weekend free-for-all – October 22-23, 2016

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school. If you have a work question, you can email it to me or post it in the work-related open thread on Fridays.)

{ 850 comments… read them below }

    1. dear liza dear liza

      Seeing parts of the stage production. I would love to see it on Broadway (or Chicago!), but so far, no one has given me free tickets to the show. ;)

    2. Cruciatus

      Yes! “And Peggy” was unexpected! I was able to see most of this earlier this week through an event my city’s playhouse was having. It was mostly older people who had no idea what they were seeing. I’m wondering how many were interested after that (though I thought the documentary was great! I just truly don’t know how much it might appeal to the 80 and up crowd). They also had a group sing some of the songs–none of the hip-hoppy ones. The crowd didn’t really laugh at King George’s song or “And Peggy!” I think my mom recorded this last night so I’ll be interested on her take since she loves 1776 and every time it’s on TV she tells me. I forced my dad to listen to the soundtrack while driving somewhere–not a fan, except for King George.

      1. dear liza dear liza

        Reading the libretto really helped me- a non-hip hop fan- appreciate and now love the soundtrack.

        1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

          I shared it with my 73 year old friend last year and she (definitely not a hip hop or rap fan) fell in love immediately. I don’t know anyone in the 80+ demographic who has appreciated it though. My sub 2-year-old loves it :)

    3. Becca

      OH my god I cried!! I really liked how they addressed that no one in the show was perfect— they all had flaws and that a lot of them were just terrible people. I loved seeing parts from the ending of the show, especially when Eliza is highlighted… That is just the saddest part to me because, well… because.

    4. AdAgencyChick

      I saw it last week at the NY Film Festival. So good!

      I have yet to see the show although I’ve listened to the songs over and over, so I had no idea what Christopher Jackson looked like. He is officially my new celebrity crush.

    5. Lizabeth

      Taped it and watched it this morning with steaming coffee, listening to the Broadway soundtrack as doing chores. Loved all of it…

    6. Claire (Scotland)

      I stayed up until 3.30am to watch the livestream. This is the list of favourite moments I made for a post earlier:

      – Daveed Diggs on Jefferson: “And he sucks!”
      – “He HAS no principles.”
      – Lin and Leslie reading aloud from the letters of Hamilton and Burr, and that whole sequence in the finance museum
      – Obama greeting Lin with “Hey man!”
      – “Shooty shooty shooty… Shot!”
      – Chris Jackson talking about Washington owning slaves

      1. HRish Dude

        I laughed so hard at “And he sucks!”

        I admit I got a little (a lot) teary when the show ended with the last lines of the musical.

  1. Beem

    I’m starting the weekend by reading the comments on the “Who was your weirdest coworker?” post. 20/10 entertainment.
    I’ll post the link in the reply.

  2. babblemouth aka One Of The Greatest Minds Of The 21st Century

    I’m lying in bed sick today, and I’m already so bored – but don’t have the energy to get up.
    What’s the most fun/interesting thing you read on the Internet this week? Maybe with some good reads I’ll survive the boredom…

    1. Ayla K

      When I’m bored I always like to peruse the latest threads on AskReddit. Some of the topics bring up hysterically funny answers, and some are super thought-provoking. Right now, there are also a bunch of threads about freaky and paranormal experiences (since Halloween is coming up) – those are always good to fill up an hour or so if you read everything.

      1. Former Diet Coke Addict

        I love doing this. I also love the archives there–search Top All-time, there’s several years of excellent threads with thousands and thousands of posts. Also around Halloween I love to search “creepy” or “spooky” there and read those archives.

      1. babblemouth aka One Of The Greatest Minds Of The 21st Century

        Oh, that sounds fun. Any particularly good one you’d recommend?

        1. Former Diet Coke Addict

          Also check out Longreads! Same concept, frequently there’s some overlap in there, but there’s a ton of excellent long articles in both of them. They both have archives sorted by theme, so pick one and just go for it.

        2. Natalie

          I love crime stories so I go to their crime archive first. But they have every topic you might want – politics, sports, art.

      2. Kay

        YES. This is my go-to for filling up bored spaces in my life. I usually have one article open at work to dip into when I need a mental break.

    2. Not So NewReader

      Zombie rubber duckies.

      I like to order small items to give out for Halloween as opposed to candy. It works for me because the leftovers have a long shelf life and I don’t gain weight.

      I have been doing business with Oriental Trading Co. for years. So I went into their site to see what to get this year. Yeah, close timing but I saw they can still ship. The rubber duckies have been popular with the kids and I have not bought any in a while, so I decided to check out the duckies. One hundred and seventy plus different styles of duckies. Who’d thunk? I lost a half hour looking at the duckies and laughing so hard. I ordered the zombie duckies, they were just too adorable. I might keep one or two for myself…. because part of me is still five?

      If you are looking for something that is a good time sink, you can order your Halloween stuff online if you need anything.

      1. Elizabeth West

        I LOVE them. They have so much stuff I don’t need but wish I did. One thing I did get from them was a cool magnifier that folds into its own stand, for doing mini work.

    3. peachie

      If spooky stories are your thing, I’ve been enjoying going down the rabbit hole that is the annual Jezebel spooky story thread.

      1. New Bee

        Agreed! I recommend reading “Look at Me” (someone will certainly have linked to it; it’s a past winner)–with the lights on.

        1. Ostara

          Wow. That gave me chills. I regularly sit at my desk with noise canceling headphones – NOT ANYMORE.

          Are these stories supposed to be real or made up?

          1. peachie

            They’re supposed to be real — of course, it depends on how much you trust the honesty of internet strangers. ;)

            I like to believe that they’re told truthfully, even though I don’t really believe in supernatural happenings. All the same, the stories are wonderful. (If you have a lot of patience, this year, there is an AMAZING story about an armoire toward the end of the comments…)

    4. Sara

      If you’re not totally sick of everything related to the election, I really enjoyed both of these satirical pieces:

      “Nasty Women Have Much Work To Do” in the Washington Post – funny, powerful, and a great read
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2016/10/20/nasty-women-have-much-work-to-do

      “Hillary Clinton’s Locker Room Talk” in NY Magazine – hilarious, but definitely for mature audiences only
      http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/10/hillary-clintons-locker-room-talk.html

      On the more serious side, I really like FiveThirtyEight’s election coverage.

      Enjoy, and feel better soon!

      1. babblemouth aka One Of The Greatest Minds Of The 21st Century

        Goodness, the Hillary Locker Room article is just disturbing and creepy. The other one though, wonderful!

  3. Ayla K

    I’m looking for a roommate and it’s not going well!! I posted the room on Craigslist and in some small local Facebook groups (for alums of my college) and I’m getting 0 worthwhile responses. The responses I’m getting are either 1) people who clearly didn’t read the ad or 2) spam. What else can I do?? I cannot afford rent on my own.

    1. babblemouth aka One Of The Greatest Minds Of The 21st Century

      Do you already have an apartment and are trying to rent a bedroom, or are you looking for one with a free bedroom?

        1. babblemouth aka One Of The Greatest Minds Of The 21st Century

          Try to avdertise offline – find local businesses that have pin board where you can leave an ad, so the word spreads around the neighborhood. You can also try community centers or churches.
          Spend some time making sure you have really good photos – lighting matters! – so that the room looks its best. Decorate it a bit so it looks cozy. If you’re not great at photos, ask a friend to help.
          Say a little about yourself in the ad (are you introverted or extroverted? Tidy or not? etc) so people can self select early if that’s going to be a problem for them.
          When people come to visit, make sure the apartment is sparlking clean – not just regular clean.

          I’d avoid craigslist entirely if I were you – I’ve never had good experiences. Keep trying the Facebook groups though, but maybe with new and improved photos.

          Good luck!

        2. Yetanotherjennifer

          Have you talked to your rental office? Sometimes they know of people looking to move into the building.

    2. N.J.

      You mentioned college alumni. Do you still live in a college town? Posting flyers on community boards at the college or putting an ad I’m the student paper could work if you live in a college town. If not, you could try the local paper or any bulletin board style publications (we have one in my area that is free to post to but that people buy to read that lists items for sale, rentals etc.).

      1. Rever nd(ish)

        Or tell the off campus housing manager that you have an open room. I contacted campus housing when I was looking to a place to rent as a graduate student, and they sent me a link where they had a private listing of available housing.

      1. TootsNYC

        I’d also suggest spreading the word somehow at work. Or through a friend at their work. Or if there’s some company that tends to hire recent college grads (so, needing a low-cost place, but coupled w/ some evidence of stability), maybe contact their HR department and say, “I have a room that a new employee might be interested in; do you have a way to let new hires know?”

  4. FD

    Ugh, I’m so frustrated. I planned a camping weekend away and everything, EVERYTHING went pear-shaped, so I ended up going home. I’m upset and frustrated and depressed.

    I was really looking forward to this.

    1. JHS

      I’m so sorry to hear that! Hopefully you can have a fun weekend at home despite it all. If you drink, have a mimosa and try to relax.

  5. Trixie

    Found the thread regarding Raleigh vs Durham very helpful last weekend. I’m still reviewing comments but it reads as though Durham might be better suited for recent while Raleigh has more for 40+ population, single/married, w or w/o kids. Any additional insights are appreciated!

    1. chickabiddy

      I am a couple of hours away from the Triangle so not really up on neighborhood dynamics, but yes, I would pretty much agree with that assessment (although Durham does have a great mostly-kid-oriented science museum).

    2. LC

      Durham is to Raleigh what Brooklyn is to Manhattan. Raleigh has more, period–more jobs, more restaurants, more for everyone. But Durham has its own quirky vibe and, if you’re the right fit, may feel more like home than Raleigh.

      -Source: Charlotte resident living in Brooklyn

    3. AliceBD

      I didn’t see the thread last weekend but my recent do you mean recent grads? If so, I lived there almost two years after college (and I went to college there too). I LOVED it. I moved for work a few years ago because I was offered a job that was such a good fit for me, but I really loved living in Durham and miss it. It’s definitely smaller than Raleigh and I saw it as more individual. More farm to table stuff and art things.

    4. blackcat

      I lived in Raleigh as a recent grad–while I wasn’t married I was already living with my now husband. We made several close friends with neighbors while living in Raleigh (near downtown). We regularly visit one couple (they used to visit us, but now they have a kid and traveling is a pain. FWIW, they moved to Durham when they had a kid).

      North Raleigh or places a bit further afield would be more family oriented, but the cameron village area/5 points/other areas close in to downtown do have some pockets full of young people. Both also have significant populations of grad students/undergrads due to the large universities (Durham w/ Duke & NC Central and Raleigh w/ NC State).

      Both Raleigh and Durham are geographically large, with neighborhoods that are recent-grad friendly. I’d aim to whichever city is more likely to have the type of jobs you’d want, because the commute between the two cities can be a pain.

    1. Dangitmegan

      I can’t keep any lipstick on for more than 20 minutes no matter how much it costs. My solution has been the Covergirl Outlasts. That stuff stays on forever and it doesn’t dry out my lips. I also have a similar one from Kiko.

    2. Ayla K

      Powder!! Use a clear finishing powder (I like e.l.f.’s, and it’s only $3) and lipstick will stay on. FWIW, I really like Loreal’s True Match lipstick. My friend and I both have it and it’s stayed on through multi-mimosa brunches, puppy kisses, and jumping in the pool. Also I picked it up at Target for under $10. I was never a lipstick person, so I was not interested in spending tons of money, but I wanted a good red and that one delivered.

      1. JHS

        Coming to say this. Yes, you do one coat of lipstick, then tap the powder on with your finger, then a second coat of lipstick then blot!

    3. Former Diet Coke Addict

      I use the Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush balm. It’s soft enough to be moisturizing, but it stays and stays and stays and stays through eating, drinking, kissing, you name it. (OK, it needs to be reapplied after doing a lot of any of those things, but the colour remains–I just need to reapply for glossiness.)

      Or, powder. Apply lipstick, apply powder, apply lipstick again, blot, and enjoy your lovely smile.

    4. Clever Name

      My solution is to not care if my lipstick wears away and to reapply the few occasions when I do care. :/

    5. peachie

      …would you be open to $20?

      I’ve never, ever, ever been able to make lipstick stay on for me, and the only thing that’s worked has been the Beauty Bakerie Lip Whips. It is NOT messing around. I’m an actor, and I wear it for a show in which I have to drink several beverages, kiss someone, and most nights I also eat greasy bar food of some kind, and it doesn’t smudge AT ALL.

      Plus, BB is a black-owned independent brand run by a truly badass woman, so I don’t mind paying a little more than I would otherwise.

      For a budget option, though, I love NYX Full Throttle lipstick. If I let it set, it usually lasts me until I eat something, which isn’t bad!

    6. ginger ale for all

      Google beautipedia and read the reviews of the brands you are interested in. I think you are going to have to get one of the ones that are marketed as long lasting. They tend to be a bit drier but if you get a good one, it isn’t as bad as the constant reapplication.

    7. Stellaaaaa

      Try ColourPop’s Ultra Satin liquid lipsticks. They’re not drying and they last a long time. $6!

    8. Sir Alanna Trebond

      For super intense looks (a red lip, a dark lip, etc) I line my lips fully in the same color as the lipstick and color them in with the lip liner all the way. Then I apply lipstick. I only buy makeup at the drugstore, and this works for me plus it makes it so that when the lipstick does fade, it doesn’t look patchy and weird.

      (Disclaimer: not a makeup artist by any means)

    9. Claire (Scotland)

      Make sure your lips are smooth and dry before applying any lip colour. Use a matching lip pencil to line and fill in lips, then go over with lipstick.

      My personal favourite is the clear Urban Decay Ozone lip liner, it goes under anything and makes my lipstick last all day.

    10. Daily lip color wearer

      I have gotten endless compliments on my rimmel provocalips. I’ve been wearing it every single day and I can put it on in the AM and still see a good amount the next day in the morning.
      Some tips: apply the stain and then let it dry, don’t run your lips together – after it feels dryish in 45 seconds, I apply lip balm for softness.
      Also if you ever do need to reapply – rub the whole thing off and reapply to “reset” the crazy staying power, rather than layering over old.
      Hope it goes well! I love it so much I have a backup to my backup :)

    11. Raine

      The L’Oreal Infallible Lipstick is at any drug store, comes in many shades (subtle to super bright), goes on as a gloss, takes maybe 10 seconds to dry, and then you top it with a balm. It is grease proof, kiss proof, drink proof. I have worn it for over 14 hours and it still looked flawless, plus you can add more of the balm through out the day if your lips feel dry. I have tried so many lipstick and this is the one that I go to for pretty much any occasion.

    12. Marillenbaum

      NYX Liquid Suede! It’s a liquid lipstick, dries matte, and stays on all day, no joke. I wore it to a food truck festival–out all day, doing a ton of eating, and it didn’t even smudge. It’s about $8 at Target.

  6. AnonDreamer

    I have weird dreams all the time. Like sequences that just make absolutely no sense (a bear, on a boat? Chasing me into an Apple store below decks?) or just images of shapes and colors and sounds. I’ve always had this. I dream every night and remember them (briefly) upon waking with a general sense of “huh. that was weird.” and a chuckle.

    But the past week or so they’ve gone from weird to downright scary. I dreamed a few nights ago that my mother called me. I don’t remember the phone ringing or answering it but I’m on the line with her. She’s crying begging me to help her. That “he” is dangerous. He stabbed her in the face (what!?). I don’t respond in the dream but I’m terrified and when I woke up it felt so damn real I nearly called my mom at 3am to make sure she is okay. All of the dreams are like this. Someone is in danger, I don’t respond or act but am instead just experiencing their fear and when I wake it always feels real.

    I’m no more stressed than usual. In fact, life is on the upturn right now. I don’t know what is behind this change but it is really shaking me. I don’t even want to go to sleep at night. I’ve gone from falling asleep around 10 to staying awake as long as I can until I literally can’t keep my eyes open.

    1. AnonDreamer

      I want to add the person that is in danger is always someone I know in my waking life. Usually family, if not family it is a very close friend or loved one. And I remember all the dreams vividly days later. Thinking of them still shakes me.

      Has anyone had any luck stopping something like this? And why don’t we have the technology yet to control our own dreams!?

      1. Amadeo

        I dream like this sometimes. Not every night, and not usually someone I know/love being in trouble, but definitely little mini-horror movies that play in my head, and seem to be waiting to start back up again like a paused tape when I wake and then try to go back to sleep. There was one once though that involved a demon/monster/thing that looked like my brother, but my brother was with our group. I remember waking from that one thinking ‘Cripes, seriously?” If I could remember half of them and stomach writing them down, I could make bank selling horror movie plots.

        I usually end up singing to myself (contemporary Christian music, I have a half hour commute and that’s just what’s on my radio the whole time – I know several songs pretty much by heart) until I can clear the memory and sleep again. I have no advice for preventing them in the first place.

      2. anon nightmare-haver

        There’s actually a medication called Prazosin that’s used to treat PTSD nightmares. I took it for a while, as I have chronic bad dreams. I think it helped reduce them, but I stopped taking it b/c I actually find the dreams helpful in figuring stuff out about myself.

        I definitely sympathize with your feeling disturbed. Generally, I find writing out my dreams and talking about them in therapy are what take away their power.

        I’m not sure if you’re in the US, but my psychologist was just saying yesterday that there are recent studies of how the election is causing many people to experience flares of anxiety and distress. There’s clearly an acute amount of uncertainty, fear, and nastiness in the air, and it all feels unavoidable and unsettling to lots of people. My nightmares have absolutely peaked these last few weeks.

        Hope you can sleep better soon!

      3. Blue Anne

        I used to have a lot of dreams like that. In one that really shook me, I dreamed that I was for some reason in some sort of extreme evangelical group doing door-to-door work handing out pamphlets, and I looked down at the pamphlets and saw my dad’s picture. I realized that this group I was in was targeting him and trying to signal to young male members that someone should assassinate him, and if I tried to stop it or just withdrew from the work they would figure out who I was and kill me. (Not *totally* divorced from reality… although already dead when I had that dream, he was an important expert witness on a lot of high profile cases and has had people like Al Sharpton denouncing him on TV.)

        I talked to my therapist about it. He said that dreams don’t act like a really reliable “messages from your subconscious” tool – it’s not as cut and dried as Freud would have it – but if dreams are sticking with you and bothering you and you think that they’re signifying something about your mental health, that’s a really good indicator that there’s something sticking with you and bothering you and that you have a mental health concern! It made a lot of sense to me. If your dreams are scaring you and you think through what they might be saying about your mental state, it’s worth exploring what you come up with, whether or not the dream itself is actually a reliable indicator.

        It might be worth talking it through with someone (therapist or not) or journaling about it, and trying to answer the question “Why am I coming up with these scary images?”

    2. JHS

      I have really vivid terrifying dreams on the regular. There are some that haunt me all the time. One time I dreamed I was at my parents house going into the basement to get something and I saw death coming up from somewhere below the earth into the basement and coming towards me trying to go up the stairs. I knew he was coming to take someone in the house. I started screaming “no! no! no!” and I actually was screaming because my husband woke me up. That’s the only time I’ve ever cried out. I have dreams like that a lot though–although not that specific dream. Dreams about grotesque things. I have NO idea why. I don’t even watch or like horror movies.

    3. Not So NewReader

      Growing up in the 60s and 70s I read Ann Landers and Dear Abby a lot. I think it was Ann but I cannot be sure, one of them said if you are having nightmares get a full medical check up.

      For myself, I found this to be true. I had recurring dreams about my legs, nightmares actually. I finally had my legs checked, got some help and the dreams stopped, cold hard stop. This was after years of dealing with these dreams, once I had the check up I never had the dream again. I thought I would never shake off that dream.

      1. Vancouver Reader

        Good to know! Hubby’s been having a lot of dreams of late, like JHS, where he cries out. Actually he swears and is physically violent in his sleep, and I was wondering if there’s something medically wrong with him.

        1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

          Just an off thought but does he play video games before bed? My partner goes through phases where he will be playing certain games and will then sometimes start yelling/talking in his sleep and/or bolt upright with his eyes open yapping away in a language I dont recognize (probably the scariest part! hes not a native english speaker but I dont recognize the language as his native tongue either!). He usually doesnt remember doing this either.

          1. Vancouver Reader

            No, that’s the ironic thing, I’m the one with a device in bed. He’s taken to not even watching tv (usually) at least a half hour before going to bed.

            I think there’s just something seriously wrong with his head. ;)

    4. Snazzy Hat

      My father is (was?) on a medication where one of the side effects is disturbing dreams. He’s given me vague details about some of them. They almost always take place at any one of the crime scenes he’s visited in his life, and often something extra bizarre happens. Without details, one example was a crime scene where the victim had died; in the dream, the person was still alive while the investigators were there.

      1. Not So NewReader

        A friend of mine went to work in a chemical plant. He said it was not long and the nightmares started. The floor was covered with snakes and other bizarre stuff.

    5. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed

      Are you taking mucinex by chance? I’ve had really dark, violent dreams when on it,

      1. mander

        Is that the same as Sudafed? Because I was just going to ask that. I won’t take it at night anymore because it gives me such awful dreams.

        Also check your carbon monoxide detector. I vaguely recall reading that nightmares can be an indicator that the CO levels are too high, but I don’t know if that’s actually true or not. Can’t hurt though.

        1. Stardust

          I think the two brands have similar ingredients.

          That’s an interesting point to check the Carbon Monoxide levels in case.

          I have vivid dreams every night that I remember when I wake up. All the time, and while weird, usually not scary. I mostly have action dreams that don’t make much sense (flying like a superhero power, buildings with 20-30 stories underground, ghosts, Egyptian rooms, robot aliens scanning buildings with red lasers, etc. all in the same dream). Sometimes I think it would be neat to take my dreams and write a science fiction book or movie plot. (Not a writer, though, so it’s just a thought, like, hmmmm, these dreams are material for something! Haha!) However, the few times I’ve woken up scared, I usually sing or pray or listen to a podcast sermon.

          1. Elizabeth West

            Ha, I used to write down my dreams in hopes one would make a good plot for a story or book. But in years of doing this, I only ever came up with a few–most of them are too short or too weird.

            I enjoy my dreams, when I can remember them. Even the scary ones are kind of fun–and I’ve trained myself to wake up out of them if they get too disturbing. I did that after a breakup during which time I kept dreaming repeatedly about my ex, and it was so emotionally awful I basically forced myself to wake up.

    6. misspiggy

      Check whether you’re breathing OK at night. As others have said, carbon monoxide detector – but also airflow in general to your bed, and how your sleeping position is affecting your air intake. Do you have a cold; do you need to prop your pillows up more; do you need to straighten up so your throat is freer?

    7. MsChandandlerBong

      Are you taking any meds? I was taking Neurontin a while ago (I have lupus-related neuralgia), and I did the weirdest things while I was on it. I had tons of vivid/bad dreams, woke up screaming at my husband, thought the ceiling fan was a man coming after me (it has five blades; when I’m half-awake, it does sort of look like a man with his arms and legs outstretched). I quit taking Neurontin because the side effects were worse than the neuralgia, but my CRNP recently prescribed amitriptyline to relieve pain and help me get better sleep. I woke up after taking it for the first time and said, “Wow, I slept great!” My husband said, ” No you didn’t! You went to the bathroom and started yelling about how the f***ing bedroom ceiling fan wouldn’t turn on when you flicked the bathroom wall switch.” He says I’ve been talking a lot since I started taking it, and I’ve been having vivid dreams, too (the other night, Michelle Obama lived in the woods behind my mom and dad’s house; a few nights before that, my house was infested with giant rabbits that had springs coming out of their faces so they could hop around and chase me).

      1. MillersSpring

        Taking melatonin to help me sleep gave me vivid intense technicolor dreams. Only happened on the nights I took it and I’ve never had any similar dreams after I stopped taking it.

    8. Uyulala

      Do you sleep on your left side? If so, try your right. I was having strange dreams in some sleep positions and looked into it — apparently it’s a common thing for sleeping on the left side to give bad dreams.

    9. Another Dreamer

      For me, it’s usually caffeine or stress. If you drink coffee, tea, or caffeinated sodas, cut back. And try healthy stress-reducing things like getting more exercise, eating a healthier diet, meditating, etc.

      And I think that dreams sometimes do tell you something. Not in a supernatural way, but they can have to do with things that are weighing on your mind, maybe sources of stress that you’re not paying enough attention to. You could try writing about the dreams and see if you end up connecting them to anything in real life.

    1. Me2

      Hopefully kitties are keeping her company in bed. Mine love it when I stay in bed all day, I’m just a giant heating pad to them.

      1. Pennalynn Lott

        For us, it’s the other way around. We refer to how [overly] warm we slept during the night by rating it in Kitty BTU’s. (“It was a five Kitty BTU night; I’m exhausted.)

      1. chickabiddy

        Oh, poor you. Not to get too TMI, but is your tummy feeling okay? In our family we have been able to knock out nasty crud by eating crushed raw garlic (I mix with a little olive oil and a little salt and put on bread), but it’s kind of a bootcamp cure.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Stomach is good. Throat is a war zone. Swallowing is painful.

          I have been readings things about sucking on raw garlic and also drinking apple cider vinegar and am open to both but lack the energy to make either happen. My husband is just as sick too so I can’t even ask him to make me a gross tray of garlic and vinegar. (Actually, I love both those things. Maybe it would not be gross.)

          1. Lady Blerd

            What I do when I feel a tickle in the back of my throat, announcing some kind of oncoming strep, is gargle with salty water, I’m talking Dead Sea leavel of salinity. Usually kills whatever is trying to get something started.

          2. Chickaletta

            No cough? If not, maybe it’s strep. I’ve had it twice in the last year and I couldn’t swallow anything it was so painful. The only thing that helped was antibiotics.

              1. Pennalynn Lott

                I’ve been sick for almost three weeks now. I only had 3-4 days of feeling well and truly horrible; the rest of the time it has been like really bad allergies. I called my doc and described my symptoms during the -43 Bad Days and he, too, said it was viral. Nothing to do but take good care of myself and just ride it out. :-(

                If it weren’t for Puffs Plus tissues, I think the end of my nose would have fallen off by now.

              2. Sprechen Sie Talk?

                This sounds a lot like what I got walloped with three years ago. Was horrible – until I figured out how much ibuprofen to take I would just sit up and drool all night long because it was too painful to sleep/swallow. It was a strange sore throat too – like a lump rather than super raw (although with some rawness).

                Took me three weeks to get over it and two doctor visits confirmed it was viral too. I dont want to ever be that sick again, so my sympathies!

              3. Nerdling

                Might I suggest hot tea with honey and bourbon? I had a nasty sinus infection last week, and that really helped ease the knives in the throat feeling.

              4. Clever Name

                Did they do a strep test or just look at you and declare its viral? When I had strep they were all, “I guess we’ll test you….” and seemed surprised when it came back positive.

                1. Ask a Manager Post author

                  My husband had a strep test and it was negative. My doctor declared it just by examining my throat, but he also gave me a prescription for antibiotics to fill if I get any worse.

                2. Clever Name

                  That’s kind of weird. I guess I’d want to know for sure an infection was bacterial before I kill all of my microbial symbionts.

                3. Elizabeth West

                  Yes, ask for a test. Don’t use antibiotics unless you actually have a bacterial infection–overuse is why they don’t work anymore and I wish doctors would stop prescribing them without testing!

            1. Amadeo

              If it’s strep and you don’t get antibiotics within a couple of days after symptoms begin, I can attest that by the third or fourth day, you will be sicker than a dog. Like, puking sicker than a dog. My mother didn’t believe me once (even though I got strep regularly as a kid) and I went probably about three days before she finally took me to the doctor and I got drugs. I was sick the entire week and ate nothing until Easter dinner, and then just some turkey and jello.

              If it doesn’t get better, I’d go an ask for a throat swab, much as those suck.

          3. catsAreCool

            For throat pain, gargling with mouthwash, salt & water, or vinegar & water can help. Vinegar and water tastes weird, but it seems effective. Hope you feel better soon!

          4. Me2

            Another throat remedy is what we call Slurpee Therapy. Only works if one of you can get out long enough to get to a 7-11. A few sips of a frozen drink numbs your throat. Then I just put the cup in the freezer and take another few sips every hour or so. If it freezes solid, just let it sit out for about 10 minutes and then take a spoonful. My son and I always get very bad sore throats first, regardless of whether it’s a cold, flu, virus, always the throat first. Slurpee Therapy is the only thing that consistently soothes and numbs. Plus you’re getting some fluids which is good too!

          5. EmmaLou

            A warm, salt-water gargle may help with the throat. Sipping warm lemonade. So sorry you are not feeling well. Rest, rest, rest.

          6. Gaia

            I woke up this a.m. with a small tickle in my throat that always indicates a coming cold. Not gonna lie – I am not happy.

            Feel better. There is a nasty bug going around this year.

          7. Reverend(ish)

            Urgh, this rampaged thru our house a couple of months ago. To soothe sore throats I pulled out my slow cookers and just kept them full of warm drinks. One was a white grape juice and ginger drink, the other a mulled Dr Pepper. more comfort drinks than nutrition, but both really take away sore throat pain.

          8. E

            I know I’m so very late to suggest, and hopefully your throat is feeling better, but sage tea worked wonders when I had tonsillitis last year. Just steep a bit of dried or fresh sage, like you would with any tea leaves. Add honey if the taste is unbearable. I sipped a couple of cups and felt much better by that evening.

      2. Lore

        Did the dr do a flu test? Every time I’ve hit that “I’ve never been so sick in my life and it just keeps getting worse” point it’s turned out to be the flu, even when first and worst symptoms were throat-related. If that’s what it is, it seems (for me anyway) to have a pattern of being really sick for two days, feeling marginally better, then drastically worse for two days before starting to come out of it.

        1. Gaia

          I’m the same way. I’ve had the flu a few times and I always bitterly laugh when people say things like “oh yea my stomach was just a bit upset yesterday but today I’m fine. Must have been the flu!”

          Right. Because a few hours of upset tummy = an illness that makes most people wish for death.

      3. Ask a Manager Post author

        Well, now I have taken a narcotic syrup that’s supposed to help me sleep, so either I will sleep or I will start posting really odd stuff here. I am in suspense to find out which it will be!

      4. Liane

        Hope you & your husband get better quickly, Alison.

        This is for Clever Name, since there were too many nested replies to answer there: “That’s kind of weird. I guess I’d want to know for sure an infection was bacterial before I kill all of my microbial symbionts.”
        Answer–Sometimes what starts as a viral illness (sore throat, sinus, etc.) can turn into a bacterial infection. All that mucus, inflamed tissue, body already weakened, not eating well because you can’t swallow, etc. So sometimes a doctor will prescribe antibiotics in case you develop a bacterial infection, and feeling worse or worse after getting a bit better are indications this has happened. Having the prescription handy may keep you from having to make another doctor visit (& pay for another visit in the USA)

  7. Loyal Reader

    I know that ad revenue is what keeps a site like this up and running, but is there any sort of way that Alison could eliminate the ads for Trump Hotels? there are plenty of businesses not owned my racist misogynist, pussy gropers who I am sure would love to place ads on this site.

    1. Becca

      I feel similarly to you in that I’d rather not see it, but my husband doesn’t mind those ads because every click costs Trump money!

      Also, I may be wrong, but the ads shown on the site could be chosen by a third party.

    2. Allison Mary

      I bet she doesn’t have any control over the actual ads that show up – she probably just contracts with some kind of an ad service, and that service itself picks out ads for people (and then probably charges the companies whose ads it wound up running). From what I understand, those are more likely to be based on things in your internet history or search history on various websites. I’ve noticed that when I’ve searched for a certain item on Amazon, that item or similar items suddenly starts showing up on ads on websites I visit.

      1. Anonymous Educator

        I used to have Adwords on one of my sites, and Google gave me the ability to block advertisements from certain sites. If you think about it, the ability to block only makes sense. You don’t want to advertise for a competitor site, for example.

    3. Ask a Manager Post author

      I’ll see if it’s possible for me to block them. I had no idea they were even displaying, and I don’t want them to.

      (And yes, I don’t pick ads; companies buy via my ad service and a lot of it is automated, but I think they can block specific companies.)

    4. TootsNYC

      There is a development of apartments on Manhattan’s west side, all with that name plastered all over them. I’m waiting to see if that affects their rental values.

      1. Chaordic One

        I’ve heard that revenues are decidedly down at hotels and apartment complexes owned by Donald What’s-His-Name. Surprise, surprise.

        1. Florida

          I’ve heard that the revenues at the south Florida resort are up (of course that is reported by the Trump Organization, so who knows). Maybe because his campaign keeps staying there. His campaign travels are based on where his resorts are, and it’s a plus when they are in a swing state. Fifteen more days …

  8. Storms ahead

    My baby sister married young to a guy who already had terrible money problems and by the end of the brief marriage, her credit was ruined too. Her credit is so bad that she can’t even open a checking account. In the 8 years since, she’s lived with various friends and romantic partners, periodically bouncing back to our parents’ house for months here and there. Through it all, she has been steadily employed.

    This summer, she had a medical emergency and borrowed money from me to pay what insurance did not cover. She had a chart all printed out with a payment plan, and she made the first two payments without a problem. And then this month, she told me she’d quit her job so she couldn’t pay me, but her new love interest- of 2 months- would be getting paid at the end of the month and she’d pay me then.

    I want to shake her and say, “This is NOT how you adult!” I’m furious that she quit her job without another one lined up (her job was for sure d*cking her around a bit, but it wasn’t dangerous or toxic); that she is jumping headfirst into a romantic relationship so fast, and making herself completely dependent on this guy; and for thinking she was grown up enough to pay me back.

    Her MO when being lectured is to just shut down and cut off communication. Is there a way to tell her how disappointed I am that could be productive? Sigh.

    1. self employed

      If you can afford it, I would ask her to stop payments until SHE is able to pay. It might allow you enough relationship bonus points that you could discuss the relationship/job issues. Although after saying “I’m concerned” and “I’m here for you,” there’s not a whole lot you can do. (Id personally also add “I’m not comfortable loaning you money again” but I understand that’s your personal decision.)

    2. neverjaunty

      You can’t make her listen to what she doesn’t want to hear, but you can focus on the one thing she can’t really argue with (that she promised to pay you back). Don’t make it about the guy. That just lets her turn it into ‘you are trying to control me and you don’t see how great Fergus is blah blah’.

    3. Perse's Mom

      Brutally honest? Nope. If her response to being told something she doesn’t like is to shut down and not talk to you (which is something a pouty teenager does), you have very limited options. You can’t make her adult; she has to figure that out for herself and based on what you’ve indicated here, she’s got some work to do… and she’s apparently not ready to do it yet. Some people never are.

      The best you can do is be there for her in ways that don’t put the burden entirely on you (she doesn’t get to emotionally shit on you or manipulate you or keep “borrowing” money and not paying it back). People talk about unconditional love (because faaaaamily!) but that’s not healthy for anybody involved.

      1. Sunflower

        Totally agree esp with the last few sentences. Unconditional love is not healthy and continuing to help her out may just be further enabling the behavior as opposed to giving her the space to change.

      2. Gaia

        I think you can unconditionally love someone and not enable their behavior. I love my mother and my sister without condition but I do not enable their bad behaviors and I don’t pretend I am okay with these behaviors. In fact, there have been times I’ve had to exclude them from my life for my own sanity. This does not mean I did not love them, still.

        Love =/= giving someone everything they ask to your own sacrifice. *That* is unhealthy for both parties.

    4. Lady Blerd

      So it’s like her ex isn’t 100% responsible for her bad decisions. I think your only option here is to take this as a lesson and maybe not come to her rescue next time she needs financial help. 8 years and she hasn’t been able to get her credit back on track? There’s more going on then you think.

    5. Chickaletta

      You can’t make her change. It’s been 8 years since she left her ex, so I don’t think her money problems can be blamed on him anymore. This is just how she is.

      Also, as a general life rule, don’t lend out money to family or friends unless you’re ok with not getting it back. I think the easier thing to do here is call this a lesson for yourself, and at least consider writing off her debt to you if you can afford to. And next time don’t give her money unless you intend it to be a gift.

    6. Stellaaaaa

      Forgive me, but she sounds like the type of person who prioritizes an old-fashioned type of relationship over pretty much everything else. Am I in the ballpark? Does she just want to find a guy and get married? Because this isn’t strictly about finances; if that were the case, she’d be living with your parents long-term.

      I’m casting things into this perspective because based on what you’ve said here, I suspect that she might not bother getting a job as long as she’s living with a partner who’s employed. She’s not going to have an income of her own until she leaves this guy, since he’s apparently cool with her not working. So I guess you need to decide whether you’d accept money from her partner or if you’d be content to never get money drawn from your sister’s checking account until she’s single again.

    7. MillersSpring

      I’m OK with you shaking her and saying This is NOT how you adult! Seriously. She needs a grown responsible loving friend or relative to persuade her to get on a mature path forward. Could you grab a couple of her friends and stage a mini intervention to get her away from boyfriends and coach her into a better job ASAP?

      1. Honeybee

        I don’t know, if I had been steadily employed for 8 years trying to clean up my credit from a decision I made in my early 20s, and had to borrow money from my sister for a medical emergency, and then quit a job abruptly with no other job lined up (presumably for a good reason), I think I’d be pretty pissed if my sister and her friends “shook me and told me this is not how to adult.” She sounds like she’s adulting just fine – just maybe not the way her sister would do it.

        Also, there’s really no indication that she’s jumping into a romantic relationship too fast. She’s been dating someone for 2 months and then maybe asked to borrow money from them. Two months is maybe too early to ask to borrow large sums of money from someone but that doesn’t necessarily indicate that the relationship is moving too quickly.

    8. Gaia

      I had to learn the hard way I cannot loan my sister money. I can gift her money, when I can afford it, but it can never be a loan. She always intends to pay it back but she is wildly irresponsible (thank you, drug addiction, immaturity and mental illness!) and makes terrible decisions. If I continue to expect her to pay me back, we can have no real relationship.

      So, now I have learned to say no when I cannot truly afford to be without the money. It means I’m able to help her less often, but it has significantly reduced my irritation and stress.

      1. snuck

        Thankyou!

        I was going to say similar… now the OP knows that she can’t loan her sister money, that it can only be a gift.

        And… OP… now you are off the hook for ever loaning her again until she pays this all back!

    9. Lauren

      It seems odd to me that in eight years she hasn’t been able to fix her bad credit–unless she hasn’t tried to fix it, which given her bouncing around. That said, she was at one job for quite a while. So I am not sure exactly where she is in terms of being “an adult.”

      You might want to write this money off as a gift. That would allow you to move on from the emotional and financial aspects of it. I realize that’s hard to do but it would be a gift more to yourself and to her. And that’s important because she might decide to fix herself and she might not. You cannot control that.

      I have a sister who is a new 65 years of age and has lived her whole life this way, feeling the world should support her. She is angry when anyone tries to offer help other than money, stating that no one loves her (or she would have what she wants) and that everyone wants to control her. There is nothing to be done. When my mother passes on, any money she might have inherited will go directly to her many creditors and no one from the family will give her a dime. I am pained at what I know is coming but she will listen to no one and is in full denial about any role she has played in that. It’s hard but I have removed myself emotionally from this and will not help her any more in any way because there is no help I or anyone else can provide that would be a helping hand and not (another) handout.

