

      That’s been my experience anyway.

    4. Parking Etiquette?*

      Just based on the first three posts, you guys have already taught me something new. I thought it was… well, not a law but the rule of homeownership that curb parking belonged to that house only. We had no idea it was considered a free-for-all for all curbside parking. Thanks for the knowledge!

      1. Engineer Girl*

        It is just the opposite. In fact, the “public” space usually extends from the curb to another 6 feet into the yard. So the space in between the side walk is “public” as well as part of your front yard. You are expected to maintain that space, but the city/county can do things with it as they want (trim trees, extend sidewalks, etc.)

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Hence laws about shoveling the sidewalks. The sidewalk is considered public space.
          Here, people build their own sidewalks in front of their houses. There is not enough state/county/town crews to do this. So people build their own and it is considered public.

        2. Florida*

          This isn’t exactly accurate. The space between the sidewalk and the curb is not public. If a person is standing on that piece of land and refuses to leave, you can have the person arrested for trespassing. The city/county has a right to USE IT (which is different from owning it) for certain activies. They can install road signs, street lights, plant trees, etc. They do not have a right to build a small house on that strip or put a playground set. They can only use it for certain things (usually utility and traffic related). If someone trips and fall on the front part, Mr. Ambulance Chaser will come after you.

          The sidewalk is a little different. The public has a right to use it. The part in front of the sidewalk, the CITY/COUNTY has a right to use it. For the sidewalk, the PUBLIC has a right to use it. So you can’t have someone arrested for trespassing on the sidewalk. If someone trips and falls on the sidewalk, Mr. Ambulance Chaser will go after the city.

          It is possible that what I said above might not 100% apply to you depending on your jurisdiction and possibly even your HOA. Generally speaking, however, it is true.

          The curb and street, however, is always public property (as far as I know).

          1. JKP*

            Actually, Florida, you’re wrong. The space between the sidewalk and the curb is public. My dad was a surveyor for 40+ years, and this is something that comes up often in his work. Your property line doesn’t extend even all the way to the sidewalk. Although many people think they own that land because they are still responsible for maintaining it, it is actually not part of your property.

            1. Florida*

              That might be true where you live, but that is not the case in Florida. You own the land that is on your deed minus any easements, which are also listed on your deed. If your deed includes the portion in front of the sidewalk (which is does in my case), then you own the land. In Florida, we call it an easement or a right-of-way. This is a right to use another person’s property.
              Again, I can’t promise that that is how it is in your case because I don’t know the laws of your state (or even where you live). Sometimes cities (and even HOAs might have different rules than the state). I should’ve made that more clear in my first answer.

              1. Florida*

                I mentioned looking at your deed. In order to make sense of your deed, you might also need a plat map. It depends on what type of legal description is used.

              2. JKP*

                Actually my dad lives in Florida, and he just dealt with this same issue with his HOA this past year. They argued with him and were so sure they were right, that obviously the homeowner owned that property because they were responsible for the maintenance and liability. Until they brought in a lawyer and found out he actually was right (because – duh – a surveyor knows where the property line ends – that’s their whole job). The property line ends before the easement.

          2. jack of all trades*

            Pretty standard to have a right away that includes the curb, grass, and sidewalk. It is not included in your deed but you are responsible for maintenance of sidewalk and all planting between it and the curb.

          3. Engineer Girl*

            It’s an easement. You can’t have them arrested for trespassing, because it is a public right of way. You can get them for loitering.
            Easements are funny. The owner technically owns it, but the city/county has rights to it for public access. Other types of easements are for power lines, pipelines (water or other), and sometimes roadways/paths to access other properties.

            1. Blurgle*

              It depends on how the individual community was laid out. At my old house we most absolutely did not own all the way to the sidewalk, and there was most absolutely not any kind of easement: the survey showed the city owned the first six feet from the curb.

            2. Florida*

              An easement does not mean the public has a right to access it. An easement means the the person(s) to whom the easement granted has a right to access it. For example, the sidewalk is a public easement. Anyone can access it for a very specific purpose (you can’t set up a lemonade stand on the sidewalk in front of my house, but you can walk on the sidewalk).

              Not all easements are public. In fact, most easement are not public. Most easements are for a specific person (usually utility co.). The utility company has a right to trample through my backyard to get their power lines. The public does not. The utility company has a right to dig up my yard to get to their pipes. The public can’t dig up my yard. Some easements are not utility easements. If your house is landlocked (there is no road to your house. You have to cut through your neighbor’s yard.), then you and your guest have an easement on the neighbor’s property to get to your house. Joe Public does not have a right to cut through your neighbor’s property. It’s an easement that is only granted to you and the people who need to get to your house, not for everyone in the world.

              The part in front of the sidewalk is not always a PUBLIC easement. It is frequently a government easement (that means only the government has a right to use it, not the public). I can’t speak to your situation, but I can speak to how it is in my city.

    5. Overeducated*

      I don’t think you can justifiably ask neighbors to leave a street parking spot open so that non-residents can have closer parking when they visit. It sounds like there are 5 or 6 places (3 driveway, 3 curb) for you to park your 3 cars, unless I am misunderstanding, and your problem is that the neighbor’s use of the curb cuts it down to 4 or 5. Asking to keep open more spots than you have cars on a public street so visitors and guests don’t have to park down the street is a bit excessive, in my opinion.

    6. IrishMotherof2*

      No, it is not a reasonable request. Just because the curb is in front of your property does not mean you can dictate who parks there. As far as the parking situation when you have parties, why don’t your and your housemates park on the street and leave the driveway free for your friends?

    7. Seal*

      Perhaps you could forcus not on the fact that they’re always parked there but that they’re parking such that they’re taking up too much of the space so other cars can’t fit. I lived in Minneapolis for many years and the biggest irritation with parking in the street was people who weren’t mindful of how much space they were taking up. This was particularly maddening in the winter when the snow emergency rules were in effect and you could only park on one side of the street. Very frustrating to see someone taking up space that could easily fit 2-3 cars because they weren’t paying attention.

    8. Callietwo*

      I agree that the curb is fair game but I also think it would not be inappropriate for you to ask that they pull up so you can fit an additional vehicle. They may just be unaware of the issue and not thinking about it.

    9. Blurgle*

      It is not a reasonable request. People can park in whichever public parking space they wish to as long as they aren’t breaking any law or blocking a driveway. You don’t have any more right to the curb space in front of your house than you do to the curb space in front of my apartment building: this especially since you already have space for your own cars. If one your friends needs to park closer (say, because she uses a wheelchair or is on crutches) you can move one of your own cars and let that friend park in your driveway.

      From a practical point of view, too, you don’t want to be the neighbour complaining about minor things like parking in the public street. If you ever have to speak to these neighbours over something actually, really serious like a fallen tree or roots in the sewer line or an accident or whatever, you don’t want to have poisoned the well beforehand.

    10. Tiffany In Houston*

      I don’t think this is the hill to die on with your neighbors when you admittedly tend to have a lot of cars at your house due to your social/family life. And if I was a homeowner in that neighborhood, I’d be doubly annoyed about renters (who tend to be more transient) coming and complaining to me about 1 parking spot.

      And just because your neighbors haven’t complained to you, doesn’t mean they aren’t annoyed about the traffic coming and going at your house. I’d let this one go, IMO.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        This. If you complain to your neighbor you come off as unreasonable. Like when my neighbor demanded I cut down one of my trees because it cast too much shade on her front yard patio (she had 2 patios, one in front and one in back). Now anytime she asks me something she is automatically cast into the overly demanding clueless category. I’m much more likely to say no.
        You are in the same place – you have many cars coming to your house yet demand more space.
        Don’t do it.

      2. neverjaunty*

        I’m not following what being renters has to do with it – whether or not they tend to be more transient, they’re paying for their housing just like you are.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Renters do not enjoy a good rep. Being transient is equated with not being invested in the neighborhood or property. By, “invested” I don’t mean money. I mean being invested in building good relationships with neighbors and having a cooperative spirit. Renters are not highly motivated to do this relationship type work, because they know at some point they will move.
          Now. Not ALL renters and I do agree that this is stereotyping. But it’s good to realize that this sentiment is common because it can help guide a renter in how to handle an issue with a neighbor.

          Banking off of this, OP, why not just try to be friendly with the neighbors, get to know them, maybe help them out here and there. Then see where this puts you. You might decide the car is no big deal. Or you could over the months to come work it into conversation that you are having difficulty finding parking spots and see what they say.

          But as others have said, if your opening conversation with them is “please don’t park in front of my house”, you’re starting on the wrong foot.

          1. Florida*

            This is true. In fact, if you have two neighborhoods that are identical – one of them is predominately owner occupied and the other in predominantly renter occupied. The property values in the owner occupied neighborhood will be higher.
            Also, mortgage companies charge a higher interest rate if they know the property is not owner occupied. They know that owners take better care of the property than renters.
            It makes a difference that OP is renting. After OP has lived there for 10 years, her owner neighbors might begin to see her as less than a renter.

          2. doreen*

            And it’s not just on the renter’s side. The neighbors are more likely to do favors (like not parking in front of your house even though they legally can ) for someone who is likely to be their neighbor for years rather than one who might move when their one year lease is up.

          3. GrumpyPants*

            Whoa, how twisted is that! I am a renter for many years, and I can assure you that I take better care of the property I rent than many homeowners in my neighborhood. Try using the word ‘blacks’ for ‘renters’ and see how silly your comments are about renters. Sheesh!!

            1. Unimpressed in Resa*

              Wow. Way to entirely miss the point, get over-defensive, and make an ridiculous comment in an attempt to save face. How sad for you. I do hope you usually have better reasoning skills than this!

    11. ES*

      No, it’s not reasonable to ask them not to park on the street. That is public space. It is open and available to everyone, subject to local regulations.

      If parking is tight in your neighborhood, your party guests can carpool or use transit if that is an option.

      As for your objection to how your neighbors park—if they are leaving what you deem to be an overly generous amount of space at the curb cut, it is likely because they are being polite, allowing plenty of room for a car to swing in and turn while entering and leaving the driveway at the curb cut. This also protects their vehicle from being dinged or bumped. There may even be local regulations about how much space a parked car must leave clear at a curb cut.

    12. Elder Dog*

      Are there laws in your area making it illegal to park within 3 to 5 feet or so of a driveway, so putting three cars in that area would be violating the law? There are in mine. It’s also illegal to park within 3 feet of the mailbox so the post office truck can’t deliver the mail. It looks like you could fit three cars in front of my house, but you can only legally park one there. And you can’t legally park within ten feet of the center of the street, but the street isn’t even 20′ wide, so legally, people shouldn’t park on the street at all, although they do, and the snow plows blow their horns at 3AM because they can’t get through.

      If putting three cars out front of your house isn’t violating the law, you might paint parking lines out there, and then tell your neighbors they don’t have to pay attention to them, they’re for a couple friends of yours who always take up at least enough room for two cars. Likely your neighbors will choose to park within the lines anyway.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I believe the law here is 25 feet from the mouth of the driveway. This is what— about 2-3 car lengths? And yes, it is so drivers can swing into the driveway easily and is also so drivers coming out can see if there is an on coming car, kid on bike, etc.

        1. Parfait*

          Twenty-five FEET? Where do you live? I realize I live in a dense city, but I can’t even imagine that being feasible in my parents’ tiny town. Around here, you’re lucky to get 25 inches on either side.

      2. Florida*

        I hope you are joking about the parking lines. I’m quite certain that is illegal everywhere to paint your own traffic lines on the public road. You could actually get into a lot of trouble for that. Often, however, cities/counties have programs where you can get them to come out and paint the lines, if you can convince them that it is necessary.

    13. Oryx*

      Maybe it’s because I live in a city where street parking is really common but I don’t see the big deal with your friends and even your landlord having to park down the street or even a couple of blocks away. I have friends who have a set-up where very few have private parking, it’s almost all street and whenever I go visit I always expect to have to park a block or two away. Getting close parking like that is an exception, not the norm.

    14. Temperance*

      I think it’s really neighborhood dependent, even though it’s all public parking, legally. This is how it is at my MIL’s house. You can only park in front of her house, directly, if the neighbors are on vacation, otherwise you need to park a block away because it’s “their spot”. Everyone hates the woman across the street who has 5 cars for one reason or another and parks them all in a row.

    15. Not So NewReader*

      Talk to your landlord, maybe some lawn can become a designated area for extra cars. I have a shared driveway here. The sharing goes VERY well because everyone makes it a priority to stay out of each other’s way. Part of how we accomplish this is by parking extra cars on the lawns. When using lawns we also have the additional concern to stay off septic tanks. My neighbors can park a few people in front of their houses, but the road in front of my house narrows too much if someone parks out there. Parking on the road is not an option for my visitors. They park on my lawn. Once in a while, neighbors have to park their extra visitors on my lawn. We all understand and just work together on it.

      In the long run, if the family is going to keep the grandmother’s house as a rental property they may have to put in more blacktop or crushed stone to create more parking spaces and more drive-able spaces. But will be at some future time and will take some thinking on their part.

    16. Misc*

      From your description, it sounds like there isn’t a curb parking spot in front of their house? In which case, extra extra no, you can’t get them to not park there. Curb parking distribution is random, as far as the home owner is concerned, and controlled more by transport authorities than anything – it’s not assigned to specific houses, and nobody’s making sure it’s ‘fairly’ distributed, which means everyone needs to use a bit of common sense and spread themselves around the available parking spaces.

    17. Oryx*

      Funny story: I was on my way to the grocery store and drove down a street that has (city owned) signs indicating only residents are allowed to street park Monday – Friday, 8am – 4pm. I’ve driven down this street many, many times but have never noticed those signs before and if not for this post I don’t know if I would have! So I guess some cities do have rules regarding curbside parking but I imagine it’s well-marked like this one was.

      1. ThatGirl*

        In my Chicago suburb, and others in DuPage Co, there is no overnight parking allowed on the street without special permission. You must be in a driveway or garage.

        1. Oryx*

          I might not have been clear: for this, mon-fri, 8am – 4pm street parking is residents only. Guests are allowed weekend and evenings, even overnight (as long as they are gone by 8 am during the week).

          1. Doreen*

            I know places like this – they are near downtown and it’s an effort to prevent people who work downtown from taking up all the street parking leaving none for the residents. But it generally doesn’t mean you can only park in front of your own house, just that only area residents can park in the area.

          2. Natalie*

            A few neighborhoods in my city have similar rules, although they usually allow short term parking (15-30 minutes). Anything more than that and you need to get a permit from the city, which involves proving you live there. I’m not sure how they handle guests and visitors, though; I’ve never lived in a neighborhood with those restrictions.

            1. Ultraviolet*

              It’s common near college campuses too. In some places, a residential permit holder can get a short-term pass (a few days, maybe more) for guests.

          3. ThatGirl*

            No, I understand that. I wasn’t trying to contradict what you said – just offering a totally different perspective from my town. :)

    18. Gadfly*

      If you wanted to start a passive aggressive battle royale, you could park closer to them and even partially in the area if they aren’t there, just enough to make it unappealing to park there but not look as if you parked in the spot. If there is usually open parking on the other side of their driveway, they likely will learn to park there and get in that habit. Just be a little subtle, and don’t just plop into their spot. Just a little bit now and then, and sometimes further away. Make it random and inconsistent.

    19. Phoenix Feather*

      It’s difficult situation. I think it is quite inappropriate to ask them to not park on that curb. You may also need to check the city code – in my city, we are not allowed to park within a certain distance to a driveway to allow safe ingress/egress, so they may simply be following code that you are not aware of. We also have to place our trash cans on the curb and there is a required clearance of that space. If my neighbors are parked in front of my house and block my trash cans, *I* would get a fine from the city. There’s an unwritten understanding of where trash cans are placed and that neighbors don’t park there, but we had an issue where the night before trash pickup, a neighbor had guests over who moved our cans to park and never put them back. Our trash did not get emptied because of this, and the next week our cans were too full. We had already spoken kindly with the neighbors who apologized and took some of bagged trash so that we wouldn’t be fined for overloading our trash cans. A few months later these same neighbors went house to house leaving a lovely letter explaining that in their culture there is a three day wedding period that they would be hosting on these dates and times, and here is their phone number and email if anything comes up. That was a tremendous kindness and show of respect from them that went a long way to soothing a parking nightmare.

      You don’t own the curb, and the last thing you want to do is create a war with your neighbors. As renters, they will not just be warring with you but with your friend’s parents. It will be awful having the neighbors calling up mom and dad every time you violate noise ordinance or the slightest code violation.

    20. Minnesota Nice*

      Stumbled across this with the “surprise me” button, and wanted to share my experience. After living in a residential neighborhood for a few months, my neighbor came over, introduced himself, and kindly asked me not to park in front of his house. It hadn’t occurred to me that my behavior was inconsiderate, especially since I was owning a car for the first time in several years and when I had owned a car previously had always been living in denser neighborhoods. I happily obliged, and let my guests know to respect his wishes as well (many of whom think it’s ridiculous, but I explain to them that he asked nicely and they usually oblige).

      I think the key lies in the courteousness of your request. Based on my experience relaying this information to guests, though, it seems like it would upset some people to be asked, regardless of how courteous the request was. In my neighbor’s situation, I had been parking in front of a cut-out he wanted to reserve for a frequent elderly guest. To me, your reasoning isn’t as compelling as his, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a friendly chat with them. Since that’s the case, you might want to offer to do something nice for them in return or adjust your habits to accommodate their preferences. Or, I’ve heard etiquette experts (the Emily Post Institute’s podcast “Awesome Etiquette”) recommend getting to know your neighbors before making a request like this. All in all, I understand how these little inconveniences can cause quite a bit of frustration, so I hope you have gotten your parking situation resolved by now.

  2. Ayla K*

    This has happened to me a couple times lately and I’m just trying to figure out how to avoid it happening again. Sometimes I’ll text a good friend of mine to schedule a casual catch-up/hang-out (“hey girl, what are you doing this weekend? Dinner/drinks?”) and more than once now, they’ve assumed I’m inviting them AND their boyfriend. Not always an issue, but I also like seeing JUST my friend sometimes, and not the whole unit. This has happened with different friends too. I’ve managed to clear it up every time, although sometimes it’s been more awkward than others. How can I make it more obvious from the get-go when I just want to see my friend one-on-one?

      1. Evie*

        Yes this. If you find they are the sort to do that (and by God some of them are repeat offenders in my book) specify “time for a girls night!” Or “it’s been ages and I’m in the mood for some girl time!” And then they usually get the drift. And if they don’t then you can genuinely be super annoyed at them :p

    1. Loopy*

      That’s complicated to dance around. I think most people would be understanding but if there are some sensitive friends, maybe plan something you know wouldn’t appeal to the S/O?

    2. Christy*

      “Hey, girl, what are you doing this weekend? I’d love to catch up with you one-on-one! Dinner/drinks?”

    3. all aboard the anon train*

      I have a few friends who apparently need to go everywhere with their partner, so I’ve had to specify that I want to meet up for a girl’s night or plan something when I know their partner is busy – like, “hey, I know you said Jack has Monday night fantasy draft games, so want to meet up for drinks to catch up?” Or even , after they agree, saying something like, “Great, I’ll make a reservation for 2 at X Restaurant.”

      I don’t really understand the assumption that an invite includes their boyfriend since even when I’m in a relationship, I assume a friend asking me to dinner/drinks just wants to hang out with me. If it’s a couples thing or they want to invite my partner, that’s usually specified.

      1. Lindsay J*

        Yeah, or I’d at least ask, “Hey is it okay for me to bring boyfriend along?” before just showing up with him in tow because that gives the other person the opportunity to say, “Well I was actually looking forward to having a girl’s night” or whatever.

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          Yeah, and even then, I know which friends are okay with saying no because they just want to see me and which friends are the type who would say yes even if they mean no because they don’t want to offend anyone (or the ones who say “girl’s night” but don’t know how to say that doesn’t mean my girlfriend if I’m dating a woman at the time).

    4. Chocolate Teapot*

      Could you say something like “Hey girl, what are you doing this weekend? Dinner/drinks? It would be great for the 2 of us to catch up.”

    5. Blurgle*

      The above advice is great, but I’d also keep an eye on any friend who simply doesn’t get the point. Of course most of the time it’s just ignorance of social norms (or the rush of ‘I can’t be away from my woobie’ new love) but constant togetherness is also how abusive and controlling behaviour looks like from the outside – and that holds true whether your friend is the victim or the abuser.

    6. Meeple*

      I think this is also age-dependant-ish. After a certain point, nearly all of my friends were partnered, and some of those friends rely on partners for transportation issues/don’t drive. Then, they had kids. So, while you can certainly request a girls’ night, as time goes on, I’m finding for me, that girls nights become more rare and have been replaced with couples or couples w/kids days.

    7. Ever and Anon*

      I am a bit devious. When I want just my friend and not her boyfriend or husband, I always invite them both. If I pick the time and place judiciously, he will usually bow out on hid own. :p

    8. salad fingers*

      As someone with a socially anxious boyfriend who has to be begged to hang out with friends and family, this scenario is totally foreign to me. One of my friends has a close friend who is in an inseparable coupling and she has to be really explicit off the bat to avoid the third wheel situation. Like someone said above, reasonable friends and reasonable significant others would understand this. For the most part they did, but sometimes it meant H turned the invitation down.

    9. Audiophile*

      I’m dealing with the opposite right now, a former coworker and I having been trying for weeks to make plans to meet up. We finally settled on Tuesday and I sent a text asking what she wants to do. At this point she said she’d been discussing with friends and we could all meet up at Friday’s. This was a surprise, since to me it was clear that it would just be the two of us.
      A group get together, with two people I don’t know doesn’t exactly excite me. and I always find it annoying trying to split checks with people. I’m willing to give it a shot., because I’d like to keep in touch with this person.

      1. Ayla K*

        Oh, that drives me crazy!! I’m midway between introverted and extroverted, but being around a lot of new people is ESPECIALLY exhausting for me. If I was trying to hang out with someone for weeks and they dropped a group thing on me, I’d be pretty peeved.

        I might still go, depending on my mood and energy level (because yeah who knows some of those people could be very cool) but I’d still be peeved.

        1. Audiophile*

          You’re an ambivert. I’m discovering, I have introvert and extrovert qualities.

          It is exhausting meeting new people and that tends to make me more introverted and exacerbate my social anxiety.

          Yes, I’m peeved. Since we’d never discussed inviting other people and we’ve been discussing this since June. This plan to hangout originally started at work, then I stopped working there and we kept in touch. At no point in any of those conversations did this person ask, because let’s be honest that’s the key word here, if it was an issue if she invited other people.

    10. Ayla K*

      I think I’m especially sensitive to this right now because some people are like “oh, want to double-date?” and I have to be like “no just me” because my long-term boyfriend and I are splitting up (amicably, but still…y’know) and we haven’t told anyone yet. It’s been rough.

  3. Ayla K*

    I guess I was just having trouble figuring out how to word the message so that it wouldn’t say “hey let’s hang out soon! NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND THOUGH” but still get the same idea across. I think specifying “one-on-one” or “girls night” from the get-go should do it. Thanks everyone!

    1. Ange*

      Lol, I had the opposite problem when my sister got a really serious boyfriend where she always assumed he wasn’t invited so I set a ground rule that if I just wanted to see her I would say so, otherwise he was invited.

  4. Colette*

    An update on my physiotherapist situation from a couple of weeks ago. I followed everyone’s advice and booked with physiotherapist #2. Thanks to everyone who weighed in!

  5. Colette*

    I’m wondering what other people think of this situation.

    I have a friend, J, who is cheap in weird ways. For example, she buys the cheapest honey possible, but also bought a $80 honey container to put it in. I, on the other hand, buy more expensive local honey and keep it in the glass jar it comes in. (Not saying I’m wrong or she’s wrong, just that we have different philosphies about money.)

    She and her husband both have good jobs, and I don’t think they have money issues.

    J doesn’t have a cell phone, and she talks about that like its a virtue – she doesn’t need a cell phone, and she’s saving a bunch of money by not having one.

    She has two youngish teenagers, who also don’t have cell phones, and who really want them. She says they don’t need them, and she has no intention of getting them phones. (They do have laptops/tablets.)

    Now, in general, I think it’s fine to not get kids everything they want, and it’s certainly true that they won’t die without phones, but … cell phones are how kids communicate, and not having phones will make her kids different, and not in a good way.

    I realize this is none of my business, but I also think that she would listen to me if I pushed for the phones.

    So I finally get to my question: are cell phones luxuries or necessities for teenagers? What’s the social cost of not having one?

    1. Evie*

      I think since kids are often so busy now and need rides/tell parents if plans change etc. it is best if they have them. Also once they start driving themselves I think it is a necessity. I was 15 when I got mine, and I was just starting to drive. This was when cell phones were fairly new – lots of friends had pagers but I think if it was today I would have been probably 10-11 when I got one.

    2. Blurgle*

      I’m sort of torn on this one. I’m not much for materialism – I buy farmer’s market honey because it’s cheaper than store honey and I like it (and I keep it in the cupboard) – but I also think depriving your children of the most basic ‘cool things’ simply because you want to feel smug and superior about yourself is sort of…awful? Almost wilfully cruel? Selfish beyond measure? She’s prioritizing her own image as Miss Frugal, Aren’t I Special and Superior Because I Don’t Have a Cellphone, over her kids’ social lives and perhaps even their safety. What happens if one day her kid is out with a friend who turns out to be drunk, and she needs to call home for a ride and nobody will let her use their phone? What happens if she ends up friendless because every study party and every get-together is arranged through text? No kid is going to go out of their way to contact the kid without a cellphone; she’ll just be left out of everything.

      I really also hope neither of these kids have any medical issues like food or bee-sting allergies or asthma. To me a cellphone that can call 911 and text is an absolute necessity for anyone with a severe, quick-onset medical condition that requires emergency attention. No kid should have that kind of “your survival depends on the kindness of others” anxiety hanging over her head.

      1. Colette*

        There’s no real safety issue at this point – they go to school close enough that they could walk if necessary, neither is old enough to drive, and they don’t have life-threatening medical conditions. They could get along fine without a phone, except for the social aspect.

        1. Blurgle*

          I wrote because I know of one case where a 13-year-old girl was being driven by a friend’s mom to – somewhere, I don’t remember – and friend’s mom stunk of alcohol. If she hadn’t had her phone with her to call her own mom before they made the trip home who knows what would have happened.

            1. neverjaunty*

              It would, but I think Blurgle’s point is that this seems to be performative ‘frugality’ rather than a genuine family preference or a cost issue.

              1. Lemon Zinger*

                Exactly. This is what my father persisted in doing to my siblings and me. He’s just cheap and weird about things.

          1. Observer*

            Getting a kid a cell phone on the off chance that they will be exposed to some bizarre danger is not a favor to kids. The issue is not cell phones, per se but the attempt to manage every possible risk that could ever happen. It just doesn’t work. People need to take reasonable precautions about realistic risks. Beyond that you get into helicoptering and trying so hard to protect kids that you either scare them into immobility or teach them to tune you out when you talk about safety.

    3. LawCat*

      With the prevalence of wifi, it might not really be a big deal since texts can come in via computer or tablet.

      Observing my teenage niece, I can see that texts and social media contacts are important. Her phone is pretty busted (from dropping it) and she wants an iPhone. That, she has to save up for herself though. If I were of the view that I shouldn’t buy my kid a cell phone, I would have them save up for the one they want and give them a way to earn the monthly fee for a basic plan (e.g. I’d love if laundry weren’t my chore).

    4. Aurora Leigh*

      Well, I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 17 and driving. It was a flip phone with no texting plan. This was in 2008. Before that I borrowed one of parents flip phones for situatuions like babysitting or something. I didn’t have much of a social life in high school, but that was honestly all on me.

      I took that flip phone to college. Lack of texting was an issue, but I still had friends. I finally persuaded my parents to add texting to our plan my junior year. It made keeping in touch so much easier!

      And I finally got my own plan and a smartphone last year! The prepaid plan is cheap, much cheaper than a landline in my area.

      So, do I think kids need them? If they’re away from home a lot, if they’re driving, I think at least one of those super cheap phones you can load minutes onto would be important for emergencies.

      With the tablets and all the messaging apps there are these days though, I doubt their social lives will suffer too much.

    5. chickabiddy*

      I have a dumb phone that talks and (barely) texts, no camera, no apps, etc. I don’t necessarily consider this an indication of personal virtue, but I am also happy that my phone bill is $7 per month and I don’t feel constantly on-call because I refuse to give out the number except to a very few select people.

      My 14yo has an iPhone (not the newest, but not a brick) with a decent data plan. Whether I like it or not, it *is* pretty central to kids’ social lives these days. And without getting in to too much backstory here, my daughter is already a little “different” in ways that she thinks she would rather not be. So I got her the phone last year, and I feel like it was a good decision.

      So I say to get the phones if she can afford it and if it’s a “not my thing” rather than a deeply-felt moral objection. There are ways to put limits and blocks on the phones if she has concerns.

    6. leslie knope*

      honestly i would never send my kid out without a sure way to contact me. payphones basically don’t exist where i live and i think it’s a safety issue. they don’t have to be iphones, but not letting your kid have a phone at this point imo is a bad idea.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I kind of agree–there really are no payphones anymore and you can’t always count on someone else to have their phone, have it charged, etc.

        If cost is a factor, they can go on prepaid plans. Those are very affordable and they also will have a limit on their minutes, so they can’t run up huge charges. Net10 has good prepaid smartphone plans and the phones are also affordable (and they still also have feature phones, I think, and those are even cheaper). The customer service is crap, but I only needed it once the entire time I was with them.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          And if it’s cost that your friend is really buzzing about, she can always make it a condition that she will purchase the phone/sign for the contract but it is up to her girls to pay for the service (because then Mom can still genuinely take the phone away as a discipline. If the kid has paid for the whole thing, no leverage). After school jobs, baby sitting, birthday money, it’s up to them. It would be a good way to teach them how pay-to-play works.

          Personally, I think it’s stupid to pay that much money for a container for an inexpensive item. I could understand it if the honey container had some special features (air tight?) but then why not buy good honey to put in it because then you know it’ll last longer/keep better. This sounds like the kind of person who would drive 10 miles to save 25¢ on a can of beans — and then complain about the price of gas.

      2. KR*

        This is what I’m thinking. Before cell phones there were payphones and it wasn’t unheard of to ask to use a phone somewhere if you had to make a call on the go. Suppose her kids need to contact her or need a ride or something they need to rely on someone else lending them their phone (especially since a lot of their friends may not have a house phone anymore – we cancelled ours once I got a phone ).

    7. Marcela*

      If the kids to have tablets, then perhaps they are not missing much. You can even run whatsapp without a phone. My parents do it that way, so they do not have a smartphone, but they run skype, whatsapp, even facebook from the tablet. The only limit is they have to be connected to a wifi, so they can’t use any of those services when away from home.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      The honey thing, ignore, ignore.
      The cell phone thing, Ugh. I had my own version of that growing up. My father had all these ideas and principles and I was held to those even though they were no longer in keeping with the times. My father was a depression kid and only had one set of clothes for school. So he bought me two sets, two pants and two tops. He thought that was a big deal. Uh, it was the 70s and kids were wearing a different $100 outfit everyday.

      Where am I going with this, well, you might try gently suggesting other ideas but lotsa luck. Hopefully, the kids get other advantages being in that household. But I can tell you first hand, that if a parent is too strict with money or too unpredictable with money, it can lead to problems in their relationships with their children. So settle back and wait. She will probably start telling you things like the kids hate her or the kids argue about money with her constantly and so on. Maybe you will find inroads there that you can suggest she try to approach things differently.

      I consider myself a frugal person and I see a huge need to give a kid a cell phone. I might go without one for myself if need be, but I think my kid would have one.

      1. mander*

        It’s the depriving kids of something in order to satisfy her desire to look thrifty or frugal that bugs me. I’m not that concerned about the safety stuff or having the latest and greatest model, but being labeled as weird for not being able to participate can be very socially damaging.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          What frosted me was using ME to make social statements. I was a kid, not a social reformer. We argued a lot. Even after I moved out and became established in my adult life, I would do little things that I KNEW would annoy him. For example, he felt that women should not wear black. Who wrote his stuff, really. But because I was not that much better adult than him, I made sure I owned several pairs of black pants and wore them when he was around.

          I gotta say, to his credit he never said ONE word about my black pants. I could see him backing down from his rigid thinking and I started taking steps back from my own. It was a process and it took time. But the whole while, I kept saying, “Life does not have to be this petty and this hard. Not every hill is one to die on.”

      2. DoDah*

        Ugh…Boy do I feel this. My father was the child of wealthy parents with depression-era values around money. I think this is why I am exactly opposite. I feel the need to reward myself–because I was never rewarded as a child. I can’t save. I bing shop. I ruined my credit. It’s affected my career (because of shitty credit). It affects relationships (because I can’t handle money). I’ve been in therapy over it for years.

        He was exactly the same amount of stingy with care and affection but that’s a whole ‘nother issue.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, it can be a real slippery slope. I spent years learning how to make financial decisions without allowing my emotions to take over. Parents who lack the skills in a given area, cannot teach their children about that given area.

          If you really look at it though, I don’t think their frugality made them any happier. We (society) tend to place a high value on being thrifty but that thriftiness is not what leads to happiness or longer term contentment. There are many other things in the mix. Matter of fact some of the most frugal people I have met have been some of the most angry/fearful people I know.

