weekend free-for-all – September 24-25, 2016

lucy-carriedThis 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: Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett. I’m a sucker for family dysfunction, and you will feel like you’re one of the many step-siblings the book is about. Also, her writing is so beautiful that it just takes up residence in your head and doesn’t leave.

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

{ 973 comments… read them below }

    1. Random Citizen*

      Wow, I’ve never heard of it, but just googled it and found a buzzfeed article, and it sounds like something that would work really well for me. When I’ve tried to journal or keep planners, I tend to get carried away this big, elaborate project that it “should” be, and peter out after a while. This might actually work for me! I’ll be keeping an eye on this thread for tips.

    2. Kyrielle*

      I haven’t, but have friends who have. From what they say, the biggest risk there is going down the Pinterest-style bullet journal rabbit hole. (Those things look like they’d take longer to put together than it takes me to write a page in my decidedly not-bullet-style journal!)

    3. LawCat*

      It didn’t work for me entirely, but helped me find what works for me. Analog definitely works for me.

      I now keep a monthly planner (it just has months in it, no daily or weekly entry pages, just full months at a time) and I keep a tiny (3.5×5 inch) pocket Moleskine Cahier shoved inside of it to write notes quickly. It’s pretty thin and I don’t make an index. I just write the topic at the top of a page and the front and back of the age are devoted to that topic. Mostly for quick notes like things I need to get at the store or things I need to bring to the office from home.

      1. Emily K*

        I’m similar. I couldn’t quite get bullet-journaling to stick, but it made me realize that I need a super-analog, free-form system.

        It was actually the journaling part of bullet journaling that was hard for me. I didn’t need a historical record of stuff I’ve already done as much as I needed a comprehensive document of everything that matters right now. So now I keep a Word document on my desktop (and backed up in my dropbox) that I call my “paper brain.”

        Each project I’m working on gets its own paragraph which is usually 2-3 sentences but with big projects could be a dozen sentences, summarizing the due dates, what has been done already, what I have to do right now, and what future steps I’ll have to take once whatever conditions have been met.

        “Mini-Pot Redesign. Ready to order by 10/24. Fergus finished a mock-up and circulated it to the team asking for feedback by COB 10/14. *I need to respond with my feedback by 10/14.* *I need to find a cost-effective chocolate vendor who has experience with mini-pots by 10/16.* Once the vendor is selected and the design is approved, I will need to put together a purchase order by 10/24 and submit the invoice to finance for payment no later than 10/31.”

        It’s a living document that I edit as things change. If decisions are made I also record them here. So a few days later it might say:

        “Mini-Pot Redesign. Ready to order by 10/24. Fergus’s first mock-up was well-received. Fergus should have a revised draft ready by 10/17. We selected MicroSilk Chocolate as the vendor even though they were not the cheapest, because they had the fastest turn-around time and the best customer rating. Once the design is approved, I will need to put together a purchase order by 10/24 and submit the invoice to finance for payment no later than 10/31.”

        Then once the project is completed, I move it to a “recently completed” section at the end looking like this:

        “Mini-Pot Redesign. We selected MicroSilk Chocolate as the vendor even though they were not the cheapest, because they had the fastest turn-around time and the best customer rating. Purchase order was placed on 10/22 with delivery to warehouse expected by 11/1. Invoice was submitted to finance on 10/25.”

        Once a completed project gets old enough I delete its paragraph entirely. I email the document to my boss once a week before our check-in so there is a historical record there when I really need it. But I rarely need to look back historically – for me I stay WAY more organized when everything I need to know about any given project right *now* is all summarized in as few sentences as possible in one place.

        And because it’s super analog, it can collect my information from everywhere. I can collect things from my calendar, things that were emailed to me, things that were asked of me verbally, things I originally jotted down on a post-it, etc. It keeps my inbox and desk really clean because I don’t have a bunch of emails hanging around my inbox just because they include a reminder about something I need to do – I will have already transferred that reminder into my status document.

        And because they’re unstructured paragraphs, I don’t waste time obsessing over the organization method the way I always did with things like day planning/journaling, where I would end up recording things I didn’t actually care about because that’s what the journal encouraged, and not having a good place to put things I needed and just cramming them in where I could. I just write down everything I know about something and then I don’t have to remember it anymore!

        I use it to keep track of both work and personal projects.

    4. RKB*

      I have. I love it. I’ve always enjoyed the concept of planners but dislike the rigidity of them. With bullet journals you can set it up however you want. For me, no two weeks are the same. I constantly switch up designs and how I do things.

      Bullet journal instagrams give lots of tips and tricks and ideas. I’ve used mine for over a year now. I often draw out my set week and put in everyday tasks and then doodle in my to-dos, errands, thoughts and ideas. When I went on SSRIs I had a little spot where I documented how I felt everyday when I was adjusting. I can write down what I had for lunch, draw in a budget plan right next to it, detail a shopping list, write an essay outline, and then go back to scheduling a month’s tasks. I adore it.

    5. E, F and G*

      I started recently. Have loved it so far.

      My only trick is to ignore the internet. I don’t have an artistic bone in my body so the journal is very much a lovingly crafted eyesore made out of pen and simplified to the farthest degree it can go.

      I’m currently using a 9×7 binder since I had that on hand and decided to see if I liked the journaling style still by the end of the year and the size mostly works for me.

    6. Andi*

      I like it. I’ve been doing it for about a month now. I don’t have beautiful handwriting or drawings in the margins, but I do enjoy using different colored pens. I’ll share what has worked for me and what hasn’t:
      1. Monthly calendar I really only use for personal bills and birthdays. I have too much going on daily at work to attempt to put work things on it.
      2. Weekly calendar is useless for me. I still use my Outlook calendar at work because I have to, so the weekly calendar view does nothing for me.
      3. I do put all daily calendar items on when I start a new day. Much more useful.
      4. I have a daily and weekly habit tracker that is prompting me to develop better habits.
      5. I don’t really have any journal notes or anything in there, yet.
      6. It has helped me keep on task. I use an online project management software at work, but it doesn’t really help me with what I have to do that day. This helps so much more.

    7. CMT*

      I follow some #bujo people on Instagram and I get all the pretty stuff there. I don’t have the time or energy to do that on my own, but I have started to use bits and pieces of the system in my regular old planner.

    8. AliceBD*

      I read through the stuff, and a lot of the things it has aren’t for me, like anything calendar-related. But I already would write to-dos in a similar fashion, so I adopted some additional parts of the to-dos list and am using it for that, as well as a one-stop-shop for things like writing down notes from the doctor. I only use it for personal things — my work to-dos are kept on a Google doc, because I was spending SO much time writing down stuff by hand, and the nature of my job includes a million website links, so it was easier to use a digital resource so I could keep the link and the to-do together. I also am using a little notebook I got free from a conference a few years ago, and I don’t make it artistic at all.

    9. Bad Candidate*

      It didn’t work for me as a planner, but I still keep it for the collections. I switched to an Erin Condren, which was nuts since I literally have nothing going on.

      1. Rob Lowe can't read*

        I have an Erin Condren teacher planner, which I love, but that’s because I have tons of stuff going on at school. My outside-of-school life, not so much. EC would definitely be overkill for that.

    10. Talvi*

      I do! At the very least, it helps me lay out all the tasks I need to get done even if I end up not getting to all (or most) of them. Personally, I adore the Leuchtturm 1917 dot-grid notebooks for mine. They’ve got a built-in table of contents, built-in page numbering, and dot-grid paper is the most amazing thing on the planet and should be way more common than it is. All the functionality of lines on your paper, but it fades into the page after you’ve written on it.

      1. Red Reader*

        I started doodling out some layout options on the grid paper options in Notability on my iPad — I already had the app, so I can give it a shot without spending anything extra. And in the app, I can do handwriting or typed text, multiple colors with easy erasing/correcting, very easy to move stuff around. I think I’m going to give it a go for October and see how it goes.

    11. LostInMyLife*

      It appeals to me, but I am not artistic. I found a journal that I think I will try. It has a grid area, a list area, and a lined page opposite. It also has a pocket. Just search “Neenah Astrobrights ColorPop Journal” – looks kinda cool to me. I need so much organization help.

    12. Lindsay J*

      I’ve been kind of doing it half-assedly.

      At this point I have the bit of layout in the beginning (table of contents, year calendar, etc) and I try to keep up with making the monthly calendar at the beginning of every month.

      However, it’s mostly turned into a place for me to be able to dump out everything that’s in my head at the moment. Usually I have my to-do list for each day. But other than that, shopping list? In the notebook. Recipe I want to try? In the notebook. Someone mentioned a show or book I think sounds good? I’ve got a page for that. Planning a vacation? Jot all my ideas down in there.

      Usually I’m so much of a perfectionist that my notebooks and planners are not actually usable. The free-form kind of thing has really been good for me I think because it’s gotten me into the habit of actually putting everything down on paper rather than trying to remember it all.

    13. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Funny, I just took the plunge this week. I’ve always used composition notebooks for tracking my different clients but I’d strayed away from it a bit, wondering if I wasn’t better off with an online project management system. But the bujos looked intriguing so I’m back to one compo notebook per client and I’ve added a cheap grid compo notebook for my planner/bujo. And I’m using the symbols that go along with the note taking style.

      I’m not an artist but I like the idea of having doodle space and being able to really customize my book. I like having an area for each project with a header I choose. I do a two week spread for each week; right now I’m using a bunch of postits for the areas so I can jump right in without stressing over layouts.

      I’ve also realized that my compo notebooks are good for notes and small task tracking but not good for juggling multiple projects. So for my dba client I put notes, lists and smaller task documentation in the journal and I track projects on loose leaf paper with a summary/cover sheet to keep the important details up front.

      I think my next bujo will be a higher quality notebook but I’m sticking with compos for my projects. I like to paste scrapbook paper on the covers so I can tell them apart at a glance.

    14. aelle*

      I have! I already kept a log in a notebook for work, but I started incorporating a future log (yearly spread) and a quarterly spread (works better than a monthly spread for my particular work) and it has been really helpful. My quarterly spread looks like the left page here except x3 and with weekends and holidays in a different color. I draw vertical lines for each team member, signature holder or client out of the office – this allows me to assign workload and deadlines much more easily. I also plan things like first day of invoicing, turnover reporting to management, client review meetings etc. at the beginning of the quarter, and so far I haven’t been late once.

      I think next notebook will also have an index – I can usually remember roughly when a particular meeting or training happened, but I would waste less time shuffling through pages with an index.

      The whole dot / circle / X / > / < thing I ignore. I have always used checkboxes next to my to-dos (with a tick if it's done and a cross if it fails) and highlighting as a reminder, and that works well for me.

  1. SAHM*

    LASIK. I’m thinking I should just go for it. I’ve been ok with glasses / contacts all my life (got glasses when I was 8 and contacts when I was around 15), but now I’m on my third kid and dealing with newborn baby in middle of the night while fumbling for where I put my glasses (bc I had to move my nightstand to have the cosleeper next to the bed) and the occasional changing child #2’s wet sheets in the middle of the night, all just make me want to be able to see. I don’t have time/energy for contacts (see newborn) and I can’t put on makeup with glasses on but I also can’t see to put on makeup without them. Which means no makeup, which also means I’m generally feeling less pretty, which is just not helpful for a postpartum mind frame. So it’s a combo of wanting to feel pretty again and the usefulness of being able to see once I open my eyes in the middle of the night… but I’m pretty damn terrified (they’re going to stick stuff in my EYE!!) and I also don’t know where to start.

    1. Kyrielle*

      I can’t advise you on where to start, but I can tell you a coworker at a previous job got LASIK done while I was there, probably about eight years ago now. He was back at work pretty quickly and said it was the best thing he’d ever done.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I looooove my LASIK. I love being able to see in the middle of the night and not having to put in and take out contacts. You want to find a doctor who’s done a zillion of the surgeries — someone super experienced. You should be fine by the next day; they’ll do a follow-up appointment the morning after the surgery, and you can drive yourself to it with no glasses or contacts, which is incredibly weird.

      I had very dry eyes for a few weeks afterward and was pretty sensitive to bright lights for a few months. Now I just occasionally get dry eyes, but I put in some eyedrops and they’re fine. My only other long-term effect is that since LASIK, I find chopping onions really painful in a way that I never did before. My theory is that my contacts were always providing a barrier between my eyes and the onion fumes.

      1. SAHM*

        That’s interesting! Since I switched from contacts to glasses, I’ve noticed the same thing! Onions really make my eyes burn, just never realized it might be bc of the switch to glasses. Huh.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes! The first few times I thought, “Wow, this is a really strong onion! It’s either extra delicious or it’s going to poison me.” Now I realize it must be like that for everyone who doesn’t wear contacts.

          1. Jen in Oregon*

            Burn a non-scented candle while you are chopping onions–a tea light works great. I’m sure there’s a science reason behind why it works

          2. edj3*

            You might also refrigerate the onion before cutting it. Not sure why that works, but it does work for me (fellow LASIK lover here).

            1. Koko*

              Yeah, something about the cold helps. I always shuck all the outer skin off the onion and then run it under cold water for 30 seconds before I start cutting it and that dramatically reduces the stinging.

              1. The Unkind Raven*

                If (and this is weird but effective) you keep a piece of bread in your mouth as you cut an onion you won’t cry.

          3. MommaTRex*

            I’ve been wondering why I’m the designated onion chopper; now I know why it probably doesn’t bother me!

      2. AliceBD*

        I haven’t had LASIK, but I wore contacts pretty much all my waking hours when I was an older teen/college student/right after college, aka when I was learning to cook. I then switched to glasses full-time and had the same inability to cut onions, so I’m pretty sure the contacts helped. #anecdata

      3. Pretend Scientist*

        I’m going to leave a longer comment about LASIK below, but regarding onions…yes, this is a thing. There are onion goggles (no joke) that help. Our cornea specialist recommends them to a lot of our dry eye patients. The contacts definitely protect your cornea from being affected, but they are useful for a lot of eye conditions.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        0% No one has ever been blinded by Lasik. They do a lot of testing (at reputable places anyway) to ensure you get the correct adjustment. Excessive surgeries, operator error, concomitant conditions may contribute to legal blindness but not total blindness. They usually over correct because your eyes will adjust back down. My vision is not 20/20 any more, but it’s close. If I decided to go back for an adjustment, it’s not recommended except in severe cases. If you can get Wavefront (or whatever is newer, they make the flap with a laser, not a little spinning metal disk).

        My thoughts are:
        1. Aside from having to switch to glasses before you get it done, you also cannot rub your eyes. Start monitoring how often you do that and try to break the habit before you get Lasik
        2. Get it done in the winter. Because there’s less light and it’s painful to be outside in extremely bright light right after it’s been done.
        3. Take the drugs. If you’re not sure how Valium will affect you, talk to your doctor.
        4. Find out if you can take a sleeping pill after/with Valium (talk to your doctor). Because if you can go home and just sleep, you will probably have better results.
        5. Get someone to take care of you for ~24 hours. I went by myself and thank FSM for pizza delivery. I could see immediately after the procedure, but it was like being in a fog. The next day you have to go back and get checked.
        6. Tour some different facilities and get an idea of what they are like. Assessment should be free. Don’t get your hopes up for Lasik, because until an assessment, you won’t know if your corneas are thick enough — you might have to go PRK instead.

        I get starbursts around lights at night. I notice they’re worse when I’m tired/my eyes are dry. Blinking a few times reduces them. My close up vision is shot. I went from being able to only see clearly 6″ from my eyes to not being able to see anything within 6″ of my eyes.

        But, it’s pretty flipping amazing after 25 years of glasses to just wake up and see. I don’t have to worry any more about what I would do if I lost my glasses or they broke.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Oh damn, I can’t do that if it wrecks your close vision. Reading and seeing the computer are far more important to me than not squinting to see a street sign. I ditched contacts because they did this and I hated it. I don’t mind wearing reading glasses for small print, but I couldn’t stand using them for the computer. :(

          Dammit, I wanted to do this. :(

          1. TheLazyB*

            I’m gonna have to get it done as I have cataracts but it sucks that I’ll still need varifocals glasses or lenses to work.

            1. Lore*

              I had cataract surgery last year (15 years or so after LASIK, which was great for 5 yrs till I began developing cataracts at 36…no effect on close vision tho btw till my mid 40s. My vision was still better than pre LASIK up tail the cataracts got really insane last year). After much discussion w my surgeon and much research I chose “accommodating” lenses. Expensive and not covered by insurance but they enable me to function 90% of the time glasses free and are optimal for computer work. I still need light distance glasses (which I haven’t actually acquired yet–mostly need for back row at theater and driving which I never do) and occasionally in dim lighting reading is a little challenging. But worth considering. My native myopia is severe enough that my dr did not recommend multifocal, another option. (And I was worried about monovision because I have terrible depth perception anyway.)

          2. Sarah G*

            Elizabeth – I had it several years ago with absolutely NO effect on my close-up vision, and I’ve never heard of that before, so don’t let one person’s anecdotal experience dissuade you. I did a TON of research before the surgery, and I mean I read scientific studies and research articles on google scholar! The main factor for increased complications is if your vision is really really terrible, like at the far far end of the spectrum, because the worse the vision, the greater the surface area they need to cut. Read up on it and, like Alison said, go to someone who has done a zillion of the surgeries already. I think most of the initial exams are free, and a good clinic will address all your questions and concerns without hesitation.

              1. Sarah G*

                I’m glad! It was a great decision for me. Just make sure you make an informed decision given your specific circumstances, concerns, and how much correction is needed. I had dry eye afterwards for 6 months or so but it did go away. The reason for the dry eye is that the laser-cut flap actually severs the nerves that tell your tear ducts to produce tears (don’t quote me on that, but it’s something along those lines). But the nerves are able to heal and work properly again.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              It may have just been me, I don’t know. All I know is that before I had it, I could see my armpits when I shaved them (without my glasses), but after I can’t see them any more when I do it. TMI, I know, but that’s the best way I can describe it.

              When I say close up, I mean *close* up. I used to do this trick where I would hold up my hand until it became clear to show people how bad my vision was, I couldn’t see the detail on my hand until it was about 6″ from my nose. Now, if I do that same trick, it’s the reverse. I can’t see the detail if it’s less than 1′ from my nose. My computer is around 18″ from my eyes and I can see it perfectly, it hasn’t affected my ability to use a computer at all. The only thing I noticed was when I needed reading glasses for small print. I would go to the grocery store and be holding the bottles at the end of my arm in order to be able to read them (but that was age-related). I hadn’t read a book in a year and I didn’t realise how tired it made me until I got reading glasses. So, I went ~10 years without needing glasses (except for sun glasses or safety glasses) after 25 years with them. I’ve also noticed my night vision is better than it was before.

              So I asked my ophthalmologist about it, thinking I might need a correction and he told me that if I went in to get it corrected, that would be the price I would have to pay, reduced close up vision. If I wind up needing glasses for driving (I don’t now), so be it. They aren’t going to be anywhere as expensive as the ones I used to buy because my prescription was so strong even with ultra light condensed polymers they were thick lenses.

              Seriously, though, I haven’t regretted it once. No one I know who has had it done, even the PRK people, have regretted it. Even the person who had the spinning metal disc flap cut (which would have made me run screaming) didn’t regret it.

          3. Soupspoon McGee*

            It doesn’t wreck your close vision, necessarily. My eye doc warned me most people experience weakening of eye muscles in their 40’s, with or without Lasik. He was right–at 45, I started needing weak reading glasses for some things. They’re cheaper than contacts, so I don’t mind. For work, I have a pair of bifocal reading glasses (clear on top, readers on the bottom).

          4. Jessica*

            I had LASIK done when I was 22 (I am 30 now) and was able to read small print, etc, exactly as I had before the surgery. (I was near-sighted, couldn’t read the clock from across the room.) I’ve never heard of LASIK making your nearsighted vision worse — I guess that happened with the above commentor, but I would not expect that to be a side effect in every case. Check with a doctor about your specific prognosis!

        2. Engineer Woman*

          Question for all who have had it done: how bad was your eyesight before? I’m concerned that my prescription is too high (-10.0) to fully correct.

          I’d heard that sometimes the procedure can’t fix it all but people are still happy not to wear thick glasses anymore. If I couldn’t have it corrected 100%, I might rather stick with my contacts. That said: I’d love to wake up in the morning and be able to see! And no more fear of knocking my glasses to the ground and have to pat the floor until I find them. :-)

        3. Rusty Shackelford*

          It may be true that no one has gone blind from LASIK. But it is also true that when providers list their success stats, they may have a different definition of “success” than you do. For example, if your vision is 20/60 before the procedure and 20/20 afterward, but you can no longer drive at night, you will still be counted as a success for statistical purposes.

    3. Sparkly Librarian*

      I got PRK done a couple years ago and had a good recovery. I needed glasses beforehand, but didn’t wear them because they were a PITA. I was bad at remembering to pack my glasses and lost them one too many times and just didn’t replace the last pair. I could muddle through (wasn’t driving). Once I had the vision correction, I realized how much I was missing before! The part where they stuck stuff in my eye was the worst bit, and I wouldn’t want to do it again, but it was worth it. See if the doctor will prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for you to take that morning.

      The high cost was a concern to me. (I’m in the US; if you’re not, you can ignore this bit.) The place I went to has a very very high success rate, and I felt more comfortable when they approved me for the surgery because I figured they wouldn’t just sell me on an unnecessary or unlikely to work procedure because if it failed that would mess up their rating. I did several things to pay for it: I saved a bit in my HSA (if you have one, check to see whether yours covers vision treatment expenses), I used my full FSA benefit early in the year (it’s taken out of your paychecks over the entire year; if your employment ends before the year is up, the employer is out the money they fronted you), and I opened a Care Credit account for the remaining amount and paid off the balance over about 6 months without any interest. Also, I qualified for a discount because my employer uses VSP, and the office offered a reduction if I booked my January appointment before the end of the year (it “locked in” the lower price they were offering as an incentive for patients using their FSA funds before they lost them).

      1. Windchime*

        My son had PRK a couple of months ago and he found the recovery very, very painful. He was pretty much functionally blind without glasses or contacts. For several reasons, PRK was a better choice for him than LASIK and it was worth it, but he was on painkillers for several days and unable to work for a week. It was worth it, though, because his vision is now 20/20 in both eyes.

    4. It happens*

      I had laser eye surgery after more than 20 years of contacts – I had just about reached their limits for myopia. The surgery was easy; I had no dry eye problems. Two caveats- the doctor warned me that around age 40 I would still need reading glasses, instead my myopia continued to worsen and within four years I needed distance glasses again, but really only for driving at night and movie watching. Still totally worth it.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Yeah, reading glasses. Everyone is going to need them eventually if they live to the age of 45 or older. They are working on an adjustment for that, or you can get one eye for close up and another for distance (monocular vision).

    5. Buggy Crispino*

      I had been considering LASIK late last year – in fact I even asked the community here the same questions you’re asking. After chatting with them a bit, I decided I was going to go for it and talked to my regular eye doctor just a few weeks later. Come to find out another existing medical condition I have makes me a poor candidate for the surgery, so I had to give up on it. If you’re seeing the same eye doctor regularly, you might call their office for a quick phone consultation on what the doctor thinks of you pursuing this. I’ve seen my eye doctor for 20+ years so I absolutely wanted him to be the one to help me pick a LASIK surgeon and am 100% comfortable with his suggestion that I not move forward with it.

    6. Elle*

      Loved it!! BUT, it only lasted about 12 years for me. It was through my 30s though, so it was worth it for me. I’m back to glasses and contacts now, but it’s a lot lighter prescription than when I started. No pain during the procedure at all. Dryness was an issue, but that subsided over time.

    7. SAHM*

      Wow! These are all really helpful responses. I’m honestly more scared about the whole Stuff in My EYE during the procedure, but I’m pretty sure they’ll have drugs to make me loopy and not care. I just moved so I’ve only been to my eye care doc once here, and I’ve had several different docs throughout my life so I’m pretty much my own advocate when it comes to eyecare. I’ll ask my current doc about it and then start researching facilities around here. Hubs is taking 3 weeks of paternity leave later this year (we’re spreading it out throughout the year) so maybe I’ll try to have it done then.

      1. Come On Eileen*

        I’m 42 and I had LASIK last year after wearing glasses and contacts since I was 19. I’m SO happy I did it and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner! Two things that might calm your fears: 1) they prescribed me an anti-anxiety pill for the actual surgery (I chose not to take it but that was just my preference) 2) It’s a REALLY quick procedure, like 90 seconds per eye and you’re done. Seriously, there’s hardly time to be scared because it’s over so quickly.

        There is one down side I wish they would have told me about — it smells like something is burning. Which makes sense, they’re lasering part of your cornea off, but they didn’t tell me that ahead of time so it was disturbing when I started to smell it. Thankfully, like I said, the whole thing is over really quickly. I was driving the next day. I’m so, so happy that i did it.

    8. Gadfly*

      What stops me, besides price, is I have yet to find a doctor who performs LASIK surgeries who has used it. Glasses everywhere.

      1. HRinAus*

        Yes it’s amazing. Every single eye doctor I have been to will only wear glasses – not even contact lenses. And while growing up they all tried their hardest to sell contact-lenses to me because I am a girl and I should look pretty. God bless my mum who took a stand and explained this to me. Same thing now for LASIK

    9. Al Lo*

      I had it done almost exactly 4 years ago, and I still love it. I know I’ll need reading glasses down the road, and there’s a possibility my vision may decrease to needing a light prescription for everyday at some point, but it’s still fantastic.

      4 years on, I get no vision-related headaches. Still get some starbursts at night, but I’ve always had those. I thought my whole life that it was totally normal for streetlights to give off rays at night. For me, they didn’t get any worse in the long run. In the first few days, of course my night vision was worse, but it settled down almost daily for those first couple of weeks.

      I sometimes still can’t believe how blind I used to be, and how little I could actually see when I woke up. I never grope for glasses anymore. That habit took a couple of months to break.

      When I got the procedure done, my husband drove me to and from, but then he had to leave for the rest of the afternoon. I slept a LOT those first couple of days, though. I wasn’t supposed to read anything or look at any screens, so I’d loaded up on audio books, but honestly, I just fell asleep. Probably partly from the surgery and partly because my body was happy to have a day off! :) By 24 hours later, I noticed a huge difference, and the end of the second day was even better. I got it done on a Thursday and started a new job on Monday (having told my new boss that I was having a minor surgical procedure done the week before, and may need to start on Tuesday), and was totally fine to drive myself to work and be on a computer by then. It helped that the first couple of days had tours and meetings and stuff, so I wasn’t on the computer all day.

      My close up vision is fine. I see less of a difference, because I was incredibly near-sighted, so it felt like my 6″ vision was bionic vision compared to my regular vision, but I’m sure that it’s quantifiably pretty close to the same.

      Do it! There’s so much less risk with it than there used to be. When I got mine done, I was surprised at the people who came out of the woodwork as having had it done. The people I’d known to wear glasses when I was a kid, I just assumed were wearing contacts, like I was. I was quite surprised that I knew easily a dozen people, if not more, who had it done.

        1. Talvi*

          It’s possible for one’s glasses to make the streetlight thing worse, too. It had gotten really bad for me (I was even getting rays off of ceiling lights indoors sometimes)… until I got new glasses. Turns out, I’d had my old glasses for enough years that they’d gotten scratched up enough (microscratches, not visible scratches) to cause really bad starbursts on lights. I got new lenses, and this issue disappeared almost entirely!

    10. Pretend Scientist*

      I’m not an eye doctor, but I do play one on TV–kidding, Rather, I am a director at a big ophthalmology practice. Here are a few bits of info:

      Yes, you may experience sticker shock at the price of LASIK at a strong ophthalmology practice with an experienced surgeon. DO NOT go to $300/eye place, etc. The cost is not only due to the skill and expertise of the surgeon, but also the quality of the laser. Not to go into it too much, but in order to even get the laser to turn on at the office, the practice has to put in something like a debit card or token to make it “go”–so for a reputable laser, it’s expensive. Also, you don’t want to go to a place that will do LASIK on anyone because it can really impact your eye health–if you’re really dry or have thin corneas, you should not have LASIK, at least not right away. They may prescribe a dry eye regimen for a while and see if you are then healthy enough to do LASIK (which could take months). PRK is a better option for thin corneas.

      Dry eye is a definite concern. Preservative-free artificial tears are your friend–the ones in the little single-use vials. If you are using tears more than 4x per day, they need to be preservative free. Otherwise the preservatives will be counteracting any dry-eye-relieving benefit.

      The loss of near vision varies from patient to patient. Some have issues, some do not. It’s also a risk-benefit balance–if’ you’re a -7.0D and can’t navigate from the bedroom to the bathroom without needing to grab glasses, the loss of near vision (if it happens) is probably worth the trade-off for the huge boost in overall functionality. In my case, I’m -1.50/-2.25 and have not had LASIK (even though it’s an employee benefit offered by our partners), because I am pretty functional around the house without glasses or contacts (I can get ready for work and make breakfast without them, but can’t drive safely without correction), and I do enjoy wearing glasses frequently. Also, if you’re anywhere near needing cataract surgery, DO NOT do LASIK. It changes the natural shape of your cornea and makes it difficult for the cataract surgeon to determine best where to make the incisions to remove the cataract (especially in the case of astigmatism) and to determine the appropriate lens power.

      Hope this helps!

      1. Finny*

        Random question you might, or might not, be able to answer for me, if you’re willing. I’m at – 16 in both eyes (with glasses I’m 20/250 in my “good” eye and 20/300 in the bad; without glasses I can’t even see the giant E, so I’m not sure what that is. My eye doctor won’t even talk surgery, which is fine as I wouldn’t be able to do it (can’t even handle eye drops, as even distilled water literally feels like it burns) my eyes. But he won’t explain why he won’t. Is it because my vision is so bad it can’t be corrected?

        Like I say, I don’t want surgery for my vision, but I’m highly curious as to why it doesn’t seem to be an option, and so far I’ve not been able to figure out the answer. I’d greatly appreciate it if you knew, or if you could point me in the direction of where I might find some answers.

        1. Reverend (ish)*

          Do you have astigmatism too? I’m in the same situation as you with -13.5 in both eyes. My docs have also said surgery is a no go because with my myopia I also have astimgatism. Essentially having both makes it not possible to reshape/cut: you fix the myopia but the astigmatism will worsen or vice versa. So, while that is probably a way over simplified answer, that’s why LASIK and PRK are out.

          1. Finny*

            Yep, I do indeed. That makes sense. Wish my eye doctor has explained that rather than just saying no. Thanks!

          2. Talvi*

            Interesting! I’d never considered LASIK, but looks like it’s right out for me too. -6 myopia, plus astigmatism that is still getting worse every year…

    11. Benedryl Kat*

      2 comments:
      – don’t be cheap. You get what you pay for. This is your eyesight, not something trivial.
      – do not mix Valium with sleeping medications. They are the same type of drugs. Also, don’t have a relaxing glass of wine instead. Alcohol and booze are a dangerous combination.

    12. Thanks for calling*

      My husband got LASIK and loves it. He wore very strong glasses before and couldn’t be bothered with contacts for the most part. He has very dry eyes (even before the surgery – they remarked on it at his evaluation), but hasn’t had any negative side effects from the procedure. I’m sure that his eyes would be even more comfortable if he would bother to use drops occasionally. We chose an office that several other people we knew had used, even though it was a bit of a drive. Several more people have gone there based on his experience and had good results. I would highly recommend trying to find an office like that – through recommendations, rather than by price or advertising. I was part way through the process of getting it when we found out I was pregnant. So now I’m stuck for at least 6 months after baby comes (soon – we hope!) since pregnancy can temporarily change your eyesight!

    13. Phoenix Feather*

      I used to work for an eye center and was responsible for the administrative aspects of the LASIK Center. I also had LASIK by one of the doctors. I LOVED IT! I was the seminar patient, meaning the surgeon did an evening seminar with a live LASIK (via cameras) and then we walked out to the crowd, I said, “Look, I’m good and alive!” My husband drove me home. I got up in the morning 12 hours after the surgery and drove to work. I did have halos pretty bad the first few weeks, but that settled back down.