    10. ginger ale for all

      If you would like to give her one more chance, see if you can both enroll in Financial Peace University run by Dave Ramsey. I suggest him because he has classes nationwide, books, podcasts, radio shows, etc. Then if her behavior persists, you will know not to give a drunk a drink and that you tried to fix the behavior. Try to not be judgmental about her choices and baggy but be there as a fellow soldier when you ask her to join the class with you. Perhaps you can pose it as self improvement/girls night out for both of you.

    11. Storms ahead

      Thank you all for your thoughts and advice. She and I are about 400 miles apart, which of course complicates communication (and makes it easier to dodge me). You’re all right in that she’s had time to get her financial life turned around; thank you for that reminder. It’s too easy for me to trace her problems back to her ex, when in fact he was just one example of bad choices she’s made. This was the first time she ever asked me for money, and it will be the last time I provide it.

      Once again, I very much appreciate the perspectives from the outside!

    12. Student

      The person you need to work on is yourself, not your sister.

      You need to get some perspective on and distance from your sister. You want to be a loving sister; you’re actually a controlling sister. Go read your own post! Get it together. It won’t fix your sister’s problems, but it will improve your relationship with her, maybe enough for you to be a positive influence instead of no influence at all.

      From your post:
      * “My baby sister” – opening line – infantilizing your adult sibling
      *”married young” – judging her choices
      * Blame her money problems on a guy – as if he controlled her money and she had no personal agency
      ** who she hasn’t been with in 8 years! Quit trying to blame others for her problems!
      *”can’t open a checking account” – Emphasizing her credit problems. If you were aware that she has severe credit problems, why didn’t you have a more realistic plan in mind when you decided to lend her money?
      *lived with friends and romantic partners and parents – How is this relevant to your argument? It’s not – y0u’re judging her for her housing choices
      * love interest “of 2 months” – you are judging her choice of romantic partner and deciding for her that it isn’t serious enough by your own standards to expect anything of him
      *worked for 8 years, then quit her job, but you’re furious at her for quitting hastily – That is not a pattern of irresponsible job-hopping. You’re judging her for not changing jobs the way you think she should, for not making the decision you would. You don’t actually know what prompted her quitting. What if it’s something more serious than she’s telling you? You blow up everything she does into an issue, so it’s not like she’s going to confide in you if her boss was harassing her, or if they actually laid her off, or so on.
      *”jumping headfirst into a romantic relationship so fast” – it’s been two months already and it’s not like she’s marrying him. You’re judging her relationship choices. The only thing you bring up here is that she’s trying to get money from her 2-month boyfriend to repay you, which is a little gutsy, but means she is prioritizing paying YOU back at possible risk to her romantic relationship with this guy by establishing that she owes him money instead of you.
      “making herself completely dependent on this guy” – You cite absolutely nothing to back this up other than she’s going to try to get him to pay you back for a medical debt she incurred with you. You are jumping to conclusions and judging her relationship. It sounds like, from your earlier description, she has several reliable fall-backs if things don’t work out with the guy that she’s been relying on for years.You have no reason to think she won’t get another job soon, either, you’re just assuming.
      “thinking she was grown up enough to pay you back” – Again, you are making a personal dig at her. Only legitimate gripe you have in here is that she didn’t pay you back on time. However, she made two payments on time, she was 100% upfront about why she was going to miss this third payment, and she proposed a way to get back on track for payments. Sounds like she’s doing everything she can to mitigate the impact of her choices on the repayment of the loan to you. Maybe you should give her the benefit of the doubt for a month? If she misses payment #4, then you should worry more and talk to her about the loan payment plan. It’s also stupid of anyone to lend money to family, for exactly these reasons – unable to separate the loan (business) from the relationship. You knew what you were getting into by lending her money, and you did it to have leverage over her life and choices instead of to help her out.
      *”Her MO when being lectured is to just shut down and cut off communication.” Unsolicited advice is always self-serving. You criticize every move she makes and can’t stop seeing her as a child instead of as an adult with agency over her own decisions; decisions that have not ruined her life even though they are profoundly different than your own decisions. Of course she shuts down when you lecture her! Stop trying to be her mother. Stop trying to be her “big sister to the rescue”. Start treating her like an adult whose decisions over her own life deserve respect, even when you profoundly disagree with them. Start keeping your mouth shut unless she asks for your advice or your help. Stop trying to get leverage into controlling her life, and start treating her like a person. You don’t own her, you aren’t responsible for her conduct, she’ll be fine without you riding to the rescue or riding roughshod all over her.

      Forgive the loan, don’t loan her money again, and then try to figure out a way to reset this disfunctional relationship to something more even-keeled.

    13. Honeybee

      No.

      I have a younger sister, too, who makes life decisions that make me raise my eyebrows. If she asks me for advice I am happy to give it, and sometimes she floats an idea past me that I tell her is a bad idea because of Reasons. But my sister is stubborn and headstrong and if she’s unwilling to listen to me or anyone else, she won’t. And that’s her right, right? She’s an adult. She can make her own mistakes and choices. (The lesson I had to learn was not to lend her any large amounts of money.)

      Even if you do choose to talk to her, though, “how disappointed I am in you” is probably not the best way to approach it. That sounds needlessly mothering. Why not take a more sisterly tack, like “what the hell, dude, you relying on some dude you’ve known for two months?” And wait until you’re not angry anymore.

      1. Honeybee

        Also, I am a grown mature adult and I think I would shut down (or, alternatively get pissed) if someone deigned to lecture me about how to be an adult, let alone my older sister. People don’t like to be lectured. Even if I think my sister needs help, I certainly don’t lecture her. Instead of a lecture, why not approach her with a conversation?

  9. MacGirl

    Just to give you all an update on this post from a few weeks back, I found a place! I managed to move most of everything in a day, and my new roommate was kind enough to help me when I got into a jam finding a way to move my bedroom furniture.

    1. TootsNYC

      I like the sound of that roommate, so far. There are decent roommates out there; I hope you’ve gotten one.

  10. Mazzy

    Does anyone know if there is any support group like AA but for problem drinkers, not full fledged alcoholics? I’m familiar with AA but don’t think it is for my friend, because her drinking isn’t a progressive disease that is getting worse, I trully think she’d be OK drinking in moderation and learning how to stop sooner. We’ve discussed getting healthy and I didn’t want to mention drinking straight out if AA was my only option.

    I don’t know if anyone else had used AA here, but even when the person wants to change their life, I don’t see how a problem drinker or someone who just wants to get healthy can use it. The program is too intense. You get a sponsor and then never drink again. Most of the speakers’ lives were out of control before they sought help. Some of the attendees had serious mental or emotional issues they were covering up. Many of them drank until they blacked out. We discussed drinking a few weeks back and I have to be honest, even as bad as it impacted my health, I was never that bad. I never related to blacking out. I don’t think that is even a physical possibility for me, I would get sick long before that.

    As we get older, I find some people I knew are open to admitted they problem drink, but I really can’t recommend lifelong sobriety and a sponsor for them. They just aren’t that bad. Does anyone know of any sort of toned down version?

    Also, on another note, has anyone ever been to an AA meeting? I always found it interesting how so many people create a strong tie between emotional issues and blackout drinking, as in, they were drinking to cope with mental issues. I know that can be a thing, but I can’t help but wonder that at least half of them would have drunk anyway. I always thought, if you drank to cover up issues, then more power to you by addressing them. But if you’re someone who has issues like anyone else then drank because you wanted to drink or because you wanted to be social and then it got out of hand, I don’t get how focusing on those other issues is going to help you stop drinking and to stay sober.

    I think it has become so rooted in our society that any unpleasant experience in childhood = lifelong anxiety. Again, not dismissing all of the millions of cases of child abuse and legitimate drama that scars people. But I’ve been to enough AA to hear people describe pretty common but bad experiences that happen to most people and then go on to basically say, and that is why I drank every night and often blacked out. But everyone else deals with the same problems (layoffs, breakups, whatever) and may not drink or may have a few. There has to be something else there. Maybe its something physical, I don’t know, but long comment short, if someone doesn’t drink heavily and is pretty content in life but needs help cutting down, I’m not sure what official program exists to help them.

    1. self employed

      Perhaps a therapist?

      Forgive me if I am misreading, but your comment reads as a bit, well, unempathetic. Certainly AA is not for everyone, but it seems like a pretty broad brush you’re painting with. I think you’re trying to say that your friend isn’t like what you’ve seen in AA meetings, but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t actually have a significant alcohol problem. (Or a slight alcohol problem! Both warrant help, no?)

      If it were my friend I would ask if she sees any issue w her drinking; if so, I’d proceed to help her set healthy limits. If she couldn’t stick with them I would recommend some one-on-one therapy.

      1. Mazzy

        I’m wondering if there is some group out there similar to AA but not as intense. It’s not about being empathetic or not, it’s just that I’ve been through AA and know there is a common narrative for why people drink and how they are helpless, etc. and it’s not for everyone. Not as in, they aren’t going to like it, but as in, if the common narrative isn’t true for that person, then that program isn’t going to help them to stop drinking. And I am asking about a group because I do think the community aspect is important

        1. Sunflower

          Binge drinking is on the rise so there might be some support groups out there aimed at that- not sure how old your friend is but I’d think college campuses would have a lot of that. That might be more what your friend is dealing with as opposed to full fledged alcoholic.

          If you friend is dealing with other mental issues, I would look at support groups there too as she is most likely not the only one dealing with those things who also have issues with alcohol.

    2. Auralie

      I actually did this myself. I set rules on when, how much, and where I would drink: not alone, with certain friends, not at home, etc. For me it was helpful to identify why I was drinking too much. Once I took care of that issue, it was a matter of breaking the habit I had acquired as a coping mechanism.
      And I think your comment is fine, I didn’t read any intended slight to anyone in it.

      1. INTP

        I did the same thing. Over a few years I kind of worked out what my triggers are as far as problematic drinking behavior, and I just avoid them. In my case, I specifically cannot go past tipsy into drunk in a social setting. That’s when I lose the part of my brain that tells me when I need to stop drinking, so I might just stay socially acceptably drunk, or I might get really out of control, I have no real control over it. Strangely enough, I can drink alone and I’m fine.

        I do think it would have been nice to have the structure of a like-minded community when all this was happening, though. I sensed that I had a problem in college, but I didn’t really know how to go about getting help for it when there seemed to be a binary “You’re an alcoholic or you’re not” view of problematic drinking. I didn’t feel like I needed to give up alcohol entirely and permanently because I did stupid things while drunk at age 21, and it turns out I was right.

    3. Sunflower

      Everyone deals with the same problems but not everyone deals with them the same. It’s not about the things that happen to people- it’s about how they cope with it. Generally, coping mechanisms are learned in childhood. For example, I am good at dealing with death but terrible at breakups. So if my parent died, I might be back on my feet relatively quickly but if it doesn’t work out with a guy I like, I could go into a depression for months.

      I would suggest therapy. I don’t know anyone in AA or anyone who would call them self an alcoholic so I don’t know why they drink. I do know some problem drinkers and all of them have some mental issues or insecurities. I also think there are people who drink to be social or loosen up or because it’s fun and once they’re drunk, their issues start flowing out of them and they hate the way they feel the next day.

      1. friend of bill's

        so…
        One of the signs of co-dependence is that someone else’s drinking bothers you. Once way to help your friend who drinks too much is to attend Al-Anon meetings yourself. Try at least 6 to see if this is a program that can help you.

        1. Another Dreamer

          I don’t think being bothered by someone’s drinking always means that you’re co-dependent. It’s normal and healthy to care about people and feel troubled when you see them hurting themselves or others (with alcohol or anything else). Other people’s drinking can also directly affect you. If your partner or family member become argumentative or winds up in difficult situations that require your help when drinking, it is your problem too and it’s normal to have feelings about it.

          1. friend of bill's

            I didn’t mean co-dependent in a negative way. I meant that the person’s drinking behavior is affecting the person some way- nasty language, money issues, friendship issues, unacceptable behavior and if it all point so the friend/family member’s drinking. If a person is bothered by their drinking to the extent that they are looking for solutions to it, Al-Anon might be able to help.

    4. Not So NewReader

      A couple of things hit me here.
      Does she want to stop drinking? If no, then full stop. The desire to stop drinking has to come from her.
      Watch out for the pitfall of deciding what would work for your friend. It’s true that she may just need to scale back, but only your friend knows for certain what she needs. It’s so easy for us to decide what would work and in reality we actually don’t know everything we need to know to make that decision. I have fallen into this pit myself. Only the person who is having the experience knows for sure.

      If she gets involve in some of the alternative stuff out there she might find something to help her. I got involved in eating simpler foods and so on. By that point in my life I was down to about six drinks a year. So when it came up, “Oh, btw, avoid alcohol” it was just a comment in passing for me. I dropped those six drinks a year immediately. No big deal. But the idea here is that if she has something better that she is going toward that might give her incentive to lessen or eliminate the drinking. Again, though, it’s got to be her choice and her call.

      One last thought. I quit most of my drinking in my early 20s. Two things happened. One was I had extra time on my hands and no idea what to do with it. The other thing that happened was many of my friends just vanished. I had to get a new group of friends. My friendships were based on going to the bar on Fridays and Saturdays. When I stopped going to the bar, I didn’t see my friends. Try to understand that it’s not just about slowing down or quitting drinking, there are little seemingly unrelated surprises like this that come up and have to be dealt with.

      1. Mazzy

        Well, you’re right, I am projecting on her. I do look at her and think, if I drank that, I’d be sick! And then get all upset that I have to do something. But she doesn’t get sick. Or seem to be suffering consequences. I don’t know.

    5. Perse's Mom

      There’s a lot to unpack here, but let me say that as a child of an alcoholic, you say “problem drinker” and I hear “alcoholic in denial.”

      Guess what! You don’t have to have terrible childhood traumas to eventually become an alcoholic anymore than you have to have terrible childhood traumas to be clinically depressed. Sometimes shit just happens. You like how being drunk makes you feel (drinking to drink!), so you keep drinking (to be social!), until you eventually rely on it (it gets out of hand!). Congrats, you’re an alcoholic.

      And also, as much as there are problems with AA, it’s NOT okay to cast aspersions on people who are using it to get help (which you absolutely are, with the whole “we’re not as bad as THOSE people” theme running through your post). It doesn’t work for all of them. Recovery is a process and a life long one at that. But at least they’ve moved past calling themselves “problem drinkers.”

      1. Pennalynn Lott

        Meh. I sometimes fall into a pattern of eating too much or even exercising too much, then I realize I’ve gotten into a bad habit and back off. Same with drinking. My mom has been in AA (and sober) for 36 years, so I was raised on all the AA cliches. One of the key things I remember from going to meetings with her is that any time a person did something that AAers disapproved of, the AAers would all jump on the “You’re in denial!” bandwagon. No answer on the planet was acceptable until you said, “I’m an alcoholic / have X addiction,” regardless of the actual behavior or its [lack of] severity.

        I’ve seen more harm than good done in AA. It works for some people, but they’re a minority. There’s a lot of blaming and shaming in the program; a lot of “It’s our way or the highway,” (actually, it’s more like, “Without AA you’ll end up in one of three places (1) jail, (2) the gutter, or (3) the morgue.”) which not only doesn’t work for the majority of people who would like to alter their drinking patterns and coping skills, but that trope about jail / gutter / morgue simply isn’t true for the vast, vast majority of people who find themselves drinking more than they’d like to.

        1. Mazzy

          I hate to say this but I agree with you. I didn’t want to start an anti AA thing, I’m still asking what alternatives there are besides going it alone. So yeah, none of my friends actually asked for help. But we’re all around 40 and alot of the shame associated with these sorts of things has fallen by the wayside, not to mention the physical side is catching up with us, so they seem much more open to admitting they drank or drink too much.

          I found and sometimes still find AA helpful to listen and for the community atmosphere but never got too involved for the reasons you describe. My first week I went, it did help me not to drink, I think I had 3 drinks once that week. So that was a huge reduction for me, but I also couldn’t fit into the AA program without completely giving up alcohol. That doesn’t mean I was in denial. They whole reason I went was to get help cutting down. And frankly, nothing bad happened when I slipped a little. I didn’t get sick or miss work or drive drunk, and 3 drinks isn’t enough to halt the physical healing process I was probably going through.

          Actually the “you’re in denial” attitude of some people always perplexed me. I’m going to AA because I see clear as day that I have an issue. The question is, what is the issue. You’re (meaning some people at AA or friends trying to help) coming at me like I have a strong addiction that is going to ruin my life, but that’s just not the reality. To you, that is denial. But if I was in denial I wouldn’t be there at all having the discussion. Actually I started drinking less for the year before I even went to AA. So it’s more of getting stuck on different perceptions of reality than denial.

          Well, since I kind of started an anti-AA thing, I’ll just add, I don’t agree with the other theme of the meetings that alcoholism is a progressive disease that will eventually ruin your life. It totally doesn’t account for those who level off on their own or naturally drink less as they get older. I guess they were never really alcoholics then? But those are the same type of people you say are in denial about being alcoholics. Which is it!

        2. Mazzy

          And about the severity thing, those three drinks that first week wouldn’t have been viewed as a success. It would have been viewed as a “relapse” as severe as someone who went on a three day binge. Even though they aren’t the same at all.

          1. Pennalynn Lott

            Yep, the whole “drinking alcohol = moral failure” just doesn’t make sense to me. Even getting to the point where you realize you’re drinking more but not getting drunker isn’t a moral issue. The human body is highly adaptable. Is someone who takes their coffee black a morally superior person than the one who “needs” sugar in it? Alcohol, for 90% of the population, is like sugar. You may get to a point where you’re eating so much of it that your body craves it and food tastes weird if there’s not a lot of sugar in it, but then you just work on slowly cutting back. Some people cut it out entirely, some people cut back by a little. Whatever works for them.

            It would be so weird to tell an acquaintance that lately I’ve been craving and eating a lot more candy than I normally do, and have them go off on a rant about how that means I’m in denial of my sugar addiction. Wha—??? No. It just means that I need to back up a bit, readjust my taste buds and my gut flora, and go back to eating sweets only a few times a month, not a few times a day. No need to confess my moral failings and take a personal inventory. Yeesh.

        3. Mazzy

          Oh, your comment actually opened a can of worms in my head.

          As per the blaming and shaming, I just realized another reason I never got into it is because I don’t really have anyone to apologize to. I guess my husband for not being as thrifty as I could? But for me and many others, the drinking was just as much a mental pattern as an action thing.

          Actually, if anything, I let people walk all over me when I was drinking and didn’t set boundaries and let people hurt me – not the other way around. If I drank I was just always nice, because I never wanted someone to figure out I had had a drink and then think that I said something or did something because I was out of control. So I think even the assumption that ever drinker has someone to apologize to doesn’t even hold true.

        4. C

          Wow, you went to some crap AA meetings. The anecdata you’re spreading is seriously harmful for anyone who is on the fence about whether or not they have a problem. Your mom has 36 years, which is not nothing. AA meetings are everywhere (including online) and people who are serious about getting sober should shop around.
          That said, I definitely have meetings I prefer over others–whether it has do to with topics, readings, or the people who show up regularly.
          People who drink more than they’d like to are not necessarily alcoholics.

      2. Mazzy

        I’m not casting aspersions on people using AA at all. I’ve used it. I’ve also seen people related to everything everyone else said and trying to turn meetings into personal therapy sessions. As someone that used AA, I think I’m allowed to point out its flaws more than someone off of the street.

        Your second paragraph is in total agreement with me even though you wrote it as if its counter what I said. That is part of what formed my belief that AA isn’t going to work for everyone. The narrative the program takes is that everyone is a broken person and that talking about your problems and anxieties will help solve your alcoholism. However, as you point out, not everyone drinks for those reasons. For many it starts out as social drinking and then just progresses.

        1. SeptemberGrrl

          I don’t think there are any support groups to help people drink in moderation. If your friend is looking for help in doing that, therapy is a good option.

    6. Snazzy Hat

      For you, I recommend Al-Anon (geared more toward people who have a heavy drinker or alcoholic in their life). ACOA — Adult Children of Alcoholics — might work too, but I admit my knowledge of ACOA is limited to knowing someone who has attended those meetings for years.

      Either way, in most cases you are welcome to attend a local meeting, decide if it’s right for you, and try another group if you prefer. You don’t have a sponsor, and you don’t have someone hounding you to attend meetings. (If that ends up happening, that’s not cool or normal.)

      You may want to consider counseling/therapy for yourself, too, to the tune of monthly or tri-weekly sessions during which you give your counselor updates on what’s bugging you and/or what’s pleasant in your life. Some of the sessions I have go all over the place, and most counselors will understand that and not demand you talk about a specific thing. (They might ask, “how are you doing with ____”, but if they push for answers without empathy they are not worth your time.)

      1. Dan

        I hated al-anon, and did try a couple of groups. My issue is that many groups have a “no cross talk” policy, so it ends up with a bunch of people giving monologues. Me, I need to dialogue, both when it’s my turn and someone else’s.

        TBH, I met a lot of strange people. One guy would go because of an ex gf — someone who had been out of his life for over three years. Another person attended meetings *every day* with different chapters. Uh, what?

        1. C

          In AA–at least where I live–there are three meetings. The meeting before The Meeting, The Meeting, and the meeting after the meetings. (There is a lot of coffee involved in the 1st and 3rd meetings.) Those are the meetings where you cross talk. The Meeting? That’s where you listen.

      2. Not So NewReader

        Years ago, I went into the ACOA website while I did not spend long there ( a few nights after work) I learned tons and applied it to my life. It was very helpful in pointing out the differences between a healthy family dynamic and an unhealthy family dynamic. The problem with an unhealthy family dynamic is that you learn the unhelpful or self-defeating responses to things.
        A good friend had pointed it out to me because she said the same advice can apply even if there are no drinkers in the home. People can exhibit the same defeating habits and the same thought process and never drink a drop. This caught my attention. I said I have to learn more.
        While I did not attend meetings, etc. and I really did not spend a lot of time going over the site, I was able to apply stuff to my life immediately.

    7. Stellaaaaa

      I kind of get what you’re saying here. For me, the “higher power” aspect of AA is what turns me off. Some people would say that it’s mostly about giving up control or acknowledging that you’re not the biggest thing in the universe, but what if taking back control would help you? What if your problem stems from not prioritizing your own emotional needs enough?

      That said, I do think there is maybe almost always some driving force behind problem drinking. Even if the physical/chemical addiction isn’t there, there’s still something pushing you to drink that much. Like 95% of everyone ever, I’ve had some BAD drinking nights. I’ve even gotten way too drunk as a reaction to emotional stuff. But I’ve also always gotten up the next day feeling terrible and able to feel that I don’t want to drink again for a while. And then I don’t. If you’re unable to go to a bar or restaurant, or to hang out with a group of friends who are drinking, and you cannot resist the urge to order a beer, that’s a compulsion that needs to be examined.

      Maybe this is what you’re talking about? I realize that I can be glib about this stuff because I’m fortunate to not have addictive tendencies. However, I’d say that, as someone who can easily abstain from drinking when I just don’t feel like drinking, I’ve been in a position to see people who I don’t think are addicted alcoholics but still cannot have a night out without drinking themselves stupid. I don’t think AA would help them. Realistically, I think getting better jobs (that they have to be clean and alert for) and better friends (who want to do more than drink) is what they need.

      1. Mazzy

        I’m mulling over your comment. I actually like the “higher power” concept of AA but don’t like how they tie it to being helpless. I also don’t agree when they say “my life has become unmanagable” because even when I drank almost daily I still did more than most people at work and at home.

        So I feel the need to say something positive about AA since I’ve started a thread saying so many bad things about them. I often here “when I was a alcoholic I felt like my life was done, I was scared about what tomorrow was bringing. Now I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but that is an exciting feeling. I don’t know what tomorrow brings went from terrifying to exciting.” And I really like that, because the older I get, the less I feel secure in anything. People die, solid jobs dissappear, etc. and it is empowering to see people who were completely in despair about the future actually completely change and accept the future like that

      2. C

        The idea of a higher power is basically to get you to kick your ego to the curb. (General you, not you specifically.) You can’t control everything. I can’t, but I threw a bunch of energy away trying to prove that idea wrong.
        There are bigger things in the universe than me. My family. My work. Reading. My cat. Connecting with other humans. Breeze.
        All of these fall under the Higher Power idea.
        I’m not helpless–which word Mazzy keeps using–I am powerless over alcohol. I can’t have just one drink. Shrug.
        But I can choose, today (for example) to read, make coffee, feed my cat, post a bunch of letters to people who live in other countries, probably make some delicious food later, and go to a meeting because it’s still in the 60’s here and I am going to walk my a$$ off before winter settles in.
        If your friends are drinking themselves stupid, I’m not sure how realistic it is to hope that a better job will fix it.

    8. Pennalynn Lott

      As for alternate resources, Google “drinking in moderation”. You’ll find groups like “Moderation Management” and “Moderate Drinking dot com” and a host of others. Some have in-person meetings, some have online meetings (or group discussions), and some are purely informational.

    9. Dan

      My ex mother in law was the AA poster child that you describe. Her daughter, my ex wife, was the queen of word smithing. My ex would never admit to being “drunk”, the only acceptable word was “tipsy”, never mind that she (my ex) could throw up on the floor in the middle of a conversation without making an effort to go to the bathroom to take care of said business. I see some of that in your post — you’re using a lot of word smithing to say that things aren’t that bad. Some people might call that denial — there’s a reason people have to say “Hi, my name is X, and I’m an alcoholic.”

      There’s only a few really important questions to ask here: 1) Is alcohol usage negatively impacting life? 2) Is there a desire to change? 3) Do you know where your stopping point is, and can you stop there?

      I do suspect that everybody in AA thinks their life would be fine if they drank less, but were still able to drink something. But people in AA realize that the only way to kick the habit is going cold turkey.

      Don’t get me wrong — AA ain’t for everybody, and I’m not trying to suggest it is. But your post spends a lot of time trying to make a claim that there’s a difference between “problem drinker” and “alcoholic” where I am not sure there is much of one.

      1. Mazzy

        I have a strong conviction that there is a difference, based on my experience with AA though. And to preface, I’m totally not being argumentative here, I’m trying to figure this out and you are helping.

        So my experience with AA has been positive despite the nitpicking I’ve done above. However, I can’t relate to most of the attendees precisely because of what I call the “alcoholic” vs. “problem drinker” distinction.

        They are very nice people and I wanted to relate to them, honestly, I did, but they all had hours of stories of absolutely crazy things they’ve done while drunk that I can’t relate to at all. Stealing peoples’ wallets, sleeping around, waking up and not knowing where they were, not going home for days on end, sitting in bars regularly from after work until closing time, blacking out, losing jobs, losing relationships, throwing up blood, having so much unprotected sex that they got HIV – there have been alot of horrible stories and I’m not undermining that at all.

        What about the people that leveled off at “I drank when I didn’t need to” or “I went from 2 drinks to 4 drinks at happy hour and I can’t go back to 2” phase years ago? You can’t honestly say you’re life is unmanagable and you give up and submit to a higher power at that phase, because your life isn’t out of control at all. You just want help because alcohol’s effect is so empowering and physical – – – but you’re not addicted yet

        1. Dan

          I kinda think that most of this is a “slippery slope” and there isn’t a bright line test. Do you know you’re going to drink 4 drinks at happy hour but keep telling yourself that you will only drink 2? Who cares, unless you’re a 100 lb female who drove, and has to drive home, and drives home drunk. (Or doesn’t drive home drunk, but has to leave the car parked over night.) That’s certainly a start down the slope.

          If you’re a 100 lb female who knows she’s going out to happy hour and will have four drinks, but takes the bus to work because she knows she’s going to drink too much to drive home and will just as soon not deal with getting the car the next morning? I’d call that a heavy drinker, but strangely responsible. (I’m not picking on women here, but we need to be clear that four drinks for a tiny person is vastly different than four drinks for a big dude. I’ve seen women drink what I drink, then two hours later be completely shit faced, whereas I’m good to drive.)

          The person who lost his job because of alcoholism? It wouldn’t surprise me if that started as an occasional Monday hangover that morphed into an every-Monday hangover… or when you start going out to happy hour with “the gang”, but then are always the one closing out the bar… and showing up to work the next day with a hangover. Or those hangovers translate into blown-off meetings and not showing up to work until noon. When does that turn into “oh hell, it’s 1pm, I may as well just take a sick day”?

          We all have that line, and it’s different for every one. You are definitely an alcoholic if you are dependent on alcohol, and not just for a good time. The alcoholics that you’re talking about (and that I’ve seen) drink so far beyond excess and so often that they can’t be drinking for the pleasant buzz. But you can certainly be the person who lost a job due to alcohol related activities and never get that completely far gone.

          Sometimes I think we attach too much meaning to labels. If you have behaviors you want to change, because they’re leading you down a path you don’t want to go, you’re not doing yourself any favors by worrying about the “alcoholic” label. Focus on what you need to do — have a hard stop for the number of drinks at happy hour, or take the bus when you know you’re going out, for example. But if you keep telling yourself that you’re going to “be responsible” but then aren’t, well, that’s a first step down the slope, because it sure sounds a lot like being “powerless over alcohol” and not admitting it (which is called denial).

          Not too long ago, someone wrote in asking for advice about inviting a recovering alcoholic to a party where heavy drinking would occur. A few people chimed in with, “With drinking like that, you’re worried about the person who *won’t* be drinking?”

          1. Mazzy

            Mmm mmm this is really well put. I’m already going to bed soon and have a full day tomorrow but definitely am coming back to this thread tomorrow night or monday, there’s alot of advice and good experience coming out. Thanks

        2. Not So NewReader

          I am reading along here and my thought is I am wondering if what you are seeing is the difference between psychological addiction and physical addiction.

          Someone pointed out to me that the first stage of addiction is psychological. They said it is easier to quit at this stage because you just deal with the thinking/emotional aspects of the quitting.
          Once the physical addiction kicks in the person now has two problems- the thinking /emotional part and the physical part.

          This kind of scared me because it resonated. I could go without drinking, no prob. But every weekend I went out and got ripped anyway. Why. And this brought in boatloads of thinking and emotional stuff. I wanted to be with my friends, but the only time I saw them was at the bar. I wanted some semblance of an ordinary life, rather than the life actually I had. My list went from there. I finally landed on “I am not having fun at the bar.” Period. Full stop. It just was not my idea of fun.

          When my friend pointed out psychological addiction vs physical addiction, I realized to my horror that I had enough key pieces in place that I could could start to get psychologically addicted. In short, I realized quit now, or I might spend a lifetime dealing with this problem. It scared me how easy it is to fall into this pit.

          What I see in your posts is that you are noticing there a varying degrees of alcohol usage. You feel that AA is suited best for people who have a severe or near severe problem, because your friend’s problem is not severe you wonder if the AA message would even begin to mean anything to her. The links about moderation that another person posted might be the thing you are looking for. I have not looked at the links but I want to later on.

    10. Natalie

      There are definitely alternatives to AA, whether she wants to quit drinking entirely or cut back. For quitting entirely, she could check out Rational Recovery, SMART Recovery, or an evidence-based recovery program with an individual counselor. The first two have both online communities and in-person groups. For cutting back, she could look at Moderation Management or Hello Sunday Morning. Moderation Management is online and groups, HSM is completely online app-based. There are others, too, just google “AA alternatives” to find them.

      1. Kara Zor-El

        I’ll second SMART Recovery — a good friend of mine has been sober for 5 years with the support of her SMART group.

      1. Pennalynn Lott

        Thank you for posting the link to this article. It does a much better job than I ever could articulating the problems I have with AA.

        “We’ve grown so accustomed to testimonials from those who say AA saved their life that we take the program’s efficacy as an article of faith. Rarely do we hear from those for whom 12-step treatment doesn’t work. But think about it: How many celebrities can you name who bounced in and out of rehab without ever getting better? Why do we assume they failed the program, rather than that the program failed them?”

      2. Mazzy

        I’m reading it now but it’s going to take a while. In the beginning of it, I was thinking that he was an ideal candidate AA because his drinking was so extreme, but he said the same exact thing I said, that 1 drink in relapse might as well be a 100. When you’ve actually live through this this article is really intense and I’m analyzing every paragraph – thanks.

    11. Anxa

      I don’t have any resources, but I do I want to say that I agree that there can be problem drinking without an alcohol addiction.

      I have a parent who drinks socially, somewhat regularly. Holidays, nights out with friends, etc. But every once in a while drinks by themself, somewhat in ‘secret,’ and then get’s belligerent, sloppy, and is in complete denial that they had been drinking or our drunk. This happened after menopause and isn’t necessarily after many drinks.

      Then months or years can go by without another incident.

    12. INTP

      I don’t personally know about anything like this, but I thought I’d chime in to say that I REALLY wanted to find something like it in college. I knew then that I had an issue with alcohol, but not with being addicted to it, just the decisions that I made while drunk and limiting how drunk that I got. I never went to an AA meeting because I didn’t feel I needed to commit to giving up alcohol entirely for the rest of my life at age 21 (and I didn’t), but I did want some kind of forum to talk about it and figure out how to go about managing it. I worked it out on my own over the course of several years, but looking above it seems like there are a few groups out there, so I’m glad those exist now.

    13. C

      I’m in recovery. I’d suggest AA Open meetings–you don’t have to consider yourself an alcoholic to go, but many of the people there will self-ID as alcoholics, and it might help her to hear how much you can lose from drinking. (Health, relationships, jobs–to name a few.) If there is alcoholism in her family, Al-Anon. Otherwise, therapy?

      If she’s trying to cut down and can’t, well, that’s a huge red flag. It’s not clear from your letter.

      You write that she’s content–does she want to cut down, or do you want her to?

      There is no one way to ‘be’ an alcoholic. You’re basically an alcoholic if you are powerless over alcohol. I can’t have, for example, two glasses of wine a week. Some alcoholics never black out or lose a job or get divorced. Others escalate to hard drugs and homelessness.

      It’s not ‘too intense’–it’s as intense as you need it to be. I can skip meetings for weeks on end or go to three a day. I’m on my second sponsor, and neither of my sponsors have put me in some kind of AA jail. It’s a program of attraction–if she doesn’t want sobriety she is not going to magically have it handed to her in an AA meeting.

      A lot of drunks–myself included–don’t drink to deal with mental issues, abuse, etc. but to forget them because a bottle is less scary than dealing with your parent who has a raging personality disorder. Until, of course, it isn’t. If your friend can’t stop but isn’t progressing, she might be a functional alcoholic. Until she isn’t.

      Your letter does not really demonstrate a real understanding of alcoholism, which is a disease. Would you shame someone who had cancer? MS? Your letter is dismissive.

      If you’re sincere in your efforts to help your friend, you might want to educate yourself about alcoholism and AA before you start judging others. I’m glad you’re not an alcoholic. Your letter is so full of shaming your friend/possible alcoholics out in the world. I’ve read it now five times. If your friend is possibly on the fence about seeking help, wherever it may come from? A talk or message from you with the overtones you’ve communicated here would be the opposite of helpful.

      High five for not being an alcoholic. It sounds like your friend needs help. Check your pre-conceptions, and offer whatever you can to her, however small.

      just a ps: before I was ready to really own being an alcoholic, I was all kinds of defensive to any poor sap who tried to help me. So my general advice: be there for her. be ready to accept the fact that she might be angry/sad/defensive if you bring it up, check your judgment and educate yourself, make sure you have boundaries that are also healthy for you Most importantly: her health is WAY more important than your ideas about alcoholism which are based on anecdata. You are almost definitely not the help she needs, but you might be able to steer her in a healthier direction.

      1. friend of bill's

        Thank you C.

        I was having trouble articulating why I was having a reaction to the poster’s letter.
        Your words were perfect.

    14. Another Dreamer

      I have friends who are in AA and related groups. It seems to work very well for some people, but I agree that it’s not for everyone.

      I also think that you can be an unhealthy drinker without being an alcoholic. For some people, alcohol is the issue. For others, it’s situational or symptomatic of another issue that, if addressed, would solve problem. And some people learn unhealthy drinking habits which can be changed.

      It would be great if there was a general Alcohol and Health discussion group, something that would offer support to people who just want to make healthiet choices about alcohol, whether it’s to give it up or just be more responsible about it.

    15. Student

      AA is actually not based on any evidence-oriented addiction treatment. It’s just very well-known branding. The whole AA process is based off gut feelings, a specific set of religious beliefs, and some catchy slogans rather than through rigorous trial and error. It certainly helps some people, but the average relapse rate to problem drinking is higher down the AA path than down evidence-based addiction treatment plans. Most people with a drinking problem can, in fact, go back to drinking in moderation better than they can go the abstinence route.

      If your friend needs help, go find someone who treats addictions. Not a support group; a trained physician who specializes in addiction treatment. Many of them will recommend AA, but keep shopping around until you find one that doesn’t push AA hard if you already know it’s a non-starter. Addiction is an often-treatable condition.

  11. Miaw

    I am currently watching Suits and I realized Pearson Specter Litt is a highly dysfunctional workplace. First, Mike and Harvey has absolutely no professional boundaries between them from day 1. The firm hired a fraud and covered it up for years. Louis is the description of boss from hell. Employees had sex in the filing room….

    I still love the show but I will never want to work there.

    1. James

      I can’t think of a single portrayal of an office in movies/TV that doesn’t show a highly dysfunctional workplace. All hospital dramas are dysfunctional even by hospital standards (no insult here, it’s just that an ER is different from an accounting firm!). No courtroom drama accurately portrays police work or lawyers. The most accurate portrayal of a scientist is Allen Grant from Jurassic Park. Parks and Recreation would be a nightmare to work at.

      I think part of it is that TV focuses on relationships, while in real life there’s a lot of focus on the procedures. On TV folks will bend or break the rules for a good employee. In the real world, a good employee doesn’t NEED anyone to bend or break the rules. It makes for better TV, but horrible business sense.

      1. Red

        Hospital dramas are dysfunctional *especially* by actual hospital standards, lol. If anyone in my workplace even thought of acting how anyone on House acted, they’d be out the door so fast their head would spin. That’s the fun of hospital dramas – the drama!

          1. NacSacJack

            When they killed off TR Knight in that dramatic way on Grey’s Anatomy, I checked out. The stuff wityh Izzy was bizarre enough, but to kill George after he was off the show???

      2. INTP

        Yep. Plus, TV shows are expected to show a high level of closeness between the main characters that might make sense to some extent for a family or even a group of friends (though it still gets dysfunctional in that context), but is kind of ridiculous and unhealthy among coworkers. You should not unconditionally have your coworkers’ backs! You should support them when you feel they are right, but still not in a self-destructive or deceitful-to-management way.

    2. Stellaaaaa

      Shows like this, where everyone breathes for their job and never goes home, are why a lot of people don’t know what the eff to do with their lives. They grew up watching shows about careers that are no longer available, with no model for how to spend their free time or to nurture friendships outside of work. The First 48 actually gets it right. You hear the cops saying, “I’m not approved for overtime. If we don’t find this kid by 5 I still need to go home.”

    3. Sami

      My secret favorite TV show actually illustrates pretty decent management, and it’s even a reality show. “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team” – check it out. It’s on CMT and their new season just finished but they show reruns in the mornings (set your DVR).

      1. the gold digger

        A friend of mine from college married a former Cowboys cheerleader. I have a question for the group because this has been bugging me for years – what is the appropriate age for little girls to start wearing makeup and getting their hair blown out? I saw photos of the friend’s daughter when she was about eight in eyeshadow, mascara, and lipstick, which seemed – totally inappropriate, creepy, and gross to me.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian

          Yeah, around twelve or thirteen seems okay to me, but some women who are really into “beauty” (of the consumer variety) just can’t wait to see how their daughters look with that yardstick applied. My cousin who was really into the pageant circuit and competed in our state’s pageant as a precursor for a Miss America attempt is the same way about her daughter; she couldn’t wait to see how she’d look all made up and dressed like a little adult.