          It’s been my experience that money issues and food issues share a common characteristic. To lose weight or to get a handle on how we use our money, we have to look at numerous things that seem UNrelated to food or money, in order to unlock our habits that we have gotten locked into. And it seems to entail a lot of crying.

          Stay brave. You can and will come out the other side of this. You will set your own rules for how run your life and life will get better once you see that your new rules work. Meanwhile, you are looking for that balance of following a budget while not depriving yourself of life’s little pleasures. Always tell yourself, “I promise I will take good care of me, I will keep myself safe and I will keep myself from lacking the basics I need.”

    9. Observer*

      I think a lot depends on the particulars. When my older kids were in HS, I had one “emergency” phone that they took out when they were going out and might need a ride, or to take to school if I knew there was a good chance I’d need to talk to them (eg we’re supposed to be meeting up straight from work / school.) From what I see, I could still do that here without a real cost to my kids. In other areas, I don’t think that would work.

      A key question is how does school work run. For instance if the school does a lot of group project stuff, and the kids all use whatsapp to coordinate, then her kids are going to be paying a high price for not being in the loop. At the other extreme, if the school bans cell phones in school, and maintains the fiction that kids do not have cell phones, EVER, it does change the landscape and makes it much less likely that not having a cell phone is going to be a big issue for the kids.

    10. DragoCucina*

      As others have pointed out a basic cell phone is a safety tool. We only got oldest son one in high school when we traveled regionally with the high school rifle team. Pick-up times would vary greatly based on how late the competition ran. He often went hiking and camping.

      A friend’s son has access to wifi 90% of the time. He has an old iPhone 4 and uses Textmenow instead of paying for service.

      1. Mela*

        This is basically how my family handled it (circa 2004). I was playing sports and would get home at varying times and always had to borrow someone’s phone for a pick up. So I got a mid-range flip phone for Christmas in 9th grade, when most people got them in 7th grade. And you know what? I always “lost” it under my bed, never kept it charged, never took it to school, etc. because I hadn’t learned to depend on it for communication. That habit continued well through college until I got a job at 23 that required me to have a phone on me. My friends learned that the best way to get in touch was to call my house (in high school) or in person/through the internet somehow (in college). In fact, it became a running joke when someone would call my cell phone. I survived, and had plenty of friends despite my “deprivation.”

        One thing I was “deprived” of was AOL/AIM. It probably became super popular when I was in 5th-6th grade, and I wasn’t allowed to have it until 10th grade. Yes, my friends talked about “away messages” and other stuff I didn’t know about. I was fine, really. I was allowed to talk on the phone, have friends over, go to friends’ houses, had extra-curriculars. I still managed to develop social skills.

        Unless you have a close enough relationship with her kids to know the contents of their laptops/tablets, then you’re probably missing that they communicate with their friends just fine. There are so many apps and social media networks, kids barely text anymore, it’s all SnapChat and Instagram (not even Facebook, that’s for old people!). They’re fine. If anything, argue for a dumb phone just for emergency calls, but it sounds like their life is set up so that nothing is more than a few minutes’ walk away.

          1. Observer*

            Most of the time, when that happens it’s a symptom of a larger problem that a cell phone is not going to help.

            Of course, if it really is that kind of situation where the cell phone is at the heart of the problem, then I’d urge parents to consider the cell phone. But the assumption that all kids need a cell phone in order to have a decent social life simply is not valid.

          2. Mela*

            Um, then they weren’t really friends, were they? I mean, if your kid is having issues socializing, then yea, maybe consider a phone. But to preemptively provide a phone just in case their friends turn out to be s**ts sounds like helicopter parenting.

    11. ginger ale for all*

      I think they are luxuries for this family at this point. When the kids get into high school, they can revisit the issue. I see this as an issue that the kids can raise on their own and learn how to advocate for themselves as learn a life skill. They will learn bargaining and compromise skills as well.

    12. Snazzy Hat*

      At the Evergreen Terrace block sale, Ned Flanders walks around with a microphone & hip speaker…
      Ned: Looks like we’ve got some nice items at Table Glick… like this! What the heckaroony is this, Mrs Glick?
      Mrs Glick: {grabs microphone} It is a candy dish, Ned! Ninety dollars!
      Ned: Uh huh. Well, I, uh, I guess you could put a lot of nice things in there–

    13. matcha123*

      It sounds like your friend is well-off. Honestly, the social cost of her kids not having a phone is low, imo.
      I was in high school in the late 90s, early 2000s and most of my peers did AIM, had cell phones or some other communication tool that I did not have.
      If your parents were “crunchy, granola hippies” it was pretty much “lol, so and so’s parents.” If your parents were straight up poor, then it was “oh, so and so is poor, lol.”

      Basically, if they come from wealthy families where the parents choose not to allow them phones, their peers will understand that and think the parents are weird and feel sorry for the kids. Why? Because they know the parents could afford it and choose not to.
      If they are just poor, then that becomes the point for more reasons to push someone out of the ‘group.’

      Safety? Well, what kind of area do they live in? Are they often out of the house, alone without their parents? Do the parents not know the kids’ friends’ parents? Do the parents have reason not to trust the judgement of the other parents?

      As someone else mentioned, with WiFi available almost everywhere AND the kids having tablets, I don’t really think having a cell phone is the most important thing. If they really needed to contact parents, most malls have a corner with pay phones, and they can get SIM cards for their tablets with WiFi that would allow them to call their parents with Google or some other internet service…

    14. Ellie H.*

      Pretty surprised at how many people are pro-cell phone. I think they are bad for kids. (Smartphones at least.) They’re bad for me, too, but so is smoking and I smoke occasionally, grownups have the privilege of having their bad choices redound mostly to themselves. That said, I think if I were choosing I would MUCH rather have kids have flip phones than tablets and laptops especially computer they have in the bedroom at night. The social stuff you miss out on in high school is honestly so trivial. Yes social life is important when you’re a teenager but I think the health benefits of waiting some more years before you start staring at a screen for hours a day are well worth it.

      So I think this has nothing to do with the cheapness issue, actually.

    15. Rusty Shackelford*

      But if they have tablets, aren’t they able to text? Use social media? That’s all they need. Teenagers don’t use cell phones for calling. My teen has a cell phone. It’s a convenience for her and for us. But since you’re concerned about the social cost, I think tablets are probably sufficient.

  6. Oh My Glob*

    TMI: menstruation
    I’m looking for advice on how to get the possibility of fibroids or endometriosis taken seriously. I know we’ve had similar threads (which I’ve reviewed), and the personal advice helps on top of the general research I’ve done.

    So I posted in the work open thread about accidentally texting my coworker that I’d had a period flooding accident and to please bring me new undies and leggings and skirt from home. Yay. (He said he realized it wasn’t meant for him and deleted it, but ugh.)

    Today it happened again, and with another enormous clot right after I changed my cup. The nurse advice line says I don’t need to seek immediate treatment unless the blood loss starts affecting me (dizziness, extreme lethargy, confusion, chills) or I have severe pain, so I booked a gyn appointment next week. New practitioner; the one I saw last year didn’t want to explore any options beyond oral contraception or a hormonal IUD, and said there wasn’t a screening for fibroids. (Um, ultrasound?) I’ve always had heavy painful periods, but in the past couple years they’ve become more frequent and irregular and the massive clots are new this cycle. I think they’re getting worse, and I want to have that addressed because it’s a notable quality-of-life issue. Any suggestions on language or how to present my symptoms that will make that clear?

    1. all aboard the anon train*

      When I was in high school and college, my endo was never taken seriously and the nurses/doctors all thought I was either making it up or trying to get out of class. It wasn’t until I went to the gyno at one of the hospitals in the city I moved to post-college that I was taken seriously.

      What helped was I had kept a detailed log of everything. Showing all the awful side effects and when they occur each month, as well as how sometimes I’d get my period twice in one month, helped prove that it was seriously impacting my life. I printed out a calendar of when my symptoms occurred, which side effects occurred when, how long each cycle lasted (because they varied from two days to six), etc. Seeing it all written out on a calendar actually blew me away because I knew it was bad, but actually knowing that half of each month dealt with symptoms before and after my cycle helped prove that it was impacting my life.

      I will say oral contraception worked for me. I take mine continuously so I skip my period entirely. I haven’t had it in two years and while I’ll occasionally get very light symptoms, it’s let me go about my life without any of the previous trouble.

      1. Oh My Glob*

        Thanks. I lost a lot of data from a period tracker app I had on my phone. Starting up with a new one…

      2. DragoCucina*

        This is good advice. I’m going to be blunt and say the only thing that made my life 100% better was a hysterectomy. I had already had all the children I was going to have, so that wasn’t an issue. I had done my research and and to fight for two years with my insurance to approve it. The options they demanded first only made the problem worse.

        1. Super Anon*

          Hysterectomy was the only option for me as well. I had one 20 years ago and have never looked back. Between the ages of 14 and 35, my life was hell due to the types of serious symptoms the OP describes. When I was a teenager, I actually had to had blood transfusions because my flow was so heavy. It got to the point where I was missing at least one day of work for each cycle because it was simply uncontrollable. Honestly the only time it was OK was when I was on oral contraceptives, but my OB/GYN at the time said I was “too old” (at 35??) to go back onto oral contraceptives. So it was hysterectomy for me and I can honestly say it was such a huge relief to be done with all that.

          1. Natalie*

            From what I recall, the risk of blood clots increases at around 35, so perhaps that’s what your OBGYN was thinking? Still kind of garbage that they didn’t elaborate beyond “too old”, though.

    2. Mimmy*

      Are clots not normal? I get them sometimes, and it makes me crampy until they come out.

      Hope everything goes well with your appointment and that you get better answers than with your previous physician.

      1. Oh My Glob*

        Clots can be normal, yes. I often get several maybe the size of a grape, over the course of a period. Some sites say clots larger than a quarter could indicate difficulties. The clot I passed yesterday filled and overflowed my menstrual cup – if we stick with fruit, it was about the size of a small lemon. This morning there was one the size of a lime.

        1. blackcat*

          Not normal. Estimate a size in inches/cm (whatever is standard where you are) and use that to describe it. Doctors should have a “Above X size, be worried” threshold that’s a measurement. I’m sure you exceed that, and having the data will convince a doctor.

      2. Oh My Glob*

        I think my first comment got put into moderation; I was talking scandalously about fruit. :) So, yes, clots can be normal; I usually get several about the size of my first thumbjoint over a single period. The ones I have had today and yesterday are the size of my palm; together about the size of my closed fist, so I was alarmed. Thankfully not painful, though.

      3. Mephyle*

        Putting it all together, it’s normal to have clots and it’s also normal not to have them. I think it’s also normal not to have them usually, but to have them rarely (judging from own case).

      4. Temperance*

        Total TMI, but I have endo, and my clots were both painful and very large. I also had a lot of them, FWIW.

      5. NM anon*

        Clots are very normal per the very first gyno I ever saw. She told me the size could range from tiny to the size of a dinner plate!! and not to be alarmed.

    3. Katie from Scotland*

      Can you shop around doctors asking them about their experience with fibroids / endometriosis before committing to that doctor? I’m not sure what kind of healthcare system you’re in of course to know if that’s possible? But then you’d be able to filter for a doctor who has treated these conditions before and would know what to look for.
      Alternatively, I would be very specific – the sentences starting ‘I’ve always….quality of life issue’ are good explanations, and then you could follow with saying specifically ‘I want you to investigate the possibility of fibroids or endometriosis using an ultrasound screening’. If they’re just offering treatments for the symptoms (the contraception options), explain that you’re looking for a solution to the underlying cause of your symptoms as your concerned they may affect your fertility, risk of cancer, or anything else associated that you feel is relevant. Make it clear if you’re not happy with what’s being offered and ask the doctor to do better.
      And good luck! I hope you get the investigation and treatment you need – you shouldn’t have to live with this any longer!

    4. Veggie*

      I had these issues since Day 1, and it took about 20 years for someone to listen to me. That someone was a gynological oncologist. Not saying you have cancer or anything of the sort, but this Dr clearly understood the consequences of patients not being taken seriously. Also, I second the documentation thing. In general, I’ve been able to get really clear help when I can tell Drs exactly what I’m experiencing. It just gives them a better picture. Although, yes, some Drs just don’t get it. I had an intern tell me to just take ibuprofin literally days before the onc said I needed surgery. So maybe try someone with a ton of experience with these issues?

      1. Oh My Glob*

        Since my last gyn appointment I have a new benchmark to point out how painful my cramps typically are: I recently had both a gallstone attack and surgery to remove the gallbladder. The attack itself was about as painful as cramps are on one or two days of my period; the recovery from surgery was ridiculously less painful even when I was due for a dose of painkiller. I’m hoping that the comparison will be useful, as 1-10 pain scales are so subjective.

        1. blackcat*

          Yes, this will be useful. My periods got taken more seriously when I said, “Well, it’s normally significantly worse than that rib I broke, and just a tiny bit less painful than when I dislocated my shoulder. The worst was worse than the dislocated shoulder.”

          I said that and the doctor’s eye’s bugged out.

        2. Observer*

          One other this to look at is thyroid, and that’s something that is SOOOO easy to screen for, that any doctor should do it just to “humor” you.

          PCOS is another one to look at, but that’s much harder to test for.

    5. chickabiddy*

      Uh, there definitely is a way to diagnose fibroids, and to remove them. My GYN did it for me and while she’s quite comptetent she’s not a superstar or anything. Seems to be to be pretty standard.

      I did also get an IUD. It’s not a magic wand but things in that area are significantly better. I’m 47 and single so it feels ridiculous to me to be on birth control, but I will get it replaced when it expires.

    6. neverjaunty*

      What everyone said: be very insistent with the doctor, and have notes on your history. Do not *ask* if you should be screened for fibroids. *Tell* the doctor that is what you want done. If he or she is patronizing or refuses to do anything but say “oh, take the Pill”, dump them and find a new one. There is NO reason they should not do a basic screening for what is a common problem easily fixed.

      I realize not everyone is comfortable being aggressive with doctors, but I find it is sometimes helpful to say (politely, of course) that you are asking them to put in writing in your medical record that they have decided treatment X is not necessary and they are recommending Y instead. That gives a *lot* of doctors pause, because they don’t want to be on the record as saying “you didn’t need X” and then, whoops, a patient really should have been given X and welcome to the land of malpractice lawsuits.

      1. Oh My Glob*

        Thank you! This is very helpful. I don’t want to be a combative patient, but finding the self-advocacy line (especially when time passes between appointments because I’m working full time, not ill enough to be on leave, and have to get time off to travel to the doctor) is tricky. I will directly request the ultrasound if it looks like I’m going to be brushed off again with this new doctor.

        1. neverjaunty*

          I hear you. It helps to keep in mind that you’re paying them to perform a service – a very specialized, skilled service, to be sure, but the doctor works for you. She’s not condescending to do you a favor in bestowing her learned opinion on you.

        2. Jen*

          I’m not sure if this has already been mentioned – but I don’t think there is a good screening tool for endometriosis (it’s very difficult to diagnose w/out surgery). It sounds like an US is very much warranted for your symptoms, I just say this so you have realistic expectations. Even fibroids can be difficult to detect on US depending on their type, location, and size.

          Regardless, you should get one.

      2. Reverend(ish)*

        This. Polite yet assertive. And if you can set up an excel spreadsheet tracking symptoms and such, do it and bring it with you. I even printed photos to show bloat and rapid weight fluctuations. The doctor took me a lot more seriously when I brought in a small binder/folder of neatly organized medical history and symptom spreadsheets.
        They ended up doing a diagnostic lap and finding lots of scar tissue and adhesions.

        Also, if the doctor doesn’t listen to you or take you seriously, switch doctors.

    7. Marcela*

      I had to lie. I told my doctor that intercourse was so painful I wasn’t able to have sex with my husband anymore. I’m still bitter because of that, because it looked like when my husband’s wellbeing was in question, only then my complaints were listened to. But hey, I got a full set of ultrasound, where they found a huge cyst, then a laparoscopy, where they found my endo is so bad it affects my intestine (explaining all the ‘stomach’ issues I’ve had all my life), and they I have my diagnostic and nobody can say again I’m lying or exaggerating or seeking drugs.

      1. NewMe2016*

        Life time of problem periods…not fully and properly diagnosed until age 49. Clots that size are not within the normal range. Besides an ultrasound (and then probably an endometrial biopsy and hysteroscopy) make sure you have bloodwork done to rule out iron deficiency anemia, any underlying clotting disorders and key hormone levels. And, FWIW, my severe endometriosis was not properly diagnosed until I had a hysterectomy (owing to life threatening bleeding). I did not advocate enough for myself for a very long time and I don’t want anyone else to suffer that way.

    8. Temperance*

      I have endometriosis, and heavy, painful periods with lots of clotting are the hallmarks. Explain to your doctor where the pain is, and what your periods are like.

      My advice: start wearing a pad with your cup for now. I used to do super tampon + pad before HBC.

    9. Sara smile*

      I have severe endometriosis.

      I assume you are in the US. If so, you need to look for a gyno that will specialize in endometriosis. Google is your friend here. Look for gynos that help with fertility problems, as the underlying cause of a lot of fertility issues are fibroids, endo, PCOS, etc.

      As others have said, you will need to be able to give a detailed explanation of your symptoms. Not, I have blood clots. But I have x blood clots y number of days of my cycle that range in size from z to zz.

      Just a couple of points though to temper expectations. You cannot diagnosis endo on an ultrasound and you may not have symptoms of fibroids. This is why your doctors may not have done an ultrasound yet (not that I agree with this practice, mind you). Hormonal birth control is always the first step in treatment for endo so your doctors are doing the right things here by going to this step. No doctor (and no good doctor) is going to jump to any other treatment when you haven’t tried hormonal birth control so if you are expecting the suggestion of a laparoscopy or ablation or pre-menopause treatment first, then your expectations are off the mark. Get on the hormonal birth control as soon as possible.

      Yes, it does seem that you need a doctor who is explaining things better and that may be translating to not taking you seriously but you seem to be expecting more than is appropriate at this stage.

      1. Oh My Glob*

        I was on hormonal birth control for 8 years, and had unpleasant side effects despite being prescribed different versions. It was better than the heavy bleeding when it was also serving as backup contraception, but since I no longer need that benefit I’d rather look for other treatment options for the bleeding. I haven’t tried an IUD, but I have similar concerns about the hormones, plus additional hesitation about the insertion, the length of time it may take before my symptoms decrease, and the difficulty of reversal (having to make another appointment and have it removed) if it doesn’t work out. I certainly don’t expect an immediate referral for anything drastic, but it would help if I had a diagnosis (whether it’s endo, adeno, fibroids…) so we can figure out what my options are. (Ablation would be my preference, but if I have adenomyosis, for example, it’s contraindicated.) I’d also like to know whether the clots are something to be concerned about, if I can do anything to treat that symptom, or if I should just expect that from now on.

        I finally have excellent insurance and am of an age where more medical practitioners will acknowledge my agency over my own reproductive system. I’d really like for each appointment to count, since I don’t have the sick time or the emotional energy to go through many more rounds of “Let’s convince the doctor.”

        1. blackcat*

          As a painful-period person who got an IUD inserted, you will be fine. If you can pass a clot the size of a small melon, you will be fine. It hurts, yeah, but so do your periods.

          1. Reb*

            Yes, IUD insertion was pretty mild for me.

            I’m not in the US, so maybe the treatment progresses differently there, but if I were you I’d be describing the clots to a doctor as “unexpected increase in bleeding, do I have cancer?” I had increased bleeding, though less than you describe, and in my case, it was pre-cancerous. So don’t just try to get them to investigate for fibroids/endo, try to get them to properly investigate the increased bleeding.

        2. Sara smile*

          Were you on the pill for 8 years as a treatment for endo or just as birth control? If it wasn’t specifically for endo, then it may not have been as effective. When you are taking the pill for endo, the way you take it can be very different: the dosage tends to be higher, you may skip months of having a period, you may take a specific type of hormone over another, you may take it with another medication, etc.

          An IUD can be an alternative to BC pills but there is less flexibility (dosage is fixed, etc.) If you have extreme forms of endo, the IUD mixed with the endo can cause a puncture in your uterus. You can be at increased risk of a PID.

          I, again, cannot stress enough that you need a knowledgeable doctor (who specializes in endo care) who can talk through this disease and give you treatment options. You again seem to have unreasonable expectations. Treating endometriosis, especially if severe, can become very consuming and can take years to find a good treatment plan.
          It is very likely not to be the case that a handful of visits will sort you out. Also, treatments like ablation are at the far end of the “when all else fails scale”, if this is one of the things you are asking for out of the gate without even a diagnosis, there is a reason your doctors aren’t listening to you – you are sounding like a crazy person. It’s like going in for a broken arm and asking for it to be cut off.

          1. Oh My Glob*

            If I sound like a crazy person with a broken arm, it might be because my arm’s been hurting for a really long time and it hangs funny and has these lumpy bits and is starting to turn black at the fingers, but when I bring that up, doctors tell me to take some Advil and strap it to my body with a belt. Seems like it’s broken to me, and would need more help than that, but until I can get someone with an MD to confirm, “Yup, that’s broken,” I don’t get a cast or a nerve block or anything much. And, hey, it could be undiagnosed gangrene.

            The metaphor gets shaky because pain from a broken bone isn’t chronic or cyclical, and I use my arms a lot more than I want or plan to use my uterus. But I take your point and will discuss my options with the doctor at my appointment next week.

            1. Sara smile*

              I get it. I am on your side. I have been there. I started having symptoms at 12. You think no one listens to you as an adult, try being a 12 year old. Even better, I have had to re-advocate for myself as I moved to three different countries and into 3 different medical systems throughout my adult life. It is hard and I have wanted to give up. I have taken breaks in treatment because I just couldn’t handle it at times. I get the emotional toll.

              Find a better doctor. Work your way through the treatment steps (bc pills, other hormonal treatments, laps, then more extreme treatments). Ask lots of questions and demand answers (why are we doing x and not y). These are the steps.

        3. Lindsay J*

          IUDs scared me, so I got the Nexplanon instead. You would still have the hormones, and still have to make a second appointment to remove it. But the insertion was really easy – pretty much just like getting a shot. And I haven’t really gotten my period at all since I got it inserted in March.

        4. ket*

          You’re not crazy or wrong to have concerns about the hormones — they’re not a cure-all, they are not the only way to go, and they have their own side effects, some of which become more pronounced with age. (I just was reading the Lidegaard study of all non-pregnant Danish women 2001-10 and the findings on risks of blood clots/VTE with NuvaRing, for example.) And you’re not crazy for asking for a diagnosis instead of the “let’s try random hormones and see if anything works, instead of thinking hard” approach. I say this as someone who knows doctors and their decision-making process: you can refuse to go this route and you deserve someone who will be thoughtful. Keep pushing; unfortunately there are a lot of docs who really are not knowledgeable about these things, and you can’t avoid sorting through them unless you get a good recommendation. Good luck.

      2. Observer*

        Actually, hormonal BC is not always the first step with endo. Also, depending how far the endo has spread, a really good specialist may be able to diagnose with a manual exam. (Not pleasant, but it the doctor can feel the lesions, you know what you are dealing with, definitively.)

        Where that’s not the case, the ONLY way to *definitively* diagnose endo is surgery, which is why it’s worth checking everything else out first.

      3. Marcela*

        I write this knowing you are in the same condition as we are, but your comment rubbed me as slightly dismissive. If Oh my Glob’s story is like mine, she didn’t go to the gyn saying she has endo and asking for surgery. It’s been an interminable road of describing our symptoms, asking what could be wrong, because for sure we know the rest of women in our lives do not have to suffer what we have (before getting my diagnosis, I was a regular patient of ER, and I had pain every 10, 15 days, not only in my period but when I was ovulating too), only to be told that our pain is normal, than an ibuprofen is enough, that all women suffer just like us, that we are just exaggerating, or are we drug addicts seeking for a prescription, or perhaps we are trying to skip homework or a test? I didn’t have money for a doctor outside my health plan, and I lived outside the big cities, so there was no way to get one of the experts in endo. Hell, in my country, about 7 years ago, there was only one doctor specialized in endometriosis.

        So this is not a tale of crazy expectations, but a story about how most gyns simply believe we lie when we tell our symptoms. And how we are never told what’s normal or healthy or acceptable and what to do when we have an illness that robs us our lives. And how to pass through all of that. Granted, at some point, if everything fails, we need to get an specialist, but I got my diagnosis from a surgery performed by a ordinary gyn in a small city far from the capital city. I only needed some medical compassion.

        1. Sara smile*

          I didn’t say all her expectations were crazy. In fact, I didn’t use the words “crazy expectations” at all.

          My initial comments about expectations were specifically to bring into perspective some of the advice she had received to date. For example, she was stating she had asked repeatedly for an ultrasound to diagnosis endometriosis and was thinking she was being ignored since she wasn’t getting one. Endometriosis isn’t diagnosed by ultrasound so her not getting one isn’t an indication they are ignoring her concerns about endometriosis. Does an ultrasound have its place? Absolutely – it can detect fibroids, or cysts, or make sure an ovary isn’t twisted, etc. But it won’t diagnose endo. Pointing this out wasn’t meant to be dismissive but to be reassuring and maybe explain what her doctor may not have done.

          Same thing about hormonal birth control. In the vast, vast majority of cases. This is the first step of treatment for endo. Not a dismissive action by a doctor. Again pointing this out wasn’t meant to be dismissive of OPs concerns but to reassure her that even if she felt better about her doctors care, she would probably be in the same treatment place at this stage.

          OP wanted to know how to advocate for herself. I gave her lots of advice on how to do exactly that.

          1. Observer*

            The US should have been done, because there are OTHER possible reasons for what she is having and US can be useful. Secondly, hormonal BC is NOT the first step among doctors who know their stuff. And, when someone has poor reaction to BC, then saying that she should STILL expect that to be the first step makes no sense – even if higher doses would have helped, that’s of no use to her, since she can’t handle it. Besides, it’s simply not true that just because she was taking it in doses intended for BC it wouldn’t be diagnostic – she might not have gotten as much relief as with higher doses, but it WOULD have made a difference. And, she explicitly stated that the main reason she was taking BC was treatment, with BC being a secondary benefit.

            It honestly sounds like you are doing to her much what her doctors have been doing to her – starting with outdated and not very expert advice AND not really listening to what she is saying.

          2. Marcela*

            I’m not trying to pick on your words. You said unreasonable expectations, and I wondered if perhaps OP’s was trying to explain years of explanations, descriptions and conversations in just one paragraph, and in that process, well, sometimes things are not 100% accurate. I’m sorry I changed it to crazy… surely it was my memory from being told I was crazy. I never said endo to my doctors, even when I was convinced that was my illness. And even if that surgery is the only way to fully diagnose an endo, you can see endometriomas in an ultrasound, and that was for me the first step to get the surgery. So it’s not like ultrasounds do not work at all for anybody and they are a waste of medical resources.

            Perhaps what’s been bothering me is that I believe is unreasonable to ask me to be an expert in possible illnesses I could have, so I can get proper help from my doctor. They are supposed to be the experts, and for gyno problems there are several candidates. In my case, for decades my doctors thought I had irritable bowel syndrome, even diverticulitis. How could I learn everything I need about all of that to ask for a reasonable course to a diagnosis? For me the only reasonable outcome for any visit to my doctor is that I come out with explanations or plans. If an ultrasound is not recommended for my symptoms, tell me! I am an educated person, I can understand what’s being said to me. Not being told it’s appropriate or simply being told I don’t need it, that’s just ignoring me. I do that with my cat: he is never going to understand why the vet does what she does. And it’s even more infuriating if I am the one in pain, not my doctor who is happily telling me just to take ibuprofen.

            So I guess I’m trying to say that I find dismissive this idea that we need to know what to ask to our doctors. That’s not your fault, and probably you are just being practical, realistic and sensible about it. It is just the main lesson I got from my adventure: my doctors are not here to help me, which is something I now strongly rebel against.

            1. Jen*

              A couple of us have pointed out that US is not great w/ endometriosis. Yes, it’s possible to find something that points to endometriosis, but US is better at other pathologies (I think Sara Smile is saying similar). That was my main point when I said “have reasonable expectations”. I don’t think that is ignoring a patient who thinks she has endometrioisis – she absolutely could have it, but it’s kind of a crap-shoot w/ US.

    10. NL*

      I say this as a woman but this is a bit graphic for this site. I know it’s a “free for all” but this isn’t the sort of thing I want to come upon unsuspectingly while I’m eating my dinner.

      1. anon for this*

        Thank you for saying this. I thought the same. There are web sites where this would be appropriate but it feels out of place here.

      2. Allison Mary*

        Second Sami’s comment. The OP here did a great job of forewarning what the subject matter would be.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I agree; she forewarned about TMI and what the TMI topic would be. Anyone not up for a frank (and not, to my mind, graphic) discussion of a common women’s health concern is welcome to move on to the next item in the thread. Many people are helped by frank discussion of others’ lives experience, and I wouldn’t want to curb that.

      3. Apollo Warbucks*

        It’s not graphic at all, I don’t see anything here that’s gross or overly detailed.

        It’s a useful insight into women’s health problems that aren’t often talked about openly and if anything the only thing I’m embarrassed by is my lack of knowledge and awareness about the practical aspects of having a period.

        1. Marcela*

          One of the things I’m grateful for about my adventure trying to live with endo, is the increased awareness my brother is getting about all of this. He is right now trying to get help for my niece, with a different set of problems with her period. She is finding the same response from the women in our family as I did, that it can’t be that bad, and he is there pushing against this. I am very proud.

          1. ginger ale for all*

            That is a great point, by talking about things in the open that used to be considered impolite, you bring awareness and normalization to these topics. There is nothing shameful about women’s health issues and it should not be hidden or ‘just take an aspirin and quietly suffer with it’.

      4. Katie F*

        I don’t find periods to be anything other than an utterly common part of life that 51% of the population deals with intimately and 49% deals with abstractly, so I’m confused at saying a description fo a medical issue is “graphic”. I felt like she warned very well what was coming up and I imagine mos tpeople who weren’t interested/were squicked out just scrolled on by.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I don’t think it’s offensive! I admit to being one who’s squeamish about discussions here of sizes of blood clots, and I can understand where the people who are saying they didn’t expect to run into it here are coming from. I’m not going to tell people to stop, for all the reasons that have already been mentioned here, but I can understand the people who are squicked out and don’t think the sentiment is inherently offensive. Some people are more comfortable with that than others, and it can be unsettling to come across it when you’re not expecting it.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I want to say thank you, Alison, for allowing people a place to discuss this stuff. I am impressed with the manner people use in writing. I know myself that I could find maybe two people in real life that I could have these discussions with. I can’t be the exception, I am sure that there are many readers here who never comment but find the discussion of great value in their own lives because they don’t have many people to talk with on this level, either.

            I have a tremendous respect for this community because questions that are sincere and stated in a respectful manner get answered in kind. And we have talked about almost everything under the sun. How many times have we’ve seen, “I have a question and I have no one to ask, [or: don’t know who to ask]”? I can’t be sure but I think I am seeing posters saying this more often. The fact that people feel they can say this is a very high compliment.

            Just, thanks, Alison.

    11. Lore*

      I’m not sure I can help w/the approaching the dr issue–my gyn for all his flaws has always been very aggressive in seeking causes for my issues. I was on the pill for years then in my early 40s began to have a lot of breakthrough bleeding. Got endo biopsy and thyroid levels tested and ultrasound. Turns out I have a number of small fibroids. Tried different combos of BCP taken continuously but to no avail. At 45 I ended up getting an ablation because the fibroids were numerous enough that they would be difficult to treat surgically, hormonal methods weren’t working, and the constant bleeding was making me crazy. I thought about an iud but the birth control aspect wasn’t needed so I went with the surgery. It’s had great results for me.

    12. Lore*

      I’m not sure I can help w/the approaching the dr issue–my gyn for all his flaws has always been very aggressive in seeking causes for my issues. I was on the pill for years then in my early 40s began to have a lot of breakthrough bleeding. Got endo biopsy and thyroid levels tested and ultrasound. Turns out I have a number of small fibroids. Tried different combos of BCP taken continuously but to no avail. At 45 I ended up getting an abluuation because the fibroids were numerous enough that they would be difficult to treat surgically, hormonal methods weren’t working, and the constant bleeding was making me crazy. I thought about an iud but the birth control aspect wasn’t needed so I went with the surgery. It’s had great results for me.

    13. matcha123*

      Wow, reading the comments makes me feel so normal. I mean that in the nicest way possible. I’ve always had extremely painful periods, but since no one around me had anything similar, I thought I was just weird. My mom thought I was making things up to get out of school, even when I was spending hours in the bathroom throwing up.
      I had my first exam in university, but the only advice I got was Advil and have kids :(

      I moved overseas and got the same advice, though I did get an ultrasound confirming fibroids. Thankfully, I was able to have surgery a few years ago to remove them. The largest was almost 10cm.

      For your problems, I would take iron, since I can guess that you might be losing a lot.
      Next, if you haven’t tried a university hospital, I would try one there. They should give you an ultrasound. If your city has a clinic that specializes on women’s issues, it might be worth it to take a look.

      Honestly, some…a lot? of doctors think they don’t need to do anything more because they are the experts, but I don’t think it hurts anyone to take the ultrasound or to do a few more tests for peace of mind.