      The one thing I will mention: about 3 years after I had LASIK, I had a baby. I noticed by the end of my pregnancy my vision had slightly shifted, but it was very slight. By the time I went back to work at 4 months pp, I needed glasses again. Not much, but enough. No need for contacts. I’m sitting at work now without my glasses. I typically only wear them when I really need to see very clearly, like driving, watching a movie, or shopping. My surgeon did tell me it occasionally happens to women when hormones get involved (hormones mess EVERYTHING up), but I could get the LASIK retouched once I was done having kids.

      I had a valium before the surgery. They put a ton of numbing drops in my eyes. I felt nothing – just stared at the little blinking light and in just a few minutes it was done.

  2. Red Reader*

    2. If you personally were going to pick one thing to try to do every day during the month of October as a goal, what would it be?

    1. Random Citizen*

      Read a good book. I’ve been so busy with work and other “have-to” stuff the past year, and it’s really starting to affect my ability to sit back and enjoy something relaxing or learning for it’s own sake. I used to read constantly, and I miss curling up in bed at night with a good story or an interesting historical book. I should do that again. Thank you!!

    2. Kyrielle*

      Go for a walk! Some days for exercise, some for serenity. I love my walks – and I tend to ditch them in favor of the insatiable to-do list.

    3. all aboard the anon train*

      Write.

      I write for work and freelance jobs and academic pursuits, but I miss fiction writing. The downside of my job means the last thing I want to do is read fiction and I’m always worried that I’m unintentionally copying something I read somewhere else – not to mention I’m usually so exhausted by writing other things that my brain is dead.

      But I really want to try to write for at least one hour each day. I’ve tried to do NaNoWriMo in the past, but there’s such a focus on hitting the 50K word count that I think it defeats my goal. I have a new stay-away-from-your-phone app and the ColdTurkey Writer app on my computer, so I think I’ll see how it goes next month.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Re NaNoWriMo: You can totally cheat. I use it to finish stuff all the time, though you’re not technically supposed to. You don’t have to actually sign up, either. Just use the same concept.

      2. Cat steals keyboard*

        Ooh, you should check out FutureLearn – there’s a free fiction writing course coming up in October that looks like it could be good for bitesize exercises and the like.

    4. Trixie*

      One thing each day that challenges me or my routines. A new fitness class, making a smoothie, reading a book before bed (not streaming), walking at lunch, bringing my lunch, lifting heavy weights, coloring, cooking. Not necessarily the same thing but something just more mindful each day.

    5. Former Invoice Girl*

      Read or listen to something in the foreign language I’m learning to speed my learning up a bit.

    6. Colette*

      Make up – specifically, try a different Halloween-style makeup option every day. I actually thought about trying this last year but laziness won.

    7. Trix*

      Show appreciation and/or affection, in some way or another, for someone I love. It’s remarkable how easy it can be to let that slip.

  3. Family Issues*

    Ugh just need to rant and go anon today. All my mom wants is for me to have a good relationship with my brother and I’ve seriously been trying. I don’t think it’s meant to be. He’s so different to me when she’s not around and I’ve tried telling her but she thinks I’m just being petty or jealous or something. I can talk to him in a completely normal conversational tone and he’s just a jerk. Unless he needs something, then he has no problem acting “normal” and I fall for it every time. Sitting here with tears in my eyes from our last conversation about half an hour ago.

    How do I tell my mom to stop and it’s not going to happen?

    1. Random Citizen*

      No advice, but I’m so sorry about your situation. Coming from a family that places a high value on everybody being close and having good relationships, NOT having a good relationship with a family member was so painful for, so I feel for you. *hugs*

    2. Jess1216*

      Ugh I have a really similar situation with my sister and mom. Over the past decade, I’ve kinda just had to come to terms with keeping some distance with my sister for my own sanity. My mom is unhappy with that but I’m just not willing to sacrifice my own happiness to fit in with my mom’s picture of what my relationship with my sister should be. I maintain a civil relationship with Sis for my own sake so I know I’m doing what I can. And that’s what I tell my mom every time: I’m doing what I can. And then shutting down any further discussion. Every. Single. Time. I hope in time you can find some type of relationship (or none) that works for you.

    3. Temperance*

      Why is this on *you*? Is your mom also nagging your brother about this? Or is this yet another case of women being expected to pick up all the emotional labor?

      1. Family Issues*

        She has said stuff to both us when we are together. She does say stuff to me in private. I don’t know what she says to him in private but I believe that she doesn’t say much so it’s more on me.

    4. neverjaunty*

      “Mom, stop. It’s not going to happen. This is not up for discussion.”

      I don’t mean at all to sound flip – but you aren’t going to convince your mom to see things your way. She wants you to get along with your brother, and she doesn’t want to hear anything that would suggest it ain’t gonna happen, including that your brother is a manipulative ass. You aren’t required to discuss it with her or justify it. If she keeps talking, change the subject, hang up the phone, walk away.

      1. Fiona the Lurker*

        If it’s any consolation, this is what eventually worked for me. I’m a lot happier since I cut all ties with my ex-sister; I’d just had it with playing ‘let’s pretend we’re one big happy family’ when we were only ever vaguely happy as long as everybody was obeying orders.

      2. Florida*

        Agree with this one. That hardest part is after you say it is not up for discussion and she tries to discuss it (which she will undoubtedly do). You have to stick your no-discussion commitment. Just keep repeating, “Mom, we are not discussing this.” Don’t let her rope you into a discussion.

      3. Family Issues*

        I do think I have to actually push back on this because I honestly never really have. Sometimes when my mom talks to me I think she wants to still treat me as a child. Especially when it comes to the topic on mine and my brothers relationship. I have a feeling she won’t talk it well but she’s going to have to get over it

    5. Stellaaaaa*

      Tell her she’s pressuring you into mild codependency. You’re bending over backward and begging for crumbs of kindness from someone who doesn’t like you. It’s easier to tell you to absorb it that to tell him to just treat you better.

    6. Perse's Mom*

      “I can have -A- relationship with him, but it’s never going to be the kind of relationship YOU want it to be. I need you to leave this alone now.”

      Or… “I’ve made good faith efforts for years because I know this means a lot to you, but it’s clear to me that he’s content with our relationship as it is. That relationship is beneficial to him and hurtful to me, even if you can’t or won’t see that. So I’m done trying, and I need you to leave this topic alone, because I’m also done discussing it.”

      1. Trix*

        Yep.

        One thing that took me a while to realize was that no matter how much my parents tried to excuse his behavior (“he’s sick, Trix, you are so strong, you just have to be the bigger person”), I was not capable of carrying 100% of the relationship and was not willing to allow his toxicity to continue to poison me.

        Mental health issues (not saying that’s what’s going on here, just that it was in my case) do not give people a free pass to be an asshole.

        It took too long, but I learned how to set boundaries, they learned how to listen, and he learned that I would in fact follow through when I say “I will not have this conversation with you, and will not listen to you speak to me that way, so if you continue, I am leaving/hanging up the phone.” It sucks, it really does. Do your best to make sure you take care of your own health, and I hope it gets better for you.

        1. Jane Eyre*

          @Trix – best thing I’ve read here today. Thank you! “Mental health issues (not saying that’s what’s going on here, just that it was in my case) do not give people a free pass to be an asshole.” Going through this with my Mum currently.

        2. Family Issues*

          This sounds pretty similar to what I’m dealing with. My brother is struggling with his mental health and my parents use to make excuses for him, and that I need to remember how tough he’s had and I’m lucky I’ve never had to struggle like he has.

    7. BBBizAnalyst*

      My brother is a controlling asshole. I’m not going to sacrifice my personal peace just to acquiesce to the idea that I *have* to have a relationship with my siblings. I think we have to get over the idea that keeping toxic family around is okay just because they’re family. At a certain point, you have to let these toxic types go or risk happiness.

    8. Mom*

      I wish I knew what to say to you to get your mom to understand. I have 3 kids and the oldest would be happy to never be around #2 ever again. They are so different and have almost nothing in common except biology. I don’t interfere. It’s their lives to live.

    9. Woman of a Certain Age*

      I have a similar situation with one of my sisters. It’s not so much that we don’t get along as that we don’t really have very much in common. She’s a divorced mother of three and grandmother of three with a full-time job as a “rocket scientist.” I never had children and if my landlord allowed pets I’d be a crazy cat lady.

      Between her children and grandchildren and her job she doesn’t really have time for more than a quick perfunctory visit with me. When she has free time, I’d prefer that she’d spend it with our parents who probably aren’t going to be around much longer.

    10. Yetanotherjennifer*

      What if you didn’t try and convince her? She may never hear you because she doesn’t want to know her son is a jerk. So change the goal. Try and take the job of family savior away from her. Agree with her that having a better relationship would be a good thing but you don’t have one now, haven’t had one in a long time, don’t see that changing and you’d prefer not do discuss it again ever. And then defend that boundary with your behavior. The good news is when you get good at defending these boundaries you’ll also be better at setting and defending them with your brother.

    11. Rusty Shackelford*

      Is lying an option? Can you let her think you have a good relationship with him, since it looks like he’s able to maintain that image when you’re all together?

  4. Sierra*

    Any tips for finding a leak in an air mattress? The one I have loses pressure rather quickly and has deflated on one occasion. I tried the soap method, but the product website did not recommend it anyway. Also curious if anyone has tried sealing a leak with fingernail polish or liquid bandage (I think we have the patch kit, I just saw something about those two solutions and wondered if they really work).

    1. SAHM*

      I have used the blue goo glue that they use for glueing plastic pipes together. It was leftover from when we installed our sprinkler system (side note 1″ pipe was definitely overkill, 3/4″ pipe would have been sufficient for a residential sprinkler system). It worked really well on the hole in our air mattress.

      1. auntie_cipation*

        I wonder if this would work on a leaking yoga ball. Thanks for the suggestion, can’t hurt to try it!

        Note: kittens are really really really cute but they and yoga balls do not mix. :-|

    2. Allypopx*

      Really quiet room and really close listening? I’ve looked pretty dumb once or twice carefully running my ear along a mattress while someone else squeezes it, but it works. Wet hand/feeling for air current works well too. Make sure it’s not the valve!

    3. Random Citizen*

      I’ve had so. many. leaky. air mattresses. What’s worked for me is slowly going along the air mattress squeezing it in a bowl of water – if there’s a leak in that section, you will see air bubbles. Kind of messy, but I can usually find it that way. I usually seal them with the patch kit, which can be hit or miss – they’re more likely to spring another leak and may lose air more quickly than a new one, but they’re usually good for a night or two at least before needing to be repumped. Depends on how much you want to mess with it vs. just buying a new one.

      1. Sierra*

        I really am trying to avoid replacing this one. I am thinking about reaching out to the manufacturer since it has only been slept on ten times prior and seeing if it can be replaced (though I am not sure if the warranty is still valid and the receipt is likely long gone).

    4. Carrie...*

      Fill the tub with water. Submerge the partially filled mattress under the water – piecemeal, or all at once depending upon size. Look for the rising air bubbles. Find the leak. Circle it with a black sharpee marker. Patch kits abound for repairing these leaks. Go to your nearest hardware store or order one online.

    5. Benedryl Kat*

      The submerge in water and look for bubbles works well. For the patch, I recommend getting a SCUBA diving wetsuit patch kit (from your local SCUBA shop or online). Don’t skimp on the size of the patch. Cut a patch so that there is a one inch border extending around the hole on all sides. Let the patch glue completely dry before inflating the mattress.

  5. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Gardening question. A few years ago, I planted periwinkle as ground cover, and it’s been doing really well. This summer was dryer than usual and I apparently didn’t think to water enough, because now much of it seems to have disappeared; it was fairly lush and now its coverage of the ground is more sparse. Will it grow back next spring? Or will I need to replace it and start all over? (I thought it was supposed to be hardy and drought-resistant!)

    1. SAHM*

      Oh. That stuff is like a weed to me, it can really overtake the yard. Just water it, it will definitely come back.

        1. SAHM*

          So, this is probably where someone from your area should weigh in. In Ca I would say go for it, we don’t get much (any)snow so it won’t go dormant for the winter (instead it just proliferates with all the rain), so forcing growth wouldn’t be harmful in the fall. You might not want to force growth in the fall bc when it goes dormant for the winter the new growth will be the first to die off, and then the plant is at a disadvantage when spring comes and it had put all this energy into new growth for the fall, which has already died off. But again, I’m not super experienced with your area.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Ah, interesting — if that’s how it works, it sounds like I should wait for spring as I very much hope we will be getting huge amounts of snow. But if anyone from the D.C. area wants to weigh in, I would be grateful!

        2. danr*

          I’d say water now, and stop when the temps start holding around 50 or so. I’m in NJ and since we get frosts earlier, I’d stop at the first frost.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Yes, please water the periwinkle. It is saving up what it needs to get through winter. A well hydrated plant is better able to do what it needs to prepare for dormancy.
          In the early spring, go ahead and feed it some fertilizer. I am not a fan of high octane fertilizers like Miracle Grow, so just a general purpose fertilizer will be plenty.

    2. periwinkle*

      My floral brethren are tough. Give it some good watering while temps are still above freezing and let it chill out (literally?) until spring temps return. It’ll re-establish itself.

  6. Allypopx*

    Scotch advice? I just got back from Edinburgh a few months ago and I’m on a huge scotch kick. Any scotch fans have favorites I should try? I’m partial to speysides and my partner is partial to Islays. So far we’ve greatly enjoyed Cardhu, Jura, Bowmore, and a couple different Mccellands.

    1. Temperance*

      I don’t like scotch, but Booth does. If you like Bowmore, you’ll probably like Oban or Lagavulin.

      If you have a local high-end bar or cigar bar, they can also make some good recs.

    2. Claire (Scotland)*

      The Bruchladdich might fit the bill, or Highland Park. Or Talisker, it’s a bit peatier than the Jura but excellent.

      And I will always recommend Edradour to anyone who drinks whisky. Because it’s awesome.

      Sláinte

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      If you like peat, my favorites (besides the ones you’ve mentioned) are Ardbeg and Laphroiag. Speyburn has a nice honey note that makes it easier for beginners (and I still like it); Glenmorangie does some interesting scotches matured in sherry, port, or sauternes barrels (La Santa, Quinta Ruban, and Nectar D’or, respectively). And there are reasons that Glenlivet and Macallan are so well known, they’re very good scotches overall. And I can’t argue with any of the other recommendations either.

      1. The RO-Cat*

        Definitely Ardbeg! (can you tell I’m a fan?) – a very outspoken single malt. And Strathisla – milder, more good-mannered. The Arran Malt – friendly, for night-long light char session. Glenfiddich. Aberlour – easy, talkative, open. And a blended one – Grants has two (that I know of) variations, one aged in stout casks, one aged in sherry casks. Worth a try, I’d say.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Oh! I found it, the smokiest, peatiest scotch I’ve ever had: Laphroaig Triple Wood! To paraphrase a friend of mine, it’s like Tollund Man in a bottle! :-9

    4. Lily Evans*

      My all time favorite is the Balvenie (I’m also partial to Speysides). My favorite favorite of theirs is the 14 year Caribbean Cask, which is matured in casks that held rum and it’s unbelievably good. I bought myself a bottle as a birthday present to myself a couple years ago. I also like Glenfiddich 12 year for a more affordable option.

      1. Gene*

        Seconding The Balvenie. Though I’m partial to their DoubleWood. I’ll have to hunt diem the Caribbean Cask and try it.

        1. Lily Evans*

          I originally tried it in a sampler set I got for Christmas, so they might have one of those out again if you can’t find it in a bar and don’t want to commit to a whole bottle!

    5. FCJ*

      Bunnahabhain is what made me a Scotch drinker. I think it’s an Islay, but it’s not as unbelievably smoky as some of them. Also, FWIW, I found the 12-year to be better than the 18-year.

    6. Mander*

      In addition to the ones already mentioned, I had one called Auchentoshan the other week in Glasgow which I quite liked. I think Jura is my all-around favorite though.

  7. AvonLady Barksdale*

    Well, it finally happened to me– I got sick from the flu shot. I used to scoff at people who said the shot made them sick, and I promise I will never, ever do that again. I got the shot on Wednesday, then in the middle of the night on Thursday I woke up feverish and achy and miserable. Yesterday was much better, today is even better– but I have a headache. I was talking to a girlfriend of mine and she said that her husband experienced the same thing this year. Yay, preventive medicine!

    On the bright side, since I’m not working, I didn’t have to worry about much except finishing my re-watch of Mad Men and reading the Booker Prize shortlisted novels that I picked up right after the appointment when I got The Shot.

    1. Allypopx*

      That happens to me every single year. I don’t know if it’s just my body going “whoa, what was that?” and freaking out, or what causes it, but it sucks. I still get them (usually, haven’t yet this year) because a day or two of that is preferable to a week with a nasty flu, but it’s really annoying! Glad you’re feeling better!

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        One of my nurse practitioner friends (I have a few of those, all of a sudden!) said it’s your body’s immune response to the flu, and yes, so much better than a week with the actual flu. Hey, at least we know the thing works! Sheesh. :)

      2. Gaia*

        Unless you have an allergy to a component of the vaccine or you get a vaccine with a live virus (the flu *shot* is not live) it is almost guaranteed to have just been an immune reaction. So exactly what you said – your body going “whoa, what was that?”

        You can’t actually catch the flu from the flu shot. You can, however, have a reaction which can have much milder flu-like symptoms. I get to explain this every year to my coworkers that have to be vaccinated but complain that they are just going to catch the flu anyway from the vaccine.

        1. Allypopx*

          Oof. Yeah…that’s a fight I try to just avoid having, especially with coworkers, but somehow can never stop myself.

          1. Gaia*

            Sadly, it is part of my job to have this fight. We have to be vaccinated for work (we aren’t in healthcare, but similar).

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Same here. I need to put it on a t-shirt and wear it around the office once a week or so during flu season. In fact, I signed up for my free shot and I get it on Wednesday.

          At least at my work, they tell you to go home if you have a fever (or feel sick). People can work from home most of the time and it’s pretty flexible.

    2. Temperance*

      I typically have a strong reaction to it, but I still get the shot. For me, I typically get a low-grade fever and a large painful rash.

      1. Rob Lowe can't read*

        I also tend to have a not great reaction (usually a fever accompanied by fatigue), but it’s better than the flu. I try to get my shot on a Friday afternoon so that I can lay low over the weekend if needed.

        1. Temperance*

          My work gives it for free, so I get it on a Tuesday and just suck it up through the week. I had the flu last year, and it was awful. I’d much, much rather have the reaction.

    3. Shabu Shabu*

      Yup, just got my this morning! I anticipate feeling a little crappy in 24-48 hours, but it shall pass :)

      Soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, low-grade fever, and aches…all pretty normal, mild (but not fun) symptoms.

      Feel better soon!

      1. chickabiddy*

        Yes, I sometimes get that kind of a reaction, and I try to remind myself that if this year’s flu strains made me feel so poorly with a tiny, killed dose that it would have been much worse to actually get that flu.

    4. Stonkle*

      My arm always swells up and is sore for a few days after the flu shot. But of course a sore arm is preferable to passing the flu on to someone vulnerable.

    5. nep*

      I’ve never taken a flu shot — think about it each year but don’t. Am I putting myself at unnecessary and grave risk?

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I didn’t get one until I got the flu. After all, I was healthy and I wasn’t in healthcare, all was fine, right? Nope. The flu is no joke. I thought it would mean the sniffles and feeling tired for a few days– it was a solid week of headaches, muscle aches so bad I couldn’t move, stomach pain, you name it. I lived alone and had a solid corporate job with plenty of sick time, so no major harm done, but it knocked me on my ass. I remember getting up and washing dishes for as long as I could stand it, then falling into a dead sleep for hours. I ate next to nothing because I didn’t have the energy to prepare it and I lived in a place where, at the time, food delivery was minimal.

        If you get the flu, that’s what it will be like. And it’s not fun. And you do risk giving it to other people– people who might have immunosuppressive issues or might simply be in a position where they can’t afford to be laid up for at least a week. So yeah, get the shot!

        1. nep*

          Certainly I’ve never thought that the flu is a joke.
          Anyway, indeed I don’t want to pose a risk to those around me.

        2. TheLazyB*

          I wanted water so badly. I could not get out of bed to get it. Waited till my DH got home. IT WAS HORRENDOUS.

        3. DeadQuoteOlympics*

          My experience was similar. I was rather laissez faire about getting my shots every year until I got the flu. Luckily I had someone to take care of me for the week that I couldn’t get out of bed and for the first few days was pretty delirious with fever– i didn’t even know what was going on. The worst part is the extreme fatigue afterwards — and I mean for weeks afterwards. It was six weeks before I felt anything like normal. I was back at work, but for at least a month it was all I could do to just get through the day. It will seriously disrupt your life far beyond the week you are knocked out in bed.

          1. Amadeo*

            See…I’ve avoided the yearly flu shot because it makes me just as miserable as a tetanus shot. I did actually get the flu about 4 years ago and it wasn’t honestly any worse to me than the vaccine. I had a miserable fever that made me super cranky (God bless my poor mother, who received the brunt of it when I got impatient with her for not coming to help me to the doctor fast enough), but it was only bad for about a day, and after a doctor visit and Tamiflu, I slept the entire next day and then I was human again, more or less. So, in my case it’s an ‘either or’ right now. I’m sure as I get older down the road I’ll suck it up and take the shot, but for now I’m one of those crabby hold-outs every year.

          2. Thanks for calling*

            I had a similar experience which caused me to miss all of our family holiday celebrations, and then, I was still sick on my birthday in February with all the residual sinus/bronchial stuff. The flu is terrible.

      2. Audiophile*

        I’ve never gotten a flu shot and am pretty sure I had the flu once. (I’ll explain, why I’m saying “pretty sure”. )

        My mom is a retired nurse and feels based on the fact that flu mutates each year, you’re really not protecting yourself from much of anything. So my siblings and I have never gotten flu shots, she’s ” battled” it out with the pediatricians for years.

        Now, I will say, about 5 years about I came down with something pretty horrible.Was running a fever, achy, etc. I had a job that did not offer any sick time and had taken my health insurance away, so I dragged myself in each day, because I really had no choice, and passed out for hours as soon as I got home.
        Since I couldn’t go to the doctor and there’s nothing they could have done anyway, who really knows if I had the flu.

        1. Gaia*

          Just to point out – the flu does mutate each year, but the flu shot is also changed each year to protect against that year’s most likely/most common strain.

        2. Ange*

          Um, does your mother know that the reason you get it every year is because the flu mutates? They use different strains of flu virus (usually 3) according to what’s prevalent that year. It’s not always the best match (I think last year or the year before the strains that were picked weren’t a great match for what actually was going round) but the people who make the vaccine are fully aware that flu mutates.
          It’s a bit of a hot button issue for me cos I have chronic conditions which make me susceptible (fortunately have managed to avoid flu thus far) and I have a few coworkers who are antivax (despite working in healthcare). Plus my mother not only did not have us vaccinated but also had our vaccination records forged so she could take us out of the country.

          1. Audiophile*

            I didn’t mean to imply that she’s anti-vaccine, she’s not, as kids we got all our required vaccines. I’m sure she’s aware that the flu shot is updated, it came up recently because doctors tried to convince one of my siblings to get the shot.

            Interestingly, I found a scanned copy of my medical records and it looks like I did receive 3 flu shots as a kid.

            I’m glad you’ve avoided getting the flu. Wow, your mom didn’t have vaccinated at all AND forged your records?

            1. Ange*

              Yes, she was a doctor so it was fairly easy for her to do, especially since this was the 70s and 80s. My dad helpfully waited until I was 20 to tell me. I had always assumed I’d had them all because she made sure we had tetanus shots every time we cut ourselves on something.

      3. Gaia*

        I feel strongly people should vaccinate, but I give a bit on the flu. If you are around elderly, young or immunocompromised people on a regular basis in close contact you should get the flu shot. Otherwise, I think it is your choice.

        1. Florida*

          I feel strongly about vaccination, but I would NOT make an exception for the flu (unless you can’t get it). People die from the flu! Just like other vaccines, part of the reason that healthy people get it is to protect the unhealthy people who can’t get the flu vaccine.

        2. AliceBD*

          You don’t always know you’re around immunocompromised people. I have been, due to medication, and I am still more at risk than the general population for things like the flu — I’ll get the flu shot, but it won’t “take” as well in me as in most people. But looking at me and discussing daily life with me you would have no idea.

          1. Gaia*

            I agree, but those that are in regular close contact with you (as in family or close friends) likely know if you are immunocompromised.

            Mind you, I get the flu shot and have every year since I got the flu in 2010. I don’t kid around anymore, I was 25 years old and otherwise healthy and that crap almost killed me. So I think people *should* get the flu shot, but I am more forgiving if they choose not to than if they choose not the get their MMR or whooping cough shots.

    6. M.R.*

      Ugh, the flu is the worst! Sorry you’re having to deal with that.

      On another note, I’m also planning to read most (maybe all?) of the Booker short list. What have you read so far? I read Eileen a couple of days ago and am taking a break from reading The Sellout right now to check the open thread.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Haha, same! Well, I haven’t finished Eileen and I’m finding it to be a bit of a slog, so I started The Sellout. I have Hot Milk on deck. Oddly, I rarely enjoy Booker Prize winners– I recognize that they’re very well written, but I don’t usually LIKE them, you know? But I like The Sellout so far.

        1. M.R.*

          I don’t know if you’ve checked out any reviews of Eileen, but the book appears to be very divisive. I found it to be sort of a slog too, but a sort of enjoyable slog? I don’t know, the writing is super repetitive and often soooo mundane, but I kind of enjoy that style. There are things I would like to say about the ending but no spoilers :-)

          I’m really liking The Sellout, too. I was tired while reading the Prologue and was struggling with the writing style/onslaught of references, but enjoying nonetheless. If I’m honest, not too excited about Hot Milk or All That Man Is. Excited about His Bloody Project and Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

          I’ve never ever specifically read things because they’ve been nominated for an award (or won one, for that matter), so this is new to me.

    7. Benedryl Kat*

      This is NOT the flu. This is your immune system reacting to the shot and building up antibodies. The flu is two weeks of fever, aches, and misery. After which you drag yourself out of bed and look like death warmed over for a couple of weeks.

      1. Gaia*

        Whenever someone says they had the flu for one day or something ridiculously short of minor I always say the same thing:

        The flu is what you have when you feel like you’re going to die and, frankly, you’re ok with that because death would be better than whatever is attacking your immune system. If you don’t feel *that* sick, it isn’t the flu, it is just a bug.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Okay, so using that measure, I’ve had the actual flu once and the rest of the times I’ve been sick, it was just with unpleasant bugs.

        2. Rusty Shackelford*

          Yeah, I heard a talk by a doctor once who said she wished she could give everyone the flu for just one day, and then explain to them that when you actually have the flu, you feel like this for a week or so. Because so many people have a really bad cold or some other viral thing and decide it’s the flu and it’s “not so bad.”

    8. Photoshop Til I Drop*

      I got the flu shot as a college student and 20-something, due to an immuno-deficient relative. I always got sick from it, so I was glad when I was able to stop. Now I have another relative who’s old and infirm and I am dreading having to start again.

    9. Gene*

      The only vaccination I’ve ever gotten “sick” from was the Yellow Fever vaccine. That one knocked me on my butt for almost a week.

    10. Phoenix Feather*

      I’m jealous you were able to get it. My son is dealing with an asthma flare and cold virus, I’m suffering with the cold virus, and my husband expects to succumb soon too. We have to wait until we are better before we can get the flu shot.

  8. Gaia*

    I started a war in my family on facebook this morning. My aunt posted a truly horrible meme blaming black people for slavery, Jim Crow Laws and police killings. It was reprehensible. So I called her on her shit. It is now up to about 150 comments of people yelling back and forth.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      That sounds like a war that needs to be fought, as frustrating as it is. I’m kind of glad my mother and stepfather aren’t on Facebook, because I can only imagine the toll it would take on my blood pressure (my grandfather is on Facebook, but he and I are very much politically aligned, though I’d say I’m more moderate than he is). Good on you for calling her out– she sounds like a peach.

    2. neverjaunty*

      You can Unfollow them so they don’t get the block and unfriend thing, but you never have to see their crap ever again.

    3. Marzipan*

      Well done you, for calling her out. It was a good and right thing to do, even if there are people in your family telling you it wasn’t.

      1. Unemployed*

        I do it with my dad and trump. I find that posting snopes links are pretty effective and drumming the down crazy. Plus, when he needs help with his computer, he accidentally starts to like flowers and puppies and rainbow brite and fish on his feed. And accidentally dislikes trump and Fox News. Not sure how that happens.

        1. Juli G.*

          Oh, you’re so lucky Snopes works for you. I get told that Snopes is “liberal” so now I have to go there and hope there are good solid links to source material.

    4. Jean*

      I hope your relatives eventually agree that it’s not fair to blame African-Americans for the terrible behavior of European Americans.

      Social change can be really scary; especially if it requires people to reexamine their previous opinions and assumptions–which may have been based on an uncritical acceptance of the world as it is or has been rather than as it could be. But if people are suffering under the present circumstances, the situation needs to be changed, even if some of the now-comfortable are afflicted in the process. It may feel awkward to question one’s previous assumptions, but it’s a _lot_ more miserable to reside in a crummy place thanks to housing discrimination or live with the fear of oneself or a loved one getting shot for no good reason by the police.

      Social change involves education. It can be very frustrating to see people fail to learn–in the year 2016, for heaven’s sake!–that we’re all equal human beings, period. But it’s hard to educate someone if they feel insulted or judged for not being progressive enough fast enough.

      Other than everybody trying to be as civil as possible (and taking a break when they get fed up) I don’t know how we’re ever going to get comfortable with each other despite our so-called differences (racial, religious, ethnic, socioeconomic, etc.).

      I wish we all could realize that most folks just want to earn an honest living, then come home and sit quietly on the couch with their spouse/partner/kids/other loved human or animal. I think the world _is_ working towards universal interpersonal respect … but very, very slowly.

      Sorry this turned into a novel.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I hope all of them are yelling at your aunt.

      Silence is a killer. Good for you for calling her out on it.

    6. Observer*

      Wait, she posted a meme blaming blacks for SLAVERY, jim crow and police killings and YOU started the war? Does not compute.

      1. Gaia*

        Only in the context that had I not called her out no one would have said anything. I’m the agitator – everyone else stays quiet or agrees.

        And yea. Blamed black people for slavery, jim crow and police killings. With a whole bunch of not-facts and bad stats. It was pretty freaking gross.

        1. Jean*

          My apologies. I wasn’t trying to dismiss your experience of your aunt and her um, devoutly uninformed but energetically expressed opinions. (I was just hoping for the best, or hoping that she wasn’t as horrible as she sounds, or trying to extend an olive branch to the theoretical people who sit lump-like in the middle of the issue, neither speaking out for justice nor actively campaigning for injustice/ ignorance/ hate. .. only because we all have to coexist, one way or another, eventually. In other words the arc of the universe WILL bend towards justice, and those that prefer the bad old days will just have to get used to better ways of doing things.)
          I hope the Family World War converts more people to your side. And that you live far enough from any non-converts to ensure your tranquility in real life (if not Facebook)!

    7. Art not drama*

      Evolution happens one conversation at a time, often unpleasant. Thanks for stepping up for the challenge!