        2. Marillenbaum

          I think it depends on the circumstances: I was an eight-year-old who knew what shade of foundation she wore, but that’s because I did ballet, and wearing a full face of makeup was normal when I was performing. Outside of shows, I didn’t wear makeup. My mom let me start wearing lip gloss in middle school, which is about when I started trying (and failing–oh, so miserably) to style my hair in a “fun” way.

        3. Jen

          I say lipgloss (if there is interest) and eyebrow tweeting (if necessary AND there is interest- no pressure) in middle school. When depends on the kid. Maybe mascara by 8th grade and makeup on weekends (maybe) in 8th grade/summer before high school.

        4. Ann O.

          It depends on the context. A lot of kids get fascinated by makeup. Also, some activities (such as dance or cheer) require it. So if this was in a dress up context, a playing around context, or an appropriate activity context, totally normal IMHO. If this was an everyday just what the girl does, it’s inappropriate but probably also not anything you can intervene in.

  12. Cruciatus

    For those who own their own homes, how much importance did you place on things like a) loving the house itself, b) the location, c) the school district (whether you need it or for resale ease), d) other (fill in the blank)? I keep seeing houses I love but the school district sucks. I don’t need the schools and likely never will (and the neighborhoods I’m looking at are safe and just fine), but I’m scared of needing to sell the house one day and no one wants it because the schools on Zillow are rated a 1 or a 2 and a mile or less away the school district is a 6, 7, 8 (out of 10)–though of course the house prices and property taxes also go up. I’ve seen houses that appear perfectly fine that have been on sale forever and then I check the school district and realize why they are likely not selling (at least that’s my assumption).

    Also, I realized I’m a sucker for colonials apparently. Too bad none are in my price range and there are maybe 2 for sale in the entire city!

    1. Aurora Leigh

      I’ll be interested to see the replies! I’m also househunting for the first time. For me, I really want a big yard and preferably out of town or on the edge of town. I’m spending a lot of time on Zillow lately myself!

    2. Not So NewReader

      Probably not that helpful but here goes:

      Price was the number one consideration. Period. We had to watch what we were spending.
      Next came the condition of the house. We wanted something that was relatively safe (don’t take this for granted) but for our price range anything we picked out would be a fixer.
      After that came location. I did not want to live out in the boondocks. I like have a few neighbors around me, but I do not want to be closed in by neighbors.
      Next came a garage. For our needs we had to have a garage. Not optional.

      Our biggest limitation was our price range. We did not consider school districts because we did not have kids. I dropped the idea of resale-ability because no matter how hard you try to make everyone like your home, they just won’t. I decided to assume that we would resell it if we needed to. I had to let go of this because my brain was getting tired.

      If school districts are important to you then you trade that off by purchasing a more modest house. It’s all trade offs. You lower the importance of one thing to get another.

      I can almost promise you will keep seeing houses that you love. Let me tell you about the one with turret, two story porches and the double kitchens- summer and winter and the double living rooms. The cellar floor was IMMACULATE. Just on a walk through we were able to figure it out it needed at least $100K in repairs. I cried. It was not going to be our home it was going to be an anchor around our necks.

      Above all else put yourself some place SAFE. Find a safe neighborhood where you are physically safe and buy a house that you can maintain on your budget so you are financially safe. Think about the lifestyle you have and purchase a home that fits that lifestyle. My husband and I were either at work or taking care of our aging parents. We needed a place that was easy to take care of and easy to live in. I did not need two kitchens to remodel, two livings room to clean, a leaky turret and two sagging porches on top of what I already had going on.

      1. Seal

        Price was my number one consideration as well, then location and how I felt about the house itself. As it turned out, after looking at a number of houses and condos, I wound up buying the first one I looked at because it just felt right. It’s got lots of windows, the location is good, and the complex itself is smallish and quiet. My condo is actually half of a duplex, so no dealing with people above or below me. School district wasn’t a concern as I don’t have kids, but if I did I’m sure I’d feel otherwise. Resale-ability never really entered into my decision, although because I bought just before the housing market tanked I’m slightly below water on the mortgage. Not enough that I’m struggling by any means, but enough that selling it now would be a hassle. Since I’m job hunting and plan to move out of the area, I will most likely wind up renting it out for the near future. Still, for me buying was by far the best thing I did when I moved here; after years of renting it’s been nice not to have to deal with a landlord.

    3. Little Miss Cranky Pants

      Having bought and sold three houses over the past ummphh decades, I can echo and reinforce– buy what YOU can afford. Then think of personal/neighborhood safety, then the structure/mechanics of the house itself, and then any potential resale. I wouldn’t get too bogged down with school districts and all that because, guess what? There are other people without kids who also don’t care about school districts.

      I’m in the market again for what may be my forever home, and my priorities are: 1- price; 2- safety; 3- car vs. walkability. In most any market, unless you have money coming out of your butt, you’ll have to make tradeoffs. The key is find out what *your* tradeoffs are.

      Good luck with the house hunting!

      1. Florida

        Another reason not to worry about school districts is that they change. The school that is the worst school now could get a new principal and become the best school. The reverse is also true. Also, as the population changes, they redraw those lines. You might have bough the house when it was zoned for Great School, but they rezone it to Average School. If the only reason you care about schools is resell value, then take that off your list. (For people who actually have school-age kids, it’s a different story.)
        Buy a house to use it, not to resell it. There is so much that is unpredictable about the real estate market, that you should just focus on buying a house that you will enjoy living in.

        1. Cruciatus

          The problem in the city is this…they are contemplating closing ALL of the city high schools and busing those kids out to the county high schools. There is so much turmoil currently surrounding those schools. There is one school district in the city that would be free from all of that (and is not rated a 1 or 2 like the other city schools). So while I’m not planning on leaving soon or anything, the school situation could really be a problem in some ways I may not have considered yet.

          1. Natalie

            If that happens it’s going to affect all homes in the city equally. I really wouldn’t worry about it – you should never buy a home assuming it will appreciate by the time you sell it.

            1. Florida

              Exactly. If you have kids, then the schools will be a factor. If you don’t have kids, then focus on the things that are important to you like parks, transportation, access to whatever is important to you, etc.

    4. Pennalynn Lott

      I didn’t care about school district because I have no kids. I wanted a house in the middle of a quiet block (my childhood home was on the corner of a busy street and I hated it), a massive yard, and a big front porch where I could sit and visit with neighbors who were out walking their dogs or children. I definitely got all that.

      The public schools in my area are rated low because of the ISD they’re part of. But my home’s value has almost tripled since I bought it back in 1998. The people buying houses in my area are wealthy enough that they send their kids to private school, so the rating of the local ISD is meaningless to buyers who can afford the homes here. (FWIW, I couldn’t afford my house if I were buying it now. I did a ton of research before buying and picked a neighborhood that was on the cusp of turning over. When I moved in, I had several WWII vets — or their widows — for neighbors. Now those houses have young families with good incomes in them).

    5. Coffee and Mountains

      We knew a few areas that we were looking in and limited it that way. Our schools are fine, but not amazing, which is perfectly fine for us because we don’t have children. It also helps with our property taxes.
      We basically limited to two ZIP codes and went from there. We definitely placed importance on loving the house itself, and probably looked at 100 houses (we were going from an apartment to a house and weren’t in a hurry). We also had a price point we had to stick to, and the other two musts we had were a garage and a full basement (we live in tornado country, and this was a requirement for me). Good luck!

    6. chickabiddy

      I picked a house for the schools. I didn’t absolutely hate the house or the neighborhood, but it probably wouldn’t have been my first choice otherwise. Now it turns out that homeschooling is what we need right now (and, uh, I’m realizing that my kid who got As at a 10/10 elementary school didn’t actually learn all that much, but that’s way OT here). Oh well, at least it has good resale value.

        1. chickabiddy

          It is OT, but we’re doing a cyber charter school, which is a hybrid that really works for us. She has online classes and chats with real certified teachers for a few hours a day, and then does her work at home with some help from me. I am personally quite glad that there is someone other than me teaching geometry!

          1. DragoCucina

            My youngest son did an online high school and it was the best option at the time. Not all schools are right for all students. I’m excited that our public school system has created a school that serves the needs of homeschool families. Need a geometry class (I’m with you there), it’s available. It also serves students who are involved with high level pursuits. Two high school students compete internationally in their activities. When at home they attend the school. When away they connect online.

    7. Oldie

      As a parent, school district was our first consideration. But we were buying a large-ish family home. If the home you are buying is 1-3 bedrooms, it is just as likely to appeal to kidless families, so school district will be less of a factor.

      1. TootsNYC

        Also, you ought to be able to buy it at a lower price if it’s in a bad school district. You’ll sell it at a lower price, but you should be able to sell it.

        1. TootsNYC

          And by “lower price” I mean, “a lower price that similar homes in a good district.”

          Hopefully the value of the home will go up, but it will always be affected by that starting point. Just don’t assume your investment will go up as fast–but then, you’re not starting from as high a price, and hopefully will pay less in interest too.

          It’s all relative, in other words.

        2. RR

          seconding this. If you’re buying a home to *live* in, don’t put undue emphasis on resale. If you don’t need to worry about the school district in particular (as opposed to the general responsibility to support the education of children in our communities we all have), I wouldn’t make this a top factor. What’s important to YOU? For me, it was a combination of loving the house itself, and its location. I live in the city proper. I did not want to be in the suburbs. I bought a home in a neighborhood that was transitioning. Given my income as a single person working for a nonprofit, it was a total fixer upper. (I would have preferred to buy a house in better condition, but that was what I could afford. I am glad to have done this, but I don’t think I’d ever do it again.) My criteria at the time was that I wanted to be able to sell if I had to or was miserable in this location without losing a ton of money. I found deciding not to worry about making money on reselling very freeing.

    8. Chickaletta

      Well, school ratings don’t mean everything. Find out how the rating system works in your area. Where I live, the rate of test score improvements are factored into a school rating, so a B school who stayed a B school would be docked more than an F school who went up to C. Therefore, there are good schools with average ratings and poor schools that have high ratings. Also, the highly rated schools are flooded with transfer students where the average schools have all their students coming in from the neighborhood. Finally, high rated schools in our city tend to be located in neighborhoods out of our price range, so it’s not even an option for us. My son goes to an average rated school and you know what? His teacher is awesome, the classroom is new, and he’s learning lots. It’s fine. I kinda laugh inside to myself at the parents who think that a top rated school is going to make their kid smart, but their 8 year old can’t even locate a pencil by themselves (helicopter parenting, anyone?)

      Anywho, I know you’re asking the question because of the resale value of your house. I think the best thing to do is a) stop basing it on what you see on Zillow and ask your realtor about it because they’ll know the real answer and b) just buy a house you like.

    9. mander

      We don’t have kids and didn’t really take schools into account. Our major concerns were that it was accessible by public transportation, in our price range, and ready to move into.

      Our house is located in a somewhat economically depressed area, and honestly, whoever we sell it to eventually will be more concerned with the cost of living than the school ratings (as we were). Not that the schools are dismal, they are just OK. But it’s easy enough to get to schools in other areas thanks to the transportation links if any hypothetical kids living there got into one of the more academically rigourous schools in town.

      I’m in the UK though, so YMMV. I don’t understand how school places work here but I don’t think it’s as simple as signing up to the nearest one.

    10. Sibley

      I’m not a homeowner (yet) – am planning on buying next year. Here’s what I’ve been thinking thus far.

      1. House – I need to like the house. Why would I buy something as expensive as a house if I don’t even like it? I’m on a budget though, and am sticking to it.
      2. Location – I want to be near the transit station. I want to be close to the grocery store, gas station, bank, pet store, library, etc.
      3. Schools – I’m in the same boat. The area I’m looking at has uniformly poor schools. I expect to pay less for the house as a result. I also plan to stay in the house for a long time. In my case, I think the area will eventually recover and would expect the schools to do better. I will be helped by the fact that ALL the public schools within 20 miles are equally bad.

      Also, Colonials are nice. I like your taste :)

    11. Natalie

      I would put possible resale issues lowest on the list, as you’re not trying to flip the house or planning on moving soon. A house shouldn’t be primarily thought of as an asset, IMO – its primary purpose is as your home.

      Personally, I rated location and condition of the house about equally. I determined my price range picked a bunch of locations I would like and had my MLS set up to only show me results that met both criteria. As far as house condition, avoid getting too caught up in cosmetic things like paint, light fixtures, etc. Even appliances and plumbing fixtures are easier to fix or replace than the bones and guts. You want to focus on a layout you can live with (moving walls and such is crazy expensive), good foundation and roof, good water system, electric, and HVAC, and windows.

    12. Rosalind

      No kids. We went with a mid level school district. It’s actually one of the lower rated in our quadrant ( or suburbs are divided by north south east and west) but still highly rated in the entire city. Our first house we worried about resale, but we made sure we didn’t overpay and made decisions on what to do with optional upgrades based on what would increase value/entice buyers (and on a careful budget). Kept the same school district on the second house because I liked what it offers but mostly because the house had the space and room sizes we were looking for, garage, neighborhood. Our biggest thing was a house we were happy living in. Resale and schoolsee came later.

    13. Yetanotherjennifer

      I live in a rural small town where housing stock is limited and varied. We bought the house that works the best for us in the town and neighborhood we wanted. It’s not our dream house but is a good house to launch our dreams from. We picked the town and the neighborhood for the school, but more the atmosphere of the school than the quality, although it is a decent school. (Btw, test scores aren’t always the best indicators of school quality)

      Our previous house (different state, bigger city) was down the street from a not very good elementary school. But we didn’t need a good school because we had a toddler and planned to move before she was old enough to attend elementary. We chose that house because it was the best in our price range. We had one week to buy a house and looked at 17 houses in one long weekend, chose our top 4 and made an offer on the best. The one we bought was a for sale by owner that we found by driving around. The house was a great starter home and also a great age in place home because there was a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, so we had two good markets to target for resale. I didn’t love it when we bought it but I did by the time we moved out.

      We sold that house in 2009 during the crash by being slightly better (and luckier)than our competition. We left half our furniture behind so the house wasn’t empty and hired a stager to best arrange it. Fresh paint and clean windows helped. And our realtor hired a pro to take the pictures and we priced it well (and didn’t take a loss). We went from on the market to closing in less than 60 days and sold to a young couple with no kids. So a bad school doesn’t have to get in your way.

      I wouldn’t assume the houses aren’t selling due to the school. It could be the price or an odd layout or it could be they’ve just been on the shelf too long. People are awfully superstitious when it comes to houses. Also, check out American four squares. Built in the early 1900s, they come out of the craftsman trend but some are styled like colonials.

      1. DragoCucina

        True. Atmosphere of schools rather than test scores is a good consideration.

        As with doing “improvements” it needs to be for the owner not resale value.

        1. Yetanotherjennifer

          I agree for the most part. When we painted the interior of our house before selling it I wished we were going to be around to enjoy it and we made a point of painting the interior of the next house before moving in so we could. But that first house was a planned temporary house. We were only in that town for graduate school, but staying long enough that buying made more sense than renting. We bought a house we could sell; in fact we made sure our realtor was willing to sell it before we bought it. We didn’t make a lot of improvements to that house but the ones we did were done with an eye towards the eventual sale.

          1. DragoCucina

            A coat of paint makes sense. Improving basic items (taking out knob and tube wiring from the 20s) makes sense. Too often people will do major remodels to kitchens, put in swimming pools, etc., for resale. My BIL is a sellers realtor (he refuses to work with buyers) and rants about this. Remodel the kitchen for yourself.

            1. Natalie

              Sellers’ expectations can get way out of whack for sure. I looked at a bunch of houses where the sellers expected their coat of paint to add thousands of dollars to the sale price. Too much HGTV, I guess.

              1. DragoCucina

                I think so. Flipping houses isn’t cheap, quick, or easy. Add in the emotion of living in the house. I love my house, but I know the quirks I like might be detractors.

    14. Ann Furthermore

      My parents bought and sold at least 40 homes in the 54 years they were married. They were nomads, and would always follow the money when my dad got offered a better job. Their rule, always, was to buy the cheapest house in the best school district. It served them well. They were always able to sell houses and roll the gains into the next one. This served them very well over the years, and helped them have a very comfortable retirement.

      They had kids, obviously, so the schools were important to them. Their other rule was to never buy the most expensive house on a street, or in a neighborhood, because it will take longer to sell, and you’ll end up with less equity.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Forty homes in fifty four years? That’s averaging one home every 1.35 years or roughly every 16 months. wow. Just wow.

        1. Ann Furthermore

          Yes…we moved around A LOT. I’m not sure all the moves involved buying and selling homes, some may have been rentals, but my mother counted up the number of times they moved and that number (or something close to it) was what she came up with.

    15. Allison Mary

      Assuming the place was in our price range…

      The number one consideration for us was location. Location in this sense could include being close to good schools – but for us, it was being in the center of the city, super close to downtown, right on major public transit lines (light rail type thing), and having a walkscore of 80 or greater (google this, it’s amazingly helpful – for many areas, they also have a transit score and a bike score).

      After location came the place itself – obviously, we needed the basic layout of the place to work for us, but after that, there was much more room for compromise. We were looking for a condo, and most of the ones we were looking at had old-timey feels with lots of hardwood floors and classic looking cabinets – but the place where we actually wound up was more modern and had way less of the “feel” we were after. But the location was AMAZING – walk score here is 95, transit score is 85, and bike score is 98. And the basic layout of the condo (a 566 studio, which was right in line with what we were after) was perfect for us. Everything else is cosmetic, and it can be changed later on, once we have a little more free cash flow.

      But you can’t fix location. Or the basic bones/layout of the house. Those two things, plus affordability, I would say are all of vital importance, if you can find a place that is good on all of those factors.

    16. snuck

      I’m going to ramble….

      There’s that saying “buy the worst house in the best street”… the idea is that you buy something where everything else around it is valued higher, and thus it lifts the value of your place. Except… everyone knows this, so that ‘worse house’ is probably already being sold for more because of it’s location.

      If you plan to be in the place more than five-ish years, then plan more for the place you want… if you are passionate about a style, era, garden size, commute etc… write down your limits. How far are you willing to travel for a supermarket, the doctor, work… What is your expectations around access to public transport?

      And then for the house… What are your key elements – how many bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas… What about heating/cooling and sensible house design elements…. and yard, car, storage. Do you want open plan or closed in, would you consider a house, apartment or townhouse…

      Community – what do you want, envision… and where is that found.

      Now you have a minimum requirements list. Grab your budget, your lists… and start looking. Rehash if you are clearly out of limits. What can you drop… you want a spare bedroom but all the three bedroom houses are too expensive… could you go to a two bedroom house and have a murphy bed in your study… etc…

      I heard somewhere random that people look at about 40 properties before buying a house. I’m not sure if this is true (we built ours, but I probably looked at close to many house plans seriously before deciding, and we certainly looked at a LOT of blocks too).

      Then when inspecting houses think through:
      Bathrooms and kitchens are expensive to renovate if you don’t like them. New cupboard doors are cheap, but all new layout? Ouch.
      Carpets can be pulled up and replaced, curtains are actually more expensive than you realise, and things like damp and musty smells will be there for you and are a sign of issues. You can repaint a room, but dealing with damp takes more.
      Look at the lines of the roof – are they straight? Look at the lines of the walls and window frames – all neat and square? Do the doors inside open and shut easily? Does any heating/cooling work and seem appropriate and not too old? A building inspection is wise, but these will save you the inspection fee if you spot anything here easily enough.

      Then… an ugly little place one block back from a row of cafes and shops might be a better investment than something near a school – if your place is more for a couple/one child max than a big family home. No point going for the large family home near a school if you are going to hate it (unless it’s an investment strategy, but I’m not sure that it’s a wise one right now), better that you get something that you will love and take care of. And no point getting something non-family sized near a great school, as the school won’t be a major factor for a future buying (probably, can’t count on it).

      1. Not So NewReader

        The people I know who have lived near schools constantly complained. If it wasn’t the school traffic then it was the trash left on their lawns. There was always something. OP, if you have to be near a school, chose a quiet side street that has more than one exit out on to the main road.

        1. Cruciatus

          Thanks…though I think my original question got lost a bit in the thread. It was more about how much weight should a good school district get in home buying when I do not currently nor in the foreseeable future have any need for those schools. It wasn’t about location to schools in general but that is something to keep in mind!

          1. LCL

            If you aren’t planning on having children, I would say quality of the district is insignificant. I’m going to quote someone I used to work with, she and her husband made big bank in real estate. “If a house isn’t selling, the price is wrong, period.”

      2. Rachel Greene

        We are in a similar boat. The public schools in our city are generally not good – in fact, a lot of people with more modest means actually end up sending their kids to private school.

        We ended up buying a modest, cookie cutter house in the next county over where the schools are much better…or so we thought. The schools are generally better but not all are created equal. Plus, we have discovered we are just too far out and it is really inconvenient for our everyday life. We dont have children yet but are planning to in the next few years. Admittedly, we got really spooked about the schools in the city and thought we were making a good decision but it really wasnt the best for us at this point.

        Anywhere, the old real estate adage is true – location, location, location. We are now looking for houses that are in the city and in the neighborhood we originally wanted.

        Price – please, please get something that you can comfortably pay off in 15 years or less. You wont regret it but you could regret buying a larger house that will put a tighter strain on your budget. The rule of thumb I use is that your payment should be 25-30% of your takehome pay or less, depending on your other debts.

        Age of homes – I have always wanted a Victorian home. Alas, I quickly figured out that it has a lot of upkeep (typically). For my family right now, it would be better for us to have newer construction (15 years old or less) for several reasons.

        Someone else mentioned this upthread but its really important – the layout of the house. For example, we looked at a house this weekend in a great neighborhood. The house had been updated a lot and was generally really appealing. However, the master bad was tiny and the master closet was almost non-existent. There was no room to renovate this area of the house, or change the general layout of the house. We passed.

    17. Rachel Greene

      We are in a similar boat. The public schools in our city are generally not good – in fact, a lot of people with more modest means actually end up sending their kids to private school.

      We ended up buying a modest, cookie cutter house in the next county over where the schools are much better…or so we thought. The schools are generally better but not all are created equal. Plus, we have discovered we are just too far out and it is really inconvenient for our everyday life. We dont have children yet but are planning to in the next few years. Admittedly, we got really spooked about the schools in the city and thought we were making a good decision but it really wasnt the best for us at this point.

      Anywhere, the old real estate adage is true – location, location, location. We are now looking for houses that are in the city and in the neighborhood we originally wanted.

      Price – please, please get something that you can comfortably pay off in 15 years or less. You wont regret it but you could regret buying a larger house that will put a tighter strain on your budget. The rule of thumb I use is that your payment should be 25-30% of your takehome pay or less, depending on your other debts.

      Age of homes – I have always wanted a Victorian home. Alas, I quickly figured out that it has a lot of upkeep (typically). For my family right now, it would be better for us to have newer construction (15 years old or less) for several reasons.

  13. LizB

    Ack, I typed out a whole long comment and my phone ate it. Trying again…

    This weekend I’m going to the wedding of one of my boyfriend’s friends from high school, and meeting all his high school friends is really doing a number on my social anxiety. I know they must all be nice people I would get along with just fine, but OMG so many new faces and names and nicknames and jokes I have no context for and gaaaaah. Add that to my paranoia that I’m going to be horribly underdressed (the invite said “formal attire” but I don’t own any long or solid colored dresses so I’m wearing something midi length with a pretty pattern) and I’m just hoping I can get through the day without a minor panic attack. Someone tell me it’s going to be okay, please!

    On the plus side I get to see my best friend tomorrow, so I’m clinging to that as a light at the end of the tunnel.

    1. self employed

      You’ll be great. Just come armed with a couple of questions/topics. And ask people about what bf was like in HS; bet they’ll love sharing stories and you’re off the hook!

    2. Blueismyfavorite

      I would suggest buying or borrowing a dress that meets the dress code a little better. Formal attire means a full-length gown or a dressy cocktail dress so your midi-length patterned dress doesn’t quit fit since it sounds a bit too casual. You could even rent a dress from a place like Rent the Runway. Being dressed wrong is going to make you feel so uncomfortable the entire time!

        1. MillersSpring

          Your dress sounds fine. “Formal” is usually the bride’s vision not a social requirement. I bet that up to half of the other female guests will be in midi or knee-length skirts.

          Take deep breaths, smile, squeeze your boyfriend’s hand and ask people about themselves. Excuse yourself to the ladies room or bar as needed.

    3. Not So NewReader

      It will be okay.
      Half the people there feel the same way you do. They want it OVER.
      You will find other people there wearing what they have also.
      They will not notice you did not remember their names because they will be too busy thinking about how they forgot yours. Not snark, it’s true, many people get nervous about this stuff.
      Deep breaths, in through your nose. You’ll be okay.

    4. LizB

      Update: I had lots of fun at the wedding! I was definitely underdressed, which was embarrassing (I’ll remember to look into Rent the Runway if I have another formal event in the future – I just don’t need formal attire often enough to invest in it), but I wasn’t the only one and nobody really cared. My boyfriend’s friends are wonderful and I wish they lived closer so we could all hang out more. And the wedding itself was wonderful – amazing food, open bar, not too much obligatory dancing. And then we went out for brunch with my best friend. All in all, a good weekend! Now there’s just the six-hour drive home.

  14. Elkay

    Has anyone here been to Hakone in Japan? We’re looking at doing a trip which is Tokyo-Hakone-Kyoto but not sure if Hakone is worth it as it seems very expensive.

    1. Alice

      Yup, did it as an overnight trip when I went to Tokyo. I don’t remember how much it was exactly but I’d absolutely recommend going there (so long as the price isn’t too outrageous). If you do it as a tour it usually includes a cruise across lake Ashi and a trip up Mt Fuji (depending on the weather and time of year). I took some really amazing photos there.

      There are also some pretty amazing onsens there, including the Yunessun spa resort, which has onsens with wine or coffee or milk etc (it’s also one of the few that’s mixed gender and allows you to wear swimmers).

        1. Alice

          The first day was with a tour company (the cruise, Mt Fuji and I think a shrine somewhere), the second day (Ōwakudani and Yunessun) I did independently.

    2. Tallulah

      First-time commenter, but I spent two nights in Hakone and really enjoyed it – there were two really enjoyable art galleries (including an outdoor sculpture one which was amazing) and a trip in a cable car over a sulphurous quarry. It’s more rural and wooded than the big cities so was a fun contrast, and there was the lake cruise Alice mentions too. My tour company bought me some kind of day pass which had a lot of the transport included, so that made things easier. I didn’t go up Mt Fuji but even getting to see it was amazing!

    3. acmx

      I’d check on when you can go up Mt Fuji. I think you can only climb in July.

      I did the lake cruise and the cable car. IIRC, there was part of the cable car trip that was under (periodic) maintenance so check for that.

      I spent one night there. I think you’d be ok with 2 nights. But I went alone and saw many places in my time there.

    4. AcademiaNut

      I went to a conference at a onsen hotel in the Hakone area, which was lovely. I’ve also vacationed in the Izu area, which is also near Tokyo and has very nice hotspring hotels.

      If you’re not picky or restricted eaters, you can get very good deals at traditional hotels (ryokan) which include the accommodation plus breakfast and dinner. My experience is that you get some very nice food much cheaper than you would for a comparable meal at a restaurant nearby – the tradeoff is that it’s a set menu, and you eat what they are serving that night. Typically, the meal involves a number of small dishes, with an emphasis on local ingredients – we stayed at a place in northern Hokkaido where we got a whole steamed snow crab each, plus about eight other small dishes, including sashimi and grilled fish.

    5. Raine

      Do the philosopher’s walk when you go to Kyoto and visit the monkey park! It’s like a reverse zoo, you go in a building with grated windows and feed the monkeys that are roaming free outside. It is a beautiful place.

      1. Raine

        Also the philosopher’s walk is a hike (sort of) between all of the temples surrounding Kyoto. I met some students there who wanted to practice their English and gave my friend and I a tour. Tougetsu (I think that’s how it is spelled) was this amazing little B&B owned be two super sweet older women with traditional baths and some of the best water pressure I had the entire time I was in Japan. You sleep on tatami mats, which I loved, and when we came back they often had tea and mochi for us in our room. One of my best travelling experiences.

  15. HardwoodFloors

    I always pick the best school district I can afford. Have done well selling 4 or 5 houses over the years (serial employer job relocations) . Recently I was surprised to see the schools in my district have 1o s.

  16. Sunflower

    I’ve been in therapy off and on but on consistently with a therapist I like for about a year now. I have a lot of issues with relationships primarily related to my anxiety and low self-esteem. I’m starting to really feel the phrase ‘you can’t be happy with someone else until you’re happy with yourself’. I’ve never really felt special and I think part of my issues with this is I never really found that thing I am good at or excel at or anything I really enjoyed and loved doing. I always fell right in the middle at most everything I did. I’m not the most competitive person and I’ve always accepted that people are just better at things than me. Although I have low self-esteem, I’ve always considered myself a confident person. I’m good looking. I can talk to anyone, public speaking is not an issue for me- so this is a weird conundrum to have.

    I think what I need to do is accomplish something. Really work for something and be able to do it. I feel like running/marathon is a first thought but anyone else have any other suggestions?

    Any suggestions for improving self-esteem that aren’t the standard stuff you find on the internet?

    1. self employed

      Perhaps something like Toastmasters? You could hone a skill you already have.

      Have you run before? It may or may not be for you. But it’s pretty easy and cheap to start. Also think about yoga, art classes, learning a language, photography classes… those would also provide the opportunity to meet some interesting people.

      1. Sunflower

        I run but I don’t take it very seriously. I had always debated teaching myself sign language so that might be a good one to put on the list.

    2. TootsNYC

      I found that doing things for other people raises my self-esteem a lot.

      And it doesn’t involve competition–that’s important, I think, especially because of your comment.

      What about a longish-term commitment to something outside yourself, that capitalizes on that interpersonal confidence you’ve got?
      Tutoring, maybe?

      1. Sunflower

        I’m working on volunteer opportunities but I have a bit of a crazy work schedule so trying to find something that works with that. I bought a box of ‘encouragement’ cards that I’m going to send to my friends who have been supportive and helped me through my recent rough patches and I already feel good about that. I will look into tutoring and maybe some other things like that thanks!

      2. Chaordic One

        I agree with Toots, but with a caveat. Make sure that what you do for other people is something that you actually enjoy doing. If it becomes too much of a burden and/or if you end up not enjoying doing it, then it just becomes another obligation. If it doesn’t work out, don’t be hard on yourself.

    3. Kay

      I get a huge self-esteem boost from figuring things out. One way I’ve been doing a lot of that lately is house projects. I like reading through how-tos and acquiring new skills and having things turn out well. The more I do of it, the more confidence I have. At the same time, weirdly enough, screwing those things up (the low-risk things, anyway) also helps with self-esteem because that’s how you gain experience and really understand something. If the bookshelf I’m making doesn’t quite sit square, I take that sucker out back and put it on the burn pile and try something else.

      To expand that more generally: are there any projects that you can slowly scale up on? baking? knitting? crafting? growing things? painting? building things?

      My husband has cripplingly low self-esteem and two weekends ago he and his father gutted a room in our house. He went from full-blown anxiety attacks about how he would ruin everything to talking confidently about drywalling in two days. It was amazing and I loved seeing him so happy and expressing that confidence.

      1. Sunflower

        I love thrifting and I’ve been trying to get into re-purposing furniture. My therapist gave me the same advice- start with something small, cheap- low risk. My biggest issue is I live in the city in a smallish apartment with a roommate so transporting and doing the work is a little tough. Also- I only have so much space so eventually I gotta move the pieces somewhere! I like working with my hands though- and don’t do much of it in my job- so I’m trying to find something similar but slighlty lower scale. thanks for the suggestions!

        1. Kay

          What about miniature furniture? Like dollhouse furniture? You can buy them and re-do them, or learn to build them from the ground up and either give them to friends with kids or sell them. Good luck!

        2. Natalie

          What about Habitat for Humanity? You get to work with your hands, do something good for the world, and you don’t have to bring anything home. You don’t need any experience to volunteer.

    4. Sibley

      ooh ooh ooh! Go read Captain Awkward’s blog, find her advice for Self Care and I’m pretty sure she addressed this at some point too.

    5. Not So NewReader

      By relationships I assume you mean SOs?
      I read something pretty cool a while ago. The writer’s idea was that we learn about having a relationship with a long term partner by first learning how to maintain regular friendships. Anxiety can come with lack of knowledge/learning. Put these two together and maybe an idea would be for you to work on building friendships so you can have experience in seeing how healthy relationships work.
      So maybe some volunteer work where you make “at work friends” with some of the people there?
      But maybe you prefer something more passive, like reading up on healthy relationships, what goes into a healthy relationship and that sort of thing.
      One of the ways we raise our own sense of self-worth is by putting the time in and filling the gaps of what we don’t know or don’t understand. I google odd things all the time, in my own quest to fill in my gaps.

    6. Today's anon

      I wonder if you need to perhaps also learn how to value what you do have and do well? You are so dismissive of being good looking and having the ability of talking to anyone. I’d give a lot to be more social and taller for example. I know when I’m in a down place, I tend to focus my attention on all the things I don’t do well/don’t like about myself and totally ignore those things in my life that I do well.

      I think running is interesting in that regard. I run and on good days I really, really enjoy it and am proud of it, and have run some incredible races etc. But I can also use it to beat myself up, as to how slow I m or bad a particular run was or how i didn’t run x races or whatever. I am a slow runner and I can let myself enjoy it even as something I don’t excel at because it brings pleasure and joy to my life or I can feel “not special” and blah about it.

      What I’m saying is, it’s not the running per se, it’s my mind and outlook that control what I get out of the running (and of course, to other things in your life as well).

    7. KatieKate

      What about small sewing or yarn projects? I know there are a ton of org around that collect this kind of thing for different populations (homeless, womens shelters, etc.) Plus you can see if they have any meetup groups where you can meet new people.

      Or, if you enjoy writing, NaNoWriMo starts soon! No one ends up with a perfect something, but there’s a great sense of “I did that!” when you finish, even if you never pick it up again.

      1. Dot Warner

        I second the sewing/yarn recommendation. I’ve been making preemie hats for our local NICU and it’s amazing how quickly you can get one of these done and stand back and say, “I made that! Go me!”

        1. Rocketship

          Thirding! I’ve been a knitter for years, and recently took up sewing as well. I’ve also done a bit of cross-stitch and blah blah blah. This may not work for everyone, but I find teaching myself a new craft to be extremely rewarding – enough of a challenge that it feels like an accomplishment when I figure it out, but not so much of a challenge that I become overwhelmed and decide I’m terrible at everything forever. I also find that focusing on a fiddly craft project helps me deal with stress and anxiety – of which there has been much in my life lately. My best friend refers to it as “sewing your feelings” – as in, “That’s a nice shirt. Been sewing your feelings lately, huh?” Considering I used to just eat my feelings, sewing them feels a bit more… constructive.

          Plus then when you’re done learning the craft, you’ve also made a thing! And can make more things! You can make things that are Just For You, that No One Else In The World Has. And if it doesn’t fit/doesn’t look right/ you just don’t like it somehow… presto! A gift for a friend, or a donation to a local charity. It’s pretty awesome. :)

    8. Stellaaaaa

      First of all, sorry to your therapist, but toss out the notion that you have to love yourself before anyone else can love you. That sh!t will just make you feel worse, and it gives other people license to tell you that you haven’t earned a relationship because you’re not a good enough person yet but they totally are, because look at their awesome relationship! Many people with low self-esteem or chronic depression are able to successfully date. Self-improvement is great, but please separate it from dating, and please please please don’t use “do I have a partner yet?” as a benchmark for whether or not you’ve transformed yourself into a person of value.

      As for ways to feel better about yourself, I like to nurture my identity as a reader. I love being able to go out and tell my friends about the newest book I just read. Even if my life was boring that week, I can still talk about a new book.

      1. Sunflower

        Sorry if that was confusing in my post- my therapist doesn’t say/think that. She’s saying because my low self-esteem makes me believe I don’t deserve love, I tend to be attracted to people who can’t give me it. Also, I’m not happy and I’m looking for a relationship to fill these holes in my life so I need to find other ways to make me happy. So exactly what I’m trying to do here is not use my dating/relationship status to define my value as a person.

      2. Dynamic Beige

        I think there’s a difference between “love yourself before anyone else can love you” and accepting/believing that you are worth being loved, being able to see that you are loved. I mean, if you do not love yourself, then you are more likely to look outside yourself for things to fill that up. Or turn away good things because you don’t think you deserve them. Or accept poor treatment. You could run into the most amazing person who loves you (or could be capable in the long run, because let’s not confuse infatuation with love) but if you think they’re out of your league or you don’t measure up to them/they could do better than you, you aren’t going to accept that they could love you.

    9. nep

      I dare say this is likely pretty common. I don’t feel in any way special — have never excelled at anything.
      I agree with the comment about doing something for others — the gratification and lasting good vibe can be huge.
      Is your main concern improving your social life and relationships, or just overall enjoying life more?

      1. Sunflower

        Both. Even though I know this to not be true, I still have this unconscious (subconscious? idk?) hope that a relationship will fill this void in my life and make my happy. So I know that’s not true or good and in the case I do actually meet someone, I don’t want to make them my life. But a big factor in this is just to be overall happier in life.

    10. Natalie

      When you say you never found anything you loved doing, were you possibly attaching “good at doing” to that at the same time? I had a similar mindset for a long time, I thought I didn’t like anything because I was unconsciously assume that liking something would just naturally lead to being good at it.

      Something that helped de-couple those two was working on things where I’m not entirely in control of the outcome. I garden. I could be the world’s best gardener and still have weather or pests or bad seeds that lead to a bad harvest of this or that vegetable. So I began to learn to separate doing the work from getting the results.

    11. The Grammarian

      I agree with the idea of learning a skill. Knowing how to make things makes me feel good and when I see the finished thing, it brings me satisfaction. Sewing, knitting, building things, fixing things, etc. Where I used to live, there was a monthly fix it night at the library and people brought small appliances to fix with someone’s help.

    12. Maya Elena

      In the long term, staying congruent – it’s hard for me at least, and I detest myself if I don’t do what I said I would – even if nobody cared or needed it. It also means controlling what you promise and making sure not to over-commit. But the knowledge that, though they be modest, you met your obligations honorably and in good faith, is a powerful source of pride, and one that does not rely on arbitrary thresholds of importance or hierarchy.

      In the short term, exercising. Running, aerobics video, whatever – for me, it breaks a cycle of negative thinking like nobody’s business.

    13. C

      Do things. Laundry. Get a pot of some sort of herb you like, and then make a meal with it. Make sure your dishes are done before you go to bed so you wake to a clean sink.
      I started volunteering at a shelter a few months ago–just two hours a week, and I mostly clean floors–and it has been amazing.
      Find a thing you love, and do it. I volunteer with stray cats 3 hours a week, and I am SO happy when I show up and one or more of them have been adopted out.
      I’ve been bouncing back from an abusive relationship, so I’ve been starting small, because when I set my sights on the large things I got overwhelmed and retreated.