      1. Katie F*

        My periods started with agony at 11 and never got any better. I had the same experience – for sixteen years all I heard was “cramps are normal, take Advil, you’re exaggerating, you’re making it up for attention/to get out of school/to get out of a test/because you just want to whine/etc:” Then I had a miscarriage that ended in an ER visit, where the first. freaking. time. I had a doctor actually LOOK AT ME via ultrasound. Hell, the ultrasound tech at the ER sat back with huge eyes and said, “I’ve never seen so many fibroids in my life.”

        No one had ever thought to check before. When I looked up the symptoms for fibroids, I hit every. single. one. And no doctor had ever once thought to check if I had them. I had so many the doctors could just push on my lower abdomen and feel them. In order to have kids, I had to have surgery to get them out – otherwise I would never have carried a pregnancy to term. And yet it took two thirds of my life to get a doctor to believe that the pain I was living through was anything other than “normal”.

        1. OhBehave*

          What is the problem with doctors and not listening to their patients? Women know that this is our lot in life! Pat me on my head and tut tut – you will lose a hand! Every woman is different in how her friend manifests itself. I had no issues. It was annoying every month to be sure. A friend in school missed 4 days a month due to severe cramping.
          My daughter is 21. She has had so many problems with her periods. Horrible cramping, heavy flow, you name it. And her PMS? YIKES! Our GP tried a few things for her but nothing worked. Referred to an OB/GYN and she started slow with a pill to stop her periods altogether. That didn’t work. Ultrasound was done and no issues were found. She was given the injection BC and she has had no issues for a year. No women in my family have had these issues, but my SIL had very serious issues. My daughter is very conscientious about this and keeps on top of her treatment.

    14. Phoenix Feather*

      You are describing my situation as well. I remember chatting with my girlfriends and mentioning clots and they looked at me like I was insane – apparently large, lemon-sized clots aren’t “normal”. But hey – that’s all I ever knew, so how was I supposed to know? I went through 4-5 doctors before I stumbled upon my hero. She did diagnostic testing to confirm PCOS and endometriosis, but she seriously changed my life. Hooked me up with a very well-respected reproductive endocrinologist. I have had two surgeries to reduce the endo and other issues.

      I know you mentioned the cup, which is awesome. I really wish I had been brave enough to switch sooner. But here’s something it took me years to figure out – not all cups are equal! I use three different cups during the course of my period, depending on how heavy the flow, cervical position, and activity. Check out Put A Cup In It. They have a great quiz that will help you find the perfect cup.

      At your appointment, I would definitely ask for a referral to a reproductive endocrinologist. That specialist will be your best bet. Don’t accept any birth control options without fibroid screening. IUDs are so BAD for those of us with endo (for most women period!) and oral pills can make it worse. An RE can help find the right one based on your specifics.

    1. Colette*

      That is really interesting. I’m an overfunctioner; my sister (who lives with me) is an under functioner. And then I broke my leg, and she had to get stuff done (and she did, quite capably).

    2. Lily Evans*

      That’s really interesting! The example about the underfunctioning teenager explains the relationship between my parents and my sister perfectly. I’ve been saying for years that the only way to make her do things herself is to stop helping her, maybe I should send them this…

    3. Kay*

      Ugh, well, that hit home. (says the person who made two batches of cookies and a quiche before work, spent the day filling in the gaps around boss’s big project work, and tomorrow will be steaming and stripping off wallpaper in a room in the house while partner…plays video games.)

    4. New Bee*

      Interesting! I grew up as an overfunctioner in a house of underfunctioners, but then I married an overfunctioner (who grew up similarly), and now we take turns, with him currently doing most of the over-functioning since I am 8 months pregnant.

      With my family, I’ve had to mentally detach from the results of their underfunctioning amd learn not to set unrealistic expectations for how they can step up, even if they make well-intentioned offers (e.g., making promises about childcare I know they won’t keep).

    5. Dynamic Beige*

      When I was a kid, I would do the UF thing. Didn’t always get away with loafing around and when I was angry, I found that doing things was the best way to handle that (like it says in the article). When I got a little older, I became an OF. I’ve flipped back to UF. I really need to find some middle ground!

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I’ve flipped back and forth with different life stages, too. When my kids were small and I stayed home, I’d get up super early, clean the house, cook a full breakfast, start a crock pot for dinner, and pack everyone’s work and school lunches, all before my husband and kids left for work and school. I continued doing most of that work for years after I went back to work myself. Then one day I looked at my husband sitting there playing video games with the kids while I worked my ass off, and I thought to myself, “If any one in this house is going to be like an overgrown teenager with maximum freedom and minimum responsibility, it’s going to be me!” Well, that was a bit of emotional hyperbole, but it did lead me to start pulling way back on the domestic services that I was offering.

    6. salad fingers*

      Very interesting. This part struck me:

      “If you’re reading this, and if you’re interested in these kinds of questions in general, the chances are you’re prone to overfunctioning, like me. (Let’s face it: making suggestions in a newspaper about how others ought to live is basically just pathological overfunctioning.)”

      Does this somehow apply to readers of Ask a Manager, either more generally personality-wise or specifically in work relationships?

    7. Florida*

      This article mentions a book called The Dance of Anger. It’s a great book about relationships. Highly recommended. It’s a common book, so your public library almost definitely has it.

    8. Kit*

      That’s interesting, I don’t seem to be either one fully, but I suspect that’s the ADHD taking some overfunctioning tendencies out of my hands. I’m an easily overwhelmed task-oriented control freak procrastinator.

    9. Kate*

      This dynamic totally plays out in my marriage.

      The major difference is that while I recognize it, the strategy mentioned in the article totally doesn’t work with my spouse. Some people are *totally dedicated* UFs.

      I did a three mo the work trip once, and figured he would have no choice to step up. HA! He didn’t take out the garbage ONCE in three months.

      And lest I assume that this behaviour was just because I wasn’t there, he once left a bunch of tomatoes rotting on the kitchen countertop for three WEEKS before I caved.

      1. Lindsay J*

        Lol, this reminds me of one of my boyfriend’s dorm room in college.

        Somehow a potato wound up sitting on the bathroom sink.

        It sat there for months. It sprouted. Nobody touched the thing. I think it might have still been there at move-out time.

    10. Lizabeth*

      Very interesting…describes my office squawker to a T (underachiever). Just put a hold on the book that’s mentioned and emailed the article link to my boss.

    11. mostly overfunctioning*

      Interesting article. I am mostly overfunctioning. Definitely at work and at home. But I also see myself as undefunctioning with friends. Probably because I am so fried from overfunctioning everywhere else. And I also see that it’s caused some problems with friends. Need to strike a better balance.

  7. Ashe*

    I’m sure this question will make me sound like a terrible person (or at the very least: crazy), but I hope I can get some good advice. I know that this problem comes from my own insecurities, but I am really struggling with how to deal with it. Over the past year-and-a-half I have become disgustingly envious of one of my coworkers. For no particular reason other than she seems to have the perfect life. We’re both in our mid/late-20s and her life seems to be just… great. She’s getting married, she just bought a house with her fiance, does all these exciting things, etc. and my life is just not working out. The most “exciting” thing I’m planning is maybe going back to get a master’s degree (yeah, I know). She always looks perfect; everything matches, she never has a hair out of place.

    I know this these are my own insecurities speaking, but I just can’t STAND her anymore. It’s almost like her existence makes me feel like a shitty person and a failure. For some stupid reason I just feel like everything she does is an “attack” on me. Again, I realize how nuts that sounds!!! I had a heart-to-heart about some things with another coworker of ours and briefly mentioned my insecurities to a trustworthy coworker and she told me that I shouldn’t feel this way, her life isn’t perfect, etc. but it didn’t make me feel better at all. I just thought, even if her life isn’t “perfect” on the inside, I want a life that’s at least “perfect” on the outside. She’s a nice person and a good coworker, I’ve never, ever heard her say an unkind word about anyone or be unhelpful. Ugh, but here I am acting like a miserable troll! Can this insecurity even be over come? Any advice on what I should do? Are there any books I should read?

    I’m already seeing a therapist for self-esteem things and I haven’t mentioned this to her yet, but I will when I see her next.

    1. Ange*

      No suggestions, but I sympathise. I had a coworker like that – however she was much too nice a person to dislike. I did always felt like a terrible person in comparison though, although like you I realise that it’s my issue. I suppose you could try always reminding yourself that nobody’s life is as perfect as it seems.

    2. Sybil Fawlty*

      I’m sorry you are struggling with this. I wish we could just program ourselves to feel how we wanted to feel.

      Of course you can overcome this! Your therapist sounds like a good place to start.

      I really liked The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. It really helped me learn how to control my responses to things that were completely out of my control (and that I really didn’t like).

      If you can stand more advice from me, I’d say to really try not to talk about this to anyone at work. The more you talk about it, the worse you will feel, and there is a high probability that somehow it will come back to bite you.

      Good luck to you!

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        I listened to that on audiobook and I agree, it was surprisingly not just a book about management, but more a book about learning how to manage yourself.

        I read something else recently that the more you envy someone and focus on them, the more good things you help them attract. Now, that whole “law of attraction” shite is probably just that, but I can see how if you envy someone, that only creates more reasons to envy them as you try to find something — anything! — to give yourself “proof” that they ain’t all that and a bag of chips so you can relax and let go of the idea that it’s just not fair that they’re perfect (and you’re not).

        Ashe, you know that this isn’t about her, it’s about *you*. It may be a story you told yourself when you were a kid (when I grow up, I’ll be…), it may be the expectations of your family (why aren’t you married yet?) or something else. There’s so much we’re exposed to in society that tells us life is a race and if we don’t have X, Y and Z we’re losing. The only person you’re making unhappy is yourself. At least you recognise that this is how you’re feeling, there are many people who go around with envy like this but don’t take any responsibility for it and just let it poison themselves.

        You can get over this, you have to choose to let it go. Not only that this coworker is “perfect” and “has the life you should have had” but that you don’t measure up.

    3. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      But are you really sure you want that life?

      I’m asking it seriously because, well, I felt (and still sometimes feel) that way. Then I started trying to live that life. Makeup, hair done, cute clothes, etc. I WAS MISERABLE!! It takes so much work, effort, and time, and heck, I’m lazy. It’s also expensive. I’d rather spend that cash on tasty food. :)

      I realized that I didn’t want all that, but wanted what I perceived as the keys to a happier life. I thought that if I behaved a certain way, dressed a certain way, etc., I would be happy. (Spoiler Alert: I was not.) Unfortunately, happiness doesn’t come naturally. We’re not meant to be happy all the time. You have to put forth the effort to build the life that you want. It took me years of therapy to get it together, and then I changed my life in some huge ways. I’m much happier now, but still have things to work on.

      1. Myrin*

        This reminds me of my mum. She’s actually a natural loner – something I definitely inherited from her – but when she was younger, she felt there was something wrong with her because no one else seemed to be that way. She says she always looked at the groups of friends around her at school and thought “I wish I was part of a group like that!” and then she actually was, several times in her later life, in fact, and while she enjoyed it for some time, she quickly realised that it absolutely wasn’t for her and she was actually more content otherwise.

    4. Engineer Girl*

      Absolutely talk to your therapist about this. This is not normal. Yes, it can be overcome.

      You can’t see into people’s lives. She may have a perfect life – for now. Or she may have abusive parents, a secret medical issue, or not. It doesn’t matter. What matters is your own lack of self esteem and envy are actually preventing good things from coming into your life. Potential friends see your envy and stay away. You don’t get work assignments because of your attitude. Potential partners stay away because they don’t want to deal with your attitude. It’s a horrible and unhappy future if you continue that path. I watched my sister succumb to it and she’s miserable.

      The big thing is to focus on your own life and stop comparing yourself with others. Realize that everyone is different and deals with different things. Practice gratefulness – you are employed, you’re not in a war zone, you are healthy, etc. Many people can’t claim that. Make plans for your future (you’re starting to do that). But practicing gratefulness is a big deal.

      1. Kerr*


        I have someone in my own life who seems SO much more accomplished than me. I find myself jealous even when I know that this person’s life hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, and they’re a great person. To be honest, I almost posted something here about how to deal with these feelings, when I feel like I’m falling apart while this person is doing Amazing Things. But it’s 100% about you, and how your own life is. I feel so much better when I concentrate on my own life, the many things I can be thankful for, and what I can do for the future. Envy is a bad road to go down.

        The irony is that I’ve had some people talk about me as if I’m “perfect”, which is bizarre. Because oh my goodness…IF ONLY YOU KNEW. I’m not even perfect on the outside, I think it’s just that the speaker hones in on one or two things that evidently read “perfect” to them, and focus on that.

    5. Hellanon*

      Make friends with her! Go out of your way to be friendly, get coffee, start conversations – if you get to know her a) you’ll see for yourself that she’s not actually an Instagram avatar or b) you’ll find something about her to actually dislike. Seriously, this is the approach I have always taken, and because it lets you see the person, it’s sort of organically effective. Plus, because you are smiling & being friendly, you both feel better physically *and* feel better about yourself.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This advice works very well. It gets rid of that fairy tale story in side our heads because we learn who they really are and what their life is like. It is tougher to be BEC with some who is friendly to you. And it helps to get you unstuck so you can focus on your own life.

    6. neverjaunty*

      Mention this to your therapist ASAP. It’s great that you recognize this isn’t normal and it is coming from inside your head, not from your co-worker – but as Engineer Girl says, it’s not normal, but it IS fixable.

    7. babblemouth aka One Of The Greatest Minds Of The 2st Century*

      Try to celebrate your own achievements, instead of her. So, for instance, at the end of each day, think about the best thing you did today, and toast yourself with whatever your preferred celebratory beverage is.
      Write down every day your “best thing I did” item, and share them with someone else every week. It doesn’t need to be someone you know if you’re worried about being braggy – you can just come here for instance and tell some random internet strangers.

    8. Oh Fed*

      The solution here is 100% about you. It is not about liking her or finding an imperfection in her. It is about you replacing the negative thoughts in your head with things that are true and right and not related to others. Therapy is a great place to get the help that you need and I second the recommendation that you stop discussing this even with trusted co-workers.
      (*I was once where you are now, was friends with my coworker and had the agony of having my credit card declined in front of her and a few years later, my miserable ex-husband came on to her. None of it was her fault, but I really struggled with anger toward her.)

    9. New Bee*

      I think your coworker meant well, but your response to her is exactly why I think the “their life isn’t perfect anyway” argument isn’t always the most helpful. Besides the recommendations to work with a therapist, I know Captain Awkward has some columns that might help–she talks about how other folks aren’t doing (pregnancy, marriage, great hair, etc.,) “at” you and provides some internal scripts to change your thought patterns.

    10. ES*

      Please—do talk about this with your therapist. This kind of envy and insecurity can be so corrosive and undermining, and it’s gnawing a hole in your heart. You are a good person! You can and will do wonderful things in your life!

      And please—don’t talk about your envy of Coworker with your other coworkers. Your therapist is the best possible ear for you and there is no chance that things you discuss with your therapist will ever become office gossip.

    11. Hey Jude*

      Have you tried to flip your insecurity about her on it’s head? Try to actually befriend her? Not in a phony way, but genuinely. Fake the funk a little at first. Complimenting her, uplifting her. You will find that that good energy may return to you and soon you wont have to fake it. You will feel it and you may make a really good friend / work buddy who adds value to your life and/or worklife (and find out she isn’t in fact as put together as your are making her seem because she is in fact human)

      I’ve dealt with feeling like I didn’t like someone for no valid reasons, then I do this. I just project good energy. Genuine good energy. I’ve made some amazing friends because of it.

    12. Temperance*

      I feel like this regarding one of my SILs. She’s very tall, naturally thin, had her freaking flat stomach back TWO WEEKS after giving birth, and is one of those people that others double-take. I’m a troll in comparison.

      What I do is remind myself about the things that I’m better at. I bet you are better at things, too. Maybe her fiance is weird and boring and is one of those creeps who walks around the house in a smoking jacket?

    13. Cat steals keyboard*

      Definitely mention this to your therapist.

      I felt this about an old school peer and the feelings seem to have dissipated since I addressed the things at the root of my depression.

      1. Cat steals keyboard*

        Oh, and while I think the person’s actually life is kind of irrelevant, as it’s not really about them, my feelings did shift when I found out she’d been dealing with infertility for years.

    14. Not So NewReader*

      I believe that these people serve a purpose in our lives. For whatever reason you have a hole in your life. Focusing on her and all she has gives you a time out, a rest, from thinking about the hole in your life. In general these folks, remind us to focus on what is important in our lives. But that reminder is more like nagging. She reminds you moment by moment to fix what is wrong in your life. And no, it’s not make up and nice clothes.

      It’s terrific that you have an appointment lined up with your therapist. While you are waiting, start a list of what is RIGHT with your life. Got a car that runs reasonably well, put that on the list. Have one friend or fam member that you can call and talk to for hours, put that on the list. When home heating oil was $4 a gallon, I put on my list, “Oil is paid for”, because I thought doing that on a shoestring budget was an accomplishment. Take a hard look at your life and make a handwritten list of what is going reasonably well or going good. Keep the list handy so as you think of things you can add to it. Getting the first few is tough, so remember anything is fair game if YOU think it gives you comfort/keeps you safe or if you are privately proud of a given accomplishment, such as my oil example.

    15. Stellaaaaa*

      I had an acquaintance who I felt similarly about when I was in my mid-20s. I realized that I was envious of her because we had a lot in common and it was frustrating that she’d managed to succeed in certain ways with those shared qualities while I hadn’t been able to. I also forced myself to remember that I didn’t want the specific things she had – I didn’t want her boyfriend, or her job, or her family life, or even her looks. As we crossed over into our 30s I started to see that, in general, you pay a price for having had your life fall into place so early. Do you want to marry the guy you were dating at 22? My master’s degree has served me far better than a mid-20s marriage would have.

    16. NicoleK*

      Oh, I can relate to feeling envious and jealous. I have a friend who married a woman from a wealthy family. Their home (they live in a nice, safe suburb in a nice, spacious house) is paid for. Their children attend private schools. They drive nice vehicles. Friend’s wife does not need to work. My friend’s life improved 1000% when he married his wife. On the surface, it may appear that they have everything. But looks can be deceiving. I’m sure they have issues too, just not financial issues.

    17. Lucky Penny*

      I have been going through a lot of the same feelings lately, just not about anyone person in particular. I felt like so many people I knew were ahead of me in career, family, hobbies, friends, looks, romance, weight, volunteer, the list goes on. Staring at social media certainly didn’t help. But I talked with my therapist who said this feeling has been a lot more common with people in this day and age of the Net. Most people only post the good things online: the new car purchased, the lunch out with their partner, receiving the perfect birthday gift. They don’t post that their boss berated them for making a mistake, that their uncle is hounding them for a loan, or that they really suck at that hobby they love so much. Likewise, you’re just getting snapshots of this woman’s life.

      Please, definitely talk with your therapist; doing so with mine did me a world of good. And maybe try talking with her as others suggested. Even if you don’t want to make friends, why not share bad news and see if she does the same? Sharing bad things will generally result in people trying to commiserate. If she shares some bad things going on in her life, she won’t seem so perfect anymore.

      1. Lindsay J*

        Yeah, my boyfriend was experiencing this for awhile. Cutting down his Facebook time definitely helped.

  8. Evie*

    I just got an Apple Watch and while I don’t obviously “need it” I’m enjoying it so far. I feel a bit bad about the money (I went for the Series 1 and have a gift card that covered 45%) but I still feel like people will be judging me for it.

    Anyway, anyone have a recommendation for some fun games/apps I should download?

    1. Mirilla*

      No advice but congrats on the watch! I hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I’d google for info. on good apps.

  9. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*


    Also New York! Which was awesome and I’m in love with it! BUT HAMILTON OMG HAMILTON.

    It’s mostly new cast now — only Anthony Ramos and Okieriete Onaodowan from the OBC were there on the night, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Chris Jackson were both out — so it was very interesting to watch and see how the new cast compare to the soundtrack I’ve listened to approximately 6,000,000,000,000 times.

    Javier Muñoz is unbelievably amazing and has a voice to die for. Rory O’Malley was also beyond delightful — he, Mandy Gonzalez, and several others were at the stage door and were all wonderful human beings.

    This is basically the highlight of my life okay.

    1. all aboard the anon train*

      YAY CONGRATS TO YOU. I saw it with the original cast and it was delightful, but I’ve been wanting to see it with Javier since I adore him (and actually think he has a better voice than Lin). I’ve loved a lot of the new cast in other shows, so I’m sure they were all great.

      What was your favorite part? It’s always nice to see how the staging works compared to what you dream up in your head when you listen to a soundtrack. I’m love how they did the Helpless to Satisfied transition and rewind. That was really impressive.

      1. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

        Honestly, I agree with you re: Javier. Lin is fantastic but my God, Javier is an incredible singer.

        I actually really loved King George doing the voiceover in the beginning. And the Reynolds Pamphlet staging was beyond my wildest imaginings.

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          Oh, yes, the staging for the Reynolds Pamphlet was amazing. I also just remembered the “secret” scene before Non-Stop that’s not on the soundtrack. Even though I knew it was coming, it still made me sad.

    2. BRR*

      How did you get tickets? I would love to surprise my husband with tickets but the lottery hasn’t helped :(.

      1. Liz*

        There are still tickets from the theatre and Ticketmaster that aren’t resale available for shows in early 2017. Even in the height of the craze, there were tickets available, just through resale. Now that NY has that law against ticket bots, it’s a lot easier to get tickets that aren’t sky high. The problem with this show and with any popular show isn’t the lack of tickets, it’s the price.

    3. Lindsay J*

      I’m jealous!

      I’m seeing a local production of In the Heights (Lin Manuel-Miranda’s other show) this week so I’m really excited about that. I don’t know much about it nor have I listened to the soundtrack or anything so I’m interested to see if the script has the same types of wordplay, etc, in it.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I tried to listen to the soundtrack and meh, just no. I’m not interested.
      But I’m glad you got to see it, and that you loved it!! It’s so much fun when you get to do stuff like that. :)

      1. Dear Liza dear liza*

        I started with the libretto, then listened to the soundtrack. I’m not normally into hip hop, so the music had to be contextual used for me. But now I’m all in! :)

        1. Overeducated*

          I started with the soundtrack and very quickly realized I should have started with the libretto. “Who are all these people? Who is singing now? I am so confused!” But then I got to like it :)

    5. NewMe2016*

      Oh!!! I am so very jealous! Good for you! I have listened to the soundtrack at least as much as you have. I tell myself that learning the lyrics is good for my aging brain:)

    6. Claire (Scotland)*

      That is so awesome! Hamilton is basically my favourite thing right now. I listen to the cast recording a ridiculous amount.


    7. TL17*

      Hamilton is amazing! I saw it with the original cast and I’ve heard lots of people say the new cast is fantastic.

    8. Mimmy*

      So happy to see that people like the show with the new cast. I have never seen it and was bummed when the original lead left the production – I’ve seen a couple of his TV appearances and he was terrific.

      1. The Unkind Raven*

        I feel like the show is the star, more so than who is in it, in this case. I saw Lin and Javier and both were excellent but the show is the show, and its outstanding no matter who is on stage on a particular night.

  10. Not me*

    I’m feeling pretty upset today. I nearly walked out of work yesterday out of sheer frustration/anger. I’m so tired of working there that I want to cry about half the time I’m at work. It’s beyond toxic. I’m almost a year out on the job search and feeling desperate to take literally anything.

    Then my friend calls and talks for half an hour about her job problems not even once asking me “how are you Mirilla?” I love her but man she is self centered. I could never mention that to her though because she’s super defensive too so I just listen and give advice when I need support and advice too! I’ve backed off from her quite a bit and I thought it was because I’m going through a lot lately but actually it’s because she uses me as an emotional garbage can, venting about her problems while not bothering to ask about mine.

    Anyone else ever have a one sided friendship? I’ve known her half my life but lately her self absorption is more than I can take. I may need to back away further and I’m pretty far removed already. I also need to unfollow her on Fb because the over sharing and bragging she does is over the top.

    1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*


      I’ve been a bad friend sometimes, and I’ve had some bad friends. It’s time to slowly back away, and gradually just become less available. I also suggest finding some better friends who you can vent to, but also possibly a therapist for yourself. It is so challenging to work in a toxic environment and you need to give yourself some self care.

    2. copy run start*

      It sounds like your garbage can is already full. You don’t need your neighbor trying to stuff more garbage inside.

      I had a group of friends who turned into one-sided friends as our lives diverged after college. When I think back to what was, I miss them… but I also know that I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to deal with their problems when they won’t even listen to mine. In turn I’ve worked on strengthening other friendships. Unfortunately those folks are all hours away from me now, but I feel far closer to them than the people I used to know in my town.

    3. neverjaunty*

      Your instincts are correct – she’s not a friend, she’s a self-absorbed user. Don’t feel compelled to throw good money after bad. Why hang out with this person for the other half of your life?

    4. HannahS*

      Yeah, I have. I have one friendship where most of the time it’s one-sided, but I don’t mind because I know that a) she actually HAS a harder life than me and b) on the rare occasions that I need her, she’s there. But when someone takes and takes AND isn’t willing to talk about it and change? It’s good to step back.

    5. Jen RO*

      I was actually thinking of posting something similar! A very old friend of mine is visiting (she lives in another country) and I am just feeling less and less inclined to go out of my way to spend time with her. Most of our conversations are about her relationships and her work – not that I have anything super interesting to say about mine, but a question would be nice from time to time.

      (So today I lied and said I was going to bed early, but instead I stayed home and played video games. It was great.)

    6. Camellia*

      Sometimes strangers become friends and sometimes friends need to become acquaintances or strangers. And that is perfectly all right

      1. Cat steals keyboard*

        A friend of mine says we have friends for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

        I say try to pick radiators, not drains – and to quote Maya Angelou: when someone shows you who they are, believe them.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      Yes, I used to have a friend who was in a very difficult relationship–she stayed in it because the guy was rich and did things for her kids, and she had no good job skills (and refused to get any). She would call me all the time and complain about it incessantly. I always listened and tried to give her advice. She listened to my stuff too, but after a while, it was really mostly about her.

      Then she finally met someone else and got the courage to leave and then she got engaged to this new guy, and *poof!* I have not seen nor heard from her since. I called her at her last phone number and left a message, but I never got a call back. And she doesn’t do computers, so she’s not online (that I know of), etc.

      Guess I outlived my usefulness. :P

    8. Pennalynn Lott*

      Back in my late 20’s I suffered from severe clinical depression. One day I decided to kill myself. Then that thought scared me, so I drove to the closest hospital to check myself into their psyche ward. I called my best-friend-at-the-time, Carol, to tell her while I was waiting to get fully checked in to the hospital. But all she wanted to do was cry over the latest argument with her boyfriend, George. I redirected her by saying, “Carol, I just told you that I’m suicidal and checking myself into a psyche ward.” Her response? “Uh-huh. I heard you. But. . . but. . . ::sniffle::. . . DO YOU THINK EVERYTHING WILL BE OK BETWEEN ME AND GEORGE?”

      I hung up on her and never spoke to her again. Life is too damned short to waste one second of energy on anyone that self-centered.

      1. Cat steals keyboard*

        I’m so sorry she let you down like that.

        I dumped a friend after I texted her saying my fiancé had left me for someone else* and I was going to be homeless in five days.

        Her reply was: “Well I’ve been feeling sh** for ages.” I deleted her number after I read it. I still can’t believe she did that.

        *who was and is welcome to him, as I married someone wonderful, which he was not, and she did me a favour really.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          Ditto. I have appreciated many of your posts here, which isn’t the biggest thing ever but we learn from everyone, if we’re fortunate enough to listen and really hear them.

          And Carol is/was a jerk.

          1. Mirilla*

            I agree. So glad you got through that crisis and you were wise to let Carol go as a “friend” because she wasn’t anything close to a friend. That is the ultimate in self-absorption.

            1. Pennalynn Lott*

              Thanks, everybody! It was about 20 years ago. Turns out I had a Vitamin D deficiency, but the doctors didn’t know to test for stuff like that back then. They just prescribed Prozac. And then an ever-changing carousel of other psyche meds over the next ~10 years when nothing seemed to work right. One day I read a lengthy article in Scientific American about Vitamin D and brain health, and had an “Aha!” moment. I started taking 4-5 times the RDA and felt amazingly better in about a month. I weaned myself off my psyche meds (Effexor, at the time, which was a real b*tch), and haven’t needed them since.

              I saw an endocrinologist back in 2009 who had a sh*t-fit when I told him how much Vit D I was taking. He practically yelled, “Stop that! Stop taking so much RIGHT NOW. It’s fat soluble; it builds up in your system; BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN!” [OK, he didn’t literally say that last part, but it’s an accurate summation.] Anyway, my labs came back a few days later and I went to see him and was pleased that he had to eat crow: “Um, that thing about stopping Vit D? Don’t do it. Your serum levels are in the Normal range. Low-normal, to be specific. You could actually up your daily intake by another 500 IUs, if you wanted.” :-)

              1. Dynamic Beige*

                Love it.

                How much are you taking? I do the same, I’ve fallen off the wagon recently and should really get back on. It’s amazing how much of a difference it can make.

                1. Dynamic Beige*

                  Sometimes, I go up to 10,000. With my autoimmune condition, I cannot be out in the sun for extended periods of time and try to stay in the shade. I find taking some at night between 6-9pm, also makes me sleep better. I can feel myself getting tired.

                2. Pennalynn Lott*

                  I’ve never taken it at night. I’ll give it a whirl tomorrow. (Already taken my daily dose today). I take melatonin because I have trouble sleeping. Hopefully the Vit D will help, too. Thanks for the tip!

      2. Christopher Tracy*

        Something similar happened to me. I had a friend from high school that kind of drifted once we went to college. After graduation, we both ended up back in our high school town (and living with our parents), so we rebonded over that. Well, she was always calling and texting me about her relationship drama, and even though it was annoying that most of our conversations revolved around her mess, I kind of just let it slide because, hey – high school friend.

        Then one day my younger brother got into a car accident and nearly died. I texted her scared out of my mind, and she pretty much blew off my feelings and started talking about her impending divorce. As if my brother’s life was nothing or not as important as her finally getting a clue and getting rid of the douchenozzle she had no business marrying in the first place. I was furious and never spoke to her again. She kept trying to call and text, and I just ignored her – I wasn’t going to expend any more energy on someone like this.

        Now, I keep all of my “friendships” incredibly superficial so that when it’s time to let go of someone who’s acting funny, it won’t be as sad.

        1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

          That was a horrible letdown by that friend but I’m sorry it’s gone on to affect all your other friendships as well. I’ve had to let go of friends who became totally one sided and years later still feel bad about it but have since filled in the gaps with far better friends. I hope you meet people worth having non-superficial relationships with someday.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      Friendships should be a two way street and have a back and forth to them. Insist on it with your new friendships.

      If you know your frame of mind is not in a good place, let calls to to voice mail. Seriously, it’s not worth the added upset. If you know you feel crappy and the friend is going to unload more crap, then say, “NOT NOW!” and let the call go. I don’t do it a lot, but if I know I absolutely must go to bed or must get out the door for a reason, I do ignore my phone. Of course, I’ll call the person back at a better time, usually. But there are some people who have dump trucks full of stuff and they want to give it to me. No thanks. We have a responsibility to each other to lift each other up and lighten each other’s loads in ways that we can. But it’s a back and forth thing, where each friend takes a turn lifting the other friend up. Stick with people who understand the responsibilities of being a good friend.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        I do ignore my phone

        Call Display is amazeballs, it’s like my own little digital butler. I love being able to look over, see who it is and then decide whether or not I want to (or have to) answer the phone. Number I don’t recognise? Probably a telemarketer. Friend who only calls when they want to vent to me? Hm… think tonight I’ll let that go to voice mail.

        I also decided a few years ago that if I was collecting my stuff to leave, let the phone ring. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message. Because every time I’ve picked up the phone, it’s turned into something that’s made me even more late.

    10. MsChanandlerBong*

      My cousin is like that. She calls and talks for 40 minutes about her problems. If I pipe up about my life, she’ll “listen” for 45 seconds, and then she’ll say, “Sorry to cut you off, but…” and then keep talking about her problems. I listened to her complain about her sinus problems for years, so when I had to have a breast biopsy because the ultrasound showed that the lump looked “suspicious,” I told her about it. Her response? “Why are you crying? You don’t even know if you have cancer.” I was crying because I have had life-long medical issues, and it was just one more blow in a long list of health-related bad news. (Luckily, the lump turned out to be a hematoma–collection of blood–that must have formed when I was in a car accident a few years beforehand. It swelled up enough that it became a noticeable lump.)

    11. Mirilla*

      Wow, so many of you can relate. I’m so sorry for the thoughtless things your “friends” did to you. It seems like we just serve a purpose to some people and nothing else.

      I know I too have been a crappy friend sometimes too, but in this situation, this pattern has been going on for a few years. Whenever she finishes her monologue and I try to let her know how I’m doing, she suddenly has to get off the phone. So sorry. I’ll call you back. Then she doesn’t call.