  9. Mephyle*

    AAM readers looking for a good new mystery novel might be interested in The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards. I haven’t read it myself, but I found this review intriguing. It sounds as though it is heavily laced with a number of themes from the working world that are often discussed here.
    The review begins, “Sophie Greenwood is relishing return to the world of work since the birth of her daughter[…]. She has her dream job…” (italics mine) And, “One of her co-workers seems determined to do anything to climb to the top, no matter who gets left in her wake.”
    The reviewer adds, “It’s an interesting read. The use of the ambitious colleague is one that I don’t recall seeing in the genre and the unsettling environment is well constructed, and the plot progressions regarding the work-place are well thought out and believably creepy. Cassie, Sophie’s work colleague/rival, is similarly believable – I’d say that it’s surprising that she gets as far as she does except that I, and probably you, have met at least one such person.” (italics mine again)

  10. Cristina in England*

    We are getting a car soon. I am kinda dreading having it since Our Summer Holiday of Carsickness. We will definitely need to get one with a full size middle rear seat because that’s where I sit to offer sick bags. Any advice? I would honestly rather my husband get a two seater because then the rest of us would never have to get in it!

    1. Marzipan*

      I know sod all about cars but I can definitely give you some carsickness advice, which is for the affected person(s) to close their eyes. Carsickness is the brain getting mixed messages about whether you’re moving or not, with the visual signals telling it one thing and the inner ear another. Taking away one of those inputs can really help.

      (Also, Kwells.)

    2. danr*

      Go on the web and start looking at the manufacturers’ sites. You can play with all the options and see how the cars will look. It also helps you get over sticker shock, and, if you’re going to get a used car, you’ll know what the options cost new.

      1. Cristina in England*

        Thanks I think I will do that. My husband wants a VW or Honda, but I have seen some family size Fiats and Citroens that seem good too, so that’s not too many brands to start with I think.

    3. Chaordic One*

      It used to be that many American cars were tuned to have a soft ride. When they hit a bump, the car’s suspension system would absorb it so that it wasn’t overly noticeably, but then the car would gently rock back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth), which created the situation for car sickness. This doesn’t seem to happen so much with cars that have stiffer suspension systems and at this point in time there really are not that many cars that have softly tuned suspensions, even in the U.S.

      There must be some consumer product review organizations and magazines in the U.K. that are comparable to “Consumer Reports” in the U.S. that consider things like comfort, room, ride and handling, as well as reliability, cost-of-ownership and depreciation. Perhaps you could find some such information at your public library.

      My Scottish cousins tell me that they drove Fords for many years, but ultimately found them to be unreliable and said that they often broke down. Most of them now drive Volvo estate cars, which they claim to love, although I think Volvos are bit pricey.

      1. catsAreCool*

        I’ve heard that Volvos are expensive to fix and that newer features on Volvos frequently need to be fixed.

    4. misspiggy*

      As a lifelong carsick person I’d say height and position of windows is key. Sitting in the back, can a small person easily see a lot of side window and a good chunk of front window? How much do the headrests block the front view? The whole thing about being able to keep your eyes on the horizon makes a big difference to me.

      1. Cristina in England*

        Interesting, thanks! The holiday rental car did not have a lot of the front window visible from the back (even from the middle!). There are lots of strange looking Fiats and Citroens with huge windows in my area, I might push for looking at one of them.

    5. phil*

      My sister and I figured out a fun solution to carsickness when we were kids. We’d make a tent out of a blanket inside the car, poking part of the blanket through the top of a closed window to hold it up. That way we could sit and read inside of our fort without being bothered by the disorientation of seeing the landscape rush by out of our peripheral vision.

      1. Cristina in England*

        Oh, interesting! So maybe getting little kiddie window shades for the inside would help too?

    6. Cristina in England*

      I suspect we might go with a small Honda (Jazz or Civic) since they are half the price of the CR-Vs, which means it wouldn’t be for frequent family use, hooray! I would not want to commit to a bigger car and then feel like we need to get our money’s worth with lots of unecessary car journeys. I can’t wait to try out a combination of window shades, sunglasses, and blankets(!) for the next one.

    7. TheCupcakeCounter*

      I have a Hyundai Azera and my 6’6 cousin can sit comfortable in the back seat. It is a big car but sporty styling with lots of techy stuff. Bought it almost 4 years ago and is still our all-time favorite car. I got mine for about $35K US but I know they now have a less techy package for a slightly better price.

  11. Oh My Glob*

    Thanks to everyone for advice on reproductive medicine in last week’s thread. Update, the short version: I had a great appointment with a new doctor who listened to me, believes me, and supports a treatment plan that I want. I feel really good about that!

    Longer version, without any details that might challenge anyone’s lunch: The new gyn has a personal history with some of my symptoms and understood that it was a real problem. She ordered an ultrasound and that department was able to fit me in the same morning so I didn’t have to wait a month. From the ultrasound, her impression is that I have a small endometrioma (benign cyst from endometriosis) on one ovary and probably have adenomyosis (endometriosis inside the uterus). There may be more endometriosis, but it wasn’t something visible on the US. No fibroids. This explains my pain and heavy bleeding and it is treatable in a number of ways considering fertility preservation is not my goal. The endometrioma should be monitored through annual ultrasound, but unless it causes pain or grows quickly, it does not need to be removed yet. The next step is an endometrial biopsy (to make sure it’s benign tissue) and then the doctor will schedule me (at my request, instead of trying a less-invasive hormonal IUD first) for endometrial ablation. That should address the bleeding. Because I have 15 or 20 more years before menopause, it’s likely that the lining will regrow over time and I could need a repeat ablation; depending on when that is, and the results from the first one, I may opt to have a hysterectomy at that point. If this doctor were accepting new patients, I’d switch to her practice in a heartbeat, but she does a fair amount of research at this point in her career and only sees patients a couple times a week. Still, she accepts that I both know what my body does and that I have to live in it, and she was much more willing to help than the last one I saw. I’m glad that I didn’t have to push so hard to be heard. Thanks for your support, commenters.

    1. Gaia*

      I’m glad you found a gyn that listened. This is not only a health concern but a major quality of life issue and you deserve to be heard and have your opinions taken seriously. I had a similar issue and I went through several gyns until I found the right one. I was so skeptical in my first appointment with him that I broke down crying trying to explain the issues. It was so great when he just sat there, listened and then asked ME what MY goal for the outcome was. None had ever asked what I wanted before.

    2. Caledonia*

      I’m so glad that you found a supportive doctor who listened to you and all the best for your treatment plan going forward.

    3. Temperance*

      I have adenomyosis and endo. I take HBC continually, and the symptoms don’t really harm me much anymore. Best of luck.

      1. Oh My Glob*

        Hey, good idea. I will ask when I go in for the biopsy, since she’ll be referring me to someone else for the ablation after that.

        1. Endo Patient*

          DO NOT do abalation. Excision by and endo specialist is the gold standard. Please look up the facebook group Nancy’s Nook for endometriosis. They have a list of the 100 or so surgeons who are qualified to do excision. Ablation will only put a bandaid on endo. After three failed surgeries, including ablation and a total hysterectomy with both ovaries removed, I finally learned the difference between ablation and excision, fired my doctor and got the proper surgery with an endo specialist. There’s so much bad info out there about endo, and so many uneducated doctors using outdated methods. Please spare yourself the decades of agony I went through getting the wrong treatments and watching your career get completely ruined because of it. Ablation, BC, Lupron–it’s all bad.

    4. Michelle*

      Glad you are getting treatment. I had an endometrial ablation and was fine for 5 years. Then I started bleeding again. The doctor said since I was less than 40, sometimes the lining will grow back. I ended up having to have a partial hysterectomy (cervix & uterus, left the ovaries) and I don’t regret it one bit. I feel SO MUCH better.

      Good luck and hope the ablation works for you!

  12. Jordan*

    I sorta missed the boat with last week’s gender discussion. Can we continue?

    I think I might be trans. Hoping to start therapy for other issues, but I brought it up at my intake appointment. Felt good to at least get it off my chest because I’ve never discussed it other times I was in therapy. I explored dressing as a man a little bit almost 10 years ago when I went to college, and then got scared and decided to try harder at being female because maybe that’d fix things for me. I was still reliant on my parents and afraid that my dad especially would wig out. So I forced myself out of baggy pants and sweatshirts and into flattering jeans, tops and the occasional skirt. I’m more comfortable with dressing as a woman now, but it’s still not who I see when I close my eyes. It doesn’t feel right.

    I also don’t think this area is very welcoming to trans people. I heard a lot of negativity and bigoted comments at work when Caitlyn Jenner came out, and again when bathroom laws hit the air. I don’t think this is a safe place to transition, outside of the local college campus.

    I guess I’m just looking to hear thoughts from other people. All thoughts are welcome.

    1. Gaia*

      I will not pretend to know what it is like to close my eyes and see myself as a gender other than the one I see when I look in the mirror. That must be very complex and confusing at times. I want you to know I hope that one day very soon you are able to live in a way that is authentic to you.

      My only suggestion would be to continue to talk through this in therapy (as long as the therapist is trans-positive, if they are not please find another). Not because I think something is “wrong” with you but because it may help you sort out your thoughts, fears and needs.

      Good luck. I wish you well.

      1. Allypopx*

        “As long as the therapist is trans-positive, if they are not please find another”

        Whole heartedly seconded.

        1. Gaia*

          When I was desperate for work once I took a job in a therapist’s office. She specifically advertised that she worked with people with gender and sexuality concerns. She was NOT trans or gay positive. In fact, she would often counsel that they were simply confused and try to convince them to try hack medicine. I lasted exactly two weeks and walked out when a teenager who was considering transitioning came out of her office crying. I walked the client to their car, gave them the number of a local support group and never looked back.

          To this day I wish I had reported her to the licensing board. She was horrific.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Gah, I hope that teen ended up okay. Thank you for supporting them at what must have been such a low moment. My oldest child is a sophomore in college and has been questioning their gender identity for a couple of years. Their solution for now is dressing primarily in male clothes with a male/androgynous haircut, but they dress in cute female clothes for a night out at the gay bar. I don’t understand it all myself, but if some therapist lured them in by advertising gender and sexuality counseling and then used that to harm them, I would be livid.

          2. Allypopx*

            Oh god I’m glad you gave that poor teenager contact info for better services.

            I begrudgingly acknowledge there’s a market for non-positive gender and sexuality counseling, but anyone who is advertising their services as gender and sexuality focused without using buzzwords like “corrective” or “reconditioning” or something with religious or conservative implications are misrepresenting themselves horribly to vulnerable clientele and are just disgustingly unethical and horrific.

            Granted I’d even like the ones who do represent themselves as what they are to be outlawed and shut down, but until such a glorious time they have a right to practice their business based on their beliefs. However this sounds like intentional misdirection and obviously can be hugely damaging. I’m glad you got out quickly.

      2. Jordan*

        I’m not certain if I’ll be working with the person who did the intake, another therapist there or if they’ll refer me somewhere in the community. (It’s the training clinic for graduates in psychology at the local college, which is the only welcoming place around here.) I hope they’ll be supportive. Either way, sessions are taped and reviewed by a licensed practitioner, so… there’s that at least. Thank you.

    2. Allypopx*

      Congratulations on exploring these feelings and working to come to a fuller understanding of your gender identity.

      Are there smaller things you can do while you sort your thoughts out? It seems like you’re still exploring a bit, though you know what direction you’re leaning. Can you start by wearing more gender neutral clothes, maybe getting an androgynous haircut, seeing how people interact with you and how small changes make you feel?

      I am big on embracing your true self, but I also live in Boston – that’s kind of the whole vibe. I think if you are worried about your safety or your reputation or other things that might impact you on a very real level, it’s fine to take baby steps and test the waters first.

      1. Jordan*

        I think I am going to try some baby steps, maybe wearing different clothes at home or for hikes, etc. I have a shorter, more androgynous haircut already though that got rave reviews!

    3. neverjaunty*

      It’ll be amazingly helpful if your therapist is supportive. (If not, keep looking, of course.) There are lots of support and outreach networks – maybe reach out to them, and consider a long term plan for relocating somewhere less threatening.

      1. Gaia*

        I agree on relocating if possible. It makes me angry that this should even be a real suggestion but the reality is that some places are not currently safe for anyone that doesn’t fit the cis/hetero mold to a T.

        1. Jordan*

          Long-term that is probably my goal anyway, but I need to get over the “entry-level” hump in my career and pay off my student loans before I can really jump anywhere safely/affordably, and I am paid well currently and getting lots of experience. It is beautiful out here though, but there are numerous white supremacist and separatist groups around ruining my scenery.

    4. dppb*

      Hey, I’m sorry you’re feeling unsafe. Let me preface this with saying: being trans is absolutely ok, if that’s what you decide then mazel tov. But if a lot of your feelings about this are about what you’re wearing and what you look like, please, please, please know that ‘being a woman’ has nothing to do with clothing, makeup, and presentation. Alison Bechdel (yes, that one) gave an interview a while ago in which the interviewer asked her if she thought she would be trans if she were growing up now (instead of the butch/menswear-dressing lesbian she is today), and her answer was (paraphrasing) kinda maybe but she’s really glad to have the space to be this different kind of woman. You’ll find your own path, but whatever you choose, I hope you’ll see that women can present however the hell they want, wear whatever they want, and it doesn’t make them less good at being a woman – or less anything.

      1. Gaia*

        I think that is a good point that is often discussed in relation to men but not women. Similar to the idea that not all men that wear makeup and women’s clothing want to be a *woman*, not all women that eschew makeup and wear men’s clothing and hairstyles want to be a *man.* You can present in a way that is typical of a gender that is not your own without actually wanting to alter your body and without feeling as if you are that gender. Gender identity and expression is a wide spectrum and wherever one falls on that spectrum it is ok, acceptable and just them.

    5. Ange*

      Have you tried looking online? There are lots of blogs by trans people out there and those are probably the best place to get specific insight and advice. Most of the ones I’ve come across have posts on transitioning and on how the person realised that they were trans. Pervocracy.tumblr.com is pretty good and he answers questions – it’s quite NSFW. I also recommend Zinnia Jones. I hope you work it out – I had some issues with my gender identity for a while but I came to the conclusion that for me it was more that I didn’t fit into the version of female that was being pushed on me rather actually identifying as male. I guess I would strictly ID as “more or less female” but that pretty much rounds off to female. Ironically I am often mistaken for male – probably the haircut.
      I hope your therapist turns out to be helpful.

    6. Trans anon*

      I’m trans, I transitioned about 17 years ago, also f-m. My main advice is to take your time in finding your own way, whether that is being trans or not. Even if you decide that you are trans, there is no one way to be trans, despite what others (including doctors) tell you. Some people have surger(ies), some don’t, some take low dose testosterone, some don’t take any, some take full dose, etc. If you find your therapist pressuring you either way, bring it up or find another one.

      What might also be helpful is to find a community where you can explore your more masculine side in safe space. Group therapy might be one such place; there are also online groups. There is a wonderful conference in Philadelphia in early June, the Philly Trans Health conference. The conference itself is free. Lots of people and lots of information and sessions. There is another one called Gender Odyssey in Seattle, I think it’s in late July or August. It’s a great way to interact with others who are at all stages and are from all walks of life (young, old, etc.) and it can be really helpful.

      1. Gaia*

        Thank you for the information on the conference. I have a good friend who is exploring transitioning and will be living in that general area. I’m going to send these details on as my friend doesn’t have a lot of family support and is going to be living across their country from friends.

    7. Rahera*

      Hi, I’d like to wish you all the best as you start therapy and continue the process of questioning. I hope it goes well for you, and I’m glad you are looking for a safe space where you can explore these questions with your therapist. I hope the AAM comments area will be a safe space for you too.

      The Trevor project has some good resources on its website — thetrevorproject dot org. It is aimed nominally at high school students according to what I have read of it but could be a source of solidarity. When I was first coming to terms with my own LGBTQ questioning, I was in my mid thirties and there sometimes seemed to be a disconnect between my age and the target age of the online resources, but they were still useful very often.

      All the best to you, stay safe :).

      1. Rahera*

        Oh yes, Kate Bornstein is pretty awesome (and is on Twitter). I hear her Gender Workbook is a very interesting and thought-provoking read.

    8. BobcatBrah*

      Just remember that it’s not reversible.

      Personally, to me, “I think I might be” is a far cry from being definite enough to spend years on end taking pills, and getting surgeries.

      Good luck to you either way!

      1. chickabiddy*

        Yes, I agree, and I’m pretty sure most doctors won’t prescribe pills or do surgery for “think I might”. But there’s certainly no harm in seeing if different haircuts and clothes feel more comfortable/authentic, or exploring feelings with trans or trans-friendly groups.

      2. N.J.*

        Something about your comment bothers me. I’m sorry if this comes off as judgemental it’s not my intent. I think it’s because your comment focuses on warning the OP about the seriousness of the trans change. That’s true I’m sure, but I would imagine that just coming here and even anonymously stating they might be trans was a big deal for the OP. No one would take that decision lightly or transition right away, so it seems a bit dismissive to warn them about it not being reversible.

    9. General Ginger*

      Excuse the following word vomit — I’m really bad at phrasing my thoughts on this, but — I spent the last decade or so trying really, really hard to “be a woman” — skirts, dresses, stifling anything that didn’t go with that. It’s strange, because while I don’t hate wearing them, and am more or less OK with dressing stereotypically female, I still kind of have to coax myself into it a little. Almost ridiculous things, like, telling myself, hey, this thing looks good, and this is not a long dress, this is — robes. Like maybe for a wizard, or a barrister, or space royalty or something, they wear robes all the time, so can you, that sort of thing. Silly. I know. Silly. But I am into fantasy sci-fi, so it sort of works. Cheers me up a little, sometimes. It also helps that I don’t generally consider dresses or skirts inherently feminine clothing, though I know that’s the general societal perception.

      I came out to my husband of — a very, very long time — a couple of months ago, and it’s been tough. I honestly don’t think he fully understands (it seems to him like a problem that can just be solved with love, just — if he loves me more, then I’ll be fine — and I get where he’s coming from, and his lack of desire to do any real research, but that doesn’t make it any easier). I am out to a few people online, mostly fannish friends, and every time they call me by my chosen name or refer to me as “this guy they know” it’s — I can’t even describe it, the feeling I get. The first time it happened, my friend was telling me they were discussing something I’d posted with another friend, and had told their friend something to the tune of “Oh, this guy I know wrote this, you’d love his stuff” — and I cried. I sat there with my phone in my hand, kind of processing that yep, that’s me, that’s who they mean when they say this guy I know, and I cried.

      My current life situation (area I live in, job, etc) is completely not compatible with any of this. I’m kind of in this weird holding pattern where I’m trying to figure out exactly what I need to do, because I know that I can’t continue as I have been for the last ten years, it’s just not feasible. But on the other hand, I’m not in a safe place to transition, I have my marriage and everything having to do with that to consider. My parents — to say they wouldn’t be supportive is a massive understatement. I tried having conversations on the subject with my mother when I was younger, both before I knew what I actually meant, and later, as an adult, when I did — “they went badly” doesn’t even begin to encompass how they went.

      I don’t know. I’m trying to find a therapist, I’m sort of low-key researching surgery, but — I also don’t even know if maybe I’m too old. I’m not that old, comparatively, but everyone I’ve talked to so far is in their 20s, and younger — and I’m decidedly not. Sometimes I have days where I just tell myself, you’ve lived like this most of your adult life, just stick it out for the rest, stop making it more complicated — and other days I have to promise myself that I must do something, anything, anything possible to make it better so I can stomach getting out of bed. I also have this, idk, weird impostor syndrome on the subject, like — I look like a woman. I dress like a woman. Where the hell do I get off pretending to have these thoughts about being anything else, what if a doctor listens to me and doesn’t believe me? Not the thoughts of a rational adult, I am sure, but. Kind of where I am.

      The things I’ve done that help: be out to the people I can be out to. Even the husband, where the situation is very complicated, knowing that he knows something now is such a relief. Having a few online people I talk to know — and support me just even with little things like calling me by the pronouns that feel good — it’s been so helpful. I’ve had short, butch hair for a very long time, and I go by my very unisex middle name, and those definitely help, though I kind of didn’t realize WHY I’d done either of those things when I first did them.

      Again, sorry for the massive amounts of word vomit. I wish you much luck with whatever you decide to do.

  13. Project Runway*

    Does anyone still watch Project Runway? It’s the only reality show I watch (I guess aside from cooking shows when I’m at the gym?), though I tend to watch more for the clothes than the contestants. I mute most of their scenes because I really, really do not care about the drama or whatever sob story is trying to make you sympathize with them (some are genuinely sympathetic and horrible, but some seem so manufactured).

    I stopped really caring after season 8, but I still watch when I’m bored. One thing that has annoyed me season after season is whenever the designers have to dress real women or design outfits that any normal woman could wear because 95% of the designers either complain about not wanting to dress “real women” or they make clothes that most women would never wear. I’m always baffled when the judges are all, “I could totally see a woman wearing that to the office!” and I’m just reminded that most of them have probably never been in a normal, non-fashion related office.

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      Lifetime ruined that show for me. I quit watching once Anya — who COULDN’T SEW — won.

      I miss the days of “I didn’t take the bitch’s dye”!

    2. DragoCucina*

      Tim Gunn recently wrote a piece for the Washington post complaining about this. He also called out designers who don’t want to design for plus size women.

      I too lost most of my respect for PR when Anya won. Ah, missing Shoegate of season 1.

    3. LizB*

      Aaah I hadn’t realized that the next season already started! I’m so excited to catch up.

      Project Runway is my guilty pleasure — I watch other contest-style reality shows, but PR has by far the most drama-llama-y contestants, the most transparently ridiculous editing, and the most fake conflict of any of the shows I watch. (Top Chef comes in 2nd in all those categories.) I love the fashion, as outlandish as it usually is, and I especially love the unconventional materials challenges. I hate the “real women” episodes because of all the relentless whining about having to dress people who aren’t model-sized; I grit my teeth pretty hard through those. I was super excited when Ashley won last season, even though I wasn’t super crazy about her finale collection. Hopefully there will be some designers I actually like in this season’s batch; it’s annoying when I just hate everyone.

      1. Project Runway*

        I think the worst “real women” challenge was the one guy a few seasons ago who made the woman cry and kept calling her old and fat. That was truly horrendous.

        1. the gold digger*

          Right. Because old and fat or middle aged and chubby (which I am) do not deserve nice clothes. I am convinced designers hate women and use their clothes to work out their issues.

          1. all aboard the anon train*

            Even just anyone who isn’t model proportions. I have a D-cup, which isn’t as large as a lot of other ladies out there, but there are a lot of clothes where anyone with a chest size above an A or B can’t wear them unless you want to look like a tent or a box.

            I have to say, I’m always more disappointed when it’s a female designer who doesn’t think about women when designing clothes. I’ve given up on male designers (they’re ALWAYS the ones who make dresses with zippers up to the back of the neck and no pockets ugh).

            1. Amadeo*

              Yes to those tent/box clothes. I’m a 36H bra and I cannot tell you how many times in my late teens/early 20s I would break down crying because I couldn’t wear the cute stuff my well-meaning baby sister would pick out for me to try on. As in, one afternoon we got back to the house and I just laid my head on my mother’s shoulder and bawled.

              At 36 I’m a little more carefree about it now and know what styles I probably shouldn’t even bother to pick up off the rack to try on. I wear a lot of stretchy knits, like the plain tees at Old Navy, to work. Sometimes I’ll find a button-down that looks halfway decent, as in, it’s long enough to go past my hips, I can at least button it up to the waist (I have a lovely hourglass figure, even if it is a bit chubby) and wear a cami underneath, but most of the time, wovens like button up tops just look like a mumu on me – they hang straight off my boobs and straight down my sides and I look bigger than I am!

              1. all aboard the anon train*

                I always hear and read about how the hourglass shape is so desirable, but it’s so hard to find clothes for that shape, especially if you’re busty. I can’t even buy shirts off the rack anymore because chances are they’re going to give me the same problem – hanging straight off my boobs and making me look bigger than I am. I love the colder weather because I can wear those shirts and cover up the unflattering silhouette with a nice fitted jacket. Spring/summer is the worst because everything is in a flowy, unstructured cut.

                Even dresses are hard because sometimes it’ll be so tight across my chest while everything else fits wonderfully. Same goes for button-up shirts. They’re either too baggy to accommodate my chest or they’re too tight across the chest. And a lot of off the rack clothes are made in a way that you can’t get them altered at a tailor, especially shirts.

                But I totally get you on the emotional stress. I went from a B cup to a D cup somewhere between high school and college and it was a really hard time trying to figure out what fit and I used to dread going shopping because nothing ever fit. It’s better now that there’s more options online and I’ve figured out how to dress for my shape, but I still get annoyed about it.

                1. Amadeo*

                  I’ve been told by friends who are into the SCA that they know corset makers who’d kill to take a commission from me…but I can’t wear a corset to work. So, yeah, lots of t-shirts, wrap tops, if I can find them, are also not bad looking. I hate dresses, so I am grateful that I don’t have the same stress you do looking at those. It’s apparent to me now that I am older that clothing designers tend to skew more toward dressing those women whose figures have more even measurements from chest to hip and who seem to have shorter torsos.

                2. Rusty Shackelford*

                  I always hear and read about how the hourglass shape is so desirable, but it’s so hard to find clothes for that shape, especially if you’re busty.

                  And as someone who’s busty but apple-shaped, it seems to me that ALL THE THINGS are made for women with hourglass figures.

      2. Art not drama*

        I loved Ashley’s collection. It was an homage to Frida Kahlo, updated and fresh, and proudly worn by curved women. This was a designer who had a vision. I hope she is doing well in her business.

        This week’s real women challenge… all modelled by skinny young women… the only one I would even consider wearing was Brik’s! I am pretty sure I would look ridiculous in all the others.

    4. HannahS*

      Not anymore :( I love sewing, but I felt like the show was increasingly focused on the drama and less on design and construction. And I hated the attitude to women AND the snark on the judging. So instead I watch The Great British Sewing Bee.

    5. ginger ale for all*

      I am a big fan. I go to a friend’s home and a group of us just have a girls night in watching it. I think I would break down and cry if it went off the air. I suppose we could find another show but it would be tough.

  14. Cristina in England*

    Now that Corbyn has been reelected leader of the UK Labour Party, what will happen? Does anyone really think that the Blairites will form a splinter party?

    1. Marzipan*

      Oh, who knows at this point. They’ll probably just keep having a massive infight while the country crumbles.

      It’s interesting, because on the one hand I thought a lot of the stuff the mainstream Labour party were doing was pretty reprehensible and looked a lot like trying to rig the election to go their way, which I find inherently Not Good. But on the other hand, I know someone who works in political campaigning and supported Corbyn (including working on his campaign) the first time around, who this time around has completely changed their views and was no longer supporting him in the basis of their experience working on the Remain campaign. So at this point I’m feeling pretty disillusioned with them all and if there were a general election tomorrow I don’t know who I’d vote for. (I mean, not the Tories, though.)

    2. Caledonia*

      It’s too early to tell what is going to happen, but I hope the Labour Party can come together and actually oppose the Conservatives rather than backstabbing and arguing within their own party!

      If there was an election tomorrow, I think I’d vote someone like the Greens (& I don’t agree with alot of their policies either), because everyone else has disillusioned me at this point. Even the SNP.

      1. Ange*

        I would love for them to get their act together. I kind of feel like now that Corbyn has won again the PLP needs to suck it up and work with him. I mean, there are other things they should be focusing on. Would be nice to have an opposition again…

      2. Cristina in England*

        Yes a healthy opposition is best for all parties! I just can’t stop shaking my head over how the Conservatives and Labour are just tearing themselves apart from within. They’re both gifted at wrenching defeat from the jaws of victory, to copy something I heard in a Lost podcast once.

      1. Cristina in England*

        Is that right? We had a very good Brexit discussion after the referendum, so I would be surprised if we weren’t supposed to talk about British politics! I can understand not wanting to light the powder keg of this year’s US election though.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Back in July, I said I was probably going to ask for no U.S. presidential election talk here but never formally did since there hasn’t been much since then. (My reason was that I’m not up for paying to host a forum with comments in favor of a candidate who’s racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, and generally terrifying to me, and who chose a radically anti-gay VP candidate. But I don’t feel like I can say “you can make comments in favor of one candidate but not the other.”)

  15. Shabu Shabu*

    IDK why this has suddenly started to bother me, but it seems like people rarely say “excuse me” or “pardon me” anymore.

    I’ve made an effort to say it, especially instead of “sorry”. I’m not sorry I had to pass in front of you while you took 10 mins to decide what Pop Tarts you wanted in aisle 4.

    I’m a very shy person, but this has all made me realize what an incredibly awkward society we’ve become. Use. Your. Words. We can do it!

    The worse is at the gym. Ladies locker room. Please don’t try to squeeze by my naked ass with your naked ass.

    1. Temperance*

      I live outside of Philly, and ride public transit every day. For the most part, everyone follows the same basic rules of politeness – don’t put your bag on the seat if someone wants to sit, don’t drop the door on someone, etc. There is a group of men who get on my train, and they are all amazingly rude. They’ll cut in line, push in front of you to get on the train first, drop the door …. they are just jerks and apparently don’t care about social conventions.

      When I see them, I become Liz Lemon and do my version of buying all the hot dogs. (These men are awful. I have a few coworkers/friends on the train, and we all comment about the rudeness of these men.)

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      To me, the worst is when people expect you to move for them instead of saying “excuse me”. A few examples that have happened to me in the last couple of years:

      – Sitting in my aisle seat at the theater or concert hall before curtain. Looking at my Playbill or talking to my friends. All of a sudden I notice someone standing right next to me, looking annoyed. Presumably wanting to get by me to get to their seats. Just say “excuse me”!!!
      – In a crowded restaurant. A man is trying to get by behind a woman who has her back to him, talking to her friends. I see him looking super annoyed and I say, “She can’t see you– why don’t you just say ‘excuse me’?” He looks at me like I have two heads.
      – Standing outside, talking to a friend. Someone walks by and jostles my bag because he or she is walking too close. Glares at me. Dude. Just say “excuse me”.
      – My grandmother uses a walker. She hates using a walker (her actual need for it is debatable, but that’s another issue). When I visit and we go to a restaurant, sometimes she encounters a space that’s tighter than usual. Instead of saying, “excuse me”, she hovers and waits for people to move their stuff or themselves. It’s embarrassing as hell. I do a lot of, “Excuse me,” “thank you”, and smiling with eye contact. No one else seems to think this is a big deal.

      So yeah, I’m with you. The only cure is to keep saying, “Excuse me.” One caveat on the “sorry” thing, though– when I’ve traveled in the UK, “sorry” is what’s used when you want to get by someone, and “excuse me” means you really want someone’s attention. So don’t discount the “sorry” too much!

      1. Shabu Shabu*

        ^All this!!!

        Yeah, the whole sorry thing is more going back to the “women say sorry too much” thing. I totally do that too!

        Good to know about the UK!

      2. Stonkle*

        Quite a few people are reluctant to ask for what they want and then blow up when telepathy doesn’t work.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Yeah, or they wait and wait without saying anything, and then they do an impatient, snarky, “Excuuuuse me!!”

          Why not say a polite, “Excuse me” right off the bat?

      3. The Avocado*

        I live in the uk and i do say sorry if I squeeze past someone, but i am also a regular user of excuse me as polite ‘get out of my way!’ ;)

      4. Vancouver Reader*

        On the other hand, I want people to have some base manners, like not parking their cart in the middle of a Costco aisle while waiting for their free sample. Yes, I can say excuse me, but people shouldn’t park their carts like they are the only ones there in the first place. /endrant.

    3. Emilia Bedelia*

      As someone who routinely takes 10 minutes to decide what I want in any aisle of the grocery store, I apologize on behalf of me and the rest of my slow grocery shopping brethren, and I welcome you and anyone else to politely ask me to get out of your way when I’m weighing the merits of blueberry vs. strawberry frosted.

      Seriously, I know I’m in the way- just ask me to move, don’t try to move me with your traction beam laser eyes.

  16. Caledonia*

    It’s the new TV season!

    What are you watching and/or looking forward to?

    So far I’ve seen the premiere of S3 of How to Get Away with Murder and the pilot episode of Designated Survivor (v.good) and I have This is Us and The Good Place waiting for me to watch.