  17. Biglaw Stormtrooper

    Hi all,

    I’ve booked a trip to go backpacking in Patagonia (the W hike in the Torres del Paine) for January, and I’m very excited! Has anyone done it who has advice? I’ve never been backpacking before. I’d love to hear more general things, as well as advice about what to pack / wear. I was thinking of wearing athletic leggings and sleeved workout tops as the default, with rain pants, a warm fleece and a good quality raincoat as packed layers that I can put on and take off as needed. Will that be warm enough?

    Thanks so much!

    1. James

      Watch your feet. Invest in good socks and break your boots in before you go. I don’t care if they say you don’t need to, do it. I do a lot of work that involves hiking, and I’ve seen the difference it makes. The person with new shoes falls out about lunch, due to blisters. The person with cheap socks falls out after a few days, because the socks fall apart, or don’t offer sufficient cushion, or whatever.

      Also, spend time getting your pack to sit right. You want the weight evenly distributed, but hugging your hips more than your chest. If it hugs your chest, you won’t be able to breath, and you’ll wear yourself out FAST.

      Finally, be on the lookout for dinosaur bones. Some of the best finds are coming out of Patagonia these days!

      1. Biglaw Stormtrooper

        Thanks! I knew I’d have to break my boots in, but it didn’t occur to me about the socks–I’ll make sure to get good ones.

        1. The Grammarian

          I have been told that sock liners with socks, and wool blends in particular, are good for hiking.

          1. LCL

            I’m allergic to wool, if I wear it tight next to my body the skin gets red and irritated and itchy and looks scalded. It would be nice to find out before you go if that is an issue for you. For long hikes and skiing, I wear knee hi nylons (available at the drugstore for cheap) under artificial fiber socks. Quite often I wear socks inside out because the toe seam is in exactly the wrong spot and grinds my toes.

    2. Lily Evans

      I’m not sure if my reply got eaten, or the link put it into moderation limbo and I’m just being impatient, but the blog Be My Travel Muse just had a bunch of posts about backpacking in Patagonia! If you go to the blog and just search for Patagonia you can find them, it includes a packing list too!

    3. the gold digger

      Caveat – this was 21 years ago, so things might have changed:

      I went to Torres del Paine with a friend when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile and what shocked me was how crazy crazy expensive everything was once we were inside the park. It wasn’t just my Peace Corps stipend financial perspective – my friend was a director at Kraft at the time and she was also in sticker shock.

      My advice would be to take in as much food as possible and not eat at the few restaurants in the park.

      1. James

        Be careful with your food choices, too. It’s not just about “eating healthy”; it’s about what your body needs. You’re going to sweat a LOT, even if you don’t feel it (parts of Patagonia are very arid, and in arid areas sweat dries so fast you don’t notice it ever existed), and this can do nasty things to the electrolyte balance in your brain. I’ve seen people drink water all day and still have issues, because they diluted the electrolytes. Of course, too many electrolytes can cause other issues, such as kidney stones. So think carefully. :D

    4. CMT

      Torres del Paine is awesome! When I was there (same time of year) it was very, very windy. Are you camping? Make sure you have a good tent that isn’t going to get blown over and keep you awake all night.

  18. peachie

    My sister convinced me to join her fantasy hockey league, and I’m totally lost! Anyone have any advice on how to study up and learn what I’m doing? Like, Fantasy Sports for Dummies? I know virtually nothing about hockey, or fantasy sports, or sports in general, but I’m always game to learn something new!

    (If it makes a difference, we’re going through the ESPN app — we drafted our lineup the other day, and I’ve been doing alright by just making sure to un-bench my players who have games coming up, but… I’m sure there’s more to it than that.)

    1. Kay

      Mostly I get bored halfway through the season and trade chores with my husband in return for him being my team manager, buuuuut!

      Some of the things you want to look for are specific for your league. Each league can decide that different things count for points. So depending on what stats count you might make different choices with your players.

      Don’t be afraid to drop people and pick up other people that are doing better. I know a fair bit about hockey but little to nothing about good fantasy management, so one way that I keep an eye on a player is to look at how many other people have him on their teams – that’s a percentage stat. I figure other people know more than I do.

      There’s an ESPN fantasy hockey app that I found useful to swap out players who were playing/not playing/injured.

      If you’re a REALLY savvy player you can also swap your players based on who you’re matched up against in a given week…like if they’re bad at the goals scored stat you can stack your best scorers. This is a level of sophistication and/or caring that I have never personally achieved.

      HAVE FUN! Hockey is my favorite of the major sports. Go see a game in person if you’re able, you’ll be hooked.

    2. Temperance

      You can Google and find suggestions for a good fantasy team. That’s what I do whenever I’m highly encouraged to join in March Madness. ;)

    3. Alucius

      I haven’t played fantasy hockey in a long time, but I’ve done a lot of fantasy football and baseball. I imagine similar basics apply. Kay’s advice to watch for players whose ownership percentage is increasing a lot is good. Also watch your roster for guys who are hurt or slumping, and look to swap them out. You should be able to see if lots of other people are dropping that player. Also, if you feel like trying to do trades, it helps to have someone in your league whom you trust to give you a fair perspective. Sometimes people try to take advantage of the newbie with lopsided offers.

      Good luck, have fun!

  19. Kay

    Anyone else totally obsessed with Supergirl? I started watching it a few weeks ago as my background while sewing on my day off, and I just love it. It’s so cheerful and smart and kind. It’s been my welcome antidote from the barren hellscape of 2016.

    1. Myrin

      I’m friends on tumblr with someone who is a huge fan of the actor who plays Superman on Supergirl, so while I don’t watch it myself (I’m not hugely into TV shows in general) I’m supplied a steady amount of gifs and videos about it at all times. It seems really fun and positive, like something that just makes you feel good.

    2. Liane

      I don’t know about totally obsessed, but College Kids & I have been doing mini-binges (2-3 episodes at a time of season 1), and the new Superman, Tyler Hoechlin, is great! He’s witty, he & Kara have fun* Being Heroes & the writers so far haven’t let him take over the show, just add to it. Plus the show is way easier to follow than their other supershows. (You can’t get into Arrow unless you’ve seen Every. Single. Episode that came before; the constant time travel has made Flash, which I loved to start, almost as bad.)
      Oh, & I just finished version 1.0 of my Supergirl Halloween costume that I debuted yesterday. (Does the costume send me over the edge into obsession?)

      *Even though Henry Cavill is Hunky Eye Candy, I hate the DC movies turning Superman “Dark & grim. Just like Batman, only grimmer and darker & much less fun!”

    3. Raine

      My youngest sister has been watching it non stop. I think I’ve absorbed some of it vicariously, and I love that she’s looking up to a strong, kind female role model in the media.

    4. Kara Zor-El

      I love it (as you can probably tell from my username…)! I love the female relationships in the show (Kara and Alex, Kara and Cat), and the optimism and sunniness. I agree the DC cinematic universe has gotten waaaay too dark, so it’s nice to see a lighter Superman on this show.

      1. Liane

        Cat is great but some of her Boss Talk, just wow. Like she is written to satirize the Lean In author.

        Once Alison is on the mend, I am going to email her and suggest Cat Grant for one of the posts she sometimes does on a fictional leader/manager.

    5. Emily

      I’m only two episodes in, but so far I love the main character’s bubbliness and positivity! It’s the kind of thing that could be annoying if done wrong, but (so far) feels fun and true to the character.

    6. Marillenbaum

      Yes! It makes me so happy. Kara is smart, and hardworking, and kind–I’m trying to convince my nieces to give it a shot. And I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed the actor they cast as Superman; it really throws into relief what a disappointment Henry Cavill’s portrayal has been.

  20. A Mom of a Young Adult

    I’m the parent of a launching 22-y-o, and I could use some advice!
    Basically, how much do I pry, or interfere, or demand info/action, or interfere.

    She did 4 years at an expensive college (using money from grandpa & grandma, which covered it completely) and doesn’t have a degree. She told us she has only one course left to take, and she’ll do it in the evenings once she’s gotten a job doing coding.
    BUT…I found a letter (while I was sorting out the stuff she brought home from college, which she wouldn’t do) from the college wanting her to take a semester off bcs she’d flunked 2 core classes and had a GPA of 1.7 or something. I didn’t real further, and put it back, bcs I hadn’t meant to snoop. (OMG, the waste of tuition money!!)
    But the secret I now have is eating at me, and I think it’s got to be eating at her.

    She started seeing a therapist while she was at school, so it’s clear that something like depression of late-onset ADD is part of this. We’d known about that, and had worried, but she would NOT give us any info, and we thought it would be disrespectful to pry.

    She lived w/ a friend over the summer and is now home, in the bedroom, door closed.
    She said she was going to put together a coding portfolio over the summer, but I don’t think she did, and she doesn’t leave the house now. She doesn’t speak to us much, but when she does there’s no mention of looking for work.

    She’s intensely private, and doesn’t want to be pressured. And I don’t think pressure would help–it’ll just up her anxiety level…

    But given that she’s living at home, I’m thinking we have the right to say, “You have to look for work every day. Hell, get a part-time job at Target, so you can build up a work reputation, and then use the rest of the time to work on getting a job using your Python skills, etc.”

    Any random thoughts that might be useful?

    1. Sunflower

      I think you’re doing a lot of the right things. I find it extremely admirable that you acknowledge prying and pressure would not help and that you are giving her space. I know that’s tough as a parent to not want to jump in and save her and I think it’s awesome you are asking the right questions.

      I’m not sure how far away her college is but getting her a therapist she can see regularly is priority. If she doesn’t want you involved, just make sure she knows how to go about finding one herself. I do not think it’s out of line to require her to work. Does she know what she wants to do for a career? Is she actually interested in coding or is that just what her degree is in. Also- is there still money left for her to finish her degree or is that coming out of pocket?

      I had a bit of a breakdown right before I graduated. It took a while to get out of it but I found once I started working and hated my job, that became my motivation for finding a better job.

      1. TootsNYC

        She’s got a therapist–she called to find out how to get on the insurance for that, so that’s why we know. And bcs of the insurance, I know that she’s seeing a counselor weekly (I’m paying for it) and a psychiatrist every 2 to 3 months and getting meds. (I haven’t googled the med names–that’s how respectful I’ve tried to be.)

        I don’t know about money for school–there might be a little left that would get her through a far less expensive college, but at the moment we’re not speaking about it at all. She has to ask, is my theory. The money should really be signed over to her control, but nobody’s followed up on that–I think she feels she’s not entitled to touch it, which is fine by me. If she ever does try to finish off, she can show some initiative and ask about it then.

    2. self employed

      You sound very caring. Be careful that “not prying/pressuring” doesn’t actually end up being enabling. She has been lying to you, hiding info from you, and the fact that she is in your house gives you a right to be in the know about what is going on. You need to see some concrete progress out of her (and she needs to know that).

      1. TootsNYC

        This is my worry–that we’re not helping her by just quietly letting her stay in our house.

        I think we really do need to do something about the Big Secret. Heck, my own secret (which is: the fact that I know this from the letter) is messing up the way I look at her. And even before I found the letter, we all knew she was keeping secrets from us, and that CAN’T be good for her!

        I just can figure out how to broach it, and my DH keeps saying, “we need to figure this out,” where “this” = “what Daughter is going to do next,” which is NOT ours to figure out. He’s not very good at letting go.

        But I’ve also just realized, she’s not contributing a damned thing, actually–she doesn’t do chores, doesn’t come hang out with us in the evening like a family member, doesn’t pay rent. At least we don’t really feed her–but I don’t know where she’s getting money. I think she’s using up gifts her grandparents sent over the school years.

        1. self employed

          It’s key that you and your husband realize that you’re not helping her by doing nothing. Setting some firm boundaries will help give her some structure and goals. I would have a hard time keeping this secret too, so I think you should come clean about what you found (once you have a plan to offer her).

          I can’t imagine her depression would get better under her current situation unless she starts being an adult and taking pride in even the small progress she can make.

        2. AcademiaNut

          I suspect she’s spending a lot of mental energy on maintaining her web of lies. And her current situation is not one that is practical or healthy in the long term. I’d also bet money that she’s lying about the coding portfolio and preparing for work. I think I’d lean towards ripping the bandaid off and telling her that you know about the university situation – you came across the letter by accident and weren’t snooping, and that you’re not mad at her but you’re worried. And yes, she’ll likely be angry and upset, but part of that anger will be covering up fear.

          I would also suggest that you and your husband make an appointment or two with a therapist for advice on the best way to approach the situation – how to encourage her to do *something*, and how to avoid enabling and making the problem worse.

          For now, I’d pretty much forget about stuff like finishing her degree, or transferring programs, or community colleges, or getting a coding job. Right now, the immediate concern is that she’s getting appropriate medical treatment, starts doing something productive – getting a part-time job, volunteering, doing chores, and stops actively lying.

          As an aside – I know multiple people who dropped out of college and went into coding careers, but it was generally because they were already actively coding at a level that was employable and decided that finishing the degree wasn’t necessary, not the result of being kicked out.

    3. Pennalynn Lott

      I would prioritize a full medical work-up (including looking at serum D3 levels and screening for ADHD) and therapy over making her look for work every day or take a part-time job. I have suffered from depression on and off most of my life, and one of the worst things I ever did to myself was take a soul-sucking retail job just because my family told me I had to. I floundered there for two years, sinking deeper and deeper into depression until my brain was telling me, “This is it. This is the best your life will ever be. You’ll never work a professional job. You’ll never have any money. You’ll always be treated like a child by your toxic bosses. You’ll never be somebody that you’re proud of.” From there it wasn’t too difficult to put a suicide plan in place.

      Some people seem to do OK with “tough love” and pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps lectures, but not most of the people I know who are prone to depression.

      Additionally, are there any coding camps / groups nearby that she can join? Doing something she enjoys while being in a space where she can interact with potential employers might be helpful. Instead of forcing her to get a part-time retail job, could you make attending one of those groups a couple of times a week (for a few hours at a time), plus going to therapy once a week, a condition of living at home?

      1. TootsNYC

        Thanks for those thoughts.

        My thought about a retail or barrista job would be” “it’s just for now, so you have some spending money and some structure.” And so it would eat up some of her day, and then she’d maybe have more initiative to do the independent work of building a coding portfolio. On the “busy people get more done” theory, since right now there is literally nothing in the day that she needs to do–so I think she sits in her room and piddles on the Internet all day long.

        I wish I knew of any sort of support group for job hunters, or something, so she’d have people other than her parents saying, “did you finish that portfolio piece?”

        1. KatieKate

          As a previously depressed 22 year old who graduated without a job–while the waitressing part-time may have slowed me down a little, the self worth of having a job and earning money was amazing, and hanging with people in completely different stages of life (food service lifers, struggling artists, etc) kept me away from comparing myself to my peers. Plus, any cords you can cut can be helpful. If she gets the job, make her pay rent. Or make sure she’s cleaning the house. She’s an adult now, even if she’s struggling.

          1. Myrin

            I agree with this, only it’s not me who is in that situation but my younger sister. Our situation is a bit different in that we’re poor and every person in the household has to pay rent or we won’t be able to afford our flat. So when my sister finished school but didn’t really know what to do after (she tried a few things but nothing worked out), she started a part-time job at a supermarket. She was already depressed and struggling with her PTSD at the time, but the job did indeed give her structure, forced her out of bed, gave her some wonderful colleagues, etc. Then, after having seen a therapist for a while but not getting better, our doctor interfered and sent her to hospital, where she spent the first three months of this year (psychiatric in-patient care for six weeks, out-patient for another six weeks). After she got out again, she could start right back at her job and actually got an increase in salary and responsibilities! She’s now working almost every day and while she doesn’t love the job, she enjoys it and it is still very much giving her stability, both financially and “mentally”.

        2. Pennalynn Lott

          Based on your username, I Googled “NYC coding groups” and got a ton of hits. Maybe joining a few groups would be helpful for her. Perhaps the portfolio seems like a massive mountain that she’ll never be able to climb, but a group can help break it down into bite-size pieces for her.

      2. TootsNYC

        And it’s less that I want her to get work (though she has NO references, NO work experiences, except a summer at college where she was supposed to be working on a computer program w/ a professor, and now I’m wondering if she procrastinated her way through that…), and more that I fear she’s just not in control her of day, or of her life.

      3. TootsNYC

        I mentioned above: she’s got a therapist, meds, etc. And she did go get a full medical workup when she started therapy.

        But I think there are some things we could set as “a condition of living at home,” like “go to the doctor for the health issue you AREN’T caring for,” and “sort out your winter clothes so we can get the boxes out of the living room.”

        But it’s sort of, what do you do when a grownup doesn’t do those things? Are we going to make her move out? Scolding isn’t all that effective anymore…

        1. Ella

          If you’re setting conditions, I’d also be clear about consequences. We have my husband’s 26 year old stepbrother living with us. Prior to living with us, he was living in his car for a bit, and has also done several unsuccessful college tries/job tries.

          We’ve been phasing in requirements. We charge him $450 rent, and have allowed him some leeway (like allowing him to do chores for $15/hr to pay for part of the rent). We are also requiring that he stay in school, and stay employed. He got a job at a gas station, lost it due to being irresponsible, and now is a bouncer. We’ve been kind, but clear in our expectations (i.e. you must remain employed/in school while you live here & you must pay rent. We will kick you out if you don’t do those things.). It’s hard, because we wouldn’t want to kick him out, but it’s also not fair for us to support someone who is grown.

          What about talking to her, letting her know that you found the letter, and seeing what her plan is. She probably doesn’t have one, so part of it may be figuring out next steps. But I would set expectations of her living there. They don’t have to be rent (though I really think even a small amount of rent, like $200, due on a specific day, is healthy. We upfront also told the stepbrother that there would be a 10% late fee if he’s late. Currently he’s behind in rent, but he is making progress)but it could be things like staying in therapy, getting a job at a place like Starbucks and remaining employed, and doing household chores like dishes, mowing the lawn, and taking out the trash. It’s not unreasonable to expect those things. I would be calm, and explain that you know she’s going through a hard time, but part of growing up means taking responsibility.

          I would also be clear on deadlines and consequences. And yes, I would have one consequence be that she needs to move out if she can’t do these things. It’s hard, and she will not be perfect, so it is ok to do some adjustments as you go (ok, you lost this job. You get one more chance, but if you can’t keep the next one, I’m really sorry, but you need to find a new place to live).
          Think of it as you preparing her for life. These are hard lessons, but she’ll only have more to lose as she gets older. A mortgage company is not going to care that she doesn’t feel like having a job. And also try to be professional. Tell her that you love her, and you’ll always love her, even if she has to move out.

        2. LibbyG

          I see your point. You could charge some rent, but what do you do when she can’t/won’t pay? It sounds like her hermitage is just a couple months long so far. I don’t see where you’re holding her back by providing a soft place to land.

          I’m a professor, and I work with several students each year who go off the rails like this. She may not have lied per se about needing “one more course.” It may have been just the kind of magical thinking that a lot of people get trapped in when some high-stakes process starts going awry.

          You can’t be her academic or career advisor or therapist. As her parent, maybe this is the moment to just say, “I’m so proud of you for taking charge of your mental health” and “I’m ready to help in any way I can.” If she’s managing her appointments and scrips, that’s a great sign.

          Maybe you and your husband can agree to just let it ride until mid December or something. Give yourselves a break from feeling like you’re supposed to do something about this.

          Just my 2 cents. I’m confident she’ll get her legs back under her. I hope it happens soon!

    4. Chickaletta

      I think there’s two issues:

      1) She seems to have some form of depression or mental issue, which I think you should address as someone close to her who cares about her.

      2) She’s an adult who is mooching off you at home. This is something you can put a stop to by requiring her to pay rent. I did when I lived in my parent’s house for a year in my 20’s. They asked me to pay 1/3 of my paycheck (I think), and it wasn’t a bad deal because it was cheaper than living on my own and I was able to save up during that time.

      The good news for you is that your daughter is apparently an intelligent person (since she went to college at a nice school), and she can figure out how to get a job. Work out a deal so that she’s contributing financially to the household. Where she works, whether she completes her degree – all that is up to her. She’s an adult now and the best thing you can do for her is cut her free. If she asks you for advice or help, then by all means give it, but let her know that for better or worse she is going to be making her own decisions from now on. It might just give her the motivation she needs.

      1. Becca

        At one point, I lived with a family friend who wanted to help me transition to being more self-sufficient. One of the things that felt really helpful was that I could do a certain number of hours/month of work around the house to lower my rent (from $400/mo to a minimum of $200/mo— I was working part time). She made a spreadsheet of things for me to do and check off.

    5. A daughter

      I don’t know what your relationship is like with your daughter, but based on what little you said, I feel like it may be worth addressing the school situation — she lied to you, and I’m guessing there is some shame/guilt she’s feeling and carrying around, which must feel awful. I wonder what she would say if you said, “I’m sorry, I found this letter and read it by mistake, I can imagine this is weighing on you, I want to know what’s on your mind and how we can help you.”
      I’m 26. I’m lucky that school was easy for me but I really hate letting my parents down because they’ve done so much for me (paid my tuition at a great school! let me go abroad!). When I was going through a hard patch (anxiety, depression), I confessed to my mother that I didn’t want to worry her or upset her because I know she has enough to worry about in her own life. She bowled me over with her response — she said she loved me and that she wanted me to take her love for granted (!) and call her as much as I needed to. Of course, I don’t take any of this for granted but just hearing that made me feel so supported and while I haven’t been calling her that much, knowing that she’s willing to pick up has helped me mentally.
      Now, I don’t know what’s going to help your daughter, and I don’t know if you guys are on good enough terms that she would trust you with her problems. But I do suggest going to her with love and saying, what’s on your mind? and how can I help you? and REALLY listening to the answer.
      You clearly love her – from your post that is evident – why not ask her what she needs instead of guessing?

      1. MillersSpring

        Agree that you need to sit down and have an overdue talk about her GPA, requiring her to get at least an immediate part-time job, setting a minimum of maybe three months for her to have a full-time job, increasing her therapy to twice per week, getting her involved in a group therapy or a social or volunteering group, paying rent and not seclusing herself in her room. Discuss what the consequences will be if she doesn’t cooperate–taking her phone off your family plan, taking the TV out of her room (just a guess), up to maybe her moving out with a friend. She’s never had a job, was never held accountable for her grades during 4 years of college and now sounds too depressed to leave her bedroom. (Is she eating, cutting, getting high, sleeping, addicted to video games?) Sounds like it’s gone on for several months, so you should feel confident about confronting her and not letting her coast through life for even another week. Good luck.

      2. Anxa

        “When I was going through a hard patch (anxiety, depression), I confessed to my mother that I didn’t want to worry her or upset her because I know she has enough to worry about in her own life”

        So, I messed up college really badly. Looking back, I probably had depression, may have had a sleep disorder/health issue/undiagnosed ADHD, and have since been diagnosed with anxiety (which has kind of waned since getting a job, but is acting up while I transition right now).

        I kept all of my issues a secret. Part denial, part not wanting to burden my mom, and lots of shame.

        1. Nerfmobile

          I messed up college the first time around, too. It happens, even with smart kids with lots of potential. It took me a lot of years of therapy to deal with unresolved family issues and depression (and I suspect never-diagnosed ADD, but I cope with it). Eventually, I built a good career, went back to school and finished my BA and got an MS, and am now doing great in my second career field. So nothing is forever, thank heavens.

          What helped me:
          1) treating any medical/mental health issues – priority 1. Since you have health insurance, she has no excuses here. Has to be done.
          2) doing something productive. I was lucky that I had stumbled into a campus job that suited me well and I could stay on and parlay that into a career (much thanks to my manager at that job!). Basic work that gets you on a regular schedule and engaging with other people here Isi key, whether it is paid or volunteer.
          3) having a safety net – you’ve got that one covered it seems.
          4) having a long-term goal. I did eventually want to get back to school, but I didn’t have a date set. This was good, because I didn’t feel pressured to meet a date – but I knew what the steps were when I was ready.

          Hang in there! I know this situation is so hard for parents. But some kids bounce hard off that “what am I going to do with my life” point and it does take time. Steering them towards short-term productivity can remove some anxiety over making those ‘forever’ choices and help get their engines revving again.

    6. Stellaaaaa

      I’m going to be honest here (from my own experience as someone who was once 22 and not entirely honest with my parents): I don’t think she’s telling you the truth about the coding thing. She’s tossing it out there as something (she thinks) you don’t know anything about so you won’t be able to call her out for lying about it. She has no work experience, no degree, and her GPA is what it is. She’s not going to get a coding job. She knows that but she’s hoping you don’t.

      Is there a local university or community college? I’m the first person to point out that going out and getting a job isn’t easy for younger adults. I also know that it’s almost impossible for a 22-year-old to afford rent without either a gaggle of unreliable roommates or a partner to split a studio apartment with. I don’t think you need to charge her rent. However, I do think you can reasonably tell her that if she doesn’t enroll in some kind of schooling for the spring semester, she’ll have to start applying for jobs and show you the sent emails as proof.

    7. Bluebell

      As the mother of a hs senior who isn’t on a direct track to a four year college degree, we are already starting to have talks about what will change next year. I do think it’s absolutely fair to ask for something in exchange for your daughter living with you. That could be rent, specific chores, going to therapy , etc. but her doing nothing is not going to help her or help you. Many good suggestions on this thread and I hope things will change for the better!

    8. Michaela

      Oh, man, I was there about a decade ago. Came close to failing out of my Ivy, massive depression/anxiety that therapy helped with (but it took years), had to move home, felt unemployable, am super private by nature, etc., etc.

      I dug myself out! It took time, and my family was incredibly supportive, but I swear she can come back from this.

      First: part time job. A fulltime gig is probably out of reach right now, and might not even be healthy, but something that will get her out of the house on the regular, get some money coming in, and get her out of a pattern of moping alone (I was there, I remember the almost-physical need for quiet and solitude, but it only solves the immediate problem of OTHER HUMANS ARE STRESSFUL and no long-term problems). Barista, bartending, envelope stuffing for a local non-profit (this was my choice), phone banking for the candidate of her choice, whatever.

      Second: be visibly supportive of her therapy. Don’t ask for details, that’s invasive, but ask how it’s going, if there’s anything you can do to help. Maybe ask if she would find a session with you and her therapist to be a useful tool? That might be a place to negotiate what your expectations are for while she’s living with you, and what her boundaries are; the supportive third-party of her therapist can make the negotiation less fraught. I found it super comforting when I would come home from a therapy session and there would be a favorite snack of mine on the counter — therapy is hard and exhausting and it was nice to able to take a few minutes to come back into myself afterwards. And I don’t think depression can be cured by exercise, but maybe encourage her to join you/your husband in exercise?

      Third: chores. She has GOT to contribute in some way to the space she’s living in, even if that’s not financially. I did allll the cooking when I was living at home, which made me feel less like a terrible freeloader, and maybe she’s not into cooking as much as I am, but she can do something. Yardwork? Pet care?

      This is an awful, awful thing to go through, on both sides, I’m only now coming to appreciate how awful it was for my mother to watch me be miserable and ineffectual for years on end, but it is survivable and she will probably be okay. She is going to have to work for it, and it’s going to take a lot of time, but I am living proof this kind of thing can be dealt with.

      1. TootsNYC

        I actually think depression can be greatly helped by exercise. My CBT therapist really wanted me to do more. She doesn’t like the idea of exercise for exercise’s sake, but I sort of wish I could insist she go to a *regular* Zumba class (loud, happy music; the same faces most of the time for low-level acquaintanceship; and hard, repetitive physical activity).

    9. Dan

      I gotta be honest, my grades in college were not that hot. I wasn’t going to truly flunk out, but I did have to calculate my major GPA to make sure I could graduate while still getting D’s in my capstone course. You can actually get straight C’s, not technically flunk out, but still not graduate. (Or is not graduating flunking out? I digress.) I did end up with a 2.6 overall. I also really didn’t tell my parents shit about my grades, although they didn’t pay any of my tuition. Grandpa pitched in, but he didn’t ask. So I didn’t tell.

      Another poster was quite blunt in saying your daughter will not get a coding job. Blunt, but probably right.

      So here’s the deal. Coding is about what you can do, degrees are secondary, although usually (but not always) necessary. If you don’t have a degree, you need a stellar portfolio. TBH, a killer mobile app would be better than some pythons scripts. Your daughter has an uphill battle, because she will either have to admit to the 1.7 GPA (which will sink her unless she has a portfolio similar to the next Bill Gates and can prove she was just bored) or she has to omit the school references but then somehow account for that time. You can’t have a four year gap, no degree, a thin portfolio, and expect to get a job.

      Working at Target and “building a portfolio”, I’m just not sure how that’s going to work in practice. She may be better with a coding boot camp.

      Regarding the actual conversation with the kid, well, you hadn’t meant to snoop, but you can’t un-know what you saw. Sometimes, you forget things when “kids will be kids, this is part of growing up” and sometimes you can’t forget things because you came across information indicating a very serious problem that needs to be addressed. The situation you described is the later. Flunking out of college is Not A Good Thing and deserves a conversation. (Don’t talk down to her or demand things from her, but have a conversation.)

      College isn’t for everybody, but flunking out leaves a hole that needs to be dug out from.

    10. Colette

      Normally, I’d say “she’s 22, you don’t get a vote”, but she clearly needs help.

      I’d suggests giving her some parameters – she needs to pay rent unless she’s going to school and passing 75% of her courses, for example.

      I also think you need to understand more about whatever mental health issue she’s dealing with, at least to understand better how to help. Is her current reclusiveness part of the illness, or is she just floundering? Is she actually showing up for appointments and taking her medication? Does she need a more intensive program?

      It doesn’t sound to me like whatever illness she’s dealing with is anywhere near controlled, and the nature of mental illnesses means you might need to step in.

    11. Ann Furthermore

      I think you are well within your rights to tell her that she needs to get a job and contribute to the household. Charge her rent — even a nominal amount — and hold her accountable. If you want, you can hold on to what she gives you in rent and then when she’s ready to go out on her own give it back to her for a nest egg or something.

      She needs to do something. Just living in your house and not working or doing anything else isn’t good for her, and it’s not fair to you.

    12. misspiggy

      I think it’s worth getting to the bottom of her illness. Some mental health conditions cannot be managed to the point where someone bounces back quickly. Sufferers need to get through and survive until the most severe phase lets up, and then start building a life. Someone in this situation needs to be eating well, doing regular exercise, helping with housework, and doing structured activities like a job or volunteering. But that’s about staying as mentally healthy as possible, not preparing for a future career. That can come later. You need to let her know that at the moment you don’t care about the degree, or launching or any of that stuff – you care about her getting as well as possible. And that she has a responsibility to you, because you love her so much, to really work at things that involve self care. Self care includes being as honest as you can with your loved ones and not using money to paper over the cracks. Several people close to me have had serious mental health issues emerge in their early twenties, and those with families who supported them until the worst passed did much better in the long term.

    13. Another Dreamer

      There is probably more to the story. I’d withold judgment and try to talk to her about it.

      My last year of college, I was assaulted. The college wasn’t helpful. It took a huge toll on my academic career, job search, and many other things. I never told my family because I knew they wouldn’t be supportive.

      I’m not saying this to alarm you. Just to point out that there may be more going on here. She could be depressed and overwhelmed or she could be dealing with other Real Stuff that isn’t easy to talk about.

      Maybe come clean about having seen the letter, but approach it supportively in case she’s struggling with some difficult stuff?

      1. A Mom...

        This thought has crossed my mind, actually. I don’t -think- she’d assume we wouldn’t be supportive; we’ve had “in general” conversations about sexual assault at colleges, and risks, and alcohol, and stuff. All of it culminating in the “the point is that you’re safe, not that you never get drunk” conclusion.

        I also worried about drugs or alcohol, but based on what I see of her friends, I don’t think so–and her bestie is very protective of her privacy, which I don’t think she’d be if it were something like that.

        But that thought is just one part of why I don’t want it to be a huge “You were flunking out!” hysteria, and more a “what was going on, what’s going on now, where are you going, do you have a plan to get there? We are worried about you, and we want to see you making some kind of progress in some direction or other.”

        1. Another Dreamer

          You sound like a great mom. :-)

          College is hard. To balance out what I said before, I think that some people struggle for reasons that aren’t a big deal in the long run. Like learning how to handle pressure, how to manage your time, having unreasonable professors or a bad living situation, being on a career path that isn’t a good fit, any number of things.

          When I was in college, I would feel really guilty when I got a bad grade for a seemingly minor reason (like getting distracted when trying to study or just not being interested in the material) and that made everything worse. In hindsight, I realize that it’s all a learning process and that you can recover from having struggled in college and go on to have a good adult life.

          1. A Mom...

            “you can recover from having struggled in college and go on to have a good adult life.”

            This is the big point I want to make to her, but that she makes it harder for herself to do that if she lies or if she lets herself drift.

            It’s so hard to figure out how to a parent now–bcs it’s not good if what’s going on is “You haven’t pleased Mommy & Daddy.” It needs to be, “I am going to do these things, and my parents are going to do X to help me.” And maybe X is, “hold me accountable for how I spend my energy and my time.”

    14. moss

      She can write an app for free with the tools that Google provides. Working on that could be a condition of her staying there. Good luck!

  21. Sibley

    I’m doing about a million loads of laundry today, all for a good cause. I volunteer at the local animal shelter, and both their washers are broken. They go through a TON of towels, blankets and toys. So I brought home 2 HUGE bags of laundry to do and then will take back. I’m estimating 7-8 loads total.

    1. jamlady

      This is awesome. I never thought about doing something like this before! I always want to volunteer at a basset hound ranch nearby but never have much time. This is perfect! And kudos to you for your service :)

      1. SeptemberGrrl

        I’ve been fostering a lot during this kitten season, the laundry is staggering! (but well worth it).

    2. AvonLady Barksdale

      That’s awesome! Just remember to vacuum out your lint trap in addition to emptying it! I only have one dog and he clogs up the system on the regular. :)

        1. Pennalynn Lott

          I would imagine that you attach an extender, the kind that narrows down into a chiseled point, to your vacuum and stick it in the slot / hole that the actual mesh lint trap goes into.

  22. alex b

    Anybody wanna talk recent, decent thriller/horror movies (discounting the Am. Presidential debates)?

    I finally saw The Witch this morning. I loved the lighting, costuming, scenery, and dialogue, but was a bit meh on the pacing and plot. It was neat to think that the dialogue was from historic 17th-C accounts, and the possession scene, I thought, was well done.

    I quite enjoyed The Invitation, after the awful cold-open scene, which was unnecessary, IMO. Anyway, Tammy Blanchard was stellar in the main role (she’s also great in the movie Tallulah, on Netflix). And who would have thought that Norm Gunderson from Fargo would do so well in creepy roles (AHS: Freak Show, The Walking Dead, The Invitation)?!

    Haven’t seen Under the Shadow yet, which is supposed to be an Iranian kind-of Babadook film. I liked The Babadook. I did not so much like Circle or Would You Rather? which have been streaming recently on various platforms. The Forest, also recently streaming, I enjoyed, despite critical rejection.. It’s about a girl who goes to search for her sister in the supposedly haunted “Suicide Forest” in Japan at the base of Mt Fuji. It stars the Margery Tyrell actress from GoT.

    Any thoughts on these movies, and what are you watching this autumn? I would love recommendations!

    1. Lily Evans

      Not super recent, but have you seen It Follows? I’m not a big horror fan, but it got such good reviews I had to check it out and it lived up to the hype for me!

    2. Anonymous Educator

      I hate horror movies in general, but I loved Let Me In—the remake, not the original.

      1. Elizabeth West

        I thought the original was better (except for that stupid cat thing–good horror films always seem to have one really dumb scene). The remake isn’t bad, but it’s just not as disturbing. I don’t like remakes as a rule, except for a couple.

        1. Anonymous Educator

          Yeah, I don’t really have a rule on remakes. For some movies, I like the remake better. For others, I like the original better.

          1. Elizabeth West

            My favorite horror film remake is The Thing. It’s WAY scarier than the original. The old one is pretty good, but it’s not scary. John Carpenter’s 1982 version freaked me the hell out. :)

    3. ginger ale for all

      I saw the latest Jack Reacher movie. Thin plot, few surprises, and I think Tom Cruise is showing his age. He took off his shirt in the movie and I wanted to yell out for him to put it back on. Also, I think he has Botox face. I don’t think it will do well in the theater. The action scenes were diverting though, nothing innovative just routine stuff.

    4. Kara Zor-El

      My husband and I just watched The Conjuring 2, and really enjoyed it (we also liked the first one)! It was very suspenseful and made me scream a few times. I liked the 70s UK setting as well.

  23. Frustrated

    A lot of this is venting, but I’m asking for advice, too. It’s gonna be very long…

    My best friend of 30+ years (let’s call her Sandy) is friends with another woman (let’s call her Karen) whom she’s known for a couple years longer than me. I’ve known Karen just as long since I often tagged along with them (I’m several years younger), but we’re just occasional friends. They’ve always been the kind of friends that make a lot of trouble together and fight quite a bit, many times about serious things. They’d have these wicked fights and then make up quickly, no matter how nasty or serious the fight was–Sandy is very forgiving and a people-pleaser, while Karen gets over things very quickly (wish I could do that!). Their thing was usually partying and still is to this day. Sandy and I fought when we were kids over stupid things, like the color of the carpet. Very benign stuff. We usually went to the movies, slept over each other’s house, drove around and listened to music, and ate out.
    So, Sandy met Eric as a teen. There was an attraction there, but they never dated for some reason. Then she introduced Eric to Karen, also both teens at the time. It was clear there was still an attraction between Sandy and Eric, which mostly came out when they were drinking, and they flirted a lot, but for whatever reason Eric chose Karen over her. Eric and Karen got serious and eventually had a couple kids as the years went on, but never married. Eric treated Karen like garbage throughout their whole relationship (she’s still with him). Verbally and emotionally abusive, drug problems, etc.

    Eventually Sandy got married (we’ll call him Mark). The attraction between Eric and Sandy never went away and it was just below the surface. The four of them hung out all the time, usually partying at bars and night clubs, among other things. A few years later Sandy cheated on her husband with Eric, even though she knew what a dirt bag he was. It came out, they all went through a rough patch, of course, but all was forgiven pretty quickly (within days) and they went on with the usual pattern of bar hopping and night clubs several times a week, among other things.

    Although all was forgiven, Karen used this affair as an excuse throw Sandy under the bus constantly, make up lies about her, and guilt her into doing things for her (small stuff, nothing big). This went on for years. During this time the cheating happened again a couple times. And all through these years, Sandy, Karen, Eric and Mark continued to hang out every weekend. From time to time Sandy and Karen would get into a blowout because Karen thought Sandy and Eric were sleeping together again. Finally Sandy and Mark got divorced, so he’s out of the picture. But the three of them continue on with the friendship and the same pattern keeps happening. Karen would accuse them of sexting, or flirting, or whatever. Sometimes it was true, sometimes it wasn’t. (Although these days I don’t know what to believe anymore.) They’d all fight. Karen would say she’s done with them both. They’d all make up and carry on. (And she would always post this stuff on Facebook for all to see.) Even though Karen would suspect them of something or catch them up to something and they would all make up, she would always somehow find a way to throw Eric and Sandy together. For example, if Karen had a picnic and needed ice, she would ask Eric to go to the store and ask Sandy to go with him. It’s weird. I don’t know if she just has this switch in her mind where it’s fine that they’re together, and other times it’s not. Or if she’s doing it on purpose because she likes the drama of accusing them of something, so she can then lay on the guilt trip to both of them. I tend to think it’s the latter.
    The latest incident was Eric and Sandy texting flirtatiously and saying things they shouldn’t. It basically boils down to them both being guilty (though that’s not the story Sandy told me originally), there was a huge blowout, Karen posted it publicly on Facebook (for both sets of children to see!) and threatened to post some very personal health information about Sandy on FB if she didn’t admit her part in it. Sandy said she’s done with Karen and Eric, and Karen said she’s done with Eric and Sandy. They all unfriended each other and blocked each other on their phones. Eric and Karen are reconciled, of course. Karen and Sandy supposedly are civil to each other, but I’m pretty sure they’re friends again.