      I mean I had minor surgery this week and would have liked to talk about it. When I had my breast biopsy earlier this year (benign thank God), I told her after the fact. She didn’t ask how it went or what happened or how I felt about it. She didn’t seem the least bit interested in hearing about it. I knew then that something is off because when she had surgery/rehab for an injury I encouraged her throughout the process.

      It’s funny because she would be absolutely furious if I told her that I thought she was self-absorbed. She prides herself on being empathetic, kind strong, and loving, to the point where she brags about it on facebook. She doesn’t take criticism well. She just wants agreement.

      I do know how a good friendship works and I have a few of those. I have to watch myself that I don’t just take and give also to them. Thank you all for sharing your stories.

      1. brightstar*

        I know, particularly in my early 20s, I wasn’t a good friend at times. Then, I veered into being the one who was always listening and being there and not getting anything in return. It took a while to find a balance, but most of my close friends now reciprocate and we take turns being there for one another. I still get frustrated sometimes with some friendships. Those I tend to backtrack from for a while.

        I think this is a struggle for most people.

    12. Crystalline*

      Boundaries–we need them everywhere! Major hugs and sympathies. I’ve got a friend who loves to vent to me, which is alright except for times when I want to vent back, and she’s mysteriously unavailable. She’s also one of those people who will complain for weeks about something and then ‘forget’ to tell you the outcome. Like, I listened to you whine about ____ for how many months and you can’t be bothered to tell me it got resolved?! *insert unintelligible muttering*

      I hope you find a better job very soon and things start to look up. You don’t have to be anybody’s emotional punching bag if you don’t want to be. Maybe she should get a pet of some kind. She can tell it all about her problems and won’t have to ask how it’s doing. =P

    13. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

      I kind of feel like the majority of my friendships are one-sided. I’m always offering advice, listening for hours, being there and I barely get a ‘how are you’. They ask favors of me like helping write their resume, helping them move, helping them navigate life in general … but are pretty much never there for me!

    14. Pirate Wench*

      YES. Myself and two other friends ‘divorced’ a toxic friend. She came off as super friendly and kind and always made you laugh. Then, as the friendship aged, we realized how self-centered she was. Everything was about her, her silly-ness and kindness were because she wanted to be the center of attention and wanted you to be in-debted to her. You couldn’t talk to her about things she was doing wrong, because she thought she was flawless and you were a bad friend if you didn’t accept her as she was, but then she could say whatever she wanted about you. She was such a diva that she went to job fair in college with her signature black fingerless gloves on and got mad when she was told it didn’t look professional, said that they were trying to smother her individuality.

      One friend did a very public break-up with her among other friends to keep the conversation civil (didn’t work, toxic friend still blew up), while myself and the other friend did a fade out. We all feel so much better for not being around her any more. Do your best to ignore her calls and don’t engage her. You’ll feel so much better for it.

  11. LawCat*

    Budget GPS watch recommendations? I don’t need anything fancy pants. I’d like to be able program intervals, have the watch tell me my current pace, and a battery that lasts at least 4 hours. My nonGPS watch has served me well for interval training, but I have my first half marathon in a couple weekends and would like to be able to keep an eye on my pace.

    1. Hattie McDoogal*

      I have a Nike+ watch that I like pretty well. I don’t think it has the option to program intervals, unfortunately, but if you want to track your pace and the like during a run it works fine. I bought mine second hand for, I think, around $85.

    2. DragoCucina*

      I bought DH a Garmin mostly because it’s water proof and can count swimming. He only has to charge it once a month.

  12. Overeducated*

    Funny story of a dumb thing I did today. I stopped into a store and cafe in my new neighborhood to look for some nice bread. They had a few baked goods behind glass on the counter and a basket with two baguettes in it in front of the counter on the customer side. I went to the register and asked for a baguette. I paid and the cashier went and did something else, so I grabbed one of the two baguettes. It seemed disappointingly stale but I didn’t know the place and its quality and figured baked goods were not from on site.

    I was waiting for someone to come out of the bathroom so I stuck around for a couple minutes, and then…my “order” came up. A much fresher baguette from somewhere in the kitchen. The server called me over and asked me to please return their display baguette. If I hadn’t been waiting I would have just walked out with it. He was really not amused.

    Aaaaand now I will be the story they tell of idiot customers. I have never before encountered display bread when everything else is (or appears to be!) actually for sale. Is that common?

    1. LCL*

      I once bought a package of ribs from the hot case that turned out to be a hot bag filled with meat trays. They were the display, the person behind the counter handed them to me, and the b$&@ manager had the nerve to laugh at me when I returned them.. Of course it was for Sunday evening and we were half dead from a weekend camping event. One of the many reasons I try not to shop at Freddie’s.

    2. AnotherAdmin*

      That is hilarious! And definitely something I could see lots of other people doing. I can’t believe the server wasn’t amused at all. I’m not sure I could say, “Please replace our display baguette” with a straight face.

    3. Jillociraptor*

      Ha! This is a great story. The division head from my last job had a similar hilarious encounter with products disguised as decor. One of the organization’s big donors was the CSR branch of Zappos. She went to visit the headquarters in Las Vegas and saw this huge wall of purses against a bunch of neon designs. Obviously, it was a decorative display of one of the many product lines Zappos sells. But Boss Lady 100% earnestly thought it was a spot to drop your bag, and tried to hang up her rolling briefcase along with the other purses. One of the program officers for our grant had to gently explain. Boss Lady was an extremely successful, very high level staff member. Luckily she could tell this story with mirth because it cracks me up every time I think about it. Just know, Overeducated, how much joy you’ve probably brought those bakery staff members!

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Me, either. When i order a baguette, they give me one of the ones that are sticking up out of a ceramic pot on the counter. they look like a display baguette, but that’s what you get when you order

    4. Dynamic Beige*

      Someone I knew online (and did meet in real life) worked in the bakery department of a grocery store doing custom sheet cakes. At one point, they got some new machine that would print a photo into icing (? something like that) and so as a demonstration someone had taken a photo of the band Queen, printed it out and put it on a cake in the window as a sample of what it looked like. The cake sat there for months. One day, she came in and it was gone. It turned out that a customer had come in, seen the cake and flipped out, being a huge Freddie Mercury fan. They bought it for their birthday. The person who was on the shift that day was new and hadn’t known to not sell the cake, that it was meant as a sample only. I shudder to think what that must have tasted like.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Aren’t those display cakes Styrofoam underneath the icing? I feel sorry for whoever took it home!

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          I guess in this case, it wasn’t, she never said. Maybe it’s cheaper to day a day old cake or one that no one picked up and just use it as a display? Styrofoam probably would have tasted better! Ew.

    5. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      A long time ago on a family vacation to Washington DC., my parents and I were eating dinner at some little neighbourhood Italian restaurant. On every table, where there would normally be a little candleholder or bud vase, there were glasses with a bunch of thin, long breadsticks in them. Grissini, right? No. My dad took a bite out of one and almost broke a tooth–they were super stale and apparently very old. A waiter rushed over and snapped “Those are for display only!” And the thing was, we watched that tableau repeat ALL night. We watched and probably three out of four tables would attempt to eat a breadstick, only to have a waiter reprimand them. Wouldn’t it be easier to put something not easily mistaken for food on the table, then? Is it that crazy that people in an Italian restaurant would assume the bread-like product on the table would be…you know….for eating? If they didn’t want people to eat their table decorations, why not make them substantially less appealing????

      1. Overeducated*

        Hahaha! Maybe that’s why the server was not amused…the first time it’s funny, the fifth time it’s just annoying. You would think one night of that would be enough to get new decor at the restaurant.

      2. Mephyle*

        Clearly the restaurant people weren’t processing the idea “If it happens once, it’s them; if it happens four or five times, it might be you.”

    6. Nina*

      I’ve seen sandwiches on display at Starbucks (the pesto breakfast sandwiches with egg and ham), probably so the customers can see what’s in it, but not bread.

      That said, I have no idea if those Starbucks display versions are real or plastic. Even if they were real, I can’t imagine how long they had been sitting out.

      Don’t feel bad. Honest mistake, and the cashier probably had a good-natured laugh later on.

        1. Nina*

          Wow, really? That explains why they look so real, lol. I’m wondering if any customers ever tried to take them.

    7. Mazzy*

      Well this one was his fault. But a few months ago at a gas station Dunkin Donuts I walked behind the register area and made my coffee. I didn’t even think about it because the nearest other gas station I always go to has a walk-around coffee island. Well, this wasn’t an island – the attendant just forgot to shut the door! It was a little awkward, you would think it was obvious I wasn’t there to steal anything, but they looked a little too apprehensive

    8. mander*

      I guess some places really do need the “display only” signs! These crack me up!

      I’m sure I will now proceed to do something equally silly.

    9. hermit crab*

      Not bread, but one time my dad was accidentally served the display version of a dessert in a restaurant — you know, one of those cake/pie slices from the tray that the server brings around to say “here are our choices tonight.” It was mostly made of Crisco or something, so that it would withstand being on display all night. My dad ate like half of it before someone else tried some and was like, this is not a real pie.

      My dad also once tried to eat a ceramic pretzel from a decorative bowl at an open house. We tease him a lot about his fake-food experiences.

    1. Former Invoice Girl*

      I don’t always comment here, and sometimes don’t even have the time to read through the thread, but I always check in to see the kitties. :)

  13. Marcela*

    Thank you so much for all the suggestions for my back problem last week. I did not get my doctor to send me to a physio, only a phone appointment with one that I’m not sure will ever happen, but I got a set of cushions for my car that made my commute 95% better. It’s acceptable now, so thanks! :D

    1. Ange*

      A phone appointment for physio? How does that even work? Or is it like triage?

      Glad it’s improved for you, though.

      1. Marcela*

        I don’t know. I’m no sure how is the physio going to be able to help me just by listening me describe the situation. My guess, and I’m very cynical about it, it’s that my doctor always tries to making me wait for any request, like she’s waiting for my problems to fix themselves. I’m young and healthy, according to my medical records, so I shouldn’t have any serious issues that require real interventions. I understand doctors do this trying to keep resources prioritizing people with more chances to be sick, but it’s very annoying, specially since our health insurance is not cheap.

        1. Ange*

          I’m sorry to hear that. My previous doctor was very much a “wait and see if it goes away” type also, the new one is a lot better.
          Hopefully your new cushions and chair will sort most of it out for you.

    2. LCL*

      Great! I thought about your post for days, then finally realized what my brain was telling me to add. If you can’t find cushions that work, contact a place that does vehicle upholstery including motorcycle seats, and tell them what you need. I’m glad you found a solution.

      1. Marcela*

        Just by sheer luck, I found a different chair in my office, which was smaller and it reached higher. Nobody liked it because of this, so they took it to our storage area, where I found it because there will be some construction work done and they needed to clean the space. It seems we are going to work happily together.

      1. Marcela*

        Sami, I’ll add the link to amazon in another comment, but you can find the cushions going to amazon and searching “KINGLETING Advanced Memory Foam Car Neck Pillow and Car Lumbar Cushion,Protecting Vertebra,Relieving Fatigue”. There is no real reason why I bought them, except that somebody told me the problem could be that the car seat was too deep for me, and these cushions seemed to be thick enough so they would push me out. And they were right. They were so right that the cushions solved another problem I had: an extra contracted muscle in my right thigh. Sitting in the right position, my thigh wasn’t pressed against the seat and I can relax the leg when I’m not actually pressing the pedals.

  14. Pug Lover*

    Im asking this for a good friend. My friend Diane is in her late 60s. She is the primary caregiver for her daughter’s children, who are all under the age of 2 (there are 3 of them). Both the daughter and son-in-law work full-time.

    My friend isnt really able to take care of the kids. She isnt in good health. Her daughter, however, makes her feel guilty whenever her mom cant watch the kids. Diane watches the kids 4 days a week and frequently on the weekends.

    The daughter talks about how they cant afford to really pay Diane to watch them, let alone put them in day care. But yet…they just bought a new house, drive cars that are more than $50,000 each, and have expensive season tickets to various sporting events. Basically, they are unwilling to make sacrifices.

    Diane sees all of this going on and is getting very frustrated. She told me earlier today that they simply dont want grow up. Her daughter and son in law are very critical of how she takes care of the kids as well and got upset because of a health emergency that happened while Diane was watching them – in short, they were concerned about how much the hospital visit would cost them and how it was going to impact their social plans for later in the day.

    Diane is ready to resign from watching her grandchildren and its breaking her heart. She wants to have a heart to heart conversation with the daughter and SIL but is looking for an appropriate script. Any ideas?

    1. Rahera*

      I’m really sorry to hear this. Captain Awkward might have some useful scripts and insights. I just did a quick search under ‘boundaries’ and there look to be some useful posts there. Good luck to Diane: what a frustrating and unfair-sounding situation.

    2. BRR*

      I’d probably just be direct. Possibly somewhat snarky. “Oh you can pay me with your yankee season tickets.” I would start though with a direct “I can only watch the kids at X times.” “If you would like me to continue watching your children, you have to accept that I will sometimes be doing things my way. It may not be how you would do things but that doesn’t make it wrong.”

    3. Engineer Girl*

      So many things here…
      First off, she needs to let the kids know that they are now adults and will have to pay their own way. They will, of course, push back. They may even penalize by withholding the grandkids. She needs to continue and not give in. This is a boundaries issue.
      The most important narrative is this: They aren’t my kids, they are yours. it is YOUR responsibility to look after them. I may help out on occasion, but that is a gift from me, not an obligation. I do not owe you free child care.
      If they are continuously whining about finances then offer to buy them a Dave Ramsey financial course.
      Remember that the first obligation of parents is to give them roots. The second is to give them wings. The kids need to adult up.
      The biggest thing is the potential withholding of grandkids, which is very possible. She needs to do it anyway. ” I love you. I also can’t do this.”

      1. Episkey*

        Engineer Girl makes a good point. My mom had a co-worker in this same situation (watched the grandkids every single weekend, both days) and when she told her daughter she just couldn’t do it anymore — at least not every weekend — the daughter basically did threaten to withhold the grandkids. So I think your friend needs to be aware of & prepared for that type of reaction. So incredibly selfish of the daughter and SIL!

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      Diane needs to start saying no to the weekends immediately and gradually ease out of weekdays. Are the kids’ parents even acting like parents? They had kids and decided they weren’t going to adjust their social lives. Believe me, kids notice when they’ve been raised by Grandma or a housekeeper instead of their parents.

    5. OhBehave*

      She is watching 3 kids under the age of 2? I am exhausted just thinking about that and I’m only 50.
      Shame on her daughter and SIL for guilt-tripping Diane. It’s going to be hard for her to put her foot down. As others have said, the daughter will threaten to withhold the kids, etc. It sounds to me like the daughter thinks dear mom owes her something. Nope. You had the kids and you are the parents. Now BE THE PARENTS!

      “My dear mooch of a daughter, I will have to cut down on the time I take care of my dear grandkids. Watching 3 kids under the age of 2 is more than I can handle. I am willing to do xyz (watch them 2 days a week and one weekend a month, take them to daycare the other 2 days, whatever works for Gma, etc.). How soon can you make other arrangements for the days I will be unable to care for them?” She should expect hysterics and possibly daughter telling her kids that Grandma doesn’t love them anymore.

      I’m sure this will be very hard for Diane to do. But her health is at issue and she cannot be a doormat any longer.

    6. SeekingBetter*

      Wow. I believe the parents should be able to afford to pay Diane. That poor woman doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment from her daughter, especially since she’s so gracious enough to do it all of the time and for free. The parents need to learn to grow up and sacrifice some of their fun activities.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      Best: I finally found a rocking chair! I’ve been looking for just the right one for a long time. I have great memories of me and my grandfather in his rocking chair and now that I have an old house with lots of room, I’ve been wanting one. All the ones I found were either too low to the ground, too narrow, or too expensive. My husband found one of Craigslist yesterday and we went and got it today. $100, it’s old oak, and it’s made in the USA. :)

      Worst: My insurance declined me for coverage for excess skin removal (I’m a bariatric surgery patient). So, the surgeon’s office is going to get me a quote and I’ll see if I can find a way to pay for it. It’s not even cosmetic for me; it’s about comfort. 40 years of gaining, losing, gaining, losing has done a number on my skin and nothing is going to make it go away except surgery.

    2. babblemouth aka One Of The Greatest Minds Of The 2st Century*

      Best and worst are linked for me this week:
      Worst: I’m being moved away from my awesome project team, and sent to a team working on a project that is notoriously difficult and challenging.
      Best: while this is technically a sideways move, all the people that are being put in this team are the best available, because it’s a critical project to fix for the company, so it’s a pretty big compliment. My boss also said it’s probably going to be a fast-track to promotion.

    3. Mimmy*

      Best: Had a very helpful talk with a good friend yesterday. Having someone with such a beautiful soul in my life is so awesome.

      Worst: Got new glasses – love the frames but I think the prescription might be a bit off. Back to the eye doctor on Tuesday!

      1. Ange*

        Best: saw “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” today – the first movie I’ve seen for weeks that I really enjoyed.
        Worst: had an occupational health meeting for work which I was told was just a follow-up but turned out to be a new referral. My manager raised a whole bunch of stuff, some of which was inaccurate and some of which was out of date, and none of which they had raised with me as issues. Also apparently I am singlehandedly ruining morale in my department. Surely that is my manager’s job to address, if true, and not mine?

        The whole thing is especially annoying cos I had a long discussion with my manager last month to make sure that we were on the same page as far as my health issues went. None of that stuff made it into the referral. Plus now I have a meeting with HR and my manager which is apparently “nothing to worry about”. Right…..

      2. babblemouth aka One Of The Greatest Minds Of The 2st Century*

        Whenever I get new glasses, I feel off for a couple days – time for my eyes to adjust to the new shape of the glass. Maybe it will take a couple days to get used to them?

    4. Elkay*

      Best: Fantastic week off work relaxing and being outside.
      Worst: Really need to get a new mattress ($$$$) or mattress topper ($$$). My back which seemed to be getting better has started hurting again.

      1. Tegan*

        Just a tip on mattress shopping, if you go in that direction – Costco! You can still buy online even if you’re not a member, there’s just a small added fee, but even with that I think the mattress we bought would still have been cheaper than anywhere else. I never would have thought about it if a family member hadn’t recommended it to us when we were looking for ours a couple years ago. We ended up getting a 14″ memory foam mattress for around $650, delivered, and it’s by far the best mattress I’ve ever had! My husband has major back problems (herniated discs and sciatic nerve issues) and memory foam made a huge difference for him.

    5. copy run start*

      Best: I explored a forested area that had been partially burnt by forest fire a few years back. It was very beautiful. The heat of summer is gone and the leaves are turning.

      Worst: It was a bad week at work. We work closely with a couple different units who are having problems meeting their workload for reasons, and this is impacting our customers. Our team is taking the blame internally even though we can clearly demonstrate we fulfilled our obligations to reach out to these other units. It’s leading to other team members acting rudely and even insinuating we are incompetent in interdepartmental communications. Not certain what is happening in the upper levels, but I smell a power struggle. Trying to stay positive, take the high road and hope it resolves soon.

    6. Jen RO*

      Best: Went out with friends I hadn’t seen in a while.
      Worst: Nothing really bad this week, just work being busy.

    7. Lindsay J*

      BEST: Got an old Polaroid camera and film for it.

      WORST: My car’s rear fender got stuck on my garbage can in the garage and almost ripped the whole thing off.

    8. caledonia*

      Best: I am in London, doing London-y things. I also have a start date for new job in new city.

      Worst: I think I might have to flat/house share which means not seeing my stuff for 6+ months and they need to take my cat as well because I will not give her away. It’s stressful and I only have 2 and a bit weeks to do it. The rents in new city are outrageous – around 45% of my monthly wage and I just cannot, will not be so broke as I have been this last year again. I just can’t.

      1. mander*

        Ugh, London rent sucks. We literally pay less than half of what we pay in rent on a one bed flat as we do for the mortgage on a two bed house up north.

    9. Newish Reader*

      BEST: After about a month of delays waiting for the space to be emptied and then waiting for furniture to be moved, today I finally finished moving all of my stuff into a new office at work.

      WORST: I have to wait until we hire a new staff member to take over my current responsibilities until I can move into the new office full-time.

    10. Elizabeth West*

      BEST: Have a Cards Against Humanity session with friends later–they got a new pack. Should be fun.

      WORST: I am really in a creative funk and so down about my writing right now. I finished Secret Book, but it has such a huge flaw and the revision will be so intensive that I’m not sure I even want to mess with it right now. Plus, I was reading a recent blog post from Chuck Sambuchino of agents looking for adult fantasy and one of them was like, “I don’t want urban fantasy because oversaturation,” which made all the good feelings I have about Tunerville go right out the window.

      I feel like I don’t have any good ideas. I don’t have any mental stimulation here–it’s the same day, the same week, the same year, over and over and over and over, and I literally cannot even THINK anymore. I need to get out of here, but that could take so long without any outside help that I may be dead before it ever happens. I so desperately need something to open up–and nothing will. Everything is shut down tight. I’ve done everything I can think of and I don’t know what to do anymore. And I’m lonely and bored and tired of being so. I don’t think I can face another holiday season like this. :{

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        I love Cards Against Humanity! I just hardly ever get to play. I am staying with friends while dealing with my dad’s apartment, and they just introduced me to Fluxx, which is a card game that is almost as much fun and yet still kid-friendly! :D

      2. Christopher Tracy*

        Elizabeth, don’t let one person’s opinion about what agents are supposedly looking for in adult fantasy dishearten you. Zombies were over – until they weren’t. Same with vampires, same with cozy mysteries, etc. Tell yourself that people haven’t read you yet, and you’re story is different and unique enough that someone out there will be bound to like it. And don’t let that revision become daunting either. Let it rest for a month, then come back to it with fresh eyes, and you should be ready to tackle it then.

      3. Crystalline*

        Eeee Cards Against Humanity! I love that game.

        Ugh, I know that feeling. :( I was super excited to finish my novel. Until I went back and read it and realized I essentially had to start over. That was a year ago. I haven’t done it yet. Don’t be me! You can do it! Interesting comment from the agent, though. I mean, I don’t know about you, but as a reader, if I like something, I read it fairly consistently. Sure I might throw in something different for variety, but just because there’s a lot doesn’t mean I don’t want it! And if it stopped popping up on shelves because some snooty agent said “Boo, I don’t want it because there’s plenty already,” then I’d be upset, and the agent should find a new job, and honestly I’m a little upset for you that that comment got you down. It’s hard enough already to keep plugging away at writing without worrying agents or publishers might not want it because somebody else wrote some already.
        So…no more vampires ever, then? >(

        Is there any kind of creative-y or at least mentally stimulating hobby you can pick up to help yourself recharge somewhat? Sending you a big fuzzy e-hug. Or a full-body flop from Puppy, if you prefer. I hope you feel better soon.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          It’s my favorite game! Hahah, we do tend to not be too terrible. We’re mostly nice people. :)

          I already figured out how I can fix it and revised my table outline; I’m just mad at it right now. And mad at myself for messing up. UGH.

          Thanks….I just need to get out of here, or something. I’m one of those people who needs external stimulation from time to time–I can’t get it all from just me. There’s been a huge lack of that lately and I don’t know how to remedy it. I’m starving for contact of every kind.

    11. Jillociraptor*

      BEST: We threw a little surprise gathering for a colleague who’s leaving. It was low-key but he really loved it.

      WORST: Washio went out of business! It must sound exceedingly stupid, but although there is laundry in my building, you have to go outside and through three locked doors to get there. Plus, of course, spend several hours sorting, carrying, washing, drying, and folding laundry. Obviously, this is a thing humans can do, but I hate the feeling of something that I thought of as handled suddenly being back in my court to figure out.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Oh, I feel you. The day I decided to get a laundry service was a great, great day. I have my own washer/dryer now and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I do miss the guys who would pick up my nasty bags of laundry and deliver little packets of clean goodness.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          Just been down to the laundry room to put on a load of washing. Somebody’s machine has finished its cycle and keeps beeping, in a high pitched, annoying way.

    12. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Best: being busier on the weekends. A beautiful dinner party with the SO and SO’s colleagues. Taking care of small children with the SO (children of friends). Realizing he has parent potential..and much to my surprise, so do I. Lol. ;P

      Pretty good: overcoming jealousy by throwing myself into more opportunities/adventures and collaboration

      Pretty bad: getting stung by a huge bee at work, twice. Felt like electricity sting, and I had to give a presentation right after too. Ugh.

      Worst: a relative’s health scare–>cancer–>…? And said relative is a young adult, and life’s unfair. And the prognosis is up to a 70% 5 year survival rate, but no more. This person fought to have a good life, left an alcoholic, helped the needy, did amazing work in the industry, and…the c-word.


    13. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Best: FINALLY got our solar panels installed! We signed the contract almost a year ago, and then the first installation was supposed to be about 5 months later…but then they said we needed a disconnect switch, but our county code inspectors disagreed, so we went back and forth about paying for the switch, but it was installed a few weeks ago. Now we have the county inspection soon, and supposedly the utility’s inspection and installation takes 2-4 months.

      Worst: My dad’s passing, of course. And dealing with his apartment and his OCD/hoarding tendencies is not exactly making it easier to deal with, but I feel incredibly lucky to have support on so many fronts. And in a few days a lot of it will be dealt with, and I should be done with the apartment by the end of September. However, the accounts and his obligation (which include not filing tax returns for many years) will probably take me years to clear up.

    14. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Best: I got to spend some time with my grandparents, which is always nice. We watched a lot of HGTV together. I got to drive Grandpop’s fancy car.

      Worst: I spent 6 whole days with my mother, including sharing a hotel room for three nights. A miserable, draining experience that threatened to wreck my self esteem. It’s super awesome to sit at a delicious dinner with your family while they rail against TV and advertising… which just happen to be at the heart of your career.

    15. Ruffingit*

      WORST: Difficulty with a family member.

      BEST: Just got home from a fantastic dinner with previous co-workers who are friends. LOVE THEM!

    16. ginger ale for all*

      Best – I lost five pounds since the last time I weighed myself.
      Worst – I have had a throat infection and the antibiotics gave me four days of diarrhea. I can’t swallow all that well due to the pain so I have been drinking a lot of Slim Fasts just to get something in me. Today, I fainted while drinking one and it splattered all over my stack of vintage paper backs that I had ordered from the UK. Hopefully I can get another doctor’s appointment this week to see why my throat hurts so much after the prescription has run it’s course.

    17. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Best: we went to the Lowe’s labor day sale and stocked up on new appliances (dishwasher, washer, dryer, and refrigerator). All our old appliances are about twenty years old, except the dishwasher, which is ten, so everything was about to go out at once. It feels good to have all new and modern stuff that I chose myself, and not that just came with the house.

      Worse: My new direct report has a snarky sense of humor and no knowledge of boundaries or filters. I’ve talked to him and told him that his interactions with the faculty need to include no sass, no snark, and no attitude. He agreed that he could do that, but his sense of propriety is still off. I’ve had conversations with my boss and several faculty members about disrespect from him to faculty. He thinks he’s making sassy jokes, but that style of banter is not appropriate nor appreciated. It is wearing me out to be constantly monitoring him, correcting him, and worrying about what the hell he’s going to say next. I hope our high-maintenance faculty member returns from sabbatical travel soon and bites his fool head off.

      1. Overeducated*

        Yikes. Last year I actually had a coworker who improved on that front, believe it or not, so it is possible! But that was maybe just because he was moving from a very different context- he was a returning vet who had to be told that his very dark humor was really inappropriate in our civilian context. After several months he figured out, basically, to tone down the disturbing stories and black humor and save the general snark for staff at his level who would appreciate it (admittedly I was one of the few). I was impressed because most people I have known without a good sense of work appropriate interactions have not been able to turn around enough to succeed.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I can appreciate a certain amount of well-deployed snark from a peer, but it gets tiresome when I know that snark is the only tool in a person’s box. Once I’m able to predict, without fail, that their response to anything that happens is going to be snark and more snark, then interactions with them become frustrating and boring.

    18. DragoCucina*

      Best: The first set of classes for my Italian Wine Specialist course.

      Looking on the Bright Side: DH is on his way to Rome for a week long seminar. I’m taking advantage for Me time. Dropped him off at the airport and went to have a massage. Then I came home and took a nap.

    19. QualityControlFreak*

      Worst is we found out my spouse has cancer. Best it it looks highly treatable, as long as it’s isolated to the one area. Doing a lot of praying at this point.

      1. Jean*

        I’m sorry to hear this. I hope the medical news is good and the treatment goes as quickly as possible without any complications.

      2. Former English Adjunct*

        I’m so sorry. I’ve been there, too. It all turned out. My spouse had a quadruple bypass, followed by prostate cancer and then an aneurysm, all within 7 years. It’s scary, I know. Sending kind thoughts your way.

    20. Emilia Bedelia*

      Best: moved into a new apartment! I posted a few weeks ago about putting in an application and worrying if I’d get it… it’s mine! I’m already having a lot of fun adding furniture and dreaming about home improvement projects. This is my first apartment alone after college so it’s extra fun.
      Worst: the excitement of moving has completely tanked my motivation to eat healthy and exercise. Need to work on getting that back this week.

    21. Crystalline*

      Best: I’ve lost 36lbs this year as of today and am the lowest weight I’ve been in years! I finally feel good, like I’ve hit that magic point other people talk about–you know, ‘oh, I stopped eating X and Y and I can do backflips now!’ That’s never happened before and I’m so, so excited. My favorite store, which went out of business and left the state several years ago, is back in the mall and my mom and I (who has lost a similar amount of weight!) went on a shopping spree. For the first time I really, really loved trying on clothes and I found a lovely soft dress that makes me feel like The Bomb. The leather jacket helps, I think. LOL. Puppy doesn’t want to get up in the mornings for the early shift, and threw her head into my arms very dramatically this morning. Counting it as a best just ’cause it makes the morning bearable.

      Worst: My friend is in a grumpy funk and it’s difficult to separate my good mood from her bad one. There’s nothing I can do to help, but it sucks to feel like I need to distance myself from her in these kinds of situations even if it is for my own sanity. Puppy and I need puppy classes like nobody’s business, but I can’t afford the one-on-ones and we can’t join the group class for another month, when she’s 6 months old. Yelling scares Puppy. Yelling is a hard habit to break. But seriously, stop peeing on the carpet. Re-writing my resume (with all the useful info found here!) has been fun, if challenging, yet makes me feel rather like I haven’t accomplished much. It’s just so…short. Curse you, call centers.

    22. Christopher Tracy*

      Best: I got to go to a training class for work this week where I learned how to reshingle a roof, take down and put up siding, perform water remediation, take down and put up drywall (and do patch repairs of same), wire a house, and repair HVAC’s. It was a lot of fun, and even though I have no plans to ever own a house (my dream is to live in a high rise luxury apartment with a doorman and butler), if my brother ever gets one, or I decide to start a side hustle flipping houses, this will be incredibly helpful information and skills to have.

      Worst: I have to go back to work tomorrow, and I know it piled up while I was away :( I’m already dreading the idea of opening up my email.

    23. Jo*

      Best: Birthday cake.

      Worst: Currently deep in an episode of depression :( It usually comes and goes but lately it hasn’t been recurring as often or as badly until now; this is definitely the worst it’s been for several years. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m fairly sure my employment contract is not going to be extended past the 3-month probationary period ending in a couple weeks, and things with my boyfriend are still pretty up-and-down and uncertain after dating for five months. So basically nothing is good because everything is bad.

  15. Justine*

    I’m in Munich at the moment, arrived a few days ago and I’ve gotta ask: what’s the deal with the wasps in the bakeries? I went into one yesterday and there were wasps all over the sweet pastries (and a few that I swear was chewing at the ham in some of the sandwiches). Yet the people who worked there (and the customers as well) appeared to think this was completely normal and barely batted an eyelid. Is this normal?

    1. Myrin*

      It is normal, but ideally the staff would at least try to get rid of them anyway (or not have them chew on the stuff, at least!). Most shops have one of these burn or glue thingies (although they’re usually used for flies) but yeah, if it’s warm and the doors are open, it’s not uncommon to have wasps there. (In fact, just the fact that I had to think about this and only then vaguely remembered that there were wasps both at the baker’s and at the butcher’s when I was there last time makes me think that I’d probably have been one of the people not batting an eyelid, something I’ve never thought about before.)

    2. Engineer Girl*

      A bucket of soapy water works well. The wasps are attracted to the water. They dive down, get soap on their wings, and drown.

    3. Crystalline*

      Augh, now I know I cannot go into any bakeries in Munich! I’m terrified of wasps. Will have to send a minion instead. Also, ick!

  16. Mimmy*

    So to expand on my comment in the “best and worst” thread, a rant about my eyes:

    I got new glasses yesterday with a new prescription. For background: My vision is impaired – about 20/60 best corrected (US) – so I require a very strong prescription. God bless my eye doctor, he isn’t even a specialist in low vision, but he has been helpful.

    Anyway, I picked up the glasses yesterday, and I think the prescription is a little off. Sigh. So it’s back to the eye doctor on Tuesday. He has a machine that measures the lenses, which will tell him if my script was done correctly or not. It almost feels like the “sweet spot” is a bit off-center. I dunno.

    I just get frustrated that it’s not so simple with my eyes. My husband has a strong prescription too, but nothing like mine. Plus, he can buy simple “readers” – he has like 3 or 4 of them around the house!

    I’m also a bit picky with the frames. My skin is sensitive, so I can only wear certain types. Plus, I’m always bothered by the nose pads and the ear parts.