    1. Gaia*

      The Good Place is weird but funny. I hope it keeps up because it will be good fodder as we close in on an ugly election.

      1. Jerry Vandesic*

        Am really enjoying this, but I’m afraid that the weirdness of the humor will not resonate with enough people for the show to survive (cf. Pushing Daisies, another favorite of mine that was a bit too strange to last).

        1. Myrin*

          Pushing Daisies was so weird but I really enjoyed it, probably specifically because of its weirdness. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it on TV and that really says something!

        2. LBK*

          I’m hoping that the Michael Schur pedigree and having two pretty big names in Kristen Bell and Ted Danson will keep it alive for a while; NBC let Parks & Rec go on for year despite pretty much always being on the bubble ratings-wise, so hopefully they’ll continue to extend that leeway to Schur unless its viewership is truly dismal. I’ve been trying to encourage my friends to watch it since a lot of them were iffy based on the ads.

    2. Cass*

      I’m going to keep watching Designated Survivor but to me, it missed that “spark.” Like witty writing or character traits that made me appreciate Sutherland’s character. They have an interesting premise so I’m sure it will be interesting but that X factor seems to make a show unmissable instead of just enjoyable.

      1. Cookie*

        I felt the same way–I’m hoping other episodes will move past the cookie cutterness that was so much in the pilot. There was also the sense of “nerd good, general bad” and “what if a GOOD person was president/why don’t we just TALK to people” that felt a little naive.

      2. Dot Warner*

        I concur about Designated Survivor. The characters are a bit meh, but the mystery of who blew up the Capitol, why, and whether they’ll strike again will keep me watching.

    3. all aboard the anon train*

      I like The Good Place. It reminds me of a combo of Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies.

      I wasn’t sure I was going to like it because I usually hate sitcoms, but when I realized it was created by the guy who did Parks and Rec and Brooklyn 99, two of my favorite sitcoms, I figured I’d try it. I have not been disappointed so far. I love the premise and I think they hinted at enough future drama/turmoil/twists/not-everything-as-it-seems to keep the idea fresh.

      I still need to watch the premiere of Pitch, but I’m really looking forward to the Luke Cage release on Netflix next Friday!!

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          I watched it last night. Didn’t *love* it, didn’t *hate* it, there was a twist near the end. I will catch the next episode because I’m curious where they are going to go with it.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            I’m watching it now. Is the twist, “Holy crap, I just realized that’s Mark-Paul Gosselaar”? Because… DAMN.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              Oh, is that who that was? I kept thinking “who *is* that guy? I know him from somewhere” and couldn’t put my finger on it. No, the other way more obvious twist they show at the end. I had wondered a couple of times that it was kind of weird how he was suddenly just there/why are there all those balls on the ground?

              For the most part, I thought it was a pretty realistic portrayal of the kind of stuff that would probably go on if a woman was in pro ball.

              We went through something similar but not exactly the same up here when Hayley Wickenheiser played in a pro league in Europe. She’s not playing in men’s leagues any more.
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayley_Wickenheiser

        2. Caledonia*

          Pitch is an odd one, I guess because I don’t think it translates very well outwith the US. Baseball isn’t at all popular here in the UK; ice hockey, NFL and basketball are pretty uncommon to follow, although people are more aware of them than baseball.

      1. CAA*

        I also like The Good Place so far, and it also reminded me of Pushing Daisies. I am annoyed because my DVR stopped recording a minute or two before the end of Ep 3, right as he said the thing (not spoiling for others), so now I have to go find it online and see if anything else happened afterwards. I’m not sure how the ratings have been, but I’m hoping that due to the strong cast they’ll at least give it some time to find an audience.

        I recorded Pitch too, but I might have to wait until the end of baseball season to watch it. It’s hard enough to watch the real Padres, who are cellar dwellers as usual; not sure I can watch the fictional ones at the same time.

        1. bkanon*

          My DVR did the same thing! It seems like all the cable channels have been shifting shows a minute forward or back and I swear I want to believe it’s a conspiracy to make us all watch live. And/or to squeeze in another couple of commercials. Seriously, my hour-long show should not be 40 minutes of actual show. *grump*

        2. all aboard the anon train*

          After watching the premiere of The Good Place, I had such an urge to go back and rewatch Pushing Daisies. That’s still one of my favorite shows. It was so quirky, unique, and well written, and I think because it was a bit ahead of its time – and the golden age of TV – it didn’t really find an audience (like most of Bryan Fuller’s shows tbh).

          As far as Pitch, I still haven’t watched it yet, but I was glad they chose a team in the NL. My team is in the AL and I don’t know if I could have handled rooting for a rival team, even if it was fictional.

    4. Jen RO*

      Just South Park for now, but I’m also still watching Fear the Walking Dead and Mr Robot out of the summer shows.

    5. Cruciatus*

      I gave up on How to Get Away with Murder last season. I love Viola Davis but I found I just. didn’t. care. about any of the rest of it. But I promised to watch The Help every time it’s on TV to make up for it.

      I watched Designated Survivor–I liked it but I agree it didn’t have a spark. I think the son will be an annoying distraction and I hope it doesn’t because too much like 24 (even though I liked that show. I like seeing Kiefer in a more every day guy role). But I usually give a show 3-4 episodes because I know in the beginning they are finding their footing.

      I caught Speechless and thought it was hilarious. “The standing ovation is insensitive!”

      I watched This is Us and didn’t catch on to the twist until the one guy handed the other a cigarette in the hospital and I was like “oooooh….” I liked it but people seem to want to watch it because it’s the new Parenthood but I started hating the Bravermans toward the end of that show (they were all special snowflakes). But I will give it a few more shots. Overall I did like it.

      From premieres this week I still need to watch Pitch. Did anyone catch that?

        1. RKB*

          Grey’s is flourishing without *you know who* (don’t wanna spoil!) I like Meredith’s character much better now.

      1. Audiophile*

        I enjoyed This is Us and didn’t catch onto the twist until the end, but I also missed the very beginning of the episode.

        I’ve been watching Better Things on FX and Atlanta, as well. I’m really enjoying them.

        I watched Designated Survivor, and like a few others said, I didn’t love it.

        And I’ll admit I watched Kevin Can Wait, but I don’t think I’ll watch again.

        1. LBK*

          I caught up on Atlanta last night and am thoroughly enjoying it. I adore Donald Glover so I would probably watch it regardless but I’m genuinely enjoying every aspect of it even without that bias.

          Watched the first episode of Better Things – I liked it, but I’m growing a bit tired of “(upper) middle class white people have issues” as a premise for a series. I don’t mean in an “ugh, white people problems” way but it seems like there’s just a million shows out there like that right now and I’m already watching too many of them. It’s just too grim and depressing, especially since a lot of my favorite comedies ended so I don’t have a good balance anymore.

      2. LBK*

        I quit HTGAWM after that weird baby hallucination Viola Davis had last season. Shonda Rhimes shows seem to be going off the rails at an accelerated rate; I made it through about 6 seasons of Grey’s, 3 seasons of Scandal and now only a season and a half of HTGAWM before they got so eye-rollingly ridiculous that I couldn’t continue. I probably won’t bother with whatever her next show is – the need to try to constantly one-up the already absurd twists annoys me.

    6. Carrie...*

      I have enjoyed “One Mississippi” (nice surprise), and am very excited the new season of “Transparent” was just released.

      Most of the shows I am most interested in wont have a new season until next year :(

    7. Stellaaaaa*

      I still tune in to New Girl. I never cared for Zooey’s character but I really like how the show depicts adult friendships.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        I love the way the show depicts adult friendships, too. Jess is also my least favorite character, and while sometimes I have no issue with how she’s written but the season five premiere reminded me why I dislike her.

    8. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I watched the first two episodes of Atlanta via On Demand, and I must say it lives up to its hype. It’s got a pretty low-key feel, but the acting is great, the writing is terrific, and I really like its vibe.

      I’m also very glad Empire is back, though Wednesday’s season premiere was way too light on the Cookie fashion and way too heavy on the Lucious-is-a-creep.

      I’m looking so so so so forward to Insecure on HBO because I love Issa Rae, and I’m kind of looking forward to Divorce because I keep wanting Sarah Jessica Parker to surprise me and play someone other than Carrie Bradshaw, but we shall see.

      1. Nina*

        I’ve been looking forward to Insecure show more than any other this season. Awkward Black Girl is one of the funniest shows ever, online or otherwise. If Insecure is a hit, then I hope it leads to better things for Issa Rae.

        1. LBK*

          They released the pilot of Insecure early, it’s online now. I watched it last night and thought it was hysterical – love the chemistry between her and the other main woman. Will definitely be adding that to my schedule when it officially starts in a few weeks.

          1. Nina*

            Yay! Thanks for the update. I’m still going to wait until the official premiere, but I’m glad to hear good things about it.

    9. LawCat*

      #1 looking forward to is Poldark. Our new favorite Masterpiece show in PBS!!

      Also looking forward to Supernatural because even though I feel like every damn season is about the same, I still enjoy it.

    10. Mimmy*

      Lots of premieres this week – the one I was particularly looking forward to was Speechless. Although the ending was a bit hokey, I really enjoyed it…very funny at times. Loved Minnie Driver (though I’ve seen others say her character is annoying).

      This coming week Code Black returns. I am really annoyed that two key actors were let go and there will apparently be no explanation for their absence.

      1. Caledonia*

        But you get Rob Lowe as possible compensation?

        I need to try Code Black again, I only managed part way through the pilot.

      2. Audiophile*

        I really wanted to like Code Black, I just haven’t been able to get into. I may give it another shot.

      3. Nina*

        Yeah, I’m disappointed about Code Black. And Rob Lowe is a decent actor, but I can’t get past his jerky persona IRL.

    11. Nina*

      So far, I liked This is Us and Atlanta. Atlanta is sharp and very well-written, and This is Us was good, once you got over the whole “twist” angle.

      I watched Designated Survivor and I didn’t really care for it. Speechless was OK.

  17. Chocolate Teapot*

    I went shopping today and bought a fitness hula hoop. Has anyone else used one?

    Happily it is a self-assembly hoop, so I managed to get it home on the train!

    1. Allypopx*

      I saw one of those in Target and was intrigued! I can’t hula hoop to save my life, but it looked like a fun workout tool. Report back on how you like it!

      1. Florida*

        I bet you can hula hoop. Most hula hoops (the ones that are 2-3 feet in diameter) are made for children. Kids can use them all day, but adults can’t use them. An adult hula hoop is much larger. It is not that difficult to use. (Put one foot a few inches in front of the other instead of right next to each other. That makes it easier to get started).
        When you get a hula hoop that is proportionate to your body instead of a kid’s body, you will be amazed at how well you do.

    2. Trix*

      A friend of mine used to have one, I would use it sometimes when I was at her place. It was really fun, and way more of a workout than I expected. She could go for like three times longer than I could, it gets exhausting.

      Not that I would ever, ever recommend drunk exercise, but it’s actually a lot of fun after a glass of wine or two, while watching tv and chit chatting. Or so I’ve heard.

    3. jamlady*

      Oh man. I bought one in college and I used it constantly, even though it hurt enough to bruise most of the time, because it’s so much fun. It’s been sitting in a closet for 5 years… and I think you’ve inspired me to hula hoop dance tonight instead of jump on the elliptical!

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Well. I managed to find some Hula Hoop workouts on the internet (All hail the power of Youtube) and I think there is an added bonus of supplementary squats/lunges to pick the hoop up every time it falls to the floor!

    4. Windchime*

      My son and his wife had hula hoops at their outdoor wedding. I thought it was a really stupid idea at first, but as the night wore on the guests all had a BLAST doing tipsy hula hoop. Most of us were terrible at it, but there was one lady who seemed like a professional hula-hooper and it was amazing to watch her. Seems like it would be a really good workout for one’s core.

    1. nep*

      Brilliant. Love that post. I’m way to good at telling myself no before I make even an inkling of a first step. Frustrated and embarrassed if not amazing from the get-go — Yup. (Even though that is a perfect way to never learn anything ever.)
      Thanks for posting.

  18. Oryx*

    Back in May I broke my fibula down by my ankle and it meant missing several races, including a half-marathon today because I apparently have the slowest healing bone ever. But I’ve been cleared for low impact exercise and can start running again in six weeks. I’ve been so lazy this summer, I’m so excited to get back to working out.

    1. Colette*

      That’s awesome! I broke my ankle in April, and I was thrilled to get back to boxing this month. My bone healed quickly, but because I dislocated my ankle at the same time, it is taking me really long to recover. I hope you get back to running soon!

    2. Thanks for calling*

      Glad you are recovering! I fell down our back stairs in August and ended up with a really bad sprain, which turned out to include an avulsion fracture. They are saying it should heal up on its own in 2-4 months. Since I’m now 9 months pregnant, I’m not doing anything terribly athletic, but I’m hoping it doesn’t slow me down too much after the baby finally comes!

  19. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Mobile vets — did you all know this is a thing? I tried one this week. They come to your house and they do the whole thing there — exams, shots, etc. Much, much easier than hauling four cats to the vet. Weirdly, it didn’t cost more than the regular vet would have. Eve was traumatized by having strangers touch her and wouldn’t leave the bathtub for several hours afterwards (they do it all in your bathroom, for containment purposes) and Olive pretended not to recognize Eve for about 24 hours, but other than that, it was a great success.

      1. Cristina in England*

        I don’t know anything about UK mobile vets but I had never heard of mobile hairdressers until I moved to my new city here. (Sorry for being a bit OT)

      2. l*

        My neighbour is disabled and the vet comes to the house to visit her little dog. I’m not sure of the details, but we’re in Central Scotland, so it could be A Thing.

    1. Bad Candidate*

      I’ve heard of them, but never used one. We did use a mobile pet groomer though. If I didn’t have my husband I’d do the mobile vet thing because our dog is too much for me to lift and he doesn’t like the ramp. (He’s 14)

    2. Perse's Mom*

      I was aware that they exist, but I haven’t used one – I would guess they’re not exactly available everywhere.

      That said, I know one of the emergency vets in town has a veterinary ambulance, and the county humane society (and possibly one of the major local rescues as well) has a mobile spay/neuter clinic so they can take low cost spay/neuter to smaller communities. I *think* it also includes some basic veterinary care beyond vaccines.

    3. Myrin*

      There was (is?) even one of those in our relatively small village! I think it’s a great idea, especially since we don’t have a car, bad we know the person who does it and sadly she isn’t someone I’d at all think incompetent or trustworthy around my pets. I mean, I don’t have any pets anymore at the moment but that was what I thought when I still did. But yeah, I think it’s super, super cool, although it does seem that around here, many people running those aren’t actually vets. I don’t know how that works legally but admittedly, I haven’t yet tried to find out.

    4. chickabiddy*

      My friend’s daughter just bought and outfitted a truck; she’s going to be a mobile vet specializing in cats. I wish she wasn’t ten hours away!

      Possible unpleasantness warning: I’m aware that there’s a mobile service in my county area that does primarily euthanasia. I personally can’t imagine making that my career, but I think it’s a blessing that the animals’ last moments are in their own homes instead of a car ride to a scary and smelly place.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        My vet will make a house call for euthanasia. My vet in NYC did that too. I see it more and more, and I think it’s such a wonderful service to provide.

        And now I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

        1. Me2*

          We’ve used an at home service for our dog, so much better to say goodbye in the privacy and comfort of our home rather than in the impersonal vet office. Plus you don’t have to then walk through the lobby with tears flowing.

        2. Photoshop Til I Drop*

          I am incredibly loyal to my regular vet, who I love and is less than 2 miles away, but he does not offer this option. I found a secondary vet just for this purpose, in case I ever need it. It is so important for me to keep them at home, where we can hold them and make sure they aren’t scared.

        3. Wild at Heart*

          We did this for my childhood dog. Dad cooked up a whole steak just for her and fed it to her piece by piece in her bed in the yard. With a full belly and surrounded by her family in her own home, the vet came and put her to sleep. I’m so grateful we were able to give that to her.

      2. Meredith*

        When our sweet kitty was sick and only had a few more days of life, the most part for me was the idea of hauling her to the vet and knowing that it was the last time. There is a euthanasia vet in our area who exclusively does home visits. It was by far the best option for us… We could say goodbye in our own home and didn’t have to drive upset, and she was in a place where she was comfortable. I would 100% do it that way again.

    5. danr*

      Yes, yes, yes. We once had a whole pride of outside cats and needed to get them shots. A vet who only does mobile came in a mobile veterinary setup and we brought the cats in one by one. It was quite an operation.

    6. Sierra*

      Yes! My family used to use a mobile vet (husband through a work connection). We called it the vet mobile, and the vet was such a nice, caring guy. I do not have a pet, but my mother used him up until her last cat passed.
      On a related note, my current roommate uses a mobile groomer for her dog. Did not realize that was a thing, too!

    7. Temperance*

      One of my ferrets hates the vet, and I thought about doing this, but I wouldn’t want her to associate our house with the anxiety she feels from the vet. Last time my husband took her, she was honestly pissed at him for a week.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I wonder how much of that anxiety is rooted in the traveling though? Sam and Lucy, who like strangers (unlike Eve and Olive), acted like this was just an interesting event in their day, which was totally different than they’ve been in the past when going to the vet meant carriers, a car trip, and an unfamiliar environment.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I’ve wondered how much of my worry the critters pick up on, also. If I have transport one of them I would have several concerns, they had to have noticed.

    8. Dynamic Beige*

      My vet will make house visits for cats who don’t travel well or very elderly ones, but I think there’s an additional fee.

    9. Al Lo*

      I’ve heard of that! But my great success a couple of winters ago was finding a mobile tire-changing service to change over my winter tires! My current car has a second set of rims, so once I get the winter tires onto them, I can just change them in my (heated!) garage, but a previous car didn’t. I found someone who came to my work with a mobile tire shop in a van, put my winter tires on my rims while I was in the office, and did it with 1 day notice. So much better than scheduling an appointment somewhere!

    10. Not So NewReader*

      I found a veterinary chiro who comes to the house for my dog. It’s $20 extra for the house call. I used to take my old dog to the vet-chiro, but I could see that the ride was a lot of effort for him and I questioned how much of the chiropractic work was negated by getting jostled around in the car.
      When my current dog hurt his spine/hips, I decided to pay for a veterinary chiro to come here. It was so worth it, BOTH of us were happier.

    11. JoniKat*

      This could be lifechanging for my cat if they do this where I live. She used to be in a bunch of different foster homes before we adopted her. She goes berserk anytime she goes in her carrier and car and my best guess is her kitty brain thinks she’s being taken somewhere new to live, or she relives some previous trauma she had.

      1. Photoshop Til I Drop*

        I’ve been told that leaving the carrier out all the time with blankets in it takes away some of the stigma. If they see it in safe situations, they won’t automatically associate it with “leaving to get poked and prodded”.

      2. Portia Longfellow*

        Seconding leaving the carrier out and making it a safe cozy place with blankets and/or treats. With my cats, I usually bring out the carriers the night before the vet visit. They disappear immediately, but when it’s time to go, it’s pretty easy to scoop them up in the carriers. Caveat: my girls are Ragdolls, so they’re not the brightest bulbs in the box, and they are generally easygoing.

    12. Bunny Purler*

      Such a great idea. Our cats sing the song of their people in the car on the way to the vet, loudly and in an anguished fashion. By the time we arrive, my nerves are shredded. A home visit would be so civilised.

      With some of my other pets (the woolly ones), home visits are completely normal; taking a sheep to the surgery would be most unusual! Once, I had a bottle fed lamb who had a problem with her eye, and had to have a stitch put in her lower eyelid. The vet suggested I bring her along to the surgery to have the stitch removed, so I duly found a large box, put Ruby the lamb into it, and headed off. We sat in the waiting room at a safe distance from any dogs, and I must say, it was like being in the entourage of some sort of VIP. She got so much attention! Actually she was better behaved than my cats…

    13. Windchime*

      I guess I thought it was just for emergencies. I only have one cat so it’s not a big deal for me to take him to the vet, but with four it would be tons easier to have someone come to the house.

    14. KR*

      My boss has a vet who has a van. His dogs love the van even though they’ve had several minor surgeries in there and get their shots there (that might be the vets personality though).

  20. Pug Lover*

    My friends and I get together quite a bit for parties, holidays, etc. As a part of these get togethers, everyone brings a dish or dessert.

    Ive noticed that the women in our group barely eat (fwiw, im a woman and i like food…a lot). Ive tried bringing healthier dishes, and it barely gets touched. Ive brought typical crowd
    -pleasing dishes, such as a homemade queso dip, and it barely gets touched. A lot of the women are/strive to be very thin and some have allergies, so I always take that into consideration whenever i bring a dish.

    I thought for awhile that maybe it was just my cooking but then i noticed in general, they really dont eat.

    I have one friend who is constantly on a diet, makes a HUGE fuss about it, will bring her own special food to the party (which is fine btw) and then later in the night, raid the dessert table like its going out of style. it confuses me.

    All this to say, its making the get togethers kind of a drag and not much fun. Has anyone else dealt with this?

    1. LizB*

      I have one friend who is constantly on a diet, makes a HUGE fuss about it, will bring her own special food to the party (which is fine btw) and then later in the night, raid the dessert table like its going out of style. it confuses me.

      I’ve been doing some work with a dietician who specializes in a strategy called Intuitive Eating, and I’ve learned that this is actually a very common thing in people who chronically diet. Deprivation, or attempted deprivation, does weird things to people’s minds. When people constantly hold themselves back from eating certain foods or food in general, they crave those foods (or any food) way more intensely than they normally would, and then when they “slip up” or “cheat” they go way overboard and eat more than they ever would have if they hadn’t spent hours thinking “I’m NOT gonna have a brownie!”, often eating past the point of fullness. I’ve definitely done this while on diets, I know most of my friends also have… it’s a weird thing. I didn’t recognize it as a pattern until it was pointed out to me, but now thinking back it’s definitely been part of my experience for a long time.

      …that doesn’t really help with your friend situation, I realize, I’m just fascinated by what I’m learning and will take any opportunity to nerd out about it.

      I can’t tell which part of this scenario is making you uncomfortable, exactly — for me, it would be a combination of a) I take great pride in my cooking and it hurts my feelings when nobody eats what I make, and b) there’s a weird female-bonding culture around dieting that makes me feel guilty when someone else is making “better” food choices than I am. If it’s either of those things, I would try in your own mind to realize that your friends’ eating habits are about them, not you. You could make the most delicious, healthiest dish in the world, and people who are committed to constantly dieting may still refuse to eat it. Nothing to do with you! It’s just the way they’re choosing to operate. You should eat as much as your body needs, and if your friends aren’t eating the same amount, then either their bodies just need less/different fuel or they’re making the choice to have different (not “better”) eating habits. You don’t need to make any kinds of value judgements about yourself or your food based on what your friends do.

      That kind of mindset takes time to cultivate, so if you can do some other, non-food activities with this group, that might help take some of the pressure off as well.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Echoing this.
        I eat a very limited diet. I will cheat when I am out someplace sometimes. However, if you try to make something just for me,…. well, it’s best not to try.

        As far as your friend raiding the dessert table, I can mention two things. One, is the more tired we get the easier it is to fall off our diets. Energy has to come from some where. Our bodies know that hit of sugar will give us energy. You see your friend at the dessert table she probably should have gone home an hour ago.

        Second thing, the intent is still in place. She started by eating correctly for her diet. If she ate whatever and then ate dessert on top of whatever, she might have problems later because she has eaten way too many foods that are off her diet. I know what I have eaten for the week. If I go to Friend’s house and accidentally eat something with nuts in it, I know I will be okay because I have not eaten nuts all week. If Friend invited me back for leftovers the next day, I would definitely not eat the nuts. Likewise if Friend offered to give me something with nuts in it to take home, I would have to refuse, knowing it would go to waste.

        Since I have been watching my food more closely I have a lot less health issues, I function, I go to work everyday. The thing that I have noticed is that so many activities revolve around eating. And people sincerely believe that if I don’t eat their food then obviously I do not love them. Try, try, try to remember, that your friends said YES to your company and only said no to your food. Just because they do not eat your food, does not mean they love you less.

        I wish we (society) could separate food from love. I think it will be a while, though.

        My suggestion is to find ways to focus less on the foods and more on the companionship. For your friends who are still sorting their relationship with food, this is ideal, because it gives them breathing room and it gives them the pure, free companionship that most of us need.

    2. Pug Lover*

      Another example to give some background to my original question: A few months ago, I hosted this same group of friends over for dinner. I said I would provide dinner and asked if Food Choice was good for everyone. Everyone except for Friend on Perpetual Diet said she would be bringing her own food, which was fine with me.

      The women come over and everyone eats said dinner. Friend on Diet came and brought two baguettes of bread, two kinds of crackers, and some dip and said, “im on my diet but having a bad day, so im not going to eat the meal – just the carbs i brought.”

      Honestly, it hurt my feelings and baffled me at the same time. And no, it wasnt special diet bread, crackers, or dip – it was straight up junk food.

      1. sappy as heck*

        From what you’ve written, I’d guess Friend on Diet may have an unhealthy relationship with food and eating. In your story above, you said it was fine for her to bring her own food, but then you seem upset because you don’t think what she brought was appropriate. In a logical world, if she wasn’t going to eat her special diet then yes, it makes sense she would eat what you prepared. But this sounds like an emotional response- “I had a bad day, I need some comfort.” I really don’t think this is about you or what you’re cooking.

        I get together with a group of women friends regularly and for a while, we tried to have a more formal, “Susie hosts and cooks for everyone” kind of approach. That was a disaster, because we had a vegetarian, a vegan, a celiac, and a Paleo person in the group. NO main dish fit everyone’s needs. Now the hostess makes some dishes, and everyone brings a dish she likes and shares. Much less stress and everyone’s guaranteed to be able to eat.

        1. Lurker*

          Oy… I have a friend who doesn’t eat wheat, meat or dairy. She’s lovely to have over and doesn’t make a fuss about food (and eats well when it’s stuff she can eat!), but I do have to remind my other half that he can’t just invite her to dinner on a whim- I need to plan! I can only do so many iterations of black beans and rice or taco night before it gets old.

          Now other half… he’s the world’s pickiest and there’s no rhyme or reason to it. If I didn’t know I was a pretty good cook (worked in food my whole life, rave reviews from friends and family, etc), it would really mess with my head.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Ugh.
        Okay this is a person who controls her food choices right up to seconds before she eats the food. “I want X. No. Wait. I want Y. Whoops. Not really. I will feel like Z, because Y was so five minutes ago.”

        I have done some of this emotional type eating. I worked very hard not to do it in front of others though. Some of it is emotions, some of it can be driven by allergies. People can crave the very thing they are allergic to and when faced with a bad day those cravings can be massive.

        Try to remember that people who lack vitamins and minerals tend to be pulled about by the craving of the moment. It only makes sense to them, if you insist up looking for logic, you will only end up hurt and confused. This problem actually has very little to do with you and everything to do with her emotions and nutritional intake. This is a person who is very unhappy with life in general. Try your best to let this go.

        Probably what happened here is she told you she would bring her own food. So she knew you did not include her in the head count when you prepared your food. She was going to fix this wholesome meal, but her day fell down around her ears. She lost the patience/time/energy to fix the food. She could not show up empty handed because that would be rude after telling you not to worry about feeding her. She grabbed some comfort food and headed over to your place.

    3. Shabu Shabu*

      One group of my friends does this. I’ve decided that I’m just going to eat what I want and if they don’t want to eat, so be it.

      I’m basically the…garbage disposal of the group, hahaha. Everyone gives me the left overs after I ask over and over again “are you sure you don’t want to take this home?!”

      I second the ‘doing other things than eating’ idea.

  21. Carrie...*

    I’ve never worn glasses, and am now in my mid-40’s. I have slowly been realizing that my near vision is not as clear, and I really need reading glasses. Haven’t had my eyes checked since I was a child.

    So…. how do most people handle this? It is really pretty inconvenient to be carrying a pair of reading glasses at all times, digging them out of your bag etc.. when you realize you need them. But wearing them around your neck makes me feel like my 80 year old aunt. Wearing them half way down my nose so I can look over them to see far is not a flattering look either.

    So… what do most people do? Get glasses made to wear all the time that are bifocals with plain glass/no script on top, and their reading glasses script on the bottom?

    I work in a job where I am constantly running around… reading close, then far, then at computer, then walking down a hall etc…..

    1. Perse's Mom*

      I’d start with a visit to your optometrist and see what they say about your overall vision before worrying too much about scenarios. It may be that you do only need reading glasses, but it’s also possible that the cumulative loss of vision is worse than you think it is – in which case they may just recommend ordinary corrective lenses.

    2. Myrin*

      I think you’ll really need to bite the bullet here sooner or later. I’m nearsighted and have had glasses since I was seven but my mum is like you. Comes from a family where everyone has perfect vision (my grandparents are in their eighties and don’t really need glasses) and never had to deal with any eye trouble and then when she was your age, she started to not be able to read anymore. By now (she’s 61), her far vision has suffered as well so she’s now wearing bifocals at all times (which she slowly got used to but still complains about all the time), but that only needed to happen last year or so. Before that, she bought like twenty cheap reading glasses and put one in every coat, bag, and room she could ever need one. She says it’s annoying but bearable since it’s what she needs lest she won’t be able to read anything at all.

    3. Ange*

      My stepmother often wears hers on top of her head. Apart from that I have no suggestions since I can barely see without mine.

    4. Ellen*

      If you end up getting bifocals be very careful of curbs and stairs at first.

      Otherwise I have no advice, got bifocals at 8. :-)

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Ha, yes, this is good advice. I got bifocals for the first time earlier this year, and my first act upon leaving the glasses store was to fall off the curb on the way to my car. The bifocals mess with your depth perception until you start unconsciously adjusting to them.

    5. Dynamic Beige*

      I got half glasses because I had a problem reading a document and then switching to the computer. But as I work from home, I don’t really care if it’s a bad look. I only take them out when I need them, most of the time they’re in their case. I had a weird situation where I couldn’t buy them at the drug store, 1 was the smallest I found at a drug/dollar store/optometrist and it was too much, gave me headaches within a short time of putting them on, I needed a 3/4 *rolls eyes*

      Most people I know have bought a fancy/sparkly/cool strap to wear them around their neck. Or they have several pairs because they are always losing them. If you use them constantly in one specific place, like your desk at work, you could get some sort of stand for them and put them there when you’re done. Otherwise, yeah, it’s reaching into your bag for them when you need them and putting them away again.

    6. Mephyle*

      Not helpful to you, but when I arrived at this point in life, I found that my having needed glasses since pre-school age finally had a certain advantage! Losing my near vision was just a question of switching from mono glasses to bifocals. Nevertheless, neither one is good for computer screen distance, so I have a second pair of glasses with mono lenses just for that distance. I keep them near the computer since I only use them when I am working there.
      As for you, how to handle it depends on how often you will need to switch between glasses/no-glasses. If you can afford it, it might be worth first doing the carrying glasses and digging them out when needed thing. Then you can decide whether that is too tedious and you do want to get bifocals.
      My husband (a no-glasses wearer) found that once he reached the reading-glasses age, when he was working at the computer, he had to take them on and off every few seconds if he was working with a print document at the computer, so he got a pair of bifocals that worked at two distances; one for reading and the other for the computer screen. The rest of the time, he doesn’t need to wear any glasses.
      Either way, if (or when) you opt for bifocals, the optician (not the optometrist, who tests your vision, but the optician, who makes your glasses) should show you all the options; there are many different bifocal shapes besides just top half/bottom half. My reading lens is a little oval with the top chopped off and takes up only about 35% of my total lens area.

    7. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I put them in my shirt pocket when I have one, or in the neckline of my shirt when I don’t. Of course, that’s how my newest, most expensive pair wound up run over by the mail truck in front of our house a few months ago, so take that recommendation with a grain of salt!