    So, through all these years I’ve remained friends with Sandy. I’ve listened to her when she and Karen have these blowouts, given her advice when she asked, and just tried to show her what kind of person Karen really is. (Yes, Sandy is at fault in this, too, but Karen has done some pretty crappy things to Sandy through the years and Sandy just puts up with it out of her sense of guilt.) Although I’ve seen more and more how Karen operates (oh and BTW, she’s cheated on Eric also), I’ve always just let Sandy go on about her business. I’ve told her how much I hate that she puts up with Karen’s toxicity and that she’s batshit-crazy for staying friends with her, but I don’t harp on it at all. I’ve said it maybe twice over the last few years. And, likewise, I think Karen is crazy for staying friends with Sandy given how many years this whole “love” triangle has gone on (20+). I told her that, too. However, with this latest incident, I told Sandy exactly what I think of this whole situation, no holds barred, including that she’s just as much to blame as Eric, and that Karen is truly a shitty person for posting what she posted on FB for all their kids to see (it was really disgusting).

    With this last incident, I’m starting to feel like I can’t trust Sandy to be truthful with me. So many times the stories start out one way, and then it comes out that she’s just as guilty as Eric. And even though she tells me she and Karen aren’t friends, I know she still talks to Karen. They’re not friends on Facebook (but I noticed they each have a hidden mutual friend with me, which I suspect is each other so I won’t know—I sound crazy…), but they use Facebook Messenger; they each supposedly have the other blocked on their cell phones. But she plays it off like they’re just being civil and texting once in a while. Even though I can see all the FB messages popping up on her phone when we’re out (and they’re constant). I think it’s that she knows how I feel about their friendship and doesn’t want me to judge her or say anything to her about it. The way I feel is that if this is her decision, it’s her decision and that’s fine. But I don’t want to hear the tale of woe the next time this happens (and there WILL be a next time). You’re an adult. Own your decision!

    I truly don’t get how these two women can stay friends. It’s a sick, toxic, dysfunctional relationship if I ever saw one. If the person I called my best friend slept with my boyfriend, the father of my kids, she (and he) would be kicked to the curb quite fast. That would totally destroy my trust in them forever. Period. And if my supposed best friend treated me like garbage all these years and then posted the latest incident and all this nasty name-calling shit on Facebook for all to read, including my kids, there’s no way I would ever want to be friends again. And I wouldn’t sleep with my friend’s boyfriend and then continue to sext, flirt, etc. for years to come. You just don’t do that to your friends.

    I can’t help but feel that she puts way more time, effort and energy into this toxic triangle than she does into our friendship (and other non-toxic friendships she has with other people). I’ve told her this. And I’ve told her recently that I feel like I’m the Tuesday evening/Saturday afternoon friend. In other words, she reserves the prime socializing hours for Karen and Eric (prior to this latest blowout), drinking and whatever else she’s doing, while I’m relegated to the non-prime hours for things like clothes shopping and a matinee movie. She always says I’m her best friend, but it doesn’t feel like it. She always says I’m the one she tells everything to, but then I find all these omissions she makes when telling me things, because they come out at a later date. I don’t think she’s malicious when doing this. I think she’s got a huge self-esteem problem, I know she’s got depression, and she’s a people-pleaser. Always has been. She’s also pining away for companionship, even though her divorce is less than six months old, which means she’s spent a lot of time on dating sites and trying to meet men. I’ve told her she needs this time to work on herself after all the crap that’s happened over the last 25 years. And she adamantly agrees with me. But then she’s right back to the same old thing: dating sites and this toxic friendship.

    Finally, my questions: Do I just carry on and let her do what she’s going to do and just write it off as she’s never going to change? Or do I put some distance between us? I don’t want to throw away 30 years of friendship, but I’m tired of feeling like I’m second choice all the time. It feels like a slap in the face to me (and her other friends) when she continues to put effort into this toxic person all the time.

    1. Myrin

      Ooof, that’s some drama-and-a-half if I’ve ever seen one, and basically going on for neigh 30 years, no less! I don’t have much experience in situations like this but I’d really recommend you disengage from all of that. I do see that you’re valuing Sandy’s friendship and very understandably don’t want to throw it away, but does she value you? Do you actually want to be her friend or do you kind of feel obligated to/are used to it because it’s been that way forever? Do you do stuff together that isn’t about her relationship drama? Because I feel like if you answer these questions for yourself and decide that yes, you do want to remain friends with her and not just become an occasionally-seen acquaintance, you may need to put a ban on all relationship talk from her. It sounds stressful and unpleasant and unnecessary so you could say something like “I’ve decided that from now on, I don’t want to hear anything about the drama of your relationships anymore because it’s stressing me out, nothing ever changes, and I can’t do anything about it anyway. I’d just like to spend time with you, my friend. Can you do that?” or something to that extent.

      1. Frustrated

        I think she knows I don’t want to hear about it anymore and that’s why she’s omitting that she’s back to being friends with Karen: she doesn’t want the judgment she thinks she’ll get from me and figures it’s easier to not say anything and pretend like nothing is going on. She won’t come out and say that they’re messaging all the time, but I know it from all the popups I see on her phone when I’m around. In telling her exactly what I think of all this I think she knows I don’t want to hear anything about it, as I truly did not pull any punches or beat around the bush at all. What gets me, really, is that she’s lying by omission because it’s the easy thing to do. She’s always been one to take the easy way out of things and not tell the whole truth. She lies by omission, rather than blatant lying, because it’s the easy thing to do. And I think that’s really what’s getting to me now. I feel like she’s being sneaky and I feel like I can’t believe her when she tells me something. Rather that just own the decision to stay friends with Karen, she’s sneaking around. Like an affair.

        (I know this whole post makes her sound terrible, but she really has never done anything to me or her other friends. It’s just this particular friend. And honestly, I’m starting to think the reason they stay friends is because they’re both willing to put up with such terrible behavior and disrespect.)

        1. dawbs

          I think you *might* be overthinking the ‘lying by omission’ bit.
          Not that her honesty with you might not be an issue, but, you made it clear you find the ‘love triangle’ BS distasteful and obnoxious–so she’s not sharing that with you. That’s not so much lying as it is saying ‘gee, this bothers her, I’ll not shove it in her face’

          honestly, that’s a great first step w/ a BFF. Because truly, when I’ve been in relationships that were so problematic that I couldn’t share them w/ certain people in my life, the ‘double life’ of keeping it from them lead to fractures that highlighted the problem until things crumbled more or less on their own.

    2. self employed

      I hate to be so blunt, but it doesn’t sound like you’d be throwing away 30 years of friendship. Drama, maybe. :\ Id distance myself.

    3. Not So NewReader

      These are three people who thrive on unnecessary drama. This is who they are and this is the plane they live life on.
      Do you want this in your life?
      Twenty years is plenty long enough to tell how this will go. You could randomly check in each decade from now and the same thing would be going on.
      Sandy calls you her best friend but I am wondering if you are her best enabler.
      Friendship is a two way street. How does Sandy add to your life? How does she help you?
      Meanwhile what are you life plans/goals/dreams? How much of your energy/time is lost to this drama that will never be cured? For the amount of energy you have put into it you probably could have created world peace by now.
      My best advice, remain cordial but go about your life. Fill your time up by fixing problems that actually can be fixed. Tell Sandy that she can no longer vent to you because there is nothing you can do to fix this. Decide for yourself that you will not allow on-going, unnecessary drama to define your life.

    4. BRR

      I don’t think anybody can tell you how to feel. You’ve told Sandy what you think about this. You can continue being friends with her (I would draw a hard line about discussing Karen/Eric. That you don’t want to hear about any of it because it’s been toxic for a while). Or you can let it drift apart. It’s sort of the advice on here of your manager sucks and isn’t going to change. This is going to continue. It’s perfectly ok to distance yourself from this. I was exhausted just reading it. It feels to me like you’re making the time you’ve been friends equal how good the friendship is.

      1. Elizabeth West

        This. I had a friend who was in a very difficult relationship and I functioned as her sounding board for a long time. When she finally got out of it, *poof!* she vanished. I no longer have any way to get in touch with her and I haven’t heard from here in a long time. :(

        I had one function, and it seemed that once she didn’t need me anymore, I wasn’t of any value. Which now that I think about it, I’m really disgusted with myself for putting up with her that long. I had the same thought–“We’ve been friends for so LONG!”–but really, that doesn’t matter when you eventually just become a means to an end for a person.

    5. Stellaaaaa

      They all kinda sound like garbage people who embody my truism that people who have LOTS of friends usually do so by forgiving a whole lot of rotten behavior. I’m sure that if you acted like Karen, Sandy would hang out with you more, but you probably wouldn’t be okay with any of this trashy drama bleeding into your life. I’d cut Sandy loose.

      1. MillersSpring

        +10000 These sound like toxic horrible people who all deserve each other and thrive on childish antics and immature boozing.

        Slowly back away from your friendship with Sandy. If you’re seeing her once a week, start seeing her every other week, then once a month, then every 2-3 months. Be busy, even if it’s just time to yourself.

        Don’t think of it as throwing away a long friendship but as a normal process of growing apart and minimizing the drama that spills into your own life. You don’t need these people’s drama taking up valuable room in your head and life. It sounds exasperating and exhausting to be Sandy’s friend, and she doesn’t seem to have any interest in maturing or turning over a new leaf.

    6. Ann Furthermore

      There are people in this world who thrive on drama, and these 3 sound like classic examples of that. It’s been going on for years and years. If any one of them really wanted to end it, they would have.

    7. AcademiaNut

      I think I’ll vote for distance.

      To be honest, from your post I don’t see Sandy as being in any way a better or nicer person than Karen. If anything, Sandy comes across as worse, because she’s the one whose been carrying on an intermittent 20+ year affair with her close friend’s husband.

      I think you need to accept that Sandy isn’t going to change. She’s been like this for more than 20 years of her adult life. For whatever inexplicable reason, she’s chosen, over and over again, to dive back into the cess pit of dysfunction that is her friendship with Karen and Eric. She’s not going to stop lying. She’s not going to stop her affair with Eric, or her public fights She’s not going devote more of her energy to her sane, supportive friends. She’ll keep on agreeing with your advice, and turning around and doing the exact opposite.

      From a practical perspective what I’d advise is

      – Block both of them from your Facebook feed, so you can’t see the drama there.

      – Drop your relationship with Karen. Don’t go out with Sandy when Karen is along.

      – Refuse to discuss Karen, Eric, Sandy’s dating woes or anything related to it, ever. Tell Sandy that you’ve been hearing about this for 25 years, you’ve had enough, and you’re not discussing the situation or listening to it again. Be firm – the moment Sandy starts in on the latest drama, repeat the above and if necessary hang up the phone, delete the email, or leave the coffee shop if she doesn’t listen.

      Then, after a while you can re-evaluate what there is of your friendship when talking about Karen and Eric, and you trying to support your friend through her terrible choices, is no longer part of it.

  24. Lily Evans

    So I took the plunge and bought plane tickets for the spring! I’m going to be doing 2 nights in Iceland and a week in the UK starting and ending in London! I’m still trying to decide how to fill that week in the UK and would love any suggestions! I’m a fan of good (vegetarian) food, interesting museums, and outdoor things that aren’t super outdoorsy (like gardens and beaches, I’d rather take a nice stroll than a hike).

    1. Bann

      Will you be hiring a car or using trains to travel around in the UK?
      Do you have any preference for how long you want to spend in London itself?

      I’m a Northern girl and obviously would love to advocate for you to experience parts of the UK other than London, but honestly with only a week, you might be better spending the majority of your time in London itself. I didn’t particularly like living in London (I was there for two years), but it’s an amazing city to visit as a tourist. There are dozens of museums, the majority of them free, and lots of gardens (e.g. Kew).

    2. Elkay

      I’d recommend spending the whole week in London because there are lots of museums and parks within easy reach. Hampton Court Palace is nice and you can get to it easily from central London. If you want to go a bit further afield Brighton, Bath, Cambridge and Oxford are all short train journeys. You might want to look at The National Trust as they often have properties with gardens which are nice to walk around.

      1. mander

        Kew Botanical Gardens is amazing and easy to get to from central London (if a bit of a long ride, depending on where you’re staying). There’s also Regents Park, which has lots of formal gardens to walk through and is next to one of London’s most interesting mosques (I haven’t been inside but the copper dome is pretty impressive to look at). A lot of the most famous tourist stuff is really overpriced but if things keep on the way they are Britain will be a bargain destination by next year.

      2. Mander

        Oh, and Borough Market (next to London Bridge station) is a great place for all kinds of interesting food and it’s close to lots of other tourist attractions like Southwark Cathedral and the Golden Hind.

      3. Elizabeth West

        Go to Richmond Park and visit Isabella Plantation. You can look it up on the internet on the Royal Parks website. It’s free, while you have to pay to get into Kew.

    3. Dot Warner

      The British Museum is amazing! You could spend a week there and not see everything. The Tower of London is pretty cool too, if a bit touristy. The Imperial War Museum is also not to be missed.

      Pubs can be hit and miss on vegetarian food, but curry places usually have good options, and London is one of the best places outside of India to get curry.

    4. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      I live in London – here are some ideas:

      Definitely stay the whole week in London. There is enough to do in this city and the surrounding environs that it will be overwhelming enough without also trying to head out to other cities (and there are many beautiful places to see in the UK too!) and dealing with trains, etc. You can lose a lot of time in this town getting from point A to point B!

      Speaking of transport – a lot of people forget that the Thames is a working river and there are all sorts of transport services available, including Transport for London’s River Bus, so available using the Oyster travel card. It would be an easy way to link some great sightseeing views with getting to a destination in a leisurely way- for example, you can get to Kew or Hampton Court Palace from central London in a much more scenic way than rattling along on the District line for hours.

      You could do a day trip out of London to somewhere like Windsor, Brighton, or, my personal favorite because it is cute and accessible, Winchester. Any of those would give you a chance to see another part of the country and yet not be too far from your London base.

      Interesting museums: Check out the Wellcome Collection by Euston Station – it is free and they have all sorts of weird stuff in there, depending on what they are displaying. There is also the John Soames Museum and, actually, you may really enjoy the Geffrye Museum – they have herb and multiple period gardens as part of their exhibits on how people have lived in the past 400 years. It is out close to the trendy part of town, so you could see Shoreditch and Spitalfields Market at the same time as a trip out that direction.

      Vegetarian food – easily accessible just about anywhere and lots of options. There are a bunch of pop up food stall market type places these days as well. I would recommend hitting up the area around the South Bank Centre on the weekend (behind the Queen Elizabeth Hall) where there are all sorts of food stalls, sometimes depending on a theme (for example there were only African food vendors during their African festival thing a few months back). Its also great for people watching and skyline looking :)

      If you are looking for an interesting nature stroll, or you just want a break from the city – there are a bunch of those up in Hampstead Heath area (check out Kenwood House – it is free). I am a huge fan of Greenwich too. The view from the park next to the Observatory is incredible. Added bonus: the Maritime Museum is down there (mostly free) with a lot of neat exhibits, there is a market/food hall in the center, cute pubs along the river, and the Maritime College and the newly-renovated Queen’s House (where the super famous portrait of Queen Elizabeth is apparently now on permanent (free!) display).

      I would recommend deciding what you want to do and then seeing if you can group things together by area so you aren’t crossing town a lot. Also, leave plenty of time for serendipity and wandering, and also if you see something you would want to do/see when you get here. Finally, spend little extra money to stay in Zones 1/2 – anything further out and you will spend more time on trains than seeing anything.

      You’ll have a great trip – even better now that the exchange rate is so favorable!

    5. Jessi

      Exciting!

      London has tons of parks and gardens for strolling in – there are even a couple of forests within the Greater London area (I feel like if I can get there on the tube it counts as London). I second Kew Gardens as a place worth seeing. London is filled with museums (natural history, science, V&A British) all of which have free entry. London will also of course be the most expensive for accommodation. Planning a holiday is one my favourite parts of a trip!

    6. Lily Evans

      Thanks for all the suggestions! You’re all probably right about a week being not enough time to do much beyond London. I’ve never traveled anywhere for more than a few days before, so it sounds like a really long time but it’ll probably go by really quickly!

      1. The Unkind Raven

        If you wanted to try to see a little bit outside London you could do a day tour – Viator is an option, and there are plenty of others.

    7. Mander

      Oh, and Borough Market (next to London Bridge station) is a great place for all kinds of interesting food and it’s close to lots of other tourist attractions like Southwark Cathedral and the Golden Hind.

    8. Jessica

      I just spent a month in London over the summer, and while I didn’t get to go to a ton of restaurants, I did find a few good vegetarian places (and many more than I was sad to miss!) Bhavna Sweet Mart is off the beaten path in Brent (NW London), but good, cheap vegetarian takeaway in an area that didn’t have many options. Andina is a Peruvian place (if I remember correctly) in Shoreditch that has a lot of vegetarian options- most of their plates are small, so you can try a several of different things- lots of fresh, bright colors! Manna and 222 Veggie Vegan were both good. One of my most frequented places during my stay was Yorica, a vegan ice cream/soft serve place off Oxford Street. They have three kinds of free sprinkles! A lot of restaurants got pretty busy for dinner, so you might think about getting reservations- we had to wait over an hour at 222 Veggie.

  25. Amy

    Does anyone have experience with postpartum anxiety?

    I gave birth nearly three months ago to a perfect little baby who is doing great. I knew beforehand that I was at risk for postpartum depression – I’ve been treated for depression in the past, and have a family history of depression (postpartum and otherwise). I see a therapist every two weeks and was watching closely for signs of depression, and I was relieved to find I’m not depressed.

    However, I’ve been struggling with intrusive anxious thoughts, almost all related to my baby. It mostly happens at night and when I’m alone. For example, if I take her to the grocery store, that night I’ll have what I suspect is a low-grade panic attack that she caught something and will get so sick she’ll have to go into the hospital. Or I’ll be playing with her and think, what if she dies and this is the last time I get to see her smile? It’s heartbreaking and really interfering with my happiness. I’ve also found myself doing some compulsive repetitive behaviors like sanitizing my hands, checking the locks on our doors, and feeling her stomach while she’s asleep to make sure she’s still breathing.

    Yesterday I told my therapist the extent of what’s happening, since I think things are getting worse. We’re working on figuring out how to redirect my thoughts when intrusive cognitions come up, but I’m really struggling with it. We agreed I’m going to see her more frequently until we get this under control, which is comforting. But honestly, I didn’t even know postpartum anxiety was a thing until she brought it up, and I’d love to hear from anyone who experienced this and was able to get better.

    1. self employed

      I’ve not experienced but know it is super common! Time, CBT, and maybe medication are the answer. Also support! Be careful not to isolate yourself. Find other caring moms and make yourself leave the house and hang out. You’re ahead of the game already by seeking treatment. It’s very easy to isolate and that just makes everything worse. Best of luck to you!!

    2. JenC

      My oldest son is 10 years old now, and just last night I woke up and remembered the desolation I felt when he was about one month old and caught a cold. I didn’t know I had PPD. It went on like that for months, and to be honest things that people thought would make me better like meeting other mothers made me feel worse. no offense to the other commenter who suggested that – even to this day I’m not sure what made that so bad for me! I just wanted to tell you to hang in there, I think a therapist is the best thing you can do. It’s only when I told my doctor how I felt that I started to improve. The thing that turned it around sounds really silly but it was a little kit to make a stuffed cat/doll that my mother bought me. The handwork spurred on a whole lot more embroidery, cross stitch etc and now I am quilting obsessed. I think I was trying so hard to do everything right and having that little project to focus on placed that desire on something I could more or less control, and just let me enjoy the baby. Writing it out sounds dumb but it really helped. I just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone. I also worried that if I had other children the same would happen, but I have had two more kids without a shadow of PPD. You will find a way out of these feelings, you are doing everything right! And you are the best mum for your kid! One other thing, 3-4 months can seem wretchedly hard and then suddenly things turn a corner, again I don’t know why. Best wishes to you, and I hope my comment is helpful rather than annoying!

      1. JenC

        I know you said you aren’t depressed, sorry if it seems I ignored that part, I was just trying to tell you that I had similar problems after baby! I also had those awful anxious thoughts, but I was depressed.Hope that came across!

    3. M

      Yes! I had it – therapy, human interaction, and sleep if you can get it were the things that helped me.

      Once I was able to sleep and also make some necessary boundaries with family members, it got a lot better and I’m now able to look back on that time without it ramping up my anxiety.

      So there is help out there, and recognizing the problem quickly means you’re doing a great job. For another success story check out amalah . com (no spaces). She’s funny and also had a lot of these symptoms with each of her boys postpartum. Askmoxie . org also has some great resources. Take care!

    4. chickabiddy

      Congratulations on your baby!

      I do not know if this is something you’d consider or even if it is relevant, but some antidepressants (which can be used to help tamp down intrusive thoughts) are actually compatible with breastfeeding, so if you are thinking that they are not an option, they might indeed be.

      PPA/PPD/PPP is definitely a thing and I’m sorry it is making your life more stressful right now.

    5. Natalie

      That sounds really hard! I don’t have any kids yet, but I have anxiety generally and I’m always checking my dog to make sure he’s still breathing when he hasn’t moved in a long time. I can’t imagine how much worse it would be for my own tiny person.

      Definitely keep working with your therapist, and as mentioned consider medication short term. Also, try your hardest to share what you’re experiencing with people closest to you (your partner, both of your sets of parents if their around) and possibly some guidance on how to help you. I know many people, for example, instinctively try and reason with an anxious person, which doesn’t usually help and can actually make it worse. Your therapist can probably help you figure out some specific steps or assists that your nearest and dearest could do that would help.

    6. Arty

      In my day, we called them day-mares. A horrifying scenario would play out in my head, and I would be powerless to stop it. Subsided after baby was about 6 months and I was more confident as a parent. Very normal and very unsettling! Best wishes to you.

    7. Troutwaxer

      Look up “Free Range Kids” on Google and head over there. They’re a good antidote to the anxious, helicopter parenting which is all the rage now. Where medical issues are concerned, remember that it’s good for your baby to get a little cold or infection; their immune system needs to exercise and grow strong just like muscles do. As long as its not life-threatening (consult a doctor, not some guy on the Internet who named himself after a fish) it will be good in the long run.

      And get some sleep. Get Grandma or a sister/brother or someone from team you who can change diapers and get a couple good night sleep and you’ll be much less anxious!

      1. Observer

        I think you’re missing the point here. @Amy knows that here fears are not reasonable or realistic. So, going to a site that tells her she’s being unreasonable is not going to change anything.

    8. TootsNYC

      I think in a group that size, the negative-attitude people will totally dominate. (especially if it’s online!) Because there’s some compulsion driving them to express themselves, and the “healthy” people will simply pull back.

      So I don’t think it’s a good place for you. Participate peripherally, and plan to get most of your “help in a crisis” assistance from other places.

      Meanwhile, you know there have to be people more like you, so watch out for them. People who might show up at something in-person but you realize you don’t see them posting in the online group, etc.

    9. TootsNYC

      Since you’ve already got CBT going, I will second the motion that you consider medication. For many people, medication is a short-lived thing, and I think esp. post-partum.

      1. NotAsSadMom

        I am 6 weeks postpartum with my third baby and just admitted I was dealt with PPA this time around and am working on treatment options. i haven’t had any issues before, though we have a theory that some of my issues started with my second birth, but were mild and didn’t need treatment, and then having my third so soon exacerbated the problem because my issues started during my pregnancy. And honestly most of my symptoms aren’t bad enough that I would likely do anything about them, except the rage machine. I am having bouts of uncontrollable, sudden rage. And my big kids catch the brunt of it and it’s really not ok. The other things I am experiencing are the instrusive thoughts (if I fall off this stool and die, will the kids be ok and safe until DH gets home?), inability to think through a multi step process, and having physical connection issues with my oldest (I can snuggle the toddler and baby all day long, but the 4yo wants in my lap and my skin crawls).

        When I talked about this with my doctor, aside from therapy, she recommended a shot of progesterone or low dose antidepressants. I honestly don’t believe that I could follow through with therapy right now – that stereotypical mom lack of self care issue – so I went for medication options. So we tried the progesterone shot yesterday, and I think it is working. There is a fog that seems to be lifted from my brain. I didn’t even realize it was there. Or I just brushed it off as newborn fogginess. Except that my kid is sleeping a crazy amount. I don’t always take advantage of it, but I’m not up much at night.

        I guess, just keep pursuing it and don’t let it slip through the cracks. Good luck.

        1. Observer

          Please push your doctor for a full physical. A lot of what you describe sounds like classic thyroid issues. But the “fog” could be a lot of things.

          1. Reverend(ish)

            This. Did the doctor run a hormone panel and full thyroid panel? Progesterone is a great help, but a baseline of your labs could help clarify the situation. And also vitamin d. Mine plummeted to 19 and I started having big mood swings and mental fog. Cleared up with prescription vitamins.

  26. Anonymous Educator

    It’s been a while since I’ve been stoked for a new album release. Kayjez just released a new album this week, and I’m listening on repeat!

  27. chickabiddy

    This is a little bit work, but mostly life. I am a freelancer with three main clients, which together add up to at least a regular full-time job. One of these contracts absolutely requires that I work late: I have to paint all teapots that come in by midnight, so that takes me until at least 2am, and often later. Another contract does not mandate late hours, but the client is in a different time zone (I am east coast, he is west) and tends to work fairly late himself, so when I need to actually engage with him, which I frequently do, the best times are usually about 9pm-midnight my time. Third client is not time-sensitive.

    I don’t mind this schedule, as I am not a morning person. However, when I’ve been finishing up work between 2am and 3am, I am finding it hard to wind down and head straight to bed. This sometimes means that I don’t get to sleep until closer to 5am, and I am not a person who does well on limited of sleep, so I am often not up until noon at the earliest. This kind of kills the rest of the next day, as by the time I have eaten and showered and stuff, there’s not much “day” left.

    Do any other late-shift workers have ideas about how to decompress more quickly so that I can actually get to sleep shortly after I finish working? Getting up at 10am instead of 1pm would make me feel like I had more of an actual day in the world.

    1. BRR

      I don’t have great advice but I can totally commiserate with you. I worked at a bar in college and typically got home at 3am. I was tired but not sleepy. I just embraced it that I was not going to go to sleep right when I got home. I would have a snack while watching a short episode of something as my wind down ritual.

    2. The RO-Cat

      I’m a freelancer myself and, while not working on such a harsh schedule, I do have days when I go to bed after midnight and after a hard day. What I do is take a few minutes to just breathe and let my thoughts wander, play a game that relaxes me (UT2004, of all the games!), meditate a little… you get the idea. Plus, I’m always paying attention to sleep phases – I go to bed when I’m sleepy becayse I know from experience that sleep comes in 90 – 120 minuntes cycles and if I miss the moment I have to wait for the next one.

    3. Cristina in England

      Definitely definitely install something like f.lux on your computer, it will dim the blue tones because blue light makes your brain think it is daytime and time to be awake. Other apps are available depending on your platform. For iOS there is the built-in night shift setting which does the same. F.lux has really annoying settings where you have to set the time you want to wake up and it works back from that, limiting manual control, but you get used to that.

      In terms of quieting the mind, what about listening to calming podcasts? You can get meditation ones, or try something from BBC Radio4, I can’t always stay awake through a super well-researched and dry piece about Ancient war artefacts, etc.

      1. chickabiddy

        I do use f.lux! I have never really gotten into podcasts but it is certainly something I could try.

        1. Natalie

          There’s a program called Deep Sleep you might like – it’s an app and costs a few dollars, and a delightful Scottish person does a sleep induction thing. I used it when I was on vacation and didn’t have Netflix and it worked wonderfully.

          There are also a couple of “sleep help” podcast. Sleep With Me is one but I know there are others.

    4. James

      No longer on late shift, but I used to for a while. The trick I’ve found works is to stop thinking of working late as eating into your sleep. It’s not–that’s your schedule.

      Think of it this way: At my job, I leave around 4/4:30. I don’t go to bed at 5!!! I get some chores done, then eat dinner, then do some housework, then read for a bit or watch TV (or both). I typically go to bed around 10. That’s 5/5.5 hours of time between “off work” and “done with today”.

      If you’re working late shift, accept that. You’re done with your WORK at 3 am, but you’re not done with your DAY at 3 am.

      One thing you can do is find local third-shifters or the like on Meetup.com. There are groups of folks that hang out, do activities (bowling was big in my area, but it’s probably a local thing), and generally socialize the way normal people do in the evenings, only they do it late at night. Having a group of friends that shares your schedule can definitely help you feel like you’ve had an actual day.

      1. chickabiddy

        Yes, I did have that attitude/schedule when I worked a (different) late shift job many years ago. Unfortunately — well, it’s not at all unfortunate except for scheduling issues — as I mentioned in response to a different post upthread, I am a single homeschooling parent and need to do at least some parenting during the day.

        (And right now, homeschooling is not optional. My daughter is old enough and aware enough that she would not want me sharing stuff that’s not really mine to share, but please believe me that this is the way things need to be.)

          1. chickabiddy

            It’s actually a cyber school, so she “attends” classes online. It actually works out okay, because she gets herself up and fed (she’s a teenager, it’s okay) and does her classes in the morning while I sleep. In the afternoon I help her with schoolwork and do house stuff and errands. A night schedule would significantly disrupt her social life, and that’s not trivial to a teenager. As long as I’m up by noon it works out well enough, and I can do that if I get to bed by 4am (and to sleep by 4:30ish), but I have a hard time winding down enough to sleep at 4am if I’m working full-steam until 3am. I am definitely going to try some of the podcasts, and I remember reading on a thread here to change into PJs and brush teeth and all that well before bedtime.

    5. Red

      When I worked until 1am, I would make a routine of winding down, like a bedtime routine for a child. I’d take a shower, wash my face, get the coffeepot ready for the morning (I like having the filter and coffee already in it, because I’m a moron in the morning and couldn’t handle it otherwise). At the end of it, I’d feel like the only logical next step in my life would be to get in bed and go to sleep. Having that routine helped me a lot with a rapid transition to day shift, too, fwiw.

    6. acmx

      When I worked second shift I really tried to make it a habit of going to bed a max of 2 hours after I got home. I’d spend the first part doing any chores that I want to do, showering and then I read ’til bedtime.

      Also, I put up light blocking curtains and started taking melatonin to help me sleep (but I’ve always been a poor sleeper before).

    7. INTP

      Here are some things that help me:
      -If I’m going to be working really late, I’ll wear my blue light blocking glasses for my last hour or so in front of a screen. That might be impossible if you are doing some kind of visual art because they obviously distort colors, but I don’t find them disturbing just for my typing and dealing with word processor-type software. I’ll also listen to relaxing-voice youtubers when working late, so that I finish work in a more relaxed state than usual. Then I take my melatonin as soon as I’m done working.
      -Have a ritual of some sort, instead of just doing different relaxing things every night. Maybe making a cup of tea and watching a specific bedtime show. (I might be a little insane, but I compartmentalize my Netflix shows according to time of day/activity — shallow sitcoms and cozy dramas are for watching before bed and I also have my cleaning shows, workout shows, and so on.) Somehow having some ritualism about it makes the same amount of downtime feel more powerful.
      -Don’t work in the bedroom. I know when I’m tired I get really tempted to sit with my laptop in bed, but ultimately it’s best to be able to physically move to a new location when you’re trying to signify a change in the time of your day. Ideally you’d work in one location, relax in another, and sleep in a third.
      -If you eat dinner after your work, plan ahead as much as possible so that you aren’t putting much time into it on nights that you work later. That will get you in bed a lot sooner. And eat something easy to digest, like soup or a smoothie, so that you aren’t going to bed with a full stomach. If you don’t eat dinner after work, when you do work really late, plan to have a little snack as soon as you finish working so that you aren’t hungry when trying to sleep.

  28. Myrin

    So some of you might remember this story I posted about here two are three weeks ago – my sister and I share our first names with two teenaged “Instagram celebrities”. I had no idea who these people were but we suddenly started getting phone calls by a girl who wanted to talk to “MyrinAndLyria” (and it’s always that, it’s never asked normally, and that’s because, as we later found out, the account name of these girls is “MyrinAndLyria”). We were super confused for some time and then one day my mum had an earnest talk with the caller and she said she desperately wanted to talk to “MyrinAndLyria, the famous celebrities!”, so my mum googled those and then at least we knew what that was all about.

    Now, we thought this was some kind of one-time thing, maybe someone had googled these girls’ names and then found our phone number. I thought that our number actually might have been posted on some fansite or something – something one of you guys suggested as well when I posted about it – and I’ve come to the conclusion that this was probably the case. And I’m saying that because the calls became so many and so intense, oh my god. It couldn’t just have been one group of friends alternating their calling anymore, Jesus Christ.

    We had already resigned ourselves to never being able to use our phone ever again when one day, my mum answered and there was a boy on the other end who had like a huge crush on these girls or whatever and my mum managed to involve him in a conversation. Only after he hung up twice because he clearly didn’t know what to make of my mum’s obviously-already-somewhere-around-sixty voice telling him that he’s got the wrong number and then called back with an “It’s me again!”, but whatever. My mum then told him that this wasn’t the number he was looking for, that he probably wouldn’t be able to just find these girls’ number just like that if it really were the real number, that he was being somewhat creepy by doing this in the first place, that they probably wouldn’t want to talk to him because why would they, and that “stars” usually have an email or even snail mail address where you can contact them so he should try those. She ended the call with asking him to please tell his friends and “on the internet” that ours is a wrong number and they shouldn’t call anymore.

    And it really worked, we only got one single call after that. So I’m thinking that either this was one massive group of friends who now finally got it or that there was indeed a website that had our number listed as theirs and maybe the boy now called them out on it? Anyway, I’m just glad I don’t have to talk to fanatical 12-year-olds again because holy moly. The one time I answered the phone the way I usually do – with my name – the girl on the other end screeched “MYRINANDLYRIAHOORAY” and hung up.

    1. Amy

      That is a great story! Whether it was intended to be funny or not, I laughed. :)

      I’m pretty sure my phone number is very similar to the customer service line for a major phone/internet service provider in my old city, where I got the cell phone. I get calls 1-2x week from angry people (usually cranky elderly folks) whose TV/internet isn’t working or who have some sort of billing issue. Not great, but it’s infrequent enough that I’m not up for going through the hassle of changing my phone number to avoid it.

      I’ve also had a recent ongoing saga with a sad-sounding yet persistent guy who I’m pretty sure was given a fake number (my number) by a girl at a bar. He has called and/or texted looking for her 5 times now. Every single time I’ve told him he has the wrong number, but hope springs eternal, I guess. Today, after I told him (again) I wasn’t her, he followed up with, “Okay… but are you a dancer?” Dude, no!

      1. Pershing48

        I laughed as well, mostly because the spelling made me guess that Myrin is UK based and I imagined a teenager calling a celebrity’s phone number and having a older lady with a Cockney accent answer instead, asking them what the hell they think they’re doing and then patiently explaining the situation to them. Yes, this is entirely because I’m American and find all British accents inherently funny.

        1. Myrin

          Hate to disappoint, but we’re actually German and my mum is an older lady with a Saarland accent but I believe the situation you imagine is still pretty similar! :D

      2. JKP

        My brother was only 1 digit from a pizza chain. He used to get people calling to order pizza all the time. Some of them would be cranky and/or drunk people who wouldn’t understand/accept that they got the wrong number. So he would take their order. And then when they called back to complain it hadn’t arrived, he would claim to be sending a 2nd driver with their free pizza.

      3. Myrin

        I laughed so hard about your last sentence (and my comment was indeed meant to be at least a little funny) because that happened here as well! After my mum had already explained about half the issues I listed above, he hesitated for a moment and then said “Okay… but do you have daughters?”. Like what the heck, I thought you had a crush on these 13-year-olds, why would you ask about random other females you know nothing about?! Do you think they want to talk to you? Ack! My mum was Not Amused.

        (On a side not, none of these callers seem to have realised – and I don’t know how that’s something you can miss – that both Myrin and Lyria are 1. extremely common names in Germany and 2. have been very popular for more than a decade. Just googling only the names reveals that there are dozens of sets of siblings who have these names [something my mum is still annoyed by, because she likes to be ~special~ and then pretty much directly after my sister’s birth, both of our names took off and now there are SO MANY people with the same names] and yet they behave like there are only these two girls who are named that way and no one else.)

      4. Elizabeth West

        Haha, I had a similar issue with my landline–it was one digit off from Child Support Enforcement and I would get all kinds of calls.

        Also, for some reason, for a while in the early 2000s, I would sometimes get calls at night and when I answered, they hung up really fast. I thought it was just kids or something, but one night, I answered, “Hello?” and a man said, “Oh, uh, sorry.” I said, “Wait!”

        He stayed on the phone and I asked him who he was calling. He was very reluctant to tell me, but when I told him I was getting calls late and this was getting annoying, he confessed it was an escort service!! I told him that’s fine, you do what you like, but when you get hold of them, you might tell them this happened so they can change their number to something a bit more different than mine. Please and thank you, and good night.

        He must have done, because after that, the calls stopped, haha! XD

    2. Miaw

      I tried googling myrinandlyria and nothing comes up. I am curious about who this ‘internet celebrities’ are… is ‘MyrinAndLyria’ a pseudonym you used?

      1. Myrin

        Ah, yes, of course, I used the pseudonyms my sister and I use on the internet – the “famous celebrities” share our real names.

  29. Lady Blerd

    Three days of soul sucking weather in my neck of the woods. It will be all Netflix for the rest of the day.

    1. Mags

      We had a freak hot-streak the past few days, now it dropped 30º and is raining with some crazy strong winds. It’s definitely a good-book-and-warm-tea kind of day.

  30. Mimmy

    So I’m in New Mexico right now enjoying this lovely weather. We return home tomorrow.

    We’re here for Homecoming at my husband’s high school. Last night’s function was traditionally a somewhat fancy affair, but last night was horrible. All we had were burgers, hot dogs, fries and onion rings. And half the burgers were rare, bordering on raw! Definitely not the worth the money we paid. Here’s hoping tonight’s function is better.

    Rashes are okay – most of them are now dry/crusty/peeeling patches, though a couple small new ones occasionally pop out. I’m beginning to wonder if this was initially poison ivy but turned into eczema. I’ve had this before, as I said, but I don’t remember the rashes turning so crusty before. Could be the dry air out here, but still!

  31. Folklorist

    Uuuggggghhhhhhh….moving is the worst. That is all.

    Also, update: I posted here the other week looking for a temporary place to stay in DC while I look for a condo. After many, many frustrating setbacks, I’m moving in with an AAM reader! Woo! Thanks AAM for being the best community.

    Now I just have to pack. Grumble.

    1. MacGirl

      That is awesome! And I agree about moving–it takes forever, even after you have physically moved!