    I know, small potatoes in the grand scheme of things :)

    1. Elder Dog*

      Ask to have the PD distance (between your pupils) checked against the glasses too. That’s most often what I’ve seen wrong with new glasses.

      1. salad fingers*

        Yep. I ordered glasses online not knowing what PD meant, looked at my prescription which said L:30.5 R:30.5; just one space for PD on the online form, typed in 30.5. Of course, a PD of 30.5 is probably impossible for an adult, and probably impossible for the frames I got, but they made the glasses anyway. I wore them for a full work day like a total dolt, thinking I was adjusting to the new prescription.

    2. Engineer Girl*

      I’ve had it happen. In my case the tilt was off. I had to slide the glasses down my nose for them to work properly.
      My dad had 20/200 in one eye, 20/400 in the other. He lived in the days of glass glasses. I used to grab his glasses and put them on. It was like someone smeared Vaseline all over the lenses.
      Dad finally got a lens implant when he had a cataract removed. He could find the bathroom without his glasses. A dream come true for him. He was so excited!

      1. Crystalline*

        Aww, that makes me want to give your dad a hug. I’m so glad we don’t have glass-glasses anymore…I’d be in trouble with the slabs of lenses they keep thrusting at me in hopes of making a tree a tree. Never had issues with my glasses though, so this thread is super useful in case something odd happens, because it’s that time again…

    3. Newish Reader*

      I just picked up new glasses with a new prescription a few weeks ago. It took a few days to get used to the new prescription, so hopefully that may be your issue. Also, the sides can be adjusted to be more comfortable behind your ears. Mine were initially too tight and were digging uncomfortably behind my ears. The optician made some adjustments and the frames are now much more comfortable.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I got my first pair of bifocal glasses the other day, and the first thing I did upon leaving the glasses store was to fall off the curb on the way to my car. The distance to the ground looked different than reality, and it threw me off.

    4. Mephyle*

      I find it really hard to get that centre spot in the right place because when they’re measuring it on a new set of frames I’ve just picked out, I don’t know yet how high or low on my nose I’m going to wear the new glasses. I try to settle them where I think I’m going to wear them, but when I get the finished glasses back and start wearing them full time, so often it’s a little bit off, and so I never quite get that centre of focus in the right place.

    5. Girasol*

      A couple of times I’ve found the source of that kind of problem by comparing the shape of new lenses to old. The optician can grind the correct prescription on wrong blanks – too thick or not curved right on the front – so that a test shows the glasses are fine but they look really different from the last pair. My excellent optometrist has been willing to have them reground on different blanks when I showed him the difference, and that solved the problem. Plastic blanks can be a problem too. Light goes different materials at different speeds and a few people can tell the difference even with the expensive plastics. (If your lenses aren’t huge, real glass lenses are wonderful!)

    6. Glenn*

      I once had a pair with the same problem as Engineer Girl — bad tilt. I don’t think this is even something they measure, it’s just a function of the shape of the frames, but it IS something they can adjust. I like my lenses just about perpendicular to the arms, but often they start out tilted way down.

    1. LawCat*

      Nice!! Love that race! They brought it to my city last year and I wish they would do it again. So fun! CAKE!

      1. Gene*

        There was only one station at the halfway point for the 10k. So, yes. The line was too long for the Kitten Tent, so no kitten time. And a Blerch introduced me to a new thing; marshmallows with chocolate sauce and bacon crumbles.

        I finished in the top 1000!

  17. Amber Rose*

    Can you repair a broken fender on a car, or do you have to replace the whole thing?

    Husband cracked his on a curb, and broke a bunch of plastic and rubber stuff too.

    1. Trixie*

      Most likely, replacement. Scratches can be painted. I would check out for body shop references/suggestions. A good local shop is often less expensive and faster than the dealerships. Those bumpers are delicate, aren’t they?

    2. Sibley*

      If it’s purely cosmetic, isn’t dragging/going to drag, etc, I’d just leave it.

      -Says the person with a dent in the car because some idiot backed into my car then drove off. Yes, I’m still mad. No, I’m not going to fix it – it’s small, not an issue, etc.

      1. Amber Rose*

        Problem is, it IS dragging. There’s this huge plastic chunk dragging on the pavement right in front of the tire. We have it held up with packing tape at the moment, but that is not a long term solution.

    3. Marcela*

      See if you can find the piece in a scrapyard. Some of them have websites with the cars they have available and you just take your tools to the place, remove what you need and pay almost next to nothing.

      1. Amber Rose*

        I know less than nothing about cars, and should not, under any circumstances, be trusted around tools. Husband is barely better than I am, and we have no family or friends in town that would know either.

  18. louise*

    I lost my job a little over two months ago and I lovelovelove not working. But I’m feeling guilty about how I’m not getting much done at home. I have a little 6-8 hr/wk gig baking at a coffee shop, but otherwise I’m reading lots, watching Netflix, and hanging out with friends. I have no desire to be productive. Spouse is being so kind right now, recognizes I needed some time to reset after a difficult many months. But I’m worried I won’t ever find another ounce of initiative. This is the longest I’ve been a non-worker since I was 14 and it scares me how much I like it. We can eat and pay our bills as its a really low COL area but retirement plans and future house plans are all on hold for now.

    I guess I don’t have a question, just wanted to share my fears and shame about being so lazy.

    1. nep*

      My take would be do your best not to let guilt/shame invade a precious, rare, and probably much needed phase. You will have your mojo for work back when you need it. In the meantime stay open to all that comes your way; you never know what doors will open and when.
      Enjoy and all the best.

    2. Mirilla*

      I would feel the same way. I have so much reading and so many craft projects I’d love to catch up on. You’ll probably get bored eventually and want to get back to it, but for the time being, enjoy it.

    3. nep*

      P.S. It might also be a period of re-examining priorities and what’s really valuable and constitutes a ‘good life’ for you. Not to say you scrap the future home and retirement plans and responsibilities — just that you look to somehow fit in this newfound gratification from a not-so-chaotic or stressful work life.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I feel this way a lot. A little too much, sometimes, for the same reasons. But you know what? It’s ok. I volunteered yesterday, and when the event manager asked if I’d done it before, I said, “I never had time! This is so great!” And it is. So now I evaluate potential job opportunities based on whether I’d rather do that job or watch Netflix all day. At the same time, I want to find something soon so I can motivate myself again. But basically, you’re not alone.

  19. Gaia*

    I was rear ended two weeks ago while yielding to highway traffic. I should find out Tuesday if my car can be repaired (there is a weird bubble in the body right where the frame has a joint at the rear window/bottom of the rear passenger window area that suggests possible frame damage). Honestly? I cannot afford to have my car totaled right now. I owe about $2500 more than it is worth and I thought I had GAP insurance when I bought my car, but looking back over my paperwork it seems they didn’t add it in and I didn’t notice. Beyond that, I just had some large medical expenses that drained my savings so I have no money for the down payment on a new car.

    It feels really unfair that I should be out all of this money when I was no way at fault and had no intention of getting rid of this car for years. But even if they don’t total the car (they won’t unless there is frame damage), my resale value is plummeting so in either instance I am still out.

    UGH. I just needed to rant. On top of the car I’ve had a headache ever since he hit me and my back is now all kinds of screwed up.

    1. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      I feel you! I learned the hard way that you get full coverage to insure your insurance agency has skin in the game to prove you were not at fault!

      If you have any back pain at all, even mild muscle pain, go to the doctor! You want to have that record of seeing a doctor in case something flares up. I ended up being pretty severely injured in a rear end accident and I didn’t have many symptoms until a month later and the lawyers I talked to basically said that doomed any hope I had of winning a lawsuit.

      1. Gaia*

        I have full coverage and the other company has accepted full liability. But that doesn’t mean I won’t end up out a lot of money if they total my car, sadly.

        And I have a lot of back pain and neck pain and headaches. I’m under medical care for it but it will be a long process. I was turned in my seat when he hit me (looking for an opening in traffic) so while he didn’t hit me hard, more damage was done than otherwise would have been.

    2. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      Also tossing this out to all commentators:

      No. The person who rear-ended you is not automatically at fault.

      It amazes me the number of people who want to argue with me about my car accident, and being put at fault (51% at fault to make matters a real smack in the face) years later. This is a huge misconception.

      1. Gaia*

        Actually, in my state they are. Unless I intentionally stopped to provoke them (which they have to prove) they are at fault even if I stopped suddenly.

        1. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

          A lot of people believed that about the state I was rear-ended in, but it turns out that wasn’t the case. It’s the second part of the “Assured Safe Distance” rule where you must leave a reasonable amount of space for the car in front of you, it can also be used to prove fault for motors entering the road.

          I actually did leave a safe amount of space when I pulled out, but it was snowing and the motorist was speeding but due to shoddy police work and some small town local big wig BS I got blamed anyway. : <

          1. Christopher Tracy*

            Yeah, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve subrogated against a carrier after my insured driver rear ended someone and was able to collect money for the physical damages we ended up paying our insured. It really depends on the facts of the accident, the jurisdiction and whether it’s a 49 or 51% comparative/modified comparative or contributory negligence state.

          2. Temperance*

            That really stinks. :(

            I was rear-ended a few years ago, and it *was* the fault of the dude who hit me (automatically).

    3. CATS not CAH*

      does your state have diminished value claims? check into it! we got 1500 in addition to our pain and suffering, etc., because of the future effect on the resale of the car.

      also, do you have a lawyer? our settlement went from, lets say 100 dollars to 100,000 dollars as a result of a good lawyer who wrote one scary letter.

    4. Rusty Shackelford*

      If your car is totaled, keep in mind that your insurance company’s offer is just that – an offer. It will not be phrased as such. It will be phrased as “Your car is worth $10,000, here is a check, have a nice day.” I’ve had two cars totaled (neither were my fault) in the last 15 years, and both times the initial offer was about 25% less than the actual value of my car. Do some research on the price of *comparable* cars (same mileage especially) in your area so you know exactly what you should be getting. The first time I had to fight for the full value of my car, and the second time I said “look at these comps, my car was worth at least offer+25%” and they said “okay, here’s more money.”

      Also, if your car is totaled, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to replace it. In some states you can still keep it and drive it (though you’d likely have to pay off your entire loan, so that’s probably not an option for you.)

  20. nep*

    Anyone else fall into a funk some weekends? Not that Sunday dread of a new work week that’s been discussed before — a different kind of funk. Too many weekends I let my general apprehensiveness get the best of me. Had the opportunity to take part in something this weekend that would have been right up my alley — could have led to good and interesting things. I was leaving work, in the car looking at the time (I had plenty of time to make the event) then I just said to myself ‘who the hell are you kidding?’ and drove home. I see that it’s happening and I just crawl into that hole.

    1. Trixie*

      It’s probably not quite the same thing but I use the same attitude about exercise. I may not want to right after work or whenever, but I know I’ll enjoy it once I get there and start. For me, it’s as much habit as anything else. I get use to not participating and then when I do, it can be a struggle. It’s good to recognize these holes/ funks and do what you can to proceed around them, as often as you can.

      1. nep*

        Yes — it becomes a habit (and a really bad one) to let myself off the hook — once again not putting myself out there. I know from experience that when I do crawl out of my comfort zone the outcome is almost invariably fantastic and good for me in many ways. Just sometimes I take that ‘easy’route — it’s stupid and it sucks. Anyway indeed all up to me.

        1. Sherm*

          Yeah, it’s like looking down from a diving board that you’ve jumped off of 100 times. You know you’ll be fine and it’s actually fun, but on that 101th time the pool sure looks a long way down. Probably, though, you are doing better than you used to; it’s been gradual, so you haven’t noticed. Keep on jumping!

          1. nep*

            Thanks. It is sometimes a matter of just forcing myself past the apprehension and jumping. I guess I haven’t yet perceived my backing down as too expensive. But it does cost me a lot.

        2. all aboard the anon train*

          I so get where you’re coming from. I have weird anxiety about going to an event where I won’t know anyone or might be by myself, but once I’m there I’m fine and friendly or love being there to experience it by myself. I get introverted about going places, but then I’m extroverted once I’m there.

          I just think of the worst scenarios first instead of the best, and I’ve tried to become better about thinking of, “This amazing thing could happen if I go!” instead of “omg what if this horrible/boring thing happens if I go?” And if the worst case scenario does occur or the event/people aren’t my cup of tea, I can always leave.

    2. Girasol*

      I had that problem when work burnout was getting the best of me. I couldn’t bring myself to do things or meet people, even activities and people I liked. Are you getting stretched too thin or worn out by politics in the workweek?

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I used to think it was a funk, I blamed my attitude. I found out that it was actually fatigue. When I am tired my attitude goes down. When I am rested it’s much easier to do things. How’s your fatigue levels?

      I do use Sundays as my down day. I usually don’t go anywhere important or do anything major. I need that quiet time to recharge. My thought is, why not have a day to “crawl into that hole”? If you know that you have an at home time coming up, it might make it easier to do some of the other things you would like.
      Today I messed up on scheduling. I had run, run, run all week. So I agreed to do something with a friend from 7 to noon today, knowing I had to be somewhere at 2. Yeah, right. When I should have gotten home at noon, I got home at 3 and that 2 pm commitment went to the back burner as I needed a nap.

      Take a look at what you are doing and make sure to build “time outs” into your plans.

      1. Yetanotherjennifer*

        +1. I had a therapist who recommended I give myself what I need because my body was going to take it anyway eventually. So if you give yourself down time when you need it, it’s like a gift. And it means you’ll have the energy to do the fun things when they come up. Right now it feels like a failure on your part. Your body could also force you to rest by catching a virus. That sort of resting is definitely less fun. Also, you don’t have to do every fun, beneficial thing that comes along. Sure it could have been great, but you need down time too. Down time is also great and time spent resting is not wasted.

    4. babblemouth aka One Of The Greatest Minds Of The 21st Century*

      I usually do – except this week-end, I got out of it. The one thing that was different – I was staying in a hotel on Friday night, so started the Saturday out of the house – it made all the difference, I got so much done, and simply enjoyed myself more.
      Obviously, I’m not going to have a budget for a hotel night every week to repeat this, but I am making a note of planning something on Saturday mornings that forces me out of the house to make sure I start my week-ends on the right foot from now on.

  21. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

    Anyone have advice for dealing with family members and co-workers who are aggressively racist about where you should live? I am looking to move into a new house. The areas in down/mid-town are very affordable, and since I already live down there I know the area is not bad. However everytime we mention our search people get really uppity about “It’s dangerous down there” “you don’t want your kids going to that school”. Etc. It’s really annoying!

    So far I’ve been really polite. “It’s actually really nice down there.” “Huh, that’s not be our experience down town.” and with some coworkers I’ve been a little more forward. “I actually grew up in a similar neighbor myself, it’s not what you think it is.”

    It’s just really getting to me.

    1. Amber Rose*

      I dealt with that a lot when I bought my house. We’re in the “bad part of town” where “all the gangs hang out.”

      Except I live in a quiet area with a lot of kids, a grocery store and a huge park? It’s really a nice area. So that’s all I ever said to anyone. Repetition is your friend. “It’s a nice area, I like it a lot.” If you can master the disinterested monotone, that’ll help too.

    2. Florida*

      I’m my city there is an area that has a good reputation. We’ll call it Sunny Park. My mom grew up in Sunny Park. I have several relatives who live there. It has a good reputation.

      However, when our police department publishes the list of known gangs, there is a gang called Sunny Park Thugs. In the last few years, Sunny Park has had a huge increase in property crime (car theft, burglary, etc.), but violent crime is still very rare. The neighborhood still has a very good reputation. (The Mayor lives in Sunny Park.)

      Whenever one of my relatives says anything about where I live, I always say, “Would it be better if I moved to Sunny Park, the neighborhood where crime is increasing the quickest? Or where the Sunny Park Thugs are?”

      I’m not suggesting that this is the best or most mature way to handle it, but it’s what I do.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I lived in Harlem for two years. I loved it. I still love it– I wish we could have taken our neighborhood with us when we moved. Best, friendliest, most community-oriented place I have ever lived in, hands down. I basically just assumed everyone would look askance at me and I came prepared: “It’s the hottest neighborhood in Manhattan right now.” “I have really nice neighbors.” “Yes, I can always get a taxi.” “Nope, I have never had a ‘problem’.” I still run into this crap. I wish I had good advice, but after a while I just came to accept that a lot of people are ignorant and not willing to believe anything but what they saw on TV 30 years ago. Two years, and the only “trouble” I ran into was from a jackass in the dog park who followed my boyfriend home after our dogs got into a fight. Oh, and the time my credit card got swiped at Red Lobster, but I blame Red Lobster for that one.

      The other option is to convince them to check out houses with you so they can see for themselves. I made my mother walk from our place on 114th to 125th and Lenox once, that was interesting. It got her to stop bashing the place for a little bit.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      Ask them if they have personal experience to back up their claims. I don’t want to get political here, but it’s definitely a problem that liberal-minded people prefer to think in rose-colored ideals instead of acknowledging that sometimes people might have drawn their conclusions due to lived experiences.

      I am a white woman who attempted to live on my own in an area where…most people weren’t white. It wasn’t safe, and I was definitely targeted for certain types of crime and harassment because I was the only white person around. I had to give up my apartment and move. I’ve had people try to argue me out of my conclusions, as if I owe it to society to endure certain things.

      That said, a lot of issues that people attribute to race are really due to poverty, in which case you really should take it seriously if people say the schools aren’t great or if the local government isn’t up to snuff.

      1. Gaia*

        Just because you experienced that, it doesn’t mean that if you had been a young, single woman of color you wouldn’t have had the exact same experience. Or if you had lived in an all white neighborhood you wouldn’t have had the same experience. You don’t owe it to anyone to endure a place you feel unsafe, but you really shouldn’t assume that was race based. That is an ugly assumption.

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          This is what I was talking about…please don’t argue with my experiences. I have proof of being targeted for being white. End of story. Ugly reality, not assumption.

          1. Gaia*

            You’re right. You’d never have been a crime victim if you weren’t a nice white lady surrounded by all those terrible not white folk. Because we all know white people are never criminals and all not white people are just out to get us.

            1. TL -*

              Hey, POC can be jerks too. People come in all different flavors. Racism as systemic oppression can only go white–>POC. But racism as disliking someone because they’re different can go any which way it pleases.

              It could absolutely be true that a WOC would’ve gotten a similar treatment but it wouldn’t have come with the remarks that Stellaaaa got. I definitely got more than a few remarks that were aimed at me because I was white growing up in a predominantly non-white area. Some of them were jokey but some were unkind. They didn’t come from everybody or even most people but they did happen.

            2. Dynamic Beige*

              This argument is kind of like when a woman in a male-dominated field talks about her experience and everyone tells her she’s wrong. #notallmen.

              Unfortunately, Stellaaaaa cannot go back and relive her life to prove to you that she would have been a victim of crime (or not) in another neighbourhood, city or area of the country, so this point is moot. If she says she felt targeted for being of a different race where she lived, then she did. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t, we’ll never know because we weren’t there to experience it with her. However, I seriously doubt she chose that neighbourhood with the intent or expectation of anything other than it seemed like a decent place to live that she could afford/was close to work or any of the other “normal” considerations that anyone uses when looking for a place.

              1. Anonymous Educator*

                This argument is kind of like when a woman in a male-dominated field talks about her experience and everyone tells her she’s wrong. #notallmen

                A more apt analogy would be a man going to an all-female group and then complaining about being harassed.

                This reminds me of white people from America saying they totally understand racism, because they spent a few weeks in China and the Chinese people said hateful abusive things toward them… until they came back to America. Were the Chinese people they encountered hateful and abusive and wrong? Sure. But these people had the luxury to come back home to America, where it’s safe. For most people of color in America, this is our country, but we don’t feel safe even in the “safe” neighborhoods. There are very few places we can retreat to.

            3. Jenna*

              How dare you accuse her of lying? What if she told you that some black guys yelled at her that they were going to attack her because she was white, would that be enough to convince you? Or would you continue to insist that people of color would never hurt someone just for being white? Again, how dare you accuse her of lying when she says she has reason to believe it was because she’s white?

        2. ANON.*

          I had a similar experience as a child. Kids – and apparently adults – will target anything that stands out.

          Based on the number of times I was called a “white cockroach” or “white devil” and had classmates threaten to kill me, my race was what stood out. I’ve also been told I don’t have a soul, called “it,” told to kill myself, etc.

          I don’t want to argue that anti-white racism is a thing (racism: prejudice + power) (what I saw: kids being jerks). I do want to say that shit happens.

        3. Elizabeth West*

          I once lived with some friends in an apartment row where we were literally the ONLY white people. The neighborhood was also mostly Hispanic and black. However, my experience was different–we did not have any problems and were not targeted in any way. But that was a different place, with different people.

          It still feels very strange to be the minority when you’ve never experienced it before. Especially if there is a language barrier. It’s entirely possible that we could have been in a place where the population (regardless of color) were more insular or less law-abiding, and therefore our experience could have been different.

      2. Retiree57*

        I can back up that this can happen. There is a perception that POC can’t be racist. They can. Also Stellaaa doesn’t say when this happened. In my junior high, early 70s, 80% black, there were definitely black kids whose interpretation of Malcolm X was that it was OK, possibly even good, to beat up white people. I was more of a devotee of MLK Jr and his nonviolence at the time. When I got beaten up for being white I wouldn’t fight back and they eventually got tired of it. But there was no doubt in my mind that my whiteness was why I was targeted. Sure, there is crime committed against POC too. But when you are getting beat on and called racial slur names it is hard to escape the conclusion that you are being targeted for your race.
        I think Stellaaa has a good point to ask people what their experience is. If it’s just rumor and innuendo, sure, do your own investigation and dismiss. But actual experience is a data point. It is not necessarily racist to recognize when others are racists. Criminals in general not being known for their enlightened attitudes, racially or otherwise.

        1. Christopher Tracy*

          There is a perception that POC can’t be racist. They can.

          No, they can be prejudiced, but not racist. This quote from Dear White People explains this better than I could:

          Racism describes a system of disadvantage based on race. Black people can’t be racist since we don’t stand to benefit from such a system.”

          And this is true for all POC in a white society.

    5. TL -*

      Try, “Why would you say that?” And then respond with, “oh, actually we’ve seen no crime.” “The schools are all X rated, actually.” Keep going until they have nothing left to say but that it’s not a white neighborhood and be clear – if they say wrong people, ask what wrong people. Then, whatever they say, just say huh, or if you’re up to it, say, huh that sounds kinda racist.

      1. Gaia*

        Oh yes…”wrong people” is definitely code for “wrong skin color.” I live in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in my current city. While the city is overwhelmingly white folks, this particular area attracts people of all races, nationalities and backgrounds. I sometimes get asked by people who don’t live her what it is like to live here and if I worry for my safety because of all the crime, thugs and thieves. To which I remind them that when you look it up, I live in the safest neighborhood in the city. Our crime rate, per capita is half of any other part. So I feel pretty dang safe, actually.

      2. ANON.*


        Or pretend to not understand them at all… They’ll have to make their issue, whatever it is, explicit.

    6. Gaia*

      I got this from my boss when I lived in city where there were pretty segregated neighborhoods. I mentioned I was looking to rent in neighborhood X for a number of reasons (more reasonable rent prices, closer to cultural events I enjoy, easier access to transit and closer to work) and I was met with absolute shock and horror. She spent the next several days forwarding me crime stories from neighborhood X (while ignoring the crime stories from every other neighborhood), telling me I should rethink it, or if I must live there make sure my apartment is always locked and maybe even buy a gun.

      I did not end up moving there because I ended up leaving the state, but I always hated her coded language. She never came outright and said it was because it was a predominantly non-white neighborhood but it was really clear that was her actual issue.

    7. Retiree57*

      Not a serious suggestion but, I’d be tempted to double down. “Yes, I know, we are planning to take the area back for racially pure white people. We’ll move in, have lots of kids, invite all our cousins and club members to join us. Install a confederate flag and a trump sign in the yard. A little 2nd amendment action and all those (insert racial slur) will go running. White power, amiright?” If they are not slowly backing away from you at that point, or realizing you are putting them on, cut them out of your life.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I don’t think I could bring myself to say such things even in sarcastic jest, and I’d be afraid I’d unwittingly start a white supremacist group, like Piper did in Orange is the New Black.

        1. Retiree57*

          Yeah, I’m not sure I could do it either, especially when it comes to the racial slur. Most of those words I didn’t even know until “All in the Family” came out. You make a good point about OITNB.

      2. Dynamic Beige*

        I couldn’t say something like this, either, not even as a joke. Because humour is subjective and some people have none at all.

        Anyone who did give you a “you can’t live there because of those people”, at least you’d know that they would never come to visit and you would be safe from them.

    8. Willow*

      Re: schools, beware of people citing ratings like great schools. These are generally based on test scores, which are more a reflection of student demographics than school quality. Even ratings based on student improvement are somewhat biased towards mostly white schools. A better way is to visit the school, talk to teachers and parents, etc. If people bring up “bad schools” maybe say it seemed great when you actually visited, the kids are happy and doing well there.

  22. Trixie*

    I’ve been trying some new things/activities recently, including weekend classes/workshops. Of course, today I had the wrong start time and didn’t make it. (Already paid for/registered, no less.) Than thanks to afternoon nap, slept through second option for the day. Stressful week and I’ve been fighting a cold, so maybe the rest today was just as well. Will try again tomorrow, keep up the momentum of new things and new routines. And a better eye on the schedule :P

  23. The Other Dawn*

    Just went to Lowe’s and they had a few shade trees on clearance for $8.00 a piece, normally $30.00. I bought a silver maple to put in the back yard. It’s about 8 to 9 feet tall. Looks like some leaves are withered, but it looks good otherwise. And for $8.00, I won’t be upset if it dies. I also bought two apple trees for $23.00 each to complement the other two I have that are well-established. I wanted the pear trees that were on clearance (sale!!), but, in reality, I’m not really a fan of pears. We’re going to plant them tomorrow I think. Any tips for taking care of the trees? Will it be OK to plant now? I’m in CT, so I’m hoping they won’t die over the winter.

    Oh, and for everyone who told me I have jimson weed in the yard, you are correct. And I have three large bushes of it. So, I’ve got those and poppies.

    1. nep*

      Brilliant. Hope your trees thrive. We just planted a tree in the backyard yesterday. It’s just lovely. (I don’t know whether it applies where you are but the landscapers who planted our tree require that we have the area checked by ‘Miss Dig’ to be sure no utility cables or anything underground.)
      Best of luck. Yay trees — the more the better.

    2. LCL*

      Try and figure out how large the tree can get. Plant it farther away from the house than its final height and width. Don’t plant it under the service drops, if overhead.

    3. Kelly*

      You should be fine planting in the fall.
      I have a huge silver maple in my back yard and I love it but they’re very fast growing trees. You’ll need to have it trimmed every so often or it will get out of hand (don’t ask me how I know =)).
      In the spring they drop a lot of those seed pods so if you have gutters on your house you’ll need to hose those out too or you’ll get little baby maple trees growing in them.

    4. Sparkly Librarian*

      Oooh, it’s almost that time! I’m in California and get to scout fruit trees next weekend. I should work more on preparing the site tomorrow…

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Keeping new trees watered is the best you can give them. You can run a garden hose out to them and let the water trickle on to the ground or you can get soaker hoses and make rings around the plants. CT is probably a bit warmer than here, but you should be fine as long as they are watered.

      I think they will be fine over the winter. The biggest problem plants have is they dry out if there is no snow cover. You can put mulch around the base to help keep water in. If we have a warmish day and no snow, you can water them during the winter.

    6. jack of all trades*

      I hate to tell you this but you don’t want the silver maple. They are considered a”weed” tree. They grow fast and are not strong. Eventually they will start dropping branches. I just had one taken down. Because they grow fast they are useful as a temporary tree to give you shade while the tree you really want grows big enough.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        UGH, thanks for letting me know! At least I spent only $8.00. Maybe we’ll put it out in the “back 40” as my husband calls it–that’s the small field next to and behind the barn. At least there I wouldn’t need to worry about limbs and such.

    7. Mallows*

      Are you going to keep the jimsonweed? I love them (I have a thing for super-evil poisonous plants) but I know a lot of people would rip them out.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        For now, yes. It’s down near the barn and in the field behind the barn. (Although, something came through and flattened one of the bushes. Not sure what animal that was.) I do have cats, but both cats that go outside stick to the backyard and don’t go in that area. Yes, it’s hard to know what cats do when we’re not around, but these boys are seniors and sleep on the patio 90% of the time and then take a short stroll to the garden and back.

        What’s funny is friends and family keep telling me to sell the seed pods. Um, no. Even though it’s a hallucinogenic, it’s dangerous. I sometimes wonder if I need to worry about someone going into the field and taking the pods off the plants.

    8. The Other Dawn*

      Thanks, all! Based on what someone said, and what I’ve just read elsewhere, I think the maple will go out near the barn. I don’t think the spot we had picked out is ideal (and I’m kinda glad because I don’t agree with hubby that we need a tree in that particular spot; I think it will look weird).

      The apple trees will go out with the others, so I’ll have a mini orchard in a few years. I LOVED having all those apples last year! Unfortunately, this has been a bad year from fruit trees in CT; nothing really bloomed in the spring, which means no fruit this time around. :(

      I’ve discovered that something I’ve always called a “weed tree” is called Tree of Heaven (far from it!). I have one near the barn and I loathe it. It grew SO fast! Based on what I read, we’ll need to take it down as it is toxic to other plants around it. And I just don’t like the looks of it anyway. Found three others on the other side of the barn, too.

    1. Ange*

      What kind of pain? I have mostly joint and back pain and the main thing for that seems to be to not stop exercising – not overdoing it obviously but always trying to do a bit every day. I’ve also had people recommend swimming or hydrotherapy, but I haven’t tried that myself. Other than that, trying to keep up with your normal activities to the extent that you can and not to let the pain isolate you. My pain group counselor also suggested setting goals: immediate (e.g. today I will walk for 10 mins), short term (e.g. I will do X in the next two weeks) and longer term (e.g. I will do Y in the next 6 months). This only works if you 1. set achievable goals and 2. don’t beat yourself up if you fail in one; just reset or change it and carry on. The idea was to not let the pain prevent you from having the kind of life you want to have.

      1. Sophie*

        It’s similar to fibromyalgia….chronic and unexplainable, but it presents more in my muscles than in my joints so I technically don’t have fibromyalgia. It’s like someone is poking me hard with a penciL and the location frequently move. I’m really sensitive to medication so pain meds aren’t worth the side affects that come with them. The tips that you shared from the group pain counselor are really helpful.

            1. KR*

              I think it depends. She has family members with the same types of illnesses and sometimes they can only have an indica or a sativa. My roommate doesn’t mind either way. If you live in a state with medical marijuana I would recommend going to the dispensary and describing your pain. They know how to best help you.

        1. misspiggy*

          Definitely keep moving gently rather than long periods of not moving, but never push yourself – a really difficult balance! Involves saying, no, I need to stop and sit down for a minute, or, no, I’ve done enough today. Take magnesium at night for the muscles or Epsom salt baths.

          Don’t want to Internet diagnose, but look into hypermobility issues just in case.

        2. Ange*

          Oh, and also vary what you’re doing (if possible) I.e. don’t sit for hours, but try and sit for a bit, then walk around for a bit, or if you have to stand a lot, try and sit down every so often. Easier said than done I know, especially if you work.

      2. chickabiddy*

        “I’ve also had people recommend swimming or hydrotherapy, but I haven’t tried that myself”

        I have a very part-time job teaching an aquatic fitness class — while everybody is welcome, it is primarily for people who are elderly or have other physical challenges. I have worked with some women with fibromyalgia and they report that the water exercises do make them feel better. The only problem is that our pool is sometimes on the cool side (it is not a therapy pool, it’s a regular YMCA pool and swim teams use it too, so we can’t keep it too warm) and that is hard on them, so if you do choose to try something aquatic, maybe try to find a pool that runs a bit warm.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Keep your hydration levels up. Figure out how much water you should be drinking each day and make sure you drink it. I never realized how much water reduces pain. If I had known decades ago, I could have saved myself a lot of hassles. You might even like a water with some minerals/electrolytes in it. I bought a case of Voss water a while ago and it was so worth it to me. But there are other bottled waters that are easier to find.

    3. nep*

      One thing that comes to mind for me is checking to make sure your Vit D levels are normal. I was severely deficient and experienced pretty bad pain, esp at night.

    4. Chaordic One*

      Well this is just me and it might not work for you, but I find things get much worse if I sleep too much, like more than 8 hours at a stretch. I also find that if I do some not-so-strenuous exercise, like walking briskly for half an hour or so, to where I get my heart pumping good, that afterwards I won’t notice the pain for 2 to 4 hours.

      Then a hot bath at night also helps me. (With a nice bath oil so my skin doesn’t get dry.)

    5. HannahS*

      I’m sorry to hear it. I have fibromyalgia and chronic pain is terrible. I don’t know if it would be helpful to you, but I’m on Lyrica and it completely changed everything and gave me my life back. I found massage incredibly bad. Personally, I was in too much pain to exercise and found that while I could feel my muscles getting both more relaxed and stronger, it was underlaid with sickening pain. So while you’ll definitely hear a chorus of “try exercise!” and “don’t do too much! do gentle exercises!” and “BUT WHAT ABOUT YOGA?!” bear in mind that it’s not the solution for everyone. Try, definitely. A gentle aquafit class might be great, but don’t beat your head against a brick wall if it’s not the solution for you.