    8. AliceBD*

      Here are some various strategies, from people I know (I’ve worn vision correction full-time since age 7, so not my personal experience):
      My mom can wear contacts + reading glasses, or her regular glasses and take them off to read. So she has reading glasses in her purse, next to her bed, at her desk, next to her seat on the sofa, in the kitchen, and so on. Anywhere she might need to read, there’s a pair of reading glasses there. When she has her regular glasses on and needs to read, she pushes them to the top of her head. (Her hair is short, so it’s never held back — if you have hair that is styled with pins/elastics/etc. this may be more difficult.)

      A coworker needs glasses for reading and the computer, but not daily life. She wears a necklace with a metal charm thing on it. You just think it’s a neat necklace most of the time, but the charm thing is designed to hold her glasses — the glasses are folded up and one arm is stuck through the charm thing (like how you’d put them into the neck of your shirt). I think it looks nicer than the more old-fashion way of having a cord attached to each arm of the glasses and having the glasses unfolded and hanging down.

  22. Lindsay J*

    Moving when you own a house?

    So, boyfriend got a job offer in another state. He’s been wavering on whether or not to take it. One of the big complications is that he owns the house we currently live in.

    (I’m not entirely sure why he brought a house when he knew that he has been applying for jobs out of state, and that getting a job for almost any of the large employers in his field would require a move.)

    Basically, it seems like our three possibilities are renting, selling, or staying here.

    From what his realtor said, he could sell it for what he paid for it (he’s owned it for about 6 months). And he could likely get a cash offer from an investor.

    She also said that it would be easy to rent. I’m kind of wary about being a landlord, however, because of some of the horror stories I’ve heard. Texas makes it easier to evict tenants that most other states, However, if we got a non-paying tenant (or just couldn’t get tenants at all immediately) we would be on the hook for the mortgage here and rent in a new place and that would put us into a financial crunch. Legal fees would add costs. We would still be responsible for paying to replace any appliances or whatever that broke, etc. We would likely have to pay a property manager of some sort. IDK, it seems like in one instance we would break even on keeping the house or make a bit of money, and in many other instances it would be a financial burden during a time where we couldn’t really afford it. (The new job would involve a pay cut for him for the first year and we don’t make a ton as it is.)

    I’ve never had to consider this when moving; it’s always been just paying the fee to break the lease and that’s it. So it’s a whole new set of responsibilities to consider. So we would love any insight (positive, horror stories, advice, whatever) from people who have been through this before.

    1. chickabiddy*

      I have family who own rental properties. Granted, they have more than one, but it is very much a job/business for them. I personally would not want to be a landlord, especially long-distance, and especially if my own finances (and right now they certainly would so this is not an insult!) would be stretched by a few months without rental payments or a major repair or appliance replacement. I could choose in my own home to wash dishes by hand or drive to the laundromat for a month or two while I saved up, but as a landlord you’re obligated to replace appliances immediately.

    2. Colette*

      Keep in mind that the seller pays the real estate commission (if the US is the same as Canada), which means selling at the price he bought it at would cost you 3-5% of the selling price plus legal fees.

    3. Caprice*

      If you can come out even from a sale, I would say do that. Best just to move on and focus on your life in your new state. My dad was a landlord for most my childhood, and it was more trouble than it was worth. He did often have to evict the tenants every few years. (And cleaning up after the tenants…ew. Also, they left a TON of toys and nicknacks which usually required a trip to the dump.) He didn’t have many repairs to make or need to replace appliances very much, just as they got older. He had the house for a good 20+ years, but hauling away left behind junk, and a top to bottom cleaning and repainting before getting it rented out again took about a month.

      If you did think about keeping it, I would put a lot of research into getting a good manager for the property. My sister had a terrible experience with the property manager of the condo she rented out. She was without a fireplace or an adequate working furnace for about 10 days in the winter before the manager got around to doing her job. Also, the condo has covered parking, but a portion of it needed to be rebuilt. It has been about 18 months since the covered part has been torn down, but has yet to be rebuilt. She moved out about a year ago, but her experience with the prop manager was a deciding factor to not renew.

      1. Florida*

        Make sure you come out even. As Colette mentioned above, the seller pays the commission. There are other fees that are typically paid by the seller. Yes, it’s negotiable, but there are norms for your state. For example, where I live, the seller typically pays the taxes on the deed (state tax). That’s going to be hard to negotiate. Some of these fees might be $50 here, $100 there. But it all adds up.
        Make it clear to your real estate agent, that you want your walk-away money after all expenses to be $____. They should be able to set the price accordingly.

    4. It happens*

      As pointed out above, selling for purchase price is really a loss due to commissions/fees. As well, renting and then selling later could have implications on the mortgage (no longer primary residence) and taxes; different tax scheme for selling the house you live in vs. investment property (any house you haven’t lived in for two (3?) of the last five years.) Find someone who can advise you on the financial aspects of being a small landlord and tax issues. Good luck

    5. Jax*

      I am a long distance landlord, without a management company. I inherited the property and immediately after I told the tenant I was the new owner he quit paying rent and I had to initiate an eviction. It was not fun and it was costly. BUT since then I’ve had the same couple in the house for the past 5 years. There have been some issues with appliances breaking (air conditioner, heater, water heater all were 30+ years old and all went out) but it is easy enough to find a company, tell them what you need and give them your credit card and they take care of the rest. Management companies typically take 8-10% of the rents and will find the appropriate contractors to work with and coordinate the replacements, though.

      If you get good tenants then it isn’t a terrible amount of work. Look for people who have stable employment and a reason to stick around. Do a background check (there are a ton of companies that will do this for landlords) and make sure they haven’t skipped out on rent before.

      Being a landlord isn’t all horror stories. But really it’s up to you to decide if it is worth it or if you can take a loss on the house.

    6. Onnellinen*

      I went through this last winter – I accepted a job offer across the country, in City A, and had to decide what to do with the house I owned and lived in, in City B. It was a very tough decision, since I love City B and really loved my house and neighbourhood. Ultimately I sold, partially because I did some research, and didn’t think I could cover my carrying costs by renting the house out… but selling it also allowed me buy a new place in City A, which I probably could not have done if I were still carrying my first mortgage.

      – think about if you want to come back to the area – in a couple of years, or even in the longer term. It might be worth keeping property if you think it’s the type of house you’d like to be in at that stage of your life.
      – take a look at Craigslist to see what the going rent is for similar properties, and if there are any in your area, talk to a couple of professional landlord or property management companies to get an opinion on what it could be rented for, and what their fees were. I was seriously considering this option because the idea of being a long-distance landlord was daunting. Some tenants renting might be proactive and deal with stuff if say, the furnace wasn’t working, but some might need a closer point of contact to deal with stuff
      – you’ll need to do the math on what the full carrying costs of the house are (mortgage, property taxes, insurance, etc.) to see if financially it makes sense
      – in some areas, you’ll pay different taxes if you are selling your primary residence vs an income property – and if you decide to sell down the road, you might not be able to show it as well if there are tenants – so any painting and repairs would have to happen around them, and they might not tidy up as much as you would for potential buyers

      Good luck – it’s a big decision!

  23. AliCat*

    I’m 28 and I’m finally about to buy my first car!!! (My parents gave me a car at 18 and I’ve had it for the last 10 years).
    I’ve got a big dog and may be getting another one so I want a car that will make it easy to haul them everywhere. The other downside is that I live in a remote area so the nearest dealerships for these cars would be 150 miles away. It’s kind of an overwhelming process but I’m really interested in the following vehicles:
    1. Subaru Forester
    2. Mazda CX-5
    3. Subaru Impreza Wagon
    4. VW Golf Sportwagon

    I was wondering if anyone has owned any of these cars and what they liked/didn’t like about them. I would really like some candid feedback on any or all of the above because the reviews I am reading are all so incredibly contrary to each other.

    Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Red Reader*

      I cannot tell you anything about those vehicles from personal experience, alas. Though I have a friend who does mountaineering/hiking in Montana with a big German Shepherd and swears by her Forester.

      Personally, I have a family of four (including me), 110 pounds worth of dogs (70lb bloodhound mix and 40lb boxer mix, and I’m half-assed Great-Dane-rescue stalking, though everyone else keeps telling me I can’t have more than two dogs at a time), and a 2014 Honda CR-V in Midwestern Suburbia, and it’s been perfect for our needs.

    2. Sierra*

      I own a Mazda 3 which will turn 10 next year. Before I bought this one, I drove Saturns, but the brand has been discontinued. I love my car. It’s very reliable and has a great rating. I won’t be buying a new car for a few years now, but I plan to stick with Mazda for as long as it is in operation.

      1. Emilia Bedelia*

        Seconded. I love my Mazda 3. It’s too small for a big dog (I’ve been told it’s too small for adult humans in the back seat…) but the brand is great.

        1. Sierra*

          Hmm, I haven’t had any complaints from friends in the back. Most of my friends are average height though.
          Also, the trunk space is AMAZING. I have been able to pack a lot of things back there.

    3. Temperance*

      Booth had an Impreza for years, and it’s an awesome car. We’ll probably do a Forester for our next car. I own a VW New Beetle, and I wouldn’t buy a VW going forward. The company is seriously shady.

    4. Cass*

      I’ve never owned any of the cars you listed, but I’ve heard Subarus are really great in the snow if that’s a concern.

    5. periwinkle*

      I have owned 3 Subarus, once of which we still have (a 2003 Impreza WRX). You cannot kill a Subaru. My first was a 1980 model, I bought it used in 1984, sold it (still running fine) to a college kid in 1993. My second was a 1993, bought used in 1997 and was my daily driver until I donated it to the local volunteer fire squad in 2008. FYI, they love receiving Subarus for jaws-of-life practice because they’re so tough to rip apart. In 2008 I took over the WRX from my husband as my daily. It’s 2016 and the WRX is once again my husband’s because he works from home and doesn’t drive that often. Meanwhile, my father used to drive a 1996 Impreza until it was totaled in stopped traffic – idiot driver rammed it at high speed and pushed it into the back of a pickup truck. My dad was in his 70s at the time – and walked away with just some scratches and bruises from the airbag. He promptly replaced it with a 1998 Impreza which he is still driving.

      So yeah, I love Subarus. Big dogs and Subarus are a natural pairing. I live near Seattle and sometimes it feels like living in a Subaru dealership.

      However, I am now driving a Mazda CX-5! I need the cargo space and wanted to sit higher up. OMG I love this vehicle. I considered the Forester and Outback, of course, but was too used to the sport handling of the WRX to be happy with them. The CX-5 isn’t as nimble as our other Mazda (Miata) but for a CUV it is very agile. It might be too high off the ground for older dogs to hop in the cargo area easily, but then again I’m really short and to me everything looks too high! The CX-5 cabin doesn’t keep out the engine noise as well as some other CUVs but I just turn up the radio.

      This might matter since you’re living in a remote area: Subarus are full-time AWD. The Mazda CX-5 has a predictive AWD system that keeps the vehicle in front-wheel drive mode until the sensors detect you’re in conditions that call for AWD.

      1. Red Reader*

        I think the CX5 is similar in size/height to my CRV and my arthritic 9yo pup doesn’t have any trouble getting into either the cargo boy or the back seat.

    6. Troutwaxer*

      Per Consumers 2016 Automotive issue:

      Subaru Forrester has good reliability
      Mazda CX-5 has incredible reliability.
      Subaru Impreza has above-average reliability
      Volkswagon Golf appears to have above-average reliability, but several model-years made their “don’t ever buy” list. I’m not sure why, but you might take the Volkswagon off your list.

      The Toyota Rav-4 and Highlander show incredible reliability and the Nissan Murano shows good reliability, so you might consider them as well.

    7. Amadeo*

      The only feedback I can give you (I just bought an F150) is that my siblings at one point or another have also considered Subarus, but dad is a mechanic and reminded them both times that Subarus are kind of expensive to repair should they be out of warranty, so that’s something to consider.

    8. AliCat*

      Thank you all so much for your comments! After going through them I am definitely nixing the VW off the short list. The only concerns I have about the Subarus and the Mazda is the technology side. I haven’t heard very good things about their onboard entertainment systems – that they’re really sluggish and can be really difficult to pair with your phones. Anyone want to chime in on this??

      1. Taylor swift*

        Honestly my biggest regret is buying a Subaru – it’s pretty but the technology is hard to use, the experience I had at the dealer was not great, and I just don’t feel like it drives as smoothly as the Ford Escape I used to drive. And I can’t figure out how to change my clock – I’ve used the directions and tried really hard and it doesn’t work so I’m stuck an hour behind.

      2. Clever Name*

        Yeah, the navigation system is pretty terrible in the forester, so if that’s something that’s important to you, you might factor that in. I loved the navigation system In the Honda CR-V we test drove.

      3. periwinkle*

        Mazda revamped their onboard entertainment system a couple years ago, which reviewers said was a massive improvement; I’ve never used the older version so cannot comment on that. I splurged on the CX-5 so I’ve got the full Grand Touring tech package (slow-speed braking support, auto-dimming mirror, various other lighting features) and i-Activ safety package (cruise with proximity warning, lane departure, various other things).

        The screen is 7″ and is both touch-screen and dial-controlled. Touch screen controls are inactive when the vehicle is moving but you can still use the dial on the center console to use the nav and audio systems. No problem at all connecting my iPhone via Bluetooth, works fine for both music and calls. It doesn’t feel sluggish to me although there’s a pause while switching between SiriusXM stations, but I probably only notice that because I’m desperately switching away from a song I loathe…

      4. Nancie K*

        I bought a 2016 Mazda 3 early this year, and I think the entertainment system is pretty great. I didn’t have any trouble pairing the phone, and I don’t notice any lag in the system.

        A couple of times the nav system has claimed its not installed (the software/app is there by default, but unusable if it thinks you haven’t purchased the maps.) Both times, stopping and restarting the car cleared it right up.

    9. Come On Eileen*

      I’ve had the Mazda CX-5 for four years now (bought it a few months after the model was first released). Four years later I still love absolutely everything about this car. Fun to drive, yet smooth, hauls people plus stuff really nicely, good gas mileage (I get around 29 miles to a gallon). I recommend it to all my friends.

    10. AliceBD*

      Don’t know how helpful this is, but I have a Mazda 3 and LOVE it and will very much be considering a Mazda for my next car in a few years. And my dad has a Subaru (Outback I think?) which he got a few years ago because his brother and his best friend have been driving Subarus for years. His brother works for environmental nonprofits and is always driving in fields and such, and his best friend lives on the side of a mountain on a gravel road, and they both love their Subarus.

    11. shorty*

      I bought a Forester 6 years ago and I love it!

      Some random things I like:
      It’s great for hauling camping gear, sporting goods, yard waste, etc. I even moved a large 5-cushion sectional in my Forester. (Granted, it was in multiple trips, but still! I was amazed.) The fuel economy is pretty good considering its size and AWD. Mr. Shorty and I think it will be a great car to have once we have kids. Several of my friends also have Foresters and love them. I won’t be selling any time soon, but as far as I know Subarus really hold their value. It’s pretty comfy on road trips. It also fits 4 adults comfortably.

      And some of the negatives:
      Not much to report here, but Mr. Shorty says it’s a real pain to wash and wax because it’s a lot larger than his car. He also thinks the big maintenance procedures are more expensive than for his Honda, but that doesn’t bother me because it rarely needs maintenance and I expect to have it for many more years anyway.

    12. Nancypie*

      I had an Impreza and replaced it with a Mazda (CX-9, not 5). I loved the Subaru but needed better ability to carpool. The nice thing about my Mazda is that is has truck spacing but feels like a luxurt car. I car barely feel bumps, etc. the integrated Bluetooth is awful if I pair more than 1 phone at a time, but it’s older and they must have improved it. Works great now that I only use it with one phone. I didn’t have any tech like that with the suburb to compare it with. So, net-net, both are cool.

    13. AliCat*

      Thanks again for all the comments – they have been very helpful. I’ve decided to test drive the subarus, the mazda and the honda cr-v! Since the dealerships are all near my parents house about 150 miles away, I’ve decided to make a weekend of it next week. I’ll be honest in that I haven’t test driven a car since 2006 so I honestly am having difficulty trying to figure out how much time to allow myself at each dealership. Would 2 hours be too much? Too little?

      1. Thinking out loud*

        Probably too much if you’re just looking at one car and test driving that one car at each place. But if you’re going to be actually buying a car (or even talking price) then two hours is totally reasonable. I always make a point of refusing to talk price on the first day – I hate high pressure sales and I want to take a few days to think about a purchase that large.

    14. Bibliovore*

      I love my Suburu Forester.
      It was my first car (got my license at 54)so I nothing to compare it to. That said
      The sightless are good.
      I live in MN- Mr. Bibliovore borrows it when the roads get bad (he has a Toyota Camry)
      It has plenty of space and the seats are easy to fold down if you need it flat in the back.

      I don’t have an opinion about the technology as mine is a 2012. The radio turns on.

      1. Bibliovore*

        (above correct sight-lines)

        give yourself at least a 1/2 day for the car dealer. If you find one you like, they will let you take it on the road.
        Our dealer handed me the keys and said see you after lunch. (hah! I only had my license two days)
        Once you pick the car you like…(make sure that you went on line and figured out how much you were willing to pay for it) Take your time test driving. Make sure the seat is comfortable.

    15. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I test drove #s 1&2 but bought a Honda CR-V. I might have gotten the Mazda but the closest dealership was an hour away. The forester had too much power and felt out of control. My husband drives a outback and it has so many little thoughtful things like seat warmers and a light for the ground when you step out of the car. I think the forester has those as well. But the crv, Cx5 and the rav 4 were pretty indistinguishable. Oh, but just as I bought my crv the partial front impact tests were coming out for the first time. That’s where the car gets hit from the front but only on like the front foot or so. There’s a better name for it that I just can’t remember right now. Anyway, if you haven’t considered that you could factor it in. You could also road trip to one of those mega dealers and test drive all in one day and then compare them all side by side. I found I forgot car A in the drive to the dealer for car B so having them all in the same place really helped.

    16. anon (the other one)*

      Take a look at the Honda Fit. The rear seats flip up and make a nice space for a large dog. Or it could go in the wayback. The point of entry is lower as well…making it easier for the dog to jump in. I have had mine since 2007 and it is hands down the best car I have ever owned.

  24. Former Invoice Girl*

    Fall has finally come! The weather turned rather cool pretty suddenly and people complain a lot about it, but the freshness of the air gives me a hopeful, happy feeling, like everything in life will turn out for the better. I’m most definitely not someone whose mood worsens as it gets dark and cold out there.

    1. Allypopx*

      Fall! Yay!

      While I would love for the weather to be perpetually in the 60’s, it was 85 yesterday and is 65 today, and my office building has not adjusted the very finicky A/C, so it is still blasting. I’m cold!

      But I’m also wearing leggings and a sweater and very happy about that.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I love fall so much! And I miss it. I now live in the Southeast, where we don’t really get fall. We kinda sorta get something like it in October and November. I’m super jealous of all of my friends in NYC who are wearing hoodies and making plans to go apple picking. I feel the same way you do about the hopefulness. To me, fall has always equaled new beginnings and a new year and fresh start.

      Our apples SUCK, y’all. We don’t get any good ones, like Jona Golds or Mutsu Crispins or Winesaps. Harrumph.

    3. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      Fall definitely arrived here, and bang on schedule, too! The official first day of fall was Thursday, which was the first day there was a genuine snap to the air and it really felt like fall. For me this means fall cleaning! I was getting into nooks and crannies of the shower and tub with the toothbrush and bleach today, and I’m de-mustifying all the towels, and probably tomorrow I’ll take the feather duvet out of the cedar chest to air it and then wash it. If I really get ambitious I’ll wash the windows and the walls, but we’ll see about that.

    4. Autumn in NC*

      I know!! I love waking up in the dark. I don’t need my sleep mask anymore.
      It’s still a little warm where I am in the afternoons, but the mornings are crisp and breezy. I love it.

      1. Former Invoice Girl*

        Afternoons tend to be a bit warmer here as well, but mornings and evenings are fresh and crisp.
        Also that satisfying feeling when you think it’s already late due to it being dark outside, then look at the clock and realize it’s only about 7 p.m. I seriously love this season!

  25. Jubilance*

    Any suggestions on books to read before my baby person arrives? So far I’ve read Jessica Valenti’s “Why Have Kids?” and I’m almost done with “Bringing Up Bebe” which I adore, and I read Emily Oster’s “Expecting Better” before I even got pregnant. For context, this is my first baby and I pretty much hate everything I see in upper middle class American parenting, from attachment parenting to making your kid the center of your world. I think that’s why I like Bringing Up Bebe so up, it seems so much saner than the craziness I see here when it comes to raising kids. I just wanna raise my kid to be well adjusted but I also don’t want to give up my entire life.

    1. chickabiddy*

      Push Back, by Amy Tuteur, who writes the SkepticalOB blog. (FWIW, I did most of the “attachment parenting” stuff, and from what I’ve read so did she, but there’s a difference between breastfeeding because it works best for you and your baby and lactation as a mission in life. I haven’t read the book myself, but I’ve been reading the blog for some time and I think it could be a sanity saver for new moms.)

    2. Sparkly Librarian*

      I found “Becoming the Parent You Want to Be” very helpful in challenging negative patterns in the way I was brought up and acknowledging that reality is different from parenting ideals.

    3. nep*

      Just curious — what do you mean by all the craziness when it comes to raising kids — could you elaborate on what you’ve observed?
      Wishing you all the best.

      1. the gold digger*

        Not a parent, but my observations are (that make me crazy)

        1. Parents doing chores – washing dishes, cutting grass, shoveling snow – when they have able-bodied children
        2. Parents being unable to socialize with their friends because they have to go to their kid’s soccer practice (yes, practice)/soccer game (you do not have to go to every game or every swim meet)/classmate’s birthday party
        3. Parents introducing their three year old to me by my first name
        4. Parents letting their children interrupt adult conversations even if there is no blood
        5. Parents letting their children put their shoes on my white sofa
        6. Parents letting their children open and close every cupboard in my kitchen
        7. Parents letting their children to nice adult restaurants and then not doing anything when the kid gets antsy and noisy
        8. Parents letting their children slowly feed library books into the return slot one by one when they have 20 books and there are five adults in line

        BTW, I blame the kids in none of these. These are all parent fails, not child fails.

        PS Yes, I am cranky today. Why do you ask?

        1. Rob Lowe can't read*

          Related to #8: Parents letting their children scan items in the self-checkout at the grocery store, as the lines behind them stretch back into the aisles.

        2. nep*

          Amen to a few of these.
          Number 2? If someone wants to be at every game and scrimmage and practice and all of it, more power to them, I say.
          Number 1 — I get that. But if the able-bodied child is reading a book or being creative in some way, I’d just as soon do the dishes myself.

          1. TL -*

            Ha. If my parents thought that way, I’d never have done any chores. Kids need chores and they can easily interrupt play/book/art time to get them done and then go back. (A little flexibility is good, but in general, chores are chores and they need to be done.)

              1. nep*

                Didn’t mean that kids shouldn’t do chores. Parents would do kids a big disservice freeing them from chores absolutely.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                Though on holidays, my mum and aunties, etc. would always do the dishes and didn’t want our help–I suspect they just wanted a break from us for a while!! Also to chat and catch up. So we were excused. :)

              2. TL -*

                Sorry if that sounded harsh. I just think that most of my free time as a child was spent reading or doing something creative (often to the dismay of my parents, but it was, technically, creativity.) I don’t think my childhood was particularly unusual in that aspect, either.

          2. Observer*

            #1 is not doing the kid’s creativity any good. The reality is (and this is backed by a lot of studies) is that creativity needs a lot of discipline and boring grunt work to be successful. The old line about genius being 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration comes to mind.

            As well, doing these chores teaches kids a lot of practical life skills that make their lives a lot easier in the long term, and which winds up giving them more choices.

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Yes! I’m not creative myself, but I’ve worked with artists and designers, and it was really eye-opening the amount of discipline required in their work. I mean, like a total bad-ass level of discipline that I don’t know if I could sustain over years and years like they do.

            2. nep*

              Don’t know who said the creative life — or success in anything — doesn’t take work.
              Anyway I think I chose words poorly — Simply meant there’s a time for everything, and sometimes I might do the dishes and let a kid keep reading. A balance is essential. Of course children must learn to work and be responsible.

        3. Elkay*

          Re #1 I still say I’d move home because it means I wouldn’t have to be an adult any more. I cut the grass (for a fee) and had a job as soon as I was old enough but even when I lived at home, worked full time and paid rent I didn’t have to do any cooking, cleaning or laundry – it was bliss!

        4. Not So NewReader*

          Money issues would give a pretty good list, also.

          Right now the example I am thinking of is adult children. But that is not really your question. So consider children and money. How do they ask for things? Do they respect the no word? Do they have their own allowance? Are they learning to budget? Is the allowance realistic given their circumstances?

          I was given a $1 per week allowance. Out of that came any drinks or treats at school, my shampoo ($1.79), my pads (1.79, also) and whatever was left over was fun money. There was never anything left over. I learned all the wrong lessons about handling money. But the opposite can be just as mind-boggling for a kid transitioning to an adult.

        5. Kate*

          Some of those are annoying, I agree. But for #2, I don’t see anything wrong with parents attending soccer practices/games, etc. I actually think it’s great. I don’t think your whole entire work has to revolve around your kids, but I do think that kids notice and remember that their parents were or weren’t there for those things. It’s not that soccer practice is super important to me, but if it’s super important to my kid, I want to make the effort. Side note: how would the child’s get there if the parent didn’t attend?

          1. Nellieolsenwasframed*

            I don’t think #2 is critical of attending the games/practices, it reads more like, “attending all the games, while sacrificing adult social time to do so.”

            Lack of balance when all your ‘social events’ are actually the child’s to which you chauffeur and valet for. Adults need social times that suit their interest, and what is the message it gives to kids when all their events are priorities that the household/adults work towards, yet they never see adult activities as being equally important, or even more important?

          2. KR*

            Got to agree with this. My parents would watch my games sometimes, but more than not they just dropped me off and picked me up. A big reason I didn’t keep doing soccer was that I felt like I was bothering my parents with it.

            1. Ocelotfromcamelot*

              As someone who was not gifted athletically, I hated having my parents go to everything, particularly the games, after which they would offer helpful suggestions as to improve. They meant well, but it was not helpful.

        6. Nancypie*

          Regarding number 2 – depends a lot on age of kid and community where you live. Coaches don’t sign up to watch your kid, they sign up to coach them. And when kids are little (here, soccer starts at age 4), dropping off your kid and leaving WOULD NOT be appreciated. Later, as kids get older…can they walk to practice or does someone need to drop off/pick up? If they are walking home, are they old enough to stay home alone?

          Sure you can work out carpooling, watching schedules with other team parents, but first, you have to hang out at practice to meet these people, start to know them and develop a helping relationship with them.

          Often ” I can’t go to the mall with you because child has soccer practice” doesn’t mean it’s because I can’t tear my eyes off him, it means I made a commitment that involves driving, minding my child, being home, etc.

        7. Evie*

          I gotta say I don’t understand the issue with #3 – maybe there’s some specific context or cultural thing I’m missing.

      2. DragoCucina*

        I’ll add one. Never telling a child no.
        Example: At my old K-8 school the Halloween dance was the only one 5th graders were allowed to attend. All others were 6-8. No dates allowed. It was mostly costume fun. Suddenly we had a group of parents that wanted the school to make it only 6-8. They didn’t want their children to go, but didn’t want to be the same ones to say no. Sorry, we weren’t going to yank it away from the others kids because “you” don’t want to parent.

      3. Jubilance*

        The short answer is I don’t want or expect to make my children the center of my world, where I coddle them, never tell them no, never discipline, etc. I see A LOT of that, and overall American parenting feels like you have to sacrifice everything of yourself in order to be considered a “good” parent. I’m not going to do things like argue with a child (they will do what I say cause I’m the parent) or spending my days sitting at soccer practice when it’s not necessary. I wasn’t raised that way and I want to avoid getting pressure to conform to that parenting style.

        1. Cristina in England*

          You may need to adjust your expectations for the early years, since babies’ needs are so different from a first grader’s, for instance. A lot of parenting advice is really only appropriate for certain age ranges. It is fine to expect a 4 year old to understand “no” but with a 1 year old you should also redirect their attention to something else, for example, because it isn’t reasonable to expect a 1year old to follow directions no matter how authoritative you are.

          When your kids are young they kind of have to be the center of your universe. That’s how it works. They’re completely dependent on you for everything!

          1. Jubilance*

            I’m not slow, I understand that babies need a lot of attention. But I refuse to be the type of mother who never leaves her infant with a babysitter or even her father, because I feel like I “must” be there at all times. I see a lot of that happening, and judgements against mothers who don’t subscribe to that type of parenting. I’m opting out of all that crap.

            You may not agree with what I’m trying to do but you don’t need to comment to me like I’m a 5 year old.

            1. Cristina in England*

              Wow, that was harsh, Jubilance. You are reading an awful lot into what I said. I don’t disagree with most of what you said were your goals, actually. I will try to reply to a different part of your comment instead.
              You want to avoid the pressure to parent in ways you don’t believe are right? You can’t, unless you only surround yourself with like-minded people. You just have to trust your instincts and get support wherever you can. Good luck.

            2. Cristina in England*

              FWIW, I tell myself on a near-daily basis “she is only 3, give her a break” when I am frustrated with my daughter’s behaviour, so even though it may have seemed like The Total Obvious, my advice was honest, and rooted in my true daily struggle not to lose my patience.

              1. Caledonia*

                I didn’t read your comments are rude, cristina. I don’t have any children so I can’t comment on jubilance’s question but what you said makes sense and reads as reassuring.

                1. Cristina in England*

                  Thanks Caledonia, I was wondering how it read to others. I was typing it with my children in the room so my attention was not 100% but I hoped that it came across as reassuring.

          2. nep*

            I’m not a parent (though my life has been turned upside-down and my heart inside-out by a relative’s baby I help raise). Seems to me no one can be 100 percent sure just how they’ll be affected until that person is in his/her arms. Not doubting anyone’s convictions or plans of how they want to raise children — just saying that the power of that moment must be far, far, far beyond what anyone can imagine before that presence is here.
            Wishing you all the best, Jubilance.

          3. Ocelotfromcamelot*

            Funny that when commenting on general children, one person seems to be assuming children of a rational age (over 5) but the other commenter is referencing children as being young (under 5). Perhaps your read depends on how old your kids are, or how you define child. But I think it unlikely that the commenter was referencing ‘early years’ as it would be odd to complain about selfish 1 year olds, or terrible 2s for being, well, terrible.

            I think that it is inappropriate for parents to keep expectations and boundaries the same for their kids as the age. And I agree that there is a assumption that parents should sacrifice everything of themselves and make their children the center of their world – regardless of the age of the child. This is damaging for both the kid as well as the parent, because when you raise a kid, you are supposed to raising them to become an adult. And that means teaching them, by setting examples and expectations, by helping but also letting go and letting them fail.

        2. Shabu Shabu*

          Yes to all this.

          I’m not a parent yet but would like to be in a few years…I don’t want to lose myself in the process. Easier said than done obviously. I will love my child/ren more than anyone or anything, but I know that eventually they will grow up and live their own lives. I want to raise them to be good people and productive members of society. As they grow older, I want them to be independent and yet know that I will always be there for them.

          I understand what you mean. I know you’re not going to tell your 1 month old to make their own bottle ;)

        3. nep*

          It’s interesting how people worry so much about how others will see them — even to the point of anticipating the pressure to follow ‘convention’. You’ve got your convictions — own them, live them. Where are you afraid real pressure’s going to come from and what’s the worst-case scenario?
          I’m not judging or minimising Jubilance’s take here — I’m always just really curious about the power this seems to have on people — what others will think. Or am I missing something?