    2. Sibley

      Ugh. I’m with you there. Moving sucks.

      3 good things come out of it:
      1. you find that thing you’ve been looking for
      2. You get rid of a bunch of crap you don’t need
      3. everything gets cleaned (I clean while packing)

    3. Anxa

      I’m with you!

      I actually am not totally with you, though. I think moving could be kind of fun, if only everything went smoothly. But, of course…

      I’m currently stuck between needing to start packing, and being afraid to start packing because my apartment still has fleas and I don’t want them setting into the packing boxes.

      I’m also freaking out because family is going to be helping us move, but while the help is much appreciated, it also means that I have to fit in family meals with the move, when all I really want is some quality time with the moving truck. Give me a granola bar and some extra time over a sit-down meal. But it’s the last time we’ll all be together for a while. Anyway, I’m getting nervous about my ability to maintain control over the schedule and priorities.

      Also I’m packing up a two-person apartment by myself, have no car, and our bus system is even worse than usual, in part because we had some post-hurricane flooding in town, and my dryer was broken for 3 weeks.

  32. The Other Dawn

    Any ideas for using bulgur wheat? I have some in the cabinet and don’t have a clue what I want to do with it. I went on a dry goods buying kick several months ago, so I’ve got the bulgur, some wheat berries, lentils, and quinoa to use up. And I’m armed with an Instant Pot.

    1. mander

      Sounds like a good base for stew. I used to just cook bulgur wheat and wheat berries and eat them like rice but my husband doesn’t really like it when I cook alternative grains so I don’t do that so much any more.

    2. MacGirl

      I’ve used bulgur in veg burgers with good results. You can also use it as a stuffing in roasted acorn squash or roasted aubergine.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale

      I love bulgur. I use it in casseroles, make pilafs, etc. I make really good stuffed collards with bulgur in place of ground beef. There are some great bulgur recipes on the NY Times cooking site, so a search there might yield something delicious.

      One of the first dishes I made with bulgur was a bulgur and lentil salad with red onion, carrots, tarragon and white wine vinegar. A little olive oil and some salt. Good stuff.

    4. Lily Evans

      A dining hall where I used to work made the best wraps with either wheat berries of quinoa. They’d basically make a grain salad with dried cranberries, dried currants, celery, some sort of dressing, etc, and put it in a wrap with hummus and spinach. Then they’d toast the wrap in a panini press (but I replicated it with a frying pan and it came out fine). They were so good, and really easy to throw together once you had the grains prepared!

    5. Anonyby

      I’ve used it as a replacement for ground meat in shepard pie, so anything you might normally use crumbled ground meat in might work.

      For those curious, the recipe I used was actually based off of something from Disneyland–the Veggie Tater Casserole at Flo’s V8 Cafe. Will reply with the recipe link!

  33. "Mrs. Kershaw"

    I know sometimes “love” grows over time, but right now I am greatly disliking a group in which I am now inadvertently more involved with and will be for several years. Let me explain…

    For entertainment purposes, let’s say I’m a WAG. “Wives and girlfriends of pro athletes/sports stars” is my guilty pleasure garbage TV show and as I watched the show this week I realized it kind of mirrored what I was going through, albeit dramatically fake. In reality, I’m in a spouse group of 2,000+ people that is 95% women and our spouses are high level in their careers in a specific field. A new girlfriend told me about spouses group and invited me to join the club.

    My spouse was formerly a major league player and I met him after he retired. He played in the minor leagues after retirement and has played in the minor leagues since. This year he returned the major leagues and I’m so happy for him. As a minor leaguer, my life wasn’t really affected. I was technically a WAG back then but I just think about it in the minor leagues. I went to games when I could and made friends with some other players and their significant others but nothing major. Now that spouse is back in the major leagues, baseball is greatly a part of my life when it wasn’t before. I’m having trouble dealing and I’m having an even bigger problem being a WAG.

    I can’t even say this nicely. I can’t stand the WAGS! We have a private, invitation only forum that everyone chats on and many people ask for advice or vent. At first I thought it was great because the WAGS seemed so helpful, but then about 5 minutes later the ugly drama allllll came out. We’re talking Jerry Springer ish sometimes.

    They are all obsessed with money (yet are mostly broke), complain constantly, are super catty (a common post is “so and so wore a hooker dress to the after party, can you believe what a hoe she was?!”), and are fanatical about their spouses careers. And I swear to JHC, they all must have the same f*cked up keyboard because writing “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” always comes out “the question brwnz fox jumped opera the lazy dig.” WTF. This goes beyond spellcheck.

    I am not my spouse’s trophy wife. I am very successful on my own…but suddenly I feel like people just see me as a WAG with no accomplishments of my own. This was not my life and now it might have to be (spouse is on the World Series team and it looks like it will be another very successful year…so yeah, can’t down play it even if I wanted to, heh.) For now I’ve kept my distance from the WAGS and just stay in the background of the spouse group.

    Now that I’ve vented…back to reality. I want to know has anyone out there “learned to love”? Ok, I don’t have to love it but to say that I want to be tolerant of them makes me feel like a jerk. Or maybe, just share a story of how you hated XYZ at first but now XYZ is not so bad.
    I know things will change for the better over time, but this is like the teething stage for me and it’s borderline unbearable. I cannot relate to most of the spouses for various reasons. Maybe I just need to find a good friend of two in the group. This group really does help each other out in times of need, so I’m trying to see the gold amongst all the sh*t.

    1. Pennalynn Lott

      Do you HAVE to be part of this group? I joined what I’ll call an exclusive social club (tight restrictions on who can be a member) several years ago, hoping to find people of a similar mind, but I hated it. I met people online and in person, and only liked maybe 1% of them. I’ve stayed a part of the online forums (which are on FB), but I literally never check the discussions. I hear about the drama from the 1% I’ve befriended, and that’s more than enough exposure for me.

      So, what happens if you stop participating in the online forum? Will your husband’s image suffer on the team? Any negative consequences for you, other than not being part of the catty “in” crowd? (Which would seem like a benefit to me, actually. :-D ) Because it’s perfectly OK to not like All The People, especially when the only thing you have in common with them is your husband’s job.

      1. "Mrs. Kershaw"

        Ultimately, no it wouldn’t affect my spouse. I don’t live near the hen house :) If lived in town I’d have to be involved.

        I won’t lie, sometimes the Jerry Springer stuff was stuff-popcorn-in-my-mouth entertaining but then it got sad and depressing.

        Multiple people have left the group recently so I might be one of those people too. Although I will leave silently…no dramatic exit for this lady.

    2. Stellaaaaa

      You didn’t marry into major league life, but most of these women did. I’ve followed the A-list musician crowd for a long time (that’s a novel for an entirely different comment section) and I gotta say, sorry to all the empowered, successful women out there, but non-famous women are only able to marry celebrities if they have lives so negligible that they can easily be given up. When the husband needs to move or travel for his job, there’s no compromise about whether the wife’s career might be equally important. These women don’t work or live in one place long enough to make real friends. They also fear that their husbands may be unfaithful because a lot of them definitely are.

      I’d say you should keep an eye on the forum for info but refrain from contributing.

      1. "Mrs. Kershaw"

        Oooo I want to hear some stories from you!

        You’re 100% right and you bring up a good point, a lot of them were ready for this lifestyle and sometimes it’s just like they’re along for the ride.

    3. Not So NewReader

      They don’t sound like a likable group to me.
      My suggestion is to figure out why you are there. You mention finding a good friend and helping each other. Is there another group doing something else that would fill this description for you?
      For me, I would feel lost in a group of 2K people. I do best in smaller groups. Do you notice similar patterns about yourself?
      It could just be me, but the good groups I have joined I liked them starting at day one and it only got better. I suggest thinking about other groups you have joined, what you liked and didn’t like and how did that story play out over time?

    4. mander

      Go Royals? :-)

      These people sound like they just want to be super special and important because they are with famous people. From your description I feel more inclined to pity them than anything else, as they sound very insecure about their positions. I suppose if I saw myself as a trophy I’d feel the same way.

      It’s perhaps not quite the same but I joined an expat group after I’d been in the UK for a while and was feeling lonely. Somehow it ended being exclusively women, most of whom have kids and don’t really have careers as such. Several of them are lovely and I’ve made a few good friends but I had to quit going to most of the social events because of the non-stop complaining. Some had been here longer than me but made very little effort to integrate, and they would complain about the lack of free drink refills, various American products, the way the laws work, driving on the other side of the road… on and on and on. And for reasons I could never understand they all thought British customer service was terrible and bitched about paying tips when we went for lunch.

      I still participate on the Facebook group occasionally and sometimes go to the meet ups depending on who’s going to be there, but I’m pretty selective about the events now.

      1. Japan Anna

        Haa! Are all expat communities the same? SO much complaining. SO little effort made to integrate or do something.

        1. Elizabeth West

          Oh my God, that would drive me crazy. I wouldn’t want to be complaining if I chose to move somewhere different–I’d be doing everything I could to assimilate! What did they expect!?

          1. Mander

            I wish I knew! I have no idea why you would move to another country and expect it to be mostly the same, even if you do speak the same language.

            I mean, sure, there’s some things that I genuinely think are better at home, but I am not going to waste the mental energy complaining about the lack of them for the rest of my life here.

        2. "Mrs. Kershaw"

          ^ a few live abroad as well! Aaackkkk it’s maddening. How can you live in ‘Japan’ for 8 years and never travel and/or not learn as much as “arigatou”?!

    5. Sibley

      Just because you’re entitled to participate in a group doesn’t mean you have to. If there’s a few people you click with, chat with them. You may find that those people have also checked out, for the same reasons you don’t like it. Have your own life outside your husband – work, friends, family, hobbies, etc. Go the games when you can/want to. But you don’t need to submerge yourself in your husband’s work. The other women who feel they need to are really the ones with a sad life.

      1. bibliovore

        I know the push-me- pull -you of these groups. There is a very real need to be “part” of something this big in the spouses life but…
        if you must be part of the group be the voice of reason- help out the newcomers with practical information that you would have found useful as a newbie.

        Ignore, do not chime in do not participate in gossip and criticism. Skip those threads. Its a very large group. If you end up meeting one or two people that you can connect with or go to a game that really is enough.

    6. Super Anon

      I think I might know what you’re talking about, and, yeah, stay as far away from all the drama as you can. If you can get support without being part of that group, do it. If it were me, I would leave the group, focus on my own life, and get support from trusted non-WAG friends. Because WAG’s gossip, backstab, and stir up trouble. Don’t trust those people. Yes, some of them are trust-worthy, but it’s very hard to tell who, and it isn’t worth the risk.

      1. Super Anon

        PS – Be careful what you say in print. Regardless of how private it seems, there are a lot of ways that forum posts can be made public.

    7. Panda Bandit

      Those people sound completely miserable. I don’t blame you one bit if you stay away. Maybe see if there are a few nice ones in there but polite and distant sounds like the best course of action.

  34. Mags

    Hi everyone. I would love some book recommendations. I recently finished “The Wonder” by Emma Donoghue which was wonderful. And have read samples of a dozen other books but nothing has grabbed me. I’m going to peruse the bookstore later today to see if I stumble on anything as well. I’ll take any recommendations, but I really gravitate toward literary fiction, mysteries, and magic realism.

    1. Former Diet Coke Addict

      I have The Wonder out from the library right now! I’m a chapter in and can’t wait to finish it. Have you read Emma Donoghue’s other, pre-“Room” stuff? She’s fantastic. If you liked The Wonder, you may also like some Tracy Chevalier books, especially Burning Bright and Falling Angels.

    2. Stellaaaaa

      Try Wonderstruck by Brian S…..something. It’s a graphic novel but not what you’d expect.

    3. MacGirl

      You may like The Children Act by Ian McEwan. I’ve listed a few others for you to try:
      Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
      Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
      Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
      Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
      The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

    4. Canadian Natasha

      I don’t read a lot of magical realism or literary fiction but I do enjoy a good mystery. A few historical mystery series I enjoy are:

      Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley
      (intelligent pre-teen protagonist fascinated by poisons gets involved in murders in her village in 1960s Britain)

      Inspector Rutledge series by Charles Todd (the pseudonym for a mother-son writing team)
      (Former British officer who’s now a police inspector solves murders while being haunted by the phantom voice of a soldier he had to execute during WWII. Set in Britain in the years after the 2nd world war and deals with the topic of PTSD)

      Beth Crawford series also by Charles Todd
      (WWII nurse gets involved in solving murders on and off the battlefield)

      Hiro Hattori (Shinobi Mystery) series by Susan Spann
      (A japanese shinobi (aka ninja) is tasked with protecting a Portuguese Jesuit missionary in 16th century Japan and has to solve multiple murders in order to keep his charge safe.)

        1. Canadian Natasha

          Did you know another book is out this fall? It’s called Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d and I may just possibly be on a library waiting list for it. ;)

      1. acmx

        Hiro Hattori (Shinobi Mystery) series by Susan Spann – these are a nice, quick read.

        Previous magical realism books recommended were The Golem and the Jinni, and Night Circus.

        The Shadow of The Wind.

      1. Mags

        I almost picked up “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” by the same author last night. I will put that on my list for sure.

    5. Liane

      It’s a little different from The Wonder from what you wrote. but you might try After the Golden Age and Dreams of the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn. They are about Celia, the grown daughter of the 2 best known, now retired, superheroes in a city. Celia has no superpowers unless you count being Ideal Target for any villain who needs a Major Distraction to carry out their latest Master Plan. Between kidnapping and other crime incidents, Celia deals with job problems, love life, and how imperfect she finds her parents. The second book follows her oldest daughter Anna and her pals as they develop their own superpowers and attempt to emulate Anna’s grandparents’ old superteam while dealing with typical teen problems. The super powers are handled more realistically than in movies and relationships and the plot mystery are more important. Does a good job of mixing everyday tropes with supers: Grandma who loves cooking–with her powers.

    6. Mags

      Thank you all so much for the replies! I went to the bookstore before reading them and I ended up picking up “The Woman in Cabin 10” which is an excellent thriller so far, but a quick read. I will be looking at all of your suggestions next.

    7. SeptemberGrrl

      If you like Emma Donoghue, you might like “The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters. Have you read Donoghue’s “Slammerkin”? that was the first book of hers that I read and made me a fan.

      Other suggestions:
      “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty
      “Reconstructing Amelia” by Kimberly McCreight
      “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel
      “The Giant’s House” by Elizabeth McCracken

  35. Theguvnah

    A friend and I are planning a trip to the Palm Springs area. Joshua Tree, etc. any and all recommendations anyone has are welcome! Hotels, towns, activities – any of it. Thanks in advance!

    1. James

      Tehachapi isn’t that far away–three hours or so–and it’s got some gorgeous mountains. The southern tip of the Sierra Nevadas, plus a few mountains associated with the Garlock Fault. There’s a hiking train running through there that would be well worth checking out! If you can go after a snowfall, that’s best–the snow-covered mountains, walking above a sea of clouds, and yet it’s not so cold you can’t enjoy it. One of the most beautiful areas of the country, in my opinion. And Tehachapi is off from the main SoCal lifestyle enough that prices aren’t horrible if you need to spend a night in the hotel.

      If you’re into military history there’s the George S. Patton museum in Riverside County, not a horrible drive from Palm Springs.

      There’s also some hot-pot volcanism south of the Sulton Sea. Hot-pot volcanism is basically CO2 forming through interactions between limestone and various underground fluids (hot rocks, acidic groundwater, etc), which bubbles up to the surface. It’s cool if you’re into geology–and for us true rock nerds, it’s even cooler because of the newly discovered fault in the area!

    2. Another Lauren

      Do you want a hotel, specifically? I always rent a house when I’m in PS, because it’s so much nicer — you get a private pool, amazing mid-century architecture, etc. Check out VRBO and see what they have to offer! (I’m assuming you’ll have a car, but correct me if I’m wrong.)

      If you’re set on hotels, I recommend either the Alcazar or the Saguaro, though. Both are amazing!

    3. Ann Furthermore

      Take a day and drive up to Idyllwild, in the mountains. It’s a beautiful little town, with lots of cool shops, galleries, and restaurants. Until 1990, there was a boarding school there, which I attended in the 80’s. These days, it’s a place called Astrocamp, which is a science and outdoor adventure camp for kids.

      It is one of my very favorite places in the world. If you drive up early, have breakfast at Jan’s Red Kettle. JoAnn’s in the middle of town is a great place to have lunch and hang out in the outdoor garden. For dinner, do the Gastrognome.

    4. DragoCucina

      If you like to browse mid-century modern this is the town! They embrace it and the stores are filled with amazing pieces. LuLu California Grill is good. My BILs live in Palm Springs and it is their favorite.

  36. LSP

    Do I really need to clear my cookies/cache?

    I was trying to buy a new phone case when Chrome said that that particular website was having issues and recommended I clear the cookies for that specific website. So I did that but then saw hundreds of cookies for garbage websites. Ad-this and ad-that, shady stuff.

    I get conflicting info on the web. Some articles say it’s harmless and some say I should clear it weekly. What do you think?

    1. Not Karen

      I don’t think they’re harmful, they just take up hard drive space. If you’re searching for flights, you’ll want to clear your cookies or work in incognito mode because the price you see can go up if the cookies say you’ve searched for the flight before (from what I’ve heard).

    2. Anonymous Educator

      Cookies are text files set by websites to store information for that site. It’s how Ask a Manager remembers your commenting username. It’s how your bank knows you’re logged in (or logged out).

      Sometimes there are third-party cookies that keep track of things for the benefit of advertisers. So you might search for something on one site and then see an advertisement for it on another site.

      Most browsers allow you to disable third-party cookies, but some websites disable core user functionality if you don’t enable third-party cookies.

      If you’re really worried, browse incognito/private all the time. Cookies will still need to be set, but they’ll always be forgotten when you close the window.

  37. Lizabeth

    Finished Alison’s recommendation from last week – Missing Presumed. Well written and tight plot, enjoyed it enough to not take naps on my commute to/from work. Rate it as just as good as Elizabeth George or PD James.

    Just finished watching the finale of Inspector Lewis, perfect way to end it but I’m bummed that that is it, they won’t go forward with DI Hathaway. It looked like he was being set up as a modern Morse.

    1. Caledonia

      Have you watched Endeaver, which is the Morse prequel?

      As for Lewis, I don’t think either of the main characters wanted to do it anymore. There was an article about how ending it where it was, it matched the same amount of episodes as Morse, which I suspect most of the people involved found fitting.

      1. Lizabeth

        Been watching Endeavor on PBS as well – it’s good :) And listening the Masterpiece podcast on it was interesting. They did some episodes on Inspector Lewis as well.

        Still I would have loved to see where they would have taken Hathaway…maybe someone with do it as a book.

    2. New Bee

      I’m going to try to get Missing, Presumed from the library this week. I just finished Oh, You Pretty Things, which was pretty good (though I agree with Roxane Gay’s review on GoodReads).

  38. Accidental Analyst

    Questions for cat parents

    I’m helping my sister and nephew out by looking after their cat (in my home). There’s a couple of things I needed to get sorted with the cat but I’m not sure how to do them.

    1. He’s been meowing more and more at night. I know I should try to ignore it but we live in an apartment. He has constant access to dry food and gets wet food at night and in the morning (super early). He’s got water and access to 2 kitty litters. So when he meows I check the food, water, litter. Anything else I should check/do?

    2. He may be toilet trained at their house but at ours it’s more hit and miss. He’s got a covered and uncovered litter. We use the same material as his home. He’ll use the litters on occasion but he’ll also tend to just go on the tiles. Poo gets removed almost immediately as he has a bit of a phobia and the wee is absorbed by the crystals scooped every so often. Thoughts?

    3. His appetite seems a bit variable. He’s got a particular wet food that he likes (brand and flavour). The supermarket didn’t stock it one day so we got the same brand different flavour. He didn’t each much of it. We got the normal stuff within a day or two and he didn’t really eat it either. We’re in the process of trying some other styles to see if we can get him eating properly again. We throw in his old favourite food every few days but he still only picked at it. Not sure what else we can do

    He’s a good cat who’s a bit depressed about being in a different house/family. He gets lots of love and attention. I just really need to get at least the night time meowing under control. I’m not functioning as well due to interrupted sleep (multiple times a night). If I can’t get this sorted he may need to go to the rspca (no one wants to do that it really is a last resort) so any help would be gratefully appreciated.

    1. Elkay

      I can’t advise on food or litter but for the meowing – is he shut out of bedrooms at night? One of our cats gets what we think is separation anxiety every so often and will yowl at our shut bedroom door in the early hours (normally around 3am). Is he getting love and attention just before you go to sleep? I let my cats on the bed while I’m reading then kick them out to sleep so they’ve had some love then they head off to their own sleeping spots (does he have his own sleeping spot?).

      1. Accidental Analyst

        Thanks for the suggestions
        I’ve been leaving the doors on the way to my room open. I’ll even bring him in from time to time so he knows he’s welcome.
        Usually at night when I’m on the couch he’ll snuggle next to me and sleep on his chest. But not always. I’ll make a point to give him some affection before heading to bed.
        He doesn’t have his own sleeping spot. He’ll sleep on the couch, the arm chair, chairs under tables, the floor, the tiles etc. I’ll check with my sister if he had anything he slept in at home and if so I’ll bring it over.

    2. Not So NewReader

      Does he have toys or use your random stuff as a temporary toy? Will he play with his toys and/or play with you?
      Is he moving around normally? Does his gait and stride look normal? Does he make jumps like you would expect?

      Is he allowed to sleep with you at night?

      sorry– a bunch of questions. I sound like an interrogation. If they play, I tend to think that is a good sign. If they are walking normally and making normal jumps that also can tell you that they basically feel okay.

      How long has he been with you? My slowest cat, and she was very smart so we were surprised, took over 3 weeks to begin to deal with us and our house. My shyest cat took a YEAR to find the courage to enter all the rooms in my house.

      I would try telling him “NO” or “it is okay” when he cries, if I could not find anything wrong. Sometimes we have to decide for them that they are okay. Does he have his own bed? This could just be an old blanket. You could tell him “bedtime!” and put him in his bed.

      OTH, maybe you can play some soft music and both of you would sleep through the night.
      Cats are nocturnal. My first two used to chase each other through the house after we went to bed. So you would hear, crash, thunk, slam, thud as you nodded off to sleep.

      1. Accidental Analyst

        Thanks for taking the time. All good with the questions – it helps to work out what the issue is.

        He doesn’t have toys at our place. And I think he only occasionally played with them at his place. He will play with me – either a bit of a play fight (he’ll want a belly rub and will grab my hand, shake it and not let go) or the occasional stalk and pounce. He will jump into boxes, bags etc.

        His gait seems normal and he’s definitely still doing a lot of jumping – tables, benches, couches/chairs/ledges. He doesn’t look like he’s in pain.

        I’ve tried putting him in my room at night. He might settle for a little bit then he jumps out leaves. I’ve tried. Ring him in when he’s meowing with the same result.

        He’s been with us for three or four weeks now. He’s previously stayed with us on and off and visited as well. I think it might be sinking in that this is longer term. I’m concerned it may be triggering some abandonment issues with him. His first family had two humans, two dogs and two cats. His sister was catnapped, the humans split up and took the dogs. He ended up with my nephew who he adores.

        I’ve got to admit my language at night hasn’t been the best. Another sister was visiting and she said she had to stop from laughing do the repetition of “meow, meooowwww, meeeooowwww”, “shut the f up (low volume)”

        I’ll need to see if he had a bed at my sisters and see if I can get it. If not I’ll have to organise something else

        1. Not So NewReader

          Eh, it could take another 3-4 weeks for him to settle. Definitely see about some toys- perhaps a couple things from the dollar store. Heck, even a couple of cardboard boxes to jump in and out of can be interesting to them. It sounds like he has excess energy and he is BORED. Give him something to play with, even consider just pulling the toys out at night to amuse him while you sleep. He might just need to burn off energy. I laughed out loud at the STFU. I have BTDT and the times I found myself in that place is because the animal had too much energy and no desire to sleep.
          What time did your sis and family go to bed? I bet it was a different time than what you do. My second cat was a rescue. I knew what time her previous owners got up and what time they went to bed. I could tell by watching her.

          Try to let your concern about abandonment issues drift to the back ground. He may be picking up on your concern and mimicking you. He might be okay staying with you but he might be worried about you because you seem worried. See the circle? nasty, eh? One of you needs to stop worrying in order for the circle to stop. Since you can read and type, I can only let you know, not him…..

          Yeah, look for a bed for him. Even an old blanket from the Salvation Army store would work. I just bought my dog a blanket for a dollar at a tag sale. It’s the thickest blanket I have ever seen in my life. He has been sleeping on it every day since I brought it home. Animals can be very easily satisfied and they absolutely LOVE anything new we bring into the house.

          1. Accidental Analyst

            My sister and nephews are larks whereas mum and I are night owls so that will definitely cause some of the issues.

            He’s honestly not much of a player. Prior to his toys being brought over he had access to my nieces doll bath, the occasional cardboard boxe/basket/cloth bag, whatever toys my niece left out, cardboard rolls etc. His preferred method of interacting with them was to sleep on/in them. Tried playing with him last night with his toys, he made some half hearted effort and then just gave me a look of disdain. I’ll keep trying though

    3. Pennalynn Lott

      How long has he been with you? Cats are very territorial and don’t take change very well. Being uprooted is hard on them. Has he been checked out by a vet to make sure that the meowing and litter box issues aren’t because of an underlying physical issue?

      Also, do you play with him for at least an hour a day? As in, with “interactive” toys like feathers on the end of fishing pole type things? (1) He would benefit from bonding with you through play, and (2) it will help physically wear him out, which will decrease any anxiety he’s feeling.

      Lastly, when my cats meow in the middle of the night, I either meow back or call out to them. They just seem to want reassurance. I have had dozens of cats over my adult life, and not one of them has escalated the meowing because I verbally acknowledged their meow. (Not saying it doesn’t happen with some cats, just that I haven’t experienced it).

      1. Accidental Analyst

        He’s been with us for about a month. Previously he’s done stints of a day to a week so our home is familiar to him. I’ll have to ask my sister when he last went to the vet.

        He’s a rag doll so not the most energetic of cats. One previous stays he sometimes played with the feature on a string and sometimes just gave a look of disdain. I’ll have to get his toys off my sister. I think he has bonded with me – if I’m on the couch he’ll jump up for cuddles. He’s even take to falling asleep nestled in my arm using my chest as a pillow.

        I’ve got to get better at how I acknowledge the meowing at night. And I will admit that he has taken to sometimes doing a low volume meow. I think it’s sweet that he’s trying but sometimes I just need my sleep

    4. Lauren

      Can you get things from your nephew’s home that smell like the cat and your nephew like a blanket from the bed, an unwashed shirt or two, or anything else? That might help while the cat is still with you. Can your nephew Skype with the cat or talk on the phone? I agree that the poor cat is likely suffering from separation anxiety given the changes he has been through.

      1. Accidental Analyst

        I’ve asked my sister to bring over any bedding/toys. I’ll have to see about getting something with my nephew’s scent.

        It’s hard enough to get my nephew on the phone so don’t think that will happen. Whenever he’s over I tell him to give the cat love and attention because he misses him. He doesn’t quite seem to grasp the fact that the cat is deliberately acting aloof around him as a way of acting out. So he thinks the cat doesn’t miss him that much. He doesn’t see the cat run to the door when someone comes and continue to sit by the door when it’s not my nephew.

        1. Pennalynn Lott

          I’d phrase it a little differently than “deliberately acting out”. Pouting or giving someone the silent treatment is a higher level of cognition than I think most animals are capable of. But it has been proven and observed that cats give back attention in proportion to what they receive. So interacting on their level (play, treats, certain kinds of petting and grooming, whatever is enjoyable to that specific cat*) will result in a higher amount, level, and diversity of attention paid back to you by the cat.

          Ignore the cat, and the cat ignores you. Probably because s/he then sees you as a null object. There is no reward in attempting to interact with you. Play with the cat, feed the cat, see to the cat’s emotional and physical needs. . . and the cat will reciprocate to the best of its abilities.

          *Cats are as individual as humans are. Some love being held, some hate it. Some love being touched, some hate it. Some love chasing lasers, some couldn’t care less. Some will follow you everywhere you go, some will lazily observe you from their heated bed. It takes time and patience to get to know any individual cat’s needs and preferences.

    5. dawbs

      If the litterbox issues are new, I’d say to start with a quick vet visit.

      I know that’s never fun (for people or cats) but testing for a UTI is helpful, and if it IS something like a UTI, the longer it’s ongoing, the harder it’ll be to re-train once it’s better (because if it IS something like a UTI, where it hurts for the cat to pee, then every time the cat pees in the litter box, the cat gets to hvae it re-enforced that peeing in a litterbox is painful–you get to undo that natural training, and it isn’t easy or fun).

      Re: food, I know I was told the last time I had picky kitty problems, to try going with a fish-flavored food–they’re stronger scented (it worked for mine, but, cats can be weird, so no promises!)

      re: nightime mewing, I’ve found that someplace *near* me that the cat likes to lay is somewhat helpful. Mine has certain fabrics (a certain blanket and a robe of mine) that he likes to lay on–but not by himself. If he gets annoying at night, moving one of those to my bedroom, nearby me, gets him to go sleep there much more quietly than the other options.

      1. Accidental Analyst

        The litter issues at places that aren’t his normal home have been there for awhile. I’m checking with my sister when he last went to the vet. But it sounds like a visit might be in order.

        He’s more of a chicken than fish cat. He seems to like the soups/broths that we brought yesterday. He is avoiding most of the meat and going for the liquid. He’s got plenty of water and is still eating dry so not quite sure what’s going on there.

        It turns out this morning that he’s finally found a spot that he likes in my room. He’s commandeered the top of a small chest of drawers in my wardrobe. He’s been in it all day. I’m going to try and make that his sleep spot. So fingers crossed

        1. Not So NewReader

          Turkey is a downer. I am pointing this out because chicken is an upper. If you can get some turkey into him at dinner it might work as a mild “chill pill” and get him settled for the evening.

          My third cat did the same thing. She got up on my dresser and stared at us as we fell asleep. This went on for months. She did like my dresser though. haha.

          1. Accidental Analyst

            I’ve looked in a number of different stores and turkey isn’t really available. I’ll have to look at more brands in case I can find something.

    6. Episkey

      He might need a low dose of anti-anxiety meds for a bit. You can try natural, like Feliway diffusers or Rescue Remedy…or you can take him to the vet and get a Rx for Prozac or similar. I know some people are anti-medication, but if it’s coming down to you not sleeping/considering taking him to a shelter, I have no issues with meds lol.

      1. Accidental Analyst

        I’m definitely not adverse to trying something that would help him. I’ll research the suggestions to see what I think will suit – I’m leaning towards the diffuser

      2. Cam

        My friend has a cat that howled all night long and the feliaway diffusers saved her sanity! It completely stopped the howling. To the point where the day the diffusers run out of liquid, the cat starts howling again. So, I think it’s worth trying out out!

    7. Accidental Analyst

      Ok he now has his old bed (which he didn’t always sleep in). The bed has one of my nephews tshirts in it. It’s been setup in my closet where he had spent most of the day (without the bed). He also has some toys (tunnel, ball, toy on a string) and some catnip spray (I’m uncertain on this as I believe it acts like a drug). I’ve tried getting him to play a bit but he was more interested in cuddles. My nephew was over and spent some time grooming him. And he got to see the cat waiting at the door for him when he left to get something from the car. The cat’s also eaten some more wet food (mostly the sauce/gravy). Here’s hoping to a more settled night

        1. Accidental Analyst

          I went to bed pretty early. He was settled in is bed in the wardrobe. He got out and had a small bout of meowing around midnight. I put him back to bed and he settled. He then started until 3:30. At 3:30 he’d gotten into the kitchen and was meowing a lot. I gave him some wet food. He ate the wet part but not the food part. There were a few more bouts of getting up and meowing in a short space of time (probably hunger but he’s not eating much of his protein). He finally settled and was down till 6 when the quite meows started. A bit of time on my bed sorted that and he’s now sleeping out in the lounge.

          So better than some nights but still room for improvement

          1. Not So NewReader

            You’re right you don’t sleep. If you can figure out that it is not a medical problem then you might want to draw a line with him.

            My first dog was a hot mess. She would not settle down at night for anything. I tried this and that, ugh. Finally what I landed on was I told her “bedtime”. Because of the way she was I allowed her a good half hour to settle into the bedroom with me. She did not settle. I kicked her out, closed the door. Second night, less fussing but she still did not settle. I kicked her out, closed the door. Third night, I said “bedtime” that dog fell into line behind me, settled on her bed and went to sleep. End of problem. THEN, I found out I could do the same thing with the cats! ha! In the end the two cats slept on the bed, the dog at the foot of the bed and no noise, all was quiet.

            Barring an actual physical problem this maybe a last course of action for you, also.

  39. Shabu Shabu

    My mom wants to go to San Diego with my grandma and aunt tomorrow. What would you do if you if you only had one day in SD with short notice?

    Age is but a number, but these ladies are 50-80 years old so no Legoland :)

    1. Troutwaxer

      There are a couple interesting museums having to do with ships. The USS Midway has been turned into a museum, and there is also the San Diego Maritime Museum which is considerably less militant, though they do have a Russian submarine on display, along with the sailing ship and the steamship. They can also tour the first Catholic Mission in California, Mission San Diego de Alcalá founded in 1769.

      1. Cam

        Highly recommend the maritime museum and the Midway! However, the Midway involves lots of stairs to see most of the ship, so be sure to take ability into account. Gaslamp quarter is near by for grabbing lunch or dinner afterwards.

  40. mander

    Any suggestions for gently telling a gift giver that they are consistently giving you the wrong things?

    My mother-in-law is forever buying cologne for my husband and perfume for me, as well as the Clinique lotion for the polar opposite skin type to me. It is generous and lovely and mystifying. My husband has never worn cologne and I perfume gives me a headache, so I only wear it on extremely rare occasions.

    So far I’ve been able to exchange the lotion, but I’ve accumulated maybe £200 worth of fragrances by now. I think they come from the duty-free shop on the ferry they regularly take, so there’s no obvious place to try and exchange them.

    As the holidays rapidly approach I’d like to subtly make it known that we would prefer other gifts, or ideally, that they keep their money and spend it on themselves. Any ideas?

    1. Pennalynn Lott

      I hope someone comes up with a great suggestion, because my dad does this to me. Every year for my birthday and the winter holidays, I get whatever cr*p was on sale at his local Costco. The good news is that I always have something for the annual Dirty Santa gift exchange my friends and I participate in. ;-)

    2. Sibley

      Have your husband talk to her, or his dad. You’re not alone though – my friend gets me purses. I don’t want them, I don’t need them, and I don’t like the ones she picks out. But she’s also my roommate, so I don’t want to get rid of them while I’m still living with her.

    3. chickabiddy

      I think I’d talk up the headaches and make them seem like a new thing and it’s such a shame that you can’t enjoy what she has so generously given.

    4. Lauren

      I’d let them know next time you see them (where they don’t have anything for you) that both you and your husband have been having issues and have finally tracked the problem down to scented products in your home. Therefore, you are going fragrance free for home and personal care products and that while you love their thoughtfulness you can’t not just use but have anything in your home. Then, if they ask, you can say how much you love things like x, y and z.

    5. ginger ale for all

      I had success with asking for gift cards for date nights. I got a few chain restaurant gift cards and a movie gift card.

    6. Nerfmobile

      A good many years back, my husband and I starting asking our parents for food gifts instead of more permanent things. Chocolates, jam, gift baskets of various sorts. Those kinds of gifts are usefully short-lived and usually easy to distribute to others if we don”t like the specific items.

      1. bibliovore

        Here is my script that has been working well,
        Thank you for the X, I am sure it is terrific. I wish I had mentioned this before, I had an allergy to perfume and scents, that has gotten worse over the years, now just whiff causes a reaction like a crashing headache. Significant other can’t even put on cologne in the house. Although we appreciate the thought, please save your money as we have to move these presents on to better home.
        Then pick something that would be appreciated- I picked florida oranges- they are a great surprise around christmas and always welcome.

    7. The Unkind Raven

      I would suggest donating them to a local women’s shelter. You can’t really politely ask her to get you something else.

  41. Wendy

    Is anyone familiar with property redevelopments?

    I own an apartment in an area that’s been booming for the last 5 years or so, and all around the older, smaller apartment buildings have been getting acquired by developers to build newer high-rises. There’s a very high chance they’ll be looking to move into my street within the year or so. I don’t currently live there but I have tenants who are on a contract.

    So does anyone know how these things even work? Do developers contact owners or through some sort of agent? Do they negotiate sales individually or as a whole block? Is there a timeframe in which this would happen? I don’t even know where to start Googling.

    1. Not So NewReader

      They have to negotiate with you the owner of the property. Probably they will track you down and they will approach you. They will probably let you know their time frame.

      I would start by contacting city/town officials and finding out what the plan is for your street. You could find out that they have no interest in your property and this is a non-issue. So start there. Hopefully there are blueprints drawn up for what will go into the space. You should be able to see those prints and be able to identify your property on the map.
      You can ask them what the process is for acquiring properties.

      Because I am not one to take the word of one person, I might consider looking for a realtor. I would discus the matter with her and see what she has to say or she can find out.

      Those are the freebie ideas.

      If you think you have a problem you may wish to contact an attorney. This should be an attorney who is familiar with handling real estate.

    2. Clever Name

      I’d imagine it depends on how the legalities of owning the apartments is set up. Is there a governing board for your building? Is it a condo with a condo association? An owner’s group? The developer will probably start there. They may just quietly start purchasing units as they go on the market until they own a majority share.

      You can look on your county assessor’s website for recent sales and who owns the units in your building. Talk to your neighbors and ask if they’ve been approached, or if they are renters ask them if people have been coming to their unit for various inspections. For commercial property sales, properties are typically looked at by apparaisers and have environmental or due diligence assessments (also called “phase I’s or environmental site assessments).

  42. Pennalynn Lott

    Argh! Quick rant: My neighbor’s brother and his wife moved in with her from out of state while they’re [supposedly] house-hunting here. The brother (who is in his 60’s) likes his music loud and his cigarettes constant. Which means I can’t enjoy the wonderful fall weather — windows open on my house, or doing anything in the yard — without first going over there to ask him to turn it down and smoke on the other side of the house. I’ve known the family 18 years, and I’m over there every Friday night and every holiday, so I’m comfortable saying something, but it’s a royal pain in the @ss.

    All I can think is that his neighbors in his old state must have celebrated when he moved.

    1. Accidental Analyst

      People really do forget how far sound and smoke travel.

      It’s good that you’ve already got a relationship that should make this easier to deal with. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take too many requests

    2. AvonLady Barksdale

      Ugh, I so, so sympathize. We have new neighbors here– moved in on October 1st– and they are the wooooorrrrrssssttt. They are fresh out of college (we think) and every. single. night they have at least 6 people over, smoking and talking loudly on their front porch. Once it hits 10:30 on weeknights and 11pm on weekends, we start asking them to keep it down. They’ll apologize, go inside for a while, then start back up again. Last night, my boyfriend jumped out of bed at 1am and went out back to ask them to be quiet.

      In the two years we’ve lived here, our block has been super quiet. Dead after 9pm. Even when people have parties (us included), those parties are done by 11pm at the very latest. And we all like it that way. These jackasses don’t seem to understand that their smoke breaks are loud and annoying.