    6. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

      I have chronic pain and the only thing that has helped me is massages. I don’t know if it’s in your budget but if you go often enough a lot of places will give you a discount. I used to go weekly but ended up not being able to afford it anymore. Now I go twice a week – not as helpful but still good. It depends on what kind of pain you have though.

      1. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

        Also, it sounds counter-intuitive but exercise helps so much. As soon as I stop exercising, the pain gets worse.

    7. Sarah G*

      ACUPUNCTURE! You can usually find a community acupuncture clinic (which i love, but isn’t for everyone) or a sliding scale practitioner. It’s mostly a cumulative effect, so give it at least a month or so of weekly visits before you decide if it’s helping or not.

    8. Sarah G*

      Also, I echo the hydration recommendation from Not So New Reader. I thought I was hydrating well but recently discovered I wasn’t doing as well I thought with drinking enough water. It definitely helps with muscular pain to stay well-hydrated!

      1. Chaordic One*

        Not to be rude, but I’m kind of dubious about this. It just seems like you end up having to run to the restroom more often. But I guess it is worth a try.

        1. misspiggy*

          As a chronic pain person, keeping topped up does help to a reasonable extent – electrolyte-y drinks are even better. Was very sceptical but there you go. So does eating well, I find. Might be that a well nourished, well hydrated nervous system is a less cranky nervous system, who knows.

    9. Lifer*

      Heat packs
      Cold packs

      The nerves that carry pain also carry temperature. By placing heat or cold on a painful area, it kind of overloads/distracts the neurons so they are less efficient in transmitting pain. It’s similar to the idea of rubbing an area after you bump/hurt it, and it seems to feel better.

      Speaking of that….

      Exercise. Get into a pool.
      Get a referral to a physical therapist who works with folks with chronic pain.

      There are several things that make pain worse. You must get regular, sufficient sleep, or your pain will be worse. If you haven’t had enough to eat, your pain will be worse. If nausea is part of your pain profile, it must be treated (even simple things like ginger candies/ginger ale can settle the stomach a bit). Stress will make pain worse.

      Mindfulness/mediation/breathing exercises. So, so, so important.

      And finally, you must treat any trace of depression and anxiety, as this are intimately linked to pain. If mood is worse, pain is worse. And the worse pain you have, the more hopeless you feel and your mood drops. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is, and how often it isn’t treated appropriately. The best treatment is counseling (or possibly a chronic pain support group if you can find it) and often medication. I know you say you are not a fan of medication, but if mood issues is part of your problem… this is the one time I strongly encourage you to consider medication as a bridge. Some mood medications actually are also pain medicines! Cymbalta, Effexor, and even Lexapro can help pain.

      Good luck.

  24. Cat*

    My mother broke her back in July. At first, it was misdiagnosed as something else and then she had to wait six weeks before her insurer would cover the outpatient procedure that her doctor recommended. It has been six weeks since that, and she still has trouble standing for more than thirty minutes at a time and also needs a cane to walk. She doesn’t feel comfortable going back to work (her job involves a lot of walking and standing), but she isn’t generating any type of income. I know she wants to apply for disability, but the lawyer she spoke to said nothing would move forward until late in December. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions for what to do as far as coping day-by-day or even getting some kind of income flow? I live out of state, and it’s not exactly raining dollar bills here.

    1. Temperance*

      Does she have a disability policy through work?

      SSI disability takes forever and almost everyone is denied the first time, and it’s for people who can’t work, not the temporarily disabled/injured. Also, the standard is that the person can’t perform any job, not that they can’t perform their previous job.

      1. Cat*

        Thanks, that helps. I know nothing about SSI claims, so you’ve given me some perspective. She only works part-time and pays for her own insurance. I am fairly certain that the recovery process is going to take some time, but she has indicated that she has trouble sitting for long periods, too. I am under the impression that she doesn’t want to tell me what her pain level is–she mostly just shares how hard it is for her to move around and how someone always has to help her when she goes to the store to get food.

      1. Cat*

        She has limited computer skills. When she was working, she would get frustrated every time her office introduced a new piece of software for everyone to learn. But if it were something easy like just inputting numbers without formula or too much analysis, she could probably handle that.

        I think I remember a friend of the family in law enforcement telling her some time ago that she would be great for the department. If handling dispatch wasn’t so stressful, I would encourage her to see if she couldn’t try to do that (as long as she was physically able).

        1. chickabiddy*

          I’m going to post a link below that I have had bookmarked for a while. I don’t think it’s current but I do think it is legitimate. I don’t know if it’s helpful but it might be worth a look.

      1. Cat*

        Yeah, I’m pretty sure the state will refuse unemployment compensation. But thanks! You are lucky if your state does offer that.

  25. LoFlo*

    I have to evict a tenant for non-payment. This is my first eviction. I hate having to do this and want to soften the blow. I feel for them, and have given them many chances to pay, and directed them to social services. However, I see on their FB page where they have money to regularly attend religious conferences and they just bought a new car. When I ask what they can do to solve the problem, they have no plan. Should I give them more time, or cut them lose? I don’t like creating homelessness, but they are technically stealing from me.

    1. the gold digger*

      Start now. It is my understanding, based on what I have read and what I have seen friends who are landlords go through, that it is going to take a long, long time. They made a contract with you and they are not honoring it and they are stealing from you. Evict. If they don’t want to be evicted, they need to pay.

      (Was it The Other Dawn who had the nightmare evicting her tenants?)

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yup, it was me. :(

        I have to say, as hard as it is, do not “feel for them.” DO NOT give them more time. The situation will not improve. Seriously. Evict now. They are most definitely stealing from you. I went through hell trying to evict my tenants. They were out 5 months after I sent the letter and that was QUICK. Do this NOW.

        (Yes, I’m scarred for life…)

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I’m second-hand scarred for life just from reading what-all you went through with those tenants. I would have been tempted to feel for tenants, too, but reading that was absolutely enraging.

        2. MsChanandlerBong*

          You must live in a tenant-friendly state. In my old state, once there is an eviction hearing, the tenant gets a 15-day notice to get out.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            It took awhile to get to the hearing stage. Once we did, the tenant said she needed another month. (If she didn’t say that, it would have been a couple weeks, I believe.) I didn’t want to give it to her, but I weighed the risk of the judge siding with her and OK’d it. Killed me to do it, but I did it. Didn’t want to risk the judge telling me he’d give then another two or three months.

    2. chickabiddy*

      You are not creating homelessness. If they are able to pay and choose not to, it is not your fault that you cannot keep them. I have family with rental properties, and while this always seems horribly unfair to me, they have had success offering problem tenants $500-$1000 to move out in two weeks. It costs less than an eviction and takes less time so they can have their property back on the market and collecting rent.

    3. acmx*

      Start now. You’ve already given them many chances. The process can take awhile and like The Other Dawn’s experience, it can be horrible.

      I have to start an eviction process, too. I’m a little nervous about it dragging out.

    4. Florida*

      Agree. You need to start now. I guarantee that they are paying their cable bill, cell phone bill, and all their other bills. They chose to not pay rent (instead of skipping other bills) because they suspected that you would let them get away with it (whereas the cell phone company would not).
      It is not your fault that they are being evicted. From this point on, do not listen to any of their sob stories. If they have a lease, remind them that even if they are evicted, they still owe you for the full year. (There are ways you can collect the full amount, but your best bet is to just get them out and move on. But I would let them think that you plan to collect the full amount. )
      Evicting a tenant is like firing an employee (I’m sorry for the work analogy). It’s sucks to do it, but allowing them to stay is even worse.

    5. MacGirl*

      Agreeing with all the others–start the eviction process.
      I honestly can’t understand why people do this. My roommate/landlord once offered me leniency about paying rent when I wasn’t sure I had enough to cover it, and I felt horrible about it. I paid up as soon as I could. I appreciated her flexibility, but somehow, it felt like by not paying on time that I was dishonoring the agreement and letting her down. Also, do people not understand that landlords also have bills to pay?

    6. Temperance*

      Cut them loose. Eviction is a huge pain-in-the-ass, and takes a really long time. Get that paper trail and start the process now.

      I’m really sorry that you’re going through this, but these people are scamming you. If they can afford these conferences, and a new car, they have money coming in.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Paper trail: keep a very meticulous paper trail, otherwise the tenant is apt to find a way to take advantage of you. If you tenant-landlord guide (or whatever your state publishes) says it must be sent to all tenants via certified mail, make sure you do exactly that. Assume your tenant knows the law better than you and is looking for a way to stall the process.

        1. Retiree57*

          I also recommend having a landlord-tenant guide or you can use online resources. My library has a legal forms database that I use to download the basics. There is a non payment notice to be sent at 5 days overdue and another at 15, I think, also sample eviction notices. It might also be useful to get a lawyer (well worth it if you are already losing money for nonpayment and could be useful as you pursue your former tenants, after you evict them, for old rent owed.) depending on your state, you might be able to go in, remove their belongings, and change the locks (after doing the legally required notifications.) check on this soon…. Some of the northern states may have restrictions on kicking out tenants at Christmas or in bad weather season.) on the other hand, by allowing them to stay after not paying and not sending notices, you may have created some kind of legal basis for allowing them to stay. Definitely need location specific legal advice.

    7. ginger ale for all*

      Another vote for evicting them. They are playing you for a fool. Adults know to budget for the basics before getting the niceties in life. They didn’t do this.

    8. Observer*

      Start now. And don’t try to soften the blow. It doesn’t help and just drags the process out longer.

      Get a lawyer who does this on a regular basis. It can get kind of tricky.

    9. Rusty Shackelford*

      I know very little about landlord/tenant law, but I wonder if it would be helpful to print their FB pages, as proof that they most likely could have paid their rent if they weren’t spending their money on cars and conferences.

  26. RevengeoftheBirds*

    How do you meet people? Caveat: I’m a single mid-to-late twenty something and I moved to a city that I don’t jive with. The city is very outdoorsy and the culture is very much about hiking, yoga and being active. I love walking but with a purpose or when there’s interestung stuff to see and this city doesn’t have that for me.

    I’ve tried meetups and continue to go when I find interesting activities, outings etc. I’m going to join a gym and take a weekly cooking class and maybe try learning a language or new skill. While I have three or four friends here im really missing the “drop in whenever, even when I’m not home” friendships I had back home and in my former city.

    Side note: most of the people I work with at 35+ and happily married. So there aren’t a lot of oppurtunities to make friends there and I don’t want to come across as being on a man hunt either.

    So, how do I branch out?

    1. MacGirl*

      Identifying with this all to well! I moved to my current location back in January. I haven’t made many friends, mostly because I have been on the hunt for a new job. I would say that going to a local gym and taking a cooking class are great ways. Also, where do you walk? I don’t feel that I am friends with my neighbors yet, but I frequently take walks in my neighborhood and am able to have pleasant conversations with those that I run into. One or two have asked me for updates when I ran into them later, and I think that is a great way to slowly get to know people. Even if most of the people you live near are the outdoorsy hikers and yogis, having general conversations with them in passing could lead to you uncovering a shared interest or interests, like a love for Jessica Jones or interest in an author whom you have both read and is signing books in another town a few miles away.

      Also, what places do you like to frequent? Museums? Libraries? Parks? If your city offers these or there is one close by, go and see who is also there. Compliment a museum visitor on her dress and share what it reminds you of (“It looks just like the dress So-So wore on that show”) or tell someone how cute you think his or her dog is. And since you like walking and if you have the time, become a dog walker and see if you can’t become friends with some clients or people you run into while working that way.

    2. Kate M*

      I think there are a couple of things you may need to think about. First – sometimes, those types of really close friendships, the “drop by whenever” friendships just don’t come as easily the older you get. The friends I have of those types are ones I made in college or my early 20s. Not to say that very close friendships can’t exist, but you may need to rethink what that looks like. I do think as people get older, their responsibilities change, their appetite for certain activities change, and their routine changes. When I first moved to DC, I lived in a big group house with a bunch of girls – we always had people just dropping by or we would go out all night. Now that I’m in my early 30s, I’m much more of a “let’s get happy hour or dinner a couple of times a month to catch up” person. So just the amount and type of socializing changes (and I’m not married or anything).

      Second, I’ve found that very close friendships are made either over time or through intensely shared experiences. And I think, the older you get, the less the “time” friendships form, just because in college you might have seen a friend every day or something, whereas now it’s a couple of times a month, so it takes longer to get to that level of ‘having hung out 30 times.’ In college, you would have gotten there in a month. Now, it might take you a year and a half to get to the same level.

      What I mean by “intensely shared experiences” doesn’t have to be as big a deal as it sounds. But taking a trip with people, sharing a house, or working on something intense has made me closer with people than just trying to do it the normal “meet up for a drink once in a while” type of way. Volunteering on political campaigns is where I’ve found some of my closest friends. It’s long days, everyone is tired, but passionate about the same thing, you’re working towards something, and there’s something to celebrate or commiserate about at the end. If you volunteer on a campaign for a few weeks, it’s likely you’ll form bonds. I also volunteered at the Democratic convention earlier this summer, in which I shared a house with several girls. That sort of creates an almost instant intimacy that wouldn’t be there otherwise.

      If you can find things like this to do, something out of the ordinary that really throws people together in a more intense way, I think that’s a way to speed up the friendship intimacy process if that’s what you’re looking for.

      1. Sarah G*

        I’ve heard people say those close types of friendships don’t come easily the older you get, but i just disagree with it. I started believing it when living in a city I didn’t jive with, then I moved to a different city, and suddenly had no problems making new “drop by whenever” friendships, early 40’s. Just sayin’.

        1. Kate M*

          I’m not saying that they’re impossible, but I’ve definitely found there’s a difference. When I was in college and living with roommates, it was a lot simpler to form those close, “hang out all the time” friendships. Because you were already hanging out all the time. Because you lived together or on the same hallway. It’s obviously not impossible to make close friendships when you’re older, but it definitely doesn’t come as easily as when you literally lived with people, at least in my case.

          And a lot of my friends are really busy people. So it doesn’t make sense to just drop by someplace without checking to see if they’re home or busy. I still make plans with close friends, but it’s a rare occasion where I would just drop by and not think that I’m interrupting something (even a solo night in for them) or that they’re out at a function/happy hour/working, etc.

          That’s great that you’ve had a different experience. But I still don’t think that friendships in your early 20s are always going to look the same as in your 40s.

    3. The Grammarian*

      I have also had a tough time with this (really, am still having a tough time with this). I took sewing classes and made a friend there; I’ve gone to various low-key meetups and have not yet made a friend-friend there. Good luck!!!

    4. Namast'ay In Bed*

      I’m a bit late to the game, but if you like walking with a purpose, you should try geocaching! It’s great for discovering hidden gems and taking you places you might never have explored otherwise, and it’s a very welcoming community (for all levels of fitness!). You should check when the next meet-up is in your area, or if you post on the website’s forum that you’re new in the area and interested in getting started/finding some local peeps, you’ll probably get invites from people near you!

    5. NaoNao*

      Oh my gosh are you in my city? I’m in Denver, where the culture revolves around:
      Sports teams
      Outdoor sports–kayaking, hiking, ski-ing, snowboarding, swimming, fishing, yoga and other spiritual practices that can be practiced outdoors (tai chi, etc)
      Certain plants that people can smoke for fun
      Being 35+ and married with kids and living in the suburbs
      I’ve had a super hard time meeting people as a bookish nerd who loves to do jigsaws and talk about literature.
      What has worked is finding online communities of my hobbies and then finding members here, joining book clubs, and locating friends that have a large group of built in friends and kind of…barnacling up on them.
      Best of luck, the city is beautiful and the overall culture is fine, but oof, it’s not a match for this East Coast girl.

  27. Greg*

    So on facebook and in a chat room I solicited random movie recommendations. The rules were simple and left pretty open ended: Non horror, Non Porn, In English recommend a movie, one per person no recommending a series, pick one, if I haven’t see it goes in the queue.

    The idea is to try out new things and see what people recommend and see something different (and one of them, oh yeah, it was different).

    So here are the results:

    despite the rules being easy both run lola run and troll hunter were suggested and skipped because they aren’t available IN ENGLISH. I don’t mean subtitles, I mean English Audio.

    Next I’m not forcing myself to watch these so I’m willing to not finish movies, so far this has happened 3 times and all of them I stopped around 10 minutes:

    Wolf Children, sorry no judgement but I’m just not into the the animal human romance thing.

    The Weatherman, I like some Nic Cage but the first 10 minutes was nothing but people being jerks to him for no reason and that’s just not entertaining.

    Kung Pow. I remember seeing part of this when I was a teenager, maybe I would have found it funny then but honestly it just wasn’t that funny.

    I had been posting really quick reviews of the films to facebook here’s a collection of copy and pastes:

    The wind rises was great, this is the first nonmagical Miayazaki I’ve seen, just a fun love story about a man, his planes and a girl. Aeronautical engineer in pre WW2 Japan designing planes and meeting his love.

    How to rob a bank: pretty fun little heist film. not much more than that to say, really enjoyed the characters. The main guy particularly, he ran into the bank vault mid robbery and gets trapped in there with one of the robbers and through cell phones has to negotiate his safe passage out.

    Holy Mountain: ok, I’m glad to have watched it but it will probably just be the once. there were entertaining parts and overall I enjoyed it but it’s not often I have to pace myself through a film. There is tons of WHAT THE F*** in it. this is a very strange art film with a lot “weird because it’s art” things in it.
    I’m doing this movie thing for variety sake but not too many super weird art films please. Either I’d become numb to them or it’d be too draining.

    Rear Window: this movie is good and well written but it wasn’t very suspenseful. I think this is due to cultural references meaning I knew the plot pretty much already. However it was very neat to see something I’ve seen referenced so many times. maybe in a vacuum it would have been more suspenseful. I do finally know the actual answer on whether or not he killed her and not just the simpsons answer. Now I might see the remake to compare, I mean this movie was suggested twice so it might make a neat comparison.

    Brother Bear, it’s a disney movie, a pretty good one. I think it’s the only animated disney movie I’ve ever seen without a romance…

    Dr, Strangelove. neat movie, fun to finally see such a cultural touchstone. Confused why it’s named Strangelove when he’s barely in the film at all.

    Cloud Atlas that was one hell of a trip, I think it’s great but could use some trimming. Several different stories with a theme of human experience and reincarnation between them. I really like it, favorite story of the 6 stories is honestly the old folks home one, it’s just fun.

    Pink Panther and Sequels, I’d seen Pink Panther when I was a kid but I decided to rewatch anyways. Good film, fun time. The sequels? Clouseau was the least interesting thing in the first movie and the other actors don’t come back at all until movie 5 apparently which is supposed to be bad. moving on.

    Pi a black and white thriller about an obsessed mathematician and people trying to find a mystical number. it’s… not gonna be for everyone I enjoyed it, it was interesting to see a very different style of movie.

    currently watching strings a movie about sentient puppets and then I only have closely observed trains left to watch.

    So go ahead and suggest a movie, rules again:
    Non horror, Non Porn, In English, one per person no recommending a series, pick one, if I haven’t see it goes in the queue.

    Also you can probably assume I’ve seen all the mainstream superhero movies.

    1. LawCat*

      Looper. I was surprised by how much I liked it. Time-travel/sci-fi with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis.

    2. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      -Life of Pi (stunning visuals)
      -My Big Fat Greek Wedding (comedy/family quirks)
      -Labyrinth (David Bowie)
      -Superstar (high school girl is quirky and dreams big)
      -Grand Budapest Hotel (for scenery/storyline/visuals)
      -Clue (the movie, with Tim Curry)

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            For that reason, I am NOT recommending: The Fifth Element, A Mighty Wind, Pitch Perfect, and Whiplash.

    3. Greg*

      alright 5 suggestions from here, capping it for now:
      Airplane, Keeping Mum, Bringing up baby, metropolis and the book thief

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Loved Lars and the Real Girl. It was recommended to me a few years ago by my survey of architecture professor.

    4. mander*

      The Station Agent.

      Quirky, a bit on the artsy side but I only saw it once years ago and still remember it which is a lot better than most movies I’ve seen. Plus it stars Peter Dinklage. I have yet to see an episode of GOT but fans of Tyrion may be interested for this reason.

    5. JKP*

      Predestination. Don’t read any of the movie descriptions or watch the trailers. It’s a time travel movie, but they give too much away in the descriptions/trailers. Better to go in blind.

    6. Mephyle*

      The Navigator (1988). Adventure based on a time-travel switch between Black Death-era England and modern-day New Zealand. Deserves to be better known.

    7. Wild at Heart*

      In Your Eyes

      I recommend this movie mainly because it’s one I know not many people have seen. I love the romance in it, and the two main leads. Hope you check it out!

  28. Jessica Snell*

    So, my husband and I are planning (after getting through the messy toddler years w/ our kids) to replace our carpet and couches. This’ll be the first time we’ve bought non-secondhand upholstered furniture, and also the first time we’ve bought carpet.

    Does anyone have good advice on how to find furniture that is both comfy, and that also will last well (those messy toddlers have become energetic children)? Or what we should look for in getting carpet that will still look nice after a year or two of six people tromping all over it daily?

    I realize this a really basic sort of homeowner question, but I’ve never done it before, and so I’d love any advice you folks have to offer!

    1. catsAreCool*

      Carpet that has multiple colors in it, that has a pattern that isn’t very predictable, can be good at hiding stains. A carpet that’s brown with various shades of brown and maybe a color that looks a bit like grape juice randomly running through it maybe.

    2. jack of all trades*

      For carpet go darker, lighter colors will look worse/show wear sooner. Vacuum regularly. And do shampoo. Don’t go cheap, you want a tighter/denser weave. But definitely don’t skimp on the padding. Cheap carpet will make even the best carpet seem bad.

    3. Chaordic One*

      Clear plastic slip covers!

      Just kidding, although cloth slip covers can let you change the color of your furniture with the seasons.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Ha! Like Marie Barrone: clear plastic on all furniture and lamp shades. Her brown-and- orange floral furniture from the sixties is still like brand new under there. :-)

    4. Mela*

      When we bought our couch, the store upsold us on an “eco-Scotch guard.” It has a lifetime guarantee for any stain…literally. Any bodily fluid, oils, paints, food, etc.
      Liquids don’t absorb quickly into the fabric so most of the time you just wipe it up with a paper towel. If it did absorb, you just wipe with the grain of the fabric 20-40 times and it comes out very easily. We never needed it in 2 years, but if you can’t get the stain out, you call and they tell you how/what to do. If you still can’t get it out, they send someone to clean it. If *they* can’t get it out, they replace the stained item. This cost about $150 if I recall correctly. I’ve spilled olive oil, red wine, chocolate, blood and haven’t needed anything but the wet paper towel.

    5. Mallory Janis Ian*

      The thing that surprised me when we got our new furniture home was that the scale of it was so much larger than the old furniture, like it was designed for a big and tall man.

      I could sit on the old couch with my bottom all the way back against the back cushion and my feet resting comfortably on the floor. On the new couch, if I sit up straight with my bottom against the back cushions, my feet are dangling like a little kid’s.

      So be aware of the scale of the couch and whether you can comfortably sit on it. I didn’t notice the scale problem while in the store, I guess because I must have unconsciously adjusted my posture to be comfortable in the moment.

    6. Sandy*

      We just did the same thing.

      My recommendations: Costco for the couch. They delivered it, set it up, it’s designed to be jumped on by kids and smeared by their grubby hands. We don’t do wall to wall carpet, it’s too hard to keep clean and it kicks up my allergies something fierce. Hardwood and tile for the floors, multicoloured throw rugs on top if necessary. Vacuum frequently.

    7. GovWorker*

      Leather! My sofa and loveseat are 16 years old and look like new. No shampooing needed and no staining.
      Carpet? Fugitaboutit. Nasty in a highly used room.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Leather is great unless you have pets. I have a friend with a leather couch that was completely perforated after a couple of years.

    8. OhBehave*

      Our couch has removable/machine washable seat and back covers. It’s a super comfy pull out bed too. It came with the standard pull out mattress but also an air mattress. Washable covers are the best thing ever.

    9. Jessica Snell*

      Thank you so much everybody! I feel like I have a much better idea of the kinds of features I should be looking for now, in both couches and carpet. I really appreciate it!

  29. Critters, man*

    I am not enjoying being a dog owner again.

    My family’s dog died suddenly early this summer. It was traumatic, but I honestly was glad to be dog-less. He tolerated me but was slavishly devoted to my spouse, he wouldn’t bark at visitors to the house but would howl uncontrollably whenever he heard one of us coming home and wake up the kid/neighborhood, and he would soil the carpet instead of using the yard if it was too hot/cold/wet/otherwise suboptimal in any way. Also, my spouse has no sense of smell and so often wouldn’t notice soiling until I got home, causing the house to stink.

    I was not opposed to eventually getting another dog, but I wanted time to grieve the old dog and also spend time finding another that was a good fit for the family. Specifically, I wanted an adult dog and not a hound type.

    Within two weeks of the old dog’s passing, my spouse was looking at dogs. And on my birthday, no less, and without consulting me, made an appointment to go adopt a rescue hound puppy. She’s cute, but exactly what I specifically didn’t want in a dog: a young, not completely secure in housebreaking, hunting hound who chases and bays at our cats/neighborhood rabbits, and who shreds paper and cardboard and digs up the yard. She’s crate intolerant because of being part of the ASPCA puppy orphan train (she was driven from the deep south in a crate). But the kid and spouse are enamored of her.

    It’s not the dog’s fault, but I am not enjoying having her and I am not thrilled with my spouse for getting her. And she’s just a year old, so I have years of this dog ahead of me.

    1. Lindsay J*

      Ugh, I would not be happy at all. My ex did something similar to me (brought home a puppy from his animal-hoarder mom) and it was really frustrating. I love dogs, but this dog was not what I wanted. (It was a dachshund, when I prefer bigger and more sedate dogs). And I didn’t get to be a part in picking it. And neither of us had the time to properly housebreak or socialize a puppy at that time. And that was going to be “our dog” for the next 15 years. I was almost as happy to leave that dog as I was my ex. (Don’t get me wrong, he was a cute little guy and I loved him. But our household would have been much better off with an older, established dog. And he would have been better off with someone who could properly socialize him and housebreak him.)

      Most rescues actually require all members of the family to be present for the adoption to make sure the dog jives with everyone in the home the right way. It prevents the animals from coming back when everyone is happy and included from the get-go.

    2. Stellaaaaa*

      Ugh, that’s lousy. We had a dog growing up and we loved her, but we didn’t get a new one after she passed. My mom hadn’t liked doing the “dirty” work of caring for a dog that dad and the kids only wanted for fun-time. My dad had actually done what your husband did…he went and got us a dog, subconsciously knowing that mom would do all of the work that stemmed from it. It was definitely a bone of contention between them. Plus rescues can be rough…you’re basically inheriting and attempting to fix someone else’s problem.

      After my experiences and reading yours, my advice would be to look into rehoming…you don’t want the dog but your husband and kid don’t seem to be interested in pitching in with the extra work that having a dog creates. Your husband honestly can’t tell when a dog ….hasn’t been let out in time? You can’t keep a dog in your home.

    3. Mags*

      Well, those things can be fixed with proper training. At only 1 year old, it shouldn’t be too difficult to train new habits. I have a lovely dog who I adopted at that age and was an absolute Tasmanian devil. Not house broken (despite saying she was) who was scared of crates and jumped on everyone and everything she possible could (including the walls!). She wouldn’t even sit when we first got her. She is now crate trained and we haven’t had an accident in the house for 9 months, and while she still occasionally has to be told not to hop on our guests, she has come a very long way. If you aren’t confident training her completely yourself, you can always take classes together.

      1. Elder Dog*

        Yah, I’ve trained dogs out of all kinds of things, but you have to have the time to do and you have to want to do it. Hubby should be training the dog but he isn’t. Hubbie should be taking classes with the dog but he isn’t. Somebody who wanted the dog should be training the dog. Not the person who wasn’t ready for another dog and doesn’t want this one.

        I’d insist your husband pack up the dog and return it to the shelter. I’d also let the shelter know, very clearly, why the dog is being returned and ask them to put your husband on their do not adopt list so he can’t pull that again on you. If they brought him in on a rescue train, the dog isn’t going to be put down, and the sooner you return him, the sooner he’ll be in a new home where everybody wants him.

        When you are ready, you can go pick out a dog you all want.

    4. ginger ale for all*

      I think I am more concerned that your spouse made a major lifestyle decision that affects you both for fifteen years without your input. Is everything ok with the relationship? Is this the norm?

    5. Perse's Mom*

      I agree with ginger ale that your spouse’s behavior needs to be addressed, because this really isn’t okay. I would also contact whatever rescue or shelter your spouse adopted the dog from and raise the fact that this adoption was not cleared with you as the other adult in the home – most rescues frown on what your spouse did if not outright forbid it specifically because they don’t want to place a pet in that situation (and also, while you’re talking to them, find out their policies on returning the dog). Which… I’m possibly jumping the gun here, but is it possible your spouse neglected to mention your existence in order to get the adoption approved?

      You’ll have to deal with it sooner or later – either you’re going to resent the hell out of the dog and your spouse and child for not taking proper care of the dog, or you’re eventually going to blow up at your spouse about it. I’m hardly a relationship expert, but it seems like it’s much better for all involved to have a little sit down chat about the dog and how she’s being turned back over to the rescue from whence she came (because spouse and child are incapable of properly taking care of the dog and you ARE. NOT. going to do it for them again).

    6. KR*

      I think you really need to talk with your husband about this. He needs to be more considerate of you and know how this makes you feel. And he needs to take an active role in the training or take over a lot of your household chores so that you have time to train the dog (especially since he can’t even tell when a dog has had an accident in the house ??). I’m sorry you didn’t have a chance to get a dog you really connected with. Everyone deserves that new-baby-that-licks feeling and your husband cut you out of that process. How would he like it if you went and bought a car all of a sudden? There’s a 10-15 year commitment with considerable cost. A dog is the same.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Lots of other people assigned gender too though. I don’t know that it particularly matters here, so I’d ask that we not criticize people about this.

    7. Rebecca*

      I’m really sorry. My old black lab is nearing the end of his life, and has been blind for some time. I love him, but I will not get another dog. My cats are so self sufficient, so if I get stuck late at work, or want to stop for a bite to eat or at the grocery store on the way home, they couldn’t care less, but with the dog, he has to go out as soon as I can manage to get home.

      There is one thing I’d like to do someday, if I can be retired and working part time: be a foster pet mom for someone’s dog if they need surgery and need a temporary home, or are deployed in the military and need someone to watch their dog while on duty, that type of thing.

      But after my dear old friend crosses the bridge, no more dogs.

    8. brightstar*

      I’m sorry your husband went and did this without your consent. I think it’s worrying the he thought it was ok to just go out and do this without even consulting you, much less respecting your need to mourn your previous dog.

      I had dogs for most of my life, the last one I had to put down when he was 14. I still don’t want another dog. I enjoy not having that responsibility even if there are certain things I miss. As others have mentioned, I enjoy not having to rush home after work or walking the dog in the rain, spending a fortune on medications and food, etc.

    9. Natalie*

      Yeah, you have a spouse problem more than a dog problem specifically. They didn’t notice when the former dog soiled in the house? That’s beyond the pale, my friend. And getting any kind of pet without proactively getting your okay would be unacceptable. But it sounds like you expressed your wants regarding a future dog and your spouse *actively* ignored them. I have a hard time believing this is an isolated incident.

  30. MsChanandlerBong*

    I know there are a lot of people here with chronic illnesses, so I figured you’d understand. My PCP and my nephrologist both wanted labs done, so I called the nephrologist’s office on Thurs. to make sure they had ordered the tests they wanted (I don’t make a habit of calling people and checking up on them, but this office is notorious for not putting in orders; I always have to call and remind them to send in my prescriptions, order my kidney ultrasound, etc.). I gave them my name, phone number, medical record number, and the names of the two tests. Got a call back saying they had been ordered. Went to the lab to get blood drawn this morning. Guess what? They ordered a bunch of tests, but not the two I needed! I am having symptoms that are related to a condition that is monitored with one of the tests, so I am really annoyed. I’m going to call Monday and see if they can do add-on tests, but if they can’t, I’ll have to go to the lab again and have my blood drawn a second time.

    It just gets SO exhausting having to check up on people all of the time, and then you can’t even trust what they say. It’s not a big deal by itself, but I’ve been dealing with medical stuff since I was 3, so the annoyances add up.

    1. HannahS*

      It’s so frustrating. I’m “lucky” in that I still live at home and my mom handles a lot for me. But it’s annoying how often we have to chase people down. I need a prescription refill every three months, and my pharmacist rarely has the medication in. Every time it’s like I’ve surprised him. buddy, YOU filled this prescription three months ago, with three months worth of pills. And now three months have gone by. So…what do you think is going to happen?!

      Yeah. Commiserations.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Exactly! And you are considered a pain in the a** if you call all the time, but I would NEVER call (other than to make an appointment) if I didn’t have to constantly make sure people were actually doing their jobs.

  31. AnAppleADay*

    Rescue Cat Update – no cat yet.
    I don’t know what the deal is with Craigslist but people just don’t reply. Some of the cats we inquired about are still available. Two, three weeks later.