        4. The Avocado*

          I’d agree that it’s probably not worth worrying too much about this at the moment, simply because of the combination of ‘life changes in ways you can’t expect ‘ when a baby arrives, and ‘being super responsive when they’re tiny is a really great way of getting a decent and emotionally secure kid’ – basically I guess I’m saying it’s not going to be a problem yet :)

          Slightly separately, I would enthusiastically recommend breastfeeding – it is genuinely the best parenting tool I have found. Even at toddler stage, it’s an amazing way of helping them recentre themselves mid hideous tantrums :)

    4. Samantha*

      I loved Bringing Up Bebe! I recently read Simplicity Parenting. It’s longer than it needs to be, but I really like the premise, which is that kids today have TOO MUCH (too many toys, too many things on their schedule) and it’s negatively affecting their childhood. My son is 3 and I’m already seeing this. I definitely recommend this book.

      1. YaH*

        Whaaaat? Love You Forever is about crazyperson levels of enmeshment/obsession of a mother for her son. Sneaking into her teenage son’s room to snuggle and rock him and sing to him? Breaking into her adult son’s house to snuggle and rock him and sing to him? This is Robert Munsch’s only work that I am absolutely appalled by. I know he wrote it as a way to grieve for his two stillborn children, but it’s even grosser than The Giving Tree.

        1. Bibliovore*

          YaH,
          Oh I am so with you on this. I teach children’s literature and you cannot believe how many graduate students cannot see the crazy in these two titles.

    5. SAHM*

      I’m reading this now and realizing I really went on and on, but to sum it up. 1) Kids bounce 2) Failure is a learning experience 3) COMMUNITY

      All of this advice is good. I guess I stick with “Are you bleeding? No? Ok, go play.” -> Not a helicopter parent. Chores are different from responsibilities, they are responsible for feeding and playing with their dog and cleaning their room and putting away their laundry, they are expected to do 3 chores a day (like vacuum the stairs, put away silverware, take out the trash, age appropriate chores, ya know?) I’m working on them not interrupting me, on being patient (this is a tough one), and I cannot stand whining. It drives me up a wall. I will add the caveat that I’m only human and I don’t follow through every day on getting them to do chores, and sometimes I say “screw it” and let them watch TV all morning bc it maintains my sanity. But you figure it out, they’re your kids and no one will understand them like you will, you’ll have to tailor your teaching and disciplining to each child’s personality. I personally think it’s best to have a “mentor mom” whether that’s your own mom or someone else, whose been through the process and can go, “Yup, that’s normal, you’re ok, they’re still alive.” Having other moms around who have kids your own kids age is so crazy helpful. Cause then you’re in it together, it really is like living in the trenches of baby poop and midnight feeedings. You need people, people that get it. Now, you can totally parent on your own without community, it’s possible, I did it with kiddo #1, but why would you want to? It is sooooo much easier if you have other moms to talk to, who have advice and can be your shoulder to cry on and who will start a meal train for you and will randomly show up with baby diapers. I have such a amazing mom community where I live now, and it is soooo worth it.

      1. Rob Lowe can't read*

        I’m giving your numbered list to my SIL. :) She is 38 weeks pregnant with her first child (who will also be the first grandchild on our shared side of the family [our husbands’ family]), and I get the sense that she is feeling a lot like Jubilance – there is so much advice out there, but even people who are very well-intentioned can have a touch of tunnel vision about their chosen parenting approaches. She is also the first of her close friends to have a kid, so I am going to suggest that she try to find some other moms to communitize (which is now a word).

        1. Cristina in England*

          That tunnel vision is near universal. Check out Baby Meets World by Nicholas Day (or find excerpts in the Slate archives) for some interesting stuff about how no matter what they actually are, “other” parenting practices are greeted with horror.

        2. SAHM*

          Communitize! Love it! Seriously, everyone’s kid is different and it’s ok however you parent, but community, oh god, community makes SUCH a difference. There are a LOT of great young mom groups out there, the local libraries usually have a “baby and me” reading circle, you can check out your local MOPS, and look for local mom groups on FB. Also, idk if you’re SIL is going to have a meal train set up for her, but if you can drop by one day with dinner occasionally when the baby gets to be a bit older(~3 months) and she’s probably starting to feel less tunnel vision (“My preciousssssss”), bc everyone brings a meal when the baby is only a few weeks old but there’s this societal pressure that you get your shit together and make meals by the time 2/3 months have rolled around and that’s NOT true for everyone. Also, having someone just come over to hold the baby while your SIL can grab a shower (or however she chooses to de-stress/ become human again) that can be a huge help.

    6. LK03*

      I’m a new mother (my daughter is 4 months old), and I’m also reading various books to find good strategies for parenting well-adjusted, non-tyrannical kids. I also enjoyed Bringing Up Bebe, and am definitely planning to put the “wait” philosophy into practice (i.e., the author argues that teaching kids how to wait just a little will solve all kinds of unruliness problems often seen in upper-middle-class American kids.)

      Some other books I’ve enjoyed: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer was recommended by the same friend who recommended Bringing Up Bebe, and it has been extremely helpful in these first few months. In particular, it has really helped me understand how to read my newborn’s hungry vs. tired cues, and like Bringing Up Bebe this author advocates waiting before responding to a crying baby — not to let them cry it out for ages, but just long enough to try to diagnose why the baby is actually upset before jumping in with a “solution.” I don’t know if I can give this book all the credit, or if my baby is just naturally a good sleeper, but following some of the ideas in this book we’ve got a baby who’s a good napper and has been “doing her nights” since a little before 3 months. (So far, anyway. I’m a little worried about the “4-month sleep regression” I’ve read about online.)

      The Opposite of Spoiled has some useful ideas about kids and money: talking about it, handling it wisely. And it was a quick read.

      First Bite is something I heard about on NPR. It’s partly about how to get kids to eat healthily and not be picky eaters; there’s a lot of summarizing of published scientific literature on different aspects of eating and tasting and food habits and so on. I’m only partway through, but I’m finding it interesting and engaging, and it’s helping me make some decisions about how to start with solid foods when we get to that point.

      Good luck! I hope you have as much fun with your baby as I am with mine.

    7. AddyAnon*

      Happiest Baby on the Block! It was all the rage 8 years ago when I had my first, but my brother who had a baby last year had never heard of it. There’s a CD too, or you can get it on amazon video. If the baby is early or if if he/she starts crying at 3-4 weeks, it’ll be your new best friend. The method really, really works. (Fwiw, if you’ve got a spirited toddler, happiest toddler in the block is good too.)

      Also, a if you don’t already have one, and you like to read, get a kindle (better still if it has a backlight). Breast feeding takes up a hell of a lot of time, and a kindle is much easier to hold than a book.

    8. shorty*

      I’m not a parent (yet) but I love reading John Rosemond’s column in the newspaper. It sounds to me like you might appreciate his style. One of his main points is that the world should not revolve around children. His perspective is – by today’s standards – old fashioned but I think it’s very convincing. You may enjoy reading his newspaper column or books.

      1. Observer*

        I don’t agree with a lot of what he says, but a lot of his perspective is sound. He does, however, ignore some real issues – he claims that they don’t really exist. So, you need to keep that in mind with some of his work. On the other hand, sometimes his approach works even these issues because often behavior based approaches make a lot of sense no matter the underlying issue.

        He also does make a really good point – age does matter. Till about 2 years old, you really do need to approach things very differently than once they hit the “terrible twos.”

    9. Windchime*

      I don’t have any book recommendations because my boys are all adults and have been for many years. But I had the same concerns as you; I didn’t want to raise spoiled brats who weren’t able to take care of themselves. My main concern during their early years was to teach them to be good people. So phrases like “shut up” and “what is wrong with you??” were strictly forbidden. I didn’t say them, and I didn’t allow them to talk to each other that way, either. We tried spanking a couple of times but really all that did was make them mad and more uncooperative so we stopped that. That doesn’t mean that we took any guff, though. If one started making a fuss in a restaurant (very rare event), they were immediately taken outside. No exceptions. We only had to do it a few times. Same thing with the rare fit in the grocery store; immediate removal out to the car.

      I really found that, for me, the best strategy was to treat them as an actual human being who was at a specific stage in life. I tried to keep my expectations realistic, but to also hold them responsible for their actions as appropriate for their age and to give them age-appropriate ways to help around the house.

      Was it perfect? No. One of my boys was really hard to keep track of in his teens (drinking, partying, not being where he said he was going to be). The other was accident prone and there were lots of stitches and car accidents. But they have both grown up to be good, decent, hard-working members of society and that was my goal.

    10. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Anything by Ellyn Satter. Her big book for the infant and up age is “child of mine.” It looks thick but it is so good and very readable. She created a division of labor around feeding: your job as the parent is to decide the where, when and what of the meal. Your job is done once the food hits the table. Then it is up to the child to determine how much to eat of the foods offered. And it starts with breast or bottle feeding. At that age it’s about listening to your child’s signals and allowing them to determine what is enough. You never really know how much crazy ideas about eating and food you have absorbed until you’re responsible for feeding another person. If you have a partner then it’s double the crazy. For me, Ellyn’s books give me ways around my own crazy and let me and my daughter enjoy meals, cooking and feeding. Ellyn’s books are full of examples and stories and ideas like “everyone gets a turn at their favorites” and “enjoy fats”. “Secrets of feeding a healthy family” is the book I bring to baby showers. It has a condensed version of her ideas and chapters on food prep, meal planning and recipes. And now that I’m raising a teenager I have “how to get your child to eat but not too much” which is directed towards older kids. If you decide to start with “secrets” then at least look at the appendices of “child of mine” and check out the graphs in appendix b. They are all about how the body uses energy from carbs, sugars, fats and protein and it is very helpful to see how a meal or snack with all of the above keeps you satisfied until the next meal or snack. Ellyn is a nutrition moderate and believes feeding and eating should be enjoyable for everyone. Congrats!

  26. Stonkle*

    I need some movie recommendations for a 7 year old. He likes cats, technology, LEGO, scary things, and jokes. He is bored by a lot of talking, so something like Happy Feet, which I love, is not up his alley. I’d prefer a movie that was light on violence and not too vulgar because he emulates what he sees. i.e., I don’t want to spend the night talking about butts and watching him pretend to shoot guns at my cats. We’ve already watched the LEGO movie approximately 845 times, so that’s out :p

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      Flubber with Robbin Williams was really good. It’s not violent and has some jokes in. The flubber and robot are pretty cool and interesting too.

    2. Hattie McDoogal*

      WALL-E sounds like it would be up his alley. And since he sounds a lot like me as a 7 year old, I’m going to throw in a couple of recommendations for movies I liked a lot at that age: Labyrinth and Flight of the Navigator (probably too much talking in the latter, though).

    3. Elkay*

      Would he watch an undubbed foreign film? I know someone whose kid really enjoys Studio Ghibli films in Japanese (they don’t speak/understand Japanese), they’re really pretty to watch.

      1. Girasol*

        A lot of the Ghibli films are dubbed. How about Princess Mononoke? Ashitaka makes a good hero and the plot is multilevel – an adult can enjoy themes in it that a child will miss.

    4. Medical Student*

      May I suggest some of the really, really old Disney movies such as Herbie, Pollyanna, animated Robin Hood, Aristocats, etc? Great fun, clean, and enjoyable by all ages!

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Just be careful with some of those because they are kinda sorta racist or sexist. Song of the South, Peter Pan (Wendy’s song about her biggest wish to grow up and be a mother makes me gag sure it takes place in Victorian London but ugh), Lady and the Tramp (the Siamese cats), Pocahontas. There’s another but I can’t remember what it was. There’s probably more than one. When you’re a kid, you don’t notice but you see those again as an adult and OMG.

        When you understand how it was made, Fantasia is an amazing achievement.

        1. TL -*

          Dumbo has its moments, certainly. The hyenas in Lion King are all voiced by black actors and there’s some controversy over that, as well as the skin color in Aladdin being darker for the bad guys – problematic for some people and not for others. Beauty and the Beast is classic Stockholm syndrome and meets a lot of hallmarks for an abusive relationship. And pretty much all of the female characters before the late 80s are extremely passive.

          But as my professor said,”Doesn’t mean kids can’t watch ’em; but you should probably talk to them about what they’re seeing.” :)

          1. Jenna*

            Only one of the hyenas in The Lion King was voiced by a black actor (Whoopi Goldberg). I remembered that one of them was Cheech Marin but couldn’t remember the other one so I looked online and it was Jim Cummings, a white man.

        2. Maya Elena*

          Most if this goes over the heads of seven-year-olds. Think back to yout own childhood.

          To you, Wendy’s desires are “oppressed women”, etc. To them it’s JUST Wendy’s desires. Similarly with the Siamese cats. They also generally don’t see phallic symbolism drawn into the Little Mermaid’s castle or whatever.

          Not sure what your problem with Pocahontas is, since it casts the actions of the British in a bad light and promotes messages of multiculturalism, peace, environmental friendliness, and anti- materialism (“come roll in all the riches all around you, and for once, never wonder what they’re worth”).

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            Aside from the fact that she’s dressed in what exactly? An off the shoulder buckskin miniskirt with a boned corset no less… and she’s portrayed about 10 years older than she really was at the time? That’s just for starters.

            http://www.powhatan.org/pocc.html

            When I was a kid, I watched all the Disney stuff and *loved* it. I never knew or thought about any of it as anything other than a story. But, how much of that becomes ingrained as “the way things are (or supposed to be)?”

            Oh yeah, the Little Mermaid. Spoiler alert: she suffers cruelly in exchange for her voice “You will still have the same floating gracefulness of movement, and no dancer will ever tread so lightly; but at every step you take it will feel as if you were treading upon sharp knives, and that the blood must flow”, never gets the prince and dies in the end.
            This was the version that I had when I was a kid. I read the actual story years later. I wouldn’t recommend the original stuff for kids but it is interesting to see how things have changed.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-UpkwxUTo4

      2. Troutwaxer*

        Robin Hood and Aristocats are my personal favorites, and at 52 I can still sing a huge number of the songs from Aristocats. I see this as the period where the Disney animators had really hit their stride, were working with great actors, and nobody had burned out or gotten bored.

      1. Troutwaxer*

        Edward Scissor Hands? For a seven-year-old? Definitely not. That’s a really, really heavy movie! It completely broke me.

    5. AddyAnon*

      Scooby Doo? It was big at our house for a while – scary, but not really scary. There’s also a whole bunch of Lego series stuff on Netflix. Some appropriate for 7, some not. I second Wreck it Ralph. That’s a great movie.

    6. Jean*

      Wallace and Gromit: stop-motion fiction with two clay characters (Wallace and Gromit, his brilliant dog). They get up to all kinds of silly situations, in and out of trouble. You might want to watch first by yourself, however, because there are bad guys and close calls, which might be bad examples or bad experiences for your young friend.

  27. Sandy*

    Our daughter started daycare this summer, and everything people have warned me about the massive germ train at daycare has come to pass. She has brought home FOUR different rounds of illness and two bouts of pinkeye.

    It’s bad enough when she’s sick and my spouse and I are juggling who has the least important meeting that day, but my bigger problem is that she gets ME sick too.

    I admittedly have a compromised immune system (rheumatoid arthritis) but this is getting ridiculous.

    Any tips for how to keep the germs at bay? Other than tons of hand washing, I’m already doing that so much that my hands are chapping.

    1. Carrie...*

      Hand sanitizer everywhere. Most importantly at the door of your home. Everyone uses it every time they enter. You start teaching her the basics of using a tissue correctly, washing hands after blowing nose etc… as soon as she is old enough to understand.

      There are amazing and sanitizers that are as nice as lotions for your skin. The best I have found is one from Gold Bond. You can’t find it in regular stores, so I ordered it online. You should get one like this for yourself.

      https://www.amazon.com/GOLD-BOND-ULTIMATE-HAND-SANTZR/dp/B002ZXA71C/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1474748274&sr=8-1&keywords=lotion+hand+sanitizer

      You have to keep your hands away from your eyes, and mouth.

      Make sure everyone gets the flu shot, as soon as it is available.

      But it’s just hard…. sigh…

    2. Samantha*

      Get her started on a good probiotic. That should help a lot. It’s normally for a child to catch everything when they first start daycare, but as they build up their immunity it should become less frequent!

    3. Jessi*

      when she comes home from nursery straight into the bath/shower. This was advice given to us by the Doctor when we had new twins in the house

    4. Shel*

      Change clothes/bathe her when you get home. Wash towels after one use with hot-hot water. I run a HEPA air purifier at night by my bed and I swear that helps. I teach middle school and I also have chronic immune stuff – I wipe surfaces (doorknobs etc) daily. I don’t touch anything my students use – no using their pen to write a pass, for example. Don’t let your daughter play with your keys, phone, travel mug, whatever you use a lot. Probiotics for everyone. Track your sleep and exercise – getting enough of both?

      1. Sandy*

        I had never considered the key and phone thing! Off to disinfect…

        And it shouldn’t be too hard to move bath time up to before dinner, especially if it means it slows down the plague.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          When my daughter started kindergarten, I would send her directly into warm bath every day as soon as she got home from school. I wasn’t thinking of germs and viruses; it was because she was so wound up and over-stimulated after every single school day. A warm bath was a nice way for her to calm down and transition from school time to home time.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            The removal of germs was a side benefit that I hadn’t really considered, so the after-school bath can be beneficial on more than one front.

              1. Shel*

                I have a whole desk on the side of my classroom with student supplies. My desk is moved to a non-central location and kids don’t touch my stuff.

    5. Ange*

      In terms of the chapping you could try using something different to wash your hands. I use Dermol 500 lotion at work as the soap and hand sanitiser was destroying my skin. I don’t know if it’s available in the US but there’s probably something similar. It contains chlorhexidine (one of the things surgeons use for decontaminating their hands before surgery) and is also a really good moisturiser – just be aware that some people do get dermatitis from chlorhexidine. Also if you have cracks in your skin then you can’t really get your hands clean with soap and water.

    6. Sami*

      Consider cleaning your car including her car seat. Keep hand wipes in your car or purse/bag and wash her hands before she gets in.

    7. JHS*

      This will get better! It took about a month and a half for her to stop being sick all the time after starting. Not going to say it goes away forever, after we just all got sick and pink eye etc again, but it will become much more rare.

    8. Applecake*

      When you pick her up, get into the habit of washing hands before you leave.
      Reinforce the wash hands every time before you eat habit, because touching mouth & eyes is how most kids get sick.
      And whenever anyone is in a new environment, there is a tendency to get sick, because exposure to those new germs. Hopefully your child has had everything at this site and will not longer bring home colds.

    9. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Ugh, I’m sorry you have a compromised immune system because there isn’t really much you can do about this. You just sort of have to get through it. There will be years of good health and then there are the years you wonder why you don’t just keep them home and save the preschool tuition because they’re seemingly home sick all the time anyway.

      I do recommend regularly using disinfectant wipes on all doorknobs, light switches, phone, keyboards and anything else that gets touched often. Also lots of fluids and whole foods for everyone. I had a friend who would swear off sugar and processed foods (oranges va orange juice, etc. ) when she got a cold. She claimed it made them much milder and shorter.

  28. Elle*

    I want to start using coupons for grocery shopping. Besides the local paper, does anyone have any other places I might try, particularly on the Internet?

    1. Patsy Stone*

      I use Flipp as well, but I use it on my computer instead of the app….I find it much easier to look through the fliers this way, and I can print the coupons off right then when I’m looking at them.

    2. periwinkle*

      Do the supermarket chains in your area have smartphone apps? If so, you may have plenty of coupons available on your phone. I’ve got the apps for Safeway and the two Kroger-owned chains around here (QFC and Fred Meyer). There are lots and lots of coupons for the usual brands and store brands. Safeway has “just for U” coupons offering discounts on stuff you buy regularly. I’ve got discounts available on mushrooms, organic milk, and pork shoulder as well as the usual packaged goods. I really like this because it lets me save money on things I actually buy in quantities I actually buy (as opposed to newspaper coupons that require you to buy multiple packages for the discount).

      Also check the drugstore apps. Walgreens has electronic coupons, too.

      1. LAMM*

        If you have one by you Meijer has MPerks which lets you clip coupons online or via app and all you have to do at check out is put in your phone number and sometimes a pin. I love it because I always forget my coupons at home. Plus you get rewards ($5 off your next purchase for example) if you spend a certain amount within different categories, and one for if you just spend a certain amount in the store period (typically $100 or $125) over the course of a rolling 4 weeks.

    3. danr*

      These duplicate the coupons that come in the Sunday papers. Plus, it might be worth it to buy the Sunday paper for your area. Something to note, the coupon sites may limit the number times you can print a coupon each month.
      smartsource.com
      redplum.com

      If any stores offer to double your coupon values, there is probably a cutoff. But you can really save with them.
      One more thing to watch out for… don’t get carried away and start buying stuff that you don’t use just because you have a super coupon for it. (don’t laugh, I did this a few times)

    4. Sierra*

      I was on a coupon kick for a while, but I have (thankfully) gotten off that boat.
      If you are big on organic products, try the All Natural Savings blog–it posts coupon links that you can print and also matches links with current sales. Mambo Sprouts is another good one.

      I used the Ibotta app for a few months because everyone really seemed to like it. It’s not a coupon app, but a rebate app for certain purchases. It didn’t really match my shopping style, so I closed it once I hit the minimum withdraw amount. Cartweel for Target is also useful.

    5. JHS*

      I love retailmenot.com because you can search by store. I am not sure if they do grocery stores, but they do most other things, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they also did grocery stores.

    6. Coupons Answer*

      I second a lot of the suggestions here, especially coupons (dot) com and the Ibotta app (if anyone needs a referral, let me know). Other sites I haven’t seen mentioned: livingrichwithcoupons (dot) com posts a lot of deals and coupon matchups with different stores’ ads; hopster (dot) com for coupons; Savingstar, Checkout51, and Mobisave are all rebate apps like Ibotta, but the four vary in the item types they pay out for.
      Also ebates (dot) com is great for rebates on online shopping – slightly different concept but it’s saved me a lot of money, so I think it’s worth mentioning.

  29. GBBO*

    Any fans of the Great British Bake Off? And unhappy about the move to Channel 4?

    Almost as soon as the move was announced, Mel and Sue released a joint statement saying they won’t be moving with it. A few days ago Mary Berry also announced she’ll be leaving the program. That’s a pretty huge hit to the core of the show. Also, it has to stay off air for one year before Channel 4 can start broadcasting it, not sure how many people will still tune in in 2018.

    1. esra (also a Canadian)*

      So, so unhappy. I think it’s pretty much over in its current form. I can just picture the more dramatic, recap-ridden monstrosity it’s going to be on Channel 4.

    2. Caledonia*

      Well, there are celeb versions next year…

      I actually only got into GBBO at the end of last year’s series but everyone is right – it is a quintessential BBC show. Channel 4 have paid a huge whack of money for 1 judge and a tent! I also think it will be on the air too much, like many channel 4 shows e.g. gogglebox or cats does countdown, they never seem to learn that less is more sometimes.

      1. GBBO*

        I haven’t heard about the celeb versions, and not sure how to feel about them. I watched the charity (sports relief) episodes, and while they were amusing (to a point) they’re really not at all like the real thing. The ‘ordinary people’ factor is a major factor in its charm.

        On the subject of Cats/Countdown – I actually miss the original version of 8 out of 10 Cats. The countdown gimmick is really starting to wear thin.

        1. Caledonia*

          There is also the very real fear that those ‘nice, ordinary, relatable’ people will turn out to be like the people in 4 in a bed or come dine with me or anything else. One of the few things I watch with ‘ordinary’ people in it on channel 4 is ‘The Undateables’ – terrible name, heartwarming programme (dating with disabilities) – everything else is just trashy (not just confined to ch4).

          Another thing is, how is Paul Hollywood now seen, since he was the only one to move with the show and who will they get to replace Mary, Sue and Mel?

          1. Cristina in England*

            Yes, what about Paul?! Surely he now feels like he is on a sinking ship, right? Or is he secretly thinking that he has somehow gotten his own show?

      2. AdAgencyChick*

        Heh, a friend responded to this news on social media by saying, “So they paid millions of pounds for a tent and some rain?”

        I am bummed about all the departures, and I’m surprised the channel that bought the show didn’t insist on the stars traveling with it as a part of the deal.

    3. periwinkle*

      As an American I have to watch GBBO via, er, less than above-board means. Don’t care, too addicted. From what I’ve heard about Channel 4, this is not going to go well.

      At least we still have this last proper season to finish up. Jane, Benjamina, and Andrew are my picks for the finals but who knows? Jane’s consistency reminds me a lot of Nancy.

      1. Puffle*

        I <3 Jane, but she's a bit all over the place. Sometimes she'll make something amazing, and other times I'm just like, "What even happened here?"

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Psssstt…. Care to share? Or, rather, do you have any ideas where I can watch the first few series? I’ve watched 4, 5 and 6 via Netflix and PBS, but I really want to see the earlier seasons.

        1. periwinkle*

          the-watch-series (dot) to

          Before you go to that site, make sure you’ve got malware/virus checkers enabled and don’t download anything! It’s weird, if I go to the site using Firefox it requires me to set up an account. I use Chrome, in which the site keeps trying to download Flash to my computer (Chrome doesn’t use the Flash plug-in) but also doesn’t prompt me to log in. Well, that’s the kind of oddness that comes from lurking around this bit of the internet…

          There are only the first five episodes of season 1 so I haven’t bothered to watch. Some episodes from other seasons weren’t available earlier but now they’re all available except some of the master class episodes. Season 3 is my favorite since I rate them by how many contestants I’d love to have a beer with.

    4. LizB*

      I’m so sad. I don’t really want to watch it without Mel, Sue, and Mary, so I’ll probably skip the new version. I’m just holding out hope that whatever cooking show the BBC comes up with to replace it will be as enjoyable.

    5. Nina*

      I’m definitely disappointed. I only started watching it this year and Mel, Sue, and Mary are just a delight. Paul is OK, but Mary is the heart of the show and I don’t see it doing well without her, let alone Sue and Mel.

    6. Puffle*

      I keep hoping that they’ll magically change their minds and decide to keep it on the BBC. I just can’t imagine it being anywhere close to the same, especially with only Paul Hollywood left, & can’t understand why they’ve done this at all.

      Also, Channel 4 spending millions to buy a show without even securing any of the presenters? Ridiculous.

  30. LawCat*

    We went wine tasting last weekend and bought a few bottles of wine. My biggest problem with picking up these nice bottles is we almost never drink them because I feel like there has to be an occasion of some kind and we should share it with other people. We don’t entertain much because we live in a smaller apartment. I don’t want to open them just everyday. I have wine guilt for not saving them for something special! Thoughts on getting through these wines and making it seem special?

        1. nep*

          K. Then ditch the wine guilt and enjoy. On a whim or on a chosen date if you prefer, pick something to celebrate and grab the corkscrew.

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            Friday is always worth celebrating.

            Or, you could pick a night and make it your night to make dinner together, unplug from the world. No law you can’t entertain yourselves!

    1. It happens*

      A wine columnist I used to read created an annual holiday each fall for just this occasion – drink the wine you’ve been saving. Pick a date and make an evening of it – good food, good wine, good company (even if it’s two of you.) Wine is for drinking!

      1. nep*

        +1
        (But when it comes to really special bottles, there is really something to wanting to have one’s wine and drink it too.)

    2. DragoCucina*

      Good wine deserves to be enjoyed. I used to share your feelings and let a lot of good wine go bad because we never opened it. You don’t have to drink the whole bottle in one evening. If drinking the next day you can just put the cork back in. I like the glass Savino Wine Decanter. We splurged years ago and bought a wine vending machine (2 bottles). People think that means we drink more wine. Actually it is easier to have 1 glass.

    3. Stellaaaaa*

      Sunday mornings are special enough in my book! Drink it because you want to and it’s already paid for.

    4. danr*

      Make a festive dinner. Have something special, with a nice tablecloth, candles, etc. If you have a nice restaurant that does bring your own wine, bring a bottle and have a special meal. A top restaurant in our area is Bring your own. We bought a very nice wine with us one time and the owner made a big deal of bringing out good glasses and an appetizer on the house.
      Finally, enjoy the wines yourself. As you do this more, you’ll acquire more good bottles of wine and get used to putting some away so you can enjoy them as they age. Once you do this, you’ll find that you’ll forget about a bottle and then either have a nice surprise… or vinegar.
      Enjoy.

    5. Overeducated*

      Recognize more special occasions. Like good things happening at work, a weekend day of nice plans, everyday things like that.

    6. LawCat*

      Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! Great ideas!

      Discussed with my husband and we’re going to institute a once per month Fancy Date Night at Home. We’ll have candles, fresh flowers, music, the cloth napkins (!), takeout from a favorite spot that we’ll plate nicely at home (so we don’t have a messy kitchen to have to deal with), and open up a bottle of our nice wine. Will follow with a game of cards or board game in front of the “fireplace” (Netflix playing a video of a fireplace :D) and continue to sip our good wine.

  31. Sarah P.*

    For those who don’t have a gym membership: how do you keep fit?

    From experience I know that a gym membership is wasted on me, so I’m trying to look for more low-cost means.

    Cardio is straightforward enough, but in terms of toning, it seems like you need heavy equipment (weights and whatnot) and I’m not keen on investing in that because I move a lot and would like to avoid accumulating even more stuff that I’ll have to pack later.

    1. LawCat*

      I like Daily Burn 365, which you can stream online. I stream it onto my TV and it works great. They do a good job of getting cardio and strength into their workouts.

        1. LawCat*

          I had an issue where I wasn’t getting the right trial period rate I had signed up for (it was like 1/2 off for three months), but they rectified the matter promptly. No other issues.

    2. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      You can do quite a lot with body-weight exercises. I did a bodyweight Pilates workout yesterday and I’m still dying! Youtube is a great resource for this kind of thing, and if you get advanced enough that you want to add in some light weights at some point, Craigslist/Kijiji/your local used shop all constantly have weights for dirt cheap that you won’t have to feel bad about offloading when you move.

    3. Caprice*

      Yoga works for me. There’s plenty of apps and videos out there, and it’s great for when the weather is bad.

    4. nep*

      Second the power and effectiveness of body weight training (as well as Pilates moves). You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll feel those workouts. Plank (countless variations), push-up, sit-through, dip, squat (including one-leg stand-up from chair or bench), lunge, wall sit, and more.

    5. LizB*

      There’s a book + app called You Are Your Own Gym that has some pretty great bodyweight exercises. You can do a lot with just yourself!

    6. Girasol*

      Cast iron dumbbells 10 lbs – 35 lbs for me; there are smaller and bigger ones too. A 10 lb medicine ball for morning warmups. After reviewing some youtubes and learning what to do with it I love my medicine ball.

    7. Pharmgirl88*

      I personally love the Beachbody programs. I don’t do the shake thing, but the workouts are solid, and I feel like I get a good variety of workouts (with 21 day fix – upper body, lower body, pilates, cardio, yoga). I like to have structure, so I’ve found home videos the best for me.

    8. AliceBD*

      For a year or so I did Body By You, which is the You Are Your Own Gym book geared towards women. I also used the You Are Your Own Gym app because it would remind me of what I needed to do and be a timer for me (I was doing it at 6am so my brain wasn’t up to doing that myself). The following info is based on the Body By You book, but I’m pretty sure it’s similarly applicable to You Are Your Own Gym.

      You don’t need weights at all, but you do need some sturdy furniture, which is what ultimately made me give it up. They say you can use a playground when kids aren’t there to do some exercises if you don’t have the furniture, which is probably true, but that’s inconvenient. The things you needed that I didn’t have were a door you could hold onto the handle of and balance — I live in an apartment with cheap doors and I’m a pretty heavy person — and a table you can lay under and pull yourself up towards the underside of the top — my table has a center pedestal, so if you tried this it would overbalance and fall on you. The furniture I did have were a sturdy non-wheeled chair and a counter/table top to do incline push ups on.

      If you can, I would check it out from the library and see if you like it first. Half of the book is exercises and half is nutrition stuff; I skipped all the nutrition. If you do like I would get your own copy; IIRC it was only $12 or something similar on Amazon.