      Oh, and only two of them actually “live” there, but one has a girlfriend who is there constantly. And she drags furniture on the porch to paint it at all hours. Yesterday she decided to have a yard sale, with furniture all over their front lawn. She is the worst offender– she once told my boyfriend to let her know if they were too loud, so he did, and she argued. I am expecting a massive party from them next week (just a hunch) and trust, the cops will be called if they’re obnoxious after 11pm (which is the noise ordinance in our town).

      Harrumph. I miss our old neighbors, whose worst offenses were talking on their cell phones outside (in the afternoon) and walking around the block barefoot in their bathrobes.

    3. Pennalynn Lott

      These neighbors had a different kind of “smell intrusion” this morning. . . They made bacon!!

      I woke up and my house and the outdoors smelled HEAVENLY! I called them and said, “You saved me a couple of slices, right?” It took them a few seconds to realize that I meant the bacon they were currently frying up. And then they were like, “You can smell *the bacon* ALL THE WAY OVER THERE??”

      People, our houses are only two driveway widths a part. Most of the houses in the neighborhood are separated by a driveway and a decent-sized chunk of yard, but not ours. And the houses being right up against the driveways creates a mini canyon, through which sound (and smells) kind of echo and reverberate.

      So now I’m craving bacon. Thanks a lot, neighbors! :-D

  43. Cruciatus

    So I’ve started buying little things for when I finally have a home (as I mentioned in an earlier post). I finally found dinnerware I really liked–Denby Jet Stripe. Yes, it is pricey but Macy’s had it on sale in July for $59 a place setting (yes, I still understand this is expensive! But I really liked it and planned on having it for a very long time). So, they send me one of the 8 I ordered, then weeks later say “Yeah, we need you to tell us if you still want this.” I did. Then a month after that I get the email that they will not complete my order. And that price hasn’t come up again and I’m not willing to pay more. The price came close once but they were all bought up within hours. But my point is…while I still like this style, I’m ready to move on (and find some way to get rid of the 1 set I currently have now). I should just get something like Corelle which has lasted my mom for.ever. It’s maybe 45 or more years older. Still using it. But I wanted something a little more pizzazz-y but with all the functionality (dishwasher safe, microwave safe, etc.). Any recommendations?

    tl;dr — Can you recommend dinnerware sets? Any brands out there that are like Denby but either without the price tag and/or with the ability to actually buy it before the rest of the internet scoops it up?

    1. TootsNYC

      Corelle has some pretty stuff lately–have you really investigated it?

      I looked at HomeClick.com; they’ve got Denby but their place-setting prices aren’t that low. Nat Schwartz (schwartzco.com) doesn’t carry Denby, nor does MichaelCFina.com (those are my favorite discount china places); maybe because it’s not quite high-end enough.

      1. Becca

        +1 to Corelle!! I understand that their patterns aren’t super pizzazz-y (although I find them nice— elegant and lasting!), but a) they have incredible functionality and b) they are really, really lightweight.

    2. AcademiaNut

      I have Pfaltzgraff in the Ocean Breeze pattern, which I’ve been very happy with. Not too pricey, a very clean, simple design, microwave/dishwasher safe, and very sturdy. I’ve had it about 14 years, and so far we’ve only lost one plate (my husband dropped it on a tile floor), and that includes mail order shipping for delivery, and an international move.

    3. Stellaaaaa

      See what brands are stocked in Target and Walmart lately and then check the brand sites for all available patterns.

      Anecdote: unless you’re splashing out for Corelle, IMO go to Dollar Tree and pick up ceramic dishes. Almost everything breaks even if it says it won’t. It’s better to break a $1 plate than a pricey one.

    4. Cristina in England

      I had Denby place settings for my first marriage, and I loved them but seeing the wear and tear on something so pricey made me want IKEA place settings from now on. The Denby bowls all have grey lines in the bottom, presumably from cutlery, is that normal?

    5. Clever Name

      I have a ton of Polish pottery. It’s durable, and you can find it in lots of places. I’ve seen it in fancy kitchenware stores to tjmaxx, eBay and local Polish pottery-focused store. It’s made in a couple of factories in Poland but the colors are the same/similar and there are a ton of different patterns and you can mix and match all of them.

  44. Pershing48

    Ok, so this is a question for slightly older commenters. I started reading a library book today that was a economic study in 1963 looking at the purchasing habits of people living in specific New York City housing projects, specifically their use of credit for big-ticket items. Thesis of the study is that poor consumers end up paying more money for lower-quality goods due to predatory practices of credit-lenders.

    Anyways, at one point in the study the author is talking about common appliances that people had and notes that almost all his subjects had telephones and that some even had “telephones in color”. The context makes it seem like this is a much more expensive kind of phone, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what that phrase means exactly? Is the phone a non-black color and in 1963 this was really expensive? Thanks for any help with this.

    1. Natalie

      From what I found online, phones in any colors other than black weren’t available until the mid 1950s. They do seem to have been a little more expensive that black sets, plus a poor family would be more likely to keep using their 10+ year old phone rather than replacing it.

    2. Cruciatus

      I asked my mom who was born in the ’40s and she isn’t quite sure but she wouldn’t have thought so (that they were that much more expensive). And she also mentioned that the phone companies leased the phones. She also asked the same question “do they mean colored televisions?” So basically, she mentioned everything chickabiddy did!

      1. Pershing48

        They were definitely talking about phones, they talked about televisions at length in a separate section because they were ubiquitous (95% of households had one) and still very expensive ( they cite figures around $2,000 inflation-adjusted as the median cost for a TV). The authors say that subjects were very proud of these “telephones in color” and the authors call them “the new symbol of gracious living”. No mention of the fact that the phones were leased from the phone company, maybe this wasn’t the case in NYC?

        Pretty cool book, obscure academic literature can be really fun to read, it makes me miss being a student when I had free access to more of it. The book is “Poor pay More” by David Caplovitz. Al

        1. Pennalynn Lott

          “New symbol of gracious living” definitely means the new “cool” colors of the phones. It was a huge thing for people to see phones as a decorating accessory versus a utility. (It was a huge thing for the phone companies, too, because they created a new — and profitable — market by making consumers think that phones should be color-coordinated with their decor, versus just the big black thing in the hallway*).

          *My personal theory about the new colors and styles of phones coming to market when they did was that the tightly-regulated telephone service market was starting to lose their huge profit margins as the cost of a phone call (local or long-distance) started to come down. So the phone companies went looking for new sources of revenue and came up with “designer” phone models. Because the [relatively] lower phone line prices now meant that people could have more than one phone in their homes. So instead of a central location (usually a main hallway), there could now be a phone in every room of the house — even the bathroom (and, boy, did *that* ever signal an excessive amount of wealth! My dad bragged for years about the phone in his bathroom!!).

        2. TootsNYC

          They were more expensive. You had to (as mentioned above) give up the standard one, plus there was a premium.

          Sort of the way a vanity plate was.
          Avocado refrigerators were more expensive as well.

          1. Pershing48

            Ok, so I guess they were just talking about a differently colored phone? It seems bizarre to me, when raw materials cost so little that all colors of products cost the same, that such a premium was put on color.

            Also, I have to ask, what is an avocado refrigerator? Is that a typo or is there yet another ubiquitous 60’s home decor item I’m completely clueless about?

            The book also refers to “deepfreezers” (which I suspect is the same as a modern freezer) being sold to poor people as a way to save money on food bills. The catch was that the deepfreezer was bundled along with a food subscription plan for frozen food where the food delivered got steadily worse over time and wasn’t worth the monthly payment.

            1. Pershing48

              NVM, I Google Image searched “Avocado refrigerators” and……yeah. I shouldn’t laugh, because my generation is guilty of some dumb stuff, but an entire marketing term and industry campaign built around a specific paint on appliances is….odd.

              NVM, again. Actually, after more googling, it looks like weirdly specific and arbitrary colors are just a fact of the appliance industry. There’s entire histories to a single shade. I guess I never noticed this.

              1. DragoCucina

                There were long discussions in my childhood home. If we could ever afford a new stove would it be Harvest Gold or Avacado. I think there was briefly a copper color. I’d actually love one or another now.

                My mother was thrilled in the early 70s to get a powder blue, princess phone. Yes, we paid more every month for it. It was a sign of class dahling.

                1. Anxa

                  Omg, yes!

                  In the 90s my mom painted our house which had been Harvest Gold and redid the cabinets, but the interior and the fridge were still avocado

                2. bibliovore

                  Oh the princess phone that my mom got for her bedroom when we moved was a huge deal-

                  The red push button phone that I got for my first apartment was a big deal too- and if I recall the phone never belonged to me- like the cable box, it went back to Ma Bell when I moved.

                3. DreamQueen

                  Dont forget Maisie Eisenhower pink for your kitchen or bathroom. Popular after world war 2 and seen as a sophisticated and classy color scheme.
                  I seriously want a pink oven.

                4. Oryx

                  Ha, I had s Harvest Gold stove in my grad school apartment. This was about 10 years ago and when I re upped my lease they upgraded me and I missed that color

              2. Pennalynn Lott

                When Boyfriend moved in with me in 2003, he brought with him an avocado refrigerator that had once belonged to his parents. We put it in the garage, next to his chest freezer, and it didn’t die until 2011. The thing was 40+ years old. They don’t make ’em like they used to! :-D

                1. Elizabeth West

                  Oh God, so true. Although I finally had to take the old zillion-year-old toaster with a cloth cord away from my dad and dispose of it. It just wasn’t safe anymore and he would have kept on using it.

                2. Chaordic One

                  I have an acquaintance whose mother, many years ago, got “a deal” on bathroom fixtures from a store that was going out-of-business. The bathtub was avocado green, the toilet was blue, and the bathroom sink was pink. For a good 30 years or so the family had this hideous bathroom, although they tried to make it work by having the rest of the room decorated with a variety of colors. It had rainbow-hued vertical striped wallpaper and the vanity had each door painted a different color.

                  Surprisingly, it didn’t look that bad. It was awfully busy and not a calm place like most bathrooms, though.

              3. Not So NewReader

                It’s fads. Yeah, they are synthetic fads, created by marketing.

                We see fads in the clothing industry as a norm. However most industries do this, I guess it is how to turn a buck. I remember being shocked when I found out that plants went through fads, too. More marketing stuff. Remember when everyone had ornamental kale in their front yard? Now I very seldom see it.

              1. Clever Name

                That’s what I was thinking too. They run at a lower temperature so food lasts longer. I love mine, and it does save money, but you have to have the money to buy bulk in the first place.

            2. the gold digger

              I guess they were just talking about a differently colored phone

              This was back when the phone company was a monopoly and could charge whatever it wanted. If a teenager had her own phone, it was a big deal. It was an even bigger deal to have your own number – that meant your mom and dad were paying some serious cash.

              Long distance was more than a dollar minute sometimes, depending on what time of day you called (after 8 p.m., after 11 p.m.) and whether it was interstate or intrastate. (Intrastate was way more expensive, which is why I called my parents about once a semester when I was in college in Houston and they lived in San Antonio.)

              There are people today who get cranky about phone service or the restaurants in airports, but at least now, there is competition, which is way way better for the consumer. We are not paying an arm and a leg for our phones and there is not just one catering company running everything in an airport, which means you can buy something other than an overpriced Red Delicious apple or a sandwich made ten days ago.

              1. Pennalynn Lott

                When my brother and I would fly out to go visit his father, the way we let my mom know we’d arrived safely was to call her from the airport “person-to-person”. When my mom answered the phone and the operator told her that “Pennalynn Lott is calling person-to-person for Mom’sname,” my mom would say, “I’m sorry, Mom’sname isn’t here.” That way no one would get charged for that quick check-in call back home. Because, yeah, it was *expensive*!

                1. Not So NewReader

                  Or you could let it ring a certain number of times. But the phone company fixed that by making the ring at home and the ring the caller hears at different timing. The caller could not accurately count the rings.

                  A friend of mine used to have a dime on a wire. You could drop the dime into the slot on the payphone, pull it back up and keep dropping it until you had deposited the correct amount for the call. The phone company figured that one out too.

                2. Chaordic One

                  I used to have a special Visa card that also let me charge phone calls from pay phones and they would add them to the credit card statement. Before cell phones, it was great.

    3. Carmelappleisnuts

      If it was not black, then chances are, it was Bakelite. Also, if it was made by anyone other than ma bell. “If a customer desired a type of phone not leased by the local Bell monopoly, he or she had to purchase the phone at cost, give it to the phone company, then pay a ‘re-wiring’ charge and a monthly lease fee in order to use it.” (Wikipedia)

      1. Pershing48

        Cool, I’ve only seen Bakelite as an example of a very early (1910’s) commercial plastic. Didn’t know it was still in use in that time period. Off tangent, I watched an anime that translated a character referring to a plastic-like substance as “Bakelite” in the subtitles and thought it was weird that they’d use such an old brand name. Now I know why.

      2. Not So NewReader

        For all the monopoly problems, you could actually hear and understand the caller. I miss that.

    4. Pennalynn Lott

      I remember how awesomely cool it was that a friend of mine had a “Princess Phone” back in the early 70’s. You could only get your phones from the phone company (and you leased them, not owned them), and picking anything other than the basic model was expensive. I also remember when my mom got a huge bonus at work and used some of the money to get me a rusty-orange, rotary-dial, “Trimline” phone in the late 70’s. I threw a special sleepover for my friends so they could see the phone.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian

        I always wanted s phone in my room and never got it.

        My parents were EMTs and their home base was at home, not out of an emergency station like people do now. So we had a normal, black phone as our home phone and a red phone as the “ambulance phone”. The ambulance phone wsse on a party line with the local police station, so if my parents didn’t answer it in a certain number of rings, it would get picked up at the police station. Once when my parents were out on an ambulance run, my siblings and I thought it would be fun to call the home phone from the ambulance phone (even though we were never, ever, ever supposed to even touch the ambulance phone) and have a conversation with each other. Well, the police radioed my parents that their kids were tying up the ambulance line and that they’d better put an end to it on pain of their jobs, so we were in huge trouble when they got home and never touched the ambulance phone again.

    5. Mephyle

      I don’t know how different things were in Southern Ontario where I grew up, but when I was a child in the 1960s, everyone leased a phone from the phone company, and the traditional black one was the cheapest option. I don‘t remember when coloured phones became an option, but it was within my early memory – so maybe sometime in the latter 1960s or early 1970s. As late as the early 1980s, when I first moved away from my parents, I still had a leased black phone in my first apartment, because it cost less.
      Also, look up the article on Model 500 telephone in Wikipedia; it says “The introduction of telephones in color occurred in several stages from 1954 until 1957, as manufacturing capability was refined and material selection processes were completed.”
      And the paragraph that follows talks about leasing phones and the limited availability of colours.

    6. ..Kat..

      You couldn’t own your own phone back then – you leased it from the phone company for a monthly fee. This was just for the phone, not for the phone service (that was more money). And long distance was an expensive extravagance. You would plan long distance phone calls (say with your grandparents) ahead of time. Everyone in the family would be standing by to say a quick “how are you; I love you ” and then pass the phone to the next person!
      If you wanted anything other than the standard phone model, you paid extra. Color would have been extra. I didn’t know anyone rich enough to have a color other than black. I remember when having a beige phone
      that hung on the wall was special! Oh, and just one phone line for the whole house.
      Excuse me while I go hug my smartphone…

      1. Pennalynn Lott

        My dad’s house, which was built in 1961, had a special “telephone nook” built into the main hallway wall. It was sort of like a built-in small side table. It was only large enough to hold a phone book with the phone sitting on top of it. But a house only having one phone was the reality such that it dictated part of the home’s design.

        And, yes, three cheers for smartphones!

        1. Natalie

          I lived in an apartment that had those, built right into the wall next to the front door. I assume when they wired the building for phone service they didn’t want to extend the wires very far. I had DSL internet at the time so I put my modem & router on the shelf.

        2. Not So NewReader

          I had that growing up, too. When they changed over to plug and pray wiring (like what we have now), my father put a very long cord on the phone and we could drag the phone to any room in our small Cape. We still only had one phone in the house.

          And yes, you leased the phone, it was not yours. When my father brought the house the previous owners left behind some interesting stuff. Among the stuff was three phones. yep, they were all black. My father decided to get rid of some stuff and he ran an add in the paper. Among the items listed were the phones.
          The dang phone company called us up and asked us what the heck we were doing with phones and surely, we could not be selling them. I guess the phone company read the classifieds in those days. So my father just laughed at them and said they were left behind and he had no idea of their history. For some reason the phone company never followed up, we never sold the phones and I still have one of them now, 50 years later. The sound quality is crappy, but it is on modern phones, too, so no difference there.

          Yep, OP, you could have your phone in any color as long as it was black. Prior to that phones were wooden boxes with metal attachments for the speaker and the receiver.

          I remember my father laughing, in his day the story was you could have your Ford in any color as long as it was BLACK. ha!

          Lots of phone things have changed since I was growing up. For example you never, ever let a ringing phone go unanswered. You RAN if you had to, in order the catch that call. It’s amusing to watch people ignore their phones now. My husband wired a second phone into his parent’s house. The phone company called up and said, “We can tell you have second phone on that line. You need to pay for that. What is the ringer equivalency number?” (That was some technical thing they needed to know.) It was a candlestick phone and it did not ring. Since the phone did not ring, the phone company person did not know what to do, so they ended the convo. It was very funny at that time.

    7. nonprofit manager

      As recent as the mid 1980s when I moved into an apartment with roommates, phone options were limited (I realize that might sound like a long time ago to some, but the OP references 1963 and this practice continued for some time beyond that). You had to lease the phone from the phone company and you paid a fee on each monthly bill. If you wanted a phone that was any color other than black or ivory, it cost more.

  45. chickabiddy

    Are you sure that maybe he didn’t mean televisions? I’m not quite old enough to remember phones in the ’60s, but I’m pretty sure that in the ’70s phones were leased from the phone company.

    1. chickabiddy

      Sorry, this is supposed to be a reply to the post directly above, not a new topic of discussion.

  46. Ruffingit

    Need some prayers and good thoughts. Mom is in the hospital. It’s been a week. She’s not conscious at the moment, but there is hope she will come to. I’m scared. And sad. And just need some virtual hugs.

    1. Canadian Natasha

      We don’t know each other but I’m feeling for you. My dad had to go in for surprise emergency surgery* after a few weeks of rapid health decline a little over a year ago so I have some idea of the stress of waiting to find out what’s going to happen and if things are going to be all right or not. All the things you think about when you don’t know how much life is going to change; it’s really hard to get through. So here’s as many internet hugs as you like and I’m hoping & praying that your Mom’s health takes a turn for the better.

      *(which did turn out well thankfully)

    2. Jean

      It’s hard when someone you love has a medical crisis. It’s even harder when it’s a parent. Good thoughts and virtual hugs to you. I hope that the people around you and your mom are caring and sensitive.

    3. ..Kat..

      Virtual hugs. Talk to your Mom if you can visit. Hold her hand. She may be able to hear you on some level and take comfort from your voice and touch.

    4. QualityControlFreak

      Saying some prayers for you and your family Ruffingit. Thoughts of healing and peace.

    5. Not So NewReader

      Aww. Most certainly, prayers for your mom and you and all of yours. Not easy stuff. At all.

  47. Another Lauren

    I’m in DC for a work trip this weekend (yay, museum consulting!) and planned a bunch of fun touristy things for today and tomorrow. Of course, I had a freak accident on the way to dinner last night and sprained the bejeezus out of my ankle, so I spent the whole day in urgent care. Any tips for an easy way to see some museums/monuments on crutches?

    BTW, DC people, you are all amazingly friendly! I have had such a lovely experience here, and I’m a little sad to go home!

    1. bibliovore

      rent a scooter!
      or see if they have them available at the museum like the smithsonian.
      RICE- rest ice compress and elevate.
      I’ve rented scooters in every city that I have visited.

    2. Becca

      When I was in DC many years ago, my mom was able to get wheelchairs for many of the museums. I’d call/look online for information on that. (She got a wheelchair for the White House tour, too, and shocked the guard taking her around to the elevator by correctly identifying a Dale Chihuly tree!)

  48. Japan Anna

    Does anyone have any tips for hyperthyroidism? I was diagnosed with “subacute thyroiditis” a couple of weeks ago. Things are weird. Sweating buckets, feel like I’ve had 20 cups of coffee, was having trouble sleeping.
    Am I correct in thinking I should just kiss coffee goodbye for the most part for awhile? Down to 1 cup/day? …Tea? (I can’t believe I’m suggesting that)
    Walks are good, I hear. What else? Massages? Any hobbies you recommend I should take up?
    I hear I might expect some weight fluctuations, and plan to deal with that through shopping therapy.

    1. nonprofit manager

      I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, have likely had it for a long time. Most people with Hashimoto’s are hypothyroid, though it is possible to experience symptoms of both hypo and hyper. Most of my symptoms are consistent with hypothyroidism, though I have experienced sweating (especially at night), racing heart on occasion, and trouble sleeping.

      For the past month or so, I have gradually incorporated lifestyle changes to hopefully reduce my immune system attacks on my thyroid. Depending on what your hyperthyroid is caused by, some of these may or may not work for you. But first, yes, stop caffeine for a while. Even decaf coffee, as that contains quite a bit of caffeine. That was tough for me, but once I got over the initial addiction, I noticed significant improvement in my sleep. I am missing warm beverages with intense flavor on chilly mornings (i.e., coffee), but I recently started drinking one small cup of rooibos tea when I feel the urge for that warm beverage.

      Other things to try: Walking, as you mention, and other lower-intensity exercise. I recently bought a mini trampoline and rebound a few minutes a day. Yoga. Strength-training using your body weight. Short brisk walks throughout the day. Self-care like massages, sauna, other things that make you feel good. Any hobby that makes you happy and does not put a lot of physical strain on your body is good right now.

      Also pay attention to your diet. I not aware if there are any specific diet guidelines for hyperthyroidism, but I made some appropriate changes for Hashimoto’s and that resolved some issues that I did not even realize were related. But you know your thyroid controls just about everything, so do as much to support your body as you can. Basic things that would help include eating as much fresh, clean food as possible and minimizing processed food.

      Finally, be gentle with yourself. I assume you are working with a qualified practitioner to resolve this. It might take some time and if you have to go on medication, it will take time to get the dose right. During which time you might have hypo and hyper fluctuations (and resulting weight changes, among other things). Be patient with yourself during this process.

      1. Japan Anna

        Thank you!!

        Yes, I am working with a nice doc and am taking meds to get my thyroid to stop producing so much hormone, and he did tell me it was going to take a while with med adjustment. He didn’t mention any lifestyle adjustments, other than “you can just behave normally” so I’m really glad to have some personal advice. Googling produced a bunch of paranoia inducing medical pages I don’t need to read.

  49. Allison Mary

    I’m looking for ideas for nice things I could do for a homeless person, with whom I’ve had very nice interactions, twice now.

    I met this young-ish girl, whom I believe to be homeless, though we haven’t discussed it explicitly (although she has mentioned having access to good resources for the homeless). I met her a couple weeks ago – she regularly goes to the farmer’s market where my partner and I have recently been doing all our shopping for meat and produce. She sits there, reading a book, with a sign in front of her that simply says “food offers appreciated.” She tells me that by doing this at the farmer’s market each week, she usually gets some opportunity to eat healthy food this way – an opportunity which doesn’t exist elsewhere for her.

    She’s intelligent and articulate, and I can kind of relate to her. I find myself wanting to get to know her more and learn about her circumstances and what she needs to get where she wants to go. I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving her money directly, of course, but she has not asked for it or even hinted at it, thus far.

    Does anyone have any ideas for to approach this type of situation with kindness, empathy, and sensitivity?

    1. Arty

      Maybe you could offer her some food, and then ask her if she us ready for winter. Her answer may reveal whether she is open to assistance or not.

    2. nep

      I recently won a gift card for a food shop — I plan to give it to a homeless person. Perhaps a gift card to a place she can buy healthy foods? (Or would that be too much like just giving her money?)

    3. Natalie

      Do you have any yard projects you might hire her to do?

      As far as items that she could use, food is sometimes the easiest thing. Socks, tampons, and basic first aid supplies are very needed and often not as easy to get by whatever means. You can always tell her they were on clearance if she’s uncomfortable taking them. Or suggest she give them to anyone else who needs them.

      If there is a good homelessness services org near you they may have some suggestions.

      1. Troutwaxer

        I can say FROM EXPERIENCE that you need to set some strong ground rules if you’re going to have a homeless person work at your house:

        1.) No drugs, not even pot. Cigarettes only outside and away from the house.
        2.) Friends may not come with her.
        3.) You are not offering overnight privileges of any kind, even if it is raining or snowing.
        4.) She may not show up uninvited. Ever.
        5.) You are not available to give rides.
        6.) She may not leave her stuff at your house or use your shower (except possibly after a particular messy bit of yard work.)
        7.) No using your washer or dryer.

        I say this because my kid has many homeless friends, and they are generally from very dysfunctional homes, and frequently have no idea whatsoever how to manage the basics of living in a house. Sometimes this is a matter of training, and sometimes this is a matter of mental health issues.

        On one hand it has been very rewarding helping my kid’s homeless friends as I can. On the other hand, it is a frequent source of stress and unhappiness, so beware.

      2. Allison Mary

        This is a nice idea (the yard work thing), but we live in a condo – and it’s a studio, at that.

        I actually just gave her a brand new menstrual cup that I only bought because it was by one of my favorite companies in a new color. I had asked her the first week we talked whether she had a difficult time getting access to menstrual products, and that led into the idea that I’ve often wondered whether menstrual cups would be a good help to someone in her position (I didn’t offer it to her directly, in other words). She said that she didn’t really need something like that, because the resources for the homeless in our city are pretty good, and she generally doesn’t have a difficult time getting ahold of disposable menstrual products.

        Flash forward to the second week we talked, she actually brought it up again herself, and said that she’d thought about it and that having a menstrual cup might actually be really helpful. So we talked extensively about how to care for it, whether she’d regularly have access either to boiling water or soap and water, and then I went home to get my new purple LENA cup and brought it back to her. I also told her that I’d be back each week for the foreseeable future if she wanted to ask me any questions about learning to use it.

        So hopefully that will be a big help to her.

      3. Allison Mary

        I think I will ask her about things like socks and first aid supplies. And maybe down the road a bit, I’ll ask her more broad questions about where she eventually wants her life to go, and what she needs to get there. Because I may be able to help with things like finding a job and writing a resume, etc.

    4. squiz

      We have someone similar at our farmers market. She started out the same way- asking for money, food and She has turned it into a job – she babysits dogs (lots of people walk to the market , so she minds the dog while owners wander), she minds parcels, strollers etc. She does a thriving business and its all “pay what you want”. She sets up with a a little rain shelter and a chair.

      1. Allison Mary

        Oh what a great idea! Our farmer’s market doesn’t technically allow dogs, but people are always bringing their dogs, anyway!

  50. Bad Candidate

    Any other Cubs fans here? I’m a life long fan, grew up in the Chicago area, watched games as a kid with my parents. I was in tears last night, bawling, sobbing after they won. I can’t believe they are doing to the World Series! OMG It’s a dream come true! Please please please please please let them win!!!!

    1. SaraV

      Chicago area native here, too. Yep, husband and I cried, too. I’m not sure if it was the Cubs were up 5-0 in the 9th, so I was 85% sure they were going to win, but I didn’t have as big of a reaction as I thought I would. If they win four more games? Oh goodness…I do believe I will sob.

  51. Rebecca

    This is only slightly work related, so hope it’s OK for today’s thread.

    Women’s clothing sizes are so frustrating. I’m going to start a new job two weeks from tomorrow, going from a jeans/tee shirt/whatever you want to wear office (no client facing issues) to a business casual M-Thu office, with nice jeans allowed on Fridays. Of course, I have mostly jeans and nice tops, but very few dress pants, jackets, etc. I wear plus size, 1X, 20W, sometimes XXL, all depending on how the garment is made, and I’m not short and not tall, nearly 5′ 8″, so sort of average that way.

    So, it’s off to the mall! A friend volunteered to help me find things, shuttle them to the dressing room, etc. and she was such a huge help! I was able to find some basic pants, and tops to go with them, mostly navy and black, but with Winter coming, that’s OK. I have a brown and charcoal pair already.

    But, the tops. Oh. My. Goodness. Could someone PLEASE work on standardizing the sizing? I saw a nice Navy blazer, thought it was perfect, grabbed the 1X off the display and just put it on, or should I say TRIED to put it on! It was so small I could barely get my shoulders into it. I put on the 3X size, and it fit OK, but the sleeves felt weird. In the same display, another brand’s item in 1X fit perfectly, with room to spare (which is how most 1X fit me). I’m too big for XL in most things, but 1X fits a bit big, so I’d rather have a bit more room than be constricted. This is how it went for every top I tried on. I took multiple sizes because from brand to brand, none of it seemed to fit consistently. I came hope with 1X and 2X tops, and when you lay them down on top of each other, they’re about the same size.

    And I wear a size 12 shoe. At least I have 3 pair of decent dress shoes to get started. That’s going to be a whole new level of fun, as I live in a rural area, so any shopping is done 45 min to an hour or more away, 1 way, or online.

    To top it off, I still don’t have a navy blazer, and I did find one online that I know will fit, an Alfred Dunner item @ JCP, but it’s not lined. I guess that’s not a deal breaker, but geez, this is hard!

    I think I remember people talking about Corporette (?), so I think I’ll try to see if there are any suggestions there. Certainly, I can’t be the only one with this problem.

    1. Yetanotherjennifer

      I can definitely relate! I think your sleeve issues are due to sizing up. You wrote you prefer things to fit loose rather than tight. I believe clothing manufacturers are cutting sleeves slimmer to save fabric which means they are less forgiving and have to be positioned just so to fit correctly. If the shoulders of your top are too far below your actual shoulders then the sleeve is in the wrong place and will pull across the top of the arm and not allow for a good range of movement.

    2. The Grammarian

      No, you’re not the only one! I am on the low end of plus sized, and it seems to be a no-man’s land. I bought a suit at Ann Taylor that I just barely fit into (my first nice suit). I wear casual clothes at work now, so everything is stretchy. I also make my clothes. I recently made my bridesmaid’s dress for a friend’s wedding because I could not find the required color and length in my size. I would suggest buying a suit jacket that fits in the shoulders and have it tailored to you. I know Nordstrom Rack has in-house tailoring for a fee. Good luck with your search!!!

    3. matcha123

      The average American woman is 5’4, so at nearly 5’8 you’re almost four inches above average…!
      You might want to look into getting your clothes tailored. I’ve only done that with pants from Uniqlo, but I’ve heard that it does a lot to give you a professional look.
      I read Extra Petite for clothing ideas. She’s 4’11, I think, so, a lot shorter than you, but I think her blog is filled with a lot of great clothing ideas for work.

      1. bibliovore

        Having been wearing loose and comfortable clothes, fitted jackets may never feel comfortable or “right”
        I tossed my “interview suit” years ago.
        I have one burberry blazer (from the mens’ department that was tailored to me 15 years ago)
        I have made peace with my body by NEVER wearing uncomfortable clothes.
        I need to be professional for work but not “wall street” professional.
        Start by figuring out what you love-
        I have a variety of knit dresses with a sweater/wool jacket that is of very soft material- Eileen Fisher “on sale” (I haunt the website) is my go to…even on sale it is pricey but her stuff lasts forever- I am still wearing the same lavender wool jacket 6 years later. I finally gave away a red silk jacket from 10 years ago. I have also invested (178 dollars) in her black straight leg pants that look dressy enough and go with everything. I also buy her stuff in “resale” shops. J Jill on sale is good for tank tops and basics.

        My closet is basic black- black pants, black shells, black jackets and then a splash of color- an orange shell or a lavender jacket.
        Winter means- long underwear tops under loose sleeveless dresses and a jacket with leggings. Flats, tie up oxfords or short boots.
        Really dressing up- fundraisers etc- I have fancy beaded jackets and palazzo pants.

    4. Genebec

      You may have some luck for tops at eShakti. They are reasonably priced, always tailor to your height for free, and for $10 will customize to all your measurements. I’ve had good experiences with them.

    5. The Other Dawn

      I recently had luck at Lane Bryant.

      My office just switched over permanently to business casual (it was previously business wear), which really threw me for a loop, as everything I own is either jeans or skirts. I’m 5’11”, hate straight leg and boot cut pants, and have 11 cats so can’t buy black pants, so I typically have a hard time finding dress pants I actually like and will wear. Also, I had weight loss surgery a couple years ago, which means I need to buy pants that fit my abdomen (lots of extra skin–soon to be removed!!), but aren’t super baggy on my scrawny legs. Needless to say, it’s a challenge.

      Anyway, I went to Lane Bryant and bought their butter denim pants in tan and burgundy in Skinny fit. What’s nice is that they’re stretchy, have a very slim fit and the length is just right (and don’t even get me started on the difference in Tall sizes from store to store!). I also got their ponte knit pants in the jean style. Very comfy, slim fitting, and they don’t look like leggings.

      I totally hear you and empathize on shopping for clothes. I thought these issues would go away when I lost all this weight, but they’re still here unfortunately. If anything, it’s harder to find the right size because I straddle the line between XL and 1X, depending on the cut and store. I’m also a 14/16 and it seems like those sizes are always sold out. Oh, and I’m a size 12 shoe, too. Terrible time shopping for shoes!

    6. chickabiddy

      I send sympathy. I’m about the same size as you and it’s frustrating, especially when I’m not sure the top end of misses or the lower end of plus works better. Lands’ End often works well for me, although I am about 4″ shorter, and you may need more business than business casual. Their sizing tends to be generous. Coldwater Creek is also good, but it is not inexpensive.

      However, it’s not just our size. My daughter usually wears a size 4, sometimes a 6, and she has tops in her closet that all fit approximately the same and the tags range from XS to L.

    7. Clever Name

      Women’s sizing for tops drives me insane. I’ve had a baby, and I carry my weight in my midsection mostly, but I’m not quite apple shaped. I choose my tops carefully, as I don’t like my clothing too tight. I’ve found that while I’ll wear an xs in more drapey tops, I need up to a large or xl in things like t-shirts or sweaters.

  52. Not an IG model

    I feel like I need to vent a bit (and also maybe ask what you all think about this).
    I’ve been feeling very resentful towards my boyfriend these last few weeks (maybe months, even). He’s started following models and other random girls on Instagram and downloading their pictures to use them as desktop background. I feel like I should not feel resentment for this because our relationship hasn’t been the best and I admit I could have been a better partner than I’ve been (please believe me when I say this – so many people think that just because I’m a woman I can’t have been a bad partner or terrible to my boyfriend in the past and start making excuses for me, which makes me feel even worse). What I mean here is that he’s entirely justified in longing for something different, something better than I can offer. It’s understandable.

    I think I wouldn’t even be resentful if he only used the pics as background. But now all he does is talk about these girls all the time. He comes in to my room to tell me random facts about them, or how perfect they are, or how I should use the same make-up to reach their level of perfection. He sends videos they’re in for me to view. I’ve changed my appearance to look a bit like them – to his request. I don’t really feel like talking to him now because I feel like I’ll explode if he spouts another bunch of details about one of these people – obviously not a good idea because 1) we live together and this isn’t how living together is meant to work, 2) I want to make sure he gets better. Our relationships has been turbulent and it took a toll on his mental health – there’s no need for me to be even more obnoxious and hurt him more.

    The adult thing would obviously be to talk to him and ask that he stop, but the little voice in my head says that I should have thought about this before making the relationship a mess and that I now have no reason to complain because he’s justified in what he’s doing. Yet I can’t stop thinking about how these girls look good and youthful – of course, since they’re not the ones to cook his meals, stay up with him to help calm down his anxiety at night, or keep our flat clean. I feel old, ugly, and “used goods” at twenty-five. I also feel like a monster for feeling resentment towards him. Had I been a good partner, we would not have come to this (and I mean it).

    In the meantime, I keep blowing up on him and be passive-agressive, which needs to stop. I promised I’d be supportive and help him get back on his feet. And I can’t even do that. All this accomplishes is that I’m angry at him and hate myself even more.

    Do you have any advice as to how to approach him with this problem without sounding like I want to control him?

    1. Colette

      Is counselling an option? It sounds like there’s a lot going on, and what both of you are doing isn’t helpful.

      There’s nothing you could have done that means you don’t get to ask for what you want. Have you explained to him that you aren’t interested, or that what he’s doing hurts your feelings?

    2. Lizabeth

      You are not old, ugly and used goods at twenty-five…I would recommend finding a therapist to talk things out. It helped me figure things out and what I needed to do in my marriage of 18 years. The IG photos aren’t about you, they’re about HIM. Please reach out for help sorting this out.

    3. Yetanotherjennifer

      I can see why you might think this , but you did not make him look at IG pictures. That was his choice and you have a right to speak up and object to the way he’s treating you, just like he had a right to speak up and object to the way you were treating you. And maybe he did. But you do not deserve to be punished for your behavior and you really do not need to punish yourself. This brhavior is all about him. has nothing to do with how you treated him. You do need to own your stuff and work to treat him with more respect while dealing with whatever causes your behavior. And he gets to own his behavior while dealing with his stuff. Same goes for his anxiety. You can be considerate and thoughtful of his anxiety along with his other feelings, but you’re boxing yourself in. Of course you’re going to feel resentful and act out. Get things out in the open and start to work on them. I think it will help you both.

    4. Observer

      I agree with the option of therapy. For yourself and as a couple.

      But, you also have a right to speak up. He’s over the line, and that’s on him. He has issues with your behavior? He needs to act like an adult about that – and that does NOT mean telling you all about how perfect all of these fantasy women are. You do need to stop blowing up about it. That part is true. But, you can – and in my opinion SHOULD – push back on this.

      When he comes to tell you about these perfect women, tell him you don’t want to hear it. It’s simply not up for discussion. Even though you should be supportive, you do not have any sort of moral or relationship based obligation to be supportive of THIS particular interest. And, in a non-angry moment, you could ask him why he feels the need to update you on all of this random information, and then LISTEN. It will tell you a lot. (And if it’s to punish you for your bad behavior, that is very, very useful information.)

      Lastly, it’s possible that this relationship is damaged beyond repair. I’m not suggesting that you walk out this minute. But, if the only way he can deal with your past misbehavior is by this kind of passive aggressive nastiness, your pretty much done.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Agreed. Especially with your last paragraph.

        Once we open a door and bring bad behavior into a relationship it is very hard to get rid of the bad behavior. Basically here his bad behavior is saying, “I no longer respect you and I am no longer invested in this relationship.” It’s tough to come back from that stand point.

        It might be good for you to ask yourself why you are interested in salvaging this. Not snark, I promise. I have asked myself this several times about different relationships in my life. It’s a useful question.
        I had a family member who was giving me headaches. I kept trying with the family member, though. Then one day, I asked myself “why am I doing this?”. The best answer I had was “once, a loooong time ago, it used to be a great relationship.” I kept waiting for the greatness to come back and the longer I waited, the further away the greatness got from where we were standing. I realized I was holding on to an illusion.

    5. Sunflower

      I do believe you could have been a bad GF in the past- or even the present- but that doesn’t justify any of these things. I think you are being way too hard on yourself for whatever you did in the past. Once someone does something bad, the other person has to make the choice to forgive them or not. And if they chose to forgive them, that means not holding it over their head or using it to get what they want.

      You say if you had not been a bad partner, it wouldn’t have come to this. Please please please understand that there is no way for you to know that for sure. There is simply no way any of us can predict the future and anything can happen. Whatever happened may have prompted your BF’s issues to creep up, they were most likely always there and you didn’t create them.

      Have you two tried counseling? It sounds like whatever bad thing you did was never fully resolved with you two and it might help to have someone work through those things with you.

      In the meantime, I don’t think your request or feelings are out of line. I don’t think following these models or looking at them is necessarily over the time but talking to you about them, wanting you to look like them is not okay or normal. I would tell your BF how it makes you feel. His response should be ‘i’m sorry, I will stop’. If he becomes defensive or tries to tell you that you are crazy or unjustified, then I think you need to take a serious look at if this relationship is still the best for you.

    6. Temperance

      As a disinterested party, what I’m reading is that you are supporting your BF, financially, and he’s guilting you for something while showing you photos of attractive women and discussing why he likes them. That’s …. bold of him.

      1. Not So NewReader

        And not a good long term plan.

        This can happen when we do too much for people, OP. They read it as a show of weakness and decide to walk all over us. We need to be careful how much of ourselves we give away for free. This has very little to do with sex and money and more to do with our hearts/minds/energy.

        The real story here maybe that you just gave this guy too much of your heart/mind/energy and did not check to see if he was returning some of his back to you.

    7. Anonymous Educator

      I don’t know what horrible things you did to him that make you think he’s justified in being obsessed with these Instagram girls in such a public way (can’t he at least secretly fantasize about them or something?), but I agree that the desktop wallpaper thing isn’t so bad if you really do do something that horrible… whatever it is.

      This below, however, is completely unacceptable:

      He comes in to my room to tell me random facts about them, or how perfect they are, or how I should use the same make-up to reach their level of perfection. He sends videos they’re in for me to view.

      No. He cannot do that. At a certain point, he either needs to forgive you for horrible thing(s) you did, or you two go to counseling… or you break up. He cannot do this nasty emotional manipulation and general douchiness to you.

    8. Natalie

      Oof. As others have said, if therapy is an option for you, I would strongly urge you to try it. I actually wouldn’t suggest couples therapy at this point.

      Your boyfriend may very well love and need you, but he doesn’t sound like a very kind person. He criticizes your appearance and compares you negatively to other people, and expects you to imitate those other people to gain his approval. All the while you are doing all the cooking and cleaning and taking responsibility for his mental health. If a friend of yours was describing that, would it sound okay to you? Would you think your friend should appease their partner’s requests, or would you think your friend should find a partner that liked their appearance as is? What if your friend said their partner had asked them to get plastic surgery? Would you agree they should to make their partner happy, or would that seem like a bridge too far?

      Who told you that you had been a bad partner in the past? What is making you think that having been a bad partner means you have to put up with anything and everything now? Is that something you’re hearing from him? Does it seem logical to you? If I crash my friend’s car or something, are they going to keep hanging around me so they can keep reminding me of how bad I was? Or are they going to decide we shouldn’t spend time any more? Which one makes more sense?

      Maybe he is justified in longing something different. But why does that justify him in constantly telling you that you’re not that thing. If you longed for something different, would you tell him regularly and criticize him for not being what you wanted? Or would you go find the different thing and leave him to find his different thing?

    9. Troutwaxer

      Show him some videos about how models get made-up and their photographs are airbrushed. (I’ll note that the commentators above have some good ideas about counseling…)

    10. Soupspoon McGee

      You aren’t controlling someone by telling them that their actions make you uncomfortable and you’d like them to knock it off. He can stop or not stop. You can stay with him or go. Personally, I vote for the latter.

      He doesn’t sound like he’s behaving in a kind, loving, respectful manner. His “gentle suggestions” to get you to change, and to fan your anxiety that you aren’t good enough, are not okay. This sort of thing doesn’t just stop–it escalates.

      He isn’t justified in flaunting his interest in other women and in trying to make you more like them, unless you’ve explicitly said you’re into that sort of thing–not even if you’ve been a nasty hellbitch, or you smiled as his best friend, or whatever transgression you think you committed.

    11. Cam

      Would he be upset if you started printing out pictures of male models, sending him videos of their workout routines, and asking him to dress and groom himself more like them? That would be really over the line and upsetting to him, right? So, of course, it is over the line and upsetting to you as well. Maybe if you phrased it to him in this way, it would help him see that he is being unreasonable. If he tries to tell you that it’s not the same (bc he was anxiety or bc you did X thing to him before) then you know he is being willfully ignorant or cruel about this. It is really not okay for your sig. other to hold up a picture of a model and say “look more like this (airbrushed, photoshopped, designer clothing wearing) person”.

    12. LizB

      My unvarnished reaction to your boyfriend’s behavior is “what the actual fuck?!”. I am so mad on your behalf, because you so don’t deserve this. I’ll take you at your word when you say you’ve done some crappy things that have affected the relationship, but the reasonable thing for your boyfriend to do in that situation would be to a) sit down and talk with you about any issues he’s having or b) put on his big kid undies and leave the relationship if he’s that unhappy. It is NOT, repeat NOT, okay for him to respond to whatever dissatisfaction he feels by deliberately making you feel small and stomping all over your self esteem – and believe me, this is definitely a deliberate set of actions on his part. Either he’s punishing you for whatever you did in the cruelest way possible, by trying to make you hate yourself, or he wants out of the relationship but is too chicken to be the “bad guy” and actually end it so he’s trying to make you so miserable you call it quits first. Whichever it is, it’s a choice he’s making – you didn’t cause him to act this way, and you don’t deserve to have it continue.

      No matter what you did, you deserve not to feel hurt and belittled in your relationship. If he’s any kind of decent partner, if you say to him “When you tell me all about these IG models and try to make me change who I am to be more like them, it makes me feel worthless and ugly” he will stop. If he argues about it or says you’re trying to control him, he’s not any kind of decent partner, and you don’t owe him one more minute of your time or support. I don’t usually get all DTMFA about things, but seriously, if you make your feelings heard and he dismisses them or tries to use them against you, DTMFA. I don’t care if you burned down his house, ran over his pet, and slept with his best friend all on his birthday. You deserve to feel better about yourself than he’s making you feel right now.

      1. Not So NewReader

        My broken hearted friend did some crappy things to her SO. They talked it out. What happened next tore at her heart. Her SO told her that he was to blame for parts of the problem. He said he was interested in changing their lives so that things could get good again. With tears in her eyes, she said, “That is when I knew how badly I had f’ed up.”

        This is what love looks like, OP. Love decides to rise above things.

        I don’t see that happening here.

    13. LCL

      In your third paragraph, you say “I feel like a monster for feeling resentment toward him”. By your own account,
      1. Separate rooms.
      2. You aren’t good enough for him, so he is sending you helpful video tutorials.
      3. You are changing yourself for him, and it isn’t good enough.
      4. You are completely responsible for the relationship, and his mental health.
      5. For whatever reason, you think you can’t talk to him about any of this.
      6. You think if you had just been a better person in the past, and better now, he would be fixed.
      I think resentment is a normal response to this situation!
      Why are you two staying together? What do you get out of this?

    14. Maya Elena

      I think passive aggression is the worst thing you can do in a relationship. For all you know, he is doing all this to passive-aggressively make you exercise more or dress in a particular way or be more sexual or whatever. In fact, that would be my first thought, unless he is just really, really weird and socially awkward. And if he is a good but misguided guy following some weird internet advice, it’s up to you to set him to rights.

      So I think direct and **unemotional** discussion, in the tone of Alison’s general advice, is the way to go. Don’t nag and don’t corner him (always give your opponent a way to lose honorably, or he will fight the more desperately). Something like “I’ve noticed that you do X and Y a lot, and it is confusing me. It sends me the message that something about our relationship is bothering you, and it hurts my feelings, because I care for you and don’t want bad blood between us. Could you explain?”

      Then judge how he responds. If it develops into a tantrum, I’d say leave him. If he levels weighty accusations against you, address. Be ready to see his side and acknowledge your own faults – nothing happens in a vacuum, and the fault is seldom 100% one person’s.

      That said, your past misdeeds are separate from his current ones (most likely). If you messed up, you own it and atone for it, but in your conversations with him you keep them separate as possible. (Unless your past misdeeds and his current complaints are for the same thing.)

    15. Violetta

      In this entire post you don’t even mention if YOU still love him or want to be with him. It sounds like your relationship to eachother is pretty toxic. He’s also being a straight up dick. You are 25 years old!!! Get out now. Let him go find some IG model if that’s what he wants. You will feel so much better not being weighed down by all this.

  53. MacGirl

    Ok small rant: I have tried and tried and tried to get my InDesign program to run on the new mac operating system and all I get is a flickering application icon before it crashes. I even tried updating to the latest trial software but no go. My last resort was to contact Adobe, but apparently my product is not supported. So.frustrating.

    1. Colette

      Are you perhaps running an older version of InDesign with a newer operating system? In general, new software should work with an older operating system but not the other way around.

      However, the new version (I assume that’s the trial version you installed) should work and they should support that (probably via chat)

    2. Anonymous Educator

      If your product is not supported, that’s likely why it’s crashing. I just updated to Sierra on all my machines (and my test machine at work), and I had a couple of programs unable to launch.

      1. MacGirl

        I know that. It’s just irritating, especially since the version I have worked on both El Capitan and Yosemite.

    3. Lizabeth

      As a rule of thumb I don’t upgrade right away, usually wait 6-8 months for things to settle out and catch up. A good resource is the website macresource.com forums run by Other World Computing for help. Pithy humor but people are helpful.

      I keep a computer off line that runs Snow Leopard with CS 6 on it for my design needs at home. I can’t and won’t pay monthly for the privilege to Adobe for the most up to date software. Work is another gig altogether – Mountain Lion and CS 4. They definitely won’t pay the monthly fee. I have to make pdfs of everything I want to print or InDesign will crash.

    4. A Cita

      Alternatively, have you looked to see if your java is compatible? When I upgraded to Yosemite, and then upgraded InDesign, InDesign wouldn’t work with the lastest version of Java on Yosemite. I had to downgrade java while they fixed that. Could the same be happening here? (I’m waiting to upgrade to Sierra.)

  54. J

    Just needed to rant somewhere. Not really work related.

    Just got my first job after graduating. it’s going well!
    Anyway,I’m female and I’m the kind of person where I extremely dislike using handbags or any kind of bags to put my wallets/etc stuff in it. I much prefer putting everything in my pockets and just be done with it. I like walking with empty hands. That’s why I bought a slim wallet to put all the essentials inside like my cash/cards etc.

    But my mom. My mom keeps insisting that I have to bring a handbag/sling bag where ever i go and that includes to work. It seems that to her, all women should use handbags to put their things inside. I keep telling her that i much prefer empty hands and not bringing around a big ass bag everywhere.

    I just want to know. Is it just me that prefers to have empty hands? or are there others as well?

    1. Arty

      I wish I could get away without carrying a bag! Many men seem to manage it, but then the men in my life often hand me stuff to carry in my bag for them, like glasses or inhaler.

      1. all aboard the anon train

        One of my biggest pet peeves is men who automatically expect me to put their stuff in my bag because they don’t want to carry it. In college, I was on a journalism trip and one of my male classmates asked if I could carry his bag ass camera in my bag and then complained that I was being unreasonable because my bag was so large and had so much space for only my notebook, so what was the point if I wasn’t going to help him out. Telling him that I was not his pack mule and that if he didn’t want to carry the camera he shouldn’t have brought it did not seem to stop his whining.

        At my last job, our female marketing reps had to deal with one of our male marketing reps who thought their bags were fair game to dump stuff into and rummage through at random when he needed his items.

          1. Observer

            No, plenty of husbands do NOT expect their wives to carry stuff for them, nor do they rummage in their bags.

        1. Clever Name

          I was just going to say that not having an enormous bag gives you the freedom of not carrying other people’s shit. I’m constantly carrying stuff for my husband and son.

      1. J

        Exactly! During the times my mom actually managed to force me to use a purse, most of the time i remember my phone/wallet/other stuff but not my purse.

    2. the gold digger

      I prefer to have empty hands but it is very rare for the work clothes I get to have pockets. In addition, I need too much stuff (prescription sunglasses and regular glasses, migraine pills, phone, emergency chocolate, handkerchief) to fit in a pocket. That’s why I always get a purse that I can put over my shoulder and leave my hands free. But if you can fit everything in your pocket, it doesn’t matter what anyone else does! You get to do it your way. :) Your mom is wrong on this.

    3. IowaGirl

      I almost never carry a bag. I just put my wallet in my coat or pants pocket. If I don’t have room for phone and keys in pockets I just carry them until I can stash them in a drawer at work or at home.

      I find it kind of funny that your mom thinks there is some kind of rule about this. Lol. This is totally your choice!

    4. Audiophile

      I understand wanting empty hands.

      I always carried my stuff (keys, wallet and phone) in my pockets. Of course this was all pre-smartphones, so the phone I was carrying was really slim and small. Can’t imagine trying to do that now. I stick my phone in my pocket now and it immediately feels like it’s weighing me down.

      How about a small backpack? LeSportsac makes backpacks along with their line of purses.

      1. J

        I do bring a backpack to work. But if its not work, I bring absolutely nothing except my wallet and phone. Though it is a big backpack. Maybe I should just get a small one so I can escape from the purse usage nagging

    5. LCL

      I always carry a wallet and have since high school. I do have a few really pretty feminine purses to carry when I go out dressed up. Which is about 6 times a year, these days.

    6. Observer

      Stop discussing this with your mother.

      On the other hand, a bag can be handy – and it doesn’t have to be in your hands. If you do decide to get a bag, for your own convenience, get one that has a longer shoulder strap so you can carry it on your shoulder. If I’m going to be carrying it for more than a few minutes I’ll sling it crosswise, so I don’t even have to think about it slipping.

      But, if you can fit everything into your pocket, and your clothes have pockets (too many women’s clothes don’t have useful pockets), go for it.

    7. Temperance

      I like having a bag, but I have women friends who put things in their pockets. Your mom is weirdly hung up on this issue.

    8. Lauren

      I haven’t used or had a handbag in about 30 years now. I can’t imagine having to haul such a thing around. I do have a tiny Filofix in which I keep my credit cards, some checks, etc. But other than a key ring made a like jailer’s ring (large so I can put it on my wrist) I carry nothing else–no cell phone, no brush or comb, no lipstick, nothing. It’s so freeing! Your mom may need hers but you don’t. Just let her know, kindly but firmly, that you are not using one and the discussion is closed. (Of course, you can’t really say this if you ask her to carry some stuff for you in her purse.)

      1. J

        I never use makeup so I do not need all the extra space in a handbag. That’s why I can fit almost everything I need in just my pockets. And ikr! The sense of freedom when you have empty hands is just amazing.

        And I never put my stuff in her handbag, only my brothers do that.

    9. Mephyle

      My 20-something daughters are aces at hands-free, like J. I envy their ability. Somehow I can’t manage to do it.
      But when we go somewhere together, I often end up having some thing or another of theirs in my handbag.

        1. J

          My secret is that I don’t bring plenty of stuff like makeup/etc and only buy pants with plenty of pockets.
          I never put things in my mom’s handbag. Seems pretty hypocritical of me if I do that.

    10. periwinkle

      I hate hate hate carrying a purse. Why the bleep do women’s clothing designers think we want FAKE pockets in our dress trousers or blazers or anywhere else, FFS?

      Thankfully we’re transitioning into electronic lives so I don’t have to mess with coins and other bulky things. I have a couple Vera Bradley zip ID cases with key ring so I can carry my driver’s license, insurance card, a credit and debit card, and maybe a few folding bills. That and my (unfortunately bulky) car fob go in one pocket, with the phone in the other pocket. Look ma, no hands! For travel, I tend to use the smallest crossbody purse I can find.

      I do need to get a slim wallet – I have a lovely Bosca french purse, small enough to fit in my pocket but still bulkier than I’d want.

      1. J

        A slim wallet is really convenient! I put enough cash for weeks along with 2 credits cards, a debit card, my driving license, my id and a work keycard. Still plenty of space! and it fits perfect in my pants pocket.

    11. ginger ale for all

      I love hands free too. I use backpacks and cross body purses. I will use a more traditional purse for certain occasions but the backpack is my go to solution for most days. And ever since I found dresses from Modcloth that have pockets, I have been going without a bag more often. The one variable that decides when I use a cross body is allergy season when I need easy access to Kleenexes.

    12. Not So NewReader

      And you don’t use a handbag so this impacts her life, HOW?

      I find it very odd that she is so invested in this.

      Tell her “yes, mom” and do whatever you wish. Or ask her “all WHAT things, mom?” That ought to be interesting to hear her answer. Have her name the things.

      I had several retail jobs where handbag searches were the norm. I just carried my wallet and left packages of pads in the bathroom with my name on them. They would not check your wallet and I did not want them rummaging through my one dozen pads I needed during that time of the month. (Pads were very large then.)

      If I know I am going a short distance/won’t be long/etc, I still go out of the house with no bag. I put my license and my credit card in my pocket and I am set. It’s just easier.

      1. J

        I got so used to it, I do just say “yes” then proceed to do nothing. Sometimes, she would just say “J, you can get a small handbag so you can put your wallet inside it! that way you can easily take it out when you need it”.
        What I don’t get is how easy is it compared to taking it out of my pants pocket.

    13. ..Kat..

      I like the “healthy back bag” like they sell on ameribag dot com. I have too much stuff for pockets, but this bag can be worn hands free. And it comes in a wide range of sizes.

  55. Liane

    I mentioned in the Supergirl TV post that I am doing a Supergirl costume this year. I debuted it yesterday at a local con I attended with my daughter. Didn’t place in the costume contest but did get some compliments.
    What are other people doing, if you are dressing up? (Or dressing up kids, pets, SOs, etc.?

    This week my GamerNation blog post was on costuming. I put in a caution about avoiding offensive costumes, which AAM and the commenters covered so well, in a question a few years back about coworkers who were planning racist costumes. So, with Alison’s okay, I included a link. The article also includes a Work-in-progress photo of the above Supergirl costume–no belt or emblem and unhemmed cape. I wish I could have included a final image in the article, but had a deadline. I will post my entry link in reply to this.

  56. allergies

    Anyone else here have dust allergies and can share how they cope? Mine are bad year rounf but they’re the worst in the fall and spring to the point that my eyes are always bloodshot, red, itchy, and dry. I can’t wear contacts in my apartment because they irritate my eyes and the only relief is going outside.

    I live in an apartment with wood floors and no pets. While I try and sweep as often as I can, dust accumulates so quickly and even sweeping, mopping, or dusting aggravates my allergies and it’s so bad that I can barely see because my eyes are so swollen and itchy. Over the counter and prescription eye drops don’t seem to help, nor do allegery meds. I’ve bought allergy pillow and mattress casings and those seem to have alleviated the issue a bit, but not much.

    These allergies only started recently, so this is my second year with them and it’s worse this year than last. I can’t stand it anymore – I can’t even be inside my own apartment without wanting to scratch my eyes out for some relief. :(

    1. LCL

      If you have electric baseboard heaters, vacuum them as best you can.
      Have you been tested for allergies? Fall and spring sound like Seasonal pollen allergies, going outside makes you feel better because there is more airflow.

      1. allergies

        Yeah, I’ve been tested. I went for testing for a food allergy and they did all the tests and that’s how I found out about dust! I never had allergies when I was young.

        I have old school radiators for heat and they’re sort of blocked off in a way where I can’t clean them too well.

      1. allergies

        I’ve been considering an air filter but I’ve heard mixed things about them and dust allergies, so I’ve been wary to invest the money. But I may have to just to save my sanity (and my eyes)!

        1. Cordelia Longfellow

          Air filters have been a lifesaver for my dust allergies – I have one in my living room and one in my bedroom, plus one in my office at work. Just make sure they’re HEPA certified. I also had allergy shots for five years, and now things are much better.

    2. BuildMeUp

      Can you try a vacuum instead of sweeping? I have a small Dirt Devil that converts from standing to handheld, & it’s designed for hardwood. It helps prevent dust from going everywhere like it does when you sweep.

    3. Lizabeth

      you can grow into allergies as an adult, I did. Did shots forever and then when my doc retired opt’d to see how things go. Now? I get by with OTC Zyrtec generic. Check out the shot option, it makes a difference down the road. Damp mopping and dusting will keep stuff from floating around.

      1. Elizabeth West

        Same, mine are way worse now than when I was a kid. I have dust and pollen.

        Also one thing that will help is taking your shoes off when you come in the door. It keeps the dust down because you’re not tracking dirt all over the house.

    4. Clever Name

      I’ve had dust andpollen allergies since I was a kid. Chloetrimeton is by far the best antihistamine I’ve tried, but everyone is different. I’m on Flonase right now, and it’s really controlling my allergies. On bad days I’ll take a Zyrtec plus the Flonase and I don’t have a single problem, and my allergies can be pretty severe.

      It sounds like you don’t have forced air, so that’s good, but I’d look into getting a hepa filter.

    5. Not So NewReader

      Wow, this sounds awful.
      How’s your water in take? Do you strive for the same daily amount year round? I always catch myself drinking less as the weather cools.
      Do you use healthy oils for salads and such?
      Have you checked your laundry detergent? Could that be adding to the problems?

      Do you dust and sweep with things that catch the dust rather than push it around? Am thinking along the idea of a Swifter duster you can get cheaper off-name products that are similar.

      How long have you been in this apartment? Do you see any mold issues?

    6. Mags

      I have bad dust allergies as well, and have since I was young. My suggestion first of all is to wear a dust mask when cleaning. You kick up SO much junk while attempting to remove it, and a good deal of it goes right up your nose. Also, I don’t recommend sweeping, even on wooden floors, it doesn’t pick up very much dust, just spreads it around. Vacuum well, then mop. Vacuum your couch, chairs etc. while you’re at it Put filters in your vents. It restricts airflow but it is worth it. And get air purifiers with HEPA filters for your most lived in rooms. And wash all fabrics often, don’t forget to wash your curtains.

      Unfortunately you may need to visit other medications, possibly prescription. I’m on one daily, but during the worst of my allergies (ragweed) I have to add a nose spray into the mix. Hope you find something to help soon!

    7. Chaordic One

      I’ve done the desensitization shots. They usually recommend doing them for 3 to 5 years. I’m going to be stopping afer 4 years and they have been a big help, especially with seasonal pollen allergies. Not so much with animal and food allergies.

      I’ve had good luck with “Swiffers” to dust with. (Yeah, they’re kind of expensive, but they do reach into odd-shaped spaces pretty well.) Keeping the windows shut helps keep the dust down.

      Before the shots I used to take a lot of Benedryl and it worked well, but the side effects (dry mouth, dry eyes, constipation) really bothered me after a while. I also had very good luck with Flonase.

      Finally, you might want to try using a neti-pot, or similar sinus rinse such as those offered by “Neil-Med” where you mix up a saline solution with distilled water. The Neil-Med bottle is very easy to use. Stick to using distilled water because there have been a handful of instances where people contracted brain-eating protozoa found in contaminated tap water. (My theory is that besides rinsing out your sinuses, the saline coats the inside of your sinus walls and creates a thin barrier between them and pollen and dust.)

    8. TL -

      I have a smoker neighbor and a cigarette allergy and an air purifier really helps for the seasons when they leave their windows open.

      Also, you might want to consider getting a Roomba and programming it to run every day when you’re not in the house. It’ll help keep the dust down and by the time you get back, anything stirred up will have settled.

  57. angel tears

    Does anyone else find the content of some of today’s pop music extra disturbing? Yesterday I ran pandora in the background and chose the Today’s Hits radio station. So this would be what our children (tweens and even younger) are listening to. The Wkends’ song “Can’t Feel My Face” is about cocaine. Some dance song came on that was about oral ***. And on and on it went. I mean, I like Rihanna just fine, she is actually one of my favorites, but I think even her messages are often too much for young people.

    I don’t think I am a prude, but I really don’t like the direction that our culture has been turning to for the past few decades, and somehow, it keeps getting worse. Your thoughts?

    1. all aboard the anon train

      There was similar content in music when I grew up in the ’90s and same for my older cousins from the ’80s. To be honest, a lot of that content went right over my head when I was a pre-teen or teenager (same goes for sexual/drug related jokes in TV and movies). And I know my grandparents thought my mum’s music in the ’60s and ’70s was not appropriate content for the kids in those days.

      Pretty sure this argument about the arts corrupting the youths can go all the way back to Greek poets writing porn that adults probably thought were too much for the young people.

      1. Pennalynn Lott

        LOL! That was me, as a pre-teen and teenager in the late 70’s / early 80’s. Last year when I took up trail walking, I created an 80’s station on Pandora to listen to when hoofing it outdoors. I was shocked — shocked! — at the lyrics I had been listening to in my youth, now that I knew what the heck the groups were actually singing about. ;-D

        I wasn’t corrupted by it then. Nor did the lyrics normalize abusive behavior for me. And now, actually, all the lyrics [both old and new] make me think, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not a pop/rock musician, because they apparently live in a completely different reality than I do.” (Drugs, hyper-sexualization, violence, prostitution, etc.)

    2. James

      Johnny Cash has a song titled “Cocaine Blues”. Shania Twain had a song quite clearly about sex when I was a teen (got into an argument with my boss about that one!). Many songs in the 1980s were about intercourse, with hair metal/glam rock being the biggest perpetrators. Even some of the classics have lesser-known songs that would make X-rated movies look tame. Then there are the Middle Ages…..Put a bunch of pubescent boys in an enclosed environment where sexual repression is obligatory and the resultant illuminated manuscripts were….illuminating. Cicero complained about it, and Virgil engaged in it. If I recall correctly, Hammurabi also complained about it.

      Like All Aboard said, most don’t see the innuendo (or explicit statements) because when they were young listening to it, it went over their heads. Or, back then it was US listening to it, and we were mature and had our heads on straight and could handle it. Kids today are immature, have no idea how the world works, and have no self-control, so if they’re exposed to it they’ll get into trouble! (To be clear, I’m not mocking you–I keep reminding myself of this when I look at what my kids watch on TV or listen to music-wise!) Internal and external perspectives are quite different.

      Plus, bear in mind that you’re seeing a much wider selection of music from today than you are from the past. We only continue to listen to the better music of the past–a lot of it falls by the wayside. If you compare what you normally listened to growing up against songs on the radio now, you’re comparing a self-selected subset against the whole dataset–which dramatically skews analyses. It gets worse the further you go back (in everything; this is a basic truism in historical sciences). This can result in the appearance of a trend, when in fact the average hasn’t shifted or has shifted in a different direction entirely.

      Short version: nah, today’s music isn’t worse. It’s not the music that’s changed, it’s us.

      1. Pershing48

        Weirdly enough, the one genre of popular music that has almost no sex in it is….heavy metal. With a few exceptions, Kiss, Motorhead and all of hair metal, stuff that would pass the muster for metal purists has very few songs about sex or sexual relationships. I can’t think of single Metallica or Slayer song that has sex in it.

        1. TheLazyB

          I am now trying to think of a metallica song (up to and including reload) that includes sex. I’ll report back if I think of one!!

        2. James

          I agree. The songs I can think of about relationships in metal are all ballads, and while a few mention sex it’s not the focus.

          Nightwish’s “Over the Hills” is basically Johnny Cash’s “She Walks These Hills” (man sleeps with his best friend’s wife, gets convicted of a crime he didn’t commit), and neither goes beyond a passing reference to the act. It’s provided as an explanation, nothing more. That’s the only one I can think of, though.

          Alestorm has a few that touch on it, but it’s more “drinking, wenching, and looting” (they’re a pirate themed band). It barely counts.

          A few pagan metal bands mention the ostensibly ancient Beltane rights, but that counts more as a religious reference, given the nature of that holy day. Sex is involved, but it’s a byproduct of that particular form of worship.

          Skyclad’s song “Polkageist” has some….creative wordplay. Definitely sexual, but you can’t help but be impressed by how it’s presented.

          I can’t think of anything by Manowar, Dawnrider, Blind Guardian, Hammerfall, or the like that is sexual. I’d be afraid of what Sabaton or Van Canto would do with sex as a theme of a song. I genuinely have no idea about Asp; even the ones in English are weird enough that if they ARE about sex, that’s not a healthy relationship!

          I don’t think Black Sabbath has any songs about sex. Drugs, violence, Satan, rock and roll, more drugs, insanity, and drugs, yes, but not sex!

          (I don’t mean to go all metal-nerd here; I’m just bored, waiting for something to happen, and running through these bands in my head! Also, I make no promises that any of those bands are safe to listen to at work–we’re talking pagan, Gothic, and speed metal, along with Ozzy Osborn; Google at your own risk!!!)

    3. matcha123

      I don’t care? I have always heard older generations dislike the music of people younger than them.
      When I was in high school, Eminem was public enemy number one. I can remember picking up my sister from elementary school and hearing kids singing the Thong Song. Heck, I remember when Sir Mix a Lots I Like Big Butts came out and people were shocked.
      I can think of some Michael Jackson songs that I listened to and just recently read the lyrics of and those songs were pretty scandalous, in my opinion.

    4. Stellaaaaa

      Pop music is for adults too. The Weeknd got his big break with a song on the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack. He’s not making music for kids. It’s not like people hit 25 and resign themselves to listening to older music. We still listen to new artists.

      1. Former Diet Coke Addict

        I’m also not crazy about the idea that pop music and other media should, by default, be kid-friendly. Music has been about sex for many hundreds of years–maybe thousands, I don’t know. And frankly, I’m pushing thirty and had no idea “Can’t Feel My Face” was about coke until someone told me. I’d imagine that most tweens are going to have it go right over their heads as well.

        1. Stellaaaaa

          I don’t dig that particular songs “omg last night I got sooooooo wasted” vibe but it’s a party track for adult ears so yeah, that element is going to be there. Who do people expect adult party dance tracks to be for?

          I remember “my neck, my back” from about 20 years ago. How about Aaliyah’s “rock the boat”? Those songs are way more provocative than anything on the radio today.

    5. Anonymous Educator

      I don’t know. I grew up with songs like “I Touch Myself,” “I Want Your Sex,” and “She Bop.”

      1. Stellaaaaa

        Britney et al were much racier than anything out today, and they were marketed toward children. Those singers were also teens themselves. Lady Gaga is 30 and is entitled to sing about whatever she wants.

    6. Cruciatus

      I think the main difference now is how easily accessible music is. You can get it through your phone, your computer, hell, I can get a ton of different satellite music channels on my TV through my Dish subscription. I’m not old but still “back in my day” it was the radio as my first source for music. Then MTV/VH1 (they did used to have music!), then tapes and eventually CDs I exchanged with friends. Anyone else remember waiting for the radio to play your favorite song so you could tape it? So I don’t know that music is more sexualized now necessarily, I think it’s just easier to find more music more quickly.

    7. Natalie

      I’m pretty sure Cab Calloway was singing about drugs 80 years ago. This just isn’t at all new.

    8. Snazzy Hat

      Sometimes I’ll hear a song from the ’90s (or it suddenly comes back into memory) and think, “wow, I was way off with the interpretation of this song, I was not paying attention, I feel like an idiot.” Like, when I was a kid, I didn’t realize it was a horrible thing when my sister said the Pearl Jam song “Better Man” described her relationship at the time. Or the situations aren’t as awful, but still “i didn’t get it” moments. I went about fifteen years not knowing “Thief” by Our Lady Peace was about caring for someone with brain cancer, but that whole time I knew it was a serious song about a difficult scenario. (I think I assumed it was about mental illness.)

      I actively avoid current American pop music, but yeah, every now and then I’ll hear a song that makes me wonder how all its sexual references were allowed on the radio to begin with. Not that I’m a “won’t somebody please think of the children” type, but rather “i thought this is precisely what censors, y’know, censor.”

      1. Anonsie

        Heh, yep, it’s fun to reflect on how innocent my interpretations of songs were when I was little. I remember as a devout little kid, I thought “Son of a Preacher Man” was about a nice Christian boy who shared Jesus with the singer.

      2. James

        I know someone who’s been a Black Sabbath fan for as long as the USA has known about Black Sabbath–went to the first North American concert, if I recall correctly. Had no idea that NIB was sung from Lucifer’s perspective. I was in the room the day it dawned on him. Pretty impressive sight, to be honest!

          1. Snazzy Hat

            That’s what I was wondering, too. By the way, the entire album Paradise Lost by Symphony X is from Lucifer’s perspective. It’s a gorgeous work.

          2. James

            I have no idea. I don’t think he ever gave the lyrics sufficient attention to formulate an opinion on the subject. Black Sabbath concerts are not exactly conducive to careful analysis of the lyrics, for various reasons….

    9. TheLazyB

      When I was a kid there was some pretty dodgy content. It all went over my head. I’m now 40 and sometimes I still hear old songs and think wtf, how did I not hear that?!?!

      I used to be quite a kiss fan (late enough for it not to have been cool). I recently remembered the song ‘Lick it Up’, which I would’ve heard well into my 20s, and suddenly thought ‘…. lick WHAT up?’ ewww. I’m really glad I don’t think of that back then.

      It’s always been the way. I hate it and I don’t look forward to my 5 year old starting to listen to music from that point of view but hey ho.

    10. Anon for this

      It doesn’t strike me as different from what I heard in the 90s and 00s.

      I’m really not on board with censoring music or movies or books just because kids might see it. The media your family consumes is your choice. If your kids are old enough to pick for themselves, hopefully they picked up good taste, but if not… unfortunately garbage music is a phase a lot of us go through. :) Doesn’t seem to do any damage.

    11. The Other Dawn

      I think for the most part it goes right over kids’ heads. It usually went over my head when I was young. Hate to admit that it does these days, too, sometimes. I’m 41 and up until last year, I thought “She’s Got the Jack” by AC/DC was about a game of cards. Had no idea it was about an STD!

    12. Clever Name

      Ugh. I had the radio on (not satellite. Old fashioned broadcast radio) and a song came on with the lyric “I’ll lick you in places you’ve never been licked”. My grade schooler was in the car, so I instantly switched the station. He thought it was the funniest thing he had ever heard. I know he didn’t understand it was a sexual reference, but still. Just ugh.

    13. Not So NewReader

      People will do what they will do.

      But I do worry that nothing seems that uplifting, it’s not positive. Even songs that have become more like anthems are just about going out drinking. Songs with an upbeat tempo are depressing. And people wonder why they are depressed, we have to look at the subtle feeds we get from everywhere.

      While I have huge respect for people who can create art (I can’t), I also have to ask what are you striving for with your work? Are you trying to lift people up or pull them down?

      I do understand that some musicians use there music to convey a message or to draw attention to a subject people are ignoring. I have no problem with that. I think it’s a good use of art. Many songs have drawn taboo subjects to the foreground and this is good, we need to question what we are doing.

      So I guess I have a mixed bag of thinking. I enjoy music a lot. I was surprised to talk to musicians who were into music but knew very little about the lyrics. For example they did not know what a song was about and that surprised me. How can you be into music and not check out the message in the lyrics? But here we are.

      1. Stellaaaaa

        I think most artists don’t necessarily have a concept of being on a public stage or of feeling the impulse to help others (Kanye has that view of his music and I find him rude and arrogant for it). They’re expressing something about themselves or just telling a story. They are adults who never asked to be anyone’s role models and should not be criticized for not filling in the gaps in what other people are creating. My current fave is Margo Price, who’s had an awful, awful life but manages to turn it into something positive-feeling with upbeat songs. I feel very connected to her music right now and I can’t imagine having the thought that she shouldn’t tell her own story in the way that she wanted to. She’s 33 and lost a child. Why should she sing songs that make 12-year-olds bop at the junior high dance?

        But if you want upbeat pop music, listen to Carly Rae Jepson’s E*MO*TION album.

      2. TL -

        Oh I think a lot of pop songs are positive and upbeat in lyrics. Maybe not wholesome goody-two-shoes but there’s a number of songs about feeling good about yourself and life without necessarily enhancing the experience.

      3. James

        I would examine how you get your music. I listen to a lot of music, and most of it is very positive and uplifting. It’s not terribly hard to find such music these days.

        Secondly, don’t represent the representation of a thing for the thing itself. The song “Undead” by Hollywood Undead doesn’t exactly sound uplifting–but if you look past the lyrics to the meaning (remember, lyrics are poetry) it really is. Speaking as someone who’s spent over a decade trying to get to where he is, I find the song very meaningful, even though I’d definitely use different terms for it. Simply put, you cannot judge other cultures via your own norms; you need to judge the song by the standards of the audience the singer is singing to. Hollywood Undead was singing to an urban audience, and used terms they would understand.

        As for not checking out the message in the lyrics, I would hold Enya as a perfect example of why it’s not always necessary. I don’t speak Gaelic, or Sindar (I’m a nerd, but not THAT much of one!). But that’s irrelevant; the point isn’t the lyrics, but the sound–her voice is a musical instrument. The lyrics do have meaning, but it’s often a secondary consideration.

        Finally, always bear in mind that Bach was put under house arrest for his music. He is the most metal musician in history. Now he’s considered the stuff stuffy, uptight snobs listen to.

    14. Chaordic One

      You know, it’s always been around.

      It was back in 1985, more than 30 years ago, that Tipper Gore (ex-wife of former vice-president Al Gore) of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) held a U.S. Senate hearing that resulted in parental advisory labels being placed on record albums. She was particularly offended by Prince song titled, “Darling Nikki.”

      Going back even farther in history I was shocked to learn of (hidden) meanings in the lyrics of “Santa Baby,” and “I’m a Back Door Man.” They completely went over my head until they were specifically pointed out to me.

  58. Ask a Manager Post author

    The doctor came back. It has become bacterial bronchitis. Now I have a steroid inhaler and an antibiotic.

    This time he did the whole visit while I laid weakly in bed. It was just like an old-timey country doctor from Jane Austen novels.

    1. Snazzy Hat

      Hooray for effective treatment! And I’m glad to hear he wasn’t like the doctor in Thérèse Raquin.

        1. Snazzy Hat

          I admit I’ve only read that Zola work, but it was one of the few books from my most-despised high school English class which I will gladly read on my own. My classmates and I were very amused by the waltz being considered a sexy dance, and my exposure to the French countryside really helped with visualizations.

          {fist bump}

          1. Elizabeth West

            Read Nana. That was my first Zola and it remains my favorite. It’s about a courtesan who destroys everything she touches. My auntie loaned it to me on my first trip to London and I took the book everywhere–I couldn’t put it down. I think I read most of it on the tube.

            The Paradise and L’Assomoir are also really good (the latter is about Nana’s mother). The first one is about the birth of a huge department store and there are so many parallels to Walmart that you’d swear Zola traveled through time.

      1. bibliovore

        Feel better. Take it easy. If the inhaler is a steroid inhaler, make sure you rinse your mouth after you use it. One of the side effects is thrush.
        I have a big pot of chicken broth on the stove- I wish I could send you some

      1. Snazzy Hat

        I was in a convenient situation when I had a decayed tooth pulled. “Here’s a script for penicillin, and don’t eat hard or pointy foods.” What did you say, doc? Eat yogurt at least twice a day? You got it!

    2. Observer

      Feel better!

      And finish off the antibiotic! It’s easy to stop when you start feeling better. But, really, don’t do it.

      1. Liane

        Seconding this!!! Or if the side effects are so bad you don’t think you can deal–let the doctor know so /she can get you on a different one.

        Rebound infection is what it is called and you do not want that. I just stopped a course one time because of side effects and I got so much worse; the only time I have felt sicker was a sepsis–whole body infection, basically.