    At least one rescue place pretty much acted like they don’t want to part with the cats. You can’t pet them. They are too busy to take time to open a cage to allow you to meet the cats.

    My son found one he hopes he’ll be able to adopt. He filled out the paperwork and all. The cat was surrendered just a few days ago. It’s very, very loving and sweet but just not eating while living in the shelter. He can’t be adopted out until he starts eating. I worry because my son really, really liked this cat and asked the rescue volunteer a million questions and wanted to take it home that day. The cat took to my son immediately after I pointed the cat out to him. I had peeked my head in his cage and he stretched out a paw slowly toward me while yawning. I pet between his paw pads and he seemed to be very comfortable with it. My son crawled into the cage and the cat licked him and rubbed his forehead on my sons forehead. It was sweet.

    1. Photoshop Til I Drop*

      I’m looking for a home for a kitten we saved in our neighborhood. Any chance you’re near Philadelphia?

    2. Perse's Mom*

      If the just-surrendered cat is still at the shelter, you could ask to speak to someone higher up the food chain. As someone who used to work in a shelter, it boggles my mind that they won’t let this cat go until he starts eating… when very often the cause of loss of appetite is the stress of being in a shelter!

      If you’re clear that you’re willing and able to take the cat to the vet pretty much immediately for a once-over and you fully understand you’re taking on any medical expenses that might be incurred because of him not eating (fatty liver disease can start pretty fast if a cat just stops eating completely), I really don’t know why they wouldn’t let you adopt him.

      It’s always possible there are other health issues in play that you’re not aware of, but if that’s the case, it’s weird that they specified the non-eating as the reason.

      1. AnAppleADay*

        Thank you for the information. We hope to speak with someone higher up tomorrow. I was thinking the same – if he could get out of the shelter and into a home, it might reduce his stress and increase his appetite.

    3. DoDah*

      Rescue agencies can be very, very difficult. I know a lot of folks are going to jump all over me for saying that—but it’s true. I looked for awhile for my last cat. Lot’s of no call backs, when I did get a response they were pretty rude, and lots of emails not returned. A friend of mine jokes that she filled out less paperwork to foster a child than she did to adopt a cat.
      Ultimately, I went to my local city shelter (Los Angeles) and adopted my cat from there. In the 20 minutes, I was waiting for him to be chipped. I saw 5 kittens and three adult cats surrendered. So they were very happy to have him adopted.

      1. anon for this because unpopular opinions*

        I’ve only had bad experiences with rescues, to the point that I won’t even consider them anymore. I tried for two years to adopt a dog and was turned down for the most inane reasons – the one that still gets me it being told I didn’t have the right “vibe”. I know a few other people who have had similar trouble. I had one that wanted a credit report, another that wanted a home visit every month after I adopted the dog, and another who said because I was single I was at the bottom of the list because families or couples deserve first pick because they have more love and attention to give to the dog.

        I ended up going to my local shelter too and they were much more reasonable. I admire the work rescues do, but I think a lot of them give off the impression that they don’t actually want to let people take the pets home.

        1. Amadeo*

          Some rescues do very good work and are happy to place an animal in a home. Others, well, I’m not quite sure what others are in it for besides the chance to be ‘holier than thou’ at people. I suspect the ones that are rude and nasty to people really don’t care whether or not they place a dog in a home. As far as they’re concerned, nobody else will ever be “good enough” to care for “their” dogs/cats/insert-species-here. Or they’re like PETA and would like to have owning pets completely done away with.

          I don’t know if they got started with their heart in the right place, but got carried away, or suddenly found it profitable or what. If you want something to horrify you, look up the story of Piper the Sheltie. The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach to read. You can also search for ‘retail rescue’ for more antics if you have an afternoon to waste.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I used to work for PETA. They don’t want to abolish living with animals. That’s just BS that anti-animal-rights people spread around (not saying you’re one of them, but that’s where it starts). Pretty much everyone I worked with at PETA lived with animals.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              See, for example, their FAQ:

              “Please be assured that PETA does not oppose kind people who share their lives and homes with animal companions whom they love, treat well, and care for properly. However, we very much oppose the puppy mills and private breeders that supply many companion animals; PETA is absolutely opposed to all breeding. In U.S. animal shelters alone, up to 4 million dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens are euthanized each year, simply because there aren’t enough homes for them. Given the astounding number of healthy and loving but unwanted animals who are being killed, we believe that breeding more animals merely to satisfy the desire for a particular behavioral or physical trait is absurd and selfish. We do, however, encourage those who have the desire, time, and patience to take good care of an animal to rescue homeless strays or adopt animals from a shelter.”

              Source: http://www.peta.org/issues/companion-animal-issues/companion-animals-faq/

              1. Amadeo*

                Unfortunately, I am afraid that you and I probably won’t see eye to eye about this, as I am much more middle of the road and feel there is definitely a place for well-bred, pure bred, dogs and will leave it at that.

      2. catsAreCool*

        I’ve adopted 2 kitties from an adoption place, and it wan’t a big deal. I had to fill out a form (about a page or so), and they wanted to be sure I wouldn’t declaw them or let them outside (not going to do either). Maybe it just depends on the place. It might be easier to adopt an adult cat than a kitten – people are less likely to adopt an adult cat.

      3. Rusty Shackelford*

        Rescue agencies can be very, very difficult.

        I completely agree. We tried to get a rescue dog a few years ago and they just made it impossible. Some were rude, some were dishonest, many were incommunicative.

      4. Lindsay J*

        I have a problem with the fact that a lot of rescues seem overly invasive. I understand that they want the best home for the animal, but isn’t generally an adequate home better than no home at all. I have no problem with them interviewing you to make sure you understand what you’re getting into, and asking for vet reference, making sure you have permission from family members and landlords, etc.

        I do have a problem with required home visits, requiring that there be a non-working person in the home (unless the animal has specific medical needs or something), credit checks, or other things that are needlessly invasive.

        There is one rescue in my area that seems to be laid back. Otherwise I’ve found I prefer to go with shelters.

  32. In debt*

    I am so embarrassed to even be writing this. I just found out that my husband and I have about $25,000 in credit card debt. I have no idea where to even start. We both work full time and have two children, one is a junior in college, but living at home, the other is a senior in high school. They both work part time in addition to school. We’re already thinking of ditching the cable, stuff like that. This situation is completely unacceptable to me, and I’m angry at myself for not being more involved in our finances. But all I can do now is move forward and try to figure a way to dig ourselves out of this. Please, if anyone has successfully done this and is willing to share some ideas, I would be so grateful. Thank you.

    1. Mags*

      Seriously, hire a financial advisor. I know it sounds counter intuitive to spend money when you’re trying to get out of debt, but they can REALLY help.

    2. Anonymoose*

      Look into Dave Ramsey. We used his methods to get out of debt. We now live a debt free lifestyle and it’s awesome! Our money problems are gone and we control of our life again.

    3. LawCat*

      Check out “You Need a Budget” aka YNAB. It is budgeting software with a host of free classes so people can understand how to use it. Having a plan for your money will help you develop priorities and get your finances in order. There is a really helpful facebook group too called YNAB Fans. Highly recommend.

    4. Trixie*

      Please don’t be embarrassed, it’s so difficult to face debt. I find writing it out very therapeutic, keeping it front and center so I can begin to tackle it. Sounds like you’re on a good path, identifying what you can cut immediately. I would look at your statements to see where the debit came from. Eating out, shopping, vacations, or bigger things like medical, car, tuition? If possible, stop using cards and pay for everything up front. You might save some money on interest with balance transfer, or call current card company to ask for lower rate. Take a look at income and see where that money is going. Most importantly, keep the discussion going among the family so everything is on the same page. Yes, we have a problem so let’s see what we can do to change our habits. Especially the kids so they know what to do as they become more independent.

      You can do it!

    5. Neruda*

      I was in a somewhat similar situation. Before meeting my husband, I got into about $20,000 worth of debt- mostly credit card but also the remainder of a car loan. I was in my late 20s, and the debt was the result of living beyond my means in a city away from my home town and also taking a trip to the US for a wedding that I probably couldn’t really afford. I’m in Australia so YMMV but I ended up going to my bank and getting a personal loan for the entire amount- 2 credit cards and the car loan. Then I cut the cards up. As far as I’m aware, loans and interests rates work differently in the US. We don’t have a credit score as such so having a credit card had little benefit for me. The benefits of a personal loan were that I knew how much it was, it was a much lower interest rate (about 11% vs 19% at the time) and there were no early exit fees. I relied too much on my card to get me out of situations that I should have had better plans for, like getting my car serviced for example. Knowing I had to save for these things first made me take more responsibility (I’m not saying this is your situation, just telling you how it was for me). Probably the reason I had the confidence to get rid of the cards was I moved to a much cheaper city and I had met my husband. Not that I was relying on him for my finances but our living costs were cheaper and I guess I just felt like I had more back up should things go awry. I was so ashamed starting that process, I couldn’t believe I’d got myself into debt. But once I started paying it off I felt so much better and the day I paid off the loan was completely satisfying. The main change for me was those lower interest rates and knowing I could only pay the debt down, not add to it.

    6. MsChanandlerBong*

      The first thing you need to do is a zero-based budget. You add up your income, deduct your expenses, and plan for savings, debt repayment, etc. until you have a $0 balance. Don’t forget to budget for things like newspaper subscriptions, prescriptions, “fun money,” and things other than food/bills/debt. Once you have a budget, go through it and cut all non-necessities. Get rid of cable, get rid of expensive phone plans and sign up for a cheap prepaid service, stop buying coffee, pack your own lunch instead of ordering lunch, etc. (obviously, you may not have these exact expenses; this is just to give you ideas).

      Once you do that, you should have money for your “snowball.” The idea is to list your debts from smallest to largest and pay off the smallest one first. No, this is NOT mathematically the best way to do it, as you’ll pay more interest on bigger balances, but paying off a debt gives you a psychological boost that keeps you motivated to stick to the budget. When that debt is paid off, add the minimum payment to the minimum payment for your next-largest bill. So if your old debt had a min. payment of $25 and the second debt has a payment of $35, you’ll pay $60 per month on the second bill until it’s paid off. Then you add the two minimum payments from the paid-off debts to your min. payment from the third debt (e.g. your third debt has a minimum payment of $50, so you add the $60 from your paid-off debts and make a total payment of $110 per month). Keep going until everything is paid off.

      Now, you may have an income problem, not a budget problem. If that is the case, get a side job. It doesn’t have to pay a ton. Drive for Uber, deliver pizzas, sell stuff on Etsy, work at a fast-food place. If you want to get rid of the debt, it’s worth a year or two of working a lot of hours.

      Dave Ramsey’s financial plan is pretty good, but if you’re going to follow him, I recommend just listening to the financial advice. When he starts ranting about politics, he’s a pompous blowhard. But he is good with the money stuff.

    7. Allison Mary*

      First off, I recommend watching this genius, and (I thought) very interesting lecture by Elizabeth Warren at the University of California, on the coming collapse of the middle class:


      It might help you feel a little less embarrassed. She goes into a very research/data-based explanation as to how the deck is stacked against us today in a way that it wouldn’t have been in, say, the 1970s. It’s a lot harder to succeed today.

      Elizabeth Warren also has a book called All Your Worth that is focused on how to survive and thrive financially, despite this deck of cards being stacked against us. I literally just picked it up today from the library to read it, so I can’t say whether it’s good or not yet, but from the free sample I read on Amazon, I think it will be great.

      I agree with MsChanandlerBong, who said that Dave Ramsey is great if you’re just following his financial advice, but some of his political views can be a little off-putting. But his financial advice is still solid, in my opinion. One free way to get into him is to start listening to his podcast. You can also check out his books through a public library.

      I’ve also found quite a bit of financial/life inspiration from this blogger: http://20somethingfinance.com

      Keep your chin up. Find a logical and systematic approach to reducing your spending. It’s a simple equation – you’ve got to live on way less than you make, in order to kill off your debt and start saving. Soooo many people are in this situation. I myself am around $30,000 in debt (student loans), and am about to start my first full-time entry-level job in a few weeks. I have a plan for living as cheaply as I possibly can for a few years – I plan to kill off my debt in no more than four years. You can do it, too. :)

    8. Retiree57*

      Not to overly minimize, but that amount is not unusual or surprising for an American family. (Average consumer credit card debt is around $15,000.) The main problem (IMHO) is the amount of interest you’re paying. The other suggestions to start to knock that debt down are good. In the meantime, though, you could look into transferring your balances into 0 interest or lower interest accounts. If your debt isn’t higher than your net worth, don’t worry too much.

    9. Yetanotherjennifer*

      These days you’re in good company. It doesn’t lessen the personal embarrassment but hopefully it helps. Remember, there are people who’s jobs depend on you spending like this and other who get paid to discover ways to entice you to live beyond your means. I’m not saying it’s a conspiracy, just that we’re all in this together. I think it helps to have a long term plan and a short term plan. So in the long term you cut some expenses and create a new lifestyle that allows you to pay down your debt by a set amount each month. Then you will have the short term bursts where you can take an extra job or host a garage sale or eat only from the pantry and pay that extra money towards the debt. Sort of like a reverse bonus.

      25k isn’t huge but it’s long term debt. It’s car loan level debt. And it’s lifestyle debt, so it’s going to take both a car loan level of money for the payment and additional money because you’ve become accustomed to the “income” your credit cards gave you. Some people can go full austerity until they pay it all off. Some can’t. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re in the can’t group. There isn’t only one way to do this and you can find what works for you.

      One reason I love YNAB is their system for credit cards: their methods make you set aside the money for each credit card purchase when you buy the thing so the money is waiting for the bill to come. It takes some adjustment since most people float on the 25 day grace period most credit cards offer. It’s easy to forget that you’re spending tomorrow’s money when your at the checkout counter.

      Main thing is to keep your eyes on the finish line. This is a long race but you can win it!

    10. In debt*

      I can’t thank you all enough, both for the support and the ideas. We have a family meeting scheduled for tonight, but so far the kids are totally on board. My 17 yo son handed me his Dave Ramsey book and said “I wondered when you guys were going to decide to do something.” So they are not completely surprised. I feel confident that we can get this taken care of. It’s going to take time and discipline we’re not used to, but we’re ready. I’ll be checking back if anyone has anything else to add.

      1. Pug Lover*

        I actually teach Dave Ramsey’s class and (obviously) a big fan of it. Its a great place to start.

        I was in a similar situation to you. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is that digging yourself out of debt is really about behavior modification. Its also about getting rid of the leaks in your budget. We all have them – it is about identifying them and figuring out workarounds. Its also about some level of sacrifice – for a lot of people this means no dining out, no vacations, cutting way down on Christmas spending. Be prepared that some of your friends and family wont be supportive of the changes, or worse, criticize what youre doing. Dont listen – keep to your plan and stay the course. It will all be worth it when youre debt free.

      2. Trixie*

        Good for your son, thinking of you and what he can do to help. I’ve also started following Suze Orman on Facebook, just for little daily/weekly reminders and encouragement tidbits.

    11. Athena*

      Try Financial Peace University through Dave Ramsey. This class will lead you step by step to get control of your finances to pay off debt. It works! DH and I did the online class in 2010 and it changed our financial lives for the better. We are atheists and just ignored the religious stuff – the financial advice is sound. Good luck!


    12. Anonymous Educator*

      I think a lot of digging yourself out of the hole will depend on two things:

      1. Clearly your husband got you into the hole, so he has to be on board with changing his habits.

      2. Do you actually have significant expenses you know you can cut out that will make a difference? In other words, is it clear when you look back on the credit card statements “Oh, we spent $_____ on X, Y, and Z we clearly didn’t need” or is it more like “We actually needed all that stuff, but clearly we can’t afford to live this way”?

      If you know there’s stuff you can cut out and put toward paying off your credit card (and far more than the minimum payment), I would just start making the payments. It takes a while to whittle down $25,000, but it can be done (and it’s so satisfying when you finally do).

      The best piece of advice I can give you is to use cash whenever possible. You don’t want to be using your credit card at the same time you’re paying it off. Stop the credit card use immediately. Pull cash, pull more cash, pull almost exclusively cash… for groceries, for other little necessary purchases. When you spend with physical cash in your hand, you’re far less likely to spend, and you see real money depleting from your bank account. If you just sign a credit card receipt (and I guess this goes mainly for your husband, but for you too), it’s far too easy to see the $ number as just a number.

      Best of luck! You are not alone. Many, many people are in debt.

    13. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I just saw this on Moneysavingmom.com and think it’s a great idea. It’s a way of keeping your debt payments separate so they don’t get spent on other things and also a way of making that payment automatic and seamless. The idea is to get a separate checking account without a debit card and use it exclusively for debt payments. You can have a portion of your paychecks direct deposited into the account and then set up the account to pay your credit cards. It all happens behind the scenes and you can still send extra money to those accounts when you find it. Just remember to keep enough to meet any minimum balance requirements and make sure the auto payments go out from your bank instead of having the credit card company debit your account directly.

    14. Phoenix Feather*

      “Budget” is not a bad word. A budget is simply a plan. It’s a document that clearly expresses your goals. Don’t be afraid of or confined by a budget.

      A zero-based budget is really the best way to get a grip on debt. YNAB and EveryDollar are great resources. Dave Ramsey is as well. What I like most about Dave Ramsey is that he understands that debt and budgets and financial issues are not just about math. Anyone and everyone can do math or find someone to do it for them. But finances reflect your personal goals and your personal level of risk.

  33. Sorgatani*

    Wrist update
    Didn’t update on wrist last week; no new developments.
    Cast #3 is starting to feel loose, but the last doctor I saw told me I can keep it – the purpose is more to stop me from making the fracture worse than to stop it from moving entirely. Cast is not uncomfortably loose. Haven’t decorated it yet, probably this week if it doesn’t rain.
    I’m getting a lot of my grasp back, so things are getting easier. My mum thinks I’m trying to use my arm too much/early, but I’ll stop if it starts hurting. She worked at an orthopedic hospital in the ’70s, when I think the focus was on immobilization. I’m trying to get back to using it at least in a limited capacity so that it won’t be as big of a shock when I do get it back and it isn’t as strong (trying to marshal my thoughts here, I don’t fully know why I’m using it more, it might also be simply because I can now, and it would still be painful if I couldn’t).
    I’m looking forward to exfoliating – still dry as anything, even with regular moisturizing.

    The fella and I are taking mum to see Matilda the Musical on Friday! It’s her birthday present from us.
    I went to see it by myself in June, but not as good a ticket/view as these – I hope they like it too.
    We’re also going to treat her to Koko Black (upscale chocolatier/cafe). Well, try to treat her; she doesn’t let us treat her to things very often. We’ll at least prevent her from paying for ours.

  34. Kristina L*

    I’m thinking about getting a tablet or something like that. I want something bigger than a smart phone, but smaller than a laptop, something that I can display photos on so that I can draw pictures from it, something I can download photos to and make notes on, maybe something that works for a touch typist.



    1. Random Citizen*

      iPads are generally reliable and solid. Of course, the one I have has been dropped repeatedly and had the screen replace so the touch screen is… not so touchy, and my wifi is spotty, but the machine itself is marvelous! Mine is an iPad mini, and I got a case with a keyboard for it, which works well for touch typing or to prop it up on a table laptop-style to watch a video. It’s a really nice size – just small enough that I can grab it with one hand without getting my fingers on the screen. A friend of mine has a full-size iPad that I’ve used a few times, too, and I’m torn on which one I’d buy if I decided to replace mine. They’re expensive, but well worth it, in my experience.

      1. DragoCucina*

        Agree. I know lots of people who have started with other tablets and after a year get an iPad. My husband still uses his iPad 1 for presentations.

        1. Random Citizen*

          One other consideration here would be what OS your laptop and phone are running. Apple products integrate almost seamlessly among themselves, but all the other devices I own run Windows and transferring files from the iPad to my computer and vice versa can be a pain sometimes, especially for bigger files and videos. Also, bookmarks won’t sync across devices, music may not, photo albums. etc. If you have a Mac/iPhone, I’d definitely recommend an iPad, but if you have Windows/Android devices, it would be worth looking at what kind of files you’d want to transfer and how easy it would be to do/what kind of equipment/cords you’d need to do it (GoogleDrive helps too!).

          1. mander*

            I second this consideration. I have an iPad 2 that I won in a drawing, but I never would have bought it myself because I don’t use any other Apple products and I hate iTunes with a passion. I am mainly a Linux/Android kind of girl and I only start up Windows when I have to.

            With my existing iPad it’s actually not been much of a problem because this model is old enough that it communicates OK with Linux and I mainly use web services (Dropbox and the like) on it, but if you want to sync files with another computer it can be a pain. I am now used to typing on it for short periods but I still think about getting an external keyboard. If I’m traveling and planning to do any work I take my old tank of a netbook instead.

            My husband has an Acer Transformer which is like a tablet with a detachable keyboard that runs Windows 8. He likes it because it’s just as light as the old iPad but a lot more versatile (you can put SD cards and USB sticks in it, run normal Windows programs, etc). I might get a similar one when my iPad finally dies.

              1. Mander*

                The iPad will connect with Windows and all but I found it irksome to try and put photos onto it. I want to be able to pop the SD card out of my camera and put it into the device I’m using and browse the photos, but you can’t really do that with an iPad. With the model I have, anyway, I have to upload the photos to a computer, then copy them using some app or other. I have a gizmo that’s supposed to let you add the photos to the iPad photo stream but it doesn’t work that well and you have to copy them all before you can edit them.

                That said, it’s a great device and I’m happy I have it. I think I’d find it easier to integrate with everything if I were a Mac user, though.

    2. Lizabeth*

      Chiming in with another thumbs up for the iPad. Boss gave it to me 4 years (4th generation) ago and unless I’m doing design work at home this is what I use for email, web surfing, magazine reading (from the library no less!) etc…haven’t played much with sketching on it (still a tradition paper and pencil there). Would recommend getting the one with the most memory you can afford. I’m drooling over there retina screen ones but won’t get it until this one dies.

      Would also recommend going to the store and play with all brands of tablets to see which clicks with you.

    3. Observer*

      If you are serious about typing, you want to look at something with a decent keyboard cover. Trying to seriously type on the on screen keyboard is a mess.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        I bought a bluetooth keyboard that’s larger than the keyboard covers, and I love it. Those keyboard covers are just too tiny for me to use.

    4. Newish Reader*

      I have an iPad and like it, but depending on your budget an Android tablet could work too. My husband generally uses a tablet for basic email, web surfing, and as an e-reader. He’s been happy with a Samsung tablet that cost significantly less than an iPad. Also, his phone was already a Samsung, so the navigation of the tablet was easy to acclimate to.

  35. Ice Bear*

    I need to vent because I’m disappointed, hurt, and starting to feel a little bitter about friendships.

    What’s with people sending mixed signals about wanting to hang out?

    Example 1: Don’t keep telling me I should host another game night but when I suggest multiple dates tell me you’ll get back to me after you check your calendar and then never actually do so.

    Example 2 (Different person): Don’t make comments about how we should do this or that but then every single time I invite you to hang out suddenly you skirt the issue and then go dark.

    I really don’t get it… and I’m getting awfully discouraged trying to maintain a social life when people are so damn flaky. It was bad enough when I realized that unless I organized an event my group would never hang out at all but now even that doesn’t work (and for perspective, I’m not over-scheduling get-togethers – I’m asking to do things about 2-3 times a YEAR).

    If I suck so much, fine, but don’t imply, let alone come right out and say, you want to do something with me when you clearly don’t mean it! Actions speak louder than words, right?

    I implore people reading – please don’t do this to people. Maybe you think it’s nice to say stuff like “we should have lunch sometime” or tell the person they need to organize another get together, but only do it if you mean it! If you don’t, then just say, “good seeing you” and leave it at that. I have NEVER suggested getting together with someone if I really didn’t want to because it’s very hurtful and screws with the other person’s mind.

    I’m at the point where I don’t know if people like me or not because they act in such conflicting ways. I hate rejection as it is so I really don’t need this.

    Thanks for listening.

    1. Engineer Girl*

      Intention and execution are two very different things. Most people do want to get together with you, but are flakes, get busy, etc.
      You’ll be happier if you recognize that people are flakes. It’s bonus points if they actually do follow up.
      They’re probably not rejecting you. They probably are sloppy. They’re not doing it AT you.

    2. Today's anon*

      I don’t think it means people don’t like you or are leading you on. I think in general they mean well, but get bogged down with life. It means you are lower on their priority list than other things. Which can be really, really painful if they are high on your priority list. In the cases you describe, I would stop trying to make plans so earnestly. It is painful to realize they don’t see you as close friends as you see them. I think you need to acknowledge that pain. But it is helpful in that you can then make decisions that are based on reality rather than on an imagined reality.

      1. Ice Bear*

        I think you hit the nail on the head – I’m a lower priority and that hurts. I put all communication and invitations from people at a high priority because I’m grateful when someone thinks of me but it seems I do not get the same consideration in return. It still boggles my mind when I’ve invited someone out and when a week or more goes by and I follow up because there hasn’t been a response the person tells me they completely forgot. I could never forget someone reaching out to me but obviously I mean that little to people that they can. Some of these people are busy but some are not. It’s really damaging to my already low self esteem particularly when I see these same people bending over backwards to spend time with someone who is rude and inconsiderate. Apparently being extroverted and loud is more valued than being thoughtful. This realization sucks because I can’t be someone I am not. I just wish I could find like minded people to spend my time with.

        1. Temperance*

          It’s really not that you mean “so little” to people! Honestly, it just means that the person is really busy or has a lot going on in their life. Not that you aren’t important or that you don’t matter. Running into someone while you’re out and about and then trying to make plans never works well; I can’t remember what’s in my planner ahead of time, you know?

            1. Temperance*

              YES. I totally do this – and it’s just because I want to see EVERYONE and feel guilty saying no to people! I have a friend I’ve had to decline the past 4 or 5 times she suggested hanging out, and I feel so bad about it. :(

          1. Ice Bear*

            Oh I understand that. When I run into someone I don’t try to make plans then and there. I wait and text them later. I’m just not sure how much follow up is necessary. I don’t want to be a pest if they are putting me off because they really don’t want to hang out. I keep thinking of that book/movie “He’s Just Not That Into You”. At some point I figure “ok, they aren’t really into spending time with me” but then I see them and they act so friendly and again suggest I host another game night and I’m thinking “WTF? I tried and you blew me off”. It’s just incredibly frustrating.

        2. TL -*

          Being extroverted and loud isn’t more valued – but sometimes someone who is louder or more insistent about following up might just get more notice.

          If my friends were following up after a week and it wasn’t for solid, set-in-stone plans, I would probably forget, not because they’re not important but because I have a terrible memory and unless we actually made specific plans, I wouldn’t put it in my calendar and it would disappear from my memory. It has nothing to do with their value to me – I’ve done this with my casual acquaintances and best friends.
          Generally, when I really want to do something, I make plans within a day or two of inviting – not just “let’s get dinner sometime next week,” but “Wednesday at the Chocolate teapot room at 7 pm.” And I follow up rather quickly if I don’t hear a response – within a day to a couple of hours depending on the friend.

          But when you’re with your friends, do they pay attention and talk to you and treat you respectfully? That’s probably a better indication of how much they value you than their memories.

          1. Ice Bear*

            That’s the issue right there – my friends are always doing the vague thing – “we should really do this” and “we should really do that” – but when I try to organize an actual date/time to do those things it becomes this exercise in frustration. I never know how much follow up is too much. I certainly don’t want to be a pest particularly if they are putting me off because they really don’t want to hang out.

            When I am with them they are respectful and mostly pay attention. I say mostly because I have found that many people I know (this includes family) are very much about talking about themselves and not about listening. I think I have some interesting things to contribute to the conversation but one friend in particular just dominates it completely. At some point it becomes too exhausting to fight it and I give in and relegate myself to nodding and uh-huhing since I can’t get a word in edgewise anyway.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Friend: “Oh we should do x!”
              You: “That would be GREAT! I’d love to do x. When you are ready to go give me a call, I want to go with you!”

              Friend: “Oh, we should do x.”
              You: “I’d love to.” [Full stop. Wait to see what they say next.]

              Friend: “Oh we should do x.”
              You: “Absolutely. But you know, I tried calling the last time and you were (everyone was) busy. So now it’s your turn, give me a shout when you are ready and we will go.”

              1. Elkay*

                I’ve tried the give me a shout approach and…crickets. I’ve given up on people now, it makes me too sad to try.

            2. TL -*

              I’d suggest setting up something regular – like a once a month game night that’s always on the first Wednesday (or whatever night works for you) and invite everyone who’s interested who you like; remind them via group messaging the day of. If someone shows interest, keep inviting them every month and a nice reminder the day of (I’d do a group message but that’s me). Make it really, really easy for people to come but don’t get too invested in whether or not people come – be invested in having a good time regardless of what happens. If you have one or two friends who will commit to coming, that’s enough to start something. Invite new people as you meet them. If people don’t show up, it’s fine. If they do, it’s great! As long as it’s fun and easy for people, I bet you end up with a small core group and a fluctuating cast of extras that allows you the time to grow friendships – but give it time and don’t get disappointed if not many people show up at first.

              As for one on one time – if you know someone is really into something, try to invite around that. Favorite band or sports team or new exhibit in the museum about their favorite painters, for instance. The amount of effort I’m going to put into an outing is pretty proportional to how much I want to do the activity.
              If you say hey, I want to go hiking, I’ll have my pack packed before you’re done inviting me. If you invite me to a new restaurant, eh, sure I’ll go if it’s not too pricey and you do all the work of planning it and I can find a good day. (The thing there is to eventually find people who are into what you’re into so they get equally excited about what you’re excited about.)

        3. literateliz*

          Oh, I had to respond to this because I have been there and I really feel for you. Several years ago I moved back to my home state after two years abroad and pretty much all of my long-term friends started being flaky like this. Probably important to note that I had last seen these friends when we were all in college and it was a lot easier to get together at a moment’s notice. It’s a lot harder to make plans as busy adults and you find out pretty quickly who’s a flake. But I considered these people close friends and it really hurt to be rejected like that, even though I knew intellectually that it wasn’t about me.

          A story: About three years ago I made a friend at a meetup. We’re very different, sometimes in awkward ways – she worked in tech while I was a struggling editor (and this in San Francisco where income inequality is tearing the city apart), I thought she complained too much, the list goes on. But she kept calling me and inviting me to have drinks or brunch, and we got along well enough, so we stayed friends. I just realized the other day that she’s been one of the most steady presences in my life over the last three years, even though I would never have pegged her as someone I would depend on when we first met. I guess my point is that earlier in life we all tend to form friendships based on common interests, but at my age (I’m 29), someone who consistently makes time for me is a rare and valuable friend, even if we don’t initially seem to have a lot in common. Also, despite her forthrightness in making plans, she is also kind of weird and introverted and doesn’t reveal a lot of herself immediately; it took some time for me to get to know her. As an introvert myself I can be drawn to the flashy, exciting people who make it easy to sustain a conversation, but they’re often also the ones who can never commit to plans. Look around you; maybe there’s someone you’ve overlooked who could end up being a good friend?

          My other suggestion is to join group activities that meet consistently, so you can socialize and get to know people without having to nail down a time. I always recommend One Brick (onebrick.org) for volunteering if there’s one near you (volunteers are good people!). Between that and a Japanese American organization I’m active in I’ve met a lot of people who I consider good friends, and I haven’t had to go through the whole awkward charade of calling people and nailing down a time, etc.

          1. Ice Bear*

            I’m going to check out that link you shared. Thank you for sharing your story as well. I have a friend from college I rarely hear from and wish we could talk more often but they just don’t have the time I guess. It stinks.

    3. Temperance*

      I am this friend, more than I would like to be. It’s nothing personal – it’s a combination of stressful/time-consuming job and having lots of other friends and commitments. I have MLS season tickets, and during the season, that’s my social outlet. I genuinely DO want to see everyone who wants to hang out, but I don’t have a time-turner. One of my friends is an SAHM, and going out is her priority (which is fine), but I have to schedule outings around work and keeping up the house, and I end up saying “no” more than I would like to.

      Can you focus on other friends right now?

      1. Ice Bear*

        If I had other friends! Haha. But seriously, I just don’t have many friends. I’ve always found it difficult to maintain friendships so my S/O always end up being my best friend. I love my S/O very much but see them all the time. It would be nice to socialize with someone other than them or our families. I would really love to have another couple to hang out with occasionally.

        I do have one friend who is old enough to be my parent which might be a bit strange but I do appreciate their friendship because they take turns doing the inviting and when we do get together there’s a very balanced back and forth conversation. I haven’t been able to find that with many other people and in my initial post the # 2 example I gave was a coworker who is always saying stuff about getting together outside of work but every single time I extend an invite they ghost on me. I really don’t understand it but I’m not going to pursue a friendship with them anymore.

        Honestly, I’m not a very demanding friend. I don’t expect phone calls or constant communication, I don’t have drama in my life, and I’m open to other people’s views and interests. I would just like some people to go to events with occasionally or come over to watch a movie or play games. I’m also perfectly fine being the host all the time if for whatever reason they don’t like having people over. I just don’t know why that’s so hard to find.

        1. Temperance*

          Not strange at all! We’re friends with a couple who are 30 and 40 years older than us, and we have a great time with them. (We play pub trivia together, lol.)