    9. Former Invoice Girl*

      I use Fitness Blender’s videos – most of them don’t require any equipment, which is good because I don’t even own dumbbells. What I like the most is that the exercises are varied – there are yoga and Pilates-styled workouts as well as cardio and strength training. These are also free and can be streamed from YouTube or from their own website (you’d have to pay to buy a program, though).

        1. Former Invoice Girl*

          Yeah – those are also neighbour-friendly (or apartment-friendly) since they don’t include much jumping. Win-win.

  32. nep*

    Going to Kingston and Saugerties NY next week. Any must-sees or must-dos? (A brief trip — will have a few free hours on Sunday.)

    1. Today's anon*

      If you have time and a car, there is a nice walk near the reservoir. It’s 20-30 min by car from Kingston I think. I’ve seen bald eagles there.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Ugh Probably not a brief trip. Woodbury Commons, Central Valley NY.
      167 Outlet stores. Looks like it’s an hour south of Kingston.

      I have been by there and it looks like it would be some serious fun.
      Probably not what you are looking for but thought I would throw it out there.

      w w w. premiumoutlets. com /outlet/ woodbury-common

      [remove the spaces, of course]

  33. Lilian*

    Question: I am interested in learning more about coding (R,SQL, Python). Really, I do find it fascinating. I know certain things, but I feel that I am expert googler rather than programmer. Suggestions as to how to get a deeper understanding?

    1. Troutwaxer*

      Python is considered to be a good language for beginners. I don’t know much about R. SQL is a database rather than a programming language, so you might want to learn it separately – you’ll connect to the database via a programming language. My favorite language for beginners is Ruby, which is extremely simple, but also a major language which is in regular use by professionals.

      1. Audiophile*

        Really? I always thought Ruby might be difficult. I actually took a Python class, in my bid to explore a possible career change, really enjoyed it, but found the processor difficult to understand.
        I’m still really interested in programming, and still waffling on that career change.

        1. Troutwaxer*

          Ruby is stunningly simple. I sometimes tell people that “Ruby is what BASIC should have been.” (except that Ruby is a very popular language which is in current professional use.)

          Ruby is “loosely typed,” meaning that it doesn’t expect you to specify a particular variable type when you declare a variable, and it usually figures out on its own what kind of variable you need something to be.

          While Ruby follows the current paradigm of “everything is an object” it is designed to work well for both functional and object-oriented programming, which means you can just “crank something out” if you need to work fast for some reason.

          The logical structures in Ruby all work the same: if-then-end, case-end, while-end, for-end, etc., so if you have problems and wonder whether you forgot to close a loop or an if-structure, you can just count the instances of the word “end” and have a pretty good idea of what’s going on.

          And so on. Sometimes the simplicity can be a bit of a double-edged sword, but all-in-all I like the language.

    2. Dan*

      What kind of “deeper understanding” are you looking for? Languages are broad. You need to find a project, either at work or at home, and start there.

      Even then, to write production level code, you’ll really need to work on larger projects with multiple programmers.

      1. Elkay*

        I agree with needing a project or at least something that produces an outcome. I’m not sure if they’re available outside of the UK but the BBC launched the micro:bit last year for all year 7s (11-12 year olds) and there are lots of lesson plans/projects online for/by teachers. The other option would be get yourself a Raspberry Pi, I think those use Python.

    3. Miss Nomer*

      I learned R getting my masters in statistics, and it’s especially useful for data analysis and modeling. I would start with a basic R book and then one geared toward what you’re going to use it for specifically. Do some basic coding (for me that was things like generating random variables, pulling in data from an excel file, writing loops, etc) and then try to find online coding projects similar to what you like to do. I did have the advantage of taking courses with R experts, but all this really helped too.

  34. Innocent as a rose*

    This news came out a bit late for last weekend’s open thread: Charmian Carr (who played Liesl in the Sound of Music) passed away last week.

    It’s so weird. I’ve never followed her post-SoM career (in fact I pretty much never think about her), yet when I heard the news I felt unusually sad.

    As a child I watched SoM repeatedly (wearing out the VHS tape!) and sang along to it. Even though I’ve watched their reunion shows/interviews (I think the last one was in 2015?), in my mind they’re all still children. Liesl will always be 16-going-on-17.

    1. LikeK*

      Same here – I didn’t really keep up with her career but I loved SoM as a kid. Liesl was my favorite character by far, and I vividly remember making my parents push our den sofas together in a semi-circle so I could prance around them like Liesl in the gazebo.

      I think it’s such an iconic piece of cinema (her scene/song, in particular) and it’s associated with so many positive, nostalgic memories. It’s natural to be sad.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Yeah, it’s fun to sing, but when I got old enough to realize the implications, I stopped enjoying it. Now I just mute the TV during that part and watch them dance in the gazebo. I still like the dancing in that scene.

  35. Campfire Latte*

    So, I bought a home earlier this year. It is my first home and it’s about 30 minutes from the city where I lived for several years. The house is perfectly fine and in a decent neighborhood and a great price point. I got married a few months after the purchase.

    So what’s the problem? Well, it is in a small (but very friendly) town. My husband and I are both missing city life very much. I work from home full- time right now, so commute isnt as much of an issue for me, but its starting to be for him. During rush hour, it takes him at least an hour to get home, versus 10 or 15 minutes like his last commute. We live in a mid size metro area, comparable to Nashville I would say.

    We have no doctors or healthcare providers in our town. We do all of grocery shopping and recreation in the city. The mentality here is, please forgive me, a little bit redneck. The reason we moved here is because as a whole, the county has an excellent school system. We dont have kids yet but want to soon.

    i know buying a home and selling it within a year is not the best financial decision, but should we just cut our losses and get out now?

    1. Dear Liza dear liza*

      I would say yes- except if you bought the house because it was good for ‘families’ and you’re planning to have kids soon- will you need to move out of the city again? That sounds very expensive. But if you are rethinking your whole idea of what you need post children, or think you could bring up kids in the city, then at least investigate it. Could you sell the house without losing too much?

      We bought our first home and then sold it at a slight loss 6 months later when a great job opportunity came up. Zero regrets about that decision. :)

      1. Campfire Latte*

        There are decent public schools in the part of the city we want to buy in, plus an excellent private school that if we can afford, we would like to send kids there.

        Something else i failed to mention is that while the house is fine, its cookie cutter. No character and not really big enough for kids. I bought very conservatively and now kind of wished i bought something that we could stay in more long-term.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          It sounds like you’re unhappy with the house for several separate reasons. It’s probably wise to plan a move.
          Be strategic, try to correct most of these deficits with the next house. I’d make a list of what is missing here. Take the list with you as you house hunt, use the list as a reminder not to settle for something that doesn’t make the move worthwhile.

          We did this with our tractor. The first one was modest but with our tight budget it was a stretch to get it. After a while husband said he wanted a “better” tractor. We made a list of missing features and capabilities. We took the list to the store. We spent 5.5 times the cost of the first tractor, but it had every feature he wanted. I still have it. Not sure I think the tractor has been with me for over 15 years. And that is another way we justified the expenditure because we wanted to keep it for as long as we could.

  36. dating*

    When you all are dating, how many dates went by before your first kiss or sex?

    I’ve seen this guy five times (spread out over three months because of vacations, previous commitments, work travel, etc.) and we haven’t even kissed yet. Just hugged. We’ve texted almost every day since we first matched on an app months ago. I haven’t gotten any of the signs or body language that he’s interested in physical affection or sex, and I’m confused on how to proceed. I’d be okay if he wasn’t into physical affection or sex, but I guess I just don’t know if he’s interested in me sexually or as a friend or something else is going on, and I don’t know how to go about asking about it.

    For the record, I’ve mostly dated women and this is the first guy I’ve dated in a long time. I find picking up on cues and body language way easier with women, so I’m not sure if I’m missing something or if I’m just too used to dating women to realize I need to act differently with a man.

    1. Troutwaxer*

      Some guys are shy. You may have to get things moving yourself: hold his hand, put your arm around him while walking, lay your head on his shoulder while you’re watching a movie, etc.

      If nothing else, next time he takes you home, put your hands on his hips, lean your face and chest towards him, tilt your head back a little, and look into his eyes. He should get the hint.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        He may not only be a bit shy, but he may also be concerned about misinterpreting signals and seeming too aggressive. He may be looking for a sign that you’re interested in being physical at all, if you haven’t kissed yet.

    2. Dan*

      First kiss? If I haven’t kissed you on the second date, it probably ain’t gonna happen. I’ll kiss you on the first date if it went really well, but I won’t push it if the girl seems too conservative.

      Sex is a bit different, those dates have to be “planned” a bit more. Sometimes logistics drag it out.

      I’ll admit that I’m chuckling a bit, because I have read advice online that suggests that if you want a sexual relationship with a woman, you need to tell her, or she’ll think you just want to be friends. And once you’re “friends”, sex is generally off the table.

      I’d probably write this guy off, but if you actually do want to be friends, just assume that’s what he wants. At the same time, if you’re able to see each other more often, do that and see if he starts showing more interest. Sometimes time is a momentum killer.

    3. LizB*

      I have a weird perspective on this because I’m very upfront about these things, but: have you considered just asking him? “I had a great time tonight! Are you interested in a good night kiss?” could be a way to work it in kind of smoothly. With my current boyfriend I literally just asked “So just so I’m clear, what are your thoughts on physical affection?” during a quiet moment when we were hanging out, and we talked about our preferred pace, and then we were on the same page. There are probably some guys who would be really put off by such a direct question, but for me personally I wouldn’t want to date someone who was offended by me using my words and communicating openly.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      It’s been five dates over three months. This falls into the category of “If you really wanted to see it more, you would have made it happen.”

      1. Dan*

        I cut some slack because I know how life gets in the way. But 5 dates in 3 months is pretty much one date every other week. As a guy, I’ll certainly say that’s plenty of time for me to know what I want from someone, at least for the foreseeable future. And when life really does get in the way, I’ll say something like, “gosh I’d really like to see you more often” or “I can’t wait until our schedules free up a bit, because going two weeks between dates is getting hard for me.”

        If I read what you’re saying correctly, it’s that after 5 dates, if you don’t know, then the answer isn’t “yes” or “wants more”.

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          It’s more that once things stretch out for multiple months, I stop wholeheartedly believing the excuses for why the other person can’t get together. You can’t get one drink on a Tuesday evening? You can’t meet up for a quick dinner at 5:30 on a Sunday? If the guy’s job is genuinely that demanding, then he’s not ready to date right now. Otherwise, eh, I don’t buy it. If someone wants to see you, they’ll make it happen. There’s also the fact that I’m not a fan of walking an adult through the conventions of dating and relationships. If you want to kiss me, do it. If you want to see me, do it. If I have to spell these basic things out to a grown man, it’s not gonna happen.

          1. Dan*

            I think you might have misunderstood – the scheduling issues I cut a little slack for, as they typically cut both ways – but really, as you note (and I mentioned elsewhere on this thread), if you have to wonder where a guy stands after more than about three dates, you have your answer. He’s either not into you, or you have to spell basic things out to a grown man.

    5. Beleva*

      It’s different for everyone, but I have found since entering the world of online dating, most guys are up for something physical, some are just not sure about whether you are and don’t want to seem pushy.

      First guy I dated from an online app was quite conservative and didn’t go for the kiss, and I was too shy to ask. But later we were texting and he said he really wanted to kiss me but wasn’t sure what I thought… it was an easy option to be able to express my reciprocal interest.

      Second guy, I basically asked for one at the end of the date and it was fantastic. He later told me he was figuring out how to get a kiss and I made it easy for him.

      So my advice is not to worry too much about rejection because in my experience most guys won’t say no, if you’re feeling shy, ask by text before you next see him as it can be easier to say those things.

    1. Caledonia*

      BEST: In London, I literally stumbled upon a bunch of people waiting around for something and after waiting a while I saw Keira Knightly and Colin Firth, as well as Anna Wintour come out of some doorway for London Fashion week.

      WORST: My anxiety is sky-high because I NEED to find somewhere to live and SOON before my new job starts on Oct 10th. I did have a place but then after thinking on it, it was too much money (45% of my monthly wage on rent alone) and urgh, it just sucks so much to try and do distance flat hunting because everything goes so fast, or they can’t fit you in or they only have appointments like today or at 11 am in the morning which is quite impossible for me living 2.30 hours away by train.

      1. Cristina in England*

        That is amazing! I have seen famous people in New York but never London. (Ellen Degeneres and Willem Defoe, separately)

      2. Emilia Bedelia*

        I’m in the US so YMMV, but when I had to move very quickly, I found a room on Craigslist very cheaply for the short term, and waited a few months to find an apartment that I really liked. I was moving with 1 carload of stuff, so this may not work for you unless you also don’t have a lot of stuff/have very generous friends with lots of space to hold onto your stuff for you.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      WORST: I’m so bored at work. Even though I’m getting more stuff to do, it’s really boring stuff that I’m completely uninterested in. *sigh* Also, there are gnats in my house, probably from one of my plants. So I guess I better let them dry out a bit. Gross. Everything at this house is so gross and ugly and I hate it.

      BEST: The agent who requested pages from Tunervilleeight weeks ago sent an email (well, her assistant did) and asked for the whole thing. 0_0 It said “We enjoyed [pages] and would love to see the rest.” HOLY FISH PASTE. Good for me that I already went over the rest of the book after sending the first 100 pages, just in case.

      I shot that sucker right off before the day was over. And spent the rest of the day paranoid that I didn’t attach it, so I had to check my email 652914646148941 times.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Thanks you guys!! *crosses all the things* This is the only person who has done this, but hey, it only takes one. ;) I’ve been bugging the universe a la Patrick Swayze bugging the medium in Ghost, hahahah.

        Now when I check my email, I DON’T want to see anything–because if they email me again, it will probably be a rejection. An offer is usually a phone call, AFAIK.

    3. Mimmy*

      BEST: Just came back from a party for my husband’s uncle who turns 100 on Tuesday.

      WORST: Glasses aren’t working out as well as I’d hoped :(

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      BEST: I’m going to be a judge for a film festival! I’m pretty darn excited about this.

      WORST: See above re: reaction to flu shot. No fun indeed.

    5. Ruffingit*

      BEST: Won tickets to watch The Exorcist TV Series episode 1 on a big screen outdoors and then go through the Haunted House that hosted it. My husband and I went last night and it was a scream (pun intended). :)

      WORST: Something happened at work that was kind of a bummer, but nothing I can’t handle.

    6. Miss Nomer*

      Best: I had an impromptu sleepover with 2 of my best friends from high school. We had a blast :)
      Worst: two of my (adult) students got into a shouting match this week. Cue reports for campus security, the department, strident services, and my mother.

    7. Ann Furthermore*

      Best: Very promising phone interview yesterday. Also, my daughter got her first interception in her flag football game today, which was awesome. And, I made it through the whole week without buying any goodies like chips or brownies in the cafeteria at work.

      Worst: I really, really hate my job and the draconian corporate overlords who are making everyone’s lives miserable.

    8. Dynamic Beige*

      This is the first time I’ve done this (I think) because enh… don’t often have anything to talk about.

      Best: I posted what I was going to be doing this week as part of my job in a forum and someone messaged me right away saying they knew someone who needed my skillset. I wound up talking to this person and it was amazing! So excited that it could be an interesting project.

      Worst: Not long after, I began to talk myself down from it for: reasons. It seems too good to be true, this is about as close as I can get to my Ideal Client. But I’ve been there/done that and it’s never worked out the way I hoped it would. I don’t want to get my hopes up, which is the “wrong” way to go about this, other people are going “think positively!” and I just can’t. *sigh*

    9. Sparkly Librarian*

      BEST: Y’all, today I made a full turkey dinner with lots of trimmings to help clean out my pantry and freezer. Mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, peas, grape tomatoes from our garden, roasted garlic on a day-old baguette. Cranberry in a can contributed by my mother, who raided her own pantry when she heard I was doing this. Pumpkin pie courtesy of a coworker who found a BOGO sale.

      WORST (sorta): The turkey’s done two hours early. Also, none of the 10 friends we invited could make it. (So I guess that evens it out? I said “screw housework” and when my wife gets home, she’ll make gravy, we’ll reheat plates, and we’ll eat together by ourselves. And there will be leftovers, which some people would say is the best part anyway.)

    10. Lindsay J*

      BEST: Saw “In the Heights” on Wednesday, and it was wonderful. We also have tickets to see “Book of Mormon” in January. And I made my order to buy the stuff I need to make my Hamilton King George costume for Halloween.

      ALSO BEST: Boyfriend got a job offer at a company he has been trying to get a job with for years.

      WORST: Job would pay him less than he is making now. And involve relocating, which would be complicated.

      ALSO WORST: I brought boyfriend a watch for his birthday, and it arrived broken. The customer service at the company I brought it from has been difficult to get a hold of and not that stellar when I do hear from them. I packaged up the watch to send it back earlier this week and I feel like I’m never going to see the watch or my money again.

    11. The Cosmic Avenger*

      BEST: I’m finally feeling like I’m getting my dad’s estate under control, like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

      WORST: I’m still nauseated most of the time, except when I can distract myself from remembering he’s gone and he left me a #!)*#@(% mess to clean up.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Maybe we can do a public service announcement about not leaving a mess for the kids to clean up.
        Glad you are seeing a light here.

        1. Elkay*

          Unfortunately the people who need that PSA will never pay attention because “everything will be fine”.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Or they won’t pay attention because starting to take care of that business means admitting that they might one day die. I’m looking at you, FIL who is eighty this year.

        2. Damn It Hardison!*

          So sorry for your loss, Cosmic Avenger.

          I would force my mother in law to watch that PSA. Last time we visited her she actually said – with no sense of shame or regret – that she wasn’t going to deal with something fairly easy so “you guys will just have to deal with it when I’m gone.” How I’m going to deal with everything when she’s gone involves a can of gas and a match. She’s otherwise a great mother-in-law but this makes me so annoyed.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Or, if her estate has any money, pay someone to haul it off. I just made sure I had all of the papers I needed (which was a chore, because my father’s compulsion was to file and keep everything, with voluminous notes). The stuff he had was crap — he actually kept a loveseat that had a heavily water-damaged cushion and a broken leg in addition to decades of utility bills and other detritus. We have a house full of nice things hundreds of miles away, I don’t want any of his stuff, even the stuff that’s still useful. I had an estate sale company come, and they said it would definitely cost more than it would earn.

            Anyway, I’m hiring a company to come and remove everything, and leave the place vacuumed and swept.

            Thanks for the thoughts, everyone.

    12. LCL*

      Best-saw a show by Hell’s Belles, all female AC/DC tribute band. I know the female label hacks off some people, but that’s the way they describe themselves so I’m using it. I have a new appreciation for ACDC, their music always sounded flat and bloodless to me because of how it was produced. The sound mix at the show was great, the band was fantastic and you could hear the rhythm section.
      Worst-mass shooting at the mall, sounds like the shooter was targeting women (cosmetic counter at a store) 5 dead, and he got away!

    13. Elkay*

      Best: We got a cleaner this week, coming home to a clean house was lovely
      Worst: Two day training course which was a combination of boring subject matter and combative other attendees led to a tiring couple of days.

    14. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Best: I’m a finalist and had a great interview for a position in a lovely department at my university that I think will be a better fit than my current department. They will make a decision this week, and I think my chances are very good. This is the first time in my career that I’ve ever applied for a lateral move, so I knew I’d have some explaining to do about why I want to leave my current position. I said, “I worked for eight years in [my previous department], and when I left, it wasn’t because I wanted to leave the department; I left with my department head to work at his private firm. Work at a small private firm was really intense, and after about a year I was ready to return to the university. There isn’t anything negative I can say about [my current college], but it just isn’t “home”, and I’m looking for my campus home. The committee responded very positively to that. One person said, “Oh, what a nice answer!”, and a good discussion about “fit” followed.

      Worst: I have been in such a slump lately about motivating myself to do things. I think my current job requires every bit of my ability to motivate myself toward things that I don’t really want to do, and after sustaining that discipline all day, every day, I have self-motivation fatigue. I think what’s needed in my life is something pleasant that I want to do, and all my extra-curricular activities are things that draw on the same over-used discipline muscle: church committee work and online university classes.

      1. Cruciatus*

        I totally get everything you’re going through now! I’m trying to get a university position that’s a step up but may have to take a lateral one just to get out of my department where any joy and fun is completely sucked out of the room by my supervisor. I hate everything I’m working on (faculty workloads? Gen ed enrollment numbers? Who cares!?) and find it so hard to stay motivated. Actually applying to this other position did get my butt in gear a bit in the off chance they do call me for an interview and I get it. Then I’d have everything lined up as much as possible for the next person. Maybe that’s the key? Every few weeks apply to another job and use that temporary motivation to do the tasks I really don’t like. Best of luck!

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Best of luck to you, too, Cruciatus! Isn’t it interesting how a not-quite-right fit can be so draining? I was doing a lot of the same work in my previous job and hated it a lot less.

        I think part of it, fit me, is that I’m an idealist, and when I started my previous job, there were several factors, not related to the actual work, that made me fall in love with the place and the people. First, the building itself was beautiful, with huge soaring windows and solid, carved-wood casements on the windows and doors. The students’ design work was pinned up all over the building’s gallery walls, and I fell in love with what they were doing. My imagination was captured and I was ready to pour myself into anything I could do to be a part of that and support it. The way that my bosses thought and what they expected of me aligned with my natural strengths.

        At my current job, doing pretty much the same thing, so many of the elements not central to the work left me with a reaction of “Eh . . . ” that I never got the “feels” for the place or the people that made me want to throw myself in to the work. Without that “falling in love” element, it’s all just a bunch of dry tasks that I don’t really care about. When I read about the accomplishments of the old department’s students or faculty, I still feel personal pride even though I’ve been gone for two years. When my current faculty have achievements, I’m glad for them in a “That’s nice for them” sort of way, but I don’t feel anything personal about it.

        So I’m looking for that kind of special bond that I had with the old department, and I don’t expect to find it in engineering or business. It’s going to have to be in the liberal arts, I think.

      3. Mallory Janis Ian*

        TL;DR: I need someone to tell me if anyone else ever feels this way about work or if I’m just crazy.

        1. Mimmy*

          Nope – not crazy! I felt that “special bond” about 3 years ago on one of my councils. It’s volunteer-based, but that year, I felt like everything just clicked and many of my strengths were being used and recognized. It was the most alive I’d felt since grad school several years before.

          I hope to find a job where I get that same “falling in love” feeling, and I hope you do too!

    15. nep*

      My best is from today — worked on my clean & jerk technique with a colleague who’s very knowledgeable and a good coach. Best hour I’ve spent in a long time.

    16. Emilia Bedelia*

      Best: Ran a 5k today- this is the first organized race I’ve done, so it was really exciting. I made really excellent time- 27 minutes for 3.5 miles (about 7:45 pace). I tore my ACL a year ago and have only started running again in the past few months, so it was awesome to do well at my first attempt.

      Worst: I woke up at 5:30 to go to the race… and I have to go to work tomorrow. :(

    17. OhBehave*

      BEST: Beautiful morning at church.
      WORST: Finding out that the college town not to far away had a shooting over night with one dead and 5 wounded. It involved a party.

  37. RevengeoftheBirds*

    I posted last weekend about making new friends in a new city. This week has been a little nerve wracking. It was shared in the news that in my (white-majority city) a white superemist group will be patrolling the streets.

    I’m scared. I’m in a province and city that isn’t diverse and now I feel like I could be a target. :/

    1. The Expendable Redshirt*

      What the hell? ….a…..what group?………

      For what it’s worth, try thinking about how most people are good and decent humans. Most people are appalled at the ideals of supremacist groups. As a species, we tend to help more than harm. And if I actually saw a visible majority person harassing anyone, you better darn believe I’m defending the victim.

      #an optimist

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Patrolling the streets? wth.

      Please call your local police station and ask about this. Okay, maybe the state police barracks.

      Let us know how you are doing.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I had to google. I see Canada is having this problem. They say they aren’t supremacists but their walk does not match their talk all the time.

        Com’ on, Canada, do something here.

    3. Jen*

      If this is Edmonton you might feel safest in the university area for social events, I personally avoided public transit and downtown as much as possible when I lived there. I loved the Mill Woods neighbourhood for shopping and doctors and dentists and really all my services. I’m so sorry we are still having such problems in the west, I know it’s problematic everywhere but I found the casual racism the hardest to adjust to out here compared to southern Ontario which has its own entrenched problems of course. May I ask what brought you to this part of Canada?

  38. Joy*

    Would it find it odd (or even rude) if you received a wedding invitation that specifically asked for money (as in cash, not giftcards etc), rather than presents?

    That’s pretty much the tradition at Chinese weddings (the cash is inserted into a red envelope, similar to the ones given to children at New Years, and the amount usually depends on how close you are to the couple), so I’ve never thought there was anything odd about it. But one of my friends (from Hong Kong) is marrying a Caucasian guy (Australia), and they’re having a bit of a disagreement over whether they should go with a gift registry or the red envelopes.

    I always liked the cash-as-gift tradition for the simplicity, but I guess I can understand people who aren’t used to this custom being uncomfortable with giving money (considering how gift tags are usually removed). Then again with a gift registry you’d know the price anyway right?

    1. self employed*

      I would think it’s tacky unless I knew the cultural context. So on their wedding website, for example, an explanation of the red envelope would help me to understand. This could be in lieu of the registry link on most websites. If it’s a big issue for the in-laws or something, I’d probably try to do both (with explanation).

        1. em2mb*

          Do both, and register for things you’d buy with the money anyway. Most places that do registries will let you buy what’s still on your list after the wedding at a 10 or 15 percent discount.

    2. Random Citizen*

      My cousin who recently got married was moving overseas immediately after the wedding, so they did the red envelope tradition. As I recall, they sent out the red envelopes with their wedding invitations and included a note explaining the tradition and my cousin’s connection to China (he’s Caucasian, but lived there for several years), and said that since they were moving overseas, they wouldn’t be able to transport a lot of physical wedding gifts, but wanted to give their guests an opportunity to participate in this tradition and help them out with the move, or something like that – can’t remember the exact wording. I don’t remember if they also included a registry option, but it was somewhat of a destination wedding, so it made a lot of sense for their situation – guests wouldn’t have to haul gifts to the wedding, they wouldn’t have to haul gifts to their new home. If done right, especially as part of a cultural tradition, I don’t think it’s tacky at all.

    3. Caledonia*

      I agree with both comments above, I think that if you explain the red envelope thing it would be more relatable than just asking for money.

    4. Observer*

      Really, really bad idea for anyone but her (extended) family. They know and understand the tradition. Others don’t and it would make a terrible impression.

      They also shouldn’t include any gift registry information. (It’s tacky under any circumstances, and this case it’s a double problem.) And, if someone asks “what should I get them” they can have a something about both the red envelope and the registry.

    5. ginger ale for all*

      Why not have a website that explains both traditions so if a guest sees someone giving a red envelope, they will know what is going on. Then do both traditions. Have a registry in case people ask and accept the red envelopes if they come. If people are going the red envelope way, they will probably already have the envelopes so there won’t be a need to mail them out. Just include more about each culture’s wedding traditions so it doesn’t look like a gift grab. Maybe include something about the food and dress? Perhaps some basic words and how to say them, like hello and congratulations?

      1. Lily*

        Gift grab? It’s a wedding, if you accept the invitatio then you’re expected to bring a present, regardless of whether it’s cash, off a registry or something else altogether.

        1. Observer*

          Exactly- gift grab.

          You should be inviting people because you want them there, not because of the gifts they can do for you. And, if you expect a gift as “payment” for their food and place, it’s not a gift, it’s the price of admission. Which helps to explain how unreasonable people can be about the wedding – if I have to pay my way, I should have some say in the arrangements, especially the food, no?

        2. ginger ale for all*

          Jmo, gifts are the last things I would want guests to think of. I want them there to celebrate with the couple. To toast love. To enjoy a good meal with good friends. Gifts are low on the priority list. And if I didn’t get gifts, then I didn’t get gifts, no big deal.

        3. Jillociraptor*

          Yeah, I really don’t get the angsting about gifts and money related to weddings. It’s a social convention that in nearly all cases you bring a gift. One of the functions of a wedding can be to pool small amounts of resources from individuals in the community into a larger pot of resources for the couple as they gain a new social identity. It’s a pain when the couple or their families act like it’s a real-life dowry where the gifts must be counted and evaluated. But it’s also really weird to me that we try to force couples to act like giving a gift is some kind of Miracle of Miracles that they have to supplicate themselves before, rather than kind of part of the gig.

          I wish couples were able to say, “Gifts obviously not mandatory but if you’re considering it, we’d love cash to use as we figure out our needs in our new life together!” or “…but if you’re considering it, here are some things we’d really love to have for our new life together!” for a registry.

  39. Amadeo*

    Made the first of what will be two big loaves of soap for Christmas giveaways, and that got me to thinking about my fandom scent blends I thought I might try to mix up and then make loaves of soap with titles like “The Chosen One” (getting this one requires having watched a certain prequel trilogy, vetiver and smoke), “House Elf” (laundry and cooking spices), “Sam’s Garden” (fresh cut grass, roses, dirt), and so on.

    Except those are mostly my main three fandoms (I have three scent ideas for each) and I know there are several other big ones out there. What’s your fandom or character and what sort of scent blend would you associate with them?

    1. Elizabeth West*

      OH CRAP I WOULD BUY THAT.

      Hmm…Sherlock could be something maybe like leather and books, with a hint of pipe smoke (how you’d do that, I don’t know).

      Star Trek– TNG “Arboretum” could be green/floral. I always thought the Enterprise wouldn’t really have a smell, but it could be something very clean, kind of like my Marc Jacobs Rain perfume only without the sweet note.

      1. Amadeo*

        LOL! Which one? I’ve also got Goldenrod (lemony, and not very good at telling stories), Scoundrel (probably a beer soap, but I haven’t attempted a beer soap yet, with a man smell), The Elves ( sea salt & driftwood with cedar or oakmoss), Strider (patch, tobacco and leather, I think), Keeper of Keys (leaves, trees, grass, pumpkin -ish), and The Burrow (oatmeal, cinnamon and brown sugar).

        Of course, I have to make the blends first and then pray they don’t create chemistry malfunctions in the soap.

        1. Applecake*

          Munchkin land-lollipops. Yellowbrickrooad-poppies. Tin mans cabin-cedar and steel Emerald city-perfume

          Chocolate factory -chocolate. Mrs Buckett laundress- clean Cotten, lavendar. Grandpa joe- tobacco and spice. Oompaloompa-passion fruit, orchids. Beautegard-blueberry pie. Snozberry-lemon and watermelon

    2. EmmaLou*

      Loki! Sharp, spicy, dark and beautiful (and dark green and black) Is black soap bad? I mean does it stain? So maybe just hints of black.

      Princess Buttercup, which would be all things floral and sweet

      1. Amadeo*

        Actually, you totally can color soap black and I have some batches where I’ve colored part of the batter that way. If I get overzealous with the colorant, it totally can stain light colored washrags and make gray bubbles, but it washes off your skin all right.

        1. Amadeo*

          Bwahaha! I’m not into Avengers much (I have the first movie only because I had a coupon thing to spend at Best Buy and didn’t know what else to pick up) but the apple pie thing entertains me like no other. I suppose if I was going to do a Loki one it’d be peppery maybe. There are plenty of ozone-y/rain scents that could be used for Thor, though they tend to cause some issues with soap batter sometimes.

    3. SAHM*

      YAY SOAP!! I love your ideas! You can get some super fun molds from ThinkGeek, I have a bunch from them, they’re technically for chocolate or ice but as long as the mold is silicone you’re good to go. Also, CP is totally moldable after 24 hours, that’s how they’re able to do the rimmed soap technique that’s the rage in the soaping community right now. Great Cakes Soapworks club did a rimmed soap, than Soap Queen did a tutorial and it’s now all over Pinterest. But anyway, if you’re able to mold stuff (I can’t, I have no artistic talents at all) you can mold stuff out of soap, like a hobbit hole (wink wink nudge nudge, totally will buy that). Not certain if you do CP or MP, but I love Bulk apothecaries lye. Great price on their lye when you compare to Wholesale Supplies or Brambleberry. I love TKB’s colorant (plus they’re based in Oakland so I can drive there and pick it up/no shipping!), and I love the colors of Royalty Soaps and she uses a lot of Nurture Soap Supply for her colorants. (I recently ordered some from Nurture but I haven’t had time/energy to soap lately, maybe when EllieBean is 6 months and has more of a schedule). For Sam’s Garden Brambleberry actually has a fragrance called grass stain that’s surprisingly good! What kind of swirls are you thinking for the soaps?

      1. Amadeo*

        I buy my supplies from all over the place. I’ve been getting my lye from Brambleberry, but I’ve recently discovered that Menards has some in the drain cleaner section that’s actually 100% NaOH, so I’ve nabbed a bottle of that to use. Cheaper when shipping’s not involved! I do CP and I’ve made a ‘CP’ liquid soap just once, need to try again as it’s all cloudy when diluted.

        Sadly I have no desire whatsoever to mold soap, but I have fun with the swirls in loaf molds. For Vader’s I would probably go with the turmoil of a 3 color drop swirl, black and red with a little bit of white. Threepio just solid gold, Han – if I made a beer soap I’d just let it keep whatever color the beer turns it. Green with sunshine for Sam, maybe in a circling Taiwan swirl for Sam, green and silver for The Elves, still kind of debating for the rest.

        1. SAHM*

          No, not on the Soapmaking Forum, I actually haven’t heard of it before! I love the circling Taiwan swirl for Sam, drop swirls always look great, would you be dusting gold mica on the Threepio soap? I can almost visualize these! What’s your etsy shop/link to your site?

          1. Amadeo*

            I don’t sell yet. I only started soap making last year and wanted to get plenty of practice under my belt before I did anything other than give the stuff away to friends and family. Maybe come the start of next year I’ll look into getting set up to sell. I think it’d be fun to try out a baby comic con with a table of stuff like that here in this area.

            If you decide to join the forum, I’m Rusti over there. I love the place, it’s full of people who are also full of information and totally willing to share it and help you trouble shoot if you have issues. They cover soap (CP, HP, melt and pour), bath and body products and selling. They’re great!

  40. nep*

    Margaret Atwood fans? I’m reading Surfacing again — read it many, many years ago. What Atwood books have you read?

    1. LawCat*

      I’ve read Handmaid’s Tale and the MaddAddam series. I think they’re all brilliant cautionary fables and I mentally refer to them often when thinking about implications of public policies. I’ll have to check out Surfacing!

      1. Jean*

        After reading The Handmaid’s Tale (some 30 years ago!) I was enraged for about a week. I still get angry when I think about the part when the bank accounts got coded M or F and then one day the “F” accounts (Female) mysteriously stopped working.

    2. Felicia*

      The Heart Goes Last was a really good one, and I recommend it to anyone who likes The Handmaid’s Tale.

    3. Liz in a Library*

      I’ve only read a few over the years, but my favorite is probably the new one (the Tempest retelling). It was wonderful!

    4. all aboard the anon train*

      I’ve had The Heart Goes Last on my list forever. I bought it at a reading she did a year ago and just haven’t gotten around to it because I think I’ll have to be in the right mood to read it.

      I’d like to read Hag-Seed because as someone who did her graduate studies in Shakespeare, I loooooove adaptations and retellings, but I really, really dislike The Tempest, so I don’t know if my love for Atwood can overcome my dislike of The Tempest.

    5. Caledonia*

      I don’t like her more recent books that skew towards science fiction, which is all she kind of does now but I did love The Robber Bride, Alias Grace (which is becoming a mini-series on netflix) and The Blind Assassin.

    6. Cristina in England*

      I liked Oryx and Crake, which is one of the “not scifi” (but really scifi) ones. I read The Blind Assassin but didn’t like it. I would like to read the Handmaid’s Tale but I am wary of how ragey it would make me feel. At this point in my life I need to unwind, not wind myself up with books.

  41. The Expendable Redshirt*

    My foster kittens go back to the Humane Society tomorrow. I’m having a hard time with accepting this. Please remind me that 6 cats in an 800sq foot apartment is not a good idea!

    1. Misc*

      It’s a terrible idea. As they get older, they’ll get all independent and relatively boring :D and either you’ll have a massive tribe that mostly ignores you completely or six cats all wanting your fulltime attention.

      Also cat fur. Cat fur everywhere.

      1. Rahera*

        Exactly! I’m very sorry you have to send them back, and I know how hard that must be.

        I live in a tiny house on a busy road surrounded by cats and every practical reason is against my getting a cat right now. Which didn’t stop me falling for a rescue cat a few months ago. Though I didn’t adopt him because it was kinder for him, I still miss that little furball (who is off having the life of his dreams with a very nice owner, by the way).

        The only remedy I found that sort of works was actually to take up spinning with a drop spindle. The fibre is of course very tactile and instead of cat fur everywhere, I have tufts of roving mixed with the dust bunnies :D, EVERYWHERE, but my actual point is it’s a great hobby and one I could not do in a house this small with a cat around.

        Maybe doing woolly handcrafts for a bit might help you? Or painting or something with paper or anything a cat would be into like a shot.

    2. Clever Name*

      Think of a cat-less family that really would be a great forever home for them. You’re not giving them up, you’re letting a family experience their joy.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s a bad idea! I came very, very close to doing that the last time we fostered (we were fostering three kittens and already had our own three adult cats, so it would have been six). I found giving them up excruciating. But now that I have some distance on it, I’m very glad that we don’t have six cats.

      (We did, however, keep one of them — Eve — because after a few days back at the shelter, they thought she was still too scared of people to be appealing to adopters. Interestingly, after she became ours permanently, she lost her timidity and turned into the happiest, most affectionate cat.)

      I was able to email with the people who adopted the other two, which made me feel somewhat better because I got some assurance they were in loving homes — maybe you could do something like that?

      1. catsAreCool*

        It’s so cool that you could email the adopters. I’m fairly sure one of my kitties was fostered as a kitten, and it would be nice to be able to say thank you to the foster people because she’s such a sweet, happy kitty.

        1. Windchime*

          My cat and his five siblings lost their mama before their eyes were opened. The young lady who would become my daughter-in-law fostered my boy and two of his siblings. It was a ton of work; they had to be fed every couple of hours and she carried them back and forth to work because of the care they needed.

          I’m so grateful that she did such a great job. My cat is very loving and gentle-natured and much of that is because of the great job my DIL did fostering him. Pet foster parents are special people.

    4. Photoshop Til I Drop*

      I feel your pain. We are struggling with finding a home for an orphan kitten we rescued. Mr. Photoshop wants to keep him, but he’s a rambunctious ball of energy and our elderly cat can’t handle his nonsense.

      Our local rescues are exploding with kittens and can’t help us find him a home. It’s a depressing race against time because the older he gets, the less “attractive” he is to potential adopters.

      You just have to remind yourself constantly that doing what’s best for them is most important.

      1. periwinkle*

        Possible solution: contact one of those overflowing shelters and adopt a kitten close in age to your orphan. They’ll keep each other entertained and your older cat won’t be bothered.

        We had four senior girls, lost one, and replaced her with an energetic young male. That was problematic until we adopted another energetic youngster (er, and then a few more). Now we have five young cats bouncing off the walls and three seniors lounging around, mostly undisturbed.

  42. esra (also a Canadian)*

    Oh moms. I’m in my 30s and mom’s partner passed away a couple years ago. She has hit max-clingyness and wants us to be forever besties. And makes absolutely everything, everything (everything) about her. Like tenuous connections that have me straining to keep a straight face. Little brother having car troubles? Oh, it’s stressing her out so much, how could this happen to her! Waiting to hear back on a job interview? Just tell them your mother has to know, because waiting is so upsetting!

    I swear, she doesn’t even hear what people are saying. During a major life-event a couple years ago, unrelated to her, she was going on about how much it affected her and I outright said: “Mom, this is not about you.” What she heard, and still complains about to this day: “Mom, I really don’t care about your feelings. And you hated him anyway. Go away forever, probably.”

    I just needed to vent.

    1. Clever Name*

      Grief does weird things to people. My mom changed a lot after her brother died, and it has forever altered our relationship. I’m sorry you have to deal with this.

    2. RevengeoftheBirds*

      So take this with a grain of salt but when my mom died I was insufferable for a good five years. I’m still “come up for air,” as they say. I think the clingy stuff comes from avoiding figuring out who you are without pivotal person and the self centeredness from feeling betrayed, alone, anxious and very in your own mind.

      It’s annoying but a gentle reminder that it’s not about Her (better worded of course) could help.

      1. Esra*

        I phrased it poorly, but she was like this before her husband passed. It’s just worse now and can be difficult to balance trying to be there for her with trying to breathe.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Nope, it’s been four ever since we adopted Eve last year. That’s Lucy in the photo — she and Sam are both orange, so you might have been thinking they were the same cat.

  43. Campfire Latte*

    Any brand suggestions for a great pair of tall boots for women with bigger calves? Im 5’2″ with larger calves (17″) from years of skating. Looking for a pair of good quality leather riding boots.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      My new favorites are made by Carlos Santana. Seriously. I got them two years ago, but when I’m in the market for boots again, I might go to him first. I search on Zappos by calf size. I’ve had good luck with Hush Puppies as well. Anne Klein makes nice shoes with a lot of wide calf options, as does Naturalizer.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      I finally found boots that fit me last year, after trying unsuccessfully forever to find anything that worked. They are Steve Madden, and they are kind of slouchy. I got pairs in black and brown.

      Torrid, which is a store that sells plus size fashion, also sells boots. I’ve never been to one of their stores, but I think they have a pretty good selection of wide calf boots.

    3. Engineer Girl*

      Oh, I hear you!

      I’ve had success with Ariat and Merrell.

      I order from Zappos. There is a checkbox for wide boots on the sidebar. It’s also near impossible to get real snow boots in CA. Zappos is the only way.

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        I love my Ariat Fatbaby boots! I don’t ride, but they are the most comfortable things in the world!

    4. ginger ale for all*

      Lane Bryant just had an ad for wide calf boots. Maybe you could go to their site and see if the boots appeal to your sense of style?

    5. Talvi*

      I’ve got a friend who uses ankle boots and half-chaps for riding, which is an option if you can’t find a pair of wide-calf boots you like.

    6. Bunny Purler*

      Can you get hold of Mountain Horse boots where you are? I have quite large calves and my MH boots fit me really well.

    7. Damn it Hardison!*

      Nordstrom has a nice selection of wide calf boots this year. I have good luck with Clarks and Naturalizer.

  44. NL*

    My husband pointed out to me recently when he’s around to or more women friends or family members they will often tease him or make him the butt of jokes. They mean it in good fun but he doesn’t like it and finds it hurtful. I told him I think it’s a social phenomenon that women do this as a way to bond with each other and show affection toward the guy they’re doing it to. I also think it’s related to our society’s tendency to joke about men being less competent than women but I’d never thought before about how mean-spirited it is to the man who’s the target of it. Have other people noticed this? Am I right in thinking this is a commonplace thing women do to guys? Why do we do it?

    1. Florida*

      I think people do it when one person in the group is different. I have a few family members who are gay. When we get together, they tease me because I’m straight. In that situation, I’m the odd one out because I’m straight. In your husband’s situation, he’s the odd man out because he’s a man. I agree with your husband. It’s supposed to be funny, but it’s hurtful.
      There are certain situations where we don’t do this, maybe because it’s too taboo. If the odd one out is different because of race or religion, we tend to do it less. If it is nationality, I think it’s about half-and-half. Maybe it depends on how well we know the people.
      I agree with you that we do it to bond with the other woman. We also think that if I think it’s funny, then he’ll think it’s funny. So we don’t realize how hurtful it is to him.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I have been watching this for awhile, also. Men get hit pretty hard with some one-liners and they are not supposed to break stride.

      Yes, it is a sign of affection/friendship. It is a reference to a longer term or broader relationship that would allow joking and poking fun.
      The problem comes in when many people who are the butt of the joke are not having fun. They do not see it as inclusive behavior. I am female, I grew up in a pretty serious home. I did not see being teased as inclusive behavior.

      I will say that some men have given me a pretty good verbal jab. I have to remind myself that people do not pick on others if they do not like them.

      I think what happens is that women get to thinking all men are like this and that is not true. Additionally, women do not think about the fact that there are different kinds of strength. My friend can cut down large trees and lift heavy chunks of wood. When my dog got sick, I thought my friend was going to start crying about the dog. Just because a man has one type of strength does not mean he has another type of strength. I think us women forget that distinction.

      Continue as you are with encouraging him to find ways so that it does not bother him as much. Talk about the differences in people and the differences in childhood homes and cultures. Encourage him to watch to see if the women might also be poking fun at each other. Sometimes this happens, we only notice what happens to us and we do not notice how the group treats each other. Your husband might find having more context will be helpful.

      1. Florida*

        “I have to remind myself that people do not pick on others if they do not like them.”

        This is one of the great mistruths of the world. People pick on people to hurt them. Period. Woman 1 and Woman 2 might tease Man. This is not because they like Man. It is because Woman 1 and Woman 2 are giving their bonding with each other more importance than Man’s feeling. Alternatively, it is because Woman 1 is interested in getting Woman 2 to laugh at Man’s expense. This is not because Woman 1 likes Man. It’s because her need to feel important is more important than Man’s dignity.

        Somehow we justify it by saying things like, “I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t like you,” or “I was just joking.”

        The old line about “we were just joking” is manipulative. Jokes are funny. If Man does not find it funny, it’s not a joke. “We were just joking” is also manipulative. The two women don’t want to admit they are being mean, so they twist it around and say Man was too sensitive. This is gaslighting.

        It concerns me when anyone justifies mean behavior by saying, “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like you.”

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Context is super important here. Matter of fact, context is everything.
          Notice I am not saying let people get away with it. My thought is that different contexts mean different techniques for handling the situation.

          Even in the best of circumstances, where everything else is okay, a person can still say something.
          “Don’t go there!”
          “Okay, I guess we’ve covered that topic.”
          Etc.
          The thing I am getting at is the remark hurts like being hit with a sledge hammer , but sometimes a well-chosen sentence or two is enough to make it stop. It depends on if the effort is worth or it not to the person being targeted.**
          If the other person or group is repeatedly mean, that requires a different response than something that was intended as light banter.

          OP seems to be going in the direction of breaking down the group dynamics to learn what is going on in the situation. That to me indicates that OP is interested in her husband keeping the relationships and just wants to remove the random potshots that happen. I do agree that only the husband can decide if it is worth the effort or if the situation is indeed abusive and he needs to just remove himself entirely.

          **Even in good relationships there are times where we need to say, “Okay, that’s enough of that. It hurts my feelings and I am asking you to stop.” It took me a long time to understand this. And it took me a while longer to work it into my daily life. It is nothing I saw growing up. I don’t think OP’s husband has asked them to stop. I think he should ask them to stop and wait to see the response. Depending on the response he gets, he can chose his next steps.

    3. DragoCucina*

      It does happen. We had a sandwich shop in town where the majority of the staff were middle aged women. Whenever one of the male teens was working they would make a lot of sexual jokes in order to embarrass him and watch him turn red. This included the manager. I made a complaint that it wasn’t appropriate. It didn’t stop until I made a complaint to corporate. Too often it’s considered cute or just teasing.

    4. Engineer Girl*

      Absolutely. In fact I complained the other day that if the situation was reversed by gender then people would be up in arms.

      I think it’s pretty disrespectful and isn’t something that people should have to “get used to”. Overwhelming teasing is not nice.

      Maybe he can say something like “you know, I feel really disrespected when you say things like that to me”. A nice person will apologize. A bully will say “can’t you take a joke?”

      There’s plenty of nice things to bond over. Trying to fit 10 hours of work in an 8 hour day, easy meals, raising kids, workout and diet strategies, travel plans, etc etc etc.

      1. EmmaLou*

        I’ve heard this defended as “Well, men have been doing it for hundreds of years. Now it’s our turn! We’re just getting some of our own back!” except… I don’t want a turn as the bully.

    5. Ruffingit*

      This is interesting as I’ve never thought about it, but now that you bring it up I’m realizing that it does happen a lot. Another thing I notice among groups of women is complaining about their SO or husbands as a way to bond. I get it on some level because when I was in a bad marriage I complained about my husband all the time. Now that I’m in a good marriage though, I look upon this with sadness when others do it because it seems disrespectful to the relationship.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Ding, ding, ding. This is a winning comment.

        Have you noticed that if you try to say something to support the relationship, you get shot down?
        Just my opinion, but as a society we no longer do that much to help support people’s marriages/committed relationships. It is a very common reaction for people to say, “yeah, your SO is a jerk and you should leave him because he won’t put his clothes in the hamper.”
        Oh my.
        We (society) seem to enjoy drama in the upset much MORE than we enjoy the contentment in making peaceful compromises.
        I think that any relationship requires making compromises. I bought a second hamper and that was the end of that problem. A very simple example, granted, but long term relationships go hand-in-hand with a long term willingness to make compromises. It’s work!
        I had a couple in my family who routinely griped about each other. I watched. Thirty years later they are still griping about each other and it’s the same gripes it was 30 years ago! Nothing has changed. Why. In part because they expend all their energy telling EVERYONE else and NOT each other. And the punny (is that a word?) one-liner slams that fly about- ugh, ugh, ugh. We have a finite amount of energy, we can use it to gripe to everyone or we can use it to find solutions.

  45. Florida*

    Does anyone know a non-sexist term for Resting Bitch Face? There are definitely people who have an angry-type look about them when they are really just sitting there. But I hate the term Resting Bitch Face because it is so sexist.
    Is there another term for this?

    1. danr*

      How about NYC Subway face. The best way to be left alone on the subway is to have a non-approachable face. It also makes it obvious when you are smiling and ready to give buskar a dollar for a good performance.

    2. Florida*

      NYC Subway Face is funny. I like Resting Cranky Face too.

      I don’t think terms like unfriendly, sourpuss, etc. are exactly right. Sometimes I think they are actually very friendly, nice people. It’s just that their resting face is a grumpy look.

  46. Ann Furthermore*

    I’ve found myself sucked back into the JonBenet Ramsey mystery. I live in Denver, and did at the time of the murder. I know everyone was obsessed with it, but here in Colorado, it was even more so. I didn’t watch any of the documentaries, but I read recaps and some additional articles.

    I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure what happened, but I do think the family knows more than they ever admitted. There were so many bizarre things that are still unexplained, and the incompetence of the police department was truly appalling. All that is certain is that poor child died a horrible tragic death.

    1. Dynamic Beige*

      OK, I’m sure this is going to get me flamed but I’m going to say it anyway. A pretty little white girl from a rich family gets murdered and twenty years later people are still losing their collective minds over it. Meanwhile there are thousands upon thousands of Black, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and Native/Aboriginal girls (or just poor white ones) who have been murdered in the same time period and no one gives a flip (beyond their families).

      I mean, I am sorry that those parents lost their child (however it happened, as pointed out we will probably never know) because that has got to be the absolute worst thing anyone can go through. I am sorry that they were raked over the coals by the press and just generally had a crap time on top of all of that… but c’mon. Why aren’t there several two hour documentaries about other kids? All the time, effort and publicity spent on this one case, I just can’t even.

      1. Samantha*

        I’m sure the fact that she was a white beauty pageant queen from a wealthy family has a lot to do with it. But also just the really bizarre nature of the crime and the fact that it’s remained unsolved for so long. I agree that the remaining two family members are the only ones who know what really happened but that they’ll never admit to what they know.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        In this one particular case, there maybe someone investigating who is pumping the media because this investigative type person thinks the media coverage will eventually break the murderer into confessing.

        On the big picture scale, I agree with you, DB. I think the over the top publicity on this case drives the public to obsessive levels about the case. In the process, big issues get ignored.

        As an aside, do reporters have any clue how they sound in writing? I see three Ramsey articles and two are a minor rewrite of the first. I guess making content is more important than actually saying something new and informative?

      3. Ann Furthermore*

        I agree with you too, DB. The public’s insatiable appetite for all the lurid details was insane…and I admit that I was pulled into it too. As you pointed out, there are thousands of other children who are not pretty, white, and blonde who go missing or are murdered and we hear nothing about them. I had the same thoughts about the Natalee Holloway case.

        But in this case, there were just so many weird things about it, chief among them that truly bizarre ransom note. The beauty pageant stuff played a big role in it too, because so many people (including me) find it unseemly to dress up little girls as grown up women, paint them with a full coat of makeup, and tell them they have to be “sexy” if they want to win.

        The CBS documentary posed the theory that she and the brother got into it over something and he accidentally killed her, and the parents covered it up. Who knows if that’s what actually happened or not, but it’s as plausible a theory as any other. People are pointing to his strange behavior and inappropriate smiling during his interview with Dr. Phil, but that alone to me doesn’t prove anything. The family went into seclusion, and he’s lived a pretty sheltered, private life, and he was probably extremely nervous, no matter what happened that terrible night. Dr. Phil was quick to defend him and say that he’s a very shy and socially awkward person, and I tend to agree with him — which surprised me. I am not a Dr. Phil fan because I think he’s a sensationalistic publicity hound.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          so many people (including me) find it unseemly to dress up little girls as grown up women, paint them with a full coat of makeup, and tell them they have to be “sexy” if they want to win.

          I remember seeing that footage back in the day and thinking “People actually do that? With little children?” I couldn’t believe that child beauty pageants were A Thing. I knew someone in school who was a pageant winner, but she had to be 16 to enter and it was an agricultural specific thing. This also blew my mind at the time because I never knew that they crowned a Butter Queen or a Furrow Queen. (Neither of those was what my friend was. But OMG, they still do Furrow Queen http://www.plowingmatch.org/the-queen/current-queen)

          With all the “reality” TV shows and Honey Boo-boo, it’s like child beauty pageants have been somewhat normalised since the JBR case. I’m not saying that’s a good thing. It will be somewhat “interesting” to see if in another 10 years or so there’s a flood of “being in child beauty pageants ruined my life” exposés that swings the pendulum back.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I think the brother theory is crap, frankly. It’s just speculation at this point, and what? Now every lunkhead who watched that program is going to think “Burke did it!” It’s yellow journalism at best and irresponsible investigating at worst. And way to tag the guy with absolutely NO proof.

          You definitely have a point about the beauty pageant stuff. I don’t think it would have been half as sensational if not for that element–you hardly ever see any pictures of JonBenet where she’s not gussied up in pageant makeup / dresses.

      4. Stellaaaaa*

        It’s easy to forget that, at the time, not a lot of people knew about child pageants outside of the people who participated in them. There was a really torrid, pervy flavor to people’s interest in that aspect of the story I think it’s also somewhat rare that the parents of a murder victim already have media-ready photos and video footage of the child. It’s also ALSO somewhat rare that a case with such a huge media footprint hasn’t been solved.

        If you want to talk conspiracy, I do think it’s odd that JonBenet pops up in the news every time there’s upheaval in the White House.

        1. LCL*

          Child pageants have been around for a long time. I remember discussing child pageants with someone in my workgroup. His daughter was involved and he didn’t care for that, but the mom had done it when she was a girl, and the daughter liked doing pageants so he didn’t fight it. The daughter is now close to 30 years old.

          I am still annoyed by the language used to describe Jonbenet. She was a little girl who sometimes entered pageants, not a beauty queen!

      5. OhBehave*

        Perhaps you should say that the media doesn’t give a flip. Because this is how everyone knows about JBR in the first place, other than the locals. If the media hadn’t gotten hold of the story, we wouldn’t be talking about it now. Yes. She was a rich, little white girl. She was also a child involved in pageants, which some find very offensive because of the wigs, fake tans, fake teeth, etc. The timing of the murder and the fact that she was found at home in the basement, after they had ‘looked everywhere’ for her added to the mystery. If the media devoted a tenth of the time to other child murders or abductions, maybe those kids would get some justice.

    2. shorty*

      I’ve always been intrigued by this too. Just googled it to read up on it as I don’t remember all the details from years past. I am so interested in knowing what actually happened!

      1. Random Citizen*

        I’m really fuzzy on the details, too – does anyone here know of a good summary somewhere I could read?

  47. Jessen*

    I am happy to report that the footsmart stretchables shoes seem to work quite well, although I needed to go one width up from what I usually order (double-wide instead of wide). Why someone didn’t think of stretchable dress shoes before is beyond me!

  48. JoniKat*

    I accidentally posted this inline with another post, and if anyone responds I don’t want to derail the original message about strength training:

    Speaking of cat advice, does anyone have any tips for helping shy cats open up to strangers? Parents and friends have visited my partner and I on different occasions, and the only time my cat has made friends with anyone is with my mom. They became best friends, pretty much. However, with every other visitor, no longer how long they have stayed, she won’t come out from under the bed until night when she’s assured they are asleep.

    Every visitor has wanted to meet her and make friends, but she’s having none of it, and I would like her to feel confident in her own home. She doesn’t like treats (!) so the only positive reinforcement she responds to is verbal, but that’s not enough. We don’t want to traumatize her by forcing her into a meeting, so has anyone had any luck with passive and gentle reassurance to shy/scared cats?

    This is the first time I had the courage/gumption to post in the weekend free-for-all, so thanks everyone and sorry in advance if this has been discussed in a previous week.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Am chuckling. I had a brassy Balinese. Well, she was brassy until someone came to visit. It was several years before anyone but us saw the cat.

      If she wants to run and hide sometimes your LACK of interest in her hiding is the very thing that will trigger her curiosity and cause her to come out.

      Whatever you decide to do be consistent. If you change strategies it will probably only take longer to get her out of hiding.

      1. JoniKat*

        That sounds just like my cat! All bluster. I really like that idea about showing lack of interest in her. Thinking back, we were probably just reinforcing her behavior by coaxing her and “good girl”ing her over and over. Thank you!

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Do you know what your mom did that worked?

      I think NSNR is right that sometimes not trying and just going about your normal business makes cats more open to coming out. Two of ours are shy with strangers, but seem more likely to eventually get curious and come out if we don’t make a big deal about trying to coax them out. Cats are contrarians.

      1. JoniKat*

        I’m guessing it’s because my mom and I are quite alike: same height, similar voice. My mom ignored my cat completely when the cat finally decided to come downstairs and meet her. My cat got so frustrated at the lack of attention that she went up and head butted my mom’s shin while she tried to go to bed and that was the start of their friendship. I guess that proves she is indeed a contrarian.

        Thanks for the advice, I think it is definitely worth a shot! I’d like people to get to know her, but mostly I want her to feel comfortable in her space.

        1. catsAreCool*

          I’ve read that with cats, it’s not just being contrarian (although they certainly are sometimes), but that they feel more comfortable and safe when someone they don’t know well isn’t making a fuss over them. That’s supposed to be why cats tend to go to people who are allergic to them – the allergic person might be sitting quietly, hoping the kitty will go to someone else, and the cat sees someone who isn’t waving or being noisy and thinks “This person seems safe.”

      2. Not So NewReader*

        The Balinese was five when she came to live with us. She lived under our bed for the first three weeks. I found no evidence of her eating or using the litter box for the first week or so. By week three, I thought to myself, I am going to be looking under the bed to see where she died. Right after I thought that she started coming out into the open. And she would STARE at us with the widest eyes.

        Gradually, we figured out we had a very smart wise-guy on our hands. She was the best climber cat we ever had. It was an ordinary thing to find her on the top shelf of the closet. She could make 9 foot jumps straight up from a standing start. Beings that take large risks also tend to end up being very fearful. The two behaviors can go hand-in-hand. She hid when company came.
        Years went by, she stopped the dramatic risky behavior and she stopped hiding from company. She was very interactive with us and she was an almost non-stop talker once she leveled out. Interesting little girl.

    3. catsAreCool*

      I agree; if you can get people to pretend to ignore that you have a kitty, she may start getting interested in them.

    4. Engineer Girl*

      Feather toys? Something gentle where the cat can hide under the bed but doesn’t get touched by humans. Graduate to yarn.

    5. Bunny Purler*

      If your visitor is allergic to/scared of cats, your cat will want to be much more friendly… I thought this was an urban myth until we were visited by someone who didn’t like cats, and our timid tabby made a bee-line for our visitor, rubbing her face on the woman’s legs and trying to get into her lap!

    6. Windchime*

      My cat is very funny about who he likes and doesn’t like. He likes my mom even though he sees her once per year. One of my boys he loves; my son can pick him up and carry him around. He doesn’t like my other son at all because he is loud. He loves the neighbor boy but doesn’t like the neighbor girl.

      It makes no sense to me.

  49. Persephone Mulberry*

    Yet another cat question! Does anyone use the Tidy Cats Breeze litterbox system?

    Quick summary, to spare you the googling: it uses non-absorbent ceramic pebbles instead of litter, and a disposable pee pad. Supposedly there is ZERO cat box odor.

    I did some reading on cat owner forums, and it has basically unanimous rave reviews from folks who have successfully gotten their cat(s) to make the switch (and cats that hate it seem to be a very small minority). Based on that, we’re giving it a try; our kit should be here tomorrow. But I’m curious if anyone else has tried it?

    1. Sparkly Librarian*

      Yes, it’s been my litterbox choice for about 6 years now. 2 cats, 2 boxes (but they did share one for a while). I think it’s a vast improvement over clumping litters, but some cats find the pellets ouchy or unpleasant on their delicate pawpads and might refuse to use it. Worth a try – the odor is cut way, way down. Do you have particular questions?

    2. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I’ve never heard of this before, but I’m interested now.

      How often does the pad need changing? Daily, several times per week, weekly?

      My cats both have always used a covered litter box, and this one is open. I wonder if they’ll have a problem with that? Plus I don’t like the idea of seeing a cat turd sitting there out in the open. Which is, I suppose, just an argument for immediate removal (she said, answering her own question).

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Okay, my real problem with the cat turd out in the open: I know that if I see it, I’ll remove it. But if I’m not home, and my husband or son see it and don’t remove it, and if company comes over while I’m not there, the company will see the turd and husband and son will either be oblivious or they’ll only think about turd removal after the company is already there seeing the turd. I worry that they won’t have company’s-coming, turd-removal forethought.

      2. Persephone Mulberry*

        They suggest changing the pad weekly for one cat. We have two, and one of them is a pretty heavy pee-er, so I imagine we’ll be changing more frequently.

        We have always used a covered box, too, so I took the lid off of ours to see if they cared (they didn’t).

        My biggest pet peeve is the litter tracking. We’ve tried every type of cover (flap, no flap, hole in the top) as well as uncovered and it doesn’t seem to make a difference, so that what I’m looking forward to the most.

    3. Al Lo*

      I haven’t, but I plan to now! We live in a small apartment, so our cat’s boxes are in common areas, inside of furniture (I.e. inside a chest with a cat door in one end). That helps with the smell, but she tracks litter when she comes out. We have a roomba that runs daily, so that stays on top of it, but I’d rather eliminate the tracking.

      I was reading the amazon reviews, and one person said she used airsoft pellets as the pellets in the box, so she could wash them every few weeks instead of changing them.

  50. Chaordic One*

    I’m having computer problems.

    My PC has been infected with malware or adware. Almost every other time I click on a link it opens a tab with some sort of trashy advertisement. A lot of the ads are for anti-virus software. Maybe it’s ransomware?

    I’ve run my anti-virus software (Windows and I’ve reinstalled my browsers, but I can’t seem to get rid of it. Windows Firewall is on. I’ve run McAffee Security Scan, AVG Protection, Glary Utilities, Microsoft Windows Defender, and Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool.

    I’ve also reinstalled my browsers. Firefox does a good job of shutting down the unwanted tabs before the sites can download, but Google Chrome and Opera are horrible to use now. (Microsoft Edge doesn’t seem to be infected and I hope it stays that way).

    Any suggestions?