          I honestly get where you’re coming from. I’m socially awkward and had a really hard time when I moved here. I decided that I was going to try, and I’ve been going to women’s craft beer meetups and have met so many cool women that way. I went to one on Thursday, alone, and had a great time.

          It’s much easier out here now that I’m in the city working and have friends in my suburb. It took forever, though.

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      I’m annoyed by this, too, but honestly the type of person who will say “We have to do lunch” and then doesn’t follow through is also the type of person who will not listen to your plea for people to not do this. They live in the moment and in that moment genuinely think “I’d love to hang out,” but then the next moment happens, and they don’t.

      I have a few friends like this, and we’re not close (for obvious reasons), but I still enjoy the time I have with them. I just don’t take them seriously when they say “It’s been forever; we have to hang out!” Unless I hear “Let’s meet this day at this time at this place,” I just consider it the same as “How are you?” or “Isn’t the weather nice?”

    5. Golden Teapot*

      I have a different take on this. I think it’s a regional/cultural thing, but in some places, a vague invitation to hang out is just a general way of saying, “I enjoyed talking to you,”
      and sometimes not even that. Sometimes it’s just a pleasantry that doesn’t really mean anything. It’s not fake, exactly. It’s just . . . a politeness sort of thing.

      If that’s what’s going on, you can’t tell if people genuinely want to hang out or not. Or if they have time. Sometimes people like you but don’t have time. Or they like you but aren’t looking to make new friends.

      But there is a solution! Think of everyone you might be friends with as a community. Contribute something to that community, something that’s relevant to a lot of people, and ideally something that says something about who you are. Then let people reach out to you. Take these new friendships slowly at first just like relationships, looking for any red flags. And keep doing things to broaden your social circle. It doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Sometimes something as simple as dressing in an interesting way or doing something interesting in public is enough. I know this sounds vague, but the possibilities are endless. Good luck!

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        I have a different take on this. I think it’s a regional/cultural thing, but in some places, a vague invitation to hang out is just a general way of saying, “I enjoyed talking to you,”
        and sometimes not even that. Sometimes it’s just a pleasantry that doesn’t really mean anything. It’s not fake, exactly. It’s just . . . a politeness sort of thing.

        I’m sure there are regions and cultures in which this is true, but I don’t live in one of those, and I’m assuming Ice Bear doesn’t either (otherwise, she wouldn’t be bothered by it).

        1. Ice Bear*

          Anonymous Educator – I’m in the Midwest so I’m not sure if that’s considered a region/culture where people say things they don’t mean. I don’t do that myself, but perhaps I expect too much?

          Golden Teapot – What do you suggest I do then? Just ignore people when they say we should get together and assume they don’t mean it? I always thought it was their way of gauging MY interest without putting themselves out there and risking rejection. So if I assume it’s just politeness but they were serious they will then assume I’m not interested in them. Uh, so how do people ever get together then?

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            Just ignore people when they say we should get together and assume they don’t mean it?

            That’s what I would recommend. As I said upthread, unless someone says “When can we meet? At this time and this place?” I wouldn’t take “We have to do ____” or “We should hang out some time soon” as a definite invitation but more as a “How are you?”–type thing.

            1. The Pest*

              I am in the midwest. I have been a transplant her for 4 years. And “we should get together” is code for “it was nice talking to you…running into you…having this moment…oh, I didn’t know you liked poetry…. I don’t find you offensive”

              I’m serious- I have extended invitations for coffee, a movie, extra ticket to a concert, author readings, Sunday brunch, a walk in the park, dinner…
              The few friends I have made are fellow transplants. And one is someone I knew from NYC. I am not friends (coffee friend, bookclub friend, hey, I have a dog, you have a dog friend) with a single Minnesotan.

          2. Sir Alanna Trebond*

            Oh God. I am one of those people. I definitely do this. I use “We should grab lunch some time!” the same way I would use “How are you?” with a stranger. It’s more a general pleasantry than a real invitation. If I meant it as an invitation, I would spell out some kind of specific piece of info– day/time/location. Now I’m realizing I should probably stop doing this, but it’s definitely a thing that lots of people around me do too.

          3. Golden Teapot*

            No, invite them to do something! Suggest plans and see what they say.

            What I meant was more that vague plans shouldn’t always be taken as real plans. People can mean different things. It can be hard to tell. I usually expect things not to turn into real plans and then I’m pleasantly surprised when they do.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      One thing to consider that has not been mentioned yet, is that groups have a hard time getting people to show up for group meetings. They just don’t have time.
      There are a slew of people out there who would like to go to church regularly and just cannot get there.
      Frighteningly, there are less and less people willing to take on board positions for lower levels of government.
      It is odd because we have all these labor saving devices and we are working harder and longer than we used to work.
      A lady I know runs a Chamber of Commerce. She said by the time people get done with work, family and perhaps church, they are done for the week. They are totally zapped of energy and cannot do more.

      Try, try, try to focus on what each person might be doing in their lives. When I was taking care of sick parents, I had no friends. Well, all my friendships were on the back burner because I had no time. When my last parent died, it got worse! Lawyers and real estate people knew it was okay to call at 11 pm because I never slept. never. Forget about doing something with friends.

      See, what I am aiming for here is to find ways not to let this eat you up because it can. Find ways to help your mind relax. One tool I have used is to consider every interaction as a gift. I remind myself that no one has to do anything, they do it because they want to. It’s a gift. It took a while for this to kick in for me, I had to keep reminding myself to use this tool.

      Another way to manage this is to expand your group of friends. Keep adding new people, one person at a time. Joining groups is a great way to get together with folks. I have some friendships where we just follow each other form group to group. It’s actually kind of fun and I have learned a lot. I learned from watching my father, that as we age our friends and family die off and this is so. very. hard. So it’s a good life habit to keep adding new people to our lives, even if it’s just one or two people a year, keep adding them in.

      1. Doodlebug*

        I have the same problem Ice Bear. One thing I do is try to nail them down to a date. I make lunch dates in advance.

        People like us who do what they say they will do are rare. I don’t know what to do about it. I see it too and am frustrated by it. I know some people have too much going on and other priorities.

        It is also a good point that maybe we’re taking their “let’s do lunch” too literally. Hugs. No advice, just commiseration.

    7. Elkay*

      I remember being so excited when someone suggested that my partner and I get together with them for dinner, I didn’t know them very well and it felt like suddenly being included in a friendship group I felt like I was on the outskirts of. Of course the invitation never came, it made me feel like crap, even knowing people do this I can’t get my “say what you mean, mean what you say” head around that behaviour.

  36. Gene*

    The sewing jag continues. SWMBO commented that I had made the costume, a new chair seat, and the Hickman line pouches, but nothing for her. So I picked up a pattern and some fabric Thursday, and now she has a new flannel nightgown. It’s a simple pattern, so I can probably whip one out in about 90 minutes.

    A couple more simple things and I’ll start making shirts for myself. I need to learn how the buttonhole thing on this machine works first.

    1. Rahera*

      Great. Your sewing updates are very inspiring. I can barely use a machine but I must get mine checked out and have a go. :)

    2. Allison Mary*

      Oo, fun, a sewing post! I just recently got a sewing machine – mainly for the purpose of being able to make alterations to thrift store clothing. But I also have been working on a really nifty set of cloth dinner napkins that goes with our decor scheme.

      It sounds like you’re doing some really cool stuff! Sounds way more advanced than what I’m attempting. :)

    3. mander*

      I really need to get mine out and do something with it! I bought an old portable type machine so that I’d have one here but I’ve only used it once or twice. There are a few little alteration projects that I’ve been putting off but I’m unemployed right now so it would be a good time to do them!

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I went to a fabric market yesterday and have decided to have a go at making my own pillowcases and perhaps a tablecloth. This will make a nice change from my usual drawstring laundry and shoe bags.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve been using mine mostly for skating costumes, but since I’m no longer skating, now I guess I can make some kitchen curtains. There are old sheets that won’t fit on my bed (they’re from ancient times, when mattresses were skinny). A bit of trim and they should be perfect.

  37. Dee*

    Ok here:s my call for your own stories: how do you deal when you and your partner make vastly different incomes?

    I make 3x what my partner makes – but i’m self-employed and so i also save the majority of my income for when i’m not working ‘just in case’. I’m def. a saver more than a spender and it means i’ve saved quite alot over all. My partner isn’t terrible with money but he can’t plan ahead. So if something needs to be bought or done – it’s up to me to do it. And i’m really tired of that, from vacations, to furniture, and now i’m ready to buy a new house (we’ve been renting together) and i just happened to have sold my car. It’s up to me to put down the money on the house and buy a car for us. And it’s too much for me. There’s no reason he can’t buy his own car cheaply, but he doesn’t plan to do it so he both doesn’t and can’t. So today for an open home we had to cab there – and we had to cab back from the supermarket too. This drives me insane as we’re almost 40 and there’s no reason to do this! We’re not badly off financially at all, and it’s within his means to plan (i.e. save some money) towards goals. He handles utilities and we split rent and i pay for groceries (which is more than the utilities where we live). But anything more than that and it’s up to me to pay for. He shuts down when i talk to him about it. I know he makes less, and that’s ok. But he’s also mentioned he wants to make his lunch to save himself money – yet he doesn’t buy anything to do it – so…i get frustrated. Advice? Please?

    1. Jillociraptor*

      I was chatting about a similar topic with my boss yesterday, dividing housework. She said something that’s been kind of rattling around in my head. I’m not sure I buy it, but it might be helpful! She said expectations are key. Whatever your division of labor, make sure you make it visible, even if it’s “I do everything and you do nothing,” she says it will make you feel better if you’re not caught in the expectation game, layering your resentment on top of the actual labor you do.

      I am also the main earner in my family, by about the same margin, and we have actually done exactly what my boss said and made our expectations clear: I handle liquid income and am responsible for most daily purchases. I pay most of our bills, groceries, meals, smaller daily purchases (the “oh, we need a new shower curtain!”), stuff like that. Other Half is responsible for bigger or longer-term things: our car, plane tickets, movers and deposits on new apartments. This works great…for us.

      It sounds like your partner is unwilling to see this as a problem. You don’t have a situation where you can logic this out. You can only control the choices you make. In that vein, perhaps shifting the conversation slightly to what you will and won’t contribute (rather than whether or not he is contributing fairly) might help with his defensiveness. I’d also suggest reading and trying out the strategies in “Crucial Conversations,” which has helped me a lot in situations like this.

    2. Stellaaaaa*

      There are two issues at play here. One is the division of finances. The other is the frustrating reality that you can’t make people care about things that they simply don’t care about, or become invested in solving problems that they don’t perceive as being problems. You care about the optics of being in your late 30s and still renting. You care about the optics of having to take cabs. Your husband just….doesn’t. You’re going to struggle with the car issue. If you bought one, he’d be the one using it most of the time since he has to drive to work and you don’t. A small suggestion: since you do the grocery shopping, ask him what you can buy that he will want to use in bagged lunches. Would he eat a bagged lunch if you made it for him? Not that you should but….it’s probably the only one of his extraneous expenses that you can control.

      1. Dee*

        You’re right, i’ll mull over what you’ve said (and actually when i’m not working i make him dinner which he also gets lunches out of for a couple of days…!)

    3. Lizabeth*

      If you buy a house, put the mortgage in your name ONLY. Seriously…

      Check out Dailyworth.com – they may have some articles you may find helpful.

      1. Dee*

        Lolz, i’m not in the US and after 3 years of being in a relationship with someone – everything is shared 50/50. There are no circumstances where it’s not. Like none. It’s really tough. The only way around it is to create a contract where you list what belongs to who and each sign it. It’s something i might do regardless as he’s not the type to go after anything, but i thought you might find it interesting!

      2. chickabiddy*

        If you are legally married that may not be the best idea, depending on your state law. The house will be a marital asset subject to equitable division.

          1. FD*

            In many states, the title of a house must be listed in both partner’s names if you’re married, regardless of whether who paid for it.

    4. Ever and Anon*

      I seem to have posted my response in the wrong place, so I’m re-posting here.

      I wonder: did he always suck so badly at planning, or did you gradually, over the years, cut him out of all financial decisions, signalling that yo don’t trust him and he can just worry about his own expenses (less some agreed upon flat monthly to you)? DO you trust him?

      Maybe a solution for you could be a monthly “state of the family finances” meeting to review credit health, account balances, upcoming large purchases, etc., and start giving him some say? And these need to be truly collaborative, not sessions where it’s just you accusing or resenting him. But they would be the perfect forum for saying things like, “maybe we can both contribute to savings?”

      You can also just cut back on buying the optional communal things like vacations or the car. But doing so without having a conversation is passive aggressive and (with men especially!) generally pointless.

    5. Allison Mary*

      I wonder if part of the reason he simply doesn’t deal with some things, is because he knows that he can fall back on you dealing with them for him? If that’s the case, I can see how that would be extremely frustrating – it would irritate the crap out of me, too, because that sounds like a parent-child relationship to me, not a partner relationship.

      I guess one suggestion I’d have, for trying to lay out your concerns, is saying just that: “I want us to be two adult partners in this. I want a partner relationship, not a parent-child relationship.” And then you’d have to go into whatever behaviors you want to see from him (of course you’d have to identify that ahead of time). I like Dave Ramsey’s ideas on the Budget Committee Meeting, and the respective roles of the Nerd and the Free Spirit. There’s a little info here (http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/nerds-and-free-spirits-can-unite-over-the-budget/), but I wish it went more into his ideas for what the Nerd does in the meeting and what the Free Spirit does in the meeting. I’ll look around on youtube.

      What my partner and I do (I’m in my early thirties, he’s in his mid-thirties) is slightly convoluted, but it works well for us. Between the two of us, we have three bank accounts. We each have our own individual bank accounts, and then we have one joint account together. We agree on all the expenses that are shared, and that should come from a joint account (for us, that includes: housing costs, utilities, internet, food (groceries & eating out), pet supplies, car insurance, gasoline, and even a vacation envelope). We estimate what those expenses should cost, and we settle on a total monthly dollar figure that needs to go into that account. We then both contribute to that joint account based on equal percentages, not equal dollar amounts, of our respective incomes.

      For example: Let’s say I make $1500/month, and my partner makes $4500/month. And we decide together that the joint account needs $2000 every month, to cover our shared expenses. Together, we make $6000/month. My percentage of that income is $1500/$6000 = 25%. My partner’s percentage of that income is therefore 75%. So, that means I pay 25% of the joint expenses (which comes out to $500 of the $2000 monthly joint expenses), and my partner pays 75% of the joint expenses (which comes out to $1500 of the $2000 monthly expenses). The rest goes into our individual accounts to do with, as we wish.

      As long as we’re agreeing on what happens with the joint account, this approach leaves us both with a lot of freedom to do our own thing with the rest of our money, while still feeling like we’re both taking responsibility for the shared expenses.

      I hope that’s helpful.

    6. mistersquawk*

      I make about twice what my husband makes. He is bad at saving, and I don’t like keeping up with a lot of things at once. So we each have our own checking accounts, and then a joint savings we can both access. I transfer him half the rent each month but otherwise he pays all the monthly bills out of his paychecks. This leaves him with fairly little money spend on what he wants. I pay for the food, the insurances, and save all retirement and all savings, and spend about as much on myself as he does. I also pay the cc bills, so all the little things like drugstore visits, etc. It works perfect for us, because he’s not left with much to waste, and since most of my stuff is automated out of my paycheck I only have to remember like one thing a month.

      1. mistersquawk*

        I should probably add that he was a little unsure about this plan when I proposed it, because of course it would be really easy for me to just have him pay all the bills and then go wild with my paychecks. But after a couple months of seeing what I was doing and just how much I was saving, he stopped worrying. Now he enjoys not having to save up for the car insurance every 6 months and stuff like that- it’s given us both less we have to worry about.

    7. LawCat*

      I make 3x what my spouse makes as well, but who makes what does not really factor into what is spent. All the money is *our* money regardless of who earned it. Both our paychecks go into a single checking account. We use a zero-based budgeting software program called You Need a Budget (YNAB) to budget out all our money every pay period. This includes all our expenses, fun money (we each get identical amounts of personal fun money), and savings. I primarily handle the budgeting software and bill paying, but we have regular budget meetings (pretty short, like 5 mins, at this point!) to determine how money needs to be spent like if one of us will need new running shoes or we want to buy tickets to an upcoming event.

      My husband is a little deer-in-headlights when thinking about long-term saving and the mechanics of setting up the budget and reconciling our accounts against the budget. He’s really good at sticking with the budget (the only categories he regularly has to look at are his fun money and groceries since he does the grocery shopping) once it’s set up, but doing it on his own would be overwhelming to him. He isn’t good at planning ahead, but is good following a plan once it is set.

      Maybe such a set-up may work better for you and your partner.

      1. JBunny*

        If you know he’s not good at saving why try to force it? Would he be open to paying a larger portion of the monthly bills so that you can save more? Like he pays all of the rent and you save for both of you.

      2. Natalie*

        My husband and I don’t have a huge income difference but this is how we do it too and it’s working well. He’s even getting more comfortable with money stuff as he gets more practice with budgeting.

    8. FD*

      My wife and I (both women) are in a similar situation. The difference isn’t as big yet, but it is fairly substantial.

      First, we haven’t merged all of our finances. Each of us has our own checking and savings account, and then we have a joint bank account. We pay for things like rent, car insurance (we have only one car between us), shared groceries, etc. out of the joint account. Each month, both of us puts half of the money that will be needed for that month’s expenses into the joint account. Then, we pay for our personal expenses and fun expenses out of the personal funds.

      Second, if something for joint use is important to only one of us, we tend to buy it ourselves. So, for example, I cook more, so I’ve purchased 90% of the cooking supplies in the house, even though we both end up using them. I don’t feel bad about that because I get to pick and when I cook, I don’t end up with crappy pans that I hate.

      Now, for reasons of actual income, I can simply save much faster and better than she can. This means that as we start saving for things like a down payment on a house, most of the money will come from my savings ability. In addition, I sometimes shoulder a larger portion of unexpected shared expenses (i.e. the car broke down and needed repair work) when I can do so. One of the ways we’ve balanced that out is with workload at home. I make good money, but I often have less time, so there are periods where she’ll take on a much higher share of the house chores and the like.

      I think as others have said, the biggest thing that you need to handle is the expectation. If you silently expect that your spouse should save $100/month but never say it, you’re setting both of you up for trouble.

    9. Anonymous Educator*

      I think the issue, based on how I’m reading your description of it, is less the discrepancy in income and more the lack of planning on your partner’s part. That’s a far bigger deal and harder to fix. After all, you say “We’re not badly off financially at all.”

      You can’t really make any progress with this, no matter what your approach is if he’s not open to talking about it:

      He shuts down when i talk to him about it.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        If that is truly his final answer on the topic, then you need to take a hard look at this, OP.

        You may want to go to counseling to work out why it is he cannot write a budget with you.

        If you don’t want to go the counseling route, then this is who he is. Carefully consider if you can do a lifetime of this.

        You may decide that if he is not going to write and follow a budget, then you will do it alone. Tell him what you are doing and why- that someone needs to take control over the finances. Tell him that he is more than welcome to join you at any point.

        My husband never did a budget with me. His family is the same way. We never drowned. I am not sure why, I think it was in part because I insisted on two things. One was an IRA and the other was that we put any inheritances into savings. So while we never inherited a lot of money we did manage to build a nest egg of about six months pay. As the years went on he saw me watching how I spent money and there were times where he would get in the groove of a similar mindset. Because I was working at being responsible with spending, he felt more motivated to be responsible.

        I could tell more stories about family, but must end there. My punchline to all the stories is what you see is what there is to see, it may not change. Since you are committed to this person, your part in the relationship maybe to keep the finances in order because BOTH of you can’t let the finances slide. The best you may get out of this whole question is that he agrees to let you decide what to do because he does not want to decide.

    10. Phoenix Feather*

      It doesn’t sound like you are partners. It sounds like you are living your life with your money and he is living his life with his money and expecting you to pick up the slack. If you are married, you should have a single household income and be working together for your family’s goals. If you aren’t married, then you shouldn’t factor him in to your financial decisions. If you want to buy a car, you save and spend as you see fit. If you want a house, you save, pick what you want, and buy. If he wants to live with you, he contributes to the household in whichever way you all decide, whether that is financially in the form of rent or 50% of bills.

      What about taking a budgeting or personal finance class together? You each learn how to best control your own money. Once you are solid individually, you can work together better.

  38. Mela*

    So if I’m a dedicated Mac user, and I want to use a Windows-only app very occasionally, what would be the best solution?

    Parallels seems too intense for something I’ll probably only use 3-4x/year, but then again, so does buying a new device. I don’t need a new version of Windows, and I saw that there’s a way to install Windows 7 or older on a Mac, but it requires 30gb of space. Blah. Any thoughts?

    1. Lizabeth*

      forums.macresource.com. Tips and deals category.

      It’s my go to place for this type of stuff. Before you post a question make sure you do a good search of the postings to see what’s been said before, because someone will ask if you’ve searched the threads.

    2. it happens*

      Sounds silly, but buying a cheap Windows laptop might be the easiest. I have a legacy program I run about every six weeks that’s Windows only. For years I ran something like parallel and it took up a good part of my hard drive and made the mac run hot. When I replaced my Mac a few years ago I picked up a $199 Windows laptop. Also keeps the Mac safe from Windows virus infections. You can probably get an even better deal on Craigslist – especially if the program you need to run isn’t super processor-intensive. Note – since I use the Windows machine so infrequently it means that there is ALWAYS a Windows update to run, which makes me very glad that I can just let it run while I work on my Mac. Good luck.

      1. Red*

        Same here. I sporadically have a Windows only program to run for school, so when that comes up I dig out an old Lenovo Thinkpad.

      2. Dynamic Beige*

        I agree with this. As a presentation designer, I switched to PCs for many reasons, one of which being you get more machine for the money.

        If this program doesn’t have a Mac equivalent, for the time, energy and aggravation you would have running Bootcamp or Parallels, a cheap PC would be a better solution. Since it’s nearing the Holiday Season, there are going to be all kinds of deals on as well.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      Is Parallels “intense,” or is it just expensive? If you’re looking for a free virtualization solution, check out VirtualBox.

      Either way, though, Windows itself (virtualized or a dual-boot with Boot Camp) is going to take up around 30 GB of space.

      What’s the Windows-only program?

    4. BrownN*

      You might consider using Boot Camp, which comes with Apple computers.

      Only problem with Boot Camp is that you can’t have both Mac and Windows programs open at the same time. I use Parallels because of this limitation.

      Depending on the program, you might be able to find a Mac equivalent.

  39. Ever and Anon*

    I wonder: did he always suck so badly at planning, or did you gradually, over the years, cut him out of all financial decisions, signalling that yo don’t trust him and he can just worry about his own expenses (less some agreed upon flat monthly to you)? DO you trust him?

    Maybe a solution for you could be a monthly “state of the family finances” meeting to review credit health, account balances, upcoming large purchases, etc., and start giving him some say? And these need to be truly collaborative, not sessions where it’s just you accusing or resenting him. But they would be the perfect forum for saying things like, “maybe we can both contribute to savings?”

    You can also just cut back on buying the optional communal things like vacations or the car. But doing so without having a conversation is passive aggressive and (with men especially!) generally pointless.

  40. Jen*

    I’m new to weekend posts, but I hope I’m doing this right!

    I was looking for an apartment for nearly a year, and finally found one that seemed perfect, was within my price range and was larger than I planned for that price, great commute to my work, etc. I travel abroad next week, so I had to sign an initial agreement and pay some cash in advance yesterday.

    Today I found out that the district where the apartment is located is considered the most dangerous one in the city. I asked the realtor about the district, and he said it was very quiet. And it seemed so when I was there, but I don’t know how could I be so dumb and not check this before I signed something.

    Now I will lose my money if I withdraw my offer. I’m the world’s biggest idiot.

    1. Dee*

      You’re not an idiot. It’s ok. I’ve been in seriously bad neighbourhoods and never had anything happen. It really might not be that bad. But um, be careful please nonetheless!

    2. Ismis*

      Not really! I think it’s a fairly easy mistake to make, if the area seems quiet to you.

      In what way is it dangerous? Is it a big area? If you’re on the edges, it might not be a problem. Maybe try to get a bit more information before making a decision.

    3. Neruda*

      Try not to stress. When I first moved back to my home state I moved to a regional city as it was closer to the capital city where we worked. The regional city didn’t have the best reputation but I moved into what was supposed to be nicer part of the suburb. Plenty of people loved to tell me stories about the place in general- including how all the new houses had alarm systems because of the high rate of burglaries and how low class the area was. Honestly? It was lovely! It was one of the quieter places I’ve lived and we never had a problem with crime whatsoever. Our rental had an alarm system but you had to pay to have it connect ‘back to base’ and we never bothered. I’m not saying this is the case for you but honestly I find that the people who tell you this stuff are often not the people who live there so they don’t always know the reality.

      1. Jen*

        It’s different when you buy an apartment. I’m worried I won’t be able to sell it for a reasonable price later on.

    4. Saro*

      You aren’t an idiot – why didn’t your realtor tell you? That’s his/her job to keep you informed of everything. I would try to look closely at the area, are there signs of revitalization?

    5. mander*

      Who considers it dangerous and why? Could be there are various subtle prejudices involved. If it fits your needs there’s no reason to panic. If you didn’t notice anything particularly threatening then it may be an undeserved reputation.

      My house is in an area that has a reputation for being rough but that is based on a very broad stereotype and does not reflect reality. My actual street is great. Very quiet (practically silent, in fact!) with lots of open green space around, decent neighbours, supermarket and public transportation in walking distance, and so on. Never had a single issue with crime, just an occasional noisy party. The reputation is part of why we got such a great house for a bit less than we expected to pay, though. But whenever we decide to sell we will certainly make a point of showing buyers the reality of the place.

    6. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Your realtor may be legally limited in what he can tell you due to anti-discrimination laws. You’re best off looking for candid advice elsewhere. Can you talk to your future neighbors? Plus, all neighborhoods, no matter the reputation, have their good areas and their bad areas. Your neighborhood could also be in the process of gentrification, in which case your property values could go up. Check with the local police station and see what kind of calls they get and how often.

      1. FD*


        There are a lot of laws about redlining, for example, which may restrict what they can say and how. Many counties have a service where you can look up how many calls they get of what type in a particular area; you might try looking for that.

        1. Jen*

          I’m not in the US at all, I’m from Europe. I should’ve said that. There are no laws like that, and the neighborhood , just with very high crime stats and high poverty rate.

    7. Camellia*

      Call your local law enforcement agency. It is quite common to do this; we do it every time we move. They will be able to give you an idea of what goes on in that neighborhood

        1. Jen*

          I checked and there’s a report highlighting very high crime rates in this part of the city. And checking other ads, with accurate district (the one I was interested was somehow vaguely described), the apartments sell for way less there.

          1. Golden Teapot*

            So trust your gut. If you don’t feel good about moving in there, back out. Think of the money lost as the price of not having to live there. Life is full of money lost and money unexpectedly gained. That’s just how it goes. Who knows, you might find an unusually good deal on a place in a different neighborhood.

            1. Jen*

              Thank you, Golden Teapot. I think I really needed to hear that.

              I’m just so bitter about the money, because I saved it by being extra frugal for years, and to see some of it just disappear like that because of one stupid decision makes me feel terrible. The only money that I unexpectedly gained (that actually make half my budget for the apartment) was the compensation when my father died in an accident, and it only adds to being super disappointed in myself for wasting money like that.

              1. Glenn*

                If you do back out, I would suggest that you don’t just give up on the money, either, unless you’re truly sure it’s gone (i.e. you’re very familiar with the local laws and whatever you signed) — I don’t know what sort of agreement you made when you paid it, but make some noise about how the place was not described honestly etc. and see if you can get some of it back.

                1. Yetanotherjennifer*

                  Years back I decided not to rent an apartment after putting down a deposit. I never even tried to get that money back. Well, I did halfheartedly try: I called a hotline of tenant lawyers for advice and the one I got sounded so exasperated with me I never took it further. Occasionally I look back on that money and wish I had pursued it. But Golden Teapot is right, life is full of such moments. Don’t throw good money after bad and potentially put you and your property in jeopardy. If this place isn’t for you, consider it the price of a good education and move on.

              2. Pennalynn Lott*

                I don’t agree with a lot of Dave Ramsey’s philosophies, but one thing I *do* like is his notion of a “stupid tax” (though I would call it an “ignorance tax”). It’s the money you lose / pay because you didn’t know any better. But now you do. And you won’t have to pay that “tax” ever again.

                It would be nice if we hit adulthood already knowing everything we needed so that we don’t ever accidentally overspend or take on bad risks. . . but then life would be pretty darned boring!

                1. Golden Teapot*

                  Yeah. And trust me, there will be times when it goes the other way. When a you get offered a job with a salary way above market value, or you get something for free or cheap because you know someone or some other circumstance. Life is a learning experience, and that learning will benefit your financial situation in time. You’ll get better at researching purchases and negotiating good deals on things.

              3. OhBehave*

                Realtors have no reason to caution you about an area. If they did that, they would never sell anything there!
                If you really think that you will have a hard time selling (you should be able to check on how long it took other properties to sell) and thus lose money, withdraw your contract. What you lose now may not be worth the worry you may encounter. I would do some research to find out what types of crime the area is known for – gangs, breaking and entering, etc. As another comment indicated, the police will be able to give you some insight into the ‘bad’ area.
                Another thing to look at is the security in your building. If, once you are in, safety is high, then you may not have much to worry about.

    8. Anonymous Educator*

      Honestly, I know people who live in “the most dangerous [parts] of the city” I’m in, and they’re fine. I don’t know what city you’re talking about, but many “dangerous” parts of cities are okay to live in, and you’re not going to get shot.

      Have you taken a look at the police blotter for your neighborhood?

  41. Chocolate Teapot*

    I just saw on the news about the explosion in Manhattan. I hope everyone on here (and their nearest and dearest) are ok.

  42. Brooke (with the crazy family from last week)*

    Hey guys. After my post last week, someone requested that I let you know how things went. (Recap: I was staying with my family, realized how totally toxic they were, and just had to get out.)

    Well, I’m in my new city, and things are so amazing. Really. Like, you think you have to win the lottery and be famous or something to be happy, but honestly, just NOT being in a horrible environment does wonders. It’s a total 180. People are so kind and really try to help me out. I go through the day feeling so calm and happy. I’m smiling and laughing all the time. I was not expecting such a dramatic shift, but it really is so so different.

    I’ve only been here a week, and I can’t live on my credit card forever. I’m really enjoying my days though — I feel like I’m actually doing more work now than when I was “working” — applying to jobs, reading books, having meetings with professional acquaintances, networking, etc. It feels like I’m doing more than I did in my past jobs, and I kind of like it more that I’m actually more busy. I hope my next job is as fun as it is not having a job. I guess I’ll just have to look for a job where I’m actually doing stuff during the day haha.

    1. Trixie*

      True, we can’t live on credit forever but this sounds like a good investment as you adjust. As long as you pay off as soon as you can, and switch back to cash.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Good for you and you “sound” great here. I hope you find a great job really soon, I bet you will.

  43. Onion smell*

    My boyfriend stinks because of his job. He works at a factory, and one of the offices that he has to be in three days a week smells like onion. It’s this nauseating, pungent, vinegary smell. He doesn’t have the smell on days when he doesn’t work in that office, but when he does, it’s horrible. It makes our couch and bed smell and it keeps me up at night until I have to leave and sleep on the couch in order to get some sleep.

    He used apple cider vinegar when he showers, but that doesn’t do much. How else can he get rid of this smell? I’m worried we’re going to get used to sleeping separately, but I really can’t stomach sleeping with him when he smells like this. Unfortunately, switching offices isn’t an option.

    1. Kerr*

      Maybe use something like Dawn or Palmolive dish soap for showering, in addition to the vinegar?

      Can he leave open containers of baking soda in the office? That may be difficult if it’s not “his” office, but possibly others are bothered by the smell, too, and wouldn’t mind. He may want to put baking soda in his car – I’m not sure if the smell is transferring to it, but it might be a way to start cutting the odor during his commute.

      1. Kerr*

        Oh, maybe activated charcoal soap? I have no experience with it, but they sell those activated charcoal odor reducers for gym bags and the like, so the soap might have the same effect.

    2. Menacia*

      Can he clean up before he comes home? Wash up in the bathroom and change his clothes and then put his smelly clothing directly in the wash? Has he ever asked anyone else at work how they cope with the smell?

  44. Elkay*

    I finished Olive Kitteridge after the recommendation on here, I really enjoyed it but was totally baffled by the final story in the Kindle edition which seemed to have nothing to do with Olive Kitteridge, then it turned out it was the first chapter of another book with no prior warning.

    Did anyone watch the TV series? Is it worth it?

    1. Oh Fed*

      I read the book several years ago and then actually paid for HBO for the sole purpose of watching the series when it first came out. Frances MacDormand was well cast as Olive–a simultaneously sympathetic and repulsive character. I don’t think I have every enjoyed a movie adaptation more than reading the novel but I was not disappointed with the movie version of Olive.

    2. Audiophile*

      I saw the TV series, but I didn’t read the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the TV version.

      If you’d like to see, I’m sure it’s on HBONOW, which does offer a free trial for 30 